Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 End Of Year Cowbell List

It's that time once again.  2011 is ending and 2012 is about to begin with my final blog of the year focusing on some of the craziest things since the summer. Once again, my lovely and intelligent friend Regina Wright assists me in pointing out what could use more cowbell.  Enjoy and feel free to comment or suggest your own.

- Ndamukgong Suh of the Detroit Lions. Dude you are wasting your talent and ruining your NFL career with your bad temper. Two words for you man: Albert Haynesworth

- Atlanta Braves:  Blowing the wild card lead in the final month of the year and allowing the St Louis Cardinals to get into the MLB playoffs and win it all. 

Trifling women and men. You guys continue to put a damper on romance and keep the divorce rate climbing.

Cellphone companies:  Many of you except for Sprint are capping data usage.  You are going to have to give in sooner or later before you lose millions.  Sprint already has the Evo and the iPhone 4s

CP time: its not an excuse black people, its just careless and irresponsible, and must end.

Jack and Jill: Great fairy tale, below average movie. C'mon Adam Sandler, what were you thinking?

December movies: Usually the month of December is filled with compelling, Oscar worthy movies. This year, its starting to mirror the middle of summer with subpar sequels and sappy comedies and love stories.

Urban Meyer: Why do college coaches continue to lie when they are about to take another college job? And at The Ohio State of all places, which won't be a contender until probably 2019.

- David Stern: You are becoming quite the DICKtator. How are you going to block the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers, then allow him to go to the Clippers? I understand you are trying to give small market teams a fighting chance, but it seems that ship has sailed after Boston, Miami, New York, and Chicago have all upgraded. Be fair across the board.

Kobe. You just cannot stay off of this list. Now Vanessa is finally divorcing you, and will still get 50% despite a prenup per California law. Hope all those affairs were worth it.

Beyonce': Another repeat list member. We're honestly happy you and Jay are finally having a child. But you all (and the media) acted as if it were a seismic event. Babies are born everyday Bey, you were on 9-4-81!

The U.S. Judicial system. You all really dropped the ball in 2011. From Casey Anthony to Troy Davis, this system just needs to be scrapped and reset from scratch.

Herman Cain: You are/were almost as bad of a candidate as Sarah Palin was.  9-9-9, c'mon man! The smartest thing you did was suspending your campaign.

DJ Khalid:  First off, I've grown to hate the "N" word. And you being Palestinian have absolutely NO business in using it. Your ethnicity is your business, but you act as if you're trying to be fake and/or down another race.

TNT, for canceling HawkthoRNe, and just when it was hitting its stride.  Apparently you guys do not know drama.

People that watch trashy, fake reality television such as all of these fake Housewive shows, American Idol, X Factor, and Jersey Shore, instead of quality programming such as Awkward Black Girl, Breaking Bad, Swamp People, Sons of Anarchy, Beavis and Butthead, Big Bang Theory, Mike and Molly, and The League.

Kim Kardashian: You know you didn't love Kris Humphries, you just wanted to outdo your sisters and apparently the Royal Wedding. A true example of someone wanting the wedding instead of the marriage.

Autocorrect: It's always getting folks in trouble, and making me look like a jackass.

College presidents: enough with the BCS already! We need a playoff in Division I college football

Chinese buffets: even if you have a hibachi bar, you can't hold a candle to your Japanese counterparts. The Chinese buffet craze has died down, its just gross now

Folks that joke on Amy Winehouse: Yes she did have alcohol in her system. But the deceased should be showed more respect. God rest her soul, she was sick and disturbed.

Sheree, Marlow, and Peter from RHOA. Y'all have officially stolen the drama queen and trouble making crowns from Nene and Phaedra. Congrats I guess are in order.

The Penn State scandal:  Joe Pa, c'mon man, you must have thought you were bigger than Jesus if you thought you could let that pass without repercussions.

FAMU Band Scandal: Hazing and sexual abuse has seemed to become very problematic in schools lately. But this takes the cake. That was just murder, literally.

Frankie (Keyshia Cole's mom). The Frankie Leg, really??? Didn't you think you were already a big enough coon on your TV show. You have officially out buffooned Fantasia and her "Cornbread and Collard Greens" dance.

WHEW!!! Happy New Year folks!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Guest blog: Top 5 Members of a 90s R&B Group

This is an hilarious guest blog from my long time friend, high school classmate, and fellow blogger, Aaron Earls. Enjoy!

My first memory of music is listening to my parents old Supremes LPs, which is a bit odd since I grew up in a very white house. Just to be clear, I said " very white," not " Barry White." That would be a completely different connotation. I also don't mean "white house" as in"White House." My dad was not the President, I just mean I grew up in a house that had absolutely no rhythm at all. In fact, my dancing consisted of trying to sway to the beat and avoid stepping on the girl's toes. One thing I did learn, however, was to appreciate good Motown music. This grew into a love of R&B in the 90's. I had all the CDs (back when CDs were still the new thing) - New Edition, Tony! Toni! Toné!, Dru Hill, 112, Az Yet, and *NSync. No, I'm sorry. I don't know how that got in there. I swear I didn't jam out to Heart. Really. But the group for 90's R&B was Boyz II Men. Who didn't love Boyz II Men in the 90's? My only regret from high school is that I never got a high top fade. OK, maybe that's not entirely true, but I did love me some CooleyHighHarmony. I always I always wondered if I could go to Philadelphia and find everyone singing four part harmony or rapping like The Fresh Prince. After listening to so many of these R&B groups, you start to notice a pattern. You start to see the same basic type show up over and over again. No matter how many members are in the group, more or less, they will all be one of these five guys - the top 5 members of a 90's R&B group.

5. Pretty But Can't Sing Guy- When you listen to the CD, there's always that one voice that sounds a little "off." Something is just not right about it. It sounds more autotuned than the rest of the voices. You wonder why would this group have someone who can't sing that well. Then you see the CD cover and there he is standing in front of everyone else without his shirt on, 18- pack abs shining like a new moon. That's why he's in the group.

4. Ugly But Crazy Good Singer Guy - Almost hidden behind shirtless Pretty But Can't Sing Guy, you can barely make out someone. Is he in the group or was he just some guy that accidentally wandered into their photo shoot. When you open up the CD and see all the individual photos, you see he is part of the group and there is a reason why he was hiding behind the wall of abs - whoa, that guy is a mess. when you hear the voice, you know that's the Ugly But y But Crazy Good Singer Guy. He can hit every note and carry every song. That's why he's in the group.

3. High Voice Guy

For some reason, we want to hear a man sing like a girl and hit an unbelievably high note. We want him to shatter the windows in our car when he holds that last note. I'm not sure if we are just amazed with his ability to somehow both be a man and hit a note that would make Mariah Carey impressed. Usually High Voice Guy is younger than the rest of the guys. He's also the guy who usually gets replaced more often. Maybe, they have to keep finding guys whose voice hasn't changed yet. You've got 40 year old men with a 14 year old boy touring the country. But, man, he can hit that high note.

2. Deep Voice Guy - Every group has the Deep Voice Guy. You have to have the Deep Voice Guy. Who else is going to talk in a sexy voice over the interlude? Who else can start every sentence with"Baby"? You can't have Pretty But Can't Sing Guy do it. High Voice Guy would just sound weird. You need Deep Voice Guy to smooth things out with a "Baby, I'm sorry I did you wrong. I love you, just come home." I've often wondered if he could just saw absolute gibberish and still have girls swoon over his deep voice. "Baby, running back, smelly socks. Door knob, bags of rocks. Yeah."

1. Somebody's Brother Guy- Then there's the guy who's featured on the cover, but he doesn't look like he should. He's also got a ton of solos, but he doesn't sound like he should have those either. Then you see his last name. He's the Somebody's Brother Guy. Maybe he's the brother of one of the other guys you have to have in the group. Maybe he's the brother of the album producer or record label head. It's not that he's ugly or that he can't sing at all, but he's kind of just average. This guy is also usually the one who splits the group up. He starts to think he's too good and wants to do a solo project. Everybody finally tells him he's only there because of his brother. Now him and the brother are upset. The whole group breaks up. Some do solo projects. Some try to keep the same group name, but with different members. None of it ever sounds as good. They finally decide to get over themselves and get back together, record another great album and be big stars again. Too bad, the industry and audience has moved on to Disney Channel stars and pop singers wearing strange outfits. Are there any members in every R&B group that I missed? Thanks to Drew for the opportunity to guest post. Every Friday, I try to do a funny top 5 at my blog,  blog, The rest of the week, I blog about the connection between my relationship with Christ and everyday life. You can also find me on Twitter, @wardrobedoor.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

My Christmas/End of Year Letter for 2011

This year 2011 has been filled with ups and downs. Overall though, I'm happy, healthy, and wise through it all.

The year started off well as my favorite NFL team, The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl, their 4th and 1st in 14 years. I also got rid of my Blackberry (Slackberry) and got an HTC Desire, joining #teamandroid. I love this phone and do not plan on ever going back to the slow, unreliable Whackberry.  However, my year would take a quick turn as my laptop crashed back in March.   It ended up being my hard drive. At days end, it was much cheaper to buy another brand new laptop with a warranty than to repair my current one. Therefore, I have been without a home PC for much of 2011 and have relied heavily on my Android device. 

