Author: thejmfg

The 5 best things about a medium childhood


I used to think I had the worst childhood in the world.  When I spoke about it I called it a “rough” or “bad” childhood.  I spent a lot of my teens and early twenties hyper-focused on that notion that I perceived as fact.  Somewhere along the way I stopped doing this for two main reasons.  The first is that obviously I did not have the worst childhood in the world.  The winner of worst childhood in the world is certainly not a contestant from the United States and I don’t think I place in the top 10% in America, in regards to “Roughest Childhood” (a really strange competition btw).

The second reason is I realized that focusing on one’s childhood and labeling it “terrible” is really a poison to happiness as an adult, an easy path towards bitterness and victim-hood.  Pretending that moments in my early development no longer shape both negative and positive aspects about who I am today would bring about its own psychological issues.  However, the reality is that in America my childhood was probably only a few standard deviations below the mean.  And if you look globally, I’m certainly lucky to have never dealt with war, famine, drought and other tragedies that occur on a less-than-rare basis across the globe.

Thus, the way Phillip Morris is now Altria, I have rebranded my childhood.  It was medium.  It was a medium childhood.

While re-branding my past is a big part of happiness, another key is always looking on the bright side of things.  As such I’ve listed my favorite things about the fact that childhood was the least favorite part of my life….

1. Being tougher than the “Happy Children”


Ok so yeah…there’s the private panic attacks and racing thoughts when triggers from those childhood moments occur.  But nobody really sees those, and after you deal with that mess (healthily or unhealthily) you keep it moving.  At work you’re tougher because of your childhood and everybody knows that you’re tough—they respect you.  One co-worker is having a bad week and wonders if she’s depressed?  Eye-roll, you wonder every day if your depression came back and you’re just in denial like your mom was.  And there’s no reason that depression needs to stop you from hitting your numbers.  Somebody starts crying at work?…and you can’t help but laugh…your tear ducts ran out of juice when you were 10.  Somebody is embarrassed because they spilled coffee on their blazer?  Your embarrassment sensor is broken from that shame of being you 20 years ago.  Man your office is full of pu****s.  You’ll never get fired if this is your competition.

2. An unburdening of obligations

This is one I realized relatively recently when I started observing functional families…so many obligations.  They need to talk to each other politely, interact with each other while sober, and get together at regular intervals.  Ugh, what an ass-ache.  You don’t have to do anything during the holidays or live up to anyone’s expectations if you don’t want to.  You don’t owe anybody sh*t.  This is an underrated aspect of your jacked-up family…enjoy it.

3. Pride In Normalcy

You ever see that movie where the son is trying really hard to make his rich and successful dad love and respect him?  It’s a popular story arc because it’s a common theme to many in the world.  While it seems like a pain of the privileged, it’s painful nonetheless.  You don’t have that.  All you have to do is get a job, keep it, avoid crack and stay out of prison.  Every day that I spend a 24 hour period without being a terrible crazy ass mess…winning.


4. Way less parenting pressure

This one may not fit you yet (or ever) if you haven’t taken the terrifying step of reproducing—possibly being responsible for someone else’s years of pain, anger, and resentment.  But trust me, being a parent is WAY less stressful if you know that it’s possible to emerge from a medium childhood and still be OK.  Because with parenting, you will inevitably feel like you’re doing it wrong.  Having the expectation that you need to recreate some blissful pathway to maturity for your offspring can cause a lot of anxiety, and be downright crippling to some.  With my medium childhood the bar is set pretty low, such that as long as I never steal money from my kids I feel like Atticus F***ing Finch.  I LOVE being a dad, it’s really an delightfully awesome experience.  Thank you emotional wounds!


5. How else would you want it?

If you have the choice between happy childhood and sad adulthood, or sad childhood and happy adulthood…which one are you gonna choose?  Now I have met people who were raised in a positive nuclear family environment, undamaged, with means and education that are happy adults.  It DOES happen.  Some parents can be supportive and consistent without coddling and raise well adjusted people.  But if social media has shown us anything, it is how annoying all these “formerly happy children” are as they become adults.  Quarter-life crisis?…get out of here…you just got too many hugs as a kid—shut up.  Spoiled children turn into spoiled adults, and there’s nothing more miserable than an adult that starts blaming the world when things don’t fall their way.  And worse than the annoyance, is the self-absorbed unhappiness that is often the result.  I spend most of my days happy…truly happy most of the time.  Sometimes I get emotional as my heart is so full of appreciation for the joy that I have.  And why am I so happy?

Because I know that I will never have to be 12 years old, ever again in my life.  Sometimes I get so happy about that, I feel like I could cry…but I don’t.  Because I’m way too tough.




The Job Search Manifesto


You ever see someone win an award and give a speech and say “this is such a humbling experience”. What the hell is that? It’s usually an actor or an athlete, and they say that because have never had to look for a job on the open market. Because that s*** is humbling. There’s a lot of advice out there for job seekers. Some of it’s good, generally of the no-brainer sort. Some of it’s bad or outdated, but in all, very little of it seems to resonate in the real world. I feel that in 2014 as a recruiter who just changed jobs, I have a particular insight on seeking a job, at least in a high population area like Washington DC, where the labor market is relatively strong. Here’s my advice for the real world in 2014. Hopefully you can find some use in it.

Resume Advice:

1. Remember that your resume is not a history of your entire life. If you’re 30, take your SAT score and GPA off of there and no one needs to see your high school accomplishments. You probably drank away most of that intelligence anyway as a way of coping with the mundane job you’re trying vacate. If you took a short job 5 years ago that has nothing to do with the job you’re applying for…remove it. The goal is to look like you’re not a job hopper, without having too many gaps. Sometimes those concepts conflict with each other a little bit, but bottom line—not everything needs to be on there.
2. Try to look as close to a 25-30 years old as possible on your resume. While the world is racist, sexist and all sorts of other things, the worst “ism” in recruiting is ageism. If you switched careers and are looking for a slightly above entry level job, take your graduation dates off that piece and just put relevant recent experience to the job.
3. Keep it 1-3 pages. I think a good rule is about 1 page per 5 years or so, and no more than 15 years is needed to be listed. Put anything further back than that under an “other experience” category and bullet point each role if you feel so compelled.
4. Make your resume a chronological one. Someone got high one day and created this idea of a “skills resume”, where you list what you can do rather than when you did it—don’t bother making one of those unless you are a time traveler and conventional understanding of space-time doesn’t relate to your job. A recruiter reads that as a red flag for either someone too old (it’s not right, but ageism) or someone who has a ton of gaps or jumps. If you don’t resemble the red flags, then you should avoid being lumped into this group, if you fall into this group, just embrace it up front and save yourself the time.

5. Think about someone finding your resume and what they would be searching for. Recruiters generally use Boolean logic. If you have a weird or non-descriptive title, translate it in parentheses. For instance I was “Talent Senior manager” at my old job, but that title really makes no sense, so I put Sr. Recruiter (Sr. Manager, Talent) in the title. Put all the buzzy terms from your industry in all the different ways they can be written, the more the better…you can even put a key words section at the end.
6. Keep your formatting simple. Crazy bullet points, frames and symbols in word often get jumbled when parsed into recruiting databases such that your resume is hard to read. The closer it looks to plain text the better it will look to someone farming resumes.
7. Don’t put your hobbies, groups, and interests unless they relate directly to the job you seek. For the one in 10 times that being in a fraternity or liking Kayaking is received positively, the other 9 times it usually allows prejudgment of the type of person you are…and sometimes becomes something the recruiters giggle about. It’s usually not a deal-breaker, but it’s never going to get you the job, so why give preconceptions that you have to overcome in the interview.accomplishments
8. Cover Letter: Eh, if you want to. I mean, I guess you still have to for some jobs… especially if it takes a doctorate to get your job.  But understand that nobody’s going to read it.  I generally have one generic 3 paragraph cover letter for each type of position I’m applying for, but I just change the addressee.  It’s a matter of checking off the box to say that you cared enough to attach one. A unique cover letter for each application is poor time management.



Applying these days is a double edge sword. In that the process is capable of cutting your heart out. Oh you thought I meant that it has positives and negatives? But that makes no sense…both edges of a double edge sword are a blade, so why would one be positive and one be negative? You are either the slicer or the slicee, and depending on perspective, you will have the exact same affinity for either side of that blade. I know what you’re thinking but no, you’re the dumb one…your phrase is dumb if you’ve been using it like that. Whatever…moving on:

The internet makes applying easy, which is awesome, except it’s also way easier for everyone else. So here’s what you need to do step by step.
1. Apply for everything that’s a perfect fit for what you’re looking for no matter how old. This is probably about 10 jobs max that you are perfectly qualified for AND really want to do. is a pretty good resource, but there may also be some tools based on your industry. Outside of that don’t bother applying for jobs posted longer than a week ago. Nobody is looking at them.
2. Apply for OK fits (and better) that have been posted in the last week.
3. Go on linkedin and find all the people that have the job you want…find their supervisor and introduce yourself with a short message letting them know your career intentions.
4. Find all the companies that fit the profile you’re looking for, and get into their hiring database…apply to the closest job to your skill set. That way you’re at least in the system for when the right job does emerge.
5. Check once a day for new postings on whichever resources you’ve identified in 1-4, apply to anything new.
6. Engage with 2 agency recruiters (see details below AND ONLY if it makes sense for your skill set)
7. Try not to kill yourself. I mean that however you interpret it. Because searching for a job sucks, it can suck so much I literally mean don’t donk yourself off. But I also mean, don’t try to swim upstream…job searching is a matter of timing. Network a little, but not too much. You aren’t going to find a job at a networking event …just a financial advisor or a real estate agent. No matter whether you have a job or not, just keep busy, and either enjoy unemployment or the few things you like about your job. Repeat steps 1-5 daily (or however much you have time for) and try to enjoy the rest of your life.


