My Takes

Just my humble opinion…

Wild Bill’s Bitter Pill

Bill Cosby: Himself

Bill Cosby: Himself (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unless you are hibernating for the winter, otherwise known as living under a rock, you would have heard about Bill ‘yes that bill’ Cosby finding himself going up something that looks eerily similar to chocolate pudding’s creek with nary a paddle.  He’s landed himself in hot water.  Bill has recently been accused of sexual assault on not one, not two or three but let’s just say a lot. Like in the teens.  If you are one of those aforementioned under-the-rock dwellers, you would be sitting there with mouth hanging open thinking, “No! Not Bill Cosby from the Cosby Show! I don’t and won’t believe that!”  Well it’s up to you.  I chose to believe.  Maybe you didn’t believe CBC Jian Ghomeshi either…who would have thunked it?

I know, it’s hard to imagine loveable Bill Cosby from The Cosby Show drugging young women then raping them. But then, it’s hard to imagine a lot of other things but that doesn’t make them false.

As Bill’s stock falls faster than you could say ‘pudding’, we are reminded to treat celebs like they are one of us, which they are.  Prone to the same temptations we are prone to.  Liable to commit crimes, lie and cheat just like us ordinary folks.  Bill is not alone so don’t be surprised.  He’s only human.  A human being who if the allegations and accusations are true, committed offenses that should not be allowed to be swept under the rug.   Sexual assault is a serious violation of ones sanctity. Something that is difficult for the victim to overcome.  It should be treated as such. Let’s see if it is…


My Take…

How I Shot Bin Laden…And Also JR.

You know that Osama Bin Laden was killed, right? When you heard he was, did you immediately ask who fired the fatal shot? Did you even care? Do you care to know the identities of the persons who administer fatal injections to death row inmates? Of course you don’t.  Why would you?

Turns out some people like to take credit for being the ones who wasted the bad guys.  You probably thought that the US Navy Seals were a tight-lipped organization, not prone to taking personal credit for their work.  Well apparently when it comes to something like this, something that has the potential to make them a hero of sorts, they want us civilians to know by name, the man who shot Bin Laden. Do you give a crap now? Me neither…

So while they bicker amongst themselves over who was the trigger man so they could go on and write a tall-all book maybe aptly titled, “How I Shot Osama Bin Laden”, let’s go on with our lives. Oh, while we are on the topic, who the heck shot JR. Anyways?

Our Soldiers Are The Real Heroes

There’s just something about a war veteran that enthralls me.  To me they are like deep vessels containing so much experience. Experiences that would cause many of us to faint. Acts of bravery, seeing their friends blown to smithereens, the sound of incoming rockets, looking into the eyes of the enemy before their bullet pierced his chest…yes, these brave guys have seen it and heard it.

Yet here they stand among us, some barely remembered except for Remembrance Day.  Even the government that sent them out to fight their fights have forgotten about them.  They are the faceless, the nameless and sadly, the homeless.  Our heroes are greedy overpaid hockey players who go on strike for more money.  And get it.  These men were never promised riches yet they were willing to sacrifice their lives for our future, so that we could enjoy a good game of hockey, watching Bobby Orr or Wayne Gretzky.

There are  not too many of them remaining from WWI and WWII but there’s one that shows up at every Winnipeg Jets’ game., Len Kropioski.  He is shown on the jumbotron at the end of ‘O Canada’, his arm raised in salute.  I enjoy watching him and sought him out when I attend Jets’ games.  As I stare at him on the screen, I wonder what he must have seen and wishing I could sit with him while he regales me with his stories.  Did you shoot anyone, sir? Did you see your friend die? How did you feel? Did you ever regret it? Sir, you are the real hero. 

My wife’s grandfather was also a war veteran.  Unfortunately, he took his stories with him when he died.  He never discussed what he saw or did.  One day, my hero at the Jet’s game would fail to show up.  The hero outside the Salvation Army store would not be there.  Some of us would not notice but the rest of us will always remember…

I am a pacifist, which means I am anti-war. This does not mean I would allow myself the ignorance of not recognizing what these brave men and women have done to secure a free world for the rest of us.  They fought battles with enemies they didn’t know or had a beef with.  Many knew not what the fight was about or who started it but off to battle they went bravely.  To countries outside of their farmlands.  Countries they never heard of.  I recognize and salute bravery. Today, I salute these people who served and who are serving. God bless you!

Note:  Sometimes we seem to forget those soldiers who continue to carry the baton. Fighting to maintain peace and keep away the enemies who threaten our peace.  They are heroes too. When we hear of war veterans, we also see the face of an old man but lest we forget, many great women fought and died also.  LEST WE FORGET.

My wife’s Grandpa.

Those Halloween Sickos Make Me Sick!

There are some people who use Halloween as a time to engage in their sick games. Games that could be deadly to victims.  Victims who are kids.  Today, my 6 year-old brought home a letter from his school.  The letter stated that at lunch, a student from a neighbouring school found a needle in his candy that he got while trick or treating.  I can bet it wasn’t accidentally placed there.  Someone obviously thought it was fun to put needles in candies that innocent kids would eat.  Now what did that person think would happen to the kids after digesting a needle? That they would laugh and see humor in it?  Is this where the ‘trick’ part of ‘trick or treat’ comes in?

