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Tuesday

Blog Baby Shower Giveaway Event!!!

Ebonymommy.com Blog Babyshower Giveaway


A fellow blogger, EbonyMommy, is giving away baby items over at her spot. I don't know how many of you out there are currently with child or know women who are, but click on her button above for the details and to sign up for some great prizes!


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Monday

Ashley Biden Snorts Cocaine

I think I'm a couple days late on this. I've been very busy with the in-laws as of the past 3 days.

I hope something isn't wrong with me when I say I don't care that Ashley Biden, daughter of new V.P. Joe Biden, was allegedly filmed snorting cocaine at a party.

I remember growing up and hearing about all the wild stuff that PKs (preacher's kids) did. I can't speak about mainstream America, but most black people I knew shook their heads and their fingers at the situation and wished the best for the wayward child. No one really spent too much time condemning the parent. Why? I believe most people understood back then that the children of these parents of influence and authority felt they needed to rebel against the overwhelming pressure of being in such a household. No different than any other kid that rebels. Of course, a parent can often overlook a very bad situation in lieu of their own career, but the former just seemed obvious. And just to assure you that this isn't some liberal defense on my part, I thought it was awful that Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol, got dragged through the media. At such a vulnerable and critical time in a young woman's life - embarking on motherhood with the odds against you - no one deserves what she got.

Even as I got older my mother began to say, "I refuse to talk about some other person's child, when I'm not yet sure what my own child is capable of." My mother was telling me right from wrong every second of my life, but that didn't stop me from making an ass of myself when the time came for me to act.

A kid's missteps are just that, missteps (as well as the big ones), not a national argument for hypocrisy on the part of the parent (although the parent(s) would be wise not to pass judgment on other people's children also). I don't believe it's my place, nor anyone else's, to pass judgment.

What do you think?

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Sunday

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

The wife and I are sitting on the couch watching the conclusion of the debut episode of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Based on the bestselling series authored by Alexander McCall Smith, it stars one of the best singers period (neo-soul be damned) of our times, Jill Scott --- a woman I'd leave my wife for (as long as she sang for me), and a woman my wife would leave me for.

Entertainment Weekly is one of my favorite magazines that I read on a weekly basis (when it isn't being stolen from my mailbox by a neighbor - I need to do my own detective work to solve this crime) to keep up with all hot (and not) things movies, music, books, tv and such. I just happened to be on their website (EW.com) while I was watching the show (the 2nd airing of the night as I missed it at 8pm) and found this review of it.

Like most brand new HBO series, for me it was a little slow. But it was the first episode for a serial. I'm not sure what else it was supposed to be. Hopefully like the rest, it will quickly become narcotic like McDonald's fries (can you say the Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire?).

EW.com gave The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency a B. Did you watch? What did you think?


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Friday

1-2 Buckle My Shoe

When a man who thinks he knows a few things mates with a woman who swears she knows everything and swears while she's swearing...

When a child is allowed to stay up past their bedtime and inadvertently tears your room apart while you try to put the dirty laundry together...

...this is the outcome.



Seriously though, the wife and I love to read to our little one and we love to force our teen to read. On the weekends all of us sing songs and dance around the house for at least thirty minutes, if not longer. My son would be horrified to know I'm broadcasting this.Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

Try it, if you haven't already. You're guaranteed to like it, no matter how silly you look.

Happy Fatherhood Friday, y'all.

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Thursday

Facebook Flashback Foto (Photo)

It is 4 o'clock in the afternoon and the other two posts I put up today haven't garnered a single comment. Every post I've put up since January 28th has gotten AT LEAST 1 comment. Is this ego?

Yes.

So here goes:



Someone I knew from 2nd grade posted this on Facebook. I'm the dude in the top left hand corner. This was the year before the coke-bottle glasses were bolted to my face. I could see back then so I'm not sure what happened over the course of 12 months.

It was my last year of nerdlessness(?) .


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Wrinkle Crackle Wrinkle

Men, growing up, do you remember the 100% white dress shirt?

On Tuesdays and Thursdays my son participates in an after school program that requires him to dress up. This morning I was ironing his white 100% cotton dress shirt and I had a bad feeling. I had to iron it twice because each time I touched it, it wrinkled - badly.

I hate 100% cotton white dress shirts and I hated them even more as a kid. You can put them on first thing in the morning and by the time you walk out of the house you look like you slept in your clothes. In my experience there is only one way around this: a Charles Tyrwhitt Superfine 180 cotton shirt. Think 1000 thread count sheets made into a shirt. It's like wearing air and the wrinkles just fall out as you're wearing it...ahhh. Gotta love the British. Please, excuse my metrosexual moment. Yeah, at the time it was the cost of two months worth of cable. It was for my wedding suit, so it was worth it. In our new economy they've knocked the price down about 40%.

Back to the boy: synthetic no wrinkle fabric all the way, baby!

