Archive | May, 2010

Shmucks Who Want it All: The Tiki Barber Edition

31 May

We all heckled, jeered and threw out the three-fingered Celie curse at Tiki Barber when it was revealed last month that not only was he cheating on his wife of 11 years, who by the way was very (8 months) pregnant with their twin babies at the time, but had brazenly left her for a young, blond, strumpet intern whom he worked alongside as a correspondent for NBC’s “Today Show”.  Many of us even applauded when NBC exhibited the kind of moral backbone not readily observed in the media lately, (okay, okay; I’ll admit that they probably did it in their own best interest) when the television giant sidelined the retired New York Giants running back once allegations of his infidelity arose.  Then, before the ink of the latest gossip columns were dry, women everywhere gave Ginny “Decisive” Barber a standing ovation for cutting to the chase and deciding that she no longer wanted to be married to a philandering oaf who had no qualms with making a mockery of their marriage in a very embarrassing and public way.

You’d think that being ostracized at work, ridiculed in the media and lambasted by the mother of his children would make Tiki take a timeout and reevaluate how his life spiraled out of control, right?  Humph, that would be a resounding no.  While his soon-to-be-ex-wife was the one on a timeout (mandatory bed rest) and sorting through what went wrong with their marriage, good old Tiki was out cavorting around New York with his mistress and making plans to share a new den of iniquity with said paramour.  Clearly, the last thing on his mind was the welfare of his wife and children (both the unborn twins and their two adolescent sons).  Now Tiki defenders, don’t get indignant with me and say that I don’t know what was on his mind…I’ll be the first to admit, I have no clue what goes through the mind of a man who abandons his family for some young tail, but note that I didn’t say he didn’t care about his wife and kids. I simply stated that they were the last things on his mind; a statement that based on his behavior, I believe to be true.

And what further solidifies this notion in my mind is Tiki’s recent refusal to give Ginny the settlement that she asked for in order to move on with her life and to care for their four children sans his help.  Keep in mind that she wasn’t in the papers or on television telling anyone who’d listen how shameless he and his mistress were and how emotionally draining such a public scandal was for her and the children’s physical well-being.  She simply (and quietly) accepted his trifling ways, filed for divorce and decided that his monetary support would have to substitute for his lack of presence in their lives.  But in true I’m-doing-wrong-but-still-want-things-my-way-celebrity-entitlement-fashion, Barber would rather fight his wife-for-now in court over money and custody than acquiesce.  A classy dude, that one.

So is it any wonder that this former family man who all of a sudden up and decided to ditch his familial duties in order to recapture his bachelor-dome would think that he’d be welcome in his wife’s delivery room as she prepared to bring two new lives into the world?  Clearly, the rich, famous and unscrupulous operate by a different set of standards than the rest of us.  Well, Ginny was prepared for Tiki’s foolishness, and had some firm instructions for the football great: Sit It ALL The Way Down!!  According to insiders at the hospital where Mrs. Barber gave birth to the couple’s twin girls earlier this week, Tiki-Lamp showed up to the hospital for the births of his children, but was surreptitiously forced to wait outside of the delivery room.  Ouch.

Now, I know that there are those who believe that Ginny Barber was being hateful; wielding the only power she had over Tiki as a way to get him back for his humiliating indiscretions, but to those people I ask: have you ever actually given birth?  The situation by itself (without the stress of a cheating, absentee husband) is already wrought with unnerving pressure and anxiety.  What woman in her right mind would want such a man present during this strenuous time to frazzle her already delicate nerves further and possibly make things worse? 

In all honesty though, I will submit that Tiki undoubtedly loves all of his children and wanted to be present to usher his daughters into the world, but seriously, he had to know that with his scandalous antics as of late, the furthest that he’d get would be the hospital gift shop!

It is my sincere hope that now, since Ginny has made it quite apparent that she can do bad all by herself, and the Barber babies have arrived safely and without complication, that Mr. and Mrs. Barber will be able to come to suitable terms in their divorce and for the sake of the kids (a common theme in all of these cheating/divorce scandals lately, I know) live amicably ever after.

Curtis Jackson: Half a Man, Total Genius?

27 May

It is very difficult for me to be a fan of someone who can cause a blush to stain my cheeks with his audacious potty mouth and unapologetic insolence; not to mention the fact that he co-chairs The Women’s Objectification Counsel (okay, no such counsel really exists, but if it did, I’m sure that he would be a founding member), wears arrogance like a badge of honor and takes the opportunity to tout his own greatness at every available opportunity.  But for all of the unattractive qualities listed above, I cannot help but admit that as of late, I’ve been mildly interested in the exploits of such an uncouth character.

