Monthly Archives: February 2014

Looking for a Good Time

If any of you single ladies are looking for love on this Valentine’s Day (or just need to get out of the house), you must have the right approach.  Many moons ago people had to scour the “single’s ads” in various newspapers and periodicals in the hopes of meeting the right person.  Even I’m old enough to remember chuckling at poetic pleas buried in the black ink of unrequited desperation.  Check out some of these lonely hearts from the 1960s and be glad for the Internet – where everyone has a color photo and is now bound by ethical standards to tell the truth.

Desirable beard wants couplings.

Desirable beard wants couplings.

Willing to learn after years of inaction.

Willing to learn after years of inaction.

Home-bound with 1% extra manhood.

Home-bound with 1% extra manhood.

Won’t take “NO” for an answer.

Won’t take “NO” for an answer.

Interstate businessman.

Interstate businessman.

Call only if you have your own phone.

Call only if you have your own phone.

Has horse; will romp.

Has horse; will romp.

 

I’ll also bring my friend, Zodiac.

I’ll also bring my friend, Zodiac.

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Fags in the Shower! Fags in the Shower!

Michael Sam hopes to turn his collegiate football career into a professional one.

Michael Sam hopes to turn his collegiate football career into a professional one.

The American sports world is all riled up again – and as usual, over nothing important.  Michael Sam, a 24-year-old senior defensive lineman football player at the University of Missouri, recently announced that he’s a practicing homosexual.  Sam has garnered a number of accolades for his athletic ability, including All-American Player and Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year awards.  But, his unapologetic admission to being gay has steered the conversation to a prospect more horrifying to many heterosexual men than erectile dysfunction and forgetting to order flowers on Valentine’s Day: there’ll be a damn queer in the locker room!

Professional sports in the U.S. is rife with unsavory characters and devious antics.  Like their counterparts in the entertainment world, career athletes seem to have a penchant for nefarious behavior in the public arena.  Former baseball player Darryl Strawberry had a long history of drug use, which – coupled with documented assaults on his first wife – eventually derailed his career.  Key word: eventually.  Despite his troubles, team owners and coaches kept giving him second chances.  His high batting averages appeared to gloss over the awful reality of his self-destruction.

The late Wilt Chamberlain, a legendary figure in basketball, once claimed to have slept with over 20,000 women.  His lawyer, Seymour Goldberg, declared that Chamberlain “collected women” the way some people collect stamps.  His nickname, “The Big Dipper,” came about because he often had to duck his 7’1” frame downward when he entered doorways.  But, the moniker obviously sported a more salacious definition when rumors of his romantic escapades began circulating in the media.

One of the most brutal stories of a professional athlete’s incorrigible behavior involves Rae Carruth, formerly of the Carolina Panthers.  In November of 1999, Carruth ordered a friend to murder his then-girlfriend, Cherica Adams, who was eight months pregnant.  Two years earlier Carruth had lost a paternity suit and, apparently reluctant to support yet another unwanted child, he tried convincing Adams to have an abortion.  When she refused, he allegedly planned to have her beaten up so she’d miscarry.  After that failed, he went further and set up the hit.  The two met for a date at a movie theatre.  They left in separate cars, with Adams following Carruth.  Another vehicle drove up beside Adams, and a man later identified as a friend of Carruth fired four shots.  Adams crashed and, despite her injuries, managed to dial 911 from her cell phone.  Doctors were able to save the 8-month-old male fetus.  Adams later scribbled notes for police officials describing the sequence of events and clearly implicated Carruth in the crime.  Carruth had told investigators he’d turn himself into police if Adams died.  When she finally succumbed to her injuries a month later, Carruth fled.  Fortunately, he was caught and convicted of murder in 2000, along with his three accomplices.  But, from the start, sports writers and Carruth fan were willing to give Carruth the benefit of the doubt.

In December 2012, Josh Brent, a Dallas Cowboys player, was involved in a drunk driving wreck that killed his fellow teammate and best friend, Jerry Brown.  The two had patronized a strip club and consumed large amounts of alcohol, when Brent lost control of his Mercedes.  Police officers arriving at the scene found Brent trying to pull Brown from the fiery crash.  A blood-alcohol test on Brent measured 0.18, more than twice the legal limit in Texas.  Brent’s defense attorneys tried to claim that his 320-pound frame could handle that much booze, which was roughly equal to 17 mixed drinks.  Amidst such trauma, however, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones refused to terminate Brent’s contract until after the trial.  But, the ultimate shame in this tragedy came when Judge Robert Burns announced Brent’s sentence – 180 days in jail and 10 years’ probation.

