One Man's Point of View      

by Darryl E. McCullough

I was talking with my eight year old son early this year, and he very enthusiastically said to me, “Daddy, I can’t wait for the future!  You know…like when we will have flying cars and stuff!”  I recall standing there dazed thinking to myself, “Hmm…when I was his age, I thought the same thing, having “The Jetsons” and “Buck Rogers” dreams. 
Now let’s just be realistic with this concept of “flying cars!”  For one, it’s hard enough with them on the ground!  Say if you’re driving around now and you crash, it’s more than likely that you will survive.  But, if you are flying around “willy-nilly” in the air and crash, guess what?  You will fall violently to the ground in which dental records will be necessary for identification!
Regardless it got me to thinking, not many of the things that I imagined as a kid have ever come to past.  Why? I wondered.  Maybe this is because we as a people have not, and are not, willing to change.  
I have what you would call an “old soul.”  I like old music, old furniture aptly called “antiques.” And I definitely feel that “Beaver” had better parents than “Bart Simpson!”  There are some things that I am firmly against, and some things that I am sternly for.  Many of these standards politically leaned more so towards the “Grand Old Party” and that’s how I voted!
As you could imagine being a Republican many “brothers” had problems with me!  This was somewhat mutual because I do and always have had issues with my “brothers!”   The trustworthiness, punctuality and the lack of business skills perpetuating the “crabs in a bucket” theory have always been at the forefront concerning my people. 
I grew up in a time period where you were judged by how White your neighbors were!  Even if you lived in the heart of the ghetto, if your neighbors were white…you were doing alright! 
On the other hand if your neighbors were Black, it was the polar opposite!  The yard was unkempt.  The house had chipped neon paint.  Barbeques and house parties every weekend with aunties and cousin’s running amuck!  As I and others alike say to ourselves, “We just ain’t ever going to get it together!”
Having doubtful feelings like this about your very own people, at times makes you doubt yourself, as you use skin bleaching products and scurry searching your family heritage for a trace of “Cherokee Indian!”
Due to all of this self doubt there is a figurative “glass ceiling” that many Blacks live under.  This “ceiling” in theory states that Blacks can only go so far!  Sure we may have gotten spots of achievement and valor by becoming quarterbacks and coaches in sports.  On the governmental side we have some mayors, governors and even Supreme Court justices!  But don’t ever, ever fathom trying to become President! 
A few Blacks attempted this feat to the chagrin of most White America.  Let’s see, there was the congress woman Shirley Chisholm and later two civil rights activists Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.  All of these candidates despite their groundbreaking marks in history for the most part failed miserably.  Even though they garnered most of the Black vote it was not enough!  And with each attempt to chip away and break free of the “glass ceiling” we fell back, stunted in growth, and vowed never to attempt this surmountable task again! 
Years later, we had an inkling of a presidential hopeful with the republican, U.S general and Secretary of State Colin Powell.  But even this Vietnam veteran was discouraged from presidential thoughts and ultimately ran off the scene from his “White House” dreams by internal wars and racist death threats. 
It was evident a person of color was never going to become the president of the United States of America! At least not in my lifetime!  No one would be able to gather the “Lionel Richie” vote, which required the Black, White and the other multitudes of votes needed!  Not to mention have the funding, endurance, diligence and “platinum balls” to compete in this uphill battle!
Years later, low and behold, with a harness and pickaxe in hand, hikes a straight-laced, educated, even-tempered, biracial man with a name that I had to add to my spell check dictionary, Barack Obama. 
This man started a tizzy soon after his keynote address for the DNC in 2004.  He later announced he would be running for the presidency.  He started drawing huge crowds of young, old, Black, White, Asians and Mexicans!  All with a “Beatles” like hysteria spawning what’s now called “Obama-mania!”  This man spewing the need for “change” so much so that now even the mere mention of the word “change” lets one know your political affiliation as he has it patented!
My how I wish my father was alive and many other relatives from the past to witness this momentous event!  It’s funny or rather sad that despite how good this man was,  I felt that many people would not vote for him based on the simple fact that he was Black! Not to mention that everyday there is more news on Obama!  Does something earth-shattering happen in this man’s life everyday?  Is the public/media so hungry that they will search for anything on him and his wife?  From the “Wright” reverends to the wrong ones!  To the lows of “Ayers” and highs of the lack of patriotism!  Every day on the news it’s like “Barack Obama” television a la “Britney Spears” style! 
I began thinking that it was not a matter of when he loses…but how soon!  I dismissed and wrote him off from the very start!  I looked at him as many other pundits like “Good, but no cigar!  Not in my lifetime!” 
This man in no way is going to beat Hillary and her “free coupon” husband! However he proved me wrong for with confidence and poise, he battled the goliath Kennedy wanna-bees and despite all the backbiting, finger pointing and racial epithets, Barack Obama lugged back and with a might stroke, slapped the “Clinton Klan” on the back of the neck exclaiming, “I’m here!  And I got this!”  As he won the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party to the dismay of many, including myself!  How did this happen? 
I think that it all boiled down to one simple word…trust!  Hillary Clinton on a platter proved to be very bitter to taste!  Even with all her years of experience as spices, many waved her off and sent her back to the chef, as unlikeable and untrustworthy!
During all of this “taste testing,” an older Black person told me flat out, “I am not voting for Obama!  He is the anti-Christ!”  I just looked at the floor and shook my head from side to side.  But then I looked up and reflected, because I too due to poor race-esteem have doubted myself as well as other Blacks on the “come up!” 
Despite winning the nomination I figured the only way that Barack could win against the Republican machine was to have Hillary “will light a match under your shoe” Clinton by his side.
Instead he went in the opposite direction not “punking out” and picked Joe Biden who despite his occasional gaffes could help him out with his foreign policies.  I respected Barack so much that he had the confidence to buck the system!
How can so many Blacks be so confident and assertive, while others duck or willfully step to the side as the “American Dream” passes them by? 
I guess because many of us have had our brains so white-washed that we continue to look for “Mr. Charlie,” to save us!  Sure, Mr. Leroy has had good intentions over the years, but only a few gems have had the “shield and armor gear” to protect themselves as they keep an eye on the “J.F.K Grassy knoll” and “M.L.K Lorraine Motel” memories!”    
We as a people have always been led by fear.  That fear has increased so that we fear ourselves!  This is why many of us find a safe haven with anybody other than ourselves, our own people.  This was done by design perpetuating the “Jim Crow” segregation laws and mythical “Willie Lynch” letters of old.  Ones who spit in the eye of fear are looked at as not normal and over stepping their bounds. 
Surprisingly, this line crosser, with the middle name of “Hussein” is loved by some White people! They recognize him as a pragmatist and see his potential to unify and inspire.  While others despise and are afraid of him!  Why?  Are they afraid of what will spawn from Barack Obama?  The confidence that all Americans of color will say, “Yes!  I can do that too!”  The pride to have better memories for our children reflecting more than slavery and being treated as second class citizens!
Many whites may fear now that the “glass ceiling” is broken and minorities are going to come teeming in “50 Playaz Deep” like a roach in the projects!  CNN predicts that by 2040 Whites will be the minority!  Hence the so-called “roach” will continue to thrive! 
Despite being outnumbered the crazies will come with their cans of “Raid” to try and instill fear yet once again!  Forcing many “Stepin Fetchits” like me to shout at the top of their lungs, “Somebody is going to shoot him!  Somebody is going to shoot her!” Hell!  If it wasn’t for the slew of dead Black people who were killed because they stepped out the box wanting freedom, we would still be slaves today!
Barack Obama is no exception, as many worried about Obama’s safety.  “They are going to kill him!”  I heard many Black people say.  I told them, “There is a slim chance of that!  They would rather watch him become president, fail miserably and halt all other up and coming Black senators, governors and postal workers from ever trying such a feat ever again!
Now with his life on the line this “Cruiser Weight” with rabbit punches and limited experience steps into the political ring with the P.O.W, heavyweight throwing “haymakers” John McCain.  I again doubted him, and felt that he was destined for failure!  
With every endorsement that Barack Obama received, the Republicans scrutinized and dismissed it.  I felt if Jesus Christ himself endorsed Obama many of the naysayers i.e., Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and sly as a “Fox News” will scream out, “Well, you know Jesus has done a lot of questionable things too!”
Despite all the rhetoric Obama continued on drawing more and more crowd masses!  I started listening more and more to his heart felt speeches.  He seemed so genuine!  His wife seemed to support him so much so that she was moved to the forefront of his rallies and gave earth-moving speeches, rather than being a backdrop like John McCain’s “too young for him” and fame hungry hot wife!  
I began hearing negative comments in reference to John McCain.  These ranged from his age to his “alligator arms!”  A friend told me that a Black lady said to him, “I can’t vote for that man, his arms are so short he can’t even salute the flag!”  Insensitive yes!  But Obama has big ears!
I began hearing negative comments in reference to Barack Obama too.  These ranged from him being a Muslim to a Marxist!  And did I forget to mention that he’s Black? 
Weighing all this out, I looked at Obama’s policies and his race!  With McCain I looked at his policies and his age!  It then boiled down to the choice of vice presidents.  If something tragic happened to Obama, whose hands would the United States be left in?  His choice of Joe Biden I felt was smart.
When John McCain “Fonzie thumbs-showing self," did the last minute “switcharoos” from the longtime well known Democrat now Republican Joe Lieberman to the unknown and soon to be proven un-vetted, Alaskan named Sarah Palin, I was speechless!
At first I thought to myself, “Why is he doing this?  What happened to Romney? How did he come up with her?”  But then I thought that this was an obvious ploy to gain the Hillary disillusioned voters.  But then I thought again, “Are there that many Hillary supporters that are so angry that they would switch teams and all the policies that the Democratic Party has been fighting for and or against for years?  I could understand why he picked a woman, that was a smart move, but not this woman!
What’s even harder to understand is that John McCain balled up his huge solid argument of “experience” and threw it into the governmental garbage can!  Also, many people were still claiming that after more than a year they still didn’t know enough about Barack Obama!  But John McCain thinks that in Sarah Palin, you should recognize the savior in two months!  After all, he did so after meeting her just once!
I looked at her and saw this poised, polished and primed woman.  Next to her was her “goatee” wearing husband; pregnant teen daughter with boyfriend in tow and a sleepy “Down Syndrome” infant looking on. 
Immediately following her brief introduction to the world, she started the cheerleading for the Republican Party and the downplaying, almost insulting comments to the Democrats and the leader.  Her speeches were good but came off like an “Insert your name here,” prepared speech. She and John McCain began touting how each was such a reformer in their stump speeches to their “re-charged” and future “Obama sign stealing” base!  They brought back memories of a “Dr. Pepper” commercial, shouting “I’m a Maverick!  She’s a Maverick!  Wouldn’t you like to be a Maverick too?”
I respect the “fight to the finish” mentality of John McCain.  But his “win at all costs” and “kill the man with the ball” divisive play book, I sternly began to have a problem with.  Then how the religious standards came into play, like Democrats don’t believe in a higher power!  I sincerely doubt that God has a favorite football team and I don’t think he is casting a vote in this year’s election!  Either party can win on their own merits without divine intervention. But neither one can turn the Unites States of America back into a utopian “Pleasantville” overnight.
I began to see how angry and frustrated the now “out of touch” John McCain had become.  Rather than concede and admit his mistakes in picking Sarah Palin they just marched on!  And with almost a parade bass drum beat I could see Sarah Palin “high stepping” in front of the declining crowd, twirling a baton and marching everyone right into a dead end street!
Dealing with all of this I sat and thought for awhile.  I then looked at my children and then looked at myself in the mirror long and hard! I saw how bad this economy was due to failed policies and realized that it wasn’t due to my hang ups with gays or abortions!  I looked at my “right-winged” party and saw that “I” and others like me were grossly absent!  Other than the few lone Blacks propped near the front of the stage at the “V.F.W” like town hall meetings!   I went to “Rock the Vote” and registered as a democrat!
So now, I’m phrased as, “In the tank for Obama!”  Why, I have even done some minor volunteering for the campaign and learned more about his policies and of course how to say his full name ten times in a sentence!
Many times I am the only Black in sight!  Amongst all these white people, here for this one man who has a vision, a goal, and he just happens to be Black.  And there I am wanting change and opportunities, and I just happen to be Black too!
There was no need to “boot lick,” “shuffle buck” and “wing dance!”  I didn’t even have to watch how I pronounced the word, “aunt.”   What a great feeling to be amongst my new found family…the Democrats!
Now I am smart enough to know that Barack Obama is not the messiah!  But he has inspired people so much that he can probably take a chunk out of the national deficit through voluntary donations! 
I know his promises of tax cuts for the “middle class” will probably be impossible to keep.  But his healthcare, energy and foreign policy intentions should be feasible…in time. 
Nothing would be more paramount to me than ending this war over in Iraq.  This is a war based on lies and we are fighting people who don’t mind dying for a cause…their religion!  There will never be a true winner when one fights for religion!  Even when you hit them with everything that you have they will keep getting back up shouting praises to the heavens! I feel that if Barack Obama becomes president and works closely with General Petraeus, he can end the war and bring our boys home! 
I feel that if Barack is elected our next president in just a few days, in time our national and international relations will improve too! I think that it will be a proud day for not only Black Americans, but all Americans alike!  Now I’m not saying that a presidency under Barack Obama will guarantee “flying cars,” and ultimately fulfill my son’s dreams, but it is a move in the right direction!  Sometimes…you just have to go with your gut! 
To tell you the truth, I can’t wait for this election to be over so that I can stop walking on egg shells around White people!  Every time I piss one off I feel that they are saying to themselves, “And I was going to vote for Barack Obama too!”

