Wednesday, August 30, 2006

*Can't it All Be so Simple!?

This is what I Gotta Know....
Do you remember the days of playing Stick-Ball in the street? Do you remember running through the sprinklers, and getting wet with the water hose? Do you remember hurting your stomach, and scraping your knees on the Slip and Slide…or better yet, not being able to slide all the way down the Slip and Slide cause you veered to the left and ended up on the grass? Do you remember being so excited about the Slip and Slide that you didn’t wait for your parents to wet it, and tried to slide down it anyway….talk about a pink-belly.

As adults, we’ve forgotten the simple things that used to make us happy. Now, it’s all work and no play. The onlyplay we really get to have is either watching our favorite sports program at family and friend get-togethers, or going to the local bar to get sauced-up.

I often dream…’only if the Twilight Zone was real’. Do you remember the part in the Twilight Zone Movie with Scatman Crothers, where he was visiting the old-folks home? It was the part when he showed them the game of ‘kick-the-can’, and they all turned back to kids. Wouldn’t that be cool…if only we could do it for just a little while? I know most of us have children of our own, and can’t take time to play, but sometimes you gotta let your hair down….even us bald guys ;-)

Now-a-days, all we do (well at least me) is work. No fun, no games, no smiles…and with every passing work week, we always start our Monday’s off by saying “hey, how was your weekend?”…patiently waiting for the inevitable “too short” response that we always hear. Funny, huh? It’s always the 'same ol’ $^&%, different day' with us adults. My mom often said “stay a kid as long as you can, cause once you grow up, you can’t go back”…and just like every ignorant kid, I responded with the “I can’t wait to grow up” line. Silly me….I’d pay through the nose to be a Toy’s R Us Kid again.

Those were the days when the biggest decision you had to make was deciding what game you were going to play….hide n’ seek, or hide n’ go get it ;-), or most important of all…what outfit you were going to wear on the first day of school. The only game I play now is, ‘let’s see who can dodge the credit card people’s phone calls the longest’. So sad...

Do you remember Tough-Skins!!? In the 80’s, my best outfits consisted of Tough-Skins, K-Mart shirts, Members Only Jackets, and Pro-Wings. Y’all know what I’m talking about. The craziest part about it was, we were happy to have it. We didn’t care about name brands. All I cared about was the fact that I didn’t have to change into my ‘play-clothes’ when I got home from school, cause my Tough-Skins could handle it. If by some minor miracle, I was able to actually rip a hole into my ‘Skins’, my mom would just sew on another patch, and send my wild butt on. Those were the days.

I know it’s a bunch of y’all reading this nodding your heads and reminiscing about the good ol’ days right now.. Me too, that’s why I had to share my thoughts. As an adult, all I do is count days. How many days left to work this week, and how fast my weekends go by. That sucks! I’m tired of feeling like a robot. It’s like life is a broken record..work work workwork work work. I’m sick of work. I say we all take ONE DAY off from EVERYTHING, and see how good we feel. Actually, we’d probably feel worse because we’ll be a day behind on all the work we had before this crazy idea.

Anyway, I was just chatting with one of my best friends, and his conversation inspired this article. You see, he just went to Fiji, and Belize while I’m stuck here in Orange County….getting excited about going to San Diego. Somebody please put some excitement into the life of the Question Man! ;-) I’m just kidding folks. Within these next 6-months, pay close attention to my documented trips to any, and everywhere! I’m going places baby….will you follow? I’m going to document my life for the world to see. I’m going to start off small, and work my way out of this see-saw country…first you love it, then you hate it. Right now, I love the free enterprise, but I hate the conformists’ ways, but that’s another topic. I’ll save that one for later. In the meantime….WHO HAS AN ANSWER FOR THE QUESTION MAN?


Sunday, August 27, 2006



(READ PT.1 FIRST, to get the FULL story!)

