Friday, December 19, 2014

Fed Up Friday - Ride or Die

I get so irritated when I am on social media and someone says that they are “Ride or Die” for their significant other/this week’s bestie/co-worker/sister of a friend of a friend, etc. I mean, I am glad that they feel some closeness to someone TODAY, but how long is that loyalty going to last? One month? One year? What is the life expectancy for the relationship that all these people are claiming to be "ride or die" for? Call my a cynic (right!?!) but I don't think I am going out on a limb by stating that "ride or die" for every relationship you have is just not feasible.  I rarely use that turn of phrase because I feel like the overuse lessens the meaning. I can’t lie—there is a group of people that I am ride or die for… my immediate family. Honey, listen: don’t come for my family. You will not like the fallout. There are a LOT of us and I live and breathe and for those folks. They get on my nerves sometimes… but they are supposed to, we are family. I want to punch them sometimes (and have a couple times)… but that is ok, we are family. I can talk about them ALL day and you might even be able to co-sign my objections… but you BET NOT (better not) even think of throwing in your own two cents. Dude, that is my family you talking about. And when you talk about them, thems fighting words to me.

Case and point: Y’all know that I head to my brother’s basketball games whenever I can. He is a freshman in college and he is adorable. I have not introduced the kiddos on the blog, so let's just call this brother Superman. So Superman had a close mid week game and I was able to finagle my way to leaving work an hour early so I could make it down there to watch. Super excited. Rode down the highway with my favorite guy-- Poppa Hot, Black and Bitter. Night was off to a fantastic start. Until we sat down. Now listen, I know that some people really get into seeing their children play sports, and can sometimes be a little... much at sporting events. Oh, but Wednesday night, it was not a parent, it was a drunk ass student. 

The amount of deep breathing that I had to do when he was screaming when my brother was on the court cannot measured. Cannot be measured because I am sure that I may have sucked up all the oxygen in that gym. I was trying hard not to say anything while he was woo hoo hooing it up the ENTIRE game, and while he did not really heckle my brother, per se, he was taking too much joy in heckling a court full of 18 year old kids who were playing their hearts out. The overprotective sister just LEAPT out of me, y'all. I could not help it. Totally a case of bad impulse control. I can admit it. I called his ass out. I flipped him the bird. Unapologetic. Sorry, not sorry style. His friends were telling him to be quiet and amazingly with three minutes left in the game, it was silent. Thankfully. And I told my father that if he was talking shit about my brother, the exchange would have been even more heated. Trust that.  

Here is the thing-- I am loyal, the epitome of ride or die. I am loyal to my family and to the people that my family counts as friends (until they show that they deserve no loyalty). That extends to sports teams, lab partners, tutors. I don't care. I know people heckle to get under the skin of the opposing team. To get in their minds, make them second guess that last pass, that last field goal attempt. I get it. I swear I do. But check this out, these are KIDS. Superman turned 18 after he started college. Kids. This ain't the Knicks and you have no money riding on this game. Our team wasn't jawing it up on the court and the parents who were there were not acting out of line. If you come to a basketball game, drunk and decide that you are going to try to dog my brother and his new found family, you have me to contend with. If you are representing a school that purports to exhibit "values that include integrity, service, simplicity, equality, peace and social justice and respect for all persons" and the "distinctive values of the "Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)" um, I am definitely going to correct you when you get out of line. If there are small children sitting right behind me and you are showing your ass, I will get you in line. And if you come for my brother... BABY... I am coming right at you, guns blazing, straight for the jugular, my friend. Don't do that. Save thyself! I am Ride or Die up in here!! Here is hoping that there is better behavior tomorrow at the game. I might get put out. LOL 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Bill Cosby Chronicles

If you have been paying attention, you know that Bill Cosby has been accused, by upwards of 20 women, of drugging and, in some cases, raping them. The allegations started to take on steam about three weeks ago, some incidents being discussed took place 30 to 40 years ago. In these last three weeks (which seems like an eternity in this time of 24 hour news) Bill Cosby has refused to dignify these accusations with an answer. He has been silent on guilt or innocence. He has not seemed bothered by the memes, the chatter, the intentional distancing, the bad mouthing or having his honorary degrees taken away. He could not be bothered to make a statement-- except to thank Jill Scott and Whoopi Goldberg for standing up for him. He could not be bothered... until an interview that surfaced yesterday. Bill Cosby has done a (small) interview! Praise!! He took this time, not to say, "hey this shit is not true, I will see all these women in court," he didn't say "aww hell no, that did NOT happen and these people will NOT walk my law-abiding ass into the mud with them." Nope, he took THIS time to tell the "Black Media" to remain neutral on these rape allegations that are circulating. Um, sir. Are you being for real right now? Oh, you are? Because I thought that was a joke. That had to be a joke, right? Right?

You mean to tell me that you have not seen it necessary to come out the side of your mouth to SCREAM that you are innocent, but you do want to make sure that you are seen in a good light in Black Media for as long as possible? Sir. I need for you to take an IMMEDIATE seat. Not right now, but RIGHT NOW. What is wrong with this picture?

Now listen, I am certainly not going to act like I haven't held Bill Cosby in high regard-- I have and I have written about him at least three times... on this blog. I agree with his critique of the Black community. I think that there is SO much that needs to be done to help our community begin to flourish again. I think that Bill Cosby has a sincere desire to make the Black community better, more accountable, better educated and economically stable. I do. His decades of work towards that goal cannot be ignored. HOWEVER, all that work does not make up for these awful deeds that are surfacing (especially since he is not denying them). There seems to be a faction of Black people who want to excuse this behavior and feel like the media, as a whole, is out to get Cosby to get him to stop speaking the truth about race relations in America. I don't think that is happening... at all. The fact is that if, by chance, all the accolades that Cosby has gained are ripped from him, it will be no one's fault BUT HIS. I am not naive. It is not that I think that blackballing someone does not happen-- it does, but at some point Cosby is going to have to take responsibility for his role in drugging and assaulting these women.