Thanks to CNN and MSNBC equally for giving me the “breaking news” everyday to help me write the viewpoint!  Also  thanks to the following anchors in no particular order, (CNN) Wolf Blitzer (The Situation Room), Anderson Cooper (AC360o), Campbell Brown (Election Center), Soledad O’Brien (Special Investigation Unit) and “Larry King Live.” (MSNBC) Chris Matthews (Hardball), Keith Obermann (Countdown), Rachel Maddow (The Rachel Maddow Show), David Gregory (Race for the White House) Eugene Robinson, Joe Madison and Chuck Todd.

Other shows like “The McLaughlin Group,” “Meet the Press,” “Reliable Sources,” and even the ladies of “The View!”  I can’t forget about (Fox News) Bill O’Reilly (No Spin Zone) only.

On the less serious side Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report), Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) and “SNL” for their political stuff only!  Other than that I don’t know why this show is still on the air.  Special thanks to Maureen Dowd (The New York Times) and ultimate thanks to General Colin Powell and all the Hollywood celebrities that risked their fan base to take a stand for their political party.

No thanks to Pat Buchanan, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michelle Bachmann and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, though she is gorgeous!
Flying Cars, Glass Ceilings and Barack Obama
In A Manly Way I Cried Like a Baby
Shacking Up to a Seventies Groove
I love sharing my thoughts with ones who choose to listen.  Here is another article that is hot off the press and very appropraite during these times.  Enjoy and thanks for stopping!

Look At My Beautiful Wife…After the Divorce
Exclusive Report: Interracial Dating, Who Cares Anymore?
And then...She Hit Me!
A Bun in a Young Oven
Ladies!  The Truth about your Male Friends
The Good Times

The Family Bond
This was for you cuz!  Nice pic of you and the "King of Pop!
The Ethnic Experience: Funerals, Churches and What Not!
Warning: Women on the Net!
The Family Bond
The Good Times
Ladies!  The Truth about your Male Friends
A Bun in a Young Oven
And then...She Hit Me!
Exclusive Report: Interracial Dating, Who Cares Anymore?
Shacking Up to a Seventies Groove
Look At My Beautiful Wife…After the Divorce
In a Manly Way, I Cried Like a Baby
Flying Cars, Glass Ceilings and Barack Obama
The Cheating Kind
October 09
September 09
August 09         
July 09               June 09              May 09                April 09               March 09            February 09        January 09         December 08     November 08   October 08          
Warning: Women on the Net!
I have always believed that the hardest thing about being a man is acting like a man!  Real men fix leaky faucets, take out the trash and kill spiders!  Through all of this real men never, ever show emotion!
I’m kind of handy around the house, though spiders do scare me at first sight!  However I do take out the trash!  Showing emotions is something that I do limitedly, but the night of November 4th, Barack Obama changed everything!   
He won in the state that I was raised in, segregated Ohio!  He won in my hometown Republican thriving Indiana!  He also won in Michigan, my current state of residence!  So in my heart Barack Obama won the trifecta of elections!
I just could not believe it!   Was this really happening that John McCain was conceding by eleven o’clock!  Hell, it took Hillary Clinton days to concede!  If I was Obama, I wouldn’t invite that woman to anything much less make her secretary of State…but I understand! For her and her conniving husband to pass the vetting process Obama must have called John McCain to find out the “loopholes” a la Sarah Palin!
So on this momentous night, what were you doing and where were you at?  Well for me, that night I was constantly flicking back and forth from CNN and MSNBC!  The stress was killing me so I turned the television off.  Shortly thereafter I decided to get out of the house.  So my family and I loaded up the truck and despite our town being predominantly Republican, we went to view the election at a fellow Democrats home. 
The host was a lady that I met at my children’s school who proudly had spattered all over her vans rear bumper, “Women for Obama!” We got to know one another and would see each other at our local campaign office.
When we entered her home she was looking somewhat downhearted.  I could tell that things were not looking good for our candidate.  Was John McCain’s “Hail Mary” divisive pass finally working?  Was Sarah Palin in the end zone, wide open for the win?  Did all the people who said that they were going to vote for Obama lying proving the “Bradley Effect” true?
As she flicked back and forth from CNN and MSNBC, she quickly looked over at me and said, “He just took Pennsylvania!”  We both hugged for we knew it was basically over for McCain!  We watched as more electoral votes started bucketing in for Obama and in the amazement, joy and splendor of it all, I started to blink faster and faster!  I calmly asked my gracious host for a “Kleenex” as my tears started flowing!
I could not believe it!  I was actually crying!  But what was I crying for?  I live a fairly comfortable life!  I have my family, a house, two cars and just celebrated twenty years with my employer!  What did I have to cry about? 
I cried for my deceased father!  I cried for all the people who fought long and hard just to have the privilege to vote!  A privilege that I and many others have taken for granted.  I cried for all the racism, injustice and murders that happened before I was born that’s recapped in every seasonal issue of “American Legacy,” magazine! I cried for my mother and stepfather who I call “Pops!”  I cried for all the people who said, “Not in our lifetime!”  I think that I cried more so for the unity and the, “We finally made it” thing!  Not just the Blacks, but many other ethnicities, all united!
I didn’t cry like Jesse Jackson or nothing.  I didn’t let the tears roll down my face and into my mouth and stuff!  I wasn’t waiting for a photo opportunity for next months “Jet” magazine nor were my tears “crocodile” related! But I did cry and quickly wipe, many, many times!
At any rate, as the midnight hour was approaching during this November 4th election night, I called my mother and with her intuition, she yelled into the phone, “Oh come’ on! Are you crying?”  I know she was thinking, “I raised nothing but some cry-babies!  My boys are so damn soft!” 
I know that her lips were twisted as she kept her thoughts to herself and just let me “ball!” I was crying because I was glad that she was alive and well and able to witness this history with me! 
My stepfather “Pops” picked up the phone and as he was taking it all in said, “It’s enough to make you emotional!”  This coming from a man who rarely shows emotion!  A man who rarely even laughs at my jokes at family gatherings!  I mean, let’s face it…I’m hilarious!
A few minutes later, I was on a three-way phone call with my aunt in Indianapolis who is like a second mother to me and my cousin from Atlanta who is like a sister to me.  Me being the only “man” on the phone and also the only person who became filled with emotions, I started crying…again! 
My cousin said, “You grew up so sheltered!  Stop crying and “Man up!”  My aunt was yelling back, “Cry baby!  Let it out and cry!"  My cousin quickly lashed back, “Stop that crying boy!”  My aunt then pleaded, “Let it go baby!  Let it go!” They battled back and forth over my manhood for ten minutes!  Meanwhile, I’m blowing my nose!
That next day I had feelings that I never felt before!  Feelings that proved that things were bigger than race!  It was about like many pundits have said “It’s the economy stupid.” I realized this as I walked the struggling automotive plant halls at my job.
A CNN poll shows that “71 percent of African American people never thought they’d see a Black president in their lifetime!”  Hmm…I wonder what the percentage of White Americans felt that way?  I would assume less since many of them aiding in Barack’s success!
I realize that racism still exists but this historic event helps me to appreciate that not all White people are racist!  Sure, there were some out there actively spreading hate all throughout this campaign.  The sign stealers, spray painters, and even assassination attempters, mostly young kids with nothing else better to do! 
A vast majority of people believe that there is no Black or White America, just America! Younger people especially have grown up with no racial feelings at all!  It’s just us “old fogies” and “Southerners” that can’t let things go…including myself!
Oddly enough a day or so after the election, I was in my carpool parking lot and I noticed some anti-Obama propaganda stapled to a nearby telephone poll.  It bolstered accusations that Obama was a Marxist and a separatist!  Above all it bellowed that Barack Obama was the antichrist!       
I quickly walked vehemently and tore the flyer down!  Seeing that nonsense didn’t steal my thunder, but it did hurt me. 
What hurts me even more is that all these White men have been in the government, some did exceptional well, while others raped and pillaged our government!  No one made any announcement of a heavenly prophecy!  But when the one Black person gets elected so many can’t digest and have to regurgitate lies!  
Why even some of these accusations were in the name of religion as an Associated Press writer stated, “A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama as supporting him “constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil.”
A study done in 2006 by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, states a third of evangelicals believe the world will end in their lifetimes as quoted in Newsweek magazine.  What nonsense!  I hope the world does end as they say so I can stop listening to the vainglorious rhetoric from people always thinking that they will never die for the “end” will come during their lifetime!
Well no wonder there are some many foreclosures!  Because of all these people that have self proclaimed themselves “Nostradamus!”  They know that the end is near and they want to go out with a “Big Bang Theory” of debt!   
Religion itself is a beautiful thing, but when used incorrectly and placed in the minds and hearts of the wrong people, the gentle lambs can be lead astray into believing something that roars ridiculous!
For all those rapture “Apocalypse Watchers,” who seek refuge in these bible prophecies, the bible also says to that fact in Matthew 24:36: “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.” 
It goes on to allude something to the fact that, “For as they were in the days before the flood, eating (probably processed foods) and drinking (still bottled water though) men marrying and women being given in marriage (didn’t say anything about the gays!) until the day Noah entered the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away.”
Another scripture at 1 Thessalonians 5:2 goes on to say the God’s day is coming: “like a thief in the night!” But in doesn’t say anything about all the Americans with “ADT!” 
American people still don’t know “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll “Tootsie Pop!”  Just look at the economy!  Hell we can’t even cure the common cold!  The odds of winning the lottery are 1 in 15,890,700 so I sincerely doubt that mortal man can pick out the Antichrist with even greater odds!  So get a grip people! 
I am religious as the next guy but even I have to use the God given common sense! But with all this hypocrisy, I swear it’s enough to make a person want to study mother freak’in “Scientology!”
I never thought that I would ever agree with something positive that Whoopi Goldberg said!  She bothered me always talking all that “Black-ity, Black stuff” yet dating White!   A White person that would wear “Black-face,” thinking that it would be funny!”  Yeah she had Ted Danson back in the day!  How did she ever get him anyway?
At any rate, she has evolved and is almost untouchable and can wear and say anything that she wants without serious repercussions!  She is really letting her salt and pepper braids down on “The View!” 
The day after Obama won the election, she made a prolific statement, “I always thought of myself as an American, with all the promise that America holds.  But suddenly last night, I felt like I could put my suitcase down finally!” 
I firmly agree with that statement!  But more importantly I truly feel that Michelle Obama said it best regardless to how misconstrued it was taken, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country!’  I think we all know what that truly means…now!
I continue to receive emails from Barack, Michelle, Joe Biden and David Plouffe!  Can you imagine getting emails from the president?  I’m sure that I can’t simply hit reply and start venting my frustration to the president of the United States and expect a response!  But, it surely makes the “Road to the White House” seem that much shorter!
So Barack Obama’s win made me in a manly way cry like a baby!  You know what, I’m proud of it, very proud!  And the next spider that I see had better look out, because I’m going to squish it with my bare thumb!  Well…maybe I won’t go that far!  But I will go as far to say, may God bless America!  In fact may he bless the whole entire earth!
One of my favorite comedians is Chris Rock!  What's funny about him is that sometimes, he's not funny!  Because he is being very serious!  He is a philosopher!
In the movie, "I Think I Love My Wife," one of his better theatrical efforts he says a line that rings true for many American married men, "When your wife comes out of the shower, you don't even look at her…because there's nothing there for you!"
This is what I call the "My Wife, My Sister" complex!  When you and your spouse are in the same house together and you eat together, but there is nothing there!  I mean even the thought of her naked repulses you!
When it comes to my wife, thankfully I still do look occasionally, as she exits the shower!  Though sometimes I could swear she comes out fully dressed!
One day as she was toweling off I gave her the once over.  I stopped and eyeballed her little pouch stomach.  She looked at me, smiled and playfully covered up.
I smiled back and said to her, "If you would do just a few sit-ups a day, you would have an awesome body!  Sad to say the only thing that will motivate you to workout would be a divorce!"
How can I arrive at such a conclusion?  Well, every now and then even though I'm married, I like to throw on some sharp clothes and "kick it" to the clubs, by myself!
A person should be able to go out every now and then without their spouse, it's healthy!  I like to have a few drinks and dance…well at least try, since the "robot" and "Pac-Man" are out of style! 
I like to look around at the people, and sometimes the people look back at me.  It never fails when I'm out that someone taps me on my shoulders.  I then turn around to see who the hand belongs to.
I look at the ground first twitching my mouth trying to be smooth.  Immediately I see the open-toed "F" me, shoes!  I move my head upwards and see the sexy legs attached to hips that won't quit!  The dress is tight and high, but the cleavage is low!  I look up to the face and who does all this "VaVaVoom" belong to?  Damn!  It's one of my friend's wives…well ex-wife now!
I recall how all these women looked prior to marriage.  I recall how they looked after the marriage.  The only difference is usually about thirty pounds…sometimes even more!
Why did my buddies divorce these now voluptuous vixens? They all pretty much say the same thing!  "Man…she doesn't laugh the way she used to.  She doesn't act the way she used to!  She just mopes around complaining forcing me to go to the store for a pack of cigarettes and never come back!"
So slowly but surely a few months pass and then I hear that they are getting a divorce.  That's when the transformation of the female race begins!  For divorce brings about motivation!
These women now realize that they have to fend for themselves. The others, if they still require a man, which most don't, need to bait their hook to find one!
There's something about the reverse angle of cellulite thighs in the mirror! They can really prompt someone to work long hard, grueling hours in the gym!
Things that never seemed to matter before are now in her regiment!  She's watching what she eats.  She's buying new clothes, and getting her hair done!  Before you know it, she looks just like she did ten years ago…minus fifty pounds and minus you!
Now don't misunderstand her intentions, she's not trying to get her husband back! But she will make him regret that he ever left her!  As she has his picture taped to the wall with an "X" over his face as she does deep knee crunches!"
Men are superficial creatures! We like what looks good!  There is nothing worse than having sex squinting or praying for more darkness in an already darkened room, trying to remember your wife's body as it once was!
Some women say that having children is to blame for their extra poundage and lackadaisical moral.  Some women say that they just became "content" with marriage and just gave up!  I kind of understand, "I mean why workout?  You have him now, "Hook, line and donut!"
But what do you do when your bait doesn't work anymore because it's too big for the fish's mouth?  What does a woman do when their man thinks there is too much chunk in the "Chunky Soup?"
Now granted sometimes the man has become a little portly too!  The wife looks at their "Sears" portrait and says to herself with a smile, "I'm fat and dumpy and so is he!  Nobody wants him and nobody wants me!" This jars my memory to this old reality television show called "The Swan."
I hate reality television!  I get a big enough dose of reality in my everyday life!  But I caught a few glimpses of this 2004 show that is summarized on stating "The Swan" offers ugly ducklings to transform themselves into beautiful swans.  It offers women the incredible opportunity to undergo physical, mental and emotional transformations and follows them through the process.  This groundbreaking idea culminates a pageant in which one woman will be crowned "The Ultimate Swan!"
It was kind of funny and/or disturbing to see these women parade on stage after all their extensive and sometimes grueling makeovers.  Garbed in flowing gowns and walking like "Frankenstein" from too much plastic surgery at one time! Their families standing on the sidelines looking in awe!  Especially their husbands!
This show only lasted one year due to criticism and poor ratings.  It probably would have lasted longer if they just showed you what happened after the show…like the divorce!
These new nosed, tight faced, fake lips and boobs are "Swans" now!  She's wearing new dresses from the array that was in the closet for years!
While the "Members Only" jacket-wearing husband…well they're still fat and dumpy!  Now he's coming out of the shower fully dressed!  While the "Swan" is parading once again, but this time at the club!
Now we men don't have to be so shallow that we can't allow our wives to gain a few pounds after marriage.  Respect her as the mother of your beautiful children and let her loosen her pants sometimes at the table.  Heck, we do it all the time!
But we need to at least communicate with them and let them know in a tactful manner that they need to lose a few pounds.  I mean, they know!  They are the ones looking in the mirror everyday!  You don't have to tell someone that they are fat, trust me they know it!
Many of us leave for work looking and smelling like a million bucks, only to come home and de-glam to "Raggedy Ann & Andy" status!  Oh how I would love to have stock in "head wraps," jogging pants and flannel pajamas! 
So spark things up in your marriage!  Take time out for one another and rekindle that love once permeated through your home!  Invest in a "Kagel," try a little, "Afternoon Delight!"
Get a membership to the gym for the both of you and make it fun to lose weight!  That way maybe, just maybe you can save your marriage and not ever have to worry about your wife, the mother of your children, looking good, dangling her bait at the club!
Growing up a seventies child, was a great time for ground breaking events!  There was something called “Black pride” that could be symbolized with a firm fist in the air or a black, red and green folding hair pick!  There was a way of walking and a way of talking that showed you were down for the cause!
We had something called “Black films” that were jive talk’ in, women pimp’ in, gun tote’ in, karate kick’ in, blood suck’ in and drug deal’ in, best historical though at times poorly edited masterpieces! 
These films were later defined as “Blaxploitation films.” Funny, during that time they were not exploitive at all!  They were just really hip, low budget films with groovy soundtracks! 
We also had something called “Black music” that defined the good and bad times! Where simple instruments like a bongo, kazoo or even a common whistle could get the party started!  The image, style accompanied with great dance moves that seemed to change every week! 
Above all, there was music that captured the sensual essence of something called “Black love!” When you heard this music you would yell at the top of your lungs “That’s my song!”  And it would be your song for the whole year, or better yet forever!  Not like modern day music that has some gems, but when you yell “That’s my song” it is, but just for the week or the month! 
During this time I would love to go to my aunt’s house for sleepovers in my cousin’s room!  My cousin, who was a little older than me and definitely cooler than me!  Was rarely there as I remember the back of his afro, more than his face!  But it didn’t seem to matter to me!  I just wanted to be in his room that epitomized the seventy’s groove!
He had orange fishnets tacked to the ceiling with album covers in them!  The room always smelled good, due to nearby smoking incense. He had different colored clothes in the closet, with different colored shoes by his bed!  And under the bed was a big ole stack of tattered magazines, “Players” I believe was the name on the cover!
My cousin also had a record player that seemed to always have a record ready to play.  I remember I would sneak and turn it on.  There was a song I would find myself playing over and over again at extremely low volumes!  It was called “Jungle Fever” by the Chakachas!
This song had hard bass filled bongos synchronized with a flicking lead guitar and alluring horn.  The beat would get real funky, and then it would abruptly stop to the sounds of a man and woman moaning!  The woman was speaking a different language and almost like begging for mercy! The man would say nothing, only grunt! 
My young ears didn’t really know what was going on, but I knew it was wrong!  But it sure sounded good!  I had a habit of doing and being places that I was not supposed to be!  Just young I guess, and curious!
I remember I was at one of the many basement parties that my family members would throw! I should have been upstairs with my babysitter “Mrs. Magnavox!”  But no…I was downstairs in a smoke filled basement surrounded by bottles, cans and cigarette packs labeled “Thunderbird” with a torn pack of “Kool-Aid” on the side, “Carling Black Label” and “Pall Mall!” 
Someone played a “45” on the record player, and all of a sudden people ran to the center of the basement floor.  They started slow dancing to this song that was telling a story, something about “They don’t approve” and something about “Living together in sin!”  My young ears didn’t really know what was going on, but I knew it was wrong!  But it sure sounded good!  
I had forgotten about that song, for it meant nothing to me at the time!  That is until later in life after vinyl records became tapes, and tapes became compact disc.   I liked this song called “Lady” by a twin led group called “The Whispers” so I bought their greatest hits.
The disc had another hit that I forgot about, called “(Olivia) Lost and Turned Out” and another song that took me back to a smoke filled basement, called “Living Together (In Sin)!”
Being older now and staying less and less out of “mischief,” I firmly know now what that song what talking about.  And it’s something that I was firmly against!  But having thoughts like this today are as passé as shipping a pregnant girl down south!  Nowadays we relish in the good news!  We even have out of wedlock baby showers!
When it comes to choosing a wife I wanted to have the most ultimate respect for her!  Besides a little fornication here and there, I would want to marry her, before she is totally defiled and worthless to me and others!
I never wanted to be like Fred and Donna from the television show “Sanford & Son” who just keep putting it off, never “jumping the broom!”
My question is what makes people want to “Shack up” as it’s called?  Just what makes a man want to have multiple children with someone that he’s living with and still say, “Naw man!  I’m not ready for marriage right now!”  What kind of example is he setting for his kids?  And furthermore what makes a woman stand for this?
I would like to have a conversation with the woman's father and ask him, “How does he allow his daughter to be in this den of ambiguity?  Personally, I would rather have a daughter who has been divorced three times, than one who has been “Shacking up” with a guy for umpteen years!
Many “Shackers” will say that marriage is just a of piece non-sequential paper!  But I guess so are taxes, deeds and insurance!  They may also say that they are living together to test the waters and see if they can make it in the first phase of marriage!
The “Concerned Women for Tomorrow” reported “Couples who lived together before marriage tend to divorce early in their marriage.  Living together is considered to be more stressful than being married and just over 50% of cohabiting first couples ever get married.”
Furthermore the group continues to state that a “U.S. Census report found that since 1970 the number of unmarried couples living together has increased seven fold. Over the last decade alone, it has skyrocketed 85 percent. Today, almost 3.7 million American households are composed of unmarried couples.”
My advice to the non-listening ears of someone “Living Together in Sin” would be to the following.  To the man I would say, “Make your woman respectable and give her the honor that she deservers!  The planets will never all line up perfectly for you and your so-called “right time!”  
To the woman I would say, “Know your worth!  Get the ring or spring, as in “Bounce!”  Take heed to Beyoncé’s latest female empowerment theme “Put a Ring On it!”
And to the both of them I would say, “Let your little out-of-wedlock kids “Tee-Tee,” “Shaquela” and “Dontavia” be your ring bearer and flower children!  Go on and get married and be miserable like the rest of married America!
Has anyone noticed that, along with the economy, the stock in “oral sex” has plummeted!  When I was dating, I used to have to wait six months to have just plain ole sex!  For oral that was another few “jailhouse marks” on the wall!  Then when I finally got it, it was something that I only received on my birthday and other special holidays!  Now maybe I’m “head” envious, but these girls nowadays and some grown women too, are giving this great “bargaining chip” away on the first night!  Damn!  Leave a little something for the wedding day people!  Don’t finally go to the alter with cold sores or worse!
Growing up in the seventies taught me a lot, some things good and others bad!  Regardless, it made me an “old head” with “old head” standards and pride… something that’s lacking with this newer “free-for-all” generation!
I mean, don’t their young ears know what is going on?   Don’t they know that something is wrong…even if it sounds so good?  

