Category Archives: Smack talking

Sugar momma wanted. Wealthy biddies only need apply.

Sugar Momma Needed immediately. Now taking applications.
Note: Chanel close your eyes.

For the record, I believe that a man should stand on his own two feet and fend for himself.

We are the bread earners, hunter/gatherers, protectors.

It is our duty to bring home the bacon and provide for our brood.

I am no exception.

Each day, I pound the pavement and handle my business.

In addition to my 9-to-5, I juggle numerous side-hustles, all to make ends meet.

Being an entrepreneur at heart, I stays on my grizzy, but every once in a while…

I aspire to be taken care of.

A kept man.

A mimbo.

There.

I’ve said it.

And I’m not ashamed to admit it.

I want to be arm candy.

A vacuous man cavorting about at the behest of some paid broad.

Who wants me solely because of what I represent.

No. Not raw unbridled sex.

I am sexy.

But I’m not a prostitute.

I meant flyness.

I represent male flyness.

As such, I often fantasize about being taken care of by some old(erish) biddy, who enjoys my looks, company, and overall joie de vivre.

I’m sooooo shallow.

But indulge me.

I know a few women who live this life.

They’re single, fly and have men banging down their doors, vying for their attention.

Routinely, they get offers from CEOs of major corporations, titans of industry, moguls and tycoons, to do this or that, flit about here or there.

You name it, they’ve been offered it.

Vacations in Milan.

Shopping sprees on Rodeo Drive.

Cars, furs, jewelry.

Baubles for their attention.

Sometimes, they take them up on their offers.

Sometimes, they do not.

Regardless, the offers pour in.

Granted, these are single women.

But that’s besides the point.

I just want in on the action.

Not from men, you morons!

I want in on being the object of attention from wealthy female suitors vying for my attention.

Damn! I’m shallow.

But continue to indulge me.

Why is it that dudes don’t get this type of treatment?

Why isn’t there some chiseled boy toy with secret recordings of Martha Stewart’s racist rants?

How come Oprah hasn’t been spotted with some Black Adonis on her arm?

Doesn’t Laurene Jobs want some handsome aspiring actor breaking her off?

I’m not even saying that I’m trying to break anyone off.

But, biddies, feel free to Indecent Proposal me – I’ve already been pre-cleared for a seven figure roll in the hay.

That’s right. The wife will pimp me for seven figures. This dick ain’t cheap.

But I digress.

I’m just looking to hit pay dirt using my good looks, wit and charm.

And have some wealthy heiress bequeath me her fortune in her will for my years of loyal companionship.

Is that so wrong?

Apparently, there are a bunch of sites devoted to linking hunks (like myself) to wealthy women.

Sugarmommaclub.org, sugarmommasearch.com, sugarmommamate.com, sugarmammas.net, cougarlife.com.

All geared towards helping eligible men meet rich women.

But I need something more organic.

Like the stories of regular people, discovered walking down the block, or working at MacDonalds, and become super models.

I’m not trying to find a sugar momma.

I want one to happen upon me.

And shower me with gifts – simply to get my attention.

Because it’s not like I’m just going to give in.

There’s got to be some courting.

I can be coquettish.

Man, if I were born a woman AND I was as fly as I am, nigga’s would be in trouble!

Whew!

Finally got that off my chest.

Now I can get back to grinding.

Every once in a while, I slip.

But I’m back.

Crisis averted.

But if there are any old biddies out there, looking for a 6’3″ fine Black man to accompany them to $1,000-a-plate fundraisers, the Whitney Biennial, Cannes Film Festival, or any other event of this caliber….holla at your boy!

Chanel, you may open your eyes.

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Filed under Smack talking

10000 steps a day for free. Fuck Nike+ Fuelband. Quest for 27.

Reading this title, you’re probably saying, “this nigga must have ADD.”

Unless you’re white, at which point you were thinking “this negro must have ADD,” because you would never actually say “nigga.”

Even if you had a pass from Black people, or grew up with Black people and feel like you’ve earned the right to say ” nigga,” you’d probably still think “nigga” but say “negro.”

At least in mixed company.

Who knows?

I am so off message right now.

The point is that you’re confused by this title.

