It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the most – wonderful time of the yeeeeeaaaarrr……  Just kidding it’s not that great but it is pretty exciting.  Ladies and gentleman it’s time for the 2019 NBA Playoffs, starring my hometown team and favorite sports franchise ever the Detroit Pistons!

I’m pretty excited that the Pistons made it to the Playoffs this year.  I’ve been checking their standings for  the last month or so hopeful that they would get to the post season.  I rarely watch NBA anymore because I don’t have time most evenings and the NBA only broadcasts about eight teams repeatedly.  My Pistons are not one of those teams.  So I’m thrilled to get to take in some basketball that I actually care about.

In the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs my Pistons are playing the #1 Milwaukee Bucks.  Under different circumstances I would be cheering for the Bucks.  I don’t recall them having a lot of success over the years and I like to support small market Midwestern teams.  If I was a betting woman I would always bet on the long shot and the sleeper teams.  But the Bucks are playing my Pistons so I of course want them to lose so my boys can make it to the next round.

detroit pistons

The Golden State Warriors are playing the LA Clippers in the first round in the Western Conference.  I would love to see the Warriors lose.  They are a great team, Steph Curry is a good, Christan family man.  I really do like them but I’m sick of them.  I don’t like dynasty teams of any kind.  And national NBA broadcasts are pretty much the Steph Curry Show.

Playoff Bracket

I hope the Rockets win their first round so they can defeat the Warriors in the second round.  Realistically the Warriors will probably get to the second round.  If they get to the Finals again this could turn into another snooze fest just like the Superbowl LIII.  We get sick of watching the same teams every year.  I mean I would watch because Golden State vs. anyone in the East could be a compelling match up.

There are some exciting teams in the East.  Toronto and Philadelphia have been fighting to become dominant.  Indiana has been pretty solid and respectable the last few years.  And it will be interesting to see what Orlando and the Nets can accomplish in the Playoffs.  I hadn’t thought of the Orlando Magic in years.

My adopted team is the Oklahoma City Thunder.  I can see some of their games locally on cable.  Love the one you’re with right!  I also think that Russell Westbrook is fantastic.  He is a heck of a player and he seems to be a great family man.  Some say that he has an attitude but I think that he’s assertive and has leadership skills.  He also doesn’t tolerate people disrespecting him or treating him in a condescending way.  You see, the way American society is set up that will get a Black man labeled as having an attitude.  I would love to see the Thunder do well.

In order for the Thunder to do well they will have to get past the Trailblazers.  I’m a 90s NBA fan so the Trailblazers bring back fond fantastic NBA action.  The Blazers were always in the 90s pro basketball mix.  The current star of the team is Damian Lillard who seems like a quality human being.  But I’m still hoping OKC takes them out.

Anyway, best luck to all the teams in the 2019 Playoffs especially the Detroit Pistons that kind of need it.  There’s nothing in the world like a good basketball game.  I’m look forward to getting enthralled in the matches and sad once it’s all over.

 

 

Nene Leakes Deserves Better

I am a long time fan of the show “Real Housewives of Atlanta”.  I’ve watched it from the beginning and since the beginning Nene Leakes has been on the program.  She is the matriarch and the anchor of the franchise whether you like Nene or not.  But I don’t think that Nene is getting the platform she deserves for her loyalty and dedication to the franchise.

Nene Leakes

About a year ago a RHOA marathon came on TV and it showed the early seasons.  I was reminded about why I fell in love with the show.  Those women are hilarious.  I love the dry humor, sarcasm, deadpan expression and reserved cattiness of the so called housewives with a touch and sometimes a lot of African American spunk (It’s not attitude it’s spunk).  And Nene Leakes has become famous for being the spunkiest of them all.

I will admit that watching RHOA is like watching science fiction.  It’s far fetched but you accept the story within the world that is being presented to you.  We the audience have made a decision to accept the real housewives and just play along.  Reality TV is as believable as WWE wrestling but we tune in for the entertainment value and now that so much time has past we feel invested in the characters and their lives.

I believe that Nene Leakes is a nice person.  I really do.  I think she appreciates the Housewives franchise and the opportunities it has created for her.  I think Nene is down to Earth and has never forgotten her roots or tried to be something she’s not.  Yes, I can tell she’s had a nose job and wears blonde hair but I’m sticking with my previous statement.

Here is the problem with Nene Leakes and RHOA as it stands.  Cast members have come and gone from RHOA and producers are casting younger women.  One of the new stars is thirty four year old Eva with the Taratula from America’s Next Top Model and the wife of Ronnie Devoe of New Edition and BBD fame who is quite young.

