Sunday, December 23, 2012

Surviving Christmas: Eat, Pray, Drink

Merry Pre-Christmas, folks!

Yes, it's the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful. Sure, there are family members and friends to see and fattening food (mac and cheese!) to eat, but in addition to presents, sometimes there's drama lurking underneath the tree that calls for heavily spiked eggnog.

So, how do you survive holiday shenanigans and relatives who irk your nerves so much that your left eye starts to twitch? Here's a few tips:

1) Pray:

If you have a family to visit during Christmas that's a great thing, so thank God for that. But, sometimes things get heavy, so pray for peace, patience and understanding on both sides. Given that Jesus is supposed to be the reason for the season, prayer seems appropriate, don't ya think?

2) Establish some boundaries:

If you have the type of family that likes to use the holidays to talk about stuff that you don't want discuss, then man up and let folks know it's not going down like that this year. Even better, GENTLY let folks know that you don't want to talk about that thing when you get home, and that you WON'T talk about that thing while you're trying to enjoy the Christmas holiday. Now, wasn't that easy? On the other hand....

3) You can't make grown people do anything:

Let's face it, even when you ask people nicely not to do something (like bring up ish that you don't want to discuss), sometimes they're going to do it anyway. There's nothing you can do about this, so when this happens, let them talk. You don't have to engage in a conversation about it. If you do engage, and given the fact that you didn't want to talk about it in the first place, things are likely to go left very quickly. So, let them talk, nod your head, say "OK," remind them of the original boundary, and keep moving.

4) Change the way you respond

So let's say you engaged in conversation about stuff you didn't want to talk about and things are starting to go in a less than optimal direction. At this point conversations can escalate and the Grinch is within striking distance of stealing Christmas. What do you do? Bring it back, take a deep breath and change the way you're responding to the situation in a way that brings about peace. You're right, they're wrong, but who the heck cares?! It's Christmas, you don't have to go to work, and someone bought you a sweater. Whatever it is, it's not that serious, at least not during the holidays. However, if this doesn't work, then all you can really do is go back to the basics...

5) Food and liquor

You have friends back home. Call them, get out of the house, and go somewhere that has food and alcohol. You deserve a break, and your friends deserve entertaining stories about your family's special brand of crazy

I'm going to try and follow my own advice. Feel free to do the same :)  Anywho, stay random and enjoy your holiday. As a gift, here's DMX rapping with glee about Rudolph.  Why? Because it's Christmas! What! Holler :)


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Leadership and courage: 2 ways to stop the mass shooting madness

To be honest, I feel weird writing anything about the senseless tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, but to write about anything else seems frivolous and disrespectful to the victims. So here goes...and this will be more of a rant than anything else.

Twenty-seven people are dead due to the evil actions of a single man. Investigators are close to releasing information as to why a 20-year-old slaughtered innocent children, the adults that tried to protect them, and his mother, but it won't change the fact that Adam Lanza was evil. I'm not sure if evil is explicable or if there are varying degrees of it, but he killed BABIES by shooting them MULTIPLE TIMES. That fact alone makes me discount all the excuses that are being made about his mental state in the news. It also won't change the fact that parents who were planning for Christmas and other celebrations are now planning funerals. This fact alone is beyond comprehension.

Lanza isn't the only culprit. We don't have real gun control in this country because of cowardly, avaricious, self-centered politicians on both sides who allow themselves to bought and pimped by the National Rifle Association (NRA). Basically, lawmakers would rather protect themselves than their constituents. This has to change.

There's also the gun obsession in this country that allows an organization like the NRA to thrive. I'm all about protecting yourself, using guns responsibly for sport, or collecting them if that's your interest. I have uncles and cousins who hunt and have several rifles, and once considered getting a gun myself because I'm a single woman in the big city living in a neighborhood that while gentrified, is still a wee bit sketchy. One of my best girlfriends is a gun owner.  I get it. What I don't get is why people ignore or don't realize there's a middle ground. You can uphold the Second Amendment for law-abiding gun owners and have strong, sensible laws that restrict gun ownership so that guns don't keep ending up in the hands of those that are irresponsible, criminally inclined, mentally ill or just plain evil.

