Architecture Gone Wrong
WHAT IS THIS?! Better yet, WHY would anyone spend over $2000 a month to live in this excuse of a apartment building (strangely resembling a penitentiary) found on the Upper West Side of Manhattan?
NYC has done it again, overpricing tenants with this newly erected high-rise (built a couple of years ago), selling them on yet another luxury apartment - one that offers close proximity to famous landmarks, spectacular views and the feeling of exclusivity.
Nevermind the nearby fire station with fire trucks regularly blaring sirens in the wee hours of the morning, the lack of a washer/dryer in each unit, a decent neighboring pizza shop, a friggin' supermarket or the limitations on street parking. No. That's unimportant to today's pool of young tenants whose only objective is to experience NYC and all its luxury. P.S.199, my old elementary school, is a few blocks away from this eye sore - still hanging on by a thread - surrounded by towering buildings (some newly built) since my carefree days of crushing homeruns in the school yard. I can remember a time when crafty-imaginative adults and senior citizens roamed and I proudly called this neighborhood home. More important? Everything was within reach. In fact, there were TWO pizza shops found within the same radius! How about that? Now, it's flooded with more out-of-towners, ugly buildings, cranes, scaffolding and a massive Apple store that is seemingly out of place. Perhaps it's me who doesn't belong - and that's why I said hello to Suburbia almost 15 years ago 🖕🏾🖕🏾
Fashion Statement... Sorta
Everything about this t-shirt is cool (minus the fact that he's tucking it into his jeans), but for all of you attention whores roaming the earth (or, for those of you who simply enjoy wearing t-shirts with cool expressions), here's a shirt that will really have all eyes on you!
I'll take an XL in EVERY color available, please...
I grew inspired by the recent news of an anonymous (smart move) Mega Millions winner in South Carolina who finally claimed his/her record-breaking $877 million dollar prize. Originally valued at 1.5 BILLION (before Uncle Sam feverishly started rubbing his hands together like someone trying to keep warm), it took the individual nearly 5 months to step forward, presumably getting their affairs in order (ie; retaining an attorney/multiple accountants, breaking down bill payments, possibly setting up college funds for kids/grandkids, charity donations, investments, business ventures, future vacation plans, purchases, and most important, how much to send MY way). Personally, I think the whole lottery system is a joke; I certainly have my suspicions and will usually not waste my time (especially when the jackpot reaches astronomical numbers), BUT, that doesn't stop me from occasionally buying a modest scratch-off ticket (I prefer realistic opportunities over nonsensical odds). Besides, why in the world would ANYONE need 877 million dollars?! Give me a chance at winning $5000/week with a 'Win for Life' scratch-off and I'd be over the moon! (it will eventually happen, you heard it here first).
In the meantime, I'll settle for my big $10 prize!🎉🎉 Nevermind that I broke even, spending exactly $10 on the damn ticket 😐. A win is a win. Glass half full.
AJ Walker Takes A Leap
Admittedly, I am not much of a 'news' guy; I'd finally decided to take a stand. Thanks to my grandmother, I grew up watching the news - around the clock - eventually growing numb to the countless stories of random shootings and inaccurate weather reports. Enough was enough. Yes, it was tough parting ways with some of my favorite anchors, weather/traffic girls, but something had to give. Through the years, I'd question the appearance of many news personalities, wondering why so many looked young, yet appeared conservative in their head shots (clean shaven, side-parted hair, fades, etc). In recent years, anchors/reporters have branched out, with men growing 5 o'clock shadows, and women becoming more daring with their wardrobes. Yet, many of the hairstyles remained traditional. It's almost like a happy medium: Hey, young world, look at me, I can wear cool clothes too! ... with a hairdo resembling a character from the Brady Bunch. Borrrrinnnng!
I understand there's a level of "professionalism" required for news types, but we're living in an age where gossip, the Kardashians, and the latest trends, have masked themselves into hard news. It would behoove us all to see news personality types... well, show a little personality! This is where CBS News 12 West Palm Beach news reporter AJ Walker, wins the award for 'News Reporters Who Get it!'
