Sunday, August 25, 2013

Self-Love: How Important Is It?

The summer is almost over and we're getting into what many consider "boo season". The leaves start falling, the weather is cooler, and people are suddenly seeking companionship.

Now before any of you single folks jump into a relationship or even a fling or date, ask yourself this simple question: Do I love myself? If the answer is no, you need to find out why not, and work on loving yourself first.

I see all these articles, blogs and posts about love and relationships. Nicholas Sparks and Eric Jerome Dickey both make lots of money writing about romance. However, few, if any, touches on self-love.

Many wonder why that good looking gentleman or that gorgeous lady is over 30 and single. Sometimes they are simply working on themselves so they can be ready to love another soul. This can take time and patience.

So what are some ways that one can love and appreciate themselves? Here are a few.

1. Find out what you enjoy best and do it at least once/week. Go hiking. Take a road trip. Have a day where you either read your favorite book or watch your favorite show.

2. Surround yourself with people in your close circle who love and appreciate you for you. They will give you clarity and help you to see the beauty inside and outside.

3. Take yourself out on the town. Yeah you read that correctly. Go on a movie, a dinner date, to a game, or have a Netflix/Redbox night. Appreciate yourself so that others can appreciate you.

4. Smile often and keep laughter in your body. It is the best medicine. It has been said if you're not laughing, you're not living.

5. Step outside of the box and try something new. This can help test your trust, mostly of yourself. If you take a chance with you, you can work towards taking a chance with others.

Self-love is paramount to a successful romantic relationship. You can give more to your significant other when you feel the love inside. Often we all must start from scratch and do baby steps. Let loving yourself be a part of this.

So if you see someone you're interested, don't necessarily ignore them. Simply exchange information, and give them the proper time when you're ready and open for love.

Seven Dynamic Summer Movies of 2013

The 2013 summer movie season of 2013 is ending and a fine one it has been. Most every week there were movies, heralded and non heralded, that were noteworthy of seeing. Here are seven such movies that I enjoyed,plus some more that I would enjoy seeing at some point.

1. The Butler

Lee Daniels, director of 2009's "Precious" put together a masterpiece that is sure to guarantee Oscars. Forrest Whittaker portrayed the story of a black butler who served in the White House through seven presidencies. This is a must see for all ages, races and classes.

2. Man Of Steel

This is perhaps the best Superman movie since the Christopher Reeves series of the 70s and 80s. It has definitely set up a good series of future movies under a new and exciting storyline.

3. Fast Six

Just when you think you've had enough of the high speed chases, kills and cops, this movie keeps you wanting more, and adds more clarity to the entire series. Vin Diesel, The Rock,Paul Walker and the rest make an awesome action movie team.

4. Ironman 3

This movie kicked off the summer season and in fine fashion. It wrapped up the trilogy nicely, and we saw Tony Starks in a more humble and vulnerable state. Marvel simply knows how to crank out quality comic book movies

5. Hangover III

This movie didn't receive a lot of respect due to the success of Fast Six and the lackluster nature of Hangover II. Nevertheless, it was awesome. Many of the elements that made the first Hangover a classic were reprised, and again the Wolfpack provided the nonstop entertainment.

6. Grown Ups 2

Adam Sandler has found a powerful movie series and a comedic team, and he's staying with them. I went into this film with low expectations, but was very impressed. It was better than the first, and kept things fresh, minus Sandler's regular cast member, Rob Schneider. Will he return for Grown Ups 3?

7. The Internship

Another comedy that received low ratings but had big laughs. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn returned to the big screen as two middle aged men around a bunch of college co-eds. The antics were original, hilarious and fresh.

Other movies I want to see:  World War Z (although I'm not big on zombie or doomsday flicks), Fruitvale Station, and The Wolverine

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Brotherly Love: What It's Really About

One thinks of brotherly love and may reference three things: their blood-kin brother(s), brothers/friends from a fraternity or other similar social organization, and of course the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which is dubbed "the city of brotherly love."
I won't name all of my friends and family that I consider brothers as there are many and they are all special to me. I will mention my only brother, Adam.
Many of you know I lost him in 2006 to a drug overdose. However, we had that inside connection and bond that can be taught, but is usually formed naturally. We shared some of the same feelings regarding life, education, fun, movies, and of course family. Adam and I both loved our mother, and that was the main thing we bonded over. She raised us both to be men, and we would (and still will) do anything for her.
Proverbs talks about Christ being a friend that sticks closer than a brother. On another side of the spectrum, rapper Styles P once was paraphrased as saying the first thing learned in the hood is homeboy love. I can honestly say that when I started going to school and church, I learned about the love for my friends and homies outside of my family. Many of them became more than family over the years and I'm grateful for them, especially since my brother is no longer with me..
The bond you share with your brothers, friends, boys, etc is like no other. They know you better than you know yourself. When you're serious about a woman, you bring her around them to see how everybody interacts. You have fun together, laugh, and often just chill.  Jokes are often cracked and debates and arguments arise. However, the brotherly bond really shows when one is in need or in trouble. No one outside of the circle will mess with you, talk bad about you, or cause you harm. I have this same feeling towards my brothers.
I have been faced with a lot of changes and transitions over the past year. This has involved getting closer to those that appreciate my time and attention, and distancing myself from those that do not deserve it. This even included some family that weren't treating me as such. As I was going through my phone and social media lists, it became clearer who my friends and brothers were. I could contact them at anytime for any little thing, and I didn't have to question their loyalty in the least.
This post is geared for the fellas, but I feel women can also apply it in their friendships and sisterhoods. You want people that are in your corner, will love you unconditionally, and will tell you what you need to hear, rather than what sounds good.
Times change and so do some people. I feel blessed at the bonds and connections I have gained. When I was looking at my various friend and contact lists, I came to realize how close I am with so many people, and that the bonds were often so strong we could go without talking for months and pick back up where we last left off.
It's not always macho for men to show and express their feelings. However, loyalty, a firm handshake, and simply fun times are some great ways to show your fellow man that he is appreciated.

Seven People and Stories That Should Be Highlighted on SEC Storied

ESPNU has a program they air frequently called "SEC Storied". It speaks of the lives and careers of athletes and coaches from SEC member schools.
The Southeastern conference has risen in notoriety over the past few decades. Here are some more stories that should be on SEC Storied, if not already in production.
1. Steve Spurrier
The Ol' Ball Coach is as associated with the SEC as anybody or any team. He was a Heisman winning quarterback in 1966 for the University of Florida, later went back to Florida as a coach and won several SEC championships and a national title. After a brief stint in the NFL, he took over the football program at the University of South Carolina. He has made them one of the top programs not only in the SEC but the entire country. Several school records have been broken under Spurrier, and many more may be broken this season.
2. Candace Parker
She was perhaps the most talented female basketball player ever to suit up for the University of Tennessee and the legendary coach Pat Summitt. She was the first female to dunk in a game, led the Lady Vols to a national title, and won several individual awards. She is now a wife, mother, and a successful WNBA player for the Los Angeles Sparks.
3. Joe Namath
Alabama's football program is once again a dynasty. However, many forget one of the most decorated players to play for the Crimson Tide: Broadway Joe. He was more known for his NFL career, being one of the top quarterbacks of the 60s and 70s, and leading the New York Jets to a Super Bowl title. Namath has appeared in TV and commercials since his Alabama and pro ball days.
4. Michael Oher
Yes that's Big Mike from the movie "The Blind Side." His story of overcoming poverty and discrimination to receive a scholarship at Ole Miss and later be drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, the defending Super Bowl champions, is an awesome one. There are plenty of other angles to Oher.
5. 2006-2007 University of Florida basketball team
This team became the first repeat NCAA champs since Duke in 1991-1992.  Four of the five starters roomed together during their time at Florida. Six players were drafted from that team and three of them continue to have continued NBA success: Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer.
6. Ray Tanner.
This is essentially the man that broke the "Chicken Curse" in South Carolina. South Carolina had never won a national championship in a major collegiate team sport until Ray Tanner lead the Gamecock baseball team to back to back NCAA College World Series titles in 2010-2011, and a return appearance in 2012. He is now athletic director at South Carolina, ensuring that all of their programs remain competitive in the SEC.
7. The Manning family.
The entire Manning family of Archie, his wife Olivia, and their three sons, Cooper, Peyton and Eli, are storied in SEC lore. Archie and Eli were both star quarterbacks for Ole Miss, Peyton for Tennessee. Olivia was once Homecoming Queen for Ole Miss, and Cooper was probably the best athlete in the family until his career was ended by a spinal cord injury. Archie had a good and long NFL career, but Peyton and Eli both appear headed to the Hall of Fame. Peyton has several NFL passing and touchdown records and a Super Bowl ring. Eli has earned two rings with the New York Giants, and appears to improve yearly.
Honorable mentions: Ryan Lochte, Jay Cutler, Hines Ward, Chaminique Holdslaw, Lou Holtz, Terrell Davis, Pat Riley

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Being An Animal Lover

I have loved various animals for as long as I can recall. Dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, fish, and various other types of animals, varmints, critters, etc. Chalk it up to growing up in the country and always having animals around.

My grandpa used to have dogs and chickens all around. The dogs and puppies were easier to get attached to. Then we got cats and that was another attachment. I would always take it hard when one of my pets would pass away. I would dig them a shallow grave and all.

Many animals do not scare me as I have been around them for so long and show them lots of love. I have found them to be more loyal than many humans. They don't talk or argue back. Rather they simply cuddle and listen.

I have grown closer to cats these past nine years through having my pet cat, Tiny, then through feeding my mom's animals when she was injured. Tiny was like a family member to me. When she passed away suddenly from flea infestation, it really hurt me. I am still getting used to the idea of my sweet black and white cat not roaming around my couch while I try to relax, or even blog.

