Archive for February, 2014

Health: 40 Years In The Waist-Land

Posted in Health with tags , , on February 28, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

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To be healthy, wealthy and wise is a statement that pretty much summarizes the plight manifesto of many Americans when we tend to do an overview of our past, present and future state of personal union. Often we utilize at least one dollar to chase the forever illusive winning lottery ticket, in the hopes of obtaining a financial windfall that can eradicate the proverbial bill collectors from knocking at your front door. Wisdom of course is a spinning carousel in which we soon discover that very few individuals we meet throughout our lifetime, rarely seem to grasp the concept of and often fall short of ascertaining its shining brass ring. Then we delve into the remaining element of this trifecta, which is health. It is here that many of us dwell inside the glutton oasis of french fries, lava cake and sodium-filled treats; all while basting in the glow of a bad carb filled moonlit delicacy. Let’s face it, bad food taste so good that it’s Michael Jackson BAD. Perhaps this is why obesity is the new Boogeyman hiding inside the closet of many American kids, only this time it’s masquerading as a McDonald’s Happy Meal with a toy surprise as it’s accomplice. A healthy lifestyle is something that evades most Americans who are not fitness juggernauts and caloric,conscious, calculators; as most of us base our daily routine around convenience and finances. The days of home-cooked meals and eating at the table have been replaced by microwave dishes and prepackaged meals on the go. Unfortunately this is the times we live in. It is a time that waits for no man/woman, yet we forget that the same thing can be stated when reflecting on that of the human body as well. The body will not always wait for you to correct its digestive intake and will eventually begin to launch an epic revolt against your vital organs. High blood pressure and diabetes are extremely prevalent in most of those who battle the bulge of a protruding waistline. Of course this can lead to other issues as a result of its transitive effect on the body as a whole. I, along with my wife, started a diet approximately three weeks ago. We are notorious for dining out, but felt it was time to become a bit more conscious as we are both in our 40s and have watched people in our age bracket suddenly die from what could have been an avoidable health issue. I am no nutritionist by any means, but I have become knowledgable about a few things that can help in anyone’s quest towards weight loss and better eating. Whole Grain products are your friend: lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, legume, brown rice and nuts are considered good carbs to have in your daily meals. The one phrase I’ve restated time and time again is “the whiter the bread, the sooner your dead”. White colored products: flour, pastas, potatoes, sugars etc, all play a villainous role in sabotaging your journey towards good health. If you can, avoid at all cost and replace with a healthy alternative. No surprise that exercising assists greatly in becoming healthy. Cardio of course strengthens the heart, however, I discovered that a weightlifting regiment is a great fat killer as well. And when it comes to the infamous bread-basket, dieting is the cure versus the back wrenching crunches that are often thought to eliminate the trusty tire or muffin top that stretches the notches of our belts. These are a few pearls of wisdom that I have obtained over time that I am passing along to those individuals seeking a healthier lifestyle. What needs to be debunked is the idea that forty is the new twenty or the new thirty; no forty is the age in which we need to start realizing that the temple we manifest needs to be properly maintained in order for it to be a stronger, freestanding structure. My journey has just begun, I hope to see some of you join me along the way. #healthy, wealthy and wise

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The G.O.A.T vs. The S.H.E.E.P

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

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“Greatness is to stay humble when the whole world calls you great!”
― Mehmet Murat Ildan

Trials, tribulations, obstacles, criticism, failure and defeat, are all but some of the countless trepidations an individual may face along the gallant road towards the illusive grandeur of success. “I made it mom, top of the world!” is an emphatic chest beating howl that symbolizes the primal roar of victory after a tumultuous path towards winning. It is often reverberated in the statement: “You have no idea what it took for me to get here”. So true is this self-written biopic that shows the cartography from which one has come from, to their epic arrival to their sought after destiny. I believe that trying in itself is the embodiment of victory, as the easiest thing for any individual to do is not try at all. It is in the underdog that we can relate to the Rocky-esque ascension, because it enables us to empathize with being knocked down, kicked around, given up on and mentally deflated, as if we don’t belong in the conversation. So appropriate is the quote from Mark Twain that stated: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” I am partial to those who in the face of adversity and amidst turmoil, that rise to the occasion and slay the proverbial dragon by cutting its head off. This ability to become the Phoenix rising from the smoldering ashes, all but incase and crystallizes one into the echelon of celebrated “Greatness”; a caveat that very few gain membership to its hallowed halls of immortal indoctrination. With profound respect to the legacy that is Jackie Robinson, I often utilize Muhammad Ali as the template for “Greatness” due to the fact that his opponents varied from not only the individuals he faced in the ring, but also the racially infested social climate, his provocative religious alignment, as well as, the U.S. Government. Muhammad Ali was the embodiment of the Phoenix rising and because of that he has become arguably the world’s most celebrated athlete to date. The subject of Muhammad Ali is the perfect transition into my topic of discussion. A subject, albeit debatable, that has been at the forefront of sports talk over the past few weeks. The subject has been about greatness and who belongs on the “Mount Rushmore” of basketball lure from a historical perspective. This comes on the cusp of current basketball star, Lebron James, submitting his ballot into the ballyhooed mountain of the historical elite. Now there is something to be celebrated as it pertains to his self-assurance and lofty expectations, however, it was his belief that those who had solidified and cemented their legacy should be removed and replaced by him. That smells of what I call “premature arrogance”. It forced me, being a huge fan of basketball, to ponder what would make him state such blasphemy? Then it occurred to me that it’s “generational disturbia” that is plaguing the audience of this over-saturated era of commercialized mind bending. So in offering perspective as it pertains to greatness, I utilized a known acronym, with a self-created newfangled one. I call it The G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) vs. The S.H.E.E.P (Shamelessly Hyped-up Especially Entertaining Professional).