In what many will find courageous, AJ recently "pushed the envelope" wearing braids on air in honor of her late mother (Hi-five, AJ!). Does her act call for every on-air news personality to tap into their inner Janet Jackson (e.g. Poetic Justice) by sporting braids? Absolutely not. Perhaps this movement allows for more women of color to embrace natural looks instead of what we've grown accustomed to (I long for the day where an accomplished male with a curly afro, small taper and groomed beard is broadcasting LIVE from the New York Stock Exchange offering stock tips). I know their are many more like AJ who share a passion for news, looking to embrace their true self, yet, afraid of the backlash/blackballing from a group of people who wouldn't understand this movement. This is HUGE - not only for television, but culturally, and I wanted to take the time out to acknowledge AJ for her bravery!
A Hairy Situation
I was having a conversation with some weirdo in Cyberworld who promptly said the following:
"Why TF this man got braids? He's not even mid-life and he's going through a mid-life crisis. Never had braids before and now he gets them when he's about to retire? Men should wear their hair short. He never finished his degree, so he knows nothing BUT basketball."
Uncertain if this was the response of a male or female, but it seemed a bit personal to me, wouldn't you agree?
As someone who has oftentimes experimented with a variety of hairstyles, naturally, I took offense, firing back vigorously. I expressed how Dwyane Wade's sudden choice of style was likely temporary (finding out he was simply paying homage to Allen Iverson, one of the originators of the cornrow style in the NBA, and one of Wade's basketball heroes), concluding with how foolish it was to make such a big deal over nothing - falling on deaf ears, of course. Which leads me to wonder: Why does such a narrative exist and who sets the expiration date on hairstyles?
Wade, who is expected to retire by season's end, just turned 37 years old (only considered old in basketball years), having made over 200 million dollars during his NBA career. Does his pay check make him some immortal completely shielded from criticism? No. But CLEARLY he's in a different league. When your occupation allows for you to regularly shoot hoops, taking summers off to vacation in the South of France - on a Yacht - you have liberty to wear whatever TF hairstyle you want. Traditionally, Wade has always worn a "professional" clean cut, so why would anyone be bothered by his new appearance? Most importantly, how does it affect YOU?
The same case can be made for Jay-Z, who after wearing a low-cut for well over 20 years, decided to finally grow it out for the long-haul (he toyed around with a short afro in recent years) now sporting freeform dreads. Jay-Z turned 49 last December. And you know what? I love it!
Enough of this perception about individuals needing a look of uniformity. That logic is completely asinine. In the words of Lil' Wayne - yup, I'm actually going to quote a rapper here - "long hair, don't care!" Could Lil' Wayne use a new do himself? Well, that goes without saying, but that's besides the point. If your hairline hasn't betrayed you and your mane still has a little oompfh in it, why is it a crime to grow it out? Why is long-hair on men considered 'childish and immature?' I find that once you've become comfortable in your own skin, the opinions of others really don't matter. Honestly! For those of you wanting to grow out your hair, please take heed: This decision doesn't permit you to walk around unkempt. You should absolutely do your best to not come off as a hobo. But neither should you be read the riot act for being open-minded enough to try a new hairstyle.
Are people entitled to feel how they feel? Absolutely. But to question a man's intelligence (and decision on wearing a new 'do) solely on the lack of obtaining a college degree is utter nonsense! There's simply no escaping critics these days, especially the almighty Keyboard Warriors of the internet. But kudos to both men for stepping out of their comfort zones. Women do it often and are commonly celebrated; why aren't the same freedoms given to men. Some will argue, 'it's only hair, what's the big deal?'... my point exactly.
Embracing 'Old Age'
Spotted a few grays recently?
Do you find yourself reminiscing about being 20?
Get over it!
Is your bedtime getting earlier and earlier?
Join the club!
Has someone playfully referred to you as "old?"
Shake that person's hand and thank them!
