· deterring undemocratic government;
· repelling invasion;
· suppressing insurrection;
· facilitating a natural right of self-defense;
· participating in law enforcement;
· enabling the people to organize a militia system.
The saying is a derivation of the original quote “Guns Don't Kill People. People Kill People. ” has existed pre 1950’s. So can we also say cars don’t kill people, people do; Islam doesn't kill people, people do; cigarettes don’t kill people, people do; drones don’t kill people, people do, etc.
In wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton CT, shouldn’t we stop this misguided thought? Actually, the weapons used in this tragedy did kill innocent children and adults. Yes we know there was a human being who pulled the trigger but removing gun involvement is not the answer. Debated statistics from pro-gun, anti-gun and “sick of gun deaths” proponents all fall under the heading gun deaths. If you Google or Bing gun (firearms) deaths the results are massive and speak of gun related deaths. If you do the same search of people deaths you are most likely to get a listing of obituaries.
The 2nd Amendment rightfully named because it is probably the second most debated Amendment behind the 1st Amendment is the primary defense of those who are on the side of guns don’t kill argument. They use this as the 1st line of defense to say no one has the right to take away gun ownership, especially the government. They even use a political candidates stance on guns as a pretext on whether the candidate is worthy of being in office.
How much do people actually know about the oft quoted 2nd Amendment? Do we even know why it exists? The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The famous Amendment actually has its roots in England when King James II tried to take away the citizens right to have arms. King James II only wanted the militia to bear arms. He lost that fight as the country was becoming more Protestant over Catholic. It only makes sense when America was formed this natural right would exist here to. In no particular order, early American settlers viewed the right to arms and/or the right to bear arms and/or state militias as important for one or more of these purposes:
· deterring undemocratic government;
· repelling invasion;
· suppressing insurrection;
· facilitating a natural right of self-defense;
· participating in law enforcement;
· enabling the people to organize a militia system.
I think we can agree when guns are used in commission of daycare, mall, church, movie, etc assaults these acts do not fall under any of our “Founding Fathers” views. This is the charge of anti-gun and “sick of gun killings” proponents. Pro-gun proponents are worried everyone wants to take away their guns leaving them helpless to defend themselves. There are some people who want all guns removed from regular citizen’s ownership. In between are those who just want something to be done to deter these senseless murders and the acts of violence attributed to guns.
Here is what I know, the United States leads the world in gun violence but we always point to Mexico, Africa and Arab nations as savages for their gun violence. Is there a need for assault rifles, guns, semi or full automatic weapons in churches, daycares, schools, supermarkets, malls, etc.? The U.S. has passed legislation legalizing the carrying of firearms in National Parks, daycare centers, schools and churches to name a few. The thought behind this is citizens are being stripped of their right to protect themselves. There are even thoughts we should arm principals and teachers with guns to stop violence.
The saying “America has a God complex” may need to change to “America has a gun complex” because there may be more gun owners than church goers.
Ask yourself these questions. Do we ban all guns? Do we make harsher, stiffer gun laws? Do we do nothing?
If we ban all guns like we did alcohol during Prohibition, we know criminals and those who really want guns will possess them. In Japan most guns are illegal, with onerous restrictions on the few that are legal. Police also have far broader search-and-seizure powers but Japan also has a remarkably low rate of firearm deaths. In 2008, when the United States experienced over 12,000 gun-related homicides, Japan had only 11, or fewer than half killed Friday in Newtown, CT. That same year in the United States, 587 were killed just by accidental gun discharges. In 2006 in Japan, a nation of 128 million people, only two were killed by guns.
The U.S. has one of loosest gun control measures so tightening them wouldn’t be a bad thing would it? Do we need to allow guns everywhere if the prevailing thought is for home and family protection? I am not talking about those who hunt for sport with proper licenses who are obeying the law. Does the Stand your Ground law make us safer or vigilantes?
If we do nothing what does that say for the victims of these senseless murders? Are young people dying at an alarming rate due to America’s gun culture? I hope there is no debate in that. Of course we want to blamed rap music, video games, ignorance and depending on the background of the person or their mental state. In the end, we all make a choice whether to pick up a gun or firearm every day and use it to do harm. Shouldn't we look at the current laws and controls? They do not seem to be a deterrent.
To those who feel like I am belittling their choice, I really am not I, tried to leave my personal opinions out of this piece and pose questions and a few statistics. The latest event to become a part of these statistics are the victims of Sandy hook Elementary school. By now we have all seen the pictures of the innocent children and adults gunned down senselessly. The President of the United States said this tragedy cannot be routine and it has been all too often. There have been no less than 7 killing sprees this year. I wish we didn't have to ask these questions about gun control and gun laws? In the end can we agree guns do kill people?
Thank you for reading my blog post. If it sparks a civil debate I am happy. Please leave comments if you would please. May God bless all those who have been affected by firearm deaths.