The assault on women is REAL, and cannot, SHOULD NOT be dismissed simply because of the length of time it takes to report the crime OR who the abuser is. Women run into more problems if and when they report abuse than if they remain quiet. The way that the system works for the abused is you have to be above reproach; you have to be virginal; you have to have a spotless, sexless background in order to be believed. And if you are virginal, people will question that. You WILL be labeled a whore. Your background WILL be searched and scrutinized. You will be treated, in most cases, worse than the person who abused you. And that is what happens if your abuser is just a regular Joe, a nobody. Can you imagine the heat that these women will take for accusing Bill Cosby, America's Dad?

If Cosby did not do this, he has been a media darling... he KNOWS what he should do. If it is his contention that the allegations are false, he should get in front of those cameras and say that he did not drug and assault those women. The fact that he has not done so, makes me think that he cannot truthfully deny the allegations. And now he wants Black media to be neutral and not crucify him for these crimes. Um... where is that going to happen? That should not even be an option.

What I need from Bill is some consistency. He wants the Black community to be accountable? Cool. I want him to be accountable. He wants Black people to acknowledge their shortcomings so they can get past them? Cool. I want him to do the same. He wants Black men to pull their pants up and be about something? OK. I want him to keep his pants on and stop taking advantage of women. He wants us to look good and to fall in line. I want him to BE good-- for his community, for his legacy, FOR HIS WIFE. He is destroying all of his good works... with his silence. Be accountable, sir. Now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Why I am So Free-- With the Delete Button

Seems like I always get asked why I am so free to delete people-- most with no warning. I am not sure if people are asking for fear that they are delete-able, or if they are just trying to figure out the degree of bitch I am. Maybe they think I am so self absorbed that I don't want to hear, read, tweet or see opinions that are not the same as mine. Hell, maybe I am that self absorbed... with other things, but, truly, that is not the reason that I delete people on social media or in real life.

The answer is really simple: I delete people, places, things and social media pages that no longer make me happy. Whether it be the fact that they are SUPER negative, posting things that are not researched, bigoted, racist, lacking empathy to a group that encompasses people that I care about, discriminatory (to me or others), ignorant or just that they seem to be so very LOST as to what is happening around them... I just do not have the time, nor the inclination to deal with that on a daily basis.

Listen, Lefty will be the first to tell you-- I am totally addicted to social media. If I am far from my smartphone for long periods of time, I might begin to show symptoms of withdrawal. We always joke that when we buy a vacation home, it should be smack dap in the middle of some heavy acreage... as long as there is wifi. Can't go way out in the boonies without the possibility of contact. LOL. I spend a fair amount of my day tweeting, sharing, looking stuff up online, blogging, Pinterest (it is the devil!), etc. Who wants to spend a vast amount of their day, every day, reading about how you don't think someone who (whatever you don't like) doesn't deserve the same basic human rights as you?

I once had a friend (yeah, I know, hahahaha) who changed her life. She went through something traumatic and completely changed her life around, which was fabulous. The problems crept in when she started to judge the people around her. There was always a condescending tone; always that disapproving look, always a smart ass remark for people that we knew that were doing the best they could with what they had. Man, I had to let that chick go. I mean, who has time to feel like a "friend" is constantly judging you? No one. I also had a "friend" on Facebook who would publicly crucify people on social media, telling them they were going to go to hell, Jesus was watching them, she loved them but not their sin, etc. Now here is the thing: 1- I don't subscribe to making people feel guilty to bring them to Jesus and 2- in her REAL life, this chick was a club bunny, she slept around, she has a few children by a few different men. Um, sis. Jesus doesn't like you faking the funk and I don't like you crowding my timelines with your sanctimonious crap. C'mon now. I don't want to see that day in and day out when I KNOW you are lying. Had to go.

And I would be remiss to mention the people who have no room in their lives to show a bit of empathy towards their fellow man. Last week I was getting all kinds of lectures about how I should teach people United States history so they can try to understand the plight of Black America. Uh, hell no. Listen, all I have for them is the delete button. You were supposed to learn history in your home and in school. I am not a social studies teacher. Besides, no one should have to teach you empathy. That comes with being a freaking human being and not wanting anyone to suffer unnecessarily. I am 30- something years old. It is not MY job to make sure that YOU are a well rounded individual. Hello? That is your responsibility as a grown person. I don't have that to do, buddy. But you know what I do have? A delete button with your name ALL over it. Happy surfing!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Throwback - Where is the Love?

If you have been visiting the Hot, Black and Bitter Facebook page or Twitter feed you know that I have been feeling under the weather this week. Bronchitis has its grip on me, y'all, and it ain't nothing nice. Know what that means? Hard for me to belt out songs during my car concerts on the way home from work. Like, it is so not sexy to hot a high note and spend the next 5 minutes hacking up a lung. Or to sound like Mariah Carey did this week.  What?! Oh, and the appearance of snot bubbles-- yeah that is never, ever the coolest part of your day. It is only about a 20 minute commute and honestly, I have barely been able to hum because this cough is nothing to play with. Plus, WHO wants to see snot bubbles? Uh, let me tell you, the answer to the snot bubbles question is: NO ONE. No one wants to see that. It traumatizes people. More than a car concert. Trust me.

With that in mind, earlier this week I was humming songs on the way home, while enjoying a Halls cough drop- the ones with the "soothing center"- they are the TRUTH, and a song came on that was just so... fitting. It had been years since I heard this song (and I might add that I am generally NOT a fan of the Black Eyed Peas) but I was happy to cruise along and hum this song. With all that is going on, it made me feel better that I wasn't the only one asking this question: Where is the Love?
(Lyrics below-- check them out, they are important)

What's wrong with the world, mama
People livin' like they ain't got no mamas
I think the whole world addicted to the drama
Only attracted to things that'll bring you trauma

Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin'
In the USA,
the big CIA
The Blood from The Crips and the KKK
But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you're bound to get irate, yeah
Madness is what you demonstrate
And that's exactly how anger works and operates

Now, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y'all, y'all

People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt can you hear them cryin'?
Can you practice what you preach?
And would you turn the other cheek?

