Race Is Not a Card…

Image result for free google images of deck of cardsImage result for free google images of deck of cards

Does anyone know what a race card is? Surely you’ve heard this term thrown around quite often, especially in the media. It implies that an individual of ethnicity, is somehow using his/her own race to attain some type of advantage as a result. But, here’s the million dollar question: How can a person’s race, be considered a card, that a person can flash or present at will, whenever the occasion seems suitable? Yet amazingly, people are accused of this all the time. In fact, every time I hear the term, I am astounded that it has gained so much momentum and attention over the years and is often viewed as a valid concern.

Now it would be unfair of me to speak for other ethnicities or make generalizations concerning my own, but I do think it’s safe to say that being that one cannot change their race at will, (and why would they want to) any more than they can stop the sun from shining or the rain from falling. But for me, ‘race’ consists of a full deck if you will, that people of various ethnic backgrounds reflect 2-4-7. They represent the entire ‘deck’, all day, every day, whereas a card can be pulled, changed, and altered as often as need be.

Furthermore, would you agree that by accusing a person(s) of playing the race card, also implies that there is some disadvantage that would inspire the use of this so-called card in the first place, in order to level the playing field? If everyone had the same opportunities, the proverbial ‘race’ card instance would be non-existent. Interesting that the very people who often tilt the field in their own favor, then audaciously turn around and accuse the unwilling recipients of these accusations, who in spite of so much adversity, still manage to embrace the life-long hands they’ve been dealt, with both resilience and acceptance. Kind of reminds me of the thinking behind affirmative action. Lets start the conversation. What say you?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

The Purple Rain/Reign Continues…

Image result for free google images of Prince Rogers NelsonImage result for free google images of Prince Rogers Nelson

A few days ago, I wrote a blog post called Farewell to a Royal Prince: https://sporterhall.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/fairwell-to-a-prince/. As I read it over several times, I realized that I did not touch on many of the things that I really wanted to. There is so much to say and I feel that my original article barely scratched the surface. So I decided to write a continuation, to see if I could actually do the artist we all know as ‘Prince’, some justice, at least in my own mind.

What I really wanted to say, was that the energy Prince created in his music was so magically and wonderfully contagious. The infamous guitar riffs captured each and every shred of a person’s being. Never having had the opportunity to see Prince in concert, I’ve only been able to witness his magic on film and radio. I can only describe his self-taught mastery of the guitar as pure and overwhelming electricity. And he shared his electrical musical tantrums with the world; charging through Friends (fans) with abandon, leaving them in awestruck shock, forever transformed by the experience.

I can’t think of any other artist that made fans feel like they were sharing in those high-voltage tantrums, while also releasing their own pent up, stored energy, right along with him, by way of his high energy performances and a one-of-a-kind unique dance style, that included jumping off of risers and speakers that were several feet high. And lets talk about the dancing for a minute. Wow! Prince had a way of bringing the flavor of James Brown, Little Richard and the slightest hint of Elvis into his splits, fancy footwork, sexy gyrations and incredible handling of the microphone; which seemed to bend and fall under his expert command and high fever-pitched screams . He was truly something to watch. As I learn more about him, I realize that I never really knew just how great of an all-around artist/performer Prince was until now. It’s like I’m being introduced to him all over again, and I’m so thrilled to make his acquaintance, even if only in song and on film.

Prince was fearless, an eccentric musical warrior, able to project an overwhelmingly masculine presence, yet was so visibly in touch with his feminine side; a delicate balancing act within itself. But make no mistake. Standing only 5 feet 2 inches, Prince was all man, in every sense of the word. He exuded a masculine swagger that was all his own, sprinkled with little pops of femininity throughout his persona, much like the bursts of color that always adorned his amazing wardrobe.

Prince was able to blend people of all walks of life together with his music, whether that was his original intention or not. He was a master chef of an expansive melting pot, that still gives off its sweet aroma of love, harmony, and selflessness, all seasonings that are enjoyed throughout the world today, as a result of his phenomenal love for his craft and his friends (fans). Not only did his friends (fans) get the show of their lives during his performances, but they also received the bonus of a unique kind of therapy, universal in its healing, as he administered ultra-high doses of his specialized formula to the world.

His talent speaks for itself, and in resounding volumes that will blare out in amplified decibels for many decades to come. I defy anyone to sit still while listening to songs like: Let’s Go Crazy, Little Red Corvette, Controversy, 1999 (Party Like It’s 1999) and seemingly countless others. His music makes you happy, it raises you up when you’re feeling low, it gives you hope when the world seems hopeless. It takes a special kind of person to be able to create such a powerful and positive landscape, all while expressing himself by way of his passion. It’s what makes his death so hard to accept.

