Economic Stimulus Policy

My formal education doesn’t extend beyond my Bachelor’s Degree, but I’d like to think that I’m a pretty sharp dude. I say that because I often fail to understand why politicians make certain decisions. Take the Economic Stimulus Package that has been carted around to American’s as of late. I don’t know about you, but most of the ideas that are being tossed around are garbage in my opinion. More directly, tax cuts are a sorry way to spark the economy. I'm sure they know this, so why do they always look to give tax cuts and lower interest rates? They are throwing the $600 - $1200 rebate check around like it is actually a big deal. And who cares about the interest rate being dropped when the average American can’t borrow $20K unsecured.

I'm sure the politicians will say they are trying to find a way to effect the largest amount of people. Well, here’s an idea and consider it "one on the house" -- lower the price of gas about $1.50 nationwide, and watch the economy soar once again. If they are worried about inflation, which will be their next excuse, slowly bring it down like they slowly shot it up.

Don’t give me all that garbage about the markets governing the price of gas either. We all know the fix is in. So fix the problem already – get your hands out of our pockets. Ever since Bush got into office back in 2000 gas has been going up and up, and that is in large part due to him and his cronies being in bed with the Saudi's. Meanwhile, the oil companies, who both Bush and Dick Cheney (you don't hear his name at all anymore - he's quietly doing his dirt) have interests in, are constantly getting paid. Please believe the Republicans have been tucking away the cash these last eight years. Kinda puts you to mind of a twisted version of the Biblical Joseph putting away supplies for the hard time Egypt was due to face. Once again, everybody will be hurting but the rich boys.

So back to my discourse. As far as the price of oil goes, they can treat it like a tax abatement by keeping the cost of crude suppressed for the next couple of years. While everyone does not have a car, cutting the cost of crude affects all of us. It will bring grocery prices down. When I last checked a gallon of milk had risen a $1 in the last year. Eggs are as high as I've ever seen them, and other items have found there way up little by little. I’m talking staple foods that families use. Lowering the cost of fuel will allow the trucking industry to lower their prices which will ultimately lower the cost people pay for food. Bringing down fuel cost will also help with the cost of electricity and heating fuel. You know that hits everyone. Not to mention, fuel costs impact all sorts of businesses, especially those that depend on vehicles. If fuel costs come down, small business owners can afford to bring their prices back in line and thereby attract customers again and that would be just the beginning. The dollars recaptured from this move could also give Americans a shot at getting out of debt. I’m sure there are other areas that make this a win as well, but you get my point. So instead of trying to push that rebate check on us, which we’ll have to declare on our taxes next year, why don’t these politicians do something that really impacts Americans and stop all the political posturing.

What other things can you think of that make more sense than giving folks a check that will be gone in a week or less? If you had to put together an economic stimulus package, what would be in it?


A Candidate For Us All

Now that John Edwards is ready to concede the contest, Voters will be left with Hillary and Obama as the choice for the Democratic Presidential Nominee. As Obama continues to gain new ground, white America will have to closely examine themselves and determine if they are indeed NOT racist. It's easy to claim you aren't and defer to the few black acquaintances you have, but at the end of the day, when no one is watching they will have to decide if they can show and prove.

To help them out, I decided to help them see Obama in a different light. Maybe, this is the Obama the majority can vote for. What do you think.


The Day I Woke Up

I was trippin over losing you
Never deserved to have my undying love
The way you made me feel
Like I was on top of the world

Had me checking for you
Like I was a dope fiend looking for crack
My heart open and watch my love
Spill out at your feet
Walked all over me without a second thought
We would be down for life

I caught myself peeking in your window
Hoping you’d see me and smile and invite
Me back into your life
Ain’t all I thought I
Was missing something that you somehow added
Nothing to me that wasn’t already there

I can’t believe I was acting like a stalker
The thought of it now even sounds ludicrous
For me to even refer to you as a friend
You couldn’t have been thinking straight
Out the door you went without a pause.

I shoulda seen it coming.

Almost a year now and I still
Just don’t get how having last name Cheney in your bed
Meant more to you than something that was
All together true.

Maybe I was blind from the get
Me a long handled spoon for this medicine
Made me stronger than I
Needed you to go so I could see what was in me
Instead of being treated like I was an extension of you
Know God always shows forth the truth
Has set me free.


FreeStyle Friday

No raps and beats this time. Just a little flow. I'm up to my limit at the workshop, so I figured I'd drop this here since I seem to be in a poetry groove as of late.

