8 and Counting…and Deidra…and living

She and I have been engaged in our love process for well past 8 years, but a part of the human condition is to look at the calendar and quantify what something hould be, so I guess we can agree that 8 years under the sight of our Lors, is how long she has been my all.

She has been something more than that for almost twice as long, as she has occupied so many spaces in my left I have rarely any emotional room for roles that she has not made herself comfrotable in.

And when I consider that i met her those years ago, and grew a need for her in my life….well, I’ve often resented need, but in this instant I felt complelled to make an exception. For her…I would make every exception.

I met her those years ago, and thought not long after that I havent known any like her, and I still feel that she has been here on this plain of existence many times before, and that I probably knew her once or twice before, because we have always been very familiar.

So i imagine that loving her was the natural progression of having met her again, or this time, because there is no telling what my next incarnation would be, so I grateful that she met this one, and that I was allowed to cross paths with her again, and most grateful that she has allowed herself to fully engage in the love process that has been our relationship for many more than these last eight years

And our son, our child makes these jokes that only we, and he, and a few of you really get, but that fits, because no one fully gets us, wel a few of you do. Chris and Tiara most certainly do, but some of you are pretending to get the joke, which is okay. Because they are days where she and I sit quietly, and even chuckle a little, because we keep winning, and our love is somewhere in the details of that punchline.

Because she is far more lovely through and through than I could imagine I would ever have for myself, since I learned early on that love often comes laced with pain of one kind or another, but not in this case. No, here, for more than these eight years I have known only confusion, then happiness, and loneliness, and concern and tumbling into the well of the knowledge that another has simply and completely chosen to love you unconditionally.

She has walked with me in my emotions, and they are rather like a hurricane, and instead of looking around at the damage or wondering when it shall pass, she merely stepped in and made herself a sturdy structure, built to ride them out. I am grateful for that.

What I have had these years, more than 8 of them, is the chance to live and grow in the body of a love that is very much like the sun, in that it simply gives, and is…I know that at all times it is there, and there is no word that we as a kind have to best describe what that feels like, we are limited in that way

What I woke up knowing years ago was that I wouldnt bother with keeping time in my relationship with her, as i am too occupied with the learning what our love is becoming as we change and grow as being, even moreso than lovers. Not the romanticized lovers who lust from across the room, but the kind who simply know, through and through, that their life courses can be traced together, which is what love need be if you intend to live in it, after all.

So i send my love to her, as we mark this 8th year of what they would say has been our marriage, but what we would say has been our deal, our agreement to remain in love for as long as that mercurial emotion would have us. And if love decides to ever leave us, we have agreed to choke the shit out of it before moving on. We, she and I, are very much that way, and I am grateful to her for sharing herself with me, and some days when i am low, infusing me with our bond, and making this all worth it.

It may feel like 8 to you, but she and I have simply been holding hands and talking for a few short days.

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Separating the creator, from their creation and what they have wrought

There is, ultimately, some portion of our lives that each of leads that is based entirely on what our most sincere desires are. This portion has nothing to do with our connection to others, or our understanding of our place in the world. This portion is always at the core of us, always will be, and motivates us to drive toward, and make every conceivable effort to bring to ground the things we ultimately want, so strongly, that we would classify them as needs. Our strongest wants, in this life, will not be denid, disciplined or held at bay for very long.

Ultimately, who we are, will come out in our words, deeds, connections, work and art.

It is this last that has been troubling me lately, as the release of “Ender’s Game” has placed me in an emotional bind. After Brave New World, Storm Front and Parable of the Sower, I dont know that I have been more impacted by a book than I was the first time I read Ender’s. I recall being very young, and feeling kind of smart and poorly connected, and thinking that I/we could still do amazing things.

I didnt think about that book from my childhood, for years, and then I learned more about Orson Scott Card’s politics, and found myself ina rather odd place. See, he is remarkably, unapologetically homophobic. Now, I wouldnt describe myself as an activitst for gay rights, but I’ve tried to live by the old “live and let live”, so his rather conservative stance on marriage and adoption rights troubled me.

How could the mind that gave us Ender, this brilliantly written child, in this wonderfully realized universe, be a homophobe? How can someone be a conservative sci-fi writer?

I’ve never been described as naive, but I was certainly shaken. More shaken than when the Fat Boys broke up. More shaken than when Patrick Ewing was traded.