 The uncouth character in question, (In)famous Rapper 50 Cent recently lost nearly 55 pounds and has taken on a rather emaciated-looking swagger lately.  When I showed my honey a photo of “Fiddy’s” gaunt frame, his initial question to me was why David Chappelle looked so tired (yes, I fell out laughing at that one!).  When I explained to him that David was probably still safely in South Africa somewhere and that the picture was actually of 50 Cent, his head snapped back in a double-take so hard that he undoubtedly will wake up feeling the effects of whiplash in the morning.

 After assuring my honey that 50 wasn’t on “that crack-rock” (he’s so old-school) and explaining that the man had purposely lost weight for his next movie role, the look on my honey’s face reflected the same thoughts that I’d been turning over in my mind all day: for his own sake and for all that he’s invested into this role, Curtis Jackson III better win an Oscar, a SAG and every other performance award out there.

 Of the drastic transformation,  the rapper says he was strongly encouraged to drop his bulky mass for his role in an upcoming new movie, “Things Fall Apart” where he plays a football star who is diagnosed with cancer.  50, who set the web ablaze after having posted pictures of his withered image on social networking sites admitted to having gone on a nine week liquid-only diet, and spent three hours a day running on a treadmill to shrink from a solid 214 lbs to a skeletal 160 lbs.  Having spent very little time in the public eye while preparing for this role though, fans of the “raptorgul” (rapper/slash/actor/slash/mogul) will finally get the opportunity to see him when he performs at Cleveland State University tomorrow night. Now that should be interesting.

 But as fragile and strung-out as Jackson looks right now, his total commitment to this movie role at the expense of his previously well-defined physique (and potentially his health if he isn’t careful) is, in my opinion strongly dedicated…and genius.  Think about it.  Not only will people be chatting the man up for the next couple of months until filming is complete, but the publicity alone that he has garnered for a movie that has yet to start production, will undoubtedly have people going to see the flick in droves.  Again, I am hardly a fan but I can admit to brilliant marketing when I see it.  I just hope for his sake though, that he didn’t waste two months getting into character, only to be revealed as a malnourished and sucky actor when the movie is released (Will Smith notwithstanding, most transitioning rappers are notorious for their poor acting chops).

 Either way, this seems to me like a very valiant undertaking, and I am (kinda) looking forward to seeing what manifests from 50 Cent’s desire to fully embrace this role.  I just hope that he is careful in them streets on his downtime.  With the way that 50 looks now, a fair fight could finally ensue between him and Ja Rule. 

I know, that was wrong.

*Self-imposed time-out in the corner*

National Neglect, Parental Fail: For Ardi’s Sake!

26 May

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I stumbled upon this horrifying video while my eldest man-child and I were critiquing the Magic’s ball movement and debriefing each other on our hectic day of bean counting and long division.  With a brief scan of the internet for potential blogging topics, my honey’s spawn suggested that I troll Youtube.  Sure enough, this foolery jumped out at me like Charlie Bucket’s Golden Ticket!

 At first glance of the video still, it looked as though a bare-chested, overweight midget little person was blissfully enjoying a cigarette (because my mind simply would not allow me to accept the alternative).  Upon further inspection however, I realized that the smoker in question was actually a two-year old toddler!

 Searching for some more background on this video, I found an article that basically chronicled the cigarette addiction of this child.  According to msn.com, Ardi Rizal’s parents gave him his very first taste of tobacco when he was 18 months old, basically to quell his nasty little temper tantrums.

 Um, yeah. 

 So…I’m not sure about the laws in Indonesia, but it goes without saying that if parents in the U.S. were being this negligent and caught encouraging a baby’s codependency this way, they’d be arrested and subsequently placed under the jail, without question!

 But I think that what I found even more disconcerting than this child’s easy handling of his cig, his attempt to “shot-gun” a few times and his overall contented demeanor as he dragged deeply and exhaled the nicotine like a pro was the fact that if you listen carefully, reporters and photographers can be heard in the room with little Ardi and his family simply witnessing him perform his billowing chimney routine.  No one admonished the parents.  No one took the cancer stick. No one said a thing. They all just watched…well, and took photos to sell to the highest bidder.

 Apparently however, Ardi’s dependency isn’t as unique an occurrence as one would imagine in Indonesia.  The article went on to highlight data from the Central Statistics Agency which showed that 25 percent of Indonesian children between the ages of 3 and 15 have tried cigarettes, with more than three percent of them ultimately becoming active smokers, just like baby Ardi.  How in the world is a two-year old smoker commonplace anywhere?  How can this be?