I am sure most of us have heard the saying “Why jump out of a perfectly operating plane”. I used to think the same way. I am not sure when my adrenaline pumping beast within decided skydiving was a must be I must feed the beast. As a member of the internet coupon buying craze I saw one for skydiving and had to‘jump’ on it. I know bad joke but I had to try. I booked thru a company in Cedartown GA named Skydive Georgia . I piloted a plane click for story ,worked on airplanes when I first entered the USAF, based in Warner Robins, GA, so jumping out of one concludes the aerial trifecta, all completed in Georgia.
I decided to jump on my birthday, 5 May, Cinco de Mayo, to
celebrate another New Year. I called Skydive GA the morning of to check on the weather. I was informed there was a weather pattern but to drive on over it should be clear by the time I arrive. As I pulled up into the parking lot I saw people with big smiles and harnesses headed to go on their adventure. The adrenaline started kicking in.
I filled out the prerequisite number of forms and headed for the check-in line. Checking in can take forever if people don’t have their ID handy, print
out their 3rdparty vouchers to skydive or fill out the waiver forms before getting in line. I was assigned load 14 and filled out my paper work for my video package; I was not going to leave any of this to just memory. The video package contains 1 DVD of photos and 1 DVD of my jump with commentary by 1 of the funniest and crazy people I know, my alter ego Rafiq the Emcee.
I met my Tandem Instructor Mike who then fitted me in my harness.
FYI fellas the harness can be very snug around your groin area. When our load was called we all headed to the staging area to load onto the plane.
Mike, Leslie, my videographer and all around gorgeous sweetheart, and
Leslie’s husband had all of us laughing with their stories. The plane arrived
and we loaded up and took off. I bought the 14,000 feet jump package so we had a little time before reaching altitude. Mike gave me my instructions which were basically listen to him, breathe and enjoy.
The moment of truth arrived. There Mike and I were squat at the edge of the open plane door I looked down and hoped my God insurance was paid
up. I started thinking what the hell I was thinking for doing this. All of
sudden I wasn't in the plane anymore!!! Now I’m like am I about to pee on
myself? Mike grabbed my legs to a knees bent position, I looked out and there was Leslie with the camera smiling and making finger signs at me. I was good to go after 3 seconds. I was in control of all my bodily functions and senses. I kept remembering to keep my head up and BREATHE!! When I say it was AWESOME on the way down I forgot all about we had to deploy the shoot. Mike deployed the shoot and
Leslie was on her own in the wild blue yonder. Mike and I had small talk on the way down until it was time to land. The landing was smooth like a jazz melody as we landed standing up and me posing when we touched down.
I would like to thank Mike who after God saved my life by getting me down in one piece, Leslie who made me look good on camera and last but not
least Skydive Georgia, 7706843483, for their very professional staff behind the scene. I would challenge everyone to go at least once and make sure you tip the people who got you thru. See ya next time I jump!!!!
Who remembers riding in the backseat of a car yelling that every
time we saw a car we liked? Don’t
act like it was just me lol. Today
I attended the 30thAnniversary of the Atlanta International Auto Show
produced by the Metro Atlanta Automobile Dealers Association (MAADA). The show runs from 14 – 18 March 2012.
Excitement coursed thru my veins as I entered Georgia World
Congress Center C Building to see what automakers were going to tempt me with this year. Last year when I went I had 2 car payments coming to an end so I knew I was going just to look without purchasing in mind. This year I faced the no car payment /start a new car payment conundrum. The pressure mounted as I passed by Toyota, GM, Kia, and VW stations setup registering people to take test drives in their vehicles.
I spent a considerable amount of time at my favorite automaker Audi.
I spoke with Rick Case Audi at last years show and was they invited
me to blog/test drive of one of the first Audi A7’s to arrive on a car lot in
America. This year I spoke with Mr. Jeremy McLean, of Jim Ellis Audi of America, who explained this year’s Audi line. Audi brought out their big
guns to include R8 Spider, S8, S7 and S6. Yes they brought the A4,
A5 and an A8 with Audi Connect but the S models had everyone’s attention. What is the difference between the S and A models you ask? The S model
is marketed towards those who are not concerned about gas prices and want
luxuries and accouterments galore. There is also about 20K more in price over each A model. I asked about the rumored convertible S7 but it is still just that, a rumor. Jeremy dropped a major jewel about Audi’s future. Audi is coming out with diesel versions of their major cars very soon. With gas
prices in flux this is a smart move for Audi. I would like to thank Mr. McLean for spending time explaining the future of Audi to me. Please get in touch with him if/when you are in the market for an Audi at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Next I met Heather, spokesperson for Acura. She caught me peeking at the Acura ZDX, their new crossover. I really like the ZDX, it has a certain intrigue to it. It is a vehicle with a fun comfortable cockpit.
