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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tyler Perry Sued for Stealing an Idea- WTF?

Taken Straight from Amazon. Used with "fair Use" Under
copyright Law. And people say my paperback covers suck.
WTF is this HOT MESS? 

Author Terri Donald aka TLO Red'ness is suing filmmaker Tyler Perry alleging he stole the idea for his film Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds from her book Bad Apples Can Be Good Fruit. Donald is seeking compensation of $225,000.

According to Donald, she sent Perry a copy of her book in 2007, when it was first published.

Self-published. Five years ago.

As an author with over 10 years of experience in the self-publishing business I can tell you she doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

There are a couple of Red Flags to Donald’s story.

First, she sent a book to Perry. That is a HUGE mistake. Completely Amateur hour. No author worth their salt work ever initiates contact by sending a book to anyone in the entertainment business.

If they make any initial contact with someone, it’s usually through a one-page query letter.

That’s right a one-page query letter. With the logline (a short sentence describing the premise of the story) or a brief synopsis and a request to get the book read.

And if a production company is interested in an author’s work, they’ll send them a signed written release asking for permission to read said work. Usually the author signs this release, makes a copy for themselves and sends the original back with a copy of their book. If they communicate through e-mail, an author usually keeps a hard copy of all e-mails on file.

Without that signed written release the production company will not touch that book. That release tells them that the author is giving them permission to read the work and absolves them of all liability after reading that work.

Now a production company contacting an author or a rep on a query is a million to one shot. The chances of it happening are slim to none due to the legal liability issues.

Usually when a production company like Tyler Perry Studios is interested in an author’s work, they’ll contact them. But more likely, they’ll contact their agent. Production companies are very strict about doing things through legal channels.

It helps them avoid legal situations like this.

And they usually don’t contact a writer’s representative unless they can prove they have over a million readers. Production companies are scared of risk and want a guaranteed audience for the film they make based on an author’s work.

I doubt Tyler Perry Studios would have had an incentive to contact Donald about Bad Apples Can Be Good Fruit. Before the article hit on the internet announcing her lawsuit it had  an Amazon sales rank of 4,999,265.

All five of my self-published paperbacks are in that sales range or a little higher.

Not that three million or four million sales rank is that impressive.

And I can tell you from experience most of the books that are in that sales range barely sell 5 copies. At best they sell two to three copies a year.

Does that mean I should go out and get an agent for my work? Does that mean I’ll be able to sell the rights to my work for some duckets?


If I had a day job right now I’d keep it. And plan to stay there. Because unless I’m doing J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer sales, (best-seller) no production company worth it’s salt is going to contact me about my work.

Second, no production company is going to steal an idea. It’s a whole helluva lot cheaper for a production company to just buy the film and TV rights to a book for a small amount instead of stealing from a low-rung person like a self-published author.

Production companies HATE the lawsuits involved with stealing. Because they’re Federal cases. And Federal Copyright cases can go on for YEARS. Even DECADES without resolution.

Tying up property and costing them revenue. Along with those hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees.

Third, Why would Tyler Perry steal from a self-published author? He has over $500 Million dollars. He can easily buy the rights for a book for $100,000.

Or he could buy an option for those book rights for $25,000-$30,000 until he could get the money together to finance the project.

And why would Tyler Perry want to buy the rights to a self-published book? Out of all the books out there for him to adapt he’d be more interested in buying the rights to a book with an audience. Books by Christian fiction authors with a following. An established audience. Properties that would bring him a stronger return with distributors, theater owners and would ensure a strong $20 million box office opening.

That’s usually how business is done in the Entertainment business regarding adaptation.

But Ms. Donald thinks business is done differently for her.

So she sends a book to Tyler Perry. Unsolicited.

I bet this woman didn’t even have the brains to at least send it with Delivery Confirmation. Or send it Registered Mail so she could have a record that it was sent. That’s what I do when I send a review copy to a book club.

Here’s the deal: No one who is serious about getting their work read by a production company ever sends their work unsolicited. An author who is serious about getting their work read knows that people like Tyler Perry get sent hundreds of books every year.

And most of that mail gets sent back. Return to Sender.

For numerous legal reasons, Tyler Perry doesn’t read his mail. His assistants open the mail at a corporate office and screen through it for lighting rods like unsolicited manuscripts, unsolicited screenplays, and unsolicited queries.

The only mail going to his desk are mail from his agent and his manager, and maybe some family members.

The rest of those unsolicited materials like Ms. Donald’s self-published book are treated like junk mail. They are usually sent back return to sender, destroyed, or just donated to local libraries by people working in Tyler Perry’s business office.

Tyler Perry doesn’t see or touch anyone’s books.

And from the looks of his work it’s clear he hasn’t. Has this woman ever seen Tyler Perry’s movies? Would you want to say he stole your idea after watching one of his movies?

Seriously, I wouldn’t want my books associated with Tyler Perry. His storytelling skills are SUCKTACULAR at worst and HORRIBLE at best.

Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds was one of the WORST movies ever made. To say he stole the idea for it would be saying he stole a BAD IDEA. If he had to steal to make a film like that, I’d hate to see the book he stole from to make that shitpile. If I went into the shitload of stuff Perry got WRONG in Good Deeds I’d be here all day.

But if the synopsis for the bio is an example of Ms. Donald’s writing I can say she’s just as bad a writer as Perry. Taken straight from Amazon. Com:

A compelling story of a woman s struggle to free herself from the past in order to move forward in the future with the man she loves. This mysterious secret must unfold in order for the woman to allow a committed vow. In this story her past unravels tragedy, murder and her secret. What the man isn t being honest about is that he also has a secret that materializes in the midst of the storm and the raging fury it holds. The two come to grips with the truths and decide for the future and what it has to offer them.

WTF? That doesn't sound like Good Deeds. In fact it sounds WORSE than anything Tyler Perry has written. Just a mess.  

And her bio:

Terri Vanessa Donald is a 36-year-old female writer who first began writing as a hobby. After meeting Steve Martin through casting agent Mindy Morin in Los Angeles during the shooting of LA Story, Steve showed her manuscript format. Two years later, she began writing for Artist Darrin O Brien, a.k.a. Snow, and had three-time platinum success. Terri plans to take the book industry by storm with her Maya Angelou-style of writing technique. She is a proud mother with family values and a native-born New Yorker who is now serving proudly in the US Army during this very exciting venture.

Good Gravy what a mess.

Where do I start? She meets Steve Martin through a casting agent during the shooting of L.A. Story.

Now L.A. Story was released in 1991, which means the film was filmed during 1990 or 1989. So at best she’s a Hollywood wanna-be.
She further goes on to say Steve Martin shows her manuscript format during the shooting of L.A. Story ? WTF? I can learned how to format manuscripts at the local library.

And how does she go from writing in Manuscript Format to writing for Snow? And who had three-time platinum success? Snow or Her? Hard to tell from this confusing sentence structure.

She plans to take the writing world by storm with her Maya Angelou style of writing technique- MY GOD THAT IS THE STUPIDEST SENTENCE I HAVE EVER FUCKING READ.

I’m not even going to touch that last sentence in her bio….Just ….Damn.

And the diaperswappers wanted to say The Cassandra Cookbook was the worst thing they ever read. I wonder if they looked at this book. It was good enough for Tyler Perry to allegedly steal from.

No wonder this book has an Amazon sales rank lower than mine. If the bio is that bad I’d hate to read the book. Just…Just. …

If I were Steve Martin or Snow I’d be suing her to get my name off the bio on this damn book. If he taught her how to format a manuscript and she’s writing this terribly, I don’t want anyone to know I taught her anything. That whole paragraph reads like someone who’s dumber than a box of rocks. In close to 20 years she hasn’t learned ANYTHING ABOUT WRITING.

Nor has she learned anything about business. You’d think someone who worked with Steve Martin or Snow would have learned how the entertainment business worked when it came to queries and contracts. A person who has been in the business that long would know better than to send unsolicited material to someone like Tyler Perry. If anything she’d be using her connections through Snow. After all, if she wrote for him, she’d know his agent or someone in that circle.

This is clearly a cash grab from a desperate wanna-be. She’s suing for $225,000. That’s not even fair compensation.  That number is what she hopes to get from the cash settlement. That’s what people are looking for in lawsuits like this, not fair compensation.