Of course it’s good
Trim was made to be that way
But I’m not that guy
The one easily tricked
Impressed by sways

Why you got to walk that way
Smell that good
Talk about me like I’m the best thing since sliced bread
Don’t even mention head
To my beat
Girl, don’t even make promises
You can’t keep
I ain’t never had none to make

Why don’t you tell me about your dreams
What we can be
Come together
How we’d watch each others back thru trying
I ain’t just trying to get mine
I want you
To show me the side of you no man has seen
Between your thighs

Time is running out
Of time to stop
Focusing on feeling good
For what
The time it takes to nut
We could have learned more
About the real you
The real me
How we could better
Realize that going deeper
Never occurs between
These sheets

It’s good huh
I bet it is
I might even take you up on your offer
Me the world
I’m looking for a woman and not a girl
And I got one question
Something I’m dying to know
Tell me again
Why’d your last man
Let it go?



I just want y'all to know, you can blame this post on Kiki (if you can't get in - oh well). She had me going back into the recesses of my mind with one of her music posts. She said her "old school" music was really called "middle school" since it came after the greats like Marvin, Al, Teddy P, and the like.

Listening to the music reminded me of a conversation I was having a couple weeks ago with one of my partners from college. At the time, I was trying to remember the name of this musician, that his wild cousin Vincent turned me on to. I finally thought of it. I wonder how many of you were hip to him back in the day.

Anybody remember, Chuck Stanley?

[click "play" (the arrow button) to watch]

If you don't know this next artist, I'm sure you have heard the song on the quiet storm. It is usually performed by "Frederick". This was my jam in the fall of 1985. I tell you, if the Lord would have blessed me to be a for real singer (I can hold a tune) the ladies would have sho' nuff been in trouble back then. What ch'all know about "Gentle"! If you can't get none off this song, your game is just plane old whack.

[click "play" (the arrow button) to watch]


The Best of Riley Regina King

When Aaron McGruder created the comic strip Boondocks, I became an instant fan. I enjoyed the strip because he had remarkable insight into social and political issues and he delivered his views with swift wit.

He had to, he only had a few frames to do it in. Not any more. Now that his comic strip has been given seasonal rotation during Adult Swim, he is able to delve deeper and deeper into the social and political fabric of this country. The amazing part about that is that he decided to get a phenomenal woman to back him up. That's not a chauvinist statement. In fact, it's a compliment with regard to the great talent that is possessed by Regina King.

If you are sometimes a little slow, like myself, it may have taken you a minute to notice that she delivers the voice of both of the kids, Riley and Huey, in the comedic series, The Boondocks. What she does with those kids is incredible. I have to admit that at first I was a bit put off by the fact that Riley cussed. I was ready to go on my activist rant about how we need more positive images, yada, yada, yada, but the comic is for adults. Adults who should be able to easily see through the satire and get the real message. This is where Regina King comes in.

I have always been a fan of her work. From her days of downing a "forty" in the movie "Boyz in the Hood" to her work alongside such greats as Will Smith (State of the Union) or Jamie Foxx (Ray), Regina King has always delivered characters that where real and heart felt. Her work in Boondocks is no different. I think it was brilliant to use her voice for those kids, because she is able to deliver a knockout punch, again and again. Jokes that may have been mildly funny take on a whole new light when you realize a woman is making the point. Again, that is not a chauvinist statement, but I guess you need to see what I mean. So for your viewing pleasure, I give you the Best of Riley Regina King. Enjoy.

****This comedy is not suitable for public speakers or children, and I must warn you that it may induce guffaws.

Best of Riley, Part 1

[click "play" (the arrow button) to watch]

Best of Riley, Part 2

[click "play" (the arrow button) to watch]


Dressed Down or Dressed Clowns: CMac Commentary

Saggin, Grills, Tats, and Generational Dress Code Gaps

“Hat to the back and my pants keep saggin.” - Kriss Kross from the CD “Totally Krossed Out,” 1992
Though Kriss Kross did not invent the fashion known as ‘saggin,’ it was probably the first time I really noticed it. Initially I thought it was kind of weird, but I didn’t pay it much attention. After all, while I was a hip-hop head in 1992 - fully engaged into the music of my favorite rappers, I was still considered an old head at 25. Surely I wasn’t expected to completely understand all of the latest fads of the day. The youngest of our generation sets the trends and decides what’s hip and what’s not. It was too late for me to be indoctrinated into the “Saggin Nation” as it were. When I was coming up, ‘saggin’ would have had you laughed out of school - if you didn’t get your ass kicked first. Besides, how could I run the hallways if I had to constantly pull my pants up? But I digress.