One of the best golfers to ever play the game, an Academy Award winning actress, and the 44th President of the United States all spawned from interracial relationships!  I am referencing of course Tiger Woods, Halle Berry and Barack Obama! 
With the mortgage crisis, tremendous job loss, high gas prices, health care issues and a black man in the White House that was once built by slaves!   With all this on our American plate is this “black and white cookie” liaison still bothersome as it is dunked into this so-called liberal thinking, politically correct, milk massed world?  
This subject is one that I love to discuss with people.  It ranks up there with politics, religion, and abortion!  Some people get really hot behind this subject.  A while back, I was listening to a syndicated radio talk show, hosted by self proclaimed “The Baddest Man on Radio,” Michael Baisden.
The topic of discussion was “Interracial Dating.”  One of the callers, ironically from Detroit, Michigan, made the comment that people who date out of their race are “race traders performing cultural genocide!” 
That was a very strong statement and some other callers, who were predominantly black, were not so supportive of this opinion.  Despite being rather extreme, I tended to agree with the initial caller, for I am anti-interracial marriage.
To begin, let me make one thing perfectly clear, no one loves white women more than me!  I loved the color contrast and have dated them several times, so by far I am not racist! I would rather liken myself to a realist. 
When I first wrote this out I had to delete many things as I said to myself, “Hmm…maybe I am racist!”  But I know that I am not!  I have many white friends!  But you know as well as I, when someone says something like that, they are about to say something really racist.  Now with all that out of the way I can go on with my rant! 
I, likened to “Othello” and many NBA and NFL players, stood in long lines to sit and dine at the interracial dating table.  The whole myth of the White girl thing had me hooked from the very start!  It was so taboo, yet I could not flee from its gravity pull!  At my high school all my black male friends had white girlfriends!  One even said to me “Man, dating a black girl is like dating my sister!”  
I wanted to be in with the "in crowd!"  I wanted to be cool!  I wanted to taste the forbidden fruit to see if it was better than what I was accustomed to!
So, I shaved off my mustache, started listening to rock music, bought a pair of "Dockers," and got myself a white woman or as they were so aptly defined in the movie, Undercover Brother the “black man’s kryptonite!” 
I enjoyed the attention, respectfulness, culture and earth-shattering sex that the white woman gave me!  I didn’t care who stared or made snide comments! I was hooked, I was happy and it was great! 
But as my kaleidoscope soiree blurred, I began to see that in most of these relationships we were just strange bedfellows, not going past the front seat of my car and their apartments.  Furthermore, I liked my mustache, pleated baggy pants, "Rap music" was born and I wanted to "pop-lock!"  Plus, I did start to care about the stares and snide comments, and it started to affect me! 
I started realizing that I was looking at black women very negatively!  I thought of them as not being worthy of my time and therefore beneath me.   Why did I feel this way?
I started to analyze myself and realized that I was like many black men who were “color struck!”  Upon this discovery I got my last fix of the white woman and quit “Cold Turkey!” 
Well kind of…I curbed my appetite to only dating light skinned girls, who of course had to have some white in them to be that complexion.  But be them mulatto, octoroon, biracial or multiracial, due to society’s “Jim Crow Laws,” they were classified as black in the U.S. Census and therefore were safe!  So that way I could, “have my cake and eat it too,” so to speak!  I waved off white women all together! 
I wouldn’t even go to many of my “friend’s” weddings, if they married interracially!  I did not support those relationships in my heart, so why go and be a stick in the mud?  Plus I was having withdrawal issues! It would be like a reformed crack head visiting a crack house!  Before I’d know it, I’d be feen’ing again!
They say, "once you go black, you'll never go back!"  I say "once you go white, you'll never be right!"  Regardless, both will give you fits of a fever or as Spike Lee phrased it, “Jungle Fever!”
Many people, prior to meeting my wife would assume that she is white.  I guess I just seem like the type!  But to their surprise as well as mine, I kept it "real" and married black!  I fought the temptation and won!  My question to people in interracial relationship is, “Why can’t you fight it?”  
For all you people who feel that you can’t control who you fall in love with, give me a break!  You didn’t fall in love!  You walked in love!  You knew what you were doing from the very start.  You knew that they could not use your comb!  Yet and still you chose to bring them home!  You in your tie dye shirt shouting “love is colorblind!” 
I have always figured, when a black man gets with a white woman, it’s a “win, win,” situation!  This is why there are so many black guy, white girl relationships!   Unbridled sex!  For its well known that if a child has two-percent black blood in them, they are black!  Not Mulatto, not Multi-racial, but black!  You too Tiger! 
So that blackman has everything!  His white wife will give him unrestrained sex and let him get away with bloody murder!  To top it off his offspring will be black!  Even though they may not look like him at all!  So who cares about a few looks, stares and an occasional fight in “Redneck” bars? 
Oh, and the upside is you can still eat sweet potato pies!  But your White in-laws, who by the way, will never like your black ass…ever!  They will bring pumpkin pie to holiday dinners, just to confuse and piss you off!  However, they will tolerate you because of the grandchildren.
Now, I have always figured, when a white man gets with a Black woman, it’s a “lose, lose,” situation!  This is why there are so few white guy, black girl relationships.  Bridled sex!  Maybe he is caught up in the big booty and full lips thing so much that he is willing to lose himself and his nationality, because there are no Caucasian blood percentages that change anything in the white person's favor!  He is willing to lose all the white man "perks" for so-called “love?” 
Oh and the other downside is you will always be confusing sweet potato pie with pumpkin!  Spinach with turnip greens!  And always wondering, just what the hell are "chitterlings!"  But don’t worry your passive black in-laws will help you through all the kinks!
Marriage is hard enough within your own race!  This added drama is why I’m against interracial marriage!  Dating is okay because we all want to see what all the hoopla is about!  But marriage usually means children and that is an added hurdle to climb. 
This hurdle may be something I will have deal with further down the road.  I like many other blacks, ran away from the city, my people and basically myself to a small predominately white country town.  Many of my friends who know how I feel about race mixing always say to me, "Who do you think your children are going to date?  Are you going to ship in some blacks or something?"  My reply is always the same, "Yeah, if need be, I will ship in some blacks or at least some other kind of minority!"
The dating would be okay, if that’s what they want to try.  Especially if their parents were cool and they're not sneaking around.  I would want them to get all that out of their system!  So they won't lust and long for it later in life like some rare, precious nugget like during the “Gold Rush” days! 
But the marriage, I honestly would have a problem with, and even more so having grandchildren that don't look like me and will have problems fitting in with this hodgepodge yet divided world.
A somewhat sarcastic skit on the Family Guy was about this very perplexing situation!  There was a black and white couple living in a shack eating dinner with their children.  The youngest child in a very Tiny Tim-like manner said “The best part about being half black and half white?  When I grow up I’ll be accepted by everybody!"  A statement that couldn’t be further from the truth!  As many interracial children are confused with their racial and cultural identity.
Charlotte Nitardy a M.Ed. in human resource development wrote an article concerning this entitled “Identity problems in biracial youth” which states, “Biracial youth have a very unique problem that most of their peers never experience: racial identity. These biracial youth have difficulties identifying who they are in our society.  Historically, children of mixed parentage were identified with the parent of color; if one parent was black, then the child was considered black. While such simplification may have been adequate in the past, studies are showing that more and more biracial children in today’s society are experiencing identity problems.”
I did a personal interview with a woman whose father is black and her mother Italian.  She had this to say about growing up interracial.  “You are in the middle and you don’t know how to act!  You don’t know what side to pick!  And whatever side is picked, the other gets neglected.  So you have to be chameleon!” 
I then asked her which family was more supportive of her.  I automatically thought it would be the black side of her family!  As black people for the most part except anything!  Most black families that I know are almost boastful and proud that their child dates out of their race!  To my surprise the woman informed me that her Italian grandmother showed her the most support!  But she would often pawn and pupued her skin hue as a tan from the vacationing Hawaiian sun!
I then poised the question did she think that the parents of interracial children were selfish?  She paused for a second and then said this resounding reply “Yes!  They are selfish! They don’t understand what their children will have to go through!  They can’t even help them to understand because they are not the same as you!”
Other people who I have talked to say the parents of interracial children are not selfish at all, but innovative in their "colorblind" thinking! Concerning their children, they are idealistic!  In the sense that their children will know that their parents love them no matter what!
Even the parents themselves face identity problems!  Have you ever watched an interracial couple?  I mean really watched them without rolling your eyes, snickering and gnashing your teeth? They look as though they are so in love and that there is no one else in the world but them!  That’s true as they are not well-received by many!  So in part it's them against the world!
For all the people who are in these types of situations and appalled by my point of view, I can sense your anger towards me as you hope to make this confused world a better place!  But as we are supposedly moving forward, I think we skip over very vital issues that need to be examined under a microscope and not swept under an already dirty rug! 
I guess my biggest problem is that I wish we as black people would get ourselves together first with each other rather than going on the other side! I wish we could have pride and unity, being able to relish and succeed with our own flavor, rather than opt for the “swirl!”
I remember I went to a black friend’s family reunion!  As we entered the pavilion he said to me with a great big smile, “As you can see there are many white people in my family!"  He was actually proud of that fact!  Like if it was all black he would not be happy about that!  I was shocked and appalled!
What made him think that his reunion was better than mine or better than “Tyler Perry’s" fictional character in Madea’s Family Reunion? Well…actually it was!  They had golf and an open bar!  Everybody was on time and so cordial…Damn!
I have tried to develop the philosophy of the old song, "To each his own," but I'm just not there yet!  Maybe due to southern sprawl, integrated proms, the electing of the first black President Barack Obama and the unified racial vote that got him there, maybe race relations will continue to improve…we will see!
Maybe my children will marry someone of another race and I will smile, support them, and even go to the wedding!  Maybe with continued race mixing, we will all turn a nice shade of beige…again we will see!
So, does anyone care about interracial dating anymore?  The answer is unequivocally, positively, yes!  Well…at least I still do!

