Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Earlier this morning one of my Facebook friends posted that her father passed away last night. She kept her post short and sweet, because as is to be expected, she was full of shock and sadness. On one hand you really don't want to get online and share that type of grief before you've figured out how to reconcile it your damn self, but on the other hand--with some exceptions--the people who you Facebook with represent your circle of friends. It's a Catch-22.

Anyway, this person's friends starting posting their thoughts, prayers and condolences and then the dreaded phrase reared its incorrect head, "Sorry for your lost".

Now before I saw "sorry for your lost", I was fully prepared to post my own message which would have said something about condolences, prayers and thoughts. That's the mature side of me. But immediately upon seeing that incorrect phrase, the immature side of me took over, and I just thought of a laundry list of jokes and inappropriate things to type. I won't list them here, but the best one I came up with was, "YOU FIND THAT DEAD MAN!". Again, I know that is wrong and immature, but come on, how can full grown adults be unable to discern between "loss" and "lost"? The person who experienced the loss is probably too crestfallen to say anything, and I damn sure want to, but I won't. I tell you this much though, if I ever post about a death in my family, and someone puts "sorry for your lost" on my page, I'm pressing pause on the grief, and I am "going in on them" as the kids say. Believe that.

I ended up not leaving a comment on my friend's Facebook page, and I opted to come here and blog about it. I will get around to sending my grammatically correct condolences eventually.



Saturday, May 16, 2015

First and foremost, please read my semi-depressing article on the abrupt, heartbreaking end to the Washington Wizards' season. I was there and as a fan in attendance, it was even more agonizing than it looked on television. As a writer, it gave me a chance to capture the mood. Here it is.

So today, I took advantage of the warm weather and the wife and kid being gone, to go for a nice 5-mile run in the middle of the day. My seven year old ipod was going in and out of consciousness, so it wasn't as smooth of a run as I would have liked, but I broke a sweat and felt the burn.

Towards the end of the run, I found myself having to stop at a red light, and I just so happened to share the curb with some high school girls. They were part of larger group, but the rest of their group had made it across the street, while the remaining 10-15 girls were with me. These girls were about as annoying as you would expect 14-17 year old girls to be. They were laughing, talking jibberish, texting on their phone, and just being the very antithesis of what I wanted to see and hear on my tranquil, disjointed run. I just turned the volume up on my headphones and kept it moving.

Now it just so happens that when I turned up the volume, the song that was on my ipod was Boogie Down Production's, "Criminal Minded", which came out in 1987. The beat isn't ideal for running, but I know all the words, and it distracts me from any pain I may be experiencing while I am trying to complete my run. In this instance, I could not run because of the insanely-long red light, so I jogged in place. Well if you're familiar with the song, you know there are lyrics (which are sung, not rapped), which go:

The girls look so good, but their brain is not ready, I don't know
I'd rather talk to a woman because her mind is so steady, so here we go

Those particular two lines were also the main chorus of a Chi-Ali song back in 1991 called, "Age Ain't Nothin But A Number". Anyway, I sang that first line pretty loud, and then it occurred to me that I was loudly singing that song around underaged girls. I quickly shut up before the second line, but the damage was already done because two of the girls looked at me in that creepy way they should like at shady old men. Luckily for me, the light turned green, and I ran twice as fast as I probably should have, just to avoid being summoned by Chris Hansen.

But still, what were the odds right?

Chi-Ali:


BDP:

Monday, May 04, 2015

Here is my take on the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight. Mayweather was and still is the champion and every damn body--from casual fans to professional boxers--knows exactly what Floyd does. He fights like Uncle Miltie.

**sidebar**Uncle Miltie, aka Milton Berle, allegedly had a large phallus, and the story goes that other men would try to "challenge" Uncle Miltie by pulling out their phallus to see how they "sized up". Uncle Miltie would never take it all out, he'd take just enough out to win. **sidebar off**.

