Saturday, October 31, 2009

I Believe The Chill'ren Are Our Future.

WSHH and Bad Parenting. Chicken or Egg?!?

Question: Could someone call CPS on these morons?

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Sudanese Gucci Mane?!? Guest Post - EbonyGentleman Needs More "White Friends".

[Editor's Note: My main man EbonyGentleman just missed the boat on AverageNation Week™ but he's back to give his unique take on "post-racial" America. As usual, show our guest some love.]

Living as a citizen in postracial America is wonderful. People are coming together in droves. Inter-racial dinners and get togethers are the hottest things since the invention of the wheel. Churches are no longer segregated. Barbershops and Beauty Shops are no longer segregated. There are Unity parades down Main Street every Saturday, where folks of all races and ages sing "We Are Family" and hold hands.

My local Civitan and Rotary Clubs have exploded in memberships of "minorities." In fact, the term "minority" no longer exists in the context of what we once knew it.

Even taboos and stereotypes among the races have fallen into a positive embrace.

Inter-racial marriage-- once the last bastion of racism has become the norm. Now everyone wants a "Golden Child". Blacks and Whites are even having public orgies, consuming endless amounts of fried chicken and Mountain Dew while baby making on their front lawn.


Man, that Obama guy really has CHANGED a lot of things!!!

But...seriously. ;^)

This is a grand oppurtunity for folks of different backgrounds to explore and communicate. As I live and breathe in the South today, things still seem to progress more slowly than in other places. I could be wrong about that though.

Working in the public, I'm constantly reminded about how people may perceive me. I try to live by the Golden Rule. To treat and speak to people as if my Mother was looking over my shoulder. I want to live honorably. I want to respect people no matter how they may treat me. It's tough sometimes but someone HAS to take the lead and be the kind of human being we can be if we let ourselves.

When I was a young kid, I had a pal in school named Wendy. She was a young white girl who was very friendly to me. We used to study for tests over the phone and score straight A's in class. Our friendship was kind of unusual for the time and place, but in the 80's kids were encouraged to intermingle. We would be the embodiment of Martin Luther King's "Dream". Black kids and White kids having some fun together voluntarily.

Our teachers may not have believed that mantra themselves, coming out of the Civil Rights movement, but for the majority of the kids that was the norm. However, this is the South, where social progress lags behind.

Then again, I could wrong about that.

Wendy and I continued to be pals on the phone until one day, her mother told her that she could no longer talk to me on the wire. I didn't understand why all of a sudden things had changed. I was only seven years old, and I was just getting used to mastering the use of that "Rotary" phone thingy.

Needless to say I was hurt. My mom found out about it and gave me "the speech". She knew why Wendy's mom gave me the boot. It wasn't because I was a troublemaker, far from that. It was obvious what it was about. It was my first "Negro Wake Up Call."

I don't know if anyone else has had to endure an experience like that. In spite of the sudden lack of phone access, Wendy showed some true character. She still remained a friend to me thoughout the later years of school. I now have her as a friend on MySpace. The last time I saw Wendy some years ago, I told her how much I cared for her as a friend. I even told her that I loved and respected her.

Wendy never let that experience back then affect how she felt about me. She could have caved into her Mom's pressure and cut me off completely. That experience could have molded her mind into becoming predjudiced against any and all minorities, but it didn't. She showed me that racism is a choice you make, not a normality.

So today, whenever a White person looks past me with disdain or a "redneck" refuses to acknowledge that I even exist when I greet them...I think of Wendy. She is the kind of person that Dr. King dreamed of.

Wendy was post-racial before the term even existed.

Thanks, Wendy.

Your Friend Forever,


Question: When was your first "wake up call" on racism? Did your parents ever talk to you about the subject? How do you deal with people who act in that manner?

Thursday, October 29, 2009 Rewind - Why Do (Some) Black Women Love Thugs.

[Editor's Note: I ran this post some 18 months ago, and strangely it still seems to get new reads (and comments) everyday. It's right up there with all those Karrine Stefans posts as the 10 most read in the history of I have no idea what that says about the quality of this blog, but in any event, here's the post, reFreshed... for 09' (you suuuuuckas!). If you wanna weigh in, have at it.]

Before ya'll jump down my throat for this one, peep the post title again.

I don't wanna burn too much on this, since it's been talked about ad nauseum on enough other blogs already, but recently Lil' Wayne's 28th babymama, Lauren London (ATL, This Christmas, and uhhh... what else has she been in?!?) recently sparked a minor controversy with some of her comments in the (now deceased) lad-mag King Magazine. When asked the type of guys she prefers, she responded with these words of sage wisdom and whatnot.
KING: So you want a man who’s both honest and thug?

London: An authentic gangsta—that deletes about half the rap game off your list. I love guys who are street. I won’t even give soft guys a chance. Menace II Society is my shit! Caine was like my first crush. Actually, O-Dog was my true dream guy. I was in love with him, from that opening scene where he pops the convenience-store worker. He had me from that gunshot [laughs]. He was ’hood, and I loved that.
Never mind the fact that Caine ended up dead on a sidewalk at the end of the movie, London (who always seems a few footlongs shy of a Quiznos) presents a sentiment that I've heard from lots of other brothers over the years.

My life as a single guy is distant history, so I'm sorta pleading the fifth on this one. I can't say I ever experienced anything relevant to this situation because I'm not a thug, nor was I ever attracted to women who were attracted to thugs. But general reaction in the blogosphere from men has been that London's right, Black Women do like thugs and pass over more "positive" brothers, while many black women think Lauren's a bubblehead. In any event, since she's since gone on to procreate with an incarcerated goblin, I guess she meant what she said, and this clearly wasn't a shock quote just for show. I guess I give her points for "keepin' it trill" if nothing else. She's a ride or die chick, so long as those child support checks keep clearin'.

Anyways, I figure I'll leave this one up to you guys to debate.

Question: Does Lauren London have a point? Do Black women generally prefer thugs over more "upstanding" brothers or is she just speaking for herself? Fellas, assuming you're not a thug do you find Black Women go for the flashy and gritty a bit too often?

DC Is The Worst Pro Sports City. Period.

I don't have any scientific research to back this up, but I am still pretty convinced that DC is the national capitol of lousy sports teams. The reasons are many, but one thing that recently occurred to me is that the pro team owners are uniformly lousy.

Wizards owner Abe Polin is a notorious penny pincher who once asked the players to launder their own jerseys and warmup gear at home to save money.[1] DC United can't find a sweetheart, taxpayer-funded stadium deal, and might be leaving town anyday now. The Nats ownership insists on fielding a Single-A team and charging $9 for a beer, but wont use any of their astounding profits to pay the measly rent on their brand new, sparsely attended stadium. Mystics owner Shelia Johnson (yeah, Bob's ex-wife) is a rank opportunist who recently got into trouble for tackily picking on a VA gubernatorial candidate's stuttering problem. The Caps owner looks like a trout.[2] It's a real collection of winners, as shown by the teams' on-court/field records.

And then there's Redskins owner Daniel Synder, who just keeps inventing new levels of douchebaggishness everyday.
The Washington Redskins haven't just stripped head coach Jim Zorn of the ability to call the plays. They've also stripped their fans of the ability to bring signs to FedEx Field.

Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post reports that the Redskins have issued a blanket policy that no fans are permitted to enter the stadium with signs of any kind. This is a new policy -- a few weeks ago the team banned only inappropriate and offensive signs -- but a Redskins spokesman told the Post he wasn't sure when or why the policy changed.

