New Kings!

Video

This video shows wealth distribution in America. I praise the hard work and design of this video. What the video really shows is that we have returned to an earlier era. There are kings constructing a pseudo-feudalism regime, relating to manorialism. We’re the serfs fighting to be lords, who will hope to hang with the kings. These new kings don’t rule or run countries per se, but they run the most powerful of operations, including having extreme influence over the government for a corporate purpose. We are killing ourselves for the benefit of an entity.

Happy Corporate Thanksgiving

I’m not a traditionalist. Things change. And things changing is a good thing. The fact that businesses are not revering Thanksgiving anymore, by operating on that day, speaks to the fact that we Americans revere money and spending it much more…we want the material things much more. It’s not like some Corporation just up and said, “no turkey on Thanksgiving. Go shopping!” No. People who work for the corporations set out a business plan, and crunched the numbers and decided to set it in motion, based on understanding what the people really want. What sucks is that the retailers have to have employees operating the stores. It sucks for the people who have to work. It sucks for the people who lose a holiday, while those who keep their holiday can go and shop or go out like they want to on Thanksgiving. The people spoke with their wallets and desires. I love when broadcasters or interviewers ask their athletic NBA or NFL subjects if they mind playing on such a holiday. Like, doesn’t suck losing your holiday? Pose that question to yourself, given that person is also working. But athletes have the advantage to say that they love it, they grew up wanting to be on the biggest stage ever and that it’s a blessing. They do it with a handsome salary doing what they love. Sadly, people working at wal-mart aren’t in love with their jobs or their pay.

But, we are different…our culture has changed. Traditions change as the culture changes. We don’t need to pool our harvest together in a cornucopia and eat one major fest to celebrate the season. No! We have grocery stores and fast food, and a plethora of fine restaurants to eat at, at any given moment. Thanksgiving isn’t what it used to be because people who work at corporations fucked it up. No, the Times changed. People who work, want to use their off days to get shit done that they can’t when they are working 9-5 and commenting to and from work, while having to pick up kids and take them to their tutors or soccer practice, or all the many things we do around working and school. Thanksgiving is a day off, and day try don’t want to spend over a stove and cleaning dishes. We want to spend that time with friends–maybe family–and being social. Essentially, we have spoken. We have said we would rather be shopping on Thanksgiving and being out and running errands then sitting around the table.

Our tradition has changed. Happy Thanksgiving!

The Thing about Cages

We don’t cage the animals, like livestock although we may fence them. Livestock are not considered a treat. It’s analogous to how we treat people. We cage the potentially fierce like lions, tigers, gorillas, sharks, killer whales, and other “majestic” species you can think of (the aforementioned are not equivalent to those in jail). It’s our own human limitations that make us want to limit the special among us. It’s our selfishness, fear, and insecurity that makes us want to capture them. Then view them in awe. It’s our selfishness wrapped in fear that makes us want to tame and keep these living beings hostage. We keep these animals from maintaining a balance and expressing their freedoms. Us humans foolishly, also ironically, believe that holding back is the best way to move forward. And we cage the greatest or special humans as well.

The most fierce of humans are kept in control–or caged. Not speaking to the dangerous of us that are in jail, but there are many people who found themselves in jail–innocently–as a way to keep them under control, see Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you are special, you better watch out. People will gang-up on you, and try to control you or cage you. People are rewarded for not being a treat to others’ egos or goal-reaching, even though they are supremely mediocre. So for those tigers of men who can out run, swim, climb, think, dedicate their passion to something, you must be careful. Be careful not to end up caged, while having your ability of expression which could manifest in awesome change for the world be stifled or shutdown.

The Correlation of Gentrification to the Deterioration of College Basketball

After watching the two “best players” in the country play last night (Kansas v. Duke) in Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, I came to a couple of conclusions: 1) Parker is head and shoulders better than Andrew Wiggins as a basketball player even though Kansas came away with the win; and  2) There was a time when most basketball players looked like both of them at the Collegiate NCAA Division-I level. Prior to the Duke-Kansas game, the now defeated #1 Kentucky with their 5-Freshman starters (who could not compete with the Fab 5) played against and lost to #2 Michigan State. Michigan State has better guard play, but Kentucky has terrible guard play. The star to watch in that game was Julius Randle. These guys are good, but I have to imagine that there are some other guys out there that have more potential, and more game. Basketball was a mean sport, just watch the Fab 5 documentary or Hoop Dreams. Now, bball is a cushy ass sport where all the kids have the coolest apparel and everything is done for them. 

