Category Archives: Culture

What’s New In Reading: Sunne’s Gift by Ama Yawson

Sunnes Gift - Ama Yawson - maneman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week instead of offering you some of my latest weekly obsessions, I wanted to spotlight a new book that I have recently discovered, Sunne’s Gift by author Ama Karikari Yawson.

This past weekend when I spoke at the Locs Revolution organized #LocdandLoosed event, I was fortunate enough to run into the book’s authort.  She was kind enough to give me a peek into her book and the powerful messages inside.

Sunne’s Gift is not only about the power of natural hair, but it’s really an allegory for self-acceptance.  Inspired by her own son’s challenges with bullying, Yawson created the story of Sunne, a young girl who wears a big, beautiful fro.  Because of that, she’s isolated from the other kids (who,in this case, happen to be her spiritual siblings).

Aside from the main message of the story itself, I was inspired by Yawson’s use of natural elements in the novel.  To me, it shows the value in the earth and the universe’s elements while delivering this incredibly powerful message of living your truth and embracing who you are.  On top of that, Yawson also created an entire section at the end of Sunne’s Gift that focuses on children’s comprehension and personal development. The discussion questions and personal reflections prompt, in my opinion, some really great dialogues among family members which makes Sunne’s Gift a standout book for children.

Yawson even indulged in an impromptu reading at the Loc’d and Loosed event and her energy was palpable.  This is someone who is very passionate about her work and addressing the issues of bullying and culturally responsive education. She’s a force to be reckoned with.

If you would like to purchase Sunne’s Gift, please visit Mascot Books. The book retails for $19.95 and is also available via Amazon.

 

Real Talk at #LocdandLoosed

locdandloosedeventbrite

Hi everyone!  Today, I wanted to share with you an upcoming event that I’ll be participating in this upcoming Saturday, December 13!

Locs Revolution’s Niyya Tenee has helped put together this wonderful natural hair event aimed at connecting the natural hair community and giving us the opportunity to have some fun AND talk about the real issues behind being a part of the community. We’re going to get into some deep issues and you’ll see some demos and other awesome things going on.  It’s definitely not to be missed!

locdandloosed

It’s all going down in NYC on Saturday, and I’ll be featured on a guest panel of creators and natural hair enthusiasts as we delve into “the issues” in the natural hair community.  We’re talking about identity, loc’d hair, fros and all!  I think it’s going to be great and I’m excited to share my perspective as a mental health professional to the conversation.

Tickets are limited so if you’re in the NYC area and looking for something cool to do Saturday then meet us on 27th street in Manhattan at 28 W 27th Street studios.  Only digital tickets are being sold online at locdandloosed.eventbrite.com and cost $20. Tickets are sold online only so don’t miss out.  I hope to see you there!

 

Book Review: Jack Icefloe Jackson’s Romance for Men

jack iceloe jackson pandora's boxRomance for men? Well, sort of. This book (I can’t bring myself to call it a novel) is the brain child of Hollywood writer/producer Dean Lorey and is not for the faint of heart.

Romance for Men: Pandora’s Box is without a doubt, the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read. The book follows the author, Jack Icefloe Jackson, on his journey to save the world. Yeah, really.  Jack is tapped by President Obama to “meet with” Pandora  before her infamous box destroys the world.

But what exactly makes this book “romance for men”? Well, Jack Icefloe Jackson only ever has one thing on his mind, which is also central to his mission, ironically. The book is graphic, distasteful and completely inappropriate. It’s pretty much what you might expect from a book that refers to itself as romance for men.

The book’s genius lies in its satire and ability to make even the filthiest of guys uncomfortable at times. I was even a little weary of reading it on my daily commute because even the cover is just so…Icefloe.

Chances are that if you don’t like being politically correct (or embrace that part of yourself) you’ll likely enjoy what Romance for Men: Pandora’s Box has to offer. It’s definitely for mature audiences only and would probably make the perfect gag gift for your buddy on his next birthday. Admittedly, I reluctantly say that it am a little curious as to what Jack Icefloe Jackson encounters on his next journey in “SUCKubus”.

For more depraved, explicit and horrifically inappropriate stuff, you can visit icefloejackson.com.

Disclosure: A sample copy for review was provided courtesy of the book’s publishing and marketing team for the sole purpose of this review.

A Must Read: Super Performing at Work and at Home by Dr. Robert Cerfolio

super performing at work and at home cerfolio

Dr. Robert James Cerfolio is a well-known cardio-thoracic surgeon who has performed numerous life-saving surgeries throughout his career. In his book, Super Performing at Work and At Home, Cerfolio takes us all on a journey to become our best.

As a young man, Cerfolio grew up in a highly competitive environment that encouraged achievement and hardiness. This perspective served him well as he grew into a young man and an all-American baseball player.  He studied hard in college as pre-med student and went on to become a surgical resident at one of the world’s most renowned centers, the Mayo Clinic.

His life has not been without hurdles, however.  In his memoir, Cerfolio details some very trying surgeries that tested his ability to perform in the operating room.  As laypeople, we often forget that surgeons are not actually miracle workers or angels, they are highly skilled humans with full lives outside of those operating room walls.  By taking a journey with Cerfolio in this book, it’s clear there are many significant bumps in the road.

From mentally taxing surgeries to wavering confidence in times of stress, Cerfolio shows us that those same skills of relaxation and visualization that helped him perform as an all-American baseball player are highly transferable skills to the operating room and to his family life.

In Super Performing at Work and at Home The Athleticism of Surgery and Life, Cerfolio gives us a peek into his techniques to helping him become, and maintain, his status as a super performer.  Some of my personal favorites tips are:

  • “controlling your breathing

  • visualizing yourself from different viewpoints

  • engaging in positive self talk

  • recalling previous success

  • staying in the present

  • and seeing each moment of the challenge as a new opportunity” (forgetting the past moments of both failure and success)

Super Performing at Work and at Home starts on page 1 with Cerfolio detailing one of the scariest times in his life, his wife being operated on for breast cancer.  

Throughout his book, Cerfolio takes us in the depths of his family’s struggle with Lorraine’s health concerns as well as other powerfully pivotal moments in his life.  After reading, I almost feel as if I too am a apart of his family, watching his achievements in surgery and coping with his families triumphs and tragedies.

When I was initially invited to review this book, I was unsure that I would like it.  Reading about a highly skilled surgeon who also happened to be a national-class athlete definitely was not something that I thought I could find real interest in.  Somehow, Cerfolio managed to capture my heart on his journey and I have the feeling he will capture yours too.  Along the way, you will gain valuable insight and inspiration on how to be and live