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Tweetin' with the Twits

Some randomness, just like last Thursday. I just realized my blogger bud, Brooke, does random stuff on Thursdays. Sorry, B, hope I'm not cramping your style.

For those of you in the know...is this Twitter, or is this Twitter?




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Wednesday

Wednesday's Question of the Week: What Makes You So Angry...

...you really start cursin' or cussin' (depending on where you're from)?




Clearly she doesn't find the word offensive.


Let's get it all out folks. I'm here for you to vent. Let's purge and move on. It's been that kinda week.

Don't limit your answer to just one thing if you have a list.


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Tuesday

Getting Organized with Sign Language

Operation Heathcliff Huxtable Update #3:

In my ongoing effort to get my son organized at home, I've put up signs around his room so I don't have to follow around behind him every step of the way repeating myself.









And my personal favorite, the dry-erase whiteboard.


This is on the wall just outside his door. Now all he has to do is check it to see what he is or is not supposed to be doing on any given day. We still have to go behind him, but not nearly as much as before. I told him once he starts consistently taking pride in his belongings and his space the signs will come down.


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Monday

Lately...

In this New Economy, I've witnessed some people being as rude as they want to be to their fellow man. Everything seems to have gonebeen going crazy for a long-ass time haywire in big business and government, all while the common man runs his (or her) rat race trying to put food on the table and keep gas in the car. Life is beginning to feel (if not look) a little bit like this (play it with volume on, if you can - it doesn't have to be loud):



Mad Max was released in 1979. Funny how things recycle themselves over the ages and even funnier how so much truth lies in science fiction.

Today is Monday, the start of the workweek. Be nice to at least one person today...even if no one has been nice to you.

Grace & Peace...

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My Daughter Is...


After a Sunday afternoon of shopping, eating happy meals (all of us) at McDonald's and putting up with my daughter's willfulness...my wife reached her limit when Babygirl put a barrette for one of her Dora dolls in her mouth. I had just washed it off after fishing it out of the trash, where to my daughter's horror, it had been accidentally tossed.

"Take that out of your mouth," I said, sternly.

Apparently, not enough. The little girl began bringing the barrette in question back toward her lips.

"Hey!!! If you put that in your mouth I'm gonna...!!!" (I don't need to get specific, you get the drift).

The barrette fell out of wee one's hand to the floor. She turned from where she was standing in the kitchen and walked with her head down to the comfort of her big brother. My wife and I chuckled together quietly in our bedroom, out of the earshot of the kids. I went to the bathroom to put away some of the stuff we bought and my wife was walking back to the front of the house. I heard my daughter speak but couldn't make out what she said.

My wife walked backwards to the bathroom door. Her face was twisted up in a way I've never seen. Her fists were balled and she was breathing through gritted teeth.

"Did you hear what she said?" she asked me, her face still contorted.

I shook my head.

"Your daughter came to the living room door with her little hand on her hip and said, 'Why you always yellin'?'" My wife imitated her inflection and motions, complete with her head shifting back and forth on her neck the whole time.

I thought it was a good question. But I guess my three year-old daughter shouldn't have been the one doing the asking. My son was on the floor in the living room, choking on his laughter.

"I don't know whether to chase her down or to think it's cute," she said. I peeked out from around the bathroom door to see my daughter in the same pose, repeating herself, but this time more innocently and giggling because she knew she was in trouble. I looked at my wife and she was still unsure what to do. She shot me a look of desperation.

"In a few years, this is going to be great," I said, grinning and rubbing my hands together. "I'm gonna have to buy one of those referee shirts."

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Friday

The Best Medicine

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs


Allergies All in the Family

I have a couple of major food allergies: chocolate and every nut on the planet Earth. There is no exception to this rule. Breaking it brings about a Jekyll & Hyde reaction in me which causes my skin to bubble up with hives, my tongue to swell, and my face to get droopy. I become nauseous and usually throw up and in some cases my breathing becomes labored. To say all of this in one tidy word: anaphylaxis. I don’t know what I’m missing by not eating this stuff because I HATE what I feel when I accidentally ingest a pine nut in pesto, or a macadamia nut in the crumble crust of an apple pie or peach cobbler that someone told me was nut-free. And all it takes is a taste to set me off. Chocolate no longer produces the hives, but the taste (real chocolate vs. artificial) makes me sick to my stomach.

As fate would have it, I passed my nut allergy on to my daughter. On her own she has a handful of others that are just weird, such as egg whites and on some days, peas.

My wife and I keep a close watch on the foods she eats, at home, at daycare and at the recent string of birthday parties she’s attended.


The Prescription Dilemma

About two months ago I was going through all the kids’ prescriptions when I noticed the prescription for my daughter’s untouched EpiPen, Jr. had expired. At the time my daughter was dealing with a cold and a lingering cough. Something inside me told me to renew the prescriptions she needed along with the ones she seemingly had no use for. The EpiPen was one of the latter.

