EPISODE 41: Q AND MAYBE SOME A

See the world through the eyes of a BROTHA ON THE BRINK!!

Sooooo…. Yeah…. Here we are at the end of 2015/ beginning of 2016 and there are still some questions I have lingering that I’d love some answers to. Some serious, some not, some land somewhere in between, but just a few things have crossed my mind and I scratch my head wondering aloud sometimes “I can’t be the only one that is thinking/noticing this… can I?” To that end, in no particular order, here are a few of the questions I’d reeeeeeally love an answer to…

1. Just how many damn Kardashians/Jenners are there? It started with a sex tape now we’re here. And where is ‘here’? Almost everything all of these kids do makes news. I’m curious as to how many are there because at least I can figure out maybe how much longer the media will be obsessed with if one of them brushed but didn’t floss first. I give Kim credit for knowing how to make fun of herself and the realization that she doesn’t have bankable assets and talents far beyond her, well, ‘ass’ets and having some business acumen but as for the rest of the clan, yeah… I don’t want my teenage son to have ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians- grandkids in college’ years from now…

2. And I quote, ‘where ya word was everything so everything you said you do? You did it… couldn’t talk about it if you ain’t live it’.
That’s a line from Jay-Z’s song ‘Where I’m from’ from his CD In My Lifetime released in 1997. Did he, and everyone else totally forget this? I ask because ummmm…. WHY DOES RICK FRAUD, ERR.. I MEAN, ROSS STILL HAVE A CAREER? I’m mean seriously, cmon. Dude’s whole life is a fabrication, a well known and documented one which was highlighted by his back and forth with 50 cent. And yet, this guy gets cameo after cameo even with Jay himself. How did this happen? No denying dude has flow but as for content… I mean, we should’ve all learned what we needed to know when he got sued for the use of his stage name by the real Freeway Rick Ross

3. So is America going to wake up and figure out this Trump fellow is a bad idea? It’s stupefying that not only is he still around for the republican party he’s actually in the lead for the nod much to the chagrin of republican stalwarts with last names like Bush. I have this crazy conspiracy theory that he’s actually a plant by the democrats and all of this will come to a head after Hilary wins. In WWE fashion he’s going to come out to Clinton HQ after Hilary wins, congratulate her, call the republicans idiots and let everyone know it was the plan all along to get Hilary elected. You can’t actually think you can win the presidential election against a woman when you’ve gone on record insulting and belittling women. And Mexicans. And Blacks. And Muslims. If you pay close attention to his rhetoric I’m seriously hoping someone nabs his ‘Hitler How-To Starter Kit’ before he inspires the wrong kind of movement. Currently the only one he inspires in me is of the bowel variety but there’s more than a few folks that are buying what this guy is selling.

4. It’s not just if, but WHO i’m willing to shank to score some tix for Adele’s world tour. Heartbreak brought us her last album, the infamous SNL skit, and the ‘bring even a hardened criminal to their knees’ anthem Someone Like You. This album. THIS ALBUM. THIS is what love and happiness sounds like. Like it was mixed with pixie dust and a fallen feather from a unicorn wing.

5. I’m really curious what it takes to have my own College Bowl game. I mean, judging by some of the names (belk bowl, famous idaho potato bowl, just to name a couple) I’d like to name one. The ‘On The Brink’ bowl or the ‘Brotha Bowl’. Actually, the Brotha Bowl might not go over too well but hey it’s worth a shot.

6. Gun Control. Yeaeeeahhh… imma just let that one sit there… Yup… I have questions. Then a few more. then a couple after that. Not sure if there are real answers.

7.  Is the new Star Wars flick gonna live up to all the hype?  Is the new Sith Lord comparable to Vader?  Is the new Sith Lord’s light sabre being in the shape of a cross accidental or symbolic? And while we’re talking about movies…

8.  If eating raw meat and sleeping in an animal carcass isn’t enough to get you an Oscar, what is? Oh, and before you hit me with ‘DUDE!!! YOU COULD’VE SAID SPOILER ALERT!!!!’ the reason I didn’t is because these things are nowhere near the only trials and tribulations Leo had to face in The Revenant.  Trust me… it’s a great flick and if this doesn’t make Leo an Oscar winner I don’t be surprised to find Steven Speilberg, George Lucas, and some studio big-wig in a hostage situation reeeeal soon.

9.   Coldplay?  FRIGGIN COLDPLAY??  With all due respect, it’s Superbowl 50. Like, the 50th. The big 5-0,  and this is who gets to play?  I figure for the 50th you need a really BIG act.  Prince, MJ, Beyonce, Madonna, something of that category.  Yeah, yeah, I know, they’ve already done it so who does that leave?  Metallica anyone? U2 if they haven’t? I dunno…. I expected something bigger than Coldplay..