RHOA has taken a nasty turn and no longer relies on dry whit and humor for entertainment.  Without Sheree and Phaedra that went out of the window.  Now they rely on drama and bitchiness.  Porsha resorted to violence one season during the reunion show.  Nene is placed at the center of a lot of the cattiness but at fifty one she’s too old for all that.  She should know better and be above it all.  Being a part of that type ratchetness is really undignified but for a woman Nene’s age it’s tragic.

Why on Earth is a woman at Nene’s stage of life arguing with thirty year olds over gossip?  Why is she arguing with fans on IG?  It shouldn’t happen.  I caught a glimpse of Lindsey Lohan’s reality show and she came across as a mature, mother hen that was concerned about the people that she described  as children that work at her resort or whatever it is.

The “children” are people in their twenties and Lindsey is only thirty two.  But we all know that Lindsey has been through some wild stuff which would give her a mature perspective on life.  Lindsey didn’t involve herself in the reckless, youthful activities.  She, like Nene Leakes has been there and done that.  There is no more energy for childishness, at least there shouldn’t be.

lindsey

Since I believe reality shows are staged and loosely written I think the producers of RHOA need to develop a new persona for Nene.  Her rebirth should be modeled after the very likeable Angela Raiola b.k.a. Big Ange from “Mob Wives”.  Rest in peace Angie.  During the reunion special of “Mob Wives” the host asked Big Ange why she wasn’t involved with the drama between the other women on the show.  Big Ange said she didn’t relate to them as peers because she was a lot older than them.  She was their parents age.  Ange sat quietly for most of that reunion special as an observer.  That’s called being a good and grown woman and that’s  what I want Nene to start doing.

bigangresizedjpg

Andy Cohen is making a fool out of Nene at this point.  He is using her larger than life personality to hold RHOA together because producers are experimenting with newer cast members but Nene is coming out on the losing end.  I want Nene to show some leadership skills and extend her maternal instincts to her young cast mates.

I want the other cast mates to look up to her and see her as a mother figure instead of squabbling with her about nonsense.  She’ll still be the star because we all know her and she is the cornerstone of  the show.  Judge Judy says that the goal should be to do less work and make more money as one gets older.  Nene is working too damn hard!

RIP Luke Perry

Yesterday the world lost 90s teen idol Luke Perry.  He became famous in the early 90s because of his role on the legendary teen soap opera “Beverly Hills 90210”.  Legendary is not an exaggeration.  At least not for me.  There has never been anything like “90210” and there will never be anything like that again.

The main reason there will never be anything like “90210” is because I’ll never be sixteen again.  Once you live past your teen aged years I don’t think that it’s possible to focus that type of energy on a TV program and fictional characters.  There’s that and Luke Perry’s rise to fame occurred in a bygone era.

Picture this:

The year is 1991.  The place is suburban Detroit, Michigan.  It’s Tuesday night.  In about twenty four hours the favorite show of me and all of my peers is going to air.  The countdown is now a matter of hours and not days.  The next day in school I look up at classroom wall clocks during the day.  I’m counting down the hours to when “90210” came on.  It was on the tip of our tongues and the forefront of all of our little early 90s, teen minds.

School is out.  YES!  It won’t be much longer.  It’s just a few hours more.  I just needed to get through dinner and probably some homework and then it would be time to see what happened next in lives of privileged, attractive (even the homely one was kind of cute) White teenagers that live under perpetually sunny skies.

I remember that “Entertainment Tonight” came on at 7:30PM.  My girlfriends, two other Midwestern, suburban, Black girls, would be on the phone talking to each other by that time on a three way call.  That’s how we had conferences about TV broadcasts before the social media aged.  We would get so excited when the closing credits to “Entertainment Tonight” started to roll.  It was now just a matter of minutes before the main event.

And then it began:

 

When the first few notes of the “90210” theme song came through my floor model TV set my heart skipped a beat.  My friends and I created a short cacophony of squeals and heavily breathing the word YESSSSS into land line phones! We excitedly chatted during the commercials.  Once the show began we held the phone in silence until the next commercial break.

“Beverly Hills 90210” was good stuff.  We followed the love story between Brenda and bad boy Dylan.  I can’t remember if Dylan went to school or not.  I think I remember him going to the prom but I don’t remember him being in class.  The love triangle between Brenda, Dylan and Kelly was absolutely riveting.  And the sweet story of David protecting Donna’s honor melted our hearts.

The show was also educational.  I learned where Baja was because of Dylan McKay.  My friends and I looked that up because we wanted to know where on the Earth Dylan went on his solitary surf vacations.  To this day I think of Dylan whenever I hear the name Baja.  We didn’t use the internet then so I don’t know how we looked it up.  I’m assuming we found Baja on a globe at school or we used an encyclopedia.

baja

“90210” was absolutely epic.  I don’t even think kids today can relate to anything like 9021 mania because they are growing up with on demand entertainment like Netflix and YouTube.  Back in my day we just had to eagerly await new episodes and new seasons of our favorite shows.  It caused mild hysteria.

