My high points of Super Bowl 49

February 2, 2015

The singing of “America” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” gives me chills in a good way every time I hear them. And when those fighter jets go roaring over at the end, it makes you feel so safe, protected and proud to be an American. Kudos to every singer who has ever attempted the high notes of that song in front of a worldwide TV audience

But on the heels of the news of Bobbi Kristina Brown’s being in the hospital fighting for her life, it brings to mind the late great Whitney Houston’s rendition at Super Bowl XXV. Hers was perhaps the best performance of our national anthem ever. As we keep Bobbi Kristina, the only child of Houston and R&B star Bobby Brown, in our prayers for a full recovery, take a listen to her mommy blow.

The game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots started out a little slowly, so it was a nice cliff hanger when they went into the half tied 14 – 14. Let’s just condense the 3rd and 4th quarters down to what many consider the two most important plays. First, revel in this unbelievable catch by Jermaine Kearse. He should have been the MVP of the game for sheer valiant effort and will.

The deciding play was a pass that was, unfortunately, intercepted. No need to show that heartbreak again. Although many fans, including myself, were terribly upset by this call, I couldn’t help but admire Coach Pete Carroll’s acceptance of responsibility, and his refusal to blame the players.

zUP8

The halftime show was good. Katy Perry did a nice job, and has a great voice. Lenny Kravitz was excellent as usual, but his segment was much too short for viewers to get a chance to enjoy him. But hands down Missy Elliott stole the show. She came bouncing out with her old-school infectious beats and it immediately took you back to that good place where, at least in your own mind, you ruled the dance floor.

Woohoo!!! I loved it. I’m sorry the quality isn’t too clear. This was the best recording of it I could find on YouTube. Please let me know if you find a better copy dear readers and I will switch it out.

Hope you all enjoyed the Super Bowl and that your week is off to a great start. :)

 

Sodom, Gomorrah and American TV

January 9, 2015
What happened to the days when the whole family could watch TV together? (Photo Credit:  en.wikipedia.org)

What happened to the days when the whole family could watch TV together? (Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org)

This is one of those posts that I didn’t necessarily want to write, but felt compelled, almost duty bound, to compose. Some would probably call me a TV fanatic, because I love the talking box. I enjoy watching almost any and every kind of program. Regardless of the critics’ reviews, I normally give it a chance and make up my own mind. However, it seems that a lot of programs, in their efforts to be politically correct, are going overboard and showing too much.

Soap Operas

These types of shows have always been a guilty pleasure. The fantastical situations and years-long story lines keep us enthralled on a daily basis. Kudos to the writers, because as hard as it likely is for writers of weekly shows to keep things interesting, it must be quite a daunting task for serial writers to dream up back-to-back plot twists every day.

That being said, I don’t know if some of them are running out of ideas, or just trying to be inclusive, but something is a little off. For instance, there is one soap that features an hourglass in the opening credits. For the last few months, they have had a big buildup to a wedding between two men. Yes a fanfare-filled, Prince Charming wedding on daytime TV. Now these types of relationships have often been implied, but they showed the whole ceremony, right up to the kiss. But it didn’t stop there. Where I think they crossed the line is in repeatedly showing the couple in bed caressing each other and kissing all over. Once upon a time, sponsors would have balked, pulled their ads, and the scenes would have been deleted, but apparently this is a new day.

Reality Shows

There is one show that featured a former Olympic champion, his wife and the escapades of their three daughters. Then the story branched out as the grown kids began to take over one city after the other. I confess that I used to watch this show, but one day a light bulb went off. The oldest daughter, and the one who should have been setting the example for her kid sisters, is nonchalantly spilling out baby after baby, without so much as a howdy do, despite the fact that their children’s father still has not made an honest woman out of her. Like this is the norm. It was so aggravating to see this type of behavior celebrated, when it is so hypocritical. Let that happen in certain neighborhoods and economic classes, and it immediately brings out stereotypical comments of how “those” poor kids never have a two-parent stable home. But when you’re rich, it’s glorified? No ma’am, it doesn’t work that way. So I stopped watching.

Primetime Drama

It seems as if all of my favorite nighttime melodramas are being shot, live on location, in the polished-up burnt ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah recently. There is one which features a female lead who has the president wrapped around her little finger. And she specializes in handling things that could turn the nation’s capital upside down, if they were to become public. But lately all of the president’s men have been getting an abundance of screen time.