Mayweather does not always pull all of his tools out like other great fighters have done in the past (Hagler, Hearns, the Sugar Rays, Ali, Marciano, etc), because he's all about self-preservation and working smarter, not harder. It was Pacquiao's job to come up with a game plan that would force Mayweather to be taken out of his comfort zone, and he failed miserably. Yes Mayweather is boring, but he's the undefeated champion, which means the challenger has to do more than average to take that from him. End of story. Yes Mayweather is a bad person outside of the ring, and it would be nice if he used his oversized platform, temporarily checked that even larger sized ego, and actually addressed both his past domestic violence issues, and the issue as a whole. But we'll see if that happens. For now, he won a boring fight convincingly, and that's a victory that no one can take from him.

Oh and the Wizards won, read my take right here.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

So many good things have happened since I last took the time to write a blog entry. I've gotten two full-time jobs--one is a part time writing gig for a literary publication, and the other is a full-time gig writing proposals. Both jobs promise to be challenging and hopefully fulfilling, and more importantly they make me extremely happy. I made no secret in this blog and to friends and family around me, that I was not happy at my old job (I say its my old job but my last day is officially May 14th). I didn't see eye to eye with my boss, I was passed over for a promotion, and it just felt like my services were no longer appreciated or wanted. It took a while, but I'm now free.

There has also been some good news with one of my existing jobs, which is covering the Washington Wizards--something I have done for seven years now which is hard to believe. For the second year in a row, the Wizards are in the second round of the playoffs, which means more exposure, more chances to cover games with purpose, and an outside chance that the Wizards will make the NBA Finals (not bloody likely). If you have not been reading my (and everyone else too) articles over at Truth About It, please fix that ASAP.

In a bit of disappointing news, my son has decided NOT to attend Old Dominion University, but instead he's chosen to join the military. He's scheduled to attend boot camp in July. I want him to attend college and take the academic route, but he's sure that he doesn't want that right now. It's frustrating as hell, but he'll be 18 in three months, so he's the one who will have to directly live with the consequences. But I'll be worried as hell until he returns.

Oh and I'm going to lose 20-25 lbs this summer. I'm not really overweight, I just want to be leaner and tighter (that's what she said).


Sunday, April 12, 2015

My son and my wife were at a playground in Dupont Circle yesterday. Dupont Circle is an affluent, gay-friendly part of the city, and this particular playground is a reflection of that environment. It isn't unusual to see two moms or two dads at the playground, and it isn't unusual to see a wide variety of nationalities playing together. It is however very unusual to see black or brown babies playing on these playgrounds. I don't make the rules, that's simply how it is.

So yesterday, my son Nyles was playing a non-brown/black kid and the following conversation went down:

The kid: Come here boy
Nyles: My name is Nyles
The kid" Come here boy
Nyles: No, my name is Nyles

After my son's second name declaration, the kids went to play together sans incident..for the most part. My wife later told me that in an unrelated incident, my son pushed this other little kid, but quickly apologized, and they resumed playing. But that part is irrelevant to me right now.

I seriously doubt that kid--who had to have been around three or four years old--was intentionally trying to talk down to my son in a condescending, racially-tinged way. I also seriously doubt that my son meant to be militant by ignoring the boy and telling this kid who the hell he was. Kids at that age get the benefit of the doubt. They are learning all things gender related, and they enjoy pointing out who is a boy and who is a girl, and sometimes that happens with common, not proper nouns. But I did find it interesting that this kid's dad, who my wife told me was within earshot, did coach his kid in the moment, and tell him that wasn't cool. If I heard Nyles referring to another kid by simply "girl" or "boy", I would coach him up and tell him that wasn't polite--especially if he said "boy". And when he gets a little older, I will give him a mini-history lesson on why that word (among others) has historically been offensive to black and brown folks.

I don't know if these lessons are taught in other households, but it sure as hell would help nip some injustices in the bud earlier rather than later. You don't have to be a bleeding heart liberal to teach your kids a little history so they know right from wrong. Then again, you have to actually know this history to be able to teach it right? I'm rambling...but there's a smart point somewhere in this entry I hope.

Speaking of Nyles...

Nyles is ready for Washington Wizards playoff basketball.

