Friday, August 29, 2008

The New 20

I had to take the time out of our regularly scheduled programming today to make a quick dedication. This one goes out to a man that I consider a great man, a great friend, and someone I am privileged to have in my life. On Monday September 1st my brother will be turning 30 years old. Having grown up with him it's hard to imagine that the day is coming. I mean I can sit back and remember him turning ages like 10 and 20, but 30 always seemed like such a long way away. Well that is until now. You have officially made it to age 30. So, I want to take the time out to say Happy 30th Birthday to my one and only brother.

When I started to think of three decades worth of living I didn't just reflect on the good old days and good times. However, I started to reflect on just some of the things we did as kids and as adults that could have prevented us/you from reaching this 30th Milestone. That's right I'm referring to the dumb shit that could have killed us/you. So, I've taken a bit of time to outline a few of those things. They're in no particular order.

I know Lupe Fiasco's first single was Kick Push which we all realize now is talking about skateboarding. However, my brother and I regard ourselves as the original black skateboarders. When we were living in California in the early 90's skateboarding was the thing to do. So of course we had to have skateboards as well. When our parents finally got us some we were all over the place on those things including places we shouldn't have been. Not to mention doing plenty of things we shouldn't have been doing. But I guess as they say boys will be boys, and boy oh boy did we prove that statement true. Most of the friends we hung out with and skateboarded with were white. And let's just say that back then we were too young to really realize that white people are the let's just say the "adventurous" type. So, that along with some peer pressure we were introduced to some things we normally wouldn't have done. Well somehow we were talked into riding a skateboard down a hill such as the one you see in the image on your left. Not standing up but laying down on the board as if one is really less dangerous than the other. But as if it's not bad enough to simply ride down the hill as you can see at the bottom of the hill there is a traffic light. So we would ride down the hill through the intersection using only the soles of our shoes as brakes. I remember my brother got in trouble for tearing up a pair of dress shoes this way. LoL. Needless to say we should have/could have died doing this.

As a kid peer pressure is a Mutha. Here is another example of peer pressure. This had to be like 1988 or 1989. But as me, my brother, and a friend of ours were walking home from the local arcade we were walking over a bridge similar to the one in the picture to the left. Below the bridge was like a basin so when it rained it filled with water. But on this particular day it was empty and exposed it's solid concrete. Well our friend decided to dare my brother to walk on the outside of the overpass. It may have even been a bet I don't exactly recall. All I know is that my brother makes the decision to take this dare or bet. So, as he proceeds to climb over the railing and walk on the outside of the railing across the bridge. As he's holding on tight to the railing and moving across the bridge I was on the other side quickly becoming hysterical. This walk may have taken a minute tops but to me it seemed like an eternity. I attempted to talk him into stopping and come back on the other side. However, I was doing mostly crying and yelling for him to do this. In hindsight that may not have been the best thing to do while he was concentrating on walking and not losing his balance. Yes I know I would make a great hostage negotiator. LoL. Yes so what I bitched up. LoL. But I was like 8 and thought my brother was going to fall to his death at any moment. So what would you expect? Well of course he made it across but it gave me a mild heart attack in the process. Once again another stupid move. LoL.
My brother and I didn't learn how to swim until probably after age 10. One particular day we were hanging with friends in their apartment complex that had a swimming pool. Well some of our friends had been swimming. They all knew we didn't know how to swim. However, one of them decided it would be funny to push my brother in the swimming pool. Now this swimming pool was designed as most are where it starts shallow and as you go further the water level gets deeper. Well he was pushed into the shallow end, which is maybe 4 Feet of water at most. Although he wasn't that tall at that time he was definitely taller than 4 Feet. Although as my grandfather always says, you can drown even in as little as a thimble of water (this is probably the one fact of his I still haven't fully accepted. LoL). But as he was pushed in feet first, his head never went under the water. But I guess just the thought of being in water and not knowing how to swim is enough to panic anyone. So once he began to panic he was flapping his arms all over the place while trying to reach out for the edge of the pool. Although I should have been scared and hysterical as in the story above, I was not. I was quite the opposite. I was actually laughing. To see him with his head above water essentially standing up within a fingers reach of the edge screaming I'm drowning was funny to me. Because I was sitting there thinking in my head like "your ass is nowhere near drowning kill the drama." LoL. But one of our friends went ahead and jumped in and saved him by guided him back to the edge. Although, it wasn't really a near death experience I'm sure my brother felt like it was. Also, not too long after this incident we decided to learn to swim.

As I stated, growing up we had many white friends. Well I remember we were maybe 12 and 14 respectively. Me, my brother, and our friend Mary (she's white) were walking to another friend's house. It was night time and sort of late maybe 9pm. Well we were walking down some residential streets and it was pretty dark on those streets. All of a sudden we hear someone yelling out. "Get away from her!!" But we thought nothing of it and continued walking. Then we hear it again "I told you to get the hell away from her!!" Then we finally look back and we notice this white man a ways behind us yelling. We then realized that he was yelling at us. And by her he meant our friend Mary. We keep walking but the man doesn't stop. He continues to yell then the racial slurs began to come. "Get away from her niggers." The man appeared to be intoxicated, and he began to increase his speed almost as he was running towards us. Well as I mentioned in my last blog about fight or flight one of the 2 will take over when your adrenaline is pumping. Well when you're 12 and a drunk white man is running at you spewing racial slurs guess what? You're going to run!! Which is exactly what we did. We all took off running. The only thing was that our friend Mary didn't quite have the speed we had. My brother and I ran so fast that we ended up leaving her behind. She was yelling "wait up for me!!" However, we figured he's after us and he was trying to save you so we're not going to stop to wait for you and get killed by some drunk KKK member. Well we lost him. And we proceeded to our friend's house. We had no clue what happen to Mary though. Back in those days we didn't have cell phones to call or text each other. All we had were pagers and had to locate a phone to even be able to page someone. Eventually we ran into her and all walked to the other friends house safely. We're still friends with Mary and she did forgive us for leaving her like that. LoL.