Then my show about the gubernatorial candidate’s family’s love-hate relationship with the housekeeper’s family is spinning out of control. Now to be fair, so far the plots have centered on the patriarch’s son, who is not into men, allowing little peeks and touches, to basically just toy with the judge’s son, who is struggling with coming out. Got all of that? But the show has thus far avoided the gratuitous mat-wrestling tussles that pass for love scenes.

Alas, one of my new favs has also taken the plunge. This fast-moving suspense piece takes the usually boring law classes and has the teacher do what thousands of real life professors long to do. This educator, who is also an attorney, has found a way to keep her students totally engaged by having them apply what they learn in class to the cases they help her solve. The show has some killer, literally, plot turns that keep the viewers on the edge of their seats in anticipation. Be that as it may, this show might be one of the worst yet, as far as aggressive, thrust-it-in-your-face, male-on-male groping.

I guess part of the problem is that these images are not just alluded to, but they are lingered on in overly-long close-up camera shots and angles. I feel that this constant and increasing exposure will desensitize us to the point where we feel any and everything is acceptable, because we see it all the time. Of course, if something offends us, we can always turn our heads. But when it gets to the point where you have to avert your eyes during the majority of the show, then Houston, we have a problem.

There are no immediate fixes or solutions. We don’t want to go back to the days of strict artistic censorship, but we do want to maintain a standard of dignity and decency. While we work on this, I’m thankful that some of the channels are now running some of the past gems in syndication. Those old “Andy Griffith”, “Sanford and Son” and “Perry Mason” reruns are looking pretty good right about now.

 

 

Three ways to beat the ding dong guilt.

January 6, 2015
Now you won't have to slink back to your car at the sound of these.  (Photo Credit:  en.wikipedia.org)

Now you won’t have to slink back to your car at the sound of these. (Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org)

Now that the holidays are over and we’ve enjoyed the warm fuzzy feelings, let’s explore another feeling that we often sweep under the rug. For want of a better term, I call it ding dong guilt. Why you ask?  Well because it refers to the feeling you sometimes get in the pit of your stomach when you’re all caught up in the merriment on the city sidewalks, and run smack dab into a cheery, or in some cases not so cheery, person ringing their chimes.  I won’t name any organizations, but suffice it to say that the representatives normally have on an apron and loudly clang clarions over a black kettle.  And they are usually blanketed over the entryways of EVERY store in town before and during the holiday season.

Don’t get me wrong. The first couple of days that we hear the winsome peals, our faces light up with joyous smiles because it’s like a symbol that Christmas is coming. It brings sentimental remembrances of earlier times when to grandmother’s house we went, as well as joyous anticipation of creating new memories as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But there is something a little embarrassing about rolling your buggy full of food out of the grocery store to feed your family, and having no change left to put in the pot to feed the hungry. And you can’t help but feel a tad remorseful when a clerk has to help you lug all of the toys you’ve brought for your little ones out to the car, and there’s nothing left to donate to kiddies who won’t wake up to any toys, save what is given through the kindness of others.

Well, that was 2014.  Starting this year and every year forward we can put those doldrums behind us. Here are the top three ways to beat ding dong guilt:

3.  Plan Ahead

It is the beginning of the year, so we have 10 full months before the November takeover.  So make it a family project and set aside a love jar. Whenever you come in from work, or the kids come in from school, put all of the change in this jar. By the end of the year, you should have multiple jars, or one huge jar.  Why not make it fun and instead of a piggy bank, buy or make a huge bell-shaped jar.  Some time in October you can have a fun night with some popcorn and hot chocolate, and spend a few hours as a family counting out and rolling the coins in wrappers. Then take the coins to your bank, exchange them for bills and happily be prepared to drop a gift at every store.

2.  Explore the Meaning

This is a great catalyst for family discussion and growth. You won’t be so tempted to grimace when you delve into the reasons behind these calls for aid. Honestly, in this day and age, when the majority of states still have their minimum wages at $7.25 per hour, a simple turn of misfortune could have any of us in dire straits indeed. So even though we may not be able to be our brother’s keeper 24 hours a day, we may learn to welcome the opportunity to do what we can when we can.

1.  Imagine

There’s a song by the late great John Lennon that expresses it beautifully.  The lyrics read:

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.