I looked at sagging overall as a fad that was no different than bellbottoms, tie-dye tee-shirts, and dashikis. (I know that dashikis had somewhat of a comeback, but you know what I mean.) All fads come and go even if they eventually come back around again. I was sure this would be no different. But to my surprise the opposite has occurred. Sagging is more popular than ever, especially with young people. What started as a symbol of prison wear, gang membership, or just trying to be hip has become a cultural phenomenon. Blacks may have invented sagging, but they no longer corner the market on it. It’s common to see young White or Mexican kids walking down the street showing his/her boxers. So what should we say of this drooping form of expression? I’ve wanted to write something regarding this subject for quite sometime - particularly after a female minister and I had discussed it, and I noticed the disdain she had for sagging.

As I’ve discussed this topic with my peers, I find myself in a peculiar situation. On one hand, I have my personal opinions of sagging. I hate it! I think it’s tacky and I am tired of seeing underwear in public. I won’t let my sons sag around me. And every now and then I ask a sagger what the point is. I’ve said more than once, “Pull your pants up playa! That ain’t cute!” On the other hand, I have been hesitant to judge too harshly. Every generation has its own set of dress trends. My teen years were in the 80s. We wore Jeri Curls, parachute pants, and the infamous Michael Jackson “Beat It” jackets. Half the guys in my school looked like members of Ready for the World or Culture Club. Did you see the clothes that Crockett and Tubbs wore in Miami Vice? I thought Don Johnson was ‘pimpin’ in those hot pink tees, white jacket, and soft shoes with no socks.
So what do I know? And yet this sagging trend has lasted longer than a decade, and it doesn’t seem to be losing any momentum. Keeping silent is no longer an option! We have to make sense and bring some clarity to this situation. It does no good to merely “hate” on sagging, though it’s a common thing to do. The backlash has been so radical in some circles that many towns and communities across the country have created laws against sagging, thereby giving the term “fashion police” real validity. However, creating laws against any fashion statement only feeds the rebel attitude that goes with it. Even if we don’t understand the true meaning or essence of sagging; even if most saggers don’t know why the heck they do it other than imitating their peers, we can still offer fruitful dialogue. I’ll explain.

Many older African Americans believe sagging portrays an array of negative images. We come from a generation of believing that ‘clothes make the man.’ Not that a person’s wardrobe has to be the finest or consist of the most popular name brands, but that the ensemble should be clean and pressed, making one look “sharp.” I have had conversations with a close friend who observed how Malcolm X, Martin King, James Baldwin, and Langston Hughes etc. wore suits in most of their pictures.

Many black Americans dressed to the “T” back in the day. Excellence in appearance was a priority. We used clothes and dressing up as a way to feel good about ourselves. I’m sure that the urgency of the civil rights movement also kept us mindful of our image. I recently saw the movie, “The Great Debaters,” and noticed how the characters played by Forest Whitaker, and Denzel Whitaker who played his son, (no relation) wore a jacket and tie at all times. It was normal dress even for a little boy in the 30s. In the movie, the father had the highest expectations for his son both academically and otherwise. His dress simply reflected those standards. Nowadays, its a lot more popular to ‘dress down’ than to ‘dress up.’ Fashions have changed to a large degree, and many popular African American designers promote more urban instead of so called professional clothing. Also, we have more choices than we’ve ever had. I started wearing authentic sports jerseys in the late 80s before the “Throwback” trend was close to being started. I have Spike Lee to thank for that. Ever since I saw him sport a Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson jersey in the movie “Do The Right Thing,” a whole new way of dress opened up to me. My love of sports and sports figures made it an alternative form of personal expression. I started collecting them in mass, and I still like wearing them at times. Still, I have always enjoyed dressing up too. I like the confidence I feel when I wear a nice suit and step onto the scene. It’s as if when I put on a suit and tie my professional attitude automatically kicks in. When I dress up instead of wearing something more casual, I know my clothes don’t make me work any harder, or add more skill to my expertise. But I feel more crisp inside and out. I command more respect. Unfortunately, many of our youth regardless of their racial origins don’t understand that feeling. For some, even if they put on a suit, instead of feeling empowered, they feel 'square' or 'lame'.