I suffered many additions to my family and friend circle. Five new baby cousins, but several deaths, including my former trainer and the owner of my gym, David Fink. Also, I lost 3 uncles: Raymond Bradley, JL Lanier, and just recently my uncle Joe Dean Moss. Uncle Joe passed only a week after he and my Aunt Dolly celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Speaking of weddings, I went to several this year, 5 in fact. I was a groomsman for the first time in my life as one of my best friends, Rashad, married his long time girlfriend, Rayn. Career wise, I'm still at the Robert Allen Group after 8 years. This year, I changed departments, from the Cut Floor after 6 years to SBF. I took a paycut initially but it was worth it because I grew tired of the Cut Floor's incentive pay program. I like being on a flat rate in a smaller department. We are currently working reduced hours after receiving lots of overtime during the summer. I'm making the best of it though. I'm still active in the gym. However I slipped some and gained 20 pounds this year. I am determined to shed this weight as I have encouragement and motivation from several sources, I'm restarting my weekend physical challenges and 10K runs, changing my regimen. I've already made changes to my diet, and added Insanity to my regimen. With all of this in tow, I expect to be back to top form by summer. My love life wasn't the best for much of this year. I suffered a drought this summer, couldn't get any dates. Things picked up in the Fall fortunately, as I even reconciled with a couple of old flames. My immediate family has not had it easy, but is hanging in there. My mom has been struggling financially as her alimony is no longer enough for her to live off of. I help where I can, but I'm not doing much better. My now 15 year old cousin, LJ, has grown about 6 inches, has long hair, and the women love him. He was named a Junior Scholar back in the Spring. He just started high school and is still adjusting. All in all, I see positive things for 2012. I plan on getting another laptop, printer, and maybe a tablet. I'm closer to paying off my 3rd car in 9 years. I'm also still healthy and happy, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Happy Holidays to all who read my blog. I plan on expanding my blog to make it more prominent. I hope your year was also joyful and productive

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why I hate marijuana

Marijuana is a very controversial topic, whether be the usage of it, or the question of legalizing it. I have been exposed to it all my life, whether be through others using it in my presence or family dealing it and consequently getting incarcerated.  Therefore, I have a firm grasp on weed, ganja, chronic, 4:20/ etc, etc.  I've even tried weed, and have caught a few contact buzzes from my brother and cousins.  However, I hate the drug, and wish that folks would see it for what it truly is.

And yes it is a drug ladies and gentlemen.

Just because its an herb,a plant from cannabis that is grown from the earth does not exempt it from being a drug, or certainly being addictive.  Anything can have the effects of a drug such as heroin, xanax, and meth.  This even includes sweet foods, chocolate, sugar, coffee, etc., or even habits such as gambling or porn.  Marijuana may not be a drug in the conventional or traditional sense. But it is still widely illegal and more dangerous than some of the drugs and vices I previously mentioned.

We have all heard the term that marijuana is a gateway drug, leading to the harder stuff such as the crack, X, meth, and so forth. It is so much more than that though. I've seen folks get angry and dang near violent when they can't score any weed after so long.  They forget about nearly everything else, and the pot has overtaken their body and mind in a negative fashion. I believe in herbs and many organic substances. However, your conventional herb is not supposed to do this. And folks try and tell me with a straight face that weed is not addictive.  Please!!!

I've seen marijuana make folks go completely broke, ruin lives, careers, corrupt minds, and simply cause more harm than good. Granted medicinal marijuana has been known to cure glaucoma and calm and balance the nerves.  However, it is extremely recreational, and "potheads" and "stoners" go to greater lengths to get it because of its rarity.  It's simple economics really.  Similar to a hot toy around Christmas that is hard to find. It's appeal and elusiveness increase its value.  Retailers and weed dealers alike know this. 

These are my views based on personal experience and careful observation. If you feel the need to go smoke your joint or blunt, go ahead. But do not try to justify what you're doing with flawed, circular arguments. At day's end, marijuana is a drug in every sense that a substance can be one.  There is no logical way you can tell me different. 

Think about that the next time your gas tank is on E and you spent your last $10 on a dime bag.  And it is wintertime also. Well, at least your supply can keep your warm. That is, until you run out or the police catch you. You then have a possession charge on your record, with possible jail time.

Hope that was a good herbal essence, that is all for now

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Bullying: my personal battles

There are many things wrong with this country, this world. We're nearing a depression, no major disease has been cured in nearly 60 years, and it seems our younger generation is not offering much promise. However, there has been one great form of justice that I love seeing and believe its far too late. This is the anti-bullying laws that are on the books and growing. Too bad this wasn't around in the 80s and 90s when I was a child, but this gives our troubled generation something to be fortunate about.

I was bullied and tormented throughout most of my school days. I was beaten up, called names, made fun of, ostracized from most of my peers, and just made to feel an outcast. It's not that I didn't fight back. I can fight, and as a muscular man who grew up in the sticks, I learned how to defend myself early on. In fact, I got into four fights in one school year, all on defending myself. However, I had to start fighting off of school grounds because all of this fighting was not looking good on my school record.

You name it, I got bullied for it. Being one of the smart kids, being poor, not having nice clothes or my own car when I turned 15, not being able to get girls, being overweight, biracial, stuttering.  Needless to say, my mother stayed up at the school for years, talking to teachers and principals to put a stop to this.  It was horrific, and made me realize who my true friends were then.

This sort of bullying, and even in more extreme forms, occurred for years until April 20, 1999, when a couple of teenagers at Columbine High in Colorado had enough.  They confronted and killed their assailants, several other students, then killed themselves. This single incident not only changed public school dynamics forever, it spawned many other school shootings and bomb threats. 

Technology also intensified bullying to a different level. Texting and social networks such as Facebook gave bullies other vehicles to get at folks that were simply "different" Victims then began committing suicide as they could not handle all the bullying coming from every angle.

Finally, a change was necessary. That is when anti-bullying laws finally came into effect in many states. Now I never consider taking my own life because of a bully. I do hate it took extreme fatalities before legislation was passed to control this. Bullying dates back to even biblical times. There has always been a bully for every smart, unique person that just couldn't fit in. Looks like a change is here. Perhaps not the change President Obama campaigned of in 2008, but a positive one nonetheless.

Now I'm not the type to hold a grudge. I'm very forgiving and am cool with many of the folks that bullied me in childhood. Many of them have apologized to myself and my mother for making my childhood hard. There is no weakness in forgiveness.

My faith in God, plus my strong willed nature and family and friend support have helped me to overcome my demons from the past. You have to move on, and not let bad moments turn you into a monster. I feel I became a better man as a result of my experiences.

My advice to current victims is not textbook but effective. Defend yourself. Stand strong and don't back down. Try to refrain from weapons if possible.  Take up boxing or MMA at your local Y, gym, or join a self defense class. If all that fails, find an adult you trust to help. This can be a parent, guardian, teacher, coach, pastor, or even a positive mentor. Let's end bullying once and for all. 

I appreciate everything I have and have accomplished in life because I have earned it.  I could have taken a left turn and ended up in jail, dead, or just an angry hoodlum. But instead I am a positive, educated, productive members of society. Life is full of choices and I was determined at a young age that these mean, misunderstood children were not going to get the best of me. Matter of fact, they motivate me and continue to do so to this day.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

The NBA Lockout: Views from the man of random intelligence

It is officially Thanksgiving, and there is lots to be thankful for. However, during the down times, one of the escapes we look to, the NBA, is currently not on. Unfortunately, it may not be on until February, if at all this season. 

Personally, I believe if an agreement is not made by the middle of the January, perhaps the entire season should be lost. At that point, the most games you would get would be 40/team, and millions in revenue and ads would already be lost. Plus there would be much more risk for injury due to lack of conditioning and being around your teammates. Look how many injuries have occurred in the NFL this year due to their lockout. They only lost 1 preseason game,  but they lost out on the proper conditioning and coaching that keeps players in better shape. Plus this is professional basketball. Many players are already talking about going overseas to play ball. The NBA is in trouble indeed.

It is definitely a sad state of affairs. The NBA is at a peak moment of excitement, unseen since the 90s when Michael Jordan's Bulls dominated the decade.  Since then, the Western Conference with Kobe Bryant's Lakers, The Dallas Mavs, Spurs, have been on the forefront. The past few seasons, teams such as the Celtics, Heat, Bulls, Magic, and even the Miami Heat with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, have made the league balanced and much more exciting.  Now we may miss out on that because of greed. Greed, plain and simple, by owners and players alike. 

David Stern has performed an admirable job of building the NBA's image into a clean, competitive one. But now he may have to build from scratch.  For those reading this that don't fully understand the lockout, here it is in a nutshell. It is the millionaires (players) versus the billionaires ( owners) .  Thus far, both sides are greedy and can't reach middle ground on an equal share of team revenue. Something will have to give. But when?

Chris Rock made a joke in the 90s about being rich and being wealthy. Shaq, Kobe, and those are rich. But those billionaire owners such as Mark Cuban of the defending champion Dallas Mavericks are wealthy billionaires. And they write the lucrative checks to these pro players. 

What both sides fail to realize is that even more money is being lost by continuing to postpone games. We're approaching the time where the much anticipated Christmas Day matchups are coming, and the All-Star game in February. The Christmas matchups obviously will not occur unless an agreement is met soon, and the All-Star game could be as late as April, just like in 1998-99, also a lockout season.

Now I will still watch the NBA, play fantasy basketball and be a fan even with a reduced schedule.  But I honestly look forward to 2012, when the NBA starts slowly returning to the fine, exciting league it once was. 

Happy Thanksgiving and I'm thankful for all that read my posts!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Top 10 Ways Women ruin relationships without even knowing:

  1. Ultimatums

  2. Trying to change him

  3. You argue with your partners about nothing

  4. You tease him mercilessly about how he shows his feelings (he's not you)

  5. You’ve jumped ship to avoid confronting your emotions

  6. You forget to give That Man His Space

  7. You use Facebook to initiate arguments or broadcast your relationship issues

  8. You become too available and forget that you had a life before him

  9. You’ve gone for the attractive man over the guy with personality

  10. You’ve rejected a man because he doesn’t fit your ideal

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Loyalty Is Golden

I value loyalty in every aspect of my life. Whether be my personal life (friends, romance), professional career, family, or my health, I'm dedicated to keeping promises and supporting the folks and things I care about.

I have a modest circle of friends, and I do my all to be loyal to them. From supporting their various endeavors such as concerts, parties and radio shows, to even being a groomsman in my best friend's wedding, I always want to be there. I'm not perfect and don't ask much in return, but I wanna be there for my friends whenever possible.