I struggled with whether or not I should go see the film, knowing that he would benefit financially, and measured that alongside my enjoyment of his product, balanced against the backdrop of his politics. So i have had to examine how much separation I can personally create between the man and his politics. Can I appreciate and value his art, without reflecting upon the mind and attitude behind that art?

It has forced me to examine my stance on one of my favorite jazz artists, Miles Davis. While “Blue in Green” may be my single favorite piece of music, I can’t pretend that i don’t fully realize that Miles was abusive to all of the women in his life. Physically, emotionally, abusive. He neglected his children, but created these masterpieces. So ultimately, can/should I turn a blind eye to his personal demons and politics and engage in the only relationship i am honestly and full yallowed with him?

My only good answer is….it depends. I don’t reduce MLK in my mind as a revolutionary knowing that he was a philanderer, so why should Card be held to a different standard? I don’t reduce the genuis of Nas in my mind knowing that he was a degenerate drug dealer, so why is Card convicted?

I have no precise and scientific reason, but this ultimately feels different to me. We make the error of often attributing positive characteristics to creative people for no other reason than we enjoy how they make us feel. As in any other relationship, we know and value the warmth and intimacy. We believe they understand us. And we ultimately place them at a height that they are sure to fall from once we interact with their humanity.

The fault here, is not totally with them, as they have always been flawed humans. Orson Scott Card always had these politics, but didnt have the platform to espouse them. He had to consider what voicing his opinions would cost him in a career. He is a brilliant sci-fi writer, so should being a bigot put him out of business? He has made enough money at this point, that he can speak freely, and maybe that is what he ultimately wanted to be able to do. I just don’t know.

I apologize for not offering any solid ground for you to stand on emotionally, but this feels to me like a very fluid and moving target, so I’m just as unsettled. I can’t listen to Kanye the same knowing what i now know, I can’t read West the same with his recent rants against the President as the backdrop. I hope to be able to better reconcile my feelings about creators and creations, but ultimately, I don’t feel best fit to judge. Hopefully someone reading one of my books someday wont read this blog and decide against buying, but i realize personally, that I am willing to pay that price.

No one is all good, and no is all bad. What most artists teach us is that every one of our experiencesshapes us closer toward understanding the grey. Even the worst villain has what they may believe are sound motives. We cheer Superman, but Zod ultimately saw himself as a patriot. Darth Vader was insecure, scared and wanted to save his beloved. If we examine ourselves, we all see that we have made similar decisions with similar motives, and will do so again.

For the record, don’t put me on any high platform of praise, and never place a halo around my head. I’m no better than an anti-hero most days.

 

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Burned out on Blackness

It’s interesting to me that many people, mostly those in my community, are completely comfortable and at ease walking up to others, mostly in our community, and asking “have you seen 12 Years a Slave”, after which they proceed to go on for several minutes about how amazing the film is, and how exceptionally realistic the whipping scene is, and how magnificent both leads are, and courage, and you must see it, and Oscars, and…

I know someone personally, who just today indicated that they havent seen the film, but will tell anyone who asks them that they have watched, She stated that she did the same with Django, Fruitvale, The Help and anything else that people suggest “you have to see it”, without any reason other than they felt it was good.

Which brings me to where i find myself right now. I don’t want to see 12 Years a Slave, not yet anyway. i don’t want to drop 10 bucks to see that “realistic whipping”, I don’t want to cry tears of joy as he overcomes, i don’t want to reflect upon how far we have come as a nation upon leaving the cinema. I simply don’t. And I’ll explain why…

I’m burned out on blackness. At least the kind of Blackness that Hollywood, and popular music, and the news and authors and teachers and religious believe I supposedly want. I got my ticket to see Fruitvale Station and immediately thought “I can’t get popcorn and soda for this shit right. I’m supposed to go in there with shades on and a scowl and glare at White people during the film.” That pressure ruined my overall experience, though the film itself, was phenomenal.

But after processing that film, and many others, what I realize that I want more than anything else is to enjoy, publicly, a fuller experience of Blackness than I am allowed to enjoy.

I can’t expect that someone is going to make a biopic about Donald Glovers life as a little known screen writer who goes on to stardom. I know this already. But I would love to see it. I know that many in my community want to see a film about the water polo team from Northside Philly that went on to win the national championship against all odds with the wisened Black coach who always knew they could though no one believed in them. Oh, and they pray.