Additionally, guard play is lacking in college basketball. It probably has more to do with the hype machine than the talent existing, which is why mid-majors are dominating the NCAA tournament these days. But the lackluster guard-play stems from the fact that players lack the concept of playing basketball a certain type of way. Now, these kids are very athletic and come with all the requisite skills, if not more skills than many of their predecessors, but they just don’t have the same approach to the game, in a package that made American basketball so competitive.

Basketball is no longer a playground game. It’s no longer a fight to the top sport. Too many players are ushered to the front door. It’s no longer an art. It’s no longer in the hands of the inner city kid who infuses his life-style struggles into the game. These players are no longer getting the grit necessary to compete in a tremendous fashion. They are no longer getting the swagger that birthed as a result of having to play a certain style of basketball on the playground or in the rec centers. The reason why?? Black families have been displaced into un-concentrated areas, which has had an effect on the talent pool. For example, Washington, D.C has a plethora of charter schools all across the area, which diffuses a concentration of basketball and other talent. Kids aren’t seeing the best of the best in their own schools. Not to mention the fact that black people are no longer the majority in Washington, D.C.; thus, basketball is no longer the gritty DC city game it was in the 80s and 90s, when black people comprised most of the population in DC. The 80s and 90s are the years in which the current college stars were in diapers. They didn’t get to see streetball at it’s rawest. 

Look to Brooklyn, NY for the effect of gentrification, and you will see that talent is not what it used to be. Plus, there is such an attack on athletics being a means to express one’s self passionately because of the fear that it’s alluring to have young black men think it is a way out of poverty. But kids are made known too soon of the odds being greatly against them, deterring them from trying. So inner city kids don’t play. Instead, black children are looking to computers, tv, and rapping as better options, all while keeping them from competing on the basketball courts and other sports.

Sports in general may be a financial bubble that bursts, which will definitely change the future landscape of talent. But, hopefully people will play just to play, as opposed to hoping they can make a lucrative career out of it. Kids will start playing against each other for their reputations as opposed to playing for their trainers and coaches in hopes that they can be the next great talent. 

 

Diabetes diagnoses increasing at alarming rate

The Chart

The odds are increasing that you or someone you know has Type 2 diabetes. The latest Morbidity and Mortality report (MMWR) released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that from 1995 to 2010, there was at least a 100% increase in the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes cases in 18 states. Forty-two states saw an increase of at least 50%.

“Even when you know that [the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes] is increasing, to see that level of increase was shocking to me,” says Linda Geiss, a statistician with CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation and the lead author of the MMWR.

“It was the 100% figure. 100% – that’s a large increase.”

Predictably, states in the South where obesity levels have also steadily increased had some of the highest increases in diabetes. Oklahoma topped the list with an increase of 226%, followed by Kentucky with 158%, Georgia with 145%, Alabama…

View original post 160 more words

We Are Dying for Motivation

Video

In an American where you can’t afford the basics like food, housing, clothing, healthcare, retirement, education (without paying for it forever), and the list goes on, you’ll find the market for great inspiration increases. Why keep pushing? Do you need to look into your child’s eyes? We’d kill for them–right?

Where opportunity is not knocking, or where chances to show your worth are thwarted by systemic problems of society like “who you know” being more value than “what you know,” killing the theory of merit, we’re left looking for inspiration to keep pushing against the odds.

Keep dreaming and keep working, America. Don’t quit in this increasingly difficult world to live with a decent foundation.

The power is within us.

Concept of God through Sports

I don’t have to look further than my athletic experience or other people participating in sports to help me understand bigger life conundrums or know that a “higher power” does exist. I know there to be a God/Gods/God-like-force in the universe and functioning this planet because of the miracles I’ve witness in watching sports and playing sports. As athletes, we are like living physics problems; we are also like artists. But, sometimes when art and science can’t fill that gap, we have to turn to something else. Thus, I found myself transfixed at times seeing or feeling the presence of God in what I was doing or watching in rarefied moments, because it was unexplainable without such. You could make the argument that “science just hasn’t come far enough yet.” But, we will never be able to explain our existence as it is, purpose, and all the questions that start with why.