Even though you will not be at the home of each and every recipient of your contribution on Christmas morning, allow yourself to imagine.  Picture the astonished screams of the child who never ever really thought they’d get a bicycle. Feel the joy of the mom who envelops her child in a warm coat, and knows that now that child won’t have to stand shivering from the cold at the school bus stop every morning. See in your mind the awed face of a little girl sitting cross-legged on the floor cradling her very first new Barbie doll after a short lifetime of hand-me down toys. Silent tears of happiness stream down her face because she never knew that Barbies came with two arms and legs.  Imagine…

Immigrants stand to gain licenses and help America in the process

January 2, 2015
California DMV will be the site of long lines starting today when undocumented immigrants can apply for their driver's licenses.   (photo credit:  www.flickr.com)

California DMV will be the site of long lines starting today when undocumented immigrants can apply for their driver’s licenses. (photo credit: http://www.flickr.com)

Well, well, well. What do you know? It seems that California has made it official that undocumented immigrants can apply for and, if they pass the test, receive their driver’s license. The new program takes effect today and the state is expecting extremely long lines. The department of motor vehicles has reportedly hired at least 900 extra employees to handle the additional applicants. What does this mean in the general scheme of things?

Well there are those who are upset, because they feel that the more perks you give people that entered the country without proper documentation, the more it will seem as if the country is giving them benefits to reward their illegal status. The naysayers feel that this will be a signal to other people, who might be considering coming over under the shield of cloak and dagger stealth, that it is quite okay. No matter how you came, you’re welcome to partake of the privileges of one of the greatest countries on earth.

These are valid points. However, if one looks at the glass as half full, there may be something positive to be gained out of this unusual situation. First, one of the main complaints is that the immigrants are undocumented. Well, allowing them to apply for a driver’s license solves almost 50 percent of that problem right away. They will have to have some sort of documentation to be issued a license. Because they are here illegally, many immigrants do not have social security numbers. More than likely, they will have to provide a letter from a utility company, or some other official piece of mail that they have received at their claimed address.

I lean towards thinking this will be an excellent start to getting some kind of real numbers as to how many people actually live in our country. I also believe it will make the roads less dangerous. Let’s face it; if people want to drive, they are going to find a way to drive. This way, we know that the immigrants must take the same kind of standardized written test and road test that everyone else has to pass. This will make the roads safer for all concerned.

Finally, this is a step towards getting everyone documented and ultimately incorporated into our huge tax base. Undocumented immigrants will get a driver’s license, have to pay registration fees, and then car property taxes, and the list goes on and on. Welcome to the real world friends. Yes, it’s a land of milk and honey, but a very highly-taxed paradise. This will ease the tax burden on us all because a $900 billion tax invoice is much more easily paid when there are an extra five million people available to split the check. Cheers folks, and welcome aboard.

2014 in review

December 29, 2014

Hi Friends, thank you to all my followers and visitors for a wonderful 2014.  Here’s wishing you all a wonderful, healthy, prosperous and HAPPY NEW YEAR for 2015.  :)

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 28 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Open season in America; the hunt is on

December 7, 2014
Sad state of affairs.  (photo credit:  Southern Poverty Law Center)

Sad state of affairs. (photo credit: Southern Poverty Law Center)

Someone posted a statement on Facebook that is as heartbreaking as it is true. The person stated that every dog killed in the dog-fighting ring associated with Mike Vick got more justice than Michael Brown and Eric Garner. This is sadly telling of the state of race relations in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Vick can’t make a touchdown pass without someone saying that he shouldn’t be playing in the NFL after what happened to those dogs.  Well the difference is Vick was wrong, he was convicted, and he paid his debt to society by doing cold hard jail time.  The killers of Brown and Garner were not indicted by their respective grand juries, not even of negligence, even though they snuffed out human lives. And even worse, their killers were those sworn to protect and serve.

And then we have the ongoing investigation in Ohio of the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was brandishing a toy gun. The police normally would have sat in the car, yelled through the bull horn for the child to drop the weapon, and then shoot him if he refused to comply. The video shows that the police sped to the scene, jumped out the car, and unloaded a hail of bullets without saying a word to the boy.

The police officer responsible in this case left the Independence Police Department under threat of disciplinary action. His personnel record said he showed a “dangerous loss of composure during live range training” and an “inability to manage personal stress.” The evaluator wrote in his file, “I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.”

Yet he waltzed right into a police job with the Cleveland Police Department, which said that they weren’t aware of his record, because they had not read his personnel file. This is indicative of the systemic racism that also is prevalent in hiring practices. A black person would have undergone an extensive background check to even get a job as the police station janitor.  And they would have been turned down for the position if it came to light that they had so much as skipped a class way back in eighth grade.

What in the Sam Hill is going on? I haven’t seen this type of behavior since people stopped wearing hooded white robes and pointed hats. There is a line from the movie “Inglorious Bastards” where Brad Pitt’s characters says, “we’re going to be doing one thing and one thing only: killing Nazis”. Unfortunately, it seems as if the killing has started up again, only this time they aren’t killing Nazis.