Buying the rights for an adaptation depends on the value of the property. But I doubt this book is worth $225,000.

I doubt it’s worth even $2.

Bad Apples can Be good Fruit is not a New York Times Best-seller, Essence Bestseller or a USA Today Bestseller . It’s not even  a midlist title from a trade publisher. It’s a self-published book from a POD company. Vanity books which are considered the bottom of the barrel in the entertainment game. Who would want to steal ideas from self-published books?

And I thought Tyler Perry movies rotted brain cells. Only a dumbass or a Hood Rat would think sending a book to a celebrity meant that they read their work. Moreover only a truly stupid person would think that someone would steal their work and make a film based on that work. People in the entertainment game are paranoid and that fear makes them avoid touching anything not given to them by their agents or managers. No one in the entertainment business touches anything unless it has a proven value.

Look, there are no shortcuts to getting work seen by people in the entertainment industry. You just can’t send someone an unsolicited book and hope for superstar success. Learn the procedures, follow the rules and you won’t wind up in situations like this.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thoughts on the Halle Berry Baby Mama Drama Part 4 FOR THE LOVE OF NAHLA, PLEASE STOP HALLE!

Some people just don’t when to quit.

They keep pushing and pushing…

Until something tragic happens.

Like Halle Berry.

She just keeps pushing and pushing her Baby’s father Gabriel Aubry.

You’d think she’d call it quits after being forced to pay $20,000 a month in child support.

But that defining NIGGER moment didn’t stop her.

You’d think she’d call it a day after getting her ass served again in the White Man’s court system when she was told she couldn’t take her child to France.

But that second NIGGER moment doesn’t stop her. She just keeps going down the road to self-destruction.

She (In my opinion) pulls a straight ghetto stunt on Thanksgiving where she sends her New Simp to beat down her baby daddy.

And in the face of all the bad publicity, I think even that won’t stop her. Even with Gabriel flipping the game on her as we speak, she just won’t stop.

During that Thanksgiving brawl She claims Gabriel Aubry cost her and Oliver Martinez $3 million dollars.

No, I’d say she cost herself $3 Million dollars. And it’s her own selfish decisions that will cost herself and her daughter Nahla more in the long run.

Halle Berry is her own worst enemy.

It’s  clear to me Halle Berry has an obsession with following in her mother’s screwed-up footsteps and recreating the home life where she was raised by a single mom.

Not understanding growing up in that kind of home is dysfunctional. Like many Black women, Halle thinks being raised in a single parent home is perfectly fine. In her warped little mind, what worked for her will work for her daughter.

Seriously Halle, being raised by a single mom on is not a good thing. I can tell you that from experience.

Let me break this down to you Halle: There are no advantages to raising a child in a single parent household. Nahla NEEDS her mother and her biological father to be raised healthy and grow up to become a healthy, functional adult.

You’re fucking up your daughter’s development by trying to push her dad away from her.

As a kid who grew up with a dad who he only saw once a week and talked to him on the phone, I can tell you that growing up in that kind of home SUCKS.

Now I never had a truly close relationship with my dad. Thanks to all the bullshit my mom fed me about him, I thought he was this womanizing evil bastard who did her wrong for over two and a half decades. And thanks to those slanted stories, I put distance between myself and my father and never had a healthy relationship with him or connected with him on a personal level.

That’s the same kind of misinformation you’re feeding Nahla about her Dad. Twisting her and trying to turn her against him to medicate your own pain.

Just four years ago you said this was the man you said was the love of your life.

Until you couldn’t get your way. Then you selectively remembered those bad times where he called you a nigger and lost his temper.

Or it could be that you just revised history to twist those memories to make him into another monster like David Justice and Eric Benet became when things went sour with them.

And when Gabriel Aubrey became yet another monster in your eyes, that’s when you decided to bring Simp ass Oliver Martinez into your life and your daughter’s life. I wonder what stories you’ll tell about him when it’s time to revise history.

Maybe Nahla will tell us the truth about those 7:30AM  trips to the liquor store when she gets older. I know she’ll be more objective than you are regarding Mr. Martinez. Most kids are about the stepdads moms try to shove on them as a replacement for their real fathers.

Sorry Halle, but substitutes don’t replace the real thing for us kids when it comes to Dad. I wish you and every other Black woman would get that through your head. We don’t want tmhat second-rate- replacement loser you want for a dad because you don’t like our fathers anymore or can’t use him anymore.

I can tell you for a FACT Nahla’s gonna Hate Oliver. And when she gets older she’ll hate YOU for driving her real dad away.

Thank God my mother wasn’t as silly as you to think she could move in some Simp and shoehorn him into the role of Dad. Let me tell you Halle, you’re doing a disservice to your daughter bringing strange dudes into your home with your kids. They’ll NEVER love them as much as their real Dad would.

As the Iceman said in one of his YouTube videos Most Simps just use kids to get to the Baby Mama’s draws.

And that’s all that pussy scavenger Oliver Martinez is doing. Going through the kids to get to the pussy. The most cowardly way to get laid.

He only beat up Gabriel because he saw HIS access to free pussy and access to your money being taken away from him, not to defend your honor.

But your chicken head ass can’t see the parasitic co-dependent nature of a Captain-Save-A-Hoe.

You’re too bitter and too ANGRY at ALL MEN to see the game being played on you by one.

And you’re too bitter and too angry at MEN long-term damage you’re doing to your daughter. You’re too SELFISH and ARROGANT to see how your actions TODAY will have an IMPACT on your daughter 18 to 25 years from now. How your behavior today will SHAPE the WOMAN she will become tomorrow.

Halle, do you want Nahla growing up to become a Hood Rat? Do you want her to grow up to become a gold-digger? Would you be proud to know your daughter is another Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Karrine Steffans or Evelyn Lozada?

Because everything you’re doing right now is leading Nahla in the direction to become one of these cold-hearted evil parasites who prey on men.

Similar to the character Janie Crawford you played in Oprah Winfrey’s adaptation Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Tell me, do you want art to imitate life? Do you want your daughter to grow up to become a monster in the mold of dear old Mommie?

Because every girl who I grew up with here in the South Bronx who came from a single parent home or a home with a stepdad grew up to become FUCKED UP. They either became junkies, hoes, or worse, single mothers who taught the same self-destructive dysfunctional values to their children growing up.

And all of them grew up to become emotionally disconnected, emotionally unavailable and unable to have a loving, healthy relationship with a Real Man or a friendship with a Real Woman. Most grew up to become just as narcissistic and selfish as you are, seeing their kids as property and not as people.

Now you wanted a kid. And you wanted a kid on your terms.

Unfortunately, kids don’t live life on your terms.

Kids like Nahla NEED their fathers in their lives.

It takes two people to make a child. And it takes two people to raise one effectively. That’s the way God intended for it. A Mom and a Dad.

Not a Mom and some dude you try to get to play the dad role. A Real Mom and a Real Dad.

And Gabriel is her Real father.

Whether you like it or not Halle, she has a right to have her father in her life. So pack up that emotional baggage and those abandonment issues you had with your Dad and let this man DO HIS JOB as her parent.

And as her father he doesn’t have to parent on your terms. If you didn’t want him as a dad, you shouldn’t have laid down with him and taken his sperm into your body.

In the words of Judge Judith Sheindlin: YOU PICKED HIM.

And you’re stuck working with him for the next 25 or so years whether you like it or not. Maybe even more.

Until the day she decides to walk down the aisle with him at her wedding.

But she’ll never get to that day in the future if you don’t stop acting a fool today.

For the sake of Nahla Halle PLEASE STOP WITH THE BABY MAMA DRAMA. Work with Gabriel Aubrey towards helping raise Nahla become a happy, healthy adult.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Why Most Black Women Will Remain Single for the Rest of Their Lives

Statistics state that 70 percent of Black women are single.

And most will  remain single for the rest of their lives.

Why? Because of the way they’re socialized to interact with Black men. 70 percent of today’s single Black women are the products of single-parent-female headed households. In those homes they were taught by their single mothers from birth not to treat men with respect.

From the day they were born these women were taught that Black men had no value in their lives. This ideology was reinforced by the verbal statements their single mothers made like talking about their children’s “no good daddy” or other “no good niggers in the neighborhood.”

