Sunday, May 19, 2013

50 Cool Television Theme Songs

I remember two things once upon a time: when TV Guide was relevant and was a must read, and when every show on TV had an awesome theme song. It got to a point where I would gain more interest in a show if the theme song was catchy. Recently I stumbled upon a newer TV Guide issue. This is their 60th anniversary and they have been doing several top 60 lists. One of them included top 60 theme songs. Some of them I agreed with, others I couldn't, and there were those I had to look up because I had never heard of them.

TV Guide seems flawed and biased in their countdowns. I decided to do my own top 50 rundown of television songs. Here is my top 10, followed by the remaining 40. Tell me if you agree, disagree, and what you would add.

1. Cheers

Also #1 by TV Guide, it's simply a timeless classic as a song and show. Most of us always want to be around those that know us and enjoy our presence. That was the spirit that Cheers embodied.

2. The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air

It's hard to call yourself a child of the 90s if you cannot recite this theme song verbatim. Will Smith was previously known for his rap career. However his hit sitcom about moving from West Philadelphia to Bel-Air with his Aunt Vivian and Uncle Phil launched his acting career. I was always tuned in Mondays at 8pm to watch The Fresh Prince. 

3. G.I. Joe. 

"Now I know. And knowing is half the battle,..., GI Joe!!!"  I was a huge GI Joe fan as a child. I had all the toys and figures and plus I had to be home daily at 4pm to tune in. If my school bus was late or if the show was postponed, I was furious. Go Joe!

4. Laverne and Shirley

This is one of the most catchy and upbeat tunes of all times. This groundbreaking spinoff of Happy Days was entertaining and controversial.

5. Good Times

Another song I know verbatim and love to see come on. I own all six seasons on DVD and still watch them often. Like TI said in ATL " it seems like the answer to many family problems."  The struggle was real for the Evans family in the 1970s, as it is for many now.

6. Golden Girls

I cared more about the song than I did the show coming up. Now I like the storylines and antics, especially by the late Bea Arthur and Betty White.

7. Sesame Street.

This song and show also takes me back to my childhood. I learned how to read, write, and count through this show. It was my daycare before I even started school.

8. Happy Days

What's not to love about this show? Richie, Joanie, Chachi, The Fonz, and of course Mr and Mrs. C. It had a long shelf life and showed a different side of life in the 1950s. Heeey sit on it!

9. Beverly Hilbillies

Their rags to riches tale was awesome, as was the cast. Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas (who tours the country as a devout Christian) and Max Baeur Jr. as Jethro, the son of the former heavyweight boxing champ.

10  Flintstones.

This was tough, but I couldn't leave out the Flintstones. When it's quitting time everywhere, many still yell "Yabba Dabba Doo!" and run, not walk, to their vehicles.


Peter Gunn
The Waltons
Diffr'nt Strokes
Inspector Gadget
The Jeffersons
Married With Children
Saved By The Bell
Family Guy
Mr. Belvedere
Silver Spoons
In Living Color
Living Single
The Andy Griffith Show
Green Acres
Family Matters
Night Court
The Brady Bunch
The Wire
Facts Of Life
The Young And The Restless
Sanford And Son
Dukes of Hazzard
Three's Company
Welcome Back Kotter
Gimme A Break
Scooby Doo
Muppet Babies
Perfect Strangers
WKRP in Cincinnati
Head Of The Class
The Drew Carey Show

When A Woman Loves: Book Review

Rayn Newson is quite versatile. Wife, homeowner, president of her HOA, active in her sorority, full time employee for the city of Charlotte, and event planner. That is a breathful in itself. Now add author to all of this. Her first book: When A Woman Loves, is now available on Amazon, Smashwords, and at in both paperback and e-book format.
Rayn really poured her heart in her initial effort as a published writer. This book is the story of her 10 year journey of love with her husband, Rashad. She shares many of the details of their relationship: from how they met, to how they have remained a happy couple through the trials that a marriage can bring.
The main theme of WAWL is to never stop dating.  Rayn stresses how her and Rashad have kept their relationship healthy and fresh. She offers specific examples through the years on how the two of them have accomplished this. She also talks about how she has learned patience, and loves her man more and more everyday.
Rayn's story is a good one: one of persistence, patience, understanding and growth. She wants her readers to not give up on love and relationships. Relationships and marriages alike are everyday work and maintenance but are worth it.  She simply found the man she loved and wanted to spend her life with, and waited on him and God. It is a story geared towards women, but one that is good for men as well. 
Therefore, as we approach summer, the season of love, give yourself a gift and purchase When A Woman Loves. At 69 pages, it is a quick and intriquing read. It can potentially restore your faith in love, relationships and marriage.
I would also stay on the lookout for Rayn Newson. She's just getting started not only in writing or love, but life. This will not be the last you hear from her so stay tuned.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Caretaking: From A Rookie's Point Of View

This year took quite a turn for me and my mother on January 22 of this year.

I was just getting off from work when she called telling me she fell from her backsteps and believed to have broken her leg. I immediately flew down I-85 to her home. She had made it into the house, but could not walk or stand. It appeared she had broken or twisted her ankle. I helped her to my car and we went to the emergency room.  After a three hour stay, they determined her left ankle was extremely fractured, as well as bones in her leg and knee. She would be out of commission for weeks and months.