As they say what happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas. Well my brother recently introduced me to Las Vegas on my 26th Birthday in 2006. Ever since that first trip I try to get back to Vegas whenever I possibly can. However, there should be a disclaimer on the Las Vegas brochure and I don't mean that what happens in Vegas slogan. I mean it should tell you something like "if you gamble the alcohol is on us and you will get F**ked up." LoL. That first trip to Vegas is memorable for a few reasons. This is the short version of the story. One, we were so intoxicated that while playing Keno I filled out a ticket and gave it to my brother to play. Well he played it but didn't play the right game. So next thing we know as the numbers start coming in all damn 7 of my numbers hit. Please keep in mind that I don't recall any of this but this is how the story was told back to me, I was that intoxicated. So as my brother goes to redeem what should have been my $7,000 winning ticket they tell him he played the wrong game. He attempted to argue but the most they would give him was the $1 back it cost to play.

Well next thing I know (this is the part where my memory comes back) I'm walking through the casino parking structure and cars are honking at me to move out of the way. I tried to call my brother but my phone was dead. So I tried to find the car. Well I did but my brother had the keys. Well I was smart enough to leave a note for him on the car. I have no clue what it said but I'm sure it made no sense at all. But I was lost. My brother later told my mom that this was the first time in 26 years of being a big brother that he's lost me. LoL. Well next I decided to walk back in the casino and look around for my brother more. But as I'm walking in guess who I bump into? Yep my brother. So we were both like "where have you been?" and then we started laughing and he proceeded to tell me the story about the money. I was livid to say the least. But the fact I had no recollection of any of it kept me from being upset with him. So we hopped in the car and I chose to drive for whatever reason. As I stated in previous blogs one should never drive intoxicated and here is a good example of why.

So, I get behind the wheel and my brother tells me which way to go and we hit the highway. Our destination was Primm, Nevada. According to Google Maps this is a 43.8 mile trip on Highway 15 that should take approximately 40 minutes to drive in decent traffic. Well those estimations are made with a sober person in mind. When I hit the highway I decided to turn into Lead Foot Larry and put the pedal to the metal. So we're flying down Highway 15 in a rental car made by Mazda doing 100 plus miles an hour just talking like it's nothing. I guess what they say about God looking out for babies and fools is correct. Because he's the only reason why we didn't either wrecked out or get pulled over and jailed. But we made it to Prim in what seemed to be 15-20 minutes max. The funny thing is that once we got to Primm we stopped at another casino and guess what we did? Yep we sat down gambled some more and no sooner than we sat down there came the cocktail waitresses with the short skirts on serving us more alcohol. It's free what was I supposed to do refuse it? LoL

Well I'm sure we've survived death even more times than the 5 that I recalled here. And I'm sure that God willing we'll survive plenty more to come. The first 30 years have been a blast. I appreciate the opportunity to have been able to share them with you. And I look forward to another 30 plus some. All I can say is embrace 30 I hear it's not as bad as they say it is. But let me know how it's going as you know I will be joining you within the next 2 years. But we all know your life is just beginning again so make sure you hit the ground running come September 1st. Plus as Jay-Z said 30's the new 20. LoL

Love you Man.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

No I in TEAM

Anyone that has at least one "so called" friend has probably at one time or another been put in this horrible situation before. I would venture to say that guys go through this more frequently than women. But this is a scenario that is played out every night of the week somewhere in the world. And unfortunately, the victim is usually unsuspecting that it is even about to occur. Well that is until he hears those five dreadful words.

Picture this scene. Two guys are out kicking it at a night club/lounge sitting at the bar. Guy #1 spots an attractive female and taps guy #2 and says "look at her she's bad I'm gonna go holla at her." Guy #2 agrees that she is fine, gives his support for his guy to go do his thing, and wishes him luck. Now guy #2 is simply finishing up his drink, scoping the scene at the club, and enjoying the music. He has no clue that he is about to be put into a situation that he was truly not prepared for. So guy #1 walks back over to the bar smiling. When his friend notices the Kool-Aid smile on his grill he says "you must have came up on her number or something." Guy #1 responds "no even better than that her and her girl wanna kick it after we leave the club." Guy #2 exclaims "For Real? What's her girl looking like?"

Okay let's press pause on this little scenario. I just want you to be prepared to hear the 5 words that I was referring to just above because they're about to come up in a second.

So, Guy #1 hesitates when his boy asks that question. He even has the nerve to pretend like he didn't hear what the question was over the loud music. So guy #2 repeats the question louder and moves closer to his friend's ear "WHAT'S HER GIRL LOOKING LIKE?" Again he hesitates. But finally he musters up the courage and says "well that's the thing man you're going to have to..." (For those of you that have been anticipating those five words here they come). "Take One For The Team."

Now coming to terms with a "Take one for the team" request will almost always follow a number of stages before final acceptance of this mission (if you so choose to accept it).

1.) First of all you're likely to yell or say "Come On Man!!", "WTF," or something similar to this as your initial reaction.
2.) Then a couple curse words will for sure follow. The taboo MF word is acceptable in this instance.
3.) Next, you will try to weasel your way out of it by saying something like "I just took one for the team last month." Or "I'm always taking one for the team when will it be your turn." However, since there are no set rules or parameters when it comes to "taking one for the team" none of this is even relevant.
4.) Here you will attempt to hype yourself up. You may think to yourself "maybe she's not that bad looking." Or "as long as she's at least a 4 I'm cool." In the case of the above example you may take a few shots of your favorite intoxicant to prepare yourself.
5.) Finally, you will just accept that this is your boy and you will go along with his hair brain scheme. However, once you say yes you will always close with "you owe me big time!!!"

So going back to our scenario, guy #2 has said yes to his friend's request and committed to entertaining the sidekick while his guy tries to make his move on the "good looking" female. However, once one is put in this position they never quite know what to expect. They can hope for the best all day, but should be prepared for the worse. So, guy #2 tries to probe his friend to tell him how the her buddy looks. Unfortunately, the only response he gets from his guy is "you gotta see it to believe it." At this point guy #2 hangs his head in disbelief thinking "what have I gotten myself into?" He swiftly orders about 3 shots of Patron from the bartender and as he takes the first shot the ladies walk up. He takes one look at his company for the remainder of the evening and downs the other 2 shots before introducing himself to the ladies. Yes that's right the buddy he's just gotten hooked up with is looking like a worse version of Wanda from In Living Color. And she's "Ready to Rock His World!!" LoL.

