#RANT

uncle-sam-rantingI really hate to talk about this subject, but I feel the need to so here goes.

Why are we as people in this great country of ours so ignorant? It’s not all of us, it’s the small percentage of us that make all of us look bad. The rest of the world see that small percentage and plaster it and that what America is. What makes it even worse, instead of ignoring the problem, it’s us that take that “small” percentage and make it right. Why? Because we are ignorant. For instance, I’ll take an old issue that continues to come up, but instead of individuals doing simple research for themselves, they believe what someone else says. Our Commander in Chief, President Barack Hussein Obama, 65-70% of the American public think he is a muslim because of his name, when in fact, he was born in Hawaii. Is Hawaii apart of America? I forgot? Another thing, they wanted him to do was produce his birth certificate, really? Yep, let me get right on that. I’m the most Powerful man in the world and you want me to flash my Birth Certificate on television to prove a fucking point, get the fuck out of here.

As I’ve said before, I don’t agree with A LOT of his policies and A TON of his legislation that his has passed and his trying to get passed, BUT he is the President. As a Veteran, it irritates the FUCK out of me to hear, military personnel talk openly about the president on social media outlets. Once you signed that contract, you lost that right homie. You have a job to do. DO IT. Now when it comes to a Veteran, it makes me sick because, they fought and have lost brothers for this same cause, but will openly bash our Commander in Chief, that’s not right. I will admit, that I was guilty of it until, I was checked by a very good friend of mine, who I have the utmost respect for who is still in uniform to this day. I love this guy like my own brother. For him to check me, it hit home. I also understand that as an American that we have the ability to the Freedom of Speech, but we should also be accountable for our speech. If you are man/woman enough to say it, then you are man/woman enough to deal with the consequences that go along with it, fair right?rant2

Another thing that we as Americans do is put All Muslims in the category as Terrorists. Why? Because, of some radical Islamists. Yes, it’s hard to weed them out, but we can’t target one whole religion, because we don’t know how to target one specific type of individual, oops, we already do that, but not with a religion, we do it with a race of people. That’s not the topic of this post. Different time! I’m #DONE.

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An Awesome Story

I want you to close your eyes (not literally) and imagine growing up in a great city by the name of Enterprise, in the great state of Alabama and being called to do great things in the Army. Keep in mind, this is before September 11, 2001, but not it’s right around the corner, I’m not that old. Before going off to Basic combat training your recruiter shows you this awesome video of these individuals doing awesome things in labs, in crispy white lab coats, with goggles on, messing with beakers and Brunson burners and all that coolness to find out on your very first day of basic, that you were lied to.

Man, a dream CRUSHED. I wanted to run and hide under the nearest rock, but what kind of man would I be if I went back to my great city of Enterprise, Alabama, if I went back, crying, because I was scared of some dudes yelling and screaming at me. F*** that, I’m not going to let that bother me. It’s 2oo plus other individuals here with me going through the same thing with me. These individuals had a job to do. They had to transform all of us from civilians to Soldiers. For some of us the transformation was easy, for some it took every week set aside for training. Total training time at that time was 19 weeks. I’m not sure what it is now, I’m sure it’s probably it’s a lot more, because the job is a lot more complex. I can assure you that there is no lab coats involved. I did get a chance to wear some goggles and work in an over-pressure environment; in a Reconnaissance and Biological Detection capacity.

1-91cavLet me set the scene for you, I’m stationed at Schweinfurt, Germany, in Anvil Troop, 1-91 Cavalry, 173rd Airborne Combat Team (It’s something different now, but for the sake of my story, it’s 173 ABCT Patchgoing to be this so like it or not I don’t care!). Before we deployed, of course, I am the Troop CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) NCOIC and I also worked in the Training Room. During Operation Enduring Freedom VIII (8) I was the Troop’s Intelligent NCO, Air NCO, TOC NCO, Assistant Re-Enlistment NCO and whatever else you needed. I could do it all. If I didn’t know how to do it, I went and learned how to do it, perfected it and BAM, I’m your man! During this deployment, this is when I decided that I wanted to make the Army a career. At this time I had been in the Army for about 9-10 year already, but hadn’t made the “Indefinite” enlistment yet. It wasn’t until I was forced to become the FOB Air NCO did I realize I wanted to make the Army a career. I say I was forced to become the Air NCO because the individual tasked to be the Air NCO was injured and sent back and I was thrown into the fire. I wasn’t happy, but I adjusted, made it happen, did an AWESOME job!

