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….and America rejoices. I’m tired of writing about it, thinking about it and even dealing with it. I don’t know how not to normalize without driving myself insane. I read about it, I hear the pain from the family’s voice after they lose another member and justice as always isn’t served. I’m just tired. I’ve had many words that I wanted to write but at this point I’m not even sure if it matters. So…I’ll just let Philandro Castile’s mom say it. Because she expressed my anger and disappointment better than I can right now.

 

Every July 16 and September 13th I take time to celebrate the life Tupac Amaru Shakur because he was a larger than life figure in my childhood. I have this complex love hate relationship with Pac (Mostly because his fans are the equivalent to Cowboy fans: Annoying AF). His legacy depending on who you are talking to portrays him to be a larger than life figure or the next Malcolm X that got gunned down before he could achieve his space in the pantheon of Black Activists. My memories of him as a fan is that of a bipolar top tier rapper who could not decide if he was the activist we needed or the gangster his friends/bosses wanted him to be. The genius thing is neither one of those characters are wrong or bad in anyway.

If anything 2Pac represented our truest self. The battle that rests inside of all of us. The war of fighting our inner demons but still wanting to have strength enough to leave a positive mark in the world. His actions were bipolar because the same rapper that penned “Brenda’s Got A Baby” also penned “I Get Around” and the ode to video groupies “”All About U”. Do you expect anything less from a 20 year old savant with money to burn? He is the same rapper that threatened to pillage a whole coast but still during his last days sought to rebuild bridges and relationships that his scorched earth policy destroyed. He is the essence of America, killing ants with sledgehammers and after seeing the damage realizing that we used the wrong tool.

Personally he’s the rebel of my adolescence years. He was my bridge between the positivity of Chuck D and the misogyny of Snoop Doggy Dogg. On one song he was teaching me how about the prison industrial complex on “Trapped” and then on the next album I’m dying to join him at a West Coast pool party like “I Get Around”. The flipside to the fun came via a sodomy charge and the infamous shooting at Baseline Studios in New York. While some saw this as strengthening his almost mythical presence for me it made a teenager have to evaluate his loyalties. While Pac spoke to my pint size revolutionary spirit, Puffy and Biggie represented the fly lifestyle that I aspired to have.  Let’s be honest, as a 16 year old, I wasn’t ready to save the world. I wanted to “fuck bitches, get money”.

2Pac isn’t my goat and depending on my mood he may not even be Top 5. But his impact on rap music and my life is undeniable. “Me Against the World” is the 2Pac I loved – this was the erratic writing Pac that I loved. He was angry, he was social, he was positive, he reminisced, and he checked every box and did it in a classic fashion. While “All Eyez on Me” was uneven because of its length, “Me Against The World” capitalized on brevity and quality.

He’s a convicted sex offender, philanderer, drug user and misanthrope. He’s also a creative savant who knew how to use his voice to get the most effect. He’s your drunk uncle. The one who gives you sage advice in between chugging 2 40oz of Colt 45. He’s the perfect slice of Americana, the conflicted hero. It’s hard to separate the wisdom of his words from the vileness of his actions. We have done that with many of our heroes and it makes no sense why he is no different. 2Pac is bigger than Elvis – in every sense.  He is the music of Marvin Gaye mixed with the militancy of Huey Newton. If anything – Pac is Black America at its finest and lowest.

I love America. Kinda. I mean I love what America is supposed to represent. I don’t like real unedited America. The problem with America is its full of shit. It’s so full of shit – it doesn’t even recognize it. The United States are the Kardashians of the World Stage. On the outside we look glamorous and when the edits and lighting hits us right we look amazing. If you look a bit closer – we’re average like pre-surgery Kylie. Not the ugly duckling but definitely not the belle of the ball like our other older and more attractive sisters. We looked ourselves in the mirror and asked “WWKJD” (What Would Kris Jenner Do) and the mirror responded: fake it.

In 2004 America went to the booth and received a nose job, face lift and most importantly new boobs all called Barack Obama. At that moment – that was the time for America to drop the most epic sextape of all time. And it did – an African American president with charisma, who was smart and not the scary black man that would scare people in Iowa. There was liberal and centrist splooge from coast to coast. We could not get enough of this ‘well-spoken African American’ (because you know they are rare). But like the Kardashian’s people hated him just for the fact he existed (I see you alt-right). Unlike that California Clan he actually earned his spot in the spotlight.

As time passed we became once again the shining beacon in the world. Granted Israel didn’t really like him because he asked questions and didn’t shuck and jive like they expected Negroes to do. We all know Putin didn’t like him because he’s smart. Usually dumb bullies hate the smart kids. Except in this case, President Obama had ‘tons o guns’ so Putin had to play his position.  President Obama kept the façade up of American Exceptionalism abroad while countless African Americans were being murdered in the streets by police officers. But hey we still had an African American president so things can’t be that bad, Right?

