Now, I know Hampton Roads Virginia is not a major metropolitan area. I know the difference because I've lived in the Washington DC Metro area as well as the Los Angeles Metropolitan area. I’ve experienced extended stays in New York, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Chicago, Philly, Detroit, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and the list goes on. So by no means am I comparing any of those areas with Hampton Roads Virginia and I’m certainly not comparing the traffic here with any of those areas either. HOWEVER, I had the misfortune of being a part of the MORNING RUSH HOUR in Hampton Roads the other day. OH MY GOODNESS!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! Now, maybe since I work evenings and have not dealt with anything like that in, oh say……..fifteen years…..I might just be a little out of practice. I mean, usually, I’m dealing with traffic when people are leaving work and perhaps they are just a little less ENERGIZED!!! That morning traffic is crazy!!! People all hopped up on coffee and caffeine and driving at the speed of THOUGHT! And the thought is……”I’m gonna be late, I know I shoulda quit hitting that *#^&% snooze button. Boss said if I’m late just one mo time……” People were riding bumpers like race cars drafting at the Indy 500. They would change lanes and THEN signal. I felt like Capt. Kirk of Star Trek …..only difference was my mission was to seek out new lanes and boldly drive where no one had driven before……meaning……the shoulder. Cause I pulled over and parked! I called my wife and told her to come get me. She drives in that morning madness daily, so no big deal to her. That’s right, I told her to COME GET ME!! I’ll come back around 10 a.m. (when all the senior citizens are driving) and get the car. Morning traffic, just one MORE reason to have a home based business. If you need some info on a good one, email me.
My wife is a huge tennis fan, so we made the trip to The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York to see the women's final in The US Open.Â We had decent seats as there are no bad seats in Arthur Ashe Stadium.Â We had what I call.....an aerial view (we were just below the BLIMP).Â We had a good time....the only thing that would haveÂ made itÂ better was forÂ Serena Williams to win the match but alas....she got SMOKED.Â Still it was cool to see her play, er uh, not play.Â It was cool to see her and here are theÂ pixs (they got clearer after I cleaned the lens).
Remember the last time the Dismal Swamp was burning?Â Of course you don't.Â You're probably saying whatÂ the (blank) is the Dismal Swamp, right?Â Well, the Dismal Swamp is roughly 112,000 acres of swamp Â situated on the border of Virgina & North Carolina.Â There's a wildlife refuge on the Virgina side and a state park on the North Carolina side.Â Presently, about 5500 of the acresÂ are blazing.Â It also burned three years ago.Â Back in 2008, I couldnât fathom how a swamp could burn.Â Â I mean, it'sÂ supposed to be saturated with water.Â Come find out, it ain't always got water in it.....not entirely.Â Some parts have water, other parts are dry.Â Well, it seemsÂ that lightning keeps striking the part that's dry and before you know it.......whoosh, itâs Â flame on.Â Â All of Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina have been affected by the smoke.Â Doesn't matter where you live, sooner or later the wind will blow that stinking, eye burning, nostril hurting foul stench your way.Â In addition, in some cases, visibility is reduced to basically nothing.Â Matter of fact, check out this pic...
Can you imagine breathing this stuff?Â As a matter of fact, there's a respiratory alert in place.Â Here's another one......
Not fog but SMOKE,Â breathingÂ hurts.Â Â Oh, butÂ here's my favorite picture.....
It reminds me of some of the rooms in myÂ college dormitory back in the 70's.Â Knock on the door, whenÂ it opened, thatâs allÂ you saw.....BIG TIME SMOKE.Â Â The only things missing from the picture above are a black light, the poster of that sister with the big afro, fishnets hanging fromÂ the ceiling and Iron Butterfly's IN DA GADA VIDA blasting on the turntable.Â Â Once, I not only knocked on that door, I entered the fogâ¦â¦â¦.I disappeared for a weekâ¦â¦.with no memory of anything.
Which brings to mind....how come these mega wildfires never engulf acres of marijuana? Once, while in the military, we stumbled across a huge patch of it during one of those field exercises.Â Dudes were uprooting plants and stuffing em in their duffel bags figuring it be dry and ready by the time the field exercise was over.Â So you know, it's growing wild somewhere.Â Now, imagine all that smoke in the pictures above was a result of some weed wildfire.Â Â Potheads would be homeless on purpose.Â All they would want to do is just live outside and breathe andÂ live outside and breathe. Everybody would have a contact (thatâs being high as a result of secondary smoke).Â All the snacks in Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina would be SOLD OUT cause everybody got the munchies.Â People would be driving around aimlessly because they can't remember where they're going.Â Teachers would forgot to check homework, give the test that they promise a week ago, take attendance and attend those awful after school meetings.Â Brown nosers would refrain from kissing the bosses butt and tell the boss to kiss their butts and they and the boss would then burst into laughter..... and keep on laughing............ for the rest of the day.Â Bus drivers would drive their routes but forget to pick up and discharge passengers.Â Admin workers would be at their desks marveling at the starfield screen saver on the computer while uttering mono syllabic phrases like Â Ooooo, Ahhhh, woooowwwww.Â And radio personalities like me, would get on the air and just ramble on and on and on about nothing.Â Wait a minuteâ¦â¦we do that NOW!!Â Hmmmm, is there something burning in the swamp that they havenât told us about?!?
(pictures courtesy of our broadcast partner WTKR, News Channel 3)
Wow, things have been sooooo hectic!! Busy, busy, busy…..between the radio station, the travel agency, the TV show (Grown Folks Dancing!) and still another business venture, sometimes I feel like I don’t have time to even sleep. But I get my sleep, BELIEVE THAT!! With all of that going on, who would have thought there would be time for an addition to the household. But YEP, there sure is…… a 13 pound 3 ounce addition! And she’s a little cutie!! That’s right, she! Wow, another female added to the Thomas household. She’s been with us since April and I really thought she would alter our lifestyle drastically but actually……..no. She sleeps all night long, not a peep out of her. She will; however, awaken me about 8 or 9 in the morning but hey, that’s the time I usually awaken anyway……so, no big deal. I do have to adjust to all the toys. Toys everywhere….at least, that’s the way it seems. The thing I wonder about is how long before she recognizes her name. I say her name and she will just lie there, no reaction at all. I mean, I know she can’t answer me but HEY, give me some kind of reaction. Still she’s a God send! Since she has been with us, I’ve lost 15 pounds. That right….15 POUNDS and counting! Matter of fact, the wife is getting a little jealous of my weight loss. I told her to start doing what I do……and she has. That means the DOG gets a three mile walk during the morning and a three mile walk in the evening. That’s right, the addition to the Thomas household is a Jack Russell Terrier……..that’s a dog folks. We got her from the Norfolk SPCA. We were looking for a puppy. I wanted a Doberman or Rottweiler, something that’s gonna earn its keep. Pam wanted a Chihuahua or poodle, something small and cute. Turns out, the Jack Russell is small and cute but thinks it’s a BIG DOG. This animal will not back down from ANY other dog. She walks up to Pit Bulls, Mastiffs, Rottweilers or Dobermans like she’s saying, “What, What?!? Don’t start none, won’t be none.” You know how when we humans meet someone that we feel is crazy, so we just don’t bother them? Well, that’s how these huge dogs act when Lady (that’s her name) comes around. They look at her sideways and walk away growling to themselves. Personally, I’m glad cause I’m hollering, “C’mon Lady, leave that dog alone, OH LORD, Please leave that dog alone. The dog will eat you as an appetizer and me as the entrée. OH PLEASE, come on back here…..before I have to leave you.” Naw, not leaving my little Lady. Seriously, if you’re looking for a good pet, I highly recommend the Norfolk SPCA. Matter of fact, any SPCA is a good place to adopt a pet. I’m partial to Norfolk because it’s a No Kill Humane Society and it’s where I found “Lady.”
A lot of things have transpired since my last blog and I thought I would share a few of them with you. Where oh where do I start? Well, a couple of weeks ago, I celebrated a birthday. Usually, the only thing I want for my birthday is to have it acknowledged by my friends...... especially my female friends. The guys get a pass because most of them can't remember their own mother's birthday more or less a partner's. This year, however, Face Book friends got in on the wishes. It was overwhelming and humbling. I've NEVER received so many birthday wishes at one time. Wishes came from all over the world!!! Some people I've never met; yet, they took time out of their day to wish me a "Happy Birthday." I felt it was incumbent upon me to take time out and thank each one of them individually and personally.....and I DID.......and it took A LONG TIME!!! But it was worth it. Just goes to show, you don't always need money to be rich.
