Monday, September 27, 2010

Checkout line etiquette: rudeness, hypersensitivity, or both?

This topic was inspired by one of my Facebook status updates a while back.

 A couple of years ago, I went to a store and I picked up an item really fast and went to check out. This lady with a buggy full of stuff turned around, saw me with the single item, and then turned back around. She did not say "You can go ahead of me, sir". I also did not ask if I could go ahead. However, that was not the point. Some folks can be rude, insensitive, and/or just inconsiderate and unaware of what is really going with other folks.

Basically, when one is at the checkout line, it tends to make better sense if you allow someone with one or two items to go ahead of you. It's polite, it's cool, and it will come back to bless you.

When I updated my status on Facebook, telling this story, I was met with a bevy of answers. All of them ranging from "that woman was rude", "Drew, you're just sensitive, people don't have time to let everyone with one item go in front of them", "You should plan better if you're in such a hurry", and "It's different with women. We have children, housework, etc., on our minds".

The latter response was especially interesting.  However, a couple of other women (one that's actually a cashier at a retail chain store) and one that's a mother of four understood where I was coming from. If it's just one person behind you with ONE or TWO items and you have a buggy full of items, it won't hurt you or delay your schedule if you let them in front of you.

I even asked the cashier (and tested my theory when I went into her store a few days later) how long does it take the average item to be scanned, 30 seconds or less? She agreed. Therefore, what's half a minute out of your schedule, people?

Personally, if I see a person (notice I didn't say people) behind me with way less items than me, I let them go ahead of me. Whether I'm in a hurry or not is hardly the issue here. It's about caring about others and being considerate. That seems to have gone out of style along with cassette tapes, pay phones, and leather football helmets.

Of course you are not necessarily rude if you choose not to do this, nor are you hypersensitive if you think one should let them go ahead in line. It's just a matter of common courtesy and respect. I believe it's all in how you respond to it, though. If you say something in the nature of "sorry, I don't care if we're the only two in line, I don't have time to let them pass. They should have gotten there faster", I would say that sounds rude, and rather childish. Especially for those that have children of their own and they see this. Granted I'm not a parent, but I was raised with morals, consideration and manners. If you are too insensitive to consider letting someone in front of you at the checkout line, well you may want to take a second look at yourself and others.

Also, you should not also complain or expect others to let you in front of them when you only have one item and they have a buggy full. Granted it is the right thing for them to do. However I feel you should act the way in which you want to be treated.

My belief is it rarely (if ever) hurts to be nice to someone and do a good deed. You never know what the person on the other end is thinking, or undergoing. Your act of kindness could make their day, keep them from in turn being rude to someone else, and actually make you feel good. So why not do good folks?

Just take a look next time you're in the supermarket, Wal-Mart, Dollar General or even in a department store. See how many folks actually practice what I've been talking about. My guess is not very many will. However, you may want to take a special look at the few folks that actually do.  It may actually make you feel good about yourself. 


Monday, September 20, 2010

DEATH PENALTY: You kill someone, and you get killed back. Is that really our philosophy, America?

And I'm being dead serious with this title.

From the time I was a child and I read in an article from the early 1900s where my great-great grandmother's ex-husband, Tom Harris, was hanged in Gaffney, SC (I believe he was the last person to be hanged in Cherokee County, SC), I was always mortified by the death penalty that our country has for hardened criminals. I mean, we've had Jack The Ripper, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dalmer, Timothy McVeigh, Malvo (the DC sniper), and Stanley "Tookie" Williams, just to name a few of the murderers that have either been executed or were set for execution.

Many folks love westerns such as Bonanza and Gunsmoke. Maybe that helped bring in the persona that folks who "kill" deserve to "be killed" themselves. I won't even get started on war movies and shows such as M*A*S*H. It just seems that especially in conservative red states such as Texas, if you kill a person in cold-blood, you have given yourself a death wish.

