Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Love Hurts????

First off, I'd like to thank you if this is your first time reading this blog or if you used to read it and are now following it again. Life gets in the way sometimes, but I'm going to keep on using this blog as a means to a cathartic end.

Most times, I lay my thoughts out on a computer screen with an air of levity using either over-the-top or tongue-in-cheek satire.

Now will not be one of those times.

I'm sorry folks; I'll do the whole "laughy-jokey" thing some other time. I have to speak on this.

In the past several months, I've watched a number of close friends of mine endure some rough times on the relationship front. Their significant others have been verbally and physically abusive to them and they've often contacted me at odd times to get my take on what they should do or just to lay what on their hearts out to an ear that will hear and not judge them.

I do my best to remain impartial when I listen to my friends because there's always more than one side to every story...

...but abuse in ANY form and under ANY circumstance is INEXCUSEABLE.


Oh yeah; the thing I forgot to tell you all about my friends is that all of them are dudes being abused by their wives.

Yup-you read it correctly the first time.

And I don't care if the woman is smaller and supposedly weaker than the man or that the dude should "man up" and other horsehit along those lines. You can miss me with all of that crap.

The fact is that when you enter into a relationship with someone, you allow them access to the closest and most sacred parts of you. As such,there is(or should be)a level of expectation for a signficant other to not violate that trust. Abuse of any kind spits on that trust and discards that trust as unimportant in the grand scheme of the abuser's need for "control."

There are those who've told me that these men need to do "all they can" to reconcile with these women because they're married and that's God's sacred union.

While I agree that marriage is (or should be) sacred,I refuse to believe that my Father would have me endure a relationship with a person who would mean me harm. I believe He loves me more than that.

One last question though: would anybody be telling an abused woman to stay with a male abuser for the sake of the marriage?

Yeah...I didn't think so either.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jim Cramer = FAIL

There I was, toggling my attention back and forth between my slow YouTube connection and the Big East tourney game on ESPN when suddenly I looked up and saw that it was 11:00.

11:00 in my house means one thing: The Daily Show.

I watch this show as often as I possibly can and tonight's entertainment was as splendid as I have ever witnessed.

Tonight, Jon Stewart went all in on Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC's "Mad Money" for the entirety of the show and the only word your intrepid author could really muster while watching it was "Damn!"

Above:The combatants at the weigh-in.

I'm a big Jon Stewart fan and have been since he took over for Craig Kilborn on the "Daily Show" a few years back. Although he delivers with the caveat that the "Daily Show" is not a serious news program, Stewart manages to convey topical news with an intelligent yet comedic slant that often leaves me feeling like he's inside my head.(Along with the other voices.)

While I've turned past CNBC many times and seen Jim Cramer yelling, screaming, hitting various noise buttons while doling financial advice on a fairly reputable news channel, I've only ever found it mildly entertaining at best. Having worked in the financial industry in the past and having hated my overall experience, I've never felt inclined to commit to watching the show in its entirety.

Stewart and Cramer have been staging a media "feud" if you will for about a week prior to Cramer's appearance on Stewart's show and watching the the culmination of that feud brought to my mind a single word which Wiktionary defines as "any act that removes power from a person (particularly a man)or entity..." and Webster's defines as "to render impotent or deprive of vitality especially by psychological means."


Above:A visual representation of the Stewart / Cramer interview.

If you didn't see it, you need to.

Stewart started off congenial but the tone turned decidedly more confrontational over the course of the interview as he took Cramer to task for being callous and disingenous with the fiscal advice he offers to the average person who would watch his show as opposed to his industry cohorts. Cramer initially attempted to refute Stewart's claims but the video evidence that Stewart had of Cramer in regards to his advice to laypeople as opposed to industry insiders was damning to say the least. Cramer squirmed and fidgeted. His voice cracked and his posture conveyed a "What? I'm on YOUR side!" kind of attitude.

He's not.

The best part is that Jon recognized this and instead of letting him off the hook, he turned the heat up on his guest to "char."

Stewart likened Cramer's attitude to the attitude big business has to the average consumer. Stewart at one point said, and I'm paraphrasing here "...It's not a f_king joke."

He's right.

It's not.