Father, Father, Father help us
Send us some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love? (Love)
Where is the love? (The love)
Where is the love? (The love)
Where is the love?
The love, the love

It just ain't the same, always unchanged
New days are strange, is the world insane?
If love and peace is so strong
Why are there pieces of love that don't belong
Nations droppin' bombs
Chemical gasses fillin' lungs of little ones
With the ongoin' sufferin' as the youth die young
So ask yourself is the lovin' really gone
So I can ask myself really what is goin' wrong
In this world that we livin' in people keep on givin'
Makin' wrong decisions, only visions of them dividends
Not respectin' each other, deny thy brother
A war is goin' on but the reason's undercover
The truth is kept secret, it's swept under the rug
If you never know truth then you never know love

Where's the love, y'all, come on (I don't know)
Where's the truth, y'all, come on (I don't know)
Where's the love, y'all (come on yeah)

People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt and you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek
Father, Father, Father help us
Send us some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love (Love)
Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love
The love, the love

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I'm gettin' older, y'all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin'
Selfishness got us followin' the wrong direction
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images, it's the main criteria

Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids want to act like what they see in the cinema
Yo', whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness and equality
Instead in spreading love we're spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading lives away from unity

That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' under
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' down
There's no wonder why sometimes I'm feelin' under
Gotta keep my faith alive till love is found now ask yourself

People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt and you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek
Father, Father, Father help us
Send us some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love (Love)
Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love
Where is the love

Read more: Black Eyed Peas - Where Is The Love? Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

For The Sake of My Siblings

I have nine brothers and a nephew. That is ten, count them, TEN men that could possibly been seen as a threat and ripped away from my family in the blink of an eye. Well, let me revise that statement: I have 1 Black nephew, 1 Bi-racial brother, 7 Black brothers and 1 White brother. In our family, I can honestly say, that the race of my siblings do NOT matter, ah, but here in America, it matters. Looking at the history of our great nation AND the events of tonight, it is easy for me to see that my youngest brother, my White brother, will not have the same lifetime experiences as the others. The way that they are raised will be the same. The consequences for bad behavior in our house will get you the exact same punishment that has been handed out since I was a kid. My parents haven't changed; what is right and wrong hasn't changed, but somehow, my sweet little brother Jonathan has the possibility of being treated like a HUMAN BEING, while, at some point in their lives, that WILL NOT be afforded to my nephew and my other brothers.

Tonight, America has had the real opportunity to see what the justice system is like. Not a Law And Order episode, but real life. The story of Mike Brown could have taken a real turn towards America actually recognizing that Race Relations are not anywhere close to where we want it to me. It could have given hope to those who had lost it; it could have restored some faith in humanity; it could have been a representation of the justice serving those that can do nothing for her (and that is rare). It could have. But it did not.

Let me be clear, for those of you who don't know-- a grand jury has ONE job, it is to say "hey- this is enough evidence to go to trial." That is it. An indictment does not mean that Darren Wilson would be found guilty or pay the price for shooting a Black child in the street and letting his body fester in the August heat. An indictment does not mean that Michael Brown was completely innocent in this situation. An indictment does not mean that race relations would get better in Ferguson. An indictment would simply mean that the state could move on to TRY Darren Wilson in a courtroom. That is all. So when I see that the grand jury could not even muster an indictment, could not even say that "hey, ONE of these autopsies show something that y'all should discuss at trial", or "hey- there is an UNARMED teenager lying dead in the street and maybe someone should be held responsible for that." The fact that they could not even move on to a trial... you can understand how I would be dismayed. Shocked. Angry. Frustrated. Right?!

This case is not about fairness. It is not about protecting a police officer. It is not about ridding society of a leech. It IS about Blackness in America. It IS about the overreaction of police officers when dealing with Black men. It IS about the awful reality that Black children are far more likely to be killed by police officers than their white counterparts and it IS absolutely about the vast majority of Americans closing their eyes- WILLFULLY- to the suffering of their fellow man. Continuously blaming these victims for their OWN deaths. It IS about Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker and Tamir Rice. It IS. It IS about my nephew, Justus. My brothers: Jeff, Ronald, Frank, Christopher, Tyron, Les, Joshua, Jackson and Jonathan. My father. My cousins. My neighbors. My city. My state. It IS about entire states showing that they don't give a damn about the lives of more than half of their constituency. It IS about the legal system disregarding the rights of the Black and Brown populations. It IS about an entire system which continues to persecute races unlawfully and without remorse.

It keeps me up at night. It makes me worry. It makes me happy that Lefty and I do not have children that would be subjected to this unkind, unfair and unnecessary treatment. It makes me want to hug my brothers and watch them, wherever they go. I am sad, y'all. The people of Ferguson have been done a huge disservice. The state of Missouri SHOULD be in uproar. Major cities that have large minority populations should be epicenters of (peaceful) protests-- even though they don't deal with US peacefully. The Brown family should sue Darren Wilson, the City of Ferguson, the Police Chief, the Prosecuting Attorney and whoever else they can think of for the wrongful death of their son. As of right now, the legal community that I once wanted to be a part of so badly has let me down...again. And not just me... I have nine brothers and a nephew.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday Wants

I have had a stressful day. Seriously. I need to relax. How do I relax? I bake. But I am off baking right now... because I am fat. So what am I going to do now? List making. I like to look at all the crap I am not getting done on a daily basis. Hey, what can I say? I have a winning attitude today. It has just a really, really long day. So, here is a list of things that I want on this horrendous lovely Wednesday.

1. I want a job where I am super appreciated and get paid, very well. I mean doesn't everyone? Because, yeah, I got bills to pay, sucka! Plus, I have to say, I really think that I should be the boss. Like, always. And if I can't be the boss then I should be well paid. The end.

2. I want people to live forever. Ok, not assholes, but nice people? Nice people should live forever. We received word that a super nice guy (a co-worker of Lefty's) passed away today. Unexpectedly. And I hate it. Someone who worked at my job passed away last week. He always had a kind word and a smile. I'm saddened by both deaths. Death makes you re-evaluate or it SHOULD make you re-evaluate. It has been two years since we said goodbye to one of my aunts and to Lefty's brother and each time This Wednesday I want nice people to live forever.

3. I want a million dollars, the best credit score a person can have and a maid. In that order. It is all necessary.

4. I want to reignite my will to work out. It leaves every other day and for real I just need that bitch to be loyal. What?!

5. I want Cat Knapp to stop staring at me. I just looked over and he is staring at me. He has no shame and no regards for my feelings.

