Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 End Year Cowbell List

Ok it's that time of year again. Who needed more cowbell, and who has become a permanent fixture on my list? Joined once again by my lovely and intelligent sidekick Regina Wright, here's the list for the second half of 2012, starting with the repeat offenders.

Repeat Offenders:

-2Chainz, (along with Chief Keef, Lil Wayne, and any other garbage rapper) What is the deal with this awful music? Bands Will Make Her Dance? Hip hop is becoming less about lyrics and more about club and booty anthems.

-Mitt Romney: Did you really expect America to believe all of those lies? I'm guessing you will return to your faith and continue with the whoppers.

-Facebook: more privacy changes, making Instagram more controlling, and just doing too much period. It's still addictive and the #1 social network. Some of these changes, however, weren't necessary. At times it's best to leave well enough alone.

-The LA Lakers. First you don't even give Phil Jackson a chance. Then you play lost until Steve Nash returned.  Looks like another short season for the Lakeshow.

-Charlotte Bobcats. Slightly better but still terrible to watch. Perhaps regaining the Hornets name will make you play better.

-Apple. It appears the iPhone 5 has been a disappoinment thus far. Google has once again one-upped you. How's that iPhone 6 coming?

-Overcommercialism. Hey we all have to eat and live. But we able to live and enjoy things and holidays without all the bs. 

-Tony Romo. You are just a choke artist. When will the Cowboys learn you are not Staubach or Aikman. You're not even Philip Rivers.

-VH-1. Still displaying coonery in the form of new seasons of Basketball Wives and washed up athletes and rappers with their own shows.

-World Star Hip Hop. Still exposing ignorance, from the Ramen noodle boy, to the infamous bus driver uppercut. Debra Lee must secretly own y'all.

New Additions:

-Mikalya. You may not be impressed, but guess what, neither is anyone else.
-The overall media. TV, print, and social media cannot stop overexposing a story and running it into the ground. That's when I find a good book and start reading.
-Christmas music and specials. How long can we endure the classics of yesteryear? We need fresh holiday tunes, movies and specials.
-12.21.12 (and anyone who believed it). When is the last time you ever saw a Mayan?
-Haters for no reasons, especially on Gabby Douglas, Notre Dame football, and President Obama.  No merit in your statements at all.
-Clint Eastwood. Looks like you had more than trouble with the curve during the RNC. The Republicans slipped you something strong.
-Modern radio. Still terrible, and still playing the same 20 songs/artists
-MTV. First your network has gone to Hell. Then you decide to put your highest rated program, the VMAs, on the same night as the final night of the DNC.
-Viacom. You should have known you couldn't bully DirecTV. You are truly greedy and vile.
-School security. It appears school children of every age are no longer safe.
-Big Lots. How do you accept debit cards, but no cashback option? That's like saying you can get into the club free , but the club closes at midnight.
-Brooklyn Nets. You didn't give Avery Johnson a fair shot. Now your inner city rival, my beloved Knicks, will dominate you.
-Texas Rangers. Welp you let Josh Hamiliton go. So much for getting that World Series title anytime soon.
-Spike Lee. You always have something to say. Now you're criticizing Django Unchained. Umm now weren't you an executive producer of the IFC mockumentary The CSA: The Confederate States of America? Need to borrow a broom to sweep around your front lawn?
-The 22 States that petitioned to secede from the USA. And the worst part: half of you are states that voted President Obama back into office.
-Rex Ryan. You talk too much, you don't give Tebow a fair chance, and now you may never be a head coach again. Good riddance.
-Nicki Minaj. Ok first you endorse Mitt Romney. Then you threaten Mariah Carey. Sit your fake self down somewhere.
-Kim and Kenya Moore from RHOA. Kim, why did you even return to the show, only to leave later?  Kenya, simmer down on the thirstiness. If you want to be married that bad, find someone that wants to be married right away.
-Phrases such as "flow", "real talk" , "gucci" and "swag". They all need to die in 2013.
-People going too crazy over the latest Jordans. Shoes above everything else huh?
-Chik Fil-A. Now everyone knows what you really stand for. Hope you're cool with that
-Honey Boo Boo and her mom. Need I say more?

Happy New Year to all of my readers and those stopping in for the first time. One of your resolutions should be to stay off of this list!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Waiting In Line, Really?

This is one of my pet peeves, and something I take every precaution to avoid. Waiting in long lines for something can be very irritating.

I consider myself a patient man. However, when it comes to standing in line for something, my patient is truly put to the test.

This is a season of giving, but also a season of lines. Beginning with Black Friday and even culiminating with the day after Christmas, the lines at the stores and the traffic on the road will be bananas. It cannot always be worthwhile.

Then during the year, people will camp out for sporting events, concerts, and other events with long lines.

I purposely shop early or late, and I leave events early or late to avoid lines. They simply irk me. It seems even adults have trouble forming a single file line. Then, lines seen to take forever, with not much in return.