There are countless other stories of professional athletes abusing their wives or girlfriends; committing sexual assault; driving drunk; beating up friends and neighbors; and / or using illegal narcotics.  But, if you listen to the rhetoric over Michael Sam, you’d think his sexuality was as criminal as those of the aforementioned athletes.  In professional sports, it’s apparently okay for a man to beat the crap out of his wife.  In fact, many people just seem to want to shove that under the rug of illicit behavior.

But, said athlete admits that he’s gay?  Well, suddenly he’s crossed the line.  We can’t have that.  We can’t have any fags in the shower.  The same argument has been used before in the U.S. military.  It was a basis for the compromise over the pathetic “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy enacted in 1994.  Until it was repealed in 2011, more people were booted out of the military for being gay or lesbian than for being fat.

In the narrow minds of bigotry, some transgressions are inexcusable.  Homosexuality is among them.  Unless Michael Sam has forced someone into a sexually compromising position (and that’s almost always an accusation, especially towards gay men), people should focus more on his athletic abilities and his difficult upbringing than his sexual predilections.  He lost one brother to gun violence; another brother has been missing since 1998; and two more of his brothers are imprisoned.  At one point, he and his mother lived in her car.  Sam is the first member of his family to attend college.  It’s unlikely he decided to pursue a football career so he can scope out guys in the locker room.  Anyone who visits a locker room (or public restroom, for that matter) to pick up dates needs to get their ass kicked anyway.

Here’s another thing: men look at one another’s genitalia in the locker room.  Every man does; if he denies it, he’s either lying, or he’s dead.  It’s not a stare, or a gape; it’s just a casual glance to see if they measure up.  Every man is concerned about his penis size at some point in his life.  And, every woman is just as concerned about her butt and hip size during some internal squabble with her internal self.  We humans all just want to be – and look – normal.  Being gay or lesbian doesn’t cross the invisible line – but, staring does.  And, that’s just not going to happen very often.

Personally, I’m not a football fan, so I’d never heard of Michael Sam until this faux issue arose.  And, I certainly don’t plan to follow his career should be become the first openly-gay professional player in American football history.  I have more important concerns.  So should everyone else.

Local Dallas / Fort Worth sports anchor Dale Hansen tells it like it is.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy-Valentines-Day-2014-HD-Wallpapers-4

 

Valentine – Kina Grannis

 

Image courtesy HD Wallpapers.

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Dr. Damary M. Bonilla-Rodriguez – Dismantling the Myth of the Hispanic Woman

Damarys-picture

The United States likes to consider itself the beacon of equality, fairness and ingenuity.  To some extent, it’s accomplished those goals.  But, if you look beneath the surface, you’ll find a number of people who have had to fight harder than most for it.  Damary M. Bonilla-Rodriguez is one of them.  I encountered Dr. Bonilla-Rodriguez through the Hispanic Professionals Networking Group (HPNG) on Linked In.  HPNG is dedicated to increasing the visibility of Hispanic business professionals.

Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S.; something that’s due, in part, to immigration.  But, many Americans ignore the fact that, as a group, Hispanics have been here longer than any other; except for Native Americans, with whom we often have a shared heritage.

Regardless, stereotypes of Hispanics persist – in both popular culture and political debates.  While all women have endured some level of oppression and discrimination, Hispanic, Black, Asian and Native American women, in particular, find themselves in the uncomfortable position of being double minorities.  This is of personal interest to me, since I’ve seen the troubles my mother and other women in my family have faced.

Even now, if you watch American TV, you’ll find limited portrayals of Hispanic women.  Colombian-born Sofia Vergara, a star on ABC’s “Modern Family,” is one of the most prominent.  But, the former model still panders to the conventional image of a Latina – complete with mangled English that (I guess) is supposed to be humorously cute.  Then, there’s Shakira, another Colombian, who gyrated her way onto the American music scene with faux blonde locks.  The only plausible Hispanic female character in American entertainment I can recall is Eva Longoria from ABC’s “Desperate Housewives.”  She spoke perfect English and wasn’t obsessed with food and sex.  Towards the end of the show’s run, another Hispanic actress, Lupe Ontiveros, appeared as Longoria’s mother-in-law.  Ontiveros, who died in 2012, once estimated that she played a maid or housekeeper-type role some 200 times in her career.