But you can relax.

I do not have ADD.

And a group of militant Blacks isn’t waiting outside your door (white person) ready to bust that ass for thinking about using the N word.

Let me elucidate.

I’ve been all intrigued by this whole Nike+ Fuelband movement.

Nike-FuelBand-SE-Rose-Gold-WM0114_006_A

If you’re not up on the Nike+ Fuelband, allow me to enlighten you.

The Nike+ FuelBand is an activity tracker that’s worn on the wrist and used with an Apple iPhone or iPad device to track your workouts.

Per Wikipedia,

“the FuelBand allows its wearers to track their physical activity, steps taken daily, and amount of calories burned. The information from the wristband is integrated into the Nike+ online community and phone application, allowing wearers to set their own fitness goals, monitor their progression, and compare themselves to others part of the community. Nike+ relies on the gamification of fitness activities turning all tracked movement into NikeFuel points, which can unlock achievements, can be shared with friends, or can be used to engage others in competition.”

In short, wear the Nike+ Fuelband and track your fitness progress.

But see, the thing about the Nike+ Fuelband is that it costs $149!

A hundred and fifty bucks to track my workout progress with some stupid rubber band?

Suck a dick.

You’re not getting my money bitches.

But I dig the whole Nike+ FuelBand concept.

Wait.

I missed a critical point.

And no, this nigga does not have ADD.

Patience, Padawan.

Ok, so a few months ago, my little brother posted a picture of the 27 year old me, all cut and Adonis-like on Facebook.

Along with the caption, “Back in the day when I was young. I’m not a kid anymore, but some days I think I wish I was a kid again.”

Damn! I'm cut.

Damn! I’m cut.

Clearly alluding to the fact that, physically, I was no longer my 27 year old self.

And, by implication, challenging the new me to get back into the old me shape.

I’m not even going to talk about Dede Mays, the mother of one of my friends, who maligned me suggesting that the body I once possessed was a thing of the past.

Undaunted, I vowed to show them all.

But how?

I’m about to turn 44…carry the 1 and that means that picture was taken 17 years ago.

17 years ago!

When my testosterone was at it’s peak.

When I just thought the word “gym” and muscles would appear on my body.

When metabolism occurred in my sleep.

How could I prove my naysayers wrong?

And show them all that I could, in fact, reclaim my former Adonis glory?

Well for one, I’d have to hit the gym.

Hard.

Work out like a beast.

Cut back on the carbs.

Avoid junk food.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

But that wouldn’t be enough.

I needed an edge.

Something that would put me over the top.

That would allow me to track my progress all day every day – not just when I was in the gym.

Nike+ Fuelband was the answer.

Slap on the band, and I’d become a exercise tracking machine.

Right?

Wrong!

I was not about the shell out 150 smackaroos to get in shape.

There had to be a better alternative.

So I started checking out fitness apps to see what the competition had to offer – for free.

And I found it.

It’s called Pedometer++ and it’s great.

Pedometer++ is an app that tracks how many steps you take daily.

Simply keep your iOS device on you, and the app tracks every single step you take and displays your step count right on the Pedometer++ app icon.

Today, I walked 6.4 miles or 12,953 steps.

Pedometer++

I’ve only been using the app for three days, but it has tracked all the steps I took in the days prior to downloading the app.

And presently, I’m at 93% of my goal.

I wasn’t even aware that I set a goal!

But, needless to say, I’m getting my old ass in shape.

Peep these shots I’ve been taking on my journey to 27.

Good. Better. Best.

Good. Better. Best. Ladies, calm down.

As you may (or may not) be able to tell, I’m getting there.

Anthony Weiner selfies aside, I’ve been able to track my progress with Pedometer++ for free.

Sure, it’s no simple wristband, and I’ve got to keep my mobile phone on my person to have the app track my steps, but for me, it’s been worth it.

27 here I come!

2 Comments

Filed under apps, Smack talking

STFU! And other useful tips to help you keep your sanity.

Keep Calm and STFU

I got a call the other day from a friend looking to vent.

Apparently, he’d been working on a project for a hot minute, which had gone through an extensive planning and discovery cycle, multiple design iterations and painful concessions on both sides.