A couple of weeks ago, I participated in the Career Fair at Huntington Middle School. Originally, Huntington Middle School was Huntington High School. The high school I attended and graduated from in......well, let's just say the group "The Temptations" still had all original members. (Some of you are saying, "who are the Temptations?") It was surreal to be in the same gym where I played as a member of the basketball team. The same gym where I attended health class. The same gym where Coach Meathead (a name of affection we gave to one of our coaches) told a student to get rid of the gum he was chewing. The student said he would get rid of it by placing it on Coach's desk. Coach replied "If you do, I'll use you to get the gum off." The student called Coach's bluff, took the gum out of his mouth and placed it dead smack in the middle of Coach's desk. Coach jumped up, grabbed him by the neck (with two hands....one in front the other in the back), lifted him in the air and proceeded to wipe him across the desk. The whole class erupted in laughter, including the student that was used as a dust rag. Now days, a teacher will get a written reprimand for yelling at a student. But I digress, the Career Fair went very well. I spoke to individual groups about broadcasting and I had some music playing so quite naturally the kids migrated to my area. At one time I had to turn the music off because a group of 7th grade girls insisted on singing along with "Tre Songz." Call me old fashion but I couldn't handle hearing some 7th grade girls (12 year olds) singing about how it feels after a session of intense love making. I switched to Mary J. Blige's "Just Fine." They said that was old folks music and quickly disbanded. I don't know what shocked me more......them singing about the after effects of intense lovemaking OR them calling Mary J. Blige "old folks music."
Last but not least, my little cousin Andre visited the wife and me. He's put on some weight. So I had him playing the Nintendo Wii Fitness game. He's six years old and did a thirty minute workout on the Wii. That thirty minutes included a 10 minute jog in place where he ran 1.97 miles. I was impressed. So impressed, he inspired me. And since my clothes are shrinking, I told him that I too would complete a thirty minute workout including the jog........but not now. I'll do it tomorrow (in private......wasn't gonna let him laugh at me). That next day, I did some warm up exercises and started the workout. I ran exactly two TENTHS of A MILE and fell on the floor wheezing and sucking air like I was a 3 pack a day smoker walking up five steps to get to the bathroom. You laugh but I finally completed that 10 minute jog in place AND ran a total of 2.25 miles. Course, I discovered that if you pump your arms, the Wii registers that you're running. But don't tell Andre. You see, wisdom triumphs youth every time.
I trust your holiday was great. I, personally, need a break and not just any break but a serious break. I wanted to just getaway and forget EVERYTHING. So I got outta "Dodge." Matter of fact, this is the way it looked when I left.......
But it wasn't long before my scenery changed to this........
and the journey begins........
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Man, what a great vacation.....course when I got back to Hampton Roads.........
Ladies, ever wonder what guys talk about at the barber shop? Surprisingly, it’s not women……well not ALL the time. A couple of weeks ago, this guy was telling a story about his cousin who wrestles alligators. Seems he was wrestling one and the gator chomped down on his leg. So they rushed him to the hospital and the doctors performed surgery. When he awakened from the surgery, the doctor told him “I got good news and I got bad news. The bad news is we had to amputate your leg but the good news is we saved your foot.” Now we’re sitting there listening until it dawned on one of us…… How you gonna save the foot that’s attached to the amputated leg? Awwwww, we laughed & laughed & laughed! And mostly, that's what men do at the barber shop.
Monday night, I’m heading to work and my tank is on “E.” So, I stopped to get some gas. I figured $30 would be enough. Man, it was COLD!! It was so cold, I pumped $15 and got my butt back in the car and drove back home…… where I changed clothes. Forget dressing smart casual, I dressed functionally warm. Covered up that undershirt and boxer briefs with some lonnnnnnggggggg draws (uhh thermals for you poo- foo folks), replaced those thin pretty boy socks with some long cotton ones, changed those dress pants for some thick jeans, added a thermal shirt and chucked those gators for some "Tims." Then donned a “Pittsburgh Steeler” skull hat, scarf and a leather jacket……and I was good to go. When it’s COLD outside, dress warm, not cute. Ya feel me baby? (I'm talking to my ALWAYS gotta dress cute, wife – “she be” cute BUT cold). Won’t even wear a hat cuz she doesn’t wanna mess up her hair. Child PLEASE!
Now, I don’t consider myself a celebrity. However, having been in broadcasting for over 30 years, I realize some people regard me as such. I have no problem signing autographs, taking pictures or just shooting the breeze (am I showing my age with that saying) with anyone. HOWEVER, brothers…… if you see me in the rest room and we’re both using the facilities, I am NOT, and I repeat, NOT gonna shake your hand NOR am I gonna give you dap. I mean, c’mon man! I’m in the rest room taking care of business, dude standing beside me says, “Yo Bob, you doing a good job emceeing the show and I listen to you all the time on the radio. I just wanna shake your hand man.” And he reaches over and extends his hand. I’m like….well, thanks, I appreciate it but my hands are kind of full right now. He said, “I’ll wait.” Huh?! I said, well let me WASH my hands first (hint, hint). He said, “Yeah go head man, I took a shower fo I came to the sho, so I’m good.” Say WHAT?!? I was so glad one of my co-workers came in & said they needed me on stage…….I hauled butt outta there.
What a week this has been!! Wow!! It started off pretty tame. My wife and I have invested in a new television show and the debut was last Saturday and it went well. A few bugs to work out but hey, all in all, I was quite pleased. We went to church the following day and heard a dynamic speaker. He was funny and highly relatable. Matter of fact, he was so good, I had to see him after service and tell him how much I enjoyed the message. Now don't get me wrong, the regular pastor can "go" (that means he's good) but this guy was good in a different kind of way. I even hung around after church just to talk with people (something I don't do...especially during football season). Hey, I was inspired! Then came the middle of the week with all of that RAIN!!! Usually, rain doesn't bother me. I'm a veteran of the U.S. Army and one of the first things they taught me was that it doesn't rain in the Army..... it rains ON the Army. But that amount and intensity of rain was unbelievable. Can you say "Ark." But still, no big deal......until I discovered a leak in my bathroom. Do you know how hard it is to concentrate (do your business) when water is dripping on your head? I thought I was a prisoner at Abu Ghraib. Then on the way to the radio station, I was in an accident. My poor little truck was tore all to.....well, it was WRECKED! I couldn't believe it! Talk about being despondent and depressed (and still am to a certain degree). My knee was banged up a little but all I could think about was MY TRUCK! I got the wife to pick me up and on the way home, I picked up a bottle of wine. She laughed but personally, I didn' t see anything funny. I took four sips out of that bottle (I don't drink) and forgot all about any and everything. Next thing I knew, it was the next day. She laughed again and said, "You only had four sips." I guess she forgot the time that she smelled the contents of an empty wine bottle and was out for hours. But I digress, the accident made me reflect on the fraility of life. Things can be fine one minute and the next minute......you're gone. So take time to enjoy life. Live to the fullest! Appreciate those things that you have and don't worry about what you don't have. Help others whether someone helps you or not. LOVE OTHERS, regardless of race, creed, nationality, or social-economic status. To paraphase Michael, Make sure the man in the mirror is the man you want to be and then make this world a better place for you and for me.
I was riding through Hampton University the other day and I saw the Pirate marching band practicing. It reminded me when I was in the band. I was a drummer. Yep, member of the junior marching band while in high school. I was dedicated and worked hard to master my instrument. I knew, one day, the band director would promote me to the senior marching band. And I couldn’t wait!! Yessiree buddy! Wearing that royal blue & white uniform, marching in a parade, performing during halftime of football games, having all the girls call out my name while I kept a ferocious beat, yeah boy, bring it on, I’m ready like Freddy. Then the day came when the band director said, “Thomas, you’re in the senior band.” Talk about being happy! I heard a choir singing “Oh Hap-py Da-ayy.” I was SO full of joy! I felt like a kid on Christmas Day!! Then I heard the band director add, “Be at practice tomorrow morning at 6.” “SIX?!? Cuse me…….Six a clock? In da MOANIN’?” “That’s right, six in the morning, be there.” Yeah well, so much for being in the band! Time to try out for the football team. Shoot, I’m too big to be playing in the band anyway. Funny thing, after I made the football team……. coach had us practicing at SIX IN DA MOANIN’!!! Aw man, at least the band had girls. You ever smelled a football locker room at SIX N DA MOANIN’? It’ll mess up your entire day!! Have you in home eck class all day baking cookies........just cuz it smelled good.
I checked out a new food establishment the other day, well, new to me. I’ve been past it several times and each time it’s packed but today it wasn’t, so I figured I’d check it out. Upon entering, much to my surprise, it was a burger joint. Now, I’m not a big fan of red meat. Matter of fact, I stopped eating it totally about 17 years ago. However, about 15 years ago, I took my son to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. We travelled by train from Washington, DC……21 hours……ONE WAY!! Just before we boarded the train for the return trip, we stopped at a restaurant. I (being extremely hungry) decided to get a big fat juicy steak. Oh, it was so Gee double O – Dee good!! We left the restaurant and boarded the train for the 21 HOUR ride home. Fifteen minutes after the train left the station, my stomach started to freak out! It sounded and felt like a herd of wild elephants were fighting a pride of lions during the migration of the wildebeests on the Serengeti. If bathroom run was an Olympic event, I would have won gold and set a new world record. Talk about a miserable 21 hour ride….. bathroom run, two times a hour for twenty one hours….. bounced up and down, side to side, back & forth. And when I wasn’t making a bathroom run, I was trying to fend off this 70 year old drunk woman who thought I was cute! Rather than going through that type of misery again, I decided to eat red meat once a month. So, I ordered a bacon burger combo…..burger with bacon, regular fries, and a regular drink. Paid with a credit card, got my receipt and waited for my grub…..and waited…….and waited…..and waited. While waiting, I looked at my receipt. “Hey, hold up…..’cuse me ma’am, uh, you made a mistake………you charged me $10.27, I got the bacon burger combo, that’s $5.89.” She said, “sir….we don’t sell combo’s. You buy everything a la carte.” I’m thinking…..A LA CARTE? What is this, Chez (Shay) Burger? Oh, we French now huh! So, I’m standing there with my mouth open, looking at the a la carte menu…….waiting……waiting…….and waiting for my grub. Then it dawns on me, I just paid over $10 for a burger, fries and a soda! WHAT THE……! OH THIS BETTER BE THE BEST BURGER EVER MADE OR THOUGHT OF IN THE NEXT TEN LIFETIMES! TEN DOLLARS!!! WHAT’S THE NAME OF THIS PLACE!! FIVE GUYS?!? Oh! That’s the problem! You see, there’s only ONE Burger King, ONE Wendy, ONE Carl’s Jr. and ONE Ronald McDonald but there are FIVE guys……..that’s TWO DOLLARS A GUY. Get rid of some of those guys and reduce the price. Suggestion….why not call it “This Guy” or “Him” or “Guy with Burger” or even “His’n!” C’mon man…..Ten Dollars! Child Please!!
