Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Some Things We Can't Escape

Poppa was a rolling stone

One of the shows I watch on a fairly regular basis is "Brothers and Sisters" which stars Sally Fields, Ally McBeal and a bunch of other people. The show is about these five siblings, their recently widowed mother and the people that come in and out of their lives.

On some levels it's funny, on other levels it's realistically dramatic and sometimes even a little poignant. But one thing that stands out to me almost every episode is how hey have to deal with consequences and repercussions of some action, sometimes immoral, sometimes illegal, of their dead patriarch.

Either he had an affair (or two) and the family is left to ponder the existence and location of another half sibling or he embezzled money which put the family business in jeopardy leaving the family to clean up that mess. Every week it's something new that they've discovered, some new misstep or bad behavior that dear old dad left behind as his legacy. And staying true to "Hollywood" eventually the family prevails or just comes to terms that Pop was not such a great guy and move on to the next episode.

This got me thinking:

Me Thinking - "We all know that our actions have consequences and repercussions that most times fall upon our shoulders. But how deep is it, that even after we're gone, we could potentially be passing on those side effects to the people closest to us. Side effects caused by actions or behavior that those same loved ones may not have known anything about."

I guess it's a much more dramatic version of someone dying minus any life insurance or "stash", thus leaving the survivors holding the expensive bag of funeral costs, mortgages, childcare costs, etc.


Never thought the reach of irresponsibility could get a hold of me even beyond the grave. It kinda makes you sit back and think a little bit harder about the things you do......

Or don't do.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Sometimes... I look around at the world we live in and it looks more like the first 30 minutes of some "end of the world, doom and gloom, aliens take over or a giant tidal wave wipes out the East Coast" summer blockbuster movie. Watching the news every night is starting to be more like watching one of those family life videos from the 9th grade. You know the one, where they warn you about all the bad stuff that could happen to you if you have unprotected, pre-marital sex. Well the evening news warns you about what might happen if you leave your house.

Sometimes... I wonder what kind of place my unborn kids will inherit. What kinds of things will I worry about when they're sixteen? I barely go out alone these days and I'm 32 years old, how will I ever feel comfortable enough to let my children out of the house alone whether they're twelve or twenty two. Will they grow up in some Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome type stuff where life in 2008 and earlier will seem completely foreign to them? Why not, some parts of it seem completely foreign to me right now.

Sometimes... I get angry when I see how far we are from really making any progress. I watch television these days and I see a black man running for President of the United States and that's great, that's an accomplishment in itself but what I can't tolerate are the legions of anti Obama-ists who get in front of the camera and come up with every cockeyed excuse they can think of to explain why they won't be voting for the man. Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are many people who aren't a fan based solely on political reasons but there are also MANY MANY people who are turned off by him for one reason and one reason only...but will only admit that reason while at home behind closed doors.

Sometimes...I like to just be by myself and think about life, the good parts and the bad parts and try to put it all together like a puzzle trying to reach some conclusion about it all that'll shine some light on the path I'm supposed to be taking. The crazy thing is that every time I do this, that light shines down a different path and I end up right back where I started.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Coming Home

It's been 10 years since I graduated from college and this weekend we had a homecoming at my Alma mater. Usually I skip these kinds of occasions and events but this year one of my closest friends, more like a brother, came to Atlanta from Seattle, pretty much ensuring my participation in much of the agenda.

What I learned during the festivities is that there's a lot more to "Homecoming" and "Reunions" than just seeing how fat people got or who went on to do great things and who didn't.

Reconnecting, even if just for a short amount of time with people you were closest to in the past helps to put things in perspective. They bring back memories and awaken parts of you that have been asleep for years, parts of you that you had forgotten about or just didn't recognize anymore.

You exchange stories and memories and in the process you remember things that were important to you and forgotten dreams that you tucked away as you got older because of other pressing priorities.

Life is short and time flies and nothing reminds you of that better than being 32 years old and reminiscing with friends about the day you all met at age 18. When the memory is so clear and vivid in your mind, it's hard to believe that it was an entire decade ago. Where did that time go?

The bad part is that you can't physically go back, you can never do it over again no matter how much you wish you could. But that's why these occasions are so important, to remind you of why you trust the people you trust, love the ones you love and miss the friends that you miss. And when everyone goes back to their respective corners of the world, the short time you spent together laughing and cheering makes them feel a little closer no matter how far away they are.

