Thursday, July 31, 2008

We All Scream!!

So this past weekend I was at the Park with my Son. It's sort of a hot day out but not too bad in the shade. So we're at the corner end of the park and we hear that old familiar music playing. As soon as we hear it both of our ears piqued and we look at each other. Almost simultaneously we both say it. "ICE CREAM MAN!!" So I looked around and saw that the Ice Cream Truck was actually a good distance away. We would have had to run (I would run at least and he would ride his bike) to make it there before he left. As I stated it was hot so I told my son we're gonna miss it this time but I promised him that we'll make sure we get some ice cream the next time. Ironically, he was okay with that and we continued to play.

So, the following day my son and I find ourselves at the park once again. Of course we were playing the usual baseball, soccer, riding his bike, etc. As we're playing we hear that familiar sound of the Ice Cream Man driving past again. With the elephant memory my son has he quickly tells me "hey daddy there's the ice cream man remember you said you would get me one next time." Of course I hadn't forgotten it was only the day before when I made this promise. So I told him yes I remember and he's right there so we can get some ice cream this time. We proceed walk over to the ice cream truck and while standing in front of it I ask my son what he wants. He points to the picture of what he wants on the board (Image 1). I tell the man in the truck what he wants and he goes into the freezer, gets it, and hands it to my son. Then I tell him I want a strawberry shortcake bar (Image 2).



Well I'll be damned if the guy in the truck doesn't hand me my ice cream bar then say $5. I know the saying goes "We all scream for Ice Cream," but if my son wasn't standing there I would have screamed out WTF? (What The F**K for those that aren't familiar with the acronym). However, I caught myself and instead just said "What? $5?" Yes I sounded just like that character Chris Rock Played. Only thing missing was the "Good Lawd that's a lot of money." In true Chris Rock fashion I was tempted to say how bout you keep the cream and just give me the ice for $1. LoL. So I asked the man how much was each ice cream and he proceeds to tell me $2.50 each. I said $2.50 are you serious? I quickly handed my ice cream back to the man. My son immediately asked me "why did you give it back daddy?" I was about to do the same with my son's ice cream, that was until I looked at his face and I could tell he was ready to devour it. I just couldn't do it to him especially after I promised and he had already held it in hand. Plus when I looked at his it was the larger than normal size bomb pop. Whereas, the ice cream bar they handed me was just the regular size. Not to say it was worth $2.50 but I was willing to compromise. Alright go ahead and call me a push over, but I'd like to see you look into that little face and take away his ice cream on a hot day like that. I'm not that damn cruel. LoL. So, I paid the man the $2.50 and walked off.

Being the inquisitive little boy that my son is (he gets it honest) he again asked "why didn't you get anything daddy?" So before he can start running through possible reasons which he is known to do, I tell him that it was too expensive. He then accepts the answer and proceeds to devour the American Flag colored ice cream. He even asked me "How come no one else got any ice cream?" I answered probably because they knew the price and I was the only idiot to fall fall victim. As I said that another man there with his children walked past and I heard him snicker at my answer. Well as he ate the ice cream I watched as his mouth quickly turns a bright shade of red. He then hands me the ice cream and says hold this daddy you can eat some since it's melting then runs off to go play some more. So I'm sitting there holding a $2.50 ice cream bar watching pennies go to waste with each melting drip. What do I do? Well as not to waste money I do as my son told me and start to eat the ice cream before it completely melts. But all the while I'm thinking about the last time I bought one of those ice cream bars I wanted. It had to be a long time ago but even still I can't recall paying more than $1.25 for it. I mean in some bars I can get a pint of ice cold beer for $2.50. So my question is are times really that hard? Where the local ice cream man is ripping kids off like Big Worm from Friday?

Well I just couldn't let it go. So I had to come home and do some research to find out what was the price of a box of these ice cream bars. As you can see the price of a box of 6 is only $4.89. Even after the new snake ass Cook County sales tax [10.25% The Highest in the country] that's is still only a total of $5.40. Which divided by 6 ice cream bars is only $0.90 cents each. That is the non-sale price. However, some times you can catch a decent buy one get one free sale at the local grocery store. Now I do understand that the ice cream man provides a convenience and therefore should be paid for that service. I mean he's right there with cold ice cream on that hot summer day so you don't have to drive to the store. Also, I know that gas is expensive as hell and to drive around the neighborhoods at 2 miles an hour [like Fresh Prince] stopping and going I'm sure burns a lot of gas. And I know it's gotta be hot inside the truck with the deep freezer in there and that with that side window open they most likely can't have the air conditioner on. But even with all that considered, to make $1.60 per ice cream bar is just highway robbery. The fact that they're ripping off kids makes it even worse. What's next? Chuck E. Cheese charging $20 entry fee and a 2 drink minimum? I mean come on what's the most you as a parent will give your kid to get something from the ice cream truck? I would say $1-$2 at most. So imagine if I sent my son there himself with $2 and he came back like daddy it's not enough. Back in the days our parents could send us to the ice cream truck with $1.00 and we'd come back with 2 ice creams and some candy. If this is the new trend for ice cream trucks I feel for the kids of today. When you can't take a few quarters and run outside when you hear the sound of the ice cream truck, but rather have to break open your piggy bank times are really bad.

But speaking of ice cream trucks and back in the day I'll close this with what is probably the most traumatizing story about ice cream ever. I'll try to make this as short as possible. Alright so I'm about 6 years old which would make my brother 8 and my 2 cousins Trice 7 and Kita 5. It was summer time and all the kids were out playing. Well the ice cream man happen to make a stop in the apartment complex that day. So, we all ran into the house to ask for money for the ice cream man. My mom and my aunt Mel aka Marilyn (Trice and Kita's mom) and my other aunt Phyl were in the house. As we all ran in asking for money for the ice cream they didn't hesitate to give us the money. However, Aunt Mel gave them the money with specific instructions to bring her change back. She may have given them about $2 I think. My brother and I got $1 to split. After receiving the money we all ran off to the ice cream truck. After standing in line we all got our respective ice cream bars. As I stated, prior the inflationary price increase of ice cream $1 could buy 2 ice cream bars. I don't recall what ice creams everyone bought but whatever my cousins got they had approximately $0.50 cent in change left over.

So as we're all sitting there enjoying our ice cream there was a boy that we all knew that had no ice cream. Well he proceeded to ask us if we had $0.50 cent he could have/borrow. As you know my brother and I had exact change so we had nothing to spare. But my cousins had the 2 shiny quarters. Don't ask me how or why but my brother goes and convinces my cousins to give the change to this boy. This amongst other incidents could be the root of my brother and cousin not getting along to this day. Lol. Now it seems like an innocent action and you're probably thinking it's only 50 cent what's the big deal? Well that is because you don't know Marilyn Williams. Next, we all begin to walk home as the boy proceeds to buy his ice cream. As we walked into the house all of us had a mouthful of ice cream. But as sure as sun rises and sets the first thing out of Aunt Mel's mouth was "where's my change?"

