9.Oct – { Wretched Saint } with George Clark: “HammerTime”

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Over time, I have shared multiple stories about how mother handled me in the past…most instances involved some sort of nakedness and me getting laughed at…this episode remains true to form and does not deviate at all except for the addition of M.C. Hammer. In 2000, I joined the world’s finest Navy out of Montgomery, AL. It was a proud day for my family and I, made even more profound (to me) since it was my father’s birthday. Now I can’t speak on other branches of the military but for processing into the Navy, you had to go through a facility called MEPS. While at MEPS, they put your through vigorous tests…both mental and physical. This story is involving a portion of the physical aspect. The night before going to MEPS, all of the new recruits were put up in a hotel and were not allowed to leave the premises. We played cards, talked and ended the evening playing basketball on a warm, humid Alabama summer night. Earlier in the day I was running around super busy and asked my mother to pack a bag for my stay. I just needed a few items…socks, t-shirt, underwear and deodorant. My first mistake was to assume that she loved me and had my best interest in mind…I was wrong on both assumptions and she habitually reinforced that. Why didn’t I check the bag? How could it go wrong? BRIEF NOTE: Hammer Time – Now my mother was a huge M.C. Hammer fan, especially after the “Pumps and a Bump” video. She made my dad wear the same type of leopard and lion print speedos he donned in the video for years and I was RELENTLESS with my abuse about it. Every time I washed his cloths, I would fold them up and tuck them away in my mother’s underwear drawer. He would ask, “has anyone seen my underwear?”….and like clock work, I would respond “Oh, I thought they were moms” (straight faced)…infuriating him EVERY TIME.

Back to MEPS: I get up the next morning bright and early for a shave and shower before they usher all of the recruits to MEPS. I reach in my bag and pull out and unopened pack of underwear, completely oblivious to what lies ahead of me. After ripping the plastic open and pulling out a pair…………….I drop everything in my hands, slow motion, cinematic style. NO. THE. #$%&. SHE. DID’NT. I am now looking down on the floor at a zebra, lion, cheetah and leopard print bikini briefs. I run over to check the condition of the draws I had on last night but they were still soaking wet with perspiration. I literally sat on the bed contemplating for about 30 minutes, not joining the military…just so I wouldn’t have to wear these draws. I talk myself into it, put on the lion print and was able to convenience myself no one will ever know. WRONG.

Back to the basketball game the night before: Any and everyone who knows me will tell you, I am a competitor and will trash talk with the best of them. I got into a brief skirmish with another recruit, Jason Weaver. We went back and forth talking bad about each other during the game, after the game and even later into the evening. Fast forward to MEPS. We are called into a room, about 15 of us and told to line up. They give us simple tasks like standing straight up and holding your arms out in front of you. Then the instructor says, “now everyone, please strip down to your underwear”. The look of shock and disbelief on my face was evident as I had to be told twice. I slowly stripped down to what some might refer to as “panties”. There was a faint growl, then a monkey sound from somewhere, followed by someone quietly singing the “Lion King” theme.

I was referred to as Mufasa for the rest of the week and in boot camp and Jason Weaver still emails me from time to time to remind me about it.

No “LOL” attached.

 

 

2.Oct – { On the Wall: Views from a Social Media Gadfly } with Gabriel Owens: “Have You Seen Me?”

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You know, I don’t have anything against forwarding pictures of missing children, in theory.  One of the great tools and powers of social media is the ability to spread info like that at an amazing speed.

But let’s be real here:  most of the ones you mindlessly are forwarding on Facebook are old, out of date, and some are outright hoaxes.   Sadly, sometimes the child is dead.  And occasionally, it’s actually a real, active missing child.

Look, it doesn’t take more than a few seconds to Google the name of the kid and see what it says.  Sometimes you can follow the post back to the original page (usually a parent or family member) and see if it’s still active.  Sometimes all the above yields zero results and probably means it was made up.

“So what the hell am I hurting, you hater of missing children you?” you ask.  Well, I’ll tell you.  First of all, if the kid’s already been found, you’re perpetuating the parents/family with bombardments of well wishes and questions long after the situation’s been resolved.  They are probably looking to move on from a troubling event.

And then there’s emotional currency you are robbing from your friends list.  Many people are empathetic and sensitive to these things, and now you got them worried.  Maybe for a few minutes, maybe they stay up all night about it.  You’ve robbed them of emotion over someone no longer missing or possibly didn’t exist.

So how to tell the real ones from the old/fakes?  First of all, let’s weed out the questionable/hoaxes.  A missing child picture should have a clear photo, the name, last place and date time seen, etc.  And more than likely, a phone number to call with information.  Anything missing this vital information is suspect.  Still, you can Google or if possible, or follow the link back.  More often than not though, these types are screen grabbed from an fb post or are scans of something.  If you can’t get anything on this name to pop up on the Google’s other than links back to this very same story, chances are it’s a fake.

Same goes for the resolved.  Google will usually pop up a new article or blog stating they were found.  There’s lots of websites that do track these things just for this purpose.  And again, backtracking to the OP’s Facebook if possible will have the BEST info on it.  It really, really does not take long.  Then, you can be the bearer of good news for your concerned friend who blindly reposted it and post the link to them.

If it all checks out, feel free to repost.  Even if it’s in Oklahoma and you and all your friends are in Australia.  Can’t hurt, right?

1.Oct – { Expensive Free Thought } with Sydney Charles: “Crazy?”

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You mean it’s okay to be crazy?

