BB2 Monthly Assessment: September

I haven’t had much time to write this past month with the start of a very busy school year, and as such this post will be brief. However, it’s a healthy personal reflective habit that I’ve started this year and do not wish to discontinue, even when busy.

One things (among many) that I’ve recently noticed about myself is that when it comes to conversing with others, I really just like listening the most. It’s great to have a fun mutual exchange about events, shared interests, whatever’s happening at the moment, some jokes, and so on. Depending on the environment and the person’s energy I’m feeding off of, I might either be all in on guiding the conversation, or I might be doing more listening, reacting, and support. But my favorite thing to do, I think, is having those few and far between moments with people where i can just learn about them. I can just listen to them share their thoughts, their ideas, past/present/future, what makes them who they really are. Even if I have little to contribute to the conversation and don’t necessarily need to provide follow-up statements, I just really enjoy getting that one-on-one chat with people once in a while to get an inner look. I had a great extended exchange with a coworker that turned into this some days ago, and it was great to have that kind of well-meaning bond-building kind of thing. These are the things that build the healthiest of relationships of any kind and people, in my opinion. So often we listen to talk in a conversation rather than listening to hear what the other person is saying. Doing the former, I believe, makes for a much more well-rounded and caring individual.

Finally, after my previous thoughts on dealing with death a couple weeks ago, I think this can also help to make those strong connections that will put a person in a better place to pay them their roses while they can appreciate them – just by talking. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, really. It just matters that you’re there.

-BB2

We are friends.

We are friends.

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Chris Pratt Kicks Off SNL’s 40th Season

SNL Chris Pratt
I am admittedly, a huge fan of Saturday Night Live. I love both the comedy that’s come from it throughout its’ 40 years in existence as well as the intricate framework of how this show operates. When all cylinders are firing, it’s a well-oiled machine that gives us some of the greatest laughs and most interesting fascinations in entertainment. Does it always work? Of course not – but I went into this exciting season premiere excited that all involved would put their best foot forward to open up with a bang.

The stars were literally aligned here – we have a first-time host, Chris Pratt, who is at the top of his game right now with his recent fame in Guardians of the Galaxy and of course, NBC’s Parks and Recreation. Ariana Grande is also at the top of her game, doing very well for herself and her music in 2014. After a season of “experimenting to see what sticks” with a very large cast of 17 and the departure of Seth Meyers for Late Night, the recent cast shake-ups bring us some changes I’m pretty psyched about. Cecily Strong has departed from the Weekend Update desk to appear in sketches more, now bringing in Michael Che, to be paired with head writer Colin Jost. So we have our first pair of men and our first African-American Update anchor. How cool! We also have added 21-year-old Pete Davidson, NY stand-up comedian as a featured player to the cast. The esoteric Mike O’Brien has returned to the writers room away from the cast, Nasim Pedrad departed to work on Fox’s Mulaney, and we also lost featured players Noel Wells, John Milheiser, and Brooks Wheelan, who didn’t get too much time to prove themselves last year.

So with a solid cast now assembled, how did last night’s premiere go? Is this a bit much to assess a simple comedy show? Well, I have a website, I review movies, and I like SNL – so I’m gonna do it anyway. (You all have your Thursday night ABC shows, so let me have this.) On we go to the SNL 40th Season premiere!

COLD OPEN: RAY RICE (Bryant, Pratt, Thompson, Pharoah)
First, it was great to see how excited Aidy Bryant must have been to be opening up this season of SNL. Then, out of nowhere, we got Jay Pharoah’s Shannon Sharpe! It’s been too long.Of course, we had to have an opening addressing some of the recent news in the NFL. This wasn’t the most memorable cold open to address a major sports news story, and there’s no way they weren’t going to do this one with as much coverage as its’ been getting. While it did have just enough comedy and material to parody the situation (i.e. Kenan and that doggone bus to avert the issue), it didn’t completely dig its’ teeth into the issue either. But for what it had to be, it was fine.
Blackometer: 7/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/cnn-state-union-nfl-cold-063215619.html

CHRIS PRATT MONOLOGUE (Pratt, Faris)
Pratt is pretty charming here! He pulled out his guitar to sing a nice little song to share how excited he is to be here. I always enjoy that kind of fresh energy in a first-time host. You can tell this was a long-time dream of his, because he was both ecstatic and nervous. That’s okay! I look forward to the confidence he’ll have when he comes back. And hey, there’s Anna Faris!
Blackometer: 6/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/pratt-monologue-063249167.html