6. I want people, in general, to be a little more concerned for one another's wellbeing. People just don't seem to give a fuck about anyone or anything, other than themselves. I am not saying that I want a utopia. I don't want to be Snow White, singing songs in the forest and having birds land on my shoulders (because ewww, birds) BUT it would be nice if people were a little less self centered/noticed and acknowledged other people's issues and problems/cared about other's suffering.

7. I want it to be November and not have the Hallmark channel playing Christmas movies. They aren't even playing Golden Girls reruns anymore. Who does that? I need to Sophia and her sassy old lady mouth. Plus, it is NOVEMBER. Christmas is over a month away. Are you kidding me?

8. I want more hours to do fun stuff, because today being a grown up sucked balls.

Here is to hoping that tomorrow is full of unicorns and glitter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Birthday, Love and Honor

Ah hmm, two weeks and a couple of days ago I celebrated a birthday. It wasn't a big one, per se, that is to say that I didn't just turn 21. Or 30 (what?) Or 35... so stop guessing. I really didn't want to do much. I mean, I wanted to hang out with Lefty and my birthday was (finally) on a Saturday, so relaxation and Ohio State Football was at the tippy top of my list. Lefty asked what I wanted to do and I left it up to him.

Originally we were going to go to the Penn State/OSU game. But Happy Valley was not cooperating. We could find tickets (but not sit together) and there was not one freaking hotel room available. I was not going to see a night game in PA and drive back to OH to sleep, no thanks. So I decided that maybe we should head on down to the most beautiful campus in all of colleges, my alma mater, Miami University. They had an afternoon football game (which I was not feeling that great about... our record is a little... lacking) and I knew that we would be done watching them play in time for the Buckeye game. Again, I left the details up to Lefty and waited for the weekend!

I had NO worries. I took Friday, the following Monday and Tuesday off work because HEY, It's my birthday!! And I didn't have to plan a hotel stay or anything like that. It was magical. So magical that I didn't even trip out when Lefty told me that we were staying in Indiana. I mean I raised my eyebrow, but I didn't say anything. Well, let me just say-- IT WAS AMAZING. Lefty found the CUTEST Bed & Breakfast just over the state border. While we did laugh about the fact that while driving you could totally tell when you crossed the state line back into Ohio because the roads improved (significantly) that drive was totally worth it. It was about 15 miles from the B&B to Oxford, so the drive was an easy one. More information on the inn can be found here... We stayed in the East Fork Room. Let me just say, if you get a chance to stay here, do it. The owner is amazing, the remodel done on the house is flawless and the small town feel is just what the doctor ordered for me. We will be back, for sure. Loved it.

The football game was second only to the lovely weather we had. It was family weekend in Oxford, so the college kids were more or less on their best behavior, saving me from wanting to slap the hell out of smart ass college kids. Win/win situation :) Our team won! Second win of the season and I was there to witness it... on my birthday! Amazing! We had hours to burn so we decided to head back to Brookville and do something daring. Something that we had never done before. Something I more than likely will never do again. But, start the new year of life off with a bang, right? We went back to BFE... and zip lined. In the DARK. What?!?! Listen, I'm no sissy with most things, but honey... no. Just no. I didn't do too bad, going down the MOUNTAIN that we were on, however, getting from the platform to the ground, was NOT one of my finer moments. I am okay with it.Without going into great detail about my possible *screaming* for the stairs to be brought to me, I will just say that the people at Skyward Adventures will not forget me anytime soon. And I am ok with that too.

It took me two weeks to recover, but I started off my new year with a bang! I wish every birthday started with a new (and sometimes exciting) adventure. What do y'all do for your birthdays? Anything as shocking as zip lining in the dark? Here are some pics of our weekend trip!

Love and Honor

Historic Black's Covered Bridge in Oxford

Getting some Vitamin D at the game- What a Beautiful Day!

Lefty practicing in the dark. Zip lining is not for the faint of heart. 

Brookville Lake, Indiana

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Soulful Saturday - Cuffing Season

Welcome to November 1st, the official start to the cuffing season. Lefty asked me what "cuffing season" means. I explained with the precision of a college professor. Cuffing Season happens in two separate time periods. For us in the midwest, it starts when the weather takes a turn from fall to winter-like... like today. The first set of dates is November 1 - December 20. Second group of dates is New Year's Eve - February 12/13. See what I did there? No major holiday gifts to be purchased but tons of together time before and after Christmas, then a quick make up so you don't have to spend New Year's Eve alone, but that final break up before Valentine's Day. It is strategic and happens more than you know and more than your closest friends want to admit.

Makes sense though, I mean who wants to spend all of the cold weather months alone? If you spent the cold weather months alone in Ohio, that could actually mean that you would be alone from October to late April. Ain't nobody got time for that. For real. So the season of not that many alone nights is upon us. And the season needs a soundtrack. A good one. Yes.

So here is a soundtrack for your cuffing season. Use it responsibly. (And be responsible during cuffing season. Hot, Black and Bitter does not co-sign cuffing season partners having babies together. It is short term, both parties should know that and y'all should be using condoms. Always. *end rant*)

ForTheNight - Musiq

 Forever Don't Last - Jazmine Sullivan

All The Things Your Man Won't Do - Joe

Turn Off The Lights - Teddy Pendergrass

So Anxious - Ginuwine

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Hot, Black and Bitter Video?

It was never my plan to be a video sensation... and that still hasn't happened! ;) What seems like a million years ago, I went to a blogging conference at Cedar Point. It was not a million years ago, it was in September, but in Hot, Black and Bitter time a month and a half is a million years ago (what do you want from me? I can barely remember what I did yesterday!)

At this conference Lefty and I met a ton of nice people, was able to put names and faces together (which is always a little hard when you 'talk' to people online exclusively) and we were able to get a few tips to make our blogging better. While sitting in a session, I met this cute lady who was talking about sitting down and putting our ideas on video. Say what? I mean, doesn't she know that I am too sassy for face to video communication?! In our session she (Doctor G) told us that we should make a goal for videos, write down how many we want to post per month and make it happen. Again, I am very comfortable with the blog, not so much with the video-- or a camera for that matter. Instead of senior pictures, my mother followed me around school one day and took pictures of me, NO LIE. I am just not all that comfortable with picture taking/video producing.