DSC01316During Operation Enduring Freedom X (10), I was tasked to be the COP (Combat Outpost) Air NCO, Intelligence NCO, TOC NCO & Whatever else you needed! Of course I grumbled, but hey, I signed up for this. I deployed with my brothers. The first 2 weeks of April of 2010 I was sent FOB Shank to attend some training to fly a small unmanned aerial vehicle in support of the Troop so we don’t have to depend on Brigade and Battalion Assets, which is a good thing, because trying toDSC01314 get those assets can be like pulling teeth. So I get done with the training and trying to get back out to the COP which is literally 10 kilometers away, it takes 3 days because road status and air status. I finally make it home. Once I get “home”, I want to make sure that the equipment that we have at our COP works so I go down the HLZ (Helicopter Landing Zone) and try to launch the raven, but I can’t. Why? Because there is a big ass radio antenna drowning out the signal so the vehicle can’t get airborne. So I have NO clue if it can even fly. According to the paper work, all the numbers and frequencies are correct and IF I can get far enough away from the antenna, I can get this thing to fly. I brief my commander and he says, okay.

On April 24, 2010, he comes to me and says I want you to go out with Red Platoon, who is going out for a 5 day Operation. I want you to go out with them during the day to gather Intelligence during the day and fly the unmanned vehicle for them at night. I said, Sir, when the hell am I supposed to sleep during this 5 days? He says, you know I didn’t think about that? I then asked, who is going to handle my jobs here while I’m out on mission? He looks at me puzzled? I said, Sir, don’t worry about it, I’ll get with Top (First Sergeant) and work it out and he replies okay. 1SG, immediately gets heated and says he didn’t even talk to me about this, he says, just go packs some things, get with Red 4 and I handle everything else. The 5 day Op turned into a 3 day Op, then finally it turned into a Key leader engagement, but I was still told to pack a 72 hour bag, just in case. I asked if I could take my trusty “airplane” and I was told that I could, I got it packed.

April 25, 2010, that morning I woke up about 0630, did the usual, shit, showered and shaved. Made sure my homie Tommy was up and we went and got some breakfast. After breakfast I went and called my wife. After I talked to her I told her I loved her, but it was awkward as hell. She asked me if something was wrong and I said no. I said that I didn’t really feel like going out, because it was already hot as hell and I had to sit in the back of an MRAP all day, but I would be okay. I would give her a call later. She said okay. I said that I loved her one more time and I hung up the phone. I went to my room, I remember putting a lock on my duffel bag, on one duffel bag. Why just one, I have no clue. Before going to the motorpool, I looked at my IOTV (Improved Outer Tactical Vest) and my Gerber Strap Cutter that I usually wear on my belt, I moved it to the top of my IOTV for some odd reason. Who knew that I would need it later that day.

Anyway, I’m not trying to get all deep and specific with the story, I’ll just give you the basic run down. We go down this route with a Route Clearance Patrol in front of us, they find an IED. We get stuck with them doing Screen shot 2014-03-13 at 3.45.53 AMwhat they do. The dismounts get out and we do what we do, go investigate some shit. In the midst of investigating some shit, we actually step into some shit, literally. The Afghans are good people, let me make that clear, but their hygiene is like ours, okay. As we are investigating we hear a shot ring out, so we start running to go investigate, in order to where we need to be, we need to get over this “creek” or “body of water” they use this water to shit, piss, and do whatever they need to do. MANNNNNNN, I had to step in this water. This water came CHEST HIGH! OH MY GOSH!!!!!! My HOMIE Jeff stepped in it first and he is taller than I am so it was like was stomach high on him so I was like okay. Before we stepped in it, I said, dude, do we really have to step in it? There has to be a land bridge or something around it or something. He said dude it’s not that bad. He said we have to go.