The luster and shine began to wear off on President Obama. He wasn’t doing enough for black people. He wasn’t doing enough for the far left. No one was quite happy with him. The reality of the lack of American Exceptionalism started to show through the cracks of the façade. Police officers started murdering black people at a record rate. African American unemployment rose. This post-racial America that was promised was falling apart day by day. Like all shows that are jumping the shark, what’s a producer to do? Introduce a new character that is diametrically opposite to the main character.

Enter Kylie Jenner Donald Trump

The United States didn’t want the smart guy if he was Black.  It didn’t really want the better politician if she was a woman. The United States wanted a star – they wanted Kim. But Kim was busy so they settled for Kylie. America went to work on President Orange he was their person. He was pure white, a celebrity, and most importantly a man. He didn’t have any particular intelligence or any talent. His talent was his white maleness. They cleaned him up, tailored his suits a bit better, toned down his orange tan, strutted him out with his family and voila – he’s presidential. The core of who he is still remains – a very small, insecure man with who has no idea how to do his job. The problem with this is our president is all flash and no substance. In between chants of “fake news”, early morning tweets and many policy failures — he’s doing what most spoiled rich white men excel at, being mediocre. At least Kylie is good at being famous. Maybe she should run for president next.

Coward. Punk. Front Runner. “Can’t beat em, join em”

These are all the things Kevin Durant heard last summer. People went as far as questioning his competitive spirit and even his manhood. Why would KD do something like that? It’s something so Anti-Jordan, it’s so, so, LeBron. The fact of the matter is KD saw the landscape of the NBA. In order for OKC to be competitive in the upcoming years after him and Russ signing extension is that they need one more player. Preferably a stretch 4 or a real 2 Guard. Neither of those types of players were coming to that market. Could they convince Paul George to come OKC, not likely. Could they make a move for DeMarcus Cousins? They really didn’t have the pieces to pull a trade like that off. If you step back and look at the Thunder, they are who they are for the foreseeable future. The roster as designed cannot beat the Warriors and would not be able to beat the Cavs in a 7-game series. 

If you want to win what do you do? You go someplace where you can win. Using that as qualification there are only a couple teams that are seriously competing for championship: Golden State, Cleveland, San Antonio, Clippers. Everyone else are pretenders or more than one player away. If he is seriously about winning a championship where else can he go? The choices were limited. Either he wants to win or he wants to look like he wants to. So, he leaves and is in The NBA Finals for the 2nd Time in career and is playing out of his mind. 

As great as players as Steph and Kyrie are there is a huge gap between them and KD and LeBron. It’s like watching Superman and Darkseid battle in the air while Batman is solving The Ridder’s puzzles in Gotham City. There is just a chasm of greatness separating those two sets of players. While both sets have played great  (kyrie not really…yet) — KD and LeBron are in another stratosphere. As of this posting Golden State is up 2-0 and Cleveland is looking completely overmatched. But to the Cavs defense — we’ve heard this song before, twice actually. 

The series doesn’t begin until the home team loses. It’s cliché but it’s true. This Finals series is about Legacy for LeBron, Steph and especially Kevin Durant.  While he is known as a scorer his defense has been what’s been on center stage this series. He finished Game 2 with 5 blocks and had to play the 4 and 5 during the 2nd half because of Draymond Green’s foul trouble. While he struggles with cool nicknames (The Servant bruh, glad that one didn’t stick) he is not struggling with the lights of competing for a championship. While there will be, naysayers — his Finals performance is proving he is right where he belongs; On the big stage, with the biggest name, competing for the biggest prize. 

 

I was playing with my daughter on the floor one night and realized I didn’t have my normal ease of getting off the floor. I attributed to a long day at work being in an awkward position and probably at least 4 other excuses. It kept happening. There have been times where I have been overweight but it has never affected me in a way where its slowed my movements or made an easy task difficult. This time it did. I know a part of this equation is that I’m sitting at 38 which is not 28 as Shaq once eloquently said. Also, a huge factor was that at that time I was 235 lbs which at 5’10 gives me a belly like Buddha. If I’m being moderately active and not being dumb with my diet I can usually rest at 212-215 range. If I’m in running mode I can rest in the low 200s to 195 area. This current incarnation of myself was unacceptable. I can’t have an active daughter and be that father that is telling his kid to slow down because they can’t keep up. How embarrassing is that?

My journey technically began at the new year and while I’ve could consistently be in the gym I haven’t had the weight loss I should because my diet sucks. (ed. note: As of 4/5 that changed, I have started by removing all sugary drinks from my diet) told my trainer that week: “Help me”. I felt like the pitiful little boy lost in a mall looking for his parents. I know that part of my triggers is right after I start really going hard in the gym my appetite goes crazy and I eat anything not nailed down. This depending on what’s in the house could result in a bag of Pop Chips being hoovered in sitting. That is “no Bueno”.