Suddenly, I was thrust into the role of caretaker. Similar to death, there is no warning or preparation. I knew one day as my mom got older that I may have to take on this role, just not on this cold wintery day.

During the first two months, especially following her surgery, I had to take care of her and her household duties. I took over the cooking, cleaning, errand running, driving, and feeding of her animals. This was a huge adjustment for me, along with holding down a full time job and my writing and workout regimens. 

This experience has shown the both of us who really cares for us. Many people have called, texted, hit me up on social media or asked as I've been out and about. Some people have even helped with some of her needs or looked out for her when I couldn't take off from work. However, I have been doing the majority of the stuff for her.

The healthier my mother has gotten, the easier things have been for me. She had to be in a wheelchair because her arms were not strong enough for crutches or a walker. Mom was able to begin putting weight on her foot in mid-March and that was good for both of us. She could stand up for short periods of time and do some housework, and even cook and do more for herself. She even cooked Easter dinner with my assistance, her first meal since the accident.

On April 26, I came home to a pleasant suprise. My mom had taken her first steps since the fall. She has taken more, is using the walker more, and is further on the road to full recovery. There is still some deadness in her ankle area, and she feels pain if she is on her foot too long. She is working towards walking full time again.

Thus far this month, she gained the courage to go into the grocery store with me and pick out her own items. She finally was able to take a shower this past weekend. These are things many take for granted, but these are milestones to us.

I pray now that the hardest parts are over, and my mom will have the courage and confidence to continue to recover. It's up to her now.  Some days she wears herself out because she wants things to return to the normal she knows. But she is remaining patient and so am I.

I feel I have learned a lot not just about caretaking, but about my mother. I never really realized what all she does, and her certain ways and quirks. I have had to channel my adulthood and manhood to survive this.  My time this year has been cut in half and I have had to manage it more carefully and sacrifice more. This is my mother and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm very fortunate that my mom's condition is improving.  Things could have been way worse. She fell nearly five feet so she actually got off lucky only suffering a broken ankle. She could have been paralyzed or even killed. I'm so blessed that she is still with me.

Yesterday of course was Mother's Day and this one was extra special. My mother and I have always been close. Now I feel an even deeper appreciation and love for her. I'm leaving this in God's hands. Despite the hard times and bad days, I know He doesn't put any more on us than we can bear.

I have a week off from work coming soon, plus it's almost summertime. I'm looking forward to resting, relaxing, more consistently warm weather, and seeing my mom be able to be herself again.

It takes a special heart and love to be a caretaker. I honestly had doubts I could do it. However, I prayed, sought out the advice of others, and did my research on her injury, recovery, rehab, and caretaking in general. I've been able to do the seemingly impossible.

I refuse to give up helping my mother in whatever she needs. Also, I pray she doesn't give up her fight as her road to recovery may be shorter than she thinks.

Seven Tips On Replacing Your Spare Tire

Back in March of this year, I had quite an adventure and struggle with my car tires. You see, I was out on a Friday night and had a flat. I changed the tire and went about my way. I was enroute home, about 20 minutes away when all of a sudden, my spare blew out. And blowout I mean! The rubber and tread came completely off the tire, and there was smoke coming from the area. Not having a spare, I had to call AAA to tow me and my car home. 

This would only be the beginning of my tire struggles. I knew I not only needed a tire, but also a spare. First off, I hate the small spares, or doughnuts, that come with smaller vehicles like mine.  It turns out no one sells these small tires, at least not for cheap. Therefore I bought a used tire that fit my vehicle rims and eventually found a generic rim within my budget.

My hope in giving these seven tips is that you will not have to experience the headache I did a couple of short months ago.

1. If you have a doughnut, replace it ASAP.

These types of tires are horrible and are just a cheap way for dealerships to sell cars. They can even mess with your alignment and axles since they sit so much lower than your other tires. Therefore, buy the car, but also set aside some money for a spare tire and a proper rim.

2. Research thoroughly, via the Internet, and through calling places. 
The web is another given. You can view and peruse the selection of tires and rims if the company has a website. Places such as Sears and Discount Tire offer this feature.  However, many of the smaller tire and rim places do not have websites. Therefore, you must call them to see what they have. Also, check your local junkyards. You may find some gems there.

3. Have a budget ($100 or less)

Many places will try and get you to buy a nice rim, or set of rims for the automobile. That's all good, but we're talking about the spare tire. Go for the lowest priced and most basic rim you can find. You still want quality, but paying $200 for a spare rim just doesn't make a lot of sense.

4. Know tire sizes, spokes, and what you will need.

Many of the newer vehicles require the 5 spoke wheels. Some use 4. Also, know the size of your tires. Mine for example are 225/45/17. I can also use a 205 but I don't like to go smaller. Some places and websites prefer if you know the sizes right away. This makes searching and pricing easy and quicker.

5.  Get a used tire for your spare.

I had to indulge in used tires for a period in my life. I've found you can get a year or longer out of a used one. Also, you can get one for $20-40. Therefore it doesn't make sense to buy a $100 tire that you will rarely, if ever, use.

