Category Archives: Randomness

Today’s Word is… TWENTYTWENTY

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So they say the three things you’re not supposed to discuss publicly; religion, because well touchy subject.  Salary, because they want to keep wages stagnant (the other day a colleague casually mentioned they lived in the Seaport district [apartments start at $2500] and I almost responded, “the hell are they paying yo ass?”), and politics, because like religion, it’s considered a touchy subject.  This always sounded white as hell because only white people can chalk up the 2016 election to “difference of opinion”.  Over here tween Normandy and Western,  if you voted for Trump, you the opps and I need to know this so I can treat you accordingly.  But since we folks (and hi random person who clicked a google link) I will break this politics rule and make a confession:

I’m not really feeling any of these people running in 2020

We’re less than a year away from Iowa and I’m largely meh on the field.  If the primary was tomorrow and I had to vote I’d vote for [REDACTED], but I don’t even think [REDACTED] even has a chance of winning the nomination.  If I so much as to tweet a candidate’s name I get a bunch of people (or bots) swarming my mentions and I almost fear for a 2016 repeat.  Someone had likened it to a Cheesecake Factory menu, where you just have so many options that you are either verklempt or just don’t trust anything.  Like you can’t be good at lasagna AND pho, one of them has to be off.  And that’s pretty much this 2020 Democratic field, they all can kinda maybe work but also just not be it. (Like, I really dislike [REDACTED] and think [REDACTED] brings absolutely nothing to the table but if they end up with the nomination, then what?). And so, we’re left with a crowded field of like 8 middle aged white guys in dress shirts with no ties, a handful of people we thought we liked more 3 years ago, and a bunch of possibles.  Since 1972, primary parties have averaged 10 candidates, we’re at 21?  Even the clown show that was the Republican primary in 2016 topped out at 17.  But when the bar is at least 35 years old, American, and smarter than Donald Trump, the Presidency is a Tinder profile.

Like that aforementioned Tinder, I feel like I’m forced to take what I can get because the alternative is this treasonous vapid circus peanut.  It feels like the electorate is in that same boat,  with the Alyssa Milanos  (does she still act, I feel like I only hear about her on Twitter) of the world pledging to not badmouth any candidate publicly. A little while ago, I made a joke about Booker’s make believe thug friend T Bone and  I got a DM of how dare I tear a man down and it’s people like me who are going to ensure a re-election.  Like, first of all he’s polling at 1% higher than me, and secondly that T-Bone shit is just funny.  The electorate as it stands now isn’t engaged, they’re terrified.  Like an episode of scared straight, people are flocking to [REDACTED] simply because they feel like he’d win in the general when he’s barely released a platform.  The same people who are retroactively annoyed by Obama’s centrist ways are seemingly okay with [REDACTED], who is 10x worse.

Behaviorial scientists believe that choice overload will ultimately lead to more disappointed, reluctant, unenthused voters.  Like most users on Netflix binge the same 4 shows rather than be overwhelmed by the catalog.  (Seriously, how many damn times can you watch The Office)  They conclude that even the most informed engaged voter will exhaust themselves trying to give everyone a fair look.  There’s optimists who believe a crowded field means everyone has a horse in the race and so they will follow more closely.  Personally, I’m waiting for the caucuses to clean some of this mess up.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… SPOILER

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For most of America by April 28, 2019 at 10:30pm, they will have either watched Avengers: Endgame or Game of Thrones or both. If you hadn’t you will have logged on social media and been spoiled by memes and reactions from either.  Or you been under a rock.  It’s hard to avoid spoilers when we carry around “the water cooler” in our pockets every day.  I’m in the middle when it comes to spoilers; I hate being spoiled and try not to spoil things for others but there’s also a sense of entitlement in “don’t talk about this huge pop culture thing because I plan on getting around to it eventually, and I can’t just log off for an extended period of time.” I’d make an exception for movies or if someone explicitly asks not to spoil it, or they’re literally in the middle of indulging.  When it comes to live TV it’s different; it’d be like not discussing the Super Bowl until Tuesday so everyone can have a chance to watch. But we live in a self important social media age and so everyone likes to believe the world revolves around their schedule. (Okay, maybe I’m not so in the middle).  

