Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 End Year Wrap Up In News, Pop Culture and Current Affairs, With An Awards Type Twist

Another year is ending and it's time for my second list of the year. Not many repeats but plenty of newbies. It appears ignorance continues to be as big of an epidemic as Ebola was.


OJ/Zimmerman award: Oscar Pistorius. You got off scot free. My advice: run with your artificial legs and hide.
Violent NFL player: (tie) Ray Rice and Suh. Ray, Ray, Ray. C'mon man, worry more about behaving than having to defend yourself when things go south. Suh, this goes double for you.

Dirty Butt award: The Kardashians. As much money as you ladies have, you all could put on some clothes.

Unjust award: The U.S. Justice System. You will continue to receive this award until matters improve. People have had enough of this unjust violence and killing.

Network that needs to be canceled: VH-1. The awful programming and TV movies continues. You are not a quality network at all when Hit The Floor is arguably your best show.


Corporate rant: Krispy Kreme doughnuts. When you all have a special, you need to staff and plan properly. I work in a packaging environment and your sluggish work ethic would not be tolerated. Perhaps you need the motivational manager from Target to come in and put some fire in you all.

Fake out award: Josh Shaw. C'mon man I know you're just a young man. But you should have learned how not to lie long ago, like kindergarten.

Troubled athlete: Jameis Winston. You're down to your last strike. Go ahead and go pro before you taint yourself further

Television rant: One Hour Premieres/Finales. This breeds an attitude of laziness and lack of creativity. I know you're required to produce x amount of shows/series. A two parter should neither be the premiere or finale. Cliffhangers have long been played out also.

Ratchet behavior: black weddings. Please, my people, try not to keep hungry guests waiting at the reception. And have everything organized. Here's a suggestion: ensure that the ceremony and the reception are at the same venue or close by.

Show Me The Money: Todd Gurley. You were on your way to the Heisman. The only honorable thing you did was being honest about breaking the rules.

Restaurant rant: TGI Fridays. Your endless apps promotion is like false advertising. You should make it more clear that it's one appetizer per person per visit.

Questionable behavior: these new names for children. It's like parents are being too creative. Some of the names are even hard for the adults to spell. Follow the KISS principle and stop trying to make children bigger targets for bullies.

School rants: excessive teacher workdays and awards days. I don't care what anyone says, the students are out of school now more than they ever have been. And all these excessive awards shows is doing is giving them an extra sense of entitlement.

Cell phone rant: Alltel to AT&T. You guys have NOT handled these merger well at all. You all better pray that I am not contacting the FCC in a few weeks.

Arrogant athlete: Brad Keslowski. You win one championship and you think you're the best in the game. Sit down somewhere and get back in line.

Overpriced accessory : athletic watches (Garmin, Fitbit, etc). How about RunKeeper, or one of the many other smartphone apps out for free and give me that $200?

Government issue: Roads in South Carolina and North Carolina. They haven't been properly maintained in over five years and people's vehicles are being destroyed. I suffered three flat tires over a weekend, unacceptable!

Ignorant outspoken one: Elizabeth Lauten. You should know you can't come after the President's children.

The what the what: Malaysian plane sonars. Ok this is two missing planes in a year's time. Get it together please!

Happy New Year and continue to live a life that will keep you off of lists like these

Monday, December 22, 2014

Greta Prince: Discover Her Greatness And Unique Style

Local R&B singer Greta Prince has slowly been making a splash since opening for legend Mary J. Blige at the 2012 Essence Music Festival. She even released a single shortly thereafter "You Should Know." Now as 2014 closes out, she has another single "Forever" , an album in the works, several local and Christmas concerts and performances. Also book your tickets for the 2015 Essence Festival as Miss Prince will once again be there.

I met this sweet down home young lady with big brown eyes over 10 years ago. I knew she was studying music but I didn't realize how talented she was until I heard her sing. She had/has those unique, strong pipes and vocals that you don't hear often. Greta showed me back then that she would be someone special.

She decided to pursue her music full time a few years ago when she was laid off from her job in Charlotte, NC. Now Prince resides in Atlanta, GA and has come along well. She has gained numerous musical and performing opportunities since her first Essence appearances and continues to grow as an artist.

Her biggest musical influences are Patti LaBelle (her absolute favorite) and the aforementioned Mary J. Prince loves strong, powerful, but versatile voices. She  loves Mary J. Blige's style; passion when she performs, and her music. Greta also love opera, so African American opera singers Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle have influenced her with their grace and poise.

Greta performs in Atlanta weekly at a few more intimate spots, plus she puts on her own concerts with the band she works with for the major holiday.

Prince's EP is expected to drop sometime early next year.  She loves hip hop, especially from the 90s so it'll have some hip hop influences track wise.  Greta also loves acoustic music, guitar and piano in particular so she's working on something that features these instruments and vocals.  She also wants to sing about love and relationships in a positive, healthy way.  This was her style in "You Should Know." as she doesn't male bash, and her songs are very positive and uplifting, from the vocals to the lyrics.

Greta and her band play at a few spots in Atlanta weekly for several months now.  She was recently a guest performer at a jazz Christmas concert.  Additionally, she is hard at work on her EP and the 2015 Essence Music Festival performance.

Greta would like to give thanks and honor to her Heavenly Father first and foremost. Second, her mom for sacrificing for her and her brother:  pushing Greta to continue to pursue her dreams,utilize her talents, and for just being there.  Next is her big brother for all of his guidance in helping her maneuver through the business aspects of the music industry and being her biggest supporter. Also she shouts out her church families in Georgia and North Carolina for their continued prayers and support.  Finally, her lil niece for making her auntie Greta feel like a superstar already and ALL of her family.

Greta is definitely a rare talent, and a very grounded , humble , positive and family oriented young lady. She is taking the positive and clean route in her music: proving you don't have to be trashy and negative to make it in the music industry. She is taking us back to a happier time in R&B and in music.

Connect with Greta Prince via Facebook, www.facebook.com/greta.prince, Twitter: iAMgretaprince and Instagram @iamgretaprince and on reverbnation www.reverbnation.com/gretaprince. Her songs and performances can also be found via iTunes, Google Play and YouTube. Please check out this young lady and stay encouraged as good wholesome music still exists.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014 Christmas Letter

This is the piece I honestly look forward to writing each year. I get to wish everyone associated with me a Happy Holiday season. Many prefer cards and that is fine. I prefer the letter format because it is more extra personal, and it is available at anytime. Plus it ensures I don't leave anyone out.

2014 was a resurrection year for myself in many ways: physical, mental, social, and spiritual. I finally got back on track with my fitness goals after a year at Anytime Fitness. I lost over 50 pounds but more importantly, I gained tools to help me sustain my weight loss better. I am eating more cleanly and loving it. Additionally I have made several fitness connections in the Spartanburg and Rock Hill areas, including my running club. I plan to continue toning up in 2015, and running at least one half marathon.

I attended two weddings this year. Both were coworkers of mine and were both different but enjoyable. My day will come but until then, I will enjoy the happiness of others.

Having a strong social circle has been a blessing to me as I get invited to many outings and events, and almost always feel welcome.

I have learned to do more cooking this year, including my own hash and macoroni and cheese recipes. Hopefully these and my grilling skills will help me to return the favor and host more gatherings in 2015.

Service organizations were big for me this year. I was still heavily involved with Smokin Rita and Friends, then became involved with Save Our Children Movement Inc and The Nemo Group. Service to others and helping young children are both near and dear to my heart.

Employment wise, I completed my 11th year at the Robert Allen Group. I was more successful with finding side income, including reconnecting with two of my long time mentors.

My writings were strong, diverse and aimed at covering many hot and controversial issues. I plan on starting an e-book and continuing to find ways for folks to take me seriously as a writer.

Family wise, everything is overall well. There were plenty of new additions. My mom decided in her 60th year on the planet to learn smart phones and even joined Facebook, which she loves most days. For the first time in 20 years, I was able to take her out for her birthday and Mother's Day. She still prefers the comforts of her home, but she made more of an effort to reach out in 2014.

Life hasn't been perfect, but it has been good. I can sit back and reflect on a lot of positive things from 2014 and carry them over into next year.

Happy Holidays to everyone out there! I love you all and I feel grateful for those that allow me into their presence. God bless each and everyone!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Learning Statistics Through The Board Game Monopoly

The holiday season is usually when many of us gather with our close friends and family. A popular family game has always been Monopoly. This game is available in dozens of different versions, including even an electronic version.

It is fun, but it also educational. One can learn plenty about aspects of business, specifically finance and statistics. Look at some of the characteristics.

1. The game is based heavily on how the dice rolls. Seven is your most common number between two sets of die, whereas it is less rare you will roll two ones (snake eyes) or two sixes.

2. The properties most commonly landed on are the orange and red properties. This is mostly due to the fact that they are the closest proximity from jail. Some of the least landed on properties include Boardwalk and Park Place. Perhaps you should think twice before buying this expensive property.

3. Luxury Tax and Income Tax are very likely spots as well, depending upon how many players you have.

4. This is in reference to #1. One can think of Monopoly in the same fashion as a crap game or even a game of dice. Since the game is heavily weighted on where and what you land on, it's once again all about the roll.

5. It is rare, and rarer when there is four or more players, to land on all three properties of any color group and actually own them. Therefore, be ready to fight, negotiate and reason with your opponents.

Knowing a few of these basic facts and stats can make you a better Monopoly player, and help you to understand statistics better. There are a few tables online that actually shows the probabilities for landing on certain spaces, and a top to bottom ranking far as which property is highest in frequency depending on a few factors.