For those of you who know the Question Man, you know that I'm a heavy thinker.....as well as a Big-Time do-it-yourselfer. Before I decided to take my butt to Walmart to purchase a new battery for my bucket, I had to investigate. I had to know the problem for sure (cause batteries just don't die like that...without warning), before I went out and spent my hard-earned dollars on something that I didn't need. It's not that I'm cheap or anything, but for one, I'm on a budget...just as all of us are, and two....I'm frugal....as you can tell from my "To Shine or not to Shine" article.

Upon my investigation, and slicing my finger,
I found that my battery terminals were corroded from here to next Christmas, as well as loose. That explains that radio lights flickering off and on. So, I proceeded to try to tighten them when I stumble across the the real problem. It was the negative battery terminal. Not only was it corroded, but it was broken at the seam. Now it's all starting to make sense....when I was driving (speeding) home, I noticed that whenever I'd hit a hard bump in the road, my radio would flicker. That was the terminal making, and losing the connection .

With me finding the problem, there was only one simple thing to do. Go to Walmart and buy a new terminal...sounds simple right...but this is me we're talking about. My brother, nor my cousin was home, so me walking to Walmart was out of the question. I had to go for the next best thing....walk to Auto Zone, which is a little closer. I strapped on my running shoes, and headed out the door. Now, my shoes are made for running, and I thought about it, but it was 'slave hot' outside, so that wasn't gonna happen....but then again, I ain't no punk!...

where was I....oh yeah, like I was saying, Auto Zone is fine, but there's this one old guy there who tries to be the employee of the month, so any time someone walks into the store, before we can get comfortable, he pops out of nowhere asking as loud as he can "can I help you find something"! The service is good, but let the door close behind me before you start attacking for commission.

Just like a hyper little kid, I have no patience, so I decided to run to Auto Zone, which was ok 'cause I was due for my weekly scheduled workout. As I said earlier, I made it to the store, and made a b-line straight to the parts that I needed. I tried to hurry and pay, (to avoid the old guy) but like Freddy Kruger on Nightmare on Elm Street, he popped out of nowhere..."CAN I HELP YOU FIND SOMETHING!"? Luckily, I already had my stuff, and was ready to leave.

I ran back home and applied my shiny new <--terminal,jumped in the car, turned the key, and the Mighty Dodge started without a jump! Thankfully, I am back in business. I only spent $10 on a new terminal, and some anti-corrosion acid (kids, don't try this at home), and with a little elbow grease, she lives again. Actually, with the new terminal, and newly desolved corrosion, my bucket is running better than before. Hell, this may have fixed the 'turning off when it wants to' problem. I swear, y'all should call me Al Bundy. With all the miles and problems that my Dodge has, no other name will do.

Well, that is all to my continued little story. Hope you enjoyed my trials, and with that being said....sometimes.....DOES THIS STORY WARRANT A POSSIBLE ANSWER FOR THE QUESTION MAN?



So, I decided to take a chance with my piece of $#%& Dodge, and go back to San Diego to my God Son's b-day party. Although I knew my car was in the midst of dying, I still HAD TO GO! That's my God Son's party for crying out loud. Anyway, I hit the road, and made it there in two stinkin' hours....traffic ain't no joke. The party goes well, and he gets more toys than he'll ever need. Everybody's happy, and so the party goes on. All the adults are playing Playstation, watching football, and crowding the propane bar-b-que grill waiting for the next batch of turkey burgers and hot dogs to hit the serving tray.

After we all fill our belly's, I decide to get my car and move it closer to my boys house so I can bring my travel bag inside. My car didn't start...but it was late, so I just said "skip it, I'll get a jump in the morning". So we go inside and turn to UFC-62 to watch The Iceman Chuck Liddell take it to Babba-loo Sobral one more time. Everybody's screaming and cheering as if we were there. They night was great....just as good as the day was....then sleep.

Morning comes, and worried about my bucket, I go down the hill to load my bag, and try to start the car again. Click, click, click.....just like before. I go back inside, and get my main man Jackson to give me a jump. The car starts, and we're all happy. See, we were supposed to go to Sea World with our other best friend Craig Mack and his wife and baby, but sadly, I couldn't go. I had to make sure I could get home as fast as possible to get another battery and make sure nothing else was wrong with my POS, and me leaving at 10a was the best plan to avoid traffic. Truth be told, this is California, and there is ALWAYS traffic!