Those are 9 burning questions at the front of my dome at this time.  I would’ve come up with 10 but hey, that would make me like everyone else and the Brotha ain’t like that.  Now if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna see how much hate mail I get from Coldplay fans.

 

Signing off….

Your Brotha

Posted in george lucas, gun control, hilary clinton, hitler, jay, jay z, kardashian, LEO DICAPRIO, mexicans, muslims, rick ross, speilberg, star wars, the revenant, trump, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EPISODE 40: THE ART OF UNCOOL

 

 

see the world through the eyes of a BROTHA ON THE BRINK!!!!

 

‘Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them…’

                William Shakespeare

‘Some people are born cool, some achieve coolness, and some have coolness thrust upon them…’

                Brotha on the Brink

I wasn’t born cool.  While I was born at the end of a very cool decade, the 70’s, I myself would contend I wasn’t born cool.  Being born cool means you had that Fonzarelli Factor in your blood meaning you could take a white tee and a leather jacket with a flipped up collar and make it a fashion statement.  You probably were the kid that other kids wanted to push on the swing at the playground.  Nope, definitely wasn’t me.  While I wasn’t the kid pushing the cool kid I certainly wasn’t the cool kid growing up, which leads to achieving coolness.  This one is a bit tricky because if you weren’t born cool, income can certainly play a part in the achievement of cool.  We all remember that one friend that not only were they not on the same block as cool, but not even in the same zip code but because they had all the cool ‘toys’ or access to gadgets they became de-facto cool.  If somehow you could be born with the Fonzarelli Factor in your blood AND have disposable income you become Brad Pitt in Ocean’s 11, Ryan Gosling in Stupid Crazy Love, Will Smith in Hitch, otherworldly kind of cool.

I tried to achieve coolness.  I knew what cool was in manner of dress and speech and how to carry myself.  Only thing was, growing up it looked a lot more like awkwardness.  In my early 20’s I had a bit more income but truly none of it was disposable but being cool mattered soooo… $500 on some Cazal frames with prescription lenses?  Why yes my good man!  Let’s be COOL!!

Looking back, I spent a good deal of my 20’s trying to be cool.  Being cool is a chore and I don’t think one realizes it until, well, being cool no longer matters and the time you spend trying to be cool you’d much rather opt to use to take a nap.  Being cool means being aware of speech, dress, styles, music, and attitudes that make one ‘cool’.  When you’re in the ‘in’ crowd you kind of get to be cool even through osmosis.  You may not be the coolest one in the bunch but you’re in the bunch.  Being there is how one can achieve coolness.

Funny thing happened… I almost achieved coolness.  Had a job that did give me a bit of disposable income which meant I could buy a few things that could make me look cool.  I got the big truck (Expedition), I lifted a few weights to try to get the big muscles,  I went a couple places where cool folks go and listened to the music the cool folks listened to;  tis a great way to have coolness thrust upon you.

Then a funnier thing happened; I stopped caring about being cool.

When I look at the arc of my life two things are obvious and stand in stark contrast which is how I spent my 20’s doing all I could to be cool and attract attention and now in my 30’s I do all I can to deflect it.  It sometimes frightens me how cool I am with being uncool.  My attire is relatively basic; jeans, Tims, tshirt and hoody in cool months, tank top, basketball shorts, sneakers, Yankee fitted in the summer.  This uniform only changes when I actually have somewhere to go that requires more but other than that this is my standard look.  My music tastes and subsequently my slang probably hasn’t progressed past the early 2000s as the music i hear now just hurts my ears.  And before you put me out to pasture with the fogeys in the get-off-my-lawn crowd this isn’t my age or my NY rap music bias talking; I just have always had an appreciation for slang somewhat rooted in realistic correlation.  ‘Chill’ has context.  ‘Dope’ has context.  ‘On Fleek’? Not so much.

I’m totally aware that a lot of this may very well just sound like I’m getting older and out of touch but as the proud owner of a teenage son I assure you  I’m more in touch than I’d ever like to be with today’s standards of cool.

All in all I think if ol’ Shakes was alive he’d make an addendum to his edict and say ‘some men make stuff cool just because’.   Adulthood as well as parenthood has some pretty mundane cool stuff.  My pants being worn with a belt and over my arse?  Cool.  Not having a criminal record?  Also cool.  Being a man my son can be proud of? Waaaaay cool.  I’m not totally detached from coolness (which could also be known as pop culture) but I’m far enough away from it that not knowing the latest slang or wearing the trendiest clothes is a non factor.  Now if you’ll pardon me I’m going to bump my Black on Both Sides CD like it’s 1999…..