Now some of you that have been lucky to never be put in this position may be thinking along the lines of "it's just one night, so what's the big deal?" Or perhaps you may be thinking that it can't always be where the female turns out to be ugly right? Well because you've never been in this position is the only reason you'd ask such a question. But if you have been, then you know as well as I do that just like a D.N.A. Paternity Test it's 99.9% certain that taking one for the team = the ugly friend. Unfortunately, I have plenty of examples to pull from when it comes to "taking one for the team."

The problem with taking one for the team is that it's never something that you have the option of declining. That's the nature of the taking one for the team snakemove. It slithers up on you and the next thing you know you've been bitten with venom and have no choice but to suck the poison out. LoL. Do you still need further convincing? Okay I have another example of how you can just be thrown into taking one for the team without even expecting to.
One evening I stopped at my guy's crib and we just chilling and drinking I believe we were watching the game. So, midway through the game he takes a phone call and steps away and comes back to watch the game. I think nothing of him taking the phone call and the whole time continued to watch the game and drink my beer. Well about 45 minutes later another phone call comes in to my guy's phone. He then answers and says "I'm coming to the door now." So, me being the curious individual that I am I ask "you got your girl coming through or something man?" He responds "yeah and she got her cousin with her. I may need you to take one for the team," and laughs then walks downstairs to get the door.
Now this was/is my man 100 grand, but prior to this incident I had already been thrown into this situation with him before and the outcome was I fell into that 99.9% percent. So, I pretty much already knew what the deal was going to be here as well. Therefore, I quickly proceeded through the 5-stages that I previously mentioned. As I sat there I felt like R.Kelly on trapped in the Closet. I first looked out the window and realized I was on the 3rd floor so I couldn't jump. I tried to rack my brain for a way out of this but I was drawing a blank like a pencil with no lead. The next thing I know in walks my guy and behind him are his girl and lastly his girl's cousin. Now if she was attractive then this example would not even be valid. So let's just say my guy's girl got the better of the genes while her cousin got the hand me down genes (jeans) that were flooding with the holes and stains in them. LoL. Or as my brother mentioned (in the blog 100 Dials and Runnin') the proverbial "ugly stick" may have been used on her Rodney King style.

All I could do is laugh and say to myself "damn here we go again!!" So, I said hi to the ladies and went back to drinking my beer and watching the rest of the game. Honestly I happen to have met his girl already, but I didn't even pay attention to what the cousin's name was. When the game ended my guy was hugged up with his girl on one couch, I'm in a chair and her cousin is on the other couch. I proceed to the kitchen to get me another drink this time something stronger so I could hopefully get through the rest of this evening. But as I'm fixing my drink my guy comes up to me and once again says those words. "Man I need you to take one for the team." I quickly advised him that I was already doing that. He continues on stating "Naw I need you to take her somewhere. I immediately exclaimed "I don't care how much you pay or say I'm not taking her ass home!!" He says "No not to your crib just somewhere take her to get something to eat or something." Once again following the stages I said plenty of curse words, tried to get out of it, plotted a way out (which I found), and finally agreed to help him out. But as you'll see I had at least one last trick up my sleeve like a magician.
So, my guy tells the cousin to just follow my car and that her and I are going to kick it. Now I admit I was a little intoxicated and shouldn't have been driving. However, as I stated I had one last trick up my sleeve. So as we bent the corner and hopped on the highway, I quickly turned into Dale Earnhart Jr., Mario Andretti, Jimmie Johnson or any NASCAR driver you want to name. I never knew a 2001 Dodge Stratus couldn't travel so fast. Unfortunately for her, the 86 Buick Skylark she was driving couldn't quite keep up. LoL. Now I don't advocate driving intoxicated to anyone out there; However, under these circumstances you have to do what you have to do.

Although some may be thinking you should be ashamed of yourself leaving that poor girl like that. Well don't blame me. You can either blame the alcohol or blame my guy. LoL. Matter fact, as I stated in the blog (A Penny For My Thoughts) I'd blame the females (dimes) that only hang around with friends that look worse than them. If you would hang out with better looking friends then no would ever have to be put in a position to take one for the team just to get to you. LoL. But as for me ditching the unnamed cousin, well as they say when you're put in an adrenaline based situation your reaction is either fight or flight. And as manly as this chick looked she may have knocked my ass out Mike Tyson style. LoL. Therefore, I chose the latter of the 2 and dipped out.

The moral to that story is the same moral to the whole blog. It simply proves that at any point and time you can be put in a position to "Take One For the Team." If you want to avoid these situations I suggest that you hang around friends that are married and not single. Other than that there is always potential to be put in a "Take One For the Team" position.

Now I know I reported that 99.9% of the time taking one usually turns out bad. However, the other 0.1% of the time it is possible to have different results. The only person that I personally know that can testify to this is my brother. While in Phoenix, a friend of his casually called him and asked him to accompany him to meet a female he met off the Internet along with her friend. When he told me he was going to do this, I had to warn him that he may be in for it. Not only was this the first time his friend was meeting this girl, but he met her off the Internet. So there was already no telling if the female he was going to meet would even turn out to be the same as the one he had been seeing in the pictures online. Then, for my brother to be tagging along and taking one for the team there's really no telling what he was going to encounter as far as her buddy. However, as luck had he happen to fall into that 0.1% and that the girl he was set up with turned out to be Fine. Actually, she was better looking than the girl his friend was meeting. Who knew it was even possible? Imagine that!! But please please do not expect his outcome to be the same as your next take one for the team mission because they most likely will not be.

P.S. To the mystery unnamed cousin my apologies for leaving your Buick Skylark in the dust on the Dan Ryan Highway. However, if I was looking like the guy below you or none of you reading can lie and say you wouldn't have done the same thing if not worse. So, no hard feelings. LoL.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Penny For My Thoughts

Alright. There have been some things on my mind. Topics that might not be able to support a full blog, but definitely worth sharing. So here comes another edition of Pennies for my thoughts.