Purple, the color of passion, that of which he gave without inhibition, each and every time he stepped onto the stage. Is it any wonder that purple was Prince’s signature color?Royalty never donned an artist so well, as did his birth name, Prince. So much zest for life, now whisked away as quickly and unexpectedly as when he first burst onto the scene with his debut album titled: For You, in 1978.

Prince was an artist who was socially conscious on so many levels. His highly sexual expressiveness, was disturbing to some, but you have to appreciate his raw honesty and  uninhibited way of letting his feelings be known and heard. He made the world feel free as he let us all know that it’s okay to be an individual and to be true to one’s own self. In spite of all the highs and lows of the music industry, Prince did remain true to himself throughout his thirty five plus year career. Even if you aren’t a fan, surely you can respect his hustle. So sad to think that even after all the music that he shared with us, there is still so much more to Prince that we will never know. The hazy mystique of his opaque persona, will be shrouded in even more mystery than ever before. After all, isn’t that what true legends are made of? And so the purple rain/reign continues!!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

**Prince did not care for the word ‘fan’. He often to referred to his audience(s) and lovers of his work as his ‘friends’, as referenced in this post.

Images: Free Google images

Farewell to a Royal Prince…

It’s growing very tiresome and troublesome, mourning yet another mega-superstar musical icon. Yet, somehow, I still have some tears left. Prince Rogers Nelson is gone. It still doesn’t resonate with me, whether I write it or say it. In fact, it’s downright unbelievable! He was one of the last true baby-boomer sensations, that my generation could relate to on such a deep level.

Each time an announcement is made about the death of another larger-than-life person, of course the initial reaction is a big fat dose of denial. At least this is the case for me. But this time, denial didn’t stay around very long, as the media began to quickly flood the airwaves on Thursday afternoon, April 21, 2016, with the shocking news of Prince’s death.

Maybe you hoped as I did that this was another hoax. Sometimes people with a dark, sick sense of humor, ignite rumors of a celebrity’s passing. Incidentally, Bill Crystal has been reported to have passed away several times, but thankfully, he lives to laugh about it. But there’s nothing funny about it. Especially, God forbid, when the day actually comes and the ‘true’ announcement is made, no one will believe the news. Unfortunately, our ‘Prince’ has left the building, for real.

I must say that I am both moved and impressed by the outpouring and showings of support from all over, to pay homage to this genius of a man, known by only one name, Prince. A man that has contributed so much to the music industry and the world in general. Interestingly, I don’t see very many people shedding tears. Mostly, there is contagious dancing and laughter amidst the purple rain, that has spread like wildfire, as people gather to reminisce about their beloved ‘Prince’. The tear-free crowds are a bit of an unusual sight, but also refreshing to see because it helps to dry up some of my own. He has given us pure joy through song and selfless humanity, both of which were shared so generously with with so many; two gifts that keep on giving as his music and kindness  live on forever.

I may not have all of his music, or any of his music. I can truly love an artist and what they do, but won’t have one piece of their music. This is amazing to me even as I share this odd fact about myself. But does that make me any less a fan than the person that has their favorite artist plastered all over their bedroom wall, or owns every t-shirt ever made in that’s artist’s image? I think not. I am just as much a fan of Prince as anyone else. As always, when an artist that I adore passes away, I pay homage to them by watching every documentary, news segment, reading every article I can get my hands on concerning the person. I then get to the business of purchasing all of their music. You may think this is backwards, but I guess it’s how I roll. Regardless, I will soon be able to play his music in heavy rotation within the comfort of my home.

I’ve often heard others who don’t understand the die-hard fan nature of some people. They don’t understand how people can get so caught up and distraught when a high caliber celebrity passes away. After all, they don’t know the celebrity personally. Well, that’s easy to answer. When you truly enjoy the artistry and talent of a artist and they move you in ways that can barely be described in words, as a true fan, you develop a connection with these people. You almost feel as if you do know them. It’s called the power of music and it is magical.

Prince provided the soundtrack, backdrop, and narrative for a major part of my life, as I’m sure he did for so many others. How could I not feel connected in a strong way when tragedy strikes? His music has gotten me through some exciting, tough and very challenging times. And there’s so much music that he gifted us with. It’s so fitting that he loved the color purple. He seemed to quietly and humbly rest comfortably in knowing that he was indeed royalty. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that he’s gone and that I will never get the opportunity to see him in concert. At least there’s film and plenty of music to remember him by and for that, I am eternally grateful. I will miss him greatly. Rest in peace, royal Prince.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Oh Please!!

Never has it been truer than the old adage: you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. I’m starting to feel like ‘some of the people‘ is quickly moving into the ‘none of the people‘ category. It has become increasingly difficult to gain the approval and/or acceptance from others, for simple acts of kindness both big and small. The more you try and satisfy everyone, the further away you seem to drift from that goal altogether. To please or not to please? A most appropriate question in this instance.