Moreover, it was also reinforced by White Supremacy and White feminism. Brainwashed by the false ideologies of White feminism, Black women were tricked into believing they didn't need a Black man. And With the help of Uncle Sam’s government programs and White Supremacist Corporate America’s entry-level jobs, Black women achieved financial independence and the economic power to devalue the leadership and authority of the Black men in their communities.

And this devaluation was also reinforced by propaganda disguising itself as African-American media. Programs like The Oprah Winfrey Show, Movies like The Color Purple, Precious, and Monster’s Ball all presented Black men as no good, trifling, and lazy, validating the misandristic man-hating views of their single mothers, White feminists, and White Supremacists.

Black girls who grew up in single parent homes and imbibing this media they were never taught to see Black men as valuable. Nor were they taught how to speak to Black men, how to defer to Black men, or how to follow the lead of a Black man or work with a Black man.

And because they were socialized not to treat a Black man with respect that prevents them from having healthy relationships with loving caring good Black man.

A Black woman who was never raised to see Black men as “good” will never find a “good” Black man. She can’t see the value in a good Black man because she has no father or other males in her community to measure as a standard bearer.

Even if today’s Black woman were to get involved with a “good” Black man  the relationship would fail. Because the Matriarchal way she’s raised will lead to her clashing with the Patriarchal leadership of a Real Black Man.

Real Black Men who have established themselves want a woman who will support them in building something. They want someone who will follow their lead and work with them.

But thanks to the way a majority of Black women were raised they want to be the leader of the relationship. Because they saw Single Mom running her household, they think they’re supposed to be the leaders of a relationship instead of being in the support role that God established for them to participate in.

Because these little Black girls were never raised to respect Black males or Black male authority, they grow up into Black women who do not understand the roles of men and women in God’s Patriarchal order. Programmed by White Supremacists and White Feminists to believe that Matriarchal leadership is the norm, these Black women wind up sabotaging their relationships by verbally abusing the Black men in her life, talking slick at them, cursing them out, destroying their property and emasculating them.

But Real Black Men aren’t having any of that.

Which is why 70 percent of Black women will remain single for the rest of their lives.

Thanks to the way Black women have been raised they’ll never get involved with a good man. The best they can do are soft males like Simps and Manginas.

That’s why the best they’ll do is the Pookies, Ray-Rays, Jaheems, and other triflin’ Negroes they grew up with.

These are the Black men they were socialized to interact with. Weak, emasculated brothers who will follow their lead rather than lead their households.

Men just like their “no good” daddies.

Black women from single parent homes may think that they can demand the best of a Real Man, with their lists of Madison Avenue criteria, but they don’t meet the standard of womanhood God established.

The way they were raised with all the combativeness, belligerence, arrogance, and bad attitude aren’t going to work in a relationship with a Good Black man. Especially a Good Black man of means.

What Black women from single parent homes don’t understand is that Good Black men and Black men of means have options. And they can choose not to get involved with a Black woman who refuses to follow his lead.

That raggedy game the Strong independent Black woman learned living in the single parent female headed household may work with the Simps and Tricks like Pookie and Ray Ray who don’t have standards, but won’t work with a Real Black man who has his stuff together.

No, he’s going to demand better of the woman he involves himself with. He’s going to insist she bring something to the table than a college degree and some job at a fortune 500 company. No, he wants a woman of character to be at his side. Someone who can show him loyalty, trust, honor and support. These intangibles mean more to a Real Black man than any material possessions in this world. A Real Man wants an equal caring partner who will allow him to lead so he can do God’s work, not someone who will try to usurp his authority and try to disrupt the order of God.

A Real Man requires that his woman follow the standard of God. That standard establishes that a woman follow the lead of a man and work with him as his partner in building their household. Until most Black women can understand this, they’ll never find a “good” man.

Sistas you can’t reconcile the world of White Supremacy and White feminism with the order of God. It’s like trying to shove the square peg into the round hole. It’s not going to work and it’ll never work. You have to submit yourself to the leadership of Black men if you want to follow the Will of God and be a part of his Kingdom. Unless you defer to God’s authority and start supporting the Good Black men in your communities, you will remain single for the rest of your lives.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

You Can’t Catch Salmon with Sharkbait - Why Some Brothas Can't Get a Good Woman Guest Blog by Commencement author Lawrence Cherry

What’s with all the complaining about black women that I’ve been hearing from black men? Black women are gold-diggers, they’re drama, they’re fat and lazy, they have big mouths, they’re emasculating, etc, etc. Now I’m not saying there aren’t black women who are just absolutely despicable people, however there are good black women as well. There are black women that are quiet, hardworking, loving, caring, self-sacrificing, courageous, faithful, athletic, slim (yep, I’ve seen them), encouraging, and virtuous. You wouldn’t know that from what’s been hyped up in the media (and you know I don’t trust the media). In fact, I will posit that there are lots of these women out there, and you know what? They’re probably lonely! That’s right, they don’t have a date. Do you know why? Because you’re not looking for them!

Now I know some of you will argue, ‘Yes I have! I’ve been looking for years!’ Have you, really? Or did you confuse ‘good black woman’ with ‘good-looking black woman’ because those are two totally different things. It’s been said that men are hardwired to be very visual and to a certain extent this is true. There has to be that something that attracts a man to a woman. That being said, we can’t get too caught up in how a woman looks because as my momma always said “looks can be deceiving.” Looking for a good black woman is like going fishing. If you want a certain kind of fish, you have to have the right kind of bait. If you want a choice salmon you’ve got to have things that salmon like on your hook. If you use the wrong bait, you’ll catch something you don’t want. For example, if you know salmon like certain kinds of worms you have to put those certain kinds of worms on your hook. If you put steak or something like that on your hook, you’ll probably end up with a shark or other fish with bloodlust, and you don’t want that!! If you want a good black woman (salmon) you have to be engaging in things that will attract good black women. So I say, if you keep getting black women that are drama queens, gold-diggers, pigeons, cheaters (the sharks) and the like it’s because you’re probably doing things that attract these sorts of women to you. Now please keep in mind that when I say a ‘good’ black woman, I do not mean a woman with money. There are wonderful black women in all walks of life. There are black women who aren’t in the highest tax brackets, but will still give of what little they have of themselves and their resources to help others, and are genuine and kind people. Then there are rich black women who are nothing but gold diggers. In fact, they probably got rich by cheating their poor simp victims out of their money!!! Below I will outline and describe how to attract a good black woman or “gbw” versus how to attract a troublesome woman or “shark”.

Before I begin, I have to say a Christian of color, that if you want a really good black woman, you should look for a one that is a true woman of God. This does not mean a woman that “goes to church”. There are many women in the church that are just there to pass the time. Many of them are hunting for mates instead of looking for God: please steer clear of these types. A true woman of God does not only go to church, but lives the life outside of the church walls. She is willing to allow God to order her life according to his Word, and not according to mores of the popular culture. Now I know some of you are sighing heavily and groaning right about now because of the stereotypes our culture has fed us about Christian women. They’ve been depicted as religious fanatics, prudes, prissies, snobs, high maintenance, hypocrites, secret freaks, or in other unflattering ways. In fact, I believe that the brothers who weren’t used to women with standards came up with such names for these women because their ‘game’ didn’t work on them and they got burned. Then they wanted to blame the woman to save their crushed egos. These are the same guys who want to brag about their many ‘conquests’ with a bunch of tricks who probably made a fool out them. Let me just be straight with you all: a true woman of God is more valuable than all the tricks you could ever have in your life. Tricks come and go, and all you’re going to get from a trick is a roll in the hay. A true woman of God offers love, encouragement, support, fidelity, honesty, integrity and is a true help meet. This is a sister who will have your back for life. A true Christian black woman embodies all of the characteristics of a good black woman because God (who is Love) is at the center of her life. Now that being said, if you feel that you are still very immature and all you care about is the ‘conquest’ (which isn’t really a conquest – especially if you have to pay for it like a lot of brothers I know), then you can stop reading. But if you are mature and you really want a real committed relationship that involves giving love as well as getting love then please keep reading.