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all my friends who shared their viewpoints on this subject and helped me to complete this article.
While standing in the checkout line at a super market, I glanced at a rag magazine heading. Bold white lettering read “Rihanna & Chris Brown Are Back Together!”  This widely publicized youthful romance out of nowhere went from blissfulness to battering!  From MTV to Court TV as the nineteen year old singing superstar was booked and then placed bail on a $50,000 bond.
Many people were shocked that the scuffle even took place.  Then they really got up in arms when the “unofficially” leaked-to-the-public pictures of the badly beaten Rihanna were plastered on every news website around.  These same people are now even more upset that the couple got back together!
I’m not sure what I would do to Chris Brown’s neck if Rihanna were my daughter!  But then that would be kind of hypocritical on my part.  I reluctantly have to say that I myself have had a few shoving matches in past relationships.  So it would be like getting pregnant at sixteen and then years later your daughter does the same thing!  You are upset, but you really can’t get angry!  So yeah, I’m upset, but not angry at Chris Brown.
Yes, I know that a man should never put his hands on a woman; I can hear the rebuttal already.  “My daddy didn’t hit me!  A man has one time to put his hands on me and I’m gone!” 
Not at all justifying the abuse, but rarely are the woman’s boots made for walking!  Usually after a cooling down period and the wounds have healed, many times, reconciliations occur.   
I experienced this first hand with my very own mother, greatly to my teenage ulcer's displeasure.  She was never one to walk out of the house wearing big sunglasses in the winter time!  However through my bedroom walls I remember hearing a few memorable squabbles.  Now these may have been the rarest of occurrences but they can be amplified and replayed in a child’s mind and memory forever. 
My mother always stood her ground with men.  I remember one time she was walking up to this chicken joint on Kinsman a well populated street in Cleveland, Ohio.  As she approached the door a man snatched her purse!  Rather than scream and cry for help, my mother in white orthopedic nursing shoes gave chase!  Fueled by anger and a purse full of money quickly panting away, she caught up to the poacher as he tried to climb a fence.  As she grabbed his pants leg the stunned thief looked back at her and said, “Lady are you crazy?”  He threw her purse down and jetted purse-less and dejected!
Now maybe some will say that was risky, even ridiculous! She could have lost her life for a few bucks!  But my mother valued her purse, just as much as she values her heart and she will protect it at all costs!
I have never seen my mother going toe-to-toe but like I said, I definitely heard it!  I have never seen the repercussions afterward either.  But best believe if there were some, I would hate to have seen the other guy!  But all is well that ends well, as many times afterward we would all load up in the car and go to the Miles Drive-In!
There we would pay money to see more physical abuse on the big screen as we munched on hot buttered popcorn.  Seeing all of this you eventually kind of think that this morbid and sick occurrence is the norm!
Many of many teenage and early adulthood romances may have had a little push here and a little shove there but none as much as this one abusive relationship that will forever be etched in my memory.
It was my first really serious relationship.  You know with “I.D bracelets, promise rings and personalized cards!  We were together all of the time and miserable when we were apart! 
One day out of the blue she told me a story about her parents.  The fable began with a woman scorned, and continued on to explain how her mother thought that her husband was cheating. 
She ever so calmly grabbed some shears from the kitchen cabinet and then walked into the closet grabbing all of her husband's polyester pants.  She laid them on the floor and liberally proceeded with the greatest of precision, cutting them all in half.  It was the 70's so you know that he had some sharp vines!  Later she found out that he had not cheated at all!  Meanwhile this man has to go buy a whole new wardrobe all because of an assumption.  Could you imagine what would have happened to him if she had proof?  My girlfriend said that her mother would have done the exact same thing, only he would have been wearing the pants! 
I balked at that story and laughed it off.  Was this a sign?  No, she was not like her mother at all!  In fact she was the polar opposite!  But after a few years or so, when our young-legged love started limping and heading towards the glue factory, she became vexed and perplexed!  She thought that I was cheating on her.  Thinking back on it now, I probably was! 
While sitting in my car, she started screaming and yelling, before I knew it, she “yoked me” as we used to say back in the day!  She grabbed my new “Joseph Horne” purple sweater and made my “Crew neck” into a scooped “Vee-neck!”
She then started flinging her arms like a windmill whirling with fits of rage!  As I ducked for cover from her onslaught, she made contact with my face.  With rabbit speed and just as timid, I looked in the rear view mirror.  There I saw the white meat trailed with blood as she had scratched me from the top of my forehead down to the bottom of my neck!
In anger and shock I backhanded her right in the mouth.  As she grabbed her mouth I could see her lip swell up like a balloon! “Take me home!”  She yelled along with a few other expletives.  Battered and tattered with the inside light of my car growing dim, I did just so in a racing fury.  With a screeching halt I stopped and she bolted to her front door.  I then sped off vowing never to return!
A few miles down, I stopped at a light on Lee road, another street in Cleveland.  I turned on my inside light and was checking for more war wounds.  I saw signs that a car had pulled up next to me and the driver suddenly shouted out, “Man!  What happened to your face?” 
I looked over and to my amazement it was my Uncle!  The man that I looked up to!  The man that had a share in raising me!  The man who thought that I was so cool and in control!  It belittled me to tell him that I had just got my ass kicked by toothpick thin, black “She-hulk!”
As I headed home I was glad that it was late so I would not have to face my mother’s side to side shaking head!  But the next morning she saw my wounds that actually looked worse than the night before!  That Monday at work a co-worker said to me, “It looks like a cat got a hold of your face!”  I was the laughing stock of the plant and butt of all jokes!
Despite the humiliation, shame and loss of pride, before the week was out my girlfriend and I were back together!  We were both fit to be tied sitting up in her parent’s living room, her with her big fat lip and I with my cocoa-buttered scratched face, holding hands and laughing on the couch!  We later kissed and had great make up sex that was just as violent as our rumble! 
I would like to say that was the last of our big brawl, but sadly it was not!  A few months later, she tried to push me out of a two story window.  The only thing that saved me was that I was holding on to the window pane for dear life!  I had to pay her mother for the broken window. 
There was also a time, in which we were arguing, speeding down I-480.  She opened the car door and threatened to jump out!  At the time I think I said, “You so bad…Jump!”  As I pushed harder on the accelerator!  Another time I choked her so hard she almost went unconscious!
Thankfully there were no fatalities in these escalated may lays and after more than five years of a downward spiraling relationship we parted ways!  But even when I started dating other women, I would still call and/or pop over to check on her.  We even considered getting married but she wound up on the losing end of my "Magic 8 Ball" results! 
She was “A Rage in Harlem” when she found out that I married someone else.  To this very day, after 15 years, I’m still nervous when I’m in Cleveland!
I was fortunate that I didn’t end up in jail or something worse!  But many people don’t fare as well!  They say that 2 out of the 3 women that leave and seek shelter return to their abuser soon afterward.  Be it “love” and in some cases sheer terror!  As they are fearful of what their abuser would do to them if they don’t come back!  Some people even think that they deserved the beating due to a wrongdoing or misstep.
Domestic violence statistics are unclear as many abuses go unreported but it is estimated that approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States as reported by the “American Bar Association”.
Disagreements will happen, but violence is a learned behavior.  Love and the thought of love may feel great!  But if accompanied with abuse it can be painful and even deadly. You know your partner and you know if in fact you are in a relationship that you should get out of!  If this is the case grab your knapsack and get to stepping!