So, you might conclude, why even bother? And who could blame you if you feel this way? Especially when you’re more likely than not, to be shot out of the sky. Why would you not opt to fly closer to the ground, where the crash landing is bound to be less painful? But what fun would that be and what about your satisfaction? When you’re a ‘people-appeaser’, it’s very hard to retrain yourself to be of the opposite mindset. And why should you feel like you have to change who you are? How unpleasant of an experience would that be for you, to behave in a way that goes against every grain of your character, just for the sake of what others may or may not think?

You might find, that as soon as you change your modus operandi, those very same people, who couldn’t acknowledge your good efforts in the past, will come for you, with guns a blazing, to show their…wait for it, wait for it…. displeasure in your ‘new attitude’. Which would be more disheartening for you, the seemingly never-ending hard to please people around you, or the facade you decided to wear, in a sad attempt to please those who cannot be pleased? After all, isn’t misrepresentation of yourself, the worst representation of all, since it does not reflect the real you?

What are you to do when going left wreaks havoc, and going right compounds things further to your disadvantage? Should you continue doing what makes you feel good, even at the risk of having your good intentions and gestures promptly returned to you, like a letter that unexpectedly comes back to you in the mail marked, ‘return to sender?’ In the end, you have to be pleased with yourself before you can please anyone else, right? Or are you simply reading this post while concluding, “Oh please!!”

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Out of Con-text!

In this modern day of technological advances that seem to be emerging at break-neck speed, is it any wonder that it’s very difficult to keep up? All of these options to become more ‘with it’ on the social scene. But many of these options don’t really promote a social atmosphere at all. (see earlier post: https://sporterhall.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/where-is-the-social-in-media/) Press a button for this and another for that. All of these varying options for modes of communication, leave little to the imagination and even less to good old fashioned face-to-face and voice-to-voice contact.

I recall when emailing first became a big deal. I pretty much went with the flow and joined in because this is what everyone was doing. If I wanted to be in contact with others, I had to get on the bandwagon and use this form of communication also. Eventually, emailing became as easy and effortless for me as speaking directly with someone, as it was once a big part of my work. But I couldn’t help but notice that there was a very crucial piece missing to this new fad of interaction. I couldn’t see the face(s) of those I was corresponding with via email. I couldn’t hear the tone in their voice(s), or lack thereof. During some of the written interactions, I wondered if the person had intended to come across as strongly as their words projected or if I was simply misinterpreting their words?

Then along came cell phones and text messaging. Now, I will admit, I was not a fan of text messaging in the beginning. I could not bring myself to a rational conclusion as to why someone would prefer to spend time typing a message into a tiny phone -vs- speaking with the person directly. It just didn’t seem practical to me. I quickly noticed that people could practice avoidance very easily with this somewhat incognito method of communication. A person could decline an invite with a quick impersonal text. They could project a different persona than the true person behind the text. But once again, I found myself getting on board this train, because this is how most people rolled…at least those that I communicated with. Over time, I became very comfortable with text messaging, but I still didn’t necessarily like it.

I can’t tell you how many times something has been misconstrued or taken out of con-text as a result of texting. Just like with emailing, you can’t hear the person’s tone, so you look for it in the words they use in their written correspondence. The tone can be mistaken and things can become very messy simply because people no longer interact on a more personal level. Everyone is texting it seems. You walk down a busy street and you literally see people walking, as if in a trance, staring at their cell phones as if their lives depended on it. And sometimes, I think it does. What did people do before the emergence of cell phones and emails? We picked up the phone and called people and arranged face-to-face meetings and social gatherings. Nowadays, you can go to a social gathering, and find a great number of people on their cell phones! Every time I go out to dinner, I see a handful of people on their cell phones. But wait a minute. The whole purpose of getting together is to be social, right? But people are on their cell phones, being unsociable.

Overall, I try and use text messaging only when direct communication is impossible at the time. I will often interrupt the back and forth messaging and just call the person out of frustration. And nothing is more maddening, in my opinion, than when a person stops responding…they just drop out of sight leaving you wondering why they haven’t responded to your text. If you had been on a phone conversation instead, you would know when the conversation ended because you would both have hung up the receivers. Remember that? When I’m out to dinner, I turn my cell phone down so that I can’t hear it. After all, I go out to dinner to interact with a person, not my phone. All that back and forth just seems a bit ridiculous. Or maybe I’m just taking things out of…con-text. What do you think?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

Is This Thing On?