The official word from the team is that signs and banners can't be permitted in the stadium because they could obstruct fans' views, and the team even says spectators could be injured by signs. But it's hard not to think the Redskins made this policy because they anticipate large numbers of fans bringing signs to the stadium that criticize the team and owner Daniel Snyder.

Whatever the reasons for the policy, the result -- as Steinberg documents -- is that a number of fans who didn't know about the policy were forced to throw their signs away before they could enter Monday night's game against the Eagles. Among the signs that security personnel wouldn't allow in the stadium was one that said, "Hi to my husband in Afghanistan. Love you." Steinberg fished that one -- and several others -- out of a trash can outside FedEx Field.

Obviously, not every sign is going to be as heart warming as a message to a soldier overseas -- one fan was removed from the stadium for a decidedly more negative banner -- but the bottom line for the Redskins is that they've decided they don't want their fans expressing any opinion in a way that can easily be picked up by TV cameras. It's probably safe to say the Redskins wouldn't have a problem with signs in the stands if they didn't have so many problems on the field.
C'mon, Danny, seriously? Banning signs because "spectators could be injured"?!? F'real?

I suppose this has nothing at all to do with the fact that the team you so horribly put together got completely embarrassed on national TV the other night vs a not-so-great Eagles team. Nothing to do with the clueless coach who didn't even know the team's colors at his introductory press conference. Nothing to do with the outmatched QB who played so terribly he ended up a trending topic. Nothing to do with the graying offensive coordinator who was calling Bingo games in Detroit just two weeks ago.

The Skins fell to 2-5 with the loss, with their own wins coming against two teams (The Rams and Bucs) who have still yet to win a game this season. And by a total of 5 combined points. So yeah, basically your team sucks. But banning signs because you're so sensitive is just silly. Fans aren't entitled to be jackasses and bring signs with profanity (see above), but considering the fact that the Skins have the 2nd priciest ticket in the NFL, it's understandable that folks would be pissed. What's next, are you gonna ban booing too?

How about banning yourself as owner and giving the keys to someone else?

I hear some guy named Limbaugh's got a lot of money and free time on his hands.

Question: Is there any justification for a team owner banning signs at a pro football game? Is this clearly a case of a team owner being too sensitive, or do signs actually rob other paying fans of their gameday experience? Is there a worse pro sports city than DC?!?

Redskins rule: Fans can't bring signs to games [ProFootballTalk]

Redskins Fan Booted From MNF Game, Banned From FedEx For Anti-Snyder Sign [Mr Irrelevant]

Sporting title of Loserville, D.C. dwells at foggy bottom [WashPost]

[1] Sure, I'm holding out hope that the season opening win vs Dallas is a sign of things to come. But lets not get carried away with one win.

[2] I'm slowly becoming a Caps fan. And Leonsis is actually a pretty decent owner. But he does look like a trout.

3 Play Thursday - A Tribe Called Quest

3 Play Thursday again. Today: hip-hop legends A Tribe Called Quest.

Few can deny seminal 90's rap group A Tribe Called Quest's lasting legacy in hip hop culture. Artists like Kanye West, Pharrell, Lupe Fiasco, and Little Brother clearly pay homage to the Queens trio (and sometimes "Y"). And like most dudes in their mid-30's, Q-Tip, Phife, Ali Shaheed (and sometimes Jarobi) were the soundtrack to my adolescent life. Here's a trio of my favorites.

"Public Enemy"

"Bonita Applebum"

"Luck Of Lucien"

Question: What's your favorite A Tribe Called Quest song?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Support This Site.

Yep, it's beggin' time, yet again. I wanted to personally thank the folks who make the sacrifice to financially support this site with their always timely PayPal donations.

For those unaware, this blog makes a lil' somethin' off ad revenue, and I sell a few t-shirts a month as well. But with two young mouths to feed and a perpetually dwindling personal allowance, anything extra ya'll can spare to give Yaw's Boy some walking around money is savored. For those who go above and beyond and actually hit a brotha off with financial stimuli, this post is for you. I won't call you out by name, but you know who you are, and you are appreciated.

For errybody else thinking about supporting this site financially, I'mma tell you like the UNCF told me. Don't almost give. Give.
Put a lil' somethin' in the AB Tip Jar. It's over on the lefthand side.

Buy a t-shirt, mug, notebook, or other assorted swag from The Store.

Buy some CD's, books, and DVD's from the carousel.

Patronize the banner ads that blanket this site. Get your interracial date-on, since those seem to be the only ads running here of late.

Tell a friend to tell a friend. The more readers (and commenters) the merrier.
Freedom ain't free, and neither is the annual domain registration renewal. If you enjoy the product, spread the love and support your peoples.



What Would You Do?!? - The Gas Station PanHandlers.

[Editor's Note: I tweeted about this a few weeks ago. Strangely, I saw this same car/guy at the gas station just yesterday, so I had to bring this back up. Plus, ya'll already know how I feel about panhandlers.]

So, I'm pumping gas at this station around the corner from The Day Job. It's an uncharacteristically cold and rainy Fall afternoon in DC. More specifically, it's like low 40's and a monsoon. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy (not that I have any) to be stuck in this sorta weather.

So, when a young, well-dressed sister walks up to me and asks for some gas money because she's stranded and needs to get home, I don't hesitate. She doesn't give off a crackhead vibe, she speaks good English, and she really looks like she's just in dire straits. I pull out my wallet, and without really thinking, give her my last $5.[1] I'm just from the country, and still hella naive generous like that.

She takes it, without so much as looking back at me or saying a simple "thanks" and walks off. I'm like "whatever", and keep pumping my gas.

She takes my $5 and goes over to her car, where she proceeds to pull start pumping gas. I suddenly notice that there's a grown assed man sitting behind the wheel (the windows of this late model Pontiac were darkly tinted). He appears to be laughing and playing around on a SideKick.

My Negro Antennae go up because:
1) What sorta "man" gets himself and his girl/wife/babymama stranded on a cold and rainy day because he has no gas money?

2) What sorta "man" drives around in a late model Pontiac, and has a data plan for a SideKick, but has no gas money?

3) What sorta "man" makes his girl/wife/babymama troll around a gas station parking lot for gas money in the cold rain while he sits his ass inside and plays with a phone?

4) What sorta "man" sits his ass inside the car and plays with a phone while his girl/wife/babymama pumps gas on a cold and rainy day?
Suddenly, none of this sh*t is adding up.

I finish filling up my car, and realize they're still pumpin'. Last time I checked, $5 didn't buy you a tankful of gas. And the girl has cash, but hasn't walked inside to pay, although there's clearly a "pay first" policy at this station. I get back in my car, and watch from afar as the girl finishes pumping her gas (this takes, like, another 5 minutes), the car starts and pulls off. Oddly, they drive to the far end of the parking lot, the car stops, and the girl gets out and walks off in the pouring rain, while the car pulls off and goes in the opposite direction.

I know I have just got GOT, but I have no idea how. All I know is I want my "two dollars!!!" damn $5 back, and somebody is bout' to give it to me.

Question: What Would YOU Do? What exactly just happened? How did I get GOT? Would you run this broad down in the rain and demand your $5 back, or charge it to the game?

[1] By "my last $5", I mean "the only cash in my wallet". Just clarifying. I didn't steal my gas either.

AB Goes To The Movies - Couples Retreat.

