Monday, July 30, 2012

A Football Life: The Love Of The Game

Sports are a major part of our culture and daily lives. Some women even watch as much Sportscenter as some men. ESPN and ESPN2 are required channels on any cable or satellite packages.


Basketball, baseball, boxing, tennis, golf, hockey, NASCAR, and currently the Olympics have their broad fanbases. However, none beat the nation's #1 sport: football.

It's hard to beat the smell of the freshly cut grass, the taste of the hot dogs and pizza, the roar of the crowds, and the hard hits and big plays. It's pure Heaven to many of us


Football is like a religion in some areas, and understandably so. It comes on only a few times/week, lasts only a few months, and is simply exciting to watch, but not too exhausting or drawn out as other sports.

My love for football began in my teen years when I played for Blacksburg High School. I still root for the Wildcats. I also attend many high school games around the Carolinas, including Gaffney. No one has to explain to me why football is so big in the city of Gaffney. I attend at least a couple of Gaffney games per year, and have even traveled when they went to the state championship. I love seeing good football and athletes, at all levels of play.

College football is also special. From the tailgating to GameDay on ESPN, it’s an absolute rush. I'm not in favor of the BCS, but I definitely love to watch the drama and excitement of college football. Those players play so hard, in hopes of one day receiving a nice NFL contract. It will be nice when my Notre Dame Fighting Irish can win more often. Beyond that, Saturdays in the fall are made for college football, fight songs, rivalries, and school pride.

The NFL has almost always been great.  It's a great way to cap off the weekend.   My team for the past couple of decades has been the Green Bay Packers. That isn't easy, although they are winning. Most of my family likes America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys. You can only imagine how Thanksgiving is for me since the Boys play every Turkey Day. I still enjoy watching at least five games on Sundays, one on Mondays, and the occasional Thursday night game. The season culminates with the Super Bowl, the highest rated program on television during the entire year.

The NFL became even more exciting for me when I started playing fantasy football about four years ago. I was then forced to pay attention to every player on all 32 NFL rosters. The people I play with do not play for money, simply for bragging rights. My desire, research, and luck paid off last season as I won the championship in one of my leagues. I hope to repeat my championship this season.

Football is a team sport that has united communities of all backgrounds for decades. One can see in many families that the fathers and uncles played, and the mothers and aunts cheered. This tradition continues to be passed down. You even have famous football families such as the Mannings, with Archie, Eli, and Peyton.

There are not enough words to express how happy I am football is back. It is a constant reminder of the good in this world, and the various rewards that can result from a consistent team effort.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Things That Are Said In The South That Are Often Only Understood In The South

It's interesting being a life-long Southerner. Things are more laid back and relaxed down here. Not only is the weather warmer, Southerners are regarded as way more ignorant and backwards than their Northern counterparts. That is not always the case of course. Either way, there are certain things, sayings, words, and way of life that you have to be Southern to know and appreciate.
I started posting these on Facebook and Twitter about a year ago with the help of my mother, some co-workers and relatives. Watching Foghorn Leghorn and listening to Michael Waltrip commentate NASCAR races has helped. Here are a few of these words and sayings.
Fine as frog hair
Smiling like a possum eating grits
Taters, maters, and okree
More nervous than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs
Making more noise than a bunch of skeletons on a hot tin roof
Livermush sammich
Mud bog
Back or over yonder
Whip the tar out of ya
Cute as a button
Hoppin Johns
French fried taters
Crap and fall back in it
Deer ticks and hash
Tear you a new one
Hot on your heels
Gully washer
Fly off the handle
Bleeding like a stuck pig
Haven't seen ya in a coon's age
Got an ax to grind
Scarce as hen's teeth
Fixing to
Spring chicken
White lightning
Tight as dick's hatband
What in the Sam Hill?
Sure as shootin'
Didn't stay long enough for the water to get hot
I didn't just fall off the mater truck today Pert near it
Full as a tick
 Smack dab in the middle
Gotta warsh and rinch these dishes
Ain't nerron left
Won't hit a lick of the stick
Tired as all get out.
Madder than a wet hen.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dealing With Women In Transition

Dating isn't an easy game, especially with all of the changes women go through. Pregnancy, hormones, emotions, and then other outside factors. Some they can control, some they cannot. Fellas, be gentle and understanding. It's not easy to date a woman, especially when she's in a state of transition. There are a few common types of transitions you may encounter while courting a woman.