I’m in a bit of a tizzy right now…a predicament of sorts. You see, I’ve been writing posts to this blog for a little while now and I am somewhat puzzled. I spend a lot of time on my posts, sometimes hours per post to ensure that the content is of quality, that my facts are straight, and that my opinions don’t offend anyone. It is very disappointing to realize that even after all that, hardly no one seems to be reading these posts. I’m truly at a loss as to why this may be. So, I now look to you, the ‘potential’ reader, to help me with this.

I need to know, is it the content? Could it be that the quality that I think and hope is here, truly isn’t? Is it that my posts are being read, but you the reader(s) simply have no comment? I find this hard to believe as I try and cover a wide range of topics and always welcome feedback and comments. Sure, I receive a few comments from consistently loyal bloggers and even some likes here and there, all of which I appreciate to the fullest. However, in the grand scheme of things, I mostly hear crickets!

I’ve read a lot of blogs since I recently entered this arena. Many are beautifully creative and chocked with information, while others are often crass to the point of offensiveness. I personally, refuse to go that route for the sake of huge numbers and readership. So, consider me a bit of an old-school person who simply believes in achieving goals the old-fashioned way – through consistent, hard work….one post, one article at a time.

So, fellow bloggers…I could really use your help. Are there topics that I haven’t yet touched on that you’d like to read about from my perspective? If this is the case, what are some of those topics? Please know that I am not shy when it comes to controversial topics either. I’d be more than happy to take a shot at bringing your subject to life while hopefully moving you enough to chime in! So, consider this an invite. Let me know you’re out there and that indeed….this thing is on!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

That’s My Dawg!

 

Out of all the different breeds of dogs there are, not to mention the cross-breeds, my all time favorite has to be the very regal German Shepard. For as long as I can remember, I have always been partial to this highly intelligent and protective breed. It is simply the most beautiful dog ever!  Yep, this is my quest! The next dog I will own will be one of these beauties!

The closest I’ve come to owning a German Shepard was when I owned my dog Sasha who past away last June. I miss her dearly. She was a Shepard mix but had all the great qualities of a  full-blooded Shepard. Sasha was loyal to a fault.  And talk about a bark….oh my! I can remember being on the phone and being asked by various people, if I owned more than one dog. I would simply laugh and remark that all the barking was coming from one loud-mouth, lovable dog.

Sasha was the perfect pet, friend, companion and protector. I never knew how strong the bond could be between a dog and its owner, until Sasha came into my life. She had more personality than some humans and was smarter than a whip! You couldn’t get anything past her; eyes always on me, keeping a close watch. Even though I know I will get another dog one day, it is painfully obvious to me that Sasha can never be replaced and will never be forgotten!

But until then, I’ll keep my eyes on the prize. I hope to raise a Shepard from a puppy and plan to take her everywhere with me! When we’re out and about, and someone asks me, “who’s that you have with you?” I will simply respond in my Chris Tucker voice( from the ‘Friday’ movie), “that’s my dawg!!!

 

Desperate Decisions….Desperate Measures

 

It seems everyday we are bombarded with stories from the media that put us in the prime position to pass judgement. Even without all the facts. This hardly seems fair, right? Maybe, maybe not. But to err is human and evidently, so is passing judgement. It’s probably one of the single-most common things many of us can agree that we do on a daily basis, even though it may not be intentional.

So, this news story splashes across the t.v. this morning as I’m rushing around trying to make my quick morning exit to begin my day. This story was about a mother who made a crucial and what could be a life-changing decision that will her affect not only her own life, but her two children as well for years to come.

In lieu of a job interview, this woman left her 6 month old and 2 year old children in her car with the windows barely cracked open while she was inside of a building being interviewed for a job! Fortunately the children were discovered in time before anything seriously happened to them but both children appeared to be under distress and were sweating profusely. According to authorities, the inside of the car had reached a temperature of over 100 degrees!

Now, when I first heard this, I immediately felt for the safety of the children of course. Then as the story sunk in further, I started to ponder the decision of the mother. Only someone who was at her desperate wit’s end would make a decision such as this! What would drive a mother to put her children at risk? The compassionate mother side of me couldn’t help but think that this woman had to think she didn’t have any other choice. Her decision came out of a need to provide for herself and her children. Maybe she felt that the interview would not take long and that the children would be totally safe within the confines of her car. The thought of the hot temperatures may never have occurred to her. You can rest assured that it occurs to her now.

Surprisingly, people have really come to her defense and have even started a monetary fund for her that has already reached well over $110,000.00! I must say that human nature never ceases to amaze me! As quick as some people were to judge and desire this woman’s head on a chopping block, there were those that were there to tip the scales, and overwhelmingly so!

Sadly, this mother may be facing jail time as a result of her desperate decision(s) and even more, her desperate measures. Out of all this and for what it’s worth, you can’t help but wonder…..after risking virtually everything…..minus all the media attention…. would she have gotten the job?

June 2017
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