The back seat is functional for average height persons and has cargo
space that gets the job done. The price is something I would have to think about as this may force some to look at other crossovers first. Heather
and I had a heart to heart about Acura. I told Heather Acura’s don’t get the
respect they should due to the way they are marketed. No one says sexy or innovative when the name Acura is mentioned. They don’t have a person who pitches them whom we clamor for. Yes they now have Jerry Seinfeld along with the Soup Nazi but it is for a car, the NSX, which won’t be on the market for a couple of more years. I would love to be on marketing team. The first thing I would tell them is push the ZDX as much as possible, stop aiming just for the niche market … they would have to hire me to tell them the rest of my ideas. Kudos to Acura for hiring Heather, from SoCal, to be their spokesperson; she is very knowledgeable, engaging, professional and had all every person hanging on her every word.
My next engagement was not as pleasant as the first 2. I went to
look at BMW and its offerings. I was a little disappointed BMW didn’t bring their A game to me. They had a 2008 convertible on display and a 128i convertible. They did have the new 600 series BMW which is very very nice. They also had their Advanced Hybrid 5 series vehicle. I asked the spokesperson what the Advanced Hybrid was about but did not come away feeling confident she or I knew what it was. They also had a “10 to 8”aka a 750I on display with the Olympic emblem on it. Overall BMW disappointed me with their display.
The crowd favorites were Audi and its S model offerings, Hyundai with its Equus and Genesis models making the crowd swoon and Kia, Hyundai’s
brother (?), bringing every version of the Optima they have and their concept vehicle the GT. Honorable mention goes to the Toyota/Subaru collaboration the Subaru BRZ sports car. Infiniti quietly showed out with its line. The convertible Infiniti G37 is a must see.
Overall the show is a must attend but I felt a little let down because Porsche and Mercedes were not in attendance. I was looking forward to seeing what they have to offer. I am going back and taking my daughter who believes she can coax me into buying her a vehicle shown at the show as her first car.
Stay tuned for that blog. I would like to thank the sponsors of the 30th Anniversary of Atlanta International Auto Show the Atlantic Journal Constitution, Comcast and WSB TV 2 Atlanta along with the producer MAADA. Thank you for reading my blog and please feel free to leave comments.
I love flying in planes. Thanks to Groupon , 9 Feb 12, I decided to kiss the sky. I purchased a voucher to fly with Air Ventures PDK located at Dekalb Peachtree Airport.What possessed me to do this you ask? Those famous 2 words … why not.
I, like millions of others, have flown airplanes a million times thanks to gaming consoles, pc games, etc so I figured I had this in the bag. Arriving at Dekalb Peachtree Airport I became more excited seeing the row of planes.
Entering PDK’s office I was greeted by Colin Gornall at the front desk and filled out the necessary paperwork. Colin also was my instructor. Colin is looked like he would be behind your favorite IT guy, after me of course than a flight instructor. It shows I have watched too many movies where the instructor is some tough old guy with a big moustache and speaks in clichés. Seeing Colin put more at ease. In the fight instruction room Colin’s first question was did I have plans for the weekend. For a split
second my brain went huh until I figured out he wanted to know if I had a reason to live. I assured him I have a lot to live for and returning home the same way arrived was my goal. Besides my gaming experience I informed Colin of my military background of working on airplanes and knowledge of flight plans and communications.
Colin performed preflight checks as I psyched myself up for the adventure of a lifetime. I slid into the cockpit, received my extra instrument information, and adjusted my pilot headset and seat. Colin taxied us out to a spot on the tarmac and said your turn. I am a speed demon in a car that uses hand and feet combos to make a vehicle do mystical things. Taxiing is a feet only operation. My brain and hands were fighting the whole time I was taxiing because they didn’t know what to do. I would give myself a C in taxiing only because at one point my hands stage a coup and I went off course on the runway.
The moment of truth had arrived. Colin lined us up on the run way revved
the plane up to its maximum potential and said OK pull back slowly on the stick and TAKEOFF. I have taken off a ton of times including being in the cockpit of a KC-135R but to have the wheel in my hand whoa!!! I pulled back on the stick and could not really tell we lifted off the ground UNTIL the plane figuratively shifted to the right in the air ……………………………….. In my head I cursed and was like what did I get myself into? My Philly persona kicked in and kept me cool.
We took off and immediately downtown was the horizon. My goal was to keep the plane at a steady altitude of 3000 feet giving the plane a clearance of 500 feet above the highest tower and 500 feet below Atlanta Hartsfield airspace. We flew a left turn flight plan to include taking off, crosswinds, downwind, base and landing. I flew over downtown Atlanta and then set our course to Stone Mountain. Wow is all I can say. Flying that low over places you’ve encountered traffic which made even sailors go wow what a mouth on you and seeing God’s view of sites such as the Stone Mountain area and later Lake Lanier was amazing. Colin made sure I didn’t try to fly us into the sun or try to cut in front of anyone at a drive-thru. I knew he was there to bail me out but I was in total control and felt at ease. Colin told me navigate the
plane towards Lake Lanier, the area where I live after giving me a one of a kind tour of the Stone Mountain area. We arrived at Lake Lanier Islands area and then
turned towards Sawnee Mountain passing over where I live.