We all immediately stopped in our tracks and looked at each other and got quiet for about a minute. Finally my cousin Trice fessed up that they had given the money to a boy for some ice cream. The next thing I know there are F-Bombs and other expletives coming out of her mouth faster than a machine gun shoots bullets. Without having to put a parental warning on this blog I can't go into detail. But something along the lines of "why the F*&k did you give my money to some boy?" would be pretty accurate. So as we all stood there what would happen next would be stuck in my mind forever. After the verbal onslaught she gave, she then grabbed one of my cousins ice cream and wound up like Roger Clemens style and the next thing I know the ice cream slams up against the kitchen wall. BAM!!! Then she grabs my other cousins and it quickly meets the same fate as the first. I was utterly shocked, afraid, and prepared to lose my ice cream next. However, much to my surprise it didn't happen. She stopped at the 2 ice creams, and immediately demanded my cousins to clean up the mess. I remember my brother and I later finishing our ice cream of course out of the sight of our cousins. But I can't for the life of my imagine what would have caused my aunt to snap like that over 50 cent (in change not the rapper if it was Curtis Jackson maybe I could understand). However, I'm sure that if I think long and hard that there was an empty bottle of Sutter Home somewhere in the room.

Luckily for us (me, my bro, and cousins) ice cream prices back then were not as they are presently. I mean if she did all of that over 50 cent then I can't even fathom what may have taken place if she had just paid $5 for two ice cream bars. Lastly, the $2.50 I spent on the ice cream was already bad enough. But if you take a look at the picture below you'll see that my son's nice bright yellow shirt (I know the sidekick camera doesn't do the yellow any justice) quickly turned to yellow with green spots. You see the packaging from the ice cream wasn't even strong enough to hold the blue liquid in the bottom. So the blue part of the ice cream quickly blended with yellow to leave green spots on the shirt. I don't give a damn how much I Shout that stain is not coming out. So there you have it go ahead and add another $5-7 to my $2.50 for one ruined shirt. Basically an ice cream bar cost me close to $10. All I know is that if I happen to see this particular ice cream man again I may be liable to turn into my aunt an hurl something at his truck.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Nanny Government

Think back to when you were a kid. I'm sure we all heard some variation of "Eat your vegetables" or "no dessert until you finish your dinner". Well, let's magnify that onto a huge scale, and you can begin to understand some of what local governments are doing to their constituents. More and more across the country, state and local municipalities are involving themselves into the most mundane aspects of every day life. And the saddest part is that the "real" problems are being left unaddressed.

As was the case on July 22nd, 2008. The city council for Los Angeles put a moratorium on the building of new fast food restaurants within a 32 square mile area of the city. An area that encompasses mostly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods. The one year restriction is on restaurants such as McDonald's, Taco Bell, and an L.A. staple, Jack in the Box. (Hell yeah, Hell yeah. Inside joke, see Menace II Society). Lawmakers also reserved the option of renewing the plan in two six month extensions.

Now on the surface, it may seem as though the L.A. city council is doing a good thing to protect the great citizens of their fair city. However, with anything, there is what's called "the law of unintended consequences". The main one, to me, being the loss of numerous potential jobs. And where would those jobs have been? In those very same Black and Hispanic communities. Interestingly enough, Blacks and Hispanics seem to be the ones needing jobs the most in this struggling economy. That's just one aspect of what this ban does for the city of Los Angeles.

Almost at the very same time Los Angeles was dictating to business what they could do, Arnold "the Governator" Schwarzenegger, ignored his state's pressing 16 billion dollar budget shortfall, and instead signed into law legislation that made the state of California the first in the nation to completely ban trans fatty acids. Yes, cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Seattle have taken steps to ban the ingredient, but California has taken it to a whole new level. (Quick side note, can't you see hustle man coming into the barber shop, "yo yo yo, I got them pork rinds ya'll. And they got all the fat in them. I got these off a truck from Vegas. Just two dollas a bag. 3 for 5 though!").

Again, I will make allowances for those of you who at first glance believe that what, in this case, the California legislature is doing is a good thing for its citizens. But see, here's the problem I have with it: at what point do we as Americans stand up and say to our government "I can control what I eat, get these goddamn roads fixed"? Or "My fries taste just fine as they are, go spend time trying to legislate a way to fix our schools". (For an idea, read the Mis-Education of America posted on July 17th. I had to give myself a plug). Too often we've seen kids that are overweight. And while you feel for them, sometimes you lay eyes on the parents, and then you understand why the kids look the way that they do. Now, I think its awful when you see a 9 year old that looks like he could be making tackles on Sundays for the Chicago Bears, but why should I be deprived simply because his mother doesn't have the backbone to stand up to her 9 year old and say "no, you can't have 2 happy meals". Or, "get yo ass out my house and go play".

I was 9 once. And if I could've, I'd have packed up all my little belongings, and made any local McDonald's my new permanent residence. Its family lore that when I was a kid, I could see the McDonald's arches long before the adults in the car did. They would be looking around, and still didn't know where McDonald's was. I did! So I don't speak to you as someone who's unfamiliar with an addiction to hamburgers. They're my favorite food. But the reason I didn't move to what would have been my "Happiest Place on Earth" was because my parents were parents! Sure, we got an occasional reward of a trip to McDonald's, usually provided by my Grandmother after church on Sundays. (Another quick side note, it must've been hard for my Grandfather John to cart around my Grandmother and 4-6 of his screaming and clowning grandkids. I'm slowly but surely beginning to understand why he drank). However, I also recall eating some of what I then considered to be the grossest things put on planet earth:

Liver! Still can't touch the stuff. If I smell it, I'm 7 years old again, sitting at my Grandfather Porter's table trying to find a way to rationalize either eating this crap, or just taking my whooping and being allowed to go to bed. Nobody told me that you get both!

Okra. I was introduced to this little nugget in a gumbo prepared by my Granny Alverta. Everything else in the gumbo was great. Couldn't get with the okra. So as any intelligent child would do, I ate everything but the okra. Well, Grandfather Porter would have none of that. I believe that turned into another one of those all nighters that ended with me falling asleep at the table, and my grandparents being none too happy with me. Still can't roll with Okra to this day though.

Brussel Sprouts. Now kids of today have it easy. They get all of their vegetables served to them with cheese, ranch, and all kinds of nice toppings. Well that didn't happen back in the day. You got straight raw or cooked vegetables. That's what happened when it came to brussel sprouts. And if I remember correctly, the only salt that existed when it came to my sprouts was the salt on my face at the fact that I had to eat them. Me and sprouts are cool now, but we had beef like Shaq and Kobe when I was a child.

Now I share that with you to show that its the parents who should be deciding what the children eat. Not the kids, or some commercial, and definitely not the government. But I can tell you right now, of all the times that I wanted McDonald's as a kid, I probably got it 10% of the time at best. And that's because my parents knew that stuff was ok in moderation, but there was no need for it as a primary source of nourishment.

Some people will say that what they're doing in L.A. is protecting its citizens from evil corporations that prey on the down trodden with their 99 cent double cheeseburgers. Well, that's a load of crap. I have lived in Los Angeles for half my life, and I can tell you that I have pretty much been to every single neighborhood that there is. And there is no shortage of fast food restaurants in any of them. Period! South Central, got em. Bel-Air, got em. The beaches, got em. There's no conspiracy on the part of McDonald's or Burger King to subjugate the minorities of the city to their will. All they're trying to do is make money. And as I have stated in previous blogs, I believe in capitalism 100%. As long as McDonald's is providing me a service that I decide is worth my money, its not their responsibility what happens to me down the line. Now I do go into this believing that they're not intentionally serving me tainted meat and things like that, But its not their responsibility to hand out an angioplasty with every super value meal.