40 is the NEW 40; don't let anyone tell you otherwise (besides, why would you want to be in your twenties anyway?!). We live in an age where being 'young and dumb' trumps being 'old and gold,' 'seasoned, but pleasing,' 'wise... no dyes!' Okay, that last one was a stretch, but you get the point. Rather than vying for acceptance from an age group that will vehemently reject you anyway, why not embrace "old age?" It's a moment for celebration and not a reason to take a nose dive into the Fountain of Youth (or worse, heading to the club every week to keep up with the stupid dance trends of kids born in 1998). As we mature, there's an auspicious shifting of the brain; things become clearer, you prioritize a lot better, you'll find yourself wanting to do less of this and more of that, and most important, you'll learn how precious life is and why we shouldn't take it for granted.
Who wouldn't want to grow old?
Typically, I've never been a fan of large birthday gatherings, unless, of course, the celebration was for a milestone year. I get it, 'every year of life is worth celebrating,' but please spare me the old, tired cliches. Besides, is there any real reason for anyone to celebrate an age not ending in zero?! Aside from celebrating 21 with a few friends, I nearly crapped myself once 30 said hello (staying indoors most of the day reflecting on how terrible my 20s were, yet wishing I could turn back the hands of time), and I will absolutely do something special at 40. In fact, 40 is SO CLOSE I can almost taste it. But my goal isn't to rain on anyone's parade. If you enjoy big birthday bashes, have at it. I am simply here to spread good energy, helping those suffering from the "I need to fit in" crisis impacting an entire culture. For those of you who've read my book, you know exactly where I stand on that deceptive narrative (for those of you who haven't, it's not too late). Bottom line: don't snub 'old age' for the allure of being young! There are plenty of 40-somethings who look and feel better than in their younger years.
With that said, here are 5 things you can do to usher in the big 4-0!
No, this doesn't necessarily mean 'joining a gym' (although I am nowhere close to relinquishing my membership). There are plenty of activities you can participate in which don't include free weights and StairMaster machines:
• Taking daily walks (or perhaps entering several 5K Walk challenges throughout the year).
• Taking a weekend dance class (not my cup of tea, but whatever tickles your fancy and keeps your heartbeat pumping).
• Bicycle Riding (I absolutely plan on doing this... as soon as I get a bike 🤔).
• Joining a Men's Adult Basketball/Softball League or connecting with a group of people who share similar interests for a little weekly competition (absolutely on my 'to do list').
Time to step up your wardrobe. Does this mean maxing out your credit card on a bunch of unnecessary designer clothes? Don't be a fool! But it's time to accept your age and dress age appropriate. Add a little sophistication to your style, but remember to keep it simple. Be creative, unique, even fun; find your look, and not the look of a runway model (or a rapper in a music video). If you want to 'feel good,' one must look good!
Find New Hobbies
Perhaps you'd like to rediscover the things that once upon a time you thought you were "too cool" for:
• Attending a movie ALONE (I've only done this once, but have met quite a few people who swear by it and do it regularly).
• Photography (umm, this excludes selfies, thanks) - Photography is a long-lost passion of mine (you'll find out soon enough on this blog) and capturing life's moments is not only satisfying, but quite peaceful.
• Learn - Expand your mind; Learn how to cut hair, design nails or play a musical instrument (you can learn almost anything via the internet).
• Art & Crafts - Maybe you don't have a creative bone in your body, but there are plenty of DIY projects only a click away courtesy of your smart phone. Watch how others create magic. If a project piques your interest, give it a try! For those who wish to tap into their inner Picasso (or Bob Ross) find the time. Don't allow life to pass you by without doing some of the things that bring happiness.
Just Say No!
Nancy Reagan's infamous quote lives on in 2019, but the 'D-word' (which typically follows) stands for something completely different: DYE! Don't do it. Say goodbye to the dye and embrace your gray. Allow it to sprout! In fact, younger women are actually dyeing their hair gray these days - can you believe that? Gents, say goodbye to Just For Men products and give the boot to Bigen dye for beards (for the love of God!). Sporting a salt & pepper look adds a bit of elegance and sophistication to your look, distinguishing you for that 20-something crowd rocking lumberjack beards. Gray is OK.