It was time to tell the Colin the truth. The first 5 minutes of the flight I was
scared as all get out but was not going to give up.
Getting knocked around by winds with the stick in your hand is much
different than sitting in a jumbo jet and feeling the butterflies dancing in
your stomach. Below is a video of
me flying the plane and our landing (Colin landed the plane).
All-in-all I had an awesome experience and time flying with Colin
and PDK. I have one more thing to say I have done and can cross off my to-do list. I plan on flying again with Air ventures PDK and Coil Gornall who wants to go?
Sherry Atkinson @sharylattkisson wrote an informative article entitled “Radical overhaul of military retirement eyed” which I view as Pentagon and budget cuts BS. Some people may not understand why a soldier would be outraged. Once again a promise given to soldiers is about to be broken. No longer is post-retirement medical care free and by scratching the 20+ year pension style here comes another broken promise. Next will be a further reduction in medical benefits and then active duty and retiree pay reduction or total freeze.
Some will say well everybody has to sacrifice but everyone ISN’T. Should the people who sacrifice their life and put country before self and family have to?
Does the Defense budget need cutting, yes. According to the article“Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office says it's very important that the military attack its retirement issues. "We're talking about an underfunding that starts to look like hundreds of billions of dollars in the next 20 years. And if you want to maintain the core mission which is to defend the nation and have the strategic capabilities we need, we can't have all their money tied up in retirement programs."” So in essence keeping your word is burdenous and should be changed due to fiscal mismanagement and a foreign policy gone bad. The new system will give money to everyone who serves and give more to those in dangerous conditions. There are re-enlistment bonuses and hazardous duty pay already in place for this. I would have never made 20 years in the military under the proposed rules. When all my friends were getting out to make 6 figures I stayed in because I had over 10 years and wanted to make it to 20 years to collect a guaranteed check and benefits. It was an incentive for me. Under the new proposed rules when they go to a 401K style system service people will not stay. They will have to offer more incentives, MONEY, to keep them in. Also with 401K you can’t get to your money without penalties. What happens if I die before retirement age? The way it is now I get a check that helps me support my family now not later. The way the retirement age is going you may not see your money till your 80.
I hear you saying what's my solution instead of griping and moaning? Countries should pay for our protection period, unless it is a 3rd world or humanitarian rescue type of thing. We are the smartest and stupidest country in the world at the same time. We are the only country that goes and puts ourselves in just about every skirmish around the world. We are the world policeman without the person on the side of the road collecting money to help offset costs. The military has had Afro-Middle East presence for over 20 years and what do we have to show for it? Al Qaeda said they would ruin the US and they did, not with explosives but thru draining the economy via wars/conflicts.
I would pull support for Pakistan who has given China secrets of our stealth helicopter and forbid any American businesses from having dealings with them. I would remove troops from Afghanistan for harboring Osama bin Laden on their soil. The wars/conflicts of the past decades have cost untold trillions of dollars, countless civilian and military lives and dragged our economy into an abyss. If these rich countries would have paid for our military might like they did/do Halliburton and these other “protection” services they have over there we would most likely be in a better economic position.
I find it funny Russia is laughing and chastising us over our ecomonic situation. They must have forgotten when their economy fell and there people couldn’t find bread on the shelves due in a large part to military wars and trying to sustain the cold war. This should have been a historical lesson for us but we did not take heed.
There is a ground swell clamoring for the President to “just bring all the troops home”. You can’t bring all the troops home at once and have them out of work along with the 220K United States Postal Service workers due to be released and the other 15% or more, truer numbers than what they forecast, Americans out of work.
I would use the specialty fields of our service people to help fix our roads, bridges, drinking water, secure our borders, research, information highway protection, medical and dental services, etc. Use their many skills and knowledge to help rebuild this nation. The promise made to us was serve at least 20 and get a retirement check once you retire. How about this novel idea; how about Congress take paycuts and reduction in their benefits and gives them to our service persons retiree/veteran benefits program? Um … I’ll wait!!! I thank you for taking the time to read my point of view. I would also like thank a very special person who helped me with the title and inspired me to put words to blog. Please feel free to comment, tweet, and Facebook share this article.
Social Location Media is not a new rage but maybe a new term. I made need to copyright the term if it does not already exist. What is Social Location Media (SLM) you ask? Four Square, Facebook Check-ins, Twitter, Waze, Yelp, Loopt, and Gowalla to name a few. These are geo-location services which is the proper term for “telling everyone where we are.”
One of the great things about SLM is that you can collect points and get discounts for “checking-in” at various places. If you become the Mayor using Foursquare you reap even bigger rewards including a small percentage off, free items and even social bragging rights. Businesses are now in tune with SLM services and use our check-ins to market to the public and very soon it will offer incentives specific to the individual.