First and foremost, I would like to substantiate that Lebron James is one of the most physically gifted athletes in the history of basketball. He’s a multiple league MVP, a two-time NBA Champion and hands down a night in and night out performer without question. His celebrity is well deserved regarding his box office appeal to fans of the game. In fact, I am willing to say that very little about Lebron James on the basketball court can be refuted regarding his value to his team and his value to the collective league as a whole. So my gripe is not with his accomplishments nor his professionalism. My gripe with him is about the amnesia he’s suffering when recalling his career to that of the career legacy of those who preceded him. ESPN has a tendency to put basketball (no other sport do I see them do this with mind you) and place it in a condensed vacuum of “in the moment” acknowledgment instead of the often revisited historical significance to that of a sport like Major League Baseball. The great lengths by which they go to eradicate the archives is beyond an abomination. It is then that we have these unprecedented debates that ask “Who is better, Michael Jordan or Lebron James?” that forces me to scratch the remaining hair follicles of my scalp. Of course my “pistivity” level rises higher than mercury on a hot August summer, as I declare: “How dare they let Robin tug on Superman’s cape?”. Lebron James with all of his accomplishments, leaves the conversation of comparison once you bring up two digits, 6 and 0. That is Michael Jordan’s win to loss ratio in the NBA Finals. Lebron’s record; 2 and 2. Lebron James completely leaves the room of comparison once you consider the level of competition Michael faced on his way to the mountain top. That competition consisted of Hall of Fame players who cut their teeth into the record books of NBA history. Lebron, faces inferior talent, with the exception of the San Antonio Spurs, and has barely been able to get past that inferior talent without what many believe are favorable calls and theatrical flopping. Once we talk about the rule changes in the game that have taken away hand checking from a defender, then it puts an even greater damper on Lebron’s legacy, because technically it renders his defenders merciless. Yet we find ourselves debating whether Lebron is better than an emerging star like Kevin Durant. During the era of Michael Jordan, the distance between him and the second best player was the Grand Canyon and not a small river. But is that not what “Greatness” is? Is greatness not so vast that it’s never questioned, only solidified while we witness it happening right before our eyes? Bill Russell’s greatness was never questioned because he earned eleven NBA Championships. Magic Johnson solidified his greatness as a rookie, capturing a title while playing center for the Los Angeles Lakers. Kareem Abdul Jabbar captured six rings and remains as the all time NBA scoring leader. Larry Bird won three NBA Championships and would forever revolutionize that term “clutch performer” in the NBA. Not to be forgotten as it pertains to Michael Jordan, is the microscope he played under night after night off and on the court; and as expectations rose, so did his level of performance. It perturbs me that entitlement has usurped accomplishment, rendering it to a meaningless asterisk disclaimer. This generation of fandom and reporters are doing a disservice to a storied league whose pride use to far exceed its marketing perceptions. The term “greatness” is being tossed around like a summer frisbee, landing in the mouth of any mutt reporter who is willing to put personal likes ahead of actual facts. You cannot rewrite history in order to satisfy a network’s promotional rating. More importantly you cannot fly alongside side Superman, when you have yet to even leave The Batcave. #stick to the facts

Movie In Review: Fruitvale Station

Posted in Movies & Television with tags , on February 9, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