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.  It’s quite common to hear.  The worst part is, you can never tell who is the sicko. It could be the friendly old guy who smiled as he placed a handful of candies in little Jessica’s bag. Or maybe his grandson thought it would be funny if he spiked Grandpa’s halloween treats. You never know.  Fortunately, this student was uninjured but the potential was there for a very bad ending.

A friend of mine complained that the Halloween tradition is slowing fading due to malls handing out candies in a controlled environment.  She wasn’t too fond of parents who took this easy route, it was like cheating.  I agreed with her.  After this, I don’t.  The mall might be the best way to go.  Let’s hope it is.

Those sickos/psychos are darn lucky that we never know…but someone knows…

Victim Of Sexual Abuse? Please Step Forward

In light of what is going on with Jian Ghomeshi and the skeletons that keep falling out of his closet, I want to urge victims of sexual or physical abuse to step forward and help put an end to the person’s reign of terror. Just think, if Jian’s first victim had reported him immediately, his other victims could have been spared.

I realize the stigma that comes with beings the victim of a sexual abuse but the we are behind you. There is support out there. Remember, only you can stop the predator and you just might be saving a life.

Frank Friday: How About That Other Guy?

Just over a week ago a terrible tragedy took place in Canada, a normally peaceful and relatively quiet country was rocked by an act of terror.  No, I’m not talking about the Ottawa shooting.  I am talking about the soldiers who were ran over by a suspected Islamist radical. One soldier unfortunately did not survive his injuries.  53 year-old Patrice Vincent, a 28-year veteran was that soldier.  His records show that he served in various capacity with the Canadian forces with distinction. A brave soldier fallen by a cowardly act of terror.  You may or may not have heard of him.

Two days later, a crazed gunman shot and killed a young handsome soldier as he stood guarding a memorial. His name you might have heard was Nathan Cirillo.  The country was in mourning for Nathan, overshadowing what occurred a few days earlier. What was also lost was the madman’s rampage was stopped by Sergeant-at-arms, 58 year-old Kevin Vickers.  My apologies if you also did not hear about this.

Queen Elizabeth also sent her condolences over the death of Nathan Cirillo. She forgot that other guy.  Equally dead. Equally murdered. Equally a brave man. Why the discrepancy?  Is there one?  You tell me…Maybe it’s just all in my head and it’s all just My Take.

Note:  As of this draft, it was announced that Prince Charles has made a ‘substantial’ donation of equal amount to the families of both soldiers. Good on you, Charlie boy!

I Am Not African-American But I Am Black Though

Remember Raven-Symone? She played Olivia on The Cosby Show. Apparently Raven does not like to be labelled an African-American or Gay for that matter. (She is in a gay relationship).  On a recent episode of Oprah, Raven rejected the notion that she is an African-American.  “I don’t know what country in African I’m from” she added.  Oprah warned her that she could be taking flack for such comments. (By the way, she’s not from any country in Africa).

Now Symone is wrong and Symone is right.  Labels are what is wrong with us as a society.  Labels create distinctions and groups.  It causes boundaries.  Boundaries cause us to hate, fear or reject those who are not of the same label as we are. That’s why there’s gay bashing and racism and bullying.  Yes it’s unfair because labels are also what makes us unique and special.  Our race and individuality should be embraced, not hidden for fear of rejection.  African-Americans have a rich history.  Being African-American is something to be proud of. Being white, Asian or otherwise is also something to be proud of.  Something to embrace and practice.

I understand where Symone is coming from. Do I agree? Yes and no.  That’s her take and this is mine.  Please note that Africa is a place that my fore-parents came from.  I am black but not an African. If I were an African, then a white person whose roots date back to England would be a British-Canadian. Right? And that’s My Take.

What A Little Prayer Can Do

To the cynic or atheist and even some Christians, the above topic would be met with skepticism. “Oh not one of those again” but I am not one of ‘those’. I only say it if I think it is so. Read on.

I started a new job last week. My last one felt short of not only my expectations but also of what it was advertised. Needless to say I wanted out badly! I prayed and my wife prayed and my little boys prayed. I also applied for jobs. I prayed that God would help me to get the right job.

I got a pre-screening phone call one day and told my wife right after “I got this”. I just had this strong conviction that the job was mine for the taking. Then I was called for an interview. Again I told my wife I was 120% certain I had the job. I don’t know why I felt that way as I am not the most optimistic person.

I had one qualm, the job description sounded a lot like my last two jobs where I had too much on my plate and was overwhelmed. I didn’t want to get back in that situation. Other than that it sounded great!

A second interview followed by a third helped to strengthen my belief that I was indeed destined to get the position. While waiting for the results of my final interview my wife almost derailed my optimism. “Honey, I don’t want you to get depressed if you don’t get the position. You may not get it and I know how pumped you have been.” She meant well but it put some doubts in my mind. My optimism was now locked in a fierce battle with my pessimism.