It’s Sunday night and I’m chillin’ watching pre-season football. Man, I’m glad football is back even if it IS a game between two teams I dislike (Dallas & Cincinnati). I don’t care. I'm watching!!! I wuz watching an “On Demand” movie till I remembered the game was on. The movie was…….well…..different. It’s entitled “Repo Man.” I figured it was about cars being repo’d. Not quite! It was about transplanted body parts being repo’d. Huh? Yep! The repo man would shoot you with a stun gun and repo that liver, heart, kidney or whatever. What kind of demented mind came up with this? I figure I’ll finish watching it tomorrow.
Last week, the Boy Scouts celebrated an anniversary. That reminded me of my time as a scout. I made it to the rank of “First Class.” To progress farther than that, you had to have merit badges. But for what we were good at, they didn’t have merit badges. You know, things like “macking” the ladies or playing the dozens. The only hike we did was to hike a football. I remember this particular camping trip, one of the guys brought TV dinners to eat. You ever tried to cook a TV dinner over an open fire?
I guess the Scouts got me ready for the Army……well, kinda..... but not really. The only things in common were you wore a uniform and you camped out (the Army called it a “field exercise.”) Yeah, well, I’ve never been the outdoors type. Every time I went to the field, I complained so much, they sent me back to garrison (civilization). In the morning, to wash yourself, put water in your helmet. COLD WATER! Huh? Gotta go to the bathroom for #2, dig a hole. "WHOA, WHOA, WHOLE UP NOW, WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!! Man, its’ bugs and reptiles crawling around out here! I ain't squatting over no hole! Besides, I’m personnel! I’m SUPPOSE to be in an office somewhere!" One time I had to pull guard duty at a place called NATO two six. They gave me a M16 and 5 bullets. FIVE BULETS!! Are you kidding! It was so dark out there, I couldn’t see light....... but I could hear. And I heard something in the bushes. So I loaded my weapon and hollered, “Al-ight, don’t be no fool” (I was supposed to say “Advance & be recognized.”) Then, I heard another sound from dem bushes. I locked a round in the chamber (meaning I loaded one o dem bullets) and put my weapon on automatic. I'm ready to rock & roll baby! That’s right, I was now…..RAM-BRO!! I hollered ”Bring it on!!” It was at that time that this big, huge, 3 foot, 90 pound RABBIT came running from outta da bushes toward me. The only thing faster than that rabbit was ME! I dropped my weapon and hauled ____. I was headed for the guard shack.......till it dawned on me.......... I’m RUNNING from a rabbit! I can’t let my boys know I’m running from a rabbit AND I DROPPED MY WEAPON (actually, I threw it at him as I was running backwards). So I went back, picked up my weapon, and hid inside a deuce and a half (big ole Army truck) till my watch was over. To this day, none of my Army buddies know this story, so I’d appreciate it, if you kept it to yo'self.
Theee concert of the year was just held at Norfolk’s Town Point Park…..The Norfolk Jazz Festival!! OH MY GOODNESS!!! WHAT A SHOW!! Not one but two nights of jazz fusion/contemporary jazz. As the kids say or used to say…IT WAS OFF THE CHAIN or HOOK or something!!! I don’t know what it was off but I do know, (in plain English) it was good!! Friday night featured Lonnie Liston Smith, Tom Browne, Roy Ayers, Ronnie Laws and Wayne Henderson. They were billed as the Giants of Jazz Fusion and giants they are. Each artist took the stage individually, and played some of their hits. The artist that was on stage introduced the next artist (Lonnie intro’d Tom, Tom intro’d Roy, etc). The band backed up each artist thereby eliminating set up time in between sets. They flowed from one artist to the other with no lag time in between. The roadies were loving it!! They set the stage up to start and broke it down at the end and got PAID! The finale was all these giants playing together as one, song after song after song. Ronnie Laws even played two horns (tenor and alto sax) at the same time!! The only person on the stage under the age of fifty was the drummer Lee Pearson and he took playing the drums to another level……blindfolded balancing one drum stick on his head while playing like a madman with the other hand and two feet. The man never missed a beat!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! These cats played classic songs like “Expansions,” “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,” “Jamaica Funk,” “Always There” and “Keep That Same Old Feeling.” The audience and I were mentally transported back to the 70’s and 80’s by an everlasting timeless groove. Add to that the gentle continuous breeze blowing across the Elizabeth River that made the heat of the day bearable and you have a trip that was inspired and blessed by God. Even my wife left me alone cause she knew I had been waiting for this night a long time. She hung out with Theressa Brown and Cocoa Butter........ hmmmmm. I don’t think they heard any of the music, they were going from VIP tent to VIP tent to free food stand to everything in between. By the time I saw them (at the end of the show), my thoughts were “man, if this was the 70’s or 80’s, all of y’all would be coming with me tonight.” Later, I was re-living the show with my wife Pam and she had no idea what I was talking about. She didn't see or hear any of what I was talking about. I don’t know who had more fun……..ME or THEM!! The entire evening was surreal. Good people, good music, and good times. ……. and it continued on Saturday night. That’s right, day two of the Norfolk Jazz Festival. It featured saxophonist Pamela Williams (whose personality was as bubbly as the day was hot), Fattburger (whose latin infused grooves were the only thing hotter than the day) and Jeff Lorber Fusion (who brought the cool to close out a hot day) featuring Eric Marienthal and Hampton Va’s own Ronnie Jenkins (on bass). TWO GLORIOUS NIGHTS OF JAZZ AT TOWN POINT PARK IN NORFOLK, VA!! I wish I could back those nights up and repeat them but like Suga says, “I can’t do this!” (you had to be there to understand). Lord willing, I can't wait till next year's Norfolk Jazz Festival.
Ahhh yes.....the Summer! That time of year for…….. Vacation Bible School and Summer Camp! First, let’s talk about Vacation Bible School or VBS. Now, when I was a kid, all I heard was the word SCHOOL! Immediately, I was not interested in attending..... at all..... period. I mean, hey, I just got out of school for what was supposed to be the entire summer! Now, you want me to go back and you’re trying to trick me by calling it “VACATION.” Ohhhh NO!! It didn’t matter that it was ONLY two weeks and ONLY half a day, I didn’t want to go. I kept thinking homework and teachers yelling and swinging that ruler or yardstick at you (corporal punishment was a part of regular school when I was a kid…..that meant the teacher could whup your butt). I told my mom, “I ain’t going.” That was a bad move. Back then, you didn’t tell yo momma what you ain’t gon do because the thing you may not do is LIVE!! After I got to the church, I hoped beyond reason that they showed plenty of filmstrips so at least a kid could catch some zzzzzz’s. Much to my surprise, by the time VBS got going on a daily basis, it was time to leave. I was home watching TV & eating pnut butter crackers (more about them later) by 12:30 pm. The teachers at VBS weren’t real teachers, they were the high school students that attended our church. And some of those high school girls were FINE (I could tell that even at a young age). They told us Bible stories, real cool Bible stories (Solomon, Samson, David & Goliath, etc), we had arts & crafts, we sang and we got snacks…..real cool snacks like pnut butter on crackers. Matter of fact, those were the best pnut butter crackers I have EVER had. Even to this date, if I make them myself, they just don’t taste like the ones I got at VBS as a kid. Course now, we had to buy those snacks. But it didn’t cost a lot. You could get 10 peanut butter crackers for 3 cents, a half pint of milk was 4 cents (gotta have milk with pnut butter crackers you know), ice cream was a nickel and so forth (they were teaching us of purchasing power). For Arts & Crafts, we worked with clay, pipe cleaners, popsicles sticks, beads, and so on. Then on the last day of VBS, we got to do something (sing a song, recite verses, perform a skit, etc) in front of everyone else and we all were awarded a certificate for attending. Yeah, VBS was cool and fun. I hope the kids attending VBS now have as much fun as I had back in the day, which brings us to summer camp. THAT WAS A WHOLE DIFFERENT TRIP!! It was sponsored by The Boys’ Club (now The Boys & Girls Club). Anything sponsored by The Boys’ Club was on point…….most of the time. Summer camp was a week long and they would provide daily transportation to the camp site. We only stayed overnight the night before the last day of camp. I always looked forward to summer camp even though I knew at some point I would get into a fight and would probably get beat up. You see, I was big for my age. A 3rd or 4th grader the size of a 7th or 8th grader and it was rough being the size of a 7th/8th grader possessing the fighting skills of a 3rd/4th grader. It seems like I always got beat up…… at least once every camp. I remember this older kid bet me a dime he could make me spit blood. I told him no he couldn’t and accepted the bet. That boy hit me dead square in the mouth….. then told me to spit. Wouldn’t you know it, there was blood. I got popped in the mouth and lost a dime. I told him I could make him spit blood too. And I would have, if he would have hung around after stomping me into the ground. There was however, one group that was happy to see me at every summer camp……. the mosquito’s. They would swarm to me. I was the special of the day at the mosquito diner. The menu must have read ”dark meat blood for you all day suckers, get him while he’s here.” I had so many mosquito bumps, it looked like a heat rash. Add to that, usually, I’d find a way to fall into the river that we camped alongside. I walked out one time with a little fish in my pocket, scared the bee-gee-bers out of me. I did get the chance to play team sports, cook hot dogs over an open fire, make things (arts & crafts), sing songs, tell stories, hike through the woods, learn about nature (I still know poison ivy & oak when I see it) and make lifelong friendships (even with some of those older guys who beat me up). Ahhhh yes, the Summer!!