CIALIS TURNT (Killam, Strong, Bryant, Bennett)
I feel like this sketch was written for the hyperactive playa in me who loves Turn Down For What. This definitely feels like something I would have thought of, found funny, and been ridiculed for – and I mean that in the best of ways. It’s good that this didn’t go on too long, because the joke is really over after Turn Down for What hits. Not the most memorable thing ever, but we got to see some bling hanging from Taran Killam’s crotch, so…there’s that.
Blackometer: 7/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/cialis-turnt-073937858.html

HE-MAN AND LION-O (Mooney, Bryant, Killam, Pratt, Strong, Grande)
At first, when He-Man & Lion-O showed up, I was so excited to see what might happen. So many chances for good comedy, and – nope. Just a missed opportunity in which they slapped their crotches & ran with that as a running gag instead. Then, suddenly, the sketch just up and ended. If you change the material between the toys becoming real and Aidy Bryant’s mom character returning, you might have had something better here – including better use of Ariana Grande dressed as She-Ra.
Blackometer: 4.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/man-lion-o-063222639.html

VET OFFICE (Strong, McKinnon, Pratt, Bayer, Moynihan, Mooney)
At least this was…short? Look, I didn’t like this sketch the first time it aired on Josh Hutcherson’s show last fall, and I never expected to see it again. This one seemed less memorable than the first one, especially not having actual live animals or my favorite forgettable cast member around (Brooks Wheelan) this time. However, the one thing I remember is the pun “birdered.” (I’m a sucker for puns.)
Blackometer: 4/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/vet-office-063407094.html

MARVEL TRAILER (Pratt, Bryant, Pharoah, Moynihan, Killam, Bennett, Mooney)
Best parts of this: Marvel’s Star Wars, Bobby Moynihan’s long hair as a stormtrooper, A Harlem Globetrotter, a guy dressed as Grimace, and especially Marvel’s Pam 2: The Winter Pam.” As a sendup to Marvel superhero movies, this was pretty good. It’s notable that Aidy Bryant was having a great night. (I would totally watch “Marvel’s Pam 2: The Winter Pam.”
Blackometer: 8/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/marvel-trailer-063110406.html

WEEKEND UPDATE (Jost, Che, Strong, Jones, Davidson, Thompson)
Che was nervous at first (to be expected!) but not only did he bounce back fast, he bounced back like a pro who’s been behind the chair for a good few weeks. Jost even looked a little glassy-eyed at first, but that also seemed to go away quickly. Their jokes about “hiding your nudes in this U2 album” and the Orange is the New Black realizing she’s gay from working on the women’s prison scenes “but this reminded me that I definitely am not” were my favorites from them. And hey, it sure didn’t take Cecily Strong long to show up to Update! She reprised her old character as the first walk-on, which was smart of SNL to do to show the audience “see, it’s all good.”
We even got the return of writer Leslie Jones! She talked about being single, flirted with Colin (her marshmallow) and basically reminded America why she’s good at what she does. Then, as I predicted, new cast member Pete Davidson came on as himself to introduce himself to America. And boy did he nail this – I liked when Brooks Wheelan did this last year, but man, I have to admit how much more memorable this was. The subject matter takes a major left turn FAST, for sure – but his relaxed delivery & confidence just sells the whole thing. It’s obvious that SNL wants this guy to be their next big thing, and he enjoyed every second behind that desk with Che.
Finally, Jost and Che’s “Cheer Up, President Obama!” with Kenan singing “Ooh, Child” clinched it for me. Not only was it fun, original, and hilarious – it was the first sign of “these two anchors have great cohesion together” that we’ve seen behind the Update desk in quite some time. (I’d love to see a sign for “Barack OGanges” on a billboard in Colorado one day.) Weekend Update was clearly the best part of the night.
Blackometer: 8.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/weekend-part-1-081539574.html
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/weekend-part-2-065207726.html

BOOTY RAP (Bryant, Pratt, Strong, Bayer, Zamata, McKinnon, Mooney, Moynihan, Bennett)
Oh look, Vanessa Bayer and Sasheer! Good to finally see them. Anyway, the sketch right after Update always worries me because most of last year (maybe always?) this spot would go to something one-note, forgettable, and underwhelming. I’m not 100% sure what to do with this one, just based on concept. The execution was fine (Bryant sells it, and for all I know, she wrote this sketch), but I don’t know…something about flirting with someone simply with the use of one horny song doesn’t show clever material, it reminds me of how much today’s music sucks.
Blackometer: 5.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/booty-rap-063353371.html

