Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Getting Paid To Not Get Laid?!?

If you thought paying for grades was wrong, wait'll you get a load of this.
A buck-a-day -- that's the incentive being offered to young girls to keep them from getting pregnant.

The group College-Bound Sisters was founded at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro by Hazel Brown, a maternity nurse who thought too many teens were having babies.

Girls in the program attend 90-minute meetings every week at which they receive lessons in abstinence and the use of contraceptives. Brown said she hopes the program, which pays $1 each day to 12-to-18-year-old girls, will keep them from getting pregnant. In addition to remaining pregnancy-free, the girls must also attend weekly meetings. The program is funded by a four-year grant from the state.

The nation's teen birth rate, after declining for 14 consecutive years, has increased over the last two years and now stands at 7.2 pregnancies per 1,000 teenage girls. Three out of 10 young women become pregnant by age 20, and costs associated with teen pregnancies exceed $9 billion annually.

"Our three goals are that they avoid pregnancy, graduate from high school and enroll in college," Brown said.

Under the program, $7 a week is deposited into an interest-bearing college fund that the girls can collect once they graduate high school. Some recent graduates earned more than $2,000 and are an inspiration to those still in the program.

"I might want to be a teacher for a few years and then be a lawyer," said 12-year-old Chelsey Davis. "I might want to be an actor or singer," another girl in the program, Amanda Davis, added.

Six girls of the 125 who have been enrolled for six months or longer have gotten pregnant or otherwise dropped out since it began in 1997. Funded by a grant from the state's Department of Health and Human Services, Brown said it costs about $75,000 a year to operate the program.

Program director Laurie Smith said those aspirations are more achievable because of the incentives the program provides and the friendships it helps create. Smith said nearly 100 percent of the girls who finish the program have gone on to graduate college. If a girl drops out or gets pregnant, her money is divided among the other girls still in the program.
On the surface, it's easy to assail the folks of College-Bound Sisters for what they're doing. Essentially, they are paying young girls cash money to do something they should probably have the personal desire and willpower to do on their own. Much like the (somewhat successful) act of paying kids to do well in school, you wonder what message is really being conveyed here. Are these girls being taught to value their goodies, or simply that $1/day is better than a sweaty five minutes in the of some random boy's Momma's basement? I honestly can't call it, and that's likely why God blessed me with two sons instead.

On second thought, I give College-Bound Sisters credit for at least trying, and thinking outside the box. Many Conservatives are already decrying this as a proof that Obama wants control of your child's uterus, and will stop at nothing to impose his Socialist policies on her libido. I wouldn't go that far, but I do think this "pay kids for something they should do for free" thing is getting out of hand. We are already paying kids to simply attend school and show up on time. What's next? Paying kids to not smoke weed? This is getting outta control.

What do ya'll think?

Question: Is it unethical to pay young girls to keep their legs closed?

Program Pays Girls $1 Per Day To Not Get Pregnant [WXii12]

Mark Sanford: Certified Sparky DoucheBag.

Could someone in the GOP please, please, please call Yaw's Boy Money Mark and tell him to just shut up already? It's pretty clear the guy's wife has no interest in him, other than for the sake of their kids. He's absolutely going to lose his Day Job. He's pissed all over any political future he had. He's gonna get taken to the cleaners in divorce court. And apparently his spicy Latina isn't even returning his Tweets anymore.

Sanford got a miracle reprieve from the news cycles due to a few unfortunate deaths at the end of last week, and most people would see this as a sign to lay low. But what does this moron do? He goes on a rambling interview with the Associated Press.
Quotes from Mark Sanford's wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, conducted in his Statehouse office over two days:

On other women he encountered on trips outside the U.S. but before he met his Argentine lover, Maria Belen Chapur, with whom he said he crossed a line he hadn't crossed before: "What I would say is that I've never had sex with another woman. Have I done stupid? I have. You know you meet someone. You dance with them. You go to a place where you probably shouldn't have gone ... If you're a married guy at the end of the day you shouldn't be dancing with somebody else. So anyway without wandering into that field we'll just say that I let my guard down in all senses of the word without ever crossing the line that I crossed with this situation."

On meeting Chapur for coffee during the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004: "I remember there was an older couple sitting to our right, and I remember them watching us, in the way that we interacted. They could see a spark, or, I don't know what you'd call it, but there was something there."

On his most recent trip to see Chapur in Argentina: "No, she knew I was coming. Didn't believe I was coming, but I got down on one knee and said I am here in the hope that we can prove this whole thing to be a mirage."

On weighing his political career against his relationship with her: "I will be able to die knowing that I had met my soul mate. But it was one of those things, I knew the cost."

On his relationship with Chapur: "This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, that it's a love story ... a forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day."

On trying to deal with his feelings for her: "It's about incredibly deep conflicts, between one's heart and one's value system, and an 8 1/2 year wrestling match on that front."

On the affair: "Everyone of us is going to be at that death bed one day and we're going to look back over the whole of our lives and we're going to ask, you know, was or what we're willing to risk certain things that may be viewed as a stupid trade-off by the rest of the world but that's for each person to determine. And so if you end up 50 years here on earth and you know, alright, maybe I get another 30 and if you come into connection with a soul that touches yours in a way that no one's ever has, even if it's a place you can't go, this notion of knowing that you know, for me, became very important."
Jesus, buddy, let it go and have some humility for once! It's clear that Sanford has no love for his wife, the animosity is evident on both sides. But what about your kids, mane? Seriously. We don't need to know all this. Yeah, you got caught up and caught feelings for a woman you could probably never have in a perfect world. But don't be a jerk. There are children involved here. Wouldn't it be better to just issue a no-comment and keep this all lovely dovey stuff to yourself?

And get outta here with that "I've never had sex with another woman. Have I done stupid? I have. You know you meet someone. You dance with them. You go to a place where you probably shouldn't have gone" nonsense. This bama knows he been smashin' interns and soccer moms. Isn't that more or less a perk of the job nowadays? That's as much a boldfaced lie as "hey girl, just let me put the tip in". C'mon Mark, you lied about the number of times you saw your Argentine mistress (his current recollection is up to 7). You're smart enough to know that the other random jumpoffs you "danced" with are bout' to come out the woodwork for their 15 minutes any moment now. This will prolly get really ugly, and it didn't need to. MJ gave you a posthumous "get outta the papers free" pass, and your dumb behind can't shut up long enough to use it. What. A. Loser.



On a related matter, I don't pretend to understand women, so I have a probing question for the ladies here. Yeah, we know Mark Sanford has a way with the prose, but I'm willing to bet that Maria Chapur was prolly mostly attracted to the power of being courted by a Congressman, then Governor. Mix in the danger of possibly getting caught, the break from mundane everyday life, etc. and I'm sure you have a recipe for attraction. Remove those things from the equation, and now you've got an unemployed guy sleeping in a Motel 8 down by the river, whose wages are garnished for child support, and who suddenly has to go pickup his kids every other weekend. I'm stretching a bit here, but I'd assume that most women would probably be somewhat less interested in said guy after all this. Am I right or am I right?

Question: Ladies, does my theory hold true? Would a typical "mistress" lose attraction to a guy after the fall he's likely about to take? How many mistresses will eventually turn up?

Quotes from SC gov's wide-ranging AP interview [AP]

Separated At Birth!?! - Sotomayor & Perez.