Therefore it wouldn't hurt to improve at statistics this holiday season so you can increase your chances of being your Monopoly house champion.

How much of Monopoly do you think is chance? How well can you control the results of your dice roll?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bill Cosby: Up and Down, then Down Again

Wow how the mighty has fallen.

Actor/scholar/comedian Bill Cosby has been getting a lot of attention for someone in their 80s whose heyday was supposed to have passed by. Many of you know of the rape allegations and the dark cloud that is over Cos currently.

Isn't it coincidental that these allegations and such come right when Cosby is making a resurrection of his once-dormat career? Seriously though? Many of these supposed sexual assaults occurred more than 20 years ago.

This indeed seems to be quite a convenient time for anyone to come after Cos. A successful comedy tour, back out on the road, had a couple of television deals in the works. All of this is now meaningless without much proof at all. TV Land has even pulled the popular "The Cosby Show" from syndication in the wake of this debacle.

It definitely seems like these victims were out to get a piece of him while he was back on top, and everyone else is kicking him while he's down. No one is seemingly coming to his rescue.

Now while Dr. Cosby has paid off one of the women before, and cheated on his long time wife years ago, that is not a direct connection to this case. Apparently innocent into proven guilty isn't holding up well.

My thing is we are all humans and we are all fallable. I'm not personally saying Cosby is guilty or innocent. I'm simply saying let's allow all of the facts to come out before we hastily accuse him. Thus far, it's mostly been here say.  It would be unfair if Cosby's side of the story holds up, and then no repair to his longstanding image is restored.

Let's look at all of the raw details and evidence first. Someone will always be out to capitalize on an opportunity or to bring someone down. We should all make sure it is more than that first and foremost.

Do you think Bill Cosby assaulted those women? How do you view him as a person?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Standing Your Ground Is Brutal and Possible

I definitely can't breathe right now and it's more than just the continuous unjust murders of Black men by crooked law enforcement officers. It is the way it is being handled, the fallout and the fact that I have yet to see any effective action or plan to finally corral this madness.

Many people of all walks of life are sick and tired of either hearing about , seeing it or all the above.

I noted some possible solutions in my article I wrote when Troy Davis was unjustly executed a few years ago. The U.S. Justice System and law enforcement alike should be looked at more seriously as this is a dangerous pattern. I mean, really what will it take for this to come to a head? Will a person of great wealth and prominence have to be murdered first?

One thing is for sure, this type of thing has been going on for decades and even centuries. Sure things have improved but some things remain the same. Certain people have too much authority and abuse it.  They are power hungry and get an emotional high from flaunting their position. That should come as very little of a surprise to many.

However, here are some more points and observations I have made over the past few days.

1. One of the biggest problems here is the same things keep happening because the right people aren't doing the proper things to prevent it. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. Rioting and looting are violent, protests are often too peaceful, and boycotts are typically ineffective. There needs to be some proactive NOT reactive solutions made. We cannot complain and such after the fact. Action starts now before something tragic can happen again.

2. Although this problem appears geared towards blacks against crooked police and the justice system, keep this in mind. There are ignorant, violent and corrupt shells of humans in every profession. Good and evil always coexist. They make it bad for the ones that are good and actually serve and protect. Also, this transcends race, class, religious or political affiliation. It is an AMERICAN problem. That being said, we cannot get anything done until we have UNITY among like minded, positive people. History has proven that this is doable. We simply have to organize as a country and come to a consensus that this is a nationwide problem, like a virus.

3. History can be changed and made. It also repeats itself because of the aforementioned insanity going on. We fail to see where we are ineffective; therefore bad cops continue to murder whom they want, and the justice system is still broken.

4. Going back to unity, we need to agree that this violence is enough. No one wants to bury their loved ones, especially for unjust purposes. Change never comes easily and often takes time. However now is the moment for baby steps and for all of us to discover common, middle ground.

The streets can once again be safe, and stand your ground laws can mean something. You just have to be proactive in your approach to the powers that be, and have as many movers, shakers and heavy hitters as possible. Refuse to take no for an answer until we reach a point of greater peace. Then perhaps in 2015 or in a few more years, we can breathe a sigh of hope and relief again.

These are my thoughts and I am entitled to them. I wanted to think outside of the box because that seems to be most effective right now. We are trying to end a growing, ongoing problem. Therefore, we must do things out of our comfort zone that we have never did before. Our forefathers and ancestors did it to improve our generation. It is our turn now. Basically, be history or make history.

I gladly welcome all feedback and thoughts.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Orange Is The New Black Review

It's a feeling of accomplishment in this era when one is caught up on a TV show series. Netflix, DVRs, and the vast pallet of choices of television shows and movies can cause one to be behind on a sitcom or drama for months and years, then quickly catch up. 

This past weekend, I finally got current on Netflix's first original drama series Orange Is The New Black. And I have to say it was well worth it and I'm ready for season 3, set to be available in June 2015.

The setting is Litchfield Women's Prison in Wisconsin. The protagonist/star is Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling. She is serving an 18 month stretch for a white collar crime caused by her lesbian lover Alex Vause (Laura Prepon from That 70's Show). Each episode digs and delves into the back story of many of the inmates. You see all sorts of personalities, stereotypes, and even of those on the outside, like Piper's fiancee' Larry (played by Jason Biggs of American Pie fame).

This is an extremely well written, well scripted, raw and gritty show. It is highlighted by an awesome theme song "You've Got Time" by Regina Spektor.

Viewers can see how in prison, one typically sticks with their own type, culture and race, and how they are humans also, many of which simply made that one wrong turn in life. The corruption and politics in prison administration is also shown, including even power hungry guards and wardens. One must be careful not to step out of line or you will either get a shot or sent to solitary confinement "the shoe."

This is a series geared towards women, but I feel all mature audiences can enjoy it. Episodes are also available on YouTube if you don't have a Netflix account.

Have you seen Orange is The New Black? What are your views on it?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

30 Things I'm Thankful For

This is the month and the season that many of us list what we are most thankful for. I have been doing this via social media the past two years. Below are 30 of these such things which makes me most grateful.

1. My Lord and Savior God, and His son Jesus

2. Having a wonderful mother who is always there for me and loves me unconditionally

3. Faithful and loyal friends and family

4. Being able to write every week and have a blog

5. Advancements in technology such as HDTV, computers, tablets, and smart phones

6. A warm home to live in and a roof over my head

7. A reliable car to drive.

8. Gainful and steady employment for over a decade

9. Always having a good meal to eat

10. Knowledge and the ability and privilege to gain more

11. My positive transformations this year: physical, mental and emotional

12. Being able to work out and attend the gym regularly

13. Finding a good gym (Anytime Fitness) that meets my financial, physical and personal needs

14. Awesome mentors in my life that still guide and encourage me to this day

15. The service organizations I am involved in, which allow me to give back and encourage others.

16. Being able to rest and relax. Both of these are very underrated.

17. Having a strong and diverse network of various people.

18. Various sports which are competitive and entertaining.

19. The people that have left my life and presence. They were around for a reason and a season.

20. Regularly having a party or a gathering to attend. I am always flattered and honored when someone invites me out.

21. My animals, and showing me another way to love, especially my new cat, Little Kitty.

22. YouTube, and the ability to view and post videos.

23. Music, for it is truly the universal language

24. Having a more kinder and gentler nature

25. My ambition and desire for life.

26. Good entertainment on television and radio

27. Awesome pastors such as Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer

28. Seasons such as Fall and the changing and transitioning of the things around me

29. That I am improving daily and am not the same person I was yesterday

30. For being able to love myself and have few regrets

What are some of the things you are most thankful for?

Monday, November 17, 2014

WU Homecoming: How It Has Evolved Over The Past Two Decades

Another homecoming just wrapped up at Winthrop University this past weekend. It appeared to again be a successful one. I know I had loads of fun, and was much more tired than I originally thought I would be.

20 years ago, this may have not been the case at all.

I wrote a piece four years ago as Winthrop's Homecoming was just starting to change and mature, mostly because of the student body and alums stepping in. Now it has become arguably the most unsung college homecoming in the Carolinas. Back in the mid 90s, I didn't think I would be saying this.

During that era, it was literally all about the game and the NPHC step show and that was it. Most of the parties were catered for the students only. Also, festivities took place in February, not uncommon for a medium size, liberal arts college without a football team.

In 2009, the university decided to move festivities to the Fall. Slowly mixers and socials became less frequent and there were more activities to cross over for students and alums alike.

This year alone, 2014, could be the year that Homecoming has turned the corner and taken that next step. Over the years, the pre game tailgate has become the most popular event and grows yearly, attracting more and more student organizations and alums. Even the unusually cold weather didn't thin the crowd as people still came in droves.

A pre Homecoming talent show was added a few years ago. The on campus Homecoming party on Friday night has become a staple. This year, it was a Mardi Gras celebration preceded by a stand up comedy performance by comedian/actor Brandon T. Jackson. At least seven off campus parties were held between Thursday and Saturday. It appears the game and the step show are no longer the main attractions. Nevertheless, homecoming is finally fun for all ages and demographics. It's all about recapturing the social experience and showing the alums how welcome they are.

It feels great to return every year. The energy level is high wherever a group of WU alums are gathering and for those few days, everyone is back at school again. The worries of the everyday world are put on hold until Sunday. And as with most events, social media and smart phones have enhanced the experience. One can keep up with classmates year round and view pictures and updates from the festivities. Indeed the WU has come a long long way since 1996.

