Time to L.E.A.R.N.!

TODAY’S YOUTUBE CLIP: HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND EVERYBODY!!! In honor of this auspicious occassion, I felt that this song was appropriate. Nothing like taking it back to the old school with a little Rose Royce singing “Car Wash”. Enjoy and have a great weekend everybody.

As a musician, 90% of what you do is listening. Music is too much of a universal language to get stuck on one dialect. Therefore, today’s blog is dedicated specifically for you to LISTEN (to the clip provided), EXPAND (your thinking on music in a way that you may not have considered before), AND ROCK NOW (with more musical knowledge added to your repertoire)!

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the rights to this song. The video included in this blog is only intended to bring musical awareness to the reader.

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Soldiers Fight… Generals Command

Let me start here first. If you live in the Central Virginia area, happen to love the ballet, and want to check out some great performances, please visit:

http://charlottesvilleballet.org/

(and now to the related blog that goes with what you JUST read)

My wife and I are great friends with a married couple that we met through our church. The wife of this couple is a full-fledged ballerina. I never thought I would ever meet or get to know one in my lifetime, but I can honestly say that “I know a ballerina.” Nonetheless, she came to a cross-roads as far as whether she wanted to continue dancing or transition over to a more teaching/business administrative role with her dance company. When I read about her dillemma, I offered these words:

“Soldiers fight. Generals command. What does that mean? Well, because you are serious about your craft, there is going to come a time where stage performance will end up being not at the top of your list because you see the need to share your seriousness with others through teaching. To me, it seems like your inherent nature to help others achieve their dream is going to supercede your need to be on stage and that is what will make people seek you out to learn the craft of dancing… and the reason I know that is because I suffer with the same affliction… only through music. So… go ahead and be a general. :o)”

When I looked up the word “command” I came across three definitions: (1) order: an order or instruction given by somebody in authority, (2) control: control over somebody or something that is gained by personal power or authority, and my favorite (3) thorough knowledge: thorough knowledge of something, especially a language.

The third definition closely relates to what I was telling her as far as “command” is concerned. When we think about the “command” (the thorough knowledge) that Jesus had on the Kingdom of God and His desire to create disciples because of the breadth and depth of His ministry, we can see that we, as Christians, are called to do the same thing. In fact, we’re called to do more because the scriptures say:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” John 14:12 (NIV)

We’re called to do greater and when I think of my ballerina friend, she has the knowledge and experience foundation in dance that has the breadth and depth to replicate other great dancers. I am happy to say that my wife and I were present when she and her business partner recently opened up their NEW DANCE STUDIO to the public. She is officially a general ready to command and I couldn’t be happier.

There’s nothing wrong with being a soldier for a season because that’s necessary, but don’t be a soldier so long that you can’t show others how to do what you do. When the time is right, go ahead and be a general.

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.

The Consequences of Skipping English Class

When I was looking up a question on the internet using my default search engine, one of the results came from Yahoo Answers. Typically, I skip over those links because the answers are mostly the opinion of the responder, however, since I was looking for an answer to my question and the traditional routes of online research were running into frustrating dead ends, I decided to click the link and, hopefully, find a seed of truth.

As I started reading the responses, my thinking shifted from my original question to “Why… can’t… this… person… SPELL… and… use… correct… GRAMMAR??? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” Is it me or is it just a sign of the times? When I was in school (elementary, middle, and high), my teachers were sticklers about using correct spelling and grammar. When I was college, my professors were all about using correct spelling and grammar and context and “the logical flow of a written paper”. So I’m curious to know how posts can appear on what is supposed to be one of “man’s great technological achievements” (aka “the internet”) and you have to interpret what the writer is saying. For example, in the one post that I read (which was enough for me), this is what had to be interpreted:

“cuse” = “because”
“diffrent” = “different”
“were” = “wear” (based on the context)
“wanna” = “want to”
“to” = “too” (based on the context)

Additionally, there were only commas. No periods or other punctuation marks to indicate the beginning and ending of sentences (and I use the word “sentences” very, very loosely).

I’m not an English major, I will never claim to be an English expert, and I’m sure that if my previous (or future) blogs were ever analyzed by an English professor, mistakes could easily be pointed out, BUT if we can’t make the difference between “I want to wear that shirt because it is different” and “i wanna were that shrt cuse its diffrent” then we’ve got a real problem.

Sadly, the post I read was written five years ago. Yeah. Think about that for a minute.

Yahoo Answers has a neat feature on every user post that says “Report Abuse”. Does this count as abuse? English abuse???

“What Happens When Codes Collide?” or “The Boojee-Meter Dial”

“Greetings and felicitations!” or “Wasaaaaaaaaaaaaap!?!?!?”