At this point we should have all heard of the "Nigerian email scam". For those of you who haven't heard of it, here's a quick recap of the scam. A person would receive an email from someone that they have never met in their entire lives. The email has some version of, and I'm paraphrasing here, "I have a lot of money that was left to me by the king/queen of some unheard of African nation. Some kind of government bureaucracy prohibits me from having access to this money. If you send me some money, it will allow me to somehow receive this money, and in turn I will repay you handsomely."

Well as vague as that description was, the emails are probably just about as vague, if not more so. Here's my question. Who the hell are those individuals who fell for this scam? I mean, I might have been born at night, but it wasn't last night. If you have access to a fortune, was it not someone within your inner circle who couldn't lend you the necessary funds to procure this supposed fortune? I mean, if it does exist, why not give your people access to it? Next question. OK, let's say that all your friends are broke as hell, and they can't help you with that at all. Why is your next "logical" act to send an unsolicited email to Grandma Betty in Cheyenne, Wyoming? (A rhetorical question of course).

Last question. Have there been any black people who fell prey to the Nigerian email scam? I'm not saying that blacks are smarter or anything like that, but I will say that black people are more naturally skeptical and suspicious than the average white person. I blame it on slavery! Yes slavery. We fell for that one hook, line and sinker. So I believe its ingrained in us to be naturally suspicious of pretty much everything. Can't get caught slippin again.

A quick update about the Nigerian email scam. I read an article about a politician in Nigeria who believes that the people who fall victim to this scam should be prosecuted for greed just like the perpetrators. I'm normally one who believes in hammering criminals. But damn, I do have a heart. The people may have been snaked out of their life's fortunes in some cases, should they really go to jail in the process? Just a thought.

I wrote a while back about the subject of an inner "bad ass kid". Well along the same lines, I would like to talk about another time in which that inner bad ass kid comes out. When we see midgets. Now I know that midget is an offensive term. So you may call them little people, or vertically challenged. I myself call them midgets! I don't know why it is that after 30 years on this Earth, the sight of a midget still brings out a curiosity factor in me. I don't laugh or anything like that, ok, well not on the outside. But I am still intrigued by the sight. And I doubt if I'm the only person. One more thing on the subject of midgets. If there are any midgets reading this, ya'll have to stop exploiting yourselves. There's already the curiosity factor, you don't need to complicate things by allowing yourselves to be tossed for sport, filmed wrestling, and definitely not doing porn. (Background, my boy set me up, and gave me a flick with a scene with a midget in it. Not my choice, I still hold salt with him to this day for that).

Has anyone ever seen a 7-11 closed? I was out last night, and the young lady I was with asked me to stop at the 7-11. I pulled into the parking lot, and she stated "I don't see anyone in there. I think they're closed." Now mind you, its only about 9:45 at night. But as I replayed her statement in my head, it got me to thinking, have I ever seen a 7-11 closed? I don't believe I ever have. And I believe you'd be hard pressed to come up with a time that you have as well.

Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever. I know that I might not be taking much of a great leap by stating that, but I will prove it with a simple argument. During his tenure, Michael Jordan kept some of the best players ever from winning a championship. From the NBA's 50 greatest players of all time: Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, and Patrick Ewing. Other great players from this era not to have championship rings due to Michael include: Reggie Miller, John Stockton, Gary Payton, and Dominique Wilkins. I can state that all of these players would be NBA Champions, if not for playing in "Michael Jordan" era. (Also, I want to state that if it weren't for the retirement of Michael for two years, Hakeem Olajuwon would not have gotten his rings. David Robinson only got his rings once Michael retired the second time. So as far as I'm concerned, they belong on this list as well).

Well that's enough for now. Just 4. Coupled with my last post, you now owe me 9 cents. As usual, you know I'll put it on your tab. (Just know that at some point we will have to settle up. Lol).


Monday, August 25, 2008

I Beg Your Pardon

We have all seen them at some point. Some people fear them, while others detest them and wish they'd go away. Some people even laugh at them, but many more feel sorry for them. It doesn't matter if it's day time or night. They walk amongst us every day. Nor does it matter if it's downtown, in the city, in the ghettos, or the suburbs. They are every where. Although they are not extraordinarily abundant in numbers, you can't seem to avoid them. Whether you're walking down the street, coming out of the store, or even driving in your car. The "signs" of their presence is apparent. Regardless of how you feel about them they're not going anywhere.

By now you're probably all curious as to who or what I am talking about. Well if you haven't yet figured it out this blog is dedicated to the Homeless. Also known as bums, panhandlers, and hobos.

The homeless are the poorest of the poor. So poor that in some instances, they have no choice but to live outdoors even in cold climates. So poor that they're only income and or meals usually come from begging. It is very sad when a person becomes homeless and has no roof over their head or food to eat. I am actually one of the individuals that at times feels sorry for these individuals especially when they are children or disabled. We can debate all day about the homeless and the role the government should play in helping to assist them. But that's not what I'm focusing on. In this blog I want to discuss the panhandling tactics of some homeless individuals.

Although I do empathize with the homeless, I guess the skeptic in me won't always allow me to give to the homeless panhandlers. I guess bottom line I don't always trust my hard earned change is going to food or shelter or whatever they've told me they need the money for. In fact, I have the perfect example. One cold winter night I was in the hood and I had a taste for White Castle's chicken rings. So, I stopped at the drive through. As I'm placing my order a homeless man comes up to the car and said "If you have any change after you pay can you help me out with getting something to eat?" Now again, anyone that knows me knows I'm a big skeptic (Ask my cousin about Cris Angel. LoL). However, since he mentioned food and it was cold out I felt I should help him out. So, I went ahead and ordered my chicken rings, an order of fries, and a White Castle's Burger aka a slider. So, I proceed to window 2 and pay and receive my food. As I get ready to pull off the man is waiting right there after the window 2. As I drive past I reach in my bag, roll down my window, and hand the man the burger.