Signing off…

Your Brotha

Posted in 1999, BAGGY JEANS, british knights, brotha, entertainment, fun, happy, la gear, love, memories, MEN, nike, parenting, rap, rap music, social media, SOCIETY, stupid crazy love, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

EPISODE 39: HUMAN RESOURCES

See the world through the eyes of a BROTHA ON THE BRINK!!!!

Something I’ve noticed…. really good companies don’t just sell you a product they sell you an experience. Even in this era of E-commerce and live chats, good companies still make you feel like you bought something you can’t get anywhere else, especially face to face. If you think about it, I’m sure you’d find there are certain things you could probably get elsewhere cheaper but it just wouldn’t be the same (Yes, I know… I’m sure there are a few Bunny Ranch jokes floating in a few heads but I digress). Nothing warms up a fall or winter day like a Venti white hot chocolate from Starbucks- other than a much cheaper swiss miss cup of hot coco. But being in my kitchen with my automatic teapot isn’t the same as being in Starbucks, with an oh so attentive -and let’s face it, most of the times cute- barrista. Their genuine enthusiasm for making your drink is nothing short of amazing. Great atmosphere, great people. The folks that hog the big comfy couches, the outlets to plug in my laptop, and probably most of the bandwith of the free wi-fi? Not so much. Yes I’m looking at you Mr. Artsy, faux intellectual with 2 books stacked up and a mess of papers. Oh wait… that could be me on a given day… disregard…

Another company that nails it with hiring the right people? Gamestop. When my son was younger games were our thing. So when a new title hit, we’d hit Gamestop and I’d ask about the game we were buying and any upcoming titles. EVERY time without fail the person I’m talking to knew what was what in the gamer universe. It’s like they just worked there and played video games with the rest of their spare time. I’d ask about a title and the response would be ‘yeah but don’t forget to look for the secret board behind the hidden treasure chest. Go there and collect the spirit of Zohan power and unlimited elf magic… rest of the game will be a breeze…’ Loved those folks.

Hungry? Hit Chik-fil-a. Growing up in Buffalo, NY there was no Chik-fil-a so moving to Baltimore it was definitely on the to-do list. Got there, tried it… meh. Then someone turned me on to the ‘naked nuggets’ (and didn’t turn me on to the massive sodium but hey, can’t win em all can you) and my trips increased. I learned the hard way not to mention going there to co-workers because you’ll soon find yourself saddled with 3 more orders QUICK. This one time lead to my most memorable experience there: As i’m in line ordering for myself and 3 other lazy, not-willing-to-drive-mutha-f…..I mean… co-workers, by the time I had completed the order, paid, and went to the end of the line a young lady was already handing me the food. With a smile. A REAL smile. That’s having the right people in the right place.

Last place I’ll touch on is Vitamin Shoppe and GNC. I proudly work for GNC now and have been a Vitamin Shoppe loyalist since the late 90’s. I can always count on going in there and hearing the what’s-what on supplements, what works, what’s bogus, what’s coming down the pipe, which one the FDA is about to ban. They dedicated, knowledgeable, and interested. They’re not just pushing products for a commission primarily because they’ve used a lot of the products themselves. For those wondering, no, that’s not just a shameless plug for me either! Waaaay more often than not I’ve bought stuff off of the strength of their word and the product did exactly as they said it would or close to. When it comes to putting stuff in your body, you need to know the person you’re talking to doesn’t have an agenda and does have firsthand product experience.

I could go on with companies that get it right. I could also speak on a few companies that get it waaaaaaay wrong (Hello Walmart, Foot Locker, most cell phone companies, and damn near all phone/internet/cable or utility companies) but I’ll refrain and save that for a day when one of the aforementioned pisses me off. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna go grab a White Hot Chocolate on the way home from getting a video game geeked up on my latest grab from GNC.

Signing off….

Your Brotha

Posted in baltimore, baltimore ravens, Buffalo, chikfila, customer service, foot locker, gamer, gamestop, gnc, hiring practices, human resources, people, target, video games, walmart | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EPISODE 38: BACK TO SCHOOL

see the world through the eyes of a BROTHA ON THE BRINK!!!!

American culture is obsessed with adulthood and all its trappings. Paying bills, being on your own, asking for minimal to no help, the spouse, the house, the dog, the 2.5 kids… Essentially the American dream. Being ‘grown’. The moment you go away from this in any undesirable manner it’s viewed as well, less than grown and one is all but guaranteed to hear the charge of ‘what’s wrong with you, this isn’t high school anymore!’

