Posts Tagged ‘Alabama’

A blogger friend of mine, MsKatykins, asked how my son Benjamin was doing. Because no one wants to receive a response that’s the length of an essay, a respectful answer would be, “He’s fine. Just as active as ever. Thanks for asking!” That’s the proper way to answer such a question; however, I decided to blog my response because I’m not typical. I’m a writer who just so happens to have a kid, and that kid provides me with a lot of writing material. The child is a gold mine, or at least, he was a gold mine when he was younger. 

For those of you who have not been keeping count, Benjamin is six months now (he’ll be seven in a week). And during these last couple of months, the relationship my son and I have has matured. You’re probably saying to yourself that that’s good news, and I agree with you, but it doesn’t really leave me with a lot to rave about nowadays. You remember the ravings, don’t you? Well, most of you do. And for those of you who are new to The Ravings of a Madman, let me catch you up real quick. A few months ago, when Benjamin and I were getting to know each other, we were known to have our share of spats. After our falling outs, I would come here and blog about the arguments I (a grown man) had with an infant. 

And don’t get your dandruff up, no need to call child services. Our fights never ended in fisticuffs. We just got loud with one another. 

So, three months ago, Shardae went back to work leaving me and Benjamin to ourselves. It was rough going at first, and I will admit that I was terrified. I mean, who could I hand the baby off to when a problem arose — such as him crying for no particular reason. Well, I was forced to learn my baby and now there’s not a problem I can’t handle. As a matter of fact, I’m better with him than his mother (which I throw in her face on a regular basis), but that doesn’t stop him from favoring her more. For instance, he said his first word a couple of weeks ago, and it turned out to be “Momma.” Not “Dada”, who he looks to when he’s hungry, or needs a diaper change. His first word was “Momma.” That’s fine, though. I was just happy to hear him speak. Now, back to the point I was trying to make. Benjamin and I are in sync, so we don’t fight as much, which results in me blogging about him less (more like none). I mean, who wants to read me gushing about, “My baby just said his first word, y’all!” and, “My baby is rolling over!” or “My baby is eating solid foods now!” Yeah, it’s exciting for me and his mother, but you could care less, I’m sure. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. Although Benjamin and I are on better terms now, we still have our share of arguments. Just the other day, I had fallen asleep on the living room floor (and I can’t recall why I was on the floor in the first place). I couldn’t sleep peacefully because it was uncomfortable, so I decided to retire to my room and nap in the bed. Well, Benjamin and Shardae was in the bedroom. Benjamin was playing on the bed, and Shardae was doing whatever she does on the computer. I flopped down on Shardae’s side of the bed — because Benjamin was on my side — and I tried to go to sleep. Notice the emphasis on “tried.” As soon as I closed my eyes, Benjamin started screaming, probably fussing at me to get out of the bed. When I refused to leave, he started hitting me and kicking me, while keeping up his hollering. 

“Hey, boy!” I said. “You have your own room, and your own bed. If you have a problem with sharing my bed with me, then you know where you can go.” 

And with that said, I dozed off — intermittently, of course. The boy kept kicking, clawing, and screaming. His mother eventually carried him into his room, and the dispute ended with Benjamin and I napping for quite some time — separately. So, Benjamin and I still have disagreements on a daily basis, but nothing blog worthy. 

MsKatykins, you probably didn’t want a response that’s the length of an essay, so to make a long blog post short, “Benjamin’s fine. Just as active as ever. Thanks for asking!” 😉

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Once again, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a blog. I’ve been busy with one project after another, then there’s baby Benjamin to deal with. I don’t see how you other writers do it. You write, blog, read blogs, network, and review the work of other independent writers. That’s a lot to pile on a person’s plate. Of course, I could probably get all that and more done if I cut out videogames, naps, and television. Something to think about, I guess. While I’m on the subject of television, let me tell you something that has been bugging me lately. May I? Awesome.

The thing that has been getting under my skin is commercials. Once upon a time, I was a big fan of commercials, but they seem to be getting dumber by the season. Maybe it’s because advertisers feel like their target audience is getting dumber, I don’t know. “How are commercials getting dumber?” you ask. Well, take the recent Multi-Grain Cereal commercial they’ve been airing. The television ad goes on to tell you about how great the cereal is, then they end it by saying — and I quote — “people who eat Multi-Grain Cereal tend to weight less than those who don’t.” If there is one thing that I just can’t stand, it’s someone insulting my intelligence. I’m sure there are some who hear this and think, Oh, this cereal helps you lose weight. However, those of us who write — or actually read something other than magazine covers when standing in the grocery store checkout line — know exactly what it says. “People who eat Multi-Grain Cereal tend to weight less than those who don’t,” translates into, “Skinny people tend to eat Multi-Grain Cereal while those who are overweight are less likely to purchase this cereal.” Both statements are true; however, the first one can be misleading, and that’s the purpose, I suppose. That one line has aided in ruining the whole commercial watching experience for me. It’s a lot like those commercials that advertise a certain food, then say, “such and such combined with diet and exercise will help you lose weight.” Really? I’m sure diet and exercise could stand alone.