Now I can't calculate how much change I would have had without buying that burger but it's safe to say that a $0.59 cent white castle burger was about equivalent, and possibly a little more. Well as I hand this man the burger I have the slight feeling that I've done something good. Not really to better the world but at least in this man's life for right now. But that feeling quickly turned to anger when I noticed the look on the man's face as I handed him the burger. The look on his face was almost in disgust that I gave him food as opposed to money. He just looked at me and didn't even say thank you. I was comptemplating going snatching my burger back. But I was so pissed that I said "yeah you're welcome" and just rolled up my window and quickly sped off.

I don't know about any of you, but the 2 things I hate wasting the most are time and money. I was upset that I wasted my money on this homeless man. Some may be thinking it's only $0.59 cents what's the big deal? Well the change I spent won't make or break me but it's really a matter of principal. That change could have gone into my son's piggy bank like the rest of my change usually does. But no I wasted it on a burger for someone that didn't even appreciate my effort. I hate to sound cliche but "beggars can't be choosers!!" No pun intended of course.

But that's just one experience, but I can't lie it definitely didn't make it any easier for another homeless person to get my spare change out of me. Likewise, I saw a segment on an episode of Manswers on Spike TV that had to do with professional begging. In that segment I saw some statistics that made me damn near blow a gasket. It stated that some professional beggars can earn up to $49 an hour, $300 a day, and even $78,000 a year. I was floored to think that as hard as I work it would take me almost twice as long to earn what some of the top professional beggars do. After hearing this story I was done with helping panhandlers. That 50 cents can stay in my own pocket as opposed to helping someone live better than me for free. Watch the video below.

However, there are some homeless individuals that I would consider giving to. For instance, here in Chicago a lot of the homeless will sell a newspaper called The Defender. This is a homeless publication and I believe the proceeds go to help the homeless. Now I don't have a problem giving these guys a buck from time to time. At least they're working for their money, and at least I get a newspaper for my dollar. Also, the homeless that will clean your window I sometimes don't mind giving money. Again they're working for their money. If my window is dirty and they're willing to clean it for some change then it's a fair enough deal. But I will admit that I do hate when they just come up to your car without asking and clean the windshield then expect some money. No one gave you permission to clean my window man. Maybe I wanted that bird crap stain to stay there for a while.

The bottom line is that if they're trying to get money out of me they have to do much more than just hold out a cup or tell me a sob story. In addition, just holding up a sign saying something like "Homeless please help. God Bless" isn't good enough for me either. Perhaps some of you would/will give based on these things and God Bless you for that. However, I'm talking about me here. You want this change you better come with it. LoL. I mean if you're at the strip club and a girl just stands there in front of you and doesn't even take off her clothes or dance is that enough to make you want to make it rain? Well maybe some of ya'll but not me LoL. I worked hard for this money so you're going to have to convince me that it's worth my dollar is all I'm saying. It's no different than any other transaction. Again, no pun intended but maybe they need to try to think "out of the box." LoL. But, I took the time to find a bunch of panhandling signs that are all very unique. I've commented below on them and explained how much I would give and why.

This is a very creative sign. Very colorful and attention getting. The caption is actually funny. I love how they wrote out vibrator as if the letters themselves are vibrating. I'm not too sure if I empathize with the guy though. And I'm not down with contributing to someone else's inner freak especially if I don't benefit. LoL. Maybe he should have included a picture of his wife. If she's ugly then I can understand him wanting to get her a new vibrator asap. LoL. But just based on the comedy factor I'd give him 50 cents. $1-$2 if he could produce a picture of an ugly wife. LoL.

Anyone that knows me knows that I'm a gambling man. So I wouldn't be able to resist taking this guy up on his bet. I'd bet about $1. He doesn't look that fast and his knee looks to be injured so I would even be willing to give him 2:1 odds on this bet. But I believe in paying up on bets so if I lose I would definitely pay up and even let him keep the quarter. I'm sure it's probably a scam though. I would get ready to throw the quarter and his ass would be dodging quarters like The Matrix. LoL. But if I did win I couldn't see taking his money. But I would let him keep the winning quarter for being a good sport.

Man this guy has my attention already. I feel him 100%. I have been there before. When my divorce finalized I had to give up the house I had bought, fixed up and lived in for almost 5 years to my ex-wife. I was essentially homeless. Thank God my grandmother let me crash on her couch for a few weeks until I found me a new place to live. But when I think back I also thank God I had a job because if I had neither I would have been homeless for real. So to this guy I'd give him at least $5 just because I feel his pain. As the song says sometimes it's "cheaper to keep her." LoL.

This is another comical sign. We all know the story behind New York Governor Elliot Spitzer and his prostitution bust. I'm assuming this guy is in New York. So if I was in New York and saw this guy and his sign I'd give him at least $0.60 just for the laugh. I would give more but I'm not trying to contribute to his prostitution addiction especially not at that astronomical price. If I had a condom in my wallet I would throw that in the plate as well. He will need it if he ever reaches his goal.

First off is it just me or does this guy bare an eerie resemblance to the late great Issac Hayes? Well as for his sign. Depending on how my day has been going I may have to take him up on his offer and tell him off for $2. So for $2 I'd go ahead and get my vent on. First off are you hot or cold? I mean you have a leather coat with the fur on the collar but yet you have no shirt on under it and the coat is unzipped. So make up your damn mind!! Put on a shirt and cover up that taco meat on your chest. Next, get a job stop begging and work for your money!! Lastly, wake yo ass up!! LoL. I mean what have you done to make you so damn tired? It's not like you just worked a 9-5 so you have no reason to be sleep in the middle of the day. And put on some socks man!! Okay I feel better now. That was actually worth my $2. Thanks.

Well if you've ever read any of my blogs and their titles then you know that I like to use the play on words. So this sign is right up my alley. First off the guy is a big guy so he definitely looks as if he can get his eat on. So, just off the funny factor of the sign I would be willing to give him about a buck for a burger or something. He definitely doesn't look to have missed too many meals so his sign must be working. Also, is it me or is he dressed like he works at a Target? I don't know he could be suspect. Maybe he's just on his lunch break and forgot his lunch or something. I would have to pull the sign back if I see a name tag he gets nothing from me. I'm not giving anything to someone that is gainfully employed.

