Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Sport of Torment


So yeah, this is probably reason #722 why I hate the current state of society…

So during my commute to work this morning, I happened to be flipping through various radio stations (because someone stole my iPod and my iPhone 3G recently died. Yeah, #firstworldproblems). Anyway, I came across the Steve Harvey Morning Show and they were in the middle of what was considered a prank call. Steve’s co-host, Nephew Tommy, had called a guy and told him that his child support order had been modified. So instead of paying child support until his son turned 18 years old (which was in 3 months), this man was now required to pay support until his son turned 21 years old.

To say the man was upset would be an understatement. He was using so many 4-letter words that there were probably twice as many *beeps* as words. Nephew Tommy proceeded to provoke the man further by accusing him of being negligent with the care of his son, being 13 months delinquent with support payments, and then threatening to send him to jail.

Wait… what?!?

Nephew Tommy and Steve Harvey

I’m sitting there in commuter traffic listening to this horrible scenario play out and my mouth is open in disbelief! Was this really happening?? Were they really taking an issue as sensitive and inflammatory as the unfairness of child support and making it out to be a joke? Surely someone like Steve Harvey, who himself is a twice-divorced father of four children, would be more understanding of the challenges of custody and support many fathers face, especially minority fathers.

But no…

After a good 5-10 minutes of this “prank call”, Nephew Tommy finally came clean and pretty much said, “Haha! You’ve been pranked on the Steve Harvey Morning Show! You being mad and upset was hilarious! Thanks for the ratings boost!” and everyone in the studio had a good laugh at this man’s expense. As a matter of fact, after repeatedly mocking the man’s angry retorts,  they couldn’t contain they’re laughter and had to cut to commercial to compose themselves.

I’m sorry, but since when did something like this become funny?!? Have we really become a society that takes pleasure in seeing others harassed and tormented?!?

The sad but true answer, is YES.

/rant

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Categories: commentary, opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Promise of Prayer


This past weekend my beloved wife was delivered some absolutely heartbreaking news. The husband of one of her friends died unexpectedly from a heart attack after coming home from work on Friday. The news was a shock to us both. He was relatively young. I’d guess around 40, if that. And he seemed to be the picture of health. He leaves behind a loving wife he’s known for more than 20 years, and four beautiful children ranging in age from 7 years to 7 months. I can only imagine the devastation they are experiencing.

I will say that it’s been more than a little unsettling to acknowledge all of the similarities between our two families. Not the least being the fact that he was an African American man around my age, with four children whose ages mirror nearly exactly the ages of our own four youngest. Our wives were planning to get our two families together so that he and I would finally get a chance to meet. *sigh*

Naturally, the desire to pray is stirred in many of us. We want to pray that she, her children and his extended family might find comfort and consolation in this difficult time. And so, I did. I stopped what I was doing, and I prayed for them.

Of course, the topic of prayer got me to wondering… how many times have we said to someone, “I will pray for you” only to find that we never set aside the time to actually pray? I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve done it. And I am pretty sure that this is true for a good number of other people as well. Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not saying we were misleading, that we had a lack of good intentions or that perhaps our statement was insincere. But the reality is that circumstances are often cited as the reason for not praying in that moment, when in truth, that moment may be the only one we’ll have.

It’s very sobering to think about the frailty of life and the idea that a mere second can separate life from death. So when it comes to prayer, don’t let your gesture become an empty promise or just some nice thing to say to someone who’s hurting. Instead, let it motivate you to action in the moment, that we might take advantage of every moment we are fortunate enough to be given.

So please join me in praying for Colleen Johnson and her family…

Categories: commentary, personal, religion, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Keeping It Clean


retro headshot bw

Serious Riis Is Serious

I’m not an old man, but I’m not a young man anymore either. Hmm… I’m “just right”. I’m in the stage of my life where I’m young enough to pull off the occasional outrageous stunt (and I have), but old enough to know better (yeah, won’t do that again). I believe that for most people, with age comes wisdom. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years…

  1. Whenever you leave the house, dress as if you’re about to meet the person who will be critical to advancing your career. Because eventually, the day will come when you will. No, it doesn’t mean you wear a suit everyday. Especially if you’re a musician. It just means don’t go outside looking like you never made it passed the curb after you left the rave party last night. These things are usually not planned, and it’s better to be ready.
  2. Wash your butt. There is absolutely NO REASON for you EVER to think, “I don’t need to wash my butt today.” Yes. You do. EVERY DAY. For real. Wash your butt!
  3. If you’re married, brag about your spouse to other people. Tell others what you find awesome about them. Do it often. It will prevent you from dwelling on the things that irritate you, and will instead remind you why marrying this person was the one of the best decisions you ever made. Over time, we can sometimes forget.
  4. If you have children, don’t forget to call your mom (or dad) every so often and tell her you love her. For you, it’s the realization and acknowledgment of the challenge they may have endured raising you. For them, they’ll know that you finally, FINALLY get it!
  5. Don’t let procrastination become a routine behavior. It’s like an invisible drug and one of the hardest habits to break. Plus, there’s no rehab clinic for it.
  6. Unless you have a tapeworm, there will come a point in your life when you won’t be able to get away with eating whatever you want. All that pizza, those hot dogs and those $2 fish tacos will all come back to bite you in your (clean) butt. It’s better to start making a habit of eating what’s best for you now, so that you can continue to do so later.
  7. Never take your family and friends for granted. Enjoy them as much as you can with the time you’re given.
  8. Don’t let your decision of whether or not to have kids be effected by finances. There is no “base price” for children. Every child is different and you’ll never know beforehand what your child’s needs might be or the cost associated with them.
  9. As a parent, never, ever withhold your affection from your children. It is one of the most critical love lessons they will ever learn. How they treat others is most often a direct result of how you treated them.
  10. Don’t be afraid to tell someone “no”. You avoid unnecessary stress, resentment and you gain respect from those who now understand the value of when you say “yes”.

