Archive for the ‘Two Thumbs Up’ Category

Such a Pretty Random Blog

June 22, 2008

Eh, I missed blogging so here is just a random one as I wait for Bridezillas to come on, then Design Star, and finally Army Wives.

The title of today’s blog is due in part to Jen Lancaster’s newest memoir Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist’s Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or Why Pie Is Not the Answer which I finished reading today.  Thanks to my cyber pal Gridiron Goddess who introduced me to Jen’s first memoir, the popular, snarky, and laugh out loud Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office.  In between Bitter and Such a Pretty Fat is the snarkalicious Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly, Ex-Sorority Girl’s Guide to Why it Often Sucks in the City, or Who are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me?

null

Reading Jen’s memoirs, you will often laugh out loud as I did Friday while reading Bright Lights, Big Ass at work, you will agree with her thoughts on life and weight loss attempts via Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, or you will be reading about her neighbors, only to drive home and see a teenager riding his bike by sitting on his handlebars and doggedly refusing to get out of your way after working a 12 hour day.  Whooo saaaaaaaaaah.

So today’s blog will be a poem of sorts, umm not really but it will be about the word Sunday since it is written on a Sunday.

S

is for siblings as I sit here waiting for my sole sibling to place his weekly call unto me.  I missed last week’s call so I am eager to talk to him but I hope he calls before 9:00.  I would love to hear how his comedy show went last week at the Juneteenth Festival.  He’s an up and coming Christian comic.  And he’s bonafied thanks to YouTube.

U

is for the umpteen hours of TV I will watch, books I will read, and naps I will take on a Sunday.   And for the umpteenth time I want to know, why didn’t they just use a set of real twins when making The Parent Trap?  And then to do that same concept twice?  Okay, I get that the budget might have been smaller when the original was first made, but the most recent version surely had a bigger budget and the Olsen twins at their beck and call.  Yesterday they showed the original on Hallmark and now the Lindsay Lohan version is on ABC Family.

N

is for the neighbors who are seriously make me contemplate moving this year after living here for 6 years.  All of them leave trash outside their doors, but the ones next door left one newspaper outside the only door we have, the door they walk past at least 6 times a day per person, especially that youngest daughter who loves to slam the bleeping door.  The newest neighbors on my floor put the bumper sticker that belongs on their car that proclaims their child is a good student at No Child Left Behind Elementary School on their door.  They’ve had a plant outside their door for almost two months.  It’s dead.  It’s really just a pot with dirt that they keep putting water in. They also eat at McDonald’s a lot and leave that bag outside their door as well.  They seem to have a strong dislike for real trash bags and seem able to only have trash in Wal Mart bags that they leave outside for days on end.  The ones next door to them drink a lot and leave that trash outside.  I don’t even speak to none of these people.  Well I did to the dad of the No Child Left Behind Elementary School Achiever one day when he decided to hammer the bottle tops from countless bottles of Heineken purportedly for NCLBESA’s homework assisgnment outside my door.

D

is for quotes about dreams.  This week, someone cheered me up and reminded me of my focus in life by sharing with me two quotes about dreams.   “Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you.” ~ Marsha Norman

“To dream anything that you want to dream. That’s the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.” ~ Bernard Edmonds

A

is for the amazing wonder that is Aldi.  For no real reason, I never shopped there until sometime in May.  I was such a novice that I didn’t even know about the shopping carts for a quarter thing.  Today I went just to get some water so no need for a bag, just the $.25 cart, but they had some dried fruit on sale so I grabbed several packs, paid 10 cents for a bag and then I might have did the next part wrong.  My cart was in the way as I tried to bag and pay at the same time.  So feeling slightly embarrassed, I left the store.   I just need them to have 2 sets of car by both doors so I don’t have to walk around the corner to return the cart and get my $.25 back.  Otherwise, Aldi rocks!  Bread for $1.19/loaf?

Y

is for me saying, “You heffas are crazy/trippping/bleeping nuts” as I watch Bridezillas.  I watched like 3 episodes last season and am currently on the third episode of the new season and I seriously shake my head at these brides with their “This is MY day/It’s all about the bride” mentality and have the nerve to want to be Big Willys when they’re broke.  I would love to do a longitudinal study (psych degree put to use) and see how many of the married couples from the past 2 seasons and the present season lasts beyond 1, 3, 5, and 10 years.  50 years from now if any of them are still married to each other, I say they receive a Nobel Peace Prize.

If I Was Still Teaching . . .

December 29, 2007

  

Today I finally got to go see The Great Debaters starring Denzel Washington, Jurnee Smollett, Nate Parker, Denzel Whitaker and Forest Whitaker.  I’ve used amazing, awesome, and inspiring to describe this movie that is based on real events and real people at Wiley College in 1935.  The Great Debaters is a must see and needs to be in your movie library when it comes to DVD.

I heard trickles of information starting in November about this movie coming out and I knew it had to be special to have Oprah attached to it.  And Denzel too?  Yeah.  Then when I read about Professor Mel Tolson, my quest for more information deepened.

I sat down in my last row seat this morning and prepped my snacks around me.  A Black couple came and sat a few rows in front of me, but they spoke first.  That’s never happened to me before.  We had a brief conversation but it stuck with me.   It was just smiles and hellos that were spoken along with a comment about the emptiness of the theater, but there was so much more than that.

When the movie started, I was captivated by the opening scenes that showed us the five major characters preparing for the unknown.  If you know Black History, the name James Farmer played by Denzel Whitaker, was familiar to you.  Founder of CORE, we were able to see his beginnings as a college student under the tutelage of his father, a rigid preacher with high expectations for his son.