I'm the same way in a relationship. I give my all to the lady I'm with at the time. Heck I give it my all when I'm trying to attract her attention. I don't smother her, but I do call, text, spend as much time as possible, buy gifts, write poetry, and such. When I feel that lady deserves it, she is not only #1, she is my only one.

I work as hard as possible at my job. I'm very diligent, attentive, listening to my employers and others, and doing my best to get along with everyone I work with. Plus I take pride in my work. Whether I'm lifting a box or preparing a report, second best doesn't cut it with me. I feel I excel in all that I do, and I don't want to let my company down.

I feel I'm the ultimate family man. I especially look after and out for my mom, ensuring she has all the love she needs and wants. I also don't miss many family functions, and I help update my family tree so I can keep up with new additions to my great family. I love all my family and I'm blessed to have loving, supportive relatives.

Finally, I'm always looking for ways to improve my health and well-being. I always look for different workout programs and physical challenges to keep in shape and push myself. I also work hard and am just as loyal to my diet.  I have taken some leaps and bounds upward and downward, but I'm dedicated to perfect health. I'm a work in progress, but seeing results always makes me smile.

I dedicate my life to being a loyal person in nearly every aspect. I feel a person is only as good as their word and actions, and I always want mine to be consistent.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Top 10 NBA players as of current

The NBA is currently in a lockout, prompting ESPN to run a top 100 list of players. Myself and most of my friends were outraged at the list as it was flawed even by the casual NBA fan's standards. One of my friends (and NBA enthusiast) Jesef Williams, constructed his own list less than 24 hours later. After a long weekend where my other friend, Rashad, got married and I was feeling tired, I've compiled my own list. For those that know Jesef, the list consists of the same players, just in a different order.

1. LeBron James

Yes he doesn't have a championship ring yet, and he is not a clutch player in crunch time (like Peyton Manning and John Elway both were before they finally won championships). However, he is hands down the best athlete in the game, and makes his teammates around him better. He can score, play above average defense, and he has his own unique game. He has already been to two NBA Finals. He will not be denied a ring forever.

2. Dirk Nowitzki

It's hard to ignore arguably the best all around big man in the game right now who can hit the 3, gets his teammates involved and finally got a championship of his own, beating LeBron's Heat. The Mavs contend every year for one simple reason: Dirk. An awesome player and defender that's soo hard to contain.

3. Dwight Howard

Superman has to make the top 3. He's a great big man far as blocks and rebounds, and being a game changer. Like LeBron, his legacy will be incomplete without a ring. However, like Dirk, he is so dominant and hard to contain. Dirk's jump shot and championship ring, puts him above Howard though.

4. Kobe Bryant

Although he's aging and has dropped off a little, he's still a dominant player, and the person you want having the ball in the closing minutes with the game on the line. He's the most accomplished player on this list, from scoring to defense to even championships (appeared in 7, won 5). Say what you will about his character, but his legacy, ability, and game play are not issues.

5. Chris Paul.

CP3 is easily the best PG in the game right now. He's never seen the NBA finals, but his fortitude and beastly statistics assure he can get there with the right teammates around him. He can score, steal, dish the ball off to set the offense,and his rebounding and foul shots aren't bad.

6. Derrick Rose

Many folks, including Jesef, would flip flop D Rose and CP3. Derrick Rose is phenomenal, and has a great team around him. He has resurrected Chicago, a team long down since Jordan's departure. However, he is not as polished, nor does he have the ability and experience of Paul. He cannot be dismissed though as a prime time player.

7. Kevin Durant

Another awesome player, best swingman in the game. He scores, hits the 3, and with PG Russell Westbrook, have given the Thunder quite a reputation. No one wants to face KD35 or OKC in the NBA playoffs. This team, of which Durant is the centerpiece, is only a couple of playmakers away from being like the Mavs, Heat, or Bulls

8. Dwayne Wade

I realize he is ranked low, especially for someone who has an NBA ring (albeit earned when Shaq was with the Heat). However, he is top 10 worthy because of his skills, and his ability to gell with a superteam in just 1 season. He has flaws in his game, such as his shooting, that keeps him from being ranked higher.

9. Carmelo Anthony

I'm biased in this choice being a Knicks fan. Melo is awesome and can drop 25-30 points on a given night. However, he is not multi-dimensional, and doesn't play a lot of defense. He has also proven that is almost useless without a healthy, dominant big man.

10.(tie) Deron Williams and Amare Stoudemare

One player is a PG that's only a 2nd tier compared to CP3 and D. Rose, another is a NY Knick who is dominant and makes his teammates better. Both players, however, haven't been anywhere near the finals. They are great at their position, including Stoudemare, who can play either C or PF with ease like Dirk. Stoudemare may get a slighter edge because he's more dominant and has more talented teammates, while Williams is more explosive.

I wish the NBA season would start already, so we can see how good these guys really do!
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pizza Inn: Another one bites the dust

It seems Pizza Inn restaurants everywhere have been closing. I remember when the one in Rock Hill closed years ago. And today, the one in Gaffney that I mentioned in my very first blog, closed its doors today.

Now there are still at least 5 Pizza Inn franchises within driving distance that are still open. However, the one in Gaffney had character, history, and some of the best all around cuisine around!

My mom once told me she first took me as only a toddler. I didn't really remember going until I went on a high school field trip and ate there. Years later when I lived in Rock Hill, I got attracted to the Pizza Inn in Rock Hill. I would sometimes eat there twice/week. When I started working in Gaffney around 2003, I didn't start eating there much. But then I started eating there once or twice per month.

Many folks don't realize what made the Pizza Inn in Gaffney special. It was more than the dessert pizzas, especially that chocolate chip and Oreo pizza, or even the salad bar and the wide variety of regular pizzas. The Gaffney Pizza Inn was one of the last restaurants anywhere to brew their delicious sweet tea fresh and the old fashioned way. Many restaurants now use machines, which are very effective, but do not give you the same taste.

I've heard Pizza Inn closed for financial reasons. Makes me believe someone was misappropriating funds because that place was always packed, especially whenever Gaffney High was having Homecoming. It was soo packed then they had police on duty and you had to pay in advance to dine, rather than at the register.

I can remember those larger corner tables, seeing most of my co-workers, classmates, etc in there. It was easily one of the best buffets in all of Gaffney. I'm soo sad over this loss.

I felt very similar when Ryans and Shoneys restaurants began closing. Although the Gaffney location was separate from the corporate realm, it has suffered the same fate as many others. And this was a complete shock to nearly everyone.

The economy is awful right now, and this is an obvious by-product. Although I don't eat buffets often, I did indulge at Pizza Inn frequently. I will go and visit one of the other locations in the near future.

It's sad to see Pizza Inn go, almost like a dear friend. I only hope Papa Johns doesn't close again.
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Cheap v. Economically Sound: More Tips on Spending and Saving Wisely

Ok after a week off from blogging, slight burnout, and being under the weather, I'm back and talking about one of my favorite subjects: saving money.

Now I'm no Dave Ramsey, but I am becoming adept at saving money, and I learned years ago how to make a dollar out of 15 cents. Therefore, that's why I refer to myself as the "Economically Sound Brotha" . I don't consider myself cheap, which is what many consider me. I buy nice things, but in moderation and in timely fashion. Here are some examples of the differences between being economically sound and just cheap.

Cheap: Only buying shoes when your good ones are all worn down.
Economically Sound: Buying a good pair of shoes when they're on sale, or during holidays, birthdays, or tax season

Cheap: Never eating out and/or always eating mac n cheese and Ramen Noodles
Economically Sound: Using coupons, Living Social specials, and other restaurant specials and offers and eating then

Cheap: Taping movies onto DVD from your DVR to avoid paying the full price (or even burning the DVD)

Economically Sound: Buying movies when Wal-Mart marks them down, joining Columbia House to get several movies for cheap, or taking advantage of the thousands of movie stores closing nationwide

Cheap: Buying everything generic. You don't have to be brand loyal to understand that for certain sproducts, only the name brand can do the job

Economically Sound: Knowing which brands are effective but affordable. For example, Claritin v Zyrtec, Wal-Mart Dickies v. Belk Dickies (they're the same, trust me)

Cheap: Holding onto your 2006 Razr phone because you don't care for another phone or don't wanna pay for it.

Economically Sound: Waiting until the hottest phone has been out for a while, and bundle the discount with your rebate. One can earn a top notch phone at an affordable price.

Cheap: Trying to do car or home maintenance yourself when you're not much of an expert on either

Economically Sound: Going to a mom and pop repair shop, or paying a trusted friend or family member who's good at repairs and maintenance

Cheap: Going road tripping for your vacation week

Economically Sound: Saving a few bucks out of each check for a year, plus any extra money or windfalls, to have a real, top-notch vacation

Okay I hope you all get the point now. Yours truly does spend his money, just wisely. You can't take it with you when you die, but you should understand how to handle it while you're alive.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Troy Davis: here we go again

Black people, and even some white people, are extremely upset over yet another case of racial injustice. By now, most folks know the Troy Davis story and that despite new evidence and 7 out of 9 jurors changing their verdicts, he was still put to death last week by means of lethal injection.

Outside of various jabs that people regularly make towards President Obama, this is one of the most heinous and racial injustices to occur since Sean Bell was wrongly murdered by the NYPD, or since the Jena 6 debacle. Everytime something like this happens, especially to a black person, it stirs up hostility. Nevermind that Casey Anthony was just acquitted of murder back in July, or that a white man's execution was postponed the day after Troy was executed.

Our legal system is without a doubt flawed, biased, crooked, and just in need of serious cowbell and repair. Judge Greg Mathis even made his views known in a YouTube video, stating that anytime new evidence is presented, there should be a new trial, period. Then again, Troy had the misfortune of being black, poor, and in Georgia, right in the midst of the deep South.