Homecoming '09? I'll be there.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I know, I know, I know.

I'm out here like that favorite uncle you had when you were 10 that took you to all the fun amusement parks and let you eat junk food until you got sick and he even let you stay up late at night with him and his girlfriend to watch scary movies. He was the greatest. The only problem was...

You only saw him once a year.

He only came around when he needed money from your dad or somewhere to crash until he got back on his feet. When I started this spot I had big plans but once again I let other stuff dictate my participation/interest in blogging. The irony is that I miss this outlet very much and often try to set the time aside to sit down and hash out some feelings or concerns in an interesting enough way to publish here.

And then I fall asleep.

My point is, look for me to be a little more active. There will probably be all kinds of stuff I publish here because I'm learning that trying to have too much structure takes away from the "sincerity" of the final product.

Anyway, sorry guys. You know I luv you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Something to Cry About

"Spankings: Effective form of punishment for children or physical abuse."


Now, my mother's black so that means that as a child I was spanked. And today I don't hold any resentment towards her for it. I think I turned out okay. It can be an effective form of punishment to let a child know they fucked up and I've seen plenty of children in need of some stiff correction; time outs just don't cut it sometimes. I know time outs just bored me, they didn't show me that what I did was wrong.

Clearly there's a line to be drawn between spanking and whooping your child's ass, the two are not the same at all. Child abuse is kicking a toddler in the head, punching them in the jaw, depriving them of food and water, telling them they're worthless. A stark difference between that and a firm hand on the butt. True child abuse leaves children traumatized and scarred for years, being corrected with an open hand simply doesn't do that. At least not to me or anyone I know.

As far as spanking turning a person onto rough sex and BDSM later in life, I don't even know where to begin with that.

Teach (Citizen of the World)

The research shows that children who are hit even just occasionally are more aggressive with their peers than those who are never hit by their parents. Which also makes intuitive sense, because the clear message with spanking is that the way you control others or get what you want is to use physical force. Additionally, the research suggests that it may be effective in a short-term way, but does not work in the long run.

There has been extensive scientific research on physical punishment. Just one example - about a third of male children have a lack of a particular gene, which is only linked with later violence if they are physically abused. 85% of those boys, the overwhelming majority, go on to commit violent acts. It isn't clear yet what level of corporal punishment triggers it, but reason Both the American Academy of Pediatrics the American Psychological Association have taken an official stand against any use of corporal punishment. The U.S. stands out among Western societies for their reluctance to let go of hitting children as a means of punishment in the schools. The UN is working to ban the use of violence (and yes, this includes spanking) against children as a form of punishment.

There are philosophical reasons to be opposed to the use of spanking. It's a shame-based punishment. Imagine what your life would be like if your boss were allowed to "correct" you by hitting you? It would be humiliating. Why should children be subject to that sort of humiliation? Some people argue that the Bible advocates physical punishment. Indeed, there are some examples of this in the Old Testament. It condones slavery as well. Jesus, however, never advocates the use of corporal punishment. Quakers, as part of their peace testimony, advocate against hitting children.

On a personal note, my boys are 14 and 11 and neither their father nor I have never hit them. Not once. They are well-behaved in school, academically successful, sociable and compassionate. I know others will disagree with me on this, but when I work with parents in my practice, I always try to help them find other means of discipline. I can't think of a single justification for hitting a child. Here's a link that summarizes some of the research:

Friday, August 15, 2008

When Harry Met Counselor


Harry and Sally explored this concept in depth in the 80s. Since then, many people have taken opposing sides of the argument. I, for one, am certain that men and women can't be friends. Now...I know there are a lot of people who disagree with me---which is why I will take the time to formulate the specifics that Harry and Sally's conversation never explored. The question really isn't can ANY woman and ANY man be friends--that answer is yes. The REAL question is can a man or woman be platonic friends with a person of the opposite sex with whom they are attracted? The answer to that question is HELL TO THE NAW (a technical term that only ethnic people or really cool Caucasians understand).

Okay, the basis to this theory lies on the following premise: Whether you are a male or female, It is impossible to be a truly platonic friend to someone with whom you are attracted (note: being attracted to someone is different than considering a person to be attractive). There is something that either person will do at one time or another to cross the line of what a truly platonic friend would say or do.