The concert scene continues here in Hampton Roads. This past weekend, it was the 70’s Soul Jam. Make no mistake about it, I was definitely in my element. Harold Melvin’s Blunotes featuring Sharon Paige, Blue Magic, The Delfonics and The Stylistics took the stage at Ntelos Pavilion (a beautiful venue adjacent to the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth). Everybody there was transported back to the decade of “free love”. The only things missing were afros, bell bottom pants, stack heel shoes and the tell-tale aroma of marijuana wafting through the venue. Being a product of the 70’s (meaning I’m older than cable TV), I’ve seen the acts before. The first time I saw the Delfonics was at North Carolina A&T’s homecoming. I was attending Livingstone College and playing football. I faked an injury just so I couldn’t make the trip to an away game. As soon as the bus left with my teammates, I jumped in my car and headed for Greensboro. I was so pressed to get there, I passed the bus carrying the team on I-85. When they got back, Coach told me he saw a purple car (that’s right PURPLE, hey I’m a Que) just like mine on I-85 but he knew it couldn’t be me cause I was hurt. The homecoming show was in the gym and I couldn’t wait to see the Delfonics. The fact that I didn’t have any money or a ticket to the show didn’t occur to me. Thank goodness for my frat brothers (Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.), they came to my rescue. One of them left the back door to the gym unlocked and I squeezed through the little opening of the chained doors. “ I’M IN….BRING ON THE DELFONICS!!” But first some new group came out…..somebody called…….The Funkadelics! “ Who are these…..NO, what in the world is THIS! Is that dude wearing a baby bonnet and a DIAPER! And are the rest of them dressed to go IN outer space or are they FROM outer space! Look at the boots on this cat! And is that one wearing a cod piece! Oh my goodness and what are they throwing out to the audience?” At that time, one of what they were throwing landed at my feet. It was then that I discovered……they were throwing out joints! “C’mon man, ain’t no WAY this is real! OH, OH……..WAAAAY! Are you kidding?!?” Needless to say, a funkateer was born THAT day. I became a fan of Funkadelic and the spin off groups as well. Then came the Delfonics, wearing CAPES. Ohhhh my goodness! The women went crazy! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the music and seeing them perform, albeit, through half opened eyes. After the show, the women were still in a frenzy and the brothers of Mu Psi chapter were having an after party. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again ….. thirty some years later…..THANK YOU DELFONICS for a really enjoyable time (OH YEAH). And that same saying goes for the 70’s Soul Jam as well. THANK YOU Harold Melvin’s Blunotes featuring Sharon Paige, THANK YOU Blue Magic, THANK YOU Delfonics and THANK YOU Stylistics for taking me back to a time when the music was romantic & pure, when performers not only dressed the part but also did in sync choreography while singing and didn’t miss a note, when the audience was in harmony with the show and when no one had a beef with anyone else about anything. Music is a time machine and through it you can relive anything. Yeah, I’m old but I’m also fortunate and blessed because you can’t RELIVE until you LIVE. I relived some great memories Saturday night. And more memories are on the way….next up, the Norfolk Jazz Fest. Bring it on!
If you like concerts, Hampton Roads, VA is the place to be……during the summer, that is. RnB, Jazz, Country, Rock, Pop, Hip Hop, it doesn’t matter. They (ARTISTS) all come this way…..during the summer, that is. I’m not a big concertgoer (excluding Jazz) but recently, I’ve had a change of heart. I considered checking out Hall & Oates, on the beach at the Va. Beach Oceanfront (which is blissful…the music, the water) but it was FREE. That translated to 40,000 PEOPLE, 20,000 CARS and ZERO parking. “I CAN’T GO FOR THAT! NAW, NOOOO….NO CAN DO!” Then, Maxwell & Jill Scott came to town. I’ve never seen either of them, nor had I ever gone to the Va. Beach Amphitheater. OK, two birds with one stone. Show started at 7 pm. In order to get convenient parking, you had to be there by 4 pm. I got there at 7:45 pm. Needless to say, I had to park in RICHMOND which meant in order to get to the amphitheater, the wife and I had to take……”A LONG WALK, AROUND THE PARK, AFTER DARK!” And the temperature was about 94 with 100% humidity. By the time this “BROTHA” got to his seat, I was soaked to my “draws.” Jill was good though, I mean, the two songs that I saw were on point. Now it’s time for Maxwell (who reminded me of Marvin Gaye). The heat & humidity was stifling. I was waiting for Pharaoh to order me to get more straw (Hebrew slave). I saw people drinking these huge slurpees, so I figured I’d get a couple. The attendant said, “That’ll be 28 dollars.” $28 DOLLARS! How “FORTUNATE” that this robbery is not at gunpoint. I said forget it, just give me a little “SUMTHIN SUMTHIN” with ice. Got one soda for 6 dollars, we shared it. Marvin Gaye….uh…Maxwell, was good but it was so miserably muggy, I couldn’t enjoy the show. Last night, we went to the Hampton Jazz Festival. I don’t usually go the “Jazz” festival because first, it’s not a “Jazz” festival (it’s a music festival) and second, the acoustics are so horrible in the Coliseum, the music sounds muddled. But I wanted to see Down to the Bone (the only Jazz artists on the bill last night). I saw them, but didn’t really hear them. They were first, so after them, I was ready to go. But the wife wanted to see Joe. I’m like “NA, NA, NA"…. I don’t think this classifies as “ALL THE THINGS (YOUR MAN WON’T DO)" but it was ONE of them or so I thought. I sat out on the concourse while she enjoyed Joe. After Joe, I text her, let’s go. But she wanted “MORE & MORE.” Now, she wanted to see Teena Marie. Oh no! Now I’m “OUT ON A LIMB” or should I say, out on the concourse…..again. This is definitely not my idea of “SHANGRA LA.” And you know she wanted to see “CHARLIE, LAST NAME WILSON.” So I have to be contented sitting on the concourse, listening to the bouncing, muddling sound of the music while watching former divas and playas from the Himalayas work it like they did in the 70’s and 80’s (which really wasn't all that bad cuz I saw some SIGHTS!) But hey, my time is coming July 23rd & 24th. You see, that's the Norfolk Jazz Festival (the real Jazz Festival) featuring Lonnie Liston Smith, Roy Ayers, Wilton Felder, Tom Browne, Ronnie Laws, Fattburger and Jeff Lorber Fusion at Town Point Park in Norfolk. I can't wait to spend some "QUIET MOMENTS" with "GOOD VIBRATIONS" as we "INHERIT THE WIND" of "JAMAICA FUNK." "EVERY GENERATION" will appreciate the "JOY" of jazz in the "CITY." See ya there!
Here's the conclusion of "Love, Sex and the Male Brain":
His emotions run deep
Although men have earned the reputation for being more stoic than women, they actually have stronger emotional reactions than we do. They just don't show it very often. Studies of men's faces show that the male brain's initial emotional reaction can be stronger than the female brain's. But within 2.5 seconds, he changes his face to hide the emotion, or even reverse it. The repeated practice of hiding his emotions gives men the classic poker face. It's his poker face and his analytical response to personal problems that can put him in the doghouse. She's crying as she talks about what's wrong with the relationship, and instead of hugging her, his mind is racing to find a way to resolve the problem as soon as possible. With practice and because of the way their brains are wired, men use their analytical brain structures, not their emotional ones, to find a solution. They enjoy this advantage, but women often take affront to it. When you're telling your husband your problem and he tries to solve it instead of hearing you out, you may think he's being insensitive. But that's not what's going on in his brain. He's working to solve the problem so he can relieve your pain as quickly as possible. Not because he doesn't care or doesn't want to listen, but because he loves you.
