Get Your Behind Off That Cross!


So for the first Sunday of Lent, my girlfriend and I decided to go to a Catholic service. Not that I'm Catholic at all. Nor would I ever consider it. Mainly because there's far too much movement! Stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, kneel, stand up, sing, kneel, make the sign of the cross, and shake it all about. It's like a Biblical version of Simon Says. Then after all that, you have to get in the blessing welfare line and everyone gets fed a wafer by the same Parkinson's ridden hand that has shaken across everyone else's tongue. Lastly, wash the cracker down with with a pimp cup full of grape juice, seasoned with everyone's mustache hairs (male and female) and backwash.

Thank you JESUS!!!

As the Priest gave his sermon - part of which was dedicated to telling the congregation that he made a mistake and ate meat on the previous Friday - my attention faded in and out.

"Hey what's that spot on my shoe?"

"I wonder what time America's Funniest videos comes on."

"Are Ben Vereen and Usher really related?"

"Captain Kirk vs Indiana Jones in a cage match...hmmm!"

So finally the preacher man mentions something about praying for that man on the cross. It wasn't too long before I realized that he wasn't talking about Jesus. He was literally talking about the man on top of the Cross on the Korean church a few doors down. And unfortunately, I don't think he spoke Korean, so they did a terrible job at coaxing him down. Maybe they could've invited him to Hymnal Karaoke!

After the service was over, everyone walked outside, kids in their arms, to the taped off street, filled with fire trucks, police cars, ladders, and even a giant air mattress in case homeboy slipped and tumbled acrobatically onto La Brea Blvd. Upon further gaze, I realized, "oh my goodness! he's naked!" And that's when my camera came out. It was just too weird at that point to not capture. The guy was restless, probably because it was actually a HOT day and he didn't plan to be sitting on hot metal. It was also obvious that he wasn't gonna jump. At least I hoped that was the case. I later learned that the marks on the Cross, were not from the weather, or from time... no my friends, it was actually from this In-Word's ass. The guy smeared feces on the Cross. That is some serious shit.

Anyway, I didn't really have any positive twist on this one. (I literally LOL'ed as I typed that). But the next day I saw Shatner's Raw Nerve, where Bill interviewed Drew Carey. GREAT interview. It really reminded me once again that we all have problems, and stresses, and things that haven't gone right in our lives. And that we all have greatness beyond our imagination within us. There is no formula. It's not that some people have it and some people don't. Drew Carey hadn't even performed stand up until he was 29. He was raised by a single mom, and his dad died at a young age. He admittedly had low self esteem for most of his life and talked about how he was often happier when he failed at things. He was waiting tables, and had gotten fired or quit almost every other job he had. And finally he got in a big ol' shout-fight at the last restaurant he worked in - and of course got fired.

Later, he responded to an ad out of desperation to write jokes for some schmo at 50 bucks a pop. He had never been funny nor creative, but he needed a job. So he went and met the guy, went to the library and checked out a book called "how to write jokes" and went on to become the Drew Carey we all know and love. Since then he has become such a deeply spiritual person.

The long, drawn out point I'm making is this: I have no idea what this guy's "statement" was, or his reasons. Plus who am I to judge? But given his demeanor and his actions , I'd say that he felt the need to express something that he just simply couldn't, or didn't want to get over. I personally think that there's a certain duty we all have to find our greatness. It can come from any one, any where, and at any time. We all come to many cross roads in our lives. Shit happens. Just ask that guy on the Cross (either one of them). We have to make a choice. Either we find the God within us to overcome obstacles and difficulties, or we crumble beneath their weight. And no weight is worth losing your divine connection.

ps... I love the caption on the Getty flag in the photo: "Captured Emotions"

peace and booty grease (not on a Cross)


The Chris Brown Beat Down

"I'll beat you with my umbrella... ella... ella... eh!"

Wow. I really wasn't gonna touch on this one. But somebody's gotta stand up for the lil' dancin' machine. I mean, considering I have both of his records. Now he has one of his own. ZING!

But seriously, before everybody goes all willy nilly on the dude, let's take a few things into consideration. YES, it was extremely dumb what he did. IF he did it (at this point, it's still an allegation). But assuming he did do it, yes it was dumb. Almost dumber than those Wrigley's commercials. I mean who really dances around with a pack of gum? But beating up your celebrity girlfriend on the night of the music industry's biggest event takes the stupidity cake. But it also goes to show that he has an incredibly uncontrollable problem.

The first thing I did when I heard the rumors of the rumors, was google "Chris Brown Abuse." The very first thing I saw was an article from 2007 where he opened up about how he and his mom suffered abuse from the time he was 6 years old till he was 13. He was even big enough to talk about the affect it had on him and how he deals with women. So instantly I felt a little more empathy for the guy. Then you have to keep in mind, that he's only 19. He's been performing big time since he was 15 or so. I know there was a lot of crap I didn't deal with when I was 19, that came to fruition recently! Let alone to be all over the world, living a surreal life, free of dealing with certain things. I mean I didn't haul off and bite my girlfriend in a Lamborghini or anything, but definitely some things needed to be addressed.