Now let's just see what happens when Winthrop finally gets a football team.

Do you normally attend Winthrop's homecoming events? Did you attend this year? What do you most enjoy about Homecoming?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Why I Would Make A Good Husband

I've been told many times by different people that I'm perfect marriage material and would make a great husband. Now I'm very humbled and flattered to know this. I would also like to know why this is the case. It may also explain some reasons why I have been single for so long.

Therefore are some reasons I conjured up as I made a case for myself as to why I would make a good husband.

1. I know how to treat others well, especially a woman

I speak and write often about how I was raised by two women who taught me manners and to treat others well and like human beings. I feel being good to others only yields positive reinforcement and I love positive, residual action.

2. I am healthy and in shape.

This extends more than my physique and even how much I work out or how well I eat. I also want my health and vitals to be in order and to beat generational diseases and curses. Therefore, I stay healthy in mind, body and spirit.

3. I am extremely hard working

I have been working since age 16, have held several jobs, and have been with the same company for 11 years. Additionally, I do other legal things for additional income which allows me to live a comfortable lifestyle, keep my bills paid and have a good credit score. Money isn't everything but it is important. I try to make my relentless work ethic an equalizer.

4. I am well educated and intelligent.

Education is very important to me. I always want to learn something new everyday. I stay well read and keep my mind sharp. I like to be interesting and interested in what's going on.

5. Good sense of humor

I absolutely love comedy, from watching stand up and improv comedy, to sitcoms on TV and joking and kidding around. I like to live life to the fullest and be happy and have others around me feel the same. If you aren't laughing, you aren't living.

6. Attractive

I am not being conceited here, but confident. I feel I am an attractive man, inside and out. I don't make it a point to flaunt it either. I am very down home about it all, and I want my inner beauty to shine more. The exterior fades but the interior can last forever.

7. Female friends, etc

This may seem like a negative but keep reading before you judge. I have a good network of ladies (my mom, aunts, cousins, friends) with whom I trust and confide in regarding female issues. I know I can go to them with most problems. I like to stay in touch with what the opposite sex needs and wants.

8. I don't take any crap and I am a tough person.

I realize I don't fit the profile. But trust and believe I am not one to be crossed. I know how to defend myself properly as well as my lady. I feel I am a man's man with an old soul. I am mentally and physically tough and often use my biggest muscle: my brain when faced with controversy and adversity.

9. I never want to stop dating

Too often when the vows are said, the dating stops. I don't ever want that to be the case with the person I'm with. I want us to always be boyfriend and girlfriend. The couples and marriages I have seen endure the longest practice this behavior.

10. I am very spiritual

This is more important than being religious to me. I definitely subscribe to a higher power, God and Jesus, and try to live in line with the Bible's teachings. I feel God is love and I want to continually practice God's love and grace towards others.

Well ladies here it is. If you have any further questions or additions, comment or hit me up personally.

How To Complain About A Company Or A Service

'Tis the season where we are out in the public much more through shopping, eating out and just being exposed to good and bad customer service. Those that know me well, know I will not hesitate to go above an employee's head and as high as the corporate office if necessary. I have done this a few times and have gotten various results, even have corporate reps and executives call and personally apologize to me, then rectify the problem.

There are right and wrong ways to get your way and let your voice and thoughts be heard. Here are some of the right ways.

1. Be proactive not reactive.

Don't lose your cool instantly but don't waste a lot of time in reporting the incident. If you're out and about, report it immediately, then go up the ladder until you get satisfaction. Prompt and quick, polite action can get you far.

2. Make your complaints at appropriate time periods and methods.

Emails and voicemails only go so far. Make sure you speak to a live person and or manager. Try not to call first thing in the morning or at the end of the day, or near a weekend. Your complaints will be best heard when the other party is most alert and focused on the task at hand.

3. Remember all pertinent information, and if out in public, record a video of the incident.

YouTube and WorldStar HipHol have been putting companies and people on blast for quite some time now. In addition to video evidence, gather employee and manager's names, descriptions, exactly what the problem is and how it was mishandled.

4. Diffuse the blame and make it interpersonal.

I realize this can be difficult. However, be sure to let customer service reps or anyone not directly involved that you are complaining against their company and NOT necessarily them. Often they are doing as they are told. This is when you need to do #5.

5. Climb the ladder as far up as necessary.

Know the basic hierarchy and try to stick to it when making complaints. Keep it in house if possible. If not, continue to make your voice heard and be relentless until this happens, even if you have to reach owners, CEOS, and the like.

6. Know your rights, regulations and use them.

You can do a lot of good for yourself when you understand the code of conduct and decorum. For example, restaurants have to comply to health and labor regulations, and phone services have to comply by the FCC. If it goes to the point of using legal council and law enforcement, by all means use your judgment and do it! You don't want to be the enemy, but places of businesses need to know you're no pushover.

OK well go get them and good luck!

Have you ever complained publicly about a company or a service? What useful tips do you have to add?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Some Necessary Cell Phone Accessories

Many of you are in the process of a cell phone upgrade as the holiday and tax seasons rapidly approach, along with a nice selection of new phones. I recently upgraded my own phone from the Samsung Galaxy GS4 to the GS5. My carrier handles upgrades in a way of allowing you to bundle extra bells and whistles in the form of accessories. I was given the option of picking out so many accessories for a discounted fee. Some were easy, others took some quick thinking into my needs and wants. These vary from person to person. Nevertheless, being on my fifth different smartphone in almost as many years has me in touch with these needs and wants. Here are some accessories I believe one must or should have with their mobile device.

1. A nice case.

This can range from a simple $10 case from a mall kiosk, or a fancier one such as an OtterBox or a BodyGlove. I have had each and can say both are good and will protect your phone well.

2. Extra charger for work, travel, etc

Smartphones use more data and battery power than ever. Therefore, one may need to charge it midday, and particularly at night. Therefore, an additional charger (or two) may be necessary. Get yourself a good, quality one that can also hook into a car charger or a USB cable. Wal-Mart is a retailer that sells these sorts of chargers for around $5 or less for Android and iPhones. They tend to last a little while also.

3. Sims card

Yeah this seems pretty obvious and many phones come with one already. However do not confuse the SD card (required for many phones to function) with the SIMS card, which gives you additional memory, allows you to backup and carry your information with you. The amount of memory you desire is completely up to you and how much you use your phone for pictures, videos, apps and such.

4. Bluetooth device.

Yes those new Bluetooth devices that are headsets are quite fancy and not as funny looking as the ones that stick out of your ear. They also come in handy and are required in many states. Many of you may have automobiles with this feature already built in. However, it still doesn't hurt to have one while you're out and about.

5. Earphones

Your phone usually comes with these also, and the aforementioned Bluetooth can serve as an additional set. However, you may want some bigger, fancier headphones for outside activity or for viewing videos in private. Beats By Dre are popular and pricey. However, one can find plenty of good headsets and earbuds that will not break the bank.

6. Screen Covers.

You want your screen protected from grease and scratches. All of that swiping and touching puts quite the wear and tear on a screen. Choose to protect your device, and at a typically cheap price.

7. Car Charger

Especially if you ever get stranded or if you like to listen to a lot of music from your phone, this is pretty much necessary. They are usually no more than around $5 , and fit in most any vehicle's cigarette lighter.

Other goodies of note: auxiliary cord/connector to car stereo, speakers/hub for the phone, extra cell phone battery, portable charger (these are neat) and even a backup phone.

Which accessories are the most necessary for your cell phone?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Preparing For A High School Or A College Reunion

We are still in reunion and Homecoming season for high schools and colleges. You are seeing people that you might not normally see, haven't seen in years, or do not care to see. It's an interesting variety to deal with. Old memories are rekindled. New ones are formed. Nostalgia is in the air.

Here are a few tips that I have found it helpful when preparing for these such occasions.

1. Speak to as many of your classmates as possible weeks and months prior.

Social media makes this easy to do. They can see pictures of you, your family, children, where you live, and what you're up to. This builds the anticipation further.

2. Reminiscence, but try to let bygones be bygones.

If you and someone you regularly speak to have a bad memory or two between y'all, try to let it rest for that time period. Focus on the good times, and moving past that negativity. Enjoy the moment and each other.

3. Don't act bourgie and brand new.

Life may be good at the moment for you. New marriage, successful professional and personal life, and perhaps even a new body as a result of a revamped lifestyle. You have definitely come a long ways since your school days. However be humble and true to who you really are. Don't live your life or act above or below anyone else.

4. Enjoy the company of those who are positive and continue to be this way.

We all remember who has treated us well and has had our backs through thick and then. One should most definitely enjoy hanging around these people. They uplifted you then and now. It's all a unity and loyalty thing and even those that you don't associate with much can be part of this. This is part of what makes Homecomings and reunions special.

5. Avoid confrontations or people that may make you out of character

In short, check the drama at the door. All of that isn't necessary. Many people are different than they were years ago. Evaluate them based on the here and now and if you feel there will be hard feelings, it's best to simply be polite , walk and wave and keep it moving.

6. Stay in touch year round with some of the positive folks.

Many of us already have that circle of friends from social organizations, or from even taking the same classes. However, it never hurts to extend that circles. Make a more concerted effort to get together more often than once/year. Get all of their information and make plans shortly thereafter.

7. Go to as many parties and functions as your energy and wallet allow.

You definitely want to have good clean fun. However don't exert yourself too much physically, emotionally or financially. Many save up for this occasion and take time off from work, which is cool. Just manage it all well and reconnect as much as possible.

