National Black Book Festival

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Black Kindle - Guest Blogger - When in Dallas. BIG hair, don't care

NUMBER 175
Tell me what you think of the guest blog below.  I know her and she is a very, very good writer.  Definitely funny too:

Christmas was weird. And that’s pretty much all I have to say about that….

New Years was big in Texas. Dallas to be specific. But I’m not sure big is the right word. More like wide…like everywhere. There is so much space. I felt like I should be continuously contemplating life choices just walking down the street. I’ll certainly have the time. Thank god, our hotel was within walking distance of Starbucksthough , my one connection to city life. I’m  hopeless in rural areas despite my loving roots as a Clemson Tiger in the mountains. I consider those four years as amazingly wonderful, but very much temporary and my interaction with “real country” experiences limited/restricted to my red-neck best friend.

And then let’s talk about how very flat this state is. I’m not necessarily talking about the people, even though some are certainly more predictable that I’m used too, but you definitely get a sense of belonging there anyway. The few tall buildings that did exist happened to be banks not based in the country, and a lovely Reunion Tower, the purpose of which I’m still struggling to grasp. However let’s not forget that Dallas is the sight of one of our fallen presidents’ assassination. We did check out theKennedy Memorial and read the stories/follow the progression. It was a sobering experience, but an important one to have when in Dallas.

The gorgeous apartments and houses in Uptown suggest the occupation of one Courtney Kerr (whom I had no idea was an existing person until we got there and everyone proceeded to stalk her life) and various other “down-to-earth” celebrities.Breadwinners was a hit just as all the sites recommended it would be. Velvet Taco was freakin’ delicious and in a very unique location off the side of a main high way. Galleria mall is too impressive with a four story high Christmas tree right smack in the middle of a circular ice skating rink which you could casually view from every story. Yes, I went to the mall on vacation, because  it’s basically research. And I think we can all learn a thing or two about the necessity of a mall when toxic gases infiltrate the ozone layer…just saying.

Dallas was a success, apart from a few drama mishaps. I mean I expect nothing less in a group of 12 ladies, most of which reside in Florida where weirdness lives anyway, but there were two particular ladies that I friended on the trip and promptly defriended upon boarding my plane home. Hats off to these ladies, though, because it was cold and they aren’t cold people, but they remained troopers despite the misleading bright, sunny days viewable from hotel windows in contrast with harsh cold winds the minute you walk out the door.

Because of this trip, particularly the traveling aspects of it, I realized a few things that are kind of annoying (by that I mean definitely annoying). People who text with bad grammar…you had to purposefully put in those ridiculously misspelled words against the recommendation of your auto T9. This is not a good sign. Babies on planes: Yes I know they’re freaking adorable but on a 6 am flight they’re more like a migraine with an oversize (lets be honest, often unnecessary) stroller attached. Those very specific elders who believe they’ve been God’s gift to the world and as such should be guaranteed first class service at every turn. No you cannot have that last bagel just because you lived longer than me. No I’m not going to switch seats with you because you think the window would be better for your health. This is the metro, lady. We’re all screwed if we believe that mess. If anything these acts of self-entitlement suggest a life-long personality disorder (i.e. obnoxiousness), your simply using your age as an excuse to bring out those horrible personality traits you’ve probably had all along. Color me rude, but I believe in treating everyone as equals. Except for my grandmother. She’s different.

Yours till the New year’s resolution, i.e. be a better grown-up…here’s hoping.

On to books:

KATE SINCLAIRE - MAKE MONEY ONLINE - Exactly how I make over $3,000 monthly selling products on Etsy, Tophatter & eBay!!! - $2.99 - - - 
Tell me what you have to lose by buying it for this price, nothing.  You may gain some knowledge and get out there and do it.  Tophatter is new to me and I'm going to find out what it is.

BEATRYCE NIVENS - A VIEW FROM THE TOP: The Inspiring Success Stories of 15 Black CEOs, Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs - $8.99 - - - 
A pioneering success book that details the incredible and uplifting stories of fifteen of the country's leading, African American executives and entrepreneurs. These leaders sit or have sat at the helm of major U.S. corporations; they are members of prestigious corporate boards; they are or have been responsible for favorite products. 

But how did these business leaders become so successful? How did they rise to the very top? How did some of the entrepreneurs cut million dollar deals? Can their success be duplicated?
















Sunday, January 12, 2014

Black Kindle - Stupidity has reached new heights!!!