Although there was a consensus on the approach and planned deliverable, it was not his recommendation, as the proposed final solution fell short of the work he knew his company was capable of, and well below the client’s original expectation for the project.

During discovery, he painstakingly outlined all the options with his client, detailing the pros and cons of each approach, including costs, timing, and end-user experience.

He believed that his company was setting itself up to develop a substandard product, which the client would not be happy with and his company would end up having to re-do at the 11th hour to satisfy them.

Despite his best efforts, no one would listen.

Heading into development, he repeatedly expressed his mis-givings about the selected approach, warning all who would listen that it fell short of the standards typically applied to projects of this type and other products in the market.

Again, no one would listen.

Today, the client saw the project – and hated it.

Calls were made and he was back at square one – and bitching vociferously – to me.

What, pray tell, did I tell my friend when he was done ranting?

STFU.

That’s right.

I told him to shut the f*ck up.

Compassion is not my strong suit.

But bear with me.

You see, I’ve been here before.

No. Not ranting to a colleague about my job.

I am the consummate professional and handle all my shit with aplomb.

But I’ve seen many a colleague get off a call or emerge from a meeting flustered and frustrated.

Fussin’ and cussin and clearly out of sorts.

The source of their frustration was often valid: they had suggested a course of action – that was shot down – only to later find themselves in the unenviable position of cleaning up a mess that the failure to adhere to their recommended course of action has caused.

How often does it happen?

Enough to be a post on my lil’ blog, that’s how often!

But I digress.

As a consultant, project manager, aide or assistant, you’re often in a position where you possess superior information to the people you’re called upon to support.

While you may be the ‘low man on the totem pole’ you usually have access to information that makes your’s an informed perspective.

Worthy of a fair degree of weight, deference or consideration.

But because you’re not the HNIC, your opinion holds little weight when it comes down to decision-making time.

And despite the fact that you know what the fuck you’re talking about, you lack sufficient authority to force the right course of action on the parties or powers that be.

And therein lies the problem.

Time and time again, you find yourself on the wrong end of a fiasco – not of your doing – but which you have to resolve post haste.

So what to do?

Here are four fool-proof ways to help you manage problems (before they start) and be more effective at getting shit done.

1. Keep calm.

One surefire way of making a bad situation worse, is panicking.

So, as a matter of course, I never do.

When I was pledging my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., we had to memorize the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling.

When shit got rough, we’d recite the poem and it brought the most tremendous sense of calm.

There was one line that resonated deeply with me, and is apropos for our little lesson today:

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing their’s and blaming it on you.”

There is no greater skill, when facing adversity, than the ability to remain calm.

This is especially true if you’re the fall guy in a position of authority, with other people looking to you for answers.

2. STFU and stop complaining.

Sure, you’re frustrated – if only they had listened to you, the shit storm you’re  facing could have been avoided.

But they didn’t.

So fucking what?

Hindsight is 20/20.

Complaining is for babies and bitches and never helped anything.

And once you’re ‘that dude’ – mumbling to yourself about how shit’s always going wrong – you’ll find that your life becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure.

You’re in a jam, and you’ve got to get out of it.

So stop bitchin’ and man up.

And that does not mean bend over and take it with no vaseline, sweet-nothings or money on the dresser when it’s all said and done.

Not at all.

It means that you’ve got to figure out how to be more effective at managing your shit so that you find yourself less frequently on the wrong end of problems.

3. Document everything.

If your shit is starting to feel like Groundhog Day, and you’re reliving an endless loop of Hades, perhaps it makes sense to document what you’re doing so that you can figure your way out.

Rather than rely upon your recollection, maintain documents, email threads, meeting notes – anything that you can refer to in the future and use to show others (read clients, managers, developers) the error of their ways.

When a similar issue rears it’s ugly head in the future, you’ll be prepared with your case studies, post mortems and RCAs to provide empirical support to the positions you take.

More importantly, if anyone ever says “why didn’t you tell us that sooner?” or “why didn’t you give us any alternatives?” you can refer to the email, memo or note, which shows that you did.

4. Always have a Plan B.

If you’re so sure that a particular course of action is going to result in failure, you should have a contingency plan in place.