I hope some of you aren't just thinking that this is unique to California. Trust me, California is just the testing ground for some of the more wacky ideas. But they usually make their way across the nation. So here's some of California's "finest" ideas.


Pet "Guardians" instead of pet owners

Hand Held cell-phone ban

The last one was especially difficult for me to understand. Now if using a cell phone is so dangerous, why, when the bill was passed in 2006, did you push the implementation of the ban forward until July 1st, 2008? I mean if the road is so dangerous with those cell phone using drivers, why have another two years with those dangerous individuals on the road? Did you arrest Charles Manson in 1969, and then tell him "ok Chuck, in 1971, we're gonna come pick you up to serve your sentence. You're a dangerous individual, and as of 1971, we can no longer tolerate you in our society". Hell No! They decided that the man was so dangerous that he had to be taken into custody immediately. I know its an extreme comparison, but similarly, if driving while using a cell phone is so dangerous, why not eliminate its existence from our society immediately?

Now let's make the natural progression from childhood to adulthood. Once I was old enough to decide what I wanted to eat, I took full advantage of it. I would have, what I termed "the breakfast of champions". I know that Wheaties pioneered the slogan, but Michael Jordan never dreamed that it could apply to what I would eat! Morning burgers, a can of chili, or 8 oatmeal raisin cookies, and a couple pepsis. (Not all of that at one time, damn, I do have some self control). And after almost 10 years of eating meals such as that, needless to say, I put on quite a bit of weight. Now unlike the losers who find sheisty attorneys and file 100 million dollar lawsuits against McDonald's, Hormel, Mother's cookies, and Pepsi bottling, I decided that I needed to change my diet. Simple solution! Less hamburgers. (Can't give them up completely, I do believe they have worked themselves into my DNA). 1 or 2 cookies instead of 8. Juice or water instead of Pepsis. And its made a noticeable difference. I've lost 20+ pounds in the matter of just 4 months. Now I can't say if I have completely reversed those 10 years of gorging or not, but I can say that I've taken responsibility for myself. And going forward, its up to me what my diet will be. No government will ever dictate that to me.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Finders Keepers

So I'm walking home from work one day last week. And about 10 feet in front of me I spot something. Nah it can't be what I think it is who would do such a thing. It's even harder to tell if it's really what I think it is because it's in the grass. So, I keep approaching. At about 5 feet away I realize it is indeed what I thought it was. So what to do? Well if any of you have been in this situation then you know that you must react in a certain way as to not make what just happen seem obvious. So at about 3 feet away I'm completely focused on this object like an Eagle about to swoop down and grab their prey. Please keep in mind that with all this stuff running through my head it seems like minutes have passed by, but in fact this has all taken place within a matter of about 10 seconds. So as I'm about a foot away I keep walking past the object and in one motion reach down and pick it up without even missing a step.

So what did I find? Well I'm sure by now you've all guessed it. Yes it was money. The coveted green back, the root of all evil, the almighty dollar, some cold hard cash, dead presidents, or whatever slang term you want to use. Yes, there in the grass I actually found $7 whole dollars, a $5 and two Singles to be exact. Just laying there folded up. Yes I know I'm a rich man so feel free to form a line around the block to get a loan. Although it's nothing major it's also nothing to sneeze at either especially in today's economy. I mean if I walked up to you and said here's $7 for nothing are you going to refuse it? Alright then! I didn't think so. So now you're probably asking so, "What's the point? You found $7 whoopti damn doo. Did you take the time to write a blog just to brag? LoL.

Well as I stated when I originally spotted the money it was a matter of seconds before I was upon the money and picked it up. So, as I recollected on this story I just found it funny that there is actually a procedure one goes through when they find money. Now if you don't believe me just keep reading. I'm willing to bet that if you've ever found money (at least $1 or more) that you've done at least one of the things I mention. For further evidence of this please take a look at the video at the end of this blog. So here's the step by step instructions on what to do when you find money.

1. Spot the Money! - I spotted the money (which we all know is green) in green grass. Luckily it wasn't tall grass (which I hate. lol) so it wasn't hidden. However, from 10 feet away some eyes may not have spotted it until they were closer. But it goes to show that we all know money when we see it. So, what happens when you first spot what you think to be money? Well first I would say we all get anxious; however, we all deal with it differently. As for me, I tried to play it cool as to not tip anyone else off that I spotted some was money. I could have easily ran to the spot in the grass but in an effort not to tip someone else off to the money I chose to play it cool. But you better believe that inside I was "So Anxious" like Genuwine.

2. Look Around!! - Prior to picking up the money, most will take a long look around their surroundings. Why? I mean you found it so why should you look around? Well the answer is simple. Although you are finding something, the majority of people for some reason feel like criminals especially when finding money. So they will look around to make sure that no one is spotting them picking up this money. Some of the more considerate individuals will even look out to make sure no one else is about to claim the money before they pick it up. As you can see I pretty much skipped this step all together. But I did a little looking out in the 10 seconds it took me to walk up to money if that counts at all.

3. Pick it up!! - So you've spotted it and done the recon and no one is watching you or around looking for the lost money. So now all that's left to do is pick up the money. Seems so simple right? Well if it was I wouldn't be writing this would I? Lol. I guess there are plenty techniques one could use to pick up the money. But the object of the pick up is to be as inconspicuous as possible. The more obvious you are the greater the chance of someone spotting you and possibly claiming the prize before you. As you can see from my story I picked up the money and didn't miss a step in my walk. Even if someone was paying very close attention to me the entire time they would not have been able to tell what I picked up or that I even picked up anything at all. So whether you bend down to tie your shoe or use the old gum on the bottom of the shoe trick just make sure you're not obvious in your actions.

4. Look Around Again!! - So you've got the money in hand now what? Well you can't just walk or run off. You've got to again look around to make sure you get to keep your prize. I mean if you happen to stand up and the person who lost it hovering over you, there is a chance you may catch a mouth shot depending on how much money it is. Therefore, you have to look around again just in case you have to quickly toss it back down to where you found it.

4a. Also, under this step of look out you should take note that you may want to also look around to make sure there is no more money lying around. There could be more money a few steps ahead or to the side. So make sure that you're not leaving money around for someone else to find.

5. Flee The Scene!! - Now as I stated although this is not a criminal act (that is as long as the money isn't found inside a bag marked FDIC) it is sometimes treated as such. So once you have the money in hand you can't just be lallygagging around the scene of the "find." I don't mean that to say that you should run away like Carl Lewis but at the same time you should make some kind of a move.

6. Count Your Windfall!! -

Please do not attempt to count your money until after you've fled the scene. Again if you're sitting there with found money attempting to count it you may be subject to someone saying "Hey that's mines!!" However, once you've mad it a safe distance from the scene of the "find" then feel free to get your count on and see just how much you've come up on.

Now if you're anything like me then these are the steps you'd take. If not exact, then some sort of variation of the above steps at least. However, some of you kinder gentler souls with more integrity can always attempt to find whose money it is. You know walk around asking if anyone lost some money or even put up signs around the area where the money was found. Just keep in mind if you ask me I'm liable to say yes knowing damn well I didn't lose any money. Lol.

But in all honesty I do have some integrity and if someone had asked me if I found or saw $7 I would have given it to them. Plus I'm attempting to teach integrity to my son, so I have to lead by example right? However, if I found $65,000 like the lady in this story [below] I can't 100% say I'd have as much integrity as she had and give the money back. But bless her heart for her honesty. For her efforts she was even rewarded $5000 and a free trip to Walt Disney World Resorts. But I'm sure she'll have to pay taxes on that $5000 though.