The reasons I find this comical are twofold. For starters, I’m amazed at how many people have become rich by exhibiting high school behavior be it the entire casts of entire seasons of entire shows going back to Jersey Shore all the way up to the Love and hip-hop-basketball-wives-whatever-else-you-can-think-of-reality-tv-trash on the airwaves currently. Inability to effectively problem solve, obvious anger management issues, denial of responsibility, and this can all be seen in just one episode. What one would categorically consider high school behavior on display at its finest. The second reason I find this condemnation of high school behavior so interesting is that everything from high school wasn’t all bad. The carefree-ness and feeling that you could take on the world and win weren’t bad things. The world being your oyster wasn’t a bad thing. Heck, thoughts of world domination weren’t exactly bad things.

So take yourself back for a moment… (insert Barbara Streisand’s ‘The way we were’ here for your whimsical throwback montage of memories) Back to the day you graduated high school. Back to unabashed potential, the completion of the first big milestone of your life, and, if you’re me, High Top fades, reeeeally baggy jeans, and having the courage to ask your crush to sign your yearbook.

When I look back at the end of high school I don’t think of everything being horrible should I decide to compare and contrast it to the Brotha of 2015. In fact, I look back to that guy for inspiration from time to time. I like to keep parts of him around on purpose just to make sure I don’t get so sucked into the rat-race matrix; keeps me grounded. Upon my high school graduation there were some things I was oh so sure I could do and honestly, I refresh myself of them whenever I’m feeling waaaay too adult. I truly believed I could change the world. Yup, me. Just me. By myself. One man. One dream. All day. I still do. I never listened to those that said ‘well, one guy can’t make a difference’ then and I don’t now. I love my unyielding belief of self and remind people what would the world be like if Dr. King, Malcolm X, Bill Gates, countless inventors and revolutionaries thought that way? There are days when I get caught in what I call the gravity of reality and don’t feel so ready to take on let alone change the world. It is those days that I remember the end of high school, the young man I was, the dreams I had, and more importantly the determination I had to make them happen.

I believed in true love and that women were magical, mythical, unicorns covered in pixie dust that could do no wrong. I believed in being a gentleman at all times. I still do. This one has admittedly been a bit harder to keep on track with but that’s more my fault than anything. A couple broken hearts, a failed marriage, a few years and a few therapy sessions later I find myself centered again in my conviction that women are amazing. Yeah, it would be easy for me to let life, the repercussions of my actions that brought about the end of relationships, the foul women I’ve come across directly or vicariously sour me. What’s not easy for me to ignore are things like female castration, breast ironing, patriarchy, body shaming and the host of other things women have to endure directly due to men. I’ve managed to reconcile this by not ignoring the flaws I see in women but rather highlighting the amazing parts of them and try my hardest to not continue the cycle of penis privilege. I believed in true love then, I still believe in it now. I believed in happy endings, that love conquers all, that not only did Prince Charming exist but I could be him. I think I can say with a certain measure of confidence that if you asked the woman I love, she’d tell you I embody it for the most part.

I believed in the goodness of man back then. I truly just never bought in to this notion that if left to their own devices man is inherently evil. I believe that more often than not people want to do the right thing regardless of what Nancy Grace or mainstream media would have you believe. There’s money to be made in the If-it-bleeds-it-leads mantra of news. There are also psyche’s to be damaged. I refuse to let it be mine. I refuse to think everyone is out to get me. I refuse to think more guns are the answer. Less guns, more hugs. Naïve? Maybe. I prefer blissfully optimistic.

So the next time someone accuses you of acting like you’re in high school I hope it’s for these reasons or something close to. I hope it’s because you’ve reconnected with the parts of you that give the world a chance, give the bad parts of it The Finger, and give yourself that amazing hope and confidence.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to troll Facebook for a bit and see if I can figure out just whatever happened to the folks that signed my yearbook. All 12 of them.

Signing off,

Your Brotha

Posted in BAGGY JEANS, BARBARA STREISAND, BELIEF, BILL GATES, DR. KING, GRADUATION, HAPPINESS, high school, HIGH TOP FADES, MALCOLM X, SOCIETY, THE WAY WE WERE, YEARBOOK | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EPISODE 37: FUCK THE POLICE; NOW IT MEANS SOMETHING

See the world through the eyes of a BROTHA ON THE BRINK!!!

August 8th 1988. I’m guessing it had to be pretty warm that day, even in Buffalo, New York. At 11 years old there wasn’t much that I was too worried about. Things like the crack epidemic making neighborhoods in inner cities virtual war zones, Reagan-nomics, the upcoming war on black and brown youths aka the war on drugs. Nope, I was more concerned about trying to be cool and not look so damn poor. I wasn’t too worried about the west coast either but on this day that all changed as it was the day NWA dropped their profanity laced, hood representing, white america scaring, west coast version of hood CNN debut album Straight Outta Compton.

We were now about to witness the strength of street knowledge…

Track one, the titular track was brash, bold, unforgiving and the perfect in-your-face intro to the world but track 2 is what REALLY got the party started.