Preparing for the unexpected is a sign of an insightful individual.

But preparing for the known is just common sense.

If you find yourself confronted with a situation you foresaw, and you’re bitching and moaning – as opposed to implementing your Plan B – you’re a fool who deserves what you’re getting.

To summarize, when a project you’re working on starts to go south:

(i) keep calm – cooler heads always prevail; 

(ii) shut the fuck up – no one wants to hear your bitchin’; 

(iii) document everything – CYA is the order of the day; and

(iv) always have a Plan B – for “Bitch please!”

Class dismissed.

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Filed under opinion, rant, Smack talking

I really need to get over myself. A lesson in humility.

I originally published this 3 years ago, but re-reading it now, I just had to share – again.

Yesterday, God decided that I needed to be brought low.

You see, I think I’m the bee’s knees.

I’ve always thought that I was a handsome dude (really ever since I got my first piece of a**), so whenever I’m out, there’s typically a peacock strut happening.

Yesterday was no exception.

I had gone into Jersey City to see my friend, and was headed home, when I stopped into the Starbucks on the corner of Park and Church street in Montclair, to pick up a Green Tea Frappuccino for wifey.

As the weather has been nice and balmy, the people were out, and there were plenty folks milling about, enjoying the pleasant weather.

I stepped out of my freshly washed ride, opened my plume and strutted into Starbucks, aware that all eyes were on me (at least in my head).

Placed my order with the female barista. Stop staring, honey, my shine is so bright you’ll hurt your eyes.

Waited for my drink next to another redbone obviously checking me out. Notice my ring finger babe. Hate to disappoint, but I’m spoken for.

Pass another biddy on the way out the door. You actin’ like you aint lookin’, but I know you peeped my steeze when I first walked in. Stop fronting!

Note: Oh my sh*t is ridiculous!

As I step out of Starbucks, there’s this hot red drop top (‘convertible’ for the urban linguistically challenged) with a fly sister perched in the passenger side, parked behind my Jeep.

Of course, I’ve got to pass IN FRONT of her ride to get to mine, and I’m abundantly aware of the fact that I will be eye candy for her as I pass.

Plume opened and magnificent. Check.

Swagger on 10. Check.

Big Pimpin’ soundtrack playing in my head. Check.

Commence strutting.

I could write out the rest of this little episode, but better you hear it from the horse’s mouth…

And that’s why I need to get over myself.

If you’ve got a story of vanity gone wrong, I’d love to hear about it.

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Filed under Smack talking

The kindness of strangers (aka My Blog is Awesome)

random-acts-of-kindness

I’ve got to testify.

Today was a weird one.

Somewhere between getting off the train in Hoboken and arriving at the Hoboken PATH entrance, I lost my wallet.

It’s not really a wallet.

It’s more like a change purse.

Let me explain.

I don’t dig the bulk of men’s leather wallets.

You can’t conveniently stow it away without generating an unsightly bulge within your garments.

Back pocket, front pocket, jacket pocket – it doesn’t matter.

Got a wallet? You’ve got a bulge.

So long ago I gave up the bulk for money clips and slim sleeve-like wallets.

My current card and money holder was actually a gem purse from Steven Fox Jewelers.

Don’t trip. It’s functional.

Anyway, it was this purse that was lost in the span of 300 steps.

You can imagine my surprise arriving at the PATH turnstiles, reaching into my pocket to retrieve my Metro card, only to find it gone.

I frantically performed a self stop-n-frisk confirming what I feared – I’d dropped my wallet.

All was not lost though.

I had only gone three hundred steps and my train just arrived at the station.

I could not have been in Hoboken for more than a minute.

I decided to retrace my steps back to the train.

The foot traffic was light, and there weren’t many people in the station when I arrived.

So I assumed if I didn’t see it along the path back to the train, it was either still in my seat or in the custody of a NJ Transit conductor.

But that’s just too clean.

Of course, it wasn’t along the path, on the seat or with either of the train’s conductors.

Arrggghhhh!

Don’t fret Stephen.

Head over to customer service.

Report your missing wallet and someone may turn it in.

That’s what “Lost and Found” is for right?