Doing this one-shot renewal ran the risk of being expensive. I remember sharing my concern with my wife and her distinctly telling me to hold off on the epiPen because that wasn’t dire at the moment. I can’t say that I would’ve said anything different had I been in her shoes. My daughter has never had anything other than a mild scratch and other than eating two bites of an egg sandwich she’s never ingested any food she’s allergic to.

But I wasn’t in my wife’s shoes. Something told me to ignore her. By the time I got out of the pharmacy I was a hundred-plus co-pay dollars poorer but at ease with my decision.


Last Saturday

A week ago from tomorrow my wife and I attended a friend’s daughter’s birthday party. She was four and my daughter, now three, was very excited to see her friend. Once we got there we had to deal with the usual: pushing her into the crowd of girls (and boy or two) who were already there, a little bit of crying when she didn’t feel the kids were sharing and making sure the food and candy she ate contained no nuts (my son couldn’t be bothered, he went with his aunt to watch a horror movie).

After the party, my daughter told me she had fun and she fell asleep in the car on the way home. As it was late I fully expected her to sleep through the night.

But this wasn’t in the cards.

Around 10:30pm she woke up asking for something to drink. My wife brought into the kitchen and sat her on the kitchen counter so she could “help” pour her drink into her big-girl Dora cup. I was in the living room watching television when I hear:

“E., I think she’s having an allergic reaction.”

“To what? She just woke up.” I said more than asked based on the fact she hadn’t eaten in at least 5 hours and there’s no poison ivy growing in our house.

My wife’s voice became agitated. “Hives are all over her trunk!”

I got up and moved to the kitchen. My daughter was sitting in her pjs looking unawares and groggy.

“They’re all over her neck!” shouted my wife as I stood beside her. She reached for the Benadryl in the cabinet and poured her age/size appropriate dose into the dosing cup. My baby drank it willingly, but gagged on it as she took it down.

“Eric, is her throat closing up?!” I shrugged my shoulders in disbelief. My daughter was beginning to exhibit the Jekyll and Hyde symptoms that have made me famous amongst my tiny circle of friends and family. But I’m a grown man who can manage the suffering (sort of). I reached into the cabinet and pulled down the container that housed the EpiPens (they come in a 2 pack). They slipped out of my hand and spilled out across the counter.

My wife eyeballed them. “I don’t think we should give her that. We should go to the hospital.”

I looked at my wife like she was crazy and calmly said, “By the time we get to the hospital she’ll either be over her symptoms or dead.”

I picked our daughter up off the counter with EpiPen and a little sheet of instructions in hand and sat down on the couch in the living room. There was one thing I needed to be absolutely certain of before I used it. I called my son (who we picked up after the party) into the living room to hold her legs if necessary. He was eating a piece of cake in one hand and dragging his feet. His mother screamed at the top of her lungs for him to hurry up. I begged her to calm down.

I gave myself a quick refresher course on administering the shot. My daughter began to catch on to the fact that something was wrong.

At this point only seconds have passed.

“Are you okay?” I asked Babygirl. She nodded weakly, her nose was running and her breathing began to get shallow.

That was all I needed to see. It was what I had been waiting for and was hoping would not happen. I slipped the cylinder of epinephrine out of its casing put the device to her outer thigh and pushed down while my wife held her shoulders and my son held her legs. The needle sprang (auto-injected) into her thigh where I held it for 10 seconds.

Our daughter didn’t buck like I thought she would. Instead, she let out a blood-curdling scream and hollered, “Daddy, I’m all better now!” I smiled and kissed her forehead. When I pulled out the needle it left behind a spot of blood.

“You want a Dora Band-Aid or Diego?” I asked.

“Diego,” she whimpered. After I put it on she hopped off my lap and ran screaming to her mother. My wife was crying and my son went back into his room to slay some aliens on his xBox. I called her doctor to ascertain what the next steps were. There were none because her symptoms cleared up almost instantly. Thank God. Her doctor and I ruled out food allergies because she hadn’t eaten since 5. A delayed reaction of 5 hours, although possible, is very uncommon. Dr. G. gave me an A for Effort and Execution and put me to work to keep her posted through her service and to find the source of the reaction.

Five minutes later my daughter was drinking strawberry milk and yelling around the house, as she always does, in awe of the strength in her little lungs. Ten minutes later she was out cold in her mother’s arms on the couch, zapped by the ordeal and the Benadryl. My wife held onto her like a favorite Teddy Bear. “There were too many hives on this little body…” my wife’s voice trailed off into tears.

“Glad I refilled the prescription.” My wife agreed.

The culprit was a contact-allergen somewhere in our bed, which is where we deposited the baby when we first came home from the party. We stripped it, put on new sheets, and have been keeping an eye out ever since.

