Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 End Year Recap of Sports, Entertainment and Other Pop Culture Mishaps

It's that time again: the end to another year. Here's my recap of the good, bad and the ugly from the second half of 2015. Spoiler: Beyonce' and Kobe Bryant once again managed to stay off of this list. There are many others though.

Repeat Offenders: 

The Kanye award: Kanye West. You just couldn't stop "Kanyeing". It's like you've stopped caring about what you say and how you look. And apparently you're gonna be the Donald Trump of 2020.

Opportunists: The Kardashians: Y'all are the roaches of pop culture: just will not go away. Kim, I hope you got fixed after birthing this last child. Boy I tell ya, I haven't ever seen such attention whores in my life.

Dirty football program: University Of Southern Cal (USC): You managed another bowl eligible season, but you had an alcoholic coach (Steve Sarkishan) and not much continuity. The sins of the past have continued to haunt you.

Corporate rant: Krispy Kreme in Gastonia, NC. Ok I visited this place on a slow night and I still waited 15 minutes for two HOT  doughnuts when the HOT light was on. I am officially done with this KK.

Local business complaint: Skateland in Gaffney. I was always suspect about this place and their policies. But now it has gotten worse. Racism, disrespecting children, forcing them to skate all night on lock in nights. You guys will not see a dime of my money.

First to worst: Dallas Cowboys. This would have went to the 49ers, but their expectations were already low. After last season's controversial call in the playoffs, it seems injuries, trades, and bad QB play have you at a laughingstock once again. Now you should question if Romo should return, or possibly draft a QB like Connor Cook.

Television faux pas: Cliffhangers. Please please stop with these already! They are long played out, along with originality.


Racist award: Hulk Hogan. You were low key about it. However you cannot drop the N bomb, regardless of how famous you are or how fast your daughter is.

Clown politician: Donald Trump. Nothing else needs to be said that we aren't already saying or thinking.

Troubled singer:  Ariana Grande. Your post Nickolodean career is raising eyebrows as you raise your skanky skirt. I suggest taking 2016 to reboot and hanging with your "Nona".

Can't Get Right Athlete: Aldon Smith. You are a metaphor and a cliché for what you do not do in professional sports. Please get your life right.

Moron rapper: Meek Mill. Meek, come harder if you are gonna beef with the most notable rapper currently in the game (Drake). That was weak as well water and you deserved to get served.

Sport in Question: The NFL Preseason. When are you gonna shorten this, or at least not mandate that teams play their starters long? It appears more injuries occurred this past preseason than in the entire regular season.

Evil coach: Mack Breed, the Texas high school coach that forced his players to take out the ref. You don't go after the officials, period, nor coach teenagers to play in that manner.

Washed Up Actor/Actress: Vivica A. Fox.  Man what a trainwreck! My once celebrity crush has gotten crazier, especially when it involves 50 Cent. Apparently he put a spell on you.

TO award for inappropriate on field behavior by an athlete: Odell Beckham Jr. You were not well known before that awesome catch last season. Now you go and head butt defensive backs? ODB, you're better than this.

Happy New Year and always make it a goal to not live like this people.

Friday, December 18, 2015

2015 Christmas Letter

What a year this has been! I cannot believe it's time for my annual Christmas/Holiday letter.

This year was a year of two halves for me. The first half of the year, I celebrated my 12th year of employment with The Robert Allen Group. Over the summer, I began a new journey and started working for Amazon in Spartanburg. It has been hard, but fulfilling and rewarding work thus far. I like having more opportunities worldwide and getting to participate in the company's two busiest times: Prime Day and Peak 2015.

I still maintained and exceeded my fitness status. At 37, I am in the best shape of my life. Running became more serious for me in 2015 as I ran my first half marathon, a 10K, and I am lining up my 2016 races. One of which is a full marathon in late April. My furthest distance ran to date is 20 miles so I feel I am on the right track with my training.

While I have joined other fitness and running circles, I have reconnected with some old friends and circles, and discarded others. It's life and  often this is necessary. I do enjoy the time with the friends and close family I have, especially with all of the holiday gatherings and socials currently ongoing.

Smokin Rita and Friends is still going strong, raising money for The Christmas Is For Kids campaign, and many others in need. This year, more than $10,000 was raised for such causes. I wasn't able to be as involved this year, but I hope that changes in 2016. 

Entertainment wise, I have gotten into more good TV such as Empire, Power and the classic ABC sitcom The Middle. I am currently watching an episode as I type this letter. The quality and appeal of movies has waned for me. Hollywood is seemingly running out of ideas, plus it's easier to stream them on Netflix. I did see a few good ones this year on the big screen, such as the new Star Wars movie and enjoyed it, but I didn't have the desire to see the midnight premiere.

2015 was definitely a year of change, progression and growth. My mom has gotta away from social media and is mostly a homebody these days. I have fallen back from most social media, but have gotten into Snapchat.

I would like to congratulate all of my friends/fellow writers that have books and blogs out. It appears everyone wants to be Shakespeare now, but I do admit writing is a joy and a rush. Keep writing!

As always, I will enjoy the holiday season and look forward to many new things in 2016. Continued fitness progress, my e-book, more gatherings (hosted by me), my 20th high school class reunion and a new President of the United States.

Happy Holidays friends and family! I love you all and encourage you to keep reading and reaching for the stars.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Relationship Assessment

More and more relationship quizzes and assessments are appearing. Cosmopolitan magazine is probably the most popular of the quizzes. However, we see more and more assessments other than relationship compatibility. Many companies use this method when evaluating and hiring new employees. It's definitely a growing trend

To this end, I have compiled my own relationship assessment. I plan on putting it on Survey Monkey, or another related site.

1. Do you workout/exercise/train?

2. How is your overall eating?

3. Do you want children (or any more)? How many?

4. Who do you think should pay on dates? What about bills?

5. What are the basic roles of a man in a relationship?

6. Do you like sports? If so, what are your favorites, along with teams?

7. What is your favorite restaurant?

8. Are you a dog or cat person?

9. What is your greatest fear?

10. Favorite quote?

11. What is your religious/spiritual affiliation?

12. Did you attend or plan to attend college? If yes, where?

13. Do you enjoy reading/writing? What is your favorite book?

14. Name your top five favorite TV shows.
15. Who are your top five rappers of all time?

16. Do you think you manage time well? Why or why not?

17. Would you date outside of your race?

18. Are you currently in a relationship?

19. Can you cook and if so, what are your best dishes?

20. How often do you pamper yourself? (manis, pedis, hair, etc)

21. What types of clothes do you normally wear?

22. Do you drink and/or smoke?

23. What does a perfect Saturday night consist of? Sunday morning?

24. Where was your best vacation?

25. How do feel about punctuality and organization? Are you a spur of the moment person?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

How To Handle The Rain, And Other Discontent In Your Life

This may have not been your year so far, and you want to close it out strong and gear up for 2016. Moreover, you could simply be tired of all of this rain lately.

Out of the past two months, it has rained nearly every weekend, including a string of four consecutive weekends in the Dirty South. That doesn't count all of the rain during the week. Add in warmer temperatures and you see grass that should have already died making a comeback like Michael Jordan or Jason Voorhees.

As the famous song by New Edition goes "can you handle the rain?".

It has been a true struggle, and it's even worse now it's darker earlier. One wants to get all of the sunshine, metaphorical and actual, that is possible. Personally you begin to wonder how climates such as Seattle and London can tolerate all of this wet, muggy weather.

Here are a few tips to help you in weathering these storms. 

1. Keep your Vitamin D levels high.

This is good for your overall health anyways and morale. Whether through dairy or vegetables, keeping enough Vitamin D is crucial when the supply is short.

2. Keep your trips short , sweet and productive.

Don't go out unless absolutely necessary, and buy like you would for a snowstorm or tornado. The rainy days in your life are a challenge, and you may just wanna spend a few days inside.