Fuck Tha Police. Straight like that. No apologies nor fucks given. A shade under six minutes of an anti law enforcement anthem and with good reason I might add. At 11 years old I just wanted to be cool and blast it out of a stereo. I had no gripe with police save for my incarcerated father who was responsible for his own predicament as much as any cop was. Fast forward a year later after the premier of the first live action Ninja Turtles movie and myself and 7 friends who all went to see it together are standing at the bus stop playing around (as 12 year old boys are prone to do) and we soon find ourselves surrounded by 4 cop cars and cops that alleged they got complaints of fighting. It’s cold, we’re waiting on a bus and we’re told to keep our hands visible until they can figure out what’s going on.

Fuck the police

Fast forward 4 years from then. Myself and two friends are walking through a college campus parking lot to get to his house at 2 in the afternoon. We’re stopped by campus police. First one. Then 3 more cars arrive. We’re told there were some car break-ins in the area and we ‘fit the description’. We’re made to empty our backpacks and told we can’t leave until we produce id’s. Myself and my best friend at the time look at one another and start laughing. We can see through the BS. One officer takes exception and gives me my first hot hood facial and asks would I like to go back to school in a few days after getting out of jail. I think it was that day I perfected my ‘fuck you to authority’ stare.

Fuck the police

5 years after that I’m leaving a movie with a good friend and my little brother. The movie theater is outside city limits in the ‘burbs. I have a SUV with a nice subwoofer in the back but it’s late and we’re talking so I don’t even have music on. My windows are tinted and since I know that can be a problem I have my windows rolled halfway down so if someone wanted to look inside they could. I get pulled over. Officer bangs on my back window with his nightstick so hard the glass almost cracks. He comes to my window hand on his gun. All my papers are legit so it’s ‘Have a nice night and drive safe’. Never mind my little brother being traumatized.

Fuck the police

Four years later I relocate to Baltimore. I didn’t change my plates over to Maryland right away. I park and ride to work every day and come back to find my windows busted out, all my cds gone and a couple other items. Not that I had left them in plain view. I do the natural thing and call the police who when they arrive proceed to insinuate it was my fault because I have a NY plate and they probably thought I had money. It’s 2003 and I’m driving a 96 grand cherokee…

Fuck the police

I realize my story isn’t exactly Rodney King and that’s the problem; nothing major has happened to me. Just enough to make me have a major disdain for law enforcement to the point where I don’t like cops, nor to I have a fondness for people who do. I see cop cars and clench my fists. If i’m next to a cop at a light, I stare across at whoever is driving. If i get pulled over I say a few words as possible. I honestly can’t tell you if I was born with a problem with authority or was it honed. I do know that I could go into graphic detail of what I’ve heard happened to associates and others at the hands of police with a grudge, a point to prove, or both and no, it’s not just hearsay, I’ve seen the bruises to prove it. Should be noted that I have no criminal record, I do not engage nor cavort with any criminal enterprise though I know folks who have a loose interpretation of ‘legal’ to be sure.

I understand that some will say ‘well you brought some of these things on yourself’ and I’m almost sure folks in law enforcement will see nothing wrong with what happened. I write this to show that if a guy from the gutter that’s played by the rules can have experiences that have soured him to anyone with a badge and a gun just imagine what it’s like for those that have been subject to ‘rough rides’ (google it) and much worse. One of the hardest things I ever had to do as a parent is to tell my son that police are his friends. I have two friends that are cops. I love them both dearly. One is who I turn to when things just don’t make sense and I need to see it through other eyes. Ironically I knew her before she was an officer and my other friend and I got cool before I knew he was a cop. Yeah, it’s that bad.

I always hear a lot of cops say that every cop isn’t bad and in fact most aren’t. The thing is, even ONE bad cop can cost a life and that’s one too many. I read a book a while back by the name of Disposable People and a line that stuck out to me is ‘The law is only as good as those that enforce it’. I really hope that all who take the oath, carry the badge and gun, and patrol our neighborhoods understand that. We’ve seen soooo much go wrong with police at the center of it in the past couple years. I know I need to modify my attitude when it comes to police. I think….

Well if you’ll excuse me I’m going to see if I can find my old Raiders starter jacket in time for the premier of the Straight Outta Compton movie. Maybe a trip down memory lane will change my attitude. Or not…

Signing off,

Your Brotha

Posted in crime, ice cube, nwa, police, police brutality, rap, rough rides, straight outta compton, west coast | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

EPISODE 36: SOOOO…. HOW BOUT THOSE REDSKINS??

See the world through the eyes of a BROTHA ON THE BRINK!!!!

