Sunday, July 28, 2013

Merging GHS and BHS: The Unbiased Pros And Cons

It's almost time for another school year to begin.  In Cherokee County,  SC, this past school year had a tumultous ending. There were several budget issues, which prompted board member Alan McEntire to make some proposals. One of the ones that drew the most attention was merging Blacksburg High School, Gaffney High School and the Cherokee Technology Center into one school. There was also long term talk of combining some elementary schools and all of the county's middle schools.

McEntire, however, needed a quick solution to the budgeting woes, and before the new fiscal year began.  He found that the county was spending thousands of dollars more on Blacksburg students than those of Gaffney. His next proposal really stirred the pot: closing Blacksburg Middle, and moving the students to Blacksburg Elementary and Blacksburg High.

Blacksburg is long known for their strong, tight knit community, especially regarding education. Therefore, they banded together to try and prevent this immediate move. Town residents circulated petitions, made their presence known at three different meetings, wrote letters, and expressed their views via social media.

The smoke cleared and when the budget was approved on June 25, Blacksburg Middle stayed open.

However,as a Blacksburg resident and an employee in the city of Gaffney for 10 years, I don't think this matter is over.

The simple fact is there are people in Gaffney that want to see the schools merged and have for a while. Now someone (McEntire) has come forward with a plan to do so.

I'm going to explain as simply and as unbiased as I can why a merger would not be in the best interest of the county.

1. It would be most beneficial to Gaffney and not Blacksburg. For years, it has been a case of the haves and have nots in Cherokee County. Gaffney has the bigger, nicer schools, state of the art sports facilities, and simply the upper hand. Meanwhile, Blacksburg did receive a new gym and a 9th grade wing. However, the football stadium hasn't received anything in over 30 years but a new concession stand, bathrooms, and cement poured under the dilipating visitor's section. Also, the baseball field is at the elementary school.

Both Blacksburg and Gaffney stand to lose what they have, especially Blacksburg. And the Gaffney Indians wouldn't even be called that anymore. It would be something like the Cherokee County Indians.

2. McEntire clams that mergers and closings would save the county money long term. But what about now? It will cost millions of dollars to build a new high school, not to mention the extra wear and tear on the school buses. The residents simply cannot afford that gamble right now.

3. The district lines need to be redrawn before any talk of a merger begins. Many students that attend both schools would potentially live much farther away from the new school, especially those in outer rural areas.  These such students should be given an option to enroll in a closer school in a town such as Cowpens, Chesnee, York, or even Shelby.

4. Both communties pride themselves on their schools and sports programs. You would have way more division than anything else. Change doesn't come easy in small cities and towns, and it shouldn't come at harming the students and communities long term. Mergers have been successful at other places and counties. However, those places had different agendas and circumstances.

5. It's always about the money, often in the form of the sports programs. Gaffney has one of the top sports programs in the state. They have been luring Blacksburg players for decades to come and play at the larger school. Merging the schools could potentially mean more revenue, and ensure that the powerhouse football program stays in the largest classification, the Big 16. Of course the community as a whole would have to fall in and show support. This could be more trouble than it's worth.

Well this is my piece. I would honestly like to see the best happen for the entire county. However, the school board needs a good, long term plan for saving and budgeting money, and not go for the quick fix.

10 Goal and Dream Setting And Achievement Tips

We all have things we want in life. When you make it a goal or mission to achieve such marks, it's more worthwhile and rewarding.

Dreaming is easy, goal setting is not or more people would do it. Here are some tips for setting goals.

1. Make them big, but realistic.

It's always good to dream big. However, know your limitations and build your way up. Think like a worker moving up the corporate ladder, or an athlete climbing from amateur to professional level competition.

2. Break goals into small, simple tasks, or sub-goals.

This goes back to the parable about eating the elephant. When you divide a goal into steps on how you will reach it,  you are more likely to achieve it.

3. Write down your goals and post them where they are regularly visible to you. 

Self-accountability comes into play here. You see these goals everyday and you measure and evaluate how close you are to achieving them. Posting them on the bathroom mirror, bedroom wall, and/or refrigerator are all good.

4. Separate short-term and long-term

Obviously being a millionaire or retiring is long term. Losing weight or getting a better job is more short term. Doing this helps to gauge your focus and direction.

