Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Airline Baggage Scales of Life

Well folks, I'm taking this opportunity to play Wednesday morning armchair quarterback. As you know Election Day was last Tuesday, November 8th and the results, for the most part, was made public by Wednesday morning, hence the Wednesday morning quarterback versus the Monday morning quarterback we usually talk about in football.

My last post in this blog [The Critical Thinker] questioned whether a vote for Donald Trump really was a vote for the person or for the spirit that this person represented during the campaign. A lawless say anything about and to anybody persona that could lead one to believe that anything goes; no rules, no boundaries. Insult whatever group you choose, use a bully pulpit, and talk locker room talk all in the name of not being politically correct. While I do believe political correctness allows one to tap dance around and skirt the truth in too many instances, what we witnessed verbally and behaviorally out of candidate Trump ought to have been seen as unacceptable even for those of us who do not necessarily agree with political correctness or pussyfooting around (no pun intended Mr. President-Elect). Oddly enough, the verbal free for alls were not viewed as unacceptable, at least not enough not to be elected President of the United States.

The constant verbal assaults were Mr. Trump's baggage. And then there was the baggage of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the reason for my using the metaphor of the scales at the airport where we weigh our luggage before it being accepted onto the plane. The scales that let you know whether or not the weight of your luggage will be acceptable for you to pay your luggage fee, have your bag checked underneath the plane and you get on board. For those of us who fly, I'm sure you can relate to the feeling of not being sure if your bag is overweight or not as you approach the scale. Usually, the maximum for each bag is anywhere from 50 to 70 pounds with the former being most common. Travelers oftentimes witness fellow passengers with bags that are deemed overweight, taking out items to get down to the accepted weight. Literally throwing away items in the airport in order to get that bag on the plane.

Metaphorically speaking, Hillary Clinton's baggage was just too heavy for the American people's baggage scale. Mr. Trump had a lot of baggage too but somehow it was weighed in at 49.9 pounds compared with Mrs. Clinton's 50 plus pounds. Let's be clear, both candidates had heavy baggage, but I do believe that the American people viewed Mr. Trump's baggage to be just a tad lighter and therefore chose him as the 45th President of our country.

Without a doubt, this was one of the worst if not the worst political campaigns ever waged in America and is likely symbolic of where we are as a country. Anything goes........  In my last post (10/23/16), I highlighted the fact that society has gotten to the point where everybody has a RIGHT, but nobody has a RESPONSIBILITY; this race epitomized that.

Now that President-Elect Trump will be taking office, we as the American people must hold him accountable to do what he promised that he would do. According to him, he will be "the greatest jobs president that God has ever created," so we will need to see some jobs created. The same holds true for businesses no longer leaving the country and all of the other promises that were made that is supposed to make America great again.

Personally, I think Mr. Trump is in for a rude awakening of how Washington and the world runs. It will be interesting to watch this saga continue to unfold. I don't think Mr. Trump will be able to Tweet his way out of the many challenges ahead. As always in The Critical Thinker, agree or disagree, it is something to critically think about.

Hear me live as I webstream around the world on gobrave.org and on FM radio WP88.7 FM in northern New Jersey as host of The Reading Circle each Saturday beginning at 6 a.m. ET. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

What If I Were To Tell You That A Vote For Trump May Not Really Be A Vote For Trump?

What if I were to tell you that a vote for Trump may not really be a vote for Trump? I've ruminated and marinated long and hard before penning this post as I really struggled coming up with an angle to write about concerning the bizarreness of this presidential campaign. It seems as if the longer the campaign has gone on and the closer that we've gotten to Election Day, the stranger the events surrounding our final two candidates have gotten. Truthfully, this post is not really about either candidate, but a possibility of why Donald Trump may be receiving the support that he is receiving. It is a personal theory; a personal opinion; a personal hypothesis if you will. 

Truthfully, for as long as Hillary Clinton has been on the political scene and not unbeknownst to anyone on the planet, one would think that she would have been winning by a landslide from the onset of Donald Trump being named the Republican nominee. He's a political outsider, a businessman with no formal political experience whatsoever, an entertainer. Sure, in business, one must be political to get things done, so from that standpoint, I am sure Mr. Trump knows how to play politics, yet, for the most part, the numbers are still relatively close especially considering Hillary's long-term presence in the political arena, hence my theory. It dawned on me when I heard Newt Gingrich say the following: 
"You know, presidents have to be disciplined, and in that sense Hillary is probably better trained to be president, just because she's the most corrupt person to ever get the nomination of a major party."
The light bulb went off for me. I knew at that point the angle to take for this post, the notion of discipline or in too many instances in 2016, lack thereof.  I was cruising through my timeline on FaceBook and came across this post that served as further confirmation of my theory. The post read:
"Society has gotten to the point where everybody has a Right, but nobody has a Responsibility."
Could it be that the numbers for Trump are where they are because those resonating with his behavior like the idea of not having to be disciplined? They love the name calling and no holds barred commentary and actions displayed by Mr. Trump. The bully tough talk and the throwing of people out at rallies are cheered. The same cheering takes place when Mr. Trump rudely interrupts his opponent or the moderator during debates. Even with this latest revelation of his conversation with Billy Bush eleven years ago, many of his supporters still cheer, after all, it's just "locker room talk." While I must agree with Mr. Trump's position on political correctness, it does not give him a license to be crude, rude, disrespectful and condescending. Though I must admit his quick-wittedness can be funny, we are not seeking an entertainer, we are looking for our next leader of our country.