For those keeping score at home let’s just get this out here nice and early…
YES it’s been a good minute since my last entry
YES I’m sorry for that
YES I plan to do better. No seriously, I do. I have these delusions of celebrity blogging grandeur and you know what helps that along? Actual blogging!
NO I haven’t lost any of my wit, charm, Carlin-esque/Maher-esque/Rock-esque/On The Brink-esque sarcasm about the world. That said, let’s get down to business shall we?

I remember since my last blog a conversation I was having with a good friend of mine about That Team In Washington DC Who’s Name I Refuse To Acknowledge. Their rabid fanbase, their season ticket waiting list that a Corleone couldn’t get on, their young amazing quarterback that re-energized the aforementioned fanbase that pushed the team back to the national forefront along with their lavishly spending owner. Ahh yes, Mr. Daniel Snyder. The northern version of Jerry Jones minus the accent, the rings, and the talented hall of fame roster. The conversation a good friend of mine and myself were having was surrounding Snyder, his apparent insensitivity towards how insulting the name of his team is, and his remarks oozing with white privilege as to why he’d never change the name. See, me and my folk don’t just talk about sports from a wins and losses and statistical standpoint, oh hell nah. We pontificate on that OTHER level. From then til now, well… some other stuff happened that led to some much more complex conversations.

Bill Cosby happened. Accusations happened. 40 or so of them happened. The statute of limitations happened. Questions happened. Questions of celebrity, of casting couches, of patriarchy, of entitlement, of conspiracy, of race. All uncomfortable. All very relevant. All very reflective. I firmly believe in cases where the truth seems to be far from reach, it should be mad mention of the questions that arise from the situation and what conversations need to be had. ‘Why would all these women lie?’ was balanced out with ‘why did they wait so long?’ Then came an unsealed deposition. And an admission. And everyone that crucified Cosby initially running to remind everyone how right they were. Funny thing about being right; it isn’t always a great thing to be

Things I intentionally tried to ignore because I wanted to believe it was an isolated incident happened. Mike Brown happened a while back. I didn’t give that situation much light in this blog because something like that will take me from on the brink to past it. I wanted to see justice served and it would serve as an example to other (in my Robin Harris voice) ‘officers of the GOT-DAMN law’. But it didn’t. Because Eric Garner happened. ‘I can’t breathe’ happened. Tamir Rice happened. A gun was mistaken for a taser and Eric Harris happened. Walter Scott happened. Dash-cams thankfully happened. Know what didn’t happen? Convictions. Those are pretty hard to get when indictments don’t happen. Then, Freddie Gray happened and for Baltimore that was all that needed to happen because next….

Riots happened. But I’m getting ahead of myself as it has to be noted that everything I just mentioned also raised some very interesting, and, if you’re sharp, uncomfortable questions. Questions of race. Of history-primarily the antagonistic relationship between black men and the police. Questions of what most deemed the farce of ‘post-racial amercia’. Of a slanted and biased criminal justice system. Of poverty. Of ‘how the hell can you KILL someone ON CAMERA and never see a day in jail let alone court?’ Yup, all that happened… and while we were all processing, or angering, or dismissing and/or denying, Freddie Gray happened. Yet. Another. Fucking. Hashtag. Happened. And then the riots happened. Thoughts of LA in 92 and Watts in 65 happened. ‘Thug’ becoming the new N-word happened. Old black folk screaming that kids need whuppins happened and they got their wish when Toya Graham happened. Talks of child abuse vs. acceptable corporal punishment happened. Kids having enough happened. CVS being raised to the level of damn near The Vatican happened. Stories of extreme poverty and lack of opportunity and just how dangerous the Sandtown section of Baltimore is happened…just long enough for people to care, to gasp, to think it’s a shame, but not long enough for folks not close to the situation to actually do a whole lot, happened. The national guard happened. Adults given a curfew happened. Talks of martial law happened. In a bit of a silver lining, Mosby happened. Indictments happened. To be sure though, questions linger and I’m not certain the conditions that precipitated all of this don’t.

Oh yeah, marriage equality happened!!! Rainbows happened. Rejoice happened. Hatred happened. The bible being used as a weapon (per as usual) happened. More questions happened. Questions of political correctness. Of choice vs. birthright. Of why does it matter. Of sanctioning Love. Of sin. Of rainbow profile pictures on social media. Of race (yes Virginia there IS a santa claus! Oh, and yes you CAN be gay, AND black, AND be down for BOTH CAUSES!!). Of Love conquering all and if you’ve read a few of these blogs you know I’m all for love conquering all.