Yeah, I realize this sounds like a stretch at least, and borderline racist at worst, but something about SCOTUS hopeful Judge Sonia Sotomayor seems awful familiar. Is it just me, or does she have some strange "Rosie Perez' Aunt" thing going on?

Question: Do Sotomayor and Perez look somewhat alike, or is it time for my annual vision exam?

Black People, Please Leave Your Children At Home.

Yeah, I know, it was Lil' Wayne's weekend to keep his kids and whatnot, but what level of coonery do you stoop to when you have your tweenaged child onstage as you sing a song called "I Just Wanna F*ck Every Girl In The World"? He could have been classy enough to at least do a radio edit, but nawww, that's too difficult.



[Editor's Note: Viacom is not playin'. If you missed this, too bad. The video will probably be downs soon.]

I wouldn't be shocked if the child has a reality show in the works.

Question: WTF!?!?

Monday, June 29, 2009

AB.com Guest Post - See, This Is Why We Don’t Have Nothin’.

[Editor's Note: While I admire Hurricane Chris' uncanny ability to freestyle for half an hour about absolutely nothing, my homegirl Thembi clearly doesn't.]

Louisiana State Representative Barbara Norton (in the blue) is Hurricane Chris’s godmother, so I’m sure it was her pleasure to present him with a House Resolution commending him for “outstanding musical accomplishments.” By this she means beating America over the head with one of the sharper nails to ever pierce hip-hop’s coffin, the song “Halle Berry.”



[Editor's Note: Here's the full version of the video, just for context. While I think Hurricane Chris' performance is actually pretty fun/cool, Norton (who looks like Cheryl Underwood) on the other hand is totally embarrassing. And the awkward "what do we say now?" banter of the white guys afterward is even worser. Pour yourself some coffee and watch the whole 10 minutes. The laugh is worth it.]



Never mind that it’s a piece of trash that barely qualifies as music and it has lyrics such as “got a job, go ta school, p—y sweet as pound cake/and she boogie juss right, like ta crank that Stanky Leg.” It’s nonsense like this that makes me wish playing the spoons would come back into style.

Question: Is this the most absurd thing you've seen this year, or is it just me?

More From Thembi [WWTD]

What Is This Song Really About?!?

90's R&B trio SWV is one of my favorite groups of all time. Coming in on the tail end of the "The Jack Swing" era, these 3 ladies from New York City blended perfect harmony with hip hop beats and quiet storm slow jams. They well classier than TLC, and less good looking than En Vogue, but arguably more talented than both groups. Sure, only one of them actually sang (should they be called Sister With Voice instead?) and their dancing made Keyshia Cole look like Debbie Allen, but dang if they didn't make a gang of hits during The Second Greatest Decade Evar. It's sad that they broke up, and really wouldn't have much of a chance at success if they got back together in today's music industry anyway. The "R&B Girl Group" is just as much a dinosaur as "The Black Sitcom". And no youngins', Dannity Kane does not count.[1]

Anyways, I hadn't heard this song in ages till the other day, and it reminded me of an old debate. Given the double entendres in some of their other songs (ie: "Downtown") exactly what is SWV talking about in "Rain On Me"?



And since we're on the topic, is it just me, or is there a hidden message in this other SWV classic, "Use Your Heart"?



And hell, just for good measure, my personal favorite "Always On My Mind". See if you can count all the obscure D-list black celebs in this one.



Question: What is "Rain On Me" really about? As It's About Time a slept-on 90's R&B classic album? What was your favorite SWV track? We all know where Taj (married Eddie George) and Coko (gospel career, acrylic nail spokeswoman) are, but is Lelee washing dishes, or bussing tables at the Far Rockaway Sizzler?

[1] I'm not a 13 year old white girl, so hadn't heard this before I just happened to Google it by mistake, but pop singer JoJo actually does "Weak In The Knees" justice. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

International Negro : Episode 3 - America's Greatest Cultural Export.

[Editor's Note: I grappled with how to best blog about my recent 10 day trip to Europe, and the various eye-opening experiences encountered. So, I present to you the latest installment a limited edition, infrequently running, and likely pointless special series called International Negro.]

You hear a lot mentioned about how much American culture is mimicked, imitated, and damn near idolized in other countries. This may be true, but after now having visited about 10 European countries, I can't really co-sign on this much, not based on my personal observations at least.

One refrain I commonly hear from black folks is that rap music is extra bad because folks overseas see this and form their perceptions of black folks as a result. I can't say I've ever had any personal encounter that would back up this assertion. Maybe nobody assumed this cause in a Polo and jeans, I don't "look" like a rapper. Maybe dressing like a rapper is what makes folks assume this. Go figure.

I'm pretty sure these young Swedish ladies didn't copy Cassie, or Carmelo Anthony's baby mama. This "half shaved head" thing was pretty popular in every country we visited.

Yeah, rap music is global in reach, but I can't say I heard "Turn My Swag On" a single time on my trip. Or much rap music, beyond some skater kids at this Helsinki waterfront park blasting Main Source (WTF? I hadn't heard "Lookin' At The Front Door" since 97'). Or rap attire. Or rappers. Or American recording artists, period.

Sure, there were the Britney Spears In Concert ads on bus stops in St. Petersburg that were a bit odd. And the Ciara Magic Ride ad at the back of an Oslo summer music guide was a little unexpected. But on a whole, other than movies, I didn't peep many vestiges of American pop culture anywhere on my trip.

Sure, there was the rare Kobe #8 jersey, a D-Wade Heat jawn, the Pittsburgh Steelers themed Gilbert Arenas Wizards jersey (huh?), or the inexplicably popular Pau Gasol #16 Grizzlies get ups, but even American sports aren't too popular.

Score one for American culture!

Familiar food was easy to spot, at least in this Polish liquor store where I found plenty of Big Red in addition to the native goods. The golden arches aren't as plentiful as in, say, Newark, but you'll find McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, and Baskin & Robbins if you look hard enough. Other than one memorable trip to Burger King (I couldn't resist spending almost $27 USD to try the Pinata Whopper), I didn't bother indulging, but my family said the food otherwise tasted exactly like back home. Pour out a lil' liquor for Ray Kroc... and hypertension.

Finally, American cars weren't easy to spot either. You'd see the occasional Ford subcompact, but Euros generally push European whips. Opels, Peugeots, and BMWs were the norm. And strangely, while we associate the brand Mercedes Benz with luxury, it's really and truly just another car over there. Literally. Every taxi I saw was a Benz. So, GM ain't gettin' bailed out by Scandinavians.

But I'll tell you what's really, really, really popular throughout Europe (yeah, even in Russia): Graffiti. The roots of graffiti as a whole are dubious, but the Wild Style-like tags I saw all over Europe on both trips are a definite stepchild of the American version with roots in the hip hop movement of the 70's. That, my friends, was pretty strange.

One final link to America that was pretty consistent though... you guessed it... Obama! This cool set of authentic wooden nesting dolls only set me back about $12 in Estonia. Can you guess who's nested inside the Obama Doll? I bet you'll never guess.Question: Do you think the international scope of Black American culture is somewhat over exaggerated? Can you guess who else (two other dolls) is nested inside the Obama Doll?

AB.com LiveBlogs The BET Awards - Good Lord, It's 11pm!

Read chronologically from bottom to top. Updates happen whenever I get a free moment.

Just in case you're curious. AB - Me, AS - My Wife AOB - My Oldest Brother, AMB - My Middle Brother, AA - My Aunt, ASL - My Sister In Law, ABL - My Brother In Law.