A photo posted by Rashad (@rashad2075) on

Saturday, March 28, 2015

My son is napping, and I am sitting here sipping Blue Moon beer trying to halfway watch a documentary on the great, misunderstood Sonny Liston. Unfortunately, my unfocused mind went back to earlier this week when I meant to write about the annoying usage of emoticons. The mind wants what it wants, so I will humor it.

Earlier in the week, one of my former co-workers hit me up on gchat, and let me know that she was on the prowl for a new job, and she was going to use me as a reference. I told her to I would be happy to oblige, but I needed her to send me both the description of this job and her latest resume. She didn't say "ok", "will do" or anything, she just sent me an thumbs-up emoticon which annoyed the shit out of me. You want to use me as a reference, which means at some point I will have to spend at least 10-15 minutes of my life talking about how great you are/were, but you don't think I'm worthy of words? That's no good, but she's not the only offender.

On a daily basis, I am subjected to smiley faces, thumbs, pictures of poo with smiley faces, HBD(instead of happy birthday), IJS (I'm just sayin'), and countless other abbreviations and emoticons. I brought this up to one friend of me, and she said to me, "Not everyone is an English major and good with words like you" but that's some lazy bullshit. English majors don't have a monopoly on words at all. In fact my three-year old son is perfectly capable of using the very words other people choose to truncate or animate via corny ass pictures. Words have sincerity and they show me you put some thought behind what you say to me. Hunting and pecking for emoticons does not make me feel special. And yes I expect people I am corresponding with to make me feel special to some degree. Don't judge me. Is that so wrong?

I have actually sat next to people who type "lol", when in fact they did not laugh, smile, smirk or even chuckle. They were as devoid of emotion as killer drones in Star Wars, but they misled the people they were chatting with into believing some laughter had taken place. As I am typing this, I realize that no one gives a good goddamn about this except me, so I will shut up now. I promise you people I am neither a snob nor an anal person, I just like a bit of structure, because without it, we will certainly have a Chinua Achebe situation on our hands, and no one wants that.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The new season of Mad Men starts on April 5th, which means I'm doing my best to catch up on and each and every past episode (even though technically, I only need to watch the first half of the last season to air.) Last night I was watching, and came to the episode called, "Shut the Door and Have a Seat". In that episode Betty and Don Draper (the two main characters) are in the midst of splitting up, and they come to the scene where they have to explain to their children why they are splitting up (go to the 21:17 mark and stop at 24:03):






I have watched that scene at least four times since it initially aired back in 2009, and it makes me cry each and every time. I know having my son Nyles has made me significantly softer in the emotion department, but these tears were legitimate. My parents had that exact same speech with my brother and I in December of 1991. I was 16, and my brother was 13, so we were older than the kids in this clip, but it was equally as painful. I was a senior in high school and I had yet to hear from any colleges, so the prospect of my parents divorcing scared me because I didn't know where I'd live if I didn't get into school. And then in my head I thought if I did get into college, how would I decided which parent to spend time with, which one to shun, and would I let them down (something I still deal with to this day)? But most of all I worried that my foundation (to that point) was crumbling and I would never be the same again (which in some ways I'm really not).

My brother had a different set of concerns to tackle with the impending split of his parents. Not only was his big brother leaving for college soon (maybe), and not only was he starting high school a few months later, which meant he'd be bullied by kids who did not like his older brother, but now he would be forced to shuttle in between two parents (my mother stayed in Maryland, my dad moved to Cleveland) without ever truly feeling like he had a place to call home. That type of arrangement was an inconvenience for me, but it was traumatizing for my brother.

But just the raw emotion, shock and sadness of hearing your parents say that have to split, was just a sad occasion, and I will never, ever forget it. My mom was crying, my brother was crying, my dad was compassionate towards us but indifferent toward my mother, and I was just too shocked to react properly. My wife was also a product of divorce, and we both agree that you never truly get over it. You go to therapy, you move on and you deal with the new reality, because that's what adults do. But it is never the same as it was...and that's a tough pill to swallow.