We get in and out. Get to where the shot was to find out that an Afghani soldier had an negligent discharge. Our Higher Headquarters had a “better” mission for us to do, but that’s a different story. So we get turned around. Go down a route not made for our vehicles. Get 2 vehicles stuck. Spend 2 hours on this route. Our Troop Headquarters finally says hey F*** that, this is what we need to do, go back, capitalize off that village make some peace and do what we do. Not really in those words, but you feel me. We get turned around, get back in the correct order, get back on the same route we were on earlier that day. Let me stress the fact that we were on this same route earlier in the day, this time we didn’t have a Route Clearance Patrol in front of us. We were the last vehicle in the convoy. All of sudden, there was a loud ass “BOOM” “JERK” “CRASH” BLACKNESS”!

IED Picture

 

 

When I came back to, I hear Mikey saying “hey, is everybody okay? We need to get out of this vehicle.” “HEY! IS EVERYBODY OKAY! WE NEED TO GET THE FUCK OUT OF THIS VEHICLE IT’S ON FIRE!” Jeff responds with, I thinks so. I look at him and say what the fuck just happened? He said, we’ll worry about it later, just get out dude. That muthafucka, still hasn’t told me what the fuck happened!!! LOL!!!

For The Love Of Music

This is a little different for those of you that have been following the blog for a minute, but I felt the need to vent a little about music so just follow me a little. It’s a little lengthy, but it’s not full of fluff. I guarantee you will go away with a new outlook on this topic.

I feel the need to write this post for those of us who love music. If you don’t feel that you can put yourself in that category, then I think that you should just skip this reading this post. I will go ahead and admit upfront that516f8ab6c1f876e9498c201cfc7cef5a783e702c_m this post will be a little lengthy, Why? I feel that it is needed. Music is changing every single day, but no one want’s to change with it, why? I don’t understand it. Understand, that my perspective throughout this entire post is from the Hip-Hop point of view. For weeks now, I have been going back and forth with myself on how I wanted to approach this topic, how I wanted to title it, if I wanted to specifically talk about the Hip-Hop culture, but I felt it would be unfair to single out the Hip-Hop culture due to the integration of the culture and how much the culture has grown since it started, but what other culture in music could I talk about? I don’t know any other culture like I know culture like Hip-Hop.

1159405-bigthumbnailA lot of people forget where it started and don’t pay homage to the forefathers of Hip-Hop which I don’t understand. If you ask the newest up and coming “rapper” in the game where Hip-Hop started I am willing to put every dollar I have to my name right now, they couldn’t tell you. Why is that? Because they don’t care. You know what, I won’t say they don’t care, I won’t blame it on them, I’ll blame it on the individual that brought them up. It’s the individual that brought them up and inspired them to rap. I was watching a documentary with KRS-ONE and he said that in 10 years what will they be saying about music today? The documentary took place in 2007 so Hip-Hop wasn’t doing too bad, but what will they be saying about Hip-Hop in 2024? I don’t even want to know? Will they even know who Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force, DJ Kool Herc, Busy Bee, & KRS-ONE, just to name a few?

A quick history lesson for you. Stay with me. The Un-official birthday of Hip-Hop is November 12, 1974. In the early years of the culture, the movement went untitled until Afrika Bambaataa, started calling it “Hip-Hop,” a term originated by Lovebug Starski. In the 1970s ten years prior to it gaining global recognition, Hip-Hop was a celebration of life gradually developing each of it’s elements to form a cultural movement. Due to its energy, dynamics, and momentum, Hip-Hop culture has become, ultimately, a key to upliftment and reformation, as well as a billion-dollar industry. From the 1980s on, the Rap industry and media have helped to make the terms “Hip-Hop” and “Rap” synonymous, leaving out the other elements included in the culture. In light of this enormous oversight, the Zulu Nation promotes the “5th element” of Hip-Hop, which is KNOWLEDGE, and actively tries to educate the masses about the history and foundational elements of the true Hip-Hop culture.

Afrika Bambaataa declared: “When we made Hip-Hop, we made it hoping it would be about peace, love, unity and having fun so that people could get away from the negativity that was plaguing our streets (gang violence, 6a00d8341c77b053ef010536c60a8a970c-800widrug abuse, self hate, violence among those of African and Latino descent). Even though this negativity still happens here and there, as the culture progresses, we play a big role in conflict resolution and enforcing positivity.” Hip-Hop was made to be the Vehicle to Deliver Innumerable Lessons! Afrika Bambaataa doesn’t believe that Hip Hop heads should just have knowledge of Hip Hop. He promotes and proves that Hip-Hop can be used as a vehicle for teaching awareness, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, freedom, justice, equality, peace, unity, love, respect, responsibility and recreation, overcoming challenges, economics, mathematics. Science, life, truth, facts and faith.