Funny thing, I had no reaction to the whole incident. I kissed my child on her cheek a dozen times as I always do, kissed my wife and let her know all was fine, and went back to watching television. The next day I mentioned it in passing only to my parents. My wife went on to tell a good amount of her friends and even mentioned it on Facebook (which left me bewildered based on the panic it caused online). But she was rocked to her core by the whole thing and that was how she dealt. I can’t knock her (other than the FB thing). I don’t believe I was so calm because I have allergies and it was no big deal. I was very aware that my daughter’s life was at risk. That’s why I reached for the EpiPen (of which I am now a believer) in the first place.

In my opinion my preparation for this day was better than the actual medicine I gave my child. I had the necessary tools to control the situation, prevent errors brought on by panic and get the job done with no regrets. Fortunately it was something that didn't require further medical attention.

Over the years I’ve been a bit perplexed by my own father’s cool under fire. Last Saturday, I think I got it.

Sorry this was sooo long. Happy, Fatherhood Friday!


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Thursday

More Randomness: Pajama-Man on the Loose

My son gets up at the crack of dawn each morning to go to school. I get up with him to make sure he's actually getting up, has his school work, eats and doesn't walk out the house looking a complete mess. My father-in-law and I split depositing him at the school where he disappears for a few hours and comes home with half the homework I had at his age. Yesterday was his day to take him.

The pants my son was wearing looked strikingly familiar to a pair of black pajama pants he owns. When I asked him if he was wearing pajamas he said:

"No, these aren't pajamas..."

The rest I didn't hear because I was half awake, it was dark and he mumbles --- especially in the morning.

When my son returned home from school wearing pajamas pants my wife and I were horrified and he again repeated what he said to me that morning.

"These aren't pajamas...I haven't slept in them."

He went on to explain he was wearing basketball shorts beneath them. In his mind this justified him wearing a pair of flimsy-ass pants with one button on the crotch.

Normally, I like to explain what I say to him. This time around I told him, "You don't wear pajamas outside EVER, unless you're on your way to a four year-old's sleepover." And then I told him to go eat his dinner.

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One Less Place to Eat Chicken & Waffles










I may as well continue this week with another random post. I just can't be bothered with (writing about) fatherhood, family and being a husband 24/7. Jokes. Ha ha.

First, Charles' Southern Style Kitchen closed it's doors. I driven there at least 4 times last fall and this spring trying to clog my arteriesget a platter of fried chicken, candied yams and collard greens. I recently learned it was seized.

Now it appears another favorite of mine, Amy Ruth's of Harlem, is headed for the same fate.


Everyone & me (not pictured) at lunch just after Pres. Obama's Inauguration.


Keep your head up, Spoonbread.


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Wednesday

Fashion Forward: Tara Payne - Jewelry for the Fashionable

I've decided to take a break from my usual Wednesday Question of the Week.

For those of you who are looking for something special to buy the mother (yours and/or the mother of your child/children) in your life (Mother's Day is around the corner); for those of you who need to buy something for the woman in your life to celebrate whatever special occasion needs to be celebrated; for those of you who typically don't buy [insert bad word] for your friends, lover(s) or family and need to start; or maybe you've been wracking your brains trying to figure out the perfect birthday gift for the friend you believe has it all and is impossible to shop for.

Look no further. Welcome to Tara Payne's only jewelry store: Jewelry for the Fashionable (excuse the redundancy). Yeah, we're related...she's my sister-in-law (remember my wife and I met because we have the same last name). But as a native of Chicago and its politics, I'm allergic to nepotism having witnessed so much of it growing up. I'm showcasing this woman and her collection of handmade jewelry because like myself, Tara's dreams don't exist inside a traditional office. She gives birth to beautiful things for others to appreciate and hold onto (and buy). Below is a screenshot of her store. Click on it and you'll land at her homepage.


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Tara has serious fashion background and she can make a shirt better than Gordon Gartrelle any day of the week. She has graced the offices of Abercrombie & Fitch and Polo-Ralph Lauren, to name a few. The girl can draw her whosiewhatsit off and the jewelry she makes BY HAND is in a word: incredible. My personal favorite is a piece she'll never sell --- a charm bracelet she wears that stretches halfway up her right arm from her wrist. The thing looks like it weighs 30 pounds and I believe I've only seen her without once.

Check out her store and shop. She's just that good. She doesn't even know I'm featuring her today, so there's no kickback to me.

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Tuesday

It Is ONLY Tuesday...

Yeah...the reality of recent events hit me last night.

Our nation is going to Hell in a speedboat headed straight for a waterfall. In the midst of all the daily woe that doesn't need to be detailed here, a handful of individuals have decided they are soo entitled (and empowered by the actions of our govt.) that they are completely within their bounds and even have the audacity to insist they are legally bound to fly completely over the cuckoo's nest.