We have seen over the decades the deterioration of  our society and her values.  Vulgarity on the radio; slightly less than full nudity on television; the showing of underwear by sagging pants; bodies fully covered in ink; the constant rise in gun violence; and the list goes on and on and on. All signs of a society that has become undisciplined. Too many of us have embraced the do and say anything you want to anyone you want in any old manner that you want philosophy and Donald Trump has personified it for us on the worldwide stage. It is this personification that caused me to wonder if the support for Donald Trump was really for Donald Trump or for the personification of being undisciplined? The relating and resonating with behavior that is representative of what so many wishes to be, wayward, unrestrained, ungoverned, disorderly and downright naughty.  

If by chance Mr. Trump becomes our next president, no one will be able to say that he fooled us. To his credit, he did not. He ran true to form. He ran as himself, so if we were to put someone in the seat who we know is not disciplined based on his own behavior and words, then there really would be nothing that we could say when that same behavior is exhibited in the White House. Something to critically think about.

You are invited to join me live each Saturday at 6 a.m. ET around the world on gobrave.org and locally in northern NJ on FM radio WP88.7 FM as I host The Reading Circle with Marc Medley. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01.



Saturday, September 10, 2016

Bored In 1st Period by Obasi Davis


Asia comes from repossessed dreams
and nightmares that last as long as 
the absence of her father
I think that the reason her clothes are always so Boa
Constricting any amount of longing she might have felt
for him to me
Daniel spent his childhood running
from Richmond bullets and the ghost
of his dad
Daniel is a thug
He brags about seeing grown men
ground to dust under heavy boots for
their iPhones and their wallets
He rocks a long gold chain, and two
diamond earrings with
every outfit
Daniel only cares about money
but I can see genius bursting
from his pained skin
It is the deepest black, pure
like Earth's blood
but for some reason, most
seem to see it as an impurity.
He paints himself a gangster
to cover what they call ugly
Jonathan chooses to come
to class once a month
or whenever we have a sub
He shoots dice in the back corner of the
classroom with Duma and Daniel
When I ask them why, they
tell me money is everything.
It seems they are the products
of a broken society and a torn home
My home is not broken
My parents are divorced but
they get along
I haven't known death to 
come close,
and violence hasn't found me
vulnerable
And then, while sitting in
1st period pretending
to read Macbeth, it 
clicked for me
My classmates and I are different
In the words of Dr. King 
our elbows are 
together yet our hearts
are apart
I'm not asking for some all
holy savior to come and 
coddle us into equality
I'm asking for you to 
understand our struggles and
our hardships
To understand that if we have to 
learn with each other we should also
learn about each other so we can
bring each other up

This poem by Obasi Davis is certainly something to critically think about. It is taken from the book written by Christopher Emdin, FOR WHITE FOLKS WHO TEACH IN THE HOOD AND THE REST OF Y'ALL TOO: REALITY PEDAGOGY AND URBAN EDUCATION and after reading it, I felt compelled to share it with my Critical Thinker audience. 

Join me live as I host The Reading Circle with Marc Medley each Saturday beginning at 6 a.m. ET on gobrave.org and on FM radio WP88.7 FM in northern New Jersey. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and readingcircle01. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Franchise and Store Managers Beware

The sagging pants phenomenon has never and still does not make any sense to me at all. My mind just does not process the concept. I've heard people try to justify it by saying "It's the style," as if by saying that or it being the "style" makes it any better. The truth of the matter is, it's and ignorant style. I've even had some try to compare the sagging of pants to Black people wearing Afros in the sixties and seventies. Let me be clear on that one, the Afro was meant to be a powerful political symbol which reflected Black pride. The intent was to reflect pride. Which brings me to the question that I always have when I see anyone walking around with his/her pants sagging and exposing his/her underwear; what message are you trying to send? What is it that you want me the receiver to receive about you when I see you walking down the street or riding a bicycle with your pants half way down your thighs showing a part of your boxers, briefs or thong?  I can tell you what I receive it as. It tells me that I am looking at a slack individual who does not care about him/herself or anyone else. It tells me that I am looking at a person who does not give a damn. It tells me that I am looking at someone who is saying screw you and screw the world. It tells me that the person is not very intelligent. In short, it tells me he/she is saying the two words that rhyme with bucket. Yes, that's right, the "F" word in front of the word "it." That's what it tells me. It tells me that the person has given up and all hope is lost for him/her.