Anytime these financial asshats and charlatans are made to sweat and squirm, my soul sings a happy song. I loathe these types with a passion that scares me. It's part of the reason I got out of that industry in the first place.

It doesn't happen very often in life, but every so often justice is served.

Last night on the Daily Show, it was served up to an unwitting Jim Cramer.

Hats off to you Jon. Keep making these smug bastards as uncomfortable as possible.

I'll keep cheering you on.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Escuchela...La Ciudad Respirando

First off, I want to apologize to my readers for being away for so long. Life gets in the way sometimes. I can't promise that it won't ever happen again but if it does, you guys will get notice well before the hiatus begins.

Anyway, back to the post....

I love Philadelphia.

If my nom de plume isn't enough, just ask me when you see me. I can talk about Philly from a historical perspective, musical perspective, how the neighborhoods differ, etc. I wouldn't call myself a Philadelphia expert, but I put on for my city and will do so until they bury me.


That being said...

I'm getting sick of living here.

I can't believe that I'm writing this down but it is, what it is.

Yeah; I'm getting sick and tired of living here.

I'm tired of the negative vibe I've been feeling around the city as of late. Whether it's the trash on the street(which is only going to get worse with cuts to the city budget) or the way a lot of people around these parts seem to go out of their way to be disruptive,(either with loud music, domestic disturbance, or some other ugliness)I'm getting sick of dealing with this feeling.

I'm tired of the City Wage Tax. For those who might not know what this is, this is a Philadelphia tax that is leveled upon anyone who either works or resides in Philadelphia. For most of my adult life, I've chalked it up as one of the prices we pay to live in Philly but this tax has grown to annoy the living hell out of your interepid author as I mostly work in the surrounding counties and am beginning to lose sight as to why the tax exists.

I'm tired of the rampant violence and corruption. It's a bad time to be an employee of the Philadelphia Police Department. Another cop got killed here last month and yet another was shot in the leg a few days ago. If these animals are shooting at cops, there's no telling what they'll do the average citizen.

In other police related news, the city is going to have to overturn a great many cases of a particularly corrupt officer who'd begun to have his informant fabricate offenses in order to secure convictions. I know; this in and unto itself stinks to high heavens but of course, it gets worse...

Department policy states that no officer is to have dealings with informants on a personal basis. THIS cretin had been involved so personally with the informant that the news recently reported that the officer was RENTING AN APARTMENT to said informant. What part of "YOU ARE NOT TO HAVE PERSONAL DEALINGS ETC," don't you understand?!!!

The city is up to it's 40th murder of the year (I think) and with the warm weather around the corner, I don't see a slowing down of this disturbing trend.

I dunno.

Maybe I'm fooling myself by thinking that this stuff doesn't occur in every major city in the country.

Maybe it's just that I'm tired of the gray days and cold weather.

Maybe it's just time to move on.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I See You.

Right, wrong or otherwise, Black Men are the most feared and endangered beings in today's society.

Numerous adjectives accompany our stereotype. I've heard them used by both men and women of all races; friends, family and co-workers alike. Truth be told, I might've even said some of them myself at some point.






There are many others, but continuing on that path does not serve the interest of this blog post.

Television, news and film play a large part in perpetuating this stereotype by the continuous deluge of racially biased, negative images put forth before us on a day to day basis. The news is far and away the worst of these culprits; a constant stream of scowling black male faces splashed on the front page of my local newspapers and seared into the public conscious by televised local and nationally recognized news outlets.

A keyword search of the taglines that usually accompany these images would most likely include words like "homicide," "drugs," "gang," "violence," "jail,"etc.

The media excretes this drivel, the public treats it like gospel and consumes it like mother's milk.

If someone from another country had never met a Black man from America and based their entire perception by what they saw in the media, they would most likely believe that every Black man out here was a vile and treacherous animal that needed to be kept in their place; preferably either dead or in the penal system under close supervision. (I've encountered this peculiar brand of predjudice from certain immigrants, personally.)

For the record, I've not written today to defend the actions of criminals and miscreants. They should be held publicly accountable, regardless of race.

What I AM saying is that positive images of Black Men aren't nearly as popular and are therefore,not presented nearly as often as the negative images.