Personally, I do not think it should be the state's responsibility to end the life of a murderer. Granted, I understand that it's rough on the family, friends and other survivors. However, that type of self-defense is not going to bring the murdered persons back. Furthermore, it is inhumane, hypocritical, and non-Christian to simply put someone on death row for 5-30 years and then kill them. Doesn't it say in Exodus "Thou shalt not kill", one of the Ten Commandments? If Christian folks are making this law, what is the rationale and motive? This certainly seems like a poor example to be setting.

I've always been a proponent of rehabillition and second-chance. Granted, I don't think some folks can be rehabillitated and should remain in prison or a mental institution for life. However, that doesn't mean they should necessary be murdered themselves. That is NOT even trying to help that person, irregardless of the crime.

Certain laws may try to further justify the death penalty by saying how they have soften up the method of killing that person. After hanging was declared cruel and unusual, the electric chair became popular. However, that actually was much more ineffective, and folks have lived through this execution. Then lethal injection and the gas chamber came about, with the former being the preferred method for execution. Killing is still killing though!

Now don't get me wrong, even the death penalty has an exception. I'm not talking about if a prisoner is sooo dangerous that he/she manages to escape, and even hurt fellow inmates, guards, etc on a regular basis, and that is the ONLY recourse (think Gerard Butler's character in the movie "Law Abiding Citizen"). It should NOT be the main objective for someone who commits violent crimes though.

Generations are changing, folks are becoming more open and liberal to alternative punishment (the older folks would say they're getting softer). I say they're getting more compassionate. At the end of the day, these folks are human also. I do not condone violent, heinous crimes by ANY means. However, there are other solutions available. We just have to be creative, have an open heart and mind, and get to work on these alternatives.

Meanwhile, I wonder if children will continue to play Hangman? That is actually how Wheel of Fortune originated. I admittedly loved that game, but given my thoughts on the death penalty, find it hard to play every now and then. It is more fun than, say, a lethal injection game. Maybe that's another reason it's so hard for folks to let go of the death penalty, who knows?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tatted up: Tattoo studio, private artists, and even tattoo parties

OK first off, I will say I've never had a tattoo in my life, and never plan to. However, seeing folks getting them at a higher rate, posting the pics on Facebook, and even advertising about controversial (and possibly illegal) tattoo parties prompted me to blog about this subject.

I did, however, gather some views and feedback from folks that have been "tatted up",researched some tattoo studios, and even a couple of folks in the medical profession. The three most common ways to get a tattoo are: 1. Going to a tattoo studio (that is the actual term for a tattoo shop such as Ink Link, City of Link, etc) 2. A private, licensed artist that comes into your home, or you go to his/her private studio or home and get your tattoo. Finally, there's 3. Getting your tat at the suddenly popular "tattoo party". This is a huge extension on the private tattoo artist, as many folks at once are getting tatted up by sometimes just one person, in an environment that may or may not be as safe or clean as a studio.

Tattoo studios are required by law (sometimes stricter laws, depending upon the state) to be cleaner than many restrooms and restaurants. Needles must be sanitized constantly, and reputation is important. One should do their due diligence and research when choosing a tattoo studio. It should be about more than just price, or how nice the tattoo will come out. Obviously this is important. However, your health and safety should be #1 priority. Know the types of ink they use, see how their clients feel, even years after the tattoo, if they have any awards, bad reputations, etc. Also, you may even want to sit in on a session yourself to see how the whole process goes. If anything looks unprofessional or sketchy, think twice before choosing that studio. I mentioned City of Ink and Ink Link earlier because these are two reputable, award-winning, sanitary, and safe studios that I know about. Many of my friends and relatives have been to one or both of these studios. Ink Link has two studios that I know of near me, one in Shelby, NC, and the other in Gastonia, NC. The City of Ink is located in Atlanta, GA.