My parents were married for 16 years. I came along in the 17th. Yep, I'm "the let's do it one more time" baby. Reason for divorce? Domestic violence. Luckily I didn't grow up with it, but since my brother and sister are 12 and 13 years older than me, I can see the affect it's had on them. I can only recall one long term relationship that my sister has been in - which has been over for 15 some odd years. And my brother, who seemingly buries himself in work, just went through his second divorce a few years ago. For the record, neither one of them has been abusive or abused to my knowledge.

And yes, we all have our baggage, and difficulties. The key is in how and when we deal with it, or even recognizing the fact that we need to. I can definitely say that my familial relationships have formed the person who stands before you today. The good, the bad, the ugly. And for Chris Brown, it shole is ugly. Hopefully for him, this is that moment we all come to, where everything is stripped away from us, only to reveal how fragile and misguided we actually are. It's at that moment we're forced to see ourselves naked. Not butt ass, 3D porno naked, but emotionally naked. There's always that one traumatic incident as we enter adulthood that forces us to either grow or crumble.

(Side Note: I just got an email from someone who's signature was their initials, "BJ." It's unfortunate that I have the mind of a 5th grader sometimes. BJ should avoid the subliminal and stick to their real name! Same for people with the nickname, Dick.)

Wayne Dyer does a great job of likening our emotional state to an orange. To paraphrase, he basically says that if you squeeze an orange, what comes out? Orange Juice. If you apply similar life pressure to human being, the only thing that can come out of us, it's what's in us already. If we're filled with anger, then that's what comes out. If we're filled with love, or jealousy, or loneliness... you get the gist. So our job is to fill ourselves with as much love as possible. With love, you can surpass any obstacle confidently and efficiently. The transformation can be difficult, but well worth it.

Anyway, I truly wish Chris Brown, and others the best. This is not the time to scold him, but to hold him. No I'm not gay for the guy, but I do feel for him. All the Browns actually... Chris Brown, Bobby Brown, James Brown..... what is it with these guys?

Let's end with a tasteless joke, shall we?

What do you tell a woman with two black eyes?

Nothing. You already told her twice.

Peace, and knuckle grease!


Those Orientals Sure Do Love Karaoke!

I once dated a Filipina who insisted on dragging me to Karaoke one night with all her friends. Needless to say, the night ended with a heated argument, a few four letter words, and now somewhere in the world is a 2nd class VHS video of me doing a rendition of "Kiss" by Prince. Needless to say, that relationship is long gone. But at least I was a little better than this guy:

Unfortunately, (but fortunately for the sake of a good laugh) this video got me thinking on all sorts of stereotypes. And as much as we hate to admit it, MOST OF THEM ARE TRUE!!! How else does the public come to believe that the majority of people from a certain race or region are all the same? Now don't get me wrong, there's a huge difference between a stereotype and a slur. Saying something like "You big lipped porch monkey" is one thing - and could probably get your face all River Danced up. But something like, "Minh outscored his class again on his math test. Go Figure." is certainly something to take at pi face value.

So let's start there - with the Asian community and work our way up, shall we? Please keep in mind that most of my closest friends are Asian... well... one.

Asians know Karate and Acrobatics. True. Nothing proved this more than the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. If they didn't remind you of your favorite kung fu flick, set to music, then I have 4 balls. (I only have 3). How else do they get all those extras with swords and flying kicks in those epic battle scenes? Thanks John Woo.

Old People Are Angry. Kinda True. The thing about old people is the one thing they've learned in all these years is patience. Life has gone on way longer than they expected so they're pretty chill. They've beaten the war, the disease, sent their kids away, and love oatmeal. But have you ever seen an old person get pushed to the edge? Oh boy, watch out! And it's usually over nothing. There is nothing better than a good, old fashioned, old-man cuss out. "You gotdamn eggheads! I told you three times to stay off my grass." It's basically Gran Torino without the racism.

Black People Love Fried Chicken. True and YUMMMM-MY! Shout out to Ralph's grocery store. Now Dave Chappelle once said that "If you don't like fried chicken, then there's something wrong with YOU!" I agree. But for some reason, we're pretty much the last ones left.

Black People Are Lazy. Hmmmm... True. (case in point, I've been wanting to write this blog for weeks) I laugh as I type this because I'm always the first person to leave work. Which if you ever give anyone Black extra time off work, they're the first ones gone! Watch Barack on President's day. He will be nowhere in sight. As funny as that is, I honestly leave early because I pick up my kid everyday from school. And since I'm not married, nor do I have a wife, or live with her mom, I guess that makes me a "baby daddy"... apparently I'm digging a deeper hole here than planned. Wait, I wouldn't dig a hole, I'm lazy.

Mexicans Love Kids. TRUE! Or perhaps I should've said that Mexicans Love TO HAVE kids... and since my daughter is half-one, then I'll go ahead and sign off on that. Trust me, she's invited to a new cousin's birthday party twice a week. And also since I have a half-one, I am determined to break the cycle!