– Don’t Be Yourself
If you call your mom before a big interview, she’ll tell you go in there and “be yourself”. This is bad advice. Probably the worst advice. Do not go in there and be yourself. Obviously you can’t go in there and be someone completely different, but you’re a miscreant. You’ve called in sick, hungover. You look at Facebook when you know you’ve completed tasks rather than find new ways to contribute to your organization. You gossip about people and always think that your idea for how to get something done is better than everyone else’s. No—do not be yourself. Create a character of yourself, if they made a movie about your life (a la Blindside and Pursuit of Happyness). Create a clean narrative that ignores your complexity, and be that person. Every major decision in your life had a multiple reasons for why you made that choice, but no one wants to hear them…pick the most positive reasons.

-Bring multiple copies of your resume
Duh! This rule doesn’t always apply to techies who might bring in their computers to show their work. But, bring sh*t
…blueprints, writing samples, if you’re specialize in blowing glass pipes then bring a couple bongs…whatever. Bring it, tell em you brought it, but don’t force them to look at it if they don’t seem interested. The point is that you brought it, not boring the interviewer with whatever dumb ass product you create in your job.

-Take notes. I once had a candidate of mine not get a job because she didn’t take notes. Since then I’ve given the advice to take notes. It’s good to write down names of who you’re talking to while you’re nervous, or questions you want to ask later. Sometimes I just draw pictures of racecars, and words that the person says that are also sexual innuendos: Like “back-end tester”, “market penetration”, and “filling open slots”. But regardless, taking notes makes you look awesome and engaged and gives your hands something to do.

-Ask questions
You already know this rule. But it’s tricky because now it’s a cliché that you have to ask questions. And if you interview with 6 or 7 people…it’s easy to run out. So here’s my philosophy: Questions turn it into a conversation rather than an audition. You should have questions about the job responsibilities and also some that suggest you’re weighing options (but don’t come in with that “I’m interviewing you” sh*t…nobody likes that). Has there been turnover? What are the metrics you need to hit? Growth? Etc. But then eventually you get a sense of those things…and if you ask the same question a bunch of different ways you come off looking like a robot with a glitch when the interviewers debrief with each other. So the second phase of question-asking is just to ask them about themselves…why did you join this company? What’s your favorite/least favorite thing about working there? People like to talk about themselves, let them.


BUT don’t ask them if they pee-test. My advice is to try to refrain from drugs as you’re interviewing, or at least identify a dependable source of urine, such that you don’t need to ask. Also, save questions about benefits and salary and “ME things” until the negotiation phase.

-Tell the interviewer that their opportunity is your #1.  No matter what your situation, you want to give the impression that you’re looking at 2-3 jobs, but all things being equal–you’d like to work for them.  This means they can’t twiddle their thumbs and expect you to still be on the market, but they should’t cross you off the list thinking you won’t be around next week.

– Understand the Recruiter’s role and how to interact with them. Since this is my specialty, I’ll make this bullet its own section.


Your first call is likely with a recruiter, either a headhunter or corporate recruiter. I’ve been both and they are slightly different.

HEADHUNTERS: Let’s start with headhunter (an agency recruiter)

Head-Hunter’s are best for if you already have a job and don’t have time to do your own networking and applying. There are good agency folks and bad ones…the bad ones get the most press, as horror stories seem to be disseminated more profusely than positive stories. But, honestly as one who left the industry, they can be the most useful way to get a job in certain circumstances.

Agency recruiters (headhunters) get a fee based on your salary, usually around 20-25%. Which sounds like a lot unless you’ve ever been one. A bad recruiter can sometimes lose sight of the fact that they’re in a people business and forget that people invest more than the company does at the end of the day. But there are good ones. It comes down to pros and cons when working with a recruiter.

a) A third party telling a company that you’re awesome resonates way louder than you saying you’re awesome.
b) Agencies often have jobs that aren’t posted anywhere
c) A good recruiter will put you in touch with a hiring manager rather than a Corporate recruiter, which helps by removing a screener from the process. The fewer cooks in the kitchen, the better your chances.
d) Agency recruiters often have insight about what will get you the job, they’ll generally prep you for the interview.
e) Agencies can give you feedback. If you were rejected they can tell you why you were rejected and that can help you in the long run.
f) Headhunters are trained negotiators. If they ask for a lot on your behalf, the client gets mad at them and thinks they’re a d*ck…not you.

a) A headhunter wants to close the deal. Period. They may use the line “my fee is based on a percentage of your salary so getting you the best salary benefits me”, but it’s the same as a real estate agent in that the few extra bucks they get from negotiating your salary up, is not worth the extra time versus closing your deal and working on closing another one.
b) The client pays their bills. In agency, I was a little bit of a bleeding heart outlier in that I was like “f*** the client, I’ll just get a new one”, most recruiters, even the good ones know that to rise in the industry client happiness is key.
c) A headhunter more often than not knows only a brief snapshot of the company and the role. There are exceptions, but sometimes their information is pretty paltry. That means they will tell you what you want to hear. They are not lying to you (they usually will tell you things they think to be true but aren’t actually sure), but they just want you to stop asking so many damn questions and talk to the company and figure it out.
d) A headhunter will often overstate their relationship with the client. Sometimes they have little to no relationship or want to use your candidacy to break into a client. Occasionally this can mean your chances are just as good or better to just apply on your own.
e) It’s hard to tell bad ones from good, and bad ones can be quite shady.


You’ll notice that the pros outweigh the cons, and that I didn’t list the fee as a con. This is because in the recruitment world, the placement fee is generally not a factor. It’s not like the VP of HR actually signs a check from their bank account. Maybe 5% of the time the fee can be the reason that you don’t get the job vs. another candidate, but it’s a net neutral because I would say that 5% of the time you are getting the job BECAUSE there is a fee associated. It makes you seem sexier as a candidate. It’s the same phenomenon that causes people to buy $800 purses and $80,000 cars that are always in the shop. Also, a company that is willing to pay a fee for their candidates is also a company that is willing to invest to get talented people in the doors of their company. This is a sign of a good company.
Ultimately, headhunters are just like everyone else in that they want to make a living and are generally good people, all things considered. To mitigate the “cons”, you just need to interact with them the right way.

Some Agency specific tips
a) Apply to jobs first (jobs posted recently or ones that are a dead-on fit)
b) Don’t talk to an agency until you have relatively specific parameters for what you are looking for in a job (level, salary, culture). Once you have those parameters, be honest.
c) Feel free to say no to jobs they present to you. If you say no, and they want to stop working with you because you’re selective, you’ve done yourself a favor and eliminated a bad one.
d) Work with 2 agency recruiters total. With two you should get a pretty good market share of the agency-accessible jobs without a ton of overlap. If you work with 3 or more, you’re guaranteed to work with a shady one, forced to be shady to try to beat the others to the punch on the same jobs. 1 is too few and 3 is too many. Pick 2.
e) Don’t work with people who’ve been in the business for less than a year. This is rough advice to dole out, because of the fact that I was once one of those people and I feel for the rookies, but they don’t know what they’re doing yet. I would work with someone (of the aforementioned two) in the 2-4 year range and one in the 5+ range. The younger heads are more motivated and care a little bit more about each role/candidate. The older heads are more connected but you’re just a number by that point usually.
f) If you’re looking to completely switch careers, don’t bother. You and the recruiter can’t do much for each other.
g) Don’t get double represented. And don’t have them represent you at a job you already applied for. You won’t get the job.
h) Confirm with the recruiter that your resume doesn’t go anywhere without your approval.
i) Stay responsive and pleasant. If they like you they will sell harder for you.
j) Let them take you to lunches. It’s free!


If you apply on your own (and often enough when you go through an agency) you will come into contact with a Corporate Recruiter. You’ve dealt with them before so I will give them a little less attention than the agency guys, but the main thing to understand is that they are essentially the gatekeeper. Your goal is to get past them. More often than not, a corporate recruiter has very little power except whether they make a recommendation to put you forward in the process or not. They have a little more power if you’re applying for a recruitment position, but respect what little power they have because if they don’t like you, they mark it down in their system, and you’re pretty much shut down for the company, sometimes forever. It’s their tiny bit of satisfaction after being the punching bag of their organization all day. Basically, tell them what they want to hear, and here are my pointers for dealing with them:

a) Say “Yes”. If they ask you if you’re willing to lift over 25 lbs., say yes. Work on occasional weekends, “sure”, under the right circumstances. Basically, don’t give them any reason to strike you from contention. Half the questions they ask you might not even relate to the job you’re applying for. Later on you can negotiate these points if they love you enough. Of course if it’s something you know you won’t do (like move to Nebraska) say no—saves you time. But if under the right circumstances, you could see it working…just say yes to the recruiter.
b) Be nice. Some recruiters are smart, some are not. Some have personalities, some don’t. No matter what your view of them is, they are a necessary step in the process. Treat them as such and be polite.
c) Don’t extend the time with the recruiter. Ask a question or two after you talk to him or her, but don’t be the one extending time. If they are closing the conversation out with you, you’ve either won or lost in your goal…don’t keep talking and turn a win into a loss.
d) Understand that negotiation begins with that first phone call. This means be prepared to talk about salary requirements if they ask. And basically the trick is to answer as vaguely as you can without lying. So don’t bring up salary yourself of course, but the recruiter is trying to see if you fit in the salary window. I think it’s best to say “Last year I made X, but I’m very flexible on salary, what’s your range for the role?” In that case you’re being cordial, not playing games, and you can get a sense of what the role will pay and try to ratchet it up in the end game. Of course, if you’re money motivated (not the recruiters favorite thing to hear btw) you might as well start with the least you’d need to realistically take a job. Otherwise you’re just wasting your time.

If you’re looking for a good job, you’re probably going to get the rejection e-mail a few times. Everybody reacts a little different. I get angry. My first go-to is that they must not like black people, and I imagine that this guy got the job instead…

…I hate that guy.

I’m joking mostly, but sometimes I do actually believe this is the case, but that’s just the world. Just out of college I was actually snarky enough to respond back with “sucks for you guys…I would have rocked it”, and even crazier, sometimes angrier, things. This is obviously not the way to go, as I now realize that sometimes awesome people don’t get the job. You really ARE overqualified. You really would get bored or frustrated. The rejection e-mail (or call) is an opportunity to show how graceful you are. Or, in my case, how graceful you can pretend to be. Swallow your pride, and send them an e-mail thanking them for their time, and let them know that if another role opens up you’d love to hear about it.