Narratively speaking, good storytelling is about the journey not the destination.  If the only thing that’s interesting about the story IS the twist then that is just poor writing (Yes Sixth Sense, I’m looking at you.) If you only read a book or watched a movie to just know what happened, you’d read the last chapter, watch the last 10 minutes, and never revisit anything.  I watched Game of Thrones a little late, I know there was a jaw dropping Red Wedding episode and people really was excited when Joffrey died.  I knew they was coming, I didn’t know when and when they did I was just as surprised as I would’ve been otherwise. Oh, spoiler alert. (Also, I feel like announcing the spoiler alert is almost daring the person to be spoiled, anyway).  While I can appreciate suspense and surpises, it’s not wholly necessary for my enjoyment.  I actually had Endgame spoiled for me, I didn’t realize I was spoiled until it actually happened in the movie at which point I made a note to block that person.  On principle.  But it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the film.

But that’s just me.  For the masses, I would say most people don’t want to be spoiled (even if studies show that being spoiled has no affect on the overall experience but hey) and so there’s the spoiler commandments:

  1. Always lead with “did you see/watch _________” before just blurting a reaction or posting a meme in the groupchat.
  2. The theater bathroom is not the place to discuss the movie; piss, wash your hands and go
  3. It’s only a spoiler if you believe it.
  4. No one cares, California. Just log off.  Eastern Standard Time, ho
  5. If they tell you where they are, or you’re rewatching with someone who hasn’t seen it yet, don’t “oooh oooh this part coming up tho”, shut up
  6. Talking about what happened in the source material is still spoiling
  7. Use hashtags and spell them correctly for people who want to mute
  8. It’s not a spoiler if you’re like a season behind
  9. Reality shows and biopics don’t count
  10. If it’s a leak…don’t you fucking dare.
  11. Don’t be a dick about it.

-Stan-

 

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Today’s Word is… CONSPIRACY

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I don’t entirely believe that Stevie Wonder is blind.  I won’t go so far as to say I believe the moon landing was fake, but I can kinda see how someone doesn’t really believe that shit.  (They had live footage from the damn moon in every household in 1969 but I can’t keep a WiFi signal in a plane flying over middle America in 2019).  I believe there’s other life in the universe and they know Earth is trash.  I don’t believe the government killed Nipsey Hussle because he was making a documentary about Dr Sebi curing AIDS and cancer with Herbs de Provence and alkaline water.  (Even while Sebi himself died an old man and his “trial” he won 30 years ago was over him practicing medicine without a license and technically he was an herbalist and was not giving medical treatment)  What’s been most troubling in the time since his death is that for some people his death will forever be intertwined with Sebi’s.  Nipsey Hussle meant too much to be killed in his own hood by some dude with hurt feelings.  Although there’s been thousands of cases of misunderstandings and perceived disrespect leading to untimely deaths. Nipsey was too big for this.  Nipsey’s death hurts because he was one who was doing things right, he was literally hope, shot down.  And that’s a pill that’s too hard to swallow.  Senseless gun violence? Really?   Nah, it had to be the government.

While others have mocked those who believe Nipsey’s death was a conspiracy,  I can’t bring myself to fully.  Because well, I’m a black man in America.  I would never put it past the government to do shady shit and then gaslight us, because well they have a documented history of doing shady (Tuskegee, Eugenics, Black Wallstreet, COINTELPRO, crack, the Ferguson deaths, redlining, gerrymandering, police brutality) and then gaslighting us.  Regardless if conspiracy A or B is real, the anxiety and fear black people have in this country is.  Perhaps too often “woke” is ridiculed and dismissed as paranoid and irrational, when in reality we all are subject confirmation bias and give more weight to evidence that supports what we already believe.  Nipsey himself believed his documentary would put him in the cross hairs of some powerful people.   And so some of fans believe the same. But sometimes you have to take a step back and look at facts as presented and it appears this was just an avoidable tragedy.

There’s also proportionality bias and those who can’t process major events not having major causes.  Those are the ones where even I tap out.  9/11, Sandy Hook, JFK assassination, these can’t just be things that just…happened, there HAS to be more to the story.  And so you end up in a YouTube rabbithole trying to make sense of it all.  And that’s just a little too tin foil hat for me to even try to unpack.  Even as we live in a real time information age, people are probably more likely to believe conspiracies than to do research to disprove. Which is how we end up with flat Earthers, anti vaxxers, Trump voters.  2 out of 3 are damaging society as a whole (I mean flat Earthers are grossly misinformed, but I guess it isn’t hurting anyone) and we’re left wondering should we try and educate or just let them be “woke”, over there.  Who’s to say they aren’t the ones who are right and desperately want us to see the light.  (Well, again we live in an information age some shit is easily disproven). I guess all you can do is do your own research, form your own opinions and for the love of God don’t believe shit you see in a meme on Facebook.

RIP Nipsey Hussle.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… GILLETTE

I’m never buying a Gillette razor again!

