Here’s my Short-Term and Long-Term Employment Plans   Leave a comment

As I said on Facebook a short time ago, at this point it’s fair to say I’m having a messy breakup with my current employer. My Medical Leave of Absence is still “pending” and I haven’t reported to work since the week before the holiday break.

So, I am (STILL) looking for new employment elsewhere. My family is convinced beyond reasonable doubt I “don’t get it”,  I “should suck it up” and of course, I “have no idea how good I’ve got it”.  Yet none of them want to be bothered viewing things from MY point of view. Whew.

Moving on, at this point I will want to share what it was I confirmed over the first four months of the 2015-16 School Year. I’ve often reflected on the last 10 years working for the school district in Boston–and yes I am going out of my way to not name it specifically for the sake of context–both over time and since the last time I was in a classroom.

While I appreciate all 4 administrators at the 3 schools I worked at willing to give me so many chances to “get it right”, when the truth is painfully clear then it’s time to put emotional attachments aside. I saw an unwillingness with this 2 out of 4 times. I mean in regards to me. Of the other two times where impartiality was shown, I was prettymuch thrown under the bus with one and looked at as nothing but a number with the other. With the two cases of partiality, I felt there was a conflict of interest due to a family connection with one and with the other, the school culture is very…different compared to most schools.

I came to accept a very hard truth over the last four months that Id been in denial about for the previous 10 years. While it is true that I am patient with children and have little trouble connecting with them, one thing that I always struggled with all 10.4 years was classroom management. I’ve undertaken 3 months worth of coursework total and nothing I did changed that fact. It wasn’t due to a lack of understanding on my part or misunderstanding on the part of the students I worked with. The last 4 months were the exclaimation point on why I was right to not even consider ever making being an educator my long-term career choice. I’ll speak more to this in a separate blog but again, I was given confirmation I should not be working in a classroom. Not just one with moderate to severe needs but in general. This was made crystal clear to me.

…My leave of absence ends in early March but I will submit resignation notice before then.

That said, I have two employment plans: One for now, the other once I have the trade skills I’ll need for it.  See, the mistake I made going into my current job position was not having an exit plan when I started. This time, I’m going to make sure I do both at the same time:

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…One of these companies will be my next employer in Mid-April if things go as planned.

It may come as a surprise given my comments toward GameStop in the last few years. Even if it is used as a factor in my potential employment, I stand by them. That said, I am applying for a part-time position in both companies. There are open positions at the local stores I have in mind but in the interests of slightly boosting my odds, I’m not specifying which ones I’m apply for a positon at.

Of all the places to work retail, these two feel the mosts comfortable to me as they both cater to niche demographics. They also have a limited number of locations since they both only cater to niche demographics. I also feel that I will be able to better develop skills and relearn skills I didn’t used much working in classrooms.

I plan to do this for at least 3 years, hopefully 5. If the opportunity for a promotion arises, of course I’ll take it. While I’m working part-time, I will finish my Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts and get started on my Bachelor’s Degree.

This bring me to my long-term career. Long-term as I wouldn’t mind doing it past the age of retirement. LOL. Factoring my health issues and other variables I need to be mindful of, I’m going to pursue a career in Law. Specifically Mediation, Litigation and Consultation. There was something about the courses I took at Mass Bay Community College that piqued my interest in learning more in that area. While my primary focus wil be mediation, I plan to get my Master’s Degree in Family Law. This includes marriage, adoption and divorce.

Just like there are doctors that specialize in different things, there are attorneys that specialize in different things. This is something that I gave alot of thought during my 5-month hiatus last year. Yes, I’m aware I will need more than 3 years to get a Master’s Degree in Law. The plan is to finish my Associate’s in one year and get my Bachelor’s degree in two. By then, I should be in a good position to work on my Master’s Degree. Oh and no I don’t plan on going to Harvard either. Too many things about that school I don’t like. I’m leaning toward Northeastern University and Boston College after I finish my Associate’s Degree.

Of course, I have a bit of time to decide for sure. Things must be done in a certain order!