Often enough, a second role does open up quickly and/or the white guy pictured above got a DUI coming back from a O.A.R. concert back in 2011 and 2nd place DOES become good enough. Allow the recruiter to make a non-awkward phone call when that does happen by inviting them to call you in the future.

Don’t ask for tips, or have them critique what you did wrong. They will either lie to you or make you feel sh*tty…neither of which helps the process.


So you got the job.  Congrats, we’re all jealous for you… I mean happy for you.  I love watching my friends outdo me on facebook, buy cooler stuff and go on better vacations.  Congrats.

You placed number 1 and the company is preparing an offer. Here’s what to keep in mind:

a) The negotiation began a long time ago. Like I said, in that first call with the recruiter you put yourself into a range. If you said you wanted 40K, you’re not about to get six figures all of a sudden. Getting the offer you want is about little tweaks, not blindsiding them with a laundry list of demands. Ask for just a little bit more, and have a good reason for why you’ll need it.
b) You have a ton of leverage. If you’ve placed #1, that usually means that 4+ people have come to an agreement to like you and want you on the team. That is a hard thing to do. Restarting the recruitment cycle takes time and money. You’d be surprised at how much money it’s worth to bring you on board. The trick is to know that, without obviously being perceived as someone who’s abusing that. In order to do that you need to…
c) Look at yourself objectively and understand the market. Your offer will be based on market value, other candidates they interviewed, and “internal equity”. They can’t pay you more than your colleagues with more experience, and can’t pay you more than the amount of money you save/earn for the organization. Do research on the range and aim for the top of it rather than beyond it.
d) Try to avoid absolutes. The more concrete your speech in negotiation, the more leverage you give up. You want to remain excited and say thing like “that sounds good”, and “I think that would be enticing”, but you want them to think you’ll accept but not know for sure. If they know you’re excepting you probably just lost a couple grand off the salary. If salary is indeed what you’re negotiating around, my tip is to give them three numbers…a walkaway number (number below which they might as well not make an offer), a “sleep on it” number (a number you’d probably take), and a “pull the trigger” number you’d be able to accept on the spot (this number should be a little ridiculous but not outside the realm of possibility). I’ve also referred to this with a stoplight analogy.
e) Don’t expect more than 20%. That’s for both the offer and what you’re currently making. That dollar figure in the offer is not going up more than 20%, and even that’s an aggressive number. And unless you just got a degree or hard-to-get certification, you’re not getting more than 20% of what you were making. Has it happened? Sure, in the history of the world it has. But to me that’s huge red flag…why are they paying you so much? Your boss is probably an a**hole.
f) The best situation is if you’re not even negotiating money. Negotiating your salary up a 1K here or a 2K bonus bump there can often be more trouble than it’s worth. Broken down over 24-26 paychecks, then taxed and you’re talking about like 50 bucks a pay cycle. Negotiating stock options, PTO, work hours, start date, is the way to get the best value. Often times, this is also way easier for the HR team to get approvals on.
g) A verbal offer is just words. This is especially important if you’re waiting for your #1 offer to come through, but #2 or #3 is moving faster. A shrewd (and good) recruiter will try get you to take the verbal prior to the written, at least once. Some will even make you accept the verbal before they put an offer together. I’ve tried to shift away from this approach because it’s just a game, but even good recruiters will use this tactic (agency cats basically have to). If you want the job, provided that the #1 option doesn’t come through, then take it if your backed up against the wall. Why wouldn’t you? Your honor? C’mon get over yourself. You don’t want to burn a bridge if #1 comes through? Eh, you’ve probably made it too far in the process to avoid that anyway.
h) A written offer is just a piece of paper. This is the same as the bullet above. An offer letter is not the same as a contract, signing it is a matter of intent. I mean hell, there’s usually language on there so that the company can back out if need be. Keep that in mind. You usually have 48 hours at least to decide, but say your number one opportunity still hasn’t come through. It’s better to sign and later rescind then give the company some sign that they’re your #2 option. You’re more likely to burn a bridge by doing so, but bridges are overrated, and your professional reputation has way less value than you think it does.

Good luck, hopefully this helps. Now, it’s gonna be rough–that’s a promise.

But hang in there…quitting a sucky job feels pretty awesome too.



You ever notice how rap albums (and now pop culture) are so focused on haters, yet where are these haters? Well, here’s one. I admit it…at times I am kind of a hater. I sip haterade, eat hater tots, my favorite supreme Justice is Ruth Hater Ginsburg.

Gosh that feels good to admit.

I don’t really wish ill on people, but I get irked by the success of some people beyond their competency level…especially those whose images we are inundated with on a weekly or even daily basis. Below are some of those people who I’d rather see less of.

I know what you think, and no, I’m not upset that the first platinum rapper from Seattle since Sir-Mix-A-Lot is white. I’m a little bothered by the haircut choice and the fact that he chooses to look like an extra from the party scene in American History X, but I’m a fan of Eminem, Asher Roth, Atmosphere (at times) and Will Smith. I’ll give him credit that the anti-semetic imagery of his EMP performance was an accident, and if so–his and my political views align. My problem is that his music is terrible in that innocuous way. He’s more like a Flo’Rida… a rapper that’s not a rapper. I love the idea of “Same Love” way more than I like the song. When the woman stops singing “she keeps me warm” and he starts talking, I start dying inside. Thrift Shop was cute, but should fall in the category of all the kitsch songs about suburban dads or Natalie Portman busting a rhyme. I actually know friends of friends of his, and they say he’s a nice guy. Can someone get the message to him to just put his pile of money in the bank, live off the interest and happily go away please.

I was in love with Beyonce back in the “No No No” days with Wyclef and Destiny’s child. And she’s talented, such that she deserves much of her level of success. However, by my estimation no one needs to be quite at THIS level of exposure. The biggest problem is that she now does other things in front of microphones than sing. How many times can she say “I’m just a simple southern girl” in an interview? Make a drinking game of it and you’ll get drunk enough to think that Solange is the more attractive one. Do I have a strange latent gay jealousy that no woman is good enough for Jay-Z? I will not confirm or deny that…but I think the Beygency skit on SNL does a good enough job of describing the problem (below) so I’ll stop paying as much attention to her. Starting now.

Christine Quinn
Christine Quinn was a New York City council woman and recently lost the mayoral race in New York in that sh*tstorm that included Carlos Danger. So she’s not really all that famous or in all our faces. But this is a woman whose demise I do root for. She knows what she did.

Dane Cook
about as funny as genocide
Dane cook is on the down-slide, but I fear a comeback. And this guy is about as funny as 12 Years a Slave was. He’s a hard worker and had perfectly crafted all the elements of comedy one needs to be a successful stand-up…except for the actual joke writing part. “You know that moment/thing/time when…” No Dane, I don’t know what moment you’re talking about. That moment that happened to you one time? Is that what you’re saying? yeah… girls can be silly. Get off the stage! booo.

This guy has reportedly done 8 hour marathon sessions of stand up. I can’t even imagine the horror. Sarah Macloughlan needs to do an infomercial about those audience members.

Jeff Dunham
While we’re on the topic of comedians, do you know who made 19 million dollars in 2013? Jeff mo*********ng Dunham. It goes to show the old sentiment that you never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. One of my problems is that he’s considered family friendly. I guess racism is OK if it’s puppets? This guy’s act is way more offensive than anything I have ever seen Tracy Morgan do.

Hold up. I just remembered some of Tracy Morgan’s last show I went to and that’s not true, but you see where I’m coming from. My biggest issue is that he’s just not funny. If you disagree, please never tell me…because you will put our friendship in jeopardy.

Jennifer Lawrence
I really like Jennifer Lawrence, especially on the big screen. She’s likely the next Jodie Foster or Meryl Streep. The thing about Jodie and Meryl is they keep it together. Now, her first Oscars she was totally a fish out of water and her discomfort with celebrity was charming and refreshing. But a year later she was doing the same bit and it was contagious. Did you notice how all the women started bumbling and acting like they forgot how to put a sentence together? Someone needs to temper this J Law movement…suddenly being triflin’ is chic. Girls are emulating Jennifer Lawrence, saying look, she’s elegant but a mess, taking away the need for girls in the 20s to try to operate with self-respect. If a video emerges of J Law cry-puking in a nightclub restroom, these same girls will have no impetus toward self-improvement. Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t need to go away so much. I like her, but all these broads that worship her need to temper their idolatry.

In Defense of 2 Chainz


I love 2 Chainz. And if you don’t like him, you’re wrong and you pretty much don’t know sh*t about sh*t. Go listen to Macklemore or Immortal Technique and give yourself a swirlie…nerd.

2 Chainz is better than you. And why? Let me count the ways.

1. He’s taller than you…6 foot 5 approximately. You ain’t that tall so sit down…Witcha broke ass.
2. He has more Chainz than you. At least 1 more, but probably 2
3. His hair is long, his money is long, and last I checked he had an aversion to associating with broke niggaz
4. He’s 37, which gives me hope that I can still break into the rap game post 30

And despite these indisputable facts some people still aren’t convinced. Below are some of the statements I’ve heard you mouthbreathers say when knocking Tityboi, as though he’s anything but the best rapper in the game right now.

“2 Chainz is Dumb”

Nope. You’re just not smart enough to get on his level. 2 chainz actually graduated 2nd in his high school class and graduated college with a 4.0…some reports state that he did so in 3 years. So yeah, maybe it was Alabama State rather than Yale, but Alabama State is the Yale of Alabama. What’s the Cornell of Alabama? Dale and Cletus’ Handfishing Academy.

And Alabama’s version of WSU?–it’s a barn where you drink 22s of schlitz for 7 hours per day while staring at a dog licking up a jar of mayonnaise that spilled. The acceptance rate is lower than actual WSU, strangely enough.

“OK, well his lyrics are dumb”

Here, you are closer to a point, but you still miss the mark. Again, you just don’t get it. His most oft criticized lyric, highlighted when he’s accused of being ignorant is: “She got a big booty, so I call her big booty”. If you don’t find this profound, 2 chainz is probably smashing your girl right now (2 Trainz?). Because you’re a lame. Upon close reading analysis, you can obviously tell that the word choice is evocative, the imagery robust, and the subtext runs deeper than 2 chainz himself into your girls guts. I would try to explain it all to you, but it would be like teaching Shakespeare to a drunk hamster.