Lastly, Dylann Roof happened. 9 dead black people in a historic church happened. A hate crime happened (I don’t care what the feds say). Mcdonalds happened. Mourning happened. The flag coming down off state grounds happened but the labeling of this as a domestic terrorist attack or calling the person who did it a terrorist DIDN’T happen. Of course lots of questions were raised. Questions of race (again). Of white supremacy. Of the confederate flag and its meaning. Of what exactly constitutes a hate crime. Of gun control. Of the farce of post-racial america (again). Of symbolism.

Yep, there’s been a lot. Tragic describes the vast majority of it. I won’t even touch the power of the media and how they can sway an entire nation one way or the next as I’ve seen firsthand the very things people deem relevant to discuss can be found on the CNN or CNBC ticker. Case and point: as of this writing black churches have been burned in the south in a fashion that suggests it ain’t exactly accidental. But the news stations that its led on are ummmm….. wait… just gimme a sec…

I really wanna keep things light and fun. I have no issue tackling the tough stuff here as I’m a self described Brotha on the Brink and I damn sure wouldn’t be there without some pushing. That stated, I cannot ignore what’s going on in plain sight no matter how painful. For the 14 loyal followers I have, I want them to know I’m here, I’m aware, and I’m game to put it out there and talk about it. I don’t have answers to all that’s happened. I know I’ve found myself in some very interesting and sometimes heated discussions from the last post to this one. Given the magnitude of the tragedies, I long for a discussion about why that owner in DC needs to change the name of that team to be the only pressing thing. Snyder says he won’t change the name but as of 7/9/15 they lost another trademark. Let’s see who blinks first.

Well, if you’ll excuse me I’ve gotta hurry up and get this posted before something else besides another sponsor dropping Trump happens and forces us to ask uncomfortable questions and have more hard discussions.

Signing off,

Your Brotha

Posted in baltimore riots, bill cosby, children, cnbc, cnn, confederate flag, corporal punishment, dylann roof, eric garner, freddie gray, hate crime, marilyn mosby, marriage equality, rainbows, redskins, robin harris, south carolina, toya graham | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EPISODE 35: I’LL GO GET MY BALL

See the world through the eyes of a BROTHA ON THE BRINK!!!!

I’m convinced kids are invincible until about the age of 5 or so. I’m pretty sure there’s no definitive research to back me up on this and the only thing I have to go on is prior experience which includes having been a five year old at one point, having raised one, and having seen the aforementioned five year old in the company of other five year olds in various settings. The reason I say kids are invincible is because they fall, they look at whomever is in authority to check their reaction and if that person doesn’t react? Seems like they don’t either. I’ve seen my son take some pretty hard spills from doing regular, ordinary, ‘boy stuff’ and as long as I didn’t go full freak-out mode he pretty much dusted himself off, picked himself up, and kept doing more ‘boy stuff’. The playground or any other place where five year olds are known to gather in mass quantities and by mass quantities I mean whenever there’s more than 3 of them in one place at one time, is pretty much treating yourself to a display of what can only be described as human bumper cars. Run after the ball/object, run through other five year old to get it, collide, rinse, repeat. Oh and every now and again, insert going to parental figure(s) for hand sanitizer and a pre-packed snack of Goldfish and a juicebox or something organic and water if said parental figure(s) are the shop-at-Whole Foods types, between the ‘collision’ and the ‘rinsing and repeating’. Yep, that’s the playtime of a lot of five year old boys. As long as there was no blood gushing they’re pretty much darn near physically invincible. The key word here is physically. The kid that didn’t get the ball/object? Not getting it hurt a hell of a lot more than the collision –and sometimes bouncing off something after the collision- did. That whole trying reeeeally hard to get something even at the expense of your body then coming up short thing… it sucks. It hurts. Even when the body doesn’t reflect it the mind and the heart know. The only thing worse than that is to get it then lose it. Wanna see pain? Look at the kid that actually gets the ball/object but then has it taken away because play time is over. Now that is worse than the ending of any Greek or Shakespearean tragedy.

Funny how that can be extrapolated onto the hearts of adults in pursuit of love. Just like the five year old you’ll run through a brick wall sometimes literally to get to it, ignoring all signs of physical pain because all you want is that ‘ball/object’ and to attain it is akin to Nirvana but to come up short? That is to know what true anguish is. Worse, I believe, is to get it then have it taken away. To know what it is to risk everything for love, to get it, enjoy it, know that you beat the odds and other five year olds…err…I mean people, and then for whatever reason or set of circumstances, you lose the love you fought so hard to get, is gut and obviously heart wrenching.

As adults, this is where the reality of not being a five year old sets in. You don’t necessarily look forward to going to the playground the next day to fight to get the ‘ball’. The collisions hurt and losing the ball can feel like the end of your world. The short term memory, or more aptly the ability to forget the failures of yesterday or even last year isn’t exactly present; you remember everything. Every word, every conversation, every action or act of suspicion when the ‘ball’ is lost. Flat out, it ain’t fun going to the playground anymore and it’s easy to wonder if getting that damn ball is worth all the effort especially if you’re just gonna lose it anyway.