3. Do a lot of neglected housecleaning.

This can be your home, garage, den, or even friend lists in your phone or social media. Doing this can clear your mind as well and keep you busy.

4. Keep plenty of soup on standby.

Yes soups, stews and chowders are the popular cuisine during any downpour or down period. They soothe and warm the soul.

5. Netflix and Chill.

I don't mean the newly popular hookup app. This can be a time to catch up on movies, shows and simply relax (without any other implied action). Take advantage people.

6. Intimacy is always good.

This is one that I will leave right here as my grown readers know what's up.

7. Write and vent your feelings.

This topic just didn't come by convenience. It's also a coping mechanism for yours truly. Point being, putting your feelings on paper can revilize you.

Remember the rainy days won't last forever as Mary J eluded to. Appreciate the sunshine while you can, so the lean days are more bearable.

How do you deal with the various rainy days in your life? Has anything on this list been effective?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Family: The Horrors and Terrors Behind The Hugs and Laughs

There are many spooks, ghouls, and goblins on this day that has many different pagan and spiritual meanings. However the biggest horrors can come from your own flesh and blood.

I'm not referring to skeletons in the closet either.

Family can lift you up and wear you down. It seems like many, especially the younger generation, has lost sight of actual family values.

You can simply see in the television we have now. We used to have Good Times and The Waltons. Now we have Modern Family and Empire, different types of family shows. It does portray our society now.

Families do not get together like they should or used to. Many people no longer know their own cousins or even keep in touch with them outside of social media. And reunions, well, that's another story. It seems people would rather go to a high school or college reunion than one with their own families.

This is horrifying because many don't have anyone to lean on in tough times and lose sight of their heritage and history. Speaking of history, it repeats himself because people do not learn from the past. In about 20 years, it will be more difficult for folks to trace their family history, even with Ancestry.

Now many of you may not care to associate with your family and I actually get that. If this is the case, I do hope you have an extended family or circle to deal with. This is so vital for many reasons. It is rough enough to deal with life's horrors. Dealing with them alone is even worse.

So as we enter the holiday season, please keep that in mind. Refocus and reconnect with family and close friends alike. Also, take plenty of pictures and preserve memories. This is also your historical account of the past for others behind you as well.

If you don't know where you been, it's hard to know where you're going. Therefore, don't allow those close to you to become strangers.

How close are you to your family? Do you get together and if so, how often?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

It's A Different World: The Transition Is Real

I have undergone a lot of personal changes throughout my life, over the past couple of years especially.  A few months ago, I changed companies and jobs after 12 years with the same place.

The toughest part was adjusting to a different schedule. I had been on a Monday-Friday schedule for the longest. I started out on a weekend shift, working Fridays-Mondays, 10 hour shifts. Since Labor Day, I have been working Sundays-Wednesdays, all 10 hour shifts. I took today (this Sunday off) and realized I hadn't had a regular Sunday off since Father's Day. I feel I have adjusted well as my company heads into its busiest time of the year.

Many have experienced this and other life transitions (marriage, first child, new house, beginning school). Here are some of the ways I have an am still adjusting to this latest life change.

1. Being open and flexible

That has to be the case when your routine is changed. It is a transition in many ways and you have to stay open to the new changes.

2. Manage your time and stress well.

This may be the most important. My time has been adjusted as well, along with days, workouts, meals, and the like. Allowing myself to find a good routine and be organized has taken me to other levels.

3. Don't forget your support group.

This is your close circle of family, friends, mentors and former classmates and coworkers. Stay in touch from time to time as you grow and learn.

4. Keep your main purpose in front.

Remember why you made this change. I wrote before about transitions and second acts. This obviously has to be leading to something big, which will keep you motivated and encouraged.

It takes most a while to adjust to any new setting, but it does and can get better. Tomorrow is a new day so keep pushing.

Have you have a major life transition lately? Do you feel you have adjusted well?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Forest "Frosty" Lanier: A Special Man That Still Has An Impact 30 Years Later

Monday, October 19, 2015 will be a bittersweet day for myself and my family. It is the day my maternal grandfather, Forest "Frosty" Lanier, lost his battle with lung cancer and left us in the physical. He was only 63.

Many people that knew him best: family, friends and such, have mostly good memories of him. I was only seven but I remember my Paw Paw being a loving, caring man. He would ride me in his Chevy truck all over and give me Little Debbie Zebra cakes and tell me not to tell my mom that I ate before dinner. He also fueled my love for reading as he went to the auction every Saturday night and bought me truckloads of books,some I still own.

I never got to hear his actual voice as around the time I was four, his larnyx was removed as a result of the cancer. He spoke with a voice buzzer the rest of his life. He also got me into court TV, never missing The People's Court with Judge Wapner. He allowed me to watch as long as I didn't make any noise.

Frosty lived quite a life in his 63 years. He was a World War II drill sergeant, and received the Purple Heart as a result of a serious back and lung injury. The Army gave him full disability as a result.

Given that he had a government check coming in, it would have been easy for him to kick back and take it easy. But this wasn't Frosty. He was way too active and energetic. He groomed hunting dogs and game roosters, made moonshine, grew two gardens and even painted houses. He was very active, plus he had a wife and two young kids (my mom and uncle Kenny) to think about. They may have not lived in luxury, but they never were without food and shelter. Frosty made awesome stews (his chicken stew is still the best in my mind) and owned every house and car he purchased.

He wasn't perfect though. He did illegally hustle, plus he was an alcoholic. Frosty was also a bit of an introvert and recluse. People, including my mom, saw past his faults and saw him for the kind hearted man he was. He didn't show affection often, but you knew he loved you.

Frosty left his children and grandchildren equal shares of his nearly five acres of land he purchased. I feel blessed to have land handed down to me and per his will, do not ever desire to sell my share.

He was a man of his time, but he had an unmatched swagger, hustle and determination. His time just ran short, and the Lord needed him more.

I have to rely mostly on stories from my mom and others. However that is how we keep him alive, along with the striking traits he also handed. Thus Frosty Lanier will never truly die.

R.I.P. Paw Paw Frosty, you believed in me before I knew to believe and you impacted many lives. I can't wait to meet you again.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

South Carolina: Halfway Underwater but Not Fully Overwhelmed

South Carolina has been an embarrassment and an eyesore financially and socially for years. This year, however, the state has progressed and come together during tough critical times.

Currently, the state is flooded from Columbia on down near Charleston due to dams splitting near two major rivers in the wake of Hurricane Jocquin.

You see on the news often that when this type of natural disaster occurs, there are riots, looting and all out violence. Here in South Carolina, the residents have really come together and helped each other. Several legitimate clothing and food drives have been formed, law enforcement and government officials, including the National Guard, have worked around the clock during this crisis.

The University of South Carolina was playing LSU this week in football. Due to the floods, the game was moved to LSU's home stadium. The residents and fans of LSU were very nice and hospitable as well, even playing a lot of South Carolina fight songs and music during the game.

It appears the country has noticed how this state bands together instead of dividing. This was demonstrated during the summer with the Dylann Roof massacre. We don't always see eye to eye on certain issues, and seem to be stuck in olden times too often. However when you look around, you are hard pressed to find a state that will look out for its fellow resident and offer a helping hand.

I was becoming ashamed to be a South Carolina native and resident. Over the past few years, my faith has been restored. Good job to all of SC!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Live Your Life Well

I will start with an excerpt from an infamous meme:

"Live Your Life In Such A Fashion That Westboro Baptist Church Will Protest Your Funeral."

The general point is you want to live a good, fulfilling life with a great legacy of family, friends and moments where you touched someone positively.

I know some of us do not like to think about all of this and understandably so. However, wouldn't it be sad if no one cared to show up for your funeral, or even remember you?

Here are some ways to preserve your legacy:

1. Don't burn bridges

Distance yourself from certain people and cut them off when and where necessary. However, don't completely end the relationship you have built with them. You never know when you will need that connection.