What is mising from the discourse, and from films, music, books, conferences, lectures and general everyday conversations is the overall reality of Black life.

We have invested ourselves in retelling misery, though true and real, without balancing it with a flavor of other aspects of our very real diverse lives. I don’t mean just poetry slam and wine and cheese, or “we are freaky too” Zane type shit. I dont mean the brother who looks like Idris Elba, but is poor and has a heart of gold but is poor and woos the girl from high society. Those are literally fairy tales, though there is a place for them.

What I mean is that kid from anywhere in the community who rides a skateboard, or that sister that has started her own company, or the BGSA’s and what they do on First Fridays, and rappers who want to convince you that they are full members of society, and not felons, and authors who care about all parts of their family, and not just the crazy hood facts who show out in front of company…

I’m not going to pay to see the Butler at the same theatre that i want to see Thor. And I want to see Thor at the end of a work week when I’m giving two hours of mu manlged nerves for entertainment. What I want, ultimately, is to see a Black film student make a sci-fi film with Black characters that are embraced by a Black film-going audience and made into a huge hit.

I’m burned out on seeing Black people “serve” in a most dignified manner. I’m burned out on seeing my people die and having art make sense out of it, so we can come together with White guilt ridden men and women and explore solutions. I’m burned out on seeing my folks sass their way through misery, and neglect. All I want, is some sense of normalcy. To see my entire community represented, flaws and all.

And I know what you are thinking. Well, Napoleon, get to work. Trust me I am already on it because I need to share this sci-fi piece Ive been working on, but I also need to see the Science Genuis documentary, I need to see the biopic of some absolutely exceptionally normal Black dude who did exceptionally normal things for normal people, I need to see Nerds of Color go viral, I need to see that our values come from one another and not just outside of our church.

I don’t know how I may feel in a years time, but refrain from asking me about the “powerful” works of art that lead to us all celebrating our 450 year old experiences. I’m lost in a haze of trying to discover where we are going, and I can only do that by examining the state we are actually in. Not how we’ve overcome, but how we are managing our lives, and skin, and difference, and sameness and brilliance, and pain, right now.

I watched a film with my lovely wife recently named “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty”, made by a Black director about how he has fallen in love with this woman, and his meditation on what it is like to fall in love with her, and her response to him falling in love with her, and animation about his past loves, and his fear and insecurity about being so near her while she grows to love him…

…That was literally all it was about. Black people meditating on some love shit and being hippies. And I loved every ridiculous minute of it.

Oh, and fuck Kanye West for his Confederate line of clothing. There is no “claiming that symbol” for anything other than what it means. We are the idiots who have indulged this supposedly genuis child, so now he believes that any foolsih thing he does will be tolerated since he has the right to an artistic temperament. We have supported it by patronizing his product and arguing about “what he really means.”  Dude is crying out for attention, and this latest is simply more evidence of that. As I’ve said, children typically stop acting out, when you stop responding so passionately to their antics.

Try listening to Robert Glasper, who last I checked, has never worn anything with a confederate flag on it. 

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This is on us…

I don’t care much that Judge Scheindlin, in her 198 page ruling, found NYPD’s “Stop and Frisk” practice to be unconstitutional. I don’t consider it a victory for man or for NYC, and I haven’t concerned myself with the impact that said ruling will have on Mayor Bloomberg’s last few months as the Lord of the Flies in the great metropolis and four boroughs.

No joy came from the ruling for me, because upon closer inspection, the pulblished portions of the ruling reveal that the practice itself isn’t what was found to be unconstitutional, friends. It was the way in which it’s practiced that was ruled unconstitutional. NYPD’s Commisioner Kelly in his hste, failed to, in Judge Scheindlin’s view, seek appropriate federal oversight of the program, offer appropriate training and guidelines, and demonstrated a lack of consideration of quality control measures *recording of procedures, documenting findings). In lay terms, you can do it, but how you gon do it like this and why can’t you see that it’s wrong.

At issue, at least for some, is the very real impact that the practices of “stop and frisk” have had on the citizens of NYC. A disproportionate number of young males of color have been “stopped and frisked” since the policy’s inception, which has been the battle cry of opponents of the practice. Those who have lauded the practice (including the Mayor and his commissioner), indicate that it has gone a long way toward preventing crime before it happens, a concept that, I am afraid, i don’t completely understand.