BAD BOYS (Mooney, Bennett, Pratt)
Beck Bennett & Kyle Mooney get another shot at getting last year’s Wing sketch that didn’t make it to air on the Andrew Garfield show. Also set in the 90s, except this time Chris Pratt allows himself to make new friends with some young, punk kids. They’re the wrong crowd, but Pratt goes with it to find his place until a kid pulls a gun on Pratt until he steals Beck Bennett’s ball to play with. Just writing that out makes me laugh. I mean – this is probably the ONLY time seeing a kid pull a gun on someone will be funny. And I appreciate that the Mooney/Bennett pre-recorded sketches get a little better than the 10-to-1 slot this time. It’s great to have these guys and their brand of comedy back in both live and pre-recorded sketches – and finally, thanks for the random cutaway shot of the castle.
Blackometer: 8/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/bad-boys-081547652.html

NFL INTROS (Bennett, Killam, Thompson, Moynihan, Pharoah, Pratt, Mooney, Che, Davidson, Jost, Jones)
Hey, we even got to see Che and Jost in a sketch! This was a fine sketch with pretty good, well-written jokes. First, I laughed when Jost confesses to tax fraud, looking like the innocent do-gooder of the NFL. Then Kenan admits to hitting his wife, and no one laughed. So I was nervous…until Leslie Jones showed up as the wife who hit him back. That alone launched things into a whole new era of great.
Blackometer: 7.5/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/nfl-intros-063241747.html

VIDEO GAME (Bayer, Pratt, Killam, Zamata, Davidson, Moynihan, Thompson)
3 people must help field test a simple puzzle solving game that consistently resolves in the couple taking you through the game making out & making the testers uncomfortable. This is that special brand of weird that only Vanessa Bayer can bring to the table – and it works purely on execution.
Blackometer: 6/10
https://screen.yahoo.com/snl/video-game-063209122.html

Best Sketch of the Night: Weekend Update
Worst Sketch of the Night: Animal Hospital
Joke of the Night: TIE between:
Pete Davidson: “I’m not gay, I’m just a businessman…If you don’t go down on a guy for a million dollars, you obviously don’t care about your family.”
AND
Kenan Thompson: [NFL Intro] I hit my wife. …
Leslie Jones: And I’m his wife – I hit him BACK!!!
(Runner Up: “Marvel’s Pam 2: The Winter Pam”)

Conclusion: A few standouts, a few good-but-forgettable sketches, and a couple “how did this make it to air?” sketches. Weekend Update is off to a great start this year with Che & Jost. Pete Davidson is going to be a breakout star pretty soon. Aidy Bryant continues to climb the ladder of stardom. The show remains consistent in one way, and I think Quagmire on Family Guy said it best: “Some women are like SNL sketches. Most are all right…some are just awful…then there’s that one…that special one…” However, things feel like they’re off to a much more solid start than last year! It’ll be interesting to see where this continues to go.

BLACKOMETER AVERAGE: 6.54

Next week: Sarah Silverman!
-BB2

Peeples: A Viewing Timeline

Recently, I watched my Dad watch Peeples. As you may recall, it’s ridiculous. Seeing that it said “Tyler Perry Presents”, my Dad had bought the DVD months ago but hadn’t seen it yet – and I knew that watching him watch this movie would be priceless. SO priceless, in fact, that I took a running timeline of the events.

(Time = Movie time)