That being said, I always have smartass responses for any and everything that happens around me. I am very vocal (surprise), very opinionated (surprise again) and just about always right (so says my Lefty, because he loves me). Plus, I made a commitment when I spoke with Doctor G. Since I promised that I would post videos... I made one. For the remainder of the year, I said that I wanted to make ONE video per month (nothing like starting out slow, right? And not for nothing, nothing like waiting till the last freaking minute, HELLO October 31, 11:30 pm!)

My hope is that these limited number of videos will show that I am much more than JUST a smartass keyboard ninja, I am an actual human being and that I am not always bitter... because I am not (about 5% of the time). Without further adieu, a Halloween video-- kinda. LOL

Friday, October 10, 2014

Winner, Winner - Friday Night Swag

I'm a winner y'all! (More than usual) :) Last month I participated in a fitness challenge at my local YMCA. It was the Mystery Mayhem challenge. Essentially, every three days we would get an email of what we should be doing. We could complete the challenge in one day or take the entire three day period to complete it. Points were accumulated for completing the challenges, sharing it on social media, working out in different ways (swim, bike, group class etc). Because I participated in this challenge, I found a new park to walk in that is near my job AND I took my first Zumba class. So I am expanding my workout prowess, or something like that :)

When I signed up, I knew I was getting a t-shirt but there was also the possibility of winning a Fitbit Flex. At the beginning of this week, I got an email saying I was a winner of a Fitbit Flex!! Now, I know that I am late to the Fitbit party, but hear me out. I don't like getting electronic things when they are in the "testing" period. Like, you don't have to worry about me standing in line for a new iPhone. Let some other sucker work out the kinks... I'll get the second generation. That rule generally serves me well. Very rarely do I have to take things back or participate in recalls. Makes my life easier.

Seems as though this Fitbit is going to make tracking my life easier also, and it came just in time... this week I signed up for the Hall of Fame Half Marathon (again)... I am hoping that the Fitbit helps with training and tracking (the good and the bad). I am also hoping for a better time in the half marathon and, you know, no limping for a week like the last time... sigh! I would like to have a better time, recovery and this time do more running than walking. Oh yeah, and to finish! The goal is to finish! Who knew that finishing 13.1 miles in less than 4 hours was such a hard goal to work with? While we ponder how these happy hips are going to make it another 13.1 miles in April, here are some pictures of my winnings. YES!!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Friday Night Lights - Home Alone

Hey now! I am having a quiet night at home, because married life for this old lady is so exciting! I'm talking red box movies, Donatos pizza and sour patch straws exciting. Throw in some Throwback Mountain Dew and I can hardly control myself! Seriously-- after weeks of sunshine and warmth, the weather here in central Ohio has taken a "fall like" turn on this Friday evening. The sky was looking ominous, rain was falling (and I don't do rain) and I am currently having a come to Jesus moment with my job. Not to mention, there are a couple behind the scenes situations that are stressing me out. In short, I needed a night of silence, bad for you food and sickeningly sweet movies. I mean, who needs to talk when you are watching tear-jerker movies and getting a sugar buzz?

When I stopped at Redbox today I was not thinking that I would find something fantastic because 1. I really was only stopping because I had a coupon and 2. I, um, visit the freaking Redbox more than I should. That is to say, I have seen almost all the movies I've wanted to. So tonight I got Bad Words, featuring Jason Bateman and a documentary called Undefeated. Friday night documentary... oh, the glamorous life. I am going to need you all to hold back all that jealousy. 

I am a little behind the times (shocker) because Undefeated was a critically acclaimed documentary... shot in 2009. It is about turning around an awful football team in North Memphis. It shows the triumphs and defeats of members of the football team; the turmoil of the coach's home life; anger issues; passive aggressive craziness; coming back from injury; the uncertainty of life after high school. It was a good movie. I, generally, am not one for documentaries OR feel good movies-- though I did (do) LOVE Remember the Titans and We Are Marshall, so maybe I am a feel good movie freak?!? 

The featured coach, Mr. Bill Courtney just released a book at the beginning of the summer. You can find it here. I think that I am going to get it from the library after I finish Gone Girl. But, I digress-- I can see why the movie was so well received. Exactly what I needed to see tonight, while there was a dog asleep on my lap... ok, ok he was totally faking sleep, waiting for me to drop some pizza topping on him. Minus the crazy animals, the movie was good and gave me a good ol' kick in the butt jolt (not for football, but, you know, life). So, if you are in need (or in the mood) for a football movie of (mostly) goodness, visit the Redbox, grab Undefeated and grab a glass of wine. Good times, Friday Night Lights. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sickle Cell Awareness

Today is the end of September, can you believe that? I, for one, need the year to slow down a bit. It seems like just yesterday, Lefty and I were driving back into the city limits to celebrate a new year together and now here we are on the edge of October. This was a month of firsts for us. We went to our very first blogging conference together, which was lovely. A first of many, I am sure. Last month we did the ALS challenge and this month is Sickle Cell Awareness month. Like ALS, Sickle Cell and its sufferers are relatively unknown except by those who suffer from it or those who are caretakers.

Many people don't even know what having Sickle Cell Anemia entails. Sickle Cell is a hereditary, blood disorder where red blood cells assume a rigid, sickle like shape. Sickle-cell disease is associated with a number of acute and chronic health problems, such as severe infections and attacks of severe pain ("sickle-cell crisis"), and an increased risk of death. A person inherits two abnormal copies of the haemoglobin gene, one from each parent. If you only have one of the abnormal copies, from one parent then you have the Sickle Cell Trait (like me) and you do not experience the above named symptoms. The highest frequency of sickle cell disease is found in tropical regions (and tropical people... again, like me!), particularly sub-Saharan Africa, India and the Middle-East. In the United States, about 1 out of 500 African-American children and 1 in every 36,000 Hispanic-American children born will have sickle-cell anemia. Sickle cell trait occurs among about 1:12 African-Americans and 1:100 Hispanic-Americans.