White People Can't Dance. True. The white man of old, with exception of John Travolta, was not blessed with rhythmic ability. White people dancing is sort of like epilepsy set to "Journey." However, now thanks to Darren's Dance Grooves and Red Stripe beer, white people all across the world are gettin' their boogie on. Hooraaaay, White People!

Asians Are Bad Drivers. True and False. The young, Americanized Asian population can handle their own on the streets. Just ask Vin Diesel about Fast and Furious. But if you ever drive through Korea Town during rush hour (not the movie), you'll be wanting to do a little karate of your own. Each car is full of traffic indecision and the each street is filled with the mayhem of the Orient.

English People Have Bad Teeth.
ABSO-FRIKKIN-LUTELY True! Luckily, this is an opportunity for American white people to point the finger at other white people. I know this one is a bit of a stretch since it's a little more biological than stereotypical. Nonetheless, it needs to be said. English teeth look like the WWF Battle Royale cage match of teeth. One pushing here, another flipped over there, one chocking another, a fat one, a skinny one... all with no referee.

I think there's something to be said about embracing our differences, and not taking ourselves so serious all the time. In fact, I think recognizing our faults or idioms or how other people may see us, forces us to step back and see ourselves as individuals within a bigger picture. You start to answer questions like "who am i to people?" Not in a depressed, suicidal way, but more along the lines of understanding how we can affect one another better. How to be of service. How to be a better person each day. How to let go of your negative interpretations on things -- even the ones we don't easily recognize. So give your non dancing, chicken eatin', karate kickin', angry ass, crooked tooth having self a once-over, accept your individuality, and take your place in the world.

and for now, peace and booty grease... (don't ask, just accept it)


So a Guy Doing a Master Cleanse Walks Into a Bar

A few of you have asked me both online and offline how the Master Cleanse was going or panned out. Well kids, I hate to say it, but your dad quit. ("awwwwwww"). Yup. I told the Master Cleanse I was going out to get a pack of cigarettes and never came back. Left with the shirt on my back, a leather jacket, and seven dollars to my name.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't like I quit just because. Or that I simply couldn't take it. Trust me, when you've been to jail twice, or have lived out of your car, you can take pretty much anything! (don't get any funny ideers either). I guess the the biggest lesson I learned with the Master Cleanse is that timing is everything. Unfortunately for me, I attempted this only a few days before my birthday. This one was a special year, my 33rd or "year of the cross" as I was told - and I was having my first birthday party ever as an adult. In my head, I had it all worked out: Fast for 5 or 6 days, relax, look good and feel good on the big day, maybe have some plain pasta and broccoli as a part of my b-day dinner, go home relax, and ease back into regular food.

However, on day 3, I went to go visit a client of mine. A widow, who lives all alone in a big house overlooking the beach. A sweet, sweet woman who's only child had grown up and left the nest. A woman who's college sweetheart-turned-30 year marriage had only died a few years ago. Now prior to visiting her, I told this old bag that I was doing a frikkin Master Cleanse! So what happens when I get there?! She's got a surprise spread all laid out... Sushi, Salad, Beer, and a key lime pie. A KEY LIME PIE!!! All this followed by "I know you're on the diet, but I figured it was your birthday and I wanted to do something nice." Lady, do something nice and listen to what I've been telling you for the past 3 days.

I spent the next 20 minutes contemplating, sweating, peeking at the food from my peripherals, and trying to fill the time gaps with business and small talk. But hey, when the crack and the pipe are there, all shiny and new, and you haven't had a fix in days, you start to think a little differently. No matter what Dr. Drew says. So the pressure then continues with "If you're not gonna eat it, I'll just throw it away. I don't even eat sushi. I figured it's what everybody's eating nowadays so I thought it would be nice..." blah blah blah...

In the end, I really had to evaluate my priorities. Here is this sweet old lady, on the verge of heartbreak out of an effort to be kind. And here I am, in the middle of a cleanse that well, to be frank, I could do at any time. I'm glad I chose to eat it. It really made her day. We talked and laughed and she told story after story form her past. We talked about goals and aspirations... and we tore that pie up till the sun came down over the Pacific. Plus she came to my birthday party!

I talk a lot about fulfilling your purpose, being all positive and stuff, and even gave a bunch of mumbo jumbo about the spiritual benefits of the cleanse. On January 3rd, I realized that a lot of times, better living is also about making the right choices at the right time. Even if it involves a detour. I could've easily stayed buried in my personal goal for the moment. I realized that there are 365 other days in the year for me to choose 7 of to clean my colon; and that this particular day would be better spent showing appreciation for someone else's kindness.

so ha!

Peace and Conk Grease... Detroit red!


Big Ol' Inaugural Balls

So January 20th marks another historical day in U.S. history. Actually, world history. Unless you're catatonic or less than 2 years old, I really don't have to go into who or what Barack Obama is. I find it a great coincidence that he gets sworn in as our president the day after we celebrate Martin Luther King's Birthday. Consecutive celebrations of two American icons on the dawn of a new country. I use the word coincidence deliberately, because we often happen to look at that word as a mishap, or weird accident, or something completely unplanned. However, by definition, the word coincidence insinuates perfection, the idea that two or more ideas have come together at an exact moment in time. In math, when angles coincide, they come together perfectly.

