Monday, November 21, 2011

Give Me 10: Top 10 Things That Really Go Through Our Minds At Thanksgiving Dinner

Give me 10: 10 reasons, examples or indicators of a certain behavior. Take the time to use the checklist…you may need to check yourself. Today‘s list: Top 10 Things That Really Go Through Our Minds At Thanksgiving Dinner

10# It will be okay

9# Is that the same casserole from last year?

8# Happy thoughts, happy thoughts, happy thoughts…

7# Is this even cooked?

6# If she asks me why I’m still single one more time…

5# I can’t believe he showed up here, with her.

4# I wish this place had a drive-thru

3# Isn’t all of us being here a violation of someone’s parole?

2# Yeah…but it’s my family.

And the number 1 thing that really goes through our minds at Thanksgiving Dinner…

…I should have drank more.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Snitch Please

From as early as I can remember it was drilled into my brain to not “tattle tale” or “snitch". If someone was doing something wrong I was just supposed to let it happen and the proper people would take care of it. As I grew up, that notion hasn’t changed. Now it’s a catch phrase, “stop snitching”, I’ve seen it on t-shirts, it’s in songs, I’ve even seen it as a tattoo. Really?

First of all let’s break down "true” snitching. You’re snitching if you tell on someone under these circumstances…

Example 1: Myself and James decide to rob a liquor store. The two of us knowingly enter with guns, hold up the staff and flee the scene. In our daring escape I’m the only one that’s caught and they don’t know who James is…

Example 2: I sell drugs on the corner and witness someone else dealing down the street…

Example 3: I leave a bar and see someone stumbling drunk to their car. They stagger through the parking lot get in and drive due East, I look slam my shot and head West…

Are we getting the idea? Snitching only applies if you’re doing dirt! We need to get past this childish and stupid notion. There are a whole lot of people that need the whistle blown on them. Day after day innocent men, women, and children are being violated and no justice is given. We need to grow up and hold people accountable. If you don’t agree, imagine these things happening to you or someone you love…

One Saturday afternoon in front of a barber shop on a semi-busy street, a two year baby still strapped into his car seat was hit by a stray bullet in a drive by shooting. He died in front of his mother and older brother before he was old enough to have a first memory. No witnesses came forward.

A 14 year old girl was being raped in a park at night. It was less than half a mile from a packed movie theatre with plenty of foot traffic in the area. Several people reported hearing her screams yet no one investigated, intervened or “saw anything”.

In an apartment complex, through the walls of the neighboring units the screams of a woman being beaten by her drunken boyfriend could be heard. She cried for anyone who could hear her to please help. Her screams went on for over 20 minutes. Though over 10 people reportedly heard her, no one called for help…she died.

Is it sinking in? Are we seeing the difference? Currently in the news is the scandal at Penn State University where former defensive co-ordinator for the football team Jerry Sandusky is being indicted for sexual abuse against minors.

This “man” is charged with raping and molesting 9-11 year old boys with allegations going back to the 1970’s. He is being accused of taking predominately African American children from neighboring lower income communities under the guise of charity and good-will and assaulting them sometimes even on school campus. This information has been brought forward (in 2011) because of an incident that happened in 2002.

Sandusky was allegedly seen having sex with a 10 year old boy in a campus shower by an assistant coach. This assistant coach said he saw the 10 year old boy pinned against the wall and heard a “rhythmic slapping” sound. He was close enough to identify that it was a young boy, even close enough to hear the “slaps” but simply turned and walked away. The coach said he reported the incident to his superiors and members of the athletic department (the following morning) but nothing was done.

There have been stories now coming out that janitors have witnessed oral sex involving young boys and other staff members have witnessed inappropriate behavior and NO ONE SAID ANYTHING! These little boys have been violated for decades by this man at this school and nothing has been done about it. Stories are also surfacing that on some level nearly every member of the football athletic department has either seen, heard about, or been reported to about some form of misconduct yet no charges were filed! Furthermore, Sandusky hasn’t been employed by the school since 1999 but has had full access to the campus to “entertain”.

Penn State legend coach Joe Paterno was recently fired because of his inactivity regarding these accusations. He reported the 2002 accusation but never followed up or further inquired. He basically dismissed it and followed by sweeping it under the rug. By not taking action these boys were never stood up for, his silence contributed and enabled their victimization.

