Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

May We Please Speak with the Lady of the House: How is Camille Cosby?

July 20, 2015
What lies behind the smile? Let's hope it is not fear. (Photo Credit: pubsub.com)

What lies behind the smile? Let’s hope it is not fear. (Photo Credit: pubsub.com)

You can’t help but feel sorry for Camille Cosby. She is the beautiful, and apparently long-suffering wife of comedic legend Bill Cosby. For awhile it seemed as if she had it all. She wasn’t one of those people who jump on the bandwagon of an already shining star.  She married Cosby long before his career reached the stellar heights of “The Cosby Show”. She was there from the beginning. They had five wonderful children together and seemed, to the casual observer, to be a loving and close-knit family. It’s wonderful to be lavished with gifts such as new bracelets, necklaces or rings; But Cosby flew to the top of gift-giving husbands when he brought his wife an honest-to-goodness jet. Many of my girlfriends and I wanted to be her. But oh we had no idea what we were wishing for.

Cosby has been embroiled for the last few years in tales of his questionable sexual conduct. The problem is that these encounters were not with his wife, but allegedly, with a host of other women. Everyone loves the song “Stand by your Man”, and no one has the right to tell someone how to handle their marriage, but Camille seems to be handling this situation, and Cosby, with exceptionally gentle kid gloves. We don’t know how she has been responding to the situation behind closed doors, but her interviews bespeak a woman who is cool, calm and accepting.

Whatever is going on at home, not everyone is built to handle disappointment well. People and organizations left and right are fighting to have Cosby’s accolades rescinded. There have been talks of removing his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Disney is even considering removing a bronze bust of him from their theme park. A man can become moody is he loses a regular 9-to-5 job, so it has to be  much worse to see your public image bursting like the bubbles in the plastic that you wrap valuables in. And who is usually home to bear the brunt of a disgraced husband’s frustrations? Yes, the wife. Let’s pray Camille will be okay.

 

My Stomach Sank Just A Little

June 29, 2015

Pamela Kay Noble Brown

Update:  On Friday, June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex unions are now to be recognized as legal marriages in all 50 states. This original blog below expressed my thoughts three years ago when it was up to individual states to decide the legality of it all. It even more so reflects my feelings now that it has become the law of the land, and I feel compelled to post it again. Thank you.

“My stomach sank just a little”. These were the words spoken by a pastor Wednesday evening after President Barack Obama infamously became the first sitting American President to support same-sex marriage. I have to admit that these words also come very close to describing the tightening feeling knotted in my own gut the moment I heard the President’s interview. I’ll tell you why.

Every since I first heard of Barack Obama, I…

View original post 553 more words

Will the real bikers please stand up: mayhem and memorials

May 19, 2015
Bikers have hearts too. (Photo Credit:  home.fotocommunity.de)

Bikers have hearts too. (Photo Credit: home.fotocommunity.de)

It was very disheartening to hear about the nine motorcyclists that were killed in a violent exchange of gunfire this past Sunday. In the past two decades the connotation of a biker gang has changed. Bikers became infamous in Hollywood movies that portrayed them as rough-around-the-edges drifters, who rarely put roots down in a town long enough to fall in love. In addition to the wall of isolation surrounding their hearts, they were almost always shown to have an affinity for abiding on the wrong side of the law. They’d thunder into town, break a few hearts, deal a few drugs, and ride out in a cloud of dust. Even in modern times, they always seemed to find a town with at least one dirt road that was perfect for kicking up of cloud of dust.

The 1969 film “Easy Rider” provided one of the most intimate glimpses into the day-to-day events and mentality of bikers that audiences had ever seen. It showed less of them as flat stereotypes, but rather men of many sides like everyone else. Despite what just happened this weekend, or maybe to give a balanced perspective, I wanted to share that I recently saw a new (for me) and more tender side of bikers. A co-worker’s father had passed away and I attended the homegoing services to show my respect. As I turned into the chapel parking lot, I saw row upon row of motorcycles everywhere and became a little nervous. After clicking the button to make sure all four of my doors were locked, I slowed down just enough to make sure the numbers on the building matched the address of the funeral home I was seeking. I parked and walked slowly towards the chapel, clutching my purse tightly.

I was impressed and surprised at the beauty of seeing both male and female bikers lining both sides of the sidewalk from the street to the top of the stairwell entering the chapel. Many of them were called up later to make remarks after the eulogy. What emerged was the picture of a man remembered for his love of God, family and bikes. One man broke down in tears as he remembered himself and the deceased (only 79 at the time) embarking on a cross-country ride. As more of them told stories, I was educated as I learned about the many charities that bikers participate in and the untold causes they raise money for such as researching cures and granting scholarships. I gained a newfound respect for them that will last long after the memories of the  tender way they lifted their comrade’s casket and ushered him out of the chapel.