I broke it down to the nice Black lady inside the makeshift Customer Service booth, who took my info, handed me a little slip of paper with a number, and promised to call if my wallet was recovered.

When I asked her if there was a TD Bank in the area – so I could try to convince them to allow me to withdraw my money (with no credentials) to get on the PATH – she dug into a little box from under her desk and proceeded to hand me 11 dusty quarters.

That was the first act of kindness I received today.

Thankful for her charity, I went back to the PATH to buy a single ride to get to work.

But wouldn’t you know that when I went to pay with my 11 dusty quarters, three of them weren’t even quarters.

They were quarter-sized Canadian nonsense coins.

Ashamed I was even in this predicament, I retuned sheepishly to inform the charitable Black woman handing out dusty quarters, that she had given me slugs.

Thankfully she took the slugs, laughing heartily at her error, and dug out three genuine dusty quarter replacements.

Back to the PATH.

Copped a single ride.

Got on the train.

Annoyed the entire ride from Hoboken to 23rd.

Brooding over the fact that as soon as I got to the office, I was going to have to cut off all my shit.

At some point I was going to have to do the dreaded DMV dance to replace my license.

Request new key cards from the j-o.

And replace my COSTCO, AAA and loyalty cards.

Fuuuuuuucccccckkkkkkk me!

Got to the job in a funk.

Glared at the desk clerk, daring him to request the inane tap on the key reader to confirm I worked in the building.

Nigga you see me every day! Don’t even go there!

No pleasantries exchanged with riders sharing the elevator I rode up to the sixth floor, or my colleagues when I hit the door of the office.

Flopped down into my seat at my desk.

Whipped out my lappie and set it on its stand.

Flipped it open and noticed three emails in my Gmail.

The first one was from a Gabriela.

I’m a pimp. So, intrigued, I opened it and read:

Hi Stephen,
I found your wallet on the Path this morning. I work in Manhattan and live in Bloomfield. I Google searched the name on your license and found your blog and your email address. Please let me know if there is an address you would like me to send it to or if you would like to meet in Montclair so I can give it to you. I saw a Montclair address on your license. Let me know!
Best Wishes,
Gabriela

The second act of kindness.

I think I teared up.

I subsequently learned that the lovely Gabriela worked 12 blocks away on Broadway.

She was on her way to a meeting and offered to leave it with her secretary.

Two hours later, my beloved was tucked squarely in my buttoned back pocket.

And I was spared the agony of having to cancel and replace all my shit.

Now what have we learned?

Always check your person for your wallet before you get off the train?

No.

Keep a lil’ stash of moolah tucked on your person, just in case your shit goes missing?

Uh uh.

Publish a pseudonymous blog, so people know where to find you when you lose your shit!

PS Gabriela Moya, you’re an angel.

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Filed under branding, Smack talking

“Hey Facebook, does this shirt make me look fat?”

Does this shirt make me look fat?

Hey Facebook, does this shirt make me look fat?

Note: You can file this under “rant.”

Do you know what I absolutely hate?

People who live their every breathing minute on Facebook.

It’s one of my biggest pet peeves.

You know who I’m talking about.

Troll your feed and you’ll see them.

They’re the ones with the frequent status updates.

Every Frappuccino consumed.

Every traffic jam.

Every stubbed toe.

Every <insert other inane activity you could give  a shit about here>.

And the pictures.

Loads of pictures.

They post every vacation ever taken, airplane wing, cocktail umbrella, toe shots and all.

Every shot of their kid from ultrasound to graduation.

Every shoe, seashell, snowfall.

Riddle me this Joker: why do people post multiple head shots of themselves?

Have they forgotten how they look?

Do they fear that without that same-angled-plastered-smile-arm-length-self-portrait shot, we won’t remember them?

Maybe it’s just vanity.

I mean, Facebook is a big ego-stroke.

It was designed to give its users a platform to share.

But damn!

Zuckerberg didn’t necessarily want you to reveal the most minute and insignificant detail about yourself and your every waking hour.

I mean, do we really need to know that your STD test came back negative (or positive)?

Or that your momma had her bunions removed?

And it’s not Dear Abbey.