But even as a small children we're taught the simple phrase "Finders Keepers Losers Weepers."
Now I'm sure you're all wondering what I did with the $7. Well in an attempt to flip this $7 I somewhat invested the money. As Nas said in his song Life's A Bitch "that buck that bought the bottle could've struck the lotto." Although I could have used a nice cold 6 pack of beer after a long day of work, I played the Mega Millions instead hoping that I would have a story to tell when I won. Well someone definitely won the $84 Million that night. But of course it wasn't me or else I wouldn't be telling my story in this damn blog. Instead I'd be on TV holding up a big check and telling it. LoL. So I guess I invested the $7 in the Illinois Education Fund. So to that person that lost the $7 just know that it went to a good cause.

--C-Recks --

"Dollar on a String Trick"

(Pay close attention to how they attempt to pick up the money)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Man Up!!! Part 6

Yep it's that time again it's time to Man Up!! We've been moving right along and are starting off this week at Rule #25. So, in case you're just tuning in make sure you go back through the previous Man Up Rules to catch up to speed. But just to remind those of you that have been following and any new comers here's how it works: This blog represents what we consider to be Man Up Rules. So, each week we'll add to the list just based off of our observations and perspectives. So be sure to check back weekly. Note: Most rules apply to men/boys age 13 and older (except where noted). Also, the rules are in no particular order.

Man Up Rule #25:
Watching and or viewing pornography is a solo activity. No groups of men (even as little as 2) should ever be caught viewing or watching porn together. It doesn't matter what form the porn is in whether video (Image 1), magazine (Image 2), or Internet (Image 3).




Man Up Rule #26:
Men should never wave hello or goodbye to another man (Image 1). The only acceptable non-verbal greetings are the brother man head nod, or the single fist pump (Image 2).



Man Up Rule #27:

Although for some reason men got away with wearing short shorts back in the day, that is no longer the style. At this point your shorts should never be above the lower thigh level. This rule applies to any occupation whether, Basketball Player (Image 1), Football Player (Image 2), Cop/Actor (Image 3), or Rock Musician (Image 4).

(1 John Stockton)
(2-Chris Cooley)

(3-Reno 911)

To Be Continued...

Brothers' Perspective



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Where are They Now?? Vol. 2

Have you ever heard an old-school or throw back song on the radio and you were left to wonder what ever happen to so and so? Or have you ever see an older movie that starred an actor or actress you liked but you were left wondering what ever happen to them? Or have you ever been watching sports and think like hey what ever happen to so and so he was the #1 draft pick? Well with this blog we will attempt to answer the question "Where are they now?" Through a little research we may actually be able to answer the question or we may find nothing and just further prolong the unsolved mystery of what happen to that particular individual.

In this edition of "Where Are They Now?" we will be profiling TV journalist, talk Show Host, producer, writer, voice-over talent and actress Rolonda Watts aka Rolonda or just Ro.

Rolonda graduated Magna Cum Laude from Spelman College in Atlanta, where she double-majored in Theatre Arts and English. She then went on to receive her Master of Science degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, after graduating Rolonda returned home and began her career working at WFMY-TV in Greensboro, NC as a general reporter. She later worked at the New Jersey Network as a reporter and anchor. Her next move was to WNBC-TV in New York where she anchored local morning news cut-ins for the "Today Show." Ro was nominated for an Emmy for "Live Spot News Coverage" she did at a deadly train crash. She would then move on to work at WABC-TV in New York where she anchored, reported, and moderated a weekly political forum "Eyewitness News Conference."

In 1987, Rolonda would venture outside of local news and hosted the show "Attitudes," which aired on cable station Lifetime Television. She was nominated for a Cable Ace for "Best Talk Show." The following year she would join "Inside Edition" news magazine where she was a senior correspondent, producer and weekend anchor. Inside Edition was syndicated by King World, who also syndicated The Oprah Winfrey Show. Owner of King World Roger King went on to offer Rolonda an opportunity to host her own talk show.

"Rolonda" the talk show is probably what most people remember Ro for best. Her show began in 1995 and most of Rolonda's show topics possessed a great deal of integrity. Following in the footsteps of the talk show queen Oprah, Rolonda was supervising producer and also one of the show's owners. The show was produced under King World and Rolonda's own company Watts Works Productions. However, after 4 seasons the show would eventually come to an end. In an interview with Soap Opera Digest Rolonda conveyed that audiences were looking for something more controversial when it came to talk shows. "Audiences were saying, "Well, that was really nice of you to be so respectful, but where's Jerry [Springer]?" We had to make a tough decision, either we go that route or we find something else to do."

Well Rolonda would move on to do just that and find something else to do. Next she would pack up and move to Hollywood. Rolonda began doing acting roles and appeared in many episodes of some popular television sitcoms, and Drama series including: Smart Guy, Sister Sister, The Jamie Foxx Show, The Steve Harvey Show, The West Wing, The Division, 7th Heaven, The District, For Your Love, One on One, Boston Public, Yes Dear, My Wife and Kids, and Jag. Although none of these roles (except Sister Sister) were ever more than an episode or 2 at at time, she stayed working. Eventually, she landed recurring roles on 2 different Soap Operas, The Bold and the Beautiful and Days of our Lives. Also she did voice overs for a cartoon character on Disney's Proud Family and in the animated TV series Curious George. She also played in Spike Lee's movie Girl 6, and played the lead role in Dorothy Dandridge: An American Beauty. Rolonda also hosted the TV show Lie Detector on Pax-TV and is the announcer for the Judge Joe Brown Show and the announcer on the new TV game show Temptations. Not to mention she appeared on Live With Regis and Kelly where she traveled cross-country as a judge for the show's “Great American Co-Host Search." Plus, she has done numerous voice over commercials for well known companies such as Western Union, South West Airlines, Big Lots, Wendy's, Tropicana, Aleve, Boeing, Wells Fargo Bank, and Alka Seltzer.

Needless to say that although one door closed (her talk show), Rolonda had plenty more to open for her. From 2006-2007, Rolonda hosted her own radio show until the network GreenStone Media closed down. Also, Rolonda has recently complete her first novel entitled "Destiny Lingers." "The steamy novel is about a news reporter who breaks down after discovering that her husband is having an affair with her best friend. In a desperate move to get her life back on track, she returns to her childhood home, where she rediscovers her first love." The book is presently being shopped to publishers. Rolonda is also set to star as the role of Josephine Baker in the upcoming silent film "Return To Babylon."

As far as love life at age 49 Rolonda has taken a page out of the "How Stella Got her Groove Back" book and is rumored to be dating 28 year old NFL player Ataveus Cash (Washington Redskins). I'll pause so you ladies can let out a collective "You Go Girl!!" ... But regardless of what we may have thought Rolonda's career has far from fallen off and she continues to strive for success.
For More Information on Rolonda Check out her Website:


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Keep It On the DownLoad

As we all know the Internet is also known as the "Information Super Highway." When I was first introduced to the Internet back in the 90's I had no clue that the Internet would become what it has become. The Information Super Highway has surpassed the German Autobahn. In other words, there are absolutely no limits as to where you can go on the Internet nor how fast you can get there. I mean whatever your heart desires you can find it on-line. That's right anything from a piece of food resembling Jesus or the Virgin Mary to a wig for your cat Yes I said a damn cat wig!! Click the link if you don't believe me. Lol.