Most of all, have fun!

How many class reunions have you attended? Do you regularly attend Homecoming festivities at your school?

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Save Our Children Movement Inc: Impacting Children's Lives One Event At A Time

Service organizations, especially those involving our youth, have always been important to me. I am currently involved in three such groups. One of the most active is The Save Our Children Movement Inc, or SOCM ("sock em") for short.

SOCM is a non-profit organization which was founded by my cousin Rodney McGill, whom is also the president and CEO.Rodney, along with our other cousin, Greg "G-Baby" Gaines (vice-president) have grown up and have witnessed firsthand the despair regarding the youth situation in Gastonia, NC. These two, along with others, have taken action and wanted to make matters better.

In 2014, SOCM has taken off full blast. To date, there have been a total of 15 different events that this organization has sponsored or headlined over four cities in North and South Carolina. SOCM has been in Gastonia, Kings Mountain, NC, Clover, SC and Charlotte, NC. These events have included cookouts, school supply giveways, free haircuts for the children, a movie night, a health fair, and a weekend of Halloween parties. Free stuff such as food, beverages, clothes, candy and school supplies have been available at each and every SOCM event. One of the next events is slated to be a day trip for 30 children and 10 adult chaperones to the aquarium in Atlanta, GA, depending upon funding. SOCM has definitely been on the move. They have been all about positive action.  They also received an award at event #15 in Charlotte for outstanding community service. Word is definitely getting around not only on social media and the streets but to major movers and shakers.

There have been many people, donors and sponsors that have assisted throughout this year. Some include Sean Boyd (Rodney's youngest brother) , Lewis Tate (another cousin of ours) , Hope Boyd, Ananasa Wright, Chris Wallace (our DJ) , Rodney Barber (appropriately named since his business provides the free haircuts for children), Sonji Williams, Cynthia P. Stitt at the Highland Health Center, and Martha Bratton, who is our SOCM liaison in Clover. Other sponsors include Primary Care Solutions, Cardinal Medical, American Gold Label, Absolute Steam and Star Faith Ministries.

SOCM is truly taking the Carolinas by storm and making a positive mark. For further information or to make a donation towards one of our events, email info@socminc.org or call (704)937-1617 or visit www.socminc.org. They are there to help and uplift youth of all cultural, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Simply come to an event and witness the positive action in motion!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Why I Like Fall So Much

I have written and spoken on why I like Fall so much. It is hands down my favorite season. There are many reasons why and I will give a few.

1. The leaves of course.

It's always beautiful to see the leaves changing, especially where I live. There are all sorts of colors and it simply looks festive and refreshing.

2. Football is back

I wrote an entire piece simply dedicated to football a couple of years ago. It is America's sport, an awesome one, and best watched and played during this season. Like Fall, football never seems to last long enough.

3. The county fair.

This is another separate topic that I recently wrote about. The fair always comes to my area just as Fall begins and I associate one with the other. The weather is just getting cooler as the fair rolls through. And speaking of weather,...

4. The weather.

During the Fall, it's a nice balance of weather. There is usually not too much rain or snow, and is simply comfortable outside and in. Summer is often too hot, winter is often too cold, and spring is too sporadic. Fall is the weather equalizer.

5. Fall holidays.

Some of my favorite holidays occur in the Fall, especially Halloween and Thanksgiving. Halloween is great simply for the candy, parties and dressing up. Thanksgiving is the ultimate cheat day from any clean eating regimen and it is great for socializing with family and friends. All of this embodies the Fall spirit.

6. College homecomings

They seem to be exciting, even if you didn't attend that college. The HBCU homecomings are especially fun and have set the standard over the years for Homecoming. It is also another good time for reuniting.

7. Christmas is around the corner

Love or hate the winter holiday season, one must admit this is when people are often in the happiest of moods. They are leaving all other worries behind, and are focusing on humankind, as we should do year round.

What are some of the things you enjoy about Fall? Is it one of your favorite seasons?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Traditional Versus Alternative Halloween

It appears non traditional and alternative methods for celebrating Halloween have at least supplemented traditional trick or treating. This has been going on for about two decades now, slowly as I grew out of trick or treating.

There are many reasons why events such as parties and trunk or treating have become more common and normal.

1. It's safer

Going up to people's houses and homes simply isn't the same as it was in my era. My mom didn't take us to many houses even then for this reason. However she believed in quality over quantity and would take us to a few houses where we received plenty of treats. These other Halloween avenues are doing just that, but in a safer fashion.

2. One or two stops is more convenient.

Just think if you take children to two parties and a trunk or treat event, where they circle around different cars at a church and get candy from people opening their trunks. Kids actually receive more candy than the average trick or treater would in seemingly less time. Again quality over quantity.

3. It is simply different and more fun

Many houses and neighborhoods try to put a limit on how old a child should be to receive candy, and which snacks should be distributed. At these alternate venues, none of that seems to matter most. The main purpose is a fun, sugar rush induced Halloween.

4. More activities can be accomplished, especially on a school night.

Halloween is on a Friday this year, and the local children actually have a teacher workday. Therefore they have an entire day to enjoy Halloween festivities. However, by going to alternate Halloween venues and parties before and after or in lieu of trick or treating, children still receive plenty of treats, plus still have time to go to haunted houses and trails if they choose. It always seemed like we were rushing around during childhood to do everything in one night. Now things are more efficient.

The thrill of trick or treating may never fully go away, especially in the more elite communities. However, these various alternatives make it safer and more tempting for parents not to drive their children all over the neighborhood.

Do you still take your children trick or treating? If not, do you partake in the various alternative activities?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

No Man's Land Is Very Appropriately Named

I have visited and tried virtually every haunted house and trail in my hometown of Blacksburg, SC. Last night, I tried another one, No Man's Land.

And that it truely is. It is located off of US Highway 29 North, near Clingman Memorial Gardens and Eastside Baptist Church, on Craton Road. It is way out in the sticks, and the overall experience is one that will leave you scared and perplexed.

It is set up in a mobile home, with an accompanying trail. The trail is dimly lit for added effect. Your usual zombies, clowns, and other horror movie icons are featured. However the highlight of the trail is the multi-dimensional maze (the brainchild of JR and Patrick Johnson), which can be difficult to solve.

No Man's Land is a mom and pop operation, ran by Tommy and Migie Blackwell. They are open on Fridays and Saturdays 8pm-11pm leading up to Halloween. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children. There are motified versions of the trail for the children.

The best part about the whole deal is that 100% of the proceeds after taxes are going to Jeremy Gee, a local young man currently fighting cancer. So far many residents are seeing the benefits of going for a haunted adventure and funding a good cause.

So after you've visited the rest, give No Man's Land a shot. You will not be disappointed, unless you fail to solve the maze,...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jason Farr: Coming Very Far In Comedy in 2014 And Beyond

Local comedian and frequent guest panelist on Scene on Seven Jason Farr has definitely come a far way (no pun intended) in his journey to become an elite comedian. He is making great strides towards this feat, winning South Carolina's funniest comic, and the second funniest comic in all of the Carolinas.

I have known Farr for seventeen years and he has always been original , quick witted and effortlessly funny. He simply knows how to make others laugh and enjoys doing so.

Jason was inspired to pursue comedy at only five years old because of Bill Murray. He saw him in Ghostbusters (this year is of course the 30th Anniversary of that cinematic classic). He said he wanted to be an actor, but more to the point, he wanted to be Bill Murray. Farr got into stand up because he wanted to get better at comedy writing and he read a book on his craft which suggested that doing stand up would sharpen his writing skills. Jason then looked up open mics in Greenville, SC and came across the only one, which was run by a great guy named Nick Shaheen. Farr started coming out to do stand up and didn't stop. The rest is history.

He later entered the "Carolina's Funniest Comic" competition ran by Alchemy Improv Comedy (out of Greenville, SC which he joined last year) and DSI (out of Chapel Hill, NC). There are two wings to the competition, one in South Carolina and another in North Carolina. Comics in each state competed to move on to the finals, which were held in Chapel Hill during the NC Arts Festival. Farr advanced to the finals and was runner up to a NC comic, making him SC's Funniest Comic. The rounds were judged by audience vote. Another competition Jason was a part of was to win a spot opening for the Most Races Show Ever, run by Neil Bansil. The competition was held in Charleston and the winner was decided by a panel of judges. He won that competition and got to open for MRSOE at the Charleston Music Hall, which was great as he connected with lots of awesome people.
Additionally, Farr was on Laugh Your Asheville off, a comedy festival held in Western North Carolina. He has had a  great year in comedy, and feels super blessed and encouraged.

Jason also does improv comedy, which has been a great learning experience. He loves the people involved and it has enhanced his growth as a performer.  It has encouraged him to write at least a joke a day on his Twitter account.

Farr has numerous comedy influences including Bill Murray. Saturday Night Live has been huge just as a show to watch and learn from, but also, so many of his favorites came from there. If it wasn't for SNL, he feels Ghostbusters might not have provided an opportunity for Murray and Dan Aykroyd to make the film that initially inspired Farr. The show helped him to develop a comedic identity. Other SNL alums such as Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Seth Meyers, Will Ferrell, and Amy Poehler have influenced him greatly as well. Jason's biggest stand up influences include Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Cosby, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Louis CK, and many more awesome comics.