“Hey FB fam, I just shat. Should I wipe front to back or back to front?”

“Facebook, if he’s sleeping with her, but tells me he loves me, should I stay with him?”

“I’ve got a toothache, Facebook. Should I take something or tough it out?”

Stop asking for advice.

Don’t you realize that your proclamation that you “don’t need a man!” only serves to alert the world that you are (once again) alone?

And – in point of fact – actually in need of a man?

All I’m saying is that there is such a thing as over sharing.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

Yes. I live in a glass house.

Right now it’s full of shattered panes as I toss rocks at the rest of you.

I know I’m guilty of the occasional over-share or posting of frivolous bullshit.

Once I even posted a picture of myself on the throne.

Which I’ve tastefully and artistically recreated above for my loyal readers.

But I digress.

Seriously, take these small bits of advice.

Unless you’re an exhibitionist or shameless fame seeker, keep your Facebook posting to a dull murmur.

If you’ve added your mug to your Facebook album, wait at least a month before posting another. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

The multiple shots of yourself in the car, in the ladies bathroom at your job, sitting at the bar in TGIF – is overkill. Be selective.

If you’re mad at someone, tell them – privately.  Fighting on Facebook  is just…immature.

Finally, every once in a while, post about how you’re going to be taking a break from Facebook.

Everyone loooovves getting that post.

3 Comments

Filed under rant, Smack talking, social media

Jermaine Dupri of Kriss Kross died today. So did journalistic integrity.

Will the real Mac Daddy please stand up?

I love how thorough the media is when reporting on Black stuff.

Like today.

Chris Kelly, a member of Kriss Kross died.

And in perfect media form numerous news outlets flashed the picture of Jermaine Dupri along with the story.

Chris?

Chris?

Jermaine Dupri.

As I watched Fox News this morning, I thought, why are they showing a picture of Jermaine?

The last time I checked, Jermaine Dupri was not a part of the rap duo.

Sure, he produced them, but that didn’t make him a part of the group.

Since the story didn’t offer any context for the picture of Jermaine Dupri, like “Their producer, Jermaine Dupri was with the family in their time of grief” or anything like that, it made their use of his image all the more inexplicable.

Kriss Kross=Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly and Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith.

Chris and Chris.

No Jermaine.

But then it dawned on me.

All Black people look the same.

We all look the same.

One Black dude is virtually indistinguishable from the next, so no harm no foul.

Right?

You remember when Michael Clarke Duncan passed away?

Who’s image did the media flash?

Terry Crews.

Terry Crews is not Michael Clarke Duncan.

Terry Crews is not Michael Clarke Duncan.

Terry Crews?

Again, I got it.

They could have put up a picture of Debo and we would have been fine.

Oh wait…

A few channels did run the story with Debo’s picture.

Michael?

Michael?

Michael Clarke Duncan, Terry Crews, Debo.

They’re all the same.

What’s the difference between one bald muscly Black dude and the next?

Nothing, apparently.

At least they ran the story with a picture of someone.

That’s good right?

Even if it was the wrong someone.

We don’t really count, so who cares?

Bitches.

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Filed under Smack talking

Be the Brand. Tips from the (pseudo)master.

Note: This post was originally published August 25, 2008. But it’s so good I just had to reblog. Enjoy.

be-the-brand

I’ve written other blogs on other topics before, but never with the sense of purpose I have today.

Not to say that I’ve never had a sense of purpose in the past.

But I feel singularly inspired to write this blog because its all about me.

‘Who am I?’ you ask.

Entrepreneur. Brand strategist. Technology evangelist. Marketing maverick. Biz dev specialist. Trend setter.

I’m the guy who tells you like it is, whether you want to hear it or not.

To put it simply, I’m that dude.

You know who ‘that dude’ is.

He’s the guy that everyone acknowledges (implicitly or explicitly) when he walks into the room.

The one that you’ll remember years after you’ve met him.

The one that everyone aspires to emulate.

The one with the aura, the gift, the presence.

He’s that dude.

We all have ‘that dude’ in us.

It’s that aspect of us that tells really funny jokes.

Or knows how to solve complex equations in our heads.

Or has ability to remain cool in the face of difficulty.