I’m fucking with you, I’ve never bought a Gillette razor. Black men don’t put razors on their face. It was something my father taught me early, just as I was taught to respect women. So when I saw this new Gillette ad circulating the web, my reaction was, well said. Not what I was expecting from the company that literally sells lower quality pink razors to women for the same price but hey, baby steps. When I started to see the backlash for the ad, I had to watch it again…maybe there was something I missed; surely men aren’t losing their minds because a razor company told them to be respectful members of society. Break up fights, don’t bully, don’t harass women on the street you don’t know. I feel like these are things that shouldn’t be up for debate. They could’ve went much deeper, but then again it’s just a razor company commercial. If anything, they threw a soft ball right down the middle. They are simply asking men to be better, if you haven’t been paying attention to the news, ain’t nobody playing anymore. Adapt or be swiftly removed from the paint. Like I was saying last post with the cookout, there’s no reward for being a decent person, it’s the damn standard.

But Hell hath no fury like a man being held accountable (see Hart, Kevin) so it opens an ironic dialogue on is the idea “toxic masculinity” toxic itself. (it’s not). Pretending to be taken aback by the notion of toxic is the same as being offended by the word privilege, largely full of shit. Having privilege does not mean without struggle, without oppression, without outliers and toxic masculinity does not mean that masculinity itself is toxic. Toxic masculinity alludes to someone acting within their own expectations of what a man is, often exaggerated, often inauthentic. It reduces male identity to sex, violence, bravado and aggression. It turns a workplace into a frat house, hell, it creates frat houses. We live in a society (for now) where it’s rewarded. We watched an imbecile bully his way to the White House simply by being the biggest man in the room. We see people live in toxicity so long they become a part of it themselves. Bully or get bullied, only the strong survive… We are conditioned to believe that toxic culture will change you before you will change it and so we play into it.

I’m not exempt either, growing up it was ride for your hood, get this bread, get at these girls. Virgins got clowned, dudes scrapped over simple shit, we did what we saw the older dudes in the hood doing. They had their own OGs. No one really thought about how and why things just were this way, they just were.

If only we had saw a Gillette commercial, we would’ve turned over a leaf must earlier in life.

I’m just fucking with you. Black men don’t put razors on their face. Which is why I was surprised to see other black men in their feelings over this ad. Like, we don’t even go here. And on top of that; violent, aggressive, sex crazed…that’s how *they* try to paint brothers already. We’re more than that, we’re above that, that’s not what makes us men.

The cycle has to end eventually and there’s no time like the present. Gillette isn’t saying act less like a man, they’re saying act more decent because frankly, everyone else on the planet is kinda tired of your shit. And what do these toxic men do in response? They stage an online boycott and throw their innocent razors in the trash. I guess it cut deep.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… COOKOUT

 

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The cookout has been a long standing colloquialism for blackness, the culture, and being down.  While the cookout itself is figurative you can easily picture someone’s uncle on the grill, the spades table, Frankie Beverly and Maze, the electric slide and black people just enjoying being black.  No barking from the dog, no smog, and mama cooked a breakfast with no hog.  Basically, the cookout is our safe space. (Or literally every black family reunion).   Except, these days the cookout is more of picnic (some pun intended), a potluck, a box social because seemingly every white person who dances on beat, says racism is bad, looks like Travis Kelce, or just has a black friend has an invite to what was originally a fairly exclusive gathering.  It’s like no one remembers what happens when you invite white people over to eat. (see: The First Thanksgiving) Squanto ain’t die for this.  Blackness isn’t an honorary degree you can earn by seasoning food, dating black people or clapping on the 2 and the 4 because if the cookout gets raided I can’t say wait I didn’t mean to come here and retreat back to whiteness (see: Miley Cyrus).  There’s no off switch for blackness (see: The Rock in every movie).  So with all due respect white people, in 2019 y’all buddy passes are revoked.

Invitations to the cookout are suspended indefinitely, effective immediately.  At the very least, the price of admission has gone up.  If you want “in”, it requires real WORK, not these basic ass deeds like dancing on beat.  Even if a white person does go above and beyond for the culture, still a hard maybe. (See how that feels?).  Personally, I have never been that impressed; I don’t care how many times a white person tweets #blacklivesmatter, they can’t sit with us. (see: Shimmy Shimmy Nah White Kappa)  Not being racist isn’t impressive, it should be the damn standard.  You don’t get ribs for not saying nigger or doing a Halloween costume without blackface.  “Woke” isn’t a badge of honor, it’s the haunting realization that around the country and the world people who look like me are being harassed, killed and oppressed, a white people is simply aware of this fact and they get a hot dog and get to electric slide with the rest of us? Nah, B.