And so what are we doing to raise awareness for this debilitating disease? The ice bucket challenge was already taken :) but my almost life long friend... and Sickle Cell Warrior, got me hip to their campaign #BoldLips4SickleCell so, of course I had to participate! Below are my pics, both serious and silly-- lipstick is Rimmel Bordeaux (because Bordeaux is the color that you NEED when doing a bold lip challenge). Educate yourselves, my lovebugs and see what you can do in your community to help bring awareness to this disease. Now... SHOW ME THOSE LIPS!! :)

Excuse the seatbelt shot from Lefty's car-- we were headed to the blogging conference and he is all about safety first... even while taking dreamy eyed selfies :) 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rolling Deep with Aretha...

I swear this is not a music blog. It is NOT. I promise... kinda. Here I was eating dinner and making purple cupcakes- because why NOT make purple cupcakes on a Monday?! Minding my own business when I saw that Aretha Franklin did a remake of Rolling In The Deep. Dear, sweet baby Jesus why did you let THIS happen? I had to listen to it. I mean, I HAD to. I love the Aretha of the 50s, 60s and 70s. I mean, Respect, Chain of Fools, Dr. Feelgood (what?!!?-- Don't send me doctor...). But I NEED Aretha to know when to just have a seat and let a song happen... without her.

Now look. I love Aretha. She has a voice that is very distinctive and funky. Her voice is beautiful, and Adele is, without a doubt, the singer that she is because of Aretha Franklin (and several other Black singers). But oh, my love bugs-- Aretha should have let Adele have this song, because she lost this battle so significantly. Let's hear the evidence: First up, the original (which, I am SURE has been on this blog before-- because when it came out I was going through a crazy break up and this song was on repeat like it was the only song in the universe.)

Adele - Rolling In the Deep

Good, right?! I mean, besides that fool dancing in the powder, I really love this rendition. Relays the pain of dating a douchebag that betrayed your trust (wait, we aren't talking about my break up, right? Oh, ok... back on track). Soulful. Just angry enough. Wonderful. Now let's check out Aretha's version.

Aretha - Rolling In the Deep

See- no. From the 23 second mark, me and Aretha broke up. Cut it out. "Rolling in the deep... screech."

We broke up. We are in a fight. We are not speaking. No, no, no, no. And again, no. I mean, it was so bad. And the mixing of Rolling in the Deep and Ain't No Mountain High Enough. I am done. BROKE. UP. This version is making me long for the Negro Spiritual version from John Legend-- at least it is a cappella... get it, John.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Soulful Saturday - The Cranberries

I am not exactly sure why fall weather makes me want to relive my high school days. Maybe it is because it is technically 'back to school' season or something. Could be. Ah well, here I am, up WAY past what should have been my bedtime, singing along to youtube videos of forgotten songs that once brought out teenaged angst. When I was in high school (oh my God, I just totally sounded like the old lady in the neighborhood IN MY OWN HEAD when I read that sentence back... What have I become?!) Back in the olden golden days of the mid 90s, the music was full of rebellion. Grunge was king of the airwaves, there was anger, combat boots and flannel shirts. Marry that with teenage hormones and there you have it, Hot, Black and Bitter, the high school years! One of the bands that regularly made it onto my mix tapes, and in heavy rotation were The Cranberries. Hauntingly beautiful sounds that you would not normally think would come out of a human... and notes that you should TOTALLY NOT TRY to emulate, but I do... every time. Hey, it is good singing... check it out.





 I Still Do


Ode To My Family

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Gather Ye Rosebuds

Every year, on this anniversary, I want to write something profound. Something that makes people feel sad but gives them life, too. Something that makes people remember AND gives them motivation. Something that celebrates the lives lost and something that leads the people that remain to live life to the absolute fullest.

I have yet to find a way to do that... So I have found some videos to do it. First one-- from Dead Poet's Society-- is a great snippet. A reminder that you should do whatever you can to make the life that you live the most extraordinary piece of art that you can put together.

For the lives that we lost before September 11, 2001, on that fateful day, and after, we will always remember you. You are always in our hearts and on our minds... and we are here to continue your dreams, keeping you alive through our good works. People, tell your loved ones how you feel about them. Lay it out for the people in your lives. You never know when it will be the last time.

Sorry, I've never told you, all I wanted to say
And now it's too late to hold you
'Cause you've flown away
So far away

Never had I imagined
Living without your smile
Feelin' and knowing you, hear me
It keeps me alive, alive

And I know you're shining down on me from Heaven
Like so many friends we've lost along the way
And I know eventually we'll be together
One sweet day
Eventually I'll see you in Heaven

Darling, I never showed you
Assumed you'd always be there
I, I took your presence for granted
But I always cared
And I miss the love we shared

I know you're shining down on me from Heaven
Like so many friends we've lost along the way
And I know eventually we'll be together
One sweet day one sweet day

Picture a little scene from Heaven
Although, the sun will never shine the same
I'll always look to a brighter day
Yeah, Lord, I know, when I lay me down to sleep
You will always listen as I pray

And I know you're shining down on me from heaven
Like so many friends we've lost along the way
And I know eventually we'll be together
One sweet day

And I know you're shining down on me from Heaven
Like so many friends we've lost along the way
And I know eventually we'll be together
One sweet day

Sorry, I never told you
All I wanted to say

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What Happens in the Dark...

So for the past two days I have (happily) been avoiding writing about Ray Rice and his caught on video domestic violence. A lot of thoughts have crossed my mind regarding his less than stellar behavior and the type of person that it takes to defend those actions (simply put, if you found a way to defend him, you and I will NEVER be friends... and that is the nicest thing I can say about you). I have written several posts about what I think of domestic violence and the perpetrators of that violence. One of my posts on the subject can be found here.

Honestly, I was not going to say anything- I shared a couple of Facebook articles about the story and said I was happy he lost his job (because I am), but nothing... you know, specifically Hot, Black and Bitter for the fans. Ah, but then I got caught up on all the stupidity on social media surrounding Rice and his wife, and now here I am, typing up a storm. Why? Because I am truly

Let me start out by saying I have a rule: grown folks need to keep their hands to themselves. At all times. There is not ever going to be something said that would justify putting your hands on someone else. If you find yourself in a situation where you are thinking of striking someone, make no mistake, your own stupidity and pride keeps you in that position, not the words or deeds of the other person. Defense of one's self is one thing. If someone is hitting you and you have to hit them back so you can walk away-- I am all for that. I'm all for making it out of a situation alive. What I am not here for is the idea that I could say something that could make ANYONE feel like I should be knocked unconscious and then dragged out of an elevator like a life-sized bag of Jasmine rice. That is inappropriate. Inappropriate and there is no excuse. Hell, I tell my little siblings to use their words- not their hands. If kids under the age of 10 can grasp that concept, why is it so hard for grown ups? 