AB - God bless & good night.

11:37pm

{Janet Jackson comes onstage. Tearjerker montage of photos. Highlight of the night. Jamie Foxx sings "I'll Be There". The show ends on a semi-classy note.}

11:26pm

{Drake & Lil' Wayne perform.}

AB - They bleeped out the "open up her legs to filet mignon" line.

AOB - Thank God.

AS - His hair looks nice tonight.

AB - They need to bleep half this song out.

{Lil' Wayne's daughter and a few other scantily dressed tweens come onstage to dance along. This is getting disturbing.]

AB - This is so wrong.

AS - Underwhelming. Why didn't Drake stand up even once?

AB - God, this is late. I am gonna regret this when I have to wake up at 4am to catch that Acela to NYC.

11:23pm

{The Toya and Tiny promo is shown for the 233rd time}

AB - I'm actually gonna watch that at least once. They got me.

11:17pm

{Jamie Foxx introduces Maxwell, and says he's "a little moist".}

AB - [Pause]

{AS and AA are having a conniption fit. I'm considering ending the live blog. Where is Human Tivo when you need it?}

11:14pm

{The cast of "Baby Boy" comes back onstage, clearly burning/filling time. Ving Rhames drops another expletive. Beyonce wins an award. Jay-Z awkwardly kisses her before she goes onstage.}

AS - That's a marriage of convenience.

AB - Aren't they all.

AS - She seems off tonight. Something's not right.

AOB - She's just shy.

11:11pm

{TI is being systematically disenfranchised for the moment, so his baby mama Tiny comes onstage to accept his award for him.}

AB - If ya'll can't say nothin' nice...

{silence}

11:08pm

{Taraji Henson and Tyrese do an impromptu rendition of "Baby Boy"}

AB - Classic.

AS - Classic.

AOB - Classic.

11:07pm

AB - Can we see Lil' Wayne already. Some of us have Day Jobs to go to in the morning.

AS - Stop complaining.

AOB - They aren't going to cut Maxwell.

AB - Lil' Wayne ain't gettin' cut.

AOB - Don Cornelius messed it up for everyone.

AB - Here's that "Rap It Up" commercial with the guy with the logo-less fitted cap again. If I see this commercial one more time, I am going to have unprotected sex.

AS - Huh?

AB.com LiveBlogs The BET Awards - Hour Three.

Read chronologically from bottom to top. Updates happen whenever I get a free moment.

Just in case you're curious. AB - Me, AS - My Wife AOB - My Oldest Brother, AMB - My Middle Brother, AA - My Aunt, ASL - My Sister In Law, ABL - My Brother In Law.

11:00pm

AB - She's still talkin? Get off the stage. We need Real Life Tivo for moments like this.

AOB - Aww man, Wyclef has to talk too?

AS - That jacket... awwww, that jawn is terrible.

10:54pm

AB - It's time for the Annual "Debra Lee Tries To Justify All This Bullsh*t" Address.

{Some montage of humanitarian efforts by Wyclef and Alicia Keys is shown. Everyone tunes out. Yeah, we're typical.}

AB - Lil' Weezy, please!!!!

{Alicia Keys comes onstage to give an acceptance speech. She has a zit the size of a crouton on her nose.}

AS - Her makeup looks bad.

AOB - She stole Swizz Beats from his wife.

AS - What wants Swizz Beats?

AA - Who is Swizz Beats?

AB - Weezy, please. Booooring.

10:48pm

AA - Girl, Idris Elba is on! You missin' it!

{AS comes running back into room}

AS - Woooo!!!

AB - You better sit down, He ain't payin' no bills here.

AS - Neither is Beyonce.

AA - Debra Lee looks good.

AS - Sure does. Cute hairdo.

AB - Hey, wasn't your best friend supposed to be here tonight?

AS - Yeah, she double booked on us.

AB - Whoa, so wait a minute, we're The Backup Party?

AS - Mmm hmmm.

AB - Uhn uh. You know who you are, I am calling you out. You missed out on these grilled shrimp shawty! Standing MY party up...

10:43pm

AB - Dang, is this over yet? Bring on Weezy F. Baby and end this thing. Please. It's nearly 11pm.

10:35pm

AB - Oh, Eddie Levert dropped an S-bomb.

AOB - The censors were sleepin'.

AB - That's an FCC fine. BET is gonna go bankrupt before they pay that bill.

10:25pm

AB - Are Don Cornelius and Elgin Baylor twins? Put this man out of his misery. Cut the mic, please.

AA - This is sad.

AMB - Hey Don, wanna get away?



AB - Did the OJays have to clown Don?

10:15pm

AOB - Don Cornelius is out on parole.

AA - Hangin' in there after all these years.

AOB - He's struggling with the teleprompter.

AB - He's better than Trey Songz. And Obama.

AS - He's so old now.

ABL - He's takin' a toke here and there to get by.

AMB - That's a 70's suit.

{OJays tribute begins}

AB - The timing for this is a little off, all things considered.

AA - Little Tevin.

ABL - He looks the same.

AB - Looks good. Sounds good. No reason to hate.

{Tyrese, Trey Songz, and Johnny Gill come out to sing "Backstabbers"}

AB - 3 random Negroes.

ASL - Why does Johnny have a nose ring? He looks bad. Men don't do that.

AB - This is better than it looks on paper. They aren't half bad.

AB.com LiveBlogs The BET Awards - Hour Two.

Read chronologically from bottom to top. Updates happen whenever I get a free moment.

Just in case you're curious. AB - Me, AS - My Wife AOB - My Oldest Brother, AMB - My Middle Brother, AA - My Aunt, ASL - My Sister In Law, ABL - My Brother In Law.

10:01pm

{Jay-Z performance}

AS - I hate this song.

AMB - Wack song.

AB - I like the track, but he's saying absolutely NOTHING!

AOB - He needs a guest surprise appearance.

AB - Jay-Z without features is boring.

AOB - Lil' Wayne is closing the show.

9:59pm

{Beyonce wins her obligatory "thanks for gracing us with your presence award}

AB - I bit this is just killin' Keri Hilson.

AS - She runs the game!

9:56pm

{The first black mayor of Philadelphia, MS is trotted out. Clearly the higher ups at BET are doing some atonement. I suppose it's good to have these "positive images" on the TV, but how many minutes before the next Coon Moment? I say 5 minutes.}

9:46pm

{The hoodrat portion of the show begins.}



AB - This song puts me to sleep.

AOB - Monica is going to try and show up Keyshia Cole. She's using Keyshia to try and come back.

AS - They have no chemistry.

AB - Zzzzzzzzz.

AA - Which one is Keyshia?

{the camera pans directly under Keyshia Cole's butt.}

AS - Monica' outfit looks too masculine. She's showing off.

AB - They're trying to outsing each other.

9:43pm

AOB - Ciara can't sing. This is bad.

ABL - Terrible.

AOB - You got to know your limitations.

AB - Beyonce is clowning her.

9:40pm

Note to Kenyon Martin: before you tattoo your girlfriend's lips on your neck, you might wanna Google the term "Trina Luke's Freakshow".

9:31pm

{Keith Sweat comes out to perform. The house spontaneously combusts!}

AB - This is real music.

AS - This was my album.

AB - Damian Hall still has no talent.

{Guy comes out!}

AB - Aaron Hall is out of witness protection.