This article is by no means an attempt to minimize or make jest of domestic violence.

When I was a teenager I was like many teenagers today, I thought that I knew everything.  But now with the advent of the internet, iPods and cell phones, many teens do know almost everything!  However, with this wealth of intelligence we still have an issue that continues to increase in numbers, the growing number of teenage pregnancies!
Despite the quest of Congress to promote abstinence-based programs, teenage pregnancies continue to climb. There was a time in which teenage pregnancies were an inner city problem but this has since spread to the suburban and rural areas!  Affecting not only the average to below average students, but some of the book worms as well! 
Teenage pregnancies received a front row seat in last year’s much publicized presidential election in which the ultra conservative republican Sarah Palin who was the running mate to John McCain, announced to the shock and displeasure of millions, that her teenage daughter was pregnant!   
Rather than let this hinder her ventures Palin flipped it and made "lemons out of lemonade" using this mishap to advocate being anti-abortion and touting "If this happened to me, it can happen to anybody!"
Her daughter became a poster child for teenage pregnancy and despite all the backlash the hand-handing teenage couple looked like they were going to weather the storm, but as with many couples in this situation they have since parted ways adding to yet another child born out of wedlock.
This surprise of a teenage pregnancy is something that many parents face today.  For I have heard a ga-zillion examples that start like this, "My daughter has been offered scholarships to all these different colleges!"  I also have a ga-zillion of those same examples that end like this, "Well we are going to have to put college off for awhile…she's pregnant!" 
Oddly, many of those stories five months into the pregnancy sound something like this, “We didn’t even know she was pregnant!”  Comments like these have to make the parents question themselves.  Where was I when all this was going down?  Was I too lenient?  Was I paying attention?   
How is it that we put so much emphasis on scholastics but bypass pre-marital sex?  How are some of these teenage girls so smart but unaware of protective sex?  Furthermore, how is it that parents do not even notice their daughters protruding belly? 
Could it be that many parents nowadays are just too busy living their lives!  Some trying this new age parenting in which many want to be cool with their children!  Some of these parents are almost kids themselves and chose to be a parent only when applicable and cute.  Usually between getting in and out of bed with various self-esteem boosting men that take their eyes off the prize.  Before they realize it they are watching the teenage pregnancy cycle repeat itself but this time in high resolution. 
This holds true with middle aged parents as well.  As they feel the hourglass sand is running out on them, they sprint to have fun and get away from it all.  Never noticing the makeup, tight jeans and short dresses.  Never really paying attention until it's all covered up by a XXL sweat shirt.
Teenage pregnancy happens on the other side of the spectrum as well, with parents trying to do the best that they can.  They are working two jobs during the week, “Family Day” on Saturdays and then Sundays straight to church!
However, were they totally blind to the telltale signs too?  The countless hours they left their raging hormonal teenager in the basement with their so called "friend."  All the tardies coming home from school and all the late night phone calls.  The new friends that dressed just a little too provocative.  All waved off as just being “puppy love,” passing fads and wanting to be popular and fit in.
Other instances deal with the lack of positive emotions in the house.  Due to the lack of love in their home, some teenage girls bolt willingly to be cuddled and held by any throwback jersey-wearing guy!  A guy that makes her get so caught up, so involved, she just throws her future temporarily and sometimes forever right out the window!  
I have always wanted to lead by example, never wanting someone to negatively say to me, “Well…you did it too!”  In teenage pregnancies, with all that these mothers experienced you would think she would do her utmost to ensure her daughter would not waddle down the same path! However, expresses that “Girls born to teenage mothers are 22% more likely to become teenage mothers themselves.”
There are also health concerns as further expresses that “Children born to teenage mothers are more likely to experience social, emotional, and nutritional problems. As a result, they are at risk for lower academic achievement.”
Teenage pregnancies have come with some very extreme repercussions, so much so, that the government instituted the “Safe Haven” law.  This controversial law allows parents or legal guardians to take the children under the age of 18 to various hospitals and police stations and just drop them off!  They can relinquish their parental obligations temporarily or forever without legal recourse!
If I had a teenage daughter…she would probably hate me!  As I would always be telling her to control and keep her emotions in check at all times.  Know your worth and always stay focused on the future rather than being in with the “in-crowd,” current trends and temporary passions.  I would help her to realize that becoming pregnant is something that can be avoided, if she only does one simple thing…think!  Above all, I would tell my daughter and even my son if involved in a similar situation, that I love them and would help and encourage them in any way that I can! 
Teenagers dealing with pregnancy should visit the “March of Dimes” website at This is a great website for teenagers considering and/or engaging in premarital sex as well. Remember that May 6th is the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
There have been countless movies about it.  Through the years many poets have written about it.  As have many singers sang about it.  All still just as perplexed about it as the ones who wanted to know about it before. 
What could it be that has perplexed mankind since the beginning of time and has wreaked havoc on future chartered members of the “Lonely Hearts” and “The He-Man Woman Haters” clubs?” 
Dare I try to delve into this matter?  Dare I dream that I can answer the fool hearted question? Can a man and a woman be just friends?
Hmm…my answer has always been the same as I have pondered this quandary before.  With a clinched fist and beating on the desk, simply put, my answer is unequivocally…No!  Okay, well maybe…it depends on the situation and how Jupiter aligns with Mars. 
I feel that the only way that a man and a woman can be friends, “true friends” is if the man is in some way, form or fashion totally repulsed by his female friend.  And even that hypothesis is not a proven theory as many times in the male's sick and twisted mind we will eventually get to repulsive female in our demented checklist of fetishes.  As we look at our friend that is too thin, chubby, broke, independent, uneducated, pizza faced, or has too many kids,  eventually we men will recline chin-in-hand and go “Hmm…I wonder what she’s like???
Men may be angry with me for revealing this deeply guarded secret.  Ladies may be shocked or even doubt me.  If so, I say to them step into the lab and run a little experiment.  One that I like to call the “Titty Test.”
When you are out with your best male friend that you think doesn’t even have a remote interest in you, walk over to him, unbutton your blouse and show him the twins!  That’s right the “boobies” your “air bags” the “dairy pillows,” a.k.a “God’s milk bottles” your disfigured thirty year old or more “wopbopaloobops!”  Let “Thelma and Louise” get some air and just see how the lab rat reacts.
The unknowing men in this lab experiment will find themselves getting hot from the flame of the Bunsen burner.  Three things may result.  One could be that “Elvis may take the stage” meaning his “third leg” the dreaded “One-Eyed monster” a.k.a “Captain Winky” yeah that’s right the uncircumcised anteater “Mr. Snuffleupagus” himself, may respond “present” to role call!
The other outcome may be that he may turn his head then look at the ground quickly stand up and run away screaming with his hands a flinging in the air.  Then, my dear, you have a friend indeed! Oh and shopping buddy as well!
Now, another finding may be quite a surprise.  You could find that he will take a big gulp and say “We don’t have to do this.” He may very well button your blouse up for you, right up to your shocked bug-eyes. 
This is the “Nice guy” the “Mama’s boy”, a man raised by women who is emotional, sensitive and may very well collect antiques.  Someone like me, who examines everything and investigates why things work the way they do.  Someone that’s curious but has a conscience, even after they find themselves knee deep in a dilemma. 
Though initially he may get aroused by the whole thing, if you reached in his pants you would find that the turtle has gone back into his shell.  The referee is counting for “Down goes Frazier” a.k.a “Welcome to flaccid city” the crowd is exiting as “Elvis has left the building!”
Most guys are not like me.  In fact many of my friends have laughed, even howled at me when I point and say “See that girl over there?  She is my friend.”  They shake their heads and say in rebuttal, “You mean the one with the pretty face and that “onion bootie?”  That chick is your friend?”  I often smile, nodding my head as I reply, “Yeah, and she has been for many years.” 
When I was single, there were a few girls that I liked that locked me safely away under locked key in the dreaded “friend zone.”  I like many other hapless men may think that this region is far better than not seeing her at all!  Many of us besides watching porno have seen countless movies and believe in true love.  Sometimes this loves happens instantaneously, and sometimes you may have to wait.  This taxiing may be comfortable for some, for you can raise a cub amongst pussy cats, but he eventually will become a tiger and do what tigers do.  Just ask magical illusionist “Siegfried and Roy!”
So this aspiring pilot will want to stretch his wings and take flight wanting to join “The Mile High Club.”  Thinking the coast is clear; he confesses his undying love that he has held in for years.  Rarely are the feelings mutual, for it  usually ends up blowing one engine and a bird gets caught in the other as they both sit back watching their friendship go down into a fury of flames.
Though not married, the infamous counselor of relationships, Oprah Winfrey asked "Can a man and woman be just friends?", to television show host Rabbi Shmuley.  The rabbi felt that men and women can be friends if they lay down a few ground rules.
First he says “You can't go out to late night dinners together. You can have lunch together in a public place, but you should not order alcoholic beverages. The embers of attraction really can grow in situations like that, and suddenly it's not so innocent, it's not just friendship anymore."
Secondly he says “You cannot place yourself in any situation where romance can grow. Romance grows when people are alone; romance grows when people tell secrets,"
For ones who are married the Rabbi further adds “You can't share secrets with a platonic male or female friend that you don't share with your spouse. Because then you're sharing an exclusivity with a member of the opposite sex that you're not with your partner, and that can lead to a big no-no."
When it comes to being friends with old flames, I always thought, who better to be friends with?  I mean, you know one another…well!  It was determined that a relationship was not in the cards, but you worked better as friends.  Maybe, just maybe, because you have experienced each other sexually and the temptation is less intense, everybody can keep their hands to themselves.  However the Rabbi disagrees with me as he says, “You should not be friends with ex-lovers.”
Furthermore, it is so interesting how God reveals his sense of humor making men and women think so differently.  Kate White an editor-in-chief at “Cosmopolitan” magazine was asked her views on platonic friendships between the sexes and she said “Men and women view this question very differently.  Men think about sex 24/7!  That's just the way their brains are wired, and they wouldn't mind if a platonic friendship went to the next level. But women believe truly and sincerely that they can be friends with men without sex even entering their minds.  Men and women can be friends, but it can be fraught with problems if you don't keep things in check.”
She further states that “80 percent of women underestimate how often men are attracted to them.  This applies to male friends, not just a guy you pass on the street. Women are more likely to be friends with an attractive male with no sexual tension.  As opposed to a man who wouldn't mind if he slept with his female friend even if she's not a 100 percent his physical type.”
Men are always up to something.  We are hunters by nature.  Many of us if there is a trace of doubt in the air, or if the person that we are interested in is dating someone, even married, we will keep them under glass, waiting for the right time to pounce.  This modus operandi was the foundation for nerds, losers and peons, but even princes, kings and esquires have found themselves using this crafty age old technique.
So ladies, don't be miffed and/or shocked when one of your male friends, you know…your “brother” your “Ace boon coon” your “homie” your “Running buddy” the one that is the “Andy to your Raggedy Ann” your “free handy man” the one that listens to you complain about how bad your man is treating you.  The guy that you “booty dance” with because he won’t get the wrong idea.  You know, the guy who took you home from the club because you were too drunk to drive, who undressed you, put you in the bed and left your GHD induced hymen intact!  Don’t trip when he spills the beans about his feelings towards you.  Don’t slap him and don’t be pissed.  For this happens all of the time.  So keep this feather in your cap and don't be naïve to the "flimflam" of the male psyche.   

