Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

For the first time since maybe the 60’s or 70’s, it seems like all walks of life in America are tuned in and are actually out voting. It may be the age of technology that via smartphones and social media, young and old are tuned in. I can and do, have pretty strong debates with my middle schoolers. They are actually quite knowledgeable about the current political issues and which candidates seem to support which issue. For someone like me who loves American Government and Politics it is a very exciting time. I have watched more debates, town halls, and speaking forums this year than all past years combined. This is the same guy who as a kid (10 years old) wrote a letter to President Reagan because I was sad he would not be president any longer. Some of you and it seems like everyone associated with the Republican Party this cycle agrees with that ten year old kid.
I am curious as to what my friends, associates, and followers think and believe. But, most importantly WHY they believe what they do. Of course there are the hot topics: immigration, Cuba, China, ISIS, Iran, Obamacare, racism, Police in the community, the nest Supreme Court Justice and how it may affect certain civil liberties, IPhone cracking, reforming tax codes, and free college. (Forgive me if I did not include your hot topic). You don’t have to wed yourself to one of those topics. Of course you may back a candidate for some reason I have not thought of.
I am requesting educated answers. For example, if you say you choose your candidate because they will keep the embargo with Cuba, explain to me why Cruz (if he is) your guy. Texas is only second behind Louisiana, and just ahead of Tennessee who CURRENTLY trade HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of dollars with Cuba and have for many years. (Not really an embargo for his state). Keeping the embargo only benefits those states because it keeps other states from the market. If you are Trump, tell me how, when, who is doing the work and who is paying for the wall. Surely you don’t think we can raid Mexican banks in a stick-up (if that’s one of your topics). *I did slip a clue in there for how money can be collected. If you candidate will end racism, global warming, bring peace to the Middle East, abolish abortion, make everyone pay the same amount of taxes, and/or build our economy, I’d like to hear their plan and why you support it. And, I would be most gracious if you could explain how and why you think that plan will work.
I named Cruz and Trump. I am not picking on those guys specifically. One that ignites my curiosity are the WHYs (Why you like?, Why you feel?, Why?, Why?, Why?). I’m sure I was annoying as a child and my wife can attest for how many times she finally responds to my line of questioning with, “I don’t know! I just do!” She’s mostly patient with me. The second is debating. I love a healthy debate.
Quite often during debates, town halls, or even during television interviews, I get really frustrated when a candidate is asked a question. It can even be a simple yes or no, yet you get 4.5 minutes of talking and the original question was never answered.
What are your thoughts on Campaign 2016?

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Entrepreneurial traits

Entrepreneurial traits (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Parenting –  RULES and PARENTING GUIDELINES – we all struggle with these.

I have given some thought recently into my parenting “rules’ and guidelines. My “thoughts” were more of me venting due to frustration with my son’s behavior last weekend. It led to him being grounded for the week and a two part series (discussion) I like to call the infamous, “Coming to Jesus Meeting.”

As for Rules a Guidelines – they are, you know, those things that you do or don’t do. Your pet peeves and the things you choose to enforce and unfortunately let slide. (For the record, I hate picking my battles. It seems too arbitrary and inconsistent.) It seems that almost every parent has a different set of these. I have seen that even within a household the mother and father have different and sometimes competing “rules and guidelines.” That may not be a bad thing. What works for some parents and kids may not work for others. EVERY situation is unique as we are dealing with people here. And God created all of us differently. We all have different backgrounds and circumstances that shaped who we are and our beliefs and ideas.There are things that I’m a stickler about ad things I let slide. Alicia and I are similar in most and different in others. Again, every parent has their ideas for what they think is the best way to do it. I’m by far not perfect and neither our my little angels (tongue-in-cheek).

1. “Do as I say, not as I do.” I’m a firm believer in this. I’m the parent/father/husband. I have executive privilege. I pay the bills and until you have your own house, it’s my rules – my way. I can stub my toe and say “shit” you cannot. I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is. I can talk over you when you are being disrespectful or I need to make sure you shut up and hear me. As a parent, it is my responsibility to make sure you are taken care of. What I say more than likely is more important than yours. What you say is important, too, so let me say my thing, you acknowledge, then say what you need to say. In summary: there’s a pecking order: parents then kids. CLEAR line in the sand.

