Posts Tagged ‘power’

So, recently I had an experience with someone where I was asked, very politely, to NOT write about what just happened in my blog.  They did not even want me to change the characters, or pick a different, but similar subject matter to write about, because as they put it, “Even if only you and I knew what the real story was, please don’t write about it in your blog.”  Just in case you are wondering, it was NOT my wife.  The funny thing is, this is not the first time this has happened to me.

When I first started writing this blog, about a year ago, I made it very clear that I wanted my blog to be random, with very little redeeming value.  Most importantly, I wanted to write what was on my mind.  As my friend Corey put it, I had things I wanted to say.  As a reader, I am sure that some of my blogs were good and some were bad, but all of them, for one reason or another were thoughts that for whatever reason entered my head.  Some blogs were written because of an experience, some were truly random thoughts, and some were things that I thought would be funny, but most of my blogs are not written about a specific event or person in my life, with the exception of myself, and to a lesser extent my children, especially my oldest son.  However, even my parenting blogs are more about me, rather than my children.  Nonetheless, I have a series of stories that I could have told, had it not been for my conscious decision to not tell personal stories about other people.

So, when I was asked, once again to not write about a particular event in my blog, it got me thinking:  How many times have people asked me not to write about what just happened?  I don’t know what the actual number is, but at least 20 times.  As far as I know I have kept my promise, although I have a list of stories I wish I could tell.  Maybe I will write all of the stories that I have been asked not to tell, but I just won’t publish them.  Then I will save them in a special file, possibly to be used later, when the time is right.  For example, if someone decides to run for office, or if I need a really big favor.  Is that wrong?  Probably, but I do find the idea of it very funny.  Hey Buddy, remember that time I promised I would not write about that ‘dog incident’?  And you know who you are.  Maybe you wouldn’t mind if I borrowed your car for the weekend.  Or something like that.

I wonder if reporters and columnist have to deal with this kind of thing.  Think about therapists; they must have tons of stories that they can’t tell.  Everyone has skeletons in their closets, but few people actually know where they are hidden.  Some people know where multiple people’s skeletons are hidden, like me.  I am not sure if I like that, but it does give me a sense of power.  Which is kind of cool.  (Insert evil laugh here.)


Explain to me why people think it is OK to have a conversation in the middle of a hallway or walkway.  Why must I say “Excuse me” or have to weave through your butts to get down the stairs or move through the hallway.  Is there a reason why you can’t respect the passageway and automatically let people by?  And don’t give me that evil look when I make you move, it is the freakin’ stairway!  I’m just sayin …


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So, if you have NOT read the previous blog, please read it here first, before reading this one.

My wife was disappointed that in my previous blog I did not make it clear to my readers that I am NOT the person depicted in Mindreading 101.  God bless her.  You know what my first thought was to her statement?  I should go on my blog and be an even bigger a-hole and really piss off my readers.  I don’t know why, but that is funny to me.  I love things that don’t make sense.

The other thing that went through my mind is, why?  My friends know me, and they are not going to be tricked into thinking I am someone else because of a blog.  I just don’t think about things like that.  I just assume that not every reader is going to like or get every blog, and I am amazingly OK with that.  Nonetheless, in an effort to make my spouse happy, which is very very very important to me, here it goes.  I do not treat my wife like the blog, Mindreading 101 would suggest.  I do NOT need a beer to hug my wife, a shot of vodka, maybe, but not beer.  I’M KIDDING!  I kid cause I love.

I have to run.  I want to have dinner ready before my wife gets home, so she can just sit down, relax and eat.  Cause that’s how I roll.  I’m just sayin …

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So, about a year ago I wrote a blog called the Power of Words.  In that blog I discussed how words can be offensive to some and not to others.  Here is an excerpt from that blog:

“The response is also important in the power of words.  If I make a joke, or use a word that I do not think is offensive, but you are offended/hurt, does it really matter if I think you over-reacted?  This is a line you will have to draw for yourself, but for me it matters, especially for those I care about.  It is rarely my intention to offend, so yes, I think it matters a lot.  But, if you are easily offended, I would caution you to not GIVE power to so many things.  It is not a good life to lead.”