This moment is brought to you as response to all of the people who sit back and do nothing when faced with the opportunity to help and prevent pain. If you still feel like not “snitching” is the way to go please remember that, if and when something happens to you…and for EVERYONE involved directly or indirectly with this Penn State situation…

I hope you all go to prison so when someone twice your size has YOU pinned in the shower you can watch the correctional officer just turn and walk away…and when you know what a true violation is and go to the warden or press for help. I hope they tell you…

…stop snitching.

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A Peaceful Journey

This past week the world lost some truly iconic men in the areas of sports and entertainment; former boxing heavyweight champion Smokin’ Joe Frazier and rapper/actor Heavy D passed away.

Joe Frazier notably had one of the most dangerous left hooks in boxing. He used it to propel him to the top of the ranks culminating in his epic battles against Muhammad Ali. In their 3 bouts Ali won 2 of the 3 but their matches are still ranked amongst the greatest in boxing history. He reached the pinnacle of his career by winning the heavyweight championship in 1970. Joe died at the age of 67 of liver cancer.

Heavy D was a pioneer in the rap game in the early 90’s with a series of hits like “Nuttin’ But Love” & “Now That We’ve Found Love”. Heavy released 9 albums, had 4 Grammy Award nominations, appeared in multiple films and television shows and was responsible for originally hiring Sean “Diddy” Combs as an intern who later set the tone for 90’s hip hop and r&b. Heavy D died at the age of 44 from medical complications including pneumonia.

Since their deaths millions of people have come out to share personal stories and feelings about these men. They have both had tributes given and countless accolades received posthumous. The question is, why do we wait for someone to die to share how we really feel about them?

Once someone dies people come out of the woodwork to share a tender moment or defining event that forever changed their lives. We like to believe that it is important to remember the feats of that individual and to make sure their legacy lives on through stories and praise. Now I agree with this in theory, it does however bother me a little.

Why does it take death? Why do we need to wait until they’re no longer here to express our real feelings, thoughts and emotions? I’ve seen so many older men and women whose final years would have been greatly enriched if they would have been able to hear the things that were said about them by their loved ones after they died. They spent their last years often alone but were buried to a packed house.

Some people wait to bury grudges when they finally bury the individual, really? Is the pain, hurt or anger we hold on to so great that it can only be trumped by the passing of life? It’s really that serious? I know people who are angry with individuals that they haven’t seen in decades. They have no idea how that person even acts anymore but primarily out of habit, they can’t let go of their need to hate.

There is one more piece to this “irks” me puzzle…the liars. We all know them, the ones that come out after someone has passed away to profess how much they loved and respected them when we all know it’s not true. The liars, the ones that spoke badly of them, wished them ill will, and basically despised their existence in life, but are the first ones to throw themselves on the casket or lead the toast in their honor after death. Oh the liars…we hate you.

Why can’t we keep it real? If you love someone tell them. If you value or cherish them for what they have or do bring to your life let them know. It shouldn’t be a secret that you literally take to the grave. You never know when that could be the difference in someone making it another day, month or even year.

While we’re keeping it real…I understand making peace and letting go of anger when someone passes away is difficult. If you haven’t truly come to terms and are “good” in your heart with someone don’t come around praising under false pretense. You disrespect that person, their loved ones and their memory that is being honored. I know it’s not politically correct to pass on funerals or to speak badly of the dead but if that’s how you’ve felt and still feel…be honest. I can respect that, I may think you’re petty, but I can respect it.

We’ve all lost someone, in fact we just celebrated Veteran’s Day, the acknowledgement of those who have and are willing to sacrifice everything for others. We need to be real with ourselves and those in our lives. Let’s not wait until it’s too late.

Rest In Peace Smokin’ Joe Frazier, Heavy D & Warren G. Morris.
Heavy D…take us out.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Give Me 10: The Top 10 Reasons Why WE DON'T BELIEVE YOU!

Give me 10: 10 reasons, examples or indicators of a certain behavior. Take the time to use the checklist…you may need to check yourself. Today‘s list: The top 10 reasons why WE DON’T BELIEVE YOU!