Hey wait a minute Brotha… are you really comparing love to being a five year old chasing a ball in a playground??

Why yes I am Captain Obvious

While having the privileges of being a grown up is pretty cool actually BEING a grown-up all the time is not. The ability to stay up as long as I want is awesome. No one to tell me to get to bed, no one to tell me to eat veggies at dinner… yeah… cool. Having to go to work after vegging on the couch, playing waaaay too much Call of Duty online and eating enough bad carbs to make Richard Simmons crap his short shorts? Not so cool. I point this out to state that kids in all their innocence, in all their alleged lack of understanding about life, actually have some things right. Or, righter than us grown-ups in all our divine wisdom and two of those things I believe are love and friends. The latter I won’t delve into but the former is worth getting this blog past the thousand word count (yeah, bet cha didn’t even notice how easily I can get to a thousand words. This moves like a good, long movie right? I swear this is like the Dark Knight Rises of blogs! Riveting, action-packed, and the occasional traces of a sociopathic personality! Now that I’ve completely broken my arm patting myself on the back, let’s get back to the matter at hand).

I think in today’s society we are encouraged to not love or love scared. All relationship advice seems to be cautionary-and primarily aimed at women but that’s a whole ‘nother blog in and of itself- and preventative. ‘Don’t do this’. ‘Don’t do that’. ‘Don’t have sex in 90 days’. ‘If he doesn’t have a great relationship with his mother he can’t love you’. ‘If he doesn’t have clean fingernails or sparkly white shoes it means he couldn’t possibly be Prince Charming and he sold his white horse to the glue factory, probably has a sordid past, and not the kind that leads to Christian Gray activities but rather eternal damnation.’ Maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit. Or maybe I’m enlightening. Depends on which end of the see-saw you’re sitting on I suppose.

I think it’s high time we as a people, as a caring, loving, love to love people start going back to our childhood a lil bit. Chase love. Chase it hard. Go get that damn ‘ball’. Hold on to it. Once you get it, stop worrying so much about losing it, just enjoy the fact that you have it and remember what you did to get it. Be PROUD of it; it’s your ‘ball’. Wanna post on social media how much you’re proud of your ball? DO IT. Take pics with your ball, it’s cool.

‘But hold on a minute Brotha… what if someone has something negative to say about my ‘Ball’?’

How I see it, if you’re taking care of your ball, that one you fought so hard to get, do you really have the energy to worry about the others, the naysayers, the doubters? Or hey, what if maybe just maybe you taking care of your ball and displaying it gives others trying to get a hold of their ball some hope? Wildly optimistic of me? Maybe. A necessary reminder? In this day and age, TOTALLY.

Ok, no more metaphors. Flat out, I think we need to get with the love program. Start with yourself first (of course) and let it flow outward. Chasing love isn’t necessarily as competitive as five year olds on a playground regardless of what ABC and the producers of The Bachelor/Bachelorette would have you believe. Granted everyone has options but after you affirm that through it all you are your own FIRST option (no love like self love and feel free to run with that one if you wanna) go ahead and find that person you’d like to make and share memories with. With reckless abandon. With no regard to being a bit silly. I think we’ve all gotten a little bit too uptight, too focused on what our love might look like to other people, too worried on if posted pics will be met with ‘likes’ or spite. Let’s be child-like; be sweet as saccharin if it suits you, be bold, be goofy, fight for your love (WARNING: that last one is relative; if 911 might be called DON’T FIGHT. If 911 IS called don’t call the Brotha on the Brink for bail money as at that point this blog will self-destruct like an MI-6 message in 5….4….3…). Yeah, you very well may do all of this and still see love walk out the door. It will suck like nothing that’s ever sucked in life before. It’s at that moment you’ll have to go back to being a five year old on the playground and remember the cache of memories you created, how awesomely awesome it felt to be in that space with that person and vow to create a just as awesomely awesome if not more awesome-er love next go round. Cause love is like that. Cause love, without a shadow of a doubt, is worth it. Maybe I’m a bit off in this notion but hey, I’m not called the Brotha on the Brink for nothing. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got some taking care of my own ‘ball’ to do…

Signing off

Your Brotha

Want more of The Brotha?

Keep up with him and all the fun poetically on Facebook at Mosaic Poetry and feel free to email your thoughts to rawz1@yahoo.com. Good, bad or indifferent, reach out and connect!

Posted in BOLT, brotha, entertainment, love, movies, PAIN, passion, PIXAR, PLAYGROUND, RHINO, romance, TODDLER, Uncategorized, women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment