Sunday, April 17, 2011

Music And Me...

     What are my music tastes and what were my main influences?  Hello, I listen to music quite a bit and I find myself liking many different types.  And guess what? I am not afraid to say it. There is a certain stigma that comes with liking music that "you shouldn't like" due to your race or culture. I was never big on doing things according to others.  I grew up in the 1980's and at the time, there weren't a lot of the themed music stations. The few radio stations, at the time, played everything. It was an era of skating rink birthday parties and dodgeball. Well, naturally, my tastes grew from there. I had a pretty happy childhood; even though, we did have our struggles, I really enjoyed it! I loved sports and I was good at them. I had many friends and many positive influences in my life.  Why do I like the music that I like today? There are a few reasons that stand out.
     I touched on it briefly; however, it started my love for music. Growing up, we had radio stations that played Top 40 music. The internet didn't exist and neither did radio stations that specialized in one particular type of artists. Like it or not, I had to listen to R & B, pop, country, rock and roll, and rap all on one station.  Well, I did like it! As I was exposed to more music, I began to seek out similar music from different singers. While listening to Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like A Lady", I would stumble upon The Rolling Stones' "Jumping Jack Flash" and so forth.
     Now at home, I would hear mainly Motown because that was from my Moms generation. This started my thirst for Rhythm and blues or R & B. It was not only about the singer, I enjoyed the beat and the lyrics too. How could you not enjoy the infectious beat on James Brown's "The Big Payback?" I play that now still today. And let's not forget Mr. Michael Jackson. It was safe to say that I was hooked from the very first note.
     Then, the 1990's came along with Alternative and Gansta Rap.  I had already started listening to rap in the '80's but this was more hardcore than DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince's "Parent's Just Don't Understand." One of my all time favorite groups is NWA. Yeah, they were an in your face rap group that talked about everything that your parents feared and never apologized for it. But, it was really good music! The beats and the lyrics were well put together; just perfect and it was the first time that I heard a black group be so defiant. Alternative, as it was called at the time, was ushered in by R.E.M. I liked them because it was different and good. Their "Losing My Religion" was a classic. I have many of their songs on my ipod today. many other groups would come along in this genre but R.E.M. was the first that was really commercially successful.
     Now, when it comes to classic rock, I have to give thanks to my first...well you know. She was a beautiful, free-spirited soul that captivated me. I had already been listening to The Eagles "Long Run" so it wasn't new. However, there was so much more to it. For instance, Eric Clapton's "Cocaine" is a good song that I might not have heard if she wasn't in my life.  So I dove into this category and found many great artists. Through this, I became even more musically diverse. From Kansas to Creedance Clearwater Revival, there are too many too list. Thanks Ms. X!
     When it comes to country, I listen to a few artists. My first was probably Dolly Parton though. Way back in the day, her duet "Islands In The Stream" and "9 to 5" were good ones. But, more so in the 1990's, Shania Twain made it interesting again. I think that a women's sex appeal is highly underrated. What man hasn't done something for no other reason than the fact he was following an attractive woman? Countries have fallen. Anyway, she had some great songs such as "Still The One" and so I got back into country. I prefer female country artists but there are a few male groups such as Little Texas' "What Might Have Been." Great song!
     I could go on and on but you probably want to leave a comment so I will shut up.  Way too many artists to list; I couldn't do it real justice. But, I have given you some insight. Being a black male, it is not popular to like most of the music that I like. You know what I say...ef them. Starting back when going to the skating rink was cool, I learned to enjoy and appreciate many different types of music. I am grateful that I do enjoy it all and I think it also had to do with my overall attitude towards life. Today is gonna be a good music listening day!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tools To Become An Effective Manager...