1. Career change.

This can also be a time for celebration. If she is promoted, she has more money, more responsibilities at her job, but often less time for you. If she's demoted, has her paycut, or is downsized, she may struggle for a while. This means you may have to carry the load until she gets back on her feet. However, do not do anything for her that she wouldn't do for you. Support her, however, in success and failure. Do not feel threatened if she suddenly makes more money than you. If this is a relationship headed north, that is always a good thing.

2. Weight loss/gain.

Weight loss can be awesome for you. You may have not asked her too, but suddenly she has a new body and a new confidence. Keep the jealously in tact though. More guys will be checking her out. Let that be a compliment to you. If she has gained weight, offer her positive reinforcement. Do not just leave or shun her. She does not need to be reminded that she cannot fit that sexy red jumpsuit you like. That is a slippery slope to walk.

3. Losing a loved one

I have written before about grieving. She may feel down for weeks or months. Make sure you take her out to places she normally likes to go, plan a fun getaway, and go the extra mile. She needs to know you care. Her memory will be clouded during her grieving, but its unlikely she will forget how you treated her in her darkest hour.

4. Moving to a new home and/or city

This is exciting and stressful. She suddenly is in uncharted waters, and doesn't know many people. Show her around if she moved to your city. Help connect her with certain things she enjoyed in her other location. Also, if the move is away from you, talk it over and make the proper arrangements to assure all can work out. You should make a go at it.

5. Newfound faith

She may have found the Lord, or renewed her faith. Her entire lifestyle has now changed. While she can't expect yours too also, remember she may not want to do many of the things you used to do together. Finding a happy medium is key. Remember everything that is fun is not sinful.

6. Coming home from the military

Iraq and Afghanistan veterans can react differently once they're amongst civilians again. Even women in the Reserves and the Guard do not feel the same. Basic training and deployment can give them discipline and loyalty, but make them feel distant. Patience is the key. Also, do not ever feel where you're threatened or in harm's way. Give them time and space also. They need a chance as this is one of the toughest transitions.

7. Going off to school/graduating.

Again, they are either leaving you or returning. Either way, they are more educated, and their mind is typically more open about certain things. Be happy that they have made that move to better themselves and keep a good foundation. Perhaps she can show you some things, or encourage you to return to school. Knowledge is power.

The basic theme in these transitions is patience.  You will see your woman acting, talking, and reacting like never before. Just remember why you like her, why you're with her, and where you want to be with her long term. You must have a strong foundation that can endure any test. You may marry this person someday. Therefore, if you support her in her transitional phases, you are better equipped to support her in the various phases and challenges that a marriage brings.

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Family Values, Characters, Problems and the like