NUMBER 174 
Before I get back to my Dave Ramsey story and I know I had promised to get to it quickly, I wanted to remind you how dimwitted, idiotic and completely boneheaded people are these days.  

I am a member of my church's book club.  One of the young in the group ladies told us what happen to her last week and you will not believe it. After she dropped off her son at practice, she and her daughter decided to hang out at Barnes & Noble and wait for him.  They found a table, got their drinks, her daughter rounded up about 10 books to review and she pulled out her lap top to read the book of the month. 

A few minutes later, a man, about 30 or 40, entered the store wearing a T-shirt and very short, shorts.  Looked like he was wear them as underwear.  She glanced at him for a minute then returned to reading her book.  The man then sat across from her and her daughter directly across from them at another table.  Half a hour went by and she looked up from her laptop when her daughter got up to get a refill of her drink. As she turned away from looking at her daughter she found her eyes on the strange man who had come in earlier dressed like "the beach" and noticed that he had his penis out under the table and rubbing it while smiling at her. 

Yes I said, he was holding his ding-a-ling and smiling. What did she do? She lower her eyes and calmly waited for her daughter, who is 16, to return to the table and then asked her daughter to not look toward the man and sit down and be still for a minute.  She got up, found the manager and notified him.  She returned to her table and did not look at the jackass.  A few minutes went by and the manager came and ask the man to leave the store.  He did without much fuss. The manager then returned and told my friend he was very sorry for the incident, but, now get this crap, they have had a problem with this particular man for a while.  He had been banned from Barnes & Noble in the state of South Carolina for his behavior and ever time he does this, a manger is instructed to contact the police and remove him from the store.  I want to know why don't they stop him before he comes in the store?  I guess the manager or staff may not be aware of his "issue."  

Is it me?  Is it really me?  What in the name of good common sense is that jackass doing in a bookstore, A Bookstore!!! showing off his penis. My friend told me she was not going to give him the satisfaction of starting a scene and that's why she did not laugh or say anything to him, or smile back. 

Me, I would have caused a scene, but she was smart to not. I would have told the manager too, but I may have been that crazy as women, who is a mother, and would have slapped the crap out of him and let every person there know that there is a nut here showing himself in front of children.  A Bookstore!!!! Did you get that?  Let's take him out side and bury him, I would have said, but that would not been smart of me.  I would have done exactly as she did and contacted the manager and called the police.

When I told my daughter about it, you know what she said, "Mommy, I'm sure you would have found the heaviest book in the store and smacked him up side his head, but that is not cool."  "The man obviously is asking for help and he needs it bad."  My kid.  I raised her right and she was right.  He needs help.  He needs to have his ass kick a few times then some professional help.

Stupidity has reached new heights when sick, sick people come into a bookstore and show off their genitals.  What in the hell was he thinking? He wasn't.  You see stuff like this on face book, news and everything place else and you wonder what in "stupid world" have we gone into. We need help.

OK back to my Dave Ramsey story of November. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm a few months behind.  Hey, a lot has happen in the last three months and I'm catching up.

I found the church, Brookwood in Simpsonvile, South Carolina.  I really was about a 4 hour drive from my home and since I'm use to driving 8 to 15 hours, it was a breeze.  Yes, I love to drive.  Long distance or not, I just love to drive.

It was about 15 minutes from the hotel.  I had asked the desk clerk how to get there and it just so happened she was also a Dave Ramsey fan, but she could not attend because she had to work. 

This is a beautiful church with seating of 5,000, a serious like Starbucks coffee shop, large parking lot and very nice sitting area to view on big screen TVs the services.  

Since I had gotten there so early, I walked around the church and it's parking lot. The weather was great and when I saw his 18 wheeler truck, I just about screamed. It reminded me of when I saw the Earth, Wind and Fire 18 wheeler truck in Houston when I went to volunteer at the National Black Book Festival. It was like being near a rock star.  My rock stars are Dave Ramsey and Earth, Wind and Fire. What better combination.


While waiting in the lobby for instructions, I met Vickie, a member of the church and John.  When you first meet people down here in the south, it amazes me how much they tell you about themselves.  I'm was born and raised in DC, which means it takes me a while to tell much about myself, but not these two.  Vickie just talked, talked and talked.  I barely got a word in, but that was OK, she was just the nicest person I have met.  