Okay I'm going to walk lightly on this one because I know the secret service may be reading. All I must say is that this man has some balls. So I admire his boldness. However, he was smart enough to make sure his face was blurred out of this pic. But to even whisper those words like the Ying Yang Twins can get your ass locked up if the wrong person hears you. I'm not even going to type them. The picture is clearly not of a black man so to the C.I.A. it's not me. I don't know the date of this picture but if it was recent he wouldn't get anything from me Bush will be out soon anyway. But just for saying what I'm sure a lot of Americans want to say. I'm not saying me personally for Big Brother that's watching. But to this guy I'd give him about $3 buck for his boldness alone.

Now this is another bold move. However, if I was driving along this road I'd have to thank this guy. Apparently the Sheriff's Department are doing some sort of traffic sting and this guy is giving motorist a fair warning to be prepared. So now you can slow down, buckle up, and toss any illegal drugs or guns in the stash spot. If you were ticketed for speeding or no seat belt you're looking at a ticket of at least $25 or more. And if you're riding dirty well you already know that's going to cost you your freedom. Therefore, just on potentially saving me money I'd give this guy $5. And his friend at least a dollar I'm feeling the shirt (see blog entitled 9-1-1 Is a Joke). LoL .

I don't know if this was a shameless plug or what. But I tried to put in this website address and got nothing. So maybe he was just trying to be creative. However, I'm not trying to be funny but he should have put I see him needing that more than the change. Maybe the tooth fairy will fly past and drop something off in ya boys' cup. LoL. But he seems to be in good spirits about his situation so I would help him out with a dollar.

Okay finally!! This is what I been waiting for. Finally a panhandler that's keeping it real. No sob story here about being down on his luck or nothing to eat. He's putting it out there that he's trying to get money for not just beer, but also pot, and a hooker. Well if I came out of the liquor store from buying a case of beer and saw this sign I'd help him out. One ice cold beer from my case. About $0.75 value. Just a token of my appreciation for this man not wasting my time with a bullshit story in order to get my spare change. Enjoy the ice cold refreshing beer my friend. You'll have to get someone else to help you out with the hookers and weed.

Okay this guy is really going to the extremes to get his panhandle on. I have 2 problems with this guy's tactics. First, this guy is out of order for portraying himself as Jesus.
The robe and collection plate are way too much. Secondly, this sign is way too extreme. It's bad enough I have to worry about eternal damnation when I'm in church and pass the collection plate without contributing. But now I got this guy out on the street trying to condemn me to hell fire if I don't give to him. This guy wouldn't get a dime from me. If you read my blog (E-Mail and Text Forwards) I don't respond to scare tactics especially dealing with Hell. LoL. Also, being a black man white Jesus doesn't scare me much anyways. So, if his collection plate passed my way I'd most likely drop some chicken bones in it like Arsenio Hall on Coming To America. LoL.

So you mean to tell me someone kidnapped your wife and demanded a large ransom or they would harm your wife? Then you scraped and collected all this money to give for the ransom and when you counted it you were exactly $0.98 cents short? Man get the hell outta here. LoL. Even if that was the case if you're going to hold a sign that says your wife was kidnapped then you may as well have gone to the police. Then they would be handling the kidnapping and negotiations so you wouldn't have to be out begging for $0.98 cents. Although I give him props for attempting to be creative, he didn't think his story out well enough for him to get any money out of me. If his wife was really kidnapped I may let him use my phone to call 9-1-1 that's about it.

Hey doesn't this guy look familiar? And wait doesn't the sign look familiar too? I think it's our friend with the kidnapped wife. It's obviously a different day as he's changed clothes. Hey look even his sign has changed. He now needs $0.99 as opposed to the $0.98 cents he needed on the sign before. So did he somehow lose a penny during his attempt to scrape up the ransom money? Oh I get it, the kidnappers called and decided that the ransom wasn't high enough and decided to up it by a whole penny right? Man get this sign out of my face! I didn't fall for it the first time and now that I see you again with the same sign you're definitely not getting even that penny from me.

This sign is a nice attempt of this guy to be clever. However, the one thing he's not thinking about is that on every alcoholic beverage there is a disclaimer from the Government. "(1)According to The Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems." So in other words if you drink you will get drunk and your liver will look like a raisin in the sun if you drink too much. So the Government has done all the research necessary on alcohol and they don't need your help. Nice try though. You get an E for effort, but no money from me.

Now this sign is funny for a couple of reasons. First, I'm picturing big man here in a tight karate
outfit trying to learn kung-fu. Next, I'm trying to imagine a bunch of ninjas coming to the hood to kill this guys' family. I've been to enough hoods to know that even trained ninjas won't go there. So, if a group of individuals wearing all black killed his family I guarantee they weren't ninjas. Now if you subtract the nj from ninjas and add gg in it's place then the sign would be much more believable to me. I know I'm joking about someone's family being killed but I'm following his lead he's the one with smiley faces on the sign. I got a good laugh on this one $0.60 cents from me.

Another keeping it real sign. "Why lie I need a beer." Truer words could not have been spoken. I have to feel him on this one. Who doesn't need a beer from time to time? Again, if I had a beer on me I would definitely be willing to share with this man. Plus it looks hot out so I'm sure the cold beer would cool him off.

Again this guy is keeping it real. However, beer is one thing. I'm not going to support someone's drug habit. I know you're probably like you'll help destroy someone's liver but not their brain from drugs. Well yes it's a double standard but I have that right to choose where my money goes. I'm not forcing the beer down the man's throat. LoL. But back to this sign. I like the fact he is admitting he's not even homeless. If I were homeless and saw his sign I'd come over there and kick his ass. He's taking away from me being able to eat when he just wants to get high.

So the moral to this story a panhandler must be clever and creative to maximize their opportunity for getting money, especially from me. But hell, if a top notch professional beggar can make $78,000 a year then I'm definitely in the wrong profession. I am actually in the process of looking for a new job. So, Don't be surprised if you're walking downtown one day and you see me holding a "Will Rap For Food" sign. I'll have a portable CD player playing my debut CD "Ripped from the Headlines" and have copies of the album for sale (album coming soon, shameless plug I know). But at least I'll be selling you something and not just begging. But for real if you see your boy out there show me a little bit of support. Even if you don't buy a cd I'll spit a hot 16 for you for your spare change. LoL.


