Things Just Ain’t What They Used To Be…

FAIL

I remember, back when I was a kid, my father used to talk to me about how times have changed.  He talked about how different people were, back then, and how differently things were done.  My father has since passed away; but, as an adult, I can now say that I more clearly understand what he was talking about.

It seems to me that we are lowering our standards and expectations of ourselves, as the generations go by.  I look at the kids and young adults, these days, and I am ashamed!  I mean, I am utterly embarrassed!  We’ve got young men (and women) who show no respect for their elders, children, their community, their fellow man, or themselves.  They act unruly and vulgar in public, shaming their parents and ancestors…  They sag their pants so low, they can barely walk, let alone run from the cops, chasing them for a crime they “look like” they committed!  We’ve got “good-ol’-boy” cops who kill young black men, with no hesitation!  I mean, if you’re not showing any self-value or regard for your fellow man, how can you expect anyone else to value your life?!  Hell, they probably hunt deer and bears for leisure; what better than to add “threatening black boy” to the list?!  …and it almost seems as if we’re asking for trouble.  Our young people, these days, are killing themselves, in more ways than shooting each other.

I feel like I know exactly where this downward spiral started, and I think I know how to turn it around…  Granted, it’s not going to be easy, and it just may never happen; but, it’s something that needs to be discussed, regardless.  Wanna hear my theory?  Good!  Here goes:  It starts with low income families, where parents and guardians have to work around the clock just to keep food on the table and a roof above everyone’s heads.  With all of those work hours, how can the parents supervise and raise the children?!  Now, we’ve got kids trying to commit crimes to help the family, or just some unsupervised, misguided young people out doing ignorant things for attention…  Not like they’re getting any at home.  We’ve got “Brenda” having babies at a young age…  Hell, mother and child are practically growing up together!  All of this has become a pattern, and now this is pretty much what’s expected of black youth (although it’s NOT just black youth that experiences these same hardships).

We need to get back to the way things used to be!  We need community togetherness…  What ever happened to “it takes a village to raise a child”?!  THAT’S what we need!  We need to start beating our kids’ asses and stop being so damn sensitive when someone else is willing to beat their asses, for us, when we’re not around!  We need to stop being so defensive when someone is telling us about our kids and listen with an open mind!  We need to return our focus on teaching humility, responsibility, respect, manners, values, culture……because, these days, all we have are a bunch of dumb-ass kids who become dumb-ass parents to more dumb-ass kids (because dummies can’t teach anything of value), who, together, listen to dumb-ass music on the radio, make dumb-ass decisions, then end up in a bad place…  In many cases, that place is a cemetery.  **Hey, that rhymed!**

“Rest well, Dad.  Your spirit lives strong within your son and daughter.”

What Goes Around Comes Back Around…

mind-power

The human mind is an amazing thing…  You ever notice how some things, in life, seem to repeat themselves?  …how many things seem to end the way that they start?  You ever think about the fact that humans start and end life not in their fullest mental capacity, often in diapers, dependent on a caretaker?  Eyesight not fully developed…  Hearing not focused…  Fascinating, right?  Perfect example of life’s 360°, in my opinion.  What goes around comes back around.

When I look at life, and everything in between, with that 360° rule, I can see how there are thin, blurred lines that separate “things”…  I’m not sure how else to categorize the subject, so I’ll just roll with “things”, for now.  Sorry.  **shrugs shoulders**   One of those things I had in mind, recently, was the distance between lunacy and genius.  I was watching a documentary on one of my favorite Jazz pianists, Thelonious Monk.  I mean, I’ve been a fan of his music for quite some time, as he, in my opinion, is a musical genius (or very close to it)!  In the documentary, it was also noted that he had very peculiar behavior…  I mean, he was a stone cold wierdo!  Seriously!  There are quite a few other artists and personality types that come to mind, but we’ll use Thelonious, as our example.  Anyway…  Back to what I was saying.  It seems that most people who display some aspect of “genius” tend to be borderline CRAZY!  Just my opinion, of course…