Oddly enough, in numerology, I'm a 3. My girlfriend is a 3. She has 3 brothers. I just celebrated my 33rd birthday 9 days ago (divisible by 3). There were 33 people at my birthday party (At least via my count post-alcohol!). I am my mother's 3rd child. My brother, sister, and me celebrate birthdays that are exactly one month and 9 days apart. My daughter is her mother's 3rd child. Both my dad and my stepmom had 3 kids a-piece when they married each other. They had 3 more kids together. I have 3 nipples. One of them lactates. Martin Luther King was assassinated 30 years before Barack Obama was elected president. Coincidences? Or just plain old spooky? You decide!

Depsite the excitement surrounding the Presidential Inauguration, I've noticed a lot of people look at the country and point out the poor shape it's in. A long-standing war, the dawn of a second depression, record breaking unemployment, people stealing 50 BILLION dollars, selling senate seats and hell, even Ricardo Montalban died! Not Mr. Rourke, Lord! Anybody but Mr. Rourke! Right now, the country is on a strange see-saw state of fear and optimism. I've been pondering which one will take over as our collective consciousness. Because unlike most coincidence, fear and optimism usually don't work well when occupying the same time and space.

In one conversation, someone said to me that they thought within 6 months, the excitement will be lost, and the country will realize that Barack is no longer Spider Man, he's just Peter Parker (pre radio active spider bite, even). In another conversation with the same person they also said that they have seen more start up businesses than they had seen in a long time. Now sure, you can easily argue that people got laid off, so they've started businesses. But nobody just starts a business because they lost their job. They start a business because they have an undying belief that it's the right thing to do and the right time to do it.

That's where Obama comes in to play. What he has become is a symbol of opportunity. The idea that anyone can truly do anything. The idea of collective consciousness states that if enough people believe in something, then our so-called impossibilities are easily surpassed. Les Brown once told a story about how before 1970-something, no one, including scientists thought that a human being could run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Till finally "Joe Runner" comes a long and runs a 3:50-something. He goes on to state that since that time, over 20,000 people have recorded mile times of under 4 minutes. But nobody believed it was even physiologically possible till there was one! Ahston Kutcher recently stated that the economy could be fixed within 3-5 months... if enough people didn't think it was impossible. He's not the only one who's said this. So collective consciousness works both ways, if everyone believes that when you get AIDS or cancer you die, then you die. There's a reason people have beaten both. Also wear a condom and avoid nuclear power plants.

So whether you believe Barack is the guy or not, at least believe in the idea that anything is possible. He very well may not be the guy. Or he may turn out to be the best thing since free internet porn. Either way, be inspired by the fact that the country and the people around you are collectively inspired. Inspired = "In Spirit." We should all try to be in spirit every day. DC will be inundated with 6,000,000 extra people (divisible by 3!) on January 20th. All cheering for change and newness. Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will begin to change. Create your own inspirational experience by just being open to possibility.

Peace and Jheri Curl Grease... on the white house sofa!


Hey! You! F*ck Face!

Eddie Murphy once had a joke about how Bill Cosby called him and told him he needed to stop saying all that "Filth Flarrin Filth." Eddie's response to the intended lesson was "I didn't say no Filth Flarrin Filth." Then he proceeded to end the call with a standard '80's Eddie riff which included "F#@K you!, Kiss my A%#, and Suck my D&^K!" and finally, a dial tone. Poor Jello guy....

A few days ago I started thinking about the things we say. When you break it down, we really are a naturally awkward and disgusting society. So... I've decided to discuss a few of my favorites things we say! Most of this is NC-17, so if you have small children or an old fashioned grandma, you might want to ask them to leave the room.

1.) "Tastes Like Shit." First off, I really need to know who was the first person to say this and how they knew what shit tasted like. I can't imagine a single solitary reason why someone would've actually picked up a turd and tasted it. Let alone compare it to everyday cuisine. I keep picturing a Little House on the Prairie-like log cabin with some cowboy/farmer yelling at his wife's cooking. "This tastes like shit!" But the fact that enough people agreed with this to make it a national treasure means that A LOT more than one or two people had to have tasted shit. I'm sure you've agreed with someone at some party about the pizza with anchovies and pineapples. "You know what? This does taste like shit." So maybe you too, have had the Brown Craving.

2.) "Fuck Face." This is actually one of my favorites. It cracks me up every time. Because if you think about some of the best times you've ever had doing the horizontal mambo, your "it's so good" face was probably a bit like a sad version of Popeye biting his lip and looking into the sun. But that's not the kicker. The kicker is that someone had the wherewithal to turn such a beautiful moment in to an all time favorite insult. "Hey! Fuck Face! You took my parking spot!" Or in a more literal sense, if someones face was actually like that 24-7, you'd be like, "Hey, why does shawn always have fuck face?" And there are some people you'd really not want to imagine their fuck face. Oprah. Donahue. Ozzy Osbourne. Fantasia. Morgan Freeman. Michael Jackson! As an insult, or just for a fun game at the mall... this one's incredible. And the fact that it caught on to become one of our countries favorites, makes it that much better.