As a result of comments received on my previous blog “Mindreading 101”  I am inspired to write this blog.  It is interesting, because I am often surprised what elicits comments to my blogs.  Most people who comment on my blogs do so directly.  In other words, they do not use the comment box on the blog, but will post to me directly.  Overall comments are positive, but every so often, I get comments from readers that clearly did not like my blog.

The first blog to receive a negative comment was my blog where I discussed naked old dudes in the gym.  The negative response I received on that blog was shocking.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a discussion of naked fat old dudes at the Y would be offensive to anyone.  I was simply relaying an experience that I have on a regular basis at the gym.  An experience that I find humorous, but clearly not everyone thought it was funny.

The second blog to receive a surprising number of negative comments was my blog on how I believed it was wrong to poop in public.  As a matter of fact, this person in response to my blog called me a “moron”.  I was shocked!  I of course responded to his comment, and then read their blog, on … you guessed it, pooping and farting.  The blog is called, He Shat She Shat and I actually recommend it.  The positive thing that came out of this altercation, is that we actually discussed the disagreement in a civil manner, and although I still disagree with pooping in public, I would have a beer or coffee with this person anytime.  I would never share a bathroom with them, but coffee, yes.  The bottom line is that disagreements are healthy, and should never be shied away from.  It is how we grow as human beings.

The latest blog to receive negative comments was Mindreading 101.  Again, I was shocked.  I think I was shocked because in that blog (and I had to read it again to remember what I said) I did not say anything new or anything beyond what you would see or hear in a sitcom or comedy show.  As a matter of fact, one commenter compared it to race stereotypes, which I do not agree with, but you can read their commentary for yourself and decide.  The reality is that we all have our buttons.  As I tried to point out in the first Power of Words, and I reiterate here, is that we often find things offensive that are most personal to ourselves.  I will give you an example:  A person I know has a family member with severe autism.  This person used to listen and love the comedy of Carlos Mencia.  If you have never heard Carlos Mencia, I will tell you that this comedian has a lot of jokes about races.  Many of the jokes are quite offensive.  Now my friend, who is smart, a wonderful person, and is in my opinion NOT a racist, had no problem with the race jokes, but did have a problem with a joke told about an autistic person.  My friend now no longer listens to Carlos Mencia.  Why didn’t my friend stop listening to Mencia after the race jokes?  Simple, the race jokes were not a personal issue to them, autism was.

Mindreading 101 was never meant to be taken seriously.  Like most of my blogs, they are for entertainment purposes only.  It is a common thing that we do, play on stereotypes.  It is probably not a good thing, but it is common.  Chick flicks rarely paint men in positive lights.  And this brings me to a very SERIOUS point about selective offense.  I think we all have to be careful to what we openly complain or show uproar about.  I would bet every dime in my bank account, that if I had written the second blog (Mindreading 251 which is about men being stupid: Coming Soon)  first, I would not have received a single negative comment about making fun of men.  My point is this:  Pointing out the wrong in writing, or speech, or behavior as offensive is a good thing, and I truly appreciate it.  But don’t be selective, and overlook other offenses, such as race, sexual preference, religion, or political viewpoints.  Wouldn’t that be the definition of hypocrisy?  To be offended by a gender stereotype, but not be offended when someone calls a Democrat a Godless tree hugger or a Republican a racist.  Or even learning about the Indian race from the TV show, Outsourced on NBC.  Something to think about.

As side note, what does it mean for society when we can no longer laugh at ourselves?  Are we becoming too serious as society where everything must be politically correct and have zero offense to all people?  I don’t have the answer to these questions, but I do think about it a lot.

So, where does that leave us?  For me, it is a formal apology to all my readers that were offended by my last or any blog that I have written, maybe this one.  I am sorry.  As I stated before, I care about my readers, and have no desire to offend you.  And I thank you for commenting and speaking to me openly and honestly.  I can’t promise that you will never be offended again, but I can promise, I will continue to try to be sensitive to my audience.  Nonetheless, I am glad you are reading, I am glad you are thinking, and I hope you are growing.