I hit the road, and my car is acting a little funny, but then again, it's a Dodge so I'm used to it. About 5 minutes into my ride home, the radio goes black.......

and I'm like what the hell? I decide to ignor it, and keep rolling. Two minutes later, the radio lights up again.
Ok, I'm starting to get a little worried here, but I'm not crazy enough to stop. 'Stay on course, and get my butt home' is all I'm thinking. Then, the car jerks, and my dash board lights up like a Christmas Tree! What the $#%! Now, I've got my finger on the panic button. 'Aw man, I've gotta get home'!

I'm on the freeway driving like a bat out of hell! Mario Andretti has NOTHING on me!!! My dash is lit up, my car is jerking, and I refuse to use any electric accessories on the car in order to preserve battery life. At this time, my car is running off the alternator alone...no battery. I'm checking my dash like every 10-seconds, (and saying every prayer known to man) it's getting hot outside, and the air in the car is thick (or maybe I'm just panicing), and I don't want to use the AC. I get tired of rolling in thick dry heat, so I roll the windows down, but with the weak power, or lack there of, of the Mighty Dodge, the car is dragging. I can't take a chance with the weak battery and drag on the car, so up goes the windows.

My family knows, I have allergies. It's hot, thick, the car is jerking (a little), the dash is lit up, and now...here comes the sneezing. Man, what a nightmare! It's funny, but it's not....ya' know. Anyway, I continue on course, and to add insult to injury, I look in my rearview mirror, and here comes the Highway Patrol!! You've got to be kidding me! Talk about having my finger on the panic button. I can't afford to be pulled over, cause if I stop, the car stops. I try to slow down a little without being too obvious. It works, and he blows right past me!
Somebody was looking out for me. I was able to snap a pic though...cause your boy has skills.

Here we are, 30-minutes into my hellish ride home, and all is going somewhat well. Wait, what's this....clusters!

You know, the bunch of people on the fwy who believe that there's safety in numbers. There is about 15-20 cars, with nothing but wide open highway infront of them, and everyone refuses to leave the pack. I'm swerving from left to right trying to make my way through, and cursing worse than sailors at the nudie bar. I'm trying to get through, but I can't slow down cause I don't want the car to stop. I'm tailgaiting like Raiders-fans, and causing bad drivers to panic worse than I am. When I get by some of the bad drivers, all I see is women, and some "men" (if you want to call them that) driving slow as hell, and sitting so close to the steering wheel that if the air bag deployed, it would knock their nipples off :-)

Well, needless to say, your boy made it home thankfully, and now, all I have to do is get a ride to Walmart, pick up a new battery, and get my hands a little greasy so I can make it through another dreadfull week of work. The next time I drag my @$% back to San Diego, you better believe you boy's gonna either have a newer car, or a rental....and with that being said, as always, WHO HAS AN ANSWER FOR THE QUESTION MAN?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

*Is this Real!!??

PhoneCam Magic #1 - The Umbrella

I don't want to make a habit of doing this, but I REALLY Gotta Know.....is the Real or Fake!?!? I LOVE magic and magicians, but I gotta say, this stuff really bugs me out. You gotta love it! Let me know what you think. WHO HAS AN ANSWER FOR THE QUESTION MAN?

Monday, August 21, 2006

*The DON'TS of Social Etiquette pt.1

For this topic, we’re gonna forego the DO’S, and get straight to the DON'TS of Social Etiquette for urban people. As soft, delicate and docile as women are, there often seems to be a few in our world that fuel the neck-rolling “no you didn’ts” that cause so many unsuspecting suburbanites to get that oh-so-famous “beat-down”. Instead of letting you walk into a bed of quicksand, I’m gonna share my wealth of knowledge on this subject with you. There are certain rules that we must follow in order for us live together in this rollercoaster ride called society. Let me break it down, and give it to you as straight as possible.