Many of us have family members that are unorthodox, different, and even dysfunctional. It's not that you love your family, its just that they may have you laughing one minute, and shaking your head the next. No longer are families perfect like the Bradys, the Cleavers, The Jeffersons, or The Huxtables. They more closely resemble the Bundys, The Simpsons, or even the Braxtons. There always seems to be drama, especially when family gather for reunions and parties. Either way, nearly every family fusses and fight. Some just go overboard.
There are common types of family members that seem to exist in families of many races, classes, and cultures. Here's a few of them.
1. The alcoholic/drug addict
Let's be honest, we all have that drunken uncle/aunt/cousin , or the one that just can't leave the bath salts alone. They are foolish and entertaining, but also sad and embarrassing. They seem to keep things stirred up, and may steal from you to support their habit.
2. The ex-con
We all have a relative that has served extensive sentences in jail and prison. It seems when they are released, they are more praised than the cousin who just received his law degree. Often the ex-con is in and out his whole life, and has missed many of the family functions and occasions over the years. When they are actually out, it seems they are always running some scheme or crime that ultimately lands them right back between bars.
3. The overachiever
Some families, like The Kennedys or The Nelsons, have an overabundance of these. They were top of their class in high school, college, and grad school. They are now successful in their career field, and are often the ones that move far away. They also seem like the family bank, as the broke family members are hitting them up for cash regularly.
4. The drama king/queen
This person always seem to attract various types of drama in the form of children's parents, abusive mates, poverty, and just always acting up and out. You know when they come around or you see them, things will be stirred up. Often they can be the Alcoholic/Drug Addict or even the Ex-Con. At best, they're always whining and crying about something. They are never satisfied.
5. The religious freak.
There's always the person that loves God, or even Allah, to the extreme. They are in church service weekly, witnessing, leading a clean life, and chastising those who do not. This also includes Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Muslims, who try to convince you that their way is the only way. They have converted from what they were raised to believe, and want you to do the same.
6. The family rock.
This is typically a family elder, or one of the more responsible family members. They are the glue that holds even most the dysfunctional of families together. Their house is often the location for family cookouts, birthday parties , and other various family functions.
7. The family musician
They are always promoting their latest CD, or have their guitar and microphone, ready for a live performance. Some of them are really talented, and may have played at the Essence Music Festival, or opened for Jay-Z or Colt Ford. However, many of them think they're the next great thing in music when they can't even sing karaoke.
8. The hustler
This person often works multiple jobs and has various income sources, legal and illegal. They are into pyramid schemes heavy, run parlay cards and pools, sell weed and other drugs, or simply mow folk's lawns. Either way, they seem to always be flashing a wad of cash, and it may not always be legitimate.
9. The pimp/whore
This person is simply an embarrassment. It's like having Desmond Hatchett in your family. If its a dude, they have several kids that they rarely or never see, and don't pay child support for. The women are loose and have an army of children. They have made a career out of collecting child support (for the children whose fathers they actually know) and living off of the system. Either way, there's a lot of unprotected sex going around.
10. The Black Sheep.
This one is very broad. This person could be the first or only one to date interracially. They could be the first and only college graduate in a family of white or ghetto trash. They could even be the troublemaker in a prominent family. Nevertheless, the Black Sheep is simply that, different from the rest of the flock.
Strong families, even with the most dysfunction, still love each other and support one another in thick and thin. They may fuss, fight and belittle each other. However, if you aren't in the family, you better not dare try to insult them.
Now that's a modern family, at least for our current era.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Where Are The Parents?

This is not an easy topic to write about, but sadly it's a common epidemic in our country. The number of not only absent fathers, but also absent mothers in households, is growing at a rapid-fire pace. More children are being raised by one parent, grandparents, relatives, or even foster care and group homes.

Many call it the destruction of the modern American family as seen in the 1950s-late 1970s era. It seemed when divorce became more common, as did casual sex, so did unplanned and often unwanted pregnancies. We now have the byproduct of these behaviors.

Today's youth has gotten out of control. Improper parenting is definitely a huge reason for this. You have to find the root of the problem, and the parents (or lack thereof) are this root.

I'm not yet a parent, but I was raised by a wonderful single mother. I lost my father when I was only a toddler, so I saw my mother raise myself and my brother the hard way. She had help from my grandmother, but she held her own.

Statistics regarding deadbeat and absent parents are staggering. 70% actually do pay some form of child support. Over 30% grow up without a father. There are over 20 million children worldwide who grow up with only one parent, or no parents at all. Mentors, grandparents and other surrogates are helpful. Sadly, though, it seems many children never receive the proper love and discipline. They then become troubled adults who end up doing their own children the same way. It's a vicious cycle.

The odds and factors were against me growing up. However, I didn't fall victim to the common pitfalls. Many other products of broken homes haven't either. The chains and stereotypes can be broken. I'm living and breathing proof.

I'm also proud to say that of the people I closely associate myself with, not one of them is a deadbeat parent. They are in their child's lives, taking care of them and raising them up properly. Many of my friends have even raised children that weren't even theirs. They definitely see the problem and want to be part of the solution.

Having an absentee parent doesn't doom your chances for success. There are too many examples to back this claim up. However, the hope is to do better once you have your own children, or at least try. It is hard to understand why a parent would willingly give up their seed.

Children are a blessing, and parents do make a difference. More responsible parental figures are needed. Being a parent truly is a privilege, one that I look forward to, and hope and wish that more people would value.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Patriotism and The Olympics: Bringing the USA together for a couple of weeks

The excitement that we only feel every four years begins next week with the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics, which are held in London this year.

