Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Teenagers, what has happened?

I'm mostly on a rant here because I don't know what is going on with our youth, especially the kids ages 13-19 (teens). It seems the teens of today have little regard for themselves or their future. They're too worried about the next Drake album, Nicki Minaj's next performance, and texting, texting, and more texting. You can't talk to a teen anymore directly, you must text them.

Many also seem to lack respect in many key areas: towards authority, themselves, their own peers. Teens now get strung out on anti depressants and/or commit suicide instead of dealing with life head on.

Years ago, troubled youth was often a nasty by-product of an absent parent, often the father. Now it is a bevy of reasons. Peer pressure is still relevant and much more intense. Also, its lack of attention at home from either parent. The discipline methods have also failed. When will these professionals realize that timeouts and simple stern looks do not solve every problem.  Often a parent or guardian will have to use strict discipline and punishment, preferably corporal punishment.

I also blame the media. Whether it be through these awful reality shows, to celebrity drama in your face 24/7, our youth aren't seeing much positive, enriching material.

Technology is also the blame. Texting, smartphones, tablets, laptops, the web, and of course social networks. Many of these are necessary for our daily lives, but now teens are so drawn into them its hypnotizing.  They are no longer or often incapable of being active outside or holding regular, traditional conversations. They are too busy texting, or on a social network such as Facebook or Twitter.

I do my part, especially with my younger cousins. Many of them have these destructive traits. However, I teach and show them alternatives, to keep them well rounded. Reading, writing, the gym, documentaries, even getting involved in their schools and communities. I feel that those activities can still make them positive, productive adults. Sometimes we need to return to what works the best.

Encourage and nurture these troubled teens, they are our future CEOs, presidents, city council officials, teachers, principals, and caretakers. They must know how to handle the real world and not think life is a game of Angry Birds or Words With Friends.

To my friends/readers with grandkids , you think raising their children is rough? Consider the fact that your golden years are in their hands. They will either be the ones taking care of you, or choosing your nursing home.

Now are we ready to be the village again?

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

NBA All-Star break: brief reflections and mid season MVP

Ok the NBA has paused for a few days as All-Star Weekend is in full swing with the West/East. The only suspense in that game is how quickly will each team get to 120. I'm a huge basketball fan, but I will be watching the Oscars as I'm also a movie buff.

Of course the biggest story thus far is Jeremy Lin. Once again, very happy that my Knicks are in the positive limelight. We will hafta see how he develops. The Heat, Bulls, and Thunder continue to dominate. The Lakers, Mavs, and Celtics are slipping into mediocrity, and the Bobcats and Wizards are just plain awful. Even Cleveland last year wasn't this bad. Michael Jordan, one of my all time fave players, will most likely earn a spot on my Mid Year Cowbell List for the fashion in which he has mismanaged the Bobcats.

Now speaking of great players, there has been debate about who is the NBA's MVP at this point. Four names come to mind:  LeBron, Durant, CP3, and even Kobe. In my eyes, Durant is the leading candidate, followed by CP3, Bron, and then Kobe. Yes Kobe is still great and leads the NBA in scoring. But what is his team doing? Bron is still putting up his usual numbers and his team is arguably the best in the league. However, he hasn't elevated his game. It's the same ol same ol for King James. Now Chris Paul has elevated his game with a new team and with Blake Griffin. He is playing the best ball of his short career.

However, Durant has elevated himself, and his entire team. The Thunder are right behind the Heat as the NBA's best, and they're #1 currently in the always tough West. His overall stats are also better than the aforementioned three players.

Now we will sit back, and wait and see who will elevate their game during the remainder of the season. Could even be Derrick Rose. Time will tell,...

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Non Traditional but not Uncommon take on Karma

Karma, as many of you already know, is derived from Buddhist/Hindu principles. The basis of it is that you reap what you sow. Doing good eventually brings reward. And doing bad eventually leads to ruin.

Now I don't follow Buddhism or Hinduism. But I believe in The Golden Rule (do unto others as you would do have them do unto you) and reaping what you sow. I also like to reference basic karma when I say that "what goes around, comes around”. This is usually the case as well.

The television show My Name Is Earl, one of my favorites of all time, was based on the approach to Karma that I'm discussing. The protagonist and star, Earl Hickey (played by Jason Lee), was a petty criminal who had just won the lottery. Immediately after, his life began falling apart. He was hit by a car, lost the lottery ticket, his wife Joy divorced him, and he and his brother Randy were forced to live in a motel. However, while lying in the hospital, he was watching Last Call with Carson Daly. Carson was talking about how blessed he feels his life is and cited good karma as a reason. Earl then realizes all of the bad things he's done in his life to others, so he writes a list of them (200+) and decides to make up for these wrongdoings one by one so karma can be on his side. The show lasted four seasons and saw Earl undergo lots of positive change.

I try to help others wherever and whenever I can. Again you reap what you sow, and I try to plant only good seeds. I can't expect good things to happen to me if I don't do them as well. I'm always striving to be a better person and to lead a good life. I actually feel good when I do right by others, and have seen favor in many areas of my life.

Basically, karma really can't send you to Heaven or Hell. It just encourages folks to treat each other right, or you may suffer other consequences and/or guilt later.

I strongly believe in the power of positive reinforcement and I want peace in my life. Regardless of how bad I am treated, I want to do good anyways.

I don't believe one has to necessarily call themselves a Buddhist for treating others well and trying to avoid drama and turmoil. We may love to watch it on television and the movies, but do we really want this in our daily lives all the time?