Watching this case sadly unfold reminds me of all sorts of bad memories, including those shown in The Green Mile. This case here also comes to mind. This little boy was so young, and his own parents didn't even get to tell him goodbye.

It is known from my blog over a year ago how I feel about the death penalty. I believe its inhumane, hypocritical, and just plain wrong. And in this case, it was unnecessary to the highest point. Justice was in no way served.

Unfortunately, I don't think this will ever stop or end, meaning the way minorities are treated and mistreated in the criminal justice system. It can be slowed down in a variety of ways. One is by acquainting yourselves with lawyers and the law. The old clique was that you don't equip yourself with attorneys unless you're a criminal. Now, many many folks know that ignorance of the law is definitely not bliss. It's called CYB (Covering Your Behind). Knowledge of the law and your rights can help prevent anyone from becoming a Troy Davis, Sean Bell, or a John Coffey.

I don't know of too many folks that play a game without first knowing the rules. Well there are rules behind life, and the legal system. Knowing these laws can make it tougher for the system to wrongly accuse you.

It's indeed a tragedy what happened to Troy Davis. The larger tragedy will be not responding in the proper manner and preventing this from happening to future generations.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Thirst Is Real

Receiving and giving compliments and praise can be an awesome thing. However there is a such thing as too much of something good. You can be referred to as desperate, creepy, or even thirsty if you go overboard.

Many of us are guilty of acting thirsty, often too much. Men tend to get it the worst as many do not know how to properly step to, approach, or compliment a woman. When you're thriving for attention, constantly throwing out praise and almost worshipping that female, that would be thirst.

Cat-calling, the "hey girl" guys, men that whine like Keith Sweat, and of course the stereotypical construction workers, ALL demonstrate dangerous levels of thirst.

Social media has magnified and exposed thirst at a greater level. Often when an attractive female posts a sexy pic, she us met with numerous likes and comments. These can range from "Work it!" " Nice outfit and smile" to "WOW!!! Can I have your number?" "I wanna smack that phat booty" . The latter remarks are obviously thirst in one of its worse forms.

Now fellas, lend me your eyes for a second and read. The thirst epidemic does not excuse or exempt you from complimenting a woman, letting her know how you feel, and just being nice. There is a certain way to express yourself, but a woman must be complimented. It's not that every woman seeks attention, but most want to feel beautiful and appreciated by others. Closed mouths don't get fed so you better speak up. Just think before you act or speak. She deserves the upmost respect, and space.

When in doubt, simply remember to keep it simple, and less is sometimes more. Be concise and to the point, but don't make a person feel like you want to smother, cover and devour like a double order of hashbrowns at Waffle House.

Yes the thirst is indeed real. But civilized adults can control it by using common sense, good judgment, and home training. Just keep your composure and remember we're all human and deserve to be treated as such.

Don't obey your thirst, obey your brain!
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Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11 should be honored and remembered every day, enough said

Yesterday was of course the 10th anniversary of the tragic events that happened on 9/11/01 when our country experienced perhaps its greatest attack on its soil. I still remember when it happened, our nation seemed to pause and come together. For a while, we were ALL americans and NOT just black, white, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat, etc. About 2 months later, things seemed to be finally turning to some normality. But life in the US would never be the same again. Every year on 9/11 we all focus, pray, and reflect as a nation.

But why don't we focus and commerate it year round?

9/11, now dubbed "Patriot Day" should be honored and upheld every day. Although I celebrate many holidays, I cannot stand the fact that many folks wait until the holidays to get together or even be kind to others. 9/11 is getting the same way.

I saw strong evidence of this over the days leading up to the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Specials, tributes, and around the clock news coverage. Yes it is an important time in our nation's history and a time to pause and focus. But we should do some sort of tribute daily, remind each other and other nations that we are still here, we are USA!

I don't think I'm being insensitive in my remarks, simply overly concerned about how 9/11 could and should be celebrated. Lord forbid it ever becomes commercial and stores have 9/11 sales. We already do the same for Easter, who's to say this will not happen to "Patriot's Day"?

I will simply end by saying we need to carry the courage we displayed this weekend everyday in our hearts and of course, never, EVER, forget. 9/11/01
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2011 VMA commentary

- Wait, is that Lady Gaga dressed like a man?
- OK I'm getting bored
- Finally she's singing and performing
- Justin Bieber looks very nerdy
- Is this a Westside Story spoof?
- Who's that old fart on the guitar?
- I'm feeling this song though
- NOOOO!!! Kevin Hart is helping host
- Wait, there's no host this year?
- Jonah Hill really slimmed down!
- Nicki Minaj's hair looks like a bunch of balloons
- Slick plug for your movie Moneyball, Jonah!
- Brittany has come first circle in winning the night's first award
- OTIS!!!
- Miley Cyrus, WTH?
- Who is Foster The People?
- So these VMAs have a house singer?
- It's the Dougie!
- That guy from the Beastie Boys looks like Jack Black
- We have a dance battle!
- Now Nicki is a winner, OMG!!!!
- And this is the coon portion of the show
- Beavis and Butthead, returning October 27 #ftw
- Katy Perry is fiiine!
- Please don't act a fool Kanye
- Time for Pitbull and Ne-Yo!
- Lots of women on stage
- Can anyone understand what Pitbull is saying?
- Kevin Hart is sooo corny!
- I like Katy Perry better with black hair
- Adele's got some pipes, and some talent, but her performance is boring
- Beavis and Butthead meets Nicki!
- WHAT?? Justin Bieber won?
- Gotta love Victoria Justice's legs
- Rock it Chris Brown!
- Gotta love the WU-Tang clan homage
- Chris is flying and flipping
- And Lady Gaga is still dressed like a man
- I've always thought Brittany was talented
- OK its Beyonce' time!
- This is a Beyonce' song off of "4" that I actually like
- Do it Bey!!
- Bey is pregnant!!! It's about time
- Selena Gomez has gotten waay too slim.
- Tyler the Creator (whoever that is) is now Best New Artist
- He sure is cursing a lot
- Zoe Saldona is gorgeous!
- Mo and the Giant?
- Why is Cloris Leachman with those Jersey Shore skanks?
- Wow Gaga wins! Hard to believe nearly a year ago she had just named her next album
- Hope this Amy Winehouse tribute is good
- Wow, Tony Bennett!
- I never knew Tony and Amy sang together
- Bruno Mars can sing! What a great Amy Winehouse tribute!
- Katy Perry wins again! But what is that block on her head?
- Ok now Lil Wayne!
- Weezy looks like Slash, and a lil like Lil Jon
- OK I'm ready for this to be over already
- Dang Eminem didn't even perform!
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Monday, August 22, 2011

Back "In The Flow": Urban Sketch Comedy is Back!!!

Sketch comedy has come a loong way in the past 40 years. George Carlin hosted the pilot of the classic SNL (Saturday Night Live). This show not only spawned several careers, but other sketch comedy shows. Those of note are MAD TV, In Living Color, Chapelle's Show, and Mind of Mencia. You can now add In The Flow With Affion Crockett to that list. This new sketch show on FOX has gathered plenty of positive reviews in just its first two weeks on the air.

Affion Crockett became notable 6 years ago on Nick Cannon's hip hop comedy show "Wild 'n' Out" on HBO. Other comedians such as Katt Williams, DeRay Davis, and Corey Holcomb earned notoriety from that short-lived series. It was now Affion's turn at stardom.

At first, I thought it was gonna be lame and coonish. Quite frankly, I've never been a big fan of Affion's. Now, he cracks me up with each skit and impression. He has inpersonated President Obama, Russell Simmons, Michael Jackson, Drake, Jay-Z, and Tiger Woods just to name a few people. He is filling a void that has honestly been missing in sketch comedy since Dave Chapelle abruptly left Chapelle's Show in 2004.

Now since then Mind of Mencia and Tosh.O have been broadcast on Comedy Central in an effort to keep the laughs going. Mind of Mencia did well until Carlos Mencia started stealing jokes from other comedians, including George Lopez. Tosh.O could not satisfy this appetite either, as it was a second rate version of "The Soup"."In The Flow" delivers and not a moment too soon.

I know Comedy Central is kicking themselves for somehow missing out on Affion's show. However, I hope FOX realizes just what they have. Better yet, they need to take care of Affion and his staff and give them creative control. Comedy Central failed to do that with Chapelle and perhaps lost their best show outside of South Park.

If you're not watching In The Flow, I highly recommend giving it
a try, especially if you're into sketch comedy. He has some fresh, clever, and on point skits. Affion is a talented young man and it seems folks are receptive of him. I hope this continues.

Far as longevity, that ultimately depends upon Affion. Many throw away an opportunity, or take a long break like Chapelle. It's up to him as to how he makes his mark. Either way, the sky is the limit.

Tune in to his show, Sunday nights, 9:30pm, FOX. Perhaps you will get a good laugh.
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Monday, August 15, 2011

Financial Tips Part 2

OK here are some more tips for staying economically sound, even if our country's credit rating has been downgraded.

- Make a budget and stick to it

Self explanatory but true. Budget your money every week, down to the last dollar. A good rule of thumb is the 80-10-10 rule. Use 80% of your earnings for bills and miscellanei, 10 for your tithes, and the final 10 for savings.

- Use discount websites to purchase goods and services.

Just to name a few,,,,, ( for music and movies), . Websites such as these allow top notch goods and services at super bargains.

- Don't ever throw away a sales paper again.

Stay on the lookout for sales, BOGOs, and goods sold in bulk at. a fraction of the cost. Stock up so you save more later.

- Wait for new technology, CDs, DVDs, etc

Trust me, things go obsolete fast, and new technology takes a while to work out kinks and bugs. You can get stuff in better working order, and often cheaper and higher quality, if you just wait. If you're eyeing the iPhone5, I would suggest waiting for Christmastime. Should make for a nice present.

- Get flexible medical spending at your job, if its available

For just a few bucks taken out of each paycheck, you have your own personal savings, just for medical purposes and emergencies. From extensive dental work in 2007 and 2008 to my incident with my finger around this time last year, flexible spending has saved my behind time and time again.