Anyhow, RIP Luke Perry.  I’m getting a little emotional writing this post.  Thank you for the memories.  There will never be anyone else like him because times change and people change.  Looking back at it the show was very corny and I don’t think that today’s teenagers would accept “90210” as entertainment.  There would surely be complaints that the show was elitist and lacked diversity.  But I loved it and I’m grateful to have grown up in what pretty much amounts to the Victorian era.  Thanks for the memories.

 

My Disenchantment and Disappointment with NFL Football and it’s Players

I have been a sports fan for a long time.  I have loved it and pro sports has brought a lot of enjoyment into my life.  I admire the athleticism and grace of the athletes.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to admire youth more and more and pro sports is a celebration and display of the blessing of youth, strength, good health and a competitive spirit.  I’ve looked up to pro athletes for years and they’ve been heroes to me.

But it’s not only important to have a strong body and have physical gifts.  You also need to have a strong mind, spirit and sense of self.  I’m not sure that most pro athletes have that.  Recently the significant other of a man that plays for the San Die…I mean LA Chargers posted a video of herself, her baby daddy Jaheel Addae, some other Black NFL players and their non Black significant others at dinner making a toast to light skinned babies.

There is something creepy and sinister about a blonde haired, blue eyed woman making a toast to eugenics and promoting social engineering.  It was like we were getting an inside look at a Hitler youth meeting that Black men were allowed to join due to their annual earnings after taking a pledge of allegiance to White supremacy and it’s standards of beauty.

I am a dark skinned, Black woman that is forty four years old, never married and without children.  A lot of people are going to belittle what I am saying and write it off as jealousy and bitterness.  That’s usually what happens when dark skinned Black women try to speak out against being belittled as women or question European features being put on a pedestal.  But I am not jealous nor am I bitter.  But I am questioning if I should invest in an institution that is made of men that devalues Black people and run by people that seem to be using it as a vehicle to assert White standards of feminine beauty.

I feel the need to say that I am not against inter racial dating, marriage or mixed race children.  The United States is an ethnically diverse country and friendships and romantic relationships are bound to happen in this day and age.  Great.  The strange thing is the way that these relationships get glorified and glamorized at the same time that Black women with two Black parents are often put down and degraded.

I’m not really surprised by the toast that was made and broadcast over Snapchat because I’ve always known that light skin, so called good hair and White features have been esteemed among Blacks for centuries.  I just never knew how much it was valued and how much Black women that look Black were vilified until social media became such a presence.  I’ve come to see what so many people really think.

I also think it’s very strange that this woman posted that video on Snapchat.  I think it was very bold and it seems hard to believe that she and her baby daddy wouldn’t know that the toast would rub some people the wrong way.  This came after a Chicago Bears player proposed to his White, fair haired girlfriend and then old tweets of hers became public.  She made some rude remarks about race and she said that she loves  to see Black men with White women and Black women with White men because she knows they will have cute children.  This type of thinking has always made my flesh crawl.

The player that verbally made the toast didn’t say cheers to the lovely ladies in our company or cheers to true love and happiness or prosperous families.  He said cheers to being light skinned, the closest thing to White we’re ever going to get.  That’s it.  They were celebrating being welcomed into White society and leaving Blackness behind.

Visualize White football players taping a similar toast.  Everyone would question if they were a part of the Alt Right.  These young Black men are pretty much a part of the Alt Right whether they realize it or not.

If you think a person with one White parent and one Black parent is more attractive than a person with two Black parents then you probably think a person with two White parents is superior to everyone.  That is racism in a nutshell folks.  And the NFL has been feeding us images of  men of African descent putting fair hair White women on a pedestal for decades now.

As time goes on I think that fewer things are organic and most things in the media, even social media are intentional and put in front of the public in order to manipulate the masses.  That’s especially true when you’re talking about a money making juggernaut such as the NFL.

It’s not hard to see that the NFL uses their space in American culture to promote certain agendas.  It’s also clear that they pander to a White audience.  It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to think that they would want to reach out to White women in a way so they feel as if they have a place in the NFL.  This may seem far out to some of you but when I look at the media and other sources of information and apply some objective and critical thought it’s amazing to me how White people affirm themselves.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Europeans do not tolerate not being the center of, well everything.  Even if something markets itself as a Black organization or event they end up putting a White or at least the Whitest, non Black American face to it that they can find.  If the majority of Black ball players were married to wholesome Black women and created wholesome Black families I have a feeling some White people may resent the NFL and see it as a vehicle for Black prosperity.  White people have a history of destroying anything that brings about Black affluence.  If you don’t believe me search Rosewood, Florida, Black Wall Street or even labor unions.