2. Set out to positively touch one person each day.

Let your life be the example. This goes back to the opening quote. Be a shining and guiding light and motivate, encourage and excite where necessary.

3. Get out of your house and off of social media and hit the streets.

In short, socialize! Learn people's names, something important about them, and talk to them and interact in person with them. Making that time can pay dividends later.

4. Apologize for wrongdoings and make things better.

Sometimes it's better to simply be the bigger person and admit where you are wrong. This will free you and allow you to move forward in your life.

5. Live, laugh and love

Yeah you've heard this one before but it is true. Enjoy life, love your fellow persons and see all the positives. There are enough negative things so embrace what is good about life.

Don't waste a minute, go ahead and do a small gesture now. As long as you're breathing, it's never too late to make things right or better!

What is your legacy? Do you care if you're remembered or not?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

25 of Blacksburg High School's best football players

Last week at halftime of the Blacksburg High School's game versus Woodruff, the 2015 Hall Of Fame class was announced. This included all BHS sports of course. The most notable to many in this area is football though. Four of the six nominees did play football in Blacksburg, SC at some point. Cherokee County is a football county, as Gaffney, SC takes football as seriously as a small town high school can.

That being said, I believe the inductees (current and past) are deserving. Two are former teammates of mine. However, the big debate is why certain players haven't gotten in yet. It does mirror the NFL Hall of Fame, as some players get in early, while others seemingly wait decades, and may not live to see their enshrinement.

Finally, I have compiled my own top 25, which was difficult. I may later expand this to a top 50.

1. Doug Bolin

2. Mike Smith

3-25 (in no particular order)

Danny Fulton

Chris Dawkins

Shon Dawkins

Marcus Davis

 Mickey Moss

 Tony West

 Fred Parker

Randy Patterson

Randy Huskey

 Marcus King

Terrence "TO" Camp

Timmy Camp

Darrell Burris

Kenneth Blackstone

 Blake Hope

 Mark Striewing

Stanley "Dunnie" Watts II

Lamont Sutton

Anthony Garrison

 Joe Patterson

 Nesbitt "Banky" Black

Joey Moore

Daniel Farris

Other notables: JR Martin, JP Martin, Billy Costner, Butch McAbee, Roland "Shine" Camp, Mark Dawkins

There have been many greats come through Blacksburg High School.  Imagine them being on one team.

OK, who else should be on this list? Who honestly has no business being mentioned?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A House Divided: Dating Someone Who Roots For a Different Sports Team

Now the most popular sport is back in full swing: football. The rivalries can spawn friends, coworkers and relatives not speaking for months.

What about significant others though?

It is interesting what I have heard and seen over the past few years. Many people won't even consider dating you if you root for a team they dislike or "the enemy."

OK now let's get something straight. I understand everyone has their preferences and standards, and they should. I'm as big of a sports fan as you will find, especially football. I write this post as I also watch two college football games simultaneously.

However, we must realize the key word here: game. It is important to fans and players but if you're in love with another person and you have other similarities, why can't you make it work? And you wonder why you're single.

It seems to be our generation is almost finding reasons either to be in a relationship or to stay single. Once again, if you want to be in a relationship with a certain person, be willing and able to put other barriers and obstacles aside. Many divided households make it work.

It's similar to men hating shopping, soap operas, and spas, or women not caring about sports, beer, or action movies. There will always be differences to work through. Just because you two will eventually become one doesn't mean you need to be exactly alike. We were created to be unique and have our own minds also.

Therefore, we should develop an attitude of gratitude, confidence and understanding. This can be challenging but you will not grow as a human being. Stepping outside of your comfort zone isn't always bad. Just find enough common ground to maintain chemistry.

Are you currently in a "house divided" situation? Would you date someone that roots for the enemy in your sport?

Some Common But Creative Mid Week Activities To Try

There are those folks that work on weekends for various reasons: school, or the career field they are in. Or, you may work during the week and want to do more than be on your smartphone or watch TV. Being that I have pulled weekend shifts in the past and have had time off during two and three day stretches, it forces one to be more creative when finding fun activities going on. Here are a few suggestions.

1. Local community/church/college activities.

Check the newspapers and the online calendars. Many of these places have shows, plays, open mics and such during the week.

2. Exercise

Many gyms have active classes during the week, and around in the community. Also, when it's warm out, you can walk, jog or run.

3. Movies

4. Sporting events (youth to professional).

5. Concerts

6. Doctor's appointments, dealing with errands.

These are things that you wouldn't have time to do on a normal week. However, if you're not preoccupied during the week, you can use this time to complete those duties.

7. Volunteer work, including after school tutoring and mentoring.

8. Shopping

9. Taking a casual drive.

10. Trying out restaurants in other cities.

Restaurants aren't usually as packed during this time and often offer good deals. For example, Ruby Tuesdays allows kids 10 and under to eat for free on Tuesdays.

Hope this helps fill the time during the week (which may be your weekend.)

Do you currently do some of these activities? What are some other ones you would add to this list?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Let's Get Ready To Rumble: Mother and Child Edition

Many of us get into it with our mothers from time to time.Even as adults, we may not still curse or talk back to them. But there has seemingly been a collective head bumping since puberty that seems to take decades to taper off.

I can speak from experience here. My mom and I have gotten really heated at times. We have had to fall back from each other for often days at a time. Yes we have an awesome relationship but it's not all peaches and cream.

It seems like girls are more than likely to fight and fuss with their mothers, while guys typically want to be more protective and quiet.  Also with guys, you want to treat your mother well. That's where it starts as a child. You will tend to treat other women well.

Here are four quick tips on facilitating the healing after a blowout with your mom.

1. Distance

Realize what has happened and back away from the situation. Trust me here. Give it a day or two, then talk it out like civilized adults.

2. Admit your shortcomings.

Yes when mama's unhappy, everybody is, even when she's in the wrong. Admit your own faults, and try to find common ground. 

3. Let It Go

Sometimes it's simply not that crucial to be getting all upset about. It could also have long term effects. You may win the battle, but you'll lose the war. Choose your words and battles carefully and know when to leave it alone.

4. End the altercation in peace.

This is the hardest but after common ground, find some peace in the midst of conflict. You may need a buffer to assist,  but you don't wanna leave things too tense for too long. Most of us want peace and not war anyways, especially with the person that brought us into this world.

Remember fights are often inevitable but there's usually nothing beyond repair. Keep it moving and don't stop loving your mother. You only have one after all.

What is the worst fight you and your mother ever had? How did you deal with it?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Getting Out In Front: Staying Steps Ahead Of The Game

We're in a procrastination era, where we put off, float stuff and are simply unprepared. Now one person can never be fully prepared for every situation or scenario. You should control what you can though.

Some of it requires careful planning, but most of it comes down to routine maintenance. You don't want your gas tank running too low, or you want to ensure that your bank account is good. Also, making and taking routine appointments to the doctor and dentist are important. It's little things like this that make a big difference long term.

You should always stay a few steps ahead with a plan B, C in life. It sounds simple, but many fail to do it. All it takes is a few minutes of simple planning and forethought.

Expect the unexpected, plan well, prioritize and never assume. Also, rest and relax. This will keep you with the energy to push forward and stay ahead.

How do you stay ahead in your daily lives? What are some things you could do better?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Learning Properly: A Shoelace Analogy

I will start out this post with a story related to shoelaces.

I am usually a quick learner and can pick up on things well, especially if I am properly taught. Well I was a late bloomer on tying my shoelaces. I was around eight before I learned. Then when I finally got it, I realized a fundamental flaw that everyone that was teaching me made: they went too fast and didn't go step by and step. Many people skipped the last step: lacing through to make a bow. I used to get that "rabbit going around the tree into the hole" analogy and my brain didn't comprehend this.