Again, I don’t huge aspirations. The idea is to play an advisory role at the most. I’ll likely get courtroom experience along the way and if it comes down to it, I have no problem with that at all. This process will likely take 5 to 8 years but that’s totally ok with me.

The current Powerball Lottery Payout has now passed $1 Billion   Leave a comment

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You’re not imagining things. The next drawing will be this Wednesday. The payout is $1.3 Billion. If a winner isn’t decided then, it will rise to $1.5 Billion. As a reminder, you only win the payout if you get all five numbers plus the Powerball Number correct. Anyone who’s been wayching the news knows ALL of the following is more likely to happen compared to winning the lottery in general:

  • Getting struck by lightning twice or more in the same day.
  • Getting drafted by the NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL and etc.
  • Winnning a Reality TV Show.
  • Getting hit by a meteor.
  • Time Travel being invented.
  • Pigs flying.
  • The world coming to an end.
  • World Peace.

Those are a few examples and all are obsenely unlikely but compared winning The BIG ONE, they’re prettymuch guaranteed to happen.

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As someone who looks at the lottery as a means of waving instant wealth in the faces of those who know they will never see that kind of money in theirs or their childrens’ lifetimes, I view it as a cruel form of financial abuse on the American Public. More so given about 20% of those who play the lottery know where the money collected for the payouts come from.

Where DOES the money for the payouts come from, you wonder? You should and I’ll tell you:

You.

Every parking fine, every lottery ticket purchased, everything you’ve EVER paid back to your city/town, county or state. ALL of that money is used for the payout in these lottery payouts. Didn’t you ever wonder why the bigger the payout, the less likely multiple people will win? THIS is why. It’s the biggest little-told “secret” and it’s a damned good hustle: Get people to focus on the possability of winning the payout and not think about where the money cames from in the first place. You can be sure if the source of the payout was widely know, at least half the people who play would stop altogether. Not most but I’m sure at least half.

One of the few things both social media and the National Media seem to have agreed on lately is the Lottery Commission should change how they do the Powerball Jackpot. Folks from both camps have said if no one wins this time, everyone who bought a ticket and got a certain number of the numbers correct should just get $250,000 to $1,000,000. One of the few times Mass Media and Common Sense are on the same page.

Shocking, yes?

I actually agree with this. The fact that 1 person will potentially instantly join the $1 Billion Club (Actual payout will be about $850 after taxes) simply by correctly guessing 6 numbers is a slap in the face to everyone else who played and makes the hypothetical single winner the most hated person in America for a month or two. There have only been a handful of instances in which the Mega Millions/Powerball payout was split between multiple people and most of them expressed the desire to have their identities kept anonymous for obvious reasons.

Think about it:

You suddenly win the lottery. “Long lost relatives” you didn’t know existed and everyone else suddenly want to see you. Then there’s the con artists, charatible foundations, investment firms, the IRS, people with sob stories and so on. The media rarely touches on this but most who win big quickly find out having more money they they’ll ever need in their or their grandkids’ lifetimes isn’t as nice as they thought it’d be. You have to deal with family wanting their cut, friends and so-called friends wanting a piece and everything else I just listed calling, texting, emailing and knocking on your door looking for a cut of YOUR money.

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The smart ones actually give away most of it as quckly as possible simply for tax reasons–more so if they take the lump sum. That said, ALWAYS take the lump sum if your lottery payout is over $25,000 (In most states if I remember right). It’s taxable after that amount and you donate to a non-profit of this amount or more, you get a deductiion.

Don’t just take the lump sum for tax reasons: Historically, most of the winners are of or past the age of retirement. If you fall into this category and you take the annual payout, the payouts stop the day you die. A woman tried to sue her state to get the rest of her winnings made a lump sum and lost so…yeah. ALWAYS take the lump sum. The tax burden will be higher, yes but you will only have to worry about it for that tax year. Once you take care of it, you’re set for life.

All this said, if you find yourself the winner of the Powerball Jackpot, do 3 things before you do ANYTHING else.

  1.  Accept the fact your life will never be the same again.
  2. Get an attorney if you don’t already have one.
  3. Surround yourself with people you trust for the first year.