She told me the story of how she met her husband on Christian Single website.  She was just browsing and had made a comment on the site that she was a Dave Ramsey follower and did not want to date someone who did not attend church and follow the Ramsey plan.  She told me more women should tell exactly what they want before they start dating. That would stop a lot of crazy men from asking you out.  Her hubby was also a Dave Ramsey follower and out of debt due to it.  They met, dated a few months and then got married.  She works as a secretary and he is a long distance truck driver.  I did not meet him there, he was on a run.  




John and his wife drove from Atlanta.  John showed me pictures of him and Dave Ramsey from years ago.  They have known each other for over 20 years.  John owns 30 houses that he rents out.  Own his own too.  Funny thing he told me after I asked what do you do when the renters don't pay.  "I give them 30 days to catch up or they are evicted.  I am real close friends with the sheriff and have not had one problem getting people evicted."  I'm sure he hasn't.

Met many more people - Janice from Greenville, who is a nurse station at Ft. Jackson with her husband.  He hubby just got back from Afghanistan.  Joyce from Lexington, SC and Guy from Summerville, a suburb of Charleston.  We were assigned as a team to stand at the Dave Ramsey product booth and sell or answer any questions about his products. Many other volunteers arrived and by 7pm the show had started.

I was able to peak in the auditorium a few times to listen to Dave Ramsey and his daughter, Rachel Cruz.  I even took a picture with one of his front men, Joe.  I was just so excited the whole time I was there, that everyone around me were laughing and joking that they had never seen such a person so excited. Joe started calling me "The Dave Starker."  What an honor.  

We continued our volunteer assignment and just about all of their products were sold out.  Many people were local, church members and staff as well as the press.  One of the best parts, we were feed some great food.  Not sandwiches and such, full course meals.   Joe informed me that where ever they travel to, they find a local caterer to serve the volunteers.  

It was exciting, got new friends, travelled to a beautiful little city and enjoyed one of my best "road trips."  I cannot wait to go to Raleigh, North Carolina in April for the next one.  It was AWESOME SAUCE!!!!!

On to books.  I got one today since my blog is sooooo long, but tomorrow I will have more.

JOSH FARRAR - A SONG FOR BIJOU - $9.99 - - - 
This has to be one of the best YA books I have read.  It just so, don’t want to use the word, “cute”, but it is.  Alex Shredder attends St. Christopher all boys school.  Like he says, “Honestly, what is the point of a boys-only school in the twenty-first century?”  “Imagine looking at the same boring faces, day after day, for eight whole years.  With the exception of Nomura and Ira, if I never saw a single one of my classmates’ ugly mugs again, I would die happy.”  His best friends Nomura and Ira, are unique.  Ira is obsessed with something all of the time.  First Pok√©mon cards, Diary of a Wimpy kid and now vampires, zombies, werewolves and something I just learned about, “were-panthers,” it comes from the True Blood series on HBO.  

I don’t have a TV, so I did not know what it was until I Google it and found it associated with the TV show, True Blood.  So kick me.  I’m not into TV.  His other best friend, Nomura, reads the New York Times every morning while drinking a cup of black coffee.  According to Alex, “the kid is never more than ten feet away from the Times.”  Man, imagine his parents.

When Alex first sees Bijou, “the slow-motion thing happens.  It’s like the pause button’s been pushed on everything.”  Isn't that line soooooo cute!!!  He starts a serious search to find out who she is, as awkwardly as any 7th grade boy can, and begins to learn about Haiti, which is where Bijou is from.  

Bijou is from Haiti and was sent to America to her Aunt and Uncle after the earthquake.  Her Uncle, who has lived in America for years, has Bijou on a very strict regimen.  School, food shopping and church only.  She is also not interested in having a boyfriend.

When they finally meet at the school dance, Alex speaks French to her. Can you believe it.  He did not like being forced to learn French, now glad he did.  Some of it is wrong, but isn’t that the cutest thing.   

I would like to recommend that you watch ever thing you do in this world. The amount of videos taken by one kid, Ira, was too funny and just a bit too personal and some kids got hurt. What a world we live in now.  I can’t say much, there’s a few out there on YouTube of me in some sticky situations.

Through some crazy and unforgivable videos, secrets revealed, backstabbing middle school antics, Alex has to win back the friendship of Bijou.  After all she has gone through with the Haiti earthquake and it's aftermath, it’s going to take another major earthquake to get her back and Alex does.