First, if you are looking for a good black woman, you have to think about where you are casting your hook. Salmon tend to swim upstream in rivers, not in the ocean. So going fishing for salmon in the middle of the Atlantic is just plain stupid. That’s where the sharks live. Same with women. If you really want a good black woman or gbw, you’re not going to find her shaking her booty, half-naked in the club! You will not find her trying to get backstage at a Jay-Z concert. (Ever wonder why some women are anxious to get backstage?) You will also not find her drunk to the point where she has lost consciousness in a bar! They are not found dropping it like it’s hot in a strip club! Nor will you find them in prison! This is not to say that a good woman can never be found in these places, but the chances or odds of them being there is infinitesimally small. You’d have a better chance at church, the library, a coffee shop, museum, supermarket, or even your job.

After you start looking in the right places, the first and most important thing that you need to know when you are trying to attract a good black woman is that she’s not impressed with the money you spend. No, I’m not crazy: it’s the truth! In fact, if you really want a quality black woman, keep that wallet closed for the first three months of the relationship! Spending lots of money on a woman, especially if it’s early in the relationship only attracts the sharks!! A quality black woman doesn’t really care about how much money you make or what you’re willing to spend on her, because she’s not looking for ‘security’ or to ‘be taken care of’. She’s already secure because she knows God is the one who she is supposed to rely on completely, not you! She trusts God to provide for her needs and is willing to work and help you financially (See Proverbs 31:10-31). The good black woman or gbw is more concerned with how you give of yourself to her. The gbw just wants you to make her some tea if she’s not feeling well, listen to her when she’s had a bad day, surprise her with a dinner you made for her on her birthday, help her with household chores when she’s overwhelmed, or be the person that she leans on when someone close to her dies. Things you buy her don’t have to be expensive, but meaningful. You could download a new book from her favorite author on her kindle and make her day. A card you designed and made yourself on your computer with your own special message would make her light up (please use quality paper and ink! No black and white on copy paper! And use your own words because she will be able tell if you got someone else to write it! Seriously- she’ll know!). No kidding! If you keep your money in your pocket (at least for the first three months) and are truly caring, genuine and are willing to give of yourself, the gbw won’t be going anywhere. In fact, too many expensive dates and presents early on will make the gwb suspicious that you are using the gifts as a deflection to keep her from seeing the darker parts of your personality, that you are bartering for sex, or that you have no common sense.  In any case it turns them off.

Sharks, on the other hand, are the insecure sisters who have tons of daddy abandonment issues and are very concerned with how much money you happen to have on hand. They don’t want just some of your money. They’re going to want all of it. They will lie and manipulate to get it. To them, you’re not a person, just a walking ATM. They have no problem bartering their bodies for money. Opening your wallet and giving too much, too soon is like jumping into the ocean with a severe laceration. Within moments the sharks will be circling. So after three months, if you seem like a dry well, they’re gone and they’re not looking back. Don’t get upset! Just be thankful.

The next important thing to remember if you want to attract a gbw is to be honest and genuine. The gbw just wants to get to know you. She doesn’t have ulterior motives. She just wants to see if you’re the person God has made for her. Any kind of swag or false persona will be a turn off. You have to know who you are. If you can’t turn off the gangsta personality, or conversely, if you can’t turn off the ‘white guy’ accent, you won’t be able to win her. (By the way, you can speak standard English without that stupid phony accent) If all you know how to talk about is money and material things, you’ll bore her. She’s also not impressed with who you know. Name-dropping will be a turn off. Game playing is another turn off. In fact, if you try that Tom and Jerry, tit for tat – ‘I can make you love me, more than I love you’ nonsense, you will lose her: permanently. And if she catches you in a lie that won’t sit well either. The gbw is up-front and expects you to be upfront, as well. She wants to know what you like, what you dislike. She wants to know how you feel about the important things in life (i.e. how you feel about God, your moral values, how you see the world). The gbw wants you to get to know her as well and not just her body or her assets.

Sharks on the other hand don’t give a rat’s behind about you. They’ll do whatever they have to do and be whatever they have to be to get you in their clutches and subsequently have access to your cash. Whatever you project is just what kind of shark you’ll get. If you’re ghetto, you’ll get some hood-rat diva. If you’re projecting bougie, you’ll get some bougie gold-digger. Sharks don’t care if you’re not genuine because they’re playing a role themselves.  To them it’s just part of the game. Sharks love name-dropping because then they can see if there are some other dudes in your circle that might be a better catch than you. They will then use you to get to that ‘better catch’. It also helps them to see if they can get a connection to advance their career aspirations (if they even have any). Sharks can talk for hours about frivolous things like cars, vacations, brands, celebrities, and other inane topics. I even knew this chick who could rap for hours about sneakers, and you didn’t have to respond to her to keep the conversation flowing! How can anyone waste so much thought on something so trifling? If it was her vocation, like if she made or sold sneakers for a living, I could understand, but a whole hour-long sermon about SNEAKERS!!! I can see talking to someone for hours trying to convince him/her to drop a drug habit. I can see hours being spent to discuss how to help a kid who is struggling in school, but SNEAKERS!!! You could leave the room, and she’d still be talking: about SNEAKERS!!! Anyway – Sharks also love playing games because they love drama. You can do all kinds of evil stuff to them and they’ll just keep coming back. Do you know why? Because they love to see themselves as those women you see portrayed in contemporary black films: the poor, forlorn, betrayed, abused, black woman. They like playing the martyr and using the sympathy card. Some will even purposely provoke you to try to get you to do something to them, and then tell people about what a bad guy you are. Case in point: I have seen women who will start punching on a brother without any provocation. She doesn’t even bother to tell the dude she’s angry let alone why! Then if the man so much as holds her hands to restrain her, she wants to call the cops and take out a restraining order. Then when the guy goes to jail, she runs down in tears to bail him out.  Sharks are crazy! If you get involved with one she’ll make you’ll wish you were dead. Seriously.

If you want a gbw, you need to watch how you treat a woman. The gbw sees herself as God sees her: a creature made in his image that is His temple. As such, she’s not going to allow you to treat her any ‘ol kind of way. Cursing, yelling, hitting will drive a gbw away in seconds. Rudeness to her or even to others is a turn-off. When she see’s you cursing out some dude because he bumped into her, she’s not impressed. She’s probably thinking ‘How long before he turns that nasty attitude my way?’ When you sit there on the train, even though you see that pregnant woman standing in front of you, a gbw’s radar goes off. At the same time, she’s going to be nice to you. She will have praise for you when you’re doing good and constructive criticism when you’re not (She will never say anything like ‘you ain’t ****!’). She has respect for you. A gbw knows how to support her man in public, and disagree in private. She cares about you. All those little things you do for her that matter, she’s willing to do for you in the same way. Gbw’s won’t cheat on you. If they’re not feeling you anymore, they’ll just break up with you. It might hurt, but you gotta respect the honesty. A gbw has standards and because she has standards she’ll have your back. Oh- and just so you know – you’re gonna have to put a ring on her if you really want her. I can hear some of you like “Aww, man. C’mon!” But really, think about it. When you go to the store to buy a soda, do you want a fresh full bottle or one that several of the employees in the store have already drank from?

If you want a shark, it doesn’t really matter how you treat her. She’s going to hang in there until she gets the cash or whatever she’s looking for. Some of them (the really crazy ones) just want a man by whatever means necessary. You don’t really mean anything to them. You’re just a cipher and they just transpose whatever fantasy they have onto you. Should you decide to leave, they might moan about it, but in a matter of weeks or even days, they’ll have another brother in your place, transposing the same fantasy onto him. Sharks have no standards. Some will be ready to take it to the sheets within moments of meeting you. I’ve always felt that if you’re willing to lay down with a woman like that then you should be just as willing to drink from the toilet. In both cases, everything you could imagine has probably been in there already. Sharks will live with you indefinitely without commitment. They are willing to settle for the title of ‘baby momma’ rather than hold out for ‘wife’. A woman who has no standards doesn’t care about herself. Now some brothers misunderstand the term ‘standards’. Having standards is not the same thing as keeping yourself up. There are a lot of women in designer clothes, looking absolutely beautiful, and smelling good, but they have no standards. They just don’t value themselves. They don’t believe that who they are in and of themselves is good enough. A woman like that can’t be trusted to have your back. They’re willing to play nice as long as they can get what they want, but the minute things don’t go their way you’ll hear “you ain’t ****!” because they’re projecting how they feel about themselves onto you. Trust me, if a woman doesn’t value herself, she can never value you!