The first one is the most important believe it or not. Folks casually say they don’t expect their lives to change too much. Like it or not, it WILL. The second one, most don’t think about until they get in trouble. It’s a good idea to get one early on who can advise you on certain legal matters a Financial Planner can’t. The third one is pretty obvious. Of course, you’ll already know who really cares about you compared to who really just cares about your money real quick!

…I will not be participating in the Powerball Jackpot. I actually don’t play the lottery in general anyway. Scratch ticket every now and then but NEVER the lottery. At least with a scratch ticket, I know I will get something back even when I don’t win anything. With the lottery, it’s worse than all or nothing.

In a followup blog post, I will share what I’d do if I suddenly found myself with a few hundred miliion dollars. Just to get it out the way =D

Aurabolt’s Folly: The Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Games   Leave a comment

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…I considered posting this on both my Anime and Game Blogs but I decided to post it on this one instead as a cautionary tale. Given this year marks the 20th Anniversary of the release of the Pokemon Trading Card Game, it feels fitting.

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To start, Trading Cards have been around for some time though until about 30 years ago, they were strictly Sports Cards. Then Magic the Gathering came along. It wrote the book on how to make a successful trading card game. They are to the Trading Card Game industry what Everquest is to MMORPGs. Like World of Warcraft, only the Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Games were able to emulate the success of the original. They were both introduced at the right time: When Anime and Video Games were becoming mainstream in North America.

Pokemon Red and Blue came to the U.S. in 1995. The Pokemon Trading Card Game (henceforth “Pokemon TCG” for short) was released the following year. What was originally intended to be just a means of marketing the Pokemon brand in the U.S. quickly become the biggest schoolyard sensation in America for almost a decade.

THIS is the original rare card kids spent hundreds on card packs to find:

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Those lucky enough get one were revered as heroes to their friends and had a virtually unstoppable deck. It wasn’t until I played the Game Boy Color Pokemon TCG game in 2001 I fully understood WHY the elusive Stage 2 Card was so sought after: Its Pokemon Power (see above). As long as you didn’t run out of Energy Cards, Charizard was unstoppable. No one other Pokemon Card except the equally rare Chansey (120 HP) could take one attack from it and live. This has long since become widely accepted but to keep the game balanced, Wizards of the Coast (The manufacturer for the card game from 1995 to about 2002) intentionally did not make a large amount of Charizard Cards to encourage people to keep buying card packs hoping to get one.

…I consider myself lucky I was late to get in on the TCG bandwagon. I was in high school at the time and was more a collector than someone who was competatively playing against others. The rare cards I was looking for were promo cards that came with video games and movies. At my peak, I had close to 800 Pokemon Cards. This goes without saying but the reason the first Pokemon movie still stands and the highest-grossing Pokemon movie ever is because of the promo Mew card given to moviegoers with every ticket purchase. It made the news a month after the movie’s release: Folks would buy a ticket just for the card but skip the movie. Said extra cards would then be resold. I saw alot on eBay.

There was little kids wouldn’t do to get their hands on rare cards. Myself included. This is the first time I’m sharing this publicly but I stole 30 cards from a friend at a summer camp when I was 16 and yes, I got away with it. Not saying I’m proud of myself as I realized after I’d done it that I was taking the TCG way too seriously.

As for how I did it without ever getting found out, I did it like a professional: While everyone was swimming, I went in the locker room and took the cards out the kids’ binders (we were around the same age but I was the oldest). To deflect suspicion since I knew everyone would’ve (rightly) assumed it was me, I took my rarest cards out of my own binder and hid them. Naturally, the kids I ripped off assumed mine were stolen, too. Of course, I never brought any of my cards back to camp after that!

I’ll give Nintendo credit where it’s due: The Pokemon TCG was a damned good hustle. I spent somewhere between $200 to $300 on Pokemon cards from when I started in 1998 to about 2003. I retired for good in 2004 and gave away all of my Pokemon Cards to a student at a school where I worked in 2007. Best decison ever. Looking back now, I knew I was in too deep when I decided to steal cards from others. Never again.

 

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…This brings me to the TCG giant of the last decade, Yu-Gi-Oh!