1:30: Dad made his first ‘WTF’ face at Craig Robinson’s Speak it, Don’t Leak it song
3:30: Nothing’s even happened yet and I’m already tired of these ‘big dick’ jokes. Moby Dick Day, though…seriously?
6:25: Robinson’s “not Dave Chapelle” brother (with the ambiguous vague hospital career) is trying so hard to make my Dad laugh. He remains unamused.
8:15: “So he just shows up at their house…unannounced? Without even letting her know? That’s wrong. Recipe for disaster.” – Dad
10:01: I still can’t stand Kerry Washington’s nervous, aloof character. She runs out of the house yelling “PEANUTS!” and then stands there awkwardly like a middle school girl trying to get attention from a 9th grade boy.
12:16: Dad’s first laugh came from Tyler James Williams’ introduction. Good, we’re on the same side here.
15:56 Dad’s first HARD laugh came from Robinson calling his job “kounseling with a K.’ It got worse from there when he went to perform his song about not keeping urinating a secret. “This was a bad idea.”
18:05: Dad noted that Daphne Peeples’ reaction to receiving the wine bottle/being in AA was “very predictable.”
20:00: The most subtle things Tyler James Williams does keeps my Dad laughing. I’ve assured him that this will be his favorite character. BTW, Williams just stole something in the store.
23:51: Some of Robinson’s improv filler is actually a lot funnier when you’re watching it with other people. I’m almost forgetting that the “you dated somebody old?!” joke is still going. Almost. Dad is still laughing at it, which is making me kind of appreciate it. (But really, I think they just let Robinson riff for a while and chose not to cut ANY of it.)
31:37: At the dinner table, Robinson has everyone exchange things they’re thankful for about each other as a setup for another proposal attempt. Meg says “I’d like to do Gloria.” I never noticed how funny of a ‘subtle’ setup joke this is by itself until Dad laughed while everyone on screen was busy reacting quietly.
43:00: Skip, the old man at the market who previously dated Washington, was her breast surgeon ages ago. Things you should never tell your future man.
45:20: It’s about now we start seeing portions of my FAVORITE scene – Williams’ “Drawers on the Floor” music video.
48:00: Dad came to the same realization I did about Williams’ Simon character: as much as the movie tries to say he’s a mess like the rest of the cast, he is the most normal person here. Especially for being a 16-year-old boy.
53:24: Hey look, it’s Mario van Peebles. Get it?
1:01:03: David Alan Grier is now accusing Robinson of stealing his wife’s watch. I know this isn’t the focus of this scene…but does Meg just live with them? How is no one else figuring out that she and Gloria are a thing?
1:05:30: Robinson’s brother. Who is this guy?! Seriously. He’s a doctor, but not really, because he appears to be a toy fixer, I guess. Robinson doesn’t have a real job, technically, but he’s happy. Both these brother’s can’t really be paying their student loan debt back successfully.
1:23:10: By now, the two biggest climaxes of the film have happened. Dad was too tired to react appropriately and he missed what initially set off Robinson’s explosion at Moby Dick Day. (By the way, the concept of Moby Dick Day could be potentially funny or something if it wasn’t just a lazy ploy for a lazy joke to be repeated.)
1:28:30: So yeah, the ending credits song is both about not holding pee in and not keeping family secrets, and some junk. Congratulations. Mazel Tov. Yeet.
1:29:00: I wonder if Tyler James Williams released Drawers on the Floor as a single in real life. If it supports his breakout career to launch him in better movies, I’d buy a copy. So would Dad.

CONCLUSION
I’ve decided that this is not a movie to view alone – you have to watch it with others for it to be even remotely tolerable or even enjoyable. Now that I’ve re-watched it a bit, a couple small things appear to be funnier than I realized. But I still think it’s just over-the-top. Thanks to my Dad for being a good sport.

Happy Moby Dick Day,
-BB2

Grown Ups: Terrible, Bland, or Charming?


Grown Ups
(2010)
Full confession: I hadn’t watched this movie until this month to review it just for the heck of it, and I went into it expecting it to be pretty stupid. I was…sort of right?

Adam Sandler and the Happy Gilmore film company have a track record of making films in the 200s that were usually filled with overly crass humor matched with no substance or likability. Grown Ups certainly isn’t as bad as other installments such as Jack and Jill – there’s actually a bit of charm to be found here! – but is it worth it?

SUMMARY
Five friends learn that their school basketball coach from 30 years ago passed away, and they all bring their families to honor him at their funeral. They all spend the weekend at a lodge to revel in their childhood nostalgia while learning that times have definitely changed since they were kids. Sandler covers up parts of his wealth and success, such as his nanny and his disdain for how spoiled the children have become. Rock is a housewife who doesn’t feel respected by his wife or family. James’ 4-year-old son won’t stop breastfeeding…oh, and he’s fat. Spade…is a drunken, lonely wiseguy hiding behind jokes. And Ron Schneider is married to his new wife: a vegan old bag.