- Have frequent yard sales, make trips to pawn shops and such, to sell stuff you do not need

That's all for now. I may make this a monthly series
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Monday, August 8, 2011

You May Be From Blacksburg, SC if,...

- you know Jackie Wayne Cashion
- there are four main churches: First Baptist, Hopewell, Trinity, and Youngs Grove
- you know all about the Quik Quack
- you attend Ed Brown's Rodeo, the Iron City Festival, and fireworks at Hopewell on 4th of July
- you remember when the only grocery store was the Community Cash
- the only dollar store was the Super Dollar
- you know where Sidney Rice is originally from, and has several family members still living here.
- Shine Camp ever washed your car or shined your shoes.
- you're black and afraid to go to the tree.
- you suffered withdrawals when Bailey's Fish Camp burned down
- the old NAPA store was where Joy Wok is now
- Doug Bolin needs no introduction
- Ozzies was Waffle House to us
- you didn't mess in Nellie V's yard
- you did nothing in Coach Touchberry's class in March but watch basketball
- you were so hype about getting a Food Lion
- you remember when the track was dirt
- the local whorehouse is the Flying J's parking lot
- Mrs. Hughes had a different sweater for every holiday
- Daniel Walker and Timmy Camp fought every day
- you think Burnt Mills is the beach
- you remember Spook's Lounge on the hill
- you gave Barney Phife (Leonard) Hell
- your mayor was caught stealing chicken out of the grocery store (Jere Dixon)
- you ever got behind Poopie Earls driving 20 mph on Hwy 29
- the main families are Wilson, Ross, Martin, Earls, McDaniel, Thompson, and Upchurch
- you remember Papa G's was the old elementary school
- you had Ms. Kitty Bridges as a substitute
- you remember Mr. Edwards, one of the greatest music teachers ever.
- you thought it was cool that one of your classmates could memorize the schedules of every student year in and year out
- we all never assume thanks to Coach Cabaniss
- Tucker Town and Humps Hill were the party spots.
- you remember the group Hi-Lo

More coming later,...
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Monday, August 1, 2011

Sensitivity: don't feed that beast the wrong food

Ok okay this blog has been on the shelf for weeks. Now its time to get it out as we begin the last unofficial month of the summer season.

Basically, we all have things that annoy and pester us. It can be a TV show, a person, or simply a pet peeve. When one gets extreme and even emotional about it, that can be defined as being sensitive (or even hypersensitive).

Women are best known for being sensitive due to their emotions and such. However, many men are culprits of sensitivity as well. I myself have been guilty of being sensitive too many times. Sometimes, I could justify it. Other times, it was silly and I was upset for the wrong reasons.

Black people tend to get edgy when they sense racism, jokes about their hair, bad remarks about President Barack Obama, and especially when another race calls them/us the "N" word.

I never joined a black Greek organization in college. However, from the outside, I found that bashing a NPHC organization, or any of these members, was not tolerated. That is similar to folks that try to bash your family. I don't know about you, but I have my peeves and buttons. Three big ones are my Family, my Food, and my Finances. You just don't play around with those three in my book.

So when is a person "hypersensitive"? It's when they can't joke about anything, they're always mad and defensive, and just plain combative. They see every word you utter as an attack on them. They believe the entire world is against them, and that all of their shortcomings are someone else's fault. I believe at some point, one must chill out, take responsibility and realize that life is not that serious.

Referring to "feed the beast" I commented on a lady friend's status about her acting up. She said she was ok now that she had eaten. Jokingly, I said "feed the beast" She was upset at first, but then seemed cool about it. I realized that my words had a double meaning. I didn't mean that she herself was a beast. I meant that since she was calm after eating, it compared to a beast calming after being fed, the old "feed the beast" saying. It was harmless, I promise!

I've basically found that to be careful in what you say, especially when you know that person well. You know what buttons to push, and continuing to do so is inconsiderate. Also, get to know someone before making assumptions either way. You don't know what that person is going through. Give them some space.

Finally, be sure you know what beast you're dealing with, and feed it the proper food.
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Amy Winehouse didn't make it to rehab, no, no, no (stop the joking now)

Believe me folks, this blog is one of serious nature.

Amy Winehouse, talented, soulful singer, was found dead in her London apartment this past Saturday, July 23. She was 27.

I don't joke about this topic for several reasons. One because drug abuse is a serious disease. It hasn't been confirmed whether or not Amy's death was caused by drugs and/ or alcohol. Many folks die young from it and never get the help they need, even when its available. Amy was a talented singer, but a human being first. She had so much more life ahead of her. Instead, she becomes a sad clique'.

Also, drug and alcohol abuse seems to run rampant in the entertainment industry. They have all of these evil vices available and they indulge (often over indulging) Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, John Belushi, Elvis Pressley, Chris Farley, Frankie Lyman, and Sam Kinison are just of the few notable names whose lives were cut short by drug addiction. Joplin, Morrison, and and even Amy all died at age 27. Guess there's a lot of meaning behind sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

This subject especially hits close to home since my brother, Adam, was a fatal victim of drug addiction. He passed away over 5 years ago as a result of overdosing on methadone and valium. He was addicted to several drugs, including oxycontin, crack, weed, alcohol, and especially xanax. Those drugs make him a different, more violent person. It was awful and saddening to see him in that sight. He put my mom through pure Hell for 6 years. Its sad now to see how my mom hurts over losing him. I would do almost anything to bring back my brother and dry her tears and mend her broken heart. Therefore, the folks I hate it for the most are Amy's parents. They're experiencing a parent's worst nightmare right now. Amy was merely an entertainer to us. To them, she was their beloved daughter.

The fact that it wasn't a complete suprise isn't the issue here. You don't want to wish death on someone. That's why it disgusts me to see folks joking about Amy. She was a sick, sad, lost individual whose time ran out.

My question is when will this vicious cycle end? Too many lives have been lost to this disease. Many folks need medication and hard drugs to properly function. But when anything isn't performed in moderation, it can end bad.

So please stop laughing now jokesters. Think of Amy as your cousin, sister, or even daughter. Forget that she was a Grammy winning singer whose biggest hit was "Rehab". She deserves our utmost respect in death. She definitely didn't get it in life.

So what are you doing to prevent and slow down drug addiction?
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

34 lessons I've learned

Since I turn 35 in a few months, I'm giving 34 basic life lessons I've learned the past few decades during my first 34 years on this planet.

1. You are never a failure with the right circle of friends.
2. Looks are important, but one must focus on inner beauty and growth.
3. Karma is real.
4. You get out of life what you put into it. Despite bad breaks, tragedies, etc, you are ultimately responsible for your achievements and failures.
5. Sports are awesome, whether playing or watching them.
6. Being an adult is difficult but its nice to have freedoms.
7. God, family, friends, in that order, are of paramount importance.
8. Money doesn't grow on trees, and should be spent carefully.
9. Music is the universal language.
10. Closed mouths don't get fed. You should always express your views and let them be known, albeit tactful.
11. Nothing is completely free in life, not even Jesus.
12. It seems people love to watch drama, buffoonery, before something of high quality.
13. People are funny, period
14. Education and knowledge are priceless.
15. Ignorance is not bliss.
16. Act the way you want to be treated.
17. Take your time, everything isn't urgent or to be rushed into.
18. Know your value and worth.
19. A glass of water with your meal will fill you up faster.
20. You should love your family, but you don't have to like or agree with everything they do.
21. Entertainment is definitely generational and changes rapidly.
22. Life is short, we should make the best of it, and value our loved ones.
23. It's ok to mess up every now and then. No one is/was perfect, except the man that was hung on the cross.
24. Physical fitness is more than just losing weight and looking good. It's important for your all around wellness.
25. Try not to argue or fight over petty issues. Pick your own battles.
26. Love is powerful and real, and this word should not be thrown around like a football.
27. People make time for what they REALLY want to do.
28. Be your own person, do not be afraid to be different.
29. It's okay to ask for help, directions, etc.
30. If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything
31. You learn how many friends you have when you're at your worst, rock bottom and down and out.
32. Stress needs to be regulated, starting with getting proper rest.
33. Blogging is fun, work, but a great way to get things off of your chest in an organized fashion.
34. Set realistic goals, with deadlines and mini-goals/milestones.
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Sunday, July 3, 2011

2011 Mid Year Cowbell List

The year is halfway over, and I'm back with my list of things thus far that lack major "cowbell". I would like to give a shoutout to my friend Regina Wright for inspiring and assisting with my bi-annual lists. Maybe one day we can get our own cowbell column.

Ok without further adieu:

- LeBron. You made that big spectacle on TV to leave for the Heat, then go to the championship and choke. You have got to control the women in your life better and deliver in clutch situations.

- Planking. It's out of control, idiotic, and folks that do it obviously do not know its historical origins. Who started this fad anyway?

- Ohio State football. Y'all are basically screwed for a while. You guys remind me of Miami or Alabama in the 90s. Looks like Michigan will be beating you for years to come now.

- Pittsburgh Steelers fans. Many of you were sore losers after my Packers beat you in the last Super Bowl. Some of you even questioned my loyalty thinking I was a bandwagoner. Anyone that knows me well knows I'm a longtime Green Bay fan.

- Sarah Palin. Please just keep your mouth shut, and stay out of the public eye. You will not get the GOP nod for the presidency, and you're lucky if you can even become president of the PTO at your child's school.

- Beyonce'. The first 2 singles off of your newest album, as well, as the videos, were well below par. B, you turn 30 this year, your heyday is wearing down, you can't afford a setback, especially now that you fired your father as manager.

- The NFL and NBA. Stop being greedy and just come to an agreement already so that America will not be deprived of its top 2 sports. You will lose waay more money if the lockouts or shortened seasons come.

- VH-1 for its continuously bad programming. Basketball Wives, Mob Wives, and now this mess of a show, Single Ladies.