 In the end though, it was my son that put this entire situation into perspective as he watched the video over my shoulder in disbelief.

 Mommy, this kid is gonna have lung cancer before he is ten!

Currently, Indonesia has a law on the books formally recognizing that smoking is addictive.  The nation is also working to push for more comprehensive bans on aggressive advertising, reduce cigarette production in the country and develop more visible health warnings on cigarette packages.  Unfortunately though, that’s about it.  If a country has no legislation in place to protect those citizens who cannot protect themselves, how can that country prepare to productively grow and thrive in the future?

Just a mess!

Let’s Talk Immigration: The Illegals, The Immigrants, The Citizens

25 May

 Funny story…

I was talking to one of my sister-friends today, and she shared with me that I probably wouldn’t see her again until June because she was going down to Arizona to spend Memorial Day with her family.  Immediately I laughed and told her that unless she planned to take her birth certificate, license, passport, medical records and other identifying documentation, then I might not see her again. Period.  To this we both had a hearty chuckle, but once she and I got off the line, I realized something.  That exchange wasn’t very funny at all.

Although I suggested in jest that my friend be at the ready to prove her citizenship while in the “Grand Canyon State”, (even though she is not Hispanic and would hardly induce any suspicion into her supposed immigration status by Arizona po-po should she roll a stop sign), I couldn’t help but think about all the citizens of Arizona (this country) who are of Latin-descent who, thanks to Arizona SB 1070 have to now contemplate whether they are going to bring their “papers” with them just in case they find themselves lawfully stopped, detained or arrested on their way to work, school, or Pilates class (read: while trying to attain the American Dream, just like the rest of us).

Don’t get me wrong, I think immigration legislation is important.  National borders are established to protect the land and inhabitants within, and the implications from the perspective of increased taxes, crime or even population surges can be quite calamitous if those borders are willingly allowed to be compromised.  That’s not to say that I believe that this nation’s current immigration laws are acceptable in their current state. 

I do believe that the images on shows like National Geographic’s “Border Wars” do highlight instances where people are simply seeking refuge and a better life than the squalor they’ve fled in Mexico, and should be afforded the right to pursue happiness here. I also believe however, that in much the same way that immigrants from all over the world have come to the United States to claim a better way of life for themselves legally, Mexican immigrants should be held to this same standard.  My issue though, especially with this Senate Bill (and only slightly amended House Bill) is that it places a stigma on an entire group of people. 

When Mexican President Felipe Calderon was given an audience at a joint session of Congress last week, he was openly critical of the Arizona law.  Although I felt some kind of way about this guest’s rebuking manner and wished that I could’ve reminded President Calderon that he ought to tread lightly; seeing as how his abode is of the glassy variety, I can admit that this is a matter in which we find agreement.  No matter what side of the volatile immigration debate you stand on, the fact (in my mind) remains that Arizona’s somewhat impetuous law breeds an unreasonable fear of and bias toward Latinos.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard people with a seemingly legitimate initial concern about illegal immigrants completely turn their conversation into a rant against Mexicans.  Or, while waiting in line at a store, having seen people openly disgusted and rolling their eyes at a Hispanic family speaking together in Spanish while waiting at the check-out register.  I worry that SB 1070 is emboldening a very discriminatory attitude toward Latinos as a whole; not just the ones who jumped the border fence or were smuggled in by strategically contorting themselves within the dashboard of a car (true story), but also those who are in the country legally or even born here.

I mean, look at this latest foolery with Dora the Explorer.  No longer is she the ambiguous little character who teaches our children Spanish with a notable American accent and perfect English.  Oh no! Thanks to someone’s attempt at humor (with a side of racism, I’m sure), poor Dora is now the face of the apprehended and extradited illegal immigrant, and I’m now left explaining to my kids why Boots’ best friend has an eye-jammy, a leaky faucet and a mug shot.

Trust me when I tell you; I don’t pretend to know the answers to solve this nation’s immigration debate or how best to reform the broken laws we currently have in place.  What I do know however, is that too few of the billions of people who currently live in the United States are  indigenous to this land.  At some point in our histories, we were all immigrants.  What changed that made settling here acceptable for some, but relocating, migrating and seeking sanctuary here not tolerable for others?