5. Seek inspiration and motivation from role models.

These can include your parents, teachers, employers, clergy, and even celebrities. Also, if someone is more successful than you, find out how they reached these lengths. Many of them are actually more than helpful. You want to see where someone succeeded and failed, why and how, and learn from them.

6. Have a strong support system

I've written before about building a strong network. This is very important when achieving goals and benchmarks. Having a cheering section goes a long way. They can help you in the good and bad times, and they understand what you're ultimately trying to achieve.

7. Celebrate major milestones

When you've achieved part or all of a goal, celebrate. Go out with friends and family. Buy that new phone or golf clubs. You have earned these rewards.

8. Break tasks down to one/day to make the big picture easier to see.

If you're doing one thing per day to be closer to completion, it will add up and make progress. Most of us can deal with a small goal each day. Try this and then build on to each one to achieve your ultimate dreams.

9. Stay focused, and beware of the naysayers

There are times where you can get discouraged or bored. Don't lose your focus or your vision. Naysayers and such that do not understand your vision may hurl negative remarks and doubt your way. This should motivate you to keep pushing, for the simple fact that they don't think you can do it.

10. Never give up

Dreams may be altered and even deferred as life happens. However, don't ever give up or give in. There's always a way, just keep digging deeper.

Follow these steps, and you too can be closer to achieving excellence and success

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Miguel Cabrera v Chris Davis: Who's Gonna Get The Triple Crown?

Miguel Cabrera, 3rd baseman for the Detroit Tigers, has been quietly dominating the AL and the MLB for seasons now. He's as good of a hitter as you can find, and he also has a strong glove for first base.  He is the defending triple crown champion in Major League Baseball (runs, homeruns, and RBIs). Ole Miggy is in strong contention for a repeat.

However, he is having stiff competition from Chris Davis, first baseman, of the Baltimore Orioles.

Davis had his ups and downs early in his career as part of the Texas Rangers. However, this year, he's having a dream season. Going into the All-Star Break, he led the MLB in homers with 37, and is neck and neck with Cabrera in runs, RBIs and other miscellaneous stats. His slugging and on base percentage is also ridiculous. He was a unaminous choice for both the All-Star Game and Homerun Derby. Also, he is motivating and leading his team to a potential wild card berth.

Baseball can be a slow paced sport, especially if one doesn't appreciate or understand the art and science of it. However, this should be an exciting second half. Who cares that the Yankees are sinking faster than the Titanic? How many people are suprised that Ryan Braun is playing his way right out of the league? Right now Chris Davis is the most exciting player to watch, while Miguel may be the best and most consistent. He has unofficially taken A-Rod and Albert Pujols' place as the face of professional baseball.

Cabrera is undoubtedly headed to Cooperstown. Davis could follow if he can put together more seasons like this one. He is hotter than a Texas summer, and can get as good as he wants.

So who wins the triple crown? I believe Davis can and will unseat Cabrera, but Cabrera still gets at least a share of AL MVP. His stock hasn't had any decline in a while, and the Tigers are a sleeping giant.

Ok so for those that say they can't wait for football because baseball is too boring, watch this story and competition unfold. Barring injury and potential steroid allegations, it can be an epic tale.

Bald Man Issues

Male-pattern baldness has gone on for centuries. About 20 years ago, many men came up with many ways to deal with thinning and disappearing hair. Rogaine came on the market, as did commercials for various men's hair clubs. We all remember the tagline "I'm not just the president, but I'm also a client."

Many guys, such as myself, opted for a different approach: shaving the remaining hair and going completely bald. Surface-wise, this doesn't seem like a bad idea. Bald heads on men have been stylish since the 70s with Isaac Hayes and Telly Salvalas.  It reached a peak in the 90s when Michael Jordan was king of the basketball world and had a bald head also. Men liked the clean look, and women found it sexy.

I will admit, since I started shaving my head in 2006, women look at me differently, and often with greater amour. I have been compared to Fat Joe, Pitbull, Goldberg, Tom Joyner, and other such bald celebrities that have skin light as myself.

However, many men shave their heads trying to fight the costs of Rogaine and hair clubs. They fail to realize the overall maintenance involved in maintaining a cleanly shaven dome.