For reasons unknown, Vince Vaughn has recently surpassed Will Ferrell as my obligatory "Funny White Dude". Maybe it's cause Ferrell keeps making bricks like Ricky Bobby and Bewitched. Maybe it's cause Vaughn's gone as crazy with The Breakup and The Wedding Crashers. Whatever the case, I usually find a way to catch his flicks, whether in the theaters, or by, shall we say, more creative measures.

If you've been watching TV, and thus, commercials, for the past month, you prolly already know the premise of Couples Retreat. Four couples of longtime friends with varying degrees of marital bliss decide to go on a relationship-building getaway to an island in paradise. Seaside hijinx, gay jokes, and general hilarity ensue.

One couple (Vaughn and his wife, sorry, I don't know any of these women's names) has a relatively good marriage but is too stressed with the daily grind of kids and work. Another (Jon Favreau and the prudish brunette from SATC) is completely on the rocks and has spent years living separate lives with separate partners. The third couple (Jason Bateman) is having trouble conceiving children, and methodically deciding whether or not to call it quits.

And then, there's the black folks.

Look, I'm all about "inclusion", but the way they worked in Faison Love and his 20-year old girlfriend was just downright ridiculous. The only non-married couple on the trip, the young girlfriend (thankfully named Trudy, and not something stereotypically ghetto) is an amalgam of every hoodrat staple ever projected on black women on film. She pops gum, has no table manners, behaves like a 5 year old who's never seen sh*t, and is oversexed. While there's a somewhat predictable plot machination involving the lovely Tasha Smith (Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?), reality is, the whole thing seems forced in an unfortunate "we gotta cast some black folks in this movie, we voted for Obama for crissakes" fashion. Personally, I'd rather they not included any black people at all. I'd rather just be ignored than patronized.

In a strange way, this movie is a lot less fun than I expected. Sure, there's the usual sophomoric grown man humor, and lots of crass sight gags, but there's also the very morbid undertone of spectacularly failed marriages. This being Hollywood and all, of course the whole thing is wrapped up in a happy bow (with one very notable exception) by the end of the flick, but still, the level of dysfunction of some of the couples isn't really all that funny. It's sort of a killjoy to be honest. Maybe they kept it a little too real, because I thought slapstick comedies were posed' to be a fun distraction from real life. This movie was a real downer.

Final Verdict: You'll get a few laughs, but not as many as you were expecting. Wait for RedBox. It'll be there soon enough. 3 Stars (Out Of 5)

Question: Have you seen Couples Retreat? What did you think? Who's your favorite "Funny White Dude"?!?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

He's Baaaack.

"I still ball like Arenas... swish."

Arenas carries Wizards past Mavericks in opener [AP]

The RoundTable Is Paging...

Many are called, but the chosen... well, you know the rest.

AB is paging the following members of AverageNation™ to participate in the next edition of The RoundTable.
Michelle Huxtable
Greg Dragon
If your name is on this list, hit me via ABMail pronto, and let me know if you're in.

Help Build The Dream.

Just in case you were wondering, the MLK Memorial is still in need of funds. So skip your morning Starbucks, and head over there.

For a donation of as little as $5 you can help make history and you get a pretty cool LiveStrong-like bracelet (see above) to show off to your cheap, non-philanthropic friends. An all around good deal if you ask me.

Donate to King Memorial [NEA website]

Should The Gubb'ment Be Policing Bloggers?!?

I don't side with those on the right very often when it comes to the dubious concept of "too much gubb'ment". I think the gubb'ment does indeed have a rightful place when it comes to regulation (ie: banks) of financial markets, ensuring that the food and drugs (FDA) we take are proven safe, and providing help (ie: Social Security) to those who can no longer provide for themselves. In many ways, the gubb'ment is very necessary for the upkeep and running of the country.

On the other hand, when I see bullsh*t like this, I wanna slap a Ron Paul bumper sticker on the back of my Honda.
Online advertisers joined the blogger backlash against the Federal Trade Commission’s new guidelines that require bloggers, Twitterers and others to disclose any cash or freebies they’ve received to hawk stuff online.

The agency has been on a bit of a public-relations offensive over the past week, taking the news media to task for incorrectly reporting that the new guidelines could result in a fine of up to $11,000 for bloggers who break the rules. Bloggers don’t face fines, although if they don’t comply with the rules, they could eventually face legal action for ignoring FTC cease-and-desist letters.

FTC officials say they’re not trying to hound bloggers or Twitterers and aren’t planning on going after individuals, just the advertisers who might try to tempt them with freebies or cash.

“We will be focusing any enforcements on advertisers, not on individual endorsers,” said Mary Engle, the FTC’s associate director for advertising practices, on a call with reporters Wednesday. “We are not planning on investigating individual bloggers.”

The FTC guidelines marked the first major attempt by the agency to revise its endorsement and testimonial policies in nearly 30 years. The guidelines note that bloggers and online marketers must disclose any financial ties to companies that have offered cash or freebies for touting a company’s products or services.

The guidelines mostly lay out scenarios for what is appropriate and what isn’t. They don’t say that bloggers can’t accept free stuff — just that if they do, they have to disclose it.
Anyone who blogs will tell you that they don't do this for the money. Huffington Post is the most popular blog in the world, and 90% of its content is submitted pro bono. Simply put, outside ad revenue and donations, you do this for the love, not the money, cause there ain't much money in it.

[Editor's Note: Thanks to my main man A.F. for that hefty donation the other day. It was very timely and very appreciated. I deleted your email by mistake, otherwise I would have thanked you personally. Consider this my "preciate' it". You're a Great American.]

On the other hand, one thing I do get plenty of is freebies. Movies, clothing, music, previews of TV shows, food, even underwear. You name it, I've gotten it. I don't always return the favor and make mention of such freebies here, because I try my best and keep this place as unbiased as possible. Are there "sponsored ads" here and there? Sure. But more times than not, I don't feel obligated to talk nicely about a product just cause somebody sent it to me for free.

Word to Tim Alexander.

I suspect these overly intrusive guidelines will simply encourage more advertisers to not bother with his little guys like me and funnel all their money and freebies to full blown advertisers who will be above board (ie: clearly for profit) and willing to bite the ethical bullet in exchange for money, whether they like the product or not. And that will really suck, cause I was hoping I could somehow convince the fine folks at JailBreak Toys to give me a set of them Obama Dolls (pictured above) in exchange for a favorable writeup and endorsement here. Yes, I can indeed be bought off. Everybody has a price, and my price is two Obama Dolls.

When if happens (and trust me, it will), I'll be sure to disclose this. I wouldn't want Obama and Co. hitting with a C&D and an $11k fine just cause I didn't "disclose any financial ties to companies that have offered cash or freebies for touting a company’s products or services".


Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to find me a Ron Paul bumper sticker.

Question: Is it fair for the gubb'ment to try and police smalltime bloggers, when the real target should be big sites (ie: video game reviewers) who are allegedly unbiased, but clearly paid off?!?

Advertisers Call for a Do-Over on FTC Blogger Rules [WSJ]

Monday, October 26, 2009

Caption This Photo.

Eff' Lou Dobbs.

In case you didn't know, CNN's landmark documentary Latinos In America caught a brick ratings-wise, far under performing its predecessor, Black In America. I'm no Nielsen expert, but from the 20 minutes to so that I watched and joined some Twitter convos about last week, it seems many Latinos found the depiction riddled with negative stereotypes. The fact that Lou Dobbs still has a bully pulpit that he uses to bash Hispanics nightly prolly didn't help.