No, instead I’ll put it like this:

I think of 2 Chainz as the William Carlos Williams of the Rap Game. Don’t know who that is? Unsurprising. He’s most famous for his poem The Red Wheelbarrow

The Red Wheelbarrow, by William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

Yeah, I bet you don’t get that poem either. Dub Cee Dubz is obviously talking about the crack game there. As an aside, Little known fact: the TS in TS eliot’s name stood for “Trap Star”. And tell me the following line isn’t far and away better than anything in the Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock

“Let me slow it down ‘fore I get a ticket
Nigga want a verse from me, it’s gon’ cost a chicken”

“He isn’t saying anything”

Well, I already responded to this somewhat, as 2 chainz stays TRU to the “show don’t tell” method of intellectual poetry, but I’ll drop down to your dumb ass level for a minute. I assume by this you mean, he’s not Tupac. Well yeah…first of all it’s time to stop jocking Tupac…but also–who has “said anything” in the last 15 years. I suppose you mean Talib Kweli. Well, where’s Talib now? Not wearing Givenchy (god bless you) and driving a lambo, I’ll tell you that. Even Common and Mos Def are spending their time in movies because their records aren’t selling. When I’m looking for political discourse I listen to NPR or read well researched articles. If you’re looking to Hip Hop to find enlightenment or explore academia…you’re shopping at the wrong store.

Also, ahem. Not saying anything?:

“Uh, all I do is me: masturbation, I can make your girl walk: graduation,
I’m known to make it rain; you do condensation”

I rest my case.

“His rhymes are sexist”

All I can say to that is stop being a silly ho. A follow up suggestion…look back at it.

So yes. I love 2 Chainz, and not ironically. You should too. If you don’t, then tell whoever is helping you sound out the big words in this blog post that they should be fired. And crank this shizzzzzz…

The Facebook Misogynist


I went to a wedding recently and had a blast. However, for a moment while floating from conversation circle to conversation circle, I was accosted by a group of female college friends about a Facebook post that supposedly drew ire from many of my Seattle colleagues.

I didn’t really think people paid much mind to the nonsense I post as a status update. My recent posts include a couple recent musings like claiming I was very happy for Michael Sam breaking ground being drafted as the first openly gay player, lauded “the kiss”, but was incensed that he was in an interracial relationship. Or the following quote:

“I hate it when you pee all over the front of your pants and you look like the type of idiot that doesn’t know how to wash his hands without splashing.”

However with a post a few weeks ago, I guess I struck a chord.

I linked to the following article about the fact that Russell Wilson was divorcing.

and word for word posted the following:

“We all wanted to think that Russell Wilson was THAT good of a guy that he wouldn’t trade up from the unattractive heart-of-gold woman he decided to wed before he got paid up. Alas, human nature wins again. As long as scoring doesn’t keep him from scoring…Get em Russ.”

For the post I was accused of an anti-feminist sentiment, and it was implied that I’m a misogynist.

With a goal of posting once a week, word from my wife that my ish is too long, and a lack of another topic to write about, I thought I would defend myself.

First…from start to finish, after learning of the news I probably spent about 30 seconds from brainstorm, rough draft, revision, and workshopping of the status update… Such that I didn’t really consider many of the gender politics that can unravel in a close reading of the post.

Secondly, my sentiment was more a brief (and knee-jerk) commentary on hero-worship and America’s celebrity culture. The football world, and especially Seattle, has created this unattainable ideal for Russell Wilson that the 25 year old man can never live up to. He’s a religious, almost christ-like leader who always says the right, humble and perfectly crafted things. In a league where the receiving yards leader can’t stay off drugs, Aaron Hernandez can’t quit murdering people and even good-guy Ray Rice isn’t immune from having to knock out his fiance from time to time–Russell Wilson is our savior to our outlook on humanity. He is evidence that virtue can be the causation of talent rather than two concepts (virtue v. talent) that are in no way even correlated.

This is how we get blindsided that Tiger woods was playing way more than 18 holes on a given weekend, or that even one ball is more than Lance Armstrong has displayed having throughout his life. Don’t even get me started on Pistorius, A-Rod and the rest. When we build these people up to be more than human, our collective cynicism spikes as we’re heartbroken rather than starting with a measured approach and admiring rather than idolizing.

Sooo…Wilson’s story of his divorce broke and I reacted to it. I realized that while I was (strangely) disappointed by the fact that his marriage was ending…I shouldn’t be. We all liked the fact that rather than Pacmanning it up at strip (I’m sorry Gentleman’s) clubs like we’ve come to expect in the NFL, he was in a committed (and christian or whatever) relationship. Through conjecture, timing of his divorce (right after becoming one of the NFL’s most recognizable figures and right before becoming a multi-millionaire) seemed opportunistic for financial and oat-sewing reasons. At the very least, backing out of a pledge to a woman he made before god runs counter to the messianic narrative we’ve created for him as a christian.

That being said…I’m writing this because I feel that the criticism against me has some credence to it. I don’t know the Wilsons. I think when Russell Wilson meets me he and I will pretty much immediately be best friends (we’ll probably hang out a bunch, riding tandem bicycles together while Rich Homie Quan’s “My Niggas” becomes OUR song. We might even break out in tickle-fights and people will look on and think its weird but we won’t care because WE get it…you know), but that hasn’t happened yet. I don’t really know their life. As such, the idea that this “champion man” would toss aside his woman because he doesn’t have a prenup and now wants to philander may be inaccurate. It’s also a visualization reflective of a male-dominated hegemony where women are trophies rather than valued members of a relationship. I also called her unattractive, as though that’s the first virtue she possesses.

And my defense is…

I calls it like I sees it.

Ashton Wilson may have decided she was done with the spotlight as it was too much pressure and didn’t receive the attention and intimacy she needed from a marriage. Or, as complicated as marriage is, they may have simply drifted apart. Or hey, maybe she’s a terrible person and hanging out with all those cancer kids is some cynical front she puts up.

But based on everything I know about the world, I think Russ called an audible, temptation was too much, and half of 500K is way less than half of 20 mil. Ladies can be mad all they want about it, but that’s the way it works some times.

Because here’s the thing…

I consider myself as feminist as a red-blooded man who doesn’t smoke weed can be. If I list all the people in my life that I truly draw inspiration from and rely on…the short list is all women. When I vote, I’m straight down the line on the women’s side when it comes to birth control, pay, laws, and representation. But I also think that feminism does no good when its constructs can’t exist in a world that’s 49% men. And that’s why I’m not particularly sensitive to gender-politics when they conflict with how I understand the world. Perhaps I should be, but I’m not.

Calling Ashton unattractive. I’ll take a strike on that as a chauvinist but not a misogynist. Since she’s skinny and blonde the comment is somewhat a reaction to the anglo-constructs of beauty that oppress most of us, but she can’t control what she looks like so it’s a cheap shot. I apologize. Doesn’t change the fact that I wouldn’t hit (it’s a joke, relax).

So yup. I think that Wilson dumped his girl (which he may regret at the end of his life when the glory fades) so that he can start knocking down some poon in the off seasons to come, and in several years will re-marry a tanner and bustier woman who could give a sh** about sick kids.

Time will tell. In the meantime, while its always nice to see a guy resist temptation and honor his marriage, he hasn’t done anything that makes me dislike his ice cold quarterbacking skills. So go Seahawks… 2 in a row baby. Let’s get it.

Meanwhile outside the russel wilson residence.

The Dozen Best Chick Flicks

Other woman

In honor of The Other Woman and NPR’s schellacking of it… read here. I thought I would take some time to take a look at the best “chick flicks” of all time. But prior to the list let’s examine “Chick Flick” as a term:

-First, I understand that the term “chick flick” originates from a male-dominated hegemony, such that it’s a dismissive way of describing movies that females like. However, I use it here understanding its roots, re-branding it as a genre for lack of a better and more simplistic term. So, no disrespect from this guy in using the term. I’ve got too high of a regard for femininity to be that degrading to the movies that b****es like.

-Secondly, let’s define it. For purposes of this I will define it as a movie either made by women, with a female dominated cast, or one made for a majority female audience (either by design or accident). Thus a movie like Magic Mike would be a chick flick, but a movie like Tomb Raider would not, despite each having elements which could place it either inside or outside the genre.

Also before I start the list, I want to give my opinion of the genre…not a fan. In fact, I’m really not a fan of movies that can be boiled down to a formula in general. I want to draw a distinction, though, that I don’t hate these movies because I’m a man or because I don’t like women. In fact, because I like women I hate seeing what these terrible movies are doing to the minds of young women. I think Don Jon explores this concept well, but they are perhaps the most destructive force to meaningful human relationships known to man. To me, these movies insult women, pandering to them and insulting their intelligence. Check out my top 10 over/underhyped movies here, I’m no hypocrite as I hold testosterone-fests to the same standard.

Usually in “chick flicks”, the main character is a vapid woman espousing no principles who falls down, because geez, high-heels are tough…and oh my gosh—that’s spinach in her teeth BUT SHE’S TALKING TO A GUY. Isn’t she cute? Sometimes (but usually not) this woman has beat all odds and become a power attorney or doctor, with a skill set and strength of character never displayed on film. But she’s always missing that one thing…a guy. She’s white or black, but never any other races. She’s pretty but not too pretty, big boobs categorically mean she’s not virtuous. Then eventually, without any effort on her part she usually attracts two PERFECT MEN who are handsome, successful, and willing to put up with ALL of her bulls*** no matter how ridiculous. They fight over her and she picks the one who truly loves her essence the most…I guess because he has an Oedipus complex and his mom fell down a lot and had spinach in her teeth.

The message these movies send to girls made me spend my teens and early twenties wishing I was gay so I had a loophole out of dealing with the ramifications. As a woman, your beauty and not your character was your only true asset, and the responsibility of a happy relationship fell upon one of two men fighting over you like a prize. I’m sure women have the equal and opposite frustrations of men who grew up in the era of easy access to porn who thought that showing up with a pizza with “extra sausage” and a half-smirk should be all the charm it takes to round the bases. Were you ever invited to someone’s dorm room to “check out their fish tank”…without even the thinly veiled promise of a massage? That’s porn’s fault.