First, buy some quality razors. I have tried clippers but many of them often do not give me the close shave I like. Also, don't use the same razor repeatedly like you would on other body parts. Bumps and such rise on your head faster.  Also, be very careful, even with a regular razor. It is so easy to cut yourself. I've been doing it for seven years and I still occassionally nick myself.

You also should shower and rinse immediately. This will make most bleeding and stray stubble disappear, and give you more of a smooth and clean look.

There is maintenance involved in maintaining even a bald head. I know guys that still go to barbershops and let them do the work. For my head, I don't shave it everyday because my skin is sensitive. I don't like to go more than 2-3 days because the remaining hair I have starts growing faster, and often in patches.

So to my fellow bald men, come on and give it a try. But be mindful it is no picnic. Any and all suggestions are always welcome.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

2013 Mid Year Cowbell List

2013 has been quite a year so far. Lots of happenings: births, deaths, record breaking weather and news events. However, there are always some things that could use more cowbell.

I look back at the first half of 2013. My guess is many people are getting tired of being on my lists. The number of repeat offenders aren't as high. Here's who made my Hall of Shame this time around.


Nicki Minaj. You start all that drama with Mariah Carey, act bizarre again at the Grammys and then quit Idol. Perhaps you should try your hand at doing high end escorting.

Kanye West: First you neglect your baby mama Kim for most of her pregnancy. Then you name your child North, for North West. I shake my head at the torment that little girl will face.

The NBA: Getting too predictable now come playoff time, and the Dunk Contest is a joke. I am an avid NBA fan and I don't know half the guys that put on these slack dunks.


Manti Te'O: Man the world was your oyster. You have helped lead my Notre Dame Irish back to prominence. Then you go and get duped by an online chick. For a Notre Dame student, you weren't very smart with your heart.

DMX: Please stop driving, heck just move to an island and hide out for a while.

Autozone: You were once a huge help to the mechanically impaired such as myself. Now you won't even change a car battery or a headlight. You are on this list and my blacklist.

Mark Sanford: Running for Congress after you deceived my state, South Carolina, and you still win. I believe in forgiveness, but you don't need to be in politics.

Pistorous: You inspired us in the 2012 Olympics by running with no legs. Now you go and murder your girlfriend. Pitiful.

Jesse Jackson Jr: You have a condition that you need to properly treat, especially if you're going to be in the public eye. Also, become your own man. You are not your father.

Harlem Shake: How in the world did that dance make a comeback? It was cute when children did it, but that dance should have both an age limit and an expiration date.

Online voting contests: They are flawed, rigged, and shouldn't be taken seriously.

NCAA Selection Committee: You need some actual coaches, or at least someone that knows basketball picking the tourney field. Every year you out of touch clowns make more mistakes and stupid mismatches.

Sherwood Brown: I dub you "Fro-Locks" due to your inability to maintain your dreadlocks. I was impressed with Florida Gulf Coast and your "Dunk City" style of play, but the hair man, the hair!

Rutger's men coach and program:
You all need Dr. Phil right about now. You should know you cannot treat a student athlete like this and expect to get away. Look at Bobby Knight.

Ray-J: You have redefined thirst. Guess most of us don't appreciate something until it is gone.

Katt Williams: You need anger management man. You could easily be the best comic in the game right now, but you can't keep your hands off of Target employees.

BET's The Game: one word: terrible. This show took a month hiatus and now it's back. It needs to leave for good.

Charles Ramsey: you became a hero by saving those girls. However, you are a WorldStar coon at the same time. You are like everybody's drunk uncle and that's not a good look.

Lauryn Hill: Will you ever get it together again? Your mishaps make me miss the 90s more and more

Chad Johnson: You have great hands, but they should be kept to yourself. 

New Looney Tunes: OK there are some classics that should be left alone. Tom and Jerry has already been ruined.

Aaron Hernandez: I guess NFL players do think they can get away with murder. Well guess what, you PLAYED for the Patriots, not the Cowboys or the Raiders. And you're not Ray Lewis.

Paula Deen: Few are suprised with your behavior. Your past has caught up to you. And speaking of caught, that's why you've been crying and apologizing. You're not sorry.

Let's see what else 2013 has in store for us.