I have the pleasure of providing brotherly security for several beautiful, intelligent, philanthropic, and highly social females who belong to a group they coined the D!PS. I will use them as an example of the good side of SLM.
Let’s say the D!PS are out at one of the many Hank Stewart Foundation events they attend. The great thing about SLM is they can check-in at an event using one of the many SLM services and let everyone who follows/friends them know of their whereabouts and how to get to the event using Google Maps, etc.
All this is awesome right? Where is the downside? How could there be any danger in something so easy and care-free? Unfortunately we humans do not always have the best of intentions for each other and SLM has made it easier to do harm to each other.
Thanks to these same services mentioned anyone one who wanted to do harm to any of the D!PS just has to check one their social pages to find them. Fortunately for them they have a cadre of men who care about their safety. Not every woman is so blessed.
There are accounts of people’s houses being broken into and worse by using SLM. So how can we use SLM services and still guarantee our safety? We can’t, because there are no guarantees in life. Can we limit our social location footprint? Yes we can.
Let’s start with Facebook. Facebook has gone as far as to allow your “friends” to check you into a place without you knowing. This is where the openness of social media and safety has a big glitch. We all make social connections for various reasons such as networking, reuniting with old friends and acquaintances, staying in touch with family, etc. and we like to believe everyone has our best intention at heart.
You can stop another person from checking you into places you are hanging together Go to Account --> Privacy Settings -> Customize Settings:
Go to Account --> Account Settings --> Account Security and select Secure Browsing and though it may be a pain selecting Login Notifications is one of the best way to know when your Facebook page is being accessed. Login Approvals is also a good thing if you so choose.
Let’s move to Foursquare. This is a stalker and evil doer’s paradise
Foursquare by the numbers (last updated April, 2011)
•Users: Over 10 million worldwide
•Check-ins per day: Over 3 million, with over 600 million check-ins total
A person can literally tell where you work, live, and play daily. Some of us even Foursquare where our children go to school, daycare, etc. This combined with announcing our children’s names 5 times a day is a HUGE NO-NO. Pedophiles don’t have much work to do. STOP IT. Stop telling the world your children’s names and their whereabouts on social media. Now I’m not saying don’t use Foursquare just use it wisely.
Not every check-in HAS to be broadcast to the world. Here is what you can do. Right before you click “Check In Here” for the second time you can de-select share with Facebook and Twitter to keep it from posting to them and also select No for Share with Friends. Now even your Foursquare friends will be clueless to where you are, unless of course they are with you.
Let’s talk about Foursquare friending. Don’t friend EVERYONE who asks. Make sure you are selective after all these people will know where you are checked into. They are alerted when you check in no matter if they are logged into Facebook or Twitter at the time.
Now onto our dear friend Twitter. With over 200 million users and over 200 million tweets a day people may not understand Twitter is the number one stalking tool probably going. Thanks to 3rd party Twitter tools like Tweetdeck, Tweetcaster, etc we can tweet not only on Twitter but connect the tweets to Facebook, Linked In, Foursquare, etc. as well as other products. Most people concentrate on the getting fired from our jobs aspect of twitter but not personal safety. Go check your settings right now, but come back to the blog we aren’t finished yet. If you don’t have HHTPS only checked, check it now. Of course if you have Protect my Tweets checked you are really trying to make sure you are safe and probably are patting yourself on the back. Do you have Tweet Location checked? If you do, ding ding ding, stalkers are drooling over your tweets. Some of us even provide our location in our profile. Most likely you geo-tagged from your house which is an invitation to over 200 million people to your house. I am now going to let you in on a little secret we geeks know. Even with all these turned off geeks like me can still triangulate where you tweet from. If you are like me and tweet the majority of the time from home that could be scary. I am not going to give away how due to safety concerns for you all.
So have I scared you enough into being wiser and safer when using SLM services? Men and Women both have stalkers and people who wish ill upon us. Be careful with your physical whereabouts. Remember when you check-in and you’re not home people can view this as an invitation to visit your property while gone. When out and about especially at nite travel to and from your motive of travel with someone. Block and remove as friends those who you know do not have your best interest at hand. Let someone know if you believe you are being stalked and change your profile or at least access to it. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop with the tagging of your children’s location and their names especially if they are young. Thank you for reading this blog. I hope you learned something from it, please pass it along to anyone and everyone you care about who is into social location media. Please feel free to leave comments and subscribe to my RSS feed. Stay safe and Happy SLM.
Today across the U.S. is Father’s Day. Father’s Day came about in the 20th century to compliment Mother’s Day, Father's Day history. Thanks to Social Media I am witnessing a Father’s Day massacre. Instead of getting the praise we deserve like Mothers do on their day we are reminded of those who have fallen short in their duty as fathers.