Either way, I find myself not caring as deeply about this ruling for a number of reasons. First, the Mayor is coming to the end of his third term (how did he get a third term?) in office, and has shown historically that he is not a gracious loser, so an appeal is certain to follow. Next, and to me, most importantly, is the reality that such a drastic measure could gain traction as a policing measure. And that last is something I place squarely on the shoulders of our community.

Where I don’t want young men who look exactly like me, and are from where I’m from (The Bronx has highest number of reported stop and frisk incidents), i have to acknowledge that we have failed to police our own with regard to crime.

It is our sons who are overwhelmingly responsible for the violent, property and vandalism crimes in our communities, but we want to take solace in a judge ruling on the uconstitutionality of cops stopping our boys in the street?

Wrong? Certainly. But ultimately, that conversation distracts us from the larger picture. that being that our children are cannibalizing one another, our emotional well-being and their own promise by dedicating themselves to crime.

I can’t say with any certainty that stop and frisk led to fewer murders or thefts in Kingsbridge, or on Fordham Road, or in Marble Hill or on Gun Hill Road, but that honestly isnt the issue. The fact that we are all aware of the rampany crime at our doors, but then tolerate and at times, accept it, is at issue.

I’m not blaming the victim here. I understand, with complete clairty, that poverty, rescources and access have been at the core of the rampant cycle of crime, justice involvement and fear in our communities. However, we are complicit in establishing a “non-aggression” treaty with those doing the dirt in our homes.

Those boys being stopped are often not the problem, but we have positioned them to be abused by this poorly thought out NYPD policy by our own inaction. We don’t snitch to cops when we know who did what. We don’t shame our sons/cousins/brother/lovers who join gangs, sell drugs, rob others or who generally menace, because we have either become apathetic or so bowed by our experiences that we feel nothing will ever change.

Our raising, and management, of those closest to us in our community, is what gave those who know nothing about policing us, the very real opportunity to employ a draconian gestapo tactic and to claim statistically insignificant success in it’s use.

We have done little to instruct our constables on how to best police us, and considering that we know ourselves best, that failure is on us. We have chosen to look the other way, mind our business, just “take care of ours” and hope for the best.

And around us decisions are made by billionaire Shoguns and out of touch lawmakers that effect our children.

My goal isn’t to stimulate a conversation about community activism, since I have seen it’s limited success at work, but I salute those who hang in there with it. I don’t wish to bash the Mayor or Kelly either. What i would like to see ultimately, is a discourse on all of these matters that addresses both them and us, because we are full party to our current circumstances.

And I’m certain that some of you may wonder if I’ve become some centrist, or semi-Republican as I’ve matured and grown, but I assure you I’m the same dude from 196th and Morris. Reality is, I realize the importance of family keeping it 100 with family.

We want the President to fix us with laws, we want our politicians to fix our circumstances with influence, we want churches to offer us a miracle and we want our bright and educated to return to us and save the day. I’m disappointed.

My hope is that my community sees that we have allowed for fascist practices by giving those who dont know or care ammunition. And we have ourselves to blame for that. We have turned over power of our freedom and lives to others, and we are to blame for that.

I want nothing more than an honest conversation about how we first correct ourselves and then bring those concerns to our neighbors. I’m just saying.

 

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On Fruitvale and other fears of a Black father

I don’t expect all of you to fully understand or thoroughly appreciate the very real fears that recent events have awoken in me as a Black man, but more so as a father of a Black child.

I understand that some of you wold rather I discuss this as a community and societal issue, but I refuse to color this as an intellectual practice. This isn’t teaching time. For me this is a personal matter. I have and will lose sleep over it. I will be increasingly paranoid, resentful and defensive as my son matures. And I don’tparticularly care to be talked off of that emotional ledge. 

I am lost cause as far as peace and tranquility around my son’s life is concerned. And I don’t just mean the son born and given to me as my ultimate responsibility.

I mean all of the son’s who are friends and comrades of mine. All of the sons who have fathered and taught me throughout my life. I speak of myself. And I am deathly afraid.

Fruitvale Station is an exceptional film. This very you g director never takes sides in leading us through the last day of Oscar Grants life culminati g with his death of a gunshot wound from a police officer’s gun on New Years day. He doesn’t paint Grant as an sympathetic victim. He gives us the messiness of this man’s life and let’s us decide how we feel about his life and eventual demise.