In no way shape or form do I advocate violence. I don't believe it solves anything. Nor am I suggesting that these people (AIG and so on), who are clamoring for the Nobel for Evil, deserve to meet the likes of a Tyrone Green on a dark and lonely summer night.

But eventually someone is going to crack...




Classic...

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Monday

Monday Blog Love: Top Commenters Round-Up

Since fist posting about the lack of dudes adding their two cents I'm happy to see that 5 men now make up the list of Top Ten (over in the far right hand column of this blog).

However, the girls still got it as they occupy the top 4 position and the leader, Brooke, is spewing asphalt and smoke in the face of everyone behind her.

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On the War Front: A Huxtable Update

It would be unfair and awful of me to ride my son for the things he currently isn't doing right (or well) if I didn't equip him with the tools to succeed.

First on the list of offensives: That Room --- the place my wife tries not to visit because setting foot in it makes her angry.

But because it's always been the case that Huh Whatever isn't the neatest kid in the world, his rooms in the places where he's lived have never really been treated with the same level of care as say our living rooms, kitchens and bathrooms (I'm speaking for myself here). But if he's going to take pride in his personal space shouldn't I? Or rather, the only way he's going to take pride in his personal space while he's still under my roof is if I take just as much pride in it if not more.

I've reallocated funding toward an emergency room reorganization initiative called RoomReset and purchased a new set of drawers for him along with a new set of clothing hooks for his room. Below are the preliminary results of this initiative.





The next briefing will arrive one Monday from today.

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Friday

7 Things You Should NOT Say To Your Wife...

...or any woman you're serious with on your way out on a date:

  1. You're wearing that?
  2. So who's paying tonight?
  3. What was wrong with your old shoes?
  4. How much is this gonna cost?
  5. I hate chick flicks.
  6. What do you mean [insert movie] (Spider-Man 1 & 2, Transformers, Hellboy, Iron Man, Batman Begins, Blade Runner, Underworld, The Mummy, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Snatch, Layer Cake, Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, The Dark Knight, Terminator, Predator Vs. Aliens, Watchmen, Incredible Hulk) isn't romantic?
  7. Why don't we just stay in? We don't have to get dressed up or anything. I'll make the popcorn. You like it buttered, right?

Feel free to add to this list (within respectable reason - this is a PG site...mostly). Today is Fatherhood Fridays and this is my second time contributing. It's sponsored by Dad-Blogs, a great group of guys (and gal or two) dedicated, via social networking, to family and fatherhood. I'm glad to be a part of it.

Happy Friday!




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Thursday

The Big 2-0-0!


Near the end of September I hit my 100th post. This blog had been up for seven months and I was chugging along wondering why I was doing this.


Outside of the election, November was an abysmal month for me. I lost all of my motivation to do this and posted only a few times. My wife and everyone else who knew I was blogging on the side asked me if I had given up.

Hearing the words "given up" inspired me to rededicate myself. My focus returned slowly. I restyled the pages to look the way they do know and added content, content, content, content.

Today, a 4 full months after I decided to keep going, this is my 200th post.

None of this would be possible without my personal cast of characters who are my muses:
  • My wife a.k.a Big Bad Momma
  • My son a.k.a. Huh Whatever a.k.a. Man-Dork (the dork who thinks he's The Man, but he's really a dork)
  • My daughter a.k.a. Lil' Momma, Daddy's Baby Angel, Daddy's Baby Girl, Daddy's Big Girl, Babygirl, Booboo, and Hell at 3 Feet High and Rising
I thank them and I love them. They are my everything (even when they're driving me crazy - making me wanna holler).

I visit the following place when I need to regroup and take stock of what I have. It reminds me of my value. It drives to be the best husband and father I can be, especially in today's times. It also makes me want to go on vacation.

Come, take a look, if you like.


- Never Miss A Post -

Wednesday

Wednesday's Question of the Week: Are You Getting What You Give?

My first post of the week that doesn't have a pic or a video. Let's see how it goes...

You get what you give.

It's really that simple.

Energy comes from within and manifests in the real world. What does an inventor do? He or she creates a tangible, digestible product in the real world based on a idea birthed (energized) from inside them. And most inventors who aren't quacks (and even the ones who are) live productive lives --- getting what they give.

But what about the rest of us? Almost everyone with a job although currently thankful to be working in this economy hates it because of all that it does to make their lives miserable (myself included). Newsflash: a job is inanimate no matter how many [insert plural expletive here] you work with, work for or have working for you. Or how about the woman who chooses to be a dormat for bad men and then proclaims all men are dogs? Then there's the man who is an overweight, walking-heart-attack waiting-to-happen. He berates his wife for putting on a few extra pounds and is shocked when he finds out she's been cheating on him just as much as he's been cheating on her. Many parents wants their children to be "more productive," but opts to use their berating the child or blaming a teacher, rather than a) talking and working with their child themselves, and b) creating options/solutions for growth and opportunity, such as paying for a tutor. A final example: I've always enjoyed listening to coworkers and strangers alike discussing their frustration with weight loss while chewing on a slice of pizza or a greasy cheeseburger with a side salad made of 3 pieces of lettuce and 1 tomato, and washing it all down with a diet Pepsi.