But still, I do think the format has some diamonds in the rough. So the list…

12. Frozen – This movie is pretty hyped up so the hipster side of me shudders at putting a movie this popular on any list. But this movie is good. And yes, while it can fit into other genres (animation, children’s) it’s certainly a chick flick–it contains not one but two princesses and a show tune soundtrack. I like this movie because while the main character technically has two love interests, neither is the perfect man, and ultimately the story-line is about sisterly love rather than sacrificing everything you are to snag that man. If you’re mad about that spoiler…shut up. You’ve had plenty of chances to watch the movie. Really my only qualm is that Disney reverted to the giant eyed, dainty-framed, female form with weird (and subconsciously harmful to girls) ratios. It’s basically like someone said to the cartoonist: “Hey, bro…can you draw me a sexy infant.”

11. Bridget Jones’ Diary – Now this one is certainly a Chick Flick. And I bet you’re surprised it made the cut. Well, I ultimately thought it was pretty good. Not at first, though, because it followed the formula: sad, hapless girl, with few redeeming qualities, yadda yadda yadda. But ultimately, that’s kind of the point of the movie. It’s not about some amazing man that needs to change somehow in order to suit a woman’s mediocrity, but a woman who needs to grow up and has to be accountable for her own love life. I also like that the boring guy ends up being the winner. Because you’ve had the conversation with a sobbing lady-friend: “why can’t I find a good man?” Then she ends up dating someone in MY circle of friends…again (huge mistake). While there’s plenty of good men out there—some of them happen to be boring.

10. Bridesmaids – This movie was hilarious. I’ve heard some people call it a “chick flick with boy humor”, but I think it’s just a genuinely funny chick flick and don’t see what HAS to be boy-humor in order for it to be funny. Girls have sex and get diarrhea too, and both are hilarious. Like Bridget Jones, Kristen Wiig starts off a mess and again, the onus is on her to improve herself as a person and friend, not be saved by some man. It features Melissa McCarthy at her best along with great performances from the entire cast in a movie that works well.

facial mcadams
9. The Notebook – I felt like I HAD to throw this one on here, because it’s a well-made movie for the genre. It’s the type of movie many of the crappy ones are trying to be. The acting and writing are solid enough for this old-timey love story. But I refuse to put it higher than 9…because while it’s a love story told well, there’s really nothing here that hasn’t been done in another movie somewhere along the way. Maybe the actor wasn’t as handsome as Ryan Gosling, but you’ve seen it before: poor-guy-courts classy-girl-really-hard…she resists and they eventually have a timeless love—not groundbreaking. Additionally, this is one of those movies that poisons men’s minds as much as women’s. First, there’s the fantasy of Ryan Gossling chasing you until you relent. Let’s take the scene with the Ferris wheel where he hangs off of it with one hand until she goes on a date with him. If someone does that to a woman, and she agrees, she WILL spend the rest of her life with that man…it will just be a very short life that ends in the trunk of a rental car. So ladies…let’s imagine that instead of Ryan Gossling, he was replaced by the last guy that hit on you (maybe on a bus, train, work, wherever), yeah…replay the scenes. Not so cute, huh? But there’s a contingency of men who watch this movie, and say…all I have to do is try harder. This is the concept that births creepy guys that don’t “get the hint”. Yup, it’s mostly The Notebook’s fault. Other than that it’s a good movie and a chick flick classic.

(Side note: I accidentally clicked a movie online starring Facial McAdams called The Scrotebook…That is a different movie and I don’t recommend that one)

8. Mean Girls – In retrospect, The feat of keeping Lindsey Lohan sober enough to film this should go down as one of the finest cinematic feats in history. But that aside Mean Girls was excellent, and I think ushered in a few of the other comedies on this list. It’s a high school girlie movie, which didn’t let the genre dictate an inability to include some solid bits that work. Tina Fey has consistently put out some of the funniest material over the last decade or so, gender-irrelevant, and this movie marked her foray to the silver screen. Now Admission sucked, and Date Night was just average…but she didn’t write those, so I liken it to Kanye rapping over a beat he didn’t make.

7. The Best Man – If you think I dislike Chick Flicks as a genre, lawd, don’t get me started on Black Chick flicks. Now I will throw out a nod to Love Jones, Love & Basketball, and a few others. I’ll even throw some love to Just Wright, although Common (one of my favs lyrically) has all of the emotional range of a CPR practice dummy. But I think The Best Man takes the cake as one with a good blend of jokes and story, and Taye Diggs’ subtler style kept the rest of the cast from doing that Black overacting sh*t we always seem to do in movies.

6.The Descent – Yup, this one for sure counts. There are virtually no men in the film unless you count the creatures, and the #1 demographic of horror movies is females under 35 years old. Plus the working title of the movie was “chicks with picks”…I didn’t make this up. It also has female leaning themes like the Romance between monster-teeth and lady-flesh. Hopefully I don’t ruin the ending by telling you they come together in the end. Overall, this is a movie with a simple story, sprinkled with some backstory, and told well without many frills or gimmicks. After watching this movie I also determined that anthropomorphic monsters are the scariest.

5. Romeo and Juliet – You knew a Leo movie had to make the list, but you probably expected that one where the boat sank. But all I need to discredit that movie is this image , plus Romeo & Juliet is way better. First, let me tell you, if you’re teaching Shakespeare in the South Bronx (like me circa 2007)…throwing this movie on is a decent reprieve after struggling through that play for 4 weeks understanding why some people throw themselves in front of the 6 train. This was also Baz Luhrman’s coming out party, and while Moulin Rouge was perhaps a little more polished a movie, this one was ambitious and worked for Shakespeare lovers and 8th graders alike.

4. Notting Hill – “I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy”…yeah I quoted it. That’s a tender motherf***ing moment…I’m a man, but I feel. This one features Hugh Grant at his best, and even though he likes to pick up black hookers no matter how hot his wife is–you got to give the limey dude credit…he is charming as hell. Julia Roberts puts up her usual solid showing and the crazy roommate adds hilarity while Julia and Hugh keep it up with the wit. That’s an entertaining movie, formulaic or not. Plus, I like again that Julia Roberts has to take some agency in her actions as a participant in the relationship. She’s the one that has to woo him after doing him so dirty. I keep pointing this out not to say that men aren’t flawed and often responsible for issues in a relationship, but it’s nice to mix it up. Plus when a man messes up real early in the relationship such that he has to apologize to get you back…he’s going to keep making that same mistake for the rest of the relationship. When a woman f***ks up an apologizes there’s actually some chance that behavior stops.

3. Set It Off – F**k you, I’m counting it. It’s a very flawed movie, don’t get me wrong, but this is Queen Latifah way before Chicago and other movies made her a genuine box office draw. And back then, we saw that the woman could act. This movie was refreshing and did a good job not letting the gimmick take over what it was trying to do as a story. The movie ranks this high on the list partially due to nostalgia. It takes me back to a day when it wasn’t a lock that Will Smith would be such a bigger star than Jada. Also, it was a time when you a black woman might realistically think there’d be more money in robbing a bank than leaking audio of a billionaire being racist on TMZ.

2. Pitch Perfect – This is a chick flick I’ve seen a handful of times now and was pleasantly surprised when I chose to watch it. It’s a group of women, competing in an A Capella contest with a mixture of story line and pop music performance. From that description it should have been about as entertaining to me as watching paint dry, but no…thoroughly funny and I got into the corny singing and dancing a bit too. Now Anna Kendrick’s love interest does put up with a lot of BS, but he sings A Capella so it’s kind of believable that he’d find himself whipped up like that. Plus the movie is more about the girls coming together. And again, just because the girl projectile vomits, doesn’t mean one should dismiss the funniness as “boy humor”

1. The Graduate – This is one of the greatest movies of all time, and ultimately it’s a romance comedy. This being said, more than any film on this list, I’d accept and probably resign that it’s not a “chick flick”, as it predates the genre. Still, when I think of romantic comedies this will always be my favorite. It’s the typical story, boy meets girl, girl is actually 20 years older than him and married to one of his dads friends. I first watched this in high school and thought…you know what…that makes me look at how I’ve been having affairs with my dad’s friends’ wives in a completely new light. Maybe I should rethink this. Without this movie I might not be such a happily married man. Real talk. Because the moral of the story is if you’re thinking of having a torrid affair with a family friend’s wife whose 20 years older than you…don’t. Well, if you watch the whole movie it’s not really “don’t” it’s more that you shouldn’t expect everything to go smoothly. And that’s a depiction of genuine love.

In conclusion, that is my blog about Chick Flicks.

The Cannibal King Strategy


I think it’s good to have a plan for the apocalypse… a general strategy, if you will, for how you want to play things out in a world post-civilization.  Perhaps it’ll be a nuclear explosion that wipes out most of humanity, a pandemic that destroys the humans that run our infrastructure, or a good old fashioned Rapture that takes the holiest and leaves the rest of us. In narratives like “The Road”, “Book of Eli”, “Mad Max” (and the like) there’s usually a small group of righteous individuals journeying through a landscape of cannibalistic squadrons of darkly-clad degenerates organized by a malevolent ruler.  There’s variations, but let’s take Book of Eli as a prime example:

gary oldman

Gary Oldman (Carnegie) rules over a barren landscape with henchmen, a concubine, and  access to the choicest water and food.  As we come into the story he’s ruled for decades.  Meanwhile, Denzel travels the wasteland solo, carrying a book which seems like an allegory for the bible–until the dumb ass ending shows us it’s actually the friggin’ bible (as I’ve said before, there’s a statute of limitations on spoiler alerts).  Of course, we root for Denzel as he gets all badass on Gary Oldman’s crew.   But slicing people’s hands off aside, to me, Denzel is on some sucker sh*t.  He spends most of his life lonely as hell, eating cats and rodents, and yeah…he gets to hang out with Mila Kunis, but never hooks up (friend zone, anyone?).


Nah, in the apocalypse I want to be Gary Oldman.