Most puzzling of all is the fact the Dobbs is married to a Wise Latina, himself.

Go figure.

Question: Did you watch Latinos In America?!? What did you think?

What Would You Do?!? - The Chuch-Choosin' Conundrum.

[Editor's Note: This is a pretty serious topic, so let's stay off jokey-joke time, please. And yes, I have people in my life to discuss this sorta stuff with, but I was wondering how ya'll might approach a similar situation. And no, we haven't come to any final conclusion either.]

About a year ago, after the birth of our 2nd child, my wife and I made a mutual decision to find another church closer to home. We'd been at our old church for over a decade (we sorta met there), but with two children, and a lack of proper onsite facilities for managing young kids, plus a 35-45 minute drive, logistically it just became a lot more difficult. While we loved the church, and had no other real qualms about it, we sought out a place closer to home.

Over the past few months, I've visited a handful of local churches, some more welcoming than others, but none that really "lead us" to join. Until recently, that is, when we visited a great nondenominational church just minutes from our home. The facilities are amazing, as are the onsite childcare services, which essentially allow us to drop both kids off in separate, age-appropriate rooms where they'll be taken care of (and taught) while we enjoy service uninterrupted (a real problem at the old church, where we had to keep them with us in the crowded and noisy "children's room"). Since it's much closer to home, making it there for mid-week services, classes, and other activities will be a cinch. The church has a K-8 day school, just in case we decide to go that route in the future. The ultra-modern and leafy suburban church campus is top notch, and among the ministries/classes offered are non-traditional things like Spanish and weightlifting. Seriously, on paper, it's like "what's NOT to like"?!?

But of course, there's a hitch. While the services themselves are fine, this church is a bit, shall we say, activist in its direction. The pastor (who shall obviously remain nameless) is a well-known Conservative in the DC Urreah. He's renowned for his stances in favor of "preservation of marriage", as well as "anti-abortion". Anyone who reads this site knows I'm pretty laissez-faire on both issues. If gay folks want to be married and obtain all the legal benefits there within, I have no problem whatsoever with states (and DC, which is quickly headed in that direction) extending such a right. Likewise, I am completely and totally in favor of a woman's right to choose. I'm well aware that both of these stances are in some way contradicted by scripture, but I can't really say I care. It's not up to me to determine how others live their lives, especially when it doesn't effect me in any way, shape, or form. Call me a heathen if you want. So be it. I've been called far worse, trust me.

The couple of times I've visited the church, this insistence on bringing up social issues has nagged me a bit. Everything else about the service is great, from the praise and worship, to the service times (9:30, FTW!), and even the scripture-lead preachin' when it's not embedded with talk about banning gay marriage. This constant drumbeat is especially troubling given the fact that a handful of obviously gay men are on the praise team, playing instruments, and ushering. It's all a bit difficult to process.

I know some of you are thinking, "well, why not just choose another church?" Reality is, such decisions are seldom so black and white, especially when the inclusion of social issues is something that I can't really say is a normal thing (much of the buildup of late was in preparation for a recent pro-marriage rally in DC). I happen to like the way the guy otherwise preaches, and perhaps more interesting is that he is quite familiar with the pastor of my old church, which is a co-sign of sorts. The childcare, location, and overall facilities are all checks in the positive column. But that niggling "pro-marriage and anti-abortion" thing sorta gets to me, for reasons I can't say.

I guess in a round-about way, this is why the whole Obama-Rebb'n Wright thing last year really stuck in my craw. There's so much more to being a member of a church than what a pastor says during a pre-written 25 minute sermon once a week. The other 6 days and change are all about friendships, relationships, and other personal attachments that aren't so easily discarded. And let's face it, few congregations are such sheeple that they just follow what a pastor says word for word, as evidenced by the low grumbles when the pastor launched into his latest rant yesterday. Even the pastor at my old church, a guy whom I've got infinite respect for, said 2-3 things each week that he said which I fundamentally disagreed with to my core. Did I leave? No? It's never that simple, especially when you look at the churchgoing experience in totality.

All of which makes my hangups with whether or not to join this new church seem somewhat trivial overall. But I figured I'd ask ya'll anyway.

Question: How much should basic fundamental disagreements with a pastor influence whether or not you join/stay at a church? Have you ever experienced a similar conflict with your pastor? How, if at all, should you work this out?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Who Comes Up With These Product Names?!?

The Wonder Boner, huh?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

There's A Rep For That.

A clever send up on those annoying, "smarter than thou" iPhone commercials. Oddly there's no mention of "Magic" Mike Steele, but I guess that's cause he's not an elected official.

On a completely unrelated point, if you don't have an iPod Touch, you should go put your head in an oven really go get yourself one. As douchey as these commercials, and an generally annoying as Mac users are, there's no denying that this is that app. Seriously, for barely $200, you essentially have a fullblown handheld computer that does everything, and I do mean everything. I got a million and one apps on mine, that do everything from play satellite radio, to manage my eBay auctions, to GTA type drive & shoot games.

Best of all, it uses a WiFi signal, so there's no need for "data plans" or anything. It's essentially the iPhone, sans the Phone[1], and it's a freak of technological nature. I don't hype up products that I don't get paid to endorse, but trust me, it's that damn good.

Put one on your Christmas list, or better yet, just buy it now and thank me later.

[1] Although, I should note, there are some apps that allow you to make free calls via IP, sorta like Skype does.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The DoucheBag Olympics 2009.

Two equally deplorable "celebrities" go head to head. Who's the winner here?

Question: Who won?!?

Ed The SportsFan... Hates The Term "Grown & Sexy".

[Editor's Note: AverageNation™ Week concludes with my man Ed The SportsFan, who runs down that it truly means to be "Grown & Sexy" up in the club. As usual, show the guest some love.]

So since Jay-Z came out with "Excuse Me Miss," The term "Grown and Sexy" has been thrown around more than Karrine Stephens backstage at the BET awards. If you're throwing a party, it's for the Grown and Sexy. If you got a car that's a sedan but not a lowrider or a slab, it's grown and sexy. You went and bought a shirt that's not a XXXXXLT white tee, you guessed it, grown and sexy. Grown and Sexy has kind of turned into our generation's "Whoomp, there it is." Ironically enough, the most frequent overusers of this phrase seem to be 23 year olds whose parents still pay their car insurance. When I go to these grown and sexy parties, all I see are people in overdone tacky outfits who are trying to look too hard like they're balling.

So since I clearly don't understand the accepted social definition of Grown and Sexy, I'll provide my own list of Grown man shit:

1. I don't have to drink Moet out of the bottle at the club. I don't even like Moet. It's too sweet for my taste. And I don't feel the need to pay triple the liquor store rate to do what looked cool in rap videos in '93. As a High school Sophomore, that looked like the life, now the shit looks ridiculous. Especially, if you drive away from the club in a Kia. Get a table, get some pretty girls, and you usually don't have to pay extra to get some glasses. If I'm going to drink out of the bottle, it'll be at home with some Veuve Cliquot and I'll be pouring the rest down the small of some cute girl's back.

2. I reserve the right to slap the shit out of people who think they're being cultured by calling Moet "Mo-way." That's not how it's pronounced. I know words in French ending in -et typically are pronounced "ay" This is an exception. You sound so stupid, it's not funny.