ManyMost of us want the world, but are only willing to give the change along with the lint in our pockets to acquire it. Then we slam life as not being fair when we don't get our way. We've become a nation of people who don't save for the things we want --- who don't actually pay for anything anymore. Instead we hope some financial institution will give us credit (and unless you're under a rock, you know where that's gotten us as a nation). We laud athletes for the skill and strength they have, but why? Skill aside, these people work out and practice their sport for a living. It only makes sense that they excel. Even the grotesque exceptions: the Jordans (Michael) of the world. They defy description and the things they've done seem inhuman to us mere mortals. But would we feel this way if we spent nearly every waking moment of our lives dedicating ourselves to that "thing" we are good at and/or must do?

This isn't foolproof of course because we live in this little construct called life. And sometimes, life really just ain't fair --- no matter how hard you work, no matter how much you pray. (I always put my cart away when I go grocery/Target shopping and I can't tell you how many times I've walked out to my truck to find a cart pushed up against it.) And often it does take two or more to make things work. But it only takes you to know in your heart you're giving your all. Outside of this and unforeseeable incidents (both good and bad) more times that not, we are ultimately at the center of what does and doesn't happen in our individual lives due to our thoughts and our deeds --- for better or worse.

  • Are you getting what you give (directly or indirectly) in/at/to your: relationship (physical/spiritual), job, family, spouse, finances, health, dreams, etc.?
  • If not, do you believe you could or should be giving more to achieve the results you want?
  • Or, are you getting EXACTLY what you're giving (a whole lot, or a whole lot of nothing)?

- Never Miss A Post -

Tuesday

Frat Life



In college, Frat Life was my thrill. It was my Pop Life until I graduated.

Today, March 10th, back in the Spring of 1991, I crossed the burning sands into the Black and Old Gold paradise of Alpha Land --- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. This happened at Cornell University --- Alpha Chapter, where the organization was founded in 1906, at exactly 9:40:49 am, or as I prefer to say crisply, "Nine-forty and forty-nine seconds." Out of an original line of six, my big brothers made fast work of the faint of heart and whittled my group down to three. Because this happened so early in my process (the first two weeks) my original number on this line (#3) dropped again and again until I became the first man on the line. At 5'11", I'm one of the taller #1s that did not pledge alone. For the remainder of my ten weeks "on line" I was at the mercy of a gang of Napoleonic, vertically challenged men (previous #1s who were my big brothers). There wasn't a day that passed while I was pledging that they didn't make me pay for being number one. But they also made me strong. When it was all over and done with, I had been freed from a very self-contained shell that had me fearful of pursuing the best in life for myself for fear of what others thought. It took a total of 14 weeks (4 weeks pre-pledging, 10 weeks pledging) for 22 men to put Eric the Fearful Nerd to death --- something I had been trying to do on my own in vain all my life.

After pledging, I came to know just how hard I could work against the odds to achieve what was necessary. I learned that if anything was stopping me from doing anything (within reason and the law) more times than not, it was myself. This lesson was not only applicable to frat life, but my life as a whole.

I can't say I still agree with pledging the way it was done back when I pledged, but it definitely made a better man out of me --- or rather brought forth the one who had always been there.

To my two sands, both of them doctors in Miami: Happy Anniversary.


The Alpha House on Cornell's campus. The place that birthed me.As a Sphinxman pledge, it was a house of horrors. As a Brother, it was HOME.

Even though it was the 90s, there really is no excuse for the A Phi A fishing hats. I'm in the middle, holding the clippers, giving out free haircuts. My number 2 is the shirtless one getting the haircut, and my number 3 is the other cat with the fishing hat. We were still new at this point. My line brothers' hair grew back quickly (we were bald when we pledged, and being bald back then wasn't cool). But mine didn't, even at the time of this pic it hadn't reached where it was prior to pledging. I should've known I was destined to rock a baldie...


A couple years and too many road trips, step shows, liquor, females, and too little studying later, I evolved into this guy (center in the dark brown fake Shearling wool jacket). I was an Alpha Man who didn't need to wear letters because I had them branded into my flesh in two places. I was a senior and too fly for my own good. I had yet to meet the real world and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.


This one of my sands and I popped up on Facebook recently and I couldn't resist. I said I thought I was fly.


But eventually a man grows older and put the things of his youth behind him...


...and take new steps down new paths...hopefully not alone...


...and life becomes something different from anything & everything he's ever known...

...but as much as things do change...