The ‘go-to’ guy when things really need to get done.

Being the brand is the act of cultivating the ‘that dude’ in all of us.

I want to demonstrate the power of my mantra, ‘Be the Brand,” using myself as a living case study.

I’m not particularly famous.

If you Google “Chukumba” you’ll see about 27,000 results.

Add the qualifier “Stephen” and that jumps to about 37,000.

Not bad, but nothing really if you consider the 37 million results generated by searching for the term ‘Oprah’ or the 40+ million generated by searching the term ‘Donald Trump.’

Oprah and Trump are classic examples of iconic figures with huge brand recognition.

When Oprah Winfrey started O Magazine, people said, “She’s so vain. Why does she need to be on the cover of every issue?”

I thought, ‘that’s brilliant!’

What better way to promote your brand than to put your face on everything you put into the stream of commerce?

Oprah didn’t become a billionaire by promoting other people (although she has made quite a few people rich from her promotional prowess).

She promoted herself.

Similarly, when Donald Trump started ‘The Apprentice’ people thought “Who does Donald Trump think he is?”

He’s practically bankrupt!

But Trump is a perfect example of the value of self-promotion.

Love him or hate him, you’ve got to deal with him because his face, his properties, and his brand are everywhere.

Despite his well publicized failures, you’ve got to concede his staying power and presence are indomitable.

There are countless others who fit the Oprah/Donald Trump mold, both famous and unknown.

I include myself in their ranks, and I am going to prove that anyone can be the brand, if they want to be.

Being the brand is a perspective that allows you to define yourself and your world-view in a way that sets you apart from the crowd, but without thrashing others in the process.

So stay tuned to see what I’ve got to say.

I’ve got a lot to say-I’m quite verbose.

Hopefully, you’ll come away with lots of good advice.

And at least it’ll make for some interesting reading!

Now go be the brand!

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The 48 Laws of Power. Recess edition.

the_48_laws_of_power

Note: This post is long and rambling. I have nothing really to say. So I will bore you with a story about my children to provide fodder for my blog. Read on at your discretion.

I just gave my 11 year old daughter, Asha Ming, The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.

Why?

Well here goes.

Last night my wife told me she had received a call from the Northeast guidance counselor earlier that day.

Even though three of our children attend Northeast, I knew immediately who it was.

Asha Ming.

What did she do now?

Apparently she had called a boy an ‘idiot’ and…

He ratted to the teacher’s aide…

Who notified the teacher…

Who brought in the guidance counselor…

Who called Chanel…

Who is now telling me.

When questioned further, Asha Ming claimed it was in retaliation for said boy attempting to trip her.

You trip me, I call you idiot.

Sounds about right.

All rather tame stuff.

Kids will be kids after all.

But then, the wife told me about how Asha Ming flipped the script.

The counselor (in an attempt to determine Asha’s motivations), asked how things were at home.

Realizing that she might really be in trouble, she saw her opportunity to turn things in her favor.

Imagine my surprise to hear that Asha Ming broke down crying.

Revealing (to the counselor) how sad she was because mommy and daddy work too much.

And how we’re never home.

That daddy doesn’t come home until 10 o’clock at night.

Now the counselor is all in.

The concern for Asha’s mean-spirited behavior, turned to concern for Asha Ming’s mental health (and the conditions in the Chukumba household).

She was a guidance counselor, after all.

But I knew, immediately, as wifey recounted the story, that old girl was being played.

Those were elephant tears.

A deflection.

The whole event was orchestrated.

For maximum effect.

Yes. My wife and I both work.

But Chanel sees the kids off in the morning (we both do actually).

And is home to pick them up off the bus after school.

I get home, routinely, at 6:15.

On occasion, a business obligation will keep me out late.

But I regularly tuck the kids in at night.

We take family trips, eat out, go to the movies, eat dinner together at the dining room table, etc.

We both agree that Asha Ming will receive a talking to.

Last night, we pulled Asha Ming aside and asked her about her day.

Whenever there’s a tag team, these kids know the jig is up.

And last night was no exception.

Me: Why are we here?

Child: Because I got in trouble at school.

Me: What did you do?

Child: I called Taj a name.