I remember when NBA Commissioner David Stern instituted a dress code for the league. Many players voiced their displeasure. Tim Duncan said it was “retarded.” Allen Iverson, one of the most avid critics said he had never worn a suit. I knew that was untrue because he wore one for Coach John Thompson while he attended Georgetown University. But I got Iverson’s point. He hadn’t worn a suit of his own volition. Iverson has been called, “Tupac with a jump shot.” The image he has projected as “thug like” has been beneficial to both his style and bank account.

Reebok has sold many shoes and apparel with the brazen image of the corn-rolled tatted one. I’m sure he felt his fan base wouldn’t take too kindly to their hero “selling out” to “the man.” To contrast, Michael Jordan is never seen in public without wearing a suit unless he is on the basketball court or golf course; and even then he is promoting his own brand of clothing. I read where Michael once said, when asked about his impeccable appearance, no matter where he went, he knew someone would see Michael Jordan for the first and only time in their lives. He was aware of the power of his image. He wanted his image off the court to say professional/impeccable businessman. Another name for image in this context is “brand.” When a person personifies a brand, its giving the public an expectation on site. Similar to when one sees the “golden arches,” he expects to be able to buy a Big Mac or a Happy Meal. Comedian Steve Harvey comes to mind when I think of his precisely carved haircut or the trademark hats that match his suits. Brand is very important to a public figure’s consistency in finding a permanent place in the public’s eye that they can buy into and trust. Iverson’s brand is essentially his hip-hop thug image. And that image has turned into financial success for himself, and more so for Reebok and the NBA. The hip-hop image does sell to the mainstream, and if you don’t believe that just refer back to those commercials with Lee Iacocca selling Chryslers with Snoop Dogg, or fellow rapper T.I. promoting Chevrolet.

So where does that leave hip-hop’s young sagging followers? Its one thing for Allen Iverson to make money from his own brand, but it’s another when a young black male interviews for a job trying to imitate Iverson’s brand. That employer may not understand the complex and genius mind behind the sagging pants. Practically speaking, he doesn’t have time to filter through all of that. This is not to say the ultimate goal of a person should be to fit into Corporate America’s vision of what looks right. I have worked with black men in corporate environments who dress the part, but have also sold their souls to assimilate. I would not call that a virtue. My point is that one of the greatest attributes of people of African descent historically is to be a versatile renaissance people. We have simultaneously lived and thrived in two worlds from the beginning of this American journey. We have for decades set the trends in fashion, music, style, and culture. We possess critical thought and creative souls. Therefore, my message to young people is that they should learn from the elders who knew and understood how and when to display our differing styles. We’ve utilized great skill interpreting when to represent Broadway and when to represent Wall Street. Tattoos are not new. We have them too! But we didn’t have them on our necks, faces, forearms, and fingers. We had to be practically naked to reveal them. Some of us even had a gold tooth or two in our mouths. But not a complete golden grille that makes us look more like we are auditioning for a minstrel show rather than a career. We must understand the market we are working with. If you have a multi million-dollar sports contract or record deal, there is more freedom to be casual and laid back. If not, there has to be a wardrobe adjustment. If that sounds lame, you don’t have to take my advice. But take caution: you’d better be exceptional at something where your skills and talents are in such high demand that it won’t matter how you dress. You’d better have a vision for your own business where your image may not be as important compared to what you are producing. If you have to rely on a high school or college education for a 9-5, you must master the art of dress, just as many wise have mastered the art of language where we have the ability to speak with a relaxed dialect among family and friends as well as the King’s English to the Queen’s taste in the business world. I am the last one to try to restrict someone’s freedom of expression. I simply want us to exhibit intelligence in discerning the game properly. Unless I have Allen Iverson’s game and contract, I cannot dress, talk, or ‘tat’ like he does, and expect to be successful in the marketplace.

Finally, to us conservative people whose faces sour every time we are forced to endure viewing someone’s boxers, we probably should lighten up a bit. The trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but we can counsel with love, the skill of “intelligent dressing.” However, if that isn’t enough to dissuade your arrogance, just break out those old Polaroid photos of those fat ties, wide collars, velvet suits, stripes, polka dots and other ‘whack’ items you wore back in the day. That should put things back in perspective. I disagree with any law mandating how someone should dress. Surely there are real cases of crimes that should be investigated and solved. When I turn on Law and Order and see them trying to solve the case of the serial sagger, then I’ll know something went terribly wrong. Don’t laugh… you never know.