3.) "Brain Fart." I mean really? The idea that the your brain has actually farted in the literal sense is pretty disgusting. How this came to be associated with standard errors like typos, Freudian slips, and calling someone by the wrong name is a mystery to me. "Sorry. Brain Fart!" I mean could you imagine? You're in a business meeting, and you're like "...so our 2008 projections include several terriers--" BRRRRNNNNNNT! "oh dear, excuse me! Territories. My dog ran away last week." And the smell of gaseous brain juice could potentially be just as bad as intestinal tract debris.

4.) "...as Hell." Who the hell started comparing things to one of the most feared places in the history of the heavens and the earth? Cold as Hell. Funny as Hell. Dumb as Hell. Good as Hell. Fine as Hell. Ugly as Hell (that one actually makes sense if you've ever been to the corner of Santa Monica and Highland.) First off, Hell is neither of these things. Second, I don't know about you, but I think there has to be a better way to describe a pretty woman than comparing her to Satan's Labyrinth. "Hey baby, you are FINE as where Satan lives!... "yeah, you know, the fiery place where souls are tormented and stripped of all being for infinite eterninty. Yup! That's how fine you are, baby!"

5.) "Asshole." Can you think of a more vile insult?! To compare someone to the dirtiest, darkest, stinkiest, disgusting place on the human body. I mean that's where fudge is made for pete's sake (and where salad is tossed)! I really don't need to say much on this one. But we've come to accept the definition of an Asshole as someone who has total disregard for anyone else. However, I think if I accidentally cut you off on the freeway, I don't deserve to be likened to the ol' Poopy Pothole.

6.) "Cold as a Witches Tit." This one's a little more obscure. But WHO CAME UP WITH THIS?! Again, we've all made weird metaphors and comparisons before. But when one catches on and becomes part of a culture, the idea that enough people bought into this befuddles me. "Hey, Martin. It's cold as a witches tit outside!" Martin comes back in an hour later: "You know what? That is EXACTLY how cold it is outside! You are a GENIUS!" And the breast of a witch of all things? Why is a witches tit cold as compared to any other tit? Did some witch just just leave her big green floppy breast out in the dead of a Russian winter one night while cleaning her cauldron? Or maybe there was topless witch flying around Antarctica on her broom at 90 mph. Who actually felt the witches tit to see if it was cold? Are we talking Wizard of Oz witch, or Sabrina the Teenaged witch, or just some member of a cult. So many questions! It all truly boggles the mind.

7.) "Motherfucker." Wow. Picture your dear old mom. Adorned in her apron and eyeglasses. The woman who carried you for nine-months. The woman who went to all your horrible school plays. Bathed you. Made you that spaghetti that you LOVED. Now picture her naked. Underneath you. In your own bed. Grunting. Maybe even a tear or two. I know, I know... "Woah, In-Word! Slow down!" See, this is all Oedipus' fault. If you don't know who he is, read a book, asshole (see I told you it was overboard). To imply that someone would intentionally (not like unintentionally is any better) have intercourse with their own mother is a pretty deep cut. Some of you may say, "well can't it be someone else's mother?" The answer is no. Then it wouldn't even be an insult. Intercourse with someone else's mother is 100% hi-five-able and makes you cooler than all your friends. MILF vs. Motherfucker, you be the judge.

8.) "A Pot to Piss In." I for one have never seen anyone piss in a pot. Or a bowl. or anything that belonged in a kitchen. Actually I take that back, I once pee'd in the kitchen sink because the bathroom was occupied. But never in something that food goes directly into. Supposedly, this phrase exemplifies how poor someone is. "Can I give you $5? Man, I don't even have a pot to piss in!" You shouldn't have a pot for pissing in, you nasty bastard. You see, there's a huge difference between poor and lazy. How lazy- or poor for that matter - do you have to be to piss in a pot? What if you had to do #2? Then what do you? Dump in doily? Honestly I don't think ANYONE should have a pot to piss in. Does that mean by default I think we should all be broke?! If you're that broke, put your robe on, go outside, and find a bush.

...and the list goes on and on. Maybe I'll even do a part two! But I think the point is words can be CRAZY! Although we've come to accept certain things as part of our culture, and even as funny in the proper context, the things we say can have power beyond measure. This includes even the things we say to ourselves or about ourselves. Say something enough times, it becomes a reality. Whether you planned it or not. Same with thoughts. I once heard a man say simply, "Thoughts become things." Nothing could truer! Someone had to think of a car before you were using it to cut people off on the freeway. Some caveman (or woman) had to think of a wheel before he actually carved one out and started using it. You had to think of what your dream job would be, before you got it. And you probably kept thinking about being broke, when that gig fell through. Have fun with words. Be careful with words. Use them wisely.