2. When I say something you comply. Not in a minute. Not when you finish whatever you are doing. Not “hold on.” And do not say something smart. If you don’t like what I said or asked you to do, say whatever you want UNDER YOUR BREATH. I better not hear it. You can roll your eyes, grit your teeth, or whatever you want. Just do not let some disrespectful word fly from your mouth that I can hear.

3. Empty threats. I hate empty threats. Part 1: Don’t say “do —– now” and then start counting. If your kids are over age 6 ( kindergarten) you do’t need to count. Do it right now. Ok, I’ll count. ONE! That’s all you get. Part 2: If you do —–, you are going to get —–. Final warning. 10 minutes later “final warning” an hour later “final warning.” Part 3: when we get home, (you go straight to bed, you’re getting a spanking, I’m taking —— privilege) and then you don’t do it. As I said, last weekend one of my son drove me nuts. He wouldn’t listen and did something really really stupid. He had one warning on that Friday. All week, he had no TV, no video games, no DVD player, no games on his phone had to clean house, empty all trash all week, and clean a bathroom. We watched TV during dinner one night ( a rare occasion) to watch something and he had to eat by himself in the dining room. I’m sorry but too bad. You acted like a jack ass, you get no privileges.

4. Your kid has tons of privileges- phones, video games, nice clothes/shoes, electronics, etc and treats you like shit. Are you kidding me. The little ungrateful f***ker needs to be in their room with nothing. No privileges. Early bed and some chores added. How dare you bust your ass at work to provide for their needs AND extras and have to deal with that. Your kids should thank you every day. They should have chores and responsibilities, too. No free rides and most importantly they should be respectful.

5. Structure: I am a firm believer (now I am) in structure. Structure everything. A small example – on the weekends kids can stay up later but in general still have a bed time. They need their rest and most parents, if you are like me, need some down time, too. At some point, the house needs to be in chill mode.

6. I break this one. There is no need to scream and act like a fool. A kid says or does something stupid. Go back to your plan of enforcing whatever it is you had in mind and keep cool. Wish I could keep this.

7. Be affectionate. Hug your kids as tell them you love them an are proud of them. Even when you are fussing. On good days and bad days. I find that I do this at bedtime after prayers are said. It’s one on or private time an I know I have their attention. (Hint here: PRAYER TIME)

8. Censorship: it’s hard to e everywhere your child goes especially as they get older, but I feel censorship should be employed whenever possible. I cringe at some of the things they have seen or heard on YouTube and even on regular tv. We didn’t have that stuff growing up. And we weren’t allowed to see and hear that stuff. I live in fear what they will hear on tv, at school or on the radio, internet, etc.

9. Quitting/ crappy participation: If you sign your kid up for a sport, chorus, theater, scouts, etc. They need to participate. They need to attend all meetings and practices and games. And if they don’t like it, they need to at least finish the season/term. We dont miss practice or rehearsals because little Johnny or Suzy doesn’t feel like going. Same for parents. No shit. You had a long day and are tired, too. The activity isn’t about you. Teach the the kid it’s important to stick with it and take them anyway. When you signed them up, did you think a unicorn was going to handle the transportation?  Don’t teach them to be a quitter or slack ass.

10. Guard them against your lifestyle: Hey you might be divorced, single, or a sob cheater. Whatever I’m not going to judge. Just please spare the kids from your flavor or the month. They don’t need to be exposed to whomever you think will be the most awesome step-parent ever. Chances are it won’t work anyway- as statistically blended families separate- and you are in a fantasy world of happily ever after. Summary: guard the kids against your flame of the month. Your kids should meet the person once some time has past and it obvious that a long term deal is imminent.

11.  Don’t be an idiot and do things like smoke in your car/house with your kids. Don’t be friends with your kids on Facebook and post things they shouldn’t see. Don’t use your kids as leverage. And chances are if they screwed up in school it was more likely than not their fault. Not the teachers or Johnny B Bad from down the street. Chances are he didn’t put a gun to your kids head and forcibly coerce your kid into participating. Try teaching your kid to be a leader an not a follower. See also the Book of Jeremiah in the Bible. Don’t blame the teacher for your kid’s bad grade or the crappy school system.