Jason mostly performs at Coffee Underground in downtown Greenville. It's a great spot for food and drinks with friends, but it's also a wonderful place to enjoy live art.  Coffee Underground offers a few nights of live art ranging from poetry to music to comedy. Farr performs stand up there every Monday night for the No Expectations Comedy open mic, which he also help run with some really wonderful people. He does improv there every Friday night with Alchemy.
There are stand up shows every night of the week in the Upstate just about and you can catch Jason on some of them. These include the Upstairs Bar in Spartaburg on Tuesdays; and 2 other No Expectations open mics, one at IPA on Wednesdays and Habiba Mediterranean Restaurant on Thursdays.

Farr has been lucky enough to open for some amazing comics who came through Greenville; Rory Scovel, Jarrod Harris, Ryan Singer, Sara Schaefer, Joe Zimmerman, Baron Vaughn, Sean Patton, Brendon Walsh, and Trevor Noah just to name a few. They were all super awesome and encouraging.

Jason don't know what's next for him as far as anything bigger. He will keep on trucking and try to perform sometime in Atlanta. He has yet to do this and feels he shoud, as it is a superb comedic scene. Currently, Farr mostly just wants to improve and remain thankful with all the good fortune he has enjoyed in 2014,

Jason Farr can be reached through hia Facebook promotional page (www.facebook.com/ActorComedianJasonFarr), his Twitter account (@JasonFarrJokes), and his website, www.JasonFarrisAwesome.com

I highly encourage all to check out this young rising star. He is very humble and realizes where he's at and where he has to imrprove and want to be as a comedian. Perhaps he could be in New York soon and land a spot on Saturday Night Live like his biggest hero, Bill Murray, did 40 years ago.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

This Year's Lawnmowing Season Didn't Cut It For Me

This year was my second full season of cutting grass for my mother, who can no longer do so on a pushmower following her ankle injury early last year. In 2013, the biggest problem I had was the constant rain, and often having to mow the lawn twice/week and even on into it got dark.

I had many more problems this year. I had counted on my mom to get the riding mower fixed. But her mechanic went MIA so around April I simply got gas and oil and began cutting her grass on a bi-weekly basis with the pushmower, weekly when my schedule allowed. And just so you all know, my mother has a huge yard, like half an acre, front yard and back. Cutting her grass, especially with a push mower, is almost like mowing a football or baseball field.

Everything seemed to proceed well until about the end of June when the lawnmower started stopping and stalling. I then put more oil into the mower and make two huge rookie mistakes: not draining the old oil and flooding the carbeuator with excess new oil. Therefore, the lawnmower continued to stall and such every five minutes. I kept having to recrank it by pulling the shaft towards me. Around the 4th of July, I threw out my shoulder and was hampered for a month. I eventually went to the chiropractor and got readjusted.

I then told Mom that I would not cut anymore grass until one or both of those mowers were fixed. We had a couple of people that were generous enough to cut the grass in the meantime. Mom still had no success finding an affordable mechanic. I then sought the assistance of my cousin's boyfriend in Clover who is a jack of all trades and he was affordable.

After he dealt with it on two occasions, once in a drizzle, he fixed it for us and we were so thankful. He took apart the mower and completely cleaned it, had me replace the spark plug and told me what else I needed to do moving forward. I could not allow the grass to get too long due to how sensitive the mower had become, or even wet. I would have to keep a check on the oil and keep fresh oil in there and keep it clean and drained. I would also have to baby and mow with care, not jerk or angle the lawnmower too often. All of his advice paid off and I had a working mower for the rest of the season.

Then Mother Nature interfered.

Fire ants ran rampant near the end of summer. Up to eight hills had surfaced. We had to buy fire ant killer and eventually made our own when all the stores had sold out. Around the beginning of October in the South, the leaves fall more often and the ground starts getting colder. Typically only one more cutting is required at that time. This year I had gotten a touch of the flu the first weekend of October. Last weekend it rained the entire time. During this time, it had also gotten warmer and we even had tornado watches, which made more of the grass grow up again. This past Thursday, despite having to go out and buy more gas and oil, I FINALLY got around to cutting the grass. Hopefully this will be it until next Spring.

I am currently taking all measures to improve the next lawn mowing season. First of all, the riding mower must be fixed. My mother's yard never was meant to be cut with a pushmower. Also, I want to keep the pushmower functional.

Did you have a lot of trouble with your lawn this season or last? Have you gotten in your final cutting of the year yet?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Raven Symone: From Comeback To Coming Out

Raven Symone has undergone numerous transformations since she first appeared as Olivia on The Cosby Show nearly 30 years ago. She had a hit children's television series on Disney "That's So Raven", then retransformed her physique after a couple of movie, television cameos and voiceovers. She then starred on a short lived series on ABC Family called "State Of Georgia."  Outside of her infamous Olivia memes, Raven had seemed to fade off.

That is, until Oprah Winfrey had an exclusive interview with her.

I wrote just a few weeks back about the powerful effect Oprah has on society. She was the one that not only pulled Raven's true sexuality out of her, she also had Miss Symone denouncing being an African American and hating to be called that. Needless to say, many were and are shocked and angry.

I am not angry or shocked with Raven completely and here's why

1. Raven did not say she didn't want to be called black, just not African American. That's a loaded topic in itself. Yes Raven is clearly of African descent. But she wasn't born in Africa, and most likely cannot trace a relative that was in the past four centuries.

2. I had suspected Raven to be same sex on the "That's So Raven" series. Let's just say my intuition kicked in. I almost dismissed when she claimed to be a born again Christian and she spoke several times of saving herself, even after she lost weight and had several more suitors of both genders. That being said,...

3. I do realize that being gay is very unacceptable in both the Christian and the black community. However we are supposed to do as Jesus did: love the sinner and hate the sin. I'm not happy at how Raven hid behind her so-called faith for years. Nonetheless, Raven has made a life choice as a grown woman and has shown courage in coming forward. She could not be chastised but loved, even if you do not support her lifestyle.

4. I could be totally left field on this, but Raven may be saying what she's saying, at least about not being African American, to become relevant again. And what bigger platform to do that than an Oprah interview. Time will tell here.

So everyone please relax. This could truly be a phase for Raven Symone. She is still a human being first and should not be treated as any less. Think of her as your sister, daughter, cousin or friend and the tables could be turned.

Were you shocked at Raven's comments? Do you agree or disagree with her abrupt lifestyle changes?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Best Pizza Buffet In Town: The New Pizza Inn?

Nearly three years ago to the date, the infamous Pizza Inn in Gaffney, SC mysteriously and suddenly closed its doors. I wrote a piece about that immediately.

Fast forward to the present day. Lee Whitesides, who opened Fuji Expressuns a few months prior to Pizza Inn folding, has moved his Japanese eatery to the nearby the Gaffney Premium Outlets (i.e., The Yellow Mall) and has opened up a pizza buffet. He is calling it The Best Pizza Buffet In Town. Thus far, people are flooding the restaurant in droves, anxious to see the hype.

I decided to visit the place this past Friday evening. I thoroughly enjoyed the pizza, the staff, and the overall atmosphere. They were quick with your beverages and kept pizza circulating on the buffet. I give it a A grading and a 9 ranking. The pizza, including the infamous chocolate chip pizza, were all reminiscent of the old Pizza Inn. The salad, pasta, and even tater tots were also top notch. Currently it is the best pizza buffet in Gaffney.

Now the food itself may taste like Pizza Inn and give locals that renewal that was taken from them in 2011. However, Best Pizza Buffet lacks the space, character and history that the old Pizza Inn had. Perhaps Whitesides should consider a larger building if business continues to improve in the coming months. He is not competing with other pizza buffets franchises such as CiCis Pizza, plus the buffet is all day long unlike Pizza Hut which only has a lunch buffet.

The location and price itself are hard to beat.  Around $8 for lunch, $9 for dinner, which includes your drink. It is right off of I-85, exit 92, close to the Big Peach and the aforementioned outlets. I would definitely recommend it to all and also to arrive early to avoid a long wait.

Have you been to Best Pizza Buffet yet? Did you enjoy it? Why or why not?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ebola: The Newest Danger And How To Combat It

The newest epidemic and outbreak to hit the U.S. is of course the deadly ebola virus. It is taking lives left and right and is scary, plain and simple. It has existed in Africa for decades but has made its way across our borders and waters.

Now while this is nothing to play around with, I want you all to think of some things such as facts, statistics and basic knowledge.

1. Ebola is harder to contract than AIDS or HIV. Therefore, while more knowledge and information is being gathered, take the proper precautions such as washing your hands frequently, wearing oxygen masks whenever possible and cleaning and covering scrapes and bruises.

2. When AIDS came out over 30 years ago, not only did people not know much about the disease, resources were limited. There was no Internet, social media, or advanced news and print media. More information now is available, especially since the disease has already been in existence in another country.

3. It has been 60 years since the last time a disease was completely cured and that was polio. Therefore, don't expect a miracle cure overnight or in our lifetime. There will be advanced medications and treatments available. There is too much money in this epidemic and too many sick people. It will eventually be controlled like AIDS, cancer and other deadly diseases so rest easy there.

4. The Affordable Health Care Act is set to be passed soon. Ebola could be just the disease to convince voters and lawmakers to get it approved. Everyone would have affordable, quality healthcare to deal with such ailments and such. So you can leave the home remedies and voodoo to the side.

I may do a follow up as more information becomes available. The main point here is not to get all bent out of shape over ebola. Protect yourself the best way you know how, don't be afraid or paranoid and educate yourselves. The local media wants you all up in arms. However, be proactive, not reactive.