It’s against these personifications that Dr. Bonilla-Rodriguez finds herself.  I asked her recently to expand upon her career as head of the Latina Initiative Project at Girls Incorporated, a non-profit organization that seeks to empower young Hispanic women into realizing they can be more than wives and mothers or singers and actresses.

Please tell us about your background.

I was born and raised in El Barrio/Spanish Harlem NYC.  My mom died when I was 8 years old; a victim to homicide.  I am the eldest three sisters.  I was raised by my maternal grandparents because my father was in prison during my childhood and not involved in my life.  I focused on education and community activism as a means to achieve success.  I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Social Work, Master of Science degree in Organizational Communication, Special Certification in Corporate Communication, and a Doctorate of Education with a focus in Executive leadership.

What prompted you to get involved with women and leadership?

I grew up in a family where the women worked hard to care for their families and provide but were not happy because they had jobs, not careers.  I did not have anyone in my extended circle that had graduated college or had a successful career.  The desire to achieve some level of success and be a person of influence, took me down the path of education and empowerment of others.  By accessing education and entering the work force, I gained an understanding the challenges faced by women, especially women of color; this knowledge ignited a personal passion to inspire women to pursue leadership roles in all aspects of their lives.

What are some of the ongoing challenges girls face in America today and how do you personally hope to address them?

America is still not a place of equity for girls and women, particularly women of color.  My passion is to inspire and empower girls and women to pursue leadership roles in all aspects of their lives because if we have a voice, we can make a difference in society.  Writing a dissertation was one way that I could contribute to society in this area.  I also deliver key note addresses and sessions for women and girls on leadership development and empowerment.

Do you believe girls can identify with women like Condoleezza Rice and Hilary Clinton, or are they too distant and exceptional to be role models?

I think any woman who is in a leadership role can be a role model.  However, seeing someone in a leadership role that “looks” like you or has a similar background, is the best way for girls and women to be inspired and believe they can be leaders and make a difference.

Aside from Rice and Clinton, what other notable women could serve as positive role models for girls?

For Latina girls and women, Justice Sonia Sotomayor has become an icon because we are proud of her accomplishment in breaking societal barriers, she “looks” like us, and an awareness has been awakened that we need more of her – more of us – in significant leadership roles at ALL levels of society.

If an average woman asks how she could be a role model to a girl or a younger woman, what would you say?

In each individual person’s life journey, they experience situations that teach them lessons; these experiences can help someone else along their path.  I believe we can all be role models to others.  I truly believe that I have stood on the shoulders of others who have paved a way for me to join a small group of Latinas with a Doctorate and that I – and all – should pave the way for others.

If a single father of a daughter asks what he could do to improve his child’s self-esteem, what would you tell him?

Single parents deserve so much credit for raising children alone because it is a hard job to raise children.  I believe that it takes many people to raise productive, hardworking people.  I would tell a single parent – mother or father – that hearing regularly how special you are, that you can change the world, that you need to believe in yourself, that your parent believes in you, and that you should access opportunities such as: education, are the foundation for improved self-esteem.  Also, helping your children access mentors and people that can teach them about access to higher education and various career options, as well as programs such as Girls Incorporated, where I work, can help empower kids and build their self-esteem so they can get far in life.

In the past few years, as the economy continues to struggle, more women than men are either returning to college, or staying in college to pursue higher levels of education.  What do you feel is the primary factor behind this trend?

Women have a nurturing nature and sharp instincts to provide and care for others.  When the pressure is on to succeed or they see closed doors, women understand the value of education in setting oneself apart from the competition.  Also, women may have entered the work force to provide financially without having the opportunity to further their education; the struggles provide the opportunity to pursue personal goals while preparing for better work opportunities and climbing the ladder of success.

I read an editorial many years ago that stated, while Black and Hispanic men often feel they’re victims of racism, their female counterparts more often feel they’re victims of sexism.  Do you feel this is true and why or why not?