But one thing that is probably the easiest thing to find on the Internet is pornography. According to statistics adult websites generate over $1 Billion in revenue yearly. There are more than 72,000 sexually explicit websites on the Internet and new sites are being added at a rapid rate of 266 per day. 25% of total search engine requests are porn-related. (Top three searches: sex, mp3 and hotmail). 8% of total emails are porn-related. The average daily pornographic emails are 4.5 per Internet user and 12% of total websites are pornographic. So again, as you can see whatever you want no matter how sick or distasteful you can find it on the Internet.

In fact, I recently came across a statistic that stated one-third of divorce litigation is actually sparked by online affairs. So, my question of the day is this. Is an online/Internet affair still considered cheating? Some people would say absolutely yes, some others would say no, and plenty remain on the fence. I'm just going to explore some aspects of each area and the good people out there can be the judge for themselves. There will be plenty of questions posed and you can answer them to yourselves as you read along.

Let us start by first defining a few terms. First term is adultery. defines adultery as: voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse. Next, they define the word cheat as: Informal. to be sexually unfaithful (often fol. by on): Her husband knew she had been cheating all along. He cheated on his wife. Next, is the word infidelity is defined as 1. marital disloyalty; adultery. 2. unfaithfulness; disloyalty.
3. lack of religious faith, esp. Christian faith. 4. a breach of trust or a disloyal act; transgression. Finally, let's look at the word unfaithful, which is defined as: not sexually faithful to a spouse or lover.

Alright we now know how the dictionary defines the words adultery, cheating, infidelity, and unfaithful. As for the word adultery, the definition strictly addresses the sexual intercourse aspect. So, as we know "cyber-sex" definitely does not involve any physical contact so I would say it doesn't fit into the text book definition of adultery. In fact, when you break it down into it's simplest form, cyber-sex is nothing more than typing. That's right 2 people typing to each other. Now true enough the subject matter is what places cyber-sex into that grey area. But comparing the definition of adultery and the act of having cyber-sex do not equal the same thing by a long shot.

Now please keep in mind I am not in any way stating that it is right for an individual male or female to participate in cyber-sex if they are in a marriage or committed relationship. I'm simply stating that based off the definition I don't think it is adultery. But I'm sure some individuals are thinking yes it is, I don't care what you say or what the hell Webster (Dictionary) or Mr. Papadopoulos say. Lol. So, for those of you with that position let's explore a few examples and see if you consider them adultery as well.

Example 1: Say for instance there is a husband that frequents a local strip club from time to time. Let's Say he goes once every 2 weeks on his pay day. He stops in after work with some co-workers, has some drinks, watches the ladies, tips, and pays for a couple of private dances. He does nothing more than this. So would you consider his actions adultery?

Example 2: There is a husband that tends to watch pornography. It is not an excessive amount but he does buy and rent movies on a semi-regular basis. He doesn't necessarily hide them from his wife but they are of course not in plain view along with the regular dvds. So is him watching pornographic movies adultery? But let's take it a step further what if instead of movies he views the pornography on the Internet? Last question what if he was viewing someone (a stranger) on a web cam would that too fall into the same category of adultery? Are all of these actions one in the same or is perhaps one worse than the rest?

Example 3: An attractive wife tends to be flirtatious by nature. She doesn't try to be but she just comes off flirty in most conversations with men. Not to mention her looks obviously attract a lot of attention when she's out in public, especially from men. So, say for instance while at the grocery store she flirts with one of the stock boys. And let's say that the package they discussed in the conversation wasn't one of the boxes he was unloading. However, their conversation never go beyond the flirting and her time in the store. Is she committing Adultery?

I don't know what your individual answers to the above examples are but personally my answer is no to each of them. Now that doesn't mean that I don't feel that these spouses aren't dabbling in behavior that is suspicious at best, and definitely disrespectful, if their spouses are unaware of what they are doing. Also, in each case there is potential that their actions can eventually lead to adultery taking place. But just the actions themselves I do not consider aldutery, cheating, or being unfaithful, based on our definitions. However, if you recall two of the definitions of infidelity were (1. marital disloyalty; adultery. 4. a breach of trust or a disloyal act; transgression). So by definition I can definitely agree that these are all acts of infidelity because they are showing a level of disrespect to their spouses as well as proving themselves untrustworthy.

So how far is too far when it comes to "Internet Infidelity?" Is simply chatting in a regular chat room too much if you're married or in a committed relationship? Many would argue that if you're in a marriage then you have no reason even be in a chat room to begin with. You should be chatting with your spouse right? Well I play poker online and many of the poker websites have a chat feature. There have been times when females have attempted to chat with me. Usually starting with something like "ASL?" For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym it simply stands for Age, Sex, Location. Basically the other person is asking for your details starting with those 3. So, how far is too far? What about exchanging photo's with the person that you're chatting with? Or chatting while using a web cam? Now Keep in mind that the person on the other end is a total stranger that is probably located in some far away place. Many would say that as long as it's not chatting with someone they know personally that it's alright. For instance, if they were constantly chatting with say a co-worker is much worse than with a total stranger. The reason mainly being that if they know the person there is much more potential for harmless chatting to turn into something more. So what about chatting sexually (having cyber-sex) with that person too far? What if it's simply a cyber-sex thing and you never share anything more? Or contrast that with just chatting in general (no cyber-sex), but in those chats you share bits of your personal life, problems (possibly with your spouse), and emotions with that person? Which is worse? I'm sure anyone that has been cheated on before (I being one of them) would agree that physically being cheated on is bad enough, but when the cheater then develops an emotional attachment it's far worse.

So going further let's try this one. By now everyone and their momma at least has either a myspace, facebook, or blackplanet page. But should married individuals have them? Is that crossing the line? Some would say no it's fine just as long as your relationship status reflects that you're indeed married. Or some would say that as long as they are only using the networking site to stay in touch with current friends and re-connect with past ones there is nothing wrong with that. But my question is this, who really wants guys or girls across the world writing on their husband or wife's wall/message board saying how attractive they are? Or sending them notes or messages trying to holler at them all day long? Not trying to sound like the jealous type but I know if I was married I wouldn't be comfortable with it. Plus wouldn't having access to millions of potential "friends" be sort of a temptation? Or try this what if you met your significant other online would it be wrong for you to want them to terminate their myspace (or any other social networking) account? That's no different than a couple that met in say the club and all of a sudden one spouse says I don't want you to go to the club anymore. Is that not a contradiction?