WHAT WORKS

  1. Interaction with the Kids – The scene where the kids made cup phones was the first truly touching moment in the movie, for obvious reasons. It was like something out of a commercial for “take our product so you can live a longer life and be around for your children” and I mean that in the nicest way. It was kind of neat to see a few spoiled, bratty kids turn into a few appreciative, brave, “let’s experience life a little” kids. – and this, ladies and gentlemen, was where the true charm of Grown Ups truly took place.
  2. Kevin James’ Breastfeeding Son– You know, it’s weird…I didn’t expect this kid to grow on me. For the longest in this movie, he creeped me out like no other. Yet somehow, his cute kid delivery of lines like “mommy, can I try her milk?” eventually won me over. It’s messed up, I know, but what can I say? Kids get away with the darnedest things.
  3. Steve Buscemi – Okay, I have NO idea what Steve was doing here, but boy, was he such a delight. Sometimes it’s actually pretty fun to have that one random character who’s only there to be a different type of goof than the main characters. I almost want a “Wiley’s Playhouse” series. In other news, it was nice (but almost equally random) to see Tim Meadows baldly shouting “boo-yah!” (yes, ‘baldly.’)
  4. Rob Schneider – I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to like Rob Schneider’s character. I had the mentality of “here come Rob Schendier playing another eccentric weirdo for laughs but it won’t be very funny” when the reality was, we all knew (and may have been friends with) this person in school. And yes, the person I knew like this in high school may very easily marry an older woman and make questionable performance choices at a funeral. Plus, it helps that this feels like a more understated Rob Schneider character (even with that nearly offensive Ave Maria performance).

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

  1. Action – The biggest problem, really, is just that the movie isn’t that interesting. I can barely remember the few times when I actually laughed or even came close. At least at some point, the kids became charming. There wasn’t as much shock humor as you would see in a typical 2000s Adam Sandler movie (yes, even with an arrow going through Rob Schneider’s foot), so nothing really stuck out in either a good or bad way. Maybe it’s because I’m starting to grow immune to much more memorable shenanigans in these Sandler films, but it really just felt like a lot of it was “there.” Oh hey, Rob Schneider has two oblivious attractive, daughters and one sweet, Meg Griffin-looking one. Okay. Oh look, David Spade’s naked behind. Cool. Even the breastfeeding mom accidentally hitting Maya Rudolph didn’t do much for me. (Though, don’t let me be around if this happens in real life.)
  2. Kevin James Fat Jokes – You know, Kevin James really isn’t all that big of a guy. It’s pretty lame that all of the jokes directed at this guy (who doesn’t seem to be doing that bad in life other than having a family that’s kind of…off) are simply reduced to a bunch of “oh he’s a big fat guy and he eats, see its funny” jokes. Not even the first one with him breaking the family pool was funny. It gets worse when he starts making fun of himself as if that’s all he can use to make pleasant conversation. “Let’s order 17 hamburgers and 17 fries…that’s all for me, what about the rest of you?”
  3. Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph & Suga Mama – Here’s my problem with this generally “normal” family of characters: they aren’t funny. And I know that’s subjective, but come on – you have Chris Rock, one of the funniest comedians on the planet, as a main character in a movie in which 85% of his jokes run out the door as soon as he says them. And why doesn’t the guy have a job??? And Maya Rudolph is usually either an over-the-top character for laughs (remember her Whitney Houston?) or a little more understated (Bridesmaids) but still funny. Here, a lot of her jokes don’t quite hit either. And Suga Mama (yes, that’s what I’ve named her) is more annoying than funny. It’s like Sandler took what he thought was a funny stereotype of an old black woman, gave it some bunions & farts and said it’ll work. At least she didn’t sing a negro spiritual (this is the only time I’ll ever say that.)
  4. The Jokes – Yeah, a lot of these don’t necessarily work. Or, they do, but they’re not funny enough to be memorable past a few seconds. The result is, I don’t really remember much of what I’m writing about, to be honest. It’s just sad how many genuinely funny people are involved in the main cast and how little comedy actually happened. Many of the passing one-liners felt like cutting-room floor material for a forgettable SNL sketch – not a movie.
  5. Characters – Sadly, as much as I started wanting to know these characters a little better, they either aren’t that memorable or the actors are just playing themselves. Adam Sandler is just playing Adam Sandler, but a “yeah, I’m a dad now and I’m starting to get old, but I can still have a little fun” Adam Sandler. Chris Rock is very obviously Chris Rock, but watered down and given lame jokes that should have been saved for the guy opening for his standup show. Otherwise, Sandler’s wife (Salma Hayek) isn’t very memorable, Kevin James wife is based in one joke…I was about to tell you which characters they actually want you to remember, but this movie is so forgettable, that I forgot right after I started typing that sentence.