Speaking of analogies, that seems to be the flaw nationwide, especially in our educational systems. School is back in session for many students, and now is the time to educate them properly. Kids need to be taught well not only at school but at home as well.

I have been tutoring and helping kids and adults for decades and let me tell you one thing: everyone doesn't learn the same. You often have to adjust your methods to better help the general population. Two things I have mentioned before: 1. How I struggled with learning subtraction until I was properly taught and 2. Teaching something new to someone is similar to following the steps in a recipe. If you neglect or skip steps, your dish may not turn out well.

Let's get these kids off to a good start. They have their fresh new clothes and supplies and may already be nervous enough. Stay in tune with how they are doing, and stay ahead of any potential problems.

Again, it's also important to understand a person's learning style and ensure they understand. One cannot assume they can just go out and pick it up as they go along with the work and lessons. Practice doesn't make perfect: PERFECT practice makes perfect.

Therefore, now, not October, December and especially not May, is the time to work with the kids and help them excel. After all, who doesn't feel good when the kids are excelling?

"Each one, teach one. Each one, reach one."

What are some concepts that you have had trouble learning in the past? How could you have been taught better?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Part Two: More To These Restaurants Than Meets The Eye

Last week, I covered a few mom and pop restaurants around the area, many of which have sketchy appearances but awesome food. This week, I will cover more in North and South Carolina.


Courtney's BBQ:

This joint looks small and run down. But trust me, you would be hard pressed to find a place around here that serves better pulled pork. I mentioned them in my article last year about Clover. They also have an awesome Saturday country breakfast buffet. They are open Thursdays-Saturdays so get there early and come hungry.


I can't say enough good things about this place. The building used to be Cagie's Bar in the 70s but now has lots of good eats and specials. I dare you to find a place anywhere with better stuffed burgers.

Rock Hill:

Anna J's:

It is a small quaint joint that serves some of the best southern cuisine you will find at low prices. When I lived in Rock Hill, I went here twice/month for lunch.

Empire Pizza:

Empire has become one of Rock Hill's newest hangouts, and anotuer gathering place for Winthrop alums. Their Italian food is hard to beat, and they are open late. Plus they have a live band nearly every Friday.


It is not easy to find good Mexican food other than Broncos in Gaffney. Charondas isn't far off. They have awesome drink specials, great food, and two locations in Rock Hill.



Yeah I know it's mostly a jump off spot after the club and it's on Beatties Ford Road near Johnson C. Smith University. But they have pretty good food and it's hard to find anything open late than isn't a chain restaurant.

Jack Beagles:

I have mentioned them before also. My friend Rashad swears by them. They have good, unique dishes and are located in the NoDa arts district in Charlotte. They are definitely worth a try.

Buca di Beppo:

Located off of South Boulevard in the Pineville area, their Italian food is delicious and they serve large portions. They don't have calzones or strombolis but I'm sure they could make them special. If you want authentic Italian in Charlotte, this is the place to go.

Shelby/Kings Mountain:

Bridges BBQ:

This is long a Cleveland County staple. They have good BBQ, almost as good as Courtney's and they are near the mall.

Mi Pueblitos:

You wouldn't think a Mexican joint out in the cut would be that tasty. But it is and their cooks take pride in serving you delicious food.

That's all for now!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Part One: More To These Restaurants Than Meets The Eye: Some Local Restaurants That You Should Try Out

I saw an article on Facebook recently with a list of mom and pop restaurants that are much better than their appearance would lead you to be. Well to that end, I decided to write a listing of some places around the way that were omitted.

I like to try out the local cuisine whenever I road trip and leave the chain restaurants alone. Hopefully I can help some of you out.

Here is a listing by city:

Blacksburg, SC:

Bailey's Fish Camp.

A long time staple in Blacksburg, it is ran exclusively by the Bailey family. They have good food, a relaxed atmosphere and even fed the local football team for many seasons.

Gaffney, SC

Daddy Joe's BBQ and Grill

I have written about my former Thursday night hangout a few other times. Surface wise, some may think it's an old barn. But that is the look owner Shag Stepp wants: the beach house BBQ look. They have some of the best ribs and hush puppies you will eat, and always have some sort of entertainment on Thursday nights: live music on the patio, corn hole, trivia, etc. Add in the free Pac-man machine and you have a place built to entertain.

Colonial Fish Camp

No disrespect to Bailey's, but this may be the best seafood restaurant in the Upstate. Delicious food, mid-week specials, and large portions make this place a must try.


When you're in downtown Gaffney, you think of Harold's. It was on the Food Network of course. Many neglect Sticks.  This bar and grill has a quaint atmosphere, with a wide selection of wings, and homemade hand cut fries. Wednesday night gets the weekend started as it is wing night, and all wings are at a discount.

Spartanburg, SC


You may not think much about this place on the East Side (the old side of Spartanburg). However, I'm here to tell you that their food is first class all the way. It's great as either a date restaurant or a hang out. The prices are steep but the food is well worth it.

Venus Pie Pizzeria:

This looks like an artsy place to the naked eye. Deep inside is some of the best pizza you will find along these parts, and the largest calzones. All it usually takes are a couple of large slices to satisfy your appetite.

The Junction

Located off of Hearon Circle, it looks run down, closed and the billboard doesn't have all of the letters. But if you want good, home cooked food that's clean and all you can eat, look no further. They have breakfast, lunch and dinner except on Sundays (no breakfast then). I don't recommend many buffets anymore but this one is definitely worth a try.


Chinese Kitchen:

They have some awesome, giant wings and other specials, which include a heaping portion of their delicious rice.

York Family Seafood

This is another tasty, down home place, and one of the few restaurants that still has a salad bar. They still handwrite their specials on the tables and believe in giving you a good, small town dining experience.

I will wrap up the rest of South Carolina next week. But for now, these give you ideas to chew on.

Have you ever been to these places? Any you would add or delete?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Pixels and Southpaw: Definitely A Double Dose Of Fine Cinema

This has been thus far arguably one of the worst and unoriginal summer movie seasons to date. It has been littered with remakes, lame sequels, and corny comedies.

Enter Southpaw and Pixels. I saw both over the same weekend and they fulfilled the appetite I have long been craving.

I have only been to the movies twice this summer (Avengers 2, Ted 2), the least I have been since 2003. This past weekend made it worthwhile.

Pixels was Adam Sandler's annual summer blockbuster and very nostalgic for 80s fiends and fans of classic 8 bit video games. It was very touching and exciting. It takes my generation back to a simpler time, and shows the younger generation that better graphics do not equal a better game.

Southpaw, even with several boxing and sports movie cliques', still answered the metaphorical bell. Jake Gyllenhaal and Forrest Whittaker were brilliant, the fight scenes were raw and realistic, and despite the strong language, it is a good movie about the importance of family and the things we will do for them and because of them. This may be the best movie I have seen thus far in 2015. Here's hoping the Oscar board will not pass over Gyllenhaal once again.

So do yourself a favor and check out both of these movies on the big screen. I can guarantee you will get your money's worth.

Have you seen either or both of these movies yet? Do you think they added a different dimension to another predictable summer movie season?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The United States Of America: A Country At a Crossroads

The past 30 or so days in not only my state of South Carolina, but the entire USA has shed some light on some deep hidden feelings and has opened up a very scary can of worms.

I won't go into detail especially since you would have to be living under a rock not to know the ripple effect that one young man's actions in Charleston, South Carolina on June 18 has and will continue to have. However, it has set our entire country, especially the South, back a couple of decades. In short, it has caused a lot of division and unnecessary hate.

We definitely need more love in this world and less hate. Everyone desires to be loved. Heck the Beatles mentioned it in almost all of their songs.

The nation is at a true crosswords and honestly has been for quite a while. The Charleston incident was one of the final straws in this race, culture and history war.

I always like to offer solutions and thoughts. From my standpoint, we need to UNITE, period. We are the United States of America. It starts by treating each other as human beings. This is the time where race, class, and even differing opinions need to be put aside. Once we see that we are all human, fallible and passionate about something, we can rebuild the face and image that this great country was built upon.