ABL - R. Kelly let him out.

{BBD comes out! AverageFamily sing-a-thon and dance-off.}

AB - Highlight of the night. It's all downhill from here.

AS - Yep.

9:29pm

{Jamie Foxx and NeYo perform for the 197th time of the night. An overzealous background dancer in a too-small outfit tries up upstage the performers and nearly has a wardrobe malfunction.}

AOB/AMB/AS - Whoa!

9:25pm

{Taraji P. Henson wins an award}

AS - Go head' girl! Southeast DC represent!

ASL - That is a great dress.

AS - She looks hot.

9:15pm

{Mary Mary performance}

AS - Those pants are too much. Bad look.

AB - Latifah.

AS - Actually, the pants look good. Queen looks good too.

AA - I like her hair.

9:12pm

AS - Jamie Foxx' makeup looks terrible.

{Madea proof.}

AS - This isn't funny.

AB - Oh my God, Sheneneh and Wanda, the motion picture?

AS - This isn't a real movie is it?

AB - Jesus, no!

AOB - Wow.

AMB - Wow.

AB - Skank-Robbers.com?!?! The website isn't real, but that promo was too long for a joke. Somebody please tell me that wasn't real.

9:02pm

{Beyonce performance.}

AB - Take that Keri Hilson.

ABL - What is this song? Is this Mike?

AMB - She got a body like Eartha Kitt.

AOB - She got a nice little...

ABL - Everything.

AS - CAMELTOE!!! A chink in the armor!

AOB - That's a DINOSAUR TOE!

ABL - Pan down.

AS - That ain't pannin' back.

AA - This performance is strange.

AS - Her hair is bad, the song is stupid. This is bad. She stunk the joint up.

ASL - What did I miss?

AS - Nothing.

AA - This is Ava Maria. It's a tribute to Michael.

AB - It sucks.

AS - This is one long song.

AOB - Cameltoe!

AS - Cameltoe is in!

AOB - Dinosaurtoe! She grew a fossil in there.

AS - Somebody made her do this. That wasn't her idea.

AOB - Nobody is standing up.

AS - It's finally over.

AB - Dinosaurtoe, FTW!

9:00pm

{The "Three Doctors" are introduced. Clearly someone is feeling guilty about all the coonin'. A debate over the sincerity of BET including this ensues.}

AA - Tyra is going to try and get one of them.

AB.com LiveBlogs The BET Awards - Hour One.

Read chronologically from bottom to top. Updates happen whenever I get a free moment.

Just in case you're curious. AB - Me, AS - My Wife AOB - My Oldest Brother, AMB - My Middle Brother, AA - My Aunt, ASL - My Sister In Law, ABL - My Brother In Law.

8:57pm

{Trey Songz does some MJ tribute. He struggles mightly with the teleprompter.}

AA - Stay in school.

AOB - Chris Brown stole his spot.

8:56pm

{NeYo wins some award.}

ZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

8:53pm

{Jamie Foxx wins some award}

AB - This is sorta like a perfect attendance award. You have to win something for just showing up.

8:49pm

{Soulja Boy performance. AverageInfant is glued to the screen.}

AB - Take my child in the other room, please.

{AS takes the baby away. He starts crying.}

ABL - Turn the swag off.

8:47pm

AB - Drake looks like that black guy who sells weed at all white suburban high schools.

AS - Not funny.

8:39pm

{Jamie Foxx performance}

AS - He is holding ALL of his package.

AA - All 5 inches of it.

AB - Puffy and his Ciroc product placement. Michael would be so pround.

{Snoop comes out}

AS - This sounds terrible. Why is Snoop out there?

AA - Big Ass Chain?!?!

AS - Ghetto t-shirt makers are gettin' paid this weekend.

AB - Is that chain real?

AOB - That's real.

AMB - Travis Barker?

ABL - He's killin' them drums.

AB - I guess you gotta do something to liven up a vocoder song.

8:37pm

AOB - Keke Palmer can sing.

AMB - She needs her teeth whitened.

AS - That's just wrong.

AB - Little Bobby J needs his own Nick Jr. show. Get this child a show before he hits a growth spurt.

8:35pm

{Frankie & Neffe promo}

AS - Crackheads.

AOB - Lookin' really crackish.

8:27pm

AB - NeYo is one of the few dudes who can do Michael some justice.

AS - Whoa, leave the hat ON!

ABL - He needs a wig. Wow!

AB - He sounds great.

AA - This is good.

AS - Wow.

AB - He should have written Michael's album.

AMB - He took off the hat to honor Mike.

AA - Why is Joe Jackson there?

8:22pm

{Keri Hilson performance}

AB - Somebody's got plumber's butt.

AS -She's got the Michael Jackson look.

AMB - She sounds terrible.

AB - She does absolutely nothing for me.

AS - She better not.

AB - {silence}

AS - This looks like some performing arts high school dance act.

AOB - She almost fell.

AA - This is boring.

AOB - She messed up.

AMB - BET sucks.

8:21pm

{Tiny & Toya promo plays}

AOB - Get that money. TI can't sell records forever.

AS - Is that girl really Lil' Wayne's ex-wife or just some wifey?

8:16pm

AB - Lil Wayne bought the whole Magnolia with him.

AOB - His daughter is 12 and she's already taller than him.

AS - Tyra is acting like she don't want no part of these clowns.

AMB - Ginuwine.

AS - He wore that suit is the "Pony" video.

AB - Ginuwine got him a Harold Pener Men Of Fashion Suit.

8:15pm

AS - Tyra's lacefront looks better tonight.

AOB - I don't like it.

AS - It's better than Beyonce's.

AOB - She looks like an alien.

{Lebron James wins an award}

AOB - Lebron's boy is lookin' at Tyra's butt.

AA - He needs some ennunciation lessons.

AB - Kobe is going to steal that award backstage.

8:10pm

AB - Does Lil' Wayne have custody, or is it just always his weekend when there's an award show?

{everyone tunes out Jamie Foxx's boring monologue...}

ASL - Aww shucks, moonwalking.

8:05pm

AOB - Oh God, this fool is in some skinny jeans!

AB - Ok, this is sorta funny.

ASL - Jamie looks old.

AA - Those are some tight pants. What is that thing on the back of his head?

8:00pm

Michael Jackson Montage. Shocker!

Wow, New Edition. They're going for the gold from the jump. Bobby too.

ABL - Is that Bobby?

AOB - That's Johnny Gill.

AB - There's 6 of em'.

ABL - That is Bobby. With a faux hawk.

AA - What is everyone getting a mohawk?

AB - That's the thing. That and skinny jeans.

AOB - That's Johnny on the guitar.

ASL - That was just okay.

AB - Ditto.

BET Award Live Blog - PreShow.

Read chronologically from bottom to top. Updates happen whenever I get a free moment.

7:54pm

AB - Day 26, meet Minute 14.

AMB - Dang, that one dude got huge!!!

AB - Pause.

7:53pm

The Inaugural AverageFamily Stanky Leg Contest just ended.

Guess who won. :)

7:53pm

The Inaugural AverageFamily Stanky Leg Contest just began.



7:52pm

AA - Is this Jeremy or Jeremi?

AB - It's The Dream.

AOB - Marlon Wayans got a nappy Jehri curl.

AA - Too much makeup, Monica. What does she have on?