3. I've learned how to bribe people. I don't have to stand outside milling around the entrance of some spot trying to lie to the doorman about who I know and how much I'm going to spend inside the club. I'm not going to get pissed when there are a hundred other people waiting for the valet to return their car. I just slip the appropriate bill in dude's hand in some kind of convoluted dap as I quietly mention that I'll take care of him. I can always make more money. I don't want one more second of my life than necessary wasted waiting for some shit.

4. If you don't want to talk to me, I'm not gonna get mad. My little display of "fuck you bitch" or "You ain't that cute anyway" I realize is not going to get me any closer to what I want, so I'll just refrain. I don't know why you're not interested. Frankly, I don't care that much. Whatever the reason, that reason might have vanished or been locked up for a few months, so I'm not going to cut down my success ratio with you and the rest of the girls who are watching by showing my ass.

5. If after I buy you a drink, you try to order one for your homegirl too, I'm not gonna get mad and call you a gold-digger. I'm just going to motion to my bartender that you're not on my tab, and keep it moving. I do reserve the right to talk about your triflin' ass to whoever will listen, however.

6. If the shit says black tie, I'll wear a black tie. Not one of them extra short, fat-knotted pink and yellow Murakami Louis Vuitton ones. Save that shit for the BET awards. This is not reflective of minority events however, because at an African American black tie event, you're almost guaranteed never to be the worst dressed person there. I once went to a BET holiday party and I shit you not, one dude had a leather tuxedo and a rhinestone tie on.

7. I still sag my shit, but if I lift my shirt all the way, you shouldn't be able to see any leg-skin between my drawers and my belt loop. That's just ridiculous.

8. I don't wear sunglasses on inside unless I'm high. That shit looks stupid.

9. I'm not gonna spend a lot of time talking shit and bucking up because one of us brushed past the other a little too hard. Either one of us should apologize and the other accept it, or someone needs to take a swing. All them words are wasted energy that could be used toward finding a threesome to cap off the night.

10. I tip appropriately. I might want to come back one day

11. I find out the bartender's name early in the evening and hook them up a little extra up front. A lot easier to grab a drink that way then by pounding on the counter and yelling, "Slim, what's up wit my Hennessy."

12. I ain't paying sixty to get in. That could go to my Scottrade account or a good steak. I'll just come back next week with my little get in free before 11:00 email printout and party with the same exact people for the freesky.

13. More than three buttons on a suit is never appropriate. A square toe two inches wide with a suit is never appropriate. If Slim Thug has a blue Impala the same color as that suit and shoe combination, it's not appropriate.

14. I don't yell "Balllin'" and do the little jump shot dance because I got table service. Warren Buffett is ballin'. I'm just paying a little extra for the convenience of not having to fight through the crowd to get a drink from the bar every time I want one.

15. That .75 carats of flawed fucked up ice in your watch bezel ain't fooling no one. Either save up for the real shit or just get a moderately priced tasteful watch. All your ass is doing is contributing to the misery of one more African in Sierra Leone.

16. My business has revenues, a tax Id, and a business plan. You ain't the CEO of shit if all you have is a cool un-trademarked name and a website with "coming soon" plastered all over it.

17. I give money to my alma mater, savings account, and candidate that I want to win. Money talks, bullshit walks. And complaining about how bad politicians are or how they need to build some new dorms is bullshit. Do your part to make it better.

18. I don't try and act sophisticated by telling people that you should eat red wine with meat and white with fish. Drink whatever the hell you like.

19. If no one's paying y'all to appear in their ads, magazines, fashion shows, etc., I will not refer to you or your homegirls as models. You're recreational picture-takers. If someone is paying you, I give you all the credit in the world because most girls never even get close.

20. I don't have to lie to get ass. I'll show you what I got and you make up your own mind. If I tell you what's what and you're not down, cool. Saves me the stalker experience two months from now. My tires are twenty-inch Z-rated Run-flat Goodyears. I do not know how much they cost and I do not plan to prematurely find out because I fooled you into fucking and now you're vindictive. And handy with a box cutter.

Question: Got any other "Grown & Sexy" laws to live by?

Should Wall Street Execs Have Their Pay Cut By The Gubb'ment?!?

A wise man once said, "messin' with my money is like messin' with my emotions".[1] I happen to agree. There's a lot of stuff I'll tolerate on The Day Job, much of which has been well-chronicled here. I've been shouted at, lied on, and threatened with physical assault by customers. I've always found my ways of either confronting, coping, or otherwise working the system to deal with such issues, because at the end of the day, I have a a family to shelter, clothe, and feed. G.P. does not pay the bills.

Cut. The. Check.

This might seem a bit sad on the surface, but I actually just really, really, really like what I do for a living, and such occurrences are the rare exception, not the rule. So, I can deal with a jerk here and there, the good customers far outnumber and outweigh them.

But let's keep it one hunned, I still do it for the money, just like errybody else. And if I was approached and told I needed to take a drastic 90% pay cut, I might have to kick rocks. Which is why I find myself somewhat conflicted about the actions the Obama White House and Pay Czar are imposing on the folks most responsible for the collapse of Wall Street.
The Obama administration will soon order the nation's biggest bailed-out companies to drastically cut the pay packages of 175 top executives, a senior administration official confirmed to CNN Wednesday.

Kenneth Feinberg, who was named the White House's pay czar in June, will demand that each of the seven largest bailout recipients lower the total compensation for their top 25 highest paid employees by 50%, on average, the official told CNN.

For the past two months, Feinberg has been reviewing pay plans at Citigroup (C, Fortune 500), AIG (AIG, Fortune 500), Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), General Motors, Chrysler, GMAC and Chrysler Financial in an effort to put these firms in a position to pay back bailout money as soon as possible.

Under the plan, which is expected to be officially released by the Treasury Department next week, annual salaries for executives at those seven firms are expected to fall 90%, on average, the official said.

Another source in the Treasury Department told CNN that Feinberg is "trying to strike the balance" between protecting taxpayers and allowing companies to have the ability to "grow their way out of TARP."

Some compensation experts have worried that the firms that have received the most bailout funds could wind up losing top talent to companies that have already paid back the government and are not subject to Feinberg's pay restrictions, such as JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.

According to other reports, the plan will come down particularly harsh on embattled insurer AIG. Within AIG's controversial Financial Products division, the unit that led to the company's near collapse, no employee is expected to receive more than $200,000 in total compensation, several reports indicated.

But the moves by Feinberg should not come as a major surprise. Last week, outgoing Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis said he would not accept a salary or bonus for 2009, and the bank said the decision came after Feinberg "suggested" it to Lewis.

Lewis' decision followed an uproar over indications that he is poised to walk away with a minimum of $53 million in pension benefits after he retires.

Lewis' cash salary has been $1.5 million annually since he took over as CEO in 2001. But he actually made $63 million in pay and perks over the past three years, according to filings -- including almost $10 million last year.
You can look at this two ways.

1) This Is Socialism At Its Worse. - Many of guys worked hard, they signed legal contracts that stipulated the amount they were to be compensated, and not all of them are directly responsible for the shenanigans of their perspective employers. While you may smirk at going from making $2M a year to just $200k, because $200k is still a come-up in your world, reality is, few of these folks have $200k/year lifestyles. It's going to be a massive adjustment for many of them, and yeah, some folks who don't deserve such a penalty are going to take a loss. Some yachts and winter homes in Aspen will be hitting Craig's List soon.