Number One: This is an absolute rule of thumb. There is no gray-area when it comes to
this particular rule. As a matter of fact, you should get this rule tattooed
on your forehead so you never forget it.
*NEVER CALL A BLACK WOMAN A BITCH, UNLESS YOU’RE READY TO FIGHT! As a matter of fact, it can be any woman. You
just don’t do it…period!That goes for men and women.

Have you ever been in a heated situation or even a joking situation where you called a black woman a bitch? Do you remember her reaction, or is there a blank spot in your recollection of that days’ events (cause you got the #$&% slapped out of you)? I’ve seen some of the most soft spoken women go from Snow White to Medusa
in a matter of seconds. It’s almost scary how fast you can turn a woman against you with a simple word. Now, there are words that you can say to some men that might get our blood boiling, but I’ve never seen anything like a woman’s rage after being called a bitch. I don’t condone men hitting women AT ALL, and I don’t encourage cat-fights (I don’t think women fighting is cute), but if you ever want to see a woman (I don’t care is she’s 5’ tall) try to fight a man, or tumble on the ground with another woman, call her a bitch. That’ll be the last time you say it to her face…..unless you’re ready to fight. There ain’t no joking with that word, so use it cautiously.

Number Two: Never go into a woman’s refrigerator unless you’re family. Even family members have to be cautious with this, but let it be a stranger, or new friend and it’s
on! This is just as bad as calling a woman a bitch, but just on a different
level. A refrigerator is sacred. You just don’t go poking around in some-
one’s goodies like that.

That’s the kind of thing that’ll get you cursed-out
in a quick minute. You just don’t do it. Hell, I haven’t lived with my
momma in years, and because of that, she'll give me a beat-down if I’m caught digging
in her fridge (like I'm a visitor or something).

Number Three: I think this is the ONE right here! This is an absolute no-no. You never,
ever, and I do mean NEVER put your feet on any woman’s couch!

If you do it barefoot, or with your socks on, you may be able to get away with it….for a little while, but I pray for you if you put your dirty shoes on her couch. Man, it is on!
Let me ask you….have you ever been chased around the house by a woman swinging a broom at you….I have. Put your dirty shoes on her couch(especially if she doesn’t have any plastic on it), and see what happens.

A woman’s home is not your kick-it-spot, or flop-house. It’s her place for peace and quiet…a clean place to rest her body after a long day’s work. It’s HER place to put HER feet, and cuddle up with a blanket and a nice book, not yours.

Ultimately, it’s all about respect. Some urban women tend to be a little more verbal when it comes to expressing their feelings about certain things, while some suburban women tend to just let it slide. Damn that, if there’s something wrong, something should be said! The same goes for men too, but it just seems like women have much more to say about these things. You see, for the guys, it’s okay to have a “flop-house” when we’re younger. It’s a place for the fellas to come over and watch the game, or stretch out while we’re chillin’ playing Playstation. A big old fluffy couch is "where it’s at" when it comes to kickin’-it, but try that in your girlfriend, or momma’s house and watch that broom come out with the quickness!

Typically, on any given Sunday, I could go on and on about this topic, but that’s all I’m gonna give you ...for now. I'd rather see what your thoughts are on this. So, in the meantime, post a comment, and a suggestion or story, and stay tuned for THE DON’TS OF SOCIAL ETIQUETTE pt.2
…..and with that being said, as always…WHO HAS AN ANSWER FOR THE QUESTION-MAN?

***This article was inspired by Mike Sheezy***

Friday, August 18, 2006

*As Seen Through My Eyes

For all of you who know me, you know that I don't go anywhere! All I do is work, sit at home (or chill in my local area hot-spots) and take care of the household responsibilities. If it wasn't for my best friend Jackson in SD, I REALLY wouldn't go anywhere. Because of Jackson, and his loving family (my extended family), I wouldn't be able to share this small story with y'all.