I’m not even angry at the young men that made that toast to light skinned kids on Snapchat or the Bears player that proposed to the borderline racist woman on the field after winning a game that sent them to the Playoffs.  I’m really just embarrassed for them.  They are brawn and no brains, heart or pride.  They are puppets desperately trying to gain acceptance from mainstream culture.  It’s very sad to watch.

It’s like when you see someone doing something to make themselves look foolish and every knows they are being foolish except them and it’s hard to look them in the eye.  The kindest thing to do is to look away and act like you don’t see what’s going on.  That’s what I may have to do with the NFL which is sad because we have had some great times and I thought I would always be a fan.  I’ve stood by the NFL through a lot but this is a bit too much to bear.

 

 

 

 

 

The Handmaid’s Tale

Ever since I read “1984” and “Brave New World” in high school I’ve been a fan of dystopian novels.  I love recent effort like “The Hunger Games” and I found the movie “Divergent” to be enjoyable even though the novels weren’t very original.  So the buzz around the Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale” caught my interest.

I borrowed the book from the library and I thought it was pretty interesting.  It was a suspenseful story and it inspired a lot of imagination.  The author Margaret Atwood left a lot of loose ends in her book.  She wrote the novel as if we were familiar with the country of Gilead and details did not need to be explained.

I enjoyed the book enough to watch the TV series because I was hoping it would fill in some blanks for me.  In some ways it did.  Since the book leaves a lot to the imagination the writers of the TV series were given a lot of artistic license.  There are several story lines in the show that weren’t in the novel and there were some aspects of the book that were completely left out of the TV show.  But I’m still left with questions about Gilead and the way society is structured.

While reading the book and watching the TV series I wondered what happened to the handmaids once their child bearing years are over.  Are they sent to the colonies?  If so why not stage an uprising?  There isn’t much to loose if you know you will be exiled and sentenced to a work camp or hanged in your mid forties.

In the TV show there were women that worked as domestic workers.  They looked to be in their late 30s or perhaps 40s and were attractive.  It is unclear if that was the next step after being a handmaid.  The book mentioned a social class of women called econowives which may have been the lot in life of these women.  But I thought the econowives were government issued women to low status men.  It was never made clear.

I also didn’t understand who benefited from the social structure of Gilead.  Everyone was miserable and oppressed.  Even the upper class of society suffered under the rules of the theocracy.  Why did they put up with it?  They were all slaves to the system and I saw no beneficiaries.  No one was above corporal punishment or the wall in Gilead.

The social structure that enslaved women of child bearing age didn’t seem to be very fruitful.  Despite all of the child bearing women being in bondage and having intercourse monthly on their fertile days pregnancies were still rare.  The entire exercise seems futile to me because it wasn’t very productive despite the systematic efforts.  It probably would have been better to harvest the eggs of child women and implant them with embryos.

There was no reward for delivering a healthy child.  Once a woman weened the baby that she birthed she just went on to the next post.  Women that delivered babies weren’t even given high status.  You would think that Gilead would offer some sort of motivation such as a respectable husband or her own income and residence at some point.

The book touched on this more than the show did but a lot of men were celibate in Gilead.  Men were issued women by the government based on status.  Low status men were not issued women at all.  It was hard to tell the status levels of the men in the stories.  The driver in the story was low status and the Commander was high.

I don’t know how men ranked in between and at what point they earned a woman.  There is no way all of those grown celibate men wouldn’t cause some sort of social instability.  The social structure of Gilead really wasn’t sustainable.

In the novel Serena Joy Waterford was a lot older than her handmaid Offred.  I got the impression that all of the wives and commanders were older and past prime child bearing years which was their problem.  In the TV show the actresses that play the wives and handmaids are around the same age.  So I don’t really know what was wrong with all the wives?  You would think one of them would have an unplanned pregnancy at some point.  And how did the government of Gilead know they were infertile?

Some of the wives in the movie were quite young and looked to be healthy.  You don’t really know that you can’t have children until you start having unprotected sex.  It was also unclear to me if the wives and husbands had sex with each other or was sexuality taboo outside of “The Ceremony”.  The Waterfords had a very distant and cold relationship.

There was a baby girl born in the story.  Her handmaid mother called her Angela and her adopted mother and father called her Charlotte (or perhaps vice versa).  I’m sympathetic to the handmaid so I will refer to her as Angela.  What did Gilead do with the baby girls that were born and raised in affluent families that had handmaids.  Would these families really turn their daughter over to the government if she was thought to be fertile?  How would they reconcile that with their conscious?

There are just so many questions left.  There are more seasons of the show and Margaret Atwood is working on a sequel to her novel that was published in 1985.  Perhaps my questions will be answered.  But based on the book and the TV program I don’t think Gilead could survive for more than one generation.  There would be a lot of instability and social strife that would cause upheaval.