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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