Another big thing that is overlooked by so-called Hip-Hop heads is the Core of Hip-Hop which is the Elements. The Elements: Hip-Hop culture is defined as a movement which is expressed through various artistic mediums which we call “elements”. The main elements are known as MC’ing (Rapping), DJ’ing, WRITING (Aerosol Art), SEVERAL DANCE FORMS (which include Breaking, Up-Rocking, Popping, and Locking) and the element which holds the rest together: KNOWLEDGE. There are also other elements such as Vocal Percussion/Beat Boxing, Fashion, etc. Within the past 20 years, Hip-Hop culture has greatly influenced the entertainment world with its creative contributions in music, dance, art, poetry, and fashion. THE 5TH ELEMENT OF HIP HOP CULTURE KNOWLEDGE, CULTURE, OVERS-TANDING, FACT-OLOGY VS. BELIEFS.

Hip-Hop isn’t just music people. Hip-Hop Culture Definition is Encompassing graffiti art, MCing/rapping, DJing and b-boying, of a minority-populated urban community during the 1980s. The 1980s also saw many artists make social statements through Hip-Hop. Now let’s look at what the Hip-Hop Culture is doing for us today: Graffiti is a lost art, Rapping is still alive and well, but almost ANYBODY can do it. Compared to the 1970s and 80s you had to have a certain “swag” to do it, but that’s a different topic, but as I said also, times have changed and everybody has put their different touches on it so things have changed. With the advances in technology DJ’ing is going to the computer and it’s more “digital” and you rarely see break dancing anymore. So, with the changing of the times, the rules have changed. So should the elements change with the times? No, I don’t think so. It’s our Core Elements.

Now looking at what looking at what Hip-Hop was supposed to be and what is has become I know you are saying to yourself it’s on two different playing fields. I would say that you are right. Some would say that it would never be able to get back to what it was created for, but I would have to disagree with you. There is already “that” type of Hip-Hop here for you, but the main stream media and Major Corporations that control the Music Industry don’t want to hear it and won’t allow the radio to play it. Most of those artist are Indie or stay underground. Why? Because they get treated better and are able to take better care of their families. Lets take Screwface for instance, there is a stable of “SICK” artist that are overlooked! I have NO CLUE WHY!! Traxx is a DOPE Producer and has some heat and has produced for some Major artist. I don’t know the in’s and outs of the business so if I said anything I would be lying so I wont say anything specific.images-3

I’m getting off topic, let get back to the topic at hand. All I’m saying is that its crazy how far how far along our genre of “music” has come. I encourage you to do your own homework and research deeper into the history of Hip-Hop. It goes deeper than just Run DMC and NWA. I mean I give props where its due, but its deeper than that. If we don’t keep these roots alive they will forever die and be forgotten. Just like the new up and coming generation don’t know anything about them now, the generation coming behind them aren’t going to know anything about them either. The cycle is just going to continue. It has to start some where. It begins with us.

 

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My Luck Starts To Turn Around NOW!

Last week was a rough week, but I’ve been through worse. I say it was rough, because it seems that way because as soon as we start to move in a positive direction it seems as if something always pulls us back which is SO demotivating.

I do what I can to let it NOT get to me, but it’s hard when you don’t have many options. I’ve even thought about options outside of “my” box, which is not a good thing. I’m just trying to get fresh ideas, maybe I need to take a new approach at this. Maybe it’s the way I’m doing things now or maybe the way I’m not doing things? Who knows? I don’t know. I’m not going to get into all the personal specifics here, because this is definitely not the place and it’s not that serious. If it gets that bad and I need to talk about it, I’ll just call you guys. I have the majority of you guys phone numbers anyway, so don’t worry about it. It’s all good. Right now, I need to occupy my time and keep myself busy.TROLL-TIDE-2