This blog was supposed to be Mindreading 251, but based on reading the latest comments, I felt the need to write this one.  So stay tuned for the next gender-biased blog.  Hopefully it will stir up laughter rather than anger, but you never know.  I will say this, I can’t wait until I am an old retired guy on the golf course.  Because if the guys I play with (most over 70) at my home course are any indication, I have a care-free, say-whatever-the-hell-I-feel-like life in store for me.  Awesome!  I’m just sayin …

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So, while carpooling to work, my friend played a clip of This American Life.  The topic was super powers.  They asked a question of people: Which would you prefer, flying or invisibility?  Now the rules are simple, you can only choose one, and you are the only person in the world with that power.  Which would you choose?  Now take five seconds and pick.  1 2 3 4 5.  There, that is your choice.  In my first five seconds, I always choose flying.  Think about it.  Flying is cool.  It’s fun and you could travel anywhere you like just by jumping in the air.  How would you fly?

I would fly like superman, but I would go old school.  As I jumped into the air, I would say, “Up, up and away!”  Now that’s old school.  I would fly with one arm pointing forward with my hand in a fist.  I would do loop de loops and fly as high and then as fast as possible.  Where is the first place you would go?  For me? Easy, France.  I would sit at a cafe across the river from the Louvre.  Afterwards, I would visit the Musée d’Orsay, hands down my favorite museum on the planet.  Ironically, it is across the street from the Louvre, one of the most famous museums on the planet.  Well, that is what I would do.  What would you do?

Now take a moment.  What if I gave you five minutes instead of five seconds to make your decision?  Would you still pick flying?  I wouldn’t, because the more I think about it, the more I realize the limitations of flying as a super power.  Some questions start to pop to mind: If I did fly with my arm out, would it get tired?  Most places I would fly by myself.  How fun is it to go places by yourself?  In the beginning it would be great, but what about my family?  I would have to fly pretty high to get to far away places in a decent amount of time, so would I get cold?  How much can I carry while flying?  If I needed a suitcase, how easy would that be to fly AND carry a suitcase?  What about weather?  If I actually did fly to France, what would I do if I was halfway across the Atlantic and a hurricane or thunderstorm blew in?  What about the publicity?  I would be quite annoyed at the number of people who would want to talk to me because I could fly?  What about the favors and the requests?  Just because I can fly, does it mean that I have to get every cat stuck in a tree?  And I am thinking, a flying black man?  If you thought driving while black was bad, what about flying?  I could see flying over some neighborhoods and getting shot at.  Probably by all races.  So, when I think about it, when giving the question some thought, I would choose invisibility.

Now, invisibility has some real practical applications.  If you were invisible, what would the first thing you would do?  Let’s get the obvious answer out-of-the-way first.  If you are a young man, the answer is simple, see naked women.  The bottom line is, if you have seen one naked woman, you pretty much want to see them all naked.  I don’t make this stuff up, that’s a fact.  But of course, that would soon get old.  What next?  The movies for free.  What else for free?  Football, baseball games, depending on the season.  Game place, water park, night club?  What about stealing?  Now think about all the things you would do with invisibility.  Kind of a sleazy superpower isn’t?  Funny, when I give invisibility more thought, I can’t see myself choosing it either.  Am I really that guy?

So, what does your choice say about you as a person?  If you choose flying, are you adventurous, free-spirited, a person who loves to be in the limelight, opening up yourself to the world?  Or if you choose invisibility, are you a loner, have something to hide, a little perve, or just a little off with criminal tendencies?  It is almost as if flying is the good super power and invisibility is the criminal super power.  At the end of the day, I would choose invisibility, because frankly, it has more uses, whereas flying just doesn’t provide enough perks, at least as I see it.

So, think about it.  Which would you choose?  What is your first reaction?  What is your reaction after you give it some thought?  One the most fascinating things the program points out, and I think is worth mentioning:  Did anyone come up with a use for their super power that involved helping people?  Interesting, neither did I.  Makes you wonder if super powers really did exist, would it actually lead to super people?  Makes you think.  Are the comic super heroes representative of our inner beings, or representations of people we wish we would be?

Flight or invisibility: Which would you choose?


I think Aquaman is the worst super hero ever.  When would I ever need him?  If I were to have a crisis right now, if a super villain, shoot, if a robber were to enter my house right now, and I had Aquaman sitting next to me, getting my couch all wet, what could he do?  The nearest aquatic animal he could summon would be my neighbor’s goldfish.  Basically, I would be screwed, and wet.  I guess he could drown the robber in our tub, but we would have to fill it with water first.  Who’s got that kind of time?  I’m just sayin …

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So, in my latest post I called Walmart, or more specifically, the people of Walmart, “ghetto”.  My sister questioned the use of the word as a negative term.  She brought up an interesting point, and got me thinking about the power of words.  Warning! The following post has words that you may find offensive as well as quite a bit of education.  It is for adults only.  Ye Be Warned, Says I.