It seems that many Americans gain a renewed sense of pride and patriotism for about two weeks as athletes in a variety of summer style sports. Many may not have been gymnastics or diving fans, but they will be come next week.

Americans have good reason to poke their chests out. The USA typically dominates the overall medal count, especially in certain sports.

I'm not an Olympics fanatic personally, but there are certain sports and events I cannot miss. These include beach volleyball, track and field, swimming, and of course basketball.

This year is the 20th anniversary of The Dream Team, perhaps the greatest basketball team ever assembled with Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and several other NBA Hall of Famers. This year's team, defending the gold from the 2008 Olympics, consists of future Hall of Famers such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant and of course Kobe Bryant. They aren't quite the 1992 Dream Team, but they are heavy favorites in the Olympics this year.

I look forward to watching athletes that made big headlines in 2008 such as Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, and also new athletes come to the forefront and make a name for themselves.

The Olympics have been tainted over the years with steroid allegations and other such scandals that have caused records and hard earned medals to be stripped. It does seem like some things are too good to be true. Nevertheless, the 2012 Olympics will still be highly watched by many.

I know I have said this before, but we should always be as proud to be Americans year round, and not just when occasions such as 9/11, the 4th of July and The Olympics come around. True patriotism is showing it consistently, and appreciating the work these athletes put in to even qualify. It's more than just two weeks for them. Often its half a lifetime, and their life to train.

Go USA!!! Win as many medals as possible, and continue to make our great country proud.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Cajun Craze

Different cultures have been highlighted on reality and traditional TV: British,  rednecks, Hispanics, and even the gay community. Now it appears Cajuns from the southern part of Louisiana are the latest being showcased on television. Currently most of it seems like quality viewing.

Swamp People finished up its third season last summer, and are currently finishing up filming Season 4, slated to return in February 2013. It is very popular and one of my favorite shows. There is also Duck Dynasty (which returned last Wednesday), Bayou Billionaires, and others, including the short lived Ragin Cajuns.

Many of these programs show how Cajuns live, how many of them have simple lives but work hard for every dollar they have. They often perform dangerous feats and traditions such as alligator hunting, shrimping, and simply getting in the Bayou and getting matters handled.

Several of the traditions and practices on these shows go back 300 years or more. It is their way of life, culture, and language, and often it’s mostly what they know.

Due to their strong accents, these shows often require subtitles. Despite all that, it appears America cannot get enough of them. Prices and values of alligators, duck calls, and shrimp have risen due to these shows. It's a gold rush in the swamps and basins.

It's also a gold rush for the television ratings. Reality television is already a huge part of pop culture. Now it is the Cajuns' time to shine.

It is always enlightening to learn about another person's culture, way of life and overall history. I only hope the networks do not make a mockery of them. They are hardworking Americans just as doctors, lawyers, bankers, etc. They do things the hard way and usually provide well for their families.

Some see the sudden craze over Cajuns as a fad or a novelty. I believe its educational and an introduction to alternative, simple ways of living. The Cajuns also do not seem to mind being in the limelight.


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Monday, July 9, 2012

Jeffrey Pardue: The Magic In Him

I've seem several magicians over the years. I grew up on David Copperfield, have saw mentalists and mind freaks such as Criss Angel. I even used to study up on Houndini. Recently I came across someone so talented and mystical he blew my mind. He is a young man from York, SC named Jeffrey Pardue or "Magicman".

I was eating at Charondas in Rock Hill off of Dave Lyle Boulevard. He came up to me showing card tricks. Now I grew up on card tricks so that didn't impress me. What impressed me was his mentalist and mind reading abilities he put into his card and other tricks. His flaming wallet and ability to make objects disappear also amazed me.

Many of you know how I feel about reality TV. However if young Jeffrey appeared on America's Got Talent or another such talent show, I would watch the entire series. He is special and has a talent the world needs to see.

Jeffrey Pardue is on Facebook, as well as YouTube. He has two videos under "Jeffrey Pardue Magicman". Check him out! Or if you're in the Rock Hill, SC area on a weekend, dine at Charondas (tasty Mexican cuisine) and watch him in person as he performs his tricks for the public. Bring the kids, tip him well, and enjoy the show.