6.  Have ample trunk space for your larger tire.

I'm still cleaning out my trunk, although the spare fits fine. Typically, the space allotted for the spare tire will only fit the doughnut. Therefore, your trunk will need to have room for the spare. You could even use the doughnut space to place other items.

7. Check your spare, and other tires regularly.

This is where I really went wrong: not checking my spare, or even my tires like I should. I usually buy new tires every two years or less, and I wouldn't recommend keeping a spare longer than five years. Also, if your vehicle is rattling and you're experiencing too many flats, it may be time for an alignment.

I hope this can be of help to someone and that they can care for their spare as they would the other tires. Being stuck on a Friday night in a dark convenience store parking lot is no fun at all.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Fantasia's 360: She Did It!

Long time followers to my blog may remember when I wrote about Fantasia's problems back in 2010.  She had overdosed on aspirin, was kicked off the set of The Color Purple musicial, was a married man's sidepiece, and seemingly on her way to obscurity.

I told several people that if she bounces back, I will write a follow up piece. Fast forward to 2013 and see the upgraded blog on the upgraded winner of American Idol Season 3.

Fantasia made physical, professional, and emotional transformations after giving birth to her second child.  She already had scored a hit and dance with "Collard Greens and Cornbread."  However, the raspy, Macy Gray sounding songstress decided to work on herself externally and internally. She returned to her home in Charlotte, NC and connected with boot camp instructor and former WNBA player Sonya Dalton-McRoberts. I know Sonya personally, and took a class from her in the past. I knew if Fantasia followed her program, she would get dynamic results.

Less than a year later she had dropped over 50 pounds, had a tighter physique and more of a glow and confidence about herself. She frequently posts pics of herself on Instagram not to boast but to inspire and encourage.

This new attitude would be needed as she recorded her next album and made her annual appearance on American Idol, performing as a former winner. Those who had forgotten Fantasia got to see on April 19, 2013 the 360 she had made. She put on a performance that was almost comparable to Beyonce's at Super Bowl XVII. Mrs. Barrino held nothing back.

Her album has been selling like hotcakes, and her singles are gracing the airwaves and topping the Billboard and iTunes charts. She is even receiving early Grammy mentions.

Maybe Fantasia grew tired of the negative publicity and decided it was time to change. Either way, she conquered her demons and fought her way back on top.

It's always good to see stories like this. Fantasia has been on the top and the bottom. She can remain atop the world for a while as long as she stays hungry, grounded, and keeps the right connections. There is no turning back now for the High Point, NC native.

She started out using her voice to make a difference. Now Fantasia's story of triumph over the odds and doubters gives others something good to talk about.

Seven Effective Ways To Avoid Identity Theft

The country and specific regional areas has been hit hard over the past few months with identity theft and fraud. Another epidemic has been catfishing, where someone steals your pictures and profile from social media and poses as you. MTV made a hit show about it.  Facebook has even changed their privacy settings yet again and has been flagging more people who request people they do not know. The IRS even had a delay in filing and completing 2012 federal returns.

I have dealt and helped protect against identity theft for quite some time now. Here are some tips to make your life in cyberspace and beyond easier.

1.  Change your password every three-six months, and make it something hard for others to guess.

It is suprising to me how many people do not change their passwords, or make their passwords so mundane and easy. Make your password a combination of numbers, letters and even symbols. I like how PayPal does their security. You must have one uppercase letter, a number and a character in your password. Also, do not write down your password. That is the easiest way for someone to get to your information.

2. Refrain from clicking on untrustworthy links.

Often we may receive emails or FB messages from friends with a strange link. Do not click that link. Afterwards, alert that friend of their account being compromised.

3. Set your privacy settings on social media to the max and change them often.

Social media has to change how their privacy is regularly to keep up with changes. Therefore, check every few months that your privacy settings are tight. Basically, you want your accounts to be like Fort Knox or a Las Vegas casino: nearly impossible to crack. No one that you do not want to should see your profile, updates, tweets, or pictures.

4. Register with your state sponsored identity theft program.

This doesn't take long, is free and will give you further protection. Many states also provide a free credit report with registration. You will receive alerts if your report has any sort of changes. Also, if your state does not offer this, write your Congress representative and fight to implement it.

5.  Be careful on who knows your personal info, especially your social security number.

People often do not mind letting others have their passwords, or even banking information. However info such as this can be the skeleton key to you as a person. Utilize PayPal more when paying bills so you won't have to give banking information. Ensure that your bank or credit union has top notch research, and quick response times if you have to report a stolen check or debit card. 

6. Report intrusive, abusive and suspect users

If someone seems grimey or posts and sends spam constantly, reach out to them. If they continue, report them to the popular authorities so they won't harm anyone else. They can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

7. Invite and meet new friends into your life, but keep a tight and close circle.

Some social networks only want you requesting folks that you know. However, if you choose not to do that, at least speak to that person first. Have some mutual friends that you can ask each other about. Also have a good tight, trustworthy circle that can back you when intruders do come along.

I have said this before "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" Protect yourselves properly.