Then there are the bandwagon fans who are like: "that man should not have lost his job for hitting his wife." Excuse me?  I was actually told that he should not lose his ability to perfect his "craft". People have LOST.THEIR.MINDS. Listen- we, as a society, have GOT to stop glorifying athletes. They get paid to play a game. Their ability (or non-ability) to play that game will not make them good people. It doesn't mean that they are not criminals. It doesn't mean that they have a built in excuse to get out of trouble. The fact that I have to type that shows that people need to get their minds right. The fact that you can take a ball and put it in a net, the end zone, the outfield, the goal... yeah, not a get out of jail free card. Far from it-- those bums should be held to a higher standard, because we are ALL paying them. Ticket prices, gear, shoes, buying products from sponsors, endorsements, etc. We are ALL making them rich. We, as the public, should be collectively outraged that someone that WE pay participates in domestic violence. NO PASS. EVER. 

I was listening to Sports Radio on the way to work and someone called in to say that Ray should sue the NFL because they are essentially hitting him with double jeopardy. Someone else remarked that his wife seems to have forgiven him so we should too. Others have said that the punishment doesn't fit the crime, etc. Let me make a few points, before I close. 1- Ray Rice is serving out this suspension while keeping a $25 million salary-- he is still walking away with money, yet another reason I have absolutely NO sympathy for him. Also, uh, he can get a job. He was not rendered disabled. They haven't taken away his ability to work-- he just won't be able to have his PREFERRED job... like many of the rest of around here. No sympathy.  2- I don't think for one minute that Ray Rice married that woman for love, and I don't think she married him for love either-- call me a cynic. They were married after the attack and married people cannot be compelled to testify against one another... and unmarried people don't get half if there is a breakup, but they do get half if there is a divorce. 3- Ray Rice cannot sue the NFL and he shouldn't. Are you kidding me? He deserves a lifetime ban for the actions in that video. Roger Goodell saw that video, in February, I have no doubt. In fact, I think that Ray and Roger probably watched it together, in Roger's office, over a couple of scotches (because they are both assholes). 4- That video was NOT the first time (and I am sure that it will not be the last) that Ray Rice hit that woman. Her friends and family need to use this time to embrace her, get her away from him and get her some counseling. ASAP. I am not even going to type a response to her critique of the media's handling of the release of the tape... because I truly believe that she is the victim here and I will not victimize her again with, what would be, a scathing review of her comments.

If you, or someone you know, is involved in an abusive relationship, reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and get some help, 1.800.799.7233. Someone will miss you if you are gone. 

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Soulful Saturday - Feel The (Self) Love

I am obsessed with a teeny bopper song. You can't see it, but I am hiding my face in shame. Kidding-- I don't care, I heard it on the radio a few weeks ago, added it to my workout mix and I am ridiculously involved when I perform this selection in a car concert. Y'all, please hear me... I ROCK THIS SONG.

A few months ago I wrote this piece about begin a fat girl... I still am. No shame. No shade. I know that I am not where I want to be. Put in my information to get my BMI... uh, yeah. So, I am working on it. I think that I like this song extra because it celebrates us "non-size 2" ladies. Plus, it is fun (that guy dancing in this video? I need those moves. ASAP.) Plus, I personally think it is HILARIOUS that a white girl sings about bringing "booty back" Honey- it has been back, always been in style! :)

Anyway- first Soulful Saturday of the season... Meghan Trainor, All About That Bass

** Every inch of you is perfect, from the bottom to the top **

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What I Did For Summer Vacation - Urban Dare

Have you ever had one of those days that made you want to throw up your hands, crawl into bed and read until midnight... Yeah, well for me that day was yesterday. Yesterday, I would have come home and watched paint dry to escape the ridiculousness of the day. Y'all I would have volunteered to watch a Maury marathon on TV. I would have volunteered to weed the garden... or wash the dishes. It was just awful. It was made even MORE awful by the fact that it was only Wednesday, which meant that I still had (have) to deal with two MORE days of this craziness before a long weekend. Sometimes, friends, it just isn't worth it.

As I sat in my bedroom, eating my stress away and contemplating getting a new job (again), I decided to write about something that makes me happy. So I picked up my iPhone and looked at some photos from this summer. Summer was (is) a super busy time around here. We always end up traveling more than anticipated. Sometimes we get roped into street fairs, spontaneous celebrations, family outings or outdoor workout sessions. Because of the hectic schedule, we also have more "rest" days than anticipated. Lefty and I wake up with lofty dreams of Do It Yourself projects around the house and we end up sleeping late, procrastinating and saying we will do it "next" weekend. Things like that happen during our summer. We are ok with it- because things (mostly) get done on an acceptable timeline.

One of the events we have made time for the last two summers is a race called the Urban Dare. Think Amazing Race meets your city. We had a groupon in 2013 and decided that it would be fun to run walk quickly though some neighborhoods of Columbus, seeing some things that are often overlooked when you live in a city. And we had an absolute BLAST. We didn't come in last (I mean, it IS a 'race') and we didn't come in first (I'm going to emphasize the fact that there was NO running) but we did show some amazing teamwork and the attitude issues were few and far between. This summer we did the race again-- we ranked a bit higher in the standings (woot, woot) and still had a fabulous time. I recommend that when the Urban Dare comes to your town, you put together a team! You learn a few things about the city you live in, learn about your partnership, the obstacles are do-able... and you don't have to eat gross stuff :) Check out their website: Depending on where you live, they have races into the fall- we will be doing the race again in 2015!!

Here are some pics from our 2014 adventure... a Throwback Thursday photo array in the hopes that today will be a brighter day than yesterday! Happy almost long HOLIDAY weekend y'all.

Beginning of the day...

Before we took off in the heat. I had a fresh haircut and no sunscreen, what was I thinking?

One of our stops- on the statehouse lawn. WWII letters on a monument, made these history nerds happy campers, indeed! 