Commercials are nothing more than salesmen who no longer knock on your door. Nowadays, they bombard you during your favorite shows, they greet you as you go to check your email, they’ve even set up a social networking site called Twitter (you can’t tell me Twitter is not a gathering place for Spam). And then they treat us like we’re all stupid. Some of us may be, but not everybody. I don’t want some dealership to tell me the price of a car is this, then display half a page of small print that says something different, but they don’t leave the small print up there long enough for anyone to read the whole thing. They’ve even gotten to the point where they will put small white print on an eggshell colored background, so only those like myself who actually look for small print will catch a glimpse of it. And don’t get me started on these for profit colleges that dominate the thirty second time slots. I live in Alabama, and we have commercials for colleges like Virginia College, Southern New Hampshire University, one of them is some school located in California. “Get up off that couch,” they say. “Come on and enroll in an online class today!” Their goal is to get paid from us who get into debt by securing a degree in a field that will have no openings once we finish paying for that degree. These politicians are saying that the job market is looking up, but down here in Alabama, places are still closing and people are steadily scrambling for work. And those for profit colleges don’t even put that in fine print at the bottom of their commercials.

So yeah, I’ve grown weary of commercials. I think commercials should be restricted to ten seconds. They should be just long enough for the advertisers to tell us what they’re selling. “We have popcorn that’s already popped for you,” is all they should be able to say, let me see what it looks like, then make way for the next commercial. Show me what car you’re selling, then get on. I don’t need some professional driver doing tricks in a closed off set. I’m just driving around Birmingham; I won’t be doing donuts in the Sahara desert. Commercials suck, and that’s my rave for today.

The media has always portrayed the South (mostly Alabama) in a bad light, and it has been coming to the forefront more now that the Republican candidates are down here trying to win votes. When talking about Alabama, MSNBC was playing banjo music in the background. Really? Banjo music? I would have sworn that a banjo was more of a mountain people instrument, but I could be wrong. And I could be wrong because I’m an Alabamian and I don’t know a thing about banjos. A few more associations that I have a problem with is: grits, racism, ignorance, and incest.

First of all, have you not had grits? They’re inexpensive and delicious once you put butter, salt, and pepper on them. What the hell is wrong with grits? Apparently, Northerners don’t eat breakfast, or they eat rice (which is a dinner food) with breakfast. The South can’t be the only ones that have grits in their grocery stores. The first thing the Republican candidates said when they came down here was, “I ate grits, and they were delicious!” Romney actually said, “…cheesy grits….” All I have to say about that is, “Here’s a to-go plate. Take the grits you love so much and get the hell on.”

Now, let’s move on to ignorance. Because we say words like “y’all”, “ain’t”, and “gonna”, we’re not intelligent people. In my opinion, it’s just plain common sense to shorten your words; that way you don’t waste your breath. I’m sure Eddie Murphy’s character in the new movie, A Thousand Words, would appreciate that. Or maybe we’re supposedly ignorant because statistics say those of us in the South don’t seek higher education like those up North. Well, I’m here to tell you that a college degree is not a cure for ignorance. I’ve seen Parking Wars and episodes of Jersey Shore, and it seems like ignorance is more of an epidemic up North. 

Then there’s racism and incest. People automatically attach racism to Alabama, but I guarantee you, that wherever there are two or more ethnic groups gathered together, racism exist. And I can’t really defend against incest. I don’t participate in, or support incest, but I will ask that Northern women and men (attractive people only) migrate to our Southern rural areas to give people options other than kinfolk. It’s sad, really.

There are many stereotypes associated with Alabama, but I assure you that it is not limited to our state, or the South. Just ask the people who come down here looking for southern belles, or southern hospitality¾ there are very few of the first, and none of the second. The only thing I saw the media get right is the fact that we love our football. Look at how the state of Alabama brought home the national championship in college football, three years in a row. That’s right! Roll Tide, and whatever else the other team says.