Again I'm not against waiting and being patient. It all depends on the purpose and if I can avoid a crowd.  The faster and more convenient, the better.

During my research, I saw where many stores have a limit on how long they want their cashier's checkout lines to be. That is a good thing, because if you cannot efficiently handle a crowd of customers, you need another line of work. No pun intended of course.

It all boils down to using your head and taking all precautions to cut down on the waiting. Buy things online or in advance. Arrive early for functions. Those who know me know that I'm usually the first or extremely prompt for an event. It pays to be prepared in advance.

One must learn these practices to reduce the stress and anxiety of waiting for mundane things and purposes. Wait on things such as true love, the Lord, and results from hard work. A proper level of tolerance is necessary to balance your life.

2012 Christmas Letter

2012 is winding down and I must say it was a long one. It wasn't the best one, but thank God I survived.

The year started off rough for myself and my family. I lost my uncle Bill Jack on NYE 2011, and then on November 13th, my aunt Joyce lost her eight year battle to cancer. Uncle Bill Jack usually helped coordinate our Dover/Bradley family reunions. With him gone, I took the reins. It was quite a learning experience for me, but the tradition didn't die, and I don't want it to.

Several of my friends and relatives welcomed new life to their families. Two of my cousins got married:  Tamra in May, and G-Baby a couple of weeks ago. This was quite interesting. Tamra is 21 with no children. G, on the other hand, has three grown children and a grandchild, and he is 43. One relative did it early, another decided to wait. However, it's working well for both of them and I m happy for their respective marriages.

I was on short time at my job all year. Working diligently to find extra income and side hustles, I allowed my writing to gain more exposure. Not only do I write for Yahoo! voices, I have a column in the local Weekly Ledger. My hope for 2013 is that this writing will lead to some serious money.

I also continued my healthy lifestyle. I've gained and lost weight , and I've been told I'm keeping myself up well. I'm still a work in progress though, and hopefully I can continue to move forward in that effort.

Technology wise, I didn't get that laptop or tablet due to reduced wages and helping my mother with home improvement expenses. However I have the new Samsung Galaxy with lots of freebies and an extension with Alltel. I love the phone, but I wish the reception in certain areas were better.

Family wise, they are staying strong. My mom continues to endure several home improvement setbacks and raising a teenager with grace and strength. This teenager in question is in a long term relationship, which is tough in high school.

I'm equally proud of my friends at The Good Old Boys radio network. Four different shows, and scores of nationwide and worldwide affiliates.Big things continue to happen for us.

My romantic life has been up and down, up at the moment. I expect this upward spiral to continue in 2013.

I changed departments again in my company. I am now a Sample Support Associate. Basically, there never seemed to be enough work in my old department. Now I stay steady at worst and I like it. I only hope now for bigger, more steady paychecks.

Overall I feel blessed , learned, informed and optimistic. There are a lot of other good and bad things I can say about 2012. I will simply say I'm glad President Obama won a second term, and I have a renewed hunger for reading. I'm currently on the second book of the Fifty Shades trilogy, which I expect to finish soon.

So Happy Holidays everyone, God bless all of you. Look for bigger things and blessings in 2013.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Body Pain: If And When Is It Actually Worth It?

It is sad but true that people will do just about anything for money, fame, or looks. This includes enduring physical and mental harm.
These sorts of pains and aches can be caused by stress, lack of sleep, overworking the brain and body at your job or in the gym, and simply worrying.
Now is it really worth it?
One must strike a balance.  Moderation is key. You want to keep yourself healthy first.  You can't enjoy happiness and wealth if your overall well being.
The human body is made to endure only so much pain and abuse. Some bodies can tolerate less than others, and the risk is heighted with other factors such as age. Give it your all and try your best, but remember you are human. Your body and mind can only take so much.
No one can take better care of you than you. Therefore, people may call you soft or weak because you don't want the extra pressure and stress that comes with a harder occupation, a stricter workout regimen, or simply a drastic lifestyle change.
Here are a couple of famous quotes of note "to whom much is given, much is required" and "know thy self" by Socrates .  Your mind and heart have to also be strong. When others see this, they have little reason to doubt or criticize why you may fall short in other areas. 
Basically, no goal in life is worth killing yourself over. Practice common sense, patience, and good judgment in what you strive to achieve. Keep your stress levels low and your head clear. See your doctor, and check your vitals regularly.
You want to live a productive life, but also an enjoyable one. It is yours, not anyone else's. Therefore, take care of yourself and don't be depressed if you don't fit society's definition of happiness. Love and peace should be held in higher esteem.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gas Wars: The Fuel Game Has Gotten Real

Gas prices have been a major financial discussion and hot button issue ever since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The BP oil spill then occurred in 2010, putting more emphasis on domestic and foreign oil. Basically, gas has gotten high, almost to a ridiculous level. Now that the economy is improving, I don't see gas going back to $2/gallon anytime soon, if ever.