- Tamar Braxton. You need to simply sit down and shut up.! America is laughing at your ignorant, obnoxious self, not with you.

FB updates. They're getting worse. First its SNs, now its ridiculous hashtags, reposts, spam, voting contests, and now getting tagged to these horrendous looking shoes!

-Charlie Sheen. Dude you are definitely NOT #winning #thatisall

- Apple. You guys do not run the technology spector, so please get a reality check.

- Kevin Hart. Funny, yes. But you're no Chris Rock, Chapelle, Redd, Eddie, or Pryor. You are overrated in a comic industry lacking a dominant black comedian.

-Rihanna. You are just a mess, loving the way guys lie, into S&M, and now you're on speaking terms with Chris Brown once again.

- Wiz Khalifa. It appears the need for ignorant, coonish rappers is not stopping any time soon.

-Amber Rose. You are a very gorgeous woman, but please leave other women's men alone. Less @$$, more class, please and thank you.

Pirates of the Caribbean 4. One of the low points of the franchise, and this summer movie season. I'm not so hype for 5 now.

- Lace front wigs. They're getting out of hand! It appears for every black woman going natural, two are buying a week's worth of lace front wigs.

Lupe Fiasco. Dude, first you release the disappointing "Lasers", and now you make these brash statements about President Obama. Perhaps you should go into hiding for about 2 years.

- Folks that won't get pedicures but need them. They are relaxing, and almost necessary, especially if you love open toed shoes.

- Women wearing booty shorts with extreme cellulite. Yeah its really hot, but you should dress with discretion. Those clothes are a privilege and NOT a right!

- Text message language used on resumes. Really are you kidding me? And you folks are typically the first to complain about not being able to find a job.

- People that complain about not being able to find a good mate and when they actually do, do not know how to act or treat them.

Video stores. C'mon, stop trying to stay open! Redbox and Netflix are holding down the movie and game rental business. Even Blockbuster is now slowly transitioning to Redbox-like Kiosks. Get with the program!

- Marvin's Room It's an overrated, sad song, and lacks substance and cowbell.
- Ted Williams. The world was your oyster and you have tainted your 2nd chance. I pray that you finally get the help you need.
- The Royal Wedding. There's no reason Americans should make a fuss about it, and it's waay too expensive and unrealistic. Plus William and Kate are simply people, NOT the Sun and the Moon.

Happy 4th of July, enjoy the fireworks (uggghhh) and try to stay off my next list!
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Financial tips Part 1 from the self proclaimed economically sound brotha

Being that I'm a financial person as well as a numbers person, I feel inclined to give some financial tips that have helped me over the years. I've been living on a tight budget since well before the recession. Now I'm taking it to the next level by getting into couponing more. 11 is one of my favorite numbers so here are 11 quick financial tips I have learned over the years.

- Drive on regular roads whenever possible, and try not to speed to save on gas.

When you go at blazing speeds, (60 mph or higher) you tend to burn more gas. This is because your engine is working harder to go faster and thus burning gas at a faster rate. Therefore, stick to the scenic routes whenever possible.

- Bring your lunch to work

You would be surprised how much the average person spends on lunch/week. Some folks spend about 60/week, well over 200/month, just on lunch. Bringing your lunch is very practical and economically sound. Whether its bringing leftovers from dinner the night before, or buying cheap lunch meat and bread, you can feed yourself lunch for about $5/week, or even 20/month. Makes sense, doesn't it?

- Try to refrain from running errands on your lunch break

I understand there are times where you only have that 1 hour window to get things done. However, even driving 2 miles every day on your lunch hour can burn gas like a 20 minute road trip, especially with the A/C blasting. Try to keep the car parked at lunch. Better yet, carpool.

- Don't shop or eat out unless its a sale or a special

I feel buying nice things and eating at nice restaurants is a treat. However, waiting for a sale or a special makes it all the more sweeter, as you save money in your pocket.


Use this basic ratio when budgeting. Use 80% of your check for miscellanei, 10% on your tithes, and the other 10% on saving. The Lord must be paid first, then save some money, then use the other 80 to help out with other various expenses.

- Layaway

As mentioned in an earlier blog, layaway can be awesome. Don't turn your nose up at the idea.

- Coupon, coupon, COUPON!!!

Couponing has become more popular with the recent TLC show Extreme Couponing. Now most folks wanna do it. However, give it a try, use your Sunday papers and various couponing websites. Also, find out which stores double and match coupons.

- Buy wholesale

You have Sams Club, Costco, and the unsung BJs. Wholesale ( buying in bulk) is especially effective when you have a large family and your grocery bill is in the 100s every week. Membership to these stores is a low yearly fee, and can be well worth your while.

- Let go of the SUV

Sure its great for family vacations and the like. But that gas bill will kill ya. Try downgrading to a sedan or a compact. Think about it, theres a reason Hummer was discontinued last year.

- Unplug anything at night you don't use or need.

A woman on the Oprah show did this years ago and it worked. I decided to try it and its very true. The electric company will charge you if you have an outlet occupied. So why have something unplugged that you do not need.

- Give up that Starbucks

I also previously blogged on this. You can make coffee cheaper at your home, and you don't even need a coffee maker.

This blog is definitely incomplete. These are simply some quick tips that have helped me save money during tough times.

Stay tuned for more!

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Monday, June 20, 2011

My Father Figures

I remember once upon a time Father's Day meant nothing to me. My father, Dennis "Bill" McGill, was murdered when I was only 2 years old. My mom raised me as a single parent until she got married when I was 14. However, my stepdad was never the REAL father figure I needed. I still bought him Father's Day gifts until he and my mom divorced a couple of years ago.

However, I realized that I've had several men in my life that have stepped in and been like a father to me. I will use this blog to pay tribute to those men.

- God, my Lord, Savior and Heavenly Father

This goes without saying. Without God, I would be nothing. God has made me stronger and gives me faith and encouragemment throughout my years.

- Debbie Lanier

It would be unfair to leave her off this list. She was both mother and father to me, and is still my best friend and inspiration.

- Billy Transou

He was my high school guidance counselor and 7th grade math teacher. We developed a bond that we share to this day. He helped me get into college and pay for it, plus he always had my back and lended a listening ear. He retired from Blacksburg High this year. The school has lost a great man who molded teenagers into adults.

- Bill Parker

He was my Agriculture/shop teacher and FFA advisor. I would frequently hang out in his classroom, even after I was no longer a student. He was one of the nicest but most real men I know. I saw a college campus for the first time as he took me to Clemson University for the state FFA convention. More than anything, he was non-judgmental and impartial. He treated everyone the same: males, females, smart, dumb, rich, poor, black and white

- My high school football coaches (Gibson, Fulton, and Wilson)

I had several coaches, but these 3 stick out. I caught Coach Gibson and Coach Fulton's eye as only a 7th grader. Both would talk to me like they had known me for years. They kept coaxing me to play football not only because I was a tough kid. They saw that it would make more of a man out of me. That it did also. They pushed me to the limit, stayed on me, and always rewarded and praised me. They noted my academic and personal character more. It was deeper than football with those two.

Most of the same can be said about Coach Wilson. He was extremely enthusiastic, inspiring, caring, and gifted at molding men. He came into my life when I needed a final piece to my developmental puzzle. He is loved by many, hated by few, respected by all. When I organized and played in the 2010 alumni game, Coach Wilson stepped in and was again the final piece of the puzzle. He coached us up, got us organized, and continued to inspire us. It was just like old times. He really cared and showed it all the time

- Frank Harris ( bka "Pop")

He was the only male black teacher at BHS. You learned more than geography or history in his classroom. He taught me about life and staying current on local, national, and world affairs. He even talked to me about staying focused on getting an education first, and having fun second. He was a really cool man that helped prepare me for college and life.

- John "JT" Timmons

My former employer at Winthrop as a RA and a SWARM staff member, plus my advisor in the Resident Student Association. JT is simply an awesome person, and an encouraging, non- judgmental listener. He went to battle for me several times in crisis situations. A very fun-loving person, he made me want to do better as an RA, and RSA executive, and a man. We developed a great bond that cannot be broken. He understood where I came from, and accepted me for who I was. He only tried to enhance who I was, rather than change me.

Dr. Will Thacker

I had 4 classes with Dr. Thacker. In all of them, he taught me how to think and reason out problems, rather than simply learn out of a book. He saw my potential and brought it out in me. He knew what I was capable of, and always gave me chances to learn and excel. He is misunderstood, but like many Winthrop professors, he is kind, understanding and realistic.

- Jerry Dunn

One of my former bosses at my current company, the Robert Allen Group. Jerry let you be yourself, work hard like an adult, and treated you well. He was very intelligent, thorough in explaining procedure and down to earth. Instead of parking in the executive parking lot, he parked with the regular employees. He liked to stay on our level and was the consummate professional. He had your back also, a rarity in many workplace.

- Frankie Austin and Arthur Newson

Both of these men are fathers to my two best friends, the late Marcus Austin and Rashad Newson, respectively. Both men treat me like royalty, offer me fatherly advice, and simply treat me like I'm one of their own. I know if I ever wanna talk or need a word of advice or encouragement, Frankie or Arthur are there for me. Good positive black men are out there, and I'm glad I have these two in my life.

- David Fink

I dedicated an entire article to him when he passed away back in April 2011. Founder/owner of Your Best Body Fitness Center/Day Spa and my former trainer, he was an awesome person, period. He became like a mentor to me as we had various conversations about health, wellness, sports and the like. It's still hard to believe he's gone and I miss him daily. I wear a memorial wristband that YBB sold to honor his memory.
Happy Belated Father's Day to these people! Without you all, there would be me. I hope I can mentor and love my children someday the way you have me.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Do They Have Layaway?