CONCLUSION
It’s strange, because this isn’t as bad of a movie as I thought it would be. It’s also not that great or memorable. Originally, my complaint halfway through the movie was that I felt more like I was watching other people joke around and have a good time from the sides, not being in on the joke, rather than enjoying the good times with them. But then the move the kids and the family started to connect, the charm of the characters started to come through and I slowly started to care about what happens to them. But other than a couple of eventually charming moments, it’s a story we’ve seen before watered down with some nuances and jokes you’ll forget about pretty soon. I do like that it was simple enough in its’ premise; I just wish that the execution would have taken things a little further. What else is there to say? It wasn’t a movie trying to be as edgy as possible; it’s just a little 90-minute thing for you to laugh at for a bit (except you might not laugh that much).

BLACKOMETER: 5/10

Let me know what you think!
-BB2

(And NO. I DO NOT feel like reviewing the unwarranted Grown Ups 2.)

Reflections on the Passing of a Loved One

This week, I received the devastating news that a dear friend of mine from high school passed away. It’s always heartbreaking, saddening, often sudden, beyond unfortunate, all of the above and so much more to hear this kind of news – and there’s a strange shock that accompanies these feelings when it’s a younger peer of yours within the 20s or below. In addition to being a great friend and role model for me during crucial high school times, this person was just so kind, friendly, gentle, and most importantly, a shining beacon of light as an example to those around them. They went out of their way often to treat those around them with kindness, and was also very passionate about their aspirations and activities.

So of course, this was laying very heavy on my heart, and I figure that when one receives such tragic news about someone we knew and admired, our brain splits into multiple thought processes that can be perhaps traced into two pathways. (Or, at least, mine did within one full day whilst trying to carry on normal activity.) I thought that getting some thoughts organized and written out would be a helpful catharsis, and maybe you’ll be able to relate to some of this in your own way.

A: THINKING ABOUT OTHERS.

  1. That person’s life/livelihood: We reflect on everything we remember about the departed – more often than not, drawing upon great memories we may have shared, the things that made you love them, what made them the person they are, things you may have done together, what they were known for, what they cared about most, and so on.
  2. Their family: You heart goes out to their remaining loved ones, as they are now going through the most difficult emotional time that one can go through: to have loved and lost a key member of their being. My recently passed friend was, to my knowledge, living here in town after finishing up school while her family had recently relocated out of state – so they may not have been near when the death occurred for all I know. This realization, in itself, made me even more heartbroken for them, as I can’t even begin to fathom what I’d do if I was far away from someone in my immediate family during a tragic event. My deepest prayer for their family was for God to surround them with the right comforting people to support them right now, and for their faith to not waver during this grieving.
  3. The circumstances: I still don’t know what caused my friend’s passing – still, the shock in tact is heavy-hitting. Sometimes the causes are sudden and unexpected in the worst way (an accident, etc.). Sometimes it may have been gradual, natural causes, illness, and so on. I didn’t know my father’s father very well growing up at all, but when he suffered with cancer for months until his death, it was just as saddening for my father and his siblings than in their own way vs. those who have had less time to mentally prepare. And really, to do so is not easy in any way, shape, or form.
  4. Last time you made contact with them: Maybe you just saw them in the store and had no clue it’d be the last time. Maybe, like me in this case, face-to-face contact hasn’t happened in a while. I remember that they were trying to organize a special memorial event to honor a teacher who meant a lot to us in light of their retirement, and they were asking me about different methods in which I could be involved. Their deep passion for this function made me want to be involved even more than I already did. If it’s been a while since you’ve touched base with people who mean something to you, don’t wait much longer. Give people their roses while they can appreciate them…and appreciate them with you.
  5. Celebrating their life: While you miss their presence greatly, you instantly start thinking of ways to honor them in a tasteful manner they would have more than loved themselves. It might be a big memorial service with all the right people or as simple as a small group of family & friends exchanging memories at their favorite place. Just as long as you feel that it’s something done in the spirit of the dearly departed.