This issue has been around a while now and I am sure most if not all of us have heard the variations of its beginning in the prison population, so I won't waste the time to go over it again in this post. My reason for writing about this issue from a different perspective, is that I've noticed that the sagging has made its way into the business community. By business community, I am speaking specifically about the retail franchise industry such as McDonald's, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, etc. etc.  An industry that for one, serves food and two lives and dies by image, messaging and professionalism. Sagging has become so pervasive that it has entered this arena and I question if store managers are aware of it or have become immune to it?

On two occasions over the last couple of weeks, I was in such aforementioned franchises and noticed some of the employees behind the counter with his/her franchise uniform pants sagging and showing me and every other customer his/her underwear. As I walked out of the store, I could have kicked myself for not saying something to the young men or their managers on both occasions. In one of the scenarios, an individual in a manager's uniform was standing right next to the employee who was serving and sagging. Needless to say, he did not notice it or did not care. That did not give me the warmest or fuzziest feeling about the food I was going to receive given that I had just viewed the employee's gray BVD's, Hanes, or Fruit-of-the Looms. You notice, I remember the color. After the second occurrence at a different establishment, I told myself that if I enter another store and see this, that I am going to take it upon myself to speak to the manager and point it out to him/her.

You read above of what I perceive the message that sagging sends. Can you imagine that message now being sent by a representative of one of the franchise's. In sales, professionalism and image are the life blood of the business. People will not continue to purchase or patronize a store or company that sends the wrong messages. That's why companies have such large public relations and advertising budgets.

If you are reading this and you are a manager at a store, particularly in the food industry, but it is not limited to that, I hope this raises your antenna to the dress of your employees that you supervise. If sagging continues to invade the work place, I predict that sales will begin to drop as customers become turned off to seeing the underwear of employees behind the counter. If you are not the manager of one of these establishments, but know someone who is, I encourage you to share this post with him/her and I also encourage you to join me in speaking up when you are being served by someone at an establishment of business who is sagging. Something to critically think about...............

I invite you to join me each Saturday at 6 a.m. ET, as I host The Reading Circle on gobrave.org and locally in northern NJ on FM radio WP88.7 FM. You are also invited to visit my website at thereadingcircle.ontrapages.com and thereadingcircle01.com.  You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and readingcircle01.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

You Deserve a Break Today

Since July 18th, I have consciously chosen not to turn on talk radio or watch the news. I did not even watch the political conventions. While I heard little snippets here and there on Twitter and other social media feeds about candidate commentary, for the most part, I totally tuned out the rhetoric. The reason for this post is to let you know that it felt and still feels good.

For months I have been listening to the candidates and the pundits say the same old things in different ways every day, so I decided to turn off Sean, Mark, Rush, Rev. Al, Rachel, Chris, Don, Wolf, Jake and Anderson. I don't have to say the last names, because you know who they are and the networks which they are affiliated. It has been nearly a month since listening to any of them now and as I stated above, it feels good.

Now this is not to say that I won't tune back in at some point and I am sure that when I do, it will be as easy to resume my place as it is when you miss some episodes of a soap opera. You know how in soap operas, no matter how many episodes you miss, when you come back, it's like you have not missed a one? I am sure that's the way it will be when I check back in on what's going on with Trump and Clinton.

If you have been or are glued to the radio or television hanging on every Trump foot-in-mouth commentary or Clinton's latest email issue, I strongly encourage you to give yourself a break. Trust me, it will do you good. Take a few days away from the campaign between now and November. You will be amazed at how refreshed you will feel after taking a break from listening to all of the foolishness and buffoonery. In the words of that vintage McDonald's advertisement, "You deserve a break today." 

With that said, as always, I trust this post has given you something to critically think about. I invite you to join me live each Saturday at 6 a.m. ET as the host of The Reading Circle with Marc Medley as I web-stream around the world on gobrave.org and broadcast locally in northern NJ on FM radio WP88.7 FM. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Pray For This Cruelty To End And For Peace and Tranquility To Return Again

Late Officer Montrell Jackson and Son
The more I looked at this photo of Officer Montrell Jackson, one of the officers killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the more it dawned on me how all of these lives being lost are impacting our family structures. In every one of these senseless killings whether it was initiated by one in uniform, a civilian or a terrorist, a void was created that was not there. Each individual lost was some one's father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, uncle, aunt, cousin or friend. They were people who were loved by other people who are now left behind with only their memories.