2) This Is Accountability At Its Best. - We're only talking about 200 or so people at these firms. We're not talking about the clerical staff, entry level guys, or middle managers who simply took orders from above, and enjoyed no such outlandish compensation for outlandish risks that backfired. If it weren't for the gubb'ment bailouts of both Bush and Obama, these guys would be working at Sizzler right now. And if such restrictions make these guys flight risks to leave for greener pastures at other companies, so be it. What other companies are going to pay idiots that ran one company into the ground such outrageous salaries anyway? Let em' go out there and find out how unemployment looks for the rest of the country. It's hard having sympathy for these morons when the $200k they're complaining about could have paid the salaries of a 1/2 dozen mailroom clerks that were let go because of their malfeasance and are at home praying for an extension of unemployment benefits. And those mailroom guys would kill each other for a Sizzler job right now.

I'm somewhere in the middle of both of these extremes. I hate the fact that some innocent, hardworking people are having sanctions imposed on them. But reality is, that's life. It's hard, but it's fair. Hard work doesn't entitle you to a permanent lifestyle, as folks in Detroit have long since learned. These execs are still gainfully employed, and if they're smart enough to stick it out, the minute they pay the gubb'ment (ie: us taxpayers) back, they'll be making good money again, and be able to get that yacht off layaway and back into Biscayne Bay.

The folks whose lives have been irreparably ruined as a result of their risktaking could only pray for such an option.

Question: Is it fair for the Feds to be severely limiting the pay Wall Street execs who were saved by the bailout? Is this Socialism or merely Accountability?

Pay czar ready to drop hammer [CNNMoney]

[1] Name that Wise Man.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'd Like To See Barbara Bush Pull This Off...

So, Michelle Obama hits the South Lawn and does some hula hooping and jump roping to encourage kids to drop the XBox and stay active. She also managed to hula hoop an astounding 142 straight times. I'm a little perturbed that someone actually took the time to review the tape and count each and every revolution, but hey, it's called navel gazing, and it comes with the job.

What's most amazing is that she does all this running around, yet still manages to stay casket sharp. Not a hair out of place. Mind you, it was about 75 degrees here in The DC Urreah yesterday. Michelle-O was still stuntin' like a muv, tho'.

Cool as a fan. What is this woman made of, ice water?!?

Of course, not everyone was so happy about this. Here's just a smattering of comments on the boards of that bastion of unbiased, non-racist, all-American fun, Fox News.
But dosen't she have great arms???? They hang all the way down to her ankles...................

I felt that in NJ.....
Felt it? I am here in Maine and could smell it

Well besides making Mary Todd Lincoln look good, Michelle also makes all the furniture in the WH look smaller, at least in comparison to her .......

LOL COme off it....Michelle is a FAT A** hula hoop is going to whip that body into about a little jog in the park or a few sit ups?? You have to be JOKING!!!

How about riding a broom! She looks like Ray Lewis in drag!


Does the first lady have to buy car insurance? Look ma! so easy a cavewoman can do it!

It measured a 8.9 on the rickter scale.

If she put a bottle of milk on her hips she could make butter

Not fair with that butt the hula hoop doesn't have a chance of hitting the ground.

Get out the wide Lenses guys..

The cooking must be good in the White House, OH is that rasist??

HOLY COW (no pun intended), SHE SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE IT: "Breaking News Panama Hit By 6.1 Magnitude Earthquake"

After watching her i almost feel sorry for berry.NOT REALLY!


Well to be honest, her hips and butt could use the exercise.

I wish the First Lady could see jump rope in Tanzania and Kenya.

Where'd they find one big enough

We now know what her real talent is - playing a 9 year old!

BREAKING NEWS: MO GETS AN AWARD FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL COUNCIL ON FITNESS! this is taken From a cell phone recording at this event. "YOU CANT EAT POPEYES OR MCDONALDS OR WHACK A 4O WHEN YOU HOOPIN. HEY BARRACK HUSSAIN GOT HIS B-BALL COURT, I GOT MY IDEA FROM A PAIR OF EARRINGS (and) take that balloon family, that's how you get media cred! shake you butt like BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION (BET) SAY! I got junk in my trunk, i got a big o butt, shake yo money maker so you get the sugar daddy and never have to work for the man or pimps again.....(and the bet goes on...)":...MO
Ahhh, postracial America.

Question: Are the physical insults hurled at Michelle-O racist, or merely par for the course when you're the First Lady?!?

They All Look Alike To Me Too, Contessa.


Question: Do they all look alike to you, too?!?

Ciara Says... Age Is One Crazy, Confusing Number.

[AverageNation™ Week continues as Ciara talks about the gender double-standards of jailbait.]

The beauty of working retail – if there is any – is the people that you encounter on a daily basis. That’s code for “all the fine men or women you get to gawk at”. It’s almost high school-like, pulling other female co-workers to the side, just to say “look at dude with the red/blue/green/black shirt on. He is FOINE!”

Two weeks ago, I found myself stopping mid-fold when this guy walked past me into the men’s department. I could almost feel my hand twitch, he was so damn cute. When he walked past me again, with a v-neck sweater in his hand, I worked up the nerve to tell him that he made a right color choice. He smiled, slightly laughed and straight asked me whether I would make commission off of saying that. For two minutes, we talked and exchanged numbers. I was super giddy for the rest of theday.

So when I got home, he called me. Perfect timing. After chopping it up about that shirt – tantalizing conversation that was – and other things, he asked me how old I was. Without hesitation … “22”. He laughs. I’m trying to figure out what’s so funny. Was it the way I said it? What? Then he said “you like ‘em young huh?”

He told me that he was 17.

At that moment, my heart stopped. R. Kelly started playing in my mind. I heard the cell doors lock behind me. I felt so damn dirty, like Prince “Darling Nikki” dirty. All I could say was “Really?!”He could’ve fooled me twice. He thought I was like 18, 19. Usually I would take that as a compliment but that day wasn’t one of those days.

I just wanted to laugh about it and just move on.

But then we started talking and I found out so much about him. He told me about his life, I told him about mine. I felt something budding right there. However, when he asked me whether we could go out, the hazy daze went away and I told him no. But it kind of hurt saying that.

When I was 16, I used to be one of those girls that thought it was cute to mess with a 19-, 20- or 21-year-old guy. The ultimate status symbol in high school, you could brag around to your equally naïve friends that you had some “grown man” shook. Now that I’m 22, I grimace at the sight of seeing dudes my age popping game to a group of high school girls. Frankly, it makes me want to protect them like little kittens in a rainstorm. I hate it.

So you can understand why I feel so dirty, right? While I cut it off with dude before things got too crazy, I still feel like I broke some really deep and entrenched social code by even entertaining the idea of taking it somewhere with him. Yeah, it’s one thing to think that he’s attractive but it’s a whole other thing to wonder whether you could pull off something like that. For about ten seconds – that’s a long time, trust – I thought that it could work. How sick am I?

Sick enough to sometimes think about it. Eww, Ciara. Eww.

Question: Ever contemplate a “jailbait” relationship? Were you ever in one? Why are these relationships judge differently if a woman is the older?

3 Play Thursday - BeBe & CeCe Winans.

3 Play Thursday again. Today: legendary brother and sister gospel duo, BeBe & CeCe Winans.

As much cRap music I listen to, believe it or not, I'm not a heathen. I do go to church, and I got some gospel music sprinkled amongst the OJ The Juicemans and Plieses in my iPod. And yeah, I love me some Winans, especially BeBe and CeCe, n'em.