Case in point: I remember a TV show that came out a number of years ago called "The Brothers," which was about four intellgient, upwardly-mobile, well-spoken and gainfully employed Black men and the issues they faced on a day-to-day basis.

You say you've never heard of it?

I'm not suprised.

It didn't last too long on the air.

You take a similar show formula with a White, mixed female and male cast and you have "Friends." You've heard of this show, I'm sure.

You take a similar show formula and cast it with four White women and you have "Sex and The City." Another wildly successful show.

Hell, if you take this show formula and cast it with four BLACK women you get the fairly successful show, "Girlfriends."


...a show about four Black men who are about something and dealing with life as an intelligent Black man in America?

You get cancelled.


Coincidence? With all due respect to Barack Obama and his recent success, I really don't think so.

That being said, I came across Myron Rolle's name a few days ago on ESPN and smiled. Wide and genuine.

Never heard of him?

Again, I'm not surprised.

Here's his photo.

Myron Rolle plays football for Florida State University. In fact, he's such a good player that he will most likely be collecting an NFL check sometime in 2010...

...after he comes back from completing his Rhodes Scholarship.

Myron Rolle is a pre-med student at FSU who holds a GPA of 3.75 and has completed his coursework while being a football standout, in TWO AND A HALF YEARS.

As one of 1000 students around the country seeking 32 scholorships, Rolle was selected as a Rhodes Scholar and will be continuing his Master's degree studies in Public Administration at Oxford University in England for one year.

This young man has it got it right. His list of academic, social and athletic acheivements is impressive to say the least. You can read more about him here.

His story, like "The Brothers," and stories about the majority of Black men who have it going on, hasn't been getting the attention it deserves.

Coincidence? Again, I really don't think so.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to say to all the unsung Black male heroes in the community and to Myron Rolle:

Keep doing your thing. I see you.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

How Many Of Us Have Them?

If you know the answer to this question, you're most likely over the age of 28.

And you recognize good music.


For the underprivliledged few who aren't in the know, I'm talking about friends.

Two of my best friends, Meek and Jay, rang my phone in sucession mid-afternoon on New Years Day. I'd just risen from a coma-like sleep induced by a 12 hour New Years Eve shift where my partner and I got our asses handed to us with non-stop calls from 9:00 pm to 6:30 am and at one point, ended up having to remove a small piece of some dude's intestine from the inside door of our ambulance.

Above: This image + 12 hours = effing ridiculous.

(Aside: Chester, Pa. I won't miss you AT ALL when I've responded to my last call as a paramedic. Real talk.)

But anyway....

The funny thing about both calls was that both of them wanted to talk about friendship.

Meek wanted to talk about how I would define the term "Best Friend" and Jay wanted to basically chop it up about the same thing. He's been feeling introspective lately since he became a husband and father.

All that talking to those two got me thinking about the people who I call my "Best Friends."

Hell, it got me thinking about who I called "friend," period.

You have to be EXTRA careful about who you let into your cipher in '09 because most people out there are on some extra-hateful, crabs-in-a-barrel, "et tu, Brute?" type shit these days.

To paraphrase Serius Jones, "you can't have too many squares in your circle."

Above: Caesar was NOT a good judge of character. At all.

The hallmark of true friendship in your humble author's opinion, entails loyalty. Fierce, resolute and undying loyalty to another person ESPECIALLY if you call this person your "Best Friend."

Another sign of true frienship is the fact that your friend is going to up you on the shit you NEED to hear as opposed to the bullshit you WANT to hear. People who know you only marginally or not at all will smile and nod when you're starting to drink your own kool-aid. Your true friends probably won't go in on you in public BUT, they WILL pull you to the side, tell you to shut the f-note up and call you on your bullshit as soon the opportunity presents itself.

Your best and closest friends know the most intimate details about you and the things that you've done and been through. (They were probably personally involved in 99.9999% of it anyway. Criminal shit and other embarrasing moments whether they involve you being drunk and/or high are indeed, included.)

Above: "Don't worry fam. Despite all this, we're still cool."

You've probably wronged or pissed off your closest friends at some point. In a major way. I'm not saying that this is always true, but if you've been down with each other for any long period of time, this has probably happened. But you forgive them and they forgive you because y'all are fam-and nothing comes between that.