Don't be that person who wears the same boring hairstyle for an entire lifetime. Men, I'm specifically talking to you! Try to LIVE a little if your hairline hasn't receded and you've yet to encounter severe thinning or balding. Am I saying enter your 40s with a fresh mohawk? Absolutely, positively not! However, if the Law of Genetics hasn't completely snatched up your wig, allow your hair to grow out for a few months (especially if you've worn a traditional low cut since elementary school!). If your hair no longer wishes to cooperate, try growing a little stubble on your face (if possible) or shoot for a temporary clean shaven look (if you've always worn facial hair). Something, ANYTHING! I find men are too conservative with their appearance, yet women make no qualms about switching up theirs. A nice transformation from time to time won't hurt.
Must-Haves For Your Wardrobe
Perhaps it's a city thing, but I've always been one to take fashion seriously. Whether attending a formal gathering or any place simple like the supermarket. My hair usually needed to be in place, colors in accordance, accompanied by 1 or 2 accessories. Fashion is a major part of our everyday lives, but you'd be surprised at the number of people (men in particular) who don't have an outfit for every occasion (sorry, but you probably shouldn't wear joggers and a pair of Jordan's to a job interview). Don't fret, I am here to save the day! Here are some items for any struggling male in need of a little fashion advice. You're all very welcome.
A surprising amount of men dislike wearing suits. In addition, a quality suit can cost an arm & leg. If you happen to make a handsome salary (and can afford a dozen or more) or enjoy a little reckless credit card spending from time to time (which I am adamantly against), I advise you stack up! Those who are less fortunate, well, let's just say you might be hanging onto dear life with that 1 trusty 'ol suit worn on all occasions (job interviews, weddings, funerals, etc). But if your budget allows for it, the everyday working man should own at least 3 different suits. Preferable colors? Black, navy blue, grey. Just make sure your suits are tailor-made (to fit according to size). There is nothing worse than a baggy suit 👎🏾
My favorite accessory, hands down. Not only are sunglasses cool, but the right pair will spike your appearance, adding a bit of sophistication that'll give you the feel of a million bucks! It doesn't matter the brand, simply find yourself a good pair that'll compliment your face and get your style on!
P.S. Just don't be that guy who wears sunglasses indoors.
Every man should own several watches; classy or sporty. Another accessory that adds a bit of sophistication to your 'fit. I'm a watch fiend, commonly wearing watches where the battery has long died (and I'm usually too lazy to replace them so it's worn as a prop 🤷🏾♂️). If you were to ask me, I'd say watches are equivalent to women's shoes.
Plenty of older guys are set in their ways, unwilling to conform to what the younger crowd deems "cool." With that said, there are a ton of fashion trends you wouldn't catch me alive wearing... but a denim shirt isn't one of them. Gents, you need denim in your life! Denim shirts look great with a pair of khaki pants, casual shoes or a pair of all-white sneakers. This is one of my 'go to looks' of the spring. Imagine the above shirt with the sleeves rolled up, added with a nice gold watch, khaki pants, clean footwear and a pair of sunglasses?!
Honorable Mention: V-neck shirts
An outfit isn't complete without a spritz of cologne (and no, AXE body spray doesn't count). Don't be that guy who's dressed nicely, but smells like a gym locker room 🤢. If cologne prices aren't in your budget, ask the wife, girlfriend, family, ANYONE, to load up on some smell good during the holiday. Before you know it, you'll have a nice little stash like me : )
A must-have if you're looking for a 'clean look.' A clean pair of white sneakers usually signifies the beginning of spring (or summer) and they go exceptional well with jeans, khakis or cargo shorts. Just be careful not to wear them too often - especially with jeans. Jeans are known to "spill" its color and there's nothing worse than walking around in a pair of dirty kicks.
Gotta own a pair, fellas - no if, ands, or buts about it.
Honorable Mention: Canvas shoes
Okay, so trendy colorful socks may not be as popular as they were a few years ago, but it is absolutely important to own a form of dress sock to wear with shoes, boots or sneakers (they make dressy Nike socks in case you were wondering). If you want your fashion to be taken seriously, gents, the days of thick white tube socks are long gone.
Straight-leg jeans (not skinny!)
Joggers (especially worn as gym wear)
Classic polo shirts (NOTHING with an over-sized logo!)