Christopher McCaleb is a freelance writer living in St. Louis MO. He is the author of the upcoming book “Wake Up Call!” The Loving, Leading, Serving and Saving of God’s People from Within and Beyond. To see more visit him at


Find Your Center

Every now and again it becomes necessary to get yourself back on track. I have been reminded of that these past few days while traveling to the funeral of a beloved family member. During the mourning process, we often reflect on our own lives and measure where we are at that moment. Sometimes you find that you aren't exactly where you need to be. You may be too far to the left or it's possible you favor the right. Either way you eventually come to the place of needing to find your center again. On occasion, you may feel like you are in a time of searching but just can't find your way back. That might be just the perfect time for you to leave what is familiar and get yourself into a quiet place.

For me, traveling back home to Florida was exactly what I needed. Meditating while driving, visiting with relatives, praying with family, and laughing with old friends helped me to find my center again. Getting away from the familiar grind of life gave me the moments of clarity that I needed to remove the haze from my life. Could this be what you need? Getting away can be so refreshing. Not only are the cares of life removed from your presence, but in the quiet places of the day you are able to hear God speak. Sometimes that is difficult when the kids are calling, bills need paying, or you are simply thinking about how you are going to approach that project at work. Getting away and releasing those things that attach themselves to you will allow you to clearly see where you are.

Finding your center may only require a few simple maneuvers -- a move you may not be able to see in your present state of obligations. So I would like to encourage any of you who, for whatever reason, feel like you could benefit from some moments of peace, to just get away for a minute. Rent a room for a day, a weekend or a week, and just go and be by yourself. If you can afford to leave the city you live in, do so. Sometimes driving thirty minutes away is all the perspective you need to find your center again.

Each of us have some amazing things to do, but sometimes we can't find our way because live is beating us down. Take some time to center yourself and as you do that road that was once invisible will start coming back into view. I am a witness to this truth, because I see it so clearly now.


I Just Wanna Be Loved

I just wanna be loved, like everybody else does, I just wanna be loved.

I was listening to Jill Scott the other morning and I must say, if you don’t have the album, you should pick it up. Slamming, front to back. No lulls. Chick is the real deal.

So, like I was saying, Wanna Be Loved is one of her tunes and it got me to thinking. Probably because I know that some things don’t mean the same thing to everybody. It’s kinda like my "So You Think You are a Man" post, the answer varies depending on who you ask. So, since love “appears” to be in short supply at times -- well, not really, I just think it goes unaccepted -- tell me what being loved means to you. What does he/she have to say/do to show that they love you. Just when you think they know, they do something that you think isn't love at all. So, don’t be shy. Feel free to speak your mind.


One Event

Sometimes life is the sum total of "One Event". We never fully realize how "One Event" can change the course of our lives forever. Some events propel us forward, some send us spiraling downward, and then some leaves us stuck in that moment where the "One Event" occurred.

I had an occasion to remove yet another layer this past weekend as I realized during a moment of introspection why I approach some things the way I do. I will now share with you now some of my historic "One Event" moments and how they affected me, maybe you will see yourself.

I loved her (girl 1) but she turned her back on my love and gave herself to another man -- So I told myself, I'll get "them" before they get me. Now I find it hard to trust love, even when it's obviously real.

I cried my eyes out and poured out my soul and she (girl 2) she still left -- So I told myself, I'll never cry or beg another woman to stay with me, no matter who she is to me. Now I'm the "poker face" lover. She thinks I can take her or leave her, but I'd be nothing without her.

I trusted and believed that Pastor X had learned his lesson, but after all that has happened he's still the same. -- So I told myself, If I can't trust the man who impacted my spiritual life the most, then what Pastor can I trust. They all twist the word to their benefit, even in the face of wrong. Now, I think I can get along without church even in the face of a constant battle against the enemy.

She asked me to be honest and I was, but now she uses it against me at every turn. So I told myself, you should have known better, next time follow your gut and keep your mouth closed. Now I feel forced to abandon the honesty that is pertinent to building strong relationship.

While it may be true that we can learn from our pasts, we have to be careful not to let those events that we encounter negatively shape our future. We often think we are protecting ourselves from pain, but when we look closely we might see that trying to avoid the pain in the past is what is causing us to now hurt like hell.

Do you have a "One Event" that you need to learn from. One that may be holding you back or maybe you have a good story to share -- an event that took you to the next level. Either way, will you share?

Tagged Already

I've been tagged!!!

The rules of the game are:

A). Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog...
EB the Celeb (fly name, by the way)
B). Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself...
C). Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs...
D). Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Two Names you go by:

1. Rich in the STL (now I'm just MEGA Rich)

2. Man With Balls (dude got too popular and I had to kill him - Hey Don, now you know my Phantom Blog -- it's a shame I can't retrieve that deleted blog, there was a ton of good stuff over there.)

Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now:

1. Nike Air Jordan sweat pants

2. Left Hand Ring (See ETC post on Right Hand Ring)

Two Things You Would Want (or have) in a Relationship:

1. A maid to clean up behind my kids

2. Anytime, Anyplace (kids can be some straight up "blockers")

Two of your favorite things to do:

1. Watch Movies

2. Make dollars entrepreneurially

Two things you want very badly at the moment:

1. A month off with pay

2. More book sales

Two pets you had/have:

1. Cocker Spaniel

2. Ferret (actually my college roommates, but I cleaned up behind it)

Two people you think will fill this out:

1. No one - I'm not going to tag anyone

Two things you did last night:

1. Stay up most of the night talking to wifey

2. Went to Blockbuster

Two things you ate today:

1. Tangerine

2. Sausage and Pepperoni pizza

Two people you last talked to:

1. Uncle Cecil

2. My Dad

Two things you're doing tomorrow:

1. Write some more while I'm at work.

2. Work out

Two longest car rides:

1. From St. Louis, MO to Ocala, FL (14/15 hours)

2. From St. Louis, MO to Jacksonville, FL (13 hours)

Two favorite holidays:

1. My birthday

2. Anyone that calls for hanging out with family and friends, preferably with barbecue involved.

Favorite beverages:

1. Vanilla Coke (can't drink it anymore thanks to the 365 Day Challenge)

2. Grape kool-aid (haven't had kool-aid in a long time - it's been years)

Person no longer alive who you'd like to talk to:

1. My Grandma

2. My Granddaddy


Off To a Good Start

In November I started my 365 Day Challenge, partly because I was thinking forward and I didn't want to get caught up with all the usual "do nothing" New Years Resolutions.

Since that time I have been focusing on my list and I have needed to make some adjustments. If you all decide to do a list of some sort, my best advice is make it as realistic as possible and write the steps on how you will reach those goals, otherwise, they will be just words on a paper. Good luck.

1. Stop drinking soda - period - my bladder is out of control and I know drinking all that soda can't be helping -- but I like the taste and the caffeine. I'm having some success, but I'm not totally off soda yet.

2. Commit to a five day workout plan by my birthday in December - no matter what comes up in my schedule, commit to five days. The daily minimum is 1 mile (walked or ran), 36 situps (3 sets of 12), and 36 push-ups (3 sets of 12) -- this way, equipment doesn't come in to play. I can do this workout anywhere. I have had to modify this because I have resisted going to the gym. So, I have a rule that if I leave my desk, which I do often, then I have to do the 20 push-ups and 20 sit-ups in one of the conference rooms before returning to my desk. I'm averaging 60 of each a day. I'm also going to look into getting a personal trainer for about a month. Just to get me started.

3. Finish the complete first draft to "Chance Encounters" by December 16th. This date was unrealistic to begin with, especially with the holidays. I'm changing it to January 31st. I have been working on the story though, thanks to this list.

4. Finish the complete first draft to "Closure" by January 31st. Change to Begin working on first draft of "Closure" by March 1st.

6. Take my wife Christmas shopping in Chicago this year. Didn't make it. Too much going on. Change it to a surprise get away.

8. Call Grandma Ruby (my late Grandfather's second wife) over Thanksgiving and for her birthday on December 17th. COMPLETED!

9. Help my wife complete the rehab of our house by Spring, so we can either rent or sell this property and move on to the house we have been waiting to purchase. Working on this now.

13. Complete "Seminar" by January 1st. Actually started working on a book that will be used as the basis for the "Seminar". My goal is to work on this as much as possible, because it is more of a knowledge based project than creative.

14. Put invitations in the mail for PowerCell by January 1st. Delayed

15. Take my wife out at least once a month without the kids. Ongoing

16. Do something with the kids away from home at least once a month. Ongoing

19. Read at least one book a month (I know I could read more, but I'm serious about this list).
Must read John Edgar Wideman, James Patterson, re-read Black Boy (Richard Wright), James Baldwin, Langston Hughes (complete The Best of Simple). Reading several right now, need to finish one of them.

22. Support GOOD musicians by purchasing their albums. Bootleg is for busters! You'd want people to buy your work, wouldn't you? I bought a few CD's since this post (Jay Z, Jill Scott, and Peabo Bryson -- all very good). I also got an IPOD classic for Christmas, and I plan to load that thing down. So, I can mark this as complete, because it is a foregone conclusion.