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What The?: Solange ROCs Jay-Z

12 May

ImageAs this has been my longest hiatus to date, let me first begin this post with a heartfelt, two-count apology:

1.  Firstly of course, for not being able to condense all my life’s activities into the same 24 hours that God has afforded Oprah, Malala Yousafzai and Kim Kardashian.

2. For climbing out of dormancy to bring you all this bit of breaking tomfoolery.  My husband told me that if I was going to publish this post, I should at least admit that while I do strive to advance myself spiritually, socially and through modes of learning and higher education, the God’s honest truth is that while not completely absorbed by foolishness and absurdity, I do on occasion let the clutches of ratchetness envelop my soul…a tiny little bit (for which I intend to begin my penance shortly).

Now, in the ever-so-clever words of Mobb Deep, “there’s a war going on outside, no man is safe from…” 

Unfortunately, while Prodigy and Havoc were undoubtedly pontificating about their daily struggles on the mean streets of Queensbridge in the mid 90’s, they obviously didn’t realize that in just two short decades, that war would pale in comparison to the one that people regularly fight through the medium of social media and the internet; a war in which NO ONE is spared. Apparently, this has been made all the more evident by TMZ’s recently released “surveillance” video shot (and sold by some dummy who will obviously no longer be gainfully employed) of music royalty, The Carters and Solange Knowles while on an elevator at the Standard Hotel after last week’s Met Gala in New York.  Now, I won’t pretend to know what set off Solange’s mollywop trigger (however, any person with even a rudimentary understanding of addition coupled with a little cause and effect could most likely surmise accurately on the matter…I’m just saying), but as shown in the video, your girl attempts to put in WORK on her brother in-law, while still glammed out in her coral Philip Lim cocktail dress and never askew wig!! Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 6.21.36 PM

But for me, what was even more bizarre was the fact that although styled, tucked and taped to perfection in her peakaboo Givenchy gown, King Bey made no real effort to intervene or mediate the fracas between her sister nor her husband.  Jay was bobbing and weaving, Solange was throwing up her set, her purse and a karate kick and Beyonce stood silently, lest she crease the organza of her gown.  Seriously, it was almost as if her Ambien-Xanax cocktail chose just that moment to kick in.

I’d be lying however if I didn’t say I was impressed with Jay-Z’s restraint.  If not for his wisdom (or the constraints of arthritic knees, who knows?), the publicity surrounding this melee could have taken a much uglier turn.

So, what say ye?  Should Beyonce have attempted to settle things between her sibling and her spouse?  And, what in the world could have possibly occurred to make Solange behave in such a frenzied manner?  But most importantly, will the Carters add Solange to the line-up now and rename their tour “Family Affair”???  I imagine we will ALL be staying tuned for this one!

Doing Our Part: Support Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

5 Nov

Hello Pack Faithful!  It seems like ages since real life has afforded me the opportunity to take time to sit and indulge in what has always been for me, the pleasure of sharing my thoughts, concerns and general musings with each of you, but I honestly had to make the time to talk with you guys about Hurricane Sandy.

Let me first say that for any of you who have been affected, I am praying for your peace of mind and that you find swift relief and recovery in your circumstances.  For me, although I can say how blessed I am to have heard from so many of my family and friends up and down the East Coast who survived through Super Storm Sandy last week with only minimal damage and a few days’ inconvenience as it related to power outages, food shortages and the like, I am still wholly mortified by the images that I continue to see from as far south as The Outer Banks to the heavily hit northeast region of the New York/Tri-State area.  It is for that reason that I wanted to use this platform to encourage each of you to do something.

While so many of us don’t have the necessary training or resources to assist in clean-up efforts in areas like Ground Zero or the New Jersey Shore or across the Mid-Atlantic, it is good to know that we are not helpless.  If like me, you find that the daily news stories of damage assessments, the rising death tolls or coverage of images like the ones below tend to leave you in a state of unrest, then please donate to The American Red Cross on behalf of the victims of Sandy.

As a nation, lets prove this November that a contentious election is not the only time we can mobilize in full force for a worthy cause.

The Mighty Dollar: Public Figure, Private Life and Questionable Child Rearing Allegations

11 Jun

Most nights when I climb into bed at the end of the day, I ask God for three things:

  • The addition of 4 more hours to a 24-hour day
  • Forgiveness for the gleeful mental images of pure ruin and nastiness I’ve envisioned for the people who’ve crossed me throughout my day
  • The strength and wisdom to raise my kids in a way that does not jack them up into adulthood.