There's also the fact that there are nearly 300 million guns already in circulation in America and that if you put laws in place today, it still won't stop someone else from obtaining guns, legally or illegally, and committing another massacre. Apparently Lanza stole his weapons from the mother that he murdered after being turned down for a gun at a sporting goods store because he didn't want to wait on the background check, a talking point that I'm sure the NRA will use in a despicable fashion.

So, how many of these MASSACRES have to happen before people stop believing the lie that the government is going to take their guns away, and how long will it take for politicians to stop putting their own self-interest ahead of the safety of their constituents before we stop the madness? Do 50 children have to be killed, 100?  How many people have to die while Christmas shopping or watching a movie? How many young Black men have to die in Chicago, New York, and Sanford, Florida? Usually when these things happen, we rightfully cry and protest, but nothing happens. This time has to be different. If not, we only have ourselves to blame for the next massacre, because there will be another one if something doesn't change.

I have very few answers, but I do know we need to force our leaders to actually lead and put gun control back on the table and keep it there until there's a meaningful change in the nation's gun laws, starting  with reinstating the assault weapons ban. We need to put relentless pressure on lawmakers to exhibit some courage and actually stand up to the NRA and the rest of the gun lobby. We as country need to be courageous enough to address the gun problem in this country and resist our tendency to let a vocal, paranoid, and dishonest minority control the debate. Without leadership and courage, we are dooming ourselves to a bloody, violent reality where tragedies like Newtown become the new normal. I think I can safely say that this is no way to live.      

If you want to help the community of Newtown, here's some information:

The United Way of Western Connecticut in partnership with the Newtown Savings Bank has set up a Sandy Hook School Support fund to provide services to families and community members affected by Friday’s school shooting.

Donations by check can be sent to:
Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street, Newtown CT  06470

Monday, December 10, 2012

Scandal Indeed: Am I Really Rooting for Adultery?

So, like a lot of people I'm a fan of Kerry Washington's SCANDAL on ABC. It's a political soap opera on crack and while not perfect, it's kept me entertained enough to give it a coveted spot on my TV viewing calendar.

As good SCANDAL viewers know, Washington's Olivia Pope is involved in an on-again, off-again affair with President Fitzgerald Grant played by Tony Goldwyn, A.K.A., Fitz, A.K.A. the guy who killed Patrick Swayze in Ghost. During the campaign Pope and the POTUS fell madly in love and can't seem to stay away from each other. During the Dec. 6 episode we saw Pope and Grant have sexy time at Camp David and in the Oval Office on top of President Grant's desk. Um, can we say bold...and HOTTT!

In this same episode you gained a better sense of Olivia and Fitz's devotion and connection to each other, what with the epic "I belong to you speech" and Olivia sniffing Fitz's clothes because that's just how deep their love is. I couldn't help but laugh when the The Root compared their declarations of love to R. Kelly lyrics

Washington and Goldwyn have great chemistry, and the girly girl in me wants to see love conquer all. However, while watching this particular episode of SCANDAL, I started to feel some kind of way about Olivia and Fitz and their shenanigans in the name of love. During one scene, Fitz takes Olivia to view the U.S. Constitution. Not his wife, mind you, but Olivia, his mistress, sidepiece, whatever you want to call it. I mean, if that ain't love, I don't know what is. During this visit, Olivia declares that she's all in and fully committed to carrying on a relationship with a married man. Uh, well OK then. 

Yes, Fitz and Olivia have been carrying on for a while now, but this scene got to me because it showed that their affair was a deliberate decision and not something that just happened that they couldn't control.  I know, this is a fictional TV show, but if this were real life, Olivia and Fitz would be called everything but children of God and considered the most trifling, selfish people on the planet. Yet if you were on Twitter the night of this episode, you would know that viewers are rooting for Olivia and Fitz. I mean, Olivia is miserable, and Fitz hates his wife because he can't be with Olivia. If they could just be together, rainbows, puppies, kittens, and glitter would erupt from the sky and the world would be a much better place, right? The fact that they made a conscious decision to engage in an adulterous affair for God knows how long? Chile, why you gotta bring up old ish?

If nothing else, we know two things: 1) The media influences perceptions, even among reasonable intelligent adults, and 2) nobody with morals cheers for adultery in real life. But, if we're rooting for adultery on our favorite television shows, what does that say about us?

Anywho, these are just my random thoughts. If you need another perspective on Olivia and Fitz's problematic love story, check out DistrictDiva's take.

Stay random,