'Lovable Grandpas' and 'Grumpy Old Men'
As men age, the male brain hormones change and the male brain and body goes into the stage of life called andropause. The king of male hormones -- testosterone -- goes down and the queen of female hormones -- estrogen -- goes up. Whether Grandpa is your kids' hero or the grouch they hate to visit depends a lot on how he handles these hormonal changes. For example, if his testosterone levels drop to an abnormally low level, he can feel tired, irritable and even depressed. Some men in this condition seek hormone replacement therapy and others find relief in exercise, more frequent sex, and spending more time with other people. The grandpa that kids can't wait to see is the one who's feeling the effects of the hormone oxytocin, often called the "cuddle hormone." He's fun and playful and likes to hear what his grandchildren have to say. He's much more patient with your children than he was with you, when you were growing up. The love circuits of the mature male brain can be hijacked by his grandkids, even more than they were by his own children.
The 'Lonely Hearts Club'
Not only is the mature male brain more receptive to closer bonds, but it's also more sensitive to loneliness. Nobody thrives when they're lonely, but it seems to take a major toll on older men. Sixty percent of divorces in couples over the age of 50 are initiated by women, leaving their husbands shell-shocked and devastated. Once his wife leaves, unless he makes a point of socializing more with other people, his brain stops getting the social workout it needs to make him feel good about himself. If he becomes a loner, his social-approval circuits don't get activated. In brain scan studies of older males researchers have found that the brain's pleasure and reward areas, the VTA and the NAc, remain more active in men who are social. So don't begrudge the divorcee or the new widower some socializing and seeking female companionship.
The bottom line
The human brain is the best learning machine on the planet and human beings are capable of making major changes in our lives. But there are some things that the male brain and female brain are not likely to change anytime soon. And it makes more sense to deal with these brain realities, than to argue with them or ignoring them.
The best advice I have for women is make peace with the male brain. Let men be men.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Louann Brizendine.
A friend of mine posted this on Facebook. I found it to be most interesting. Well, to be honest, the title alone captivated my interest which in turn made me want to read the article. After reading it, I knew I had to share this with you. It gives insight into that thing that most women say a man does not have.............."a brain."
Love, Sex and the Male Brain
By Louann Brizendine, Special to CNN (Reprinted from cnn.com March 25, 2010)
Editor's note: Dr. Louann Brizendine is a member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the National Board of Medical Examiners, and a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. She is founder and director of the Women's Mood and Hormone Clinic. She wrote "The Female Brain" and, just released, "The Male Brain."
(CNN) -- Although women the world over have been doing it for centuries, we can't really blame a guy for being a guy. And this is especially true now that we know that the male and female brains have some profound differences.
Our brains are mostly alike. We are the same species, after all. But the differences can sometimes make it seem like we are worlds apart. The "defend your turf" area -- dorsal premammillary nucleus -- is larger in the male brain and contains special circuits to detect territorial challenges by other males. And the amygdala, the alarm system for threats, fear and danger is also larger in men. These brain differences make men more alert than women to potential turf threats.
Meanwhile, the "I feel what you feel" part of the brain -- mirror-neuron system -- is larger and more active in the female brain. So women can naturally get in sync with others' emotions by reading facial expressions, interpreting tone of voice and other nonverbal emotional cues. Perhaps the biggest difference between the male and female brain is that men have a sexual pursuit area that is 2.5 times larger than the one in the female brain. Not only that, but beginning in their teens, they produce 20 to 25-fold more testosterone than they did during pre-adolescence. If testosterone were beer, a 9-year-old boy would be getting the equivalent of a cup a day. But a 15-year-old would be getting the equivalent of nearly two gallons a day. This fuels their sexual engines and makes it impossible for them to stop thinking about female body parts and sex.
And so begins the 'Man Trance'
All that testosterone drives the "Man Trance"-- that glazed-eye look a man gets when he sees breasts. As a woman who was among the ranks of the early feminists, I wish I could say that men can stop themselves from entering this trance. But the truth is, they can't. Their visual brain circuits are always on the lookout for fertile mates. Whether or not they intend to pursue a visual enticement, they have to check out the goods.
To a man, this is the most natural response in the world, so he's dismayed by how betrayed his wife or girlfriend feels when she sees him eyeing another woman. Men look at attractive women the way we look at pretty butterflies. They catch the male brain's attention for a second, but then they flit out of his mind. Five minutes later, while we're still fuming, he's deciding whether he wants ribs or chicken for dinner. He asks us, "What's wrong?" We say, "Nothing." He shrugs and turns on the TV. We smolder and fear that he'll leave us for another woman.
Not surprisingly, the different objectives that men and women have in mating games put us on opposing teams -- at least at first. The female brain is driven to seek security and reliability in a potential mate before she has sex. But a male brain is fueled to mate and mate again. Until, that is, he mates for life. Despite stereotypes to the contrary, the male brain can fall in love just as hard and fast as the female brain, and maybe more so. When he meets and sets his sights on capturing "the one," mating with her becomes his prime directive. And when he succeeds, his brain makes an indelible imprint of her. Lust and love collide and he's hooked.
The 'Doting Daddy Brain'
A man in hot pursuit of a mate doesn't even remotely resemble a devoted, doting daddy. But that's what his future holds. When his mate becomes pregnant, she'll emit pheromones that will waft into his nostrils, stimulating his brain to make more of a hormone called prolactin. Her pheromones will also cause his testosterone production to drop by 30 percent. These hormonal changes make him more likely to help with the baby. They also change his perceptual circuitry, increasing his ability to hear a baby cry, something many men can't do very well before their wives are pregnant. And a word to the wise for all the young mothers who are reluctant to let your husbands hold and care for your newborn. The more hands-on care a father gives his infant, the more his brain aligns with the role of fatherhood. So, hand over the baby.
(I told you it was interesting. Look for part two, Wednesday, 30 March 2010. - bob"baritone" thomas -)
This weekend, the wife & I spent some time with our good friends Otha & Rochelle Yarborough. We, along with a houseful of others, were helping Otha & Rochelle celebrate their 13th Anniversary. There was good food and good laughs the entire evening â¦â¦ and I might add (in the words of Rochelle) great beverages. Perhaps the highlight of the evening was the Karioca; however, I don't have permission to show the video. The exact words were, "If you show it, I will kill you then sue your remains." Truth be told, even the performers knew the singing was beyond BAD. The American Idol âpants on the groundâ singer was a Grammy Award performer compared to these singers. Dogs blocks away were howling, birds were falling from the sky, neighborhood children were afraid to come outside, concrete and asphalt was splitting and the street lights would either flicker and go out or just burst. It was horribleâ¦..just horrible. The most revealing thing of the evening was the written advice given as to how to stay married for 13 years. All of which I purloined because I felt it would make a compelling blog for others to read. With that said, here's the advice and how men interpret it in parenthesis:
a.Â Ongoing team work (hot steamy sex).
b.Â Compliment each other (I love it when you watch Desperate Housewives cuz youÂ learn new things).
c.Â Donât take each other for granted (So you bought 5 pairs of shoes so you could look good for ME?).
d.Â Thank him when he does the dishes (THANK GOODNESS you finally washed something OTHER than your car).
e.Â Do whatever it was you did for the 1st 13 years (hmmm, what did I do?).
f.Â Be a little freakyâ¦â¦and a little more freaky (makes sense to me, thatâs a good one).
g.Â Compromise (do what SHE wants when she wants).
h.Â Never let your marriage get old (I'm just lookin'....ain't nothing wrong with lookin').
i.Â Clip his toenails (Ok but what I gotta do for you?).
j. Â Laugh at each other (only when I'm the subject matter).
k. Â Keep plenty of six packs in the refrigerator (Self explanatory).
l.Â Listen but donât listen (uh huh, is that right?, wow!).
m. Donât lie (naw, you don't look fat in that).
n.Â Put the seat up and leave the seat down (what?).
o.Â "No advice here, I can't make it two months and Iâve been married three times" (an honest brother).
It looks like my forced hiatus concerning blogging is just about over……just about. First, my video camera was stolen…well, since it happened at a public school, let’s just say it’s missing ….. for about 2 or 3 months now. Then, my computer crashed or as the computer repairman said, “somehow your computer has become corrupt.” What does that mean!?!My computer evolved into a politician? The hard drive accepted a bribe? The mouse & keypad snitched on the CPU!?! CORRUPT? Can you UN-corrupt it? "Sure…… for a price!!" Well, about $200 later, the computer is back, up and running. Thank goodness, a week before the crash, I decided to back up my files. If I hadn’t done that I really would be hurting. During my computer’s absence, I found out something about myself. I’m hooked, strung out, addicted, got a jones, monkey on my back, straight up junkie, to and for my computer. I was having computer withdrawal……sweating n’ shaking. Every morning, after awakening but before the brain was engaged, I’d try to turn on the computer……till I realized there WAS no computer. Then all day, I’d keep looking at the vacant space under the desk hoping the ‘puter would magically materialize. I couldn’t wait to get to the radio station just so I could turn on a computer. If the computer was already on……I’d turn it off, then turn it back on. While mine was in the hospital (repair shop), I’d visit it every day, even bringing it little virtual flowers and “get well soon" cards. I had it bad. I asked the doctor (repairman) how long before it would be released from the hospital (shop). His answer, “well, we don’t know….we’ll just have to wait and see. You might want to make arrangements.” ARRANGEMENTS?!? "Yeah, arrange to buy another computer." It was touch and go there for a while but after the doctor (repairman) performed surgery (wiped the hard drive, reinstalled windows, and did a few other things), it was good as new!! Now all I have to do is re-install the programs I had on it originally….if I can find all of them. Anybody got an word program for windows 3.0?