Holy crap. I’ll be real with you: I was hooked from day one. I’ll give Konami and Upper Deck credit where its due: They took the forumula the Pokemon TCG had been using and all but perfected it. The Anime starring Yugi Motou and his alter ego Pharaoh Atem (whose true name wasn’t actually revealed until the original  series’ finale) was used to sell the cards unlike Pokemon.

The cards featured in every episode of the Anime? You could actually get them yourself. Not only that, they worked exactly as shown in the Anime–minus the special effects, of course–and they were nowhere near as rare.

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Seto Kaiba’s Blue-Eyes White Dragon anf Yugi Motou’s Dark Magician. They are the most iconic cards even today yet Konami took the high road with both cards: They were rare in on TV show but in reality, they were obscenely common. One huge difference structure decks for the Pokemon and Yugioh TCGs have is while you only got one holofoil card in Pokemon, with Yugioh you got 3.

The iconic Yugi and Kaiba decks were upgraded a few years later to include powerful cards Yugi and Kaiba gained in the Anime. Even though the Anime series and the card game are not as big as they once were, no cards are more synonymous with Yugioh than these 5:

 

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…Exodia the Forbidden One. Like the Holo Chatizard card, Konami and Upper Deck intentionally made The Exodia set in limited quantities for the sake of game balance. Given you automatically win simply by having all 5 cards in your hand, it only makes sense. LOL.

Moving on, unlike the Pokemon TCG I got into the Yugioh TCG specifically for dueling. Unlike with Pokemon, I got early and spent alot early. I’ll be straight with you: I spent $1200 on Yugioh Cards from 2002 2009. It stands as the most money I’ve ever spent on one hobby. World of Warcraft came close at $950 including expansions, paid services and other premium content such as mounts and pets. The difference is with Yugioh it was in a small amount of time but with WoW, it’s been nearly a decade in comparison.

At one time, I owned close to 500 Yugioh cards. The difference is almost all of them were used to make 4o to 60-card decks for dueling. I had a different deck for different themes. The funny thing is after I graduated from high school, it actually became harder for me to simply find people to duel against. My younger brother played off and on at the time. Sometimes when I picked him up from school, we’d walk to the library and play against folks there. And I was good. I did alot of trash talking and had the skills to back it up. Never did tournaments since they never came to Boston but after about 3 years, duels against me were quick when they ended in my favor.

I think it was around mid-2007 when I decided to quit the Yugioh TCG cold turkey. By then, I’d spent close to $500 on Yugioh cards off eBay alone so…yeah. By the way yes, I did own all 3 of the Egyptian God Cards too. Any card I wanted, I bought off eBay. Most I ever spent? $105 to buy the Exodia cards.

Looking back at how much of my monthly budget I was spending on both TCGs that I probably should have spent on other things was why I decided to quit cold turkey. Well, that and the value we collectors had placed on the  Trading Cards. Like fools, the majority of us truly believed the longer we held on to the cards, the more they’d be worth later. In reality, it was the exact opposite. We should have sold the cards when they were still considered valuable. The longer we held on to them, the less valuable they became. A fitting irony!

During my last semester at a community college, one of my classmates appraised the 100 or so remaining Yugioh Cards I showed him at the time to be worth a bit under $1000. I sold them at Anime Boston in 2010 and only got $10 for all of them. I honestly didn’t care as it was fitting and what I deserved given I’d been motivated by greed. It was a hard lesson but an important one I learned: Trading Card Games are a massive time and money pit and if you’re not careful, you might not be able to get out on your own.

The only TCG worth dealing with is Magic The Gathering but as I said already, I’m done with Trading Card Games period. Before folks ask no, I don’t have any more Yugioh or Pokemon Cards. I gave them all away years ago. The interesting thing is it also effected my viewpoint on physical video games, too. I used to buy and sell video games alot during the last decade. After I quit TCGs, I now only buy video games for keeps. I figure if I’m going to spend money on a hobby, it should be on something I know I’ll enjoy for years to come.