B. RELATING BACK TO YOU.

  1. Do I need to do anything different in this life?: You can’t help but stop and look at your life for a minute. Someone else passes away and we hear so many great things about them – but if you were to go right now, what would they say about you? Would the stories be consistent? Would it all be positive? Am I living in such a way today that I can be proud of, or do I need adjust? Is there any reason for me to fear death?
  2. Where will my soul go after life on Earth?: Such a controversial topic for some. So often we hear people say “they are looking down on us from Heaven smiling” of a loved one who just passed away. Speaking for myself, I’ve been raised with the understanding that if you believe in God and live for Him while on Earth, you will get to spend a glorious eternity in Heaven with Him, which is the greatest of gifts.
  3. What about this person and their life can I adapt into mine?: We admire the dearly departed so much, that when everyone starts to reflect on the great aspects about their character, one must wonder what it was about them that we could possibly carry in our own personal lives. I’ve been to memorial services before which had me thinking about this very thing: “This was truly a beautiful person inside and out. I just wish I could have the same joy and love of life in every interaction I have with others like they did. I wish I could be as talented as they were. I wish I could be that beacon of life in someone else’s life in just the right way at the right time.

I didn’t write this in hopes of providing or even suggesting answers. I can speak only on my thoughts and experiences. I’ve had the fortune so far of not having lost too many people close to me in my life thus far. However, in light of sorting through my thoughts, I can speak to two things based on all of this:

#1: Live your Life. It’s never easy to grieve a lost person, thing, place, etc. that was once dear to us. However, we have to eventually decide in our own time to keep on going in the best of ways. We have to live our lives simply because we still have lives to live.

#2: Be the change. If there are things about yourself that you don’t feel are quite up to par, set little goals here and there. Maybe it’s something small, like saying something kind to 5 passing strangers a day, or contacting a different person special to you each day or week. Maybe it’s something big, like working on a physically healthy lifestyle so you can live, or finding new activities to be a part of that provide you with the positive environment you need.

#3: Surround yourselves with the right people. As stated earlier, my first prayer was that the family of my friend would be surrounded by supportive people during such a tough time. Often, God has a way of bringing you these people at just the right moment. I spent all of yesterday so downtrodden about the whole thing, but whilst trying to carry on my typical duties with a heavy heart. Late that night, I got a message from an old friend who had likely seen my brief FaceBook photo of us from high school as a tribute. Knowing that I was likely distressed, they expressed her condolences, saying “In addition to [their] family, I’m praying for you. [They] obviously blessed your life, and it’s good to focus on that as you journey through this time of grief. God is near to the brokenhearted, so He’s got your back.” This put me in the perspective I needed in such an important time. That message couldn’t have come from but one place.

Maybe you’re able to relate to this trail of thoughts I had, maybe not as much. Whether or not it does, I think it’s important to use these devastating events to reflect on both whom we are remembering, as well as putting ourselves in the appropriate perspective. We all deal with with it differently to be sure. One thing we can all do alike, however: use our lives to be great in others’ lives while we still have them.

-BB2

Music Monday/Top 10 Best Uses of YEET!

Hello and welcome to this week’s segment of #MusicMonday! In this segment, we talk about the grand artistry known as the music of today, yesteryear, and the future to honor multiple interpretations and genres that express a wide range of the human experience through the ears of this universe’s common tonality: music.

Today: we’re gonna HIT THAT YEET!

I know what you’re thinking, and yes – I am serious.

Let’s start here: when I first heard the word ‘YEET’, I figured it was a word in 2014 hip-hop that was casually thrown in as a nonsense word or exclamatory. Then I quickly wondered if it may have meant something derogative, even in the connotation of this song, seeing as how sometimes the simplest things in rap can be offensive/negative, and I’d never want to accidentally promote the wrong thing. Then, I looked it up on Urban Dictionary and discovered that it’s probably the most harmless, random word that could ever be used in the history of slang terminology (or, “slangology”, if you will). If you hear the music without paying as much attention, it sounds like a lesser-budget quality rap song (which, this one is). If you pay attention to the words…it means nothing! Seriously! Here, the group D.X.B. is literally just yelling the word YEET over & over and throwing it in every day situations, like not being able to dance, but he can hit that yeet, for example. You know, sometimes a song can just be dumb and meaningless for the sake of having fun & just getting straight turnt! I will blast this in my car on full any day of the week, knowing that I’m not promoting negative themes that most people complain about in similar-sounding hip-hop music. Other music genres allow songs that might be full of nonsense syllables & exploratory sounds (cough, John Cage) – why not allow this? Could D.X.B. be the John Cage of 2014?