A BIG THANK YOU to all who have donated to the F.E.E.D. program. Special thanks to the following individuals:
DARLENE & MELISSA, who organized their co-workers at the STIHL plant in Virginia Beach to donate boxes of food, toiletries & toys; PAMELA LOCUST, who along with her co-workers at GLAMYSTIQUE HAIR SALON in Norfolk donated bags of non-perishable food items; DIANE DOWNS of Hampton who came to a remote broadcast at Farm Fresh, purchased some non-perishable food items and donated them to the F.E.E.D. program; and SAUNDRA PIERCE, who made a special trip to a remote broadcast at Pomoco Nissan in Hampton, just to donate items to the F.E.E.D. program.
Organize your co-workers to donate to the F.E.E.D. program. Call me at 497-2000 ext. 246 and I’ll supply the box to hold your donations. Once the box is full, call me and I’ll arrange to pick up your donations. Of course, you can always drop off your donations at 957RnB, Va. Beach; Tomorrow’s Image Barber Academy, Warwick Blvd., in Newport News, and The Boys & Girls Club, Hampton Ave., in Newport News. If your business is interested in being a drop off location, please call me at the above phone number.
So many individuals supported the F.E.E.D program during the holiday season and again,” I thank you.” However, the name of the program is (F.E.E.D),FEED EVERYONE…..EVERY DAY. This is an on-going program because people have to eat EVERY day. When you shop for groceries, buy some extra non-perishable food items and/or toiletries. Life is and should be about love for your fellow man. WE (humans) must take care of US (humans). There is no reason why anyone in this country should be hungry. Search your heart and help those in need. Whatever you give is greatly appreciated and needed. Remember, there but by the grace of God go I. Matthew 25:35-40 says “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat………Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Be BLESSED.
Christmas has come and gone and we’re into another New Year. Hopefully, this will be a Blessed and bountiful New Year & decade for you but let’s revisit this past Christmas. I GOT A NINTENDO WII, yeah boy…..well, I got the WIFE a Nintendo Wii ……cuz that’s what she wanted for Christmas. She wanted one last Christmas, but every store was sold out. So this past Christmas, I shopped early. What she really wanted was the Wii Fitness Plus, so I got the bundle package and I figured I might as well get a game for myself (Madden NFL 10). I could have saved that money cuz so far, I’ve only played Madden twice but I’m addicted to the Wii sports package that comes with the Wii console. Tennis, bowling, baseball, golf and boxing…..ain’t nothing but the truth and you're exercising at the same time. It’s a home workout that's lots of fun. I use the sports as a warm up to do the fitness plus. The fitness plus is ALL DAT. I personalized my workout by making an avatar of myself……tall with a mustache, wearing glasses……and oh yeah, lean and mean. I stepped up on the balance board to measure my body mass and the Wii said “OH MY.” So I stepped off (I ain’t taking NO insults from a machine). My wife stepped on….the machine said” Great….stand still while I measure.” I said “all naw, let me get back on that thing. That d#$% thing again said, “OH MY.” After measuring my body mass, the Wii ADJUSTSED my avatar…..now, I’m tall with a mustache, wearing glasses……and oh yeah…..with a “GUT”. A gut so big, the shirt I’m wearing shrunk and the belly is sticking out from under it. The Wii dropped this new avatar of me from the sky. It hit the ground and BOUNCED…boing, boing, boing. My wife was on the floor laffing and laffing….and LAFFING! I’m like…..”Dat ain’t right man, dat ain’t right.” It then proceeded to check my posture, balance and weight. I learned that I don’t stand correctly, my balance is slightly off and my weight…..well, let’s just say my weight is my weight. It let’s you set weight loss goals and indicates that you need to do this daily, preferably at the same time. Needless to say, I’m working on my gut and exercising a total of 30 minutes per day…..uhhhh….starting Monday (whichever Monday YOU choose). I got some cake and pie to get rid of first.
My wife and I entertained overnight visitors this past weekend. Her little cousin Dray (4 years old….at least till next Friday) spent the night with us. Now, that’s nothing new cuz the wife likes to make sure he gets to Sunday school the next day…..this week especially, to practice his part in the Sunday School play. This time, his visit precipitated the arrival of another visitor…….the Tooth Fairy. Dray’s first tooth came out (bottom incisor) and he was told about the Tooth Fairy; however, the impending arrival of the Tooth Fairy didn’t seem to carry any weight with Dray. He seemed more interested in the fact that he lost a tooth. He gently wrapped that tooth in a paper towel but kept unwrapping it, just to see it again and again. Come find out, he thought the Tooth Fairy would replace the tooth with cash while it was in the paper towel, right before his very eyes. Uh...No Dray…..let’s explain again how this works. Finally, it’s his bedtime and the tooth gets put under his pillow. I ask the wife, how much she thought the Tooth Fairy would bring Dray. She says $3.00. I said, “3 dollars……FOR ONE ITTY BITTY TOOTH!! A TOOTH THAT’S ABOUT THE SIZE OF A GRAIN OF RICE……$3.00! Man, that boy got a gold mine in his mouth. Three bucks a tooth times twenty teeth……that’s 60 BUCKS! SIXTY BUCKS? That’s 2-3 bags of groceries OR a tank and a half of gas OR one Jay Z ticket OR ten five dollar foot looonngs, plus tax (I sound like the father on “Everybody Hates Chris”). C’mon man!! Do you remember how much the Tooth Fairy brought you? I can remember twenty cents…. TOP! That was enough to buy some bubble gum, a couple of Squirrel Nuts, three Mary Jane’s and five cents worth of two for a penny cookies." The Tooth Fairy actually brought Dray a buck fiddy but in his words, “The Tooth Fairy brought me a dollar…..I don’t count change.” He doesn’t count change….that’s cuz he can’t…but I CAN! It’s been a long time since the Tooth Fairy showed up some place where I was. But it got me thinking….most would agree that when you become an adult, the Tooth Fairy ceases to exist. WRONG! In actuality, the Tooth Fairy morphs from a mythical entity into someone you can see, talk to and physically touch. The adult Tooth Fairy is known as …….the DENTIST. Check out the parallels: The Tooth Fairy takes teeth from under yo’ pillow…..the Dentist takes teeth straight out of yo’ mouth. The Tooth Fairy will give YOU money for your teeth……YOU give the Dentist money for taking YOUR teeth. The Tooth Fairy will only take your teeth while you’re sleeping. The dentist doesn’t care if you’re sleeping or not. The Tooth Fairy makes house calls. The dentist makes you call. The Tooth Fairy offers assurance. The dentist accepts insurance. The one thing they have in common is bringing joy to an unpleasant situation.........the Tooth Fairy gives you money, the dentist gives you a prescription.
The F.E.E.D. Program is in full effect. Your donations of non-perishable food items and/or toiletries are greatly needed and appreciated. Bring donations to the studios of 957RnB, 236 Clearfield Ave, Va. Beach; Tomorrow's Image, 13641 Warwick Blvd., Newport News; The Boys & Girls Club, 629 Hampton Ave., Newport News or call 497-2000 ext. 246 and leave a message to include your phone number and Bob will call you to arrange to have your donations picked up.
Back in August, 957RnB celebrated it's 8th Anniversary with a free concert by the Whispers. It was a nice, warm, cloudy day........until the rain came......and it rained & rained & rained. But in the entertainment business there's an old adage, "the show must go on." By the time the show started, the rain had stopped.......and the Whispers, well, check it out.