7:47pm

AB - Just when I think I'm holding onto my youth, I hear some B.S. like "Birthday Sex" that reminds me it's perfectly fine to be old and out of touch. What's with these Magic City background dancers?

AOB - The Dream called. He wants his gimmick back.

AMB - He got a bird chest.

AA - I like his haircut.

7:39pm

For anyone even remotely serious about grilling, might I recommend the following lifesaving product.

Technique Hard Anodized II Nonstick 18" x 12" Barbecue Pan

7:31pm

Are these folks holding up 2 fingers for "Boyfriend #2", or as a reflection of Pleasure P's IQ? Or their IQ's. Jesus.

7:30pm

Sorry for the delay. Everyone who showed up showed up with food, which is good of course (I hate freeloaders), but means grill duty for yours truly. I'll prolly pick up once the show starts. We really do have an obscene amount of food. Somewhere in sub-saharan Africa, a young child is smiling inside.

Could someone tell me who the hell Pleasure P is? Pleasure P sounds like the name of an ashy gay stripper, not that I'd know of course.

Skinny Jeans, FTW!!!

6:30pm

Uhhmm, seriously BET, WTF?!?



We have a black President. A sista is in charge of a Fortune 500 company. Do we really need two chicks most famous for whom they open their legs to with their own show? Is this what's hot on the streets? Really?

6:25pm

AverageOlderBrother, AverageMiddleBrother, and AverageAunt are here. The preshow is on, and boring as all get-out.

The camera pans of downtown LA are making me jealous. I had the option to either choose 2 months in Los Angeles, or one month in NYC for my next assignment. For obvious reasons I chose the project closer to home. I ain't been out West in prolly 5 years now. Gotta get back there soon.

5:45pm

A small gathering for a handful of folks has turned into a "party" with a houseful. I have a gang of stuff for do in the interim, so I'll will check in when time permits. It's a gray, drizzly day here in DC, but nothing says summer quite like grilled food, and we got plenty. I am making wings in 3 special flavors: BBQ, lemon pepper, and curry. The curry's an experiment which may go bust, but hey, we'll see.

I wonder how they'll manage to do the Michael Jackson tribute. With his passing, the awards show has been all over the news in recent days, and something inside hopes BET will keep the proceedings classy, given the additional sets of eyes in this post-racial TeeVee America. This specifically means the following...

1) No T-Pain
2) No vocoders
3) No Chris Brown/Rihanna reunion
4) No rappers, not named Heavy D
5) No Negro Nonsense, please!

Some of you have asked why I haven't hooked up with BET for some sorta sponsorship. I actually do have connects at BET, and I ran this idea by them, but given the very obvious nature of this blog's clownin', they didn't see any gain in being attached to a guy who'd essentially undermine their product. I suppose I understand this.

Needless to say, my longterm goal is to generate buzz and eventually have someone pickup this concept and take it to a bigger stage. This is specifically why I choose this format for live-blogging, rather than a chat room type application that some others use. I want to more or less control the content and keep it here in perpetuity. This obviously means I will be a little slow responding to comments, but I encourage ya'll to shoot the breeze with each other. I'll eventually get back to you.

For now, I need to get to that grill. Be back soon.

Rest In Peace, Billy Mays.

This past week has seen the death of several icons. Michael Jackson reinvented pop music. Farrah Fawcett was the prototype for 70's feathery-haired, buxom blonde beauty. Ed McMahon practically wrote the manual on professional weedcarrying. And let the record reflect that this morning, America lost yet another icon. Heaven's 800 number called, and Billy Mays has gone to that great infomercial in the sky.
Billy Mays, the burly, bearded television pitchman whose boisterous hawking of products such as Orange Glo and OxiClean made him a pop-culture icon, has died. He was 50.

Tampa police said Mays' wife found him unresponsive Sunday morning. A fire rescue crew pronounced him dead at 7:45 a.m. It was not immediately clear how he died. He said he was hit on the head when an airplane he was on made a rough landing Saturday, and his wife, Deborah Mays, told investigators he didn't feel well before he went to bed about 10 p.m. that night.

There were no signs of a break-in at the home, and investigators do not suspect foul play, said Lt. Brian Dugan of the Tampa Police Department, who wouldn't answer questions about how Mays' body was found because of the ongoing investigation. The coroner's office expects to have an autopsy done by Monday afternoon.

Born William Mays in McKees Rocks, Pa., on July 20, 1958, Mays developed his style demonstrating knives, mops and other "As Seen on TV" gadgets on Atlantic City's boardwalk. For years he worked as a hired gun on the state fair and home show circuits, attracting crowds with his booming voice and genial manner.

After meeting Orange Glo International founder Max Appel at a home show in Pittsburgh in the mid-1990s, Mays was recruited to demonstrate the environmentally friendly line of cleaning products on the St. Petersburg-based Home Shopping Network.

Commercials and informercials followed, anchored by the high-energy Mays showing how it's done while tossing out kitschy phrases like, "Long live your laundry!"
For those unaware, here's a bit of Mays' work.



I'm sure there's a snarky punchline just begging to be written here, but out of respect, I'll pass.

R.I.P. Billy.

TV pitchman Billy Mays found dead at Florida home [AP]

AB.com Is LiveBlogging The BET Awards, Tonight!!!

What would summer be without some lame excuse to have friends and family over to gorge on grilled food and get plastered off Ciroc and lemonade? Unfortunately, with the NBA playoffs over, AverageSis and I haven't found a socially acceptable excuse to do so, but thanks to tonight's BET Awards, it's on and poppin'.

Join me and AverageFam for our new annual tradition as we pop sh*t and live blog this year's BET Awards right here, tonight, beginning at 7pm or whenever I manage to locate my laptop. For a sampling of the fun, peep last year's epic 3 hour live blog-a-thon. I think you'll like it.

One thing I'm not particularly looking forward to is the inevitable Michael Jackson tribute. You know it's coming, and if it's anything like the typical "throw 5-6 unrelated artists who know nothing about the guy they're paying hommage to, and who didn't even bother showing up for rehearsal onstage and pray for the best" tribute, well, I'll pass. But you know BET wouldn't skip on the opportunity, so prepare for such Negro Nonsense as this.



See ya'll here, around 7pm.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Obama : The First 100 Days.

Friday, June 26, 2009

What's Your Favorite Michael Jackson Song, Evar?!?

I'll be honest, it's still pretty difficult to believe Michael Jackson is actually gone. After the news announced he had passed, I intentionally turned the channel to the NBA Draft and tried to forget all about this. On the ride to drop my son off at school this morning, all the Sirius XM channels were playing their tributes, which reminded me not only of how much music this guy made (750M albums sold!), but how much he'd been sampled by other artists. The man's musical legacy will truly live on forever.

Still, it's sad that Michael's musical legacy more or less ended when his personal problems caught up with him. Invincible produced a great song in "Butterflies"[1], but in recent years, Mike hasn't made anything of note. Considering the number of marketable artists who steal his singing style note for note (yeah, Ne-Yo) you'd think it would have been easy to throw together a solid album. I'm sure his recent studio work will surface soon, I just hope they don't pull some bullsh*t like they did with B.I.G. and have a bunch of "features" (Lil' Wayne, T-Pain, vocoders) that ruin the whole thing.

Anyways, all this made me think about my favorite Michael Jackson song evar. It's obviously a tough call, but if pressed, I'd say "Lady In My Life", which is the most beautiful 6 minutes, 7 seconds evar recorded on wax.