“How are you doing on this fine day?” or “What it do playa? What it do?”

My wife was a business major when we were in college. One day, she taught me about a concept called “code-switching” which I found very interesting because, without knowing what it actually was, we were already professionals at it. In fact, many of you are probably professionals at it as well. Here’s why. According to Wikipedia (the ultimate source for all knowledge everywhere apparently), the definition reads as follows:

In linguistics, code-switching is switching between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation. Multilinguals—speakers of more than one language—sometimes use elements of multiple languages in conversing with each other. Thus, code-switching is the use of more than one linguistic variety in a manner consistent with the syntax and phonology of each variety.

Fancy definition right? But if I were to code-switch and say that same definition, it might go a little something like this:

Code-switching, in terms of your everyday normal life, is dialing up or dialing back your “boojee-ness” in a given environment based on your comfort level.

Boojee, as defined by http://www.urbandictionary.com (the ultimate source for all words urban apparently), is:

Boojee – adv.: (1) from high class, wealthy, or very well to do background. (2) unknowingly, unintentionally snobby or snooty. (3) Often refers especially to the attitude of the son/daughter of a well to do family. Origin: From the French word ‘Bourgeois’. Alternate possible spellings: boozhee, boujee, boojy, boushi, booshi. Used in a sentence: My female friend doesnt know where to get 40ozs because shes boojee.

(Oh yeah… gotta love the urban dictionary.)

So now that we have the definitions out of the way, let’s go ahead and firmly establish that people act different in certain environments. I know it’s true… you know it’s true… and if you’re REAL about it… YOU KNOW you act different at your house than you do at work or at church or at the grocery store or at your Mama’s house or at the gym and so on… but what happens when codes collide. Case in point:

CASE #1

While at work, the phone rings at your desk. You look at the caller ID. You answer with “Thank you for calling BlahBlah Incorporated. How may I direct your call?” Phone rings at your desk again. You look at the caller ID. You answer with “Yooooo… did you see America’s Got Talent last night? VSU Gospel choir tore it up!!!” Then you notice your co-workers looking your way trying to figure out who you actually are.

CASE #2

Walking down the hallway at church. You see the Pastor walking up the hallway towards you and you say in a quiet, conservative, 1-800 call center voice “Good morning Pastor. I hope you’re having a blessed and highly favored day.” Following the Pastor is a good friend of yours (let’s call him “Jim”) and you say in a louder, boisterous voice “Jimmaaaaay!?!?!? What up home skillet biscuit with gravy? Holla at me after service dawwg!” Not only did you say this within earshot of the Pastor, but now Pastor is thinking “Does this person need holy oil, Crisco shortening, or WD-40 because that CAN’T be the same person?”

I use the workplace and church as examples because those two environments are where most people would have to be reserved/conservative in their actions and speech. We all try to be who we are wherever we are and sometimes we have to dial it up or dial it back, but the challenge comes when your dial it up and your dial it back are happening all at the EXACT SAME TIME. It’s not a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of “when”.

So what happens when YOUR codes collide in close quarters and you’ve broken the dial on YOUR “boojee-meter”?

The Obesity Epidemic vs. The Skinny Jeans Epidemic

Let me apologize up front for the “old-man rant” that you are about to read. Every time I try to go clothes shopping, it frustrates me to no end. Therefore, I thought I’d do a little “typing therapy” to help in my recovery. Enjoy.

In a country of obesity, skinny jeans should not exist.

(There. I said it.)

I’m not a big guy, but I’m not a skinny guy either. I’ve paid my dues to the “Golden Arches”… me and Ms. Wendy had a thing goin’ on back in the day… I’ve had an audience with the (burger) King a few times… and I’ve given in to a Bloomin’ Onion or two. I admit that (and possibly a little more), but it boggles my mind that “skinny jeans” even exist. Skinny jeans in a generally obese country?… How does something like that happen?

I understand that the current fashion trends for the youth of this country point towards “skinny jeans”, but reality sets in pretty good between 25 and 30 years of age. Beyond 30, you are definitely in acceptance mode of whatever “weighty” circumstances you are in. I have, in my old age, accepted the fact that I won’t be back to my high school size, so I won’t delude myself into thinking that I can hang with the young people and try to squeeze my old, aching, cracking bones into jeans not fit for man nor beast (not that I would ever try it anyway). At this point, it’s called “management” (i.e. – even if you can’t get any skinnier, try not to get any chunkier).