My first recollection of Stevie Wonder was during my childhood. Stevie was a little older than me and everybody (meaning little girls) was going crazy over "Little Stevie Wonder." I couldn't understand why he was such a big deal (yep, hater in the house). Matter of fact, I can remember saying, "If I was blind, I could play the harmonica and sing too" ( I was “Little STUPID Wonder”). Then I saw him perform on American Bandstand singing “Fingertips, pt. 2” (His first hit song). Shooooooooot, I couldn't perform like that if my name was "Little James Brown." Next time our paths crossed, he was performing at the Capital Centre in Washington, DC and I had tickets. It was billed as "Stevie in the Round," meaning he was on a revolving stage. There wasn't a bad seat in the house and Stevie tore it UP! This man gave an incredible show. Without a doubt, the best I had seen up till then. In 1979, I started my radio career. In 85 or 86 while working in DC, I was selected to represent my radio station at the "Stevie Wonder...Make the Dream A Reality" concert that was televised nationwide from DC, New York, Chicago & LA. I was sitting in the 5th row with my industry peers, members of Congress and Juanita & Sugar Ray Leonard. I couldn’t believe that a little ole black boy from Newport News, Va. (me) was sitting with all these national and international celebrities for such an auspicious event. Stevie put this performance/tribute/production together in an effort to convince Congress to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday. Stevie had all of his friends performing....Lionel Ritchie, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Pointer Sisters, & Ashford & Simpson, just to name a few. He also had other celebrities speaking....Rev. Al Sharpton, Cicely Tyson, Sidney Poitier and more. Man…..that was a night to remember. I even videotaped it, so I could later watch TV and see myself sitting in the audience. In 1999, I moved to Los Angeles and join West Angeles C.O.G.I.C. (Church of GOD in Christ). During one Sunday service, there was a christening. I’m looking at the screen/monitor as the parents are making their way to the pulpit. I remember thinking “who’s the fake Stevie Wonder lookalike with these braids and beads.” It was at that time that Bishop Blake said “we’re christening the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Steveland Morris” (born Steveland Judkins later changed to Steveland Morris). You could have bought me for a dime………that’s 10 cents people……… OKAYYYY. I was like “WHOA! Stevie Wonder is a member of MY church.” After the christening, Bishop Blake asked Stevie to sing a song and he was more than happy to accommodate. I was more than happy to listen to the impromptu concert. I wanted to “holla at a brother” after service, but I didn’t think that was proper, plus there were too many others doing just that. Now, he’s coming to the Constant Center in Norfolk on Sunday, October 25th. Take it from me, whatever the cost of the tickets, it’s worthwhile. This man has mega hits and he tries to sing them ALL. In addition, he’s thought provoking & profound. I guarantee he’ll say something regarding social injustice, an aspect of life, or something in general that will open the eye of your mind to see thee “INNERVISIONS.”
Yogurt -- that rich and creamy stuff that's full of calcium and "healthy" bacteria -- may actually help you shed pounds. In a study, when obese people followed a reduced-calorie diet that includes three 6-ounce servings of calcium-rich yogurt a day, they lost a whopping 61 percent more fat overall -- and 81 percent more fat around their waists -- compared with those who didn't eat yogurt. Why? Turns out the calcium in yogurt may hinder fat storage and boost fat loss. And calcium-rich dairy products like yogurt may contain additional fat-burning compounds as well.
That’s what they say but does it work?I’ll let you know.
I was thinking the other day about names…...you know, the first means of identification.You have many different types of names, i.e., “God given name”, “birth name”, “gov'mint name”, “surname”, “first & middle name” and of course “nickname.”Yeah, that’s the one……Nicknames.I don’t know about you but I have many.It seems like every place I go, I get a new nickname.Now, don’t get me wrong cuz it’s kinda cool.Whatever name you use to address me tells me where I know you from.I mean let’s face it, brother getting older…..and I don’t remember everybody I’ve met over the years.Heck, sometimes I don’t remember people I met last week. So thesenicknames or sobriquets come in quite handy for me.It all started when I was a kid and momma would come to the front door and call me in from playing.That name stuck all throughout elementary, middle, and high school.Matter of fact, classmates/people I grew up with STILL call me by that name today.I would tell you what it is but truth be told…….I can’t spell it.I’m serious…..I don’t know how to spell it.I tried to come up with a slick way of spelling it when I was in high school but looking back, it wasn’t slick……it was stupid and I shall not revisit it here.My freshman year in college, I decided to give myself a new nickname.I came up with “Bobby T.”I thought it was cool but I attended college in North Carolina.You haven’t lived until you hear “Bobby T” spoken with a North Carolina drawl.It sounded like “BOOO-BE TEA.”NOT COOL!!Seems whenever you give yourself a nickname, it always backfires.Sophomore year, while pledging Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc, one of the sisters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, started calling me “Thom Sweet” (my ability to “step” while on line was sweeeet).Yeah, I dug that name….so whenever I hear someone address me that way, I know it’s someone from Livingstone College (GO Bears).While in the military, I became known as “BT” or “Thom” (with a “H”).The name “BT” is also used by individuals living here in Hampton Roads ….so when I hear that name, I know it’s either someone who knew me in the army or someone I’ve recently met.When I moved to Los Angeles, I told the first person I met that my name was "BT."This fool thought I said “TC”, so he went around introducing me as “TC.”I tried to correct him several times but his elevator wasn’t moving at all, so I said what the hey….all right, I’m “TC.”So if I’m addressed as “TC”, I know it’s someone from LA and I go in the opposite direction.Most of those LA folks were just plain strange….with a capital “ANGE.”Whew! But that’s another story for another time.Most of my time in Richmond, Washington DC and here in Hampton Roads as well, I’m addressed by my radio name, “Bob.” Now normally in radio, the name you use on the air is not your real name.Matter of fact, only one or maybe two of the 957RnB air personalities uses his or her real name.There’s Cocoa Butter, Theressa Brown, Charles Black, Bob Thomas, Ben Casey and Kevin Kofax.Can you guess who?I know……but I’m not telling. Everybody has a nickname. I've met Boo (2 of them), Gut, Pookie, Bird, Boojack, Big House, Fro, Pony, P Funk, Spook, Go Go Food Stamps, Flacco, Nose, the Man, Wolf woman, Wonder woman, Soup, Done Deal, Plate 'em, Kool, Lips, T-Bone, Fish, J Rock (3 of them), ReMix, Snuffy and the list goes on and on. What's your nickname? Would YOU tell it?
The line at Volcano, the Blast Coaster was longer than any other line we experienced.We figured that meant this coaster was the jimmy jank (the best)………
And we were not wrong.OH MY GOODNESS……without a doubt, Volcano, the Blast Coaster is THEEE BEST coaster I’ve ridden to date.
Last year I rode the Griffon at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, and it scared the ba-geebers out of me…that first drop….mannnnnn….and the second drop was even scarier (cuz you didn't know it was coming); however, it doesn’tcompare to the Volcano.To watch it from the outside is one thing……but to ride that bad boy is otherworldly.When the ride started out, I was talking junk……”man, this ain’t nuthin……I’ve been on hobby horses (carousels) that were scarier than this, they oughtto let 4 year olds ride this turkey.”You start off barely moving then all of a sudden …..WHOOSH….WARP FACTOR 4…that’s when I shut up….not another word from me…...my eyes were as BIG as PIE PLATES.That thing was flying…..doing corkscrews inside the dark volcano, then you’re outside negotiating a couple of tight turns, then you’re back inside the volcano and all of a sudden you’re traveling straight up (vertical baby) but your body is horizontal, you hear a loud rumbling sound and you see fire light up the opening ahead of you and ……. Whoosh…..you’re shot out of the Volcano upside down.Oh…… but it’s not finished yet…..now comes corkscrews and you’re back in the volcano…flipping and twisting and turning, then you’re back outside, all while traveling at the speed of THOUGHT…..GEEZ…..WHAT A RUSH!!When we finally disembarked, my legs were jelly.I had to find a sit down place.Luckily for us, the sit down place was an air conditioned restaurant.Yeah, I regrouped quite nicely in there.After eating, we decided to check out a virtual ride.You know the kind, you’re sitting in something that moves up & down, and side to side while some computer generated video is shown thereby making you feel as if you’re experiencing what you’re seeing.It was called the Flight of Fear…and it was inside a building.Upon entering the building you see and go inside a space ship.OK, yeah, this is one of those virtual rides……all right, bring it on.So we get into these little cars and brother it’s tight…matter of fact, I’m having extreme difficulty fitting into this thing.It’s definitely not made for long legs and a big belly.The attendant is trying to push the bar down but my belly is in the way, so he asks me to help him push it down (mind you, I’ve just eaten).I’m ready to get out when he says ok, I got it.Now all you have to do is fasten the seat belt on the bar.My legs are pinned inside the car, I can’t breathe cuz this bar is cutting of my air supply and he wants me to exert energy trying to secure a safety belt.I told him if he couldn’t do it, then I’m getting out.Of course, he clicked it.Meanwhile the other attendant is telling my wife she can’t take her shoulder bag with her on the ride.They're conversating about what to do with the bag while I’m still pinned in the car unable to breathe.I said, “Man, do sumthin wit dat bag so we can get (whoooooooshhhhhh, we’re gone ) AHHHHHHHHHHH!Turns out this ain’t no virtual ride…….this is an INSIDE roller coaster!!!!Twists, turns, inversions, corkscrews…….all in the darkand mind you…..I’ve just eaten and I’m unable to move or BREATHE.Oh Lord, I’m fittin to die.I’m thinking if I get out of this …….my next ride will be in the car heading home.And it WAS too…… but I had a ball.
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I figured weâd stay until Â 6 or 7, then head back to the Peninsula.Â WRONG!!Â We closed Kingâs Dominionâ¦.meaning we left when the park closedÂ for the night which was well after 10pm.Â We rode every rollercoaster there except the wooden ones (they jerk you around too much for my liking) and the Ricochet (which had a lot ofÂ sharp turns). I havenât had that much fun at an amusement park since....... Bobby Brown left New Edition.Â Our first stop was the Dominator, the longest, floorless rollercoaster in the worldâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦
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Â The first thing that caught my attention was that there were larger seats for larger ridersâ¦..
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.......they may as well have put on the sign....."Bob, sit yo big butt right here."Â Man this coaster has vertical loops, cobra rolls and interlocking corkscrews.Â Whew!Â What a rush!!