In addition, if you want a gbw, you’re going to have to learn to be vulnerable and put her needs ahead of your own (when warranted). You’re going to have to know how to say “I love you” and mean it. You’re going to have to learn how to be intimate without having sex. You’re going to have to be patient and commitment-minded. You don’t have to do any such thing if you want a shark. Such women see sex as merely a gambit that they use to gain leverage in the relationship. No intimacy is involved. Now I know a lot of you are like “I don’t know, that sounds like a lot of metro-sexual, sensitive-brother mumbo-jumbo.” Look, I’m just keeping it real. If you want a real down-to-earth, loving sister, who doesn’t play games, you’re going to have to bring it and be real. If you want to keep things superficial, if you want to parade around like ‘the Mack’, you are free to do so, but when the sharks come, don’t say I didn’t tell you so.

The last and most important way to get a good black woman is to be a good black man. “Opposites attract” is one of the most worn out clichés I’ve ever heard. It’s also only applies to magnetic poles. Most of the time “like attracts like.” You say you want a woman that’s cultured. Ask yourself if you’re cultured. You say you want a woman that’s trustworthy. Are you trustworthy? You really want a woman with a slammin’ body. Do you have a slammin’ body? You want a genuine sistah? Are you a genuine brotha? You can’t attract what you’re not. So if you want a good black woman, but you’ve got a lot of issues, you’re going to have to do a lot of work on yourself first.

Trust me, if you follow the guidelines I’ve outlined above, you will get a good black woman. Now those of you who are used to the sharks will go through a withdrawal period, because when you stop engaging in those unhelpful dating behaviors, and hanging out in your usual spots, you’ll think there aren’t any women left because the gold-diggers will stop coming. Don’t be alarmed. It’s better to go through a season with no fish than to get fish you don’t want. If you wait a little, you’ll see that you will start attracting good black women in hordes. You’ll wonder where they all came from!

I’d like to give a word to those who want to opt for women of other races based on their hatred of Black women. To these misguided brothers: If you’re attracting black sharks, you’ll attract white sharks, Chinese sharks, Puerto Rican sharks - it doesn’t matter. You’re just more willing to put up with their crap because of their color or the status you think their color affords you. Remember if you hate yourself, you’ll only attract someone who will never love you. To any ladies reading, believe me when I tell you, I’ve seen many a brother suffering in the torment of his own creation, thinking women of the other races and cultures were somehow ‘better’. Trust me, there are guys out there who wished they’d never done it. Lot’s of them. When you choose a mate based on color rather than genuine affection, you will always lose.

So in closing, what attracts a salmon will never attract a shark, and what attracts a shark will never attract salmon. If you’re a sistah and you’re reading this, I want you to know the same thing goes for you, too. If you want a good black man, but you keep getting’ burned- check your bait, then check yourself. Peace.

Lawrence Cherry is the author of the smash hit Christian novel Commencement.  Get your Copy today!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Not this Sh*t again! Thoughts on The Halle Berry Baby Mama Drama part 3

I did not want to write this article. But here we are again.

After enjoying a wonderful thanksgiving meal, Shawn sits down to his computer to check his e-mail and the news on Yahoo!

And low and behold he finds out that….Halle Berry strikes again.

On Thanksgiving day, Gabriel Aubry returns Nahla to Halle’s home to spend the holiday  with her Mom. As he’s about to drop her off in the driveway, here comes Halle’s newest man, Oliver Martinez with his Captian-Save a-Hoe cape on. With his chest stuck out he tells Gabriel Aubry to move on. Gabriel being Nahla’s father takes offense to that. A fight ensues. Both men wind up in the hospital. And Gabriel Aubry, Nahla’s dad winds up getting arrested for assault.

It’s clear to me what happened. I’ve seen it a thousand times here in the South Bronx. Baby Mama doesn’t like baby daddy. So while her child is out spending a day with Dad, she tells New Man a bunch of lies about baby daddy. When baby daddy comes home he’s confronted by New Man in his Captain-Save-A-Hoe cape and Mickey Mouse galoshes. A fight usually ensues while Baby mama smiles in the background knowing she has a new SIMP she can control.

Halle Berry is the puppet master. And she’s pulling the strings of both these guys.

Only they don’t know it.

Halle Berry’s master plan is to discredit Gabriel Aubry and make him look like a bad guy. So when she goes back to court she has evidence to prove that Gabe is unfit to be a dad.

I’ve seen this happen to too many brothers on my block. The woman makes him out to be out to be a monster in court and then she gets sole custody and a nice fat child support check.

That’s if Mr. Simp doesn’t kill baby daddy or Baby Daddy doesn’t kill Mr. Simp. That’s happened a lot here in the South Bronx too thanks to Ratchet Hood Rats playing these manipulative games with men’s hearts and using their kids as pawns.

Now I thought this hot mess would be over after Halle Berry got her ass whooped in the White Man’s court system. I thought she’d learned her lesson after Gabriel Aubry dropped the full force of America’s White Supremacist court system on her.

But it looks like Halle hasn’t learned her lesson after getting her ass whooped in the White Man’s court system. After the ruling where the judge told her she couldn’t take Nahla to France she took a trip down to the sewer, wrestled some alliagtors and plotted this new strategy.

I think Tonya Pinkins needs to talk some sense into Halle Berry before she goes down her road of self-destruction. One more trip in the White Man’s court system and she may wind up losing her daughter, her fortune, and wind up on welfare like Ms. Tonya Pinkins did back in 1994 when her White man divorced her. As I stated before, these bullshit games she’s used to running on brothers like Eric Benet and David Justice will NOT work on a White man in the White Man’s court system.

Now some people were shocked by this turn of events. But it didn’t surprise me. In fact, I knew it was coming after the judge’s ruling. It’s par for the course with Halle Berry’s vindictive behavior.

Here’s the deal with women like Halle Berry: When they can’t get their way, they escalate things. And they keep escalating things until they get their way.

After getting these two dudes to fight, I wouldn’t put it past Halle Berry to accuse Gabe of molesting Nahla in the future. Remember, this woman operates in the sewer and will bring up the nastiest shit to shame people into going along with her position.

Now a Real Man like myself would have seen that turkey of a Thanksgiving stunt coming a mile away two weeks after a court ruling. He would have had a nanny or one of his staff drop his daughter off while he stayed in the car. And he would have had two or three handlers with him toting iphone cameras to record her safe return. That way he avoids a confrontation with New Simp Oliver Maritnez.

It’s clear to me Gabriel Aubry needs to learn some game. He needs to watch Tariq Nasheed’s videos and read his books. He needs to listen to The Iceman Show on Blogtalk radio. These are men who are experienced in the game. They know that the game is chess, not checkers. And they know how to be 10 steps ahead of a ghetto Hood Rat like Halle Berry.

Halle’s ghetto tactics are easy to beat. And the best way to deal with a Hood Rat he’s got to stay on the high road. When a man stays on the high road people can look down at her and see her in the sewer covered in filth before she tries to throw it up at them.

Manipulative women like Halle Berry love to play on a man’s emotions and get them to react. If she can get him to get emotional like Gabriel did with Oliver Martinez and start fighting, she’s pulling the strings. Her whole game is to get a man to join her in the sewer and start flinging feces back at her. When she’s allowed to pull the strings for long periods of time, she can turn the tables on a man to make herself into a victim and use the power of peer pressure to shame the man into backing off from his position.

Now cutting the strings will be hard. But it can be done.

These kinds of women will do and say anything to get a response. But a man has to toughen up, man up and stand his ground. When she starts mouthing off a man has to ignore her.

It takes two to fight. And fighting is how she maintains her power.

The silence will drive her CRAZY. She’ll launch into profanity laced tirades, make terroristic threats, Even threaten to kill a man.

However, while staying silent, keep the recorder of the iphone on. All of this is evidence that can be entered into court.