I started doing research on the impact of sugar on our diets. The levels of sugar in our drinks is crazy. As I started doing more research and saw that Fat was pushed as a focus not because of research but because of money that can be made from low fat foods. I recommend reading this article as it started my wheels turning — even though it took 2 months for me to start doing something about it.

I’ve done it before and I know I can do it again but I’m a little older and a little more set in my ways. I think in America we all fight this battle. The problem is everything that isn’t good for you taste delicious. I mean just thinking back to all the pie I’ve consumed in my life. But now I have a belly (my wife says it just a little belly…that’s just love talking) and I need to get rid of it. I’m big on achievement — so I just can’t work out just to workout. I need a goal so before I ran a lot and races were my goal. While I still want to run races I need something else to get me through. I do have to do this 5K in Atlanta again this summer to avenge my horrible showing last year.

2 Things are currently motivating me: My Family and Vanity.

Besides dodging the police department and making sure they don’t kill me with any interaction I must fight hypertension and avoid being a diabetic. I’ve been successful at 2 out of the 3.

Here I am, aspiring to have my Trey Songz body (pause) by the end of June. This means no more fast food (ed. note: No fast food is a moving target but my consumption of fast food has vastly reduced) and ensuring that every meal has a real vegetable (I was told lettuce doesn’t count). Luckily, I have iKia to help me stay on track with her motivational posts. We’ll see how this works out…stay tuned…I’ll either be ready to sing “OOO Na Na” shirtless at your local karaoke bar this summer or I’ll be hating the fact that I can’t find XXXL Bape Tees.

 

Ed. Note: As of 5/31 – BDotM is down 22 lbs with 25 lbs left to go to reach his goal weight. 

*I’m not a dietician and any claims are anecdotal based on what happened to me. Before you start a diet or any workout routine please consult your physician.

I’m not going to waste words here. These are the best two teams in the NBA by far and if you watched the terrible playoffs you knew this matchup was inevitable. The Cavaliers have a matchup problem. Kevin Durant is a problem that they don’t really have an answer for. They can throw LeBron at him, possibly Kevin Love but that’s it. If they are guarding a scoring dynamo like KD most of the game their offense will suffer. I don’t think Ty Lue would be foolish enough to put JR Smith on him. Even though LeBron is the best player in the world there is multiple people they can throw at him. They can throw the whole starting lineup at him except Steph to slow him down.

Apart of me thinks the Cavs will pull this out in 6

But my final prediction — Warriors in 5. Average margin of victory 15 points.

MVP: Kevin Durant

It’s not really a brave prediction. I think KD wants this. He wants this ring. If he played more games this season he could have been a contender for the MVP. Plus, I like his game better. So there’s that.

No I don’t spank my child. I’m not saying you’re a dick if you do spank but…you’re a dick. As a child I was spanked or as it’s colloquially called ‘beat’. And yes I am a functional adult and I survived with minimal therapy but that doesn’t mean that how I was parented 30 years ago should still be the standard. 30 years ago people were still using Toaster R Ovens, you’re telling me I’m supposed to use that instead of a microwave.

Nah B.

We all elevate our parents on pedestals that they can’t possibly live up to. We all assume we were parented in the right way because we feel ‘normal’. The fact of the matter is our parents did the best they could with the information they had. There isn’t any shame in that. It’s nothing that we should look back with regret or anything. As a parent that’s really all you can do. This isn’t a judgment on past parenting – this is a judgment on new parents who have new information but refuse to use it.

Two things are facts: Climate Change is real. Spanking doesn’t work. The science is in, deal with it.

This all came from a discussion with a couple of friends over the weekend. They were shocked that I wouldn’t assault my child (It takes a different spin when you phrase it like that huh?).  At the end of the day – that’s what it is… Maybe I’m being dramatic, maybe I’m not. If I’m at a point where I have to discipline via physical violence I have already lost. Take it from someone who was beat, often – it didn’t deter me from doing anything wrong. It just made me angry. That anger was just the feeling that was transferred from my parents. They were angry at me, rightfully so but still.

MiMo being 18 months old – she’s not understanding anything that nuanced of that I’m hitting her because she did something wrong and differentiating that she shouldn’t hit her classmates. That’s too much for a 1.5 year old to comprehend and to apply.

I’m not saying I have all the answers. Hell I don’t even know if I have any answers but I am confident in my feelings that hitting my child is something I am not comfortable with. When you discuss no spanking everyone gets the image into their head of the yuppie (read: white) parents in the grocery store with little Johnny screaming and going crazy. There’s a big jump between your child having no discipline and you committing first degree assault on your child.

Please, go ahead spank your kid (actually please don’t), just know if you do, you’re a dick.

Also enjoy Stacey Patton’s take in the NYT.