Damn, that song gives me goosebumps, especially the refrain that begins around the 3:40 mark. And while it's sad that I never got to see Michael perform in concert, at least his music lives on, and lots of it is captured in a pretty good mixtape called Michael Jackson - The Soulful Years. It's Free 99, so cop that and remember the times.

Rest In Peace, King Of Pop.

Question: What's your favorite Michael Jackson tune?

Download DJ Jaycee Presents Michael Jackson - The Soulful Years Mixtape[TheSmokingSection]

[1] Although you could argue that Floetry's original version was better, and I'd prolly agree.

Can You Cook?!?

This is gonna sound a bit silly, but since TV really sucks, I now find myself addicted to cooking shows. Don't get me wrong: I'm definitely not a "foodie". I'm one of those "eat to live" guys, not vice versa. I can eat the exact same thing night after night, so long as it's filling and reasonably healthy. I do this all the time when I'm on the road with the Day Job.

Nonetheless, I consider myself a semi-good cook, and really just like doing it for the sense of accomplishment. I'm a master of all things grilled (ah, the modesty) and can even make a little bit of ethnic food (Indian, Caribbean). Maybe it's the Engineer in me, maybe not. I just enjoy cooking for no particular reason. And in this post racial America, two shows on The Food Network have proven to be Tivo Season Pass-worthy.

Down Home With The Neelys is my favorite. It features a married couple from Memphis who happen to own a chain of BBQ restaurants. The show is entertaining, but I wouldn't eat 75% of the fat and sugar laden meals they prepare. I swear these bamas fried a freakin' garden salad!!! on one episode. That said, I find the couple's on-air banter refreshing. Seriously, how often do you see a black married couple get to carry on like this on TV? Get a room ya'll!



Big Daddy's House is another good one. Camden, NJ chef Aaron McCargo usually cooks a bit healthier fare than the Neelys, but still manages to keep it a little hood' for good measure.



Perhaps it's just the superior production quality, but both shows are head and shoulders above TV One's Turn Up The Heat With G. Garvin and Livin' It Up With Patti LaBelle. Or maybe it's just me.

Everyday Italian is also good for the occasional tip. And since we're on the topic, what's with this show? I've heard of the whole "food as pRon" concept the Food Network uses to make their programming more appealing, but I always find this show a little over the top. All the soft focus lenses, the pulsating smooth jazz, the sensual lighting, the extreme closeups, and of course, Giada's ever-plunging necklines. Is this a cooking show or a SkineMax 2:00am flick?!?



Question: Can you cook? If so, what's your signature dish? Do you watch The Food Network? Is The Neely's slightly ghetto on-air act refreshing, or cringe-worthy? Is Everyday Italian "food pRon"?

Rest In Peace, Michael.

The King Of Pop. Always.

Question: What's your favorite Michael Jackson memory?!?

Download DJ Jaycee Presents Michael Jackson - The Soulful Years Mixtape[TheSmokingSection]

Reports: Legendary 'King of Pop' Michael Jackson has died [NYDailyNews]

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Win Free Copies Of Tyler Perry's House Of Payne DVD Box Set!!!

I'll be perfectly honest with ya'll. I'm not the biggest fan of TBS' Tyler Perry's The House Of Payne. Considering some of the not-so-nice things I've said about it's producer, and the show itself on this very blog, pretending otherwise would just be rank hypocrisy.



But as a favor for a friend, I am giving away promotional copies of the House Of Payne 4th Edition DVD box set to the first 2 people who email me with correct answers to the following questions...

1) What city does Tyler Perry hail from?

2) Name 3 Tyler Perry stage plays.

3) What's the name of Tyler Perry's other sitcom, also on TBS?

If you want the DVD box set, hurry up and email now First two correct answers win.

AB Is Coming To NYC.

The Day Job will basically have me in The Rotten Apple most of July. As is usually the case when I'm on assignment, you can expect a mix of more guests and less AB, cause bills have to be paid and whatnot. I'll have some of my closet cyberfriends stop by the keep the party going while I toil away for Da' Man. You prolly won't even notice the difference.

In the meantime, if you know a thing or two about Manhattan and can recommend some nice spots to eat, chill, etc. after work, holler at me via AverageMail.

Two fingers.

A Cautionary NBA Draft Day Story.

Just remember, for every Blake Griffin you see at tonight's Black Thanksgiving festivities, there's a Dontrevius Winters praying to escape his mother's basement. Peep this epic saga, courtesy of my main man Dallas Penn.



Do You Care If Your President Smokes?!?

As if Barack Obama didn't have enough to worry about, now he's being assailed as a hypocrite for signing anti-smoking legislation, while acknowledging that he still takes a pull of menthol every now and then.
At his press conference this afternoon, President Obama, who calls himself a "former smoker," acknowledged that he still occasionally falls "off the wagon." The president said that he does not smoke in front of his kids or the rest of his family, and compared his situation to that of a recovering alcoholic.

Mr. Obama invoked Alcoholics Anonymous in discussing grappling with his craving for cigarettes.

"I don't know what to tell you, other than the fact that, you know, like folks who go to A.A., you know, once you've gone down this path, then, you know, it's something you continually struggle with, which is precisely why the legislation we signed was so important, because what we don't want is kids going down that path in the first place," he said.

The president yesterday signed legislation granting regulatory responsibility over tobacco products to the Food and Drug Administration. He complained in the press conference that he is asked about his smoking "every month or so," but said he understands because the topic is "an interesting human interest story."

This was the first clear response the White House has offered on Mr. Obama's smoking since he took office. Mr. Obama also teased a reporter for tying the question to the legislation he signed Monday, which he said is focused on children, not adults. "You just think it's neat to ask me about my smoking," the president said.
I sorta like how Obama chin checked this nosey assed reporter the other day.



Dang, this was only about 2 degrees removed from that infamous "Black Bush" sketch on Chappelle's Show.



Where's Dave when you really need him?

I think this is a lot of fuss over nothing. While I find smokers absolutely reviling, all things considered it's not the worse of vices to have. I need not remind you of Bill Clinton's favorite stress reliever.

Still, just as Obama quit smoking before the height of the Democratic campaign, acknowledging that smoking sends a shaky message to voters, I wonder if his relapse is indeed sending a message. Like it or not, many people associate smoking, much like stuttering and biting nails, as a nervous habit that conveys a lack of self-control and discipline, something we never like seeing from our leaders. I heard some Conservative wingnut say that Obama smoking is worse than Mark Sanford's cheating because smoking kills more people each year. So while it's clearly not our business to critique the actions of an otherwise completely healthy guy, I wonder that ya'll think his smoking habit conveys.

Question: Are you concerned that the President still smokes? Does smoking convey a lack of self-control or self-confidence? What brand of menthol cigarettes do you think Obama sends his weedcarriers out to cop?

Obama Acknowledges Occasional Smoking Habit [CBS]

Obama Smoking Hypocrisy: Obama Tobacco Bill [RightPundits]

AB Goes To The Movies - Men II Boys.

I've been at this amateur movie reviewer thing for a minute now, and as a result, I tend to get a lot of Black themed indy releases sent my way. Sometimes these movies are just okay. Sometimes they are just freakin' awful. And every now and then, you get a movie like What Black Men Think.