When she sends her Simps like Oliver Martinez out to “defend her honor” Fight back by having handler s on hand. The White Knight will back away knowing he’s outnumbered. Moreover, a man has witnesses on hand to tell what really happened. That way it’s not just your word against theirs.

With a little skill, the game can be flipped on ratchet chicks like Halle Berry. And flipped so well that she’s made to seen as the ghetto Hood Rat that she is.

Gabriel Aubry has to learn how to maintain his position as a man. If he truly loves his daughter he has to stand up for her until she’s old enough to stand up for herself. Nahla didn’t ask to be born into this situation, but here she is. And Dad has to be strong in the face of a crazy baby mama like Halle Berry if he wants his daughter to grow up to be a happy healthy woman.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Isis: Amari's Revenge Chapter 2

 My body aches with each step as I stumble through the tunnels under the palace following the lamps up the stairs into the main hall of the palace. I just hope I can make it back to my quarters before I pass out.
I have to admit that was a pretty bad beating; I felt myself blacking out quite a few times. Most men would probably have died taking forty lashes two days in a row. It’s a miracle I got through today’s beating in one piece; God has to be with me. I know He says to turn the other cheek; but I don’t know how many more slaps across the face I can take. Sure it’s heaping a ton of hot coals on Amari’s pretty little head when I smile after enduring one of her whippings, but all I think I’m doing is adding fuel to her fire. I don’t think she’s going to be happy until I’m dead.
I don’t know what Amari’s problem is with me. Ever since she came here two years ago, she’s been jealous of me. I don’t know why, I mean, I’m nobody. Just a slave. Help. She’s the Princess of Nubia betrothed to wed Prince Ammon. If I had all that I wouldn’t care about the goings on of a lowly servant like me. I’d be too busy wearing the finest gowns and getting grapes fed to me-
I’m halfway across the corridor when I hear footsteps rushing behind me; I’m knocked off my feet as I’m tackled to the ground. It’s not Sammet or his brother Sammel; my attacker is smaller and much lighter than the burly twins. It seems Amari isn’t through with me yet.
Amari screams in a furious rage as she slaps me across the face again and again. My eyes grow wide as I catch the blade rising in the moonlight. I gasp as she plunges it towards my heart. They grow even wider when I feel the cold steel blade shatter against my chest.
The shocked look on Amari’s face makes my night. “Guess they don’t make em’ like they used to Princess.”
“Demon! You’re a demon!” She yells.
More like she has the devil in her. And I’m so mad now I’m ready to rebuke her. In the instant where she’s caught off guard, I swat the broken blade out of her hand. It flies across the courtyard and lands in a corner. A hard shove sends the princess flying halfway across the hall onto the tiled mosaic floor.
Moonlight from the windows shine on the handle of the broken blade; Amari sees the weapon and her eyes grow wide. She crawls towards it; I grab at her and I’m kicked in the face. In that moment, she gets to her feet. She sprints for the blade; I race behind her. Before she can get halfway to it I grab a handful of her raven hair and get her in a headlock. As we wrestle, she claws at my hands.
“Whips do not break your flesh, knives do not cut through your heart. What kind of creature are you?”
I’ve been trying to figure that out for some time now. I thought all the changes I was going through was me just becoming a woman. But I’ve been doing more than growing taller and getting breasts these days. At first I thought it strange when I didn’t have a flow of blood every month like other women. But they started really getting weird over the last two years when I started being able to run faster than cheetahs, lift more than Sammet and Sammel combined and move more nimbly than our best acrobats and wrestlers. I’ve done my best to keep most of these changes a secret; but now that she knows about them she’s sure to have me killed.
“Y’know, I was gonna ask you the same question.”
An elbow catches me in the gut and Amari slips out of my grasp. She’s about to start running for the knife again, I grab at her and get another elbow in the face. She frantically rushes across the hall and trips over her own feet. Desperate to get the weapon, she crawls on her hands and knees; and lunges to grab at the blade. She practically craps herself when she sees me standing in front of her with the broken dagger in my hand.
Amari clutches her chest as she catches the look in my eyes. “By the gods! You are swift as the wind!”
“You’d be surprised what people can do when someone’s trying to kill them Princess.”
“Now I understand why your mother named you after the goddess.”
I catch the cold look in her dark brown eyes. “Yet you’re still unrepentant.”
“Do you mean to smite me goddess?” Amari mocks.
It takes every iota of courage in me to resist that temptation. I may be just a slave, but I’m not a murderer. That’s a line I refuse to cross. While I have my issues with the Princess, I’d never betray the kingdom of Nubia. I’d give my life for my King.
I stick the blade into the pillar next to me. “The God I serve says turn the other cheek. To forgive. Even you.”
“Then you’re a fool for serving such a god.” Amari snarls as she gets up. “I’ll have your head on my mantel this night.”
I get anxious as I see Sammet, Sammel, and the other royal guards approaching. “You said you’d rather die than be subjugated by me. You’ll have your wish this night goddess.”
The Royal guards catch Amari’s cold eyes. “Take her to the dungeon.” She orders “And tell the executioner to sharpen his axe.”
Amari rushes up to me as the guards brush past her. “Let’s see if your neck can break the blade of an axe the way a dagger breaks against your heart.”
Sammet and Sammel are about grab me when a voice calls out in the distance.
In the moonlight, I make out the lean sinewy silhouette of Prince Ammon. The tall handsome bronze colored man dressed in a white linen kilt and gold jewels steps into the moonlight. He gestures and the twins let me go. I gaze into his deep brown eyes and my heart races. If he goes along with her, I’m a dead woman.
“You’ve gotten yourself into quite the mess little princess.” Ammon teases. “Striking a member of the royal family is a serious offense.”
This from the boy who I used to beat up when I was seven. “You wouldn’t happen to have a royal pardon on you right now?”
Ammon puts his head down. “Unfortunately in this situation I don’t little princess.”
Guess I’m going to be with my Lord at the ripe old age of seventeen. “Sammet, Sammel, Take Isis back to her quarters. Guard her until I come to receive her.”
“Yes my Prince?” The twins say.
Sammet and Sammel flank my sides as we walk down the hall to the servant’s quarters. My heart races in my chest as I’m taken to bide my time before I meet the executioner.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Isis: The Ultimate Fight Chapter 2

I smile tightening the last of the bolts down the on the intake manifold of my 1969 Mustang convertible. After a year of tinkering I think I’ve finally got this engine the way I want it.

I slam the hood shut, wipe my hands on a towel, and hurry over to the door. Anticipation builds inside me as I get behind the leather driver’s seat and reach to turn the key. When I hear the engine purring strongly, my smile grows into a proud grin. I finally have my dream car back!

I catch a star shooting down out of the sky in my rearview mirror. It looks like one of the gods is coming to visit me. I’m hoping it’s Anubis, thanks to his help I’ve finally got this engine running back at top form.
I turn off the engine, hop out of the driver’s seat and stroll out onto the driveway towards the cooler where

I’ve got bottles of juice chilling. “Hey Nubs, I got the Mustang running-”

Okay, that’s not Anubis.

When my guest appears out of the flash of light I’m met with the cold crystal blue eyes of a red haired olive skinned stranger wearing a one-strapped short toga dress that hugs the curves on her statuesque body. I think tall, strong, and exotic looking took a wrong turn on the way to Olympus.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Isis: Amari's Revenge Chapter 1

91 A.D.
The sound leather smacking against flesh echoes in the bowels of the dungeon of the Nubian Royal Palace. As I march through the corridors and hear her cries I smile. Perhaps this beating will finally break that streak of insolence in that annoying slave.

I wanted to have her sent away a year ago when I first came to the royal Palace. But to my chagrin she has the favor of Prince Ammon and King Ammet. To them, she’s practically like family, maybe even more to the Prince. The way he looks at her it’s clear he has eyes for her. He says she’s just a friend, but I know they’re much more than that. Even though I’m betrothed to be wed to him, I know his heart is with her. In time she could take my kingdom with her charms. I’ll kill her before she gets a chance to do that.

I turn the corner and rush into the hall near the jail cells. Anticipation builds inside me as I look out at the limp body of Prince Ammon’s favored servant stretched out between the posts. In the torchlight I make out the red streaks of welts going across her the golden skin of her soft back. When I brush back her sweat soaked chestnut hair and catch the look in her brown eyes, she gives me that annoying smirk that makes my blood boil.