With the start of Softball season right around corner, I’ll be all good, because I can put all my focus into coming with a game plan for the girls and making this season a successful one. I WILL succeed at this. What I will not do is treat my kids like they are my step-children. I will treat my players like they are my own children. I’m not saying I’m going to be letting them get away with murder and letting them do what the hell they want to do, but take more of a fatherly approach towards the teaching portion of it. What I didn’t like from last year, is the All-Star Coach didn’t take the time to get to know my child’s name until the 4th damn practice. That’s Ridiculous. I understand that Coaches their own ways to coach and get points across, but some things don’t aren’t that complex. All that tells me is that you don’t give a damn. I want those parents to know that while their children are under my care that they are safe and will be taken care of. I don’t want them to think that I’m a damn pedophile, but if I were a parent and I was a concerned parent paying parent to the Recreation Department, like I was last year, that’s exactly how I would feel.

That’s just an approach I like to use. It worked while I was in the military and It works on my girls (of course) and it has worked previously, so, my approach is vetted and works!

Children First, Self Second.

Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 11.25.43 PMScreen shot 2014-03-04 at 11.26.21 PMToday was the beginning of a new Softball Season in Long County. What’s crazy is that we have the talent, but every year we fail to capitalize, because “Toxic” coaches somehow infiltrate the system and forget why it is they coach, the Children.

Last year, somehow the teams were stacked with all the experienced and seasoned players on one team and the players that have never played the game on the other. Although we never beat the experienced and seasoned team, there is one thing I can say about our girls, they improved every time we played. They never improved. Our last game versus this team we almost won, but a bad call by them umpire changed the outcome of that game. At the end of the season, that coach felt he was entitled to coach the All-Star Team because of the 2 teams we had in the 10U age group, he had the most wins. Of course, since we had a new Recreation Director, he let it go. This year, that is not going to happen. During evaluations, we did grade hard, but that was our whole goal, to evaluate. We were not to coach, we are to do that once we get our team together.

We have the talent, but the parents feel that they know more than the coaches. That’s a big reason why I chose to coach this year. I gave our coaching staff last year a hard time and I felt that I could do a better job, so I will see. During the regular season, it wasn’t bad, because the coaches kept the children first, but during the All-Star portion of the season the coach all of sudden expected that the kids could coach themselves. Every practice was wasted and not used to teach or didn’t have a focus. We played 4 All-Star games and lost every single one. Our worst lost was 38-9. Instead of making adjustments, the coach just rolled with what he had. The problem just so happened to be between 2nd and 3rd Base, players from his original team. Every team we played capitalized off of that and hit into that gap almost every time at bat.

It wasn’t until our last game in the bottom of the 2nd inning, a parent with a wealth of experience made a change himself. Yes, he destroyed the power-base of the All-Star coach, but how do you think the kids felt when they were being beat 31-1? I’m glad this parent made the change, because we started to see positive results. I felt so bad for the kids. We had the talent, but if you don’t practice the right way, it’s not all of a sudden going to happen because you wish for it to happen. Not once did the All-Star coach say anything positive about the girls play, all he did was point out their mistakes. If you are down by a significant margin in the bottom of the 1st inning and you don’t make any changes, how is it the children’s fault?Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 11.27.55 PM

My goal this year is to teach the fundamentals of the game and mold each of my players into All-Stars, so when it does come down to it, it will make my decision difficult. I really believe that if we had a coach that cared about the kids last year, we could have made a lot of noise, but we embarrassed a lot parents and children. Some were so embarrassed that they are now stating that they will never play in this county again. What kind of example are you setting if all you do is point out the bad in what a child does? As a child, I know that I hated it. How about my hustle? How about my RBI or my sacrifice fly in order to put a point on the board? I’m sure that the kids don’t look that deep into the game, but me being the coach needs to pull out the positive and come up with a game plan to rid the team of all the negative plays.

Today, I saw a lot of new faces and a couple of old. Hopefully, once we get our program on the right track, the players that have gone abroad to play will eventually migrate back here. When it comes to coaching, I can be very emotional, especially if I feel that my kids aren’t being treated fairly (I feel they are my own children during that 60 minutes I have to spend with them, during practice and on game day). After the evaluations today, I see a lot of positive coming out of this program this year. The picture in this post, some people ask me why I keep it? I keep it as a reminder, it’s not about me, it’s about the children. The picture is a result of looking out for self instead of them. We will get this program back on track and will finally have parents knocking and kicking at the door to keep their kids here.