Chris Rock once described layaway as one of the best things ever, especially when you're financially strapped. Most folks, including myself, have forgotten about layaway as an option to buy things that you need but don't have the cash all at once for.
Layaway is typically popular around Christmastime, but one can utilize layaway year round. It works better than credit in that little to no interest is required, you can set up a reasonable payment schedule, and you don't feel as financially strapped. Wal-Mart had layaway for years, but discontinued it. Currently many stores such as K-Mart and Sears still have layaway.

Obviously you have only a limited window in which to take something out of layaway, often 60 days or less. You can risk losing your money paid and that item if you do not have the full amount paid in time. This turns many folks off right there. However, if you budget your money carefully and your payments, it can be very effective. Of course you shouldn't put something on layaway that's beyond your means. For example, you shouldn't put a $4000 television on layaway if you only have 2 months to pay it off and you only net $2000/month income. That's insane right there. Layaway, again, helps you get things that you can save for in a quick time, NOT live beyond your means and keep up with the Joneses.

I personally only used layaway once in my life, 8 years ago, to purchase a leather jacket. I plan on using it on a couple of items I need in the near future. I believe in paying cash for whatever you get unless its a house or a car. However, like a vacation or saving for college, we need some thing that cash on demand do not cover.

So next time you need a new TV, washer/dryer, etc, don't panic! Consider layaway.

I plan on a financial assistance blog in a few weeks so consider this the introduction. Layaway is a great start to getting the things you need and even some you want.
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The 4 Levels of Coonery and ratings

Many of you know how I speak and fight against coonery in every fashion. Once again, to define coonery is showing negative stereotypes and making folks look foolish and buffoonish on purpose. It sets back the black race, almost to the Jim Crow and Blackface days. We are so much more progressive as a race. We have a Black president now, equal rights, dominate pro sports, and are scholars and successful, well spoken, beautiful people.

Now some believe I think everything Black (TV, movies, music, etc) is coonery. While many of these avenues contain little and/or lots of coonery, I assure you this is NOT the case. I ironically enjoy some things that have lots of coonery. On the flipside, there are shows with little to no coonery that I simply cannot get into. I know the difference when folks are clowning the Black culture and when they're making harmless jokes and realistic but tasteful representations.

Here are the ratings and under them a list of TV shows and movies that fit these ratings/ categories:

G ( very little to no coonery)

The Cosby Show
Sinbad Family Values
A Different World
Family Matters
The Family That Preys
The Oprah Winfrey Show
American's Next Top Model
Diffr'nt Strokes
Love Jones
Reed Between The Lines
Love and Basketball
Are We There Yet 1 and 2
Smart Guy
Sister Sister
That's So Raven
The Color Purple
Miracle at St Anna
Brown Sugar
Malcolm X
Poetic Justice
Higher Learning
More Than A Game
Daddy Day Care
Eve's Bayou
What's Happening?
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Akeelah and the Bee
The Longshots
The Pursuit of Happyness
Seven Pounds
Training Day
How Stella Got Her Groove Back
Kevin Hill
Last Holiday
Just Wright
Dave Chapelle's Block Party
The Express
The Great Debaters
Antwone Fisher
Lincoln Heights
Little Bill
State of Georgia

PG (mild coonery)

Fat Albert (movie and cartoon)
Set It Off
Soul Train
Sanford and Son
The Jeffersons
For Colored Girls
Why Did I Get Married?
That's My Mama!
Living Single
Jason's Lyric
The Boondocks
The Best Man
Soul Food
The Five Heartbeats
The Temptations
School Daze
Get On The Bus
Cooley High
Do The Right Thing
She's Gotta Have It
Mo Betta Blues
Jungle Fever
Cadillac Records
Not Easily Broken
Boyz N Da Hood
The Wire
I Think I Love My Wife
Hoop Dreams
Tupac Resurrection
Nutty Professor 1 and 2
Good Times
Deliver Us From Eva
Something New
My Wife and Kids
Kenan and Kel
Good Burger
Foxy Brown
House Party 1 and 2
8 Mile
Get Rich or Die Tryin
The Bernie Mac Show
New Jack City
American Gangsta
Everybody Hates Chris
Smokin Aces
Harlem Nights
Coming To America
One On One
The Blind Side
Paid In Full
The Wiz
The Brothers
Waiting To Exhale
Jumping The Broom
Chapelle's Show
Dead Presidents

PG-13 (Some to an unhealthy amount of coonery)

Braxton Family Values
Real Housewives of Atlanta
The Family Crews
The Game
LisaRaye: The Real McCoy
Single Ladies
Breaking All The Rules
The Parkers
House of Payne
Why Do Fools Fall in Love
She Hate Me
Menace II Society
This Christmas
Undercover Brother
Comic View
Two Can Play That Game
Barbershop 2
Beauty Shop
Head of State
Above The Rim
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins
Big Momma's House 1 and 2
The Wayans Bros
Player's Club
The PJs
House Party 3
Against The Ropes
Malcolm and Eddie
The Steve Harvey Show
Hustle and Flow
The Mack
I'm Gonna Get Ya Sucka
Half Baked
Waist Deep
In Living Color
Car Wash
A Low Down Dirty Shame
Civil Brand
Friday trilogy

R (Extreme coonery, full blown)

Most of the lineup on BET, VH-1, and MTV
Any Tyler Perry Movie I didn't previously mention
Booty Call
Homeboys In Outer Space
Tiny and Toya
Toya's Family Circus
Flavor of Love
College Hill
Hell Date
I Love New York
Love That Girl
Soul Plane
Lottery Ticket
The King's Ransom
Pootie Tang Meet The Browns (TV show)
Baby Boy
Don't Be a Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood
Perfect Holiday
Down To Earth
House Party 3 and 4
State Property 1 and 2
Master P's movies
The Hughleys
How To Be A Player
3 Strikes
Vampire In Brooklyn
Bones (movie)
Phat Girlz
The Monique Show
Wendy Williams
The Wash

I'm not trying in this blog to convince or change anyone's mind. I simply wanted you all to see where my mind is when I think of Black entertainment.

As always, I welcome all forms of comments
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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Starbucks Craze

We're almost out of the recession, and in an election year. Gas prices were what was high, but now those are dropping. However, has anyone noticed how high it is to get a cup of coffee now? It appears Jimmy McMillian needs to sing a song about this epidemic that I dub "The Starbucks Craze" Back in the day, getting a cup of coffee from a diner, convenient store, etc, was usually never more than a few cents. Then Starbucks popped up on virtually every street corner, and simple economics took over. There was a high demand for luxury coffee, and the prices wer e/are high for the supply. A grande (tall) coffee from Starbucks can often be anywhere from 4 to 5 bucks. Seriously? But I know folks that must have their Starbucks fix daily. These are the same folks that seem to complain most about gas prices, lack of raises at their jobs, and stay broke. Then McDonald's came out with some luxury coffees themselves a couple of years ago. They are slightly cheaper than Starbucks, are just as good if not better, but are still pricey compared to an average cup of coffee. Now I admit both Starbucks and McDonald's are tasty, and addictive. However, for waay less, you can make your own frappucinos at home. Just use a traditional blender, some whipped creme, a couple of scoops of Folgers or Maxwell House and voila!! Tasty, luxury coffee for like $3 less on the average. It's not rocket science folks. One should and can think thrifty when it comes to getting your morning caffeine fix. Over the years, however, Starbucks has become more than just a coffee spot. It's also a popular place for people to get pastries, chill out on their laptops with free Wi-Fi, and is often a good hangout spot. I have hung out at Starbucks in the past, and went by there just to pass time. However, that is a place I now go everyonce in a while as a treat or reward. It is entirely too expensive to go everyday when I can make a cup of coffee at my home for waay cheaper. One must be economically sound. It appears Americans often become slaves to brands and propaganda and Starbucks have exploited it over the years. The sooner folks realize that all this isn't necessary, the more money they can save. Maybe then even the gas won't seem too high, especially after making less Starbucks runs.
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Monday, May 16, 2011

Basic etiquette for events, parties, etc

*DISCLAIMER* I am not a party or event planner. But based on my past experiences as an RA in college, having uncles that have ran clubs and bars, and being friends with and helping event planners and promoters, I do have some insight.

I'm doing my best to be tactful and not step on any toes. I just like to see events ran smoothly.

Many parties, socials, cookouts, weddings, etc, are taking place right now. You have white parties, swimsuit contests, car shows, and the like. Here are some rules of etiquette to follow so that your guests feel more welcome and will always support your endeavors.

- Begin on time. C'mon black people, let's cut the CP time crap. It's merely an excuse. An adult function should be able to start on time, period. Don't wait around on special folks to make an entrance or you may lose your crowd.

- Advertise early, often, and effectively

This especially applies if its a birthday party, wedding, or other extraordinary event. These events should be planned and promoted preferably 2 weeks to a month in advance. Also, give people a reason/purpose to be there. If its a birthday, indicate that its a milestone age, like 21, 25, 30. Additionally, be sure to highlight that its a going away party, send off, or even a welcome home. You want people to show up, and cannot assume that folks will just do so.

- Give brief but pertinent details via invite, evite, website, etc

Specify and provide every cost (admission, drinks, coat check, VIP, parking) Give an exact address and even say where its near. We're in the GPS era, but that info is still valuable and necessary. Also, provide contact info such as your phone number, email, FB/Twitter, and a contact # for the venue.

- Choose an affordable but appropriate venue

It's not necessary to choose the Westin when Allure will suffice. Also, choose your VIP area carefully. It should be merely a room or section. An entire floor or building is unnecessary and pompous unless its the President, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, or another notable celebrity. We are all special but be humble and don't ostracize your guests.

- Be prepared for the worst and to offer refunds

If not refunds, at least another free party and/or free food and drinks within 30 days of the failed event. A written apology is also necessary.

-Make sure the heating/AC is working adequately.

Self-explanatory but plan in advance for this.

-Make sure everyone is having a good time, and has had enough to eat and drink.