I can’t speak for every father just like I can’t speak for every
Black, Muslim, male, geek or athlete. What I can is give you a glimpse into what
it’s like to be greeted with cheers and hear the boos.
This blog will shock many who have known me for a long time and never knew what I am about to say. This is my story, song and therapy.
From an early childhood I remember the good and bad times of being raised by a single mother in the 70’s. I remember her working hard to keep our two person family fed, clothed, and maintained. The funny thing is I never really wondered about my father more than I wondered where her husband was.
As I grew up I always felt special but a little too special. It was almost like I different. One day while playing with my cousins they said I wasn’t one of them I was adopted. I brushed it off as cruel things we said to each other.
I still recall the day I officially met my birth mother. I had seen her before but was just introduced to her as a lady my mom knew. When I met my mother again she didn’t really have to say anything I just knew it was her. The prodigal son had returned to his mother’s life at 14. Coping with 2 head strong women protective over the same son is another blog for the ages but I digress.
Let’s jump forward another 10 years. I was my 5th years in the Air Force, I was new to Islam, and coming into my own as a man. I was at my
cousin’s cookout and I was introduced to my father. What do you think happened next? I can hear some of say you cussed him out, you cried, you turned your back and walked away, you fought him, etc. I said “Hello” shook his hand and continued enjoying one of my cousin’s classic cookouts.
In the 20 years I have officially known my father I believe he
is more damaged by his actions than I am. I don’t resent, hate, or dislike him.
He had his reasons for his actions and whether I or anyone else agrees this is
what was done and life continued. To this day he still thinks I have negative
feelings for him. I don’t. I love my father because he is my father. I have never said anything bad about him because what good would it do. We don’t keep in touch other than when we see
each other in person and it seems to work for him so it works for me. Many are probably saying huh, what, how, why? Because, I too am a father.
On 13 May 96 I received a phone call while in my door room at Hickam AFB, HI saying I was going to be a father. I immediately thought of my upbringing and the lack of a father my first 24. I covered some of my journey in my blog Yes We Exist. I knew I didn’t want the same for my daughter or me.
When my daughter entered the world I was right there. I was so close I saw here coming out of her mother and asked the nurse “What is that?” to which she responded your daughter‘s head. I remember taking her into the bathroom to say an Islamic prayer for her as is the ritual for children who are Muslim or born of African descent.
I did not marry my daughter’s mother even tho I am well aware of what scripture says. I also didn’t do what many of the vitriolic Facebook posts, tweets, and stereotypes for men, black men and military men says we do, I did not run. My daughter’s mom tried to use underhanded
techniques to keep me under her control such as threaten to remove my daughter from my house and not let me see her. I did not cave. From day one I told my daughter’s mother and her parents I would be there and take care of our daughter and even take her full custody if need be. I was always told don’t worry about it I could visit anytime I wanted to see my daughter there was definitely no need to file for joint custody. I did not fall for the ookie doke. I took my daughter’s mother to court for joint custody and so that I could pay her child support. Re-read the sentence yes I took her to court so I could pay her child support. When I arrived in court the judge looked at me and said he already knew how he was going to rule before I or the state presented our cases. I looked at him and said no you don’t and explained to him I am the one who asked to be here and what I wanted to do and the state backed me up. He had to take back his words and I was granted joint custody.
I left my daughter in Hawaii when she was 9 months old to return to the states and go to Air Force Computer Programming School, in Biloxi MS, while there I called here every day at least once. It pained me to be away from her but I had to do what was right for both of us. After graduating school I was stationed at the National Security Agency, Ft. Meade MD. I moved into an apartment just as I did in Hawaii in preparation for the arrival of my daughter.
One day I was sitting at work and called to talk to my daughte and couldn’t get in touch with her mother and was told no one knew where she was and that I couldn’t take my daughter from Hawaii because a lawyer said so. Less than 4 hours later I was on a military flight from Dover AFB to Travis AFB via military plane to catch a flight to Hawaii on Emergency Leave. I called the Honolulu police department and informed them my daughter was parentally being kidnapped and needed their help. They informed me once I arrived as long as I had paperwork with me if there was any problem they would arrest my daughter’s mother for violating a court order. I informed my daughter’s mother’s people of this and when I arrived in Hawaii my daughter magically appeared.
I was given grief for taking my daughter back with me by her family. They said it would ruin my child, she wouldn’t know how to cope, and more fodder. I was given the option of letting her stay in Hawaii and me and my family could fly there anytime we wanted to see her. Once again not falling for the okie doke.
I decided for many personal reasons I wanted full custody of my daughter and went about researching how to get it sans a lawyer. It was amazing how supportive people who didn’t know me were on my journey to full custody. I was granted full custody and here we are today.
I wrote a blog entitled Am I Really Walking Tall chronicling my experience at Max360Health, a chiropractic practice. In the piece I mentioned one of the programs they offer is nutrition counseling.