...some things (wearing shades) are just destined to remain the same.



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Monday

Declaration of War: Operation Heathcliff Huxtable

After brooding and broiling over what to do besides strangling with my son a.k.a. Huh Whatever, a.k.a. Man-Dork, I've decided to launch an all out assault against him in the same spirit of Heathcliff Huxtable, one of the first "black dads" who broke the mainstream mold/opinion of what black fatherhood. Like my own father, Heathcliff, was waiting for Theo at every turn ready to shut him down and set him straight. And if he found out about Theo's shenanigans after the fact, as I'm doing with Man-Dork on a weekly basis, there was always hell to pay.

Stay tuned for updates from the front lines and enjoy the clip below.




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Friday

Who's Watching the Watchmen?

I, for one, will be feeding my inner nerd. Hopefully, this weekend.

One of my blogging hermanos, Latinegro, wrote a review for the Watchmen Movie over at his blog. The movie is based off the great graphic novel, Watchmen, and written by the same gentleman who brought the world V for Vendetta.

I believe it is Friday. I've truly had an exhausting week outside of cyberspace, crisscrossing NYC, re-enacting my own version of
Taxi Driver (without the mohawk and the killing) for toddlers, teens and senior citizens.

Besides, I love giving shine to others when I can. Especially since it's been that kind of week for me.




But before you read any further add your two cents to my poll below:




Now watch the trailer, read the review and if you've got the money, blow it on a great STORY with some great special effects.




Happy Friday.

Peace.

Facebook Makes The Night Go Quickly

I couldn't resist blogging about a comment I left at my blogger buddy, Brooke's, spot last week. Her point was that Facebook and all of its distractions is making her fat. She ain't the only one. Not only does it make you fat, it just keeps you from functioning normally. Forget about work, with national morale in the toilet, I say the more distractions the better. But I'm talking about the homestead, when you're supposed to be enjoying your self and time with whatever (whomever) it is. Instead, you're are a slave to that demonic blue and white template littered with everyone's pictures from grade school.

On nights when it's really bad, life at my home happens a little like this:

1. Like Brooke, I come home, power up the laptop, do what I need to do with myself and the family, all the while checking my blog, my Facebook page (to promote my blog), Twitter and all da rest a'dem and dey mama.

2. My wife then accuses me of cheating on her with my laptop and we eat dinner. I pull myself away and use every ounce of my strength not to log back on as soon as I'm done eating (instead, I sneak off on my iPod Touch and log back on).

3. I begin to fade while watching TV and my wife screams at me to stay awake. We put the kids to bed.

4. After the kids are asleep, my wife tells me she's got to check on ONE thing on our desktop (either a work email or some website she's researching) before going to bed.

5. About an hour after number 4, I wake up on the couch to the sound of my wife laughing to herself. I go over to the computer to see her on Facebook with no less than 4 IM windows open. One is a coworker she saw a few hours earlier. Another is a former next door neighbor of hers. The next is a former college roommate she was barely cool with at the time. And finally the last is some former high school classmate who now lives in the deep, deep South.

6. Then she says, "I really need to go to bed." I have a meeting first thing in the morning.

7. Then she stays up a little longer.

8. The next morning she wakes up ten minutes before she's supposed to catch her train.

But I'm the one with the problem.

Since this posting things, have gotten a little better. But at the end of the day, Facebook is crack.

Thursday

The Mocha Manual Blog: When A Man "Sweats" A Woman. Why I Love Eric Payne

Yesterday was a great day for me. I just so happened to have a piece published over at BlackAndMarriedWithKids.com on the same morning Essence.com did a feature article on them. I spent the day salivating over the new skyrocketing traffic that flew over here to MakesMeWannaHoller.com.

By late afternoon I had to resume my parental duties. I took my daughter to her allergist and then headed straight from there to my son's school to attend an awards ceremony for the winter sports program in which he participated as a member of the basketball team.

When I finally returned home around 9 pm, I was exhausted. I had a splitting headache from my Invisalign and a hyper, hungry female toddler in serious need of "nite-nite."

After a quick meal whipped up by the wife, I "plugged in" and found an email from the CEO of MochaManual.com containing only the link below. By the end of the day yesterday, this blog received the same amount of traffic in 24 hours as it I did the entire month of May 2008. I'm also happy to report that yesterday at 6:39 pm someone from Fort Meyers, Florida became my 10,000th visitor!

God works in mysterious and beautiful ways, none of which I question too much anymore. When His timing comes around the harvest is always plentiful. There are no coincidences.

Enough of my rambling. Click on the link:
The Mocha Manual: When A Man "Sweats" A Woman. Why I Love Eric Payne

Wednesday

Wednesday's Question of the Week: Is Someone There For You When You Need Them?


They say a picture's worth a thousand words...