Having your own tattoo artist give you a private session can give you the best of both being in a studio and at a tattoo party. You can do it in the comfort of your own home if your artist sees fit, it can be often cheaper (and more flexible) than your average studio since they don't have tremendous overhead and such, and it's a more personal experience than in a shop getting marked up by a complete stranger. However, the same rules still apply. The artist should be reputable, professional, and clean. Tattoos are permanent, but you don't want minor side effects such as a rash or infection, or something major such as an STD due to a dirty needle. Exercise careful judgment, even if it's someone you've known your entire life. It may only be the two of you, but that does not exempt them from being hazardous to your skin.

Now the most cautious, controversial, and the method that I WOULD NOT recommend is the tattoo party. It's basically what it implies. One or more tattoo artists comes into a person's home, they throw a party, and have folks come over and receive tattoos. They pay the artist(s). It is often the most affordable method of the three, but also the riskiest. When you're doing many folks en masse, artists often do not take the time to properly clean their needles (or even make sure their surroundings are clean according to appropriate state laws). It can basically mirror drug addicts sharing drug needles. Sharing needles is the most popular way to spread blood-related diseases such as hepatitis, and even AIDS. It's quite a shock value, but it can be very, VERY dangerous. Again the rule of thumb applies, far as knowing the artist, making sure everything's clean, etc. But when it's an environment such as a tattoo party, the sanitation factor is often ruled out, adding to the risk. I've found that not many reputable tattoo artists will even do private sessions, let alone tattoo parties. I'm not being judgmental here as times do get tough, both for the person wanting the tat and the artist trying to generate business. However, I am being rational and cautious. There's honestly not a 100 percent guarantee that something will not go wrong in a studio or a private session. That risk is heightened when you go to a tattoo party for a tat.

I know some of you are behind me all the way on this, others of you (just like in many of my blogs) are shaking your heads in disgust. To the latter I say this: I'm not a gambling person. I may not have any tattoos to speak of, but if I were to get one, I want it to be from the safest source possible. And that would be in a studio with licensed, bonded, experienced, reputable professionals. I'm not trying to eat at a restaurant than has a filthy kitchen. Therefore, I would want to get my tattoo from an artist in a studio that is sparkling clean, guaranteed.

I only hope that whichever avenue you choose in which to get a tattoo, you exercise careful reasoning and judgment.