The film itself is a thing of beauty, even when you remember that you should be dreading the conclusion. 

Though a film, I came away from it more resolute than I have ever been about my role as a protector in my son’s life. I am resentful that I have to educate him about all of the ways in which he has to negotiate basic human interactions to be sure that he doesn’t scare others, as a means to avoid catching a case of premature death.

Im a bit fed up with educating people in two communities knowing that those having the conversation with me aren’t the real threat. I want to scream at my neighbors in other communities that they need to go to their sons, their peacekeepers, their authorities and educate them,because as it stands, saving all of our sons has fallen to a chosen few, and they cannot hold that weight.

What. Is unfortunate is that I’ve come to expect that we all will do our homework on these boys/men when we get word that tbeep have been murdered. Some news outlet or related source is goi got inform us that they weren’t an “innocent”,  as if that that somehow justifies the killing of a growing Black man.

Some well meaning neighbor will try and relate by offering some anecdote wherein they eventually complied and thus ended well with our public servants/defenders because they obeyed.

That shit is insulting son.

The reality is that my sons live under a very specific set of rules which suggest that any raised voice, tensed shoulder, angry glare, is grounds for Marshall violence.

I have to raise my son with the reality that he should fear those like him in his community. He must know that those who by right, should protect him, fear and at times, misunderstand and hate him.

 Comply or you risk everything. Smile enough to disarm others. Avoid too much eye contact. Feign harmlessness. Message being that you are not allowed the full range of experiences in your society, and there is nothin you can do about that.

I am reminded that Grant and Martin are links in a chain of events, and we’ve done little to address the ills that ended their lives. We have flinched a time too many.

I started out with the idea that I needed to say a bit about how magnificent a film Fruitvale is, and it is an understated, heartbreaking work of art.

Where I have ended up is at a place of commentary about how very real my concerns as a man and father are. No one but Black men and boys can relate to this fear and so many of us have no way to put those fears into words that others would hear as anything other than anger or excuses, so fuck it, why try.

I will spend every moment leading my son through this gauntlet with his sanity intact, I will tbrothers the brothers God saw fit to give me, and I will no teach, but will fellowship with my neighbors who will take the time 

I ask that you understand that I won’t be ending this post with anything hopeful or insightful in that I am simply frustrated at this point. I have not come ttoday to offer answers or solutions. Point of fact, imjust saying what I’m saying. 

I needed to get to a place where I understood the importance of the work I must do with another of our sons (Dr. Christopher Science Genuis Emdin) and one of my cherished neighbors (Dr. Mike Marti). Thoout tasks should keep me occupied, and I am grateful for that.

Oh, and as hard as it may be, see Fruitvale Station, because someone out there was brave enough to make a tragedy of our existence both beautiful and meaningful.

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At the Same Damn Time

If you’ve tuned into this blog with any regularity then you know that I have no issue with taking what may be a somewhat unpolaur (impolitic?) stance, and today may be one of those days when you stand across the aisle from me, which is perfectly fine. All I ever ask is that we take the time to reason together.

After reading all that I could stand to read about Adria Richards, I found myself troubled about issues over and above the obvious as they relate to her case. A brief recap for the uninformed, Adria was at a tech conference where two men could be overheard behind her making inappropiate sexual jokes. Ms. Richards proceeded to photograph both men midsentence and posted the pic, their quotes and her reaction to them, to her Twitter account. The news of this incident then spread across the world wide web as many people started shortsightedly taking sides and turning into the Keyboard mob, as many are wan to do in these situations. One of the perpetrators was supposedly fired, which led to many then threatening to either rape, torture or kill Ms. Richards. The negative press supposedly became too much for her company top handle, and word as of this posting is that she too was relieved of her duties with her company.

Folks started to ask why is she being blamed when she is the victim? Others were coming to the defense of the terrible two and asked, why are you being so sensitive? After thousands of death threats, hundreds of variations of the N word being bandied about and countless bloggers blaming the liberal media, we find ourselves at a rather curious impasse.

I didnt seek to answer any questions, and I didnt even find myself feeling particularly srongly about anything that these two characters or Ms. Richards did. Rather, I asked myself, how do these kinds of things not happen more often and can we, as a society, ever truly have the gender equity in the workplace, hell, any shared spaces, that we claim to want so badly.