5 Things We Need To Say Goodbye To In 2019
My family and I mourned after experiencing a few impactful deaths, my favorite sports teams continued to suck, and I couldn't bring home a chip in my fantasy baseball league, yet 2018 still goes down as one of my most favorable years. Aside from launching a book, website, and podcast, I checked off more boxes on my bucket list, established relationships with some incredible people, traveled, discovered happiness (what a great feeling and I'll be damned if I give it back!), further embraced aging, and I finally accepted my reality; that not only am I okay with being an Average Joe (in a world obsessed with obtaining followers), but I love the sh*t out of lists! As we bid farewell to 2018, here are five things I'd like to see obliterated in 2019 (and beyond!):
5) MEN arching and shaping up their eyebrows:
The metrosexual male has run amok over the past decade; from skinny jeans, to (fill in the blank). Let's put an end to needling and threading our eyebrows and become f#ckin' men again for goodness sake!
4) Transwomen airing out celebrities:
The Transgender community and its murder rate has spiked over recent years, but airing out ones personal business can't be conducive to your well being (one would think). I understand people say and do things when they're emotionally scarred, but when does common sense ever factor in? Why must the general public know what goes on between two consenting adults? Let's do better when vying for acceptance. That goes for all of us.
3) Employers asking potential employees dumb questions on interviews:
How many of you have heard the follow:
When was the last time you went over and above for a co-worker? Can you name a time a customer was unhappy, and what did you do to rectify the matter? Where do you see yourself in five years?
Can I tell you how much I absolutely HATE these questions! After spending so much energy preparing for an interview; from what to wear, to just about everything else, you arrive to your destination all wide-eyed, giddy and full of anxiety. Suddenly, you're asked to summarize past job experiences, entering an extensive memory bank to include isolated moments in your professional career that have absolutely NO BEARING on whether the current job can be executed accordingly (how would an employer EVER know if you're telling the truth on those isolated events?).
How many people have b.s.'ed their way through interviews? (don't all raise your hands up at once).
2) Goodbye Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, Love & Hip-Hop, Wildin' Out and any other annoying TV show:
Sayonara! The novelty has worn off, and there's simply NO REASON for Dancing with the Stars to have just completed its 27th season! That's insane considering the show only debuted in 2005 (I'm aware they've typically had two seasons per calendar year, but enough is enough!). Maybe some of us will be in for a treat come 2019.
1) Current state of music:
Any up-and-coming artist, I beg of you: PLEASE CREATE SOMETHING MAGICAL, OR STAY THE F#CK AWAY FROM THE MICROPHONE. Work on your craft, treat it as a job; as if your life depends on it, be original (yea, yea, no idea is truly original - so they say - but you get the point), and don't leave the studio until you've listened to your tunes ad nauseum - so, that would be at least 1,000,000,000 times in my book (listen to it until your ears permanently hate you). Don't be in a rush to flood the market with more garbage. It's oversaturated. Create something timeless and stay far way from following trends. That's all I ask. Wishful thinking, I know, but allow me to have this moment.
Goodbye 2018; it's been fun! As you all countdown the new year in a few hours, I'm sure to be in LA-LA land (unless my ignorant neighbors have plans on blasting music through the wee hours of the morning - which I highly expect), after puffing on a nice cigar purchased from the Dominican Republic. BTW, make sure to tune into the next podcast where I go in depth on that beautiful island!
Will Robo Calls End?!
Its become an epidemic - robot calls. Enough is enough; you've forced my hand. I am willing to turn my cell phone off for the duration of the day just so that you all become acquainted to my automated voicemail greeting. Did you honestly think you could fool me (us) disguising your numbers with 'local area codes?' Do you think I was born yesterday?! Fools.
Maybe our Government will crack down on this, just like they've elected to crack down on (fill in the blank). Then again, maybe not. But you guys will continue to get rejected as long as I own a cellular device - which won't be long.
Good luck guys.
Speaking of 'good luck', it amazes me how valued you become when your credit ranking is through the roof. It's like I'm 18 again. Each day, I'm the recipient of a new offer from some major card company, showcasing awesome rewards points and everything in between. This, from the SAME companies who once upon a time didn't quite value my sound track record of consistent payments (before I'd experience a few financial set backs), as they scurried to tell Collections on me (where I was "punished" for many years). Umm, just an FYI: I'm the SAME effin guy! Don't give me a second chance now, I've done perfectly fine without you...