Weâre still pumped after the Dominator, so we decided to check out The Avalanche which was right beside the Dominator.Â The Avalanche was tame compared to the Dominator but we got an interesting view. ..â¦.
By the way, that was meÂ hollering "woo".......Â until that sucka got to moving fast,Â You'll notice I shut up then.Â Meanwhile, The Berserker was cool but a little boring to meâ¦..back and forthâ¦â¦back and forthâ¦.then youâre upside down....whoopee.
Itâs only fun if youâre on the ground catching all the change and money falling out of peopleâs pockets.Â Matter of fact, this was the last ride I experienced with my son some 14 years ago. (By the way, I lost all my change that day too).Â Â We headed to the Anaconda next (another rollercoaster).Â This bad boy has a 144 foot drop and itâs the first looping coaster in the world that has an underwater tunnel.Â Yep, you actually travel underwaterâ¦â¦but itâs so fastâ¦..you donât even realize it.
Boy-eeeâ¦.we were running around Kingâs Dominion like 12 year olds.Â Here, there, over yonder, everywhereâ¦..the only rides we were interested in were the thrill rides.Â However, we decided to slow the pace a little taste by riding one of those non-thrilling family ridesâ¦â¦âThe Blue Ridge Tollway:âÂ Antique cars (Model T, etc) slowly traversing a road course.Â You step on the pedal and off you go andÂ the steering wheel is on the right side of the car.Â Didnât look like muchâ¦.2 miles an hourâ¦â¦winding roadâ¦..no big deal.Â Â My wife insisted onÂ driving, which was fine with me.Â Next thing I know, she's weaving all over the road and there's a 3 car back up behind us.Â ARE YOU KIDDING ME?Â She commutes half way round the beltway to Chesapeake daily in rush hour traffic but was having difficulty driving THIS?Â If the Po-po had been out there, they would have pulled her over for suspected DUI.Â So the non-thrilling ride turned out to be quite THRILLING after all.Â That got us pumpedÂ for some real excitementâ¦...so off we headed toÂ VOLCANO, the Blast Coaster.Â But on the way, we saw the âBack Lot Stunt Coaster"..................
which looked like a kiddie coaster.Â We figured, ahhh, what the heck.Â Let me tell you, that little sucka was "ALL DAT"....it whooped and flew around that track like nobodyâs business .Â We were NOTready for it â¦..whooshâ¦â¦AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!Â When I got off that sucka, I was wobbly leggedâ¦..couldnât walk straight for nothingâ¦..I was facing straightâ¦.but walking to the right.Â So it took us a minute to get toÂ Volcano, theÂ Blast Coaster.Â The line was longer there than anywhere else we had goneâ¦â¦.we figured that meant that this coaster was the jimmy jank(the best).Â
WAS IT THE BEST?Â FIND OUT NEXT TIME ONÂ Blogginâ with Bob.
I was watching a skateboard competition the other day and it dawned on me that everybody has their own language. I’m not talking about English, Spanish, Swahili, etc., I’m talking about vocational language…..you know….the language you use on your job. I call it “workspeak.”Whatever your job, I guarantee it has its' own special language (terminology). For instance in football, the quarterback will call a play that might sound like this: Trips right, X flag, Z62 overload fly on 2.WHAT?!? In radio, the Program Director might say: “Only sweepers in & out of the stop set, no talk” or “Go into the break with the frequency & the positioning statement, give one thought and come out…..it’s ok, not to hit the post.” WHAT YOU TALKIN' BOUT MAN?!? Of course, lawyers and doctors have their own workspeak ............and that's on purpose. The average person has no idea what either of them is talking about. When you read a prescription or go to court, you're so lost, you look like a deer in headlights……and the Police…..child please….”the perp is charged with two counts of B & E and violation of code 1026. We'll book 'em at central processing, then take a 1012." All workspeak is confusing but I'm telling you, skateboard workspeak is on a whole nutha level. I was totally lost watching the skateboard competition. It made me think……suppose your doctor conversated (no such word)in skateboard workspeak? For instance, a man visits anurologist. After being examined, the urologist says, “I’m sorry Mr. Thomas, you have a frontside fakie." Oh my God!!!….. doctor, doctor…..what are you going to do about it? "Well, we can do an Indy Grab with a kick turn or we can do a backside 360…...either way, it’s risky. The problem is……we don’t know if it’s goofy." Suppose your mechanic spoke in figure skating workspeak......"Well Mr. Thomas, your carburetor has a camel spin with a loop jump, your radiator has a layback lutz, and your distributor is doing a sal-cow. Overall, I give your car a 5.6, but the Russian mechanic will probably give it a 4.8." My wife is a material planner for a large cable company and I hear her communicating in cable/material planner workspeak all the time. Now suppose, your exterminator spoke cable/material planner workspeak….."well Mr. Thomas, the best way to get rid of roaches is with a DCX Thirty-two hundred but that’s on requisition and the EMTA 14 is being provisioned in the lab. Soon as it’s sleeved, we can get at dem roaches. We can set you up with an appointment for three weeks from next Tuesday but if no one is at home when we come out, we’ll have to charge you $25.00." Suppose your hair stylist/beautician spoke in bank teller workspeak…..."Girl, yo hair is overdrawn" OR "before we can put in tracks, we need yo thumbprint" OR "after 2pm, yo press n curl will be finished on the next business day" OR "it’s a 3 day hold for finger waves" OR "before I can do a wet set, it has to be approved by a manager …..I’ll be right back." Here's another one, a man visits a brothel and the employees speak in beautician/hair stylist workspeak......"Oh, you want a ____ dry" (you canfill in the blank yourself).
My wife wanted to buy a new sun dress. I told her “go-head, I got no problem wit it” but she wanted me to go shopping with her. Uh oh……NOW….. I got a PROBLEM! Like any red blooded, normal, male….. I can’t stand shopping. But after giving it some careful consideration, I decided to be a good dutiful husband and accompany her shopping. (Her telling me that she would treat me to a big lunch at a fancy sit down restaurant had NO IMPACT ON MY DECISION.…ABSOLUTELY NONE; however, I did insist that we eat first). The meal was scrumpti-licious to the 3rd power. Of course, after the meal, that “itis” kicked in and all I could do was sit in the car. You could say the wife was “Driving MISTER Daisy.” When we arrived at the store, she became a “shopping commando.” I, on the other hand, was looking for some place to sit down. All stores should have chairs in the woman’s department so husbands can sit down while their wives are shopping. However, all I could find was a cabinet to lean against. I felt like the guy hiding in the Serengheti bush doing a documentary about indigenous life forms, except I was in an urban jungle watching the shopping habits of Homo-sapiens, which I found to be surprisingly interesting. For instance, the male of the species either shops alone or with his mate while the female shops with her mate or in a pack/herd. I noticed one male enter the facility, head directly to his department of choice, select a pair of cargo shorts, and proceed to the cashier to purchase them. His only stop was to the dressing room……where he tried on the shorts……and wore them to the cashier. I assumed the pants he wore into the store were left in the dressing room on the floor (it’s a guy thing to leave clothes on the floor). He was in the store for about 10 minutes. I figured, “hey….that was smart, evidently, he didn’t have any shorts at home, so he bought some and wore ‘em right out the store." Makes sense to me but I don’t think the female of the species would ever do something like that. Matter of fact, I’m sure they find that to be just plain GROSS. Speaking of the females, I noticed a pack/herd of them come into the store……with their young. The entire group would travel from one section to another inspecting garments and commenting on how pretty this one was or how unflattering that one was or how this one would go with some other garment they have at home or how they need some special color of shoes to match this. They tried on a multiplicity of items but the strange thing was, they bought NOTHING……. NADA……ZERO…… ZILCH and they were there for ABOUT 45 MINUTES. On the way out, they conversed about the items they were coming BACK to buy…..are you kidding me……you’re here NOW…..what are you waiting for…..BUY IT! My wife says, “Maybe they don’t have any money.” What! Well...... why are they here……to look? She says….(in a matter of fact tone)......“Yeah.” You’ve got to be kidding me! Forty-five minutes of trying on stuff and you have NO CASH. Child PLEASE! But then….over near the watering hole (the cash register) where all the Homo-sapiens gather…....I spotted a lone empty CHAIR. I stalked it and captured it. So I’m sitting down, chill-laxing, playing Madden football on my cell when it dawned on me….... if I was able to observe the shopping habits of Homo-sapiens over an extended period of time, that meant that MY wife was STILL shopping. She was just NOW trying on a sun dress! She asks my opinion of the dress. I told her it looks great, buy it and let’s go. She went back into the dressing room, I went back to my chair and I didn’t see or hear from her for another 45 minutes. Matter of fact, I had to call her on her cell to see what was taking so long. Turns out, she was on the OTHER side of the store and wanted me to come way over there (leaving my comfortable chair) to give an opinion on the second sun dress she was wearing. The SECOND sun dress…..been here for an hour and a half and this is the SECOND dress she’s tried on. I told her it looks great. She said, “You can’t see it from there." I said "sure I can……it looks just like the first sun dress ‘cept it’s a different color" …..AND …..I was right. It took her two hours plus to buy one sun dress. As we were walking out of the store, I saw a shirt that appealed to me. I found my size and bought it……..it took me seven minutes.......TOP.