How deadly do you think ebola will become in America? What are you currently doing to educate and prevent the disease from afflicting you?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Internet Marketing Tips Part One

We're near the end of yet another calendar year. The weather is cooling down, the grass is dying and the leaves are changing. There are still plenty of Fall festivals, Halloween parties, and later on Christmas parties to be had.

Now how do you expect to get the word out in this digital age?

Over the past few weeks, I have been posting marketing tips that have proved successful for me on the web and on social media. I will share these now.

1. Utilize every outlet and medium appropriate for the occasion.

Social media is basically a must in this era. Facebook, Instagram, and even Evites are what's in. Good old fashioned mass texting and messaging is also good. You want to get the word out and stay in people's ears. These are some of your better mediums for accomplishing this.

2. Include all pertinent information.

This includes the date, time, location, what the event entails, dress code (if any), whether or not to bring a gift, contact info, admission price, and even directions to the venue.

3. Use a picture of the event promo/flyer as your picture on social media.

This is one of the best ways to stay in people's faces. They know all the details regarding the event the minute they see you on Facebook, Instagram, etc.

4. Post frequently about the event, but remember all of your updates may not be seen.

This includes even if you're posting in a group or within an event invite. Some stuff gets missed so post away, but remember that there is not a 100% guarantee that everyone will see your posts.

5. Tag folks to certain posts and pics.

This way, the audience you are reaching is sure to see it. It is almost as effective as an event invite. Even if the person chooses to turn the tag off in their privacy, they will still see the post.

6. Strike a medium within your medium

You do not want to be the annoying promoter that is flooding everyone's timelines with your events. So post on certain days, mix up your times and types of posts, and use moderation. In short, do not make others tired of your event before it arrives, even if it's the event of the year.

7. Do your heavy marketing during peak social media hours.

This is usually primetime, after 7pm on Sundays-Thursdays, and even heavier during a big television show or sporting event that everyone is talking about. You know they are on, so your posts will have higher visibility. Also, the tagging feature works to the max here.

8. Advertise no later than 1-2 weeks prior to an event, and even a month in advance.

You must give people time to plan and schedule. Therefore, don't call anyone late for a meal. Promote early and often.

9. Require RSVPs so you can get some sort of a headcount.

This works the best when food is involved. One needs to be able to plan for the crowd they are entertaining.

10. Be creative, catchy and clever

Go outside of the box and use clever headlines and posts. Use pop cultural and news references. This goes for the name of your event also.  For example, my family reunion is always held on the second Saturday in September. Therefore, I may frequently say SSS Dover/Bradley and friends. I also like to utilize the song in my promos "See You In September" by The Happenings. The key here is to catch and capture their attention.

Well this is all for now, happy promoting!

Do you have any marketing tips you care to share? Have any of these worked better than others?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Review on some of the new ABC lineup

ABC has really come up as a network over the past decade. They still trail CBS as they are the #2 most watched network channel. However, their Wednesday and Thursday lineups are giving CBS a run for their money.

Wednesday nights is an old fashioned night of half hour sitcoms. The Middle and Modern Family headline things. The Goldbergs is in its second season and it is an extremely impressive show. It is based on the real life antics of actor/produced Adam Goldberg's family in the 80s. It has a nostalgic Wonder Years feel to it. I was hooked within the first minute of the show and I will be regularly tuning it.

The new kid on the block is black-ish and it premiered this past Wednesday. Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis-Ross and Lawrence Fishburne all star in this show about a black middle class family. While it seems like a fine sitcom, I was quickly bored as it seemed like another Cosby derivative. Black shows need a medium. They are either too clean and unoriginal or too nasty and ratchet. Perhaps the show will get better. It is surrounded by three top notch proven sitcoms.

Thursday is one hour drama night, or Shonda Rhimes night. Grey's Anatomy at 8pm, Scandal now airs at 9pm (love the earlier time) and the new one How To Get Away With Murder. It seems good, but I have yet to thoroughly review it. However it seems Scandal will continue to be impressive, racy and dramatic minus Columbus Short.

I simply love good entertainment and I am so happy that ABC gets this. Perhaps one day they will nab that #1 spot from CBS. 

What are your two favorite shows on ABC? How do you think the two new ones will do?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Local Fair: Always Good Food, Folks and Fun

Many of you already know Fall is my favorite of all of the four seasons. There are many reasons for this. The leaves are changing, football is back, the weather is comfortable and not unbearably cold.

Last but not least, the fair is in my area!

I grew up on the county fair. My mom took me and my brother every year. We would ride every ride we could, eat all sorts of unhealthy snacks, and even play those crooked games. I was especially good at the dart games.

Now as an adult, I still enjoy the fair but mostly for the unhealthy foods and nostalgia. The fairs now have so much more variety: fried everything (Oreos, candy bars, Twinkies), turkey legs, funnel cakes, Krispy Kreme burgers, and the classics such as candy apples, cotton candy and giant sausages. It is all good to me!

Near me, the more popular fairs are the Cleveland County Fair in Shelby, NC, the Piedmont Interstate Fair in Spartanburg, SC, and the granddaddy of them all, the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia, SC. Due to safety and proximity, I attend the Cleveland County Fair. It is located on the campus of Cleveland Community College, only a 20 minute drive from my home. Also it's free to park if you arrive early enough and park on the campus. Plus it's the fair I grew up going to. Can't wait to go this year!

Do you enjoy going to the fair? What is your favorite ride, snack, and/or game?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Jameis Winston: Just Can't Get Right And May Never Do So

Florida State quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is well known and all over the news lately. Unfortunately it's not for all the right reasons.

Any publicity is not always good publicity, especially when you have acted out in the manner that Jameis has in his brief collegiate career. In just one calendar year, he has had a rape charge, walked out of Publix without paying for crab legs, and now he's just missed his first college football game for making lewd and sexist remarks in FSU's student union.

The Seminoles squeaked by the Clemson Tigers on Saturday night in overtime with Winston on the sidelines. But there would have been lots of what ifs and skepticism had Clemson escaped Doak Campbell Stadium with a win and essentially ended FSU's chance of defending their title.

Now here's the bottom line for the young FSU signal caller who shares two things in common with Bo Jackson: the Heisman and the same hometown (Bessemer, AL). He has to turn this thing around and get it together. Can he do so? Absolutely. But it starts from the top. He has to be disciplined more properly and harshly by his head coach Jimbo Fisher.
He should not have been allowed on the sideline with his teammates, let along inside the stadium. This young man has let this fame go to his head and he must be humbled. Also some notable alums such as Chris Weinke and Deion Sanders need to travel to Tallahassee and personally meet with him and have a heart to heart.

Discipline and corporal punishment are once again a hot topic thanks to the Adrian Peterson debacle. The consensus is Jameis must properly pay for his countless string of mistakes and a message needs to be sent to him. He at least should be on a zero tolerance policy with the university and the NCAA. He is representing both, for better and for worse.

His draft stock is already dropped according to NFL experts and especially with all the drama the league is currently undergoing, many owners will not want to take a chance on a project, despite his talents and physical tools. He could only be a detriment to himself and the team that drafts him.

Everyone should be given another chance to rehabilitate and the play on the field is what should matter the most. However, when you're in the public eye and know better, you need to act accordingly. The clock is ticking on Mr. Winston. Should he declare for the 2015 draft, he has but a few months to turn this thing around and get people around him thinking and talking positive again.

Do you think Jameis Winston can turn this around? What do you think would be the best punishment or motivation for him to do so?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rocking The Hill: More To Rock Hill Than You May Know

This is for now my final installment in my series about various towns and cities in South Carolina. This is my second home: Rock Hill, SC. I lived here for six years and find it to be a joyeous, growing place.

Many know it as the medium size city just south of Charlotte. But there's much more to this city than that.

All is takes is a ride down the two most popular roads, Cherry Road and Dave Lyle Boulevard, to see that "The Rock" has a lot to offer for all ages and demographics. It's a town that's positioned for exponential growth but still striving to keep the small community atmosphere. This city has three higher learning institutions: York Technical College, Clinton Jr. College, and Winthrop University. All are gaining more notoriety and use the city of Rock Hill as a selling point for admission.

Need something to do in the Rock? No problem. There are several local bars and lounges, including McHales and Empire Pizza. They have a bowling alley, Manchester Square with a Regal Cinemas movie theater, a $2.50 theater off of Cherry, Cherry Park and Glenclairn Gardens. Winthrop usually has plenty of entertainment on their campus and encourages the city to be involved.

South Carolina is known for its many festivals and Rock Hill is no different. Every April for a week and a half is The Come See Me Festival, welcoming Spring and having the infamous frog mascot.

You will not go hungry in Rock Hill either. Many chain restaurants populate the inner and outer portions of the city. There are great local places as well such as White Horse, Anna J's, Luigi's, Toyo's,
and Charondas.

Many great athletes have come out of Rock Hill including Gerald Dixon Sr., Jeff Burris, Chris Hope, Coradelle Patterson and most recently Jadeveon Clowney, perhaps one of the greatest to ever play football in the state. Sports are a big tradition in the Rock and District 3 Stadium on Cherry has hosted some huge games and events. It is also where Northwestern and Rock Hill High Schools (for a long time, the city's only two high schools) each play their home football games.

The city is simply awesome: plenty of entertainment, top notch schools, close to Charlotte, Columbia and Upstate South Carolina. It is simply a great place to live and raise a family. You feel welcome from the time you drive into the city.