So as this Waco story continues to unfold and investigators sift through evidence, let us remember we should try our darndest not to paint any group with one big brush. The people who started this shoot-’em-up brawl were just a few bad pages out of a fascinating book of adventurers.

 

 

Tensions in Baltimore run amok; the naked truth is the only solution; what really happened?

April 28, 2015
We cannot let the beautiful and historic city of Baltimore self-destruct. (photo credit:  www.wyndhambaltimoremtvernon.com)

We cannot let the beautiful and historic city of Baltimore self-destruct. (photo credit: http://www.wyndhambaltimoremtvernon.com)

Try an experiment when you get a chance. Or maybe you’ve tried this one numerous times as a kid. Plop a pebble into a lake and it is fascinating to see the ripple effect outward as far as the eye can see. It is often easy to forget that incidents of stone, dropped into the sea called life can have an almost unimaginably far-reaching effect.

A young man named Freddie Gray was buried in Baltimore, MD, on Monday, April 28, 2015. Freddie was arrested recently, and it was determined that he died in the process of being transported in a police vehicle. Police authorities have admitted that Gray asked for medical attention at some point during the trip, however this request was denied. As of yet, no reason has been given for the denial. Maybe they were in a hurry? Could be, but it seems they had time to stop, remove Gray from the paddy wagon and put shackles on his feet, and then continue on with their journey.

Something severed his spine, and he died in police custody. What could it have been? A particularly deep pot hole in the street? A policeman’s heavy rifle accidentally fell on his back? The police have said they will issue a statement once they have completed the investigation. Behind those two heavy van doors, there is only a limited square footage of area to examine, and a limited number of people who were in that tiny space to question. Let’s hope they don’t drag it out. If the department has any investigative skills at all, it shouldn’t take that long to figure it out.

There are some people who have had quite enough of the slaying of blacks while in the custody of those sworn to protect and serve. And these people went about venting their highly understandable frustrations entirely the wrong way. Peaceful protests are needed, but looting and foolishness just invites more trouble and widens the gulf between civilians and law enforcement personnel.

But the majority of people are willing to wait on the Baltimore PD’s report before taking sides. The country, nay even the world is waiting to hear the what happened that led to most people waking up, seeing the broadcasts and wondering what country we were invading. Instead, it was the National Guard, 5000 strong, putting boots on the ground in Baltimore. Scary stuff. But just the tip of the iceberg if the official report, scheduled to be released May 1st, has some concocted fable of how they lay Gray on the bench in the police van, and there was a single pea under the mattress and it broke his spine. Leave the fairy tales to Hans Christian Andersen. Let’s keep it real, keep it honest, and put the perpetrators in jail.

Only when the truth comes out, will the city quiet down. Cover-ups are like continuously scratching a scab. The wounds ooze ugly festering pus, but never completely heal. I thank you.

Our prayers go out to the family of Mr. Freddie Gray, the policemen and firemen that have been injured in the melees, the innocent business owners whose life’s work has been reduced to ashes, and the families all over Baltimore who are just trying to live their lives in peace.

Keeping Easter Real

April 4, 2015
Hallelujah, Christ is risen!  (photo credit:  selaluonline.com)

Hallelujah, Christ is risen! (photo credit: selaluonline.com)

Easter brings different feelings for different people.  For some it means a time of great festivities as the whole family gathers around to break bread together. For others, isolated or even newly grieving, it may be a time of bittersweet memories of holidays past spent with loved ones no longer here with us on earth. The key to getting through the holiday sane and whole is to remember that there are no one-size-fits all ways to celebrate Easter.

Easter is a day when Christians recognize the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, three days after He was crucified on a cross to pay for the sins committed by mankind. Here’s a nice detailed guide about Easter and its history. It is actually a very spiritual holiday. But sometimes it is easy to get carried away by the trappings of what we think Easter is supposed to look like. Not every Easter dinner has to be reminiscent of a Normal Rockwell painting to be considered successful.

Do what makes you happy and makes you feel grounded. If you’re tired of going to gatherings where well-meaning aunties gently ask are you still single, don’t go.  If you are tired of being asked why your spouse once again couldn’t make the family soiree, tell them to call and ask him/her. If you’re hosting and can’t afford the high-priced honey hams, put on a huge pot of spaghetti and call it a day. Beautiful memories are created by the quality of the time spent laughing and conversing with family and friends, not by the expense of the food.  Above all celebrate Christ and each other, and let go of the negativity. You will fill much better having alleviated the pressure of living up to superfluous expectations.