12. Be involved and push education. Know what they are learning. Talk to them about it. Study with them. Make sure homework is done. Check, double check, triple check. Pop in once in while and ask the teacher how things are going with little Johnny. Hell an email would even suffice. Stay with your finger to the pulse. Kids get one shot at education and in many ways it is the only opportunity to have a better life than their current one and most certainly their best opportunity for successful independence.

13. Idle hands are the devils work shop. My grandmother an great-grandmother used to say this all the time. I hated it then but am a firm believer now. So so true. I have noticed when the kids are busier with school, sports, church, etc they are much more respectful, they fight less, and get more rest. Almost ever time I hear “we’re bored” trouble is soon to follow. Part 2: A lot of kids these days don’t help out with things like yard work and chores. We had no choice growing up. We were not allowed to play until the grass was cut, limbs picked up, etc. Mama would take us to the beach at Edisto ONLY AFTER our buckets of tomatoes were picked. The longer it took (we stood around whining) the less time we had at the beach. As a kid you quickly learn to reason with yourself to bust ass and get it done so that you can do what you want to do.

It is time we all get off our lazy asses as parents and do our jobs. We run this show. My .02. 🙂

I got a notification yesterday from Alicia that she nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award. She apparently likes a quote that I used once and often, but not very often, comments on my blogs.

If you haven’t checked out her blog, by the way, do it now.

Now, on to the rules of this award:

1. Display the award on your page.

2. Announce your win with a post.  Link back to your nominator as a ‘thank you’ for the nomination.

3. Present 15 awards to other deserving bloggers, and let them know you’ve nominated them.

4. Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

Let’s get the 7 things out of the way first:

1. I’d like to spend a year in Iowa, South Dakota, or Nebraska working on a farm. I’d love to drive the Combine from sun up to sun down. Just my iPod in on shuffle and enjoying the scenery.

2. I’d like to own a small orange grove in Florida.

3. I love picking apples in the mountains of North Carolina.

4. One of my favorite places in the South Carolina lowcountry is Boone Hall Farms. I like to go out there on a blistering hot summer day, take off my shirt, turn on my iPod and fill BASKETS! with blueberries, corn, strawberries, blackberries, peppers, tomatoes (which I never eat), and many other things. I can spend days on end picking fruit and vegetables.

5. Fishing is my favorite hobby.

6. There are two things I wish I could do better: 1. throw a perfect cast net and 2. play the piano.

7. Fall is my favorite time of the year. I like when the air turns cooler and crisp. It is the beginning of hunting season. The holidays are approaching. Football is awesome. Baseball playoffs are on tv. School is back in for the kids. Fall also reminds me of my grandparents. They used to take me to the mountains every Fall to pick apples and see the leaves change colors. Fall is about food! Food for football games (tailgating), and Thanksgiving meals and Christmas meals and the in betweens when family comes to visit. Ahhh Fall is right around the corner. I will admit, the kid in me still loves to pile up the leaves all nice and thick and jump in them! I hope to take the family to see this majesty very soon.

And now… here are my 7 nominees for the Versatile Blogger Award.

1. Arden

2. Rarasaur

3. Powcat

4. Mom

5. HP

6. Anna

7. Nate

Congrats to all. Thanks for the award, Ms. Benton.

redcross-logo

The American Red Cross through a network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world, through five key service areas:

1. Disaster relief: Hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, and tsunamis. There are 70,000 such events that occur in the US each year. Red Cross provides shelter, food, health and mental health services to help families and entire communities get back on their feet.

2. Military family support: The Red Cross helps military members, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with, and respond to the challenges of military service. Emergency communications, training, support to wounded warriors and veterans, and access to community resources help an average of 150,000 military families and veterans annually.

3. Blood bank: Your donations of blood are what make the American Red Cross the largest single supplier of blood and blood products in the U.S. Each year, nearly 4 million people donate blood through the Red Cross, helping to provide more than 40% of America’s blood supply.

4. Health and Safety services: The Red Cross is the nation’s leading provider of health and safety courses, such as CPR, First Aid and Lifeguard training. Each year, more than 9 million Americans participate in our training programs, including first responders, educators, babysitters, and people who want to be prepared to help others in an emergency. (I am CPR and Defib certified!)