I think the fact of the matter is that each individual couple has to establish how far is too far? I personally think when the individual is attempting to be sneaky and inconspicuous with it then that's a red flag that the chatting may be something more. I mean if it's all innocent and means nothing then what's there to hide. There should be no need for any of the following behavior if it's simply innocent chatting. For instance, if your spouse walks in the room the screen shouldn't have to be minimized nor should you be turning off the entire computer. Also, constantly chatting while your spouse is sleeping or at work, and having all of your accounts and computers password protected. Lastly, deleting the cookies on your computer after each use. All of these activities are definitely the work of someone that is trying to hide something and it can't be anything innocent.
So in conclusion, if your significant other is spending more time online than they spend with you then there could definitely be an Internet affair going on. More than anything, I think any affair whether Internet based or actually in person points to a much deeper problem. Something is lacking or not being fulfilled within the marriage or relationship. If a person will take the time to form a bond whether sexually based or emotionally based on the Internet when they have a spouse physically there living in the same home as them, then again there's something lacking. Unfortunately, if you are in this position I can't tell you what it is you'll have to do some soul searching yourself to discover the answer. But take it from someone that's been cheated on before (don't worry it was not Internet based) it's not a good feeling at all. But unfortunately, in today's times you not only have to watch out for the other man/woman on the street trying to steal your spouse. Now, you have to worry about the potential of anyone on the entire World Wide Web becoming a "cyber-mistress." Which is indeed a Sad Reality.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Terms of Endearment

So we've all heard the saying "The big print Giveth and the small print Taketh away." Therefore, with that in mind we all know the rules: Read anything you sign thoroughly and completely. Alright I'm glad we're all on the same page, because in my line of work I come across plenty of customers that after their purchase claim "I didn't know what I was signing or I signed a blank contract." So please do not become one of these victims. But on a quick side note, if you're ever buying a house don't be like me and attempt to read in their entirety, the encyclopedia sized stack of papers you must sign at closing. Trust me, it's not worth the stares of anger and disgust the others in the room will give you. LoL. However, I was recently signing up for playstation online and noticed that I had to agree to their Terms and Conditions in order to continue playing. Well my mom happen to be present and as I clicked yes to accept the terms and conditions I said to her you know no one ever reads those. Well she laughed and said of course not it's a lot of legal jargon that really doesn't mean anything. So I thought about it and also said to her that I don't think I have ever read one either. She explained that she had read plenty before and found nothing useful or pertinent within them.

Well with that I started to think of all of the "Terms and Conditions" (T&C) that I have just so openly accepted with out reading. I know that I'm not the only one to do so either. I'm sure there are many more that do it as well, some of you on a daily basis. I mean they're every where, pretty much any website that you do any type of transactions on you will be prompted to accept the site's T&C. In fact, just today I paid my cell phone bill to T-Mobile and before I could finish processing my transaction I had to accept their T&C. Of course I like the rest of you don't have the time to sit and read all of their legal jargon so I accepted and got my confirmation # for the payment.

Well I decided to go ahead and write this blog after that transaction and in turn I actually copied the T&C from T-Mobile's website for all to read below.

Terms and Conditions
Terms and Conditions T-Mobile will provide you with a monthly statement of your account containing an itemized list of calls made during the billing period. You agree to review each statement you receive for any errors. If you inform T-Mobile that an error exists on your statement, T-Mobile will attempt to correct that error prior to your next statement to the extent permitted by law. T-Mobile shall bear no liability or responsibility for any losses of any kind that you may incur as a result of an erroneous statement or due to any delay in the actual date on which your account is debited. Each time you initiate a one-time payment transaction, you authorize T-Mobile to initiate an automated clearing house (ACH) debit transaction to your checking or savings account, or a charge to your check or credit card in the amount of the transaction. T-Mobile reserves the right to change these conditions at any time. Notice may be given on or with your bill or by other methods. You agree to be bound by any rules your financial institution requires for ACH debit transactions or credit card issuer requires for credit card charges. FOR MORE INFORMATION Call 1-800-937-8997

Do you agree to the TERMS AND CONDITIONS.

Although I probably should have read this before completing my payment, I of course did not. However, upon reading it now I realize although it is a lot of jargon there is something important in this agreement. "T-Mobile shall bear no liability or responsibility for any losses of any kind that you may incur as a result of an erroneous statement or due to any delay in the actual date on which your account is debited." I specifically authorized them to take the exact amount of my bill from my account. However, what if an error occurs? According to their T&C if there is an error I have until the next billing cycle to report it, and then they will "try" to fix it by the next billing cycle. However, they are not responsible for anything that happens as a result of their error. So for instance, if I only authorized $100 to be paid and they take $1000 on accident I must first catch the error and report it and then they will attempt to fix it before my next bill. But what if I had my rent due that same day? Well guess what? According to the T&C that's not T-Mobile's problem. As they said they're not responsible for any loss incurred as a result of an error on their part. So while they're trying to fix the error I'm getting a 5-Day eviction notice taped to my door. Now I know this example is extreme and I would hope that if an error such as this occurred that T-Mobile would attempt to reconcile the situation prior to it becoming a serious problem. But just in case they can't well we already know they have their bases covered legally speaking at least. Why? Because it's in their T&C.

Now I know that legally the T&C should make sense and that a reputable company such as T-Mobile would never use any trickery in their T&C. Nevertheless, I got to thinking just what if a company such as T-Mobile chose to put something in their T&C that you didn't necessarily agree with? Here's a question that is simply rhetorical but if it applies to you please feel free to answer. As a black man or woman what is the one thing that we as black people are usually leery of? No it's not the police, but that's at the top of the list too. LoL. But what I'm speaking of is somehow being put back into "Slavery."

So, what if T-Mobile (Probably Sprint in this example lol) decided that they were going to put something pertaining to slavery in their T&C? Well the thing is if you didn't read it and you clicked yes to accept there is a possibility that you may be now legally owned by T-Mobile. Now it may have been wrong of them to change the terms on you and you may think legally they have no right to make a change like this without letting you know up front. However, please look back at the T&C it does state "T-Mobile reserves the right to change these conditions at any time. Notice may be given on or with your bill or by other methods." So this means that they already let you know the terms were changing prior to you accepting the T&C. Most likely they sent it with your billing statement the previous month. But if you're like me you don't look at your bill or at least not too closely as long as it's the same amount I usually pay per month then no further investigating is needed. So most likely you didn't see nor read the new T&C agreement they sent with the bill. So, now what? Yep as low down of a trick it was, they now however own you and you're forced to work for T-Mobile answering their customer service calls. LoL.

Now I know that is an absolute extreme case and in today's times it's most likely never to happen right? Well that is at least not without Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton being on the CEO's front lawn with picket signs and a media circus. But if nothing else at least I got you thinking. Now keep in mind that big company's send thousands of jobs overseas because of the cheaper labor. So trust and believe that if they can get away with it and find a way to get people to somehow work for free they will. Hell, we don't know for sure but it may have been some shiesty T&C contract that got black people into slavery back in the day. They may have thought they were getting a sweet deal on some spices or something and the next thing you know they were on a boat headed through the middle passage. Well in conclusion all I can say is watch what you sign and or agree to even if it seems okay or like the same old thing you're used to accepting. But I'm sure just like me even after reading this blog you'll still accept the next T&C agreement you see online with no regards. So, I guess I'll see some of you all on the next boat. LoL.

(Please keep in mind as I stated I am a black man, I had to clarify that again I don't want anyone taking offense to the references of slavery in this blog. Don't worry I'm still waiting on my 40 Acres and a Mule as well. LoL)


Friday, July 18, 2008

Man Up!!! Part 5

Time to once again Man Up!!! By now you should know how this works so when you're called out and told to "Man Up!!!" Don't be surprised. Remember this blog represents what we consider to be Man Up Rules. So, each week we'll add to the list just based off of our observations and perspectives. So be sure to check back weekly. Note: Most rules apply to men/boys age 13 and older (except where noted). Also, the rules are in no particular order.

Man Up Rule #22: If you're not a professional wrestler, professional cyclist, super hero, speed skater, or an American Gladiator then spandex is not an acceptable look on a man. As you can see it doesn't matter if you're muscular or fat it's still not a good look.