Dr Savedoff, my chiropractor, had me chart my diet for three days. This actually is a harder task than imagined. First of all try it for one day and see how you do. Write down everything you eat or drink. Everything? Yes gum, water, candy, etc. and then give it to a complete stranger to judge your eating habits.
Being a lifelong athlete, a man and any other reason for braggadocio I felt quite certain I would on a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate at least 8 on my diet. I eat oatmeal 4 or more days a week to help manage my cholesterol and stay regular. I switched from the packets of flavored oatmeal to the old fashioned cylindrical canister of 100% whole grain oats and add my own fruit. I switched from white sugar to brown sugar and even thought of getting the raw turbinado sugar which would play along with my hyperactivity. I gave up McDonald fries for Russet potatoes prepared in a variety of ways. When preparing my foods I use olive and vegetable oil. I chose Oscar Mayer for my lunchmeats over the cheaper store packaged products. I lessened my fast food intake though I know I will never completely give it up, Chick-Fil-A and KFC are my weakness. Being Muslim I figured I have to be ahead of the curve due to religious dietary constraints covered in the Holy Qur’an and Leviticus 11 of the Old Testament.
The moment of truth arrived and it was time to face the "Am I eating nutritionally correct?" music. I got this!! WRONG!! My assumption of was off from breakfast of day one. 40% of the items I submitted were in the No Eat/Eat Organic Zone. Those who personally know me know I am headstrong and will battle for what I believe in. My theory is doctors don’t live longer than us so how can they tell us how bad off we are? So the first battle was if my diet is not up to par then why do I score so well on my annual physical test and feel great. Dr. Savedoff reminded me test scores can be manipulated for good and or evil.
I learned I can eat healthy junk food, I know an oxymoron and if I eat green leafy vegetables I can cheat due to the healing nature vegetables have on our bodies.
As I mentioned in my other blog this is what is practiced in other countries who have way worse eating, drinking, and smoking habits than us in the US. They eat more organic, free range, and grass fed carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Fresh vegetables a day will keep the pharmacist away.
I will now switch to steel cut oats instead of the rolled oats I was eating, switch to almond milk, drop Kellogg’s Pop tarts from the list, cut back my cranberry juice intake, buying organic and grass fed meats and poultry, etc. Why am I doing this if I am categorically healthy? Because I actually can tell the difference since I’ve taken some of the advice the doctor has given me. Will I change everything? No. Will I cheat? Yes. Will I live forever? No. I will live until my destined time is over but while I am here why not live as healthy as possible? The photos below illustrate my goals
Every year car manufacturers bring out a new model, and if they are lucky, we get hooked on the model number. For example, when you hear 300, you think Chrysler; 550, you think Mercedes; 318 you think BMW. Now for those who grew up around Hip Hop in the late ‘80’s, early ‘90’s, you remember the
number 5000. It wasn’t the model of a car but a term. "Audi 5000" was made a
popular street term by Flava Flav of Public Enemy. Audi 5000 meant leaving, outta here, finished. Fast forward to 2011 and Audi is none of those things, bringing to America, the 2012 Audi A7. The A7 has been turning heads in Europe for quite some time. Now it’s America’s turn and it definitely doesn’t disappoint. I did a piece on the 2011 Atlanta International Auto Show sponsored by AJC and in it I covered the A7. I was fortunate enough to link back up with Mr. Stacey Settle, Senior Audi Brand Specialist, of Gwinnett Audi, who gave me an in-depth tour and test drive of the $80K A7, Audi’s version of a 4 door coupe.
Mr. Settle and I spent over 20 minutes going over the interior. This piece of fine engineering comes with a WiFi hotspot that is connectable to up to 8 items, Google Earth overlay navigation, Google Connect system for Internet Access, 2 SD card slots, wireless phone connections, Heads Up Display (HUD), 180 mph on the dash, night vision infrared (including heat seeking ), and so much more. We talked a little about Audi’s competition- Hyundai and its Equus. Don’t take my word for it.
Watch and listen as Mr. Settle takes on us an interior tour you won’t see in a
brochure, read online, or get from a novice brand specialist.
We went over the sunroof, lighting console, and interior headliner made of a poly composite stain resistant material. The cavernous glove compartment and center console are not your grandfather’s compartments; they are chock full of tech goodies. We talked about how to acquire the A7, either via preorder or by walking into a dealership. Did you know Gwinnett Audi is the only Audi dealership giving you a complimentary 10 year/ 10k miles powertrain warrantee with each purchase? This normally will cost you between $1600 -$2000. I checked and didn’t see it added to the sticker price anywhere. The trunk opening and closing is a push button operation. To see a glimpse of the convertible S7 he mentions click here lions, tigers, and bears OH MY!!!!!
Watch this beauty come out of the showroom.