This may be the first you have heard from this young man, but maybe not the last. He is going places, and his talent should take him far.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The 2012 Mid-Year Cowbell List, including repeat offenders

It's that time again! Lots has been happening thus far this year that is beyond belief and ridiculous. I have even indicated repeat offenders this year for those that cannot stay off of my bi-annual lists.

- Michael Jordan for messing up the Bobcats. Ok dude this is getting old.(repeat)

- Beyonce': hogging up the hospital for her birth.  C'mon now B, do you think you're bigger than Jesus now? (repeat)

-Metta Word Peace (Ron Artest). Changing your name is bad enough. Now you gotta go and elbow James Harden. You are the opposite of World Peace dude. You need Dr. Phil.(repeat)

- Mitt and Ann Romney: Both just need to be quiet and take their imminent whippings like adults. And to think Mitt was one of my fave Republicans back in 2008.

- The U.S. Justice System (once again, specificially George Zimmerman).(repeat)

- VH-1 (especially Basketball Wives and Love and Hip Hop Atlanta) (repeat)

- Drake (whiny lyrics, beefing with Chris Brown, etc) (repeat). Will you ever go back to performing like a man?

- Wale (for selling out and dang near stalking model Rosa Ascosta). You are a punk and a thirsty wanksta. Stop with the e-thugging.

-Ridiculous remakes in TV and movies. From Dallas to 21 JumpStreet, and the horrendous Dark Shadows, its getting out of hand. Can we please get some original ideas please?

- The summer movie season (have you notice it's extra whack this year or am I getting too old?).

- Facebook, trying to become an empire. Zuckerberg is evil, and now apparently has been messing with the creator of Twitter.(repeat)  

- Google + (a complete bust so far). 

- Sandusky. You sick bastard, you deserve everything coming to you.

- Overcommercialized holidays. Everyone is trying to hustle a buck now. Many people have even forgot the true meaning of Independence Day (The 4th of July)

- NBA refs (need instant replay in ALL sports). The refs were out of hand during the final couple of rounds of the playoffs this season. Let those grown men play!

- 2 Chainz and Plies. You guys are college educated, but rap and act like a couple of 13 year old horny boys.

- Hurricane Chris (apparently he performed at WU this past spring and the crowd was sparse). Your career is dead dude, time to get a real job, or a good side hustle.

- The makers of GI Joe Retaliation, for pushing back GI Joe: Retalliation to March. I realize much was involved, but I'm thinking mostly so it wouldn't compete with Channing Tatum's other summer blockbuster, Magic Mike.

- Steve Harvey (doing too much right now). First, the radio show and book. Now the movie, Family Feud, and supposedly another TV show. Stop now please!

- James Harden. Please see your nearest barber and trim all of that hair.

- MiAKAs. You are insulting the NPHC, and embarrassing yourself. There are better ways to handle that.

-Desmond Hatchett. Ok man, 30 kids? Trojan needs to sponsor you so you can adequately support these children, and hopefully use their product.

- WorldStarHipHop. It's embarrassing, coonish, and the modern day chitlin circuit. I feel I lose brain cells everytime I go to that site.

- The Soul Man. Are the cast members (Cedric, Niecy Nash, and Wesley Jonathan) that desperate to revive their careers? The writing and acting is horrendous. Cancel this show and fast!

- Anthony Davis. You're a millionaire now, shave that God awful unibrow!

-Creflo Dollar. You should know better than to beat up your own daughter. The Bible says spare the rod, spoil the child, not fight and beat down the young one.

- The lottery craze back in March. Don't people know that when more people play, your chances of winning are lowered?

- Detroit Lions. You're finally winning after a decade. Now your players can't stay out of trouble. And now Megatron is on the cover of the new Madden. Can we say one year wonders?

- Saints and Bountygate. I've said it before, nearly every team does it. But you guys were flagrant with it. You may never recover from this now, even with Drew Brees still around.

- The BET Awards (enough said)

-Bobby Petrino. You are a dirty dude man. Yeah it was tempting but you have tainted your career and the season of The University of Arkansas.

- Adidas. Why in 2012 would you release a shoe with a shackle on it? You knew that wasn't gonna end well.

Have a Happy 4th and don't be a repeat offender!

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