Now, I don't want to make a big fuss about this small trip, but like I said before, for those who know me, I don't go anywhere, so this was a much needed break for me.

I tried doing the website business before, which was great (www.fastlifeonline.com), where I/we opted to hire professional photographers to fill our blank spots on our pages, and their work was fantastic, but me, being the big-time do-it-yourselfer, I decided to buy my own digital camera. It's a total amateur camera that I bought refurbished off newegg.com for like $90 bucks, but it is well worth it. Look at these photos.

Two weekends ago, I drove my bucket down to visit my favorite family in SD for my sister-in-law's (baby-momma's) brothers' wedding. The wedding was fantastic (congrats J and R), and I took a bunch of great pics with my amateur camera, and I must say, aside from the reception room being a little too dark for the flash, my camera is the bomb....or maybe I just have skills!!

These are the pics that I took of the wedding set up, and my ride home. Check this out folks. These scenic pics were taken with one hand on the wheel, driving 70+mph on the hwy, looking through a dirty car window, from a distance, with my amateur camera. All I have to say is Kodak is the bomb!!! For all you amateurs out there, who function off a tight budget like me, the Kodak C330 EasyShare is the one. The focus isn't that great, but in the correct lighting, that camera works for me.

Now, I'm not going to be bold enough to disrespect anyone and try to offer myself as a freelance photog, but I just have to pat myself on the back, especially for the photos I took on the way home. I've got that eye, and yes folks, the question-man does have skillz!!! Just kidding y'all. Please enjoy the photos as I did. It was a short break from all my hard, continuous work, but I did enjoy the time away from the desk. To some of you, this trip is probably something you do on a daily basis, but look at it like this. If I took time off to take road trips and such, where would you do your reading? I've got to stay home to entertain my fans ;-)

Again, for those who know me, don't worry family. I'm going to start taking lots of trips, to real distant-locations, and I promise, me and my amateur camera will save lots of pics for you to enjoy.

Just my thoughts....from the Question-Man. Anybody have any answers for this....?

Thursday, August 17, 2006


this is an audio post - click to play

This is what I Gotta Know....
Why are we so compelled to talk about such a controversial topic, and still do nothing about it? In almost every black magazine or newsletter, there are editorials about how we as blacks are the only race of people that do nothing to help each other reach success as a whole. We are Crabs in a Barrel.

How many of you either talk about, or know of other races that do EVERYTHING for one another? You all know who or what I’m talking about. I am mainly talking about Latinos (Mexicans), amongst other races. Everybody knows of a Latino family or two that has moved into your neighborhood or community as a single family, and within a month or so, there are 2-3 more families living within a single family residence. Initially, you wonder ‘how can they do such a thing….crowd multiple families into 2 bedroom apartments’….then immediately say how there’s no way that you could do such a thing. Then, after you express your feelings of disapproval, you start with the jokes, not knowing that these families are actually executing a plan.

Initially, their plan is to get their families into the United States, so they can have an open opportunity to succeed just like the rest of us. Once they are settled in, they start making arrangements for their “boarder” families to get out on their own, and reestablish another executable plan to get the next family into the United States for their open opportunity as well. Now, I don’t want you to read too deeply into what you think I’m trying to focus on. This is not an article about how the United States is overcrowded with illegal immigrants and so forth. This is just an observation of how Latino families, amongst other races, have a much stronger family structure than Black Americans.

I have an Asian friend who was recently telling me about the same type of scenario, after she had read my article on “My Momma’s House”. She was explaining, or better yet, retouching on my perspective on how I thought it was ok for women to sometimes still live with their mothers. She told me that in Asian cultures, if a woman is not married, typically she is not allowed to leave her mother’s home. If she leaves her mother’s home before marriage, she is considered a slut, and is no longer marriage material. She also pointed out to me that that part of their culture also helps maintain the family bond, and structure.