Monk

I’m pretty sure I won’t come across many, if any, people who will disagree with my observation of how amazing and powerful the human mind is.  I truly believe that there are realms of the human mind that we never visit.   It’s also my belief that when a certain level of intelligence is reached, barriers within the mind are broken, and we begin to enter unfamiliar territory…  THAT’S when what’s labeled as “crazy” starts to show up!  …like the aforementioned Thelonious Monk…  Look at Kurt Cobain…  MF DOOM…  Andre 3000…  Gil Scott Heron…  …and that’s just to name a very few.  If you notice, these people got “wierder” and “wierder” as they developed their talent.  Sometimes, they even succumb to it.  Again, this is just the way I see it.

You know, it’s so easy to dismiss some people and some ways of thinking as “crazy”…  Just ignore them, toss them in a padded room or some mental institution, and then carry on with our limited-thinking, hum-drum lives…….when, I think what we really should do is listen and pay attention.  By no means am I saying that every person deemed “crazy” is some sort of misunderstood genius!  Hell, how would I know?!  I’m sure some of those labeled as “crazy” are really bat-sh*t f*ckin’ CRAZY!  BUT…  I do think they all deserve a listen.  Try to understand their expression…  Maybe their talent is the only way to express themselves in a way that us common folk can understand them.  Maybe, understanding them will bring us to an enlightened state of mind (and that sure as hell couldn’t hurt)…

Okay, it’ll probably be a while before you come across your next “wierdo” who you’re just dying to understand, so here’s a project for you:  Pour yourself a nice glass of your choice of red wine…  Sit in a dark room, all alone…  Give a serious listen to at least one of the artists I mentioned above…  Now, just relax, open your mind, and drift closer to genius…………….or lunacy!

August 1993 --- Singer Kurt Cobain Smoking Cigarette --- Image by ?Jesse Frohman/CORBIS OUTLINE
DOOM

Andre-3000-psd16762Gil-Scott-Heron-001

Fat is the New Thick!

I’ve had this discussion many-a-time with many-a-folk on many occasions:  The difference between “fat” and “thick”.  …because there IS a difference!

First, let me say this:  Having self esteem is a good thing…  Do whatever you have to do to feel better about yourself, if you need to.  **shrugs shoulders**  Some people even lie to themselves to help ease the blow of what they’re looking at in the mirror…  You need to do that?  Not quite what I’d suggest, but hey, do what you gotta do!  **stick with me, I’m leading up to something, here**  You’re probably wondering what the big deal is…  “Where’s the issue?”  Right?  …and that’s a valid thought:  I guess it really doesn’t concern me.  What bothers me, though, is 1. I hate liars, and 2. I hate unjustifiable arrogance!  Did I lose you?  Okay, let me reel it in (and here comes the controversy):  I hate it when fat chicks falsely advertise themselves as “thick”!  …and then have the nerve to be arrogant with it!  I mean, who likes to be lied to with an attitude?!

Let me attempt to streamline this thought of mine so you don’t lose sight of the real point:  I have nothing against fat women, skinny women, thick women, tall women, short women, or ANY women…  No problem, whatsoever!  **Hell, I’ve dated all kinds!**  I just find it frustrating that FACTS can be altered when it’s beneficial to the subject.  To help you see my point of view, let me explain the terms:  “Thick” was intended as a reference to women who had “thick” features while still maintaining a well proportioned physique with exaggerated curves (i.e. thick thighs and round ass with a slim waist – or close to it).   “Fat” is used to reference women who…  Well, I don’t think there’s any confusion on what THAT means…  Is there?  Let’s just say the “hips-to-waist ratio” isn’t as dramatic.