“What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – A famous Shakespeare line from Romeo and Juliet and I could not have said it better myself. 

There are certain words that are highly offensive.  So, offensive, that if I write them here, you will cringe a little, maybe a lot.  How much you cringe will depend on who you are.  Let’s begin:




Sh*t head

What the Fu*k?  Am I a member of some group that believes that if you take my picture you will steal my soul?  I couldn’t even write the words in their entirety.  No joke here.  I literally do not feel comfortable writing the words, despite my earlier disclaimer.  This is the power of words.  Why do words have such power?  The bottom line is Shakespeare said it best, we define what words mean, and that word could be anything as long as we all agree.  Words are as powerful as the power we give them.

If I am called the N-Word, which unfortunately I have been, I will be offended.  But let me break down the thought process when I am called this word.  I think “why?”  I think “Why do these people still exist?”  “You don’t know me!”  “Man! I hate the fact that racists still exist”, “You are not better than me, how dare you!”  I amazingly filled with sadness.  “FUCK YOU!!”

I wrote it that time.  Why?  To illustrate the response that I truly have when I am called that word.  Any word is offensive when it creates that kind of reaction.  If you know me, you know that I am not a fan of cussing.  I just don’t like the words that some people use on a regular basis to express their strong feelings.  However, when I am really upset, the occasional F-bomb can escape my mouth.  Interestingly, and I know you will agree with this, other words just won’t do when it comes to being upset.  For example, yelling “Shoot!” just doesn’t cut it.  We as a group of people have decided what these words mean, and replacing them does not convey the intent that we wish to express when using certain words.

It is the intention of the use of a word, and maybe that is where the power comes.  When we use certain words our intention is to do harm; to express feeling of deep anger or frustration.  I could use the word “Shoot!” but I know that anyone in ear shot will not truly understand my frustration, and I intend for them to understand.  When someone calls me the N-Word, they intend to offend, which is why, when a black friend says, “Nigga”, it is different, because I KNOW their intention.  But even that is changing.  Many have decided that the use of the word in any form is unnecessary and it reminds us of a time/situation to which we no longer belong.  Or more specifically, it is a word/reference that no longer has power over us.  This is an argument used for not using the word as well as using in, interesting.  Nonetheless, it is all about the intention when it comes to power of words.  This is why close friends of all races can call each other all kinds of names, the intention is known and the response is known. 

This is why the refs of the World Cup took classes on swear words of different languages (No joke).  They needed to know the intention of the words players used.  I wonder if this will ever be looked at by the FCC.  I watch a teeny-bop show,  iCarly (Yeah, you can make fun of me later, but I swear it is a funny show), and they often use the word “Chizz” in the place of where swear words would clearly go.  It is so obvious, it makes me wonder, if you use a replacement word long enough, when does it mean the same as the original word?

The response is also important in the power of words.  If I make a joke, or use a word that I do not think is offensive, but you are offended/hurt, does it really matter if I think you over-reacted?  This is a line you will have to draw for yourself, but for me it matters, especially for those I care about.  It is rarely my intention to offend, so yes, I think it matters a lot.  But, if you are easily offended, I would caution you to not GIVE power to so many things.  It is not a good life to lead.

So, words do have power.  Their power is often in the form of their intention, and other times, the power of the word is in the form of the reaction.  If you call me a C-word, I am not going to be affected, no power.  However, if you call a woman the C-word, I almost guarantee power.  So, is the word “ghetto” a negative term?  Yes, but of course that was my intention.

So, the real question is, where should my intentions lie?  I would rather be constructive with my words, rather than destructive, so I will certainly be careful in the future. 

Of course if it’s REALLY funny …


In the evolution of words, meanings change.  For example, it is no longer acceptable to call something “gay”.  I get why, especially on high school campuses, but I want that word back.  Some things ARE gay and with zero intention of saying disparaging marks about homosexuals.  I’m sorry, but tandem bikes are gay.  Couples that match their outfits, gay.  Hugh Jackman, gay (Scrubs reference).  I want to be able to use the word gay again.  I’m just sayin …

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