While waiting, we all prayed. My mom, my wife’s mom and a few friends. We made up a powerful prayer warrior team. Oh, even my neighbour offered up prayers. No wonder I was optimistic. But I was still concerned about the scope of the job. After all I wasn’t a spring chicken anymore and I wanted the next job to be my last. God, please let your will be done.

The call came when I was at the mall. The job was mine! The HR person informed me that they had made some minor changes to the position. After reviewing the position, it was determined that the job was too robust for just one person so they were hiring another person too. Prayers answered!

So you see, I don’t think but know that God speaks to and through me. Oh, and nothing happens before it’s time and what’s for a man he will get it.

It’s All About Attitude Of Gratitude

An old co-worker always used the term, “It’s all about attitude of gratitude” and I never really grasped the full meaning of it until later.  I grew up in the Caribbean and experienced first hand what it was to be poor. Because of this, I grew up very appreciative of whatever small token I was given, whether goods or services.  I never fail to express my gratitude.  Sometimes I admit that I get carried away and get lost in the thank you’s, repeating it so that the recipient of my gratitude would get the idea that I was honestly grateful.  (Thank you is so generic that I often think my sincerity is lost) I sometimes wonder if maybe I should go a bit lighter on the expressions of gratitude so as not to come off as weird.  Last week at work for example, I was feeling so thankful for my new job that I had a sudden urge to send a thank you email to the HR lady who hired me. I gave in to that urge and thanked her profusely for the opportunity to work for her company.  Yes, I did feel a bit silly afterwards but my heart was in the right place.

Many feel that favors and handouts are owed to them, hence expressing gratitude is not warranted.  Wrong attitude.  Remember, as my friend said, it’s all about attitude of gratitude. At this Thanksgiving time, take the opportunity to reflect on the things in life that you are truly thankful for.  Not the cars and houses but the little things. The job that provides the cars and houses, the HR lady who hired you, the person who holds a door for you, the irritating friend who although irritating, is really a true friend, your family, your spouse, the cashier at  your favorite store who does a thankless job of making your day just by being nice. Thank her.  So many little and seemingly insignificant people working behind the scene, playing a big role in our existence. Thank you, thank you so much. Really really much. Thank you again, really appreciate all you do. Did I say how grateful I am? Thanks!  If you are a Christian, remember to thank the BIG GUY who makes it all possible. Thank  you God!

And you, have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Bad Cop, Good Cop, Racist Cop


Copwatch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lately, it seems as though there are more reported instances of police using extreme force in non-violent situations. I recently watched a video where an officer smashed a car window then reached in and tasered a black male passenger just because he did not exit the car as requested.  As per the story, the guy and his girlfriend were pulled over because of seat belt infractions.  They were asked to produce identification to which the girlfriend complied. “The Hammond police officer then went to the passenger side of the car to ask Jones for his identification. Jones told the officer he didn’t have his license because he had been ticketed for not paying his insurance. Jones said he was trying to find the ticket in his backpack when the officer drew his gun and demanded he get out of the car.”

Ok, let’s just say that the officer was concerned for his safety because the big black guy was reaching into a bag, hence he drew his gun.  “He was looking at me with his weapon drawn. Not once did he tell me to hold my hands up. He let me go in the bag, grab the ticket,” Jones said. Jones said the officer refused to take the ticket through the small opening in the window or through the sunroof.”  Why didn’t the cop take the ticket that he asked for? There’s something missing here.  So the big scary black guy wasn’t getting out of the car because he probably saw the news about his ‘brothers’ who were shot by police while running away unarmed or holding a cigarette, can’t say I blame him.  Point, black guy.

The officer called for backup, even though he was not alone, then he probably got tired of waiting for the passenger to exit.  He then proceeded to smash the passenger side window, dragged the guy out and tasered him.  What makes it even more appalling is the fact that a 14-year-old boy and his 7-year-old sister were in the backseat.  The video was recorded by the boy.  Great! Now these kids are going to grow up thinking that the police are out to hurt black people. The circle continues. Thanks officer.  The children were allegedly hurt by flying glass.

Now there are two sides to every story, even if there is  video proof.  There are two videos to every story as well.  Yours and theirs but after watching this video, I did a search on the internet and what I found was disturbing.  A 68-year old black guy shot to death on his driveway because he failed to stop as ordered.  A 35-year-old in South Carolina was asked for his license then shot while he reached for it.  The cop was later fired.  That’s just a couple of the many I found.  Many of these stories like I said have two sides but many are also instances of police using excessive force.  Are the cops involved actually racist or just poorly trained?  I am not sure.  No one really knows but the cop.  If a white man was the victim, would I still hear about it and would I see the same protests as I see when it involves a black? I don’t know.

Maybe they just one-off incidences where the officer was not properly screened or poorly trained. Or maybe a trigger-happy cop with a chip on his shoulder? We will never know but we can all offer opinions.  As a black guy, I just hope that it is not a black thing, from my angle, it does sure look a little suspicious.  But that’s just My Take, the police are there to protect us but who is there to protect us from them?

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