You know where all of this sh*t started, right?!  RIGHT!  Social media!  I mean, the internet provides so many places (sites) where we can live in this make-believe world and be whomever we want to be!  We can post altered pictures of ourselves, do and say things we’d never say in the real world…  It’s just when we get too caught up in that mess and forget to return to our “true” selves that the problem arises.  …and I’m not speaking “down” to the masses…  I got caught up in the social media world, once upon a time, my damn self.  Trust me, I had it BAD!!!  …so bad, it almost costed me everything of importance, in my life (job, kids, wife, etc.).  I had to undergo “social media rehab”!!!  Haha!  I had to unplug from the matrix, until I learned to use it to benefit the REAL me, instead of investing in “the lie”.  Lies powerful enough to blur the line between “fat” and “thick”!  **You like how I tied it all back together?!  Haha!**

Okay, okay…  Enough sidetracking…  Back to the point!  “Fat” is “fat” and “Thick” is “thick”…  They are NOT the same!  Let’s just stop lying to ourselves and others, is all I’m saying!  At the end of the day, it shouldn’t really matter what another person thinks, in regard to your figure (or the lack of); it’s all about what YOU think about what you see in the mirror.  …and if you don’t like what you see in said mirror, try this:  Liberate yourself from that make-believe world of the matrix, take a long hiatus from that social media website, stop lying to yourself (and everyone else) and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!  …and if you’re cool with being who you REALLY are, then own it!  Fat chicks give and need love, too!

Act Your Age!

Jay-z

A few days ago, I was texting with a childhood friend of mine (“What’s up, Kev?!”).  Somehow, we ended up on the subject of talented artists, in different genres of work and art, and discussed when would be the time to call it quits.  Athletes, rappers, dancers, etc.  I was once an aspiring rapper, coming up through high school, but I always told myself:  “If I don’t make it BIG by the time I turn 25, I quit!”  25 just seemed like a nice, round number.  Where did I get that number?  25…  I mean, at the time, being a rapper seemed like the dream of young men and women…  I never would have thought to see someone like Jay Z, damn near 50 years old, still rapping.  I mean, how does that look?  Granted, he’s super successful…  I’m just not sure I find pride in telling my kids that, at the ripe old age of 50, “Daddy’s a rapper”.  I guess Jay Z is the exception, because he still gets mega profit from it…  Anyone else?  Y’all need to STOP!  Just my opinion…

There are some athletes out there, also, that just can’t quit the game.  I don’t really follow many sports, but I am a HUGE boxing fan!  You’ve got guys like Jose Luis Castillo who are waaaaaaay past their prime, and just can’t hang up those gloves…  I mean, he makes 40 look OLD!!!  No matter how many ass-whoopins they take, they just can’t let it go.  On the other hand, you’ve got someone like Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins (he is definitely NOT human) who is just shy of 50, and he’s the CHAMP!  …Whoopin’ everybody’s asses!  So, how do we know when it’s time?  How do you jump out the game, right before Father Time sets you up for that beatdown?  …before you step in the ring and look foolish and far older than your age suggests?  I’m just sayin’…  There’s somebody out there who is meant to take B-Hop’s head off…  Let’s just hope the old man hangs up the gloves before he meets this person.

Walking around East Atlanta, I see old men in their late 50s and 60s, wearing FUBU t-shirts, baggy jeans, what hair they have left is in corn rows…  It just looks ridiculous!  I mean, dress for your age group!  Feels like I’m looking at 50 Cent’s granddaddy!  With everything that I’ve mentioned, up to this point, I guess the conclusion that I’ve come to is this:  Some people just can’t let go of the days of their prime…  Or maybe they want a do-over of their past.  To me, it’s kinda sad.  I feel sorry for them, in a way.  Even someone as successful as Jay Z.  I just want him to move on to that next level…  Put down the mic, wear a business suit, and continue to be successful in other areas of business.  You wanna relive your youth?  Okay, mentor and executive produce that next up and coming rapper.  Jose Luis Castillo, hang up the gloves, man.  Hold on to what dignity you have left…  Preserve your legacy, before it becomes overshadowed by your past-prime shortcomings.  You wanna relive your youth?  Train some up and coming amateur boxers.  Old man in the FUBU t-shirt, throw that shirt away!  FUBU is played out.  Pull that button-up shirt out of the closet and dress your age.  You wanna relive your youth?  Help properly mentor and/or raise some of these young knuckleheads out here…  We damn sure could use the help!