Now while I’m not very optimistic about the first request and I struggle with the second, I am pretty sure that I have been bestowed with an almost heavenly serenity and awareness when it comes to The Pack Kids because…well, they are still with us, ladies and gentlemen.

I say all that to say that raising children is HARD.  It is not for the faint of heart or for those looking for the latest melanin-enriched rosy cheeked, curly-haired accessory of the week (shots fired, I know).  It requires determination, resilience, patience, discipline (on both parts) and some basic common sense.  There are no “instructions or owner’s manual”, but the basic understanding that for your efforts, there will be occasions when you will be loved and adored and other times (sometimes more frequently) when you will be loathed and have mustaches and horns drawn on your Mother’s Day portraits (that’s just me? Oh…oh, okay then).  Still, as a parent who only wants the best for your child, you have to take the bad with the good and be unafraid of being the proverbial bad guy every now and again because you know that your resistance to negotiate with your kids’ terroristic demands or to acquiesce to their will is for their own good.

Having now stepped down from my soap box, I cannot imagine embodying these ideals for child rearing while being a celebrity.  I mean, as a public figure, people are already critiquing your every move and misstep; to couple that with a public assessment of the way that you interact with your children (God forbid if you believe in spankings and get caught not “sparing the rod” in public) and just like that, you and your family are media fodder and you have regular appointments with Child Protective Services for the next 6 months.

I can’t speak for him personally, but I imagine that is sort of what Dr. Creflo Dollar is going through right about now, especially given his religious celebrity status here in the U.S.   As reported by the NY Daily News:

Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar took to the pulpit in front of a packed house on Sunday to deny punching and choking his 15-year-old daughter, calling the accusations “an exaggeration and sensationalism.”

Dollar was arrested on Friday after the teen told police that he roughed her up and beat her with a shoe during an argument over whether she was allowed to go to a party, police said.

The Atlanta-based preacher’s other daughter, Alexandria, 19, backed her sister’s story, and cops noted the teen had red marks on her neck, signs of an apparent dust-up.

Dollar was charged with battery and cruelty to children.

He struck down the charges during a sermon at his World Changers Church International, his suburban Atlanta-based church that boasts 30,000 members and a host of satellite ministries across the U.S., according to The Associated Press.

“I will say this emphatically: I should have never been arrested,” he said, after receiving an exuberant welcome from the faithful at his 8,500-seat sanctuary, known as the World Dome.

“I want you all to hear personally from me that all is well in the Dollar household.”

 The 50-year-old televangelist denied choking his daughter, saying the scratches on the girl’s neck were caused by the skin condition eczema, which she’s had for 10 years.

“The truth is, she was not choked, she was not punched,” he said. “Anything else is exaggeration and sensationalism.”

After the incident, Dollar told police that the fight started when he told the teen she couldn’t go to a party on Saturday night because her grades were poor.

On Sunday, he told the church, “The truth is that a family conversation with our youngest daughter got emotional. And emotions got involved and things escalated from there.”

“I would never approach one of my children to intentionally inflict bodily harm. I love her with all my heart,” he said.

The father of five has built a multimillion dollar religious empire since starting the church in an elementary school in his hometown of College Park, Ga., in 1986.

He runs a weekly radio broadcast and has published more than 30 books preaching the “prosperity theology” message, which says God rewards the faithful with vast wealth.

His ministry has drawn criticism from detractors who have raised questions about his lavish lifestyle, including multimillion dollar homes in Atlanta and Manhattan, a private jet, two Rolls Royces other deluxe creature comforts.

On Sunday, he suggested that the media attention following his arrest was part of a plan to undercut his message, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

“The devil knows that in order to discredit the message, you have to first of all discredit the messenger,” Dollar told his congregation.

To be clear, this post is in no way a means by which to discredit or detract from Creflo Dollar.  With the exception of his gangster lean in Jermaine Dupri’s Welcome to Atlanta video, I have nothing against the man.  I do not know what went on in his home to lead up to these allegations, so you won’t hear me judging him or his family.  Further, I find the online comments that I’ve read following the various articles about Dollar both supporting his alleged actions as well as condemning them to be irresponsible and premature, especially since it is not yet clear what actually transpired at his home last Friday.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t care what a person’s socioeconomic and/or celebrity status is, if punching or choking a child registers as acceptable behavior in their mind, then they deserve to be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  The problem however, is proving this depravity in thinking and behavior.