 

Full House spinoff series premieres on Netflix February 26, 2016   Leave a comment

 

Earlier today, pics of the cast on the set were released online. Here is ome with mostly familiar but some new faces as well:

 

Noticably absent is the beloved child star of the original TV series Michelle Tanner, who was played by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (they took turns playing her). The Olsen Twins declined being a part of the new series despite a personal request by Bob Saget and John Stamos. While they declined the offer due to their respective busy schedules–by the way they’re 28 now–it’s likely they don’t want to be a disrtaction for what their on-screen family is doing AND they want the new cast to have their time to shine. Tabloids and critics will be quick to twist it and say it’s because of their unflattering moments from a few years ago. That said, I doubt their recent very public issues would have stopped them from participating if they really wanted to. Their fans and TV family understand and that’s all that matters.

That and unlike a Family Matters reboot, Fuller House has plenty of star power to keep the show going even without the Olsen Twins: Lori Laughlin (Played Becky) and John Stamos (Played Jessie) were the most prolific since the original series ended, appearing in several Primetime TV shows including One Tree Hill and ER. Bob Saget (Played Danny) did theatre while Dave Coulier (Played Joey) returned to standup comedy. Jodie Sweeden (Played Stephanie) and Candace Cameron (Played DJ) returned to private life while the Olsen Twins (took turns playing Michelle) were the most prolific for the 13 years following the end of the original series. The Olsens were hospitalized for Drug Abuse and Anorexia about 10 years ago on separate occasions but they seem to have made a full recovery based on the pics from the Full House Reunion two years ago.

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Getting back on topic, the reason Fuller House has a better shot at being successful compared to Family Matters is the latter only had one star: Steve Urkel, who was played by Jaheel White. White, who pulled a Nutty Professor and played himself under the alias Stephon Erkel through that show’s run from 1990 to 1996 went out of his way to distance himself from Family Matters’ star character. White wanted to continue his career in showbiz and knew from the experiences of other child stars how difficult a transition it would be. Hence why he took steps in this direction long before the show ended.

Unlike Alfonzo Robiero, who played Carlton Banks on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air he came to hate the fact all people knew him for was the character he played on Family Matters. Robiero had the same problem but unlike White, he didn’t hate his on-screen self because of it. Only recently has he seemed to have accepted this part of his life, appearing with a life-sized Steve Urkel doll in a car commercial. Where am I going with this? It’s very possible The Olsens have the same thought about Michelle Tanner.

Think about it: Unlike fellow twin TV stars Tia and Tamera Mowry, The Olsens took turns playing one character. This worked to their advantage they both didn’t necessarily need to be present to shoot episodes. The obvious downside is since they were both playing the same character, it was less about them and more about their on-screen character. Another difference the Mowrys (who made a very brief cameo appearance on an episode of Full House) had is they enjoyed success long after their show Sister, Sister ended. They saw the fact that they performed both together and with younger brother Taj (got his start on Full House as one of Michelle’s friends) as a strength and when they started acting separately, it was to showcase their individuality. Tia starred in a sitcom on CW for 2 seasons while Tamera co-starred in a season of Diagnosis Murder. The Mowrys currently star in a reality TV show on E!

So, Michelle Tanner won’t be on Fuller House. So what? They’ll come up with a clever cover story to explain her absence from the show. I doubt she’ll be killed off but they’ll probably say she’s doing her own thing just like the actresses who played her are. All in all, it’lls be a nice trip down memory lane for those who liked the original series.

 

The Demobilization of the Democratic Party   Leave a comment

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One of these two candidates has been winning every simulated election since their declaration to their opponent by a massive margin. One of these candidates has been chosen by the media–and the party–as the winner of the Democratic Primary. While both of these candidates are barely mentioned by the media in favor of talking about GOP Candidate (for now) Donald Trump–let’s be honest, we know he’s going to run as an Independent sometime later this year–only one of them has the country’s best interests in mind.

I’ll drop you a hint: It’s not Hillary Clinton.

If you’re even remotely following the Presidential Election, it’s hard to NOT notice the blatant suppression of Bernie Sanders’ campaign by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Vermont Senator Sanders, who is actually an Independent is running for the Democratic Nomination. Sanders is also backed by Liberals and Conservatives alike.