5. International Assistance: The American Red Cross is part of the world’s largest humanitarian network with 13 million volunteers in 187 countries. Working together, we help respond to disasters, build safer communities, and educate future humanitarians. Each year, we reach an average of more than 100 million people across the globe.

Today, I will be training to become a certified (I hope) volunteer with the American Red Cross. As we have seen throughout our country’s history, nothing brings us all together like a call for help and those willing to lend a hand. Remember how close we all seemed post 9/11? Remember all of us (my age) as kids and helping cut and tote trees out of neighbors yards following Hurricane Hugo? I encourage everyone to click this link HELP and sign up for a class. No matter how small or large the contribution you are able to make, please know you are helping your fellow man.

toys

Anyone ever pause and watch your kids play? I do quite often. I have actually pretended to be playing working on my laptop or iPhone so that they would not know I was watching and listening. The more fascinating kid conversations I have heard are when Jeremy and Ronald are playing Leggos. Apparently, if you switch a head and arms on a guy he becomes a pirate-zombie-police officer-soldier with a very large assault weapon. I always listen to see if there is an logic behind this transformation and what this new super-Leggo man is capable of doing.

As an adult I think we males do something very similar. Like putting so and so’s face on so ans so’s body to create super sexy woman. Sorry, I got distracted and that’s not the point. It is neat to listen and think about what is going on in their little heads.

Those guys love Leggos and the Leggos of today aren’t what we had. Today they have moving parts, glow-in-the-dark, and the themes of the sets are all over the map. Also funny is when they get a set of Leggos for birthday or Christmas and Alicia spends hours putting the set together. I tried the first time to tell her to let the kids do it and that it was part of the experience, but she wasn’t having that. Deep down, who doesn’t like playing with them?

My favorite toys when I was their age was not Leggos. I was completely enthralled with GI Joe action figures and He-Man. My favorite Joe was Tunnel Rat. He had the huge backpack. I also like the Bridge layer. My favorite He-Man was He-Man himself, except I had the one where the shield on the front dented twice before being resent. It showed his wounds in battle. I also had Castle Greyskull. Since my birthday was so close to Christmas, I had to ask my grandmother for it, as compensation for both occasions. It was well worth it. I loved that thing and all was great until I took it outside. I mean, you cant have a castle without a moat. So i dug a moat and filled it with water. later when it was time to come in, my mom wouldn’t allow this muddle castle back in. So, I left it outside. It seemed as if my room was empty that night.

Life lesson I learned here was that I just tell the kids to wash their toys  off and dry them, but that they can bring them back in the house because the experience of having to leave mine outside sucked.

“Now you know. And knowing is half the battle – GI JOE!”

toy3

toy2

heart 3 heart 2heart

These are some of the more amusing quotes I found. I can agree with two out of the three.

I was reading back through some older blogs and one in particular inspired me to share the same information about myself.

The 7 way(s) (not named “sex”) to Eugene’s heart:

1. Food. My two favorite things are: chicken bog prepared by this chef. Here’s the yummy concoction:

chicken bog

Also, there is this food source. Without it, I’d be very sad. steak

2. Slow dance with me – as shown here. slow dance with me

And don’t make fun of me if I try and ultimately fail to dance any other way.

3. Share a whole Saturday watching, tailgating and/or attending a SEC football game. Only the best plays here:

sec places

4. Go fishing with me.

fishing fishing2

5. Go hunting with me.

duck hunting

6. Spend my favorite holiday with me – New Years.

New Years

7. Get a tattoo of my “E”: tattoo

“Human beings lose their logic in their vindictiveness.” ~ Elizabeth Stanton.

images (1)

And now to take on a hot button issue. I have only voiced my my opinions on this in private. I want to cause my readers to think about what I want to share. I want you to set aside your preconceived feelings and thoughts and start anew. Lets wipe the board clean and lay out some facts and see where we end up. Lets use LOGIC rather than emotion. Keep in mind – emotions are liars. They convince you to feel things you don’t normally feel.