Man Up Rule #23: I know we all like wearing comfortable socks, especially if we're just lounging around. But men must still be conscious of the types of socks they wear and the colors in them. So when in doubt all black or all white socks are always acceptable.

Man Up Rule #24: Specifically on black men the blond (Image 1) and or platinum (Image 2) color for your hair is absolutely not appropriate. We have no clue as to why women let R&B singer Sisqo get away with it for so long (perhaps because he was talking about a thong, even though he never said who was wearing it *hint, hint*), but he never got a pass from us men. However, Dennis Rodman (Image 3) does get a pass: Anyone that can Rebound like that can wear his hair in any color he wishes. (And we all know Dennis Rodman does just that).




Finally, this is not a rule but we want to leave you with this. Word on the street is that apparently some of you have not been paying attention, and are clearly not abiding by the rules. Now please take a long look at the image below. A "man" that one of us knows felt like it was appropriate to wear these bracelets. Have you not been paying attention?? This is not a Game!! Man Up!! Nuff Said...

To Be Continued...

Brothers' Perspective

--Driza Dre--


Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Mis-Education of America

The first time I ever knew that there was a problem with the educational system occurred around 1986 or so. Had to be around August. I was an eager 7 year old who knew the time to go back to school was fast approaching. And I was ready. Back then, I wasn't one of those kids that dreaded the end of summer break. I Loved school. (OK, I was a nerd). My parents, with some assistance from my grandparents, had done all the school shopping that my brother and I needed. Pencils, notebook paper, and of course a nice little wardrobe to spark the school year off right. There was just one problem this particular year. Chicago Public School teachers went on strike. Yep, a little bit more time at home. I remember everyday checking the news to update the status of whether or not we'd be going to school anytime soon. (I told you I was a nerd). I don't recall exactly how long the strike lasted, but I do remember it lasting well past my birthday of September 1st.

Since then, I have been privy to politicians constantly harping on how our educational system is broken. How our educational system needs to be fixed. The interesting thing is that in my near thirty years on this Earth, it hasn't been fixed. And I'm sure that it was considered broken long before I was ever a glimmer in the eyes of Curtis and Andrea, my parents. (I tend to believe that it remains broken so that politicians have an automatic platform from which to launch their particular candidacy). So a couple of years ago, I started thinking, how can we truly make a change to our educational system? One that will benefit scores of children across this great land of ours. Well needless to say, it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. What I would like to present to you is my plan to actually affect change in this country. Let me state for the record that this is merely a thinking man's proposal. This is spliced with some actual statistics, and a real world view of how things should be run. I know that under no circumstances would something like this ever be implemented, but it will give you an alternative to the status quo that we've all been subjected to over our life times. I just want to state for the record as well that I am no smarter than the average genius. (Lol). But it is absolutely time for someone to step to the plate and actually do something about our educational system. That is, other than have diarrhea of the mouth as my Grandfather would call it. With no further ado, my plan.

America spends anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000 per student, per calendar year on education, depending on what state you live in.

With local, state, and federal funding combined, I have heard that the figure nationally is right around an average of $11,000 per year. Here's step one of the plan. For every child born in America, and for every child who is a citizen already alive in America, we as a country will contribute $10,000 into an educational account from the day that they are born. (If they are already alive, we will begin contributing that amount from day one of implementation of this plan). That money is to be used by that child, and its family for education and education only! All monies taken from that account will be paid directly to an institution of learning. Those monies will be paid from the day that child is born, up until the child turns 18 years old. Once that money is in the account, it can be used for educational purposes from the day the child is born, until the day they die. (If John Smith has money in his account and wants to go and get his college degree at the age of 65, he has all right and opportunity to do so).

Step 2. From day one of the implementation of this plan, every public school and public University will be given a complete audit. From the real estate on which it lies to the value of the basketballs in the physical education department, every school will be assessed a value. Once the value of each institution is determined, those schools will be put up for auction. The school can be purchased by any company or individual with the means to pay for it. I know that off the top, this would be considered the most controversial part of my plan, but as it will be discussed later, this is the key to the entire plan. All money received from the sale of an institution will be used for the previously mentioned $10,000 per child/year.

Step 3. Another controversial part of the plan is to abolish teacher's unions. Every teacher would essentially become a free agent, just like the rest of the working public. However, teachers would now be subject to the standards that us in the working public are subjected to. A teacher who is not producing in the classroom would be subject to losing their jobs. On the flip side of the coin, teachers who are high achievers, and have the high test scores of their children to prove it, will be able to negotiate the salaries that they feel they deserve. The salaries of teachers, I believe would go up significantly. (As well as the quality).

Step 4. The Department of Education will become an oversight agency. They would be responsible for managing the accounts of every child in America. (Trust me, I would be uneasy with giving them that responsibility as well. We all know what an agency similar to this has done with Social Security). The department would also be responsible for accrediting each and every institution. Its findings would be 100% open to the public. This information, hopefully, will be used by the public to find out which institution they should send their child to. This department would be funded, again, by the sale of each school, and with yearly governmental funding.

OK, those are the 4 steps. Now let me tie them all up for you.

The Life of a Child

John Smith is born January 1st, 2009. In his educational account is placed $10,000. By the time John Smith is 5, and ready for kindergarten, he has $50,000 in his educational account. Now his parents may have used some of that money to pay for pre-K, but lets just say that they didn't. (If the parents were smart, not only would they use that money for pre-K, but they would also find a pre-K that also provides some child care at the same time as the money could be used to offset those costs as well). When John Smith enrolls in Kindergarten, he would still receive his $10,000 for that school year, but his tuition would be somewhere in the ballpark of maybe say $5,000, depending on which school his parents enroll him in. The remaining $5,000 would remain in his educational account. Extrapolate that over the course of the next 12 years, the time that it should take him to graduate high school, and John would have $115,000 in his educational account. Time for college! That $115,000 should more than cover his 4 years of undergrad. No need to worry about paying for college anymore. Or even if John doesn't want to attend college, he could still use the money to go to a trade school. Still providing him a leg up in his foray into adulthood.

The selling of our schools

How many of us have been to McDonald's? Chances are that if you are living in the United States, that would be you. And why is that? McDonald's is known as the pioneer of fast food. They established themselves as the gold standard for fast food hamburgers. And over the past 60 years, they have done everything possible to hold on to that market share. Sure, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Wendy's and Carl's Jr. have done all they could to take some of that market away, with varying degrees of success. Well, let's apply that same standard to schools. Sink or swim is what I will call it. If a corporation were to take the same business principles they would use to sell you a hamburger and instead sell you a quality education, how could the public at large lose? If you feel like McDonald's high school has crap teachers, and asbestos in the building, you always have the option of sending your kid to Jack In the Box high school. Or lets say that McDonald's high school has an accreditation of say 89%, and they want $7500 per school year, but Jack In the Box high school is rated 95% and their tuition is only $6500 per school year, where are you likely to send your child?

See, I believe in capitalism! Its not the best system, its just better than all the rest! Now the only problem that I've come up with is the fact that these business would already have a built in consumer market. And when you have that, its tends to lend to the possibility of collusion. In my idea, that would be combated by the Department of Education. It would be up to them to make sure that say all of the schools in a particular area don't get together and decide that they don't set their prices at $10,000 each. Of course there would be hefty fines to penalize any businesses caught operating in such practices. Also, I would offer some kind of tax benefit to companies who invest into this educational system.


I see everything in life, in some way, through the prism of sports. In this particular instance, I want to discuss the concept of free agency, and how it relates to education. We have a teacher named Jane Smith. Jane Smith has a doctorate in American History. Now, Jack In the Box high school, McDonald's high school, and the University of Best Buy all have an opening for a history teacher. Jack In the Box high school is willing to pay Jane Smith $65,000 a year, McDonald's is willing to pay $75,000 a year, but due to it not being a pressing need, the University of Best Buy is only willing to offer Jane Smith $55,000 a year. Now Jane Smith's ultimate decision may include factoring in the distance of the commute, and chances for advancement, but we can all guess that Jane Smith is probably going to take the teaching position at McDonald's high school. (Hell, making $75,000 a year, you can better afford $4.50 per gallon). Now that may be Jane Smith's options. Sally Smith may only have a bachelor's degree in history. And with that, her earning potential may be only two thirds of Jane Smith's. Just like in sports, a player who can score 30 points per game in basketball is likely to be offered more money than a player who is only capable of scoring say 20 points per game. Again, capitalism at its best.

Now some of this may be over simplification. I just feel as though over the past, God knows how many years, we've allowed the fact that this is a complicated problem stand in the way of us doing anything. All I ask of you is that if any of this makes sense to you, then reconsider the concept of school vouchers. This plan is an expanded version of school vouchers. I do really believe that competition is the solution. Too often we fight against progress, and as a by product, we end up fighting to keep the very same crap that we've been handed our whole lives. If your local neighborhood school is crap, well maybe its time that it closed down. Maybe that will motivate the surrounding community to stand up and say that we really want better! If parents had the option to send their kids to a nicer school a few miles down the road, that community school may find the motivation to get their act together.

All I know is that I like some of what Barack Obama is saying, but at the same time I feel he's doing nothing more than offering the status quo. And anybody who's spent any time in the hood knows that status quo isn't going to change a damn thing! But this is just one man's opinion. What's yours?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Where Are They Now?

Have you ever heard an old-school or throw back song on the radio and you were left to wonder what ever happen to so and so? Or have you ever see an older movie that starred an actor or actress you liked but you were left wondering what ever happen to them? Or have you ever been watching sports and think like hey what ever happen to so and so he was the #1 draft pick? Well with this blog we will attempt to answer the question "Where are they now?" Through a little research we may actually be able to answer the question or we may find nothing and just further prolong the unsolved mystery of what happen to that particular individual.

Well in this edition of "Where Are They Now" we're going to profile rapper D-Nice.

Derrick "D-Nice" Jones began his career in the mid 80's where his friendship with the late DJ Scott La Rock would eventually lead him to joining Boogie Down Productions (BDP). Through his skills in "beatboxing" D-Nice earned the nickname "The Human TR-808." As a teenager Scott La Rock mentored D-Nice and he was allowed to hone his skills along side Hip Hop great KRS-One. However, tragedy struck the group as Scott La Rock was struck down by gunfire while attempting to defuse a threat that was made on D-Nice by some locals in the Highbridge Projects. After this tragedy D-Nice would go on the become BDP's DJ.

However, D-Nice's musical realm would eventually expand into production. After Scott La Rock's death and another tragic death of a teenager at a BDP and Public Enemy concert Krs-One felt empowered to form the "Stop The Violence Movement." The song "Self Destruction" was actually produced by D-Nice and Krs-One. The Self Destruction single was released in 1989, with all the proceeds being donated to the National Urban League. The song featured some of the Biggest Names in East Coast hip hop at the time including: Boogie Down Productions (KRS-One, D-Nice, and Ms. Melodie), Stetsasonic, Kool Moe Dee, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Just-Ice, Heavy D, and Public Enemy. The Stop the Violence Movement would go on to influence the creation of "We're All in the Same Gang" which was the West Coast version of Self Destruction.

After BDP's "Edutainment" album D-Nice went on to leave BDP to go solo, but always maintained an affiliation with the group. In 1990, D-Nice realeased his first solo album entitled "Call Me D-Nice" on Jive Records. The album was produced entirely by D-Nice himself, but the album's most successful single shared the same title as the album "Call Me D-Nice." The song sampled an organ from The Turtle's "Buzz Saw." The album went on to achieve RIAA certification: Gold status and topped out at #75 on the Us Billboard chart and #12 on the R&B/Hip Hop Chart. Other Singles from the album included "Crumbs on the Table" and "Glory." Glory and the video for the song was about the story of the the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment. The title of the song was the same as the 1989 Movie "Glory." Although the video for the song uses footage from the film "Glory," I wasn't able to find this song from D-Nice on the official movie soundtrack.

D-Nice's 2nd album was entitled "To Tha Rescue." This album would eventually be D-Nice's final studio album. Although it also achieved Gold status, To Tha Rescue was not as acclaimed as his previous release. However, it did reach #137 on the Billboard 200 and #27 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Chart. The album featured singles "25 Ta Life," "Time to Flow," and "To Tha Rescue."

Unfortunately, after 2 fairly successful rap albums D-Nice's career as a rapper ended. There is no evidence detailing why "To Tha Rescue" was D-Nice's last album. Although unlike like what many may have thought, D-Nice did not fade away into the rap abyss filled with other retired and one hit wonder rappers. After doing some production work with artists such as Kid Rock, Nuttin Nyce, and High-Five, D-Nice did take a hiatus from the rap game. But in the late 90's he would used his influence in the Music Business to capitalize on the "dot-com" era and become an entrepreneur. In 2000, he first partnered with a New York based web development firm Boom Digital to help them become the first black-owned interactive firm to exceed $1 Million in billings. Digital Boom produced websites for names such as Aaliyah, Queen Pen, and Reebok. D-Nice would later go on to form his own company United Camps where he serviced such high profile clients as Universal Music Group, J-Records, Arista Records, and Violater Management.

In 2003, D-Nice decided to make his triumphant return to music, more specifically to Djing. He began to throw weekly parties where he would send E-Mail blasts featuring song lists and photography, which had been a long time passion of his. Well people began to take notice and his parties and photography gained more popularity. Eventually, D-Nice turned into a triple threat working as a web developer, photographer, and DJ. His photography would land work from talents such as Talib Kweli, Jean Grae, Gravvy, Lil Scrappy, Major League Baseball and G-Unit/Reebok. As a DJ he has performed for events sponsored by Star Jones, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Kid Rock, Counting Crows, and P.Diddy. Also, he has added corporate events to his resume for companies such as Sports Illustrated, Mac Cosmetics, Sean Jean, Adidas, Brand Jordan, Rolling Stones Magazine, Moet, Pepsi, and Paramount Pictures. Soon D-Nice plans on furthering his career behind the lense by transitioning to filmwork.

But what story would be complete without a little Love? As far as personal life, well D-Nice is presently engaged to Actress Melinda Williams. She is best known for her role as Bird in the TV series "Soul Food." Also, she has starred in such films as Sunset Park, A thin Line Between Love and Hate, High School High, The Wood, Idlewild, Daddy's Little Girls, and First Sunday. The two have known each other since she was 18 years old and have been dating since 2005. They were engaged last November and plan to wed next month (August) in Atlanta, GA.

For more information on what's new with D-Nice including parties, albums, and events check out his website and myspace page below.