I honestly believe that this is the issue that has been going on for far too long, and will continue until we start treating each other as one. One nation, one power, one flag (the American flag), and one set of human beings. We are like a family. Like and agreement will not always exist, but love should. The Beatles would certainly concur .

Now go out and find something in common with your neighbors, coworkers and such, and put aside all of this bickering.

Do you think our country is in this bad of shape? What other solutions do you have to rebuild it?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

2015 Mid Year Wrap-Up Of Pop Culture, Sports and other notable mishaps

July is notable to me for a variety of reasons: the 4th of July, my birthday, and of course my Mid-Year recap of the foolishness in the world. My lists are actually getting shorter over the years. Some people actually want to stay off apparently.


Troubled singer: Miley Cyrus. You seem headed right down the Brittany Spears path. All that's missing now are a husband and children.

Drug addicted athlete (Ricky Williams award): Josh Gordon. Until marijuana is illegal in all 50 states, you need to stop using if you wanna play football.

Criminals: Crooked ministers. Creflo Dollar may be the worst, but too many ministers falsely profit from God. Anyone get the double entendre there?

America: I have a separate post coming later. In short, we must come together as a country and end all of this useless division.

Beyonce': You're back again. Your mother has rediscovered your groove, while your fashion (and dresses are slipping).

Kim Kardashian (the ditzy THOT award): Please either go into hiding, or behave, if that's possible.


Caught with his pants down: Greg Anthony. This is sad. I will miss you as a broadcaster, but you can't always live your personal life as you please.

Dirty sports team: New England Patriots. Karma has finally gotten the best of you. You have many haters, and now it is justified.

Athlete with attitude: Marshawn Lynch. Look here Beast Mode, every one has job responsibilities they don't like. Just do the interviews, collect your check, and keep playing.

Bobby Knight coaching award: Kevin Stallings. That is no way to treat a player, or a person. You best believe I wouldn't want my son playing for you.

Racist award: Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. It's surprising you guys haven't made my list as of yet, given all of the strife you have stirred up. You all have a lot of work to do to improve your image as a national fraternity.

Over the top National Anthem performance: Jamie Foxx. We have had the best from Whitney, to the worst in Roseanne. But Jamie, what was that? You do realize the Star Spangled Banner is not a gospel hymn, right, right?

Renegade athlete: Tom Brady. Like your team, you also got your just desserts. Stop appealing and take your punishment like a man.

Sicko award (tie): Josh Duggart and Jared Fogle (the Subway guy). Duggart may be worse because he has 19 kids and molested his own sisters. But Jared is the most surprising. Subway has already gone south enough and now they will need a new spokesperson. Simply revolting.

Fake-out award: Rachel Dolzeal. You clearly thought because you were white, the rules didn't apply to you. One cannot get careless.

Rapist: Bill Cosby. Cos, I still don't wanna believe it. I am highly disappointed. I only pray you get forgiveness from your family and God.

See you all in December!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Signs You're A Runner

Warm weather is now upon us, especially now that July is here. Nearly everyone is doing some sort of outdoor fitness. One of the most popular ones is running.

I have gotten back into running over the past year, previously writing about "runner's high." You see folks out and about early in the morning to late at night running, walking, and/or jogging. It's that season.

Also, for my fellow runners out there, here's a sign that you are a runner or have become a runner.

1. You have purchased merchandise such as bright T-shirts, shorter shorts, headbands, bright vests, and watches like Garmin and the newly famous FitBit.

2. You buy new tennis shoes every few months, and have them specially fitted for your foot.

3. You know what runner's knot is.

4. You have a set day (for most , the end of the week) to do your long runs.

5. You have at least three running routes.

6. You have raced in or are already registered for at least three races this year.

7. You go to bed and arise early so you can get early morning runs in. Got to beat the heat and humidity!

8.  You have a steady supply of Band-Aids and possibly nipple guards.

9. You have found wireless earphones can be your friend on your runs.

10.  You're in a running club (shout-out to RTR!)

11.  You keep a steady supply of running gels, water, hand towels, and bananas.

12. You know and like to avoid the hilly roads and trails.

13. You pay more attention to the weather forecast and take full advantage on days when it's between 60-75 degrees.

14. You have actually ran in light rain.

15. You have a favorite race that you run annually.

16. You schedule everything (work, vacations, social outings) around running.

17. You have apps on your phone such as Nike running and RunKeeper.

What are some other ways you can define yourself as a runner? Do you relate to all or some of the above?

Monday, June 22, 2015

From Rachel Dolezal to Dylann Roof: How Well Do You Really Know Those Around You?

There has been much soul searching and questioning of character over the last few weeks in the wake of fraud and tragedy. I am of course writing about the media elephants in Rachel Dolezal and Dylann Roof. Rachel had people fooled for nearly two decades, and Dylann didn't really have anyone fooled.

Let's discuss something different than the obvious racial tension these separate incidents have incited. Another issue here is a common one: how well do you REALLY know someone? Rachel had an entire organization fooled for far too long. Roof really wasn't trying to deceive anyone, he simply flew under the radar.

This type of character deception occurs everyday. You rarely ever know what a person is really like until you look deep down inside and use intuition and discernment to evaluate them. There is a reason we deal with the folks we deal with daily. Many we are required to, some we choose to. People do change, but more often than not they are still the same overall.

Watch your circle carefully. Someone , even a long time friend or family member, could be masking someone or their true feelings about you. It happens all the time, but is rarely seen.

This is not to say be overly cautious or paranoid. Simply use proper judgment when dealing with people, remember they are human, and accept them for who they are, and recognize who they aren't.

How have you been deceived in your past by a fake image or person? Do you believe that certain situations and scenarios always reveal an ugly side to a person?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Owning Your Own Faults: Being Accountable

We all make mistakes and do things wrong. To err is human. I previously wrote a piece similar to this "Mistakes:Casting The First Stone."

The worst part, however, is not owning up to the own crap we say and do.

It's easy to criticize and pass judgment. However, why aren't more of us owning up to our faults and shortcomings, and trying to improve them?

It's the classic case of sweeping around your own front door first. The biggest step can be picking up that broom and putting in the metaphorical work.

One needs to take a step back, and do a hard look. Make sure you know what you're talking about before you speak, and practice what you teach and preach.

Let's take this moment, day, month, season and year to own ourselves, flaws and all.

Do you have mess that you need to own in your life? What are you doing to progress in the proper direction?

Monday, June 1, 2015

1st Annual Drewsies Awards

I have been reading and collecting newspapers for two decades now and am  a loyal subscriber to the Gaffney Ledger. That being said, one of my favorite parts of the newspaper is when they give out awards for best restaurants, businesses, etc. I am adding a bit of a twist to my awards show "the Drewsies".  I am awarding 36 different categories, one for each year I have been alive. This will be tough, and I will do my best to be fair and unbiased.