While this has not been my experience, in my work with women, I have heard this come up quite a bit.  Some things I have heard are that women sometimes feel like their abilities are questioned based on how they look or dress.  Others have expressed being “sexualized” because they are a Latina which is supposed to mean they are “sexy” as opposed to smart or any other professional characteristic.  Women in society are still struggling for equity in various aspects of the workforce experience.  Women of color are struggling for the same but also to have a voice in society.  For example, women of color do not represent a significant part of the corporate/private sector in top leadership positions and corporate Boards.  There is much work to be done.

What are some of the educational and professional obstacles Latina women in the U.S. face?

According to my doctoral research study, Latinas face four critical obstacles: lack of mentors, lack of opportunities, cultural obligations, and family obligations.

Hispanics overall often have been reluctant to move far from home, since that means they’ll be separated from their families.  That’s starting to change, but do you think Hispanics generally have a stronger commitment to their families than to their professional lives?

This has been my experience – from choosing which college I would attend, to deciding if I wanted to move to another state.  The Hispanic value of family – immediate or extended family – is positive because it means you have a strong support network but also poses challenges in education and professional journeys; this is especially true for Latinas, as they have traditionally been expected to take care of everyone.  I wrote an article which was published in the Huffington Post, about “Latinas and Modern Marianismo” which touches on balancing traditional Latino values with modern Latina experiences.  Here is the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/damary-bonillarodriguez/latinas-and-modern-marianismo_b_4165200.html.

Do you think affirmative action is still necessary?

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/racial-justice/affirmative-action) “Affirmative action is one of the most effective tools for redressing the injustices caused by our nation’s historic discrimination against people of color and women, and for leveling what has long been an uneven playing field.  A centuries-long legacy of racism and sexism has not been eradicated despite the gains made during the civil rights era.  Avenues of opportunity for those previously excluded remain far too narrow.  We need affirmative action now more than ever.”  I could not have said it better myself.

What do you hope for the general status of women in the U.S. in the next decade?

I am hopeful that as more women and women of color climb the ladder to hold highly visible and significant leadership positions across the country, doors will open so more women will have the opportunity to shine.  I am also hopeful that the in the next decade we will see a woman hold the highest political office in the country – the U.S. Presidency.

Would you like to add anything?

My doctoral research study abstract, in case anyone is interested in reading my dissertation.  Latinas face obstacles achieving proportionate representation in significant leadership roles.  This research aimed to identify characteristics unique to Latina leaders that represented shared values and beliefs of Latinas, and to understand positive factors and obstacles associated with Latina leadership in the United States.

Survey responses from three hundred thirty-five Latinas and four interviewees from across the U.S. suggested that there are forty-three characteristics an effective Latina leader should possess.  Four essential characteristics identified were: creative, good listener, optimistic/positive, and passionate.  The forty-three characteristics were categorized into five groups of similar characteristics to synthesize what study participants believed were essential characteristics of Latina leaders.  The categories were: high integrity, marianismo, new Latina, transformational leader, and visionary.  Pursuing the attributes of these five leadership categories will help Latinas who aspire to become leaders understand what it takes to be a successful Latina leader, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and enable them to create a plan of success for themselves.

Furthermore, study participants noted factors of positive influence on Latinas.  Six crucial positive influencers identified were: successful educational attainment, participating in leadership training, possessing self-confidence, having role models, religious influence, and family influence.  Study participants also noted factors which can be obstacles for Latinas.  Four critical obstacles identified were: lack of mentors, lack of opportunities, cultural obligations, and family obligations.

Literature about Latinas and Latina leadership is limited.  There is an urgent need for research about the topic(s).  This study was one step towards understanding the dynamics of Latina leadership in the U.S.  I urge Latinas to invest in themselves and become successful leaders so that together, we can make a difference in the world because this world needs Latina sazon (Latin seasoning).

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In Memoriam – Sid Caesar, 1922 – 2014

sid-caesar-01

“Comedy has to be based on truth. You take the truth and you put a little curlicue at the end.” – Sid Caesar

At the Movies

 

The German General

 

Health Food Restaurant

 

Mata Hari

 

Professor on Archaeology

 

A Fool’s Profile

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