“Hey, Princess, is that all Sammet’s got?” Isis teases. “The thirty-fifth lashing just didn’t have the same spark as the first-”

I seethe with rage as the back of my hand swats across her cheek. She isn’t fazed by the blow. That light is still in her eyes. What will it take to break this slave?

Isis continues to smile at me as I glare at her. “Forty lashes for serving you soup on the left instead of the right. What’s next Amari?” Isis continues. “You cut off my arm for turning down your bed on the wrong corner tonight?”

I look over at the dagger on Sammet’s twin brother Sammel’s hip. I’m tempted to thrust the insolent bitch through for her smart mouth. But if I kill her she’ll become a martyr. Too many of the king’s servants and soldiers are fond of her.

“Sammet give her forty more lashes!” I demand.

Sammet peers down at the welts on the weary woman’s back and shakes his head. “I will beat her no more.” Sammet says.

“My hand swats across the tall burly man’s cheek. “I order you to beat her!”

Sammet doesn’t back down from his position. And his twin brother seems to be supporting him. “Princess, the punishment has been meted out.” Sammel says.

“If you don’t beat her, I will make sure you get forty lashes!” I order.

“Princess, forty lashes would kill a strong man. It’s a miracle from her God that Isis endured such a beating two days in a row.” Sammet continues. “To beat her any further would kill her.”

“And the king would not be pleased if we killed his favored servant.” Sammel adds. “To the Prince Isis is like a sister and to the king like a daughter.”

And to them she’s like a friend. I wish I could cut her throat right here. “Untie her!” I hiss.

Sammel unties the ropes from Isis’ wrists. As her bonds loosen, Sammet catches the girl’s limp body as she falls and lets her lean on his muscular shoulders. “Isis, are you okay?”

I suck my teeth at the sight of them comforting her. The gentle way they treat her it’s like she’s the princess of Nubia and I’m the slave.

“I think I can make it on my own Sammet.” Isis replies catching the forlorn eyes of the servant.
“But you took forty lashes-”

Isis pulls out of Sammet’s grip and staggers to her feet and smiles at him. “Forty lashes?” She jokes. “I barely felt them. Are you sure you’re not losing your touch Sammel?”

The men perk up at the sight of her smile and share a laugh with her. “Perhaps I need to work on my technique.” Sammel retorts.

“I told you it’s all in the wrist. There’s no blood on my back is there?” Isis says turning around.
Sammel’s eyes take their time going down the slender servants’ shapely back. “There never usually is.”

“I guess I’m tougher than I look.”

My hands clench into fists as Isis pulls up her dress, puts her arms through the straps and smiles at me. “Is

that all you’ve got Amari? Or do we go do this again tomorrow?”

She knows she’s got me. These days it’s getting harder and harder for me to get the guards to follow my orders regarding her punishments because they sympathize with her. But I have to break that insolent spirit of hers before I wed Ammon. It’s the only way I’ll have control over the palace.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to wipe that smile of your face.”

Isis smiles proudly as she looks me dead in my eyes. “You can have Sammet here give me fifty lashes, a hundred lashes or even a thousand. You can even take that whip and beat me yourself. But you’ll never

break me. I’ll die before I ever let that happen.”

Isis takes a deep breath and pulls herself together. As she shuffles around the corner my hands clench into fists. As long as she lives she’ll have their favor. She’ll have their respect. I’ll never be able to reign over them as Queen.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Isis: The Ultimate Fight Chapter 1

The roar of the crowd reaches a crescendo as I throw a right cross that connects with my opponent’s cheek. When the blow sends her crashing to the mat of the Octagon, I roll my eyes. The best in the world. She barely lasted five minutes with me.
I hear them chanting my name as she catches her breath. My eyes meet hers; she’s on the brink of tears. I thought the world’s best female MMA fighter had a stronger resolve than this.
“I-I give up.” She pleads pounding on the mat.
Give up? I won’t be denied the satisfaction of my victory. “You know the rules.” I tell her. “The match is over only when one of us is no longer standing.”
As I hear her whimpers, I give her a smile, grab a handful of jet black hair and pull her up. She staggers about as I hold out my thumb to the crowd in the neutral position. “FINISH HER! FINISH HER! The crowd chants.
Thumbs down it is.
I catch her eyes before delivering an uppercut that sends her flying across the Octagon. The arena explodes in cheers as her broken body falls in the center of the ring.
When my opponent is defeated, I look up at the audience and soak in the cheers of the crowd. As I raise my arms in victory the cheers turn to chants of my name.
The door of the black chain link cage opens and announcers and paramedics rush in. While medical technicians tend to my latest victim, the announcer smiles proudly before he speaks to the crowd.
I look out to my loyal fans and hear their cheers one last time before stepping over my former opponent to march out of the cage through the hall into my dressing room. My heralds, Apollos and Sirius my step out of the room and stand guard outside in the hall as I close the door behind me. I quickly strip out of my fighting gear and streak into the shower. As hot water rains down on me, I hear a knock on the door. It must be someone important for Apollos and Sirius to allow them to disturb my shower.
I throw a terrycloth robe on and hurry to the door. I’m greeted by the bright white smile of the manager of my mortal business affairs Cleavon Jackson, and the president of AFC Enterprises Mark Green. They’re probably here to celebrate my latest victory. I’m still looking for the challenge they promised me. Twenty-four opponents in and none of these women have given me the fight I’ve been looking for.
“Man, we cleaned up tonight Nemi!” Cleavon says “Sold out the arena and made close to a million pay-per-downloads online!”
Big deal. I’ve made close to a hundred million dollars from these contests and millions more in revenue from side bets in the underground and offshore gambling circuits. Another million dollars in the bank doesn’t mean anything to me.
“Man, the crowd was hot! Mark says. “They just exploded when you delivered that uppercut to Carano! I’m hoping they’ll be just as hot when you take on Cyborg next month-”
If Carano was the best in the world, then it’s a waste of my time fighting Cyborg. Carano barely lasted five minutes; I doubt Cyborg goes three. No, I need more challenging competition. “Is that the best the mortal world has to offer?” I snarl.
“Nemesis, these are the best fighters in the world-” Mark says.
“And I beat them with ease.” I snap. “Mark, you promised me competition when I entered this sport. I’ve yet to see it.”
“Well, it’s not like we can go out and find some goddesses for you to fight.” Mark says. “You have to take what we can get.”
“And Cyborg provides a big payday for all of us until we get to that opponent.” Cleavon interjects. “We can get $2 million for this fight.”
Two million isn’t enough for me to fight Cyborg. In the past I’d participate in such a contest to just to maintain their livelihoods, but no more. I need more challenging competition. “You’re wasting your time pitching her to me Cleavon-”
Mark looks at Cleavon then at me. “Are you holding out for more money?” Mark snarls.
Before I can answer the question, a flash of light explodes in our eyes. We’re greeted by Hermes, the messenger of the gods. I roll my eyes. What does Zeus want now?
“What do you want Hermes?”
“Zeus wants you back meting out retribution.”
Not this again. “I am meting out retribution. Just one opponent at a time-”
“He means in the world. Too many mortals are getting away with evil-”
“These female MMA fighters are filled with a lot of hubris. I humble them by beating them.”
“Technicalities.” Hermes snarls. “Must you continue to go on this mad quest Nemi? It’s getting kind of old-”
“I won’t stop fighting these mortals until I find the opponent who gives me the fight I’m looking for.”
Hermes huffs a sigh. “If it’s competition you seek, then I know just the woman who will give you a challenge. Isis of New Heliopolis, the goddess of Retribution.”
“That’s just a myth. The Sword of Nubia doesn’t exist-”
“A common misconception. The goddess lives. And she’s quite the fighter. Take a look at the vengeance she meted out on these mortals.”
Hermes gestures and the television screen in my dressing room lights up. A montage shows her murdering foe after foe with her bare hands. The mortals dressed in hoods and white sheets fall before her bloody assault with ease. Now this is the opponent I’ve been waiting centuries for.
“Where is this goddess?”
“She lives on the Island of Solitude in the South Pacific. But lately she’s been hanging around New York City. Specifically the Harlem area.”
I gesture my hands. A flash of light explodes around my body and changes my bathrobe into my one-shouldered short white toga dress. I can’t wait to meet my next victim.
Mark grabs my arm. “Hey, where are you going?” Mark asks.
“To issue a challenge to my next opponent.” I say disappearing into a flash of light.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

R.I.P Hostess Foods

Hostess Foods, the famous maker of Wonder bread, Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and Drakes Cakes went out of business today. Over 18,500 people lost their jobs.