What I’m Wearing: Business Casual(ly Fabulous)

24 May

Ann Taylor Cardigan, Dollhouse Pumps, Old Navy Ruffled Tank, Danskin Khaki Shorts, Target Bamboo Bracelet, Forever21 3-Tiered Drop Necklace

Clearly, if this spring is any indicator, the summer of 2010 is going to be quite the scorcher.  Barely halfway through the season and already much of the nation has seen temperatures at 85 degrees or higher; making the use of the car and home A/C unit an absolute must (I typically try not to turn on the air conditioning in my home until mid/late May because the weather is just so agreeable during this time of year, but that mandate went out the window just as soon as we were sent that 4-day 90+ degree heat hell-wave back in the early days of the month).

 What has also become blatantly essential in our efforts to successfully avoid a heat stroke this summer is a cooler, more comfortable wardrobe.  For those of us who work in an office or corporate setting however, this requirement can be especially difficult because if you are like me, you already toe the line with regard to fashionable office attire that embraces professional edginess but still remains wholly acceptable in the workplace. 

 But because it’s been imperative to remain professionally relevant while not completely overheating, I’ve found that a happy medium which embraces style and comfort has been the key.  Although not one to ever wear shorts during all my years in corporate, a pressed khaki Bermuda short in a more casual office setting has been perfectly suitable.  For those corporate in-office days however, swapping the Bermudas for a crop or full khaki pant can elicit the feeling of seasonal comfort, while still creating the look of the competent bean counter.

 Keep in mind however, that you know better than I do what is deemed appropriate in your place of business.  Meaning, don’t take and run with my suggestion for shorts if that inspiration could get you fired; The Pack cannot supplement anyone’s income, especially during these economic times.  What I am saying though, is to not be afraid to play with various cut, color and texture combinations in an effort to not only stay cool this summer, but to also jazz up your work attire a bit.  It’s absolutely amazing how when you feel like a million bucks heading into the office, it usually translates into a better than normal work day experience; and since you’re going to be spending 40 or more hours a week at work plugging and chugging anyway, why not strive to look and feel better than normal?  You’re worth it.

I Think I’m…LOST

23 May

Flashes Sideways?  Desmond’s not in the well?  Sun and Jin die on the island but are alive in an alternate reality? Jack’s the new Jacob?  How can I be expected to blog coherently when I am trying to make sense of the final episode of Lost?

 This is too much pressure people.  For the life of me, I want to figure out how The Man in Black plans to use Desmond to get off the island, what will become of the remaining candidates, and how in the blazes a polar bear was found gallivanting on The Island.  Maybe just maybe those questions will be answered tonight. 

 If not, please expect a salty post in the morning. That is all.

Buffoons of The Week: 2012 Frick and Frack

22 May

Honestly, I cannot blame Wenlock and Mandeville (the actual names of the mascots for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games) for looking the way that they do.  That honor is indisputably reserved for the London 2012 organizing committee!  Now, I do understand London’s attempt to go bigger and bolder after the successful representation from host cities in years past, most notably Beijing’s 2008 spectacular Bird’s Nest Olympic display and multiple mascots, but two overweight cyclops aliens? For real?

Although it’s not quite clear what species Wenlock and Mandeville (named after two small English towns) are, the two mascots are said to be based on a story by children’s author Michael Morpurgo, in which they are formed by a welder from the last drops of steel from the girders of the Olympic Stadium in east London.

Committee officials envisioned the mascots being a huge hit with children and inspiring young people to become interested in the Olympics, but I can’t see how these indistinct characters would garner the type of excitement and attention the committee is clearly hoping to get.  Having earned the distinguished honor of hosting the largest assemblage of sporting events in the world, I would have expected that more creativity would have went into the design of London’s representatives to the world.  But before I’m accused of being a hypocrite, I would be remiss not to mention that when the Atlanta organizing committee had the opportunity in 1996 to reveal their progressive and cutting edge mascot, they too revealed an indolent design in the presentation of “Izzy,” that gelatinous looking blob-thingie.  The London Olympic Committee is optimistic however, and hopes that these “unique” mascots will receive a more positive reaction than the London 2012 logo did.  The emblem was openly criticized when it was unveiled in 2007 and was even blamed for eliciting seizures from some television viewers.

But regardless of how buffoon-worthy I believe this duo’s appearance is, organizers believe that the mascots will also be an important revenue-raising tool for meeting the London organizing committee’s $3 billion operating budget, and the sale of mascot toys, paraphernalia and other items should raise 10 to 20 percent of London’s merchandising revenue.  I suppose that when it’s all said and done, the end justifies the ugly.

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