Yes, it is okay to be “crazy?” You see that’s what’s wrong with the African-American community. We don’t embrace the idea of it actually being a mental ILLNESS…that means you’re sick, that means you need help to get better, that means you need a doctor, maybe some medicine. But no, we are so quick to run to the closet to get that belt or that shoe that leans slightly to the right, to beat some “act right” into our children (Don’t get me wrong, some of them do need a good sound beating from time to time, especially the ones who listen to Chief Keef, I digress).

It is real out here…it is a chemical imbalance… it’s biological…there is a misfiring of brain synapses…there may need to be a change in the diet and environment that you are in. It’s not you just being sad or angry or emotionally unbalanced. It is a daily struggle to sometimes get out of bed, to focus on one thought at a time, to not freak out going to the mailbox. But don’t let anyone know because then it is “oh you let the Devil get a foothold on your life” or “Your faith is weak” or “Oh you must not be tithing”. I don’t see what any of these things have to do with the level of serotonin being produced in my body. But if me giving an extra $20 in the offering plate will help me from crying uncontrollably when I don’t have my Xanax refilled then sure., I’ll try it. Why not?

Do you see people of the Caucasian persuasion running to the belt or the prayer cloth when depression or bi-polar or ADHD hits? Maybe, if they are from below the Mason-Dixie line, but NO! They go to the damn doctor, they get a therapist, they acknowledge that they have a problem and the go get help.  You say the word disorder in our community and automatically you are put on the list of “America’s Next Top Crackheads”.

Let me give you a list of things mental illness does NOT necessarily mean:

1) You will not see the average person who struggles doing the Gangham Style dance on the Dan Ryan Expressway (there may be two rebels though)
2) You will not see the average person talking to themselves, unless they are trying to figure out if they left the iron on, which tends to happen a lot.
3) There will be no climbing of telephone poles naked. Well, maybe in Wrigleyville, but that’s just a regular Saturday night. (Note to the City of Chicago, maybe you wanna get some airborne Xanax and handle that situation)
4) Guns…knives…spears…okay, on a bad day, you might want to keep those away. Not gonna lie on that one.

Just wanted to give you a different perspective…help you understand…not be afraid…most of the time people with mental illness just want to be heard…or talk…or held…not judged or feared.
Except the ones who work at the post office…don’t mess with them.

1.Oct – { Nonsensical Spillage on Porn&Romance } with Ken

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Whoa unto me for writing on such a thing right?

I know the church folk will have a ball talking behind my back on this one! – Pastor Ken is out there AGAIN! – dah well….Can I live?….lol

This amount of spillage will come from the observation of romanticized sex versus the staunch raunch of pornography that people like myself grew up on.

I remember sneaking into the adult stash of videos and finding some that opened  pandora’s lingerie drawer.  I was about 13 years old, and every chance I got to be alone – or with one of my cousins…we would sneak a vid, pop it into the VHS and watch (of course with a look-out) how things should be done as it pertained to doing the sideways hokie-pokie.  This would damage my childhood experience and would also shape my approach to the bed chamber for the rest of my life.  The interesting thing about this, is that most men share the same experience in being raised by a very busty, freaky woman that was down for whatever and did whatever the producer told them to do.  Now for some CRAZY reason I grew up thinking that was the way to get down, and that women (for the most part) should behave like the “actresses” in this well-played out drama…boy was in for a rude awakening…

Sans a few extremely sensual women that grew up the same way us booger eaters did – Women usually envisioned a way more romanticized experience that they gathered either from some romance novel or ROMCOM that showed them a guy that was all about the conventional positional and compassionate ‘love making’ – this difference of view as it pertains to this very sacred act has left many disappointed…women feeling like a man just treated them like a 17 dollar woman of the night – and men feeling like their girl is a prude –

Might I suggest conversing with the person that you’re intimate with about such things – or you can remain dissatisfied and irritated with the notion of the act all together…which is of course where most of you fall into – some of us have too much pride to even receive feedback that we’re probably not cutting it ….( I can hear the thoughts of the alpha-male reading this right now ) – YEAH YOU……ask about it….swallow your pride and receive criticism on your performance and connection –

Unless of course….you’re scurred.

– Kenneth

30.Sep – { Going Custom } with Ken

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Hello all,

I’m sure you’ve read my take on style and fashion – and if not…then you should go back through the “Ken on Fashion” archives to really get a look at my stance on what’s dope and what’s not…All of this because I’ve crowned myself a subject matter expert on all things fashionable.  I mean…you have to admit – especially if you’ve seen me galavanting about in my eccentric articles of clothing that rarely match, patterns that fight each other and simple bold statements….to me, it truly is me inaudibly screaming to the world – “I have personality!”

I’m taking another hard turn…and this turn is against or combined with designer touch…depending on my mood for that day.  This turn is “going custom” – more custom made shirts – limited boutique visits and designs that come from my mind that speak to people.  If you’re reading this and cannot relate to one iota of it, then you probably are sitting there with ketchup stained JNCO jeans and a FUBU 05 jersey.  If this is the case then either take heed to my advice, or leave this site at once.  A lot of you envision yourself looking a certain way – and even more if you are concerned what others think when you dress.  I am always more concerned if someone else will look like me, so the idea to have something that is one of one is exhilirating.  I guess step one would be to find a dope tailor and seamstress and start adding even more definition to what Valmore looks like.

What do you really want to look like?  If you were to design something from scratch…even if it were the color and message on a shirt – what would it be, and what would it say? – Are you strong enough to “Go Custom” –