Despite the fact that on paper Sanders prettymuch has Clinton beat in every category, blatant suppression by the Democratic National Committee and the media following Trump everywhere is preventing more and more people from seeing and hearing Sanders. The same thing happened to John Kerry back in 2004 and we know how that ended. It proved it doesn’t matter if you’re qualified or not: You won’t become president without the party AND the media’s blessing. McCain found out both are needed in 2008 so…yeah.

As much as I hate to admit it, the media has a key role to play in elections in general. The obvious problem is the biased reporting depending on who owns the network (MSNBC), pandering to certain demographics (Fox News) and/or if it will be good for ratings (CNN). The obvious problem is the media in general has a horrible track record.

Of course, the Democratic Party’s just as bad. Actually, they’re worse than the Republican Party right now. You read that right and here’s why: At least the Republican field had a large number of candidates to start with–as much as 18. The Dems only had Hillary from the beginning with Biden as their backup. Problem with Hillary is her political baggage. Being a former first lady works against her as much as it works for her as well. Hillary becoming POTUS will divide the country. Of that you can be certain.

Sanders, on the other hand would be a clean and easy win if the Dems threw support his way. His entire campaign has been crowdfunded, only recently passing 2 Million contributors a few days ago. Bernie Sanders is the epitome of the term “The People’s Candidate”. Sadly, right now only his base knows who he is.

Sanders is a fighter and so are his supporters. He is what this country desparately needs: A politician who is loyal the people and ONLY the people. He can’t be bought and THAT is why the DNC pumping millions into HRC’s campaign. That and the rich will no longer profit on the backs of working class Americans. Sanders has promised to end the culture of “Too big to fail” once and for all. And His enemies know he will. Naturally. they’re pulling out all the stops to ensure their worst-case scenario doesn’t happen. Their mantra is “Anyone but him!” so…yeah.

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Why I’ve always been anti-BET even as a kid   Leave a comment

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…BET aka Black Entertainment Television.

This network and its recent affiliate network TVOne are responsible for the demobilization of the African American Community. It’s not the only reason but it is the MAIN reason. Over the last 25 years, the stereotypes this network projected on the unprepared African American Youth and Young Adults created a false identity and to an extent, a false reality to America and African Americans. This network alone has done more damage than the gang violence that plagued Urban America during the 80s and 90s.

For those who don’t know by now, the network’s founders sold BET to Viacom in the early 90s in the hopes of having America’s first black-owned airline. The venture quickly tanked and due to the network founders’ greed, millions of unsuspecting African Americans would pay the price and continue to pay for it to this day.

BET’s new ownership wasted no time brainwashing 3 generations of children and young people from the 1990s to now. It’s horrible to perpetuate stereotypes about a race to other people. It’s unforgivable when the target demographic is the race that is the subject of said stereotypes. This is exactly what BET did to the African American community.

Let’s be real: The mid-1980s were a transitional period for Black Entertainment in general: The Hip Hop culture was becoming a nationwide phenomenon. Friends were freestyle rapping on the front steps of their projects in New York City, The Cosby Show was becoming a national icon and a recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee called N.W.A.–You might have heard of ’em–was becoming famous and imfamous. The 1988 film Glory starring Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and Samuel L. Jackson followed in the footsteps of ROOTS from a decade earlier with its dramatic retelling of the 54 Regiment from Massachusetts. The nation’s first African American Regiment fought in the Civil War and paved the way for African American equality in the military.

Then, BET came along.

From what I’ve heard from folks, BET was a decient cable network during the 1980s. Then in a business move motivated by pure greed, the network’s African-American founders sold it to Viacom. Under its new management, BET wasted no time giving Black America a false reality. The Music Videos, the Gangsta Rap and later the reality TV Shows. They all had the same purpose and that was to do what MTV couldn’t: Show impressionable young people what they could never have under normal circumstances and tell them they want it anyway.

Coupled with the so-called War on Drugs, the movies that glorified the black gangster (Menace II Society) and The Clinton (42) Administation’s Mass Incarceration Policy that unfairly targeted African American men it was the perfect storm of propaganda for young African Americans. Blacks were made to feel that they had no hope if they didn’t have natural talent as an athlete/actor/rapper and were better off turning to crime if they wanted to survive in America. African Americans who tried to fight the machine were quickly silenced like so many before them–let’s be honest, the music industry and tabloids were what killed Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G., not just their killers (both murders still “unsolved”, by the way).