More on crazy words

Until next time! Peace and Hair Grease (spilled over onto a forehead)


A Few Words on Channing Tatum

I've lived in L.A. for a long time. This place is a Hustler's heaven. A scavenger's oasis. A town where big dreams come to live and die. Families left behind, cars packed to the gills, headed for lights, palm trees, movie stars and checks with a lot of commas in them. Just look around at the license plates. Half the people in L.A. are from some place else. Most of an initial conversation with a person is about where you originally grew up and what happened to you or for you since landing on the west coast. Talk to that same person a year later, and they're headed in a completely different direction- new project, new mate, new apartment, different business, new ideas, new habits... some good, some bad, but different nonetheless.

Back in Detroit, where I'm from, there aren't too many options. You either teach, work for an automaker, a business close to the automakers, or join some sort of stayed family business or trade. Statistically speaking, most of the United States is filled with company men. 10, 15, 20, 30 years strong- on their way to the gold watch and the pension plan. So when people who are born and raised in environments like this decide to leave and head to the Sunshine State, they are looked at as oddities. A freak show filled with taboo, rebellion, imagination, and talent. No wonder this is the porn capitol of the world.

The life choices we have in L.A. are so vast. And it goes waaay beyond your typical waiter/actor scenario. We in Los Angeles have more slashes on us than a guy covered in goat's blood thrown into a Wolverine hole. I literally know the following slashes: Musician/Marketer/Director/Motivational Speaker, Porn Star/Massage Therapist/Author, Singer/Writer/Project Manager, Film Festival Director/Radio Host/Bodybuilder (female), Publicist/Mortgage Loan Officer, Magician/Bodyguard, Development Director/Baker/Playwright, Apartment Manager/Club Promoter, Writer/Babysitter, CEO/World Kickboxing Champ, Lawyer/Producer/CEO/Writer, Office Temp/Clothing Designer/Music Producer, and one of my personal favorites, Pastor/Fashion Designer/Ladies Man (self proclaimed). And that's only 13 people. And if you read my first entry, you know I've had more positions than a contortionist's orgy.

But that's the thing about LA. The way the industry is all topsy turvy, you've got to find other means of operating. You need to explore other skill sets. You have to have a full-circle lifestyle in order to jump the hurdles that may come your way. Left brain, right brain, creative, business, the LA Hustler needs it all. Companies fold (the recession is nothing out here!), projects fall through, people overdose, dates get pushed, priorities shift-- this kinda shit doesn't happen at Ihop. In the end, all of this leads me to Channing Tatum (or Ihop, now that I think of it. I'm HONGRY!). Here is a guy I've hated on for years. Mainly because of his talent and versatility, but also because all my former girlfriends have been attracted to him. And yes, I can think of better examples, but the thing about Channing is that he sneaks up on you. You see a Will Smith movie, you know there's either gonna be some crying, sweating, or yelling. You see a Tom Cruise movie, you know there's gonna be some outlandish moment or stunt (or if you even just saw him on Oprah). You watch a Jack Black movie, you know at some point there's gonna be a tuck and roll followed by an air guitar.

With Channing, you just never know! Here's a dude who gave us motor cross, he gave us soccer, he gave us proper dancing, he gave us hip hop, basketball, soldiery (is that a word?), fighting, and now he's going to be giving us GI JOE! Now on the surface it seems simple. You may say, "aww, In-Word, please... that's just acting!" But you have to give actors credit. Well, you have to give good actors credit. What they go through to encompass a character or a role, and present believably to an audience is incredible. He's been urban, he's suburban, he's been the highschool heart throb, he's been the tough guy, he's been the punk, and we aren't talking movies that went straight to the mom and pop shop.

I think that in LA, as well as the rest of the world, we all play a different roles everyday. Some of you may be reading this during a break at work, or at a coffee shop and later you'll go be a parent, or a soldier, or a softball teammate, or a date, or a member of a strange cult, or even arrested. Often times we become victims of the pressure and demands of these roles and start to define our lives by these experiences. I think these roles don't define our lives or who we are, they are only the experiences of the person we are at the core. Life itself is a collection of experiences. We are human beings experiencing life. At the center of that is the person we were, are, and will always be. We're connected through our experiences. The people we work with, the person who cut us off on freeway, our friends, family, the first person we kissed. But we are not connected to our experiences. We're connected to our creator. And each experience is a touch of creation.

Channing will always be Channing. Whether he's in a rodeo, or break dancing, or flying a helicopter, in each role he gives his all. You will always be you, whether you're a baker, a writer, a singer, a gymnast, a friend, an accountant. Embrace your experiences, enjoy life, and give your all. It only gets better.

Peace and Wave Grease! (get em spinnin!)


Jobs a Black Man Should Never Have - Vol 1.