Me: What have we told you about being mean or insulting other people.

Child: Not to do it.

Me: So why did you?

Child: Because he tripped me.

The wife wasn’t down with this linear line of questioning.

It all sounded a tad…rehearsed.

So she changed it up.

Wifey: Tell me about Taj.

Child: Taj?

Wifey: Does he bother you often?

Child: Uh huh.

Wifey: What does he do?

Child: He’s always trying to trip me.

Is this a crush?

Wifey: Well what was he doing that you called him an idiot?

Child: He was catching snowflakes.

Catching snowflakes?

Child: And I didn’t call him an idiot. I said he was idiotic.

Pardonne moi!

I had heard enough.

Apparently, Taj had been Asha Ming’s target for some time.

She had been waging a steady psychological campaign.

And yesterday was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

She broke poor Taj down to the point that he was crying – CRYING!

Trying to catch snowflakes with his mouth was all that it took to draw Asha Ming’s ire and condemnation.

I imagined this innocent child frolicking in the newly fallen snow, mouth agape, skyward, waiting for the gentle flakes to land upon his tongue…

And Asha Ming cooly (cruelly?) sizing him up, waiting for the precise moment to let her caustic barb fly.

In a moment of profound realization, I knew that Asha Ming was not to be trifled with.

So why did I give an 11 year old the 48 Law of Power?

Because she manipulates people with such deft and skill…

At 11…

That I must cultivate this talent.

And hone her skills of manipulation.

I know some may read this and recoil.

Yes.

My daughter is a trip.

Yes.

Her behavior (at times) is buck wild dingo-ish.

But know this.

Asha Ming will rule the world.

And you’ll all have me to thank.

And Robert Greene.

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I love Netflix. Now if they only streamed the movies I wanted to see.

No Fios

I’ve been a cable subscriber for years.

Even though cable sucked, they were the only game in town.

Then came Blockbuster.

Like cable, they had a super selection of movies, which you could watch when you wanted.

But their expensive rental and draconian late fees, made them a not-oft-used luxury.

And it was inconvenient.

Unlike cable, if you wanted a movie, you had to get into your car.

Drive to your local Blockbuster.

And hope that the movie you wanted was in stock.

Netflix_logo

When Netflix arrived on the scene, they gave Blockbuster a run.

As long as you were willing to deal the whole snail mail thing.

And didn’t have a problem waiting until your movie was returned before you could get a new one.

Netflix wasn’t totally intolerable.

And they were dumb cheap.

But they weren’t really an alternative to cable.

You couldn’t just plop onto your couch, point your remote and wham – instant gratification.

But that was yesterday.

Netflix realized that the landscape for movie rentals was going the way of the dinosaur.

And they adapted.

Added streaming to their offering.

Changed to a subscription model.

And watched as Blockbuster folded, under the unbearable weight of it’s brick-and-mortar infrastructure.

Like cable, Netflix offers streaming television programs and movies.

Like cable, Netflix allows you to stream to your television, mobile and tablet devices.

But unlike cable, Netflix is DUMB CHEAP!

And you can stream your movies anywhere – not just in your crib.

I pay like $200 a month for my Verizon Fios.

To be fair, it’s a bundle: internet, phone and tv.

If I just had Fios TV, I’d be paying like $90 a month.

I pay $7.99 a month for Netflix.

$7.99!

If I wanted to add the ability to receive multiple DVD’s at home, it would be another $4.

So for like $12 I could get my movie on.

There is, however, one serious drawback to Netflix…

Most of the good movies are on DVD.

No seriously.

Sure, every once in a while, a movie you want to see is available for streaming.

But for the most part, the really good stuff isn’t available.

Trust me.

I’ve been down this road before.

Since wifey is a night owl, she’s constantly trolling the channels to find something to watch.

Cable routinely fails to deliver.

So Netflix has become the good old go-to.

And while there are literally hundreds of thousands of movie titles to chose from…

The movies we want are never the ones available to stream!

Netflix get your shit together!

I’m just bitchin’.

Cause there’s nothing on tv.

And the movie I want on Netflix is only on DVD.

Which means I can’t watch it right now.

And I’m a big baby.

First world problems.

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