Monday, September 13, 2010

BONUS BLOG: 2010 VMA Comments

- Bring on Eminem!!!
- That looks like the shelter from 8 Mile, and it's Rabbit!
- Eminem's age is really showing now
- That's a lot of drummers on stage
- WTH Rihanna? She looks like a red-headed She-Ra from the 80s
- Rihanna needs to quit trying to perform live #epicfail
- Is tonight's theme "fire?"
- OK yet another awards show in LA *side eye*
- Why is everyone backstage trying to smack Chelsea on her flat butt?
- Lindsay Lohan? Oooookaaay
- Chelsea really needs to drop Barbie's dreamhouse.
- Hey is that only one dove? And that was a pitiful ONE at that
- Chelsea sounds hoarse but she can't be worse than Russell Brand, can she? Someone please give her a cough drop
- There's Jane Lynch in the audience. She's blowing up lately
- "Turn this mother out" died out 10 years ago
- Everyone will be saying "leotarded" tomorrow
- Where's Beyonce'?
- Did she just call Kanye a "big black elephant?"
- Waddup with the red Power Ranger?
- OK now Chelsea gets a ride off stage by Rick Ross on his, uhh, wheelchair?
- Thus far this awards show favors the Gay Pride parade
- Lady Gaga or Katy Perry has this award in the bag. And it's Lady Gaga! I actually like "Bad Romance"
- OK the first curse-word of the night just got bleeped out
- Katy Perry looks kinda upset
- What is that on Lady Gaga's head? She looks like a peacock
- And now Chelsea is thanking the gays
- That lineup of new artists is disgraceful, except for Jason Derulo. Is this our musical future?
- Justin Bieber looks like Richie Cunningham with that get up. Was the Fonz unavailable?
- There's gonna be a Jackass 3D?
- They just pimp-slapped Bam Margera in that preview
- I'm glad 30 Seconds to Mars won, they're very talented
- Wait a minute that dude looks like Charles Manson
- Dang Kim Kardashian even has booty from the front!
- Justin Bieber, the 1950s want their clothes and car back, please and thank you!
- His voice is hurting my eardrums. I'm muting the TV and checking the score of the Cowboys/Redskins game
- Now I thought this was supposed to be a show from the future. It seems the other way around
- OK I see on stage what appears to be the Apollo kids and the backstage dancers from High School Musical
- This ain't New Year's Day, so why the red streamers?
- Ke$ha and Trey Songz, two of the young icons/heartthrobs
- Ke$ha's dress is made from trashbags #fact #OMGfacts
- And here's Usher. MJ, you ain't, so stop trying!
- This must be the futuristic performance they promised
- Hope no one that's epileptic is watching this performance. There is more flickering during Usher's performance than an 80s video game
- However, Usher always does have the sexiest stage dancers
- This song sounds like a remix of "Kernkraft 400"
- B.O.B. looks like Mick Lowry, I just now noticed this
- Now Chelsea is cracking on Farnsworth Bentley. I need to google this cat and see what happened to him
- Hearing Nicki Minaj's voice is making my IQ drop a few points
- YEAH!!! Eminem won a VMA!
- I believe Disney is gonna sue MTV for the fake Mickey Mouse (i.e., freaky Mickeys)
- Didn't know Jason Derulo was a black guy. And autotune is getting really played out.
- Florence and Machine? She really looks drunk
- These ladies sound too familar, like a 90s Lillith fair group
- Dang Travis McCoy, that cat in the background looks like it's trying to get you
- Is that Danny Devito up on the platform?
- OK now I know I REALLY must watch Glee
- Looks like Lady Gaga's gonna dominate these awards
- I believe Gaga borrowed Ke$ha's trashbag dress and added some extensions
- Lady Gaga is totally biting Chucky V's hairstyle right now
- Was that really Rosario Dawson?
- Taylor Swift appears to have gone back to the 1940s
- This song is dragging out too long
- We all know that's a hairpiece Justin Bieber!
- Can't wait for that FB movie "The Social Network" to come out. But Justin Timberlake? Interesting
- Mary J performing? This should be good
- Did they take those outfits from the cast of "Takers"?
- I like Drake, this song is ok, but I REFUSE to go around saying "You fancy huh?"
- Wait a minute, professional VMAs?
- Does Jason Derulo have a Glo-stick on his hand?
- Did Chelsea just call the cast of Jersey Shore "America's Greasy Sweethearts"?
- Heck yeah it's Sofia Vergara from Modern Family! Can never get enough of Al Bundy's new TV wifey
- Eminem wins again!
- Did Selena Gomez and Ne-Yo intentionally coordinate their wardrobes?
- Gotta love Bruno Mars's hair
- B.O.B. is hollering like Fat Joe or PUN
- OK we now know what happened to Eurthymtics. Remember "Sweet Dreams" from the 80s?
- Victoria Justice is quite the cub #thatisall
- NOOOO!! Bieber won Best New Artist!
- Now's there some good music: Linkin Park!
- But what's the deal with the green fog? Looks like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' lair
- CHER???? Does she always come out half-naked?
- Lady Gaga, just as I predicted earlier, dominated tonight's VMAs, and nabbed Video of the Year
- Lady Gaga's new album is entitled "Born This Way". Really, you were born that odd and weird?
- But she is dang talented
- Here comes Kanye FINALLY!
- Kanye looks like Satan with all of that red on
- So Kanye, according to your song lyrics, you're toasting yourself? Still got quite the ego
- These ballerinas are creeping me out
- Why is Kanye doing autotune now?
- Chelsea was silly and dingy, but still a better host than Russell Brand
- Awards shows, especially musical awards show, are just not the same anymore

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hateration defined

Hateration, I'm definitely not a fan of it. It falls right there with jealously, and just being evil. One should not hate when someone is excelling and doing their best. Unfortunately, that's when we usually know when we're doing things right, when we have haters.