10# Because your NEW car is ALWAYS, “in the shop”.

9# We can’t confirm it’s your elbow in the picture with Lil Wayne.

8# You say you’re single but your Facebook relationship status says “It’s Complicated”.

7# You say you “never do this” yet we know 5 people who beg to differ.

6# You’re always, “just about to call us”.

5# You don’t keep it real.

4# Working out doesn’t make you go from a B to a D cup.

3# You’re not “Hater” worthy.

2# You’ve been fired from every job as part of a conspiracy headed by “THE MAN”.

…and the 1# reason why we don’t believe you…

You don’t make tips like that at the Sizzler.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself...

This is a public service announcement sponsored by J Morris and the good folks at Morris Corp ENT…

Sam Cooke said it best, “A Change Is Gonna Come”. Change is inevitable; from the leaves turning from green to red and brown, branches that were once full and rich left narrow and bare, to the temperature shifting from warm to cold…a change is gonna come.

Now we may whine or complain about it being too cold or too hot but deep down we know there’s nothing we can do about it. We accept it. We can’t stop the rain from falling we can however pack an umbrella. Just as we can’t turn down the sun, hence the invention of air-conditioning. When we’re hit with something uncontrollably unpleasant we adjust and adapt. So why is it we stay so Darwinian deficient when it comes to accepting change within a person? We can accept the idea that caterpillars can become butterflies, giraffes once had short necks like horses even that dinosaurs roamed the Earth but “Steve” can’t mature past junior high?

We have such difficulty with the idea that a person can change. Whether it’s a family member, childhood friend or significant other we lock into this idea of who we think they are and refuse to believe anything different. Why? Why is it so important to believe that someone will never “really” change? Why must we meet the idea of someone growing, maturing and becoming aware with such resistance?

I’ve heard everything from, “once a cheater always a cheater” to “a leopard never changes its spots” even as blatantly as “people don’t change”…really? Humans can evolve from huts and pointy sticks to skyscrapers and cell phones but we’re incapable of curbing a behavior or two?

In my short time on this planet I’ve seen people that were screw ups in school now responsible spouses, parents, and people. I also remember some of the ones that were labeled “most likely to succeed” and “they have such a bright future ahead” turning to lives of crime and destitution. The once “hot girl” now…not so much, the guy going from Urkel to Denzel, or even from Craig to Carla, change happens all of the time.

I think the real disservice comes not from those who refuse to see us differently, but from those of us who refuse to embrace our changes. Some of us go away to school, become educated about different people and cultures or simply mature and we want so badly to hold on to who we were as opposed to whom we’ve become. We don’t want to accept that we are different and we have changed.

That awkwardness of no longer having things in common with old friends, the uncomfortable silence at functions after the “reminiscent” stage is over or the sheer feeling of disinterest can be unsettling and a little sad. This used to be “our boy/girl” now we’re only talking about old times because that’s all there is…and that’s okay.

Everyone in our lives isn’t necessarily meant to be here forever. We experience life with them, we learn and grow and in some cases move on. It happens in relationships too. Depending on what steps we take in our personal growth and development we may or may not still be compatible as time goes on. We may learn to like new things or stop liking old ones, change our behaviors or habits, in some cases we just grow up. Who we were is no longer who we are. “Love conquers all” is great in theory, however it doesn’t always ring true…and that’s also okay.

Family can be the worst, never seeing us past our childhood selves. They remember us as that little brother or sister, or still expect us to respond or think as we did in grade school. It’s a big leap accepting the idea that our once 6 year old little sister is now a 30 year old wife and mother. Seeing our wagon-toting little brother as the now corporate executive can be difficult to process. Sometimes it is family that has to be introduced to the “new” us the harshest…and once again…completely okay.

We shouldn’t have to suppress our growth or pretend to be someone we’re not for the sake of someone else. We will grow, we will change. There will be relationships that adapt and others that will end. The important part is understanding and accepting who we are. Others may not be as open to the idea of us changing or getting past their own expectations of us. They may forever view us as 9 years old, or from high school or those college days and that is their issue not ours.

A leopard may not change its spots; but a snake sheds its skin, birds molt their feathers and people alter their behavior…

A change is gonna come.

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