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It is hard to separate the empathetic emotions that a person of African-American decent will have for this film, therefore I will not attempt to thwart the transparent heart-strings that I will attach to this film review. Albeit we have had a recent slew of African-American films such as The Butler and 12 Years A Slave; somehow Fruitvale Station resonates with me more than those other films. Now I love the value of histrionics as it relates to heritage, cultural preservation and ancestral lineage; however it is often the less glamorous story in its most simplistic form that generates an even greater impact more, so than that of an epic tale. Empathy has always been a great presenter, even when faced with an audience filled with apathy. It generates a certain reverence that is hard to ignore, especially when one can conclude that: “This could have happened to me”. Fruitvale Station has won several awards at both The Sundance Film Festival (Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic Film) and The Cannes Film Festival (Best First Film). Upon first glance, I truly did not get enthralled in what appeared to be a plot headed to places unknown. I knew very little about this film, other than hearing that it was highly acclaimed and that there was an Oscar buzz surrounding the film. Little did I know that the true “Oscar” as it pertains to this film, is the true story of Oscar Grant III, portrayed brilliantly by actor Michael B. Jordan. The film recounts the last day in the life of Oscar Grant III. A day that will forever change the landscape of the Fruitvale Train Station and the community of Oakland California. This movie will capture your heart, as well as, your conscious mind. I absolutely recommend that rent this film immediately.

America on Coke (Cola)

Posted in News with tags , on February 3, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

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“O beautiful for Pilgrims’ feet, whose stem impassioned stress, A thoroughfare for freedom beat”. The excerpt preceding this statement is a line from the song America The Beautiful. Albeit the Star Spangled Banner is America’s designated National Anthem, America The Beautiful still holds a certain credence in the hearts of many Americans as it pertains to nationalism. I for one, always enjoyed the rendition that was sung by the late Ray Charles. It’s lyrics seems to embody the true spirit that is the so called “American Way”. A spirit that is often summed up by the age-old cliche of “it’s about as American as apple pie”. But I tend to ask; “What is the American Way?” and “What makes America so beautiful?”. When examining some of the language utilized in the fore mentioned excerpt, I concentrated on three key words: “Pilgrims”, “Thoroughfare” and “Freedom”. We are pretty much assured that the “Pilgrims” mentioned within the confines of the lyrical arrangement is in reference to the English settlers who established a colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. The word “Freedom” at the core of its most translative state means to liberate. This leads us to the word “Thoroughfare”. Thoroughfare is defined as: “A road or path forming a route between two places”. So if we were to conjunctively place the three keywords of my focal point together in the order transcribed in the lyrical line above, it would read as follows: “Pilgrims who traveled from one place to another in order to gain freedom”. If my interpretation can be considered valid, then one could surmise that America The Beautiful is celebrating those who traveled to this very country in order to seek the freedoms associated with the “spacious skies”, the “waves of grain” and “the purple mountain majesties”. Some experts believe that the English settlers of 1620, were actually seeking religious freedom and decided to leave their country to find asylum on these very soils as alluded to in the song. America, in all of its splendor and all of its democratic glory, has always opened its borders to the world at large. This country has accepted the religious outcasts, the human traffickers and dare I say those who were demonic enough to murder and annihilate cultures. But is this not the American way? Is this not what makes America beautiful? America has always welcomed everyone into the confines of its borders in spite of their resumes or their cultural beliefs. America was in fact built on the strong backs of foreign labor/immigration. Apparently the research department at Coca Cola realized that America was a melting pot of inclusion as opposed to exclusion. Perhaps this is why their Super Bowl commercial went the route of showing the multinational and multicultural kaleidoscope that is America, while America The Beautiful was being sung in different languages in the background. The out-pour of rage that permeated over this ad campaign, all but solidifies the lack of education and intellectual advancement in this country as a whole. This sense of entitlement by those suggesting they own rights to this country from a hereditary misconception, all but provides ammunition that the fear of their own extinction on the casting ladder is at the forefront of their thinking, as humanity dies on the table of what was once known as democracy. Terminology such as “they have taken over”, “they are over-populating us” and “they should learn to speak English” were all applicable to the ancestral forefathers who are often alluded to or referenced to by those who are in opposition of companies or concepts that suggest inclusion. What if the Native Americans, who took in those same Pilgrims, had pontificated those same statements? How many of those who oppose this ad would even be here to speak with such fervent ignorance? America is beautiful because of its patchwork of citizens whose ancestors traveled a great distance for freedom and opportunity. This is the American way, as we are the land of opportunity and dare I add, the land of second chances. What brings the ignorance full circle is the fact that exclusion is the rallying call of those who are standing up for this supposed sacred song, when in fact the person who wrote the song would probably endorse inclusion. Her name was Katharine Lee Bates and she was gay. #America-America