    Throughout my employment experiences, whether it was as a leader or a follower, the thing that determined my overall job satisfaction was the effectiveness of my supervision.  A great effective manager can make a somewhat stressful job a much more pleasant environment.  It's the managers that understand their role that have the most motivated and dependable employees.  Please don't think that just by title alone, you can rule with an iron fist.  Nobody likes orders shouted at them in a disrespectful manner.  If you are a manager or will become one soon, then I suggest that you take heed and sharpen up these 5 qualities of an effective manager.
     Be an excellent communicator!  You must be able express what it is that you want carried out in a precise manner.  Everyone can't follow the level of instructions easily.  You must know the employee that you are talking to and give tailor-made directions.  People comprehend and work on different skill levels so this would definitely help in the communication department.  Also, remember to listen to any special needs or requests so your employees will have the proper tools needed to complete their job.
     Be fair!  I have worked for different people in my life and the ones that stood out the most, were the managers that were fair.  If you are a manager remember that employees notice everything.  So if you "show" that you have favorites, it will be questioned and resented by everyone else on some level.  For example, if you send someone home early today, then send someone else home early tomorrow.  Give everybody a chance to enjoy the few perks that are offered and you will be much more appreciated.  There is no need to add drama to the workplace by showing favoritism.
     Be knowledgeable!  There is nothing more disenchanting and depressing than going to work for a boss that is clueless.  Employees will lose all respect for you if you do not know if you don't know how to direct them.  If there are different areas of expertise, then you must work to become efficient in all of them.  You should be able to answer any questions that arise correctly.  An employee will take what you say more serious if he or she knows that you know what you are talking about.  You will be more involved in important decisions because you will be more assured with your self worth.
     Be confident!  Being able to solve problems is good.  Being confident that your solution will permanently solve them is priceless.  Not every decision that you will have to make will be the best one.  However, you must be confident, that at the time and current circumstances, you have made the best decision.  When you are confident it shows in your expressions and your demeanor.
     Be a good decision maker!  Be able to make good decisions based on information and facts.  If you come across a theme that you might not be that familiar with, then be able to make a very educated guess.  Stay informed of any new techniques, rules, or procedures so you won't base any decision on out-dated material.  Making good and quick decisions will make your employees comfortable when approaching you with a problem and you will be better informed.
     These are five of the best qualities of an effective manager.  There are more qualities that you should possess , but if you start with these as a foundation, then you will be well on your way to being the best at your workplace.  By being a good manager, you will make work a more pleasurable experience for your employees and it will result in better work performance.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

They Burnt The Quran...

     Well, they finally did it!  It was talked about last year around the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.  The dishonorable Reverend Terry Jones must have lost his mind.  Mr. Jones and his church, the Dove Outreach Center, decided to put the lives of U.S. military members in further jeopardy.  He selfishly took it upon himself to create a more hostile environment because of a personal crusade.  Although he did not commit any crimes, as far as I know, he placed shame upon himself and this great country by his despicable actions.  As a man of the cloth, I would think he would know better and have more respect for others.  Atleast I thought.
     Somewhere, on or about March 20th, Terry Jones and his crew burnt the Quran.  The Quran is essentially the Bible of the Muslim faith.  Not only did he burn it, he had the audacity to broadcast it online.  Apparently, he put the Quran on trial and found it guilty of training and promoting terrorist activities worldwide.  Yeah, he's crazy.  He blames a sacred Book for the actions of ignorant individuals.  Make no mistake, terrorists rank among the lowest forms of life.  However, all Muslims are not terrorist.  And, it's not the Quran, it's the people that wrongly use it to influence weak-minded individuals to commit horrible crimes.  His actions caused an uproar among devout Muslims around the world to include those residing in the United States.  In Afghanistan, people have taken to the streets looking for anything American to destroy.  In one case, 11 people were killed including 7 foreigners when they stormed a U.N. compound on Friday.  Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a statement that called the incident a crime against a religion.  He further stated that it was a disrespectful and abhorrent act.
     Yes, other countries have burnt the American flag and worse; that doesn't make what Jones did right.  Do stupid things that will cause yourself harm not others.  What do you think?  Do you agree with what he did?  Just because you have the right to do something doesn't make it morally correct.
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