Now, I know that in American cultures we promote independence, and are encouraged to leave our mother’s home as soon as we turn 18-years old, to become “men”. But even as American culture goes, White America sometimes plays by the rules of other cultures. I personally know White men and women that still live with their parents while they are working, because they are either in transition, or possibly saving towards purchasing their own homes, and it is typically accepted. On the flip side of American cultures, how many of us personally know Black men and women that live with their parents, but are not making efforts to better their situation? It’s almost like it is ok for us to be living in the same home, with no goals, constantly complaining about how bad our situation is.

If you were to take a close look at a Black family living together as the aforementioned Latino’s, Asian’s, and White’s do, would you find that we were helping each other save money as a plan to get out on our own….no. What you would find instead would be a “tug-of-war” over who could get out and do better first…but not in that classic friendly family sort of way. We are in so much competition with ourselves that we keep each other down just to feel that we are better than one another. Every time one of us tries to succeed on our own, without carrying the whole lot behind us, we are pulled back down into our cultural barrel of self hate and destruction.

I also find myself looking at other cultures living together in the most uncomfortable situations, wondering ‘how do they do it’. I absolutely must have my personal space, so living with four families in a two family home is unimaginable to me, but there’s a much bigger picture than what we see on the surface. I also find myself looking at those same families when they’re pulling into the drive-ways with the nicest and newest luxury vehicles, while I’m still driving my bucket, wondering ‘how do they do it’. In my mind I’m thinking, “I know he works at Walmart, so how the hell can he afford an Escalade on 26” rims on a minimum wage salary”? I’ll tell you. That same family, that’s living with those other families, is dividing the rent amongst every member of that household. So, if you take the average California middle-class two bedroom apartment rent of $1,000 a month, and divide it by 6-adults, they are only paying $167 each per month. If there are working teenagers in the home, then the rent is even cheaper. Talk about networking! That leaves them with the rest of their paychecks to save for their house and new car. Wouldn’t you love to only pay $50 a month for rent? That would be fantastic. Just think of the money you’d save. Now, think of the drama you’d face with a house full of Black families. We are so “anti-each other” that we end up in competition with each other.

We all know that Black people can’t save money to save our lives, so we’re not going to talk about that. Instead, I’d rather talk about what we can REALLY do to get our Black culture to establish a better foundation for ourselves, and stop pulling each other back into our bucket of self destruction, and Black on Black competition. The floor is open for everyone, of any culture. Please leave your comments and opinions, and correct and educate me if I am wrong. And with that being said….as always…WHO HAS AN ANSWER FOR THE QUESTION MAN?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


this is an audio post - click to play



Friday, August 11, 2006

*Looking for Hand-Outs

this is an audio post - click to play

This is what I Gotta Know....
Have you ever been somewhere…anywhere…and had someone ask you for some “spare change”? Have you ever given someone some “spare change” out of the kindness of your heart, and had them actually have the nerve to give you an attitude because of the amount that you gave them? Well, I have, on numerous occasions, and that’s what’s prompted this article.

Let me get straight to it. The last time that I encountered a rude pan handler was about 6-8 months ago. I was out enjoying lunch with my coworkers. After filling my belly, and ripping myself out of my seat to go back to my car to drag myself back to work, this gentleman approached me. I won’t be rude enough to go as far as calling him a “bum”, but you know where this is headed.

He came toward me, a little dirty and somewhat ‘ran-over’ looking, with a piece of paper in his hand. As he got closer, he started to recite his little rehearsed script (I knew it was rehearsed because it sounded a little too smooth and routine, plus I’ve encountered pan handlers with similar scripts). He started telling me how he was out of gas, and that he had a job that he was trying to get to. He started to show me the paper which supposedly had directions and a phone number to the job site on it, to try to prove that it was real. Before he could continue giving me the story, I stopped him by reaching for some change that I had in my pocket. I had a few loose coins and some dollars in my pocket (now…spare change and loose dollars are not the same). I pulled roughly .56cents or so out of my pocket, and gave it to him. Do you believe he had the nerve to look at the change that I gave him, look at me and say “man….what’s this?” as if I was supposed to give him some more money cause he was “really” on his way to a job. I thought “bums” and pan handlers were supposed to humble and appreciative for whatever you gave them. Since when do “bums” get attitudes over how much money you’re GIVING them?