My concept of God isn’t associated with any one religion, but more so a collection of many religions. God is availed everywhere as like an energy in the atmosphere, especially in times when science or probability leave us stupefied. For example: when that hockey, basketball, lacrosse, or billiard ball player makes a miraculous shot, that can’t be duplicated because of the perfect alignment of “the planets” if you will, to allow for that triumph for that team or person in that very moment, while simultaneously creating joy in others watching; and the associated pain for the opposition, to learn from that experience. Giving them the chance to bounce back and appreciate their next win or success (moral victory) more deeply. That has to be something greater than coincidence or luck or misfortune depending on which side of the equation you are on. People often time wonder why a God, would focus on sports. 1) I don’t think it is right to personify God; but 2) why wouldn’t God work in sports as with the rest of life since it is a part of life just the same; also 3) There is so much attention in the sports world, if God were to want to send a message, why wouldn’t “he/she/it” want to express their powers there? But again, God is something else that’s everywhere, all the time, drawing on our energy as we get it back from that energy.

God is that presence when two cars collide, but no one is injured, because of the occurrence as it unfolded allowed one or both people to defy the odds of incurring pain. God was there when the vehicles were being designed to be safer. There is video of a person being perfectly spit out of his car as it rolled over, landing him on his feet, with pure bewilderment on his face, as his car went on to get thrashed. (Wish I could find it to link it. But this is good enough.) God is that presence which allows a surgeon to have the focus, skill, and ingenuity to combine correctly to help save a life in the most delicate or intricate of situations. Or,  it’s where the Internal Medicine doctor that has been sleep deprived, is still able to go through the memory bank and combine that knowledge with a unique perspective to allow them to treat a ailing patient, ailing from a little known problem, as glorified in the television show House.

Sadly, car accidents, or when other less than fortunate events take place that have a tragic outcome also leave us questioning the presence or existence of God. “Why me?” we wonder with pain and agony. And I don’t know!

Even when I fail in the future, or when I have failed in the past; or experience other unfortunate occurrences, I know I have to remain steadfast in my work ethic, while hopeful, as I keep trying to create a time when things materialize as I dreamed them. If and when it happens, it is bigger than me or you, the individual, but a sum of effort, the procedure or steps taken, probability of success, and good fortune working in our favor. We can only take responsibility for so much when things go wrong just as when things manifest as desired.

In athletics, especially a team-sport, players and coaches analyze what could’ve been done better or differently, often times resulting in a player being held accountable. An awesome and most pure approach is that the team outcome is the accumulation of many events not to be blamed on one person; or allow one person to have all the glory. But, too often, we see players feeling the pressure or accepting the blame for a loss, when there were many players out there on the field or court. But what about when a player drops a pass only he could’ve caught to win the game, or miss a shot only he had the opportunity to make? It becomes very absolute then. Either it went well or it didn’t. Was it fear of failing or fear of success, lack of talent, or something bigger? But one thing is true: there is another time to get it right…unless that was the last. Hopefully we aren’t experiencing the last one, but you never know when it is or the next to last one. Just give it your all and be thankful for every experience. And understand that there are other venues for the expression of talent to create success or happiness.

In my estimation, Athletics are a microcosm of life in its entirety. And athletes have a very direct connection to the physical and incalculable energy that exists in the world. It’s why I love my sport of choice and was so sad when I didn’t have the opportunity to continue it at the highest level. But, I’ve found peace in that I can still play the game and still feel that connection.

Now, I’m moving forward with what I have learned from the game and those lessons have been priceless for me in the non-sport world. I also can better appreciate that there is something greater working its show too.

Merging Art and Commerce

Merging one’s art or craft with the ability to allow it to make money is a formula that eludes many–no matter the field of specialty. Whether you’re a rapper, actor, doctor, engineer, researcher, writer, or wedding planner; and the list goes on, you have to find a way to have your craft earn money, so long as it is more than a hobby. Art takes many shapes, but being financially successful from that artistry has proven to be more difficult than participating and making great art work. So what do you do? 1) Make phenomenal work; 2) Produce it in such a way that it can help generate a living–or empire (no limits), and 3) Publicize your work through promotion. 

Turning a dream into an idea that manifests itself in some tangible form, or medium of expression, that then can be replicated or reproduced enough to get into the hands of numerous consumers, has to be an awesome and exhilarating experience. Marketing, people relationships, and constant activity is the requirement for such realization. Such is the effort one may make into the realm of art itself. That effort in artistry should match the effort in marketing it.