Extra points, identifying and finding this sculpture, while on the run! :) 

Getting towards the end. That is the face of a Hot, Black and Bitter, tired mess, y'all!

One of our obstacles- Lefty had to "propose" to a stranger. She was in the park... with her husband. We saw them again, after this stunt... She told Lefty they were over, since he was cheating on her after he proposed! LOL 

Good times- summer in the city. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Straight into the Fire

*Stretches, cracks knuckles, deep breaths*
What's happening, people? One month and 17 days ago, I abandoned this lovely outlet to go and have a fantastic summer as a newlywed. It has been great, but I have missed sounding off on the happenings of the world. So, I decided last week that I would not wait until Labor Day to get back at it. So here I am, pissing people off, in writing, again. Ah, it feels good!! So my first topic? I'm bypassing the "What I did For Summer Vacation" essays (they are coming later) and I am going to go right into the fire, my friends and write about what I know... Growing up Black in the United States of America.

Ferguson, Missouri. A town you didn't know about three weeks ago has people divided these days. Michael Brown, a teenager two days from the beginning of his college career, was gunned down by a police officer in the street... broad daylight, in front of witnesses. Since then, people have easily taken sides, accusations have been thrown and the denial of race being part of the equation has been exponential. I have more than one opinion, which I will share, but I have a few KEY points that have to be front and center. So-- read these points and consider them AS you read my opinions. In other words, don't be dense- read everything before you comment... Don't make me cuss your dumb ass out. You know, the norm!

Key Points:
1. I support police officers. They have a VERY hard job. A job that I would NEVER want to have. With that hard job comes a ton of responsibility and far too often, officers are not responsible.
2. I do not condone breaking the law. I try not to and expect the same from fellow citizens. If a large group of citizens insist on breaking the law-- I have no issue with the National Guard being called out to restore order and enforce a curfew.
3. Race plays a part in every day life in America. When people deny that race is an issue in America, I automatically think they are idiots. Not just ignorant, but willfully so. And it makes me want to vomit.
4. I love, love, LOVE that this Facebook, online protesting generation has taking to the streets to try to exact some change in their neighborhoods. I fucking love it, and it should happen more often. Groups absolutely should stand up and shout that their children are not to be hunted in the streets like animals... LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.
5. I am VERY quick to correct bad behavior, on any one's part. I don't care if you look like me, if you are tall, short, Black, White, Asian, foreign or domestic, relative or total stranger-- if you are participating in some bullshit, I will call your ass out... you should know/do/be better. Looting is unnecessary and counter-productive. Destroying your own neighborhood is idiotic.

OK- with those key points in mind, here are my opinions. Police Officer Wilson is an overreacting jackass and now the City of Ferguson Police Department is trying to make this incident something that it was not... so that they can save face. In that process they are, in fact, making the situation worse and coming off as backwoods racist people who are stupid. As this situation wears on, I feel as though there will a tragic injustice done to Michael Brown, his family and his memory... which will try to be rectified by a correction of his character assassination on page 18 of the local paper- no national news coverage and that is.a.tragedy.

The way I see it (from the credible information I have found): Mike Brown and his little buddy were being assholes, walking in the middle of the street (which I hate, I mean my tax dollars purchased a very happenin' sidewalk... to walk on-- it is in the name, dude). Assassin Wilson, I mean Officer Wilson took exception and asked them to get their asses on the sidewalk (you know, a place for them to walk). They were smart asses back. Wilson decided to be sensitive sally and be super butt hurt that someone was ignoring his authority. So, officer bad ass decided that he was going to make these Black boys do what he said. And it all spiraled out of control from there.

Let me be clear: teenagers are dumb asses. They are, generally, rude. But nothing that Michael Brown did in the streets of Ferguson, MO that day was worth his life. He was unarmed and was assassinated in the streets of Ferguson-- hands in the air, surrendering to this sensitive police officer. I do not believe that Mike Brown tried to bum rush his assassin. I do not believe that he was involved in a strong arm robbery... and, while conveniently thrown in after the firestorm began, I do not believe that the sensitive cop knew that there was a robbery or that he was chasing a suspect. There are ways to stop an unarmed suspect that are not fatal. None of which include shooting said suspect 6 times, including twice in the head. No one will be able to convince me that officer sensitive HAD to shoot that boy 6 times.

So, how is race important in this situation, you ask? Let me tell you! I believe that officer sensitive pants would have been less likely to follow those boys if they were white. And when was the last time you heard of a white guy being shot down in the street at the hands of the police, unarmed, with hands raised? How often does that happen? Also, let's be frank... when white boys, some the age of Mike Brown, shoot up movie theaters and elementary schools, they are labeled as mentally unstable. They have psychologists on the television saying that so-and-so had a mental illness since they were children; for Mike Brown, the scenario is that he is a thug and a possible armed robber. Now, I am not saying that he wasn't- because, unlike all the other social media kings and queens with fake law degrees, I didn't know him personally, didn't know his activities, etc. I just find it peculiar that the first pictures that make the rounds on media outlets are those where a man purported to be Mike Brown (but it is NOT him, but you know, us dark skins all look alike) is smoking weed, throwing up gang signs and looking menacing. Why is the thug image so easy to believe? Could it possibly be because that is how most people think of Black people as a whole? I mean, let's be honest-- why are you so quick to say "Jesus, they should just get over it," or "THEY just want to have something to complain about," or "He deserved it," or "He should have done what the officer said," or "That is what happens when you rob people..." etc. Why is shooting an unarmed child in the street OK? It isn't. That is all that needs to be said. No matter what Officer Sensitive has to say the only response should be -- it is NOT OK to shoot our unarmed children in the streets of our cities.

Far too often, we give officers a pass. Too often, we offer up our children to the streets- seeing their ultimate sacrifice as a toll that certain neighborhoods just have to pay. Too often we allow the media to portray the Black community as ignorant, rowdy, and burdensome on the country. All too often we buy into the stereotypes that are circulating about us. We need a catalyst to take back our streets, our cities, the lives of our children. Quite possibly that is the ultimate goal that Michael Brown's death will serve-- a tide turning revolution to get our babies back, our reputations back, our communities... back. Get out there and take part in our revolution.

Welcome back, readers ;)

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