To my close female friends, to whom I confessed my feelings to or even hurt over the years, you have my sincere apologies.  But you really should have known better!
I was driving home and the radio station that I was listening to started playing some Michael Jackson music.  I thought “This is so cool!” I started jamming, singing along and thinking about the past.  Then they played another song and another one.  I thought to myself, “Hmm…this is like the sign of a musician’s signature death, the ole continuous play of their songs on the radio.”  After the fifth song in a row…I was certain something was wrong.
I called my mother as I often do on my way home from work, and during our conversation she told me that she just heard that Michael Jackson was dead.  I was so dumbfounded and shocked, I told her that I had to call her back and I hung up the phone.
I continued listening to the radio but no one was sure if the news was true or not.  I saw my wife before I got home and she said, “Did you hear about Michael Jackson?”  Again I was dumbfounded!  I did not want to believe what I was hearing.  I don’t think that I even responded to her, I just made a bee-line for home. 
Arriving there I turned on CNN and there it was.  I turned to MSNBC, and there it was.  I turned to BET and it was not there, just the normal scheduled programs…business as usual.  What a crock of a “so-called” black station! 
The rock-n-rollers of the past had their loss of Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin.  My parents had there loss of Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles and James Brown.  Now sure, during my generation there have been some losses and not to minimize any of them but none were even close to the popularity and world wide appeal of Michael Jackson.    
I honestly cannot think of my childhood and teenage years without thinking about “The Jackson 5.”  Their timeless, smooth, choreographed moves were performed with the greatest of ease along with harmonies that revered all competition including the “Osmonds” another “teeny bopper” group. 
In the “automatic-systematic” Jackson 5 there was the cool, but acne-laced Jermaine with a face that “Proactiv” could only dream off, the “I just happy to be here” Marlon, Tito whom I don’t really know if he can talk and the oldest brother Jackie.  It was funny seeing Jackie on various television shows as he would kind of squat down being the only teenager in a group full of kids.  He was the only one old enough to know and want fame, but was destined to be a background singer as his youngest brother would overshadow not only him and the rest of his brothers, but many prominent musicians of that day and now.            
I remember my mother took me to the “Front Row” concert theatre in Cleveland to see the “Jackson 5.” When the theatre darkened, you knew that the show was going to start and the entertainers were going to run down the row onto the stage. That was so exciting as you would never know which row they would run down.
I heard some rumblings behind me and what do you know they ran down my aisle, right by me! I had an end row seat and my foot was slightly sticking out and I tripped someone. They quickly got up, and I never saw or knew who it was, but I always hoped and dreamed that it was Michael. Then I could yell at the top of my lungs, “I, with my big foot, tripped Michael Jackson!”     
As Michael Jackson spread his wings with independent spins and robotic moves you knew that he was on his way to bigger, better things.  I was floored when his “Off the Wall” album was released! That was when new dances were made every week and we would do “The Rock” at house parties to his songs “Rock with You” and “Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough.”
I honestly got a “Jheri Curl” trying to look and be like Michael Jackson.  Now sure I would eventually let it grow longer in the front on the left side almost covering my eye trying to be Prince, but when the sides were pushed back, straight and baby hair going down the sides of my face, I was trying to be like Michael. 
When the album “Thriller” was released, I mean it was sheer musical pandemonium!  The coolest thing was when he came out with the “Billie Jean” video and he stepped on the street and it lit up like a “Saturday Night Fever” disco dance floor.  I remember that I would dance the routine to “Beat It” and I was pretty good too!  I did and still can do all of his moves in the “Thriller” monster hit video.
The walls in my room, closet doors included used to be plastered with posters of MJ.  I remember one day my stepfather came in my room and looked at my cutouts from such magazines as “Right On,” “Black Beat,” and “Rock & Soul” collage of MJ memorabilia.  He looked at me and said “Boy!  This is too much!  You should have a picture of Jesus on your wall!”  He was never one to speak about religion, but I guess my wallpaper shrine devoted to MJ was a little reminiscent of a golden calf.    
Slowly, but surely my wall of cutouts and posters started coming down, I think that it started when Michael lost his blackness.  He stopped looking like one of the “Ohio Players” and started looking like a cleft chinned, frail, Yoko Ono.
I remember the Lisa Marie Presley marriage and how the media just ate it up.  The television clips of Lisa’s daddy the chart topping, gyrating, fulltime racist but part-time stealer of the black persona that expired bloated and drugged out, supposedly on the toilet.  They showed cartoons and made up molds of him rolling over in his grave knowing that his daughter married a man who was a jig-a-boo…well at least used to be. 
The huge need for attention, the desire to have Joseph Carey Merrick a.k.a. “The Elephant Man,” sleeping in an oxygen chamber, “Bubbles,” and then child molestation cases with undisclosed amounts being paid out followed by the baby dangling, sealed the deal. Guilty or not it was too weird and it just was not cool to be a fan of his anymore.  
Plus he has dated Tatum O’Neal and Brooke Shields! I don’t think that he ever dated anyone black.  But he ends up having children with a “Plain Jane,” portly, free with a fill up shades wearing, dermatologist nurse.  She looks like the lady who sells lottery tickets at the local gas station who eats “Twinkies.” She gave him “Signed, Sealed, Delivered “the whitest children that I have ever seen!  I mean those kids are whiter than “Opie Taylor!”  I didn’t think that this was possible if they were truly mixed with his black, pugged nosed genes. 
All this launched the laugh factory and Michael Jackson became an umbrella toting, nose “dropsy's,” surgical mask, lipstick wearing, taped fingers with unbleached finger nails, deer in headlights, pajama sporting recluse. Later, the personal television interviews made things even worse as he tried to explain why he has done things the way he has.  Then he demonstrated poor parenting skills and looked so unnatural playing with his kids in sun glasses sporting a brimmed hat.  I just really couldn’t look at him anymore so I went back to the “Billie Jean” and “Jackson 5” days, like I did for Luther Vandross pre his “Jheri Curl.”
But before all this madness, during his prime, I did not realize what an icon Michael Jackson was and all the racial boundaries that this man had crossed in his life.  Michael Jackson has done more for racial relations than people realize being the first African American, (well we were just black back then) to be played in full rotation on “MTV” network.  He broke those racial barriers just as easily as he did car windows in his videos.   He brought many people in the world together before Tiger Woods and long before the first African American president Barack Obama. I honestly don’t know why this man and his family do not have a station on satellite radio!  Clearly, they have enough material for weeks, months and years of air time.
I have a cousin who worshipped Michael Jackson.  At our last family function in which I was and always am the DJ, she asked me to play something from Michael Jackson.  Her eyes reaffirmed her still now affinity for this man, regardless of the trials, hairstyles, financial moans and varying skin tones, she still loved him and wanted me to play his music.  I scrolled my iPod and ran across an “oldie but a goodie” one of my favorites. 
The song I played, “The Good Times,” is a gem that Michael dropped with his brothers, but it did not receive a Grammy award. Then I looked over at my cousin to see if she remembered and if she, well “got it.”  She smiled and nodded her head in approval.
So I guess that I wrote this for her because I’m sure she is just torn to pieces over this loss. I also wrote this for me because in spite of all the world winds and spiraling ups and downs of Michael Jackson's career, I’m crushed. So much so, I’m humming many of his songs even the ones that I really didn’t like during their heyday.   
His life was like a tragic rocketship that sadly descended after reaching the moon, crashing to the ground with each fall recorded and photographed for the world to see and laugh about.
So yeah, there were definitely some bad times, but right now I guess that I just choose to think about his legacy, his music, and his sheer genius!  I’m just going to think about the “Good Times” even after the toxicology report.    

My grandmother was the patriarch of my mother’s side of the family!  This is probably true for many families.  She had old standards and values with even an old name to boot, "Minerva!"  When not being dear and sweet, she would often tout "Keep the family together!"  This command was tunefully reiterated, by the many phone calls from her nine children and other family members that abided to her demands.
My mother would tell me how her and her siblings all lived on the third floor of a two bedroom shack!  When things got better they moved to what was called the “Projects!” This public housing unit, I would assume, must have looked like the “Waldorf Astoria” compared to where they were previously living.  All they had was each other, and really, that’s all that they needed!
This family grew up and continued practicing the family bond and despite living in various areas of greater Cleveland, almost every weekend or so, we would get together in someone's finished to semi-finished basement to eat, drink and have a ball!  Childhood memories of joyful calls like “Three Tight” and “Four Corners” as we played a game very similar to “Bingo,” and just as exciting, called “Po-ke-no!”
The family started playing cards more and more, with the occasional game of “Bid Whist,” but the game of choice was “Tonk,” in which many of my relatives would tote five pound, tattered and discolored “Crown Royal” bags teeming with dollars bills and quarters! They would sprawl them out to be quickly rationed in various colored bowls.  The dealers call would be all over the place from "One-Eyed Jacks" to "Red Aces!"   The winner could not only win the game, but other side bets as well!  Many of my family members have been playing cards for thirty plus years, but somehow miraculously they forget the rules and will argue you down for stakes as low as fifty cents!
Besides basement parties to the tune of "oldies but goodies" and a little bit of "Down Home Blues" this family always worked together!  If one failed, they all failed!  And it was not unusual if a relative stepped in with money, food or to just lend a helping hand to a family member in a time of need.
On my father’s side of the family his mother was a patriarch as well, with the same value system and just as old of a name, "Bessie!"  "Don't ever go to bed angry" was one of her familiar sayings.  This was exemplified by her eight children and other family members with their close knit bond.  I was told that if the siblings had a dispute she would make them hug one another quick, fast and in a hurry!  One relative said that "Sometimes hugging was the last thing that I wanted to do, but we did and it worked to keep the family together!"
This family is also extremely close due to their religion and lively church functions.  You would never know which one of them would get "called" from the lord to become a deacon, reverend, join the choir or something like that.
My father's side of the family is very interesting to say the least!  It's like a non-stop comedy show with each member trying to out do the other.  And although many of them don't gamble or drink, we still have just as much fun!
Through years of observing other families and talking with many of my friends and acquaintances, I discovered that not all families were like mine. Many have said that if it wasn’t for man-made holidays, they would not see any of their family members at all!  This is why during funerals, so many of us scream, yell and have convulsions while crying profusely and trying to jump in the coffin with the deceased loved one.
Actions like these make one wonder why they did not show all that attention and concern while the person was alive? If they would have just taken the time to visit or just pick up the phone, maybe, just maybe it would reduce the number of hysterics.    
The advent of the computer is a phenomenal feat, making it quick and easy to get information and the internet and texting are great! However, the downside is that it has killed many businesses and brought the newspaper industry to its knees!  It has also destroyed one-on-one contact and the art of conversation!  As many singles clubs have lost revenue to people just staying at home in a warm room with a hot cup of coffee and communicating via the net. 
Someone told me the other day, "Text me, I'm not a phone person!"  Not a phone person, what on earth does that mean?  Does this go for their parents and other family members also?  "Text me mama!  I don't have time to talk!"
Many of my older relatives got stuck with programming their VCR's!  Now with DVD's and computers, many are distressed, confused and waving their hands in the air.  My mother would have a fit if I told her to text me!
Every year for my job, I have to fill out this document that always asks the same question, “Are you willing to relocate?”  For the last twenty-two years I have always stated the same thing, “I am willing to move anywhere within a 300 mile radius of Cleveland.”  I know that my managers probably laugh every time they read this thinking to themselves, “What's up with this guy and Cleveland?”
Granted the city of Cleveland may be defined as a stagnant, poor economy and in dire need of an uplift like a casino perhaps.  Regardless to some of these things being true, I love Cleveland!  Though it's not my hometown, I am actually from Indianapolis, IN, I moved to Cleveland when I was seven years old and haven’t looked back ever since.
In 2000, I was relocated by my job and moved to a small country town in Michigan.  Happy, safe and sound, I still loaded up my gas guzzling Dodge Durango and made the 2 ½ hour trip almost every other week.  “Why?”  Many may ask, “Why not assimilate and acclimate yourself with your new area?”
Well, Cleveland is the central location for a lot of my family!  Many people have told me over the years that I am a “Mama’s boy!”  Truth be told I actually am, and a whole lot more!  I am an Uncle’s, Aunties, and even a cousin’s boy!
Regardless of the condition of our city as a whole, you would never be able to tell from all of the food, fun and partying going on with my family! What’s great about these festivities is that it’s not always due to a holiday.  My family will get together just because.
When I was in my early twenties, I got pretty heavy into a new religion.  This faith was against many worldly holidays and due to this put a strain on my family association.  Being missed, my family made various accommodations.  Sometimes they would have events before the holiday, which would ease my conscience some.  They would always open with prayer before a big meal and always ask me to pray.  Quite a sacrifice for little old me!
I have spoken with people who say that they haven’t talked to their family members in years, some who live right in the city!  Things like this are unheard of in our family!  The following are lyrics to a song played at every family reunion that I have been to. However do we really listen to the words? Or are we too busy eating barbecue to hear these poignant lyrics?

"The family is the solution to the world's problems today.  Now let's take a look at the family. In the family the father is like the head, the leader, the director, not domineering, but showing love, guidance for everyone else in the family. Now if we could get all the fathers of the world to stand up and be fathers, that would be great.
Then we have mothers who are the right arm of the father. There's supposed to do the cooking, raise the children, do the sewing and help the father to guide and direct.
Then there's the son, the son, most sons are like imitators of their father, so we're back again to the father, and he is guiding in the right way the son is definitely gonna be alright!
Then we have the daughter, watching her mother. Because sooner or later she's gonna be a mother and she'll have her own sons and daughters. It don't just stop there with the family or of yours or mine, it's a universal family under one divine purpose.”