(Crank Dat Homeless Man)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Man Up!!! Part 10

It's that time again. I know you've been waiting all week but the time is now. Today's Man Ups Rules will be dedicated to grooming. 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 #37:

There is nothing wrong with trimming your eyebrows (manscaping) especially if they look anything like this guy's (Image 1). However, there is no reason for your eyebrows to have a better arch than the one in St. Louis (Image 2). If women are coming up to you asking who does your eyebrows then something is wrong.

(Image 1)

(Image 2)

Man Up Rule #38:

Speaking of grooming. When a man is getting ready to go out it should never take him more than an hour tops to get ready. Women have to shower, do their hair, do their make up, find an outfit, then find shoes, then iron, etc. All a man has to do is shower, maybe shave, iron and get dressed. I'm sure most men probably skip half these steps. But there is no excuse for a man to take hours to get ready to go somewhere. Get your ass out the mirror!! Your woman has finished getting ready and is waiting on you (Image 2).

(Image 2)

Man Up Rule #39:

No woman likes a man with grimy dirty finger nails. So feel free to clean and trim your nails as needed. The whole clear nail polish is still up in the air for now. So those that do that are temporarily safe. However, the length of your nails should never reach that of a woman's. Even if you can't afford nail clippers then bite them!! There is an exception, you may have 1 long nail that can be used to easily open up certain cigars. Ya'll know what we talking about. LoL.

To Be Continued...

Brothers' Perspective


--Driza Dre--

Thursday, August 21, 2008

100 Dials and Runnin'

Hey, how ya doing. I'm sorry you can't get through. Just leave your name, and your number, and I'll get back to you
Ring Ring Ring - De La Soul

Imagine with me a scene that gets played out across America thousands of times a day. A man is relaxing with a cold beverage, probably something involving hops. As he lifts his beverage, a phone rings. Nonchalantly, he reaches for his cell phone. "Ah, that can wait. I'll call her back", After setting the phone to ignore, he resumes his intimate moment with his beverage. As the bottle hits his lips, the phone rings again. Looking at the phone he says "damn". Hitting ignore again, the moment with his tasty beverage is almost completely ruined. He thinks to himself "she can't call again. No, she just can't". With nervousness, the man again reaches for his drink. As sure as the sun rises every morning, the man's phone rings again. A precious moment with his beloved beverage completely ruined.

Now this may seem completely irrelevant to anything, but I challenge you to dig into your mental archive. Have you ever been interrupted from something super important by your cell phone? Of course you have. Well, there are two types of cell phone violations that I would like to discuss with you. Let's refer these as "the serial dialer" and their sidekick "text message recon".

I have to be honest with you, when I signed my cell phone contract, I didn't read the terms and conditions. (So as my brother put it in an earlier blog, I'll see ya'll on the plantation). However, there's one part of the cell phone/owner relationship that I don't quite understand. How is it that simply because I own a cell phone, I have automatically given permission to any and everyone who can dial my number to call me at any time. (Again, must be in the good T&C). Now I am not an anti-social individual, but there are occasions in which even a mild-mannered person such as myself can be pushed to my limit.

The Serial Dialer

The scenario played out earlier is the classic example of the serial dialer. A serial dialer is someone who calls frequently within a short amount of time. I'd say at least twice within 120 seconds. The reason this individual is dangerous is the fact that they mimic what is normally a special circumstance. When you receive two or three or more calls in rapid succession, what's your immediate reaction? "Oh my God, something bad has happened". Well not when a Serial Dialer has your number. See the serial dialer is aware of the fact that you're probably ignoring their phone call. So what does someone do when they really want to get you on the phone? Mimic an emergency! Ding, Ding, Ding! And how pissed off are you if you decide to answer that third phone call in 90 seconds, and the person on the the other end responds "What's Up"?

If you allow me to play amateur Psychologist, let me try and analyze the mind of "The Serial Dialer". See, when the average person makes a phone call, they may have important news to share with you, or information that they need from you. Probably no different from the Repeat Dialer. If the average person gets someone's voice mail, they either go ahead and leave a message or they hang up and figure "Ah hell, they'll see that they missed my call". It is this thought process that separates the Serial Dialer from everyone else.

When the Serial Dialer gets your voice mail, their immediate thought is probably "Damn, maybe they didn't hear the phone ring", or something of the type. So they decide that they should try you again. If that call is unsuccessful, and they get your voice mail, now they're probably upset. Again as an amateur psychologist, my interpretation is that the Serial Dialer has now been offended. The "maybe they didn't hear the phone ring" now becomes " how dare he (she) not answer my call". It is at this point and time that the Serial Dialer will try and make it their mission to achieve contact between themselves and their unwitting victim. Next is one of the Serial Dialer's tactical weapons.

Text Message Recon

It normally starts as something innocuous. Let's say a text message that comes in saying "Good Morning". Not bad. You say to yourself, "Oh, so and so was thinking about me. That's cool." So you shoot them back a text message returning the greeting. Well under normal circumstances that may be the end of the exchange. If you are dealing with a Serial Dialer, you've just allowed yourself to be victimized again.

Text Message Recon is a term that I have coined in which a person sends you a text message and once you have responded, they now know that you are in proximity of your phone. And shortly there after, the phone calls begin. Again amateur psychologist at play, text message recon is just another tool by which a serial dialer can gain access to your life. The only difference is that once you've responded to their text message, you now actually have some explaining to do if you choose not to answer the subsequent phone calls. All I can say is be very aware when responding to text messages sent by someone that's you've already deemed a serial dialer.

If this seems harsh, I apologize. We are all a product of our experiences, and to just let you know, I've always had a huge problem with Serial Dialers. It all started in the early 90's. There was a young lady who got my phone number. That's where the first problem arose. I never gave her my number! She got my number from her little sister who happened to be friends with my little brother. I guess her sister told her about me, and this chick was on fire to talk to me. So the calls started coming. My immediate reaction to this chick is "she sounds like a dude". But as normal, my problem is that I'm too nice. I should have snapped off on this chick and told her never to call again. (Its just not in my nature). So LaQuanna (her actual government) decided that I was her boyfriend. And when you have a boyfriend at the age of 14, what do you do? You call them all the time. LaQuanna would call so much that my equally mild mannered mother had to pick up the phone, and let this little girl know that she really need to stop calling my house. (Thanks moms, you were more man than I was)!