I thought of this story that my parents told me once. My mom and dad were out and about enjoying a typical beautiful California day when, just like all of us, they encountered a “bum”. He sang the same song as the rest, asking “do you have any spare change for some food?” Noticing that he smelled like alcohol, my dad immediately said “if you’re hungry, we’ll gladly buy something to eat, but we’re not giving you any money”. He graciously accepted (or at least pretended to), and they proceeded to go into the nearest fast food restaurant. My dad told him to order anything he wanted off the menu. He ordered a hamburger, and before they made it out of the restaurant, he took one bite and said “this hamburger tastes like $&%#”! It was obvious that he didn’t want food. He was just reciting his script for some alcohol money.

I don’t know what may have driven some of the pan handlers that we see on a day to day basis into their new jobs of choice, but what gives them the right to demand or expect money from us? Do they think that we actually have extra or “spare” money to give them because we have jobs, and they don’t? I’ve seen seemingly able-body men and women standing on the corners for hours begging for hand-outs. I see it like this…if you have the time to stand on the corner ALL DAY LONG begging for change, you have the time to get a normal 9-5, or even a 9-1 just like the rest of us. Just because they think we have “good jobs” doesn’t mean we’re obligated to give them money.

My cousin told me of an incident (I’ve experienced this too) where he was at a gas station filling up his car when a lady pan handler walked up to him and asked him for some “spare change”. He reached into his pocket and gave the lady a handful of coins (except the quarters…those are for laundry ;-), and she looked at him, looked at his car, and looked in his ash tray where he had more coins and said “come on man…that’s all? You got a nice car, and a ashtray full of coins. Let me get those”. What does HIS car, and HIS money have to do with anybody but him? What’s up with these bold people? What happened to the old days when they were happy to get a coin or two? What happened to the days when there were more workers than “bums”? Now it seems like there are more pan handlers than there are employees of the world. I Gotta Know!

Tell me, what are your thoughts? I know that there are lots of you who have experienced similar situations that you’d love to share, which I’d love to read about. Please post your comments and experiences, for this topic should be one that hits home with all of us. And with that being said…as always…WHO HAS AN ANSWER FOR THE QUESTION MAN?

This article was inspired by J.Roberson (V.A.)

Sunday, August 06, 2006


this is an audio post - click to play

I wasn’t sure whether to call this article “Bad Influence” or “Fallen Icons”, but I chose the latter. This is about our favorite musicians who have let us down, and fallen victim to drug use and abuse.

One reason behind my minor struggle with naming this topic was the word influence. Many artists, especially Hip-Hop artists (‘Hip-Hop Tragedies’ coming soon), attribute their success and song writing aptitude to marijuana. I am unaware of the effects of marijuana’s positive influence (if there is one), due to the fact that I do not smoke, but I am aware of the debilitating effects it has on the human brain…not only through research, but also by witnessing many acquaintances smoke, and suddenly move in “slow-motion”. I’ve seen people smoke to “set”, or lighten the mood, or gain focus (how does that work) on writing songs. I’m guessing from their actions that they truly believe that they are more creative and a lot more uninhibited while under the influence. “It takes me to a zone where my words flow freely”. Yeah right! What they fail to understand is that their words are actually slurred, and poorly put-together, and the real sad truth that they’re unaware of is, all of those creative words that you attribute to marijuana, is really inside you.

Far beyond marijuana users, are our favorite artists that have made the songs that we’ve either been born to, or made our own children to, that have fallen victim to a much worse influential substance called “Crack”. “Crack” has destroyed many of our icons lives and careers. Is it me, or does it seem like some of our favorite idols tend to fall victim to the pressure of the music industry and Hollywood very easily? I don’t know about you guys, but if I spend more than half of my life dreaming about becoming a superstar, when I get there, I’m not going to destroy the house that my hard work built with drugs. There is NOTHING anyone can say to me to get me to try drugs of any type (not even “X”), especially if I’ve gotten to my promise-land. I can’t stand the pressure of being in the public-eye, or I want to be a part of the “in-crowd”, so you fall victim to peer-pressure. Now look at you. A TOTAL DISGRACE!