Now it was test drive time. We go over the different packages contained in the car. You also get to hear the sound system. You may wanna turn your speakers down a little. I learned about the 3 different ways of driving the car: automatic, manual or paddles on the steering wheel. Ready? Let’s gooooooooo!
I learned a little about the Quattro technological history present in the A7. I also get to show you the HUD in action. We also get a glimpse of the fingertip encryption pad used to control the navigation console and also the voice activated system.
I would like to thank Gwinnett Audi for their hospitality. I would especially like to thank Mr. Stacey Settle for keeping his word and granting me an up close and personal view of the A7. Decisions, decisions, decisions. I hear the 2012 A6 is due out in August and I am hoping Mr. Settle grants me the privilege to spend some time behind the wheel of it. What I like most about Gwinnett Audi and Mr. Settle is there is no pressure to buy. They answer all your questions, take time to go over every nook and cranny of the car, and treat you like a person versus a sale. Now of course, they are in the business to sell you a vehicle; Gwinnett Audi has 37 lenders connected to them to help you get financed so you can take one of these beauties home. Shout out to my camera girl, the Golden Child, who made the cockpit filming possible while I drove. Please go test drive this beauty. You won’t be disappointed.
All of my life I've been told to stand up straight and walk tall. I'm sure some of it is because we are taught that the straighter our posture, the more confident we are perceived i.e. the modeling world. If we really want to know we can always go to a doctor to get a checkup and find out if we are. Okay, I hear some of you saying my doctor doesn't do that kind of checkup. Well, they do if they are a chiropractor.
Like most people I have back issues from time to time. I always blame it on lifting weights, some kind of sports injury or sleeping wrong. Normally, I figure as long as I could crack my own back or neck or have someone else do it, I am my own chiropractor. Oh contraire, I may have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express before but I am no chiropractor. I was having some back pain so I went to see my regular doctor and he adjusted my lower back. We talked about my back pain and joked I may need to see a chiropractor. Around this time I received an email from Max360Health offering a free initial visit consisting of a consultation, exam, and x-rays at no cost. I figured who doesn’t like to save $380 so off to the chiropractor I went. Can you say an eye opener or spine/nervous system revelation was in the works?
Initially I met with Dr. Carlisle who ran a heat sensing apparatus up and down my spine which showed bad areas at the base of my skull and my lower back. I
knew about my slight scoliosis and lower back trauma so, when Dr. Carlisle pointed it out, I was unimpressed. It was on my return visit when I sat down with Dr.Savedoff and he showed me what my X-rays displayed, was when the proverbial shock and awe took place.
My X-rays weren't good .
My brain to body neurological communication is operating at 50% capacity. My neck is at a 17 degree angle vs. the preferred 31 degrees which has caused the C1
vertebrae in my neck, a moveable bone, to creep up into space reserved for my brain stem. How critical is the brain stem? The brain stem provides the main motor and
sensory innervations to the face and neck via the cranial nerves. Though small, this is an extremely important part of the brain as the nerve connections of the motor and sensory systems from the main part of the brain to the rest of the body pass through the brain stem. I was also informed that my lower back is at a 20 degree angle vs. the normal 43 degrees and my hips are misaligned; the proper term for misalignment is subluxation. All of these factors have led to slight scoliosis and disc erosion. Below is a picture displaying what a normal cervical curve looks like.
During my visit, I realized that a chiropractor is more than just a doctor who cracks your back or you go to see after a car accident. Chiropractors also deal with nutritional counseling as well as muscle and spinal exercises. Dr. Savedoff shared statistics with me I was very familiar with; 5 out of 6 Americans die from cancer or heart
disease yearly, we
are only 5% of the Earth’s population but consume 87% of all prescription drugs and we are 37th out of the top 41 countries in health. Do you know who the healthiest country is? France. Though the countryman of Japan, China, and Korea smoke incessantly they surpass the U.S. in health also; due to their diets of green vegetables containing the body cleansing molecule chlorophyll.
Common perceptions of the chiropractic field are along the same lines as the mental health field. No one talks about it or thinks of its importance when it comes to normal healthcare. Our nervous/skeletal systems and overall health are left to chance because who really needs to see a chiropractor for a small back or neck pain? We don't see a mental health specialist unless we are referred and we don't see a chiropractor until we have an accident and we are trying to get paid. Over time decreased brain to body communication leads to ailments and sickness but when it happens suddenly paralysis.
So now what? My road to corrected spinal/neurological success includes an exercise routine before and after my adjustment sessions along with home exercises 3 times a week for 12 weeks. Most likely I will continue to go to the chiropractor a couple times a year for the rest of my life to keep my nervous/skeletal system healthy. Eat to live and contunue doing my exercises to stay fit.
So am I really standing and walking tall? Yes and no. My outward appearance says yes but my skeletal system says no. Please get checked out and find out how chiropractic treatment can help you maintain a healthier and pain free life. You can check out Max360Health for more information. Thank you. Feel free to leave comments below.