Happy Easter and God Bless.  🙂

 

 

Piggybacking on immigration, Ku Klux Klan sweetens the pot, delivers candy

July 17, 2014
The Ku Klux Klan in their Sunday Best.   (Photo credit:  ni.wikipedia.org)

The Ku Klux Klan in their Sunday Best. (Photo credit: ni.wikipedia.org)

With much of America being riveted by the scenes of abandoned children left, defenseless, on this side of the border, an old dragon has reared its head to take full advantage of the situation.  The Campus Lately is reporting today that the residents in one Seneca, SC, neighborhood awoke Sunday morning to find that the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) fairy had visited during the night and left bags of sweets in their driveways.

The small plastic bags contained peppermints and other candies, as well as a pamphlet bearing the title “Save Our Land Join The Klan”.  Robert Jones, the Imperial Klaliff of a local sect called the Loyal White Knights said that the event was part of a scheduled recruitment drop that many KKK chapters participate in three times a year.  He said all of the immigration hoopla underscores the need to protect our country and that all of the hype over illegal immigration is doing “all of our recruiting for us.”  He claims to have received over 20,000 interested calls as a result of this weekend’s drive-by goody bag drops.   (Continue reading full story here.)

Basketball Commissioner swings the Pete Rose bat; Sterling banned for life

April 29, 2014
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced at a press conference today that Donald Sterling is banned for life!   (photo credit:  Elsa/Getty Images)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced at a press conference today that Donald Sterling is banned for life! (photo credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

It’s really too bad Donald Sterling and a Philistine named Samson couldn’t have talked, but they were separated by hundreds of years.  Samson and Delilah could have been the modern day Donald and Vanessa.  How ironic that both of these powerful men were brought crashing down by women who happened to be outside of their own ethnicity.  Today NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that Sterling is banned from basketball “for life.”

This all stems from a leaked recording, which no one admits to leaking, of an argument between married Sterling, 80, and his lady friend Vanessa Stiviano, 38, on April 7th.  Sterling was disappointed and embarrassed that people had called him regarding a picture Stiviano had posted of herself, basketball legend Magic Johnson, and another woman on Instagram.  The three were fully clothed and innocently smiling at the camera.  But what infuriated Sterling was that Stiviano had posed with a black man.   During the phone conversation, Stiviano calmly led Sterling down a yellow brick road of admitting he sees blacks as the “enemy” and asking Vanessa not to bring them to his games.

Of course the late night talk show hosts were all over it.  Last night Jimmy Fallon said that even Mel Gibson told Sterling, “hey man, that’s just going too far.”  The ban for life means that Sterling can no longer have an active role in the leadership of the Los Angeles Clippers or any NBA team ever again.  In addition to the ban, Silver announced that the commission has fined Sterling $2.5 million.

As of right now, Sterling still retains ownership of the Clippers, but it has been reduced to a mere ceremonial title.  He cannot make any money or brand affecting decisions regarding the team.  But the story doesn’t end there.  It takes a two-thirds majority of all of the NBA team owners to vote out another owner.  Commissioner Silver is in talks with the other owners at this time to see if they want to move in that direction.

Donald Sterling; Magic Johnson, “Take his team”; Donald Trump, “She set him up”

April 28, 2014
Donald Sterling and girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano, on his left.   (photo credit:  Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Donald Sterling and girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano, on his left. (photo credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

This weekend TMZ stunned basketball fans and players alike when they leaked a profanity-laced recording of a phone argument between the legally married Donald Sterling, 80, and his girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano, 38.  On Sunday night Magic Johnson, who was personally named in the phone call, appeared on ESPN stating in no uncertain terms that Sterling should give up ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.  See the video of Johnson’s response here.

The April 7th argument was sparked when Stiviano posted a picture on Instagram of herself and another woman with basketball legend Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson.  Sterling objected to Stiviano posing with black people whom he called the ‘enemy’.  In a surprising twist that reads like a three-way love triangle, it was revealed that last month Rochelle Sterling, Donald’s estranged wife, filed a lawsuit against the girlfriend claiming that Stiviano preyed upon extremely wealthy older men.

Sterling, as many men with mistresses do, has lavished Stiviano with luxuries.  Among some of the goodies Stiviano has received are a Ferrari, two Bentleys, and a $1.8 million duplex.  Stiviano’s attorney says these trinkets are merely gifts, freely given and gratefully received.  But now there are some wondering whether this whole leaked phone conversation fiasco is a big set up designed to shake down Sterling for even more money.

One looming question is that there were, supposedly, only two people participating in the phone conversation, so how was it ‘leaked’?  Both Sterling and Stiviano have denied publicizing the call.  Was it an anonymous crazed telephone operator randomly intercepting conversations and making them public?

Another curious factor is the stilted, almost scripted pace of Stiviano’s side of the conversation.  Listen to the audio tape here.  Not many people agree with Sterling’s comments, but they do have a ring of authenticity. He is passionate and he is angry.  He means what he is saying and it is obvious that he believes this is a conversation that will remain strictly between the two of them.