And the sad part was it was preventable.

Business wise, Hostess had been in trouble for the past decade. In the snack aisles of supermarkets and the racks of grocery stores they faced stiff competition. Products from manufacturers such as Lance, Bimbo, Little Debbie and Entemann’s all offered customers a better selection for a much higher value per dollar than Hostess.

Here at the bodegas in the Bronx, A two pack of Hostess Cup cakes cost $1.59. While a pack of Lady Linda or Mrs. Freshley’s Cupcakes cost 75 cents. A pack of Little Debbie Cup cakes cost 99 cents.

I personally watched those cheaper items move faster than the higher priced Hostess products when I’d go to the bodega or the supermarket. At the one store on 170th Street where I saw single-serve Hostess products on the rack I’ve seen their products warm the rack while the Little Debbie and Lady Linda snacks flew off the store shelves.

A 75 cent pack of cupcakes will sell to the afterschool crowds faster than a $1.59 pack of cup cakes. Especially if they taste just about the same.

And on the family Multi-pack section of the Supermarket Hostess faced even stiffer competition. A $4.29 pack of Devil Dogs couldn’t compete with Entenmann’s products at the same price.

Nor could Hostess compete with many other local fresh supermarket bakers like Two Forks at A&P’s PathMark and the fresh bakers at places like Fairway and Whole Foods. Their baked goods blew the doors off anything Hostess had to offer in terms of taste and texture.

Why buy a dry, greasy single-packed Hostess Twinkie, devil dog, or Hostess cup cake for $1.59 when you can get a better tasting fresh scone, cinnamon roll, or a Black & White cookie from a place like Fairway or Whole Foods for $1.79? Why buy a box of bland-tasting spongy gooey Twinkies for $4.29 ($2.79 on sale) when you can buy a whole Entemann’s cake for the same price or even $2.99 on sale? Or pick up a whole fresh-baked cake from a supermarket for $2.99 on sale?

Nor could Hostess compete with big-box retailers like BJ’s, Target, and Wal-Mart. Target’s Market Pantry Brand offered fresh snacks like Cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookies for a much lower price per unit than Hostess’s bland product. And BJ’s and Wal-Mart offered house brands for a much more competitive price-per unit than Hostess. I’ve seen cinnamon rolls at Target at $3.39 for a pack of 8 while the same Hostess Cinnamon rolls cost $3.58 for two single serve packs. And the Target rolls were fresh, fluffy and aromatic, while the Hostess rolls were heavy, gooey and coated in greasy icing.

And Hostess couldn’t even compete with box cake mixes like Duncan Hines. Why pay close to five dollars for 8 tiny Twinkies when you can buy a box of Duncan Hines brownie mix, cookie mix, or cake mix for just $1.49 on sale and a can of frosting for $1.79 to go with it? Why buy a box of Hostess cup cakes when you could make your own cup cakes with the same crème filling with a box of Betty Crocker Fun Da middles for $1.99?

And if you’re a really creative home cook why buy Hostess when you can take that same box of Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker cake mix and make cool stuff like cake pops, filled cup cakes or other super cool gourmet treats from scratch with the help of a silicone pan or one of those plug-in electric cake makers they could get mail order or at a place like Bed Bath and Beyond or Macy’s?

That stiff competition from local fresh bakers and other pre-packaged competitors, and even home cooks was the main reason Hostess went into bankruptcy in 2004. And the main reason why it was stranded in a second bankruptcy in 2012. Who needs a Hostess or a Drake’s cake when there were just so many cheaper and better options available to consumers?

In both the single-serve and the family sized sections of the snack aisle, people had more choices. And they chose to buy other products rather than Hostess’. At retail, it was just a bloodbath.

And Hostess was getting slaughtered.

The Hostess product was on the cusp of obsolescence. But the Bakers Union didn’t understand that. They still thought they were fighting the evil Management of the 1960’s and 1970’s instead of a changing snack-food industry.

Out of touch with the transpirings of today’s business world, the Bakers Union thought it was a smart idea to go on strike during the second worst economic downturn in U.S. history. Not understanding that two similar strike attempts against food service companies ended disastrously just recently.

In 2009 union restaurant workers went on strike against New York’s Tavern on the Green. The restaurant was bleeding red ink, but the union workers demanded a raise.

A few weeks later Tavern on the Green closed its doors putting over a hundred people out of work.

In 2010, Union workers went on strike against a financially struggling cookie maker Stella’ D’oro. They demanded raises even though the company was in the middle of financial dire straits. Like Hostess, Stella D’oro wasn’t doing well at retail. Like Hostess, they faced stiff competition from Voortman, Archway, Pepperidge Farm, local bakers and even pre-packaged products like Pillsbury.

By mid 2010 the owner sold the Stella D’oro brand to Lance Foods. And Lance moved the manufacturing of Stella D’oro cookies and breadsticks to Ohio. The famous Stella D’oro plant in the Bronx shut down and over 150 people lost their jobs.

Worse, two years after the Stella D’oro plant closing almost NONE of those workers found new jobs to replace their old ones. Most of the former Stella D’oro workers are struggling to make ends meet while the former Stella D’oro plant location has been demolished.
A BJ’s Wholesale club will be opening on that site soon.

Offering the people in the neighborhood lower-wage non-union jobs with no benefits and no job security. Most will barely make anywhere from $11- $13 an hour.

So much for unions protecting job security.

In all three cases Management asked employees to take pay and benefit cuts to help sustain a dying business. Pay and benefit cuts that would have sustained these struggling companies for another decade while they figured out how to compete in a changing baked goods marketplace.

In response to that request Instead Union workers went on strike not understanding that times have changed. In their old eyes it was still 1970 and they were fighting against “evil” management.

Nor did they understand that a pay cut meant they still had a job in tough economic times. 92% of a year’s salary for a year is better than 100% of unemployment for 26 weeks.

Most of the Union bakers didn’t understand how they fucked up their retirement and the retirement of their fellow Teamsters. Most of the Hostess workers had been there for over 20 years. And most of them were in their mid to late 40s to early 60s.

Older people with next to no skills and an education level of just a high school diploma. Like the Stella D’oro workers who lost their jobs two years ago, their chances of enjoying their retirement are now slim to none.

Just like their chances of re-entering the work force are now slim to none. Those 18,500 people are unemployable.

No company is going to hire a middle-aged former factory worker when they can get culinary school graduates with better skills at half the price. With their oncoming health problems and other issues, such as being old and set in the way they were used to doing things at their previous company, they come into any new workplace as a liability instead of an asset.

The sad truth is that the Bakers Union struck all the Hostess employees right out of their jobs with their selfishness and their greed. If they had just compromised with Hostess Management they could have kept the company running for another 12-15 years.

Enough time for all those older workers to retire and collect their pensions. Enough time to allow Hostess to come up with a way adapt its obsolete business model and reinvent its obsolete products for the 21st century.

The saddest part of Hostess going out of business was that it was preventable. All it took was a little compromise from both sides.
And the efforts to create new products and new markets. The world of snacking has changed so much in the last 20 years. And the 1930s products Hostess was offering like Twinkies, Ding dongs, devil dogs and crème filled cup cakes couldn’t compete in a 21st Century world of cake pops, biscotti, mini-Bundt’s, and gourmet cup cakes.

While I lament the loss of Hostess Fruit pies, Chocodiles, Wonder bread, and other products that were a staple of my childhood and adult life, I feel really bad for the 15,000 people who lost their jobs. Families who will wonder how they’ll make a living. Families that’ll wonder how they’ll pay the bills. Families that may wind up homeless. All because a union couldn’t compromise and Management couldn’t adapt to the changing world of business.

Sometimes you have to make a short-term sacrifice to make gains long-term. As my father used to tell me, a little something is better than nothing. I wish the Union workers at Hostess could have been around to take his advice.