Granted, Denzel defeats him at the end of the movie, but they both die.  And remember–Gary ruled for decades, so I ask you this…who had the happier life?  And really, if Gary wasn’t so obsessed with the book, he might have been able to keep living the high life–by post apocalyptic standards of course.  So, my plan for Dystopia includes a strategy for how to ball as hard as I can.

ball in the apocalypse

And that starts with planning.  You’ve got to think like a corporation and visualize.

First, there’s bound to be a period of time when people are shell-shocked after “the event” (the flash, the quickening, doomsday, whatever name it gets) and humanity (or at least what’s left of it) decides to unite toward a goal of peace and harmony.  There will be a couple years of food storage when people will share resources and try to find ways to sustain life from a basis of mutual respect and love.  This will be the time period when I begin acclimating my palate to human flesh, starting with the recently deceased.  You know… trying different recipes, figuring out the best cut…do I grill a human ankle, or should I fry?  Obviously, cooking for a long time on slow heat would be my assumption for the best taste, but I’ll be doing this secretly, so I might not have the luxury.

In the meantime, while everyone is talking about banding together and perhaps finding a way to be righteous so that they can be part of the rapture, I will be recruiting.  Some form of loose organization structure will emerge, and probably incorporate religious philosophies…and that’ll be just perfect.  I will join immediately and rise through the ranks, all the while snacking on my fellow man.  The other reason for the eating of people, is that it will leave me with an abundance of food, which I will hide for safe storage.  I will intermittently share my extras as though I’m going hungry, and grow in affection within my organization as a selfless and holy man, again helping the recruiting process for my cannibal cult.


Then of course, food will become scarce.  Humans will start eating rodents, and bugs, and finally sandwiches from Subway (eat fresh my ass).  And that’s when me and a solid crew start eating mother*****rs.  By my estimation, being the cannibal king is really about being the first to abandon your humanity (holding out is just delaying the inevitable), having a solid initial crew of easily manipulated minions, and chomping down on people while there’s still other food.

my niggaz

First we will start eating people that look delicious and are annoying…Kim Kardashian comes to mind, Rush Limbaugh looks delectable.  I really think my minions will get behind this.  But after they’ve all adjusted to cannibalism, I think we’ll just indiscriminately eat the slowest and the least useful.  From that, the system will be a “join-us-or-get-eaten” policy and the growth of my empire should just roll downhill after the intial upstart.  I should be able to pass off most of the management duties to a new CEO and remain chairman of the operation, and just chill for the most part…


Until some self-righteous killjoy, gets all pious & moralistic on me, because I ate his dad or some other nonsense he should just let go.  

party foul bro

He will obviously exact vengeance (god says to forgive but he’s a hypocrite), and I’ll hang my hat, die dramatically and call it a good run. If you’re reading this, it’s not too late to get in on the ground floor of my Cannibal Army. You won’t be king, but you can be high ranking. Just holla at your boy.



10 Most Over-hyped and Under-hyped Movies

When it comes to movies I don’t really have opinions, but statements of ultimate truth.  I’ve called this the top 10 Overhyped and Underhyped Movies for symmetry’s sake but the lists are different.

The first list is movies, generally blockbusters, that are considered awesome movies almost unanimously.  Now, there are worse movies than these, but generally those movies are bad by consensus and unnecessary to further downgrade.  Should you feel like you have an opinion that counters mine, share your wrong thoughts in the comments section.

The second list is meant to be utilized rather than just bemoan the under-appreciation of awesome movies.  You have to be an advanced movie watcher to use the list correctly.  In other words if you were more sad about Paul Walker’s death than Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the list is not for you.  But if you like to get nerdy and had to teach yourself to say “movies” over “films” so as not to sound like a pretentious dick–check out these movies if you haven’t already.  Because I’ve watched a bunch of long (and wack) ass critical darlings, and over-stylized derivative hack-fests to generate this list such that you don’t have to.  There are better movies, especially if the list were to extend further into previous decades, but the idea is a matrix between good and unpopular.

Additionally, bear in mind that I believe that there’s a statute of limitations on Spoiler alerts…especially for crappy movies.  So proceed with caution.

10. Transformers (2007)

Transformers would be higher than #10 on the list if people generally considered this a good movie.  I’ve been surprised, though, by how few people think it was terrible. I get that robots fighting with the strongest graphics 2007 had to offer was something that could be enjoyed no matter how much you had to drink or snort.  However, why weren’t people completely offended by the other 1:15 minutes of…whatever that was.  Michael Bay basically called the audience the equivalent of a racial slur for every frame that didn’t have an explosion, and I’m not talking about that racist-ass yellow robot.

9. The Butler (2013)

This movie wasn’t one of the top grossing movies and it was “snubbed” for Oscars, so the hype factor keeps this one a little lower on the list.  But let’s be real–there was still plenty of hype for this wack-ass movie.  Some of my criticism is actually unfair since I couldn’t make it all the way through.  However, rapper David Banner gets shot in the face in the opening scene and I realized the heavy-handed schlock being pitched at me.  Oprah’s performance was not that good, she just wasn’t Oprah for a second so the Oscar buzz was inevitable.  Black history is so dramatic as it is I don’t know why we need to make every narrative manipulative and epic also.  Somehow this is The Man’s fault, but I haven’t been able to trace the blame all the way back yet.

8. Atonement (2007)


The first 40 minutes of this movie was actually pretty good.  I haven’t seen 2 girls and a cup, but I hear that starts off pretty decent as well, and then takes a quick downturn.  Sadly, I did see the last hour plus of this epic train wreck, and two girls playing with fecal matter would have punched this thing up a bit.  I’m a much bigger fan of a “Snakes on a Plane” than movie like this that tries so hard to be smart while insulting our intelligence.  This movie isn’t hyped up like “The Notebook” which has become chick flick canonical, BUT it was nominated for Best Picture… before they were nominating 10 at a time.  Additionally, I’ve heard this thing thrown out in conversations as though it’s picking up steam to be a contemporary classic–and I must protest (imagine the voice of a dog owner house training) “NO, NO, bad ex-sorority girl, bad.  Atonement was not good!”

7. Shutter Island (2010)

Shutter Island is not in the same territory as 8-10.  If I only had two options between good or bad, I’d give Shutter island a good rating…just barely.  However, this movie is talked about like it’s The Usual Suspects.  It is rated on IMDB as a top 250 movie of all time (one notch above The Graduate!). Scorsese does an OK job with a weak script that telegraphs a surprise ending from the first frame.  I could say spoiler alert on that, but if you watch this and don’t realize it’s a surprise ending type movie, you’ll be too many bong rips deep to remember this blog any way.  The run time is 138 minutes and I’m not going to say that I straight up called the ending, but after hour 1, I was like “okay either it’s A, B, or C”.  However, it made me watch for another 45 minutes, droning on like we didn’t know something was up and boom: it was pretty much B, but then some dumb ass elements of “D” which I hadn’t considered because it was just too stupid to fathom.

6. Scarface (1983)

Scarface is the best movie to make this list.  I like it, and when it’s on I will watch it from time to time.  But can we stop jocking the cinematic balls of this movie now?  When Future has made not one but two chart-topping tracks in homage to Tony Montana–enough already.  Oh and here’s another 11 rap songs that swing from Pacino’s little friends.  I can forgive the 170 minute run time, and Pacino’s cartoonish portrayal of a Cuban is inexplicably compelling.  However, this “solid” movie has started being treated like way too much more than the simple rise and fall movie it is.  Scarface has crept into too many top 10 lists…if it’s in yours, then reserve your opinion for subjects of expertise…like an efficient Gym, Tan Laundry routine.

5. Wall-E (2008)

I’m picking Wall-E, but you could put Up here or one of the plethora of digital animation movies I’ve fallen asleep during.  Some of this is that I have an individual problem trying to get immersed in Pixar-esque movies generally.  However, Wall-E to me is objectively boring.  Like The Butler, I didn’t finish this one, but I tried about 7 times. However, this little gem is cinematic ambien…except I don’t wake up the next day with a melted tub of haagen dazs and text messages I don’t remember sending.  The problem is that these movies cost so much friggin’ money that they need to make so much money back from the box office.  This creates safe and boring scripts written by 10 factory writers scientifically designed to please the masses…and put me to sleep.

4. The Avengers (2012)

Nerds and comic book movies are like retirees during midterm elections.  They vote with their wallets, and the powers that be keep catering to them, ruining the world for the rest of us.  This is why the Social Security system will go bankrupt and that’s why movies like The Avengers will not stop being made.  Yet this one reached new heights of hype, critics and the audience unanimously agreed that this one was a standout, and it is the 3rd highest grossing film of all time.  Excited, I threw it on, and…it was just bad.  How many times do we have to watch this movie before we get bored enough to make them try something new?

3. Lord Of the Rings (2001)

The Lord of the Rings series is not objectively bad.  However, this movie ranks as #11 on IMDB best movies of all time (above Goodfellas, Silence of the Lambs), and the three movies average 93% on Rottentomatoes. It won 4 academy awards and was nominated for best picture.  The 3 movies each rank as top 30 movie grossers of all time.  You may have liked this movie…and that’s OK, I didn’t.  What bothers me is that people don’t realize that a certain type of person is more interested in this subject matter than others.  The joy one gets from middle earth is not from the film making.  How do I put this delicately?  I liked Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Belly.  So did most of my relatives, but that’s because these movies are catered to a certain type of person.  From an objective lens however, these movies are bad.  LOTR works in the same fashion for a different “kind” of person.  Put Olivia Pope and Martin Lawrence in the last of the Hobbit trilogy and maybe that will keep it off the list.

2. The Fast and the Furious (2001)

This movie came out in high school and I remember distinctly watching the movie with my friends.  We snuck beer in and that was the main event to me, while this testosterone-fest blared on the silver screen.  As many trailblazing Black forefathers had before me, I was talking through it when one of my friends turned to me and said “Shhhh.  You’re ruining the movie.”  I studied his face incredulously (because NO, Paul Walker was ruining the movie) but this dude was serious.  It was high school, but afterward things got weird and I could never look at him with the same respect.  However, his kind has won the battle as there’s now been like 10 of these terrible-ass movies.  Not even Tokyo Drift could end the franchise.  Movies like this will always be made, but a troubling trend has emerged where the movies have started being called “good” in hindsight…but no.  I was there.  I remember.