Once again, the basic principle (even on My Name Is Earl) is do good things, good things happen. Do bad things, bad things happen. Too bad it’s not always as simple as it sounds


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Sunday, February 19, 2012

BONUS: Shoe shopping for the big footed man

I get tired of hearing the phrase "Sorry sir we don't have your size but we can order it.  We have size 13s though"

That doesn't cut it with me. I wear a size 14 shoes, 15 if I can get them reasonably priced. People (especially women) think its cool when a man has big feet. It's a hassle to say the least when buying shoes. More often than naught, I have to go online and order my kicks.

A good site of course is , as I have mentioned before. I also like going to Foot Locker's site. I've been there so much they send me emails whenever they're having sales. Often, for the shoes I desire, buying off the rack doesn't happen often. I don't spend a whole lot on shoes, and I don't do ugly ones. Shoe Show is honestly one of the few places I can go and get reasonably priced tennis shoes off the rack in my size.

It could be worse, I could not have either foot. I write this blurb for all of my large footed folks out there. You are not alone in this struggle.

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BONUS: Week of Love, Linsanity, and Laying Whitney to Rest

This was supposed to be the week of love, engagements, flowers, candy, etc. Instead Valentine's Day had to compete for media coverage with Jeremy Lin and the now late Whitney Houston.

Linsanity reached a fever pitch this week as many inspirational stories about Lin came out, and he has drawn comparisons mostly to Tim Tebow and even Mark Zuckerberg. He is ESPN's latest novelty. Its hard for me to be mad about it since I'm a longtime Knicks fan and we're in the positive spotlight all over ESPN for the first time since the Ewing days. I, of course, am skeptical. What will become of Lin when Carmello Anthony returns to full strength? Will his assists and floor management be enough for the Knicks to make a long playoff run. Time will tell and the East is loaded.

Whitney Houston passed last Saturday, and it shocked the world, especially the music industry. She had one of the best voices, period. She was laid to rest today in a proper and classy fashion. I'm glad her family allowed the funeral to be televised so her fans could also say goodbye to her. I had a few quibs with the Michael Jackson funeral. It was too much like a concert, rather than a funeral. Plus it was during the week, when many folks can't enjoy it live. I DVRed Whitney's also, but I was glad the service was a celebration of her life and NOT just a way for artists to promote themselves.

Let's see what else gets talked about next week. Moment in history: its been almost a year since the Charlie Sheen meltdown. Is he still #winning?

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Power Couples: Can You Handle Being One

I've been waiting to blog about this for some time. And I thought that Valentine's Day was as good of a time as any.

I discuss with several females, and even males, about the type of mate they eventually want to settle with. While ladies tend to be more selective, guys typically will not just marry anyone. Basically, both sides have to be bringing something substantial to the table. It seems nowadays, though, folks are striving (sometimes desperately) to achieve their goal of being in a power couple.

A power couple is defined by society as one where one or both of them are very accomplished financially, socially, and intellectually. Think Will and Jada Smith (before the scandals) and now our First Family, President Barack Obama, and his first lady, Michelle.

Black people, especially, first got a taste via television of the power couple when The Jeffersons were on the air with George and Weezy. Then things seemed to really change when the Cosby Show came on the air. There was a successful two-parent black family on TV, and at one period of time was the #1 rated show on TV. Father Cliff Huxtable was a doctor, and mother Claire Huxtable was a lawyer. Surface-wise, this appears to be the ideal match, especially since many folks were also taught from childhood to seek well rounded, successful mates.

My thing is that are folks too obscessed with finding a mate to form a powerful merger with, rather than seeking love? Yes I know love doesn't conquer all and a relationship needs more than love to survive long term. My thing is these females that are looking and expecting every man to be 100% perfect when they themselves are barely 80%. They want their man to be Cliff, Will, Denzel, or Barack. Men want their women to be Halle, Janet, Michelle, or even Beyonce' . What happened to falling in love, and building a successful life together?

I heard a comedian say a while back that while many folks are seeking this "perfect mate", they may end up with a Carl Winslow or a Regina King. Not that there is anything wrong with either person, actor, or character. It is just some come to the realization that perfection is impossible to obtain, but love isn't. These folks may be your dreamboat, even if society doesn't deem it so.

I had an aunt and uncle recently celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. I consider them a power couple because of the merger and marriage they built, the longevity and not by society's confusing standards. This couple worked hard all their lives, raised 4  children, owned their own home, two cars, etc. Mediocre by some, but to me, excellence.

Personally, I feel that my "power match" will be a lady that is the total package. She has it all balanced despite any flaws, between looks, intelligence, and personality.  I feel as long as we both put in the work, trust and love each other and always communicate, this is a realistic dream for me.

Many have heard of the 80/20 rule and we often get caught up in that while trying to build a power couple. Once again, simply be realistic, and allow your heart to stay open.

Also, allow the Lord to order your steps. He will surely help send this person your way if he intends so. Remember 1 Corinthians 4-8, especially verse 8 "Love Never Ends"

Enjoy this day of love, but do not ever feel like your mate is not capable of being your power match because of this, that, and the third. It's cool to look up to famous marriages, and has been a practice for centuries. Just don't forget to look inside your heart, and make sure its in sync with your brain. After all, you have to live with this person and share a life. So make sure its someone that possesses those simple but vital qualities and not just a gleaming facade of a prince straight out of a Disney movie.

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