Best journalist/writer: Joe Hughes II
Best photographer: Alvin Hinton
Best DJ: Mike Dawkins

Realest on social media (and life): Billy Moore

Best bar and grill: Patti O's
Best BBQ: Courtney's BBQ
Best service organization: Smokin Rita and Friends
Best gym: Anytime Fitness
Best fitness instructor: Angie Dover
Best trainer: Simone Mack
Best buffet: Best Pizza Buffet
Best fitness community: Upstate SC
Best running club: Run The Rock
Best teacher: Erin Helms
Best civil rights activist: Will Pruitt
Best TV comedy: The Middle
Best TV drama: Orange Is The New Black
Best parties/cookouts: The Morris Boys
Best social network: Twitter
Best chiropractor: Bill and Chad
Best dentist: Brown and Harrell
Best place for tires: Roberts Tire
Best seafood: Captain Steve's
Best steak house: Texas Roadhouse
Best salad bar: Ruby Tuesday
Best birthday freebie: Moe's Southwest Grill
Best sub sandwiches: Sub Station II in Gaffney
Best supermarket: Publix
Best movie theater: NCG theatres
Best pizza, calzones and strombolis: Venus Pie
Best retail store: Target
Best pharmacy: CVS
Best late night hangout spot: Empire Pizza
Best mall: Village of Sandhills
Best shoe store: Nike Factory Outlet
Best new TV drama: Empire

OK I could go on and on but I will stop at 36. Hope all of you enjoyed this year's Drewsies!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Cat's In The Cradle: Make Time For Others While They Have Time

Harry Chapin released perhaps his biggest hit in the 1974 called "Cat's In The Cradle." It is a very deep ballad about a father and son, where the father always seems too busy to spend adequate time with the son. By the time the dad slows down and wants to spend time with his boy, he is grown with his own responsibilities and the tables have turned.

This sounds all too familiar for many of us.

Yesterday we paid tribute to veterans no longer with us and probably spent a lot of time with family and friends we hadn't seen in a while. It is unofficially summertime, which means more time with these such folks.  These are the days and seasons we need to take advantage of.

We may have been too busy or preoccupied during the winter months, but now is the time to set aside for those most important to us. This down/fun time is important, for no one lives forever and we want to be able to spend time with them while they are here.

Too often our daily lives dominate us and we unknowingly neglect and float people, activities and opportunities. The two most important groups to remember are the elderly and the youth. The older folks didn't always neglect us or may have been busy then also. Either way, they have slowed down and love the company of their loved ones. The youth are watching us, and we need to be that example. Just as in the song, they will "grow up just like me" and then forget you and perhaps their own children. It can be a dangerous cycle.

The point is time goes fast and we must use it wisely. We have the same 24 hours that everyone else has. How and whom we spend it with is up to us. Please don't let time pass you by.

Do you feel neglected by family and friends right now? What are you doing to change this?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Mary Kale: A Celebration Of 80 Years In Life, Love and Christ

My great aunt Mary Elizabeth Kale Dover recently turned 80 years old, a milestone age for her as she is the first sibling out of her family to reach this age.

There are many great things I can say about this woman. She has been such an inspirational and stabilizing force throughout my entire life.

She was born as the third of twelve children, second oldest daughter to Bill and Orie Dover. Like many children during the Depression/WWII era, she had to assist in raising her youngest siblings, especially since both of her parents worked a lot.

She got married in the early 50s to Bill Kale. They had five children: Sandra, Tim, Vicki, and twin daughters Glenda and Belinda. They would eventually have thirteen grandchildren and seventeen great grandchildren, quite a legacy.

Now that Mary was a full time mother and wife, she still played mother figure to many others. Her beloved mother Orie passed away in 1958. Therefore her and her sister Myrtle (my grandmother) were the mothers to many of the younger siblings for life.

One of the most important lessons Mary learned and still practices and teaches to this day is about the Lord. She is one of the most devout Christians I know, and is never ashamed to express her faith. Being of the Pentacostal faith, she is very vocal about the Holy Ghost as well. Hearing her and my grandma pray always gave me cold chills.  She also is a wonderful singer, and her kids and many of her grandkids have inherited this spiritual gift.

Aunt Mary has been a tough woman throughout life's advertisies. She has witnessed both of her parents, her husband and several siblings pass on. She is one of only four remaining. She does not and cannot get around like she once could. You best believe she is still strong in heart and spirit. She is a person I have always enjoyed being around as she reminds me so much of my grandma and she is such a positive, spiritual person. They really don't make them like her anymore.

I firmly believe in giving folks the flowers while they can still smell them. Therefore, these piece is for you, Aunt Mary Kale. Thank you for all of your prayers and all you have did for the entire family. I love you as you have truly been a blessing and I am thankful everyday for people like you in my life.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

You Don't Know The Whole Story

This is kind of one of my deep rant/soapbox pieces.

I have been feeling some type of way lately. Perhaps it's the weather and my allergies. But I am growing tired of people that believe they have me figured out and know my goals and plans and such.

Here's the deal folks first and foremost. I am not an open book on every facet of my life. Just because I don't say, express or talk about something in my life doesn't mean I'm not doing it. If and when I want folks to know what is going down with me, they will know. If I want a female to know I'm feeling her, the same principle applies. Don't assume anything about anyone, especially me. Shoot I even wrote my own instruction manual a while back to assist.

This is a common mistake made by many people. You never know the story behind the story of most people. The same principle applies as with the media: when a big story breaks, look for the story that you're being distracted from. Oftentimes it's the untold stories that really tell the tale. Simply let folks live their lives and have their privacies. Personal space and invasion of privacy are becoming obsolete. Allow those that choose so to fly under the radar and be low key. They aren't bothering you so why bother them?

Ok rant over, for now.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Some Of The Tired Excuses Commonly Used To Get Out Of Socializing

Yep, gotta love the Spring and Summer seasons (or simply Summer if you're far enough South). It's when everything and everyone usually comes out and spends more time outdoors.

This being said, there will be people you can't wait to see and spend time with: friends, family, significant others, crushes. Then there are the rest: those that you are trying to avoid like the plague.

You've heard them, you've probably used them, but here are some of the common excuses used to blow off certain folk.

1. Sorry my phone died and I missed your call/text

In the era of smartphones, you would think it would be easier to reach someone. Wrong. It's actually doable to blame not seeing someone on your device, since basically you have everything on it.

2. I'm going out of town

Yeah you stay out of town more than a travel agent. Yet you post updates, location check-ins and pictures of you and other friends.

3.  I fell asleep early

4. I slept in

5. I had an old friend from out of town come in for a few days

6. I forgot my college homecoming/reunion is coming up.

7. I was in the gym or running.

Obviously one of my favorite ones

8. I'm going on vacation

9. I have an exam tomorrow and two papers this week

10. My relative graduates school this week

11.  It's a holiday weekend

OK I will stop here. The bottom line is miss us all with the excuses. If you don't want to make time for someone, tell them discreetly, honestly and clearly. Please constantly stop making yourself unavailable, unless you're the President of the United States.

Good grief indeed Charlie Brown.

What are some other excuses you have heard and/or used?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mothers: Navigating The Tough Times Together

The popular saying is "tough times don't last. Tough people do."  And in my mind, the real mothers of this world are the toughest people on the planet.

That being said, they are still human, emotional and prone to suffering. This is all a part of the journey of dealing with mothers full time.

Mother's Day is often the easiest part for the children and mothers alike. You spend the day with them, shower them with gifts, feed them, and make sure they don't have a care for that entire day.

Ironically, the day after Mother's Day is a Monday, arguably one of the toughest days of the week. It gets real again. Often the mothers realize what hasn't been done, what was floated or put off, and the fact that school is winding down and summer is beginning.

This can be a lot of stress in itself. But then you throw in the perils of life and you have some real challenges ahead.

Don't fret, there are coping mechanisms. One, do more listening than you ever have. Coming off the Mother's Day high is not always smooth. Oftentimes they may not mean what they say the way it comes out. Therefore, listen, be there, and don't feel like you have to be Mighty Mouse and save the day.

Also, proper planning will help. Before all of the Mother's Day or other festivities, make it your priority to diffuse any current and possible stress coming along the horizon. Are her bills good? Does her grass need cutting? How is her car running? Does she have a clean bill of health?  These are some of the issues to be addressed, especially once your mother is older and many of the roles have switched.

So just remember that being the child is not easy either. But you are definitely not alone. Practice lots of patience, stay within your character, take care of what you can and don't concern yourself with what you can't control. Most of all, don't stop showing unconditional love. Your mom didn't during your rough patches and phases and you can't either.

Also, tomorrow is a new day, a fresh start. Call your mother in a couple days, let her do the talking but be ready to help where necessary.