The common thread with all this: BET.

My siblings will tell you I would get up and leave the room if they didn’t let me change the channel. Even at age 7, I knew there was something horribly wrong with BET’s programming. It felt like straight-up brainwashing and that’s a pretty scary thought for a first-grader to have about ANY TV channel when you think about it. Not saying I didn’t like rap or hip hop. It was something about BET that I never liked. It wasn’t until about 12 years later when Hip Hop made the jump to MTV and so on that it all made sense to me: BET had done its job of demobilizing African American young people from politics at all levels.

Remember: African Americans had been prominent in sports, movies and TV long before the 1990s. It wasn’t until BET came along that the focus shifted from empowerment and motivating to fanticizing and dramatizing. 10 years ago, people began to wonder when the change happened. What could have changed two generations of African American youth compared to the ones before them so drastically, passing the corruption on to their children and grandchildren?

B-E-T.

Look, there was alot of positive black programming the was prevalent during the 1990s. The Wayans Brothers, Sister Sister and Living Single, Smart Guy and The Steve Harvey Show are a few examples that come to mind.

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The early 2000s saw the emergence of Tyler Perry. As much as some people like to deny it, his plays were the wake-up call Black America needed to finally break the cycle of self-destruction. Contrary to what HIS critics like to say, Hip Hop wasn’t the problem. It was the medium. He knew this and beat the establishment at their own game while giving the majority of Black America its self-worth back. Not saying he was the only cause but his role was a significantly large one. Much of the hate toward him comes from the fact he is an entrepreneur and his endorsement deals with Oprah Winfrey.

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…And this was what told Black Americans YES, THEY CAN.

Obama becoming the 44th President was what told Black Americans they CAN be anything they want to be if they’re willing to work for it. I have often said on social media Barack Obama was the President this country needed at the time but not the one it deserved. He reminded Black Americans and the world for that matter America still has a race problem simply by being President.

A problem BET played an integral role in distracting Black America from for almost 20 years. Think about it: The Million Man March wasn’t as effective as it should have been due to the lack of grassroots support and media coverage. Speaking of, BET has shown ZERO interested in becoming an agent of positive change in the years since the subject of race relations became a serious national conversation for the first time in decades.

Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial? OJ Simpson’s court case? Bill Cosby’s sexual assult indictment? Ben Carson and Herman Caine running for president? They’re all red herrings strategically utilized at specific times in an effort to distract Black Americans from the REAL issue they need to focus on: Racial Inequality. We live in a country where All Lives Don’t Matter and the racists who run this country are no longer beating around the bush about it either. I’ll talk about this more in a separate blog post.

As I said the paragraph before BET, a network that targets African Americans doesn’t have a track record for being a vehicle to inspire its target demographic to make positive change in themselves and others. Its sole objective is and always has been to perpetuate stereotypes African Americans have about themselves as a people, as a creed. Given who owns the network it’s no surprise to me at all. I doubt the network fully understood then the devastation its propaganda machine would be. Many have said in the years since the 2000 election that if African Americans had a mass media platform, George W. Bush would’ve cleanly lost the 2000 election and John Kerry would have won the 2004 election.

BET today is rarely given a second glance since it long served its purpose. It conveniently faded into obsecurity after the 2008 election as if to say “Now that there’s a black president, there’s no longer a need for a black network.”  All the programming that was prevalent on BET now airs on MTV, TVOne and other similar networks. Even so, I will NEVER forgive BET for its role in the cultural destruction of Black America. Damage that will take at least two more decades to recover from at best.

 

As an educator, I saw firsthand over the last 12 years BET’s lasting effects on African American students. Teachers today are fighting a losing battle they were winning 20 years ago. They’re fighting against pop culture expectations African Americans have about themselves. The advent of social media is why it’s now a losing battle. At least teachers has a chance 20 years ago.