1. Star Wars (1977)

Yup, nerd, I went there.  This movie is top 20 on IMDB, Top 15 on AFI’s top 100 and (adjusting for inflation) is the highest grossing movie of all time.  More than that, saying the movie sucks is considered blasphemy…and why?  The acting? The writing? Nope and Nope.  The directing?  Remember, this is the same guy that directed “The Phantom Menace” also, and had a hand in making Howard the Duck and Red Tails (which was even worse than the Butler).  No, you’re mad at me for nostalgia’s sake.  You pretended to be Luke Skywalker, you played the video games, bought the toys and got immersed in a nerdy world of corporate marketing and the zeitgeist of fandom.  It’s a simplistic hero-cycle narrative that doesn’t even fully make sense at times…Luke passionately kisses his sister.  The argument that get’s thrown back at me is that the movie changed film-making forever.  And yes it did.  For the worse.  Half the movies on this list are directly or indirectly the result of Star Wars’ success.  Star Wars was the first time everyone realized that special effects can trump all other elements of  storytelling if they’re good enough.  The way you feel about Jar Jar Binks and that terrible-at-acting version of Baby Anakin from episode 1?  That’s the way I feel about the whole damn thing.


10. Bronson (2009)

Bronson is an imperfect movie, but mostly because it swings for the fences and misses a little bit. So yeah it’s a little overambitious but works as a briskly told, viscerally beautiful, character-driven nightmarescape. Don’t come to this one looking for plot, but Tom Hardy’s performance is so good I’ve forgiven him the fact that I see his wiener. Still no one has heard of this movie, and neither had I until it popped up as a recommendation on Netflix.

9. Mary and Max (2008)

This is a fish out of water story inspired by true events…and they decided to tell it in Claymation. I give a lot of points to a movie when I’ve never seen anything like it, and this certainly falls into that category. The ending drags in the way most true stories without a manufactured plot device do, but it’s so charming and refreshing to see someone try something new. Philip Seymour Hoffman shows why he’ll be sorely missed with yet another skill—voice over work. Unfortunately, don’t expect too many other gems like this because everyone went to watch some other garbage the weekend this came out.

8. Michael Clayton (2007)

Yeah it was nominated for best picture and yeah it did fine in the box office, but this movie is that much better than the small amount of hype it received—and has been largely forgotten since. This movie holds a special place in my heart because it’s far more unconventional than it seems as the climax and resolution happens at the same time…all 90 seconds before the credits roll. For me, that moment is better than the Death Star blowing up. I also like movies that talk to me like an adult without making the story more important than it needs to be.

7. Black Dynamite (2009)

Not every movie needs to be high brow, and Black Dynamite certainly isn’t.  However it IS funny.  One of the ten funniest movies I’ve seen in the last 5 years.  Yet, it only took in $300K in the box office…worldwide.  It’s the type of movie that you’d think would be a DVD darling, but it came and went and nobody mentions it any more.  Michael Jai White (most famous for playing Spawn) is genuinely hilarious and boasts a writing credit, but he’s barely even “black famous” let alone real famous. And that’s not fair.

6. Thirst (2009, Korea)

Korean cinema is pretty awesome over the last decade. If you’re open to reading subtitles I certainly recommend heralded movies such as Oldboy (and the vengeance trilogy), The Host and Yellow Sea. Unheralded however is Thirst which is just as good. Technically it’s a vampire movie (the lamest thing about it), but I believe it’s an allegory for failed college relationships. OK, maybe that’s a stretch but its awesome…and even if you don’t think its a masterpiece–at least it’s super violent.

5. The Celebration (1998, Denmark)

This is the best movie I’ve ever seen come out of late 90s Denmark. OK, its the only movie I’ve ever seen from Denmark at all. I was trying to sound smart. I studied it in a Scandinavian Film class that was supposed to be an easy A in class. I showed up 40% of the time and squeezed a C out of it, but among that 40% was a showing of this gem. To tell you the plot is to ruin it, but it’s indie international film at its best.

4. Winter’s Bone (2010)

I actually think the Jennifer Lawrence bandwagon is a little too full right now, but she was awesome in her debut to the world. She might never beat this performance OR movie and still have a solid career. This WAS nominated for best picture so there was SOME hype, but it was well deserved and probably not enough. Now, you do have to be ready for a slow-moving movie…no ninjas or talking robots. However, if you’re in the mood to watch some backwoods white folk wildin’ out–you will not be disappointed.

3. Let the Right One In (2008, Sweden)

Amazon prime recommended this one to me. After my mind was blown I watched a couple of other well acted snoozefests trying to chase the awesomeness that this was (Like Russia’s The Return)…also recommended by Amazon. I gave up, because it wasn’t going to happen. The story is unlike anything you’ve seen and the ending includes a shot that you’ll remember forever.

2. A Prophet (Un Prophete, France 2009)

Wow France. I always thought you kind of sucked, but I changed my mind. Un Prophete singlehandedly accomplished this turnaround for you. This movie does absolutely everything right starting with the story, character, acting and culminating in some of the most satisfying slow-built action ever of any movie anywhere. Ill, straight ill.

1. City of God (Brazil, 2002)

Ok, Ok, so you can’t mind reading subtitles to really get use of this list. And yeah, if you read subtitles ever, then you probably already know about City of God. Well you’re a hipster–stop being so condescending. This was pretty well hyped, but its still one of my top 5 movies. It’s an important movie without being full of self importance. It’s incredibly poignant and emotional without being manipulative. It’s basically…perfect.


Agree? Disagree? Debate in the comments section.

The World Is Awesome, So Quit Bitching

I like to go dark places in my mind, but I contend—despite contrary feedback from my closest associates—that I am an optimist. And why?

Because I believe the world has never been better than it is now. Not only that, but I believe it is continuing to trend in the right direction.

Real talk, my ni**a.

How could anybody think such a thing? you may ask. Well, I believe the opinion that the world is collapsing is only a matter of perception…mistaken perception, to be provocative. There are certainly problems (more than 99–and bitches are at least one), but by my most important metrics the trend is in the right direction. While my opinion is only one perspective, objectively I think there is enough evidence supporting my point that it should be up for debate.


The debate seems absent.  Some version of “the world’s gone to hell!” has been declared by talking heads, radio callers, workmates, and conversationalists so often it’s been accepted as fact. You hear it after Ariel Castro gets caught chaining three women in his house, after an episode of 16 and pregnant, or when you use a bathroom along the NJ turnpike. You hear it at the airport when the flight is cancelled, something is stolen, kids are rude, Sandusky starts a getting all molestey in the shower, and the list continues.

I let people say their piece in these circumstances, because they are usually upset.

This lady has BIG THINGS popping off in Albuquerque and she needs to get there NOW.

And when they’re not upset I lose the argument on an experiential technicality: “When were you born? Well, I was there so I know.” So, I’ve stopped arguing… because I can never overcome that assertion. Maybe they’re right…but my gut tells me otherwise. I wonder if I’m one of millions in the same shoes who stay silent…and maybe that’s a bad thing. It allows the complainers to hi-jack the narrative, distracting us from the true problems of the world and pacifying us with notions of futility over that which we can change. So, I want to challenge some of the ranting phrases I hear consistently, in the bravest way possible—behind peoples backs and in a forum where they can’t retort.

(Other versions: “WWIII is coming”, “Africa, geez”, “just nuke the whole middle east”, “you can’t just vacation there any more like you used to”)
I’m starting broad for two reasons. First, Bill Gates very recently laid out his 9 reasons the world is better, and I must affirm my originality in thought. My thoughts were confirmed by that piece, but not created by it (I didn’t have a blog then, so there). Check it out here if you haven’t seen it. Secondly, this is the one I hear most often. The context of this sentiment usually comes during a major international conflict. 9/11 would be a prime example, warlords in Africa, beheadings in Mexico, and even the “crisis” in Crimea.  And this is where perception comes in.  We only think of these countries when something noteworthy happens…and in the news, noteworthy pretty much always means “god awful and terrible”. So, we’re left with this xenophobic picture of a world constantly at war, civil or otherwise, with child soldiers, famine, drugs, rape, and whatever the hell this thing is…

And yes, these are all terrible things, but all of the following are categorical improvements: women’s rights, access to water, eradication and containment of diseases, access to education, poverty, hunger, famine. In fact, even violence has gone down, meaning that if you are born on this planet you are more likely to live a longer, healthier and disease free existence than ever before. We forget about the destruction from the Crusades, Conquistadors, WWII, the Black Death, Genghis Khan, Imperialism and Christopher Columbus as though these were not a part of our collective global history as well. It’s all a distortion in perception of a world on the incline.

Crimea is a perfect example of distorted notions of global conflict, cold war comparisons are immediately being drawn by a peaceful annexation of a small region—done through a vote.  Putin should not be acting like such a silly-ho and suckafoo, but still–lets calm down.


(Other versions: “This entitlement generation”, “the millennial are doomed”)

Another source of the apocalypse is our teenagers and how they’re being ruined. The strange thing is that they’re both being coddled AND “growing up too fast”. Some say the problem is that we told them to follow their dreams and they feel entitled. (Here is my sarcastic response where I explore—“what is the other option?”).  Some of that is true, the human condition is to want more and adjust to a certain level of comfort and privilege as a state of normalcy. But some think it’s the opposite: that kids are not being sheltered enough from images of sex, violence and language.

The reason is that shows like 16 and pregnant and this guy…

give a false impression of normalcy.

And your kid is stuck in his iPhone, because it’s more exciting than what is going on at the dinner table—some dumb ass fogey ranting about the olden days. I know, only a fogey says the word fogey, but I don’t have time research what they do say. They won’t snapchat me back 😦 <—(this would be an emoticon, but I don’t know how to use them.)

There’s also some impression that they’re engaging in far more subversive and depraved acts than ever before. But think back to your childhood. Remember that thing? Oh yeah, you did that, and that was just nasty…but I wasn’t even talking about that.  Do you remember the other thing?

Yup. You were kind of disgusting too.