But who were Samantha Booke with an e and Henry Lowe with an e?  I don’t know about you but Jurnee Smollett transformed for me on the screen.  I’ve seen her as Denise on Full House, in Eve’s Bayou and Roll Bounce, on a TV show with her siblings, but this time I really believe that she immersed herself into her roll as Samantha Booke.  When she gave her debate against Oklahoma City University and ended with these powerful wordsNo, the time for justice, the time for freedom, and the time for equality is always, is always right now!” — tears flowed.

I am not a child of this era, but my grandmother was 6 years old when this debate team was born and I’ve heard stories from her and my other family members.  I will never know first hand what life was like for my grandmother, her siblings, Tolson, the students at Wiley College or anyone else who lived in this time period.  Oh sure I can read books like Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Gordon Parks The Learning Tree, and Dorothy Height’s Open Wide the Freedom Gates, but there are still degrees of separation that I face.

I loved seeing the homecoming dance scene where Farmer signed Samantha’s dance card.  I had always heard about that but never seen it in action in a movie.  And I loved the Wiley sweaters that some of the students wore in the movie.

This evening, I came home and began to Google Samantha Booke.  I wanted to know more about her, her legal career and life after Wiley College.  Imagine my surprise to learn that Samantha Booke is really Henrietta Bell Wells who is a native of Houston, Texas and the lone survivor of the 1935 debate team.  95 year old Wells remains a Houston resident who met both Denzel and Jurnee Smollett.   If you were impressed by what we saw of Samantha in the movie, you haven’t  seen nothing yet.  Mrs. Wells attended classes in the day, debate practice at night, and worked three jobs!

Photo of Henrietta Bell Wells

If I was still teaching, I would be eager to tell my students about Mrs. Wells and her perseverance and determination.  I would want them to understand the meaning of that pig scene as well as the scene in the car on the way to the debate with Howard University.  I would want to impress upon them the meaning of teamwork and the strength of the Black community as we saw in the scenes with Wilson at Harvard University.  Most of all, I would want them to recognize the richness that is The Great Debaters and the power of words and ideas.  As Professor Tolson said to his debate team, “Debate is combat, but your weapons are words.”

ChickLitGurrl Reviews Freshman Focus

October 10, 2007

Positive, Uplifting Book for Black Teens 

4 out of 5 stars 

The freshman year of high school can be a stressful, frightening time for teens.  They have to learn their new roles as freshmen, they have to figure out where they fit in, they have to deal with making new friends, and just as important, they have to figure out who they are as individuals.  All of these struggles, and more, are explored in the first book of Carla Sarratt’s Carter G. Woodson High series, FRESHMAN FOCUS.

In FRESHMAN FOCUS, we are introduced to an eclectic group of students: Kendra, a strong-willed girl with a good family and a good head on her shoulders who learns that people – including herself – can change for the good; Lamar – Kendra’s best friend, a clown in the classroom but a heavy-hearted boy at home as he continues to deal with his father’s passing; Destiny, the beautiful, stuck up, spoiled brat of the clan whose picture-perfect life isn’t as shiny and happy as she makes everyone believe; and Steven, a student new to Charlotte and new to the world of having a good family structure as his parents are criminals and currently doing time in jail.  All of them, through their first taste of high school, experience growing pains that change them, motivate them, and aspire them to be better than who they were when they first walked into Carter G. Woodson High School.

I really enjoyed this novel for several reasons.  It is a book that illustrates the importance of black history, of black culture – in all its positive light.  Sarratt starts each chapter with a moment in black history, these positive affirmations that seem to permeate the high school, the students, their families, and their community.  It’s wonderful to read a book that makes you feel good, makes you feel that the stereotypes that bind a culture aren’t as strong as you might think.  I also enjoyed Sarratt’s weaving of student assignments in the story.  It was a creative way to let the reader into the minds of the students without merely telling us everything.  Despite the number of characters in the novel, Sarratt is able to seamlessly move us from character to character, using distinct voices and characteristics for each character.

There are moments where the reader will laugh, they are moments where the reader will cry, and there are moments where the reader will think. When a writer is able to make you feel a gamut of emotions such as these, I’d say that’s a book worth reading.

I’m connected with these characters, and I look forward to reading the next book in Sarratt’s series.

~Shon Bacon – ChickLitGurrl

In addition to the review, I also had an interview with Shon for her blog and her magazine.

Real Page Turners’ Review of Freshman Focus

October 10, 2007

4 out of 5 stars

We all look forward to starting high school. However, as we grow older and become parents we tend to forget the bad times and glorify the highlights we experienced. Take time and remember your first year in high school with the students at Carter G. Woodson High School.

Kendra, Lamar, Destiny, and Steven entered the halls of Carter G. Woodson High with expectations of an exhilarating freshman year. They stressed over appearance, homework, meeting new friends and joining new organizations. But who are these students? Kendra walks the halls like a runway diva because she has the trio – gorgeous face and clothes, basketball skills and book smarts. Lamar has the support of his best friend, Kendra, and the quick wit that drives the teachers crazy. Destiny believes that her money and family status will be all she needs to be the part of the “in” crowd. Steven is proud to attend school for the first time without worrying about his safety. The progression of the storyline and intricate weaving of well-developed characters makes this an attention-grabbing read for young adults while appealing for parents. This allows you to be a silent member of the freshman class at Carter G. Woodson High.

FRESHMAN FOCUS plunges into the mind of students sharing their inner most thoughts and feelings. The infusion of important dates and facts in Black History, leadership quotes and real high school experiences make this an easy-to-relate-to narrative. The teen scene is one area lacking well-written stories but Sarratt knows how to appeal to this void in African American Literature. There are a few sub-plots not followed up perhaps they will be revealed in the upcoming second installment of this series. Buy this for all the teens in your life!

~Deltareviewer