How do you and your mother get along? When the bad times come, what do you do to deal with it all?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Life and Social Skills: We All Need Them

What are life skills? They are a combination of different traits and qualities that help us to successfully interact with others in order to achieve a stated goal. 

Some of the most important life skills are people and social skills. Being able to properly communicate with folks is an important but also a dying art.

You can blame various types of technology advances. However, many people were never taught these important skills and nuggets. Nevertheless, these are the very people that are in education, law enforcement, customer service, and management. You have to be able to hold up well in crisis situations and be diplomatic. This is sorely lacking right now.

Being socialable all starts with making eye contact and talking to people in person, not at them or behind a phone or computer. Making that personal connection is crucial.

There is an old saying "good or bad, people will never forget how you made them feel.". This couldn't be more true. We all need to properly choose our battles and words. Often they are impossible to take back once they are out there, especially if the behavior is consistent.

You have those that put up walls and close off others. That is also not good. You need to be inviting and open, instead of alienating and intimidating. Be the person that everyone runs to, instead of runs away from or avoids.

Keeping peace high and hostility low is also key. It takes work to build a trusting, strong line of communication and it must be properly maintained.

In short, be likeable and humble. We have too much negativity in the world. Let's work little by little on breaking this cycle.

How important of a life skill are people skills? Do you think not being a people person puts someone at a disadvantage?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Seven Different Types Of Mothers (All Are Special)

I have another series coming up and since it's almost Mother's Day, I thought there was no better time to start this about mothers and some of the different types. I will focus on some of the positive and comical types to keep this post lighthearted and loving. 

1. The Smother

You know her, you've seen her, you may be her. You're overprotective, at the school or wherever in a New York minute to come to your child's rescue. Some may critique you because you won't allow your child to be involved in much and it appears you are sheltering them. However, this is simply your way of showing love and that is not always wrong.

2. The Super-Competitive

This is the mom that not only wants to keep up with the Joneses or be the average sports moms, they encourage and drive their children to be the best at everything they do: school, music, and sports. They may even take this as a reflection of them. They have a competitive, winning power, and they want their kids to have it as well. That being said,...

3. The Soccer Mom

You cannot forget this mom , even minus the minivan or SUV. They are super involved in any and every activity that the child is in. You often think they either work at the school or coach the team because you see them so often. However, they are simply that involved. They also lead every major committee and fundraiser, and often serve as surrogates to the other children.

4. The Neighborhood Mom/Surrogate.

Who remembers back in the 80s and early 90s the mom on the block that always fed you snacks and perhaps even served other parental roles and responsibilities? This type of mom still exists, but is more rare. They took care of their children and kept an eye out for the other kids as well. It was the village mentality, not leaving any child behind.

5.  The Modern Mom

This can be broad but to define "modern" means more innovative, hip, and into the modern times. They have full time careers and activities and balance these and motherhood well. These moms may be the most common as many households are now two income. They may lack flash and flare, but they are still good mothers and get the job done.

6. The Single Mom

I would be remissed (and perhaps disowned by my own mother and several friends and relatives) if I left this one out. It needs very little explanation but it takes independence and modern to another level. They have to play both parental roles, and they may be run down because they have very little help. You better believe this is the toughest job in the world, with seemingly no end in sight. I'm willing to bet the President of the United States has more time on his hands than a single mother.

7. The Best Friend

This is almost impossible and takes lot of work. However, with the proper children and parents, it came become reality, especially as the kids become older. You realize how important your mother is, how much she does care, and that she won't leave you when others have.

I will leave this list at seven and may add more in future series. But as we celebrate Mother's Day, let's celebrate all of their sacrifices. Nine months (give or take a few weeks) in labor, sleepless nights, no break, little to no pay, and still doing it with lots of love and care. Happy Mother's Day to all of the true mother figures!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Act II: The Rest of Your Life

This may have a commencement speech vibe to it, but hopefully a little different. However we are entering the summer and graduation season for schools of all levels.

That being said, it is often the beginning of something new in your life.

Many folks have to start over in their careers, love lives, and most anything other than a video game. It's commonly called a second act.

It can be scary and out of your comfort zone but often necessary. You feel a need for greater fulfillment and less burnout. Therefore, it can be quite exciting.

Every end is truly a new beginning. Those getting married are leaving their single lives to become one with that special love. Graduates everywhere are taking that next step in life. Many are even doing second acts on other levels. New homes, showing off their new summer bodies they worked hard for during the winter, and other life improvements and renovations.

Just simply call it a renewal. You took a brief intermission to get your life back on track and now Act II is ready to begin! Lights, camera and action!

How do you feel about second acts? Have you had a lot of personal changes in your life recently?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Bruce Jenner Needs Help, For Other Reasons

Former Olympian and ex-husband of the Kardashian's mom Kris, Bruce Jenner has been all over the news thus far in 2015.  He announced he was having a sex change and even scored an exclusive 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer.

Jenner, married three times to women, and in his golden years, has literally had a mid-life crisis and a second act all in one by deciding to be a woman. Many are calling him crazy (nevermind the fact he says he's a Republican) , the gay community is calling him brave, the Christian community believes he's devilish.

Myself, I have my own views as always.

Jenner rose to Olympic fame in the 70s and the 80s, appearing on Sports Illustrated and Wheaties boxes. He was on top of the world. Then he was irrelevant. His fame and much of his money ran out. He then married the former Kris Kardashian, whose late husband was part of OJ Simpson's legal dream team. Kim's sex tape leaked, and the Kardashians get their own reality show. All of a sudden, Bruce is back in the spotlight.

Well back is more appropriate. He was hugely ignored and cast aside by his new family. It seemed the only one to take him seriously was his biological daughter, and arguably the one with the most sense in the household. Kris and Bruce then split. Suddenly, Bruce was back at square one, again.

Basically, he loves the attention and spotlight. Many people can't get enough of it. Now he's drowning in it, especially from the gay and transgender communities. There are approximately 700,000 transgender ("trannies") in the U.S. currently. It has been said that Bruce has wanted this for decades and what perfect timing.

People thought the Kardashians were attention whores (or simply whores). To me, it appears Bruce is the one that wants all of the spotlight. He definitely is confused and has internal issues and needs help for more than his sexuality.

So as we pray for many things (peace in Baltimore, less rain, and for Mayweather to win), we need to pray for Jenner. He clearly needs help, not to be made a media spectacle. He is asking for it, but it doesn't mean he should receive it. Something is definitely wrong here, and it's not just Bruce Jenner.

Do you agree with Bruce Jenner's decision? Either way, do you think it's a cry for help or attention?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Main Event Returns!

Finally the moment is here! The fight we have long awaited for as boxing and sports fans is five days out: Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.

This fight has been floated for far too long as the sport of boxing continues to slide and UFC rises in popularity.

I have mentioned how I prefer UFC to boxing currently.  But I already have my fight party plans for Saturday night at 10pm, when Floyd and Manny are expected to finally touch gloves.

Mayweather is not a heavy favorite, but he is unbeaten, with many of his fights going to decision. He lands many shots well but doesn't pummel opponents. Pacman has five losses, including one embarrassing KO about three years ago. Still he is scrappy and will not back down in this epic battle. Plus he's a southpaw and that's always a challenge.

I have Mayweather taking the decision due to the style of both fighters. Floyd simply knows how to win, and has also been wanting this fight. He has beaten everyone else in welterweight and would have nothing else to prove. Plus, it would set up a good rematch should Mayweather continue boxing.

I haven't been this excited about a boxing match since the Tyson days so I'm ready. It's a good way to kick off the summer and mid-spring.

Who do you have winning this fight? Do you think Mayweather will retire should he win?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Running: A Completely Different Type Of High

Many of you know how much I love fitness and staying fit. You also know how I like natural highs.

On this day, April 20th (4/20) , it is a celebration of a common way of getting high: through smoking marijuana. I don't drink , smoke or use any recreational drugs or herbs so this day isn't that significant to me there.

Now if you mention the high I get from working out, especially running, well that's a horse of a different color.

I started running as a teenager when I played high school football. My adulthood found me rediscovering running in my early 30s.  I even ran my first race five years ago, the 10K at the South Carolina Peach Festival in Gaffney, SC. I have registered for several other races since, including the infamous Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC.

However, when my fitness level declined and I couldn't find anyone to run with or any good routes, I gave it up for a while. Until last year that is.

Thanks to the new fitness scene I was introduced to in Spartanburg and Rock Hill, specifically my running club, Run The Rock, I got back into running. It has been quite a rush. Last year, I began running long distances again and decided I wanted to go beyond a 10K. I wanted to train for and run a half marathon (13.1 miles). I knew it would take time, discipline, support, and training but I was up for the challenge. I trained for over six months and kept improving my hydration, quickness and endurance.

This past weekend at The Come See Me Festival in Rock Hill, SC, I ran my first half. Despite wet conditions, I ran a personal best, 2 hours and 14 minutes. Not too shabby for my first go round. My runner high is way up there currently. I wasn't concerned about time, but I wanted to be prepared and have a good pace. Everything lined up together and went well for my first half marathon. Now I plan to run another one in a few months, and hopefully a marathon (26.2 miles) by next year.

When I run, my mind feels at ease. I may ache later in my arms and legs but during my runs, I feel a sense of peace and a rush. I love tracking my times and pace and setting personal bests and taking on challenging trails and routes. It is such an addiction. I once heard that if I run one race, I will want to run regularly. This is true in my case, although I intend to continue a balance exercise regimen where I will not abandon strength and resistance training.

I feel blessed to be able to run long distances without stopping. I started on country roads as a teen, put in work on treadmills, and have built my way up. I still remember the days where I couldn't even run one mile. Obviously I feel extremely humbled and I look for continued progress.

Thanks to all of my friends, family, workout partners, trainers and coaches for the support. There would be no me without all of you.

To my fellow runners, do you feel running is like a vice or an addiction? Do you also experience runner's high?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Five Years Of Writing: Where Has The Time Went

It's extremely hard to believe I decide to start blogging five years ago on April 18, 2010.  I feel grateful for my loyal readers and all of the support I have received along the way. It has definitely been quite a ride.

It seemed it took forever for me to start blogging and to stay focused with it. Now it's like second nature and I strive to have good topics of discussion weekly. This is why I named it "random intelligence and such". I may have started out with reviewing sweet teas, but I have covered many topics, people, places and areas. Sports, love, music, entertainment, food, other writers, and most anything popular. I even have my bi-annual awards pieces, highlighting the stupidity and injustices throughout the year.

I have researched, studied and worked to improve as a writer, and grow my avenues beyond writing. Some things to expect are a couple of e-books, more online publications, some public speaking engagements and many more. I simply love reading and writing, and I want to do it as much as I can. 

This is also a thank you to Blogger for allowing me to keep my posts going for this long. Patience is a virtue and it has carried me through my writings.

Continue to support me as I push forward. Happy 5th Birthday Drew's World Of Random Intelligence and Such!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Shopping For Useful Stuff At The Drug Store

There are many of us that will resort to the drugstore as a last minute resort for a gift or simply a snack.  Heck you can usually get in and out quickly, many are open late, and they are simply convenient.

I'm not referring to Walmart, Target or a supermarket. I'm referring to actual pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and your local mom and pop drug store.

Hey don't turn your nose up just yet. There are actually good, useful gifts available at the drug store. You just have to know what you want, and simply pick and choose.

1. Electronics

Pharmacies have lots of these, especially phone chargers and nice headphones, and other cell phone accessories. Some even have cell phones, where you purchase the minutes.

2. Houseware stuff

Coffee makers, blenders, microwaves, chairs and even toasters can all be found at many pharmacies.

3. Cosmetics.

There are many high end fragrances and makeup accessories at the cosmetics counters. Belks and other retailers have them of course. But at the drugstore, they may be on sale and still be the exact same product.

4. Toys and games

There are lots of cool things for children if you need to get something for a kid's birthday, a toy drive, or for your own child. The selection is surprising.

5. Groceries

Oftentimes items such as cereal, milk, eggs and drinks are even marked considerably low. You even have your grocery list covered for a few days.

True story:  I have did all of my holiday shopping more than once from a pharmacy. They are no longer the haven for cheap, useless stuff. Pharmacies are now in the category with the major retailers, and more of the chains are opening everywhere.

What have you gotten out of the drugstore that was surprising and impressive? Do you go to the pharmacy for items that are non-medicinial?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Some Of Our More Eccentric TV characters

Television has brought us many memorable, larger than life characters. Some of them are the cool, suave or attractive ones. Many, however, are dubbed the weird, different or left field characters. You haven't seen a person like them before or after the show ends.

I've been doing some research and have conjured some such characters that changed TV and our culture forever.

1. The Fonz

He was your typical cool motorcycle riding, 50s greaser guy. He never combed his hair (it was already perfect) and didn't need many words. He was a man of image and action. It appeared when Fonzie snapped his fingers or beat on something, it was always something special. Heeey!!!

2. JJ Evans

Dy-no-mite! On a show where it was about hard times in the South side of Chicago ghetto, JJ kept things loose. His antics, style, catchphrases and rhymes captured an audience and a generation.

3. Arnold Jackson

What you talking about Willis? Gary Coleman's iconic character was comedic gold and even made you think seriously during some of the series's special episodes. His diminitive size rarely deterred him and he was always determined and focused.

4. Steve Urkel

Let's all be honest, Family Matters may have not lasted two seasons without these cheese eating, snorting, Laura-loving, super intelligent geek. Urkel had the bifocal glasses, high rise jeans, and was simply comfortable in his own skin. It was cool to be nerdy and weird because Urkel was. Did I do that?

5. Cosmo Kramer

Co-starring on arguably the best sitcom in television history (Seinfeld), Kramer stood out. He never knocked on a door,/always sliding into a scene, and kept various schemes and plots going on, with no visible means of income (similar to Tommy from Martin). The entire cast was powerful, but Kramer was undoubtedly the MVP. There is supposedly a real Kramer in New York City that does bus tours but I'm unsure if he is as funny as the TV Kramer.

6. Sheldon Cooper.

No one knew who Jim Parsons was before The Big Bang Theory premiered. But the extremely intelligent and strange physicist is a huge reason this comedy is still #1 for the past few seasons and has reruns all the time. I have elaborated before about Sheldon. Just make sure you don't sit in his spot or interrupt him on laundry night (Saturdays).

7. Omar

Michael K. Williams was a bad dude on a very awesome TV drama (The Wire). He was the wildcard. He wasn't a crook nor a cop. He simply took care of business and was simply hard. You didn't mess with Omar!

8. Uncle Si Robertson

Yeah I realize Si is an over the top reality show star. But hey (in Si voice), we all know and love his antics. His obsession with sweet tea, bells, Air Bud, and his endless stories about Vietnam are priceless. He is definitely the crazy relative that every family has. That's a fact Jack!

9. Brick Heck

I have recently gotten into The Middle and had I realized how awesome the show and/or Brick is, I would have tuned in long ago. Brick is the oddball youngest sibling in the Heck family. He has little to no friends, reads ALL the time, loves fonts and three syllable words. Don't forget about his various quirks, especially his whispering and whooping. Brick may be an outcast on the show, but would undoubtedly be the life of any real life party.

10. Huck

Scandal may have many dynamic characters and personalities. None are like that of gladiator Huck. He literally rides or dies for those he loves. It is effortless for him to kill for who and what he adored. Plus his super intelligence from the military, CIA and other secret government agencies has equipped him with many tools to hack into and learn about people's lives.

Imagine having all ten of these folks at a dinner party.

Which character do you like the best? Are there any others that should be added?