The difference is that you think about yourself as you are now, transported back to 13 rather than the way the world saw you…

And those activities that go beyond our teenage transgressions?–they’re not happening.  There’s a difference between an dumb activity that been “done” somewhere, and dangerous trend that’s “happening”.  Butt-chugging, Pregnancy Pacts, Vodka in the eyeball all fall into this category. Another example: Rainbow Parties are not happening en masse. They just aren’t. It’s been over 11 years since I’ve technically been a teen and there are some timeless principles that run counter to these occurring. Lipstick doesn’t leave a nice clear ring (your wang would end up looking brownish purple and sickly). And, have you ever asked a bunch of people to bring something to a party?  Coordinating that they have indigo, green and yellow lipstick is too complicated for a teen. It’s hard enough to get a BJ from one girl, let alone 6 when you’re 17.

So, yeah kids are watching South Park, and practicing the cursing they see us do masterfully, and the clothing lines are creating overly sexualized outfits for young girls. But so what? Teen pregnancy rates are declining, abortion too, drug use is dropping, and kids’ IQs are actually increasing. So in every measurable stat kids are better than they’ve been. Have you ever thought that maybe they’re right and you’re just lame?


(Other versions: “nobody talks anymore”, “everybody’s head is in their phone”, “people only communicate via text these days”)

When you get on the plane, train or bus these days, everybody is on their phones or Ipads and not talking. This is supposedly the end of all human interaction as we know it. For me, this one is less about statistics as there’s not enough data to show the concrete effects of too much data (see what I did there?). But this one is about HOW we communicate. Most of the time people are on their communication devices…COMMUNICATING. At one point in human history there wasn’t a phone, but most people don’t look at the 1920-1940 window as the time when human interaction made it’s first downgrade. Yet, now “nobody knows how to communicate any more!” even though we are interacting more than ever. We are able to stay in touch with our loved ones and closest friends like never before–at work, commutes home, at airports, etc. In reality if your the one complaining that nobody likes to interact anymore…its probably that people don’t like to interact with you. Because, yes, in Mad Men Don Draper starts talking while on the train and then 3 scenes later he’s smanging some broad out in midtown. But if you really start talking to someone on the bus its usually THIS GUY…

…in a conversation that begins as normal and then gets surprisingly racist by the end. So yes, the work day is now 24 hours long which has negative effects and “socially awkward” reaches new heights. None of this is technology’s fault necessarily, and even if it is–F**K you, I need my candy crush.


(Other versions: “It used to be safe for kids to play outside”, “we didn’t even lock our doors”, “there’s just so many creeps out there now”)

At 8 years old my parents let me roam the neighborhood in a 4 block radius. One time David got stung by an assload of bees because he was the only one brave enough to throw rocks from that close in. Another time we saw how hard you had to throw a rock to knock out the window of an abandoned car. I could go on, and I realize now that a lot of my childhood memories are throwing rocks at shit. Imma mark that down for my psychologist in case I need to explore that further.

Regardless, my point is that this was the standard in the neighborhood. Make it home by the time the street lights go out or you’re in trouble. This was likely the standard for you, as well. Your parents generation too. However, nowadays it’s not acceptable to let your children out like that, whether you trust them or not. Many would deem that negligent parenting, and the idea behind this finger-wagging is that the world has changed. There are now more molesters, kidnappers, and murderers out there, lurking to do harm to your child. There’s more drugs and gangs and ninjas and pirates out there to prey. However…my parents were letting me out in 1991, the peak of crime in America. All measurable crime statistics show crime dropping nationwide each year over the last two decades… that’s murder, robbery, rape…all crime (except for cyber crime). It varies a little, city by city, but chances are that your neighborhood is at about the same crime rate it had in 1963…unless you live in NY in which case it’s remarkably safer.

To me, this is mostly about perception. Elizabeth Smart somehow changes from one freakish tale to something that OCCURS with any sort of statistical relevance after the media coverage we’re inundated with. Metal detectors go up in urban schools (but not Columbine, strangely). We relive the VA Tech massacre so many times over that we create plans in our minds for what if it happens to us. And when it comes to your kid, even when you wrap your mind around how unlikely it would be for any of these things to occur, you can’t help but play it safe…because there’s no concrete harm in being overprotective. There’s actually some new evidence that there might be.

The world (US included) is safer than ever. Give your kid some fireworks and a bag of broken glass and tell him to be home before sundown.


This is a simple rebuttal for me. Yes people are crazy, but people have always been crazy. With modern psychiatry we have the first age where a crazy person can actually attempt (with success at times) to not be crazy. Here is a list of crazy rulers throughout history.


(Other Versions: “Things just used to be simpler”, “Back in My Day”)

For brevity’s sake, I’m going to use this as the catch-all complaint. When people miss the good old days, its in a variety of contexts. And I’m not going to argue with someone who misses their childhood, or a time period in their life from their particular upbringing. But what I take issue with is the notion of a broadly defined existence that was categorically better for humans…or even Americans. Isolating it to America…what time period was that? Because being black, “poodle skirts” had a different meaning than the rest of america…

…it meant an actual poodle on your skirt…biting a hole in your ass. So I can’t accept much before 1965 as the “good ol’ days”, not for everybody. The 60s through the 70s was free love, drug abuse, the Vietnam war into the cocaine addled late 70s. The 80s brings us the cold war, the AIDS epidemic, and the emergence of crack. The 90s brought us the peak in crime, and JNCOs.

2000-2014 is usually the years we’re talking about as the beginning of the end. So when was this great time?


Of course, when I say “world” I mean “society” or “civilization.”  Because there are environmental and climate change issues that have certainly become worse than they were.  However, people’s response to such issues has improved in regards to consciousness and problem-solving.

Within the context of this post (in my view) there’s only 2 arguments that hold water to me about the world being worse:

1) Your pessimism circles around subjective social changes or the deterioration of tradition. You might be against the legalization of marijuana, gay marriage, the roe v. wade decision and access to pornography– among other disappointments. You wish marriages lasted longer and you enjoy simple straightforward definitions of what men and women do with their lives. While I disagree with the position, its OK to feel that way. My point here is that there are some general advances that we can all say are positive…like, not getting murdered as much.

2) It’s harder to make ends meet now. This is truer for a larger percentage of people today than it was 40 years ago. There’s plenty of studies and economists who tell that story far better than me, but the middle class IS shrinking. Lou Dobbs, the rest of Fox News and I all agree on this talking point.

Some of this shrinking of the middle class is due to gains from emerging countries. This is both outsourced jobs and improved conditions for such jobs making goods more expensive. To me this is inevitable and a sacrifice that might be worth it for the global community…sucky as it is to spend $500 on an iphone or a nice jacket. However, the other piece is the common talking point that wealth is trapped and exchanged among the rich in a system more exclusive than ever before.  In other words, the gap between rich and poor is widening.

I do still believe in America as an extremely fertile place for opportunity and advancement. As unfair as it is, its fairer than everywhere else. So there’s no reason to look at this melodramatically. However, I don’t have any points to rebuke the wealth gap and say the situation is better. That’s why for me, if I ever ruminate about America heading in the wrong direction, its the wealth differential.

But I don’t ruminate much because, while there’s much room for improvement, the world is the best it’s ever been.  I mean the Seahawks are Superbowl champs, so there’s that too.


Happiness as a Parent (JMFG Style)

Since my last post was a little bit of dark humor, I thought I would sprinkle in some positivity 4 dat ass. I’m a happy person these days. Without going too much into it, I spent much of my early years not being so. I had some good times in there but as far as being at peace with myself and in a pattern of existence to sustain happiness–I really hadn’t found it.

Somewhere after the haze of college I found that happiness is a process rather than a feeling, and the cornerstone is work (at least for me). Happiness as an individual made it so I could have happiness as a boyfriend, co-worker, husband, and now as a father. I used to think happiness could be found most easily in relaxation and an avoidance of responsibility. But I learned that I’m not like that.

So, I was one of the first of my friends to take the plunge into marriage, and for a while I felt my friends watch me like a gorilla at the zoo to see how that played out…Hoping it would work out, but fully expecting it to fail. (It’s ok if you thought that, there was plenty of reason to bet that my 24 year old self would f**k it up.) But I didn’t and people have asked–what’s the secret to a happy marriage? And I give the same advice every time:

“Do everything she says, but once a month say some version of ‘watch your tone’, whether the tone is there or not. Then go back to doing everything she says.” Real Talk. My next piece of advice will likely be don’t put stuff like that on the blog that she can read, because now it’ll be meta and she’ll know your tricks…I’ll have to come up with something new. But now with kids…it doesn’t matter because we’re still figuring out new patterns for sustained happiness, as the little tax-shelters are a game-changer.

And with the Kid thing…I see people watching me in the same fashion. After our first boy, I got a lot of questions about parenthood and now with 2–SH*T GOT REAL. Parenthood is the strangest thing because everything you describe about your life is basically how it got terrible. The Geneva convention considers sleep deprivation torture and therefore a war crime, but that little a-hole you created will sound-off like a siren for 4 months. When you get invited to things you can’t go, or hell, you just stop getting invited to things because people don’t want kids there. Restaurants become potential nightmare scenes. There’s the dirty diapers, the tantrums, the broken stuff, the cleaning, and the money. Oh the money. $1300 per month in daycare for two if you’re wondering.

But All parents, except this broad…
Casey Anthony
will always tell you “it’s hard but it’s worth it.”

Which is a cliché, because it doesn’t really capture it. So, here’s my attempt to explain it. I now have to feel guilty when I sleep (nap or just getting your typical 7-8 hours). Because if I’m sleeping I am legitimately screwing over my wife or family somehow. Sometimes if I’m dropping the Cosby kids off at the pool and I take too long, I know I have to hop off and do doubletime, because that’s precious husband/daddy time. I am always tired, and sitting and writing this is my free time activity…for the week.

when I get sleep, I’m fulfilled. When I get free time, I smile. And when I get a night out, all I can do is think about these guys…


So yeah, I was indifferent about having kids. My wife wanted them, so I told her “OK fine, but watch your tone girl. Don’t talk to me like that.”

But now, any time a day gets rough, all I have to do is look at my phone and play the video below:

PS So yes, I am basically saying that no matter what situation you are currently in you need to go out and get all pregnant with someone…pretty much no matter who they are.

PPS That’s a joke.

PPPS I won’t do too much of the family talk because my wife does it so well here. So click this link, if that’s what you’re into.