These valid lyrics then, may very well offend many people of today as the family unit is in total disarray.  Anything goes now as there are many different circumstances that one's call family, or at least that want to be looked at as a family.
The family bond is in such dire straits that many people have considered various family workshops, in which some are free of charge.  A program of the "Family Dynamics Institute called "A New Beginning" states "The number one skill that contributes to good family communication is active listening. Active listening brings out the best in relationships, promotes a positive home environment and strengthens the family unit. Establishing regular opportunities for all members of the family to actively listen to each other will encourage and develop good family communication. One of the best such regular opportunities to develop good family communication skills is around the dinner table.” 
However, how many of us eat together?  With the parents working late and the kids in and out of the house at all times of the day, not to mention our obsession with group websites like Twitter and Facebook.  Many of us know more about total strangers than our own kinfolk.
I feel that it's high time this generation take a break from texting and emailing and communicate more with our families.  Ones that are close in distance get in the car and pay them a visit.  Ones that are far just pick up the phone and give them a call.  If there is tension from a family squabble, be the bigger person and make amends. Follow the example that our grand parents and great grand parents left many of us, to do whatever we can to "Keep the family together!"
In my younger days, before the Internet craze, to meet someone you simply went to the shopping malls.  In Cleveland during this time we had our parents drop us off Saturday afternoons at the "Randall Park Mall" where we could eyeball the tight “Jordache,”  “Chic” and “Sergio Valente” jeans as we would scour the tile floors for hours!  If you were cool, smooth and had a little bit of luck, you would have a hand full of numbers by the time you left!  Some numbers you would call, others you would not.  Another option was if you were full of yourself and looking for the “ritzy-ditzy” types, then you could frequent another mall called “Beachwood Place” with the same initiative and same response.
Later that night the same loving parents would drop us off at the teeny-bopper clubs with names like “The Host House,” “The Spectrum” "The Excalibur" and “The Forge.” At these strobe-lighted, disco globed places we would "Pop-Lock," "Smurf" and "Cabbage Patch as we sweat our “Jheri Curls" out dancing our curfews away! 
When we got older, started driving and all, we could go to the Cleveland "Flats" for a choice of over one-hundred party spots in one central location!  There you would find whatever you savor in all sorts of tantalizing flavors.  There was also expensive parking, high cover charges and watered down drinks for your pleasure and if you got rowdy you could receive a police escorted view of the bottom of Lake Erie, all free of charge!  
Now of course these avenues of meeting people did not work for some.  The less fortunate and/or shy ones had to resort to the classifieds and telephone dating.  We defined these people as nerds or geek's having to use the backdoor with front door expectations.  Now rocket from this troglodytic thinking into the future in which a slew of the ultimate nerds and geek's launched something called the “World Wide Web” spawning waves of instant information and communication within a matter of seconds!  Thus turning us all into a nation of novice to moderate computer nerds and geek's!
This technology has been fantastic, changing big business and the way transitions are made, right down to the small business of selling a car, refrigerator or an old chair.  Electronic communication has toppled the delivery system so that the United States Post Offices had to reduce staffing and even delivery days.  Even pay telephones have become non-existent as cell phones, emailing and texting reign king!
New technology is usually something for the younger people but mom and dad are well into the act too! Even grandma and grandpa are steadying their hand to move the mouse around.  It has to seem weird when a teenager tells their parent to stop hogging up the computer with bidding on "eBay," connecting with friends and even searching for perspectives mates.  Lorna Collier of "LifeWire" stated for CNN "As the baby boom generation ages and once-married boomers become single again, they are increasingly turning to the Web in search of dates."  It may very well turn your stomach the thought of grandma putting off knitting us a sweater for hooking up over the web!
The Internet has even changed the way that "players" play the game!  Remember when adulterers would orchestrate their next rendezvous by calling their married partners house, letting the phone ring once, and then hanging up?  That was the trademark signal to call me back ASAP!  Those days are gone forever as the “Cheating Kind” can just shoot a quick text or email unbeknownst to their significant other.         
Various group websites like MySpace, Twitter and the mammoth Facebook that just recently reached over 300 million members!  Not too shabby since the U.S. Census Bureau reported that there are around 307 million people living in the United States.  Everyone says that you should join these sites, but know one tells you how to delete your membership!  You are locked in forever, whether you login regularly or not. 
However, active members are busy on these sites "tweeting" and "poking" all day long!  This is reiterated in essay "Friends With Benefits: Do Facebook Friends Provide the Same Support as Those In Real Life?" by Kate Dailey who states "In life, having 700 people in your circle of friends could get overwhelming, but that’s less of an issue online." “Research suggests that people are only intermittently in touch with many of their online ‘friends’ but correspond regularly with only a few good friends,” says Shelley E. Taylor, professor of psychology at The University of California, Los Angeles. “That said, creating networks to ease the transition to new places can be hugely helpful to people, offsetting loneliness until new friends are made.” In other words, Facebook may not replace the full benefits of real friendship, but it definitely beats the alternative."  For many it's almost like a part-time job!  This all can very well be good ole harmless fun...initially, that is.
Many people that I talk to especially women are having a ball on the net!  The many activities, educational pursuits and games can be quite enjoyable and a haven for idle time.  Married people can also find tons of information on the family and tips on how to have a successful marriage.  Even the ones who may feel bored, lonely and unappreciated in their marriages; there is something to make them feel special again.  A place where ones over the "Seven year itch" can find the stimulating and fresh "chatting" that they have so longed for.  Or as Erykah Badu's song "Kiss Me on My Neck" aptly says "Been such a longtime, I forgot that I was fine!"  The net can make ones feel beautiful and in demand!  It takes them away like a "Calgon" bath and makes them smile like a glass of "Sunny-D" as things become fun and joyful again.  Craig Ross, a graduate student in psychology at the University of Windsor who studies online social networks explains “Because people don’t have to interact face-to-face, that’s why we’re seeing them having relationships: they can think more about what they have to say and how they want to say it.” And oh yeah, a place for them to blab their personal business to what could be millions of onlookers. 
While their spouse is watching the game in the other room and uninterested, the wives are busy, pecking the keys, smiling and typing words followed by exclamation points like "LOL" and "LMAO." Even if the husband does sneak up on them, some of these women are so crafty they just have "Wal-Mart," "Oprah" or some other website minimized and ready to be maximized at a milliseconds notice. 
Women are on the net and getting more play than if they were at the hottest clubs with the tightest shirt and in a pair of "Apple Bottom" jeans!  They are lounging with their hair unkempt, the "F-me pumps" in the closet and clothing is optional.  They don't even need a baby sitter because their kids can play right next to them. 
All they have to do is pad their profile to appear as if they are deep and interesting, attach a "Glamour Shots" picture, and then press "Save." All that's left to do is troll and wait for a nibble.  What's great about it is that your bait works even when you are away!  You can be shopping, at work or out of town, just check the line at your leisure and reel in a teeming net full of starving hooked fish!  It's like entering the song "Spill the Wine" by the group "War" in which it says, "There was long ones, tall ones, short ones, brown ones, black ones, round ones, big ones…crazy ones!"  And unless you have your husband in your head-shot and the minister that married you both, you are fair game!  And therein lies the problem. 
With the net there is instant gratifying interaction. When someone asks you "How are you doing?"  You actually tell them, well rather type to them exactly how you are doing and they will respond with the same affinity.  I have been told that sometimes, it is easier to tell a stranger a secret than it is a friend.  These "strangers" graduate into what I call "web friends" and sometimes they can help you make it through the pangs of life.   Their genuine concern on the right day and the right time can open the door for even more communication as phone numbers are exchanged and sometimes even laying the foundation for face to face meetings, especially if it's an old acquaintance or boyfriend.
As coined in golf a "Mulligan," as they say down south "One Mo' Gin," and in layman's terms it’s called a second chance, or a do over.  This old acquaintance or boyfriend can bring back the formative days of yesteryear and before they know it they are having what's called an emotional or cyber affair that can be non-sexual.  While some can turn into head first, full-tilt "Yosemite Sam" guns a blaz'in affairs! 
These electrical affairs can be quiet tantalizing as the high paid celebrity divorce lawyer Mark A. Barondess states in his book "What were You Thinking??" that "The excitement of an affair is nothing compared to the excitement when you get caught."  Furthermore, according to which states "Two-thirds of American attorneys say the Internet played a significant role in divorces."  With all of this web drama going on, just what is a poor "newbie" surfer to do?  Whether they want to join a group site or even try on-line dating there has to be a few precautions, right? 
I posed this very question when I interviewed several of my "web friends".  They also stated that they have and or would have no problem meeting men through group sites as well as trying an on-line dating service which is quite the norm for all walks of life.  The key is as one "web friend" put it is "Deciphering between needs and wants.  Your needs can make you choose things carelessly. What you want, however, results in you making a more calculated decision in what type of person you meet and communicate with on-line.  Be a lady at all times, and guard your heart at all costs! The more patient you are, the less desperate you act/seem, and the more calculated your steps, you will meet someone special."
Of course there are some furlough nut jobs out there on the "Super Highway!" So one must be leery of certain bi-ways to avoid!  "Never, ever, meet a stranger in private--always choose a public place" states another "web-friend" of mine.  She also says "Before you meet them, "Google" their name, do some background checking in the public records of their state or any state they say they've lived in, always talk on the phone before meeting them, and on a web cam (you can pick up certain signals via the tone of their voice on the phone, and you can pick up signals in their body language on a web cam), and so forth.  Also make sure to find out when the last relationship ended and how it ended. You may be the rebound chick needing to bring someone's swag back."
All the women that I corresponded with spoke sternly about avoiding out of focus, misleading photos that are twenty years old or even of someone totally different all together! "He said he looked like Walter Payton, the late NFL great running back but he looked more like Robin Harris, the late comedian!" Report one "web friend" But all emphasized that you request a current picture!
Speaking of pictures, don't have too many pictures of yourself on these group sites for it may come off as vanity.  For that matter don't have too many pictures of your family either!  It's your site not theirs!  Besides some psycho's out there may envision themselves in your husband's wedding tuxedo, your wife's wedding dress and playing with your kids! 
Just the other day my wife said to me, "What do you think about me joining Facebook?"  I looked at her very appreciatively that she would even consider my opinion prior to joining such a site.  I firmly said to her "Sure!  Why not?  I'll help you set everything up!  I'll even take your profile picture!  However, I will not be one of your Facebook friends!"  She looked at me rather startled being denied web friendship from her own husband and then said "Why?" I simply replied, "That's your thing!  You will have your thing and I will have mine!" 
I honestly feel that a person is entitled to their own privacy.  Furthermore I don't have the time or energy to take on the part-time task of policing my wife, and for that matter her doing the same to me!  Every week I'm visiting her page and then saying to her over dinner "Well…well who is that dude?"  Her calling me at work angry, "Well…well who is this chick?"  It's best if I just trust her and hope for the best! Plus what's the harm in someone who lives three thousand miles away commenting on my wife's profile picture saying "Hey!  You are just a pretty as you were in high school!  LOL!"  Maybe she'll feel sexier and have a little more "pep in her step!"  On second thought…maybe I will be her Facebook friend!