Nah, I think they’re just some hyped up kids who really wanted to hit that yeet.

And now, because you demanded it: TOP 10 BEST USES OF YEET

  1. *An exclamatory remark:
    “AW, YEET!” exclaimed LaMarcus, as his shot went towards the basketball hoop.
  2. *To violently throw an object that you deem to be worthless, inferior or just plain garbage.
    Benjamin: “Hey man! Happy 21st birthday! I got you this for your special day, hope you enjoy!”
    Gabriel: “Nick Cannon’s rap album? Are you serious?”
    Benjamin: “I thought you liked it? It has some nice songs on it and…”
    Gabriel: “UGH, YEET!”
  3. *A dance phenomenon started on Vine
    “I can hit that yeet like Bill Cosby.”
  4. A way to claim something as yours
    “YEET!” exclaimed LaYazmin as she snatched that weave back from her friend.
  5. A word to use to exit an awkward situation
    Jebidiah: Ethel, I know we’ve been friends for years & you’re married, but I have to finally tell you…I love you…as more than a friend.
    Ethel: …um…I uh…YEET! *runs away*
  6. A way to sound like you’re insulting someone without actually saying anything, so it’s not wrong, right?
    Biff: Hey butthead! You look like 50 Shades of YEET today!
    (the gang laughs)

    George: Hahaha…oh Biff…wait, what?
  7. A good word to thrown in your favorite song just to provide mild entertainment
    “Never mind I’ll YEET someone like you…”
    “The best part of waking up is YEET in your cup!”
    “I’m gettin’ married in the morning! Ding-dong, we’re gonna HIT THAT YEET!”
    “Dashing through the YEET in a one-horse open YEET, over the hills we YEET, hitting all that YEET!”
  8. A terrible catch phrase for a local standup comedian
    “I tell ya, my boss’s new wife is so black, he thinks it’s nighttime everywhere they go together because he thinks he’s in an alley way. Ooh, YEET YEET!”
  9. A pet name for your puppy
    Come here, my little yeet! Who’s my little yeet? Who’s mommy’s little yeet? YOU are! Awwww that’s a good little yeet yeet! Here’s a treat-treat for my yeet-yeet!”
  10. A prefix for a word of choice to make others realize how ridiculous a current situation may be
    “Y’all need to stop all this tomyeetery” yeeted LaJacob, to his mooching family at the reunion.

*from Urban Dictionary, but edited

I’m feeling the heat, so time to get off the street.
Have a great week, and HIT THAT YEET!
-BB2

#YEET

#YEET

Music Monday: September

Hello all, and welcome to this week’s segment of #MusicMonday!! In this segment, I present some great pieces of musical artistry that stretches a variety of genres to celebrate it, and ask you for yours in turn!

Today’s #MusicMonday selection, I figure, is a very appropriate favorite:

September: Earth, Wind and Fire

That’s right, everyone’s favorite Earth, Wind and Fire song! It’s one of the simplest catchy songs I can think of in terms of how great it is, as well as what it’s about. It’s about looking back on an innocent time spent with those you love! “Do you remember the 21st night of September? Love was changing the minds of pretenders while chasing the clouds away…ba de ya, say do you remember, ba de ya, dancing in September, ba de ya, never was a cloudy day.” Genuine bliss, genuine love, being totally carefree without a worry, and any worries that did exist were erased by love and good times and golden dreams – maybe it sounds a little corny on paper, but think about it. Wouldn’t you like to escape to a comfy place like this every once in a while? This song just takes me to a nice, easy going place of no worry – just fun. Fun and enjoyment of wherever I am at any given moment, whether I’m in the car starting my day or it’s on in Walmart’s Greatest Hits playlist. Earth, Wind and Fire were (and still are) one of the greatest groups on the face of the planet, and the musicality in this piece is a fantastic one that captures any misfortune the listener may have and chucks it out the window as soon as the guitar starts playing. It’s a great piece to start off your day – and month! So I say, pop this in and have yourself a party, and allow good times to come on in for you and your loved ones.

That’s this week’s Music Monday! What pieces put your mind at ease, or remind you of the good times? Feel free to share them with me, so we can spread the word of good music around and keep it alive!

Have a great week, and sing on, my brethren!
-BB2