Let me describe the difference between hating and just disliking something (or expressing dislike). Hateration is basically when you don't like something or someone for no good reason or when you're simply jealous. Dislike is just what it states, showing your true feelings in a sincere matter and your matter of preference.

This blog comes about from various places, one with the impending start of the NFL season. I cannot, and I mean I CANNOT STAND the frikkin Dallas Cowboys. Half of my family are Cowboys fans, and many of my friends. I HATE them (but I don't hate on what they've accomplished in the professional football realm). I also dislike the Duke Blue Devils in college basketball, the LA Lakers in the NBA, and the NY Yankees in the MLB (please don't win #28).

For fans of any or ALL four teams, here's why I don't like these teams. The Dallas Cowboys are simply annoying, arrogant, and a bunch of troublemakers (historically) with a false sense of entitlement. They believe that since they won 3 Super Bowls in the 90s, 5 in all, and because they were dubbed "America's Team" by a film producer at NFL Films, that everyone should like them too. OK granted I love my Packers for many reasons. I don't feel I'm better or worse than you if you don't like them, it's a matter of preference. I feel similarly about the LA Lakers. They have won 16 NBA championships, have dominated two decades (and our on their way to dominating a 3rd). And arrogance they have in Kobe Bryant. Read my blog about Kobe + Lebron doesn't equal Jordan for more about him. Granted, I did like Magic, Kareem and Worthy (not just because he was a Tarheel). The Lakers style of play just isn't my own, too finesse, and not enough rough and tumble play. Black folk believe just because they're one of the first NBA teams with a predominately black roster to win so many championships that you should automatically be a fan. That burns me right there because I root for who I want to root for, NOT who someone tells me to root for. You have to choose your OWN team, that's what being a fan is about.

Now far as the Duke Blue Devils, the root of my dislike is more natural. Being a UNC Tarheel fan, that is our biggest rivals (and one of the biggest sports rivalries in the country). But beyond that, it's because Duke basketball just can't compare to UNC basketball overall. We've been doing it big for over 60 years, and have 5 national championships, numerous ACC titles, and several big-name NBA players (Jordan and Worthy to name a couple) to boast of. Duke is getting there, but still has a ways to go. They have 4 championships, only about 3 decades worth of consistent, dominating success, and their players are typically perennial busts or journeymen in the NBA. Carlos Boozer, Grant Hill, and a couple of others are relevant, but are NOT in the same company with Jordan and those. Coach K is a great coach also, but he does not employ the system that allows many of his players to excel at the next level. If you're truly a well-rounded college basketball coach, you should be able to do both.

The New York Yankees are a different kind of hate. Teams seem often intimidated by the Yankees for no good reason. They have been dominant, but the whole pinstripe persona and the fact that their players are often clean-shaven prima donnas annoys me. Also, their players are extremely over-paid. The late George Steinbrunner thought he could buy a dynasty. He bought a few championships, but no dynasty yet. His acquistion of A-Rod has only gotten the Yanks one World Series title to date. That's another sign of arrogance, that just because you have money that you can buy anything, including wins and championships. These things must be earned the old-fashioned way. At times many teams, including the Yanks, have forgotten about this.

If you notice, many of this is off of personal preference. If we don't like the same things, that's fine. I don't want to be persecuted for my thoughts and feelings, though. This is America, we have free speech rights, and that's all I'm doing is expressing these rights. This is NOT hateraton. At times I may pick around and say "BOOOOO!!" when folks mentions these teams or things I cannot stand. That is NOT hateration, though so please do not confuse.

With that said, let's get on with the NFL season. Gooo Packers and booo Cowboys!