During a rough patch just before our marriage my then-fiance had a brief breakdown and put her head on my shoulder as I assured her all would be fine. I'm not sure why, but one of our closest friends whipped out her cellphone and snapped this grainy pic of this moment of embrace. It's a telling photo of who we are when we're not at each others throats.

  • In times of need are you there for someone (mother, brother, lover, spouse, sister, father, friend, etc.)?
  • And/or, is someone there for you?

Tuesday

My Piano Keys --- Her Mom is NOT White (& Neither Is Her Dad)


I'd say my complexion is caramel.

My wife's complexion is that of a perfectly fried French fry.

My son's coloring is a bit richer than mine, almost Aboriginal in the way it glows all year long.

My daughter's skin is the color of parchment (faint parchment at that) or maybe that paper color, Ivory Linen.

My mother and father's complexion is about the same, a shade lighter than mine.

My maternal grandparents both had dark brown complexions.

My paternal grandmother's skin was golden and her hair was like silver silk. My paternal grandfather was brown-skinned.

During my recent trip home to Chi-Town, I visited my great aunt (my paternal grandmother's sister) on the occasion of her 97th birthday. Her skin was white and she wore her hair pulled back into one silver braid that ran down the length of her back.

And until I was informed otherwise as a high schooler, I just knew one of my cousin's fathers was Jewish.

And why do I point out all of this frivolous information?

Because for whatever reason for people of color, complexion matters. If I wanted this post to run very, very long, I could provide my reasons for why people believe this matters, and how it's been used to divide, similar to religion, political beliefs and nationality. But I only want it to run kind of long, so I won't.

Coming from Chicago I was exposed to African Americans of all skin colors. My first exposure to this was in my own family where from one family member to the next, complexion jumped from one end to the other of the color spectrum. And hair texture? When I was little, for the life of me I didn't understand why everyone on my father's side had straight, wavy or curly hair without the aid of a beauty salon or hair care products. To this day, my father's hair blows in the wind like a flag and he could care less. Sadly, I grew up believing if you were African American you had "coarse" hair and if you didn't it was either because you a) pressed the hell out of it with a hot comb, or b) had a Jheri curl. Even more pathetic, I was jealous that my father had the head of hair he did. I thought something was wrong with me because that didn't pass on to me (even though it did just before my hair fell out). So what did I do, I spent the better part of my teenage years brushing jars of grease into my head to get one or two waves to pop. I collected lint everywhere I went and wearing a hat was just disgusting.

But by the time I was a teenager, I understood that we (African Americans) took on many appearances. From my father's mother who could've easily passed for white and passed on passing to live a life of discrimination, to my mother's side and their unmistakable African characteristics: wide, flat (and proud) noses, strong (some would argue large) foreheads and brown skin.

Out East things are a bit different. I can't tell you how many times I've been told who is or is not African American because their hair is curly, or they have a fair complexion. My wife suffered through this growing up being told she must've been something else besides African American. Years ago, a workout partner told me a woman he was dating had to be Spanish.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because her hair is curly," he said.

"And that makes her not black?" I asked incredulously.

I laughed hysterically as he continued to dig a hole for himself with his teeth.

So now I'm a father. When I'm with my daughter I'm sometimes asked not if my wife is white, but if she's not black or of mixed race.

My daughter is a dead ringer for my father and when they're together she looks more like his child than mine and more like her daughter than I do his son. To the questioner, I laugh politely and say no. Only upon someone's insistence do I become a bit sharp with my "no." But as each time I'm asked is an opportunity to educate, I typically try to explain that BLACK PEOPLE COME IN ALL COLORS AND NONE OF US ARE ACTUALLY "BLACK".

The only time this foolishness is even more infuriating is when a person of color does the same thing. Last year after attending a god-awful play with my son at his school, I was standing in the lobby with my daughter while I waited for him to finish socializing. An African American woman looked at the two of us and shot me the dirty looks. I knew exactly what she was thinking. She looked perplexed when my son returned to us and was completely stunned when my wife joined us after using the ladies' room. During a Take Your Kids To Work day at my wife's job she encountered the same thing. "Is your husband white?" an African American co-worker asked, and when my son called out to her, this woman was completely confused too.

At the end of the day it's nobody's business what you or your children "are." At the end of the day who cares? At the end of the day complexion does not determine beauty or "niceness" and if it does for you, then you've got a problem.

Sometimes interracial marriage is a factor, but in cases like my family's, it is not. For anyone who is curious, people in my family (or anyone's African American family) stretch the color spectrum as do my two kids (my piano keys) because of a little thing called a gene pool. Take any grade school health class and they explain it there.

Monday

The Secret Hideout of Huh Whatever

Following not to far behind my introducing you to secret agent, Huh Whatever, I thought it might be nice to take you on a tour of his secret hideout. The experience makes me say "uhm" too many times.

But I'm simply at a loss for words.

video

Babygirl put it best.