Police killings with no convictions.  (photo credit:  Facebook)

Police killings with no convictions. (photo credit: Facebook)

Let me say that I absolutely believe that the majority of police are honorable and perform their duties to the best of their abilities. But unless we are vigilant in instructing these misguided grand juries that even law enforcers are not above the law, the distrust between citizens and officers will continue to widen. If any good has come from these tragedies, it is that this type of behavior has come to light. It’s time for a national dialogue, and much prayer, to see what must be done to rectify these situations before any more families needlessly lose a loved one.

The real reason stores are afraid to close on Thanksgiving and what it means to employees

November 19, 2014
The real winners (Photo Credit:  en.wikipedia.org)

The real winners (Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org)

Costco Statement:

“Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season, and we simply believe that they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families.”

This notice has got to be one of the most beautiful and touching corporate statements to ever have graced the world of advertising. Many companies claim their employees are important, but do not show it in such tangible and public ways. I’d like to commend Costco and other stores who have decided to take this stance.

If you don’t like it, stop working retail

This is the cry of many in answer to employees who dare ask for holidays off to spend with their families. Well my friend, this is far easier said than done. Everyone working in retail is not there because that was their dream career. Not to diminish in any way the importance of those in customer service positions. There are stars in every field and I have been waited on in stores by some sales associates that are clearly operating in their gift. I left the store feeling like I was a valued customer and my allegiance was sealed.

However, we must admit that some of us work in retail simply because we need to. In this economy, you can see three cashiers in stalls right beside each other. They are all making the same salary, but one has a GED, one has a Masters degree, and one has a Ph.D. Some people are forced to take what they can get until they are able to find something in their field. This is not to say that we will not give it our all. We are there to do a job and determined to be the best at it that we can possibly be. It still doesn’t mean that we want to spend holidays there.

Hospitals and restaurants are open

Yes they are. But people need medical care at times that may fall outside of the parameters of normal business hours. And people require food to live. The critical difference is that as pleasurable as shopping is, it is not a necessity, and should not be treated as such. We all commend the people in essential positions such as police and fire personnel, those in the armed forces, etc. Department store employees, in my opinion, do not fall into this category.

How can this issue be resolved?

1. For one thing more companies can emulate large organizations like Costco (number two retailer in the whole nation) who seem to have their employees’ best interest at heart. Businesses like Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby extend this same care to their employees by closing their doors each and every Sunday so their employees can have a day of rest to spend with their families. This is unbelievably awesome as a business model.

2. Corporations should not let fear make them estrange their employees. Some stores are scared that the profits they would lose by being closed on a Sunday or on a holiday might cause them to go bankrupt. Not so. Again Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby are actually turning a profit, and not surprisingly, have a lot less turnover than jobs that put opening earlier on Thanksgiving over family values.
3. If a company feels that they absolutely must open on holidays, please have the decency to give workers a choice. It seems most of the tension arises from people being forced to work. In almost any schedule, there should be a little wiggle room.

  • The first thing a supervisor should do is let it be known that holiday pay is available.
  • Then canvass the team and see how many people are available and want to work. If the big boss mentality could take a back seat for just a moment, managers would be surprised at how many people might actually sign up to work for an extra time and a half per hour.
  • If this has been done and there still is not enough coverage, close the store. If a shutdown is not a feasible option, then start the manhandling in a fair way. Require the employees with the lowest seniority to work, and then two-step your way up to demanding the long time employees show up. Handle things in proper order.

I cannot stress how important it is for supervisors to be sensitive to the needs and desires, when possible, of their workers. There’s a reason old adages like “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” have lasted for centuries, and some of these sayings should become a staple in business management curriculum.

Kudos once again to business giants like Costco who are leading the way in putting the human back in human resources. Be good to you employees, and your employees will be good to you. They will be more content and more apt to bend over backwards to present the company in the best light, which will reflect in their customer service, which will keep people coming in your doors to spend money. Yes it will become a cycle, but a cycle of the best kind.

Finally, as a corporate leader the only truly ethical way to decide if your stores should be open on a holiday or a Sunday is to mirror your headquarters office. Of course employees will resent having to be away from their families on Thanksgiving knowing that if they dialed the corporate offices, they would get a recorded message that the offices are closed in observance of Thanksgiving.

***Bottom line company owners, if corporate is going to be open, keep your stores open. If you have decided that your corporate headquarters will be closed, well for the love of everything that is not hypocritical, close your stores. And please support stores that support their employees. Click here for a list of companies that have chosen to take the high road this year.