I'll save my Rick Ross as a Prison Guard blog for later... For now there's something terribly serious I'd like to discuss. There's something truly disturbing about a Black person in White-face. And I'm not talking classic Eddie Murphy when he was white for a day on SNL. I'm talking rope yanking, trapped-in-glass, old fashioned pantomime. Yes, I'll admit the look was EXTREMELY cool in Dead Presidents. But two things need to be considered: A.) Those were cool, 1970's, oppressed, leather jacket-wearing, gun-toting, bank-robbing, soul glow Black people. and B.) It wasn't real. Not one single drop. It was a movie.

If you're a grown ass Black man (or woman), and you choose this as your life's work, I then I have to ask simply "what happened?" At what point during your blackness did you see someone pantomiming and say to your self, "Bingo!... I got it!"? I mean, where do you even go to study miming? Athens? Paris? Sure, Black people have been to France before, but not the ones doing it outside the Hollywood Max Museum, or in Times Square. Do you have to be certified? Are there a series of Belts and levels you attain like in Karate? Is there a written exam? Or is it your Grandma saying to herself "What in the world is wrong with this child?" as she watches her 9 year old grandson in the back yard practicing in full mime gear.

For so long, we were ridiculed by white actors in black face, black actors in black face, cartoonish caricatures, the Universal-Soul Circus, and Tommy the Clown. In the year 2009, on the dawn of socio-ethnic change, when we have a Black (half, at least) President, and a song like "Stanky Leg" can top the charts (I don't make this stuff up), I find it hard that an African American can choose pantomime as a profession. Sure, yes, you may say, "This man now has the opportunity to choose his own path!" And to that I say, "Wrong way, brotha!" It's ridiculous.

And dating must be difficult. At one point on a date do you reveal to your potential life mate that you're a mime? I don't think that really comes with a 5-year plan. You're date's all "well right now I work in Marketing, but I think I might try to do more with my floral design business." or "I'm in Law School, I just wanna help people." After she asks you the same question, you can only respond by silently pretending to eat your food that hasn't come yet, fake-sleeping, or breaking out in an unexpected game of charades.

Now, I might be a bit biased, I admit. I dislike all mimes and pretty much have always disliked them. I don't know why, or where that comes from. I do remember being scared of clowns as a young child, but I doubt if my feelings are that deeply rooted. However, in the end, I tolerated them. And some of it was cool during the break dance explosion in the mid eighties, and yes, I was partially exposed to the movement. But that came fully accessorized with Windmills, Ticking, Pop-Locking, the Moonwalk, and an occasional nut-grab. However, when I'm walking down Hollywood Blvd 20 years later, and see a mime, a black mime, who only specializes in Miming, and taking a break for crying out loud (so he's not even miming, he was just doing "normal" stuff!), I have to draw the line. Now that they've begun to turn Black, I feel the need to preserve the purity of the Mime Race. I really have no desire to see mimicked Rap performances, basketball, or failure to pay child support.

Still not convinced? Then maybe this will scare you straight. I'll leave you with the evolution of Black Miming... The African Mumenchantz (insert Evil Laugh)! Until next time, Peace and Hair Grease (topped by do-rag)


What's Grosser Than Gross?

If you guessed a 'baby in a blender' or 'scab sandwich,' you truly are a sick individual, my friend. On January 2nd, I began my first Master Cleanse (http://themastercleanse.org/). And let me tell you, this has been an EXPERIENCE. From the concoctions to the to the detox to the the bathroom mayhem, I've basically discovered that we as human beings are disgusting.

Day 1 was originally supposed to begin on the first of January. Of course that was extremely poor planning on my part. Waking up hungry with a hangover and dehydrated is not the best way to begin cleaning out your system. Especially with the unexplained midget in the bed next to me. After sending him home, I spent the day underneath a blanket, in front of a tv, and grubbing on a 20" bigger-than-you-rims pizza.

So Day 1 actually began on the second day of the year. If you're unfamiliar with the Master Cleanse, I'll break it down for you: Basically for 7-10 days, you consume only a concoction of lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper during the day. A few glasses of water here and there to keep you from shriveling up. Then each night, you enjoy a warm glass of "Smooth Move" tea. And let me tell you, it did NOT in anyway improve my dancing skills or help me out with the ladies. After that, you go to sleep, and wake up with 4 cups of a salt water flush, and then start the process all over again.

The lemon juice cocktail is deliciously disgusting and can lean either way depending how badly you mess up the amount of cayenne pepper. Does anyone else have device that measures 1/10 of a teaspoon (wtf?!)? But by the 2nd day you're pretty much sick of it, no matter how good or bad it is. The smooth move tea, is as you have guessed, is designed to help move your bowels... ahem smoothly. So after having the tea, you go to sleep, exhausted from not eating the whole day(s), and wake up in the morning with an intense physical need to deliver some butt babies.