Even if food and beverages are free, don't be stingy. Let your people induldge, and have 3-4 times what you expect to have. Also, being friendly, courteous, and cordial is expected. You must be a good host/hostess, proving that your guests aren't just dollar signs. Treat then like people.

-Use PayPal for advance ticket sales.

Very convenient, effective, and clears up a lot of confusion about admission, VIP, etc

-Send your thanks to everyone for coming out no later than 3 days following the event.

-Listen to constructive feedback, and continue improving your events.

We're all human, so some mistakes are okay and acceptable. Just strive to rise above these and improve.

-Also, just have fun, enjoy your guests, and make them drool in anticipation over your next event.

Reputation precedes us, so keep everything positive. You will then always have folks flocking to your parties.

These are simply basics. Stick to these, and you're already on the right foot!
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Monday, May 9, 2011

Certain clothes are a privilege and NOT a right

The weather has broken, into warmer climates. And it will only get and stay warmer until around October. This always prompts me to make FB and Twitter posts to remind people that certain articles of clothing are a privilege and not a right. Just because they make it in your size doesn't mean you shouldn't wear it.

Now some of you probably think I'm wrong in saying this and that's ok. But the fact is that some folks just do not look good when they reveal certain parts of their bodies. I have a pretty decent physique, but I know I can't showcase my "muffin top" to just anyone.

Here are some of the more common articles of clothing that only the privileged and physically blessed should don.

- Tube Tops

If you have disgusting fat and rolls on your back and stomach, you appear to have an extra set of breasts on your back, and you have Jello arms, then please cover that up. That also applies to having those huge shoulders like Dwight Howard.

- Daisy Dukes

One must preferably have nice, shapely legs with skin tone and preferably an attractive booty. Having a gross butt and cottage cheese around your legs isn't sexy. And guys, unless the sport is track or swimming, you have no reason to wear these. This isn't the 80s NBA.

- Sundresses

Again, many of the tube top rules apply. Having a nice figure is preferable, or at least wearing a flattering dress. One could end up looking like a skeleton or a person in a mu-mu by wearing a sundress without the proper physical credentials.

- Wife beaters (tight tank tops)

You should preferably have muscular arms, shoulders, etc, and minimal body fat, fellas, if you're gonna rock a wife beater. At worst, you shouldn't have rolls of fat protruding out of the tank. Consider a bigger tank if your body doesn't allow for a wife beater

- Bathing suits/bikinis

Bikinis are not appealing at all if you appear naked when you wear one and have trouble locating your thong from your butt crack. All of those love handles and baggage should not be exposed.


Spandex has to enhance the body, not expose it. If the pants are either saggy or appear to be bursting from the seams, get a regular pair of pants or shorts. This applies to men and women.

These are the major articles of clothing in question during Spring and Summer. It may appear that I'm slamming mostly women. However, females have more diversity in their wardrobe selection. Also, you can look attractive, but in appropriate outfits that minimize your weak spots in your body. You must be classy and wear what suits you the best. As a big muscular man (who was once obese), I can assure you its possible.

So enjoy the summer, but take care in how your body is displayed. Much can be said about your character based on the clothes you choose. Discretion is key.
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Boxing v. UFC: A Shifting Paradigm

Boxing has been not only the major fighting sports in the USA, but one of the greatest sports to watch. You have Rocky Marciano's undefeated record, Muhammed Ali and his infamous style, swagger, and battles, to Mike Tyson, arguably the most bizzare fighter of our time. Don King has been a huge figurehead and promoter as well.

Now times are changing. There is no longer a legitimate heavyweight title contender, and the fights have less action in the lower weight classes. One must watch an MMA fight to satisfy that desire to see blood, shiners, teeth knocked out, etc. Whether it be UFC, Strikeforce, or Saturday Night Fights, MMA has moved to the head of the table.

Back in the early 90s, UFC didn't receive much publicity and was extremely violent. You had legends like the Gracie family and the Shamrocks that were relentless in the famed Octagon. Then Dana White came in, as did many sponsors such as TapOut, and the sport became cleaner, less violent and more mainstream. You have about 14 UFC fight cards a year, with about 5 of these being major ones. Fighters such as Rampage Jackson, GSP, Shields, and Couture have solidified the sport.

And yes it is a sport. Sorry boxing fans.

Boxing is basically boring now. It suffered from quick knockouts, lack of serious contenders, decreased action in the ring, and corruption from Don King. You may have two major fight cards/year now, which fall short in too many areas when compared to MMA.

Granted even I will admit there are too many UFC fight cards in a given year. Heck UFC 129, one of the best fight cards yet, was like the 4th card this year.

On Saturday, May 5th, Floyd Mayweather will be fighting yet again, but still not facing Manny Pacquiano. To me, people are mostly hyped for this fight because they're still holding onto hope that boxing will improve overnight. It's either that or the lack of quality boxing matches.

Personally, I'm a huge boxing fan and I would love to see boxing return to its level pre 90s. But I like MMA also and it offers the elements that make a fight exciting and tough. Grittiness is a must, and is permeated throughout MMA octagons.

When will we FINALLY see Mayweather/Pac? Or will the fight be another snoozefest?

Either way, UFC isn't going anywhere anytime soon and always provides the fun and violence that hand to hand combat is supposed to have.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Twitter 102: Effectively navigating the Twitterverse

I wrote a while back about how big and major social networking has become. Most everyone seems to be on Facebook now. Many more folks are joining Twitter now. However, its a different platform, and can be hard to figure out. It's actually a little more effective far as finding out the latest news in world and entertainment, plus it has better networking tools. Here are some tips from my 2 years of experience to help you make the most of Twitter.

- Follow actual people, and not just celebrities. Try to engage in conversation with them as they tweet and such.

-Participate in TTs (Trending Topics) often. These can be world events such as the upcoming Royal Wedding, or topics in hashtags such as #tragicmoviedeaths. You would put the hashtagged subject into your tweet, and tweet something related to the topic.

- Less is more. Refrain from going over the 140 character limit in your tweets whenever possible. Many folks do not care to read too much on an extra link. One and two liners are key.

- Retweet the tweets are others, but don't overdo it. Make sure you mix it up with your own tweets and convos with others. This will make your timeline (TL) more interesting and therefore a more interesting follower.

- While you shouldn't expect every one you follow to follow you back, try following back your followers. Be interactive!

- Whether on your computer or your cell phone, get a Twitter app. It makes your Twitter experience more exciting and easier. Tweetdeck is a good app, available for the PC, iPhone, and Android phones. There's also Tweetcaster and Plume for Android, Twitbird and Echofon for the iPhone, and UberSocial for the Blackberry, to name some of the more popular Twitter apps out.

-Make your tweets and accounts private. Due to spammers and such, this should be a given.

-Upload interesting photos (or Twitpics) frequently.

Beware of follower services and even Follow Fridays. Many times these are ineffective ways to gain followers. The best bet is to gain followers through interacting with others.

- Check frequently to see if you have been unfollowed. is effective for this purpose. You don't need your TL cluttered with folks that followed you just to increase their follower count.

- Lastly, have fun, don't bash others or become an e-thug, and be socialble. If you feel the need to blast a follower, send them a direct message (DM) . Discretion is best.

Happy Tweeting!
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Legacy of David Fink

A week ago today, Gaffney and the members of my beloved gym, Your Best Body Fitness Center and Day Spa, lost a great man in David Fink. He passed unexpectedly from a massive heart attack suffered as a result of an enlarged heart. He was the co-owner of YBB with his wife, Lisa, trainer, and in charge of YBB's Boot Camp. He leaves one heck of a legacy. David dedicated his life to health, fitness, and the wellness of himself and others. This makes his sudden death at only age 47 harder to swallow. His dream was to have a gym where everyone, regardless of your fitness background, could come and feel welcome. David did exactly that. He built YBB from humble beginnings into one of the top fitness centers in the county, and one of the best-kept secrets in the entire Upstate South Carolina area. David was an innovative, forward thinking man, always devising ways to make people healthier and enjoy getting healthy. He not only made sure YBB had top notch fitness equipment, supplements, and trainers, he built and instituted other additions. These include a full-court basketball gym, used for adult and children's leagues and ZUMBA classes. He especially recognized the growing need and appeal of ZUMBA, and approved 7 classes/week, more than any other class or boot camp. The MMA class has also become a popular draw for enthusiasts and experts of this art. David really wanted to put the members first, listen to us, and provide us with resources that we could both enjoy and benefit from. David was also extremely friendly and sociable, often being near the front entrance, greeting members and conversing with us about a wide variety of subjects. Once again, customer service was a high priority for him. He truly cared about all of his members, and that feeling was often mutual. I'm blessed to have formed a close, personal relationship with David and Lisa over the past 4 years. When I lost my infamous 100 pounds, David was behind me throughout most of it. He was my trainer as I joined his Boot Camp. His sessions were no picnic and he would push me to the limit, but it was all worth it. When the smoke cleared and the weight was gone, I did several promotional pieces, including appearing on flyers and on their website, He truly did have a big heart as he took my health and weight loss as serious as I did. Yes he was compensated for his work, but that was still love. After I lost the weight and he no longer trained me, he was still available for various questions, advice, and encouragement. He provided workout plans and sample menus for all of the members to use. I still use many to this day. David Fink was truly in a class by himself. He was a husband, son, uncle, father, brother, friend, trainer, businessman, coach, and motivator. I would like to say (again) thanks David for everything. I've been into fitness for years, but it became more. fun and effective after meeting you. What you and Lisa built at YBB was a great community and family within the gym. I look forward to coming to work out. I've gotten waay more from YBB than a nice physique and a healthier outlook on life. Joining and staying at YBB has been one of the best decisions of my life. It will never be the same going in YBB and not seeing David's smiling face with his Tarheel or YBB gear and great conversation. I know Lisa will keep the legacy alive. David is gone, but what he has built over the past 20 years doesn't have to die with him. And I don't think it will. R.I.P. David Wayne Fink, my trainer, motivator, mentor, and friend. 1963-2011
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