For me personally, My Honey and I had to deal with an incident years ago where a parent of a teammate of my son basically accused my husband of abuse because said parent saw my kid get popped in the mouth for spitting on another child (the parent told other parents that he was concerned that my son was being abused).  Of course, when the rumor mill had finally made its way full-circle, it turned out that the “accuser” had not actually seen any of the exchange between My Honey and son, only my son crying inconsolably and his father threatening to give him something to cry about if he did not hush, but by then the damage was already done (and while My Honey relished the notion that these group of parents believed that he whooped his kids, I took issue with the whole Angry Black Man label that they tried to affix on him…but I digress).

If nothing else, from this story, it is apparent that wealth and status do not a stable familial relationship necessarily make.  This matter should also serve as a reminder to us as parents (and those of us who one day plan to be parents) of the serious commitment and mental fortitude that needs to be exercised in not only raising children, but ensuring that their core values and expectations in life are realistic and reflective of our own.

Playing Catch-up!

30 Mar

Have you ever just awaken one day, feeling as though you’ve shaken yourself loose from an alternate reality and had to ponder on how exactly you got to where you were?

Like, when did this happen?

Or, how did I miss that?

And, in my quest to do it all, have I really been accomplishing anything at all?

Unfortunately, that has sort of been my tale of woe over the past three months.  While I have been forced to be highly productive in many areas relating to my life and career, I feel as though I have been missing so many of the little things that, in en masse, are truly what make my life whole.

For instance, my inability to attend my ladies book club meetings; you have no idea how difficult describing Katniss and Gale and Peeta’s quasi-love triangle across three novels to my honey (who only wants to see the movie and couldn’t care less about the precise descriptors of Panem or the almost lyrical narrative of a country on the brink) has been.  Or having to regretfully decline an offer to coach students at my local track club because my schedule simply won’t allow it.  Or how about being shocked at learning something entire new and unexpected about my kids?

Eating Dinner with my Irish twins last night, I was doing a little raving over my spaghetti sauce loaded with grilled and sliced kielbasa (not vanity, just self-appreciation).  When I asked The Big Boy and Girl what they thought of their dinner, my son in no uncertain terms told me that he did not like my proffered meal.  After I got over my initial shock and hurt feelings, I asked him since when could he not abide by my cooking?  It was then that my daughter busted out laughing and said, “since he became a vegan!”

America’s War on Terror: The PISS de Résistance?

14 Jan

Graphic: Scroll to the end of this post  for video of Marines caught urinating over Afghan bodies. 

Upon first hearing of this defilement and having since had several intense conversations with friends, family and social media followers alike, I could not help but to be sickened by the alleged actions of members of our otherwise highly regarded armed forces, and even some of the commentary which has teetered almost on excusing said behavior.

For those not familiar with the story, an anonymous source posted a video to the internet which depicts four members of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, in combat gear standing over three Afghan corpses with their genitals exposed as they relieve themselves.

While the men aren’t readily identifiable in the shocking viral spectacle, they can be heard joking and making statements like ‘Have a great day, buddy’, ‘Golden like a shower’ and ‘Yeahhhh!’ as they moan in apparent relief and release.

From the White House to local barbershops, within hours of the video’s release, most anyone with a heart, conscience, a moral compass or a at least a modicum or respect for humanity had been vocal in speaking out against this disgusting display.  Not surprisingly though, there have been those who were equally as vocal in (almost) defending the alleged actions of these soldiers.

Though speaking from a place of experience and understanding, Ex-Army Lieutenant Colonel and current Florida Rep. Allen West insisted that the Marines were wrong but angrily defended:

“As for everyone else, unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth.  War is hell.”

 The “everyone else” that Mr. West referred to included (but was clearly not limited to) political pundits who he deemed over-emotional, self-righteous and armchair quarterbacks over their opinions on the future of the men and the disgrace that they’ve brought the armed forces.

One media pundit not fitting into Mr. West’s mold however is CNN correspondent and conservative radio host Dana Loesch.  Sharing her views on a St. Louis radio station this week, Loesch made her opinion clear:

 “’C’mon people, this is a war.  Do I have a problem with that as a citizen of the United States? No, I don’t.”

She also said that she would give a million cool points to these guys and would be willing to join them.

Classy lady.

Realistically though, I do get it.  Though never personally having had the remarkable courage or desire to serve my country in the armed forces, I have had family to serve in Vietnam and even members who’ve done multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The horrendous stories I have been told of survival and daily life in those war-torn regions are cringe-worthy tales that I still cannot even wrap my mind around, so yes, I am sympathetic.  Living through an ordeal like that; I am sure continues to be a nightmare within itself.