After heading to the toilet you realize that this isn't an ordinary dump. Mainly denoted by the deep, rich, chocolaty color (and flavor). The odor... Oh, dear God... the odor is somewhat reminiscent of an uncleaned port-a-potty on Day 6 at the State Fair. But you decide to keep it positive. Especially after all the pennies, and chicken bones, and crickets that make their way into the toilet from your intestinal tract. I think I actually found another one of OJ's trophies. After thinking "alriiiight, I'm on my way to healthiness!" Mr. Master Cleanse, (I call it MC and pretend it's Mariah Carey making me do all this, to feel that much better about myself), requires that you partake in gulping down a full 32 ounces of Salt Water. "Sure, anything for you MC!" So after gagging and choking the concoction down, suddenly that road to healthiness takes a detour up shit's creek (pun intended.) Within 30-60 minutes you are back on the toilet for an encore performance. What you thought was a healthy movement is nothing compared to what I've come to describe as "Poup" - a combination of Soup and Poop - the clearish/brownish liquid that comes out with whatever excess was left behind by the tea. And this morning glory becomes your daily routine.

Then, after a few days, you run your tongue along your teeth and you learn a quick lesson in oral hygiene. Chewing actually helps CLEAN your teeth! But since you haven't chewed anything in days, film builds up on your teeth faster than crabs on bedsheets in a brothel (I'll save that story for another blog). So now you've gotta brush and floss even more regularly.

Now I hate to leaving you hanging here, but since I'm not done with this yet, I'll have to fill you in later. However, I will say that I feel great and confident about the process. Now to turn it all around, it is truly a great experience. As your system goes into overdrive to rid itself of toxins coupled with the fact that you're actually tired from not eating, your realize how long it takes for your body to digest the crap (even if you eat fairly healthy) you take in every day. You start to realize how often you think to eat, just to past the time, or to satisfy an unnecessary craving. You start realizing how much money you spend on excess food. You recognize all those extra pit stops on the way home, or the treat from the gas station, or the extra plate at the party.

If you're lucky, you get to do this with a lot of down time, so that your body can rest and you're a little more worry free. Personally, I chose the tail end of my vacation time. On a deeper level, you learn mental and physical discipline. How to take your mind off what you don't have, and focus on what you do have. You start to think about the less fortunate people who don't do this by choice, the ones who are lucky if they even eat once or twice a week. You start to feel different, better even. You learn how to simplify and really assess your true needs, not only in your diet, but in your life.

In a nutshell, I recommend this, or some variation of it, to everyone. Fat or Skinny, broke or rich. Just keep in mind that it's a spiritual journey, and not one to get you back into your 3-piece suit that you wore to Junior Prom. Instead of an intention to lose weight, it should be an intention to change habits and your relationship with food. For years I worked as a personal trainer, and that's the type of advice I would give my clients. I think that should be our goal with anything. Not the quick fix, but long term sense of peace in our lives. Don't pray for a job that gives you more money, pray for a job that truly makes you happy. Don't search for how many people can help you, search for how many people you can help. If you head into things for the wrong reasons, you'll come out with the wrong results. Try to discover reasons bigger than yourself...

sorry this one was super long... butt I'll drop more on you later as things move along...

Until next time, peace and hair grease (I prefer Murray's)


Turn it around, Big Daddy!!!

This is one of my favorite commercials. It's hilarious... and if you know me, anything funny moves me. Secondly it does a great job of making its point and delivering the message.

I've been doing that cheer/dance all week! All he needed was a pair of pom poms and a wig. Ironically, I'm listening to the Kings of Leon album as I'm writing this, which is actually an INCREDIBLE album. Apparently the group, consisting of 3 brothers and a cousin, grew up in the church. Their father, Leon (get it?), was a pretty big deal as a preacher in the church community. The group used to tour with him, and then he got in trouble for being an alcoholic and was kicked out of the church (or left, I can't remember and am too lazy to click on the other tab to do a search). Long story short, they've only been even listening to secular music for 5 years.

So with the commercial, and the album, I got to thinking about my own relationship with my father and my relationship with my daughter as a father and how much of an affect these relationships have on all of us. I've always had this theory that you either turn out to be exactly like your parents or the exact opposite. I for one, am ultra hands-on, affectionate, and attentive... most likely because my Dad wasn't around as much as one would've liked. Not most likely. Definitely. Ironically again, he too is a church leader, (no his name's not Leon, that would just be weird.) and had troubles here and there. Unfortunately I haven't yet made my millions through song, but I'm well on my way thanks to Autotuner! However, I am thankful for my sense of humor because if you ever met him, you'd see that it's all him. I literally still tell jokes he told me when I was 10 years old. Don't worry, I'll spare you the read.

When people ask me if I'm worried about my kid growing up within a split family, my answer is always and very easily "No." Even with the difficulties I experience as a single parent. At the end of the day (don't you hate when people say that), whether you come from a great family, a horrible childhood, a difficult life, won the lottery, or some strange hybrid therein, we all have greatness within us. To doubt that is easy. To believe in it and live it, despite your circumstances or history is the hard part. Oddly enough, we tend to think the opposite; concentrating more on the difficulties than anything else and seeing our lives overall as "difficult." Turn that around... Big Daddy... Make the uphill battle in your life the fight to find your greatness.. It's a fun journey, and just might surpise you in the end.

Marianne Williamson wrote:

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,
but that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others

Peace... you know the rest...