Not to sound too much like a city guide or a real estate agent, but come experience Rock Hill for yourself!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Domestic Violence: The NFL edition

This is my second piece on domestic violence and including rough beatings.

Unless you have lived under a rock this week, you know exactly who Ray Rice is and what he did. The details are clear, but it appears the timing of the video evidence is in doubt.

There is also Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy. Hardy had a CDV case pending from the summer and in the wake of the Rice debacle, was deactivated from this week's game. AP28 was also inactive after pictures of his severely beaten child surfaced.

OK now I am not going to devote much time in this article to AP or to Hardy as the details are still fuzzy and it appears commissioner Roger Goddell is simply trying to make an example out of everyone with his zero tolerance policy on many issues.

Now don't get me wrong. I am very much against any blatant domestic violence. There are differences between discipline, defending yourself and simply beating the brakes off of someone when there are alternate methods. Also, I applaud Goddell and his efforts to keep the league safe and family friendly. He is setting a strict standard.

However, it appears the video was in his hands longer than he admitted. Why he is avoiding that issue (which he has been known to do) is a mystery.

Now in my mind, you cannot justify the Rice situation. He beat his then-fiancee like a man, and then try to drag her out of the elevator. He definitely deserves to be punished, possibly for the entire season. However, another team should give him a second chance if he can show he can control his anger and try and handle things, such as his alcohol intake, more carefully.

Either way, Goddell will still be league commissioner and he will continue to run it in a no-nonsense fashion. The NFL players need to get used to that and realize while they are human, the public eye is always on them.

Do you think Ray Rice should play football again? Do you agree with Goodell's punishments?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Movie Review: No Good Deed

The big movie this week was No Good Deed and for very good reason. Many folks, especially in the black community, flocked out to see this suspense thriller starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson.

It is a quick thriller, only 84 minutes in length, but it will keep you on the edge of your seat. Elba plays Colin, an escaped convict. Henson plays Terri, a suburban mom home alone for the night with her children while her husband is away. Elba crashes a car near Henson's place in the rain, she lets him in to use the phone and from there, the action intensifies.

Elba had to really channel his antagonist/bad guy side, playing this role with ease as Stringer Bell on HBO's The Wire. He nailed this one as well. Henson played her role well also, improving her stock as an actress. The movie receives 4 out of 5 stars from me and a A rating.

Despite the positive reviews, specifically on social media, I went into the movie skeptical but open. The same producer that made the 2009 thriller also starring Elba and Beyonce' "Obsessed" also did NGD. This attempt was much much better, with more suspense and less predictability.

I say often it's not just a good black movie, it's a good movie period. If you didn't see No Good Deed this past weekend, do yourself a favor and catch it soon. It is a good start to begin the Fall movie season.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Revenge Of The Nerds: The Big Bang Theory

The series resumes as the Fall television series does. Nerds continue to rule even network television as CBS's The Big Bang Theory is the #1 comedy on all of TV. Chuck Lorre has become the modern day Norman Lear with his string of successful network sitcoms. Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper) has placed himself into elite status as an actor and cultural icon: winning four consecutive Emmy's for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.

This show, entering its eighth season, has evolved so much. It began with three extremely nerdy scientists and one Jewish engineer and the hot neighbor/aspiring actress Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting). Originally the show was centered around the sexy and cool Penny character. Over time, Sheldon took that crown with his many quirks: his roommate agreement, his spot on the couch, photographic memory, and a daily routine that rivals the military.

Who would have though a bunch of nerdy stuff would be comedic genius and ratings gold? Well it has. BBT has showcased almost every aspect of a geek's life: extreme love for comic books, Star Wars and Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, trips to Comic Con, social awkwardness (Raj can only speak if he's drunk) , World of Warcraft, and almost no awareness for sports or pop culture.

Now the show has evolved into the new, geekier, sci-fi version of "Friends". Melissa Rauch and Mayim Blalik (more famous as "Blossom" from the 90s) have joined the show as Penny's friends and love interests to Howard and Sheldon respectively.

Quite simply, if you can't relate to everything on the show or understand many of the expensive words Sheldon says, it is still entertaining and funny. It comes on several times/week for a reason, and people cannot stop tuning in. Bazinga!

So now the nerds have even dominated television. What will and may they dominate next? If it's Sheldon Cooper's choice, it will be to recreate the human race.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Clover: Quite Simply The City With "Love" in the middle

Nestled between York, SC and Gastonia, NC and about 30 minutes south of Charlotte, NC, off of SC Hwys 321 and Hwy 55 lies one of the best kept secrets in the Carolinas. It is a small town just shy of 4,000 people called Clover, SC.
Clover is very rich in its history and culture. Like many other small Southern hamlets, it has thrived from the mill and textile culture. Many residents know each other by name and their families and relatives.

During the 1970s and 80s, Clover was a bustling city to spend a night out. You had Howard Johnson's restaurant, the drive in theatre just outside of town, and Henry's Knob. Many, young and old, would drive up to the "Knob". Present day, it is now closed.

Clover is big on its festivals and community spirit. They recently had a BBQ and bluegrass festival and Clover Fest is coming up soon in this month of September.

Many businesses and restaurants have been part of the small city for years such as Boyd's Tire and Furniture, M.L. Ford and Son's Funeral Home, Patti-O's Grill, Victoria's Restaurant, The Eagles' Nest and Courtney's BBQ. Courtney's has brought notoriety to Clover, as the pitmasters that run this joint have won several regional and national BBQ competitions.

Clover has also has its fair share of famous names such as Herb Kirsch, Stan Spears, Poke Cobb, and Lamont Hall.  All of these figureheads still have a lot of pride in their hometown and regularly give back.

Personally, Clover is near and dear to my heart as any city. I have family members from both sides that are from and/or still live there. Many of my earliest memories are of the town with love in the middle and the mascot The Blue Eagle. One of Clover's sports mottos is "It's A Great Day To Be A Blue Eagle!".

Clover is one of those towns one may pass through enroute to Gastonia, Carowinds Amusement Park or to Lake Wylie. However, trust me, it is well worth it to stop and stay a spell. The love and history can truly be felt in this city.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Oprah Effect

Oprah Winfrey's popularly and notoreity have risen ten fold in the past three decades. She began playing the memorable "Sophia" in The Color Purple and was nominated for an Academy Award. She then was given a shot to have her own talk show "The Oprah Winfrey Show." NBC placed her in the same timeslot with another talk-show legend: Phil Donahue. Pretty soon, Oprah was passing him by.

Oprah has turned her acting and talk show success into mogul status. During the show's 20+ year run, she recommended good books to read, gave away several fancy prizes, and have exclusive interviews that rivaled 60 Minutes. Not just anyone could get an interview on Oprah, let alone get tickets to a live taping.

Her success and status has helped the careers of those such as Tyler Perry, Gayle King, Racheal Ray, Dr. Phil McGraw and Dr. Mehmet Oz, whom took over her time slot once she left and started the OWN network.

Oprah has had such an impact not only on blacks and black women, she has restarted the ice water challenge from earlier this summer, getting celebrities involved. The cause is for ALS,and millions nationwide are following Winfrey's lead and are dousing their heads and bodies with cold water and challenging others to do the same. I have been challenged three times (and counting) myself.

She is simply a larger than life character, someone who influences change in others. People simply trust her and her advice , and the circle of people around her. They admire her independence and drive for continued success. Oprah is worth billions but still stays hungry and works hard everyday at 60 years old.

Oprah really is "every woman" and has that X factor, that juice. You either love or hate her, there's no in between. And many people love them some Oprah Winfrey.

What are your feelings towards Oprah? How has she changed or influenced your life?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Never Can Say Good-Bye: Five Ways To Do This

This is the season for send-offs, goodbyes and farewells. Students everywhere are returning to school, some for the first time as they are now off at college. We are also bidding adieu to another summer season and welcoming the fall season. These are indeed tough and bittersweet endings.

Would you like to make these easier? Here are a few ways.

1. Take lots of pictures and look at them about once or twice/week.

We are in a photo and video taking and making era. Therefore, capture as many of these moments as possible for keepsake and nostalgic purposes.

2. Stay in touch but give some distance.

Cell phones and social media make it easier to keep in touch with someone that has moved away. However allow them to properly adjust and don't hold on to them too tightly. Basically talk to them about two-three times per week, not everyday. Absence can truly make the heart grow fonder and the adjustment smoother.

3. Have a farewell bash/dinner.

This can apply to even the end of summer. You see plenty of Labor Day weekend parties and such, signifiying the end of summer. Also, these shindigs are appropriate for your loved ones as well. You are showing them how much they mean to you, and you are happy about the next chapter of their lives.

4. Plan to get together at least twice/year.
You want to keep the friendship and relationship going. Therefore you and your friends/family should make it a priority to get together at least twice/year to stay connected and reminisce.

5.  Live, laugh, love and continue to make new connections.

Certain people and times are irreplaceable. However, continue to make your own fun by meeting others, expanding your circle and enjoying life. Pause things for a minute, but don't press the stop button on your life. It is precious and must continue despite not having someone special around so much.

What are some ways that you cope with someone leaving you? What are some tips that you use for saying farewell or goodbye?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gaffney: A City Of Peaches, Football, And Much More

Off of I-85 southbound between Blacksburg and Spartanburg lies a city with a lot of pride, tradition and history. It is identified by the giant Peach water tower. This is Gaffney, South Carolina, population of about 20,000 plus.

Gaffney has long been known for three things: peaches due to the South Carolina Peach Festival , high school football and their mills and plants.