It doesn't matter if it was a terrorist attack such as Orlando or Paris or an individual shooting as in Minnesota or Baton Rouge, family members were taken away; innocent people who had absolutely nothing to do with the events that precipitated the attacks in which they were killed.

Late Officer Montrell Jackson symbolizes what I am seeking to convey in this post in terms of the losses we are suffering as families as a result of all of this killing. He was the father of an infant who will now no longer have his dad. For every loss, some family will no longer have whatever role the deceased played in their lives. Sitting here looking at this picture, I can't imagine how Officer Jackson's or any of the other families who have lost loved ones to this madness must feel. Senseless deaths; senseless losses; senseless voids.

We as humans, we as a people must come together to stop the madness. Something has to give as we cannot keep suffering these types of losses as human beings. My heart and prayers go out to ALL of the families who have suffered and are suffering as a result of the actions of a few. I end this post with a quote from Anne Frank, “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”

Something to critically think about. You are invited to join me each Saturday morning at 6 a.m. as the host of The Reading Circle with Marc Medley. The show web streams around the world on gobrave.org and is heard locally in northern NJ on FM radio WP88.7 FM. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

It's Never Too Late for Your Dreams and Intentions to Manifest

 With all of the chaos going on around the world, I decided to write on a lighter topic for this post. What prompted me to write this post was my experience of flying my remote controlled (RC) airplane and drone yesterday in the park.

As I guided my little Horizon Hobby Sport Cub S followed by my Discovery Quadcopter, my mind went back to 1972 when I was ten years old. I reflected as I guided the Cessna replica on being a child spending my summers in South Boston, Virginia (Halifax County) at my father's sister's house atop a hill at the end of a gravel and dirt road. My father's sister Irene had a son who was a couple of years older than me who made a great playmate given the rest of my father's siblings had daughters. Not that I minded playing with my female cousins, it was just more fun doing "boy things" with another boy. 

I just mentioned that my aunt's house sat atop a hill; on the other side of that hill at the bottom was a large field where RC plane hobbyists would come and fly their planes. I would see them pass the house on their way to "The Bottom" and moments later hear the hum of the at that time gas powered RC planes. They had a distinct sound and I always wished that I had one. 

I've loved aviation since I was a child to the point where when another cousin who lived in that area who was a furniture architect/designer who created the blueprints for a furniture company asked me what I would like for him to draw for me, I asked him to draw me an airplane. He did just that and that picture hung in my childhood room for years. 

As I listened the hum of those little engines on the RC planes, I said to myself that one day I was going to own and fly one of those planes. Herein lies the title for this post. I made those statements in 1972 and did not purchase my RC plane until 2016. In between that time, life happened and I never gave much thought until recently to just going out and buying one [RC plane]. This after having served nine years in the Air National Guard as a jet engine mechanic, having flown all around the world for vacations, business, and fraternity conventions, taking a flight school promotional flight as the pilot of a Cessna out of Teterboro Airport and flying countless hours on Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX). My love of planes and aviation has never wavered. 

I am a true believer in the power of words, the law of attraction and my religious faith. They all are connected and one does not negate the other. While I consciously had forgotten about my wishing and stating that I wanted to own and fly an RC plane, my subconscious and God/Universe had not. Even though forty- four years had gone by, this dream/intention came to pass. My owning and flying of my own RC plane was realized. All of this popped into my mind as I flew the pattern and figure eights in the park yesterday. 

So by now if you have not gotten the point, you are probably asking, "What's the point of this post?" I'm glad you asked. The point of the post is, it is never too late for any of our dreams or intentions to be realized no matter how small or insignificant you may think they are. Words and thoughts are powerful and do not go away just because we no longer bring them to mind consciously. They also do not go away no matter how much time passes by as in my case of forty-four years. 
It is for this reason that we must be so careful of our words and thoughts. This works both positively and negatively. Negative words and thoughts could come back to haunt us years later. Something negative that we said years ago could come to pass in our present or future. So let's always be speaking positive words and having positive thoughts because we never know when something that we thought about will manifest. 

I am truly enjoying my RC toys and I am happy for the childhood memories that owning and operating them brought back. Something to critically think about. 

You are invited to hear me live as the host of The Reading Circle with Marc Medley each Saturday at 6:00 a.m. ET as I web stream around the world on gobrave.org and broadcast on FM radio in northern NJ on WP88.7 FM. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01.