You may or may not speak to your best friends for years at a time. Life happens and before you know it, a year might've gone by. But all it takes is one phone call. Just to catch up in general-or even more so when shit is thick. Anybody can be around when shit's lovely; that's easy. Your "Fam" is there when you're at your lowest; battered, bloody and feeling like you can't go on. And they're usually the ones picking you up and dusting you off while everyone else was counting you out.

The people who REALLY have your back will have YOUR back over almost all others. I care about my peoples various SO's in their own right, but don't ever get it twisted: my loyalty lies with my friends. First, last and always. I make no apologies for that at all.

Most of all, a true friend loves you for YOU, not what they WANT you to be. Watch those folks out there who are constantly trying to change you. They are probably not your friend. Hell, they probably don't even really LIKE you.

So this post goes out to my "Best" friends:


-My Father
-My Sister
-My Wife

This one's for y'all. I love you guys eternally and will seriously come out of character for and in defense of, all of you, if the need ever arose.


(Post Blog Note: Thanks to the NEW subscribers/posters to this blog, the beautiful and intellectually swagtastic PBG, PGH_Muse, Jae and Suga. And to the lovely BBmo and to my man Chris, thanks again for reading. I just want to wish all of you guys a happy and blessed 2009.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sports Fandom: The Rules.

For those who might not have known, my beloved (and often hated)Philadelphia Eagles kicked the living dogshit out of the Dallas Cowgirls this past Sunday to the tune of 44-6. During a season which Donovan McNabb and the Eagles had found themselves all but completely counted out, they've managed to make the playoffs through a series of losses by other teams (The Raiders beating the Bucs? Come on fam; nobody saw THAT coming...)and most importantly, by winning the BIG one against our most despised foe. What made the victory even sweeter was that our sound trouncing of those no-talent, ass-clowns served not only to launch us into the playoffs, but also to bounce their undeserving butts OUT of the postseason picture.

Sometimes, life is good. I mean like really, REALLY good.

My postgame ritual for Cowgirl ass-kickings by the Birds is usually capped off by expletive-laden phone calls to two good friends of mine (Jeff and Rob) who have the misfortune to be misled, yet diehard Cowgirls fans.

Don't get me wrong; those who know me know that if my squad beats your squad in ANYTHING, (I mean ANYTHING-effing spades/tiddlywinks/paper football included fam; I'm so NOT joking about this)you can best believe that you will hear from me POST HASTE. Just ask the teenagers I was counseling this past summer when we had boys vs. girls volleyball. My boys squad won and the girls (female counselors who were coaching them included) heard about it for a good 5 minutes as I ran around the grass in front of Station 100 like Jim Valvano back in 1983.

What further fuels my passionate rants at Jeff and Rob is the fact that I have a fundemental issue with their fandom:

Neither of those two are actually FROM Dallas. They're from PHILLY! (WTF?!)

Which brings me to the purpose of this post.

Here are The Rules for Sports Fandom. Thoroughly thought out and articulated as I eat day-old Chinese take out and watch Spaceballs. The Rules are here to help you. Abide by them. Always.

Rule #1.)Root for your home team.

I really shouldn't even have to talk about this but I will. I was born in Philadelphia, raised in Philadelphia and will represent Philadelphia until my lodge brothers lower me 6 feet or spread my ashes over the Schuykill. Therefore, I am a Sixers, Eagles, Phillies and Flyers fan. Regardless of how much they suck, these are my teams. Period. You can be a fan of PLAYERS for other squads (shit; I was the biggest Michael Jordan fan until the Wizards fiasco and $200 kicks in steel cases)but you root for the HOME TEAM. And, you STAY loyal to your team no matter where you reside or go.

Above: Lives around the freakin' corner from me! J/K; but still gets no love from me with that shirt on. Eff the Cowgirls.Word.

This goes for my friends Sandy,(Giants/Yankees fan)Chuck (Lakers fan) Jeff(Cowgirls fan) Bill (Giants/Knicks fan) and the worse offender of all my friends, Rob.(Cowgirls/Celtics fan) All from Philadelphia or the surrounding area. All traitorous in their sports alligiances.