Kim K’s desperate ploy for Kanye’s affection

November 14, 2014
Kim:  Spend all your time in the studio huh?  I'll show you. (Photo Credits:  en.wikipedia.org)

Kanye West doing what he loves best. (Photo Credit:  en.Wikipedia.org

Kim: Spend all your time in the studio huh? I'll show you. (Photo Credit: en.Wikipedia.org)

Kim: Spend all your time in the studio huh? I’ll show you. (Photo Credit: en.Wikipedia.org)

By now we all or most of us anyway, have seen Kim Kardashian’s spread in Paper magazine. And it is raising uncomfortable questions. Why is Kardashian doing this? Oh sure, people joke about her infamous sex-tape and the years more than 15 minutes of fame it has led to. But over the years she has fought to put the negativity behind her and regroup. She grew up and matured into a respectable wife and mother.

Is it money? Well someone once said, “You can never be too rich or too thin.” None of us know what’s going on with the finances of Mr. and Mrs. Kanye West. However, it is probably safe to say that they are both earning at least a few cents over the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. With a two-family income, they are presumably able to care for their daughter North without having to go on government assistance at this particular time.

Is it fame? I don’t know. It could be, but that doesn’t seem to be a feasible reason either. The magazine claimed that with these photos, they were going to try to “break the internet”. They wouldn’t assume that was going to happen if the pictures had featured Sally Sue from around the corner. So obviously the Kim Kardashian name is already well known.

Is it a cry to be noticed by her husband? I believe this is the most likely. Both Kardashian and West are busy people. But West is super busy. Not only is he a rap star, but he also frequently travels back and forth to Europe, meeting with various designers in his bid to be a fashion mogul. Try as she might to keep up, and she seems to go with him a lot, there are just sometimes mommy has to stay home with the baby; for example, if the child is too sick to travel.

Sometimes a husband’s devotion to business can appear to be a lack of caring. Not as egregious as cheating, mind you, but many women want their spouse’s time and emotional attention more than anything. Sometimes a woman will not step out to another person, but will act out in ways that will make the spouse angry. They feel like any attention is better than no attention. That’s my bet. No matter that it is the year 2014, and women do what they want.

I think Kardashian proposed to do something so ridiculous (I mean come on, full frontal nudity that all of his friends will see) that Kanye would say, “Baby don’t do it. I love and adore you far too much for the world to see the intimacies that should be shared between us only in love.” Apparently, and sadly, that didn’t happen, because she went forward the photo shoot. Not a good family look.

Do you agree dear readers? What are your thoughts or concerns?

Don’t regret the choice you didn’t make today; exercise your rights and power by voting

November 4, 2014

 

Vote 3

 

Please be sure to vote today. Your choice of candidates is your business once you are in the booth. But the world, your country, your community, your family and your conscious need you to participate to make the process work. Yes, your one little vote will make a big difference. Again, please vote today.  And remind your friends.

Need to find out where you vote and get directions?  Click here to find out where you vote and get directions. You can even call your polling place to find out how to get a free ride. Let’s all be doers, not just complainers. Have a Blessed day and make a difference in your community.

 

Vote 4

Ebola doesn’t discriminate neither should medical personnel

October 9, 2014

Video Credit:  CNN via YouTube

This is the question that I hate to ask, but it really needs to be addressed.  What is going on with the treatment for the Ebola virus?  Can it be that the treatment is melanin-resistant?  And the reason I’m asking is that the outcomes for those treated were so drastically different.

Thomas Eric Duncan presented himself at Texas Presbyterian Hospital on September 25, 2014, and was sent home even after he told medical personnel that he had traveled from Liberia.  Yes, the same Liberia that has been in the spotlight all over the world due to the deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus and its possible global implications if it isn’t contained.

Then when he went back to the hospital, by this time terribly ill, days went by before he was given an experimental treatment.  Oddly, two humanitarian workers who contracted the Ebola virus while working in Liberia were treated with an experimental drug almost immediately when they were flown back to the United States.  Both workers’ health improved after the treatment.

Both of them were on a noble mission risking their lives to help others, both were going over and above the c all of duty, both received top-notch medical treatment, and both just happened to be white.  If, even in the onset of a possible universal outbreak, color cannot be put aside, race relations are in an even more deplorable state then we knew.

Let us keep those suffering with this virus, as well as their family and friends, in our prayers.  And let us all take this opportunity to remember that people are people and we should all be afforded the same quality of care in the time of illness.  I thank you.


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