It's hard to believe this duo has been recording since the mid 80's, and still look young as heck. And dman if BeBe ain't one of the most beautiful, non-aging women God's ever graced the Earth with. F'real.

After a 15 year hiatus (wow), the duo is back with their newest album Still.

Their newest single, "Close To You", which is prolly a staple in every black wedding being planned this Fall.

The 80's hit "Addictive Love".

My personal favorite, "Heaven".

Question: How old is CeCe!?? 24? 29? What your favorite BeBe & CeCe tune?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dave Chappelle Is Back. Well, Sorta.

While many folks assume his career's dead, everyone's favorite exiled comedian continues to do shows at comedy clubs nationwide. He recently did an astounding 5 hour set at LA's Laugh Factory. I know what you're saying... "5 hours? I don't want to watch anyone do anything for 5 hours." I mostly agree, but I once saw Chappelle do a set at the Improv here in DC, which pushed 3 hours. It never got boring. Not once. He even opened the floor and took questions about various stuff from the audience. It was still funny. The guy's just that good. Maybe there's another HBO special or TV show on the way, maybe not. Either way, the guy's clearly not starving, and clearly still funny.

Here's a small clip of the marathon 5 hour show, I'm hoping they'll release more at some point, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Bonus footage from someone's phonecam. Dave talks about Obama.

Question: You ever seen Dave Chappelle perform live? Who's the funniest comedian you've ever seen live?

* Hat Tip To 2DopeBoyz.

Mason Jamal Says... Look Who Souled Out.

[Editor's Note: AverageNation™ Week continues with Mason Jamal, who laments the plight of artists who have to sell out to keep the lights on.]

You have probably seen at least one if not both of the commercials below. One is a McDonald's spot featuring neo-soul artist Dwele.

The other is a Dr. Pepper spot starring Dr. Dre.

Since the commercials surfaced some time ago, a lot of people have grumbled about Dwele's and Dre's motivations. I think we can all agree that money was the compelling factor. Thus, many have also expressed the sentiment that they have "sold out" because of it. Can't lie. That was my first response too.

[Editor's Note: No lie, the Dwele/McDonald's commercial hurt me to the core. Seriously, this guy's one of the most purely talented artists out there, and gives a great live show. Now, he's reduced to shilling for breakfast milkshakes freakin' lattes. Then again, I haven't bought one of his albums since Some Kinda, so I'm partially to blame I suppose.]

After ruminating over it, now I'm not so sure that's fair. And if it is fair then we need to run to the restroom and look in the mirror. Stay with me for a second. Most of us have worked jobs, if not currently, that we would rather not do. It's not that you necessarily hate it but it's far from the dream job. In other words, many of us have found ourselves spending 40 hours a week or more in our respective jobs doing something that leaves a void in our soul.

For those of us who have been pestered by this reality, it begs the question...have we souled out? The fact that Dwele and Dr. Dre are public figures who happen to be in higher income brackets than most of us doesn't really make them any different. "Mo' money mo' problems" some shiny suit rappers once said. I guess what I'm saying is we don't know the personal financial situations that led these two artists to start shilling for corporate culture. Maybe they actually needed the money, maybe they didn't. But I do know this. If money is my motivation, I'd rather star in a 30 second commercial for a company that I'm not feelin' rather than star in a 30 year career at that company that I'm not feelin'. Therefore, why do we expect more from entertainers than we expect from ourselves, our parents or even our own children? Do tell.

Let me suggest that before we rush to judgment about others and their motivations, ask yourself when is the last time you souled out? A better question might be is when the last time you didn't? I know. It's kinda hard when you are a responsible adult with bills to pay, mouths to feed and bullsh*t to buy. Fact is, those who haven't souled out are the few and far between. Kudos to them. The rest of us including myself should stop hurling boulders inside our glass houses. Something to think about. Besides, you can't knock the hustle.

Question: Does everybody have to "sell out" a little bit?!?

AverageBro Says... Dwele Ain't No Sell-Out. Well, Not Really.

[Editor's Note: Yeah, I know this is Mason's Day, but I had to weigh in on this matter myself. The comments on this post are closed, so please keep it movin' on the post that precedes this one. But here's my 2 cents. This was originally going to be a comment, but I couldn't help myself. Sorry.]

I don't think it's totally fair to lump these two guys in together. Dr. Dre is a legendary rap producer and a millionaire many times over. Him doing a Dr. Pepper, or Coors Light commercial, or shilling his own line of $500 earphones doesn't strike me as selling out as much as it does cashing in on his fame. That's smart money.

Dwele on the other hand, probably fits into the starving artist category. He's "almost famous" (Kayne's 'Flashing Lights', Common's 'The People', All the Slum Village collabs, etc.) in that he's got some name recognition, but not enough commercial success. The guy is mega talented and should be a bigger star, but seems to have fallen victim to a music industry that can't really figure out how to market him (see, also: Raheem DeVaughn).

His last album didn't do very well (although it was good, as I said, this guy is an amazing talent who just isn't marketed well) so he's probably at some career crossroads of sorts. And then, some ad agency gets the clever idea of selling McDonald's milkshakes with some quasi-"spoken word" angle to make iced coffee seem cool. And if you're Dwele, you're looking at your bank account and prolly sayin' "eff' it, I'm behind on my child support! Let's get it!"

It's sad, but it's more a reflection on consumers (ie: me) and the music industry as a whole that he's gotta do this.

So while I cringe everytime I see this commercial, I'm not mad at Dwele, nor do I consider him a sell-out.

If you wanna see the definition of "sell-out", peep this...

Or this. Skip to the 3 minute mark.

Or this musical atrocity.

Is all I'm sayin'.

Cut Dwele some slack, and buy his latest album if you don't wanna see this talented artist doing ads for Popeye's in a couple of years.

The Nastiest Dunk Of The Year Thus Far.

Halfrican Americans aren't just running the White House, they're also about to be running The Association too.

While putting #1 Overall Pick Blake Griffin on the Clippers is a monumental waste second only to DJ Premier giving tracks to The Group Home, it's nice to know the former Sooner will be providing the occasional Play Of The Week in the midst of countless 20 win seasons to come. Good for you, Blake. For Mr. Mbenga, uhhh, not so much.


The funniest part is the Lakers bench. Look at Kobe's reaction.

Bonus: Nice 2-way play from Javale McGee.

Question: The NBA season kicks off next week. Who you got? I still say Spurs. Sorry Kobe (and DJ).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ezra Wonders... Does "Street Cred" Matter To Middle-Class Black Folks?!?

[Editor's Note: AverageNation™ Week continues, with Ezra, who ponders a very simple question with an extremely complex answer. Last week, he shot me an email, asking from an outsider's PoV, why some (emphasis on the word "SOME") black folks are so hellbent on being "hood" and how middle-class black folks navigate this world as outsiders themselves. It's a thought-provoking question, and I hope all ya'll take a moment to weigh in. As usual, show our guest some love, you-know-where.]

I wrote the below email to AB, and because I'm such a good email writer here I am doing an AverageNation post... (Actually, the honor's mine.)
Dear AB,

In the middle-class black community how much weight is there put on being 'hood' or 'gangsta' or having 'street-cred'? My inner-city students generally love the thugs and gangsters but what is the breakdown with AverageBros/Sistahs? If one makes it out of the hood but is just a dentist, for example, do you have to 'keep it real' still? If you're black and not from the hood what kind of street-cred are you entitled to or required to have?