Credit cards are okay, but having leverage is better (perhaps, you can use that as a slogan). You're very welcome.
A Painful Goodbye To The Summer...
As we near the end of August, a tear falls from my eye as I think about the beach days dwindling down, hurricanes with ridiculous names (like, Eartha) brewing along the coasts, the leaves drying up, eventually falling to the ground, and the thermometer dropping to cruel and unfair temperatures.
I bid farewell to my fantasy baseball season and the atrocity of my fantasy team. Thank you for under performing all season long and causing me restless days and sleepless nights. I promise to draft less "all-star caliber players" next season. And lastly, goodbye to my baby, a.k.a. my book, Can I Be Ernest? which was officially introduced to the world on 8/28. My little pride & joy is off on his own, entering the homes of complete strangers where he must adapt to other human beings. I coddled him for as long as I could, but as with most parents, you tend to get sick of your child living with you after a while. Time to move out, bud...
Autumn will be here in due time, but for now, I am hoping to get one last beach day - as we prepare for football, the smell of fire wood and hoodie weather. Adios!
Let's Kick These Latest People & Trends To The Curb!
I've given the following blog some intense thought, because after all, my brain only tends to rest when I'm asleep (and if you've been paying attention thus far, that isn't much). I've constructed a list of 5 things that need to vanish QUICKLY. Not only for the remaining months of 2018, but beyond! This list includes: people, trends, or anything else which drives me up the wall! Get ready to agree, disagree, ball your fist in anger, or above all, laugh!
(5) Kim Kardashian - Hate to see you go... LOVE to see you leave *wink* But enough is enough. She has the fame, resources, riches, children, she's even stepped foot in the White House! What else is there left to accomplish?
(4) Beyonce - I was on the verge of graduating high school when Destiny's Child debuted - now, I'm old with a few grays and she's still dominating the charts?!
(3) Fauxhawk/Mohawk - If I catch another dude walking around with this dated hairstyle. Even the f*ckin' mullet had an expiration date!
(2) Reality Television - Curse the Writers Guild of America strike of 2007, which was the official downfall of American television. Viewers saw less original content and an influx of non-actors who not only received 15-minutes of fame, but lucrative book deals, TV spin-offs, and above all... celebrity status. Oh, and lest we forget, Flavor Flav, who had the opportunity to mingle with beautiful women who were simply looking for a pay day. As Don King would say, "Only in America!" *facepalm*
(1) The 2000s (including the 2010s) - Okay, so yes, it brought us YouTube, social media, smart phones, the Kardashians, "mumble rap" (I'll never forgive the 2000s for this!), a black man in the White House, and a gang of highs & lows, but what it DIDN'T bring? TIME MACHINES and FLYING CARS! Two items, of which I was promised as a child (by teachers), would be invented by the year 2000. Lies!
21st Century's Finest
3) DVR - The DVR originally burst onto the scene in 1999 (many of you may remember it as TiVo), but it didn't truly take off until the 2000s. VHS tapes were disappearing before our very eyes and no longer would big, boxy VCR's saturate our living rooms. The DVR slowly became the sales pitch for cable companies and I was completely sold once being informed I could pause live TV (say what?!) making those quick pit stops to the restroom more enjoyable!
2) YouTube - The only form of social media I've ever truly appreciated; I don't know where I'd be without it. Whenever a feeling of nostalgia smacks me in the face, I usually extent my hand to YouTube, where I am allowed to escape to a world I USED to love. Aside from that, YouTube has given content creators (and those who are attention-deprived) a platform to showcase their 'talents.' The creme de la creme? no longer do we have to visit the local library to learn how to fix a car tire! Many of our answers are solved thanks to this giant media tool.
1) iPod - I don't care what anyone says, when the iPod burst onto the scene it captured our hearts. This tiny gadget stored thousands of songs, fit into our pockets, and more important - it didn't 'skip', nor did any tape unravel!