Take those for what they may be worth to you. I guarantee these to be 100% true and effective or so says my Magic 8-Ball.

Categories: humor, opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Anniversary Bliss Recapped


It was a beautiful morning in Southern California on August 7th when I woke up and finally pushed myself out of bed at around 7:30am. I’d like to think that the sun was out from behind the clouds with a cool breeze filtering through the open windows in supportive rejoicing over the fact that it was our 9th wedding anniversary. 🙂

My morning euphoria was interrupted by the fantasy-shattering cries of a 2-year-old who was more than ready to be liberated from his crib/prison. Joined by his 6-year-old brother and 4-year-old sister, the trio accosted me with their usual demands regarding breakfast. No milk for cereal. No oatmeal to sprinkle with raisins. I only had bagels and English Muffins to work with. They conferred and settled on requesting egg & cheese bagels (the English muffins had added ham) with homemade raspberry jam. I obliged.

After that, the morning came and went in a blur of swim lessons, missed naps, the Grumpy Lunch Hour and working with my wife to try to figure out how, since our evening plans were already figured out,  we could best manage the early part of our day of celebration with 4 small children in tow. Solution? Make a trip to Skinny Minnies (Gardena location) for celebratory FroYo… that only the children get to eat, since we’re on a restrictive diet at the moment.

Back at the house, it was time to let the two older kids watch Despicable Me (the first movie) while the two younger ones went down for nap. This, of course, allowed mommy and daddy to get all gussied up for their night out. 🙂 Since I was first to get dressed, I left to go pick up my oldest son from work, who agreed to watch the smaller kids (sans August, the infant) while we went out to dinner.

Earlier in the week, my wife made reservations at a local place that consistently got rave reviews. It’s called the Tin Roof Bistro and the food in, in a word, heavenly!

But before I get into the food, I have to give a shout out to our waiter Jay, who was by far one of the best waiters I’ve ever encountered. He came to our table to take our drink order, and I couldn’t remember the name of a particular drink. So I described it briefly and Jay seemed to read my mind when I mistakenly asked for a mimosa when I really meant a mojito. 😛

You know what’s one of the wonderful things about our marriage? How much we laugh. I caught my wife in the middle of a good chuckle and couldn’t resist sharing it. I think she looks even more beautiful when she laughs. :pleased:

I thanked him and said with a smile, “What’s your name? I don’t think I caught it before. I don’t want to say ‘Hey you’ to get your attention.” He smiled back and said, “My name is Jay, but it doesn’t matter because you’ll never have to ask for anything.” And he couldn’t have been more right. In spite of the fact that it was moving into the busiest hour of the day and he had several other guest to handle, he never missed a beat with us the entire evening. He was there every time we were done with a plate. He brought additional forks for the appetizer and main course. And he continued to check on us to make sure we had everything we needed. Major props Jay!

Anyway, on to the meal… we started out with a full order Triple Green Salad that we split.

Then, my wife surprised me by ordering an appetizer (which was the main reason she wanted to go this particular place) of Caramelized Brussels Sprouts (she knows I love, love, LOVE brussels sprouts)! I can’t even describe to you how delicious they were. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming! They were sliced in half and the outer leaves were crisp and flaky. I nursed a mojito while I took my time and savored the exquisite taste explosion in my mouth. I had to wonder if they were really this amazing, or was my mouth just extra sensitive to other flavors after being on the new fitness regimen the last 3 weeks where I mostly ate broccoli, rice, chicken and extra lean ground turkey. Nah, it was just incredibly delicious!

But I don’t think my mouth or my mind was ready for what was next. On the recommendation of our waiter Jay, I ordered the Grilled Pork Tenderloin.

There were so many wonderful things about this dish that I wouldn’t be able to list them all! The sliced pork was grilled to perfection. A dollop of mashed potatoes was the perfect counter-flavor to the summer corn and bacon succotash. This is one of those rare occasions were every mouthful was immediately followed by a clearly audible moan of pleasure. Mmmmmmm… was all I could manage for the first 5 or 6 bites. Of course, I had to share this mesmerizing dish with my wife. 😉 We finished the night with two of their signature desserts: mixed berries with lemon curd and tapioca pudding topped with mangoes and toasted coconut. I have to say that this was most definitely an anniversary-worthy foodie experience. I could go on and on about this, but I’ll stop here.

When Jay brought us the check, he informed us that he took care of the appetizer and one of our desserts as a gift for our anniversary. Needless to say, I took care of him with the tip. This guy deserved every single penny and more!

Anyway, we were supposed to finish the evening by going to the movies, but since the hour was getting late, we opted to stay in. All in all, one of the best anniversaries yet! 😀

Categories: marriage, personal, relationships, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Anniversary Eve


Tomorrow. August 7th, my wife and I will be celebrating our 9 Year Wedding Anniversary. We dated for 3 years prior to our wedding day, which gives us a good dozen years of being together.

We were talking last night and I said, “You know babe, with everything that has happened in the last 12 years… dating, getting married, having children, buying a house, changing jobs… I can’t even remember my life before you.” The best part about this? I don’t have to. 🙂

Life With Dre

Categories: marriage, personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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