Well LaQuanna finally got the message. The phone calls tailed off. I never did actually get a chance to see LaQuanna. But as it turned out, I had a friend in high school who knew LaQuanna. Well lets just say that she informed me that the voice over the phone might have been more attractive than the rest of her. (Beaten repeatedly with an ugly stick was a term that I do believe she used in her description). As you can see, I have been victimized time and time again by serial dialers. I send this out as a word of caution to the rest of you. Serial Dialers are real.

If you're reading this and you know a serial dialer, be very careful to stay off their radar.

If you know you have potential to be a serial dialer, think of the impact you serial dialing has on the other person. If they're your friends or family, just take comfort in the fact that they're not going anywhere. You can call once! Eventually they'll return your call.

If you're already a serial dialer, get some help. Dialer's Anonymous or something.

Until next time...


P.S. Girlfriends/wives and mothers are always exempt from from the term serial dialer. Actually, they are the only people who have a vested interest in knowing where you are and what you're doing when you're out of their sight. You can hit me up anytime mom. Lol

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Mother Load

A couple of weeks ago I was at work and dealing with an irate customer over the phone. This is probably an every day occurrence in my line of work. So, it's nothing for me to maintain my professionalism while being verbally badgered by customers. This particular customer had his car repossessed and was upset because when he got his car back he had no license plates. So, he was going off about the fact that he couldn't drive his car with no plates. As I'm trying my best to help this customer he starts speaking Spanish in the back ground. Now I'm in no way fluent in the Espanol language. However, I did use to live in California for about 7 years. During those years a lot of my friends in school were Hispanic. So, I picked up on a lot of Spanish words that I still can recall. Fortunately/Unfortunately, those particular words happen to be mainly the curse words.

So as I'm explaining to him the procedure he must go through in order to get his plates, I can hear him saying in Spanish MF this, F**k that, B**ch this, A-Hole that. Now again, I sometimes deal with irate customers on a daily so phone bullies don't bother me because any one can be big and bad over the phone. However, when I over heard him say in Spanish "F**k your Mother" well let's just say at that point a nerve was officially struck. In an attempt to maintain my professionalism I had to hang up on that customer. Although the black in me wanted to serve his ass with a few choice words of my own, I was able to hold back in an effort to keep my job. Brother got child support and bills to pay. LoL.

I honestly had to think about the last time I even had someone say something about my mom. It had been quite a long time. I want to say around 5th grade. But it was only because for some reason other kids would come to me to come up with good "Yo Momma" jokes. I won't front a was pretty good but I'll admit most of my good ones were stolen. The ones I came up with personally were not as funny. LoL. But back then it was fun to joke and talk about someone's mother. At least it wouldn't come to blows in the end. So I'm sure that I had my mother talked about and talked about even more mothers. But I remember I used to get em' with some of the classics like these:

Yo Momma So fat she jumped in the sky and got stuck!
Yo Momma So fat she stepped on a rainbow and made a pack of skittles!
Yo Momma So broke she can't pay attention!
Yo Momma So black she went to night school and was counted absent!
Yo Momma So old her Social Security Number is 1!
Yo Momma So stupid it takes her an hour to cook minute rice.

If you sit back and think about the impact of someone saying "Yo Momma!" it would amaze you. But why is that the one of the top things that can set damn near anyone off? Here's another example. My mother was talking with my son recently. Whatever they were discussing she told him something like "you need to ask yo momma and yo daddy." Well he's only 4 and probably has never experienced having his momma talked about. However, his response to my mother was "what you say about my momma?" We couldn't help but to laugh. But that just goes to show you that hearing someone say "Yo Momma" is enough to get a rise out you even at 4 years old.

Unfortunately I can't go into the history of "Yo Momma" jokes and enlighten you on who delivered the first diss to someone's momma. However, remember when people talked about you when you were a kid, what was usually your mom's favorite response? "So what they talked about Jesus!!" Therefore, that leads me to conclude that if they talked about Jesus I'm pretty sure that someone talked about Jesus' mother as well. I'm sure this one was a popular one back then. I could hear them now "Yo Momma aint no virgin." LoL.

Well it really boils down to the connection between mother and children. She carried you for 9 months, gave birth to you, and then raised you. So how can you not be protective of dear old mom? Although it's never funny when someone talks about your momma, I will admit it's pretty damn funny when someone else's mom is talked about. In fact, hearing someone's mother get talked about is so entertaining MTV even came up with a show dedicated to just that, talking about other people's mothers. The subtly titled "Yo Momma" pins contestants against each other to see who can deliver the best punchlines, jokes, and disses toward their opponents.

Even rappers have capitalized on the fascination of talking about people's mothers. Most people remember the rap group Pharcyde for their hit single "Passin' Me By." However, Passin' Me By was their 2nd single. The group's debut single was actually a comical song entitled "Ya Mama." The song title was pretty self explanatory as the group basically went back and forth talking about someone's mother. More recently Chicago rap group Hotstylz did a song entitled "Yo Mama." But I'll take the original Pharcyde version any day of the week over this version. In my opinion this gong sounds just like their other single "Lookin' Boy" except on a different beat. But you can be the judge.

(Pharcyde - Ya Mama)

(Hotsylz - Yo Mama)

So if you ever find yourself playing the dozens like in the clip below from the show In Living Color now you know to go for the jugular like a vampire. In this case, the jugular being their momma. Just make sure you come correct with your punchlines. I don't want to hear anyone using my old 5th grade punchlines trying pretend like you just made them up. LoL. Finally, to that customer don't think that I forgot about you. I may not have gotten to say it to you over the phone but I certainly will now. Yo Momma is so hairy that she uses a riding lawn mower to shave her back. Matter of fact she hires you and your brothers to come by weekly and landscape it for her. To any Hispanic readers please don't take offense because in actuality the customer did work for a lawn service. LoL. (Oh and that wasn't stolen I made it up all by myself).

(In Living Color)

(White Chicks)