That isn’t to say white people are all bad or that we can’t break bread or coexist, it’s not like we are shutting the government down for 3 weeks to keep them out or something crazy like that (see Fiasco, Toupee); I just think we need to re-calibrate this reward system.  Ideally, being socially aware and properly seasoning your food is it’s own reward but for those white people who just NEED some pat on the back.  I have proposed a few alternatives:

  • a gold star
  • thumbs up
  • an “ayyy” when they dance (max. 3)
  • a kale based treat
  • a yasssss gif
  • invited to the coffeeshop*

*not Starbucks, we aint forget

  • They can pet your dog, but no kissing
  • Beer (quality depends on deed rewarded)
  • Acknowledgment that Season 2 of The Wire isn’t that bad
  • Indulge their high 5
  • Some oversized clothing item
  • A Tommy Egan dap

giphy

  • Salted Caramel
  • Acknowledgment that Eminem did get Hov on Renegade
  • One outfit hyping
  • a head nod
  • weed
  • Acknowledgment that peak Larry Bird was as good as LeBron
  • Something related to Game of Thrones or bacon, the two things we might love equally
  • Froyo
  • Enter them in a 5K, they think they can cure anything with a 5K
  • One “Were you on vacation, you look tanned?”
  • A Jon B certificate of White Cool
  • A dab, seriously they can have it now.

The cookout is sacred ground and should be treated as such.  Invite only, no plus ones, no honorary guests, no homeboy who is just waiting for his ride but just gonna help himself to a plate while he waits (see: my cousin’s roommates).  Especially when we don’t know for sure how they be voting.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… HEADASS

April 23, 2016. I, like many fellow members of society had turned it to HBO because Beyonce was doing a thing. No one knew what the thing was, but she was doing a thing. That thing would be Lemonade, a visual album of emotional, personal…yeah yeah, Hov did WHAT?!? was largely the takeaway. In the time since, he done told his side of the story (4:44), and they done wrapped it all up in a neat but not great bow (Everything is Love) but publicly, at least for Hov, it was different. Now, for better or worse any and everything he does is linked to that moment everyone watched Lemonade. From the new hairstyle (which I personally believe he’s only doing because her MCM, LeBron cannot. Also, his hair is waaaay too dark for someone who is damn near 50 and we just don’t talk about it), to the awkward looking photographs, to getting washed on APESHIT, Jay Z who has always carried himself as cooler than thou has been humbled (except when he’s talking to and about anything other than his wife. This nigga told us to “enjoy our chains” like, last week). It falls into all the cliches of happy wife happy life, ball and chain, etc. where a man simply loses himself to a woman. To quote Young(er) Hov, me give my heart to a woman? Not for nothing never happen, I’ll be forever macking.

Big Pimpin’ was nearly 20 years ago (feel old). It’s what you say and think when you’re damn near 30. (Granted, I’m not at a Big Pimpin phase in MY life , but rappers and athletes typically act about 6 years younger than they are anyway). Holding Jay Z to that standard is ridiculous. We grow, we change, and contrary to popular belief it’s not because a woman is forcing us to. It’s time we disabused ourselves of this common myth that men are being forced out the game like that one dude at the Y who swears he was going to play ball overseas before his MCL sprain. Jay Z was in bed holding ankles long before he got caught cheating and exposed on premium cable. I’ve definitely canceled plans with friends to go lay up and watch a bad movie. All men have, no matter how too cool they want to come off.

And so, it got me thinking of other “couple” things that men need to stop lying about enjoying. It’s not just sex, blunts and Power, my guy. Nothing wrong with being a little headass with the one you love. Let that toxic masculinity go. Let’s be saps together…

Headass things couples do that men love more than they care to admit:

Watching terrible reality TV

Watching terrible Christmas movies

Carpool Karaoke

Gossip

Shopping

Dressing alike*

Let her steal your clothes

Share Shade Room posts

Take pictures

Post aforementioned pictures

Let her pop that pimple

Drink wine

Have company over

Actually celebrate Valentine’s Day

Paint Nite

Let her dress you

Bring her to the barbershop**

Go apple picking

Go ice skating

Lunch break phone calls

Double dates**

Sit in the same side of the booth

Plan out but never follow up on a podcast/YouTube channel

PDA

Celebrate month anniversaries even though anni- clearly implies a year

Go to IKEA

Meet family members

Give Pet Names

Use Bitmojis

Miss the game

Let her leave stuff at your place

*I will say that I will always be too cool to dress alike and judge couples who do. I don’t even like matching by accident. Someone gotta change. We can complement; red/black, blue/yellow. Even same color different shades is too close. Someone gotta change.