Just curious.

This is probably a set of questions that has a different answer for every different shade of skin-tone but it seems to me that there's the potential for a lot of fronting disparity in the black community as people either leave the hood or discover that their boarding school education and Doctor parents makes them out of touch. So what happens when said boarding school brother discovers Gangster Rap? What happens when a South Side sister discovers she'd rather finish Canterbury Tales than go clubbing? How can rich rappers live for decades in the highest 1% tax bracket and still claim street cred? If rap and playing ball gets you out of the hood then shouldn't your mind get out as well? You know their kids are now the dorky ones at prep schools.

And furthermore, how can Kid Cudi get away with wearing skinny jeans?

Question: Give me the unwritten rules in your family, neighborhood, or in your own head that define how real one should keep it and what exactly do you keep if only your skin-tone entitles you to keep it? If you've left the projects, do you miss it? If you've never set foot in the hood do you worry you'll be outed? AverageWhiteNation wants to know.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fox News Finally Does Some Real Reporting.

Jeez, if it only took Geraldo 5 mins to compile a million ignant Rush quotes from this year alone, how come this didn't run before the Rams ownership team dumped him? How come CNN and MSNBC couldn't have just put something like this together?

"Yay, Right On, Right On, Right On!!!"

Geraldo might wanna watch his back.

Is all I'm sayin'.

Why Conservatives Stay Losin'.

Yep, that's an actual headline from Conservative bible The Drudge Report. Your eyes do not deceive you, that is the President, speaking to a bunch of black schoolkids, followed by the headline "HIGH TIMES: OBAMA TO ISSUE NEW MARIJUANA POLICY". As of 4pm EST, the image is still up there.

Can someone please explain to me what in the hell reading to a class of 8 year olds has to do with drug policy?

I know this sorta stuff is par for the course over there, which is why I don't mess with Drudge, but I find it pretty appalling in this political climate that someone would make such an inference. As much hell as folks raised about The Balloon Boy, I'd be equally incensed that a photo of innocent kids is associated with such an unrelated story, as well as what inference it might be making.

Post-racial my black a$$.

Wonder what "Magic Mike" Steele will say about this one. I'm emailing him for opinion.

Question: Why is such foolishness tolerated by the GOP and its associates?!?

* Hat-Tip to AtypicalWhiteGuy.

The Uppity Negro Asks.. Is It Okay for Young Black Men To Wear Skinny Jeans?

[Editor's Note: AverageNation™ Week begins with The Uppity Negro, who wonders if skinny jeans are a bad thing.]

Last week was my birthday and since I couldn’t make my trip to Washington, D.C. for Howard’s Homecoming as I had planned (because I just got my refund check) so I settled for heading out to see a homeboy in Birmingham. Given that this was my birthday week I had done a bit of mall shopping and as a result I had bought some fitted tees from Abercrombie and Fitch and had found some fitted jeans earlier at this spot in Little Five Points out here in Atlanta. So I got out the car and my friend busted out laughing when he saw what I had on.

Don’t get me twisted, he knows how to dress, the typical sophisticated urban wear, but still most of his clothes are loose fitting, but still fit his clothes—that is to say you’d NEVER see him wearing the XXXL type stuff and wearing jeans sagging down to his knees. Nonetheless he busted out laughing and simply said “I guess I aint been to Atlanta lately.”

Now any black male knows what that comment really meant.

No, my friend wasn’t questioning my sexuality, but that was an undergirding sentiment of the statement.

Here in Atlanta, and other parts of the northern Atlantic seaboard, what I had on wouldn’t even go part and parcel with my sexuality just because we’ve come that far with fashion in the black community. Since the late 80s and the 1990s blacks have gone back and forth through various stages of clothes that fit versus clothes that were oversized and didn’t fit. In the 2000s, and actually more recent since I’ve graduated from high school, I’ve noticed a shift at least among black males who classify as the “pretty boys” do this metrosexual shift and metrosexual is generally associated with clothes that actually fit your measurements.

I’m actually all for it. AverageBro and some of the AverageCommunity are aware of how I really was digging Andre 3000’s Benjamin Bixby clothing line, and I’ve been known to rock a bowtie often enough. I rather enjoy the fall because it gives me an excuse to rock the sweater/shirt and tie combos.

Don’t get me wrong, I can be biased as well when it comes to appearance, people need to look in the mirror when they put on clothes and see if certain outfits accent their figures—and that goes for males as well. And no this is not some underhanded dig at “thick chicks” or “big boys” but it goes for everyone. We all have different shapes. And even for me as a black male….**clears throat**….I discovered that just because I figured I was a certain jean size in Sean Jean or Girbaud’s that that size didn’t always transfer into jeans I bought at Abercrombie and Fitch or American Eagle.


…the question remains, are black males allowed to wear fitted or skinny jeans without their sexuality being in question?

I guess you could extend that question to all ideas of black male metrosexuals as far as having to defend their sexuality. As I see it, it’s partially the fault of some black females—and some from the older generation as well. They—the some black females and elders—that they didn’t like us—young black males--always wearing the big baggie white tees and pants “hangin’ off ya ass” and then when the fashions adapt, they question your sexuality.

I remember the first time I wore a pair of slim fitting slacks to church back in 2005 and my parents looked at me like I had lost my mind and suggested that I go back and change clothes and started praying for me out loud and I walked out the door. It took the consoling of some female friends who kinda gave me the look up and down and said I actually looked nice. Suffice it to say, there are some who are attracted to the look—then there are those who aren’t.

I was in Jacksonville this summer and the looks I got just from wearing the fitted jeans I had—not skinny jeans because there is a difference—but I thought it was interesting because of what I heard from the tween girls I had been going to see twice a week at a summer camp. By the end of the summer they felt comfortable enough to tell me they thought I was “fruity” (their words not mine) because of how I dressed, but then when I asked them about the clothes that the teen summer hit sensation New Boyz wore in the music video “You A Jerk” they had no real answer.

Or even Lil’ Wayne for that matter. (nsfw)

The way I see it, it boils down to our ideas of masculinity in this country. Still in the microcosm of the black community we still have broad ideas of what is masculinity (and femininity as well, but we’re talking about black males here today) is and how it should manifest itself. Never mind the fact that I’m in grad school working on a dual masters degree with the hope and intent of obtaining another one year masters degree before going on to Ph.D. work, or never mind the fact that I have my own car, got my own hustle more or less am dependent enough from my parents that I don’t have to call every two weeks for an allowance like I used to, never mind the fact that I do well in school….no, for America, my masculinity is heavily enraptured in my appearance.

Aside from homophobia that runs rampant in our community why are black males having to catch flak on this type of clothing. I mean there’s a young rapper out there who has titled song “Skinny Jeans Are Gay” and maybe this is where my uppity Negro status kicks in full time, but—ARE YOU SERIOUS?!!?!? Out of all the things to be worried about, you’re worried about someone else who took their own money and decided to buy their own clothes. I mean I guess it would be different if every black male you saw with skinny or fitted jeans on was a self-professed homosexual—but that’s not the case and no where near the case.

That being said…

Question: Do you think it’s okay for black males to rock the fitted jeans or the skinny jeans (yes there is a difference between the two)? Do issues of sexuality come to your mind when you see a black male wearing the skinny jeans or the fitted jeans—do you do the same when you see a young white skateboarder wearing the skinny jeans? If so, what’s the difference.