The Peach Festival is held every year in July, and always draws a huge crowd with their parades, BBQ contests, road races, concerts, and the Mud Bog. Many artists have come through the city, which include Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Otis from the Temptations, Colt Ford, and Brantley Gilbert. Gaffney actually produces more peaches yearly than the state of Georgia.

High school football is huge in South Carolina , and it doesn't get much bigger for one of the state's oldest and most successful programs. The Gaffney Indians have won 17 state championships, most in the state. Almost 10,000 fans pack the Reservation every Friday night for home games, and a large following is always present at away games. People in Gaffney love football , period, and any negative word towards the Indians will not be tolerated.

For years, Gaffney thrived off of its cotton mills and textile plants. Hamrick Mills, Nestle Frozen Foods, and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation are some if the ones that have helped the city thrive and allow residents to raise families and earn a good living in their towns.

There are two sides to the city separated by the railroad tracks: the East side and the West Side. While the East has Limestone College, Harold's restaurant and lots of farmland, the West side has more of the businesses and commerce. Floyd Baker Boulevard is where most of the major businesses and such are located. There are also many out near the Prime Outlets (called the "Yellow Mall" by residents) , including the Big E , a state of the art entertainment center which includes a movie theater, a play center for children, bowling alley, arcade and even a bar and grill that I have written about before when it was under different management.

Gaffney also has its staples in small business. The previously mentioned Harold's is one, as it appeared on the Food Network. There are also Bronco's Mexican Restaurant. Aegean Pizza, Hong Kong Express and Daddy Joe's BBQ and Grill. "Gaffneynites" are very proud of what they have, while trying to get more businesses into town, and activities for the youth.

This is overall a tight knit community where everyone eithers knows your name or at least one of your family members. One can really feel at home in a city such as Gaffney.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The SEC Network: Another Feather In The Cap Of A Great Conference

I have written about the SEC a couple of times, especially them being arguably the best conference in all of college football. They now have a network of their own, which premiered on August 14, 2014.

Currently, the SEC network is showing classic games, highlights, and SEC Storied episodes. The special "The Stars Aligned" was really good. It gave people a birdeye's view about the day in the life of an SEC sports fan.

During the sporting season, certain games that will not air on ESPN or CBS will air on this network.

Now I am still a diehard Notre Dame fan in football and University of North Carolina fan in basketball. Nevertheless, I enjoy good sports, especially football. The SEC has that and then some.

And you gotta love that Rudy commercial advertising the NCAA's new four team playoff system.

They have featured many of the recent great Alabama and Auburn teams, including some specials on Bo Jackson. Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is now an analyst for the network. South Carolina has been shown some as well, given the splash they have made in the SEC in football and baseball the past few years.

The SEC network is available virtually everywhere, including DirecTV (channel 611), DISH, Charter and Time Warner Cable. It is definitely a big deal.

Enthusiasm is high right now for the southern football fan, and for sports fans in general. The SEC network is capturing this and proving why they have been competitive for so long.

Do you root for an SEC team? What do you think of this new network?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Words That Have Became Offensive Over The Past Few Years

We are now in an era of greater tolerance, especially in the face of anti-bullying and hypersensitivity. There are more words than ever that can no longer be used in a public context. Obviously such words such as the one beginning with the letter 'n', midgets, and pretty much any slang against the Asian culture is offensive. Here are a list of other words that are even deemed illegal in certain areas and states.

1. Porch Monkeys
2. Retarded
3. Mongoloid
4. Dwarf
5. Half-Breed
6. Mixed (not offended by this one BTW)
7. Fat
8. Dumb
9. Idiot
10. Apes
11. Sambo
12. Spearchucker
13. Handicapped
14. Crippled
15. Waiter/Waitress
16.  Secretary
17. Receptionist
18. Steward/Stewardess
19. Janitor
20. Stripper
21. Spook
22. Tar Baby
23. Towel Head
24. Beaner
25. Peckerwood
26. Cracker
27. Honky
28. American Indian
29. Most Native American Nicknames
30.  Yankee
31. Redneck
32. Hillbilly
33. Trailer Park Trash
34. Good Ol' Boy
35. Guido
36. Uncle Tom
37. Oreo
38. Aunt Jemima
39. Uncle Ben or Remus
40. Nerd.
41. Pygmies
42. Swish
43. Wop

Are there any other offensive words that you may or may not have been aware of?

My Own Version of "How Bourgie Are You?"

It appears we are all snobs about something. Some of us are simply bigger snobs than others.

Buzzfeed has been doing a variety of quizzes lately, one of them being "how bourgie are you?". Bourgie means uppidity, snobby, and thinking you are above most people.  I believe I am far from that. However, according to the quiz,  I was 80% bourgie. Not that I trust every quiz Buzzfeed makes up. However, looking at the questions make me think and reflect. I then decided to conjure up my own list of signs and such that you may be bourgie or "bougie" as a slang term.

1. You refuse to shop at Walmart or Sam's Club, especially for clothes. Target and Costco are your places.

2. You won't buy anything from a yard sale, trading post or thrift shop.

3. Everything you own is name brand.

4. You get a professional full body wax once per month.

5. You have recently gotten braces as an adult not because you need them, but to cover up Michael Strahan type gaps.

6. You take about 50 selfies/day on social media.

7. You refuse to drive a domestic car.

8. You have a housekeeper, nanny and/or gardener

9. You're in a book club

10. You have a Blu Ray player and HDTV and refuse to watch any program or DVD that is otherwise.

11.  You only vacation outside the country.

12.  You have to have the latest tech gadget ( iPhone, Samsung Galaxy phone) the day it drops.

13. You shy away from manual labor whenever possible

14. No one ever sees you dressed down.

15.  You send your children to private schools.

16. You look down on anyone that doesn't have at least a Bachelor's Degree

17. You do not buy anything secondhand. Everything you own is brand new.

18. You refuse to live in a small town.

19. You will not go hunting, fishing or grow your own produce. In short, you do not try to fetch your own food.

20. You refuse to drink water from a faucet, even well water.

21. You no longer read a book unless it's on your tablet.

22. You only go out to lounges and upscale bars, never a hole in the wall club

23. You won't eat any type of ethnic food (chitlins, hog mauls, pig feet, etc)

24. You drive a Prius or other smartcar

25. You won't eat out at places such as Applebee's or Ruby Tuesdays. It has to be upscale with an expensive wine menu.

26. You refuse to live in a trailer or trailer park

27. You won't buy meats and veggies from the supermarket

28. Every male must be circumcised and wear his hair short

29. You still believe in and practice the legendary "brown paper bag" test.

30. You won't allow your children to swim in a creek or river.

31. You only drink bottled water like Fiji or Smart water. No tap water, especially city water.

OK this is all I have for now.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Five Classes They Should Not Stop Teaching in Public Schools

We are near the beginning of yet another academic school year. Each year, it seems more and more classes are considered unnecessary or too expensive and cut out of the budgets. Our students need many of these classes to reach their full potential and survive in the working and business worlds. Here are five such classes that do not need to go.

1. Cursive handwriting

I did a blog on this entire subject last year. It's sad when anyone born after 1994 cannot properly sign their name or has poor penmanship. There is very little excuse for this.

2. Home Economics.

Either Home Ec has been phased out of schools, or restructured into family and consumer science. Now why I don't believe we should simply be training students to be stay at home housekeepers, there are many useful skills that home economics teaches. You have cooking and sewing of course, taking care of home, and overall being and living healthy. This skill set cannot be lost on our youth.

3. Physical education.

Children nowadays are already inactive and obese enough. Physical education (P.E.). teaches physical skills, activities and health and wellness, all essential for good living as an adult. No one seems to play as much as recess and score is rarely kept in sports. Kids need to understand the importance of staying active and fair play.

4. The arts (music, art, band, chorus)

Playing instruments and being creative enchance the brain. Also, there may be those that want a career as a musicial or a conceptual artist. No child should be left behind, or otherwise Iimited.

5. Honors and AP classes

Students of higher intellect are challenged more in these types of classes, and it helps tremendously in college prep. Plus it's always a bonus if one can earn college credit.

Please let's not limit our young students. It's bad enough that many schools have curriculums setup to teach to standardized tests. How about we teach our students to think, be creative and offer them a wide variety of choices and options? I believe it would help us become more competitive with other countries as well.

Which classes do you think they should reinstate? Are they any classes that you think are unnecessary?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Revenge Of The Nerds: Social Media

The series on the intellectuals and geniuses continues with social media. I have spoken about social media often, but not really about its origins.

Social media really came out in the late 1990s with BlackPlanet and College Club. Basically if you were a programming wiz with web development and HTML experience, creating a social network was very possible.

During the 2000s, MySpace and Friendster came on the scene. Then a 19 year old sophomore at Harvard named Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in 2004.  The initial purpose was to make it exclusive for Harvard students only. They then started expanding to colleges around the country and the world. You could not get an account prior to 2006 unless your college was listed and you had a .edu email. Now the entire world can sign up for an access Facebook.

While Facebook eventually became the world's #1 network, there has been more competition from Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, Google + , LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Despite all of their various efforts, Facebook has remained strong and Zuckerberg is worth billions.

Now this is not bad at all. A so called "geek" and "loner" created a site to help others connect with their friends worldwide and became wealthy from it. It appears being smart definitely paid off for young Zuckerberg, who isn't even 30 yet.

Social media, as I have also mentioned before, seems here to stay in our culture. We should encourage our youth to learn about computers and web development so they develop great sites and apps to assist the world. Knowledge is definitely power now.