**It’s only cute the first time.

To quote Hov again, you’re too old to be frontin when you’re feeling Denzel
and acting like she ain’t appealing. That was 15 years ago (feel old again), 4 years after Big Pimpin, 1 year into the relationship because being too cool is lonely. You gotta lie to kick it. Love is fun, silly and kinda headass. Embrace and enjoy it for what it is.

Just don’t dress alike, that’s still corny.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… LATE

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I’m a pretty punctual person (even if my posting schedule alludes to otherwise).  I think it’s a northeast city thing, most people are out and about with somewhere to go, something to do.  I’m a black person, so it runs counter intuitive to CPT (colored people time, for white readers. And no, you can’t say it.).  But like Daylight Saving Time, even if it doesn’t make sense to you, if you don’t set your clock accordingly things are only going to get confusing for you.  For example, day parties start at 2, but don’t start until 5.  Get there on time and you and the promoters going to find out if it’s ever gonna start at all.  Show up to Thanksgiving dinner before 5, there’s at least 3 different things that aren’t done.  Show up at a cookout before 3, congratulations you’re now on set up duty.  (I’ve learned all these things the hard way).  Even if you’re typically on time, if you primarily associate with black people you are indeed, on colored people time.  Whether it me or you, your mama and your cousin too, everyone has or is (I’m judging you if you are) that late friend.

So when I saw this tweet making the rounds:

As a punctual, I kinda got it.  Late people get on my got damn nerves. Respect. My. Time.  There’s degrees to it, a happy hour I’m fine to pull up early and wait.  If we supposed to be hitting the road already? I’m catching an attitude.  Like, if you live 20 minutes away and you leave the house at 11:55 you’re not making it by noon.  That’s literally not how time works.  60 seconds is always a minute.  We all have the same 24 hours and your ass acting like you got 26.

Which brings about the big question; why are black people always late? Like most questions involving black people, the answer is slavery. (don’t quote me on that).  Studies show that chronically ate people are optimists, multitaskers, hopeful…they believe they can do everything that needs to be done in the allotted time. Their gross misunderstanding of time aside, they’re less stressed, and in general happier (while annoying timely folk and pushing us to an early grave).  Most late people aren’t trying to be late or disrespectful, they just are.  Life be lifeing, relax.  Late people sound so chill, so optimistic, so care free…but I gotta say, that doesn’t really sound black.  How did *we* get the stereotype of being late when being late all the time sounds like white privilege?

Well, for that I’ll just quote my mother…”Don’t be rushing me”.  School, work, practices, movies, birthday parties, dinners my mother like most black mothers operated on, we’ll get there when we get there, it’ll be done when it’s done.  My father not much unlike my mother, don’t be rushing him, you know how damn annoying it is to be told be ready at 1,  it’s 2:15 and there’s no cell phone so you just got to eat it?  No matter how much I fret about something being important, my parents were there to grab my hand, look me in the face and tell me, no the fuck it isn’t.  (Also, they were both veterans so I never got how they wasn’t on time). CPT is not so much optimism as much as it’s, “fuck it”.  Black people don’t assume everything is going to be fine, they just don’t care if it isn’t.  Like that rapper I used to like once said, my presence is a present kiss my ass.  (He also has like 5 other lines of similar subject matter, North West’s daddy really wasn’t here for being rushed. Too bad he’s dead to me now.)  Personally, when I AM on CPT, I too have fuck it levels off the charts.   If I’m going to be 15 minutes late for work, I’m going to be 45 minutes late because I’m already late, can’t be late twice so I might as well grab some breakfast.  Rent due on the 1st, yeah well you bout to get it on the 5th and don’t ask me shit about it.  I absolutely get being late for some shit you only half heartedly want to do in the first place, which circles back to my original gripe.  When people are late FOR ME.

People do what they want to do, make time for what they want to make time for.   Perhaps it’s arrogant of me to assume when we have plans it’s the top priority of the day (it should be, I’m dope) but it does say a lot when you don’t leave the house until the last minute. Punctual people don’t want to always be waiting on late people, late people don’t want to be rushed by punctuals.  A fair enough middle ground is, well, CPT.  I assume you gonna be like 30 minutes late, I tell you to come like 30 minutes early and see if it all works out.  So to answer the big question… I guess black people aren’t always late, we just show up when we think everyone else is and that way no one is really late or really early, we all just on CPT.

-Stan-

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