Exception 1.) Exception shall be granted for those who are from cities/regions bereft of professional sports franchises. For example: I had a paramedic instructor from Kentucky. There is no professional football team in Kentucky, so he chose to be an Indianapolis Colts fan. Perfectly acceptable. But, even within this exception there are rules...

See: People from New Jersey or New York City.

North Jersey folks more readily identify with New York City and are de facto New York Giants/Jets fans. People from South Jersey are usually Philly transplants and are therefore, Eagles fans. Jersey has a hockey team so native Jersey folks are to root for the Devils only.

(Subsection A: Parental lineage and influence. Say my wife and I moved from Philly to...I dunno-say, Cleveland. And say we had another child that was born in Cleveland. We would then raise said child to be an Eagles fan, not a Browns fan. This actually piggybacks off of rule #1.)

Residents of the boroughs of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and The Bronx root for the Yankees. People from Queens root for the Mets. That is all.

Rule #2.) The "Enemy of My Enemy is my Friend" Rule.

One of my Lodge brothers hails from our nation's capital. He, therefore is a Redskins fan. The Eagles' most despised enemy are the Cowgirls. Therefore, even though I don't like Washington, if the Redskins are playing the Cowgirls, I root for the Resdkins. It's that simple.

Rule #3.) The "Get off the "Di__" rule. Otherwise known as the "Anti-Bandwagon" clause.

If you are from Detroit and are a Lions fan as you SHOULD be, you are not allowed to be a Colts fan now. You say your team just went 0-16 for the season huh? Tough. Gut that shit out. The Sixers went 9-73 during the 1972-1973 season and my father and other Philly fans grabbed straws and sucked it up. Red Sox fans remember 81 years of misery before they finally rid themselves of "The Curse."

Above: Want some cheese with that whine?

There's nothing more detestable than johnny-come-lately Patriots/Lakers(I'm talking to you Chuck)/ Yankees/Cowboys fans. Crawl back under the rock you from whence you came.

Rule #4. The Cowgirls SUCK. Fo' real mayne.

As always, feel free to add on as I'm sure that I missed something important.

May the Schwartz be With You.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Little White Lie?

I had a good Christmas.

I rose from my sleep in full possession of my faculties, enjoyed time with my immediate and extended family and still had like five bucks in the account this evening, despite my kids and Madison Avenue's combined efforts. (More like $3.75 but hey, who's counting.)

I'm blessed by the best. This I know for certain.


Something has been bothering me for a while now and I'm wondering if I'm the only person who's feeling or has ever felt this way.

It's a touchy situation though...because it's about Christmas.

Well, my quandary begins with Christmas but ends in a much more vast/general question.

Let's start with the Christmas issue. The thing is, the celebration of Christmas as we know it on the 25th of December, is pagan in origin. Around the time of the creation of the Julian calendar, winter solstice fell around the 25th of December and was celebrated by many pagan religions in Europe. The Church had been looking for a time to celebrate the birth of Christ and superimposed the Christmas celebration onto the pagan winter solstice celebration. They'd figured that it was easy since people had already been celebrating on this day so it wouldn't be that hard to convince them that this was a Holy day and it was also a means of 'civilizing' the various pagan worshippers.

I've reconciled the fact that the modern celebration of Christmas is based on a lie but the birth of our Savior is 100% true. So I never lose the reason for the season.
We should be celebrating His works on a daily basis anyway.


...Christmas on the 25th IS a lie, nonetheless. Invented and perpetuated by the Church.

So my questions are:

1.)Am I the only one who has ever struggled with this?

2.) Is a lie, even if it's "for a good reason," ever an acceptable course of action? Doesn't have to be as deep a conundrum as the one I worked through with Christmas, but in a general sense, is it ever really okay to "stretch the truth" or embellish a bit as long as you have good intentions? (Point of clarification: The road to Hell is NOT paved with good intentions; rather it is paved with the same crap they use to pave and re-pave various Philadelphia streets and/or expressways at least 23 times in a two year period and ALWAYS during rush hour when I'm running late for work at the furthest duty station possible from my home.)

Above: Dante's 7th level. I'm.Not.Kidding.

If you're up from your "itis" induced, Christmas meal nap, I welcome you to share your thoughts on this.


R.I.P. Eartha Kitt (1927-2008)