In contrast, Listen to the way Stiviano continues to carefully guide the conversation back, time and again, to matters of race.  And then she constantly repeats what he says about black people.  Hardly anyone fights this way unless you’re in a marriage counselor’s office and they are having you mirror what the other person has just said to make sure you heard them properly.  Sterling even asks her at one point “why are you saying this?”

And then of course is the basic question of who records conversations unless you think you might need it for evidence, blackmail, or something in the future?  It will be a long time before this dies down.  Without a doubt Sterling has some antiquated views of race relations.  But wrong though he may be, it may turn out that it was a girlfriend scorned who was responsible for publically clipping his wings.  Real estate mogul Donald Trump has come out in Sterling’s defense calling the girlfriend a terrible human being who was baiting him.

Colorful Maurice’s BBQ founder dead at 83, Confederate flag comes down

February 25, 2014
Master Barbeque Kingpin Maurice Bessinger  (photo credit:   BBQroadtrip.tumblr.com)

Master Barbeque Kingpin Maurice Bessinger (photo credit: BBQroadtrip.tumblr.com)

Maurice Bessinger, founder of Maurice’s Gourmet Barbeque and Piggie Park Enterprises, is dead at 83. In a 2000 interview with The State newspaper Bessinger said, “I’m just a fair man. I want to be known as a hard-working, Christian man that loves God and wants to further (God’s) work throughout the world as I have been doing throughout the last 25 years.”

In stark contrast, The State broke the news of Bessinger’s death with the glaring headline “Barbecue eatery owner, segregationist Maurice Bessinger dies at 83”. Bessinger, a Korean War veteran, was as infamous around Columbia for his belief in a racial divide as he was known for his barbeque sauce and restaurants.

When The State ran a story exposing the fact that he was giving discounts to customers who agreed to take pro-slavery pamphlets being handed out in his restaurants, many blacks and whites began boycotting his restaurants and products. This, in addition to his refusal to take down the huge Confederate flags flying over his restaurants, led Wal-Mart and many other stores to snatch his barbeque sauce from their shelves.

Bessinger allowed blacks to pick up takeout orders, but refused to have them dine in his restaurants. He defended his stance by saying that “South Carolina had biblical slavery”, not the harsh kind. This stirred up so much agitation that South Carolina electrical power giant SCANA ordered its employees not to patronize any of Bessinger’s establishments.

Bessinger’s restaurants and barbeque sauce business are now being run by his children. His son, Lloyd Bessinger, said that his father had battled Alzheimer’s disease the past seven years and had not been active in the business. Several months ago Bessinger’s children removed the last of the Confederate flags from the restaurant in West Columbia, SC.

According to The State, funeral services for Bessinger will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church in West Columbia.

Texas gov. hopeful hits campaign trail with Obama-bashing rock star

February 19, 2014
Ted Nugent and Greg Abbott...birds of a feather?  (photo:  forwardprogressives.com)

Ted Nugent and Greg Abbott…birds of a feather? (photo: forwardprogressives.com)

The sun is threatening to set on the Lone Star State.  Texas politics has reached a new low with the state attorney general Greg Abbott welcoming rock singer Ted Nugent to hit the campaign trail with him.  Abbott is considered to be the front runner in the race for the GOP gubernatorial nominee after Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced that he will not be seeking a fourth term.

Ted Nugent has long been outspoken and, often controversial, in his views.  But he outdid himself in a January 2014 interview with Guns.com reporter Daniel Terrill.  He called the sitting  President of the United States of America a litany of disrespectful names to include a “subhuman mongrel”.  You can view the disgraceful video here.

CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer, along with many others, reacted swiftly to Nugent’s being a part of Abbott’s campaign rallies.  Blitzer questioned whether Abbott’s campaign knew how offensive Nugent’s remarks were to the office of the President, as well as to others who have suffered grave oppression.  Among other things, Blitzer said, “That’s what the Nazis called Jews to justify the genocide of the Jewish community,” he continued. “They called them ‘untermenschen,’ subhuman mongrels, if you read some of the literature that the Nazis put out there, there is a long history of that specific phrase he used involving the President of the United States.”

When called to task for including Nugent, a campaign aide for Abbott brushed it off saying, “The controversy is what he said in the past. We are not endorsing Ted Nugent, he is supporting us,” the aide said.  That may be true that a candidate cannot control who supports him, but he can certainly control whom he invites to share the spotlight with him and who is seen as sharing like-minded views.

Wendy Davis, who will likely be the Democratic gubernatorial candidate facing Abbott called it an “insult to all Texans”.  You can read the full reactions of other politicians here.  Greg Abbott has claimed he didn’t know what Nugent represented.  Now he does know and it will be very telling to the voters if, now being aware, he keeps Nugent on as one of the faces of his campaign.