In that regard, Mr. West is absolutely correct.  It is easy for civilians to pass judgment and make baseless comments about behaviors enacted in war when they have never stared death in the face or had to decide between their lives or that of the insurgent trying to blow their heads off.  Still, like I tweeted earlier this week, I honestly do understand the whole “psychology” of a solider and cringe at all they are liable to see and required to do, but the standard of The United States and that of our Marine Corp. is just too high for that behavior.  In this country, we cannot insist that we be recognized as beacons of the free world, yet relegate ourselves to urinating on people…dead people, for kicks.

Libya’s Freedom, Qaddafi’s Fate.

20 Oct

BBC’s News Hour.  NPR.  The Tom Joyner Morning Show.  CNN. The Russ Parr Morning Show.

On the way to work this morning, I was inundated with bandwagon breaking news out of Libya declaring that the former Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi was captured and injured by National Transitional Council fighters in his hometown of Sirte.  Libyan reporters also disclosed that Qaddafi was found hiding in a hole (déjà vu?).  Hearing some Libyans who were interviewed in both Sirte and the nation’s capital of Tripoli expressing their sobbing elation and relief in broken English as well as in their native tongue was not only moving but gave me a prolonged case of gooseflesh.

But for all of the excitement and celebrations surrounding the end of tyranny in Libya, the reports of Colonel Qaddafi’s capture have only been coming from Libyan news and state television, and unfortunately, independent reports have yet to be confirmed.  But that has not stopped the international wires from broadcasting news that not only was Qaddafi captured, but was mortally wounded and purportedly dead.

U.S. officials and senior Obama Administration reps have been hesitant to confirm or deny any of this information however, and have instead been working frantically to substantiate Qaddafi’s capture and/or death, a White House administrator stated this morning.

Still, with Libyans declaring October 20th as their new “Day of Independence”, I am sure that this is a story that will be developing swiftly and in more specific detail throughout the day.

Lions and Tigers and Bears…Ohio!?

19 Oct

Imagine waking up to reports that your children’s schools have been closed for the day and your employer has urged that you stay home, and there isn’t even a single snowflake in sight or any inclement weather on the horizon.  Imagine still, that these precautions have been taken due not to a community woosah day, but because exotic wild animals are on the loose in your neighborhood!

Well, for the folks in rural Zanesville, Ohio this wasn’t a hypothetical situation at all, as many rose with the sun to news that wild animals had broken free from their cages last night on a Muskingum County wild animal preserve where, once authorities arrived on the scene, found the zoo owner Terry Thompson dead.  Further investigating found that the animals’ cages had been opened, and the preserves external fences were unsecure; a detail that had many morning show reports this a.m. speculating on what actually happened and what caused Thompson’s death at the site.

Of the 48 Lions, leopards, cheetahs, black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions and wolves (to name a few) that had escaped the privately owned zoo about 55 miles east of Columbus, close to 25 had been shot and killed Tuesday evening.  CNN interviewed legendary animal expert and the Columbus Zoo’s director emeritus Jack Hanna, who was asked to assist authorities in hunting and retrieving the animals, and he expressed remorse that so many animals had to be put down, but reiterated that in a scenario when escaped animals absconded into populated areas, human life had to be the priority.

But for as movie-ready as this unbelievable scenario has seemed, many neighbors who live near the preserve have not been surprised by the escape.  In 2006, it was reported that a lion had gotten loose from the small zoo, and over the years, many neighbors have called authorities complaining of hearing roaring and other deafening animal noises throughout the night.  Still, more than just the nuisance of living so close to such a bizarre place, neighbors said they have always been cautious and worried because although Thompson lived on the premises, he stayed in legal trouble regularly, due to his animal permits and the creatures getting out of their manufactured habitats all of the time.

Now, I will be the first to admit to being an avid fan zoos, Animal Planet and most things beastly (from afar of course), but the idea of having my very own Wizard of Oz scenario unfold right in my back yard would have me in complete and utter Cowardly Lion mode!

I mean, it’s clear that privately owning such a multitude of wild animals the way that Thompson did is legal in Ohio and many other states across the country, but when owners have been cited numerous times and proper precautions fail to be taken in caring for these animals (whose natural habitats are NOT somebody’s modified farm), perhaps the regulations surrounding the private ownership of such dangerous beasts should be revised and reinforced before the unthinkable were to happen; oh, wait…

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