However, QuickTrip (QT) has thrown a monkey wrench into the gas competition. They are not really based in the South. However, over the past two years, they have been opening everywhere. Their gas was so low that the government made them simmer down because it was causing danger since folks would line up and literally wreck turning into QT for the cheaper gas.

Gas giants such as BP and Exxon are not as relevant now. However, many gas stations have been lowering their prices whenever a QT opens up nearby. They must stay competitive.

Here are four notable gas companies and stations that are giving QuickTrip the best competition.

1. Pilot/Flying J's

These truck stop oriented stations and plazas have some of the lowest gas. Plus I've found when you use debit or credit, many of them will not charge you an extra fee. There is typically a restaurant within these plazas, so that gives them a slight edge. And even the ones that aren't "truck stops" cater heavily to truckers.

2. Wal-Mart/Murphy USA

Wal-Mart is a world empire, and a hallmark for low prices. They want to let QT and any other competitor know that they offer a plethora of services. One of the biggest is their gift cards. If you put at least $25 on one and use it at the pump, it knocks off up to 15¢ per gallon.

3. Kangaroo.

Kangaroo stations seem to be every where and are well established. They bought out Texaco not too long ago, and are usually at convenient locations. Many also have restaurants in their stores, most commonly Subways. Kangaroo is still in it to win it.

4. Marathon

Marathon also offers many of the conveniences listed previously, plus many stations accept Bi-Lo fuel perks. Their convenience and customer service also matches that of QT, and some of their stations are open 24 hours.

Who will win the so-called gas wars? One thing is for sure: it is hard to resist those 49¢ slushies at QT.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Lovers and New Years: Out With The Old, In With The New

We have less than one month left in the year 2012. As 2013 approaches, we reevaluate several different things and aspects of our lives. Often our love lives are one of the main things that need rejuvenation, after bodies and bank accounts.

It's very possible the very person you kiss on Christmas morning and New Year's night will not be in your life for Valentine's Day. They may not even make it into the new year with you.

There are a few scenarios to examine here. 

1. New relationship.

You have been together for six months or less. You're anxious to see what direction the relationship will take. Perhaps you two haven't been intimate yet, or you haven't met their families. Either way, there are some decisions to make to see if you make it long term with this individual.

2. Long term relationship

You have been together for a while, perhaps you live together. Maybe an engagement could be coming soon. Either way, both of you have been through a lot together and invested lots of time. If the relationship is stagnant and there is no projected growth, it may be time to reevaluate and possibly take a break or end it altogether.

3. Single and possibly lonely.

Let me also add over 30. You have been alone during the holidays for the umpeth year, perhaps by choice. You are evaluating your life and standards to ensure that in 2013 that you at least have more options. This thing shouldn't be rushed, but like a good sports coach, changes in your game plan may be necessary.

Irregardless of your situation or scenario, it is best to start now, rather than on 1-1-2013 to make adjustments, draw another game plan, and improve your romantic standing. Time waits for no one.

Doing this will ensure that you are much more prepared as you wrap up yet another year.

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Interracial Dating: Who Better To Discuss It?

The holiday season is here and you see all sorts of happy couples as we're in the midst of boo season. Many of these couples may not have the pure love that others are accustomed to seeing. Now it's not all about black or brown love. It's simply love where race isn't a factor.

I am a product of an interracial relationship. My dad was black and my mother was white. Therefore, dating in the 90s wasn't always easy. I live in the South and many back then thought mixing races was taboo. By the 2000s, fortunes had changed some. Now its not uncommon to walk into Wal-Mart or see an interracial couple dining in Applebees. It seems black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and Italian women have been interested in me.  Believe me, this is not a man that discriminates. People are people to me.

Think of the famous persons that were results of interracial relationships. Halle Berry, Derek Jeter, Alicia Keys, Vin Diesel, The Rock, Shemar Moore, Tiger Woods, Rosario Dawson, and our president Barack Obama. Plus there are many mixed race marriages that have lasted for years. It is safe to say that many of these couples that are together for this long absolutely love each other. Scrutiny and dirty looks still linger, so you have to be strong and rise above that hate.

That being said, I don't condone anyone to date outside of their race for the novelty of it. Go out with them because you truly like them. Every relationship has problems and challenges. While its easier to date the same race, there are more challenges in crossing over, especially from the close minded and older generations. Bringing biracial babies into the mix (no pun intended) doesn't pave the way either. I can attest to this.

One can never stop the public from talking. Heck look at Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Kim, who is Aremenian, clearly likes black men and is not ashamed of it. Therefore, if you are mentally and emotionally ready, go for it.

I've been told by women of various races as an adult that they would have liked to have gone out with me back then but they couldn't handle dealing with their parents. That's a fair answer, giving both the era and area I grew up in.

Therefore, don't go around saying there are no good men or women out there and then end up with someone that looks good to friends and family, but treats you like crap. Go for who you love, even if they aren't the same race. Love is love, and you shouldn't let others dictate who you want to be with.

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