To me, skinny jeans have a timeframe to them just like diapers. Diapers work when you’re at a specific point in your life, but afterwhile you don’t need them anymore because the natural course of life dictates that you’re going to grow to a point where diapers won’t be useful to you anymore AND you’ll look crazy for wearing said diapers OUTSIDE OF THE PREDETERMINED TIMEFRAME. I feel the same way about old guys who get their hair “cornrowed”. Speckled gray cornrows are not cute. Why? Because that hairstyle only works between 18-24 not 50+.

Using that “predetermined timeframe” logic, skinny jeans are only for a specific time in your life. That time being when you’re actually skinny… which doesn’t quite fit into the general reality of being a U.S. citizen in the here and now. Reality, according to the CDC, says that “No state (in the US) met the nation’s ‘Healthy People 2010’ goal to lower obesity prevalence to 15%. Rather, in 2010, there were 12 states with an obesity prevalence of 30%. In 2000, no state had an obesity prevalence of 30% or more.” In other words, reality is not consistent with what we tell the youth. They may think that their bodies are indestructable and will never gain an ounce of weight, but I guarantee that if they keep on living they’re going to learn things about their body, hear cracks and other unsettling noises inside their body, feel indescribeable little pains that magically disappear in 24-48 hours, test the limits of their waistline (possibly multiple times if they believe in on and off diets), and a whole plethora of other things that will make them say “skinny what?”.

(All my Icy/Hot, Aspercreme, and 500mg Ibuprofen users holler at me!)

So in conclusion… skinny jeans??? Yeah right. Nothing against those that that wear them, but in my current sphere of reality I call them “denim lies with an expiration date”.

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.

Time to L.E.A.R.N.!

TODAY’S CLIP: What happens when you put Marcus Miller on bass and Lalah Hathaway on vocals and a whole slew of other amazing musicians on one stage? You get this rendition of “People Make The World Go Round”. Check out the comments section to see all of the amazing musicians that you’re about to hear.

As a musician, 90% of what you do is listening. Music is too much of a universal language to get stuck on one dialect. Therefore, today’s blog is dedicated specifically for you to LISTEN (to the clip provided), EXPAND (your thinking on music in a way that you may not have considered before), AND ROCK NOW (with more musical knowledge added to your repertoire)!

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the rights to this song. The video included in this blog is only intended to bring musical awareness to the reader.

Church Credit Hours

DISCLAIMER: Before you read this, please know that this is nothing more than a funny thought (at least to me anyway). Hopefully you all will get a good chuckle out of it too. Enjoy!

“She made us go to church all the time. Y’all don’t hear me. I said ALL THE TIME. I ain’t talkin’ bout no every Sunday. I’m talkin’ about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Bible study, prayer meeting, young people meeting, old people meeting, deacon board meeting, usher board meeting number one, two, three, four, five, robe committee meeting, building fund committee meeting. MAMA HOW MUCH STUFF IS YOU ON!?!?” –Steve Harvey

Did you ever feel like you were in church ALL THE TIME? Well, I was having a discussion on this last past Sunday with two members at my church and I told them about the very thing they need in order to track their time in church. I lovingly call it…

“CHURCH CREDIT HOURS”

Oh yes… if you’re in church on any other day aside from Sunday, then you’re banking “Church Credit Hours”. How do you calculate such hours? Glad you asked.

First you have to start off with the credit value:

Always measured in 100’s on a daily basis. Why 100’s? Because 99 ½ won’t do.

Next you go to the per diem:

Sunday – Scripture based credit hours (whatever the morning scripture is, look at the page number in the Bible and that will count as your credit hours for the day)
Monday – 100 (200 if you’re in a scheduled meeting)
Tuesday – 200 (400 if you’re in a scheduled meeting)
Wednesday – 1000 (but only if you show up to Bible Study, otherwise you get 0 for the day)
Thursday – 300 (600 if you’re in choir rehearsal)
Friday – 400 (800 if you’re in an important meeting)

Saturday (before 12pm) – 300
Saturday (between 12pm and 6pm) – 500
Saturday (after 6pm) – 1000 (because Saturday evening and Sunday morning means back-to-back church)
Saturday (all day long) – 2000

And finally, you get bonus points for the following:

Being the absolute last clap after a congregational applause. (100)
Putting a huge manila envelope into the collection plate with “$$$” written in on the front. (200)
Sending random music requests to the praise team (ex: “Can you all sing ‘Can’t Hide Love’ by Earth, Wind, and Fire because I just can’t hide my love for Jesus.”). (400)
Folding all the lap cloths into triangles. (600)
Asking for change for a $2 bill from an usher. (800)
Making up a song to sing on the way to church, then singing said song in church that day. (1000)

DON’T WAIT. GET YOUR CHURCH CREDIT HOURS TODAY!!!