As the above picture suggests, not even the unborn are safe from BET’s corruption: My youngest brother’s first word was an expletive. He was born in 1992. As everyone knows, I worked in classrooms for 12 years. I’ve seen much during that time but one student I met during my second year working for Boston Public Schools confirmed for me BET is responsible for corrupting the most vulnerable. I was observering a preschool class when the principal asked an African American student what he wanted to be when he grew up. He turned to her and proudly said “I’m going to be a Gangsta when I grow up!” I was probably the only adult in the room who wasn’t shocked by his reply. More so when I found out later the boy’s young mother watched BET every day she while she was pregnant with him. Of course there were likely other factors but BET’s role in his prenatal “education” can’t be overlooked. The unborn can hear sounds outside the womb sometime between the 3rd and 4th month of pregnancy.

In closing, now eveyone knows in full WHY I hate BET. Always have and always will. There’s trash networks and Trash TV but the evil BET is responsible for…well, it’s in a class of its own. Much of my reasons are personal though I’m sure that there is factual proof to back it up with.

 

My work envirmentment has taken me back to a very dark place   Leave a comment

…That’s the long and short of it.

Not a day has gone by since the first full week of school that I haven’t regretted my decision to return to BPS. I should never have come back. This blog post flies in the face of something I said in this blog post back in September but right now, I need to vent.

Since the post I linked to above, things have gotten far worse at work for me. Without breaking confidentiality, I was in a classroom environment where I had no chance of feeling successful from the very beginning. I mean in the area of classroom management. I wasn’t even given a chance in short. Both my classroom partner and the principal made it clear to me it wasn’t my fault but the feelings of failure are still there. They were both very angry about the disrespect the class gave me on a daily basis since the first week of school. The principal even asked them why they felt it was ok to not listen to me and none of them could answer. It was just ok as far as they cared. Unsurprisingly, things have begun to improve since I was transitioned out of the class three weeks ago.

Which brings me to last week. As of last week, I have been reassigned to a first grade class for the rest of my time at the school. I say “my time” since I definitely won’t finish this year. I was pushed past my breaking point at the end of September. I tried resigning but due to the loss of family support on the matter, those plans were rescinded last week. I have literally been told by my immediate family to not quit and wait it out. Not the smartest thing to say to someone who’s professed to them they have nothing to live for.

Then there’s my recent hospitalization.

I was dealing with severe stomach pain last Wednesday and left work sick. I actually met with a therapist on the way to the hospital and he reminded me stress can make you sick. About two hours later, I was rushed by ambulance to the hospital. I was in so much pain, I couldn’t move. I was released two days later. The prognosis was a bacterial infection in my stomach and intestines.

This brings me to last night. I spoke to the principal last night over the phone about something work-related that I won’t share here. During the course of the conversation, she laid out why I was being moved to a first grade class, citing my issues working in 4th grade and the needs of my new class. A reshuffling of the deck, nothing I didn’t already know. The matter I talked to the principal about last night presented itself several times today. Like last week, I handed said matter professionally. It’s what I do. The principal mentioned to me towards the end of our conversation last night that she would like to meet with me and my new partner at some point tomorrow. We will certainly have a number of things to discuss tomorrow.

One thing most who do not work in education do not care about is how hard it is. You see, hear and experience alot of things you can’t even speak about due to student confidentiality and depending on what your area of expertise is, you take what you know to the grave. More than a few situations I’ve been in myself come to mind on that note. It is extremely stressful work and due to the influence of politics, it’s become even harder in recent years.

…Yet, folks want me to “wait it out”.

If I didn’t already know going AWOL with BPS wasn’t an option, I’d have done it already. So, as far as I care I only have two options left and both of them have an unpleasant outcome. I am literally trapped in a situation I can’t get out of on my own through normal means. Both options I just mentioned are unpleasant though as of right now, both are imminent for me. As I said before, I’ve gone back to a very dark place and I have nothing to live for. I’ve been much more vague about saying this on this blog up to now because I knew I could handle it on my own. Now I can’t, my family knows I can’t and as I said at the top, I needed to vent. I figure I’m allowed to make one post like this a year. I’m using it now.

My living situation sucks and my working situation is just as bad. I need an intervention.

As soon as possible.

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