Some of you may be thinking….you just don’t know what kind of pressure they’re under, or you don’t know what they’ve had to deal with in their lives before they were superstars…which is true, but if you had a hard life as a child, and climbed this hard ladder that we have called “Life”, why, when you’ve made it to the top, would you tear all that down for a “quick-fix”? I just don’t get it, and honestly, I never will! Just to stray for a moment, look at Rodney King.

That man had a hard “hood-life”, as some of us may have had. He suffered a tremendous beating by our ‘beloved’ LAPD, and was fortunate enough to be awarded MILLIONS of dollars. Here we are, a few years later, and he is BROKE! Why, you ask…Crack!!! As hard a life as he’s had to live, why, when given an opportunity to leave that all behind, would you carry over the bad habits that you had when you were ‘down-and-out’ to your new beginning? Things like that are just beyond me…but I digress.

I’ve done a little research and found only a few artists that I can name to help refresh your memories of the icons that we’ve lost. First of all, there is our beloved Whitney Houston. We love Whitney to death. With a smile that can be seen for miles, and a voice that some Opera singers can’t compete with, she was truly a standard for all aspiring singers to attempt to meet. I recall seeing her sing many times with a cold, or sore throat, and still bring the house down. Now, look at her. I don’t know if it was Bobby Brown’s influence, or Hollywood, but something or someone introduced Crack into Whitney’s life, and has taken our beautiful song bird away from us. It is very sad.

D’Angelo! What the hell happened to D’Angelo? Now, that was one smooth brotha! That man could sing the panties off any lady in the building. With a strong and statuesque physique, and a style of singing that sent all of our Neo-Soul artists back to the drawing board ( to smoke a little more marijuana), D’Angelo was the beginning of an R&B revolution. Now look at him. He’s all fat now! He’s probably broke too. I can’t wait to see the next ‘BET Awards Show’ when he shows up at the gate trying to ‘sang like Eddie Kane’ .

Who could ever forget Rick James? You knew what Rick was all about in his songs. He didn’t even try to keep it a secret. I guess when that stuff is talking to you, you can’t hear anything else that’s going on in the world. ‘Mary Jane’! When I was a kid, I had no idea, but as I got older and wiser, I realize that Rick was turned-out. ‘Mary Jane’ was just something to keep him cool between his frequent visits to “outer-space”. Poor Rick. We loved him so, and we miss him. It’s too bad that he had to die from it. I guess rehab wasn’t a real concern of his considering that he was writing songs about it. It’s so sad.

I know that there are a lot more artists to mention, but if I did in detail, this article would be too long to tolerate, so instead, I’ll leave you with a short list of the other artists that I’ve found that were drug abusers….former and current. It’s so sad how many artists are using and abusing drugs. I know that they’re all human just like you and me, but like I said earlier, when you reach your goals of becoming a singer/icon, you have to leave that stuff alone. Don’t allow your recreational bad habits ruin your career. You don’t want to EVER say….”I was a BIIIIIG star, until I started smoking Crack”.

Natalie Cole (former)
Ray Charles (former R.I.P)
Pattie LaBelle (former)
Charlie Wilson (former)
Marvin Gaye (former R.I.P)
Tina Turner (former)
R.Kelly (former)
Keisha Cole (former)
Etta James (former)
AJ McLean (Back Street Boys) (alcoholism)
Eric Clapton (former)
Kurt Cobain ( Nirvana) (former R.I.P)
Ozzy Osbourne (former, current, rehab), and
Eddie Van Halen (former)….just to name a few.

I know that there are many more artists, famous and up-and-coming, that I may have missed or forgotten. Please post a comment, and submit more names if you have any. And as always, with that being said…