The topic: The George Zimmerman trial. Before I go further, let me just say I have sat NEXT to defendants in trials. Some on trial for their life. No, I was never a defendant. Whether they felt they were innocent or not, they admittedly were scared as to what the 12 folks in the box thought of the case. I imagine Mr. Zimmerman is scared right now, too. This case also involves the folks who lost their loved one – for life. They are obviously hurt. I do not intend to promote either cause in this case.

images (2)

What I would like for folks to ponder is the sensationalism of this case. Its promoted by many in the media and other spokespeople (Al, Jesse, etc.) as a hate crime. We have a young black man who died as a result of a gunshot administered by another man of a different race. But, the man that pulled the trigger is of two races. His is half Caucasian (which may only be 1/4) and half Hispanic and of course he is allegedly Jewish. So why is this classified as a hate crime? Why are their marches and demonstrations? For the record, the man Aaron Hernandez allegedly shot and killed was a black man. Hate crime? Note: there isn’t the slightest allegation that the Hernandez victim threw any punches that led to his demise. So again, I ask why is this case promoted in a fashion to sell tv time and sell papers and used as an avenue for several spokespeople to request significant monetary donations to allow them to keep shouting albeit form very expensive hotels, conference rooms and with a very expensive travel budget. It doesn’t seem logical.

Some other statistics. Last weekend, in Chicago, around 54 black men were murdered. Preliminary reports are that most, if not all, were murdered by other black men. Where are the protests and marches? Why aren’t the spokespeople, and others who profit from these travesties using the money and resources to fight against these atrocities?

Lets go back to the immediate argument. I have several friends who chose a side on this and I will not sell them out. Lets say Zimmerman is “half white/half hispanic.” Why is the white half the racist half that falls under the guise of a hate crime? His neighbors (who come from many different races, including mixed race) state emphatically he was not a racist guy. I will add NO ONE really knows a person unless you spend every second with them, but then only that person knows whats truly in their heart. 

Now the logic question: Our president is “half white/half black” so which is he? If he shot a black man, would it be a hate crime? Same question if he shot a white man? Almost everyone I asked, considered the President to be “the first black President.” When I hear this, I ask them who chooses? Why does he have to be one or the other? I GET A LOT OF CONDESCENDING LOOKS AS RESPONSES.

From what I have seen and heard of the trial, I have to feel there is evidence of doubt which, by law one would legally have to vote for acquittal. Its more than likely why the police and DA chose in the beginning not to charge Mr. Zimmerman to begin with. I have no idea if he is truly guilty, if Mr. Zimmerman is a racist, or if Mr. Martin was a good kid/bad kid, or if he really attacked then threatened Mr. Zimmerman that he would die. Many of my readers have no clue as to these things, either.

I am certainly not a racist. Heck, take a look at my family 🙂 What I’m against here is the perpetuation of something that by logic doesn’t exist so that corporations and spokespeople can line their coffers with cash. There are murders everywhere. The immediate case may or may not may not have been one.

A genuine fear is that Mr. Sharpton has been linked to several riots in which folks have been killed. Authorities are justifiably terrified that Sharpton’s incitement will precipitate riots if George Zimmerman is released or found not guilty. After a traffic accident in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn (8/19/91) tragically took the life of seven year old Gavin Cato, segments of the black community – urged on by Sharpton and others – rioted in the Hassidic Jewish community and killed a Jewish man as his 7 year old son watched.

Folks we can end this when the media is hyping it, papers are promoting it, and other folks are throwing fuel on the fire. If Mr. Zimmerman is found not guilty, is justice served by rioting in the streets of Florida?

I feel like this case is similar to the final scene in A Time to Kill when Carl Lee’s attorney asks the jury to imagine the victim as a white girl. In other words take the sensationalism and emotions out of it. The case is whether it was justified self defense or not. There is no need to promote and profit from a race campaign, when, if we all looked at this logically, could not exist.

EDIT/UPDATE:

As expected, the jury saw what I felt they would. GZ was guilty of something, but under Florida law, he was not guilty of the crimes for which he had been charged. One juror stated they felt he was guilty of “something’ just nothing that was on the paper. 

Whether you agree with the outcome or not, can we please stop the stupidity going on around this country? Folks jumping people based on race and shouting “This is for Trayvon” as if some random guy in Senatobia, MS or Baltimore, MD had anything to do with this. 