One of the most entertaining events that's also a sad occasion is the Black funeral.  Many times during these funerals, I ask myself questions like, I wonder who is going to lose it at this one?  Who is going to try and jump in the coffin this time?  Is this service going to be short or the normal four to five hour funeral?  And the biggest question of all, "Why don't we have more closed caskets and cremations with Black people?"  At least this would help lessen some of the hysterics.
To begin a black funeral is always on a Friday or Saturday!  Black people have a lot of friends and if you attend a funeral on any day other than a Friday or Saturday, then that person was a nerd. Also, dark shades are automatically given to front row patrons.  All others will be charged one dollar, just give the money to the ladies wearing the white gloves.
The air-conditioner never works or is always questionable.  They should announce at intermission to refresh your deodorant, but they don't so despite your loss you will have a hefty dry cleaning bill to remove all of the sweat stains. Furthermore, something is always wrong with the obituary!  This ranges from a simple misspelling to the wrong names under the wrong daddy.  To most people this is not evident as they are rarely even given an obituary!  Because obituaries always run out at Black funerals.  It may start out in color and looking all nice, but you can rest assure within an hour or so, it will end up bland thanks to the trusty copy machine.
The viewing of the dearly departed is nothing but a mere leisurely catwalk stroll as ones remember to view, turn to the audience and then pose to display their rainbow of threads.  We will display anything from blue jeans to full length minks!  I always felt that there are "Going to church" clothes and then there are "Going to the club" clothes!  And never should the two ever meet!  Regardless there are ones who try repeatedly!  There is always some lady with a blouse on that is too tight and cleavage that is as long as the "Nile River!"  There are always teenage girls with long faces, but very short hem lines.  There are men who will be dressed like boys I label them "Old Young Guys" and boys dressed in over sized attire looking like men, who I label "Wearing my daddies suit" because he doesn't have one of his own. 
Then every "Winans wanna-be" has to get up and sing!  They are on a mission to take you down in the valley and up to the mountain top!  Some even singing the same song twice!  Sometimes it's all a beautiful thing and very comforting to the grieving family, but other times it just prolongs the sadness.  Besides, after fourteen songs, enough is enough!
In between all of this the preacher and his underlings give a eulogy “off the cuff” because many times they don't even know the deceased.  Regardless they are going to give it their best and sermonize till the sweat runs down their brow.  He can't just say "Well so-n-so is dead and you are going to die too!  We have chicken & rice in the back.  Amen!"  No, they have to put on a show as we are such an elaborate people or at least we think so. 
When you finally think that it's over, it’s not!  Now comes the drive to the cemetery!  Going to the gravesite used to be for family and close friends, now the whole church follows in the procession through all the twist and turns under little to no security.  Almost every trip to the grave-site someone gets into an accident.  Sometimes I just ride in the limousine as it’s safer, so what if it was built in 1985.  In my mind many times I have sang full bars to "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" and "To Grandmother's House We Go" to pass the time away getting to this destination!  I often fight nodding off but usually the loud muffler keeps me awake.
Arriving, everybody piles out and walks to the grave-site.  The preacher says about a minute prayer and its over.  Well not really, as you have to go through the long return drive to meet back at the church for what is likened to a mini buffet in the back-room.  Later that night many meet up yet again for drinking, playing cards and dancing, sad for the dead and happy that they ain't with them!
The next morning tired and hung-over we go to church which has me asking questions to myself again.  “Why does he wear that same old lime-green suit?”  “Is that a real banana in her hat?”  But none bigger than the question that has perplexed me since my early teens.  "Why are Black people so religious?"
You would think after countless years of oppression that Black people would have the largest numbers of atheist!  But, I don't think that you could find more than a handful for Black people love them some religion!  They love to believe…in something.
The non-atheist Jeremiah Camara, author of the book "Holy Lockdown" Does the Church Limit Black Progress?" states "Blacks are the most Jesus praising people on earth, yet amongst the most fragmented and economically dependent."  He furthermore states "Perhaps the church's greatest and most harmful effect is that it has imbued Black people with a spirit of waiting.  It seems that Black people are forever waiting on something." 
I have to agree with this statement as I too feel that Black people are the race of eternal "waiters!"  We are waiting on this, waiting on that, eternal life is just something else to add to the list.  Waiting affects us more as we are only about 15% of the population.  Furthermore we only control 3% of its wealth, so being lackadaisical does not work in our favor.  Regardless, we keep praying for a better day. 
This is why on almost every street corner you will find yet another church in predominately Black neighborhoods.  In each you will find shelter, accompanied with a joyful sound.  And did I mention the entertainment?  The preaching is the ultimate “One man show!”  Jeremiah Camara further states "Many people associate the Black church with excessive emotion and theatrical sensationalism; it has also been scrutinized for the lack of practicality within its sermons.  The preacher must incorporate entertainment within his sermon.  It is a tried and tested method, proven to yield great returns on his investment."
Then the organ player hits a quick beat that gets the spiritual blood flowing as the tempo goes faster and faster!  And then here they go!  One of the church members starts doing the "holy dance" usualy the same person that does it ever Sunday.  They start parading in place or around the church pews screaming, jumping and shouting.  It can be quite alarming from the offset, which is why many people deem these places "Fall out" churches.  It’s kind of like line dancing but to a gospel beat remembering to "Stick out your left foot and then "Shout" then your right foot and "Convulse!"  Then take both hands and reach for the heavens!"  I have tried to do the dance myself but I have two left feet.  I always think to myself, "The way they are jumping around they are going to have a heart attack!"  The biggest question that I ask myself is, "Why doesn't the organ player…just stop playing the song?"
The choir joins in, which makes me feel even more uncomfortable as I know none of the songs.  The last religious song that I memorized was "He's Got the Whole World, In His Hands" that's when my aunt whispers to me "See!  I can tell that you aren't saved!"
Being “saved” who would not want that?  Sure I would love to self-proclaim myself “saved” without even a heavenly election! I mean I don’t want to be left out!  If there is something to gain, something to get, I want it too!  Who doesn't’t want to live forever? 
Forever!  Living forever?  That is a mighty long time!  It’s hard for many of us to get along with each other already, now we have to get along…forever!  Sure I would like to envision seeing my father who was killed in a car accident when I was just six months old.  Sure I would like to see my grandparents who did not live long enough to see their grandchildren.  Do I think that this will happen?  Hmm…it would be nice, but sometimes I’m skeptical.
I guess the whole hypocrisy of it all, as many avid worshipers of various religions haven't spoken to family members in years, but they have "Jesus on the Mainline" daily!  Various clergy, which members believe were "Called by the Lord" have been involved in heinous crimes, in which some which almost divided the Catholic church.  That's why, I just look at all of them as normal people, not chosen, just your average Joe's who picked the job of serving the Lord.  Some are generally good people, while others play on your emotions.
Truthfully, I think that it all boils down to death.  We humans are just too vain to believe that we die and that's it!  We have to keep hope alive!  Every year the number one selling book is the bible with over six billion copies sold!  Who has the copyright on that?  Does God still get the royalties?  Religion is such a big money maker I question it sometimes, just like I do the validity of holidays.
I also think that it stems from usually the first lie that a parent tells a child.  Yep, you guessed it, "Santa Claus!"  There are many stories about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and others alike, supposedly for the joy of a child but often used as a form of control.  Then when the child grows and discovers that it was all a ploy, what are they to do…smile?  No, they remember.  Then here you come talking the same story but this time it's Jesus.  Sure, Jesus trumps all other stories, but the premise is somewhat the same and many wonder is this just some glorified fable.
Christine Wicker's article in Parade magazine entitled "How Spiritual Are We?" stated "Americans are a very practical people, moderate and tolerant in ways that would have astonished our grandparents.  The federal stamp “In God We Trust” is being questioned as recent surveys indicate that 58% thought that religion and politics should not mix.   Different ideology has spawned as 24% of respondents put themselves into a whole new category: "spiritual but not religious" it furthermore states "82% would consider marrying someone of a different faith."  Heck, most of us do so much tweaking with our perspective marital mates, why not think that we can change their religious views?  It continues with "In previous era, Americans were on their knees nightly, convinced that they had to pray because a higher power demanded it.  That conviction has largely evaporated. Now more people pray because it brings them comfort and hope."  That would be me as I still pray at night before I go to bed as well as when I get up, usually sometime during my drive to work, eyes opened of course.
I was always told early on in my study of religion "Always have on your spiritual suit of armor!"  Now, when worn and having visible holes I have come to realize that my suit is just like everybody else's, it's only worn when we deem it necessary.  Many times we think that we have it on and just like an out of date computer virus protector we are vulnerable to the spam, spyware and worms of this corrupt world.
Religion used to have standards, but that proved too divisive.  Now the struggling churches in need of funding to compete with the mega-churches that are too packed to pay attention to members are accepting people from all walks of life.  Heck, I saw Dracula sitting in the back pew that other Sunday.  This is why new methods of religion have spawned in which people opt to call themselves "spiritual" I'm not too sure what that means.  Many attend churches that are non-denominational, not too sure what that means either!  But I have labeled them "Shaquila's and Davonte's" of religion.  They are new on the scene having young parents with so-called new ideas!  Quoting the author Jeremiah Camara once again he states "Belonging to a non-denominational church is like wearing generic clothing.  Although no name is attached to the clothing it still looks very similar to the popular brands." 
I went knocking on doors wearing Jesus shirts and hats trying to enlighten everyone to this new information.  Then I realized that everyone already knows about this information and have made their choice.  Now, I mostly keep my religious views private, for me and my family only, kind of like my taxes.  But I guess that I should not care just hope to be in that number "When the Saints Go Marching In" and worry about the protocol later.  Do I believe in the "talking snake," "burning bush" and parting of the Red Sea?  I guess I look at it more figuratively than literally.  Regardless, I still pray, even if my prayers don't go past the ceiling.

I guess it can be summed up like this:

Religion to me is soothing to me, like a mother's hand to a child's brow. 
The bible is comforting through all my ills, with steps to where, when and how. 
Sure it has been used to control the masses and put fear in the hearts of all those who oppose. 
But it keeps many of us sane with peace of mind finding comfort and strength that’s a good thing, I suppose.

Be it right or wrong, left or right, "Hallelujah" or "Praise be to Allah," you just have to believe in something.
Despite the confusion I'll keep praying to the heavens without delay, quick fast and snappy.
I will keep trying to be good, like I know I should, above all I won't ask questions,
With my mind fixed on the it will make my mama happy.

The Ethnic Experience: Funerals, Church and What Not
I remember her, I remember her well.  She was slender, long hair, beautiful eyes with a great body!  She was so exciting, so sweet, and so kind!  And within a few months I had cheated on her!  If she was all that, why, oh why did I seek shelter in the arms of another?  Did she do something wrong that made me cheat?  I really don’t remember.  I personally believe that a person will cheat for no reason at all.  It’s just in them!
  In the book “The Truth about Love” by therapist Pat Love, Ed.D, states, “Don’t expect to feel inclined to be monogamous.  It’s not in the nature of our species.”  So I assume that our nature is to pro-create!  And now with the invention of birth control many of us are just pro-having fun! 
  I think that it’s really the newness of a relationship that makes us seek interest in someone other than our mate.  While being married, many of us stifle the excitement that we once had when we were dating one another and now we are just going through the motions.  Then we look around, which it’s never far away and we put ourselves willingly in harms way!  Yes I said willingly, for no one just falls into an affair.  Many of us if not all, lay out the map with precise directions to our hearts and soon our loins too, that “Mapquest” can’t even touch! 
  We know these things as there is no distinct level of intelligence lacking in those who cheat.  Cheating covers all from the person who cleans the toilets at work to the President of the United States!  Cheating is universal!  Cheating is also looked upon as cool coming from one man’s point of view!  Hey, what a nice name for a column!  Anyway a cheating man is labeled as a “player” by his friends and is cool!  And no man wants to be labeled “henpecked,” from his cohorts, which is very, un-cool!  Now a cheating woman on the other hand is not labeled cool at all!  She is called a home wrecker at best.  And at worst she is called a slut, if she cheats!  But regardless of the titles, both sexes have been cheating or at least thinking about it, since the beginning of time.
          My viewpoint is, how could you think that your spouse would never cheat on you?  What makes you think that what you have is so rare and so valuable?  I mean people nowadays don’t even want to keep a car for more than two years!  What makes you think that they want to keep you for twenty years?  I more so think, what am I going to do when it happens?  Will I leave or will I forgive?  Depending on the circumstances in which I will want to know everything in great detail, I would probably forgive.  Yes, I would probably forgive, even though it’s harder for a man to forgive in this situation than a woman.  Because women, shouldn’t be as surprised as men are when they find out that they have been cheated on.  Women almost wait on it because men are dogs!  Or at the very least they have doggish characteristics. Men know this to be true unless they are fearful of their wives knowing who they really are!  Or they are hiding behind a bible wearing leash! Even so, the Satan tick is trying to eat away at his flesh daily! 
   All of us fall short, some shorter than others.  Realizing this I have to be realistic about being a human, a human with flaws!  This is why I would probably forgive if my spouse had an affair.  But of course I would never, ever, forget and I will be watching their every move for the rest of our lives! Why forgive, many may ask? With children involved and everything, to walk away from a marriage of ten years plus, because they had an affair doesn’t warrant a divorce in my book!  It does however show that the marriage needs help. 
           Some people after an affair, the writing is on the wall, as they have become less attentive to their mate.  Some people can’t have feelings for two people at the same time.  One will get it all and the other will get none! This is when their cheating is obvious and they get caught simply because they are stupid! Now, I having a doctrine in cheating in various relationships never became distant from my mate at that time.  Surprisingly, guilt made me become even more attentive, “trying to have my cake and eat it too!”  I was always mindful of what I was doing and always careful, making sure that I always wiped the icing off of my lips!  Unlike many people who leave cakes under their beds!
           The reason that we cheat is partly because, we can!  We have the opportunities, we have the means, it happens everyday!  Sure there are some exceptions to every rule.  The fat, balding man may boast, “I never cheat on my wife!”  Sure the flabby titties and out of shape woman can say, “I never cheat on my husband!” That’s because no one wants them, hence they have no one to cheat with!  Those in the middle, who holdfast to moral values are far and few in between.  But given the right opportunity they will fall, just the rest of them!  The only way that one may be able to curb cheating is to wear the tight leash of religion.  And even then they will still think about it.  Which I believe is the same as acting on it according to some religious doctrines.
           So I guess there are no hard fast reasons to why we cheat! But realize, it probably will happen to you! Statistics say that fifty percent of marriages end in divorce.  Ten percent have found their soul mate, which I really don’t believe in that stuff.  And the remaining forty endure!  Most of us are in the “endure” area if we are married.  Now, this is not a bad thing to endure.  It means that we learn to appreciate the good and bad qualities of your mate and deal with them.  Like, he may be handy around the house!  Or, she may make a good peach cobbler!  And together they may make great parents for their children!  Who cares if they sleep in separate bedrooms!
   So enduring is really not that bad! Let’s face it if you put the good and the bad into the marriage blender, after you hit puree, you get a long, tall refreshing glass of endure!  Maybe, just maybe if we get off of our high horses, we could lessen the divorce rate!  For I think that it is far easier to deal with the casualties’ of war, rather than why the war was started in the first place, as we are throwing in the towel! 
The Cheating Kind
Let's begin with...

Thank You...
And so it ends...