Now, as far as I'm concerned....none of this makes a difference unless you add this concept around couples who are dating seriously, people who are married, or those who are engaged (i.e. if you're single and the person you're trying to call a friend is single--it becomes a moot point--as you both are only fooling each other).

However, if a person is in a relationship and they have someone they consider to be a platonic friend and any one of the following examples exist....I hate to tell you, but you might be proving me right...

If you have a friend that you're attracted to and you
consider them a truly platonic friend because they are in a relationship too---I win. Why? Because you're using the fact they they have someone else in their life as a shield to either stop your feelings from developing and becoming inappropriate or to stop their feelings from developing and becoming inappropriate.

If you have a friend that you're attracted to and you think they're a truly platonic friend because you both "tried it and it didn't work"--I win. Why? Because truly platonic friends never get the urge to "try it".

If you have a friend that you're attracted to and you consider them a truly platonic friend just because you both have "never even talked about liking each other" and you feel it's okay because you've never made your feelings known--I win. Why? Because its NEVER unknown. In time, one of you will say something or do something that shows that you think of the person in more than a platonic way...or others will begin to question--what seems so very obvious to the general public.

p.s. the only exception to this rule is if one person isn't attracted to the other. Any questions?


I think the question is intent. Men and women can be friends with each other regardless of if there's an attraction as long as they both have the same intentions. Rarely in LIFE will you find a situation where two acquaintances or "friends" have never or will never have some level of attraction to each other. A number of things could happen, the attraction could be fleeting or eventually evolve into something else, like a long lasting "real" friendship.

"if you're single and the person you're trying to call a friend is single--it becomes a moot point--as you both are only fooling each other"... human nature is never going to change at least no time soon and it is human nature to be attracted to the opposite sex. The ability to be friends doesn't have anything to do with your "feelings" but rather how you respond to those feelings.

Man (meaning mankind) is naturally selfish and instinctively wired for self preservation but most of us law abiding, morally conscious folks don't walk around allowing our "instincts" to dictate our actions. In other words, if the question is, "can a man and woman be friends without either one being attracted to each other?" then my answer would definitely be no. But do I believe that those same people can ignore or repress that attraction for the sake of a healthy, happy, functional friendship? Absolutely.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Paz vs. "Hoopla"


Political scandals can be some asinine shit! John Edwards told his wife about this affair two years ago, so this "scandal" is a non-issue for me because the people who needed to know, knew before anyone else. Case closed! I think that it's completely conceivable that the Edwards could have an open relationship and that his wife condoned this "affair" and all this hoopla is deserving of as little media coverage as possible.


I think that these days, in this society, there is no such thing as "private" or "personal" for any public figure whether they are a politician or movie star. It's not right but it is what it is. As for Mr. Edwards, he screwed up (no pun intended) and if he confessed his sin to his wife, good for him. But he should have known that in the real world he is accountable to more than just his wife. His wife didn't elect him a Senator and his wife doesn't get paid to dig up and report dirt on the rich and powerful.

Oh, and forget about the fact that she has BREAST CANCER. Maaaaaaaan, that's a different kind of "low down" but that also makes it tabloid and talk soup worthy. And even if they did have an open marriage and she had some dude on the side (a BIG "if") then that too is newsworthy in itself based on the standards we govern ourselves by these days. And he can't be/shouldn't be surprised at the attention he's being given especially since he's only mere months removed from trying to run for President.


The privacy issue is just the point. He may be a public figure and his private life may be subject to scrutiny, BUT it's still his private life. MAYBE he came clean privately to his family to avoid this public spectacle. MAYBE denying the affair hoping to protect the private "secret" so his wife wouldn't have to endure all the media attention in the waning months of her life. MAYBE she said, "Hey John, this cancer thing is a pain. I want you to go out and have a good time with another woman." Elizabeth Edwards could come out tomorrow and say, "I ALLOWED him to have this affair," and give very sound reasons, but then SHE looks bad and the attention turns to her. To top it off, he's not even in a public office! This isn't a sitting president or a senator, he's just a handsome guy who's just hanging around these days. It may be "newsworthy" by today's standards, but that just shows you how low our news standards have become!