The cake taker today was the professor at UPenn. She said this BULLSH*T. Really? Because of the verdict, this proves your theory that God is white and hates black folks? Amazing what tenure at a private university can do to one’s ego. Even more amazing is that an educated person states God is “white.” Jesus was born in Israel and was born to the parents of Mary – Israelite and Joseph – Israelite. (yes I know God is the birth father and Joseph is the protector). Point here is, that if you take the time to Google what a native Israelite looks like — then take it back 2049 years (year 2013 plus 36 years) and consider lack of ease in ethnic migration at that time, you’ll see what I mean. God was more than likely NOT “white” in the European/Caucasian sense.  Sorry if that rubs folks the wrong way. 

Idiot!

 

 

Not Afraid

Not Afraid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

E- My favorite rapper. The guy can write. He is a lyrical artist who paints a story with each rhyme. This quote describes his life. Now that he is a made man, he is free. He grew up very poor and his life had many limitations. There was no outside world – nothing outside of Detroit, anyway. Now he is a world traveler. Now, he does’t have to beg, borrow or steal to get the things he wants OR more importantly provide for his family. No doubt Haley is quite spoiled now.

This goes beyond money. He is free to come and go as he pleases. There is a thresh hold in wealth management at which point, if one lives within a certain means, he does not have to report to a shitty job for the rest of his life.  That, to me is the epitome of freedom – or the pinnacle of wealth. I can not image not having to worry about work, not playing politics with the boss, having a reasonable schedule or not commuting. (It would be glorious.)

No, I wouldn’t be lazy and sit around and watch whatever is on during the day. There are too many things to see and do out there. There are parks and beaches and services where I could volunteer time. There are classes to take on cooking and art. There are markets that need to be explored, garden that need to be grown, fish that need to caught and animals that need to be hunted. The kids have school events, sporting events, and could also lend a few hours to provide some civic service. Someone has to drive the bus. I find myself living 200 years too late. The life I lust after is somewhat akin to an mercantile aquatic nomad – a pirate. Someone who isn’t bound by rules.

Today I write because, like Eminem felt during his years on the other side of the tracks, I feel trapped and burned out. Stuck in a career now because the money isn’t there in what I would rather be doing. And I sure as hell can’t do all those things I just listed and not be employed.

Here’s to you, Eminem. I celebrate and applaud your freedom to come and go as you please and the ability to say what you want to say.

download

Besides the holidays, birthdays, first day of school (hahahahah), and the first days of hunting season, there are three more things I look forward to.

1. Gamecock football:

gamecock stadium  images

Every week during the fall, I read every article, every practice report, every list of high school visitors, and do the same for the opposing teams. I plan my meal, snacks and drinks days in advance whether I’m watching it from home or from the stands.

I was there during the 0-11 season and there during back-to-back 11-2 seasons. Its been a long road filled with a lot of heartbreak. I have three favorite opponents. In order, they are 1. University of Tennessee (UTJr.), University of Georgia (Jawja), and Clemson (rock lovers).

2. Florida Gator football:

swamp gator

I have been a fan – long before I was a Gamecock fan. Yes, I know they are rivals. I didn’t plan for that to happen. USC offered the best opportunity for me and the instate tuition was the push. I love, hate  endure when the two play each other, although its a little more fun because the Ms. pulls hard for the Cocks. My three favorite games in order are 1. UTJr., Jawja, and the National Championship game. 🙂

Truth be told, I really love all SEC games. Yes, I’m the guy who chants SEC SEC SEC at every non-conference game.

Yes I dislike both Jawja and UTJr. Couldn;t describe it bettern’ this:

ga bitch

3. National Signing Day

Its the first Wednesday in February and its like a second Christmas. As of late, USC has done really well and Florida usually competes for the top spot in college football. Its neat seeing all these kids signing the dotted line ans realizing their dreams come true. I was fortunate enough to participate in a signing ceremony for a kid I mentored and it was a neat day. I also like the spin off stories and illegal recruiting allegations that always fly around when a kid shows up at Clemson with a new car or as two recruits did, posted pictures of themselves holding wads of cash on their instagram accounts. For all the stories of Clemson recruits partying on Lake Hartwell, I submit this:

Boats and Hos

BOATS AND HOES!!!