I know what your sociology, multicultural psychology and women’s studies classes have told you for years, but there are differences between men and women that go well beyond simple anatomy.

In the very simple, pragmatic and  ego driven minds of the typical red blooded cave male of our day, the idea of equality suggests plainly that all men should be prepared to treat women as they would other men. Equality, equity, fairness. And this shite is doing more harm than good, if you ask me.

Not to suggest that women don’t deserve fair and equitable treatment, but rather, we as a whole, are not considering what we are actually asking to happen here. You are asking dudes to address women on euqal ground, with equal footing? Shiiiittttt, you better know the rules of a wolfpack. Everyone steers clear of the alpha male, arguments can be settled with verbal or physical assaults, snark, harassment and emotional immaturity in al matters are the language of love between men. Most dudes have no concept of how to make that appropriate for most women, and fewer still have any idea of how to properly engage those men in a conversation about how to be more thoughtful about solving those problems.

Going back to the Adria Richars case, I wonder about why these guys couldnt see they were making some others uncomfortable, why Richards decided to take to the web as opposed to addressing these tech geeks, why people with no dog in the fight feel so strongly about the outcome(s)…this entire matter is a mass of 404 errors.

You know why dudes struggle with creating safe, civil spaces for women? It’s largely due to the spaces that men occupy with one another and how we are typically trained to adjust to account for the presence of women. We all know that if enough of us gather in one place to eat, work, play, park cars, waterboard someone, get haircuts or mow our lawns, and there are no women around, then we are eventually going to talk about women rather lewdly. The jokes are going to steer toward indelicate, the volume of chatter will go up and we will proudly beat our chests amidst a flood of testosterone. Ultimately, we are assholes with one another, and we all accept that as a part of our lives. We take a Broath to deal with it.

You throw the grenade of a woman into that mix, and most of us know that your best bet is to simply say nothing. Which is the filter that these two were clearly missing. I’m not blaming them, just wondering aloud about their standard operating procedures with ladies in the room among other polite company.

This situation looks a great deal like one that many men struggle with daily. “What do you mean treat her like men? So if she mouths off and embarasses me I should punch her in the mouth?” I’m being only partly facitious there, because there are those that believe that if women want to be treated “like men”, then they should be subject to the same politics that men are forced to navigate with one another.

My default here falls somewhere between she made a really big deal out of a small thing, and someone got fired, and dudes simply need to be better about how we manage ourselve with ladies, and we should create a place of compromise for ladies in our shared social spaces.

Can men and women ever truly set all of our differences aside and share these spaces without tension? Can we ever truly abandon “gender roles” and live/work/play in gender free spaces? I certainly don’t believe so, and I think the denial of those differences and refusal to acknowledge their influence on our behavior is what has brought about much of the resentment, defensiveness and resistance we see with this issue.

But, you know…I wonder what my reaction would have been in that situation if the jokes were about Black folks, or New Yorkers, or Southerners, or dudes with glasses or Star Wars…I say that to say that protecting women from microaggressions in the work place is no different than protecting those who are racially different, and it must be done as a means of protecting us all. Ultimately, through conversation and (I hope) some careful consideration, the place that I have come to is one where I understand that women aren’t asking to be treated like every other man. They are demanding opportunities to succeed and fail, without having their gender being used as a negative citeria. Women are asking that we create a new gender definition, to uniquely apply the same aggression and competition to their lives fairly. They aren’t trying to win arm wrestling matches. Women are largely looking to earn their way to the table, and then arm wrestling if they are strong enough to do so, without being dismissed out of hand. I started out hoping to avoid taking a position, but ladies always find a way to get the best of me.

And I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to work anywhere that didn’t have a diversity of women. Dudes are ugly, smell, are combative and generally difficult to manage in large numbers. 8-10 hours of legs, hair, perfume, lipstick, smiles and a woman’s touch make the doldrums of the work day bearable. Uh, was that sexist?

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Either ending or starting

I don’t anticipate all of you agreeing with all of the following observations, but I intend to put an end to the various debates I’ve had about any and everything in recent months. I’m knocking them down one at a time, so be patient, yours is coming up.

This is a certain departure from my normal posts, but a part of my supposed New Year’s resolution was to write more often and so this exercise is keeping me sharp and my author’s mind engaged. As always, thank you kind friend for reading, and if you disagree with any of the following statements, you are obviously wrong.

1)Scandal….ah, where to begin with this piece of fluff masquerading as entertainment and social commentary, and stealing all wives and girlfriends on Thursday evenings. Listen, I understand that she gets things done, and the intrigue is fascinating. But ultimately, this is a tale spun about a clever, well dressed jump off and her comrades with lives full of drama. I don’t need to watch it to know, that those fo you who do very conveniently forget to note that this strong, educated, talented, well-rounded sister is a JUMP-OFF!. I saw where a sister rationalized this being acceptable just the other day by comparing the relative harm this fact does to the main character by arguing that female soap opera characters get it much worse. That sealed this shows fate for me. Hell, they lost me at naming the damn thing Scandal.

2)Concerts. We have all been to them, and convinced ourselves that we absolutely needed to go. However, if we are being honest, I think we can all admit that live music almost never sounds as good as recorded media. Folks will say they go for the experience and the vibe and…it sounds hollow even writing it. After you have paid whatever exorbitant amount you shell out for a ticket, then pay for parking, then crowd into an arena, club, stadium…you get to collide into 20,000 screaming people. Congrats. All after you’ve gone to whatever lengths to be presentable for this affair. Man, next concert I go to i will be wearing a pair of Star Wars sleep pants, goggles and flip-flops, all that damn money i’m spending…wish they would tell me I can’t come in there…

3)Cupcakes. When the hell did all of these counter-culture pastry shops start popping up? Stores and shops dedicated to just cupcakes? When did cupcakes get top billing? Leave it up to a deluded first world country to come up with that business model

4)Reality Television. If I have to explain what is wrong with reality TV then you are obviously a cartoon character and I would kindly appreciate you removing e from your friendslist. Please and thank you.

5)Nas. I’m telling you, you would have thought that Nas album in 2012 was a classic. Life is Good is easy enough to listen to, but I have moved past giving Nas a pass for not sucking as much as rappers from Georgia and New Orleans. Dude really does remind me of cats right out of prison who read a few too many George Jackson books. Dude is literally still riding Illmatic good will at this point. Guess he is in the do no wrong category for some, and actually Ether was not that great. I’m just saying

6)Getting tattoos, clubbing, getting wasted. If you are in my age bracket, then it is well past time that you started trying to be a full functioning adult with all faculties intact. You have no business getting a tattoo that you will have to explain shortly to your rapidly developing children, and do you really want to look at yourself in the mirror after a night of binge drinking? The club? Man, invite your friends over, turn on some music and have at it. The club is still a meat market, and chances are you 1)are swallowing babies, so 2Chainz would call you basic and 2)You aren’t quite as unhinged as Juicy J, so you are hopefully learning when to say no to ratchet…Either way, time to move on…strip clubs, however, are acceptable fare. The naked female form is inspiring, joyous and a natural expression of all that is right and beautiful about humanity, I’m just saying.

7)Natural Hair. Listen, do whatever you want, but we don’t all have to co-sign. Some of yall just jumping out of bed throwing some water on your face, leaving the house and letting your hair do what it wants to do. It’s a lovely look on some, but some of yall look like you been on the run with the hounds on your tail…I’m just saying.

8)Best movie I’ve seen….

In the last several months I would have to go with Beasts of the Southern Wild. Batman would be a close second and Django Unchained was rather fun. The Hobbit should have been 2 hours shorter. Hunger Games was a pleasant surprise and Avengers was a good time. Nothing else mattered, in any way.

9)You should have listened to…

Something by Cal Tjader, Kendrick Lamar and some dubstep. I would throw in the “Birfday Song”, but some of you fail to see the genius of that opus.

10)Read…

Anything by Jim Butcher, Kurt Vonnegut, Aldous Huxley and of course Napoleon Wells and Christopher Emdin. I would throw in the Shades of Grey nonsense, but letting too many get their hands on those, and their minds wrapped around that fluff is just asking for trouble.

Sports…

Best team in the NBA is Oklahoma City. Lebron James is officially the best player who has ever played the game, Hockey is fascist, so is Golf. Real (football) is the greatest sport on earth, and it’s best player is named Adrian Peterson. Give me the ravens by a field goal in the Superbowl

Part 2 next week, maybe. Good night all.

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