You have to not only love animals, but have love in your heart, to understand the pain I have experienced. Having pets taught me responsibility as well as compassion coming up. I love seeing puppies and kittens become tame and growing up.

Animal control and the Humane Society has to take in too many animals due to negligent owners. I have often found myself treating mine like human beings. Therefore, I cannot fathom mistreating an animal.

It may be a while before I have another inside animal, but you can bet I will always find one outside to adore and spoil.

Seven Cell Phone Games Of Note

One of the things that have made smartphones and tablets popular have been high quality games with awesome graphics. They can easily pass the time at a restaurant, social gathering, waiting room, or simply at home after a long day.

Here are seven such games available in the Google Play store that provide this excitement.

1. Candy Crush Saga

This is without question the most popular and addictive cell phone game of the year. Thousands download and play it everyday. It's advantageous to have friends to send you lives, unlock episodes and such. I am not currently playing it because I feel it's based a lot on luck and chance, plus the developers try to trick you into buying the tools that help you to complete each level easily.

2. Family Feud and Friends

I have always been a fan of Family Feud and of course of trivia and surveys. This game is my current addiction. It mirrors the real game in that friends can help each other complete Fast Money Rounds and gain levels.

3. Poker

Card games seem to never go out of style. There are several variations and versions of Texas Hold Em Poker that many still love to play. There are some that play for money, but many do it for the fun.

4. Angry Birds

Even with four different versions of the game, the original Angry Birds continues to be very popular. It's based on skill and a little luck. You want to beat every level on the game, not unlike many other games. Angry Birds has become a cultural phenomemon, which is where Candy Crush may be headed next.

5. Words With Friends

This game also continues to be popular, whether or not you use cheat codes. It's very similar to Scrabble, and people love testing their prowess on words and puzzles.

6. Temple Run

This game is really exciting as you move through levels in a 3rd person view. You jump, dodge, slide and glide your way to victory.

7. 4 Pics Games

You have these various games where given 4 Pics, you must choose 1 word, song, or other such item. These games are addicting and challenging. I haven't seen many master these games yet.

So what is your favorite cell phone game? Could it be Fruit Ninja? Bejeweled Blitz? Subway Surfers?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Hookah Craze: More Than A Bong?

Hookahs and hookah lounges have been taking off in the US since the 70s and 80s. It seems they have become more prevelant in larger cities.

Many would think on the surface they are like marijuana bongs. However, they are more than that.

Hookahs have been around for hundreds of years. They were created in a similar design to bongs. However, they had tobacco instead of cannibis. Middle Easterners really popularized them. Then they spread to Asia.  By this time, hookah lounges were popular.  Years later, they would come to the US and people were intrigued.

However, regulations had to be enforced for many lounges to stay open. They could no longer use simply tobacco or flavored tobacco in their hookahs. It had to be a tobacco substitute. The tobacco used prior already had different fruit flavors and such. Now there couldn't be any pure tobacco.

The secondhand smoke and toxins released into the body have proven to be just as harmful as smoking three cigarettes. This goes for the hookahs that don't have traditional tobacco.

I believe hookahs have gotten popular for the novelty alone. People are always looking into the next craze or what's cool. It goes back to the playground as a child either. For the most part, hookahs are not harmful. However, if you have one and are using it every night, or if you visit the lounge every weekend, you could have a problem.

Since they have been around for hundreds of years, I hardly see them as a fad. However, I do see them as something that FDA and other health officials could be keeping a closer eye on. Like anything else, moderation needs to be in order.

2013 NFL Preview

The first preseason game of the NFL season, the Hall of Fame game, is now in the books. Training camp is in full effect, and the NFL is almost back.

Personally I don't pay much attention to preseason games except for fantasy purposes. I feel they are boring since the starters don't play much until the final preseason matchup.

Now how do you think your favorite team will fare? Here's a preview thus far on the best, rest, and the worst.


It appears the NFC still has the superior talent,  although Baltimore is the defending champs. The 49ers, Falcons, Patriots and the Broncos are the superior teams currently. The entire AFC South minus the Jaguars is worthy of notice, as are the Bengals, Seahawks, Redskins and Packers.


It appears we have several teams that are sleepers or question marks. These include the Giants, Panthers, Saints, Vikings, Lions, Jets, and Chargers. You cannot leave out the aforementioned Ravens.  They have lost key pieces of their defense, including Ray Lewis. Many of these teams' successes will rely heavily on their QB play. The Jets have quite a tussle for QB. The Lions will need to fit Reggie Bush into their system with Stafford and Megatron.


The Chiefs and the Jaguars will continue to struggle this year. The Browns, Raiders and Cardinals will be improved, but aren't expected to make any noise. Miami needs to rediscover a running game, Dallas has lots of adjustments to make, and St. Louis may be a year or two away. By mid-season, it will be clear who has given up and is playing for the chance to have Clowney in 2014.

I didn't mention every team, but the ones of particular note. May the 2013 season be an enjoyable one. I can't wait for it all to begin for real!