WBMT was the first documentary of DC-area director Janks Morton, and as expected, provided an in-depth portrait of the trials and travails of the typical brother trying to find upward mobility, love, and significance in a world that's seldom welcoming. The film has a few minor flaws, but otherwise it was a nuanced, entertaining way to spend a few hours, and definitely was a conversation starter. Seizing the momentum and success of that film (Morton was featured on CNN's disastrous "Black In America" last Summer), Morton follows up with Men II Boys, a film aimed at younger black males.



[Full Disclosure: After reviewing WBMT, I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Morton, as was asked to participate in this project, but scheduling conflicts prevented this. Still, I promised Mr. Morton a fair, and unbiased review of his movie.]

Like WBMT, Men II Boys (thankfully spelled with an "S", not a "Z") is shot in Baltimore and suburban Prince Georges County, with street level interviews of Black people of all ages and walks of life. If you're from the DMV, you'll undoubtedly recognize lots of the background scenery, and probably a few of the faces.

Unlike Morton's first movie, which seemed overloaded with big name pontificators, this one seems a bit more focused. Instead, they put out a casting call for regular, average, everyday brothers to come down and give their best advice to the next generation on camera. Morton expected about 50 men to show up, instead they got several times that number. Familiar faces like BET's Jeff Johnson, and Congressman Elijah Cummings round out the cast and talk very openly about their experiences, both good and bad, as sons and as fathers.



Each man dispenses a few pieces of invaluable advice for young black men. Things like "Show Me Your Friends, I'll Show You Your Future", "If You Never Try, You Can Never Fail", "It's Never Too Late To Do The Right Thing", and "If You Dress Like A Convict, You Will Be Convicted" are wisely expounded upon. Perhaps most impressive is the short story of Baltimore Raven Daniel Wilcox. The NFL standout talks about the painful process of reaching out to, and reconnecting with the father he'd never met, whom he now considers his best friend. In a sea of harrowing tales about black father abandonment, it's the sort of reconciliation we seldom hear about.

I give Morton lots of credit for taking the mild criticism of his first movie to heart and improving his craft. The production quality immediately jumps out at you. Not that What Black Men Think wasn't good, but the documentary style hi-def cinematography of M2B is on another level. Unlike WBMT, which dragged on about 20 minutes too long, Men II Boys is focused, and well paced at just 44 minutes running time. Additionally, street level interviews, a radio interview with Morton, spoken word poetry, and short vignettes are used to advance the discussion. Morton's growth as a director is evident.

Much like his first movie, there isn't much to dislike about Men II Boys, and I strongly recommend it to anyone with teen aged sons, mentees, or relatives.

Men II Boys [Official Movie Website]

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mark Sanford - ePimpin' 101.

After Kwame Kilpatrick's embarrassing Sextual Healin' debacle, you'd think elected officials would be smart enough to get a gmail account for their ePimpin'.[1] But nooo, Mark Sanford, genius that he is (not that you didn't realize this genius when he rejected stimulus funds) apparently doesn't read the Detroit Free Press like the rest of us. And by leaving behind a tawdy electronic trail, he's likely sealed his fate as Governor of the Palmetto State.

That said, I'll give the guy some credit: for a fiftysomething white dude, he was definitely layin' the e-Mack down properly to his shapely Argentine senorita. Peep the prose.
You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night’s light - but hey, that would be going into sexual details ...

Three and finally, while all the things above are all too true - at the same time we are in a hopelessly - or as you put it impossible - or how about combine and simply say hopelessly impossible situation of love. How in the world this lightening strike snuck up on us I am still not quite sure. As I have said to you before I certainly had a special feeling about you from the first time we met, but these feelings were contained and I genuinely enjoyed our special friendship and the comparing of all too many personal notes ...

Lastly I also suspect I feel a little vulnerable because this is ground I have never certainly never covered before - so if you have pearls of wisdom on how we figure all this out please let me know... In the meantime please sleep soundly knowing that despite the best efforts of my head my heart cries out for you, your voice, your body, the touch of your lips, the touch of your finger tips and an even deeper connection to your soul.”
Get it, pimpin'!!! Dang, that boy was spittin' some game. Bishop Don Magic Juan ain't got sh*t on Money Mark.



Perhaps he's got a future with Harlequin. Lord knows his political career is toast.

On a somewhat related note, I wonder why Sanford, and others of his ilk don't just play situations like this straight up with voters. His wife had known about this affair for months, so the "busted" factor was nonexistent. Apparently he's actually got some feelings for "Maria", she's no jumpoff, Governor Groupie, or "escort". If he'd simply come before voters and announced his pending divorce, stating that he and his wife had simply "drifted apart", but that he was still gonna take care of his kids, would anyone have really cared? Voters have a short memory when it comes to stuff like this. John McCain's extra martial affairs are ancient history. Does anyone care that both Kennedy boys used Marilyn Monroe like a white version of SuperHead?

In today's media driven society, something tells me that if Sanford had been a "G" about his, he prolly woulda gotten to keep his job, and had an attractive Latina trophy wife come 2016. You know the GOP is trying to win the Brown vote and whatnot. And with all these love letters and an image rehabbing stop on Oprah's couch, dude coulda prolly spun this into sypathetic female votes. Imagine the possibilities, Mark!

As is, for lying through his Conservative teeth, this guy's next career stop is prolly the Orangeburg Sizzler.

Note To All Politricians: Don't lie. Just be honest with voters and your spouse. We're probably big enough to take it, but nobody wants to be lied to.

Question: Would Sanford (and Kilpatrick for that matter) have been better off simply divorcing his wife and keepin' it one hunned with voters? Is Sanford nice with the verbs, or is it just me?

Exclusive: E-mails between Sanford, woman [TheState]

[1] Turns out Sanford was indeed smart enough to Hotmail-Up, but not smart enough to keep some "anonymous tipster" from forwarding his PimpMail to the local paper. Back in December. I wonder why these folks sat on this story for over six months. And they say only Lib-ruls get favorable press coverage. Baloney.

Hey Mark... Take A Hike. And Stay There.

Seriously, what sorta Caucasian Craziness is South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford trying to pull? It's one thing for a regular, average cat to just unplug and go blow the afternoon playing NBA 2K. That's how most of us "unplug and get away from everything".

But what kinda dude just brushes off security, rolls out, and goes off the grid for nearly a week without even telling his wife, kids, or employer?
Gov. Mark Sanford will return to his office Wednesday following widespread confusion over his whereabouts, a spokesman for the South Carolina Republican said. Joel Sawyer, Sanford's communication's director, also said in a statement the governor called his chief of staff Tuesday morning and was "somewhat taken aback by all of the interest this trip has gotten."

The mystery surrounding his whereabouts was solved late Monday when a Sanford spokesman said he was hiking along the Appalachian Trail. Sanford's whereabouts were unaccounted for Monday when he stepped out of the public eye following a bruising session with the state Legislature. Even his wife, Jenny, said she did not know where he was, The Associated Press reported, according to The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina.

State Sen. Jake Knotts, a fellow Republican and adversary of Sanford, told CNN that South Carolina law enforcement officials informed him Saturday that the governor had taken a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division vehicle on Thursday and had not yet returned.

"I found out that he was taking frequent trips at odd times of the night in a SLED car with no security," Knotts said. "He would be driving. I got wind that he had taken another one of these types of capers last Thursday, and that nobody knew who he was with.

Knotts added that on Saturday, he "was getting wind that he had not shown back up and nobody knew where he was."

He said a SLED official told him Monday that Sanford still had not returned.

"He needs to transfer the power and let the lieutenant governor, which the constitution requires, let him be the person that makes the decisions." Knotts said. "My concern was, 'Who would be in charge should an emergency arrive for the safety of the people and citizens of the state?' "
I suppose this raises an interesting question: how much freedom do you still have when you're an elected official? Are you allowed to just kick rocks and let the chips fall where they may, or do you owe it to your constituents to stay on the job, despite whatever momentary stress you might encounter. Naturally, I say that if you accept the role as leader of an entire state, you at least need to put in for vacation days before you roll out. I don't think that's so unreasonable.

In a larger context, it's hard to see how Sanford will come out of this little excursion unscathed. Before his whereabouts were finally revealed, the innanets were wild with speculation. Was he in rehab? Spending time with his other family? Meeting up with Larry Craig? All things considered, he coulda been found in far worse places than on a vision quest, but it's a bad look any way you dice it. And I'm like 99% sure there's more to this story than we're currently being told. Sanford now says he wasn't actually "hiking", but rather sailing for a week off the coast of Argentina.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford says he was in Buenos Aires -- not hiking on the Appalachian Trail -- during four days when he dropped out of sight, The State newspaper, of Columbia, S.C., reports.

Sanford told the newspaper in an exclusive interview that he went to Argentina to recharge after a difficult legislative session in which he battled lawmakers over accepting federal stimulus funds. "It was a long session and I needed a break," he told the paper.

His whereabouts touched off a media frenzy after even his wife said she didn't know where he was. His staff told reporters that he had gone hiking on the Appalachian Trail, but that was followed by reports that his cell phone had been used near Atlanta.

The Republican governor said he doesn't know why his staff said he was hiking, but noted in fairness that he had said he "might' hit the Appalachian Trail.

In fact, he said, he had considered it. "But I said 'no' I wanted to do something exotic," Sanford told The State. "... It's a great city."

He said he cut his trip short to Argentina by a day to return after his chief of staff explained that his mysterious absence had stirred considerable media attention.

"Sanford said he was alone on the trip," the newspaper reports. "He declined to give any additional details about what he did other than to say he drove along the coastline."
Yeah, that bama was prolly at Magic City the whole time. Someone clearly needs to get his lies straight.

Still, how does a "Compassionate Conservative" explain ditching his wife and 4 sons over Father's Day Weekend without so much as a phone call or a Tweet? Fred Sanford wouldn't even do something that cruddy. If he simply needed to recharge after being overruled by the state legislature for denying stimulus funding (just like I told you he would be), then how in the hell can he be expected to handle the daily stress of being POTUS? Just in case you were clueless, Sanford is (was?) considered a rising star of the GOP, jostling for position in 2012.

And if that's the case, the GOP is screwed. Sanford can't handle pressure without fleeing the country. Jindal can't handle the glare of the camera without pissing his pants and turning into Mr. Rogers. Palin can't even handle her own family without playing the victim role. Perry can't handle disappointment without threatening to secede from the Union. Ensign can't handle his zipper.

[Update: Yep, it was an affair. Keep it in your pants, guys.]

Yep, 4 more years of Obama. For better or for worse.

Question: Is there any justifiable reason for ditching your wife and four sons on Father's Day? Where do you think Sanford actually was? What's your favorite method of "unplugging and going off the grid to recharge"?!?

Sanford was in Argentina, not hiking on the Appalachian Trail [USAToday]

Gov. returning to S.C. after worries, criticism over whereabouts [CNN]

Why Does Michael Steele Keep Doing This To Himself?!?



But what have you done for us lately, Mike?!?

Question: Is it just me, or do ya'll notice that when the GOP trumpets its "long record of service to the black community", the "long record" usually stops in 1965?

So, The Black Sitcom Has Come To This?!?

Uhhmm, I'm still trying to figure out how to feel about this one. With UPN/WB/CW whiting-out their entire Fall schedule, the Black Sitcom was posed' to be officially dead. But the other day I caught this preview of a show called Brothers coming to Fox. I don't know if this is good or bad.



On the surface, it looks iffy. Michael Strahan should probably be somewhere working on a pre-nup. Instead, he's apparently trying his hand at acting, and well, let's just say Jim Brown is laughing inside. On the flipside, The Shield's CCH Pounder is a legit actress, Carl Weathers isn't awful, and Chill Mitchell, while not exactly my favorite comedian, at least adds something of interest since he's technically paralyzed. That must be a first of some sort.

I dunno, the coon quotient looks low, but the laughs don't seem plentiful. I might give this one look just on GP. What do ya'll think?

Question: Does Brothers look like some ole' BS, or could it be tolerable?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

AB.com Guest Post : Should Married People Be Clubbin'?!?

[Editor's Note: Today's guest post comes courtesy of a friend of a friend. Tara Pringle Jefferson is a freelance writer living in Ohio with her husband and two children. Visit her blog to read more of her observations about life, motherhood, and love.]

Someone please tell me what is the purpose of going to the club?

Seriously.

Maybe it’s just the few clubs I’ve been to, but I honestly did not see the appeal.

Aggressive men everywhere, sliding up behind you, grinding on you without the hint of an introduction or an “Excuse me, Miss…”

Women with low self-esteem wearing clingy, too-short, barely there outfits.

Music so loud and nasty.

Drunk fools spilling drinks everywhere.

No thank you!

Again, it might just be the clubs they have here in Cleveland. But in general, what is the purpose of going to the club? Is it hang out with your friends or meet a man/woman?

Which brings me to my point: Is it OK for married people to be at the club? When you have a devoted partner at home, why go to the club? Not knocking anyone who goes, but let’s open it up for discussion.

Questions: What if the wife/husband goes with other married friends? Or single friends? Does that matter? What if he or she is home early? Is it OK to come strolling home at 2 or 3 a.m.? Does it matter if he or she plans on getting drunk or is the designated driver? What if he or she slips off their wedding ring before they go? Does it matter if a married couple goes to the club together?

More from Tara Pringle Jefferson [The Young Mommy Life]

AverageNation™ Obama Approval Rating - July 2009.

Well, Obama's done it yet again.

Just when I thought public opinion would surely be waning in The Beige One's favor, he pulls yet another surprise out. For weeks he's been assailed for his lack of assertiveness in dealing with Iran, waffling on Gitmo, an up and down economy, and lack of decisive action on expanded healthcare benefits. I can't think of the last time Obama got some positive news. He even caught flack for killing a damn fly for Crissakes. The public pollsters, ie: folks who get paid for this, have his numbers continually sinking.
Obama's overall public job approval stood at 63% in the New York Times-CBS survey, and 56% in the Wall Street Journal-NBC poll -- down from 61% in a Journal-NBC poll in April.
Despite all this, the latest AverageNation™ Obama Approval Rating actually rose 2%, from the initial rating of 74% back in April, to 76%. I find this nothing short of amazing.

The reasons for this rise confound me. Perhaps everyone's patiently waiting for his initial legislation to work, rather than already writing him off after his first six months. Or perhaps you guys are like me, willing to overlook a misstep here or there, and still mostly in agreement with his job to date. Maybe some readers just don't know the difference between the words Yes and No. Go figure.

Either, congrats to Barry. At least from AverageNation™ you've got a few more months of grace period before we call for Sandman Sims.

We'll see how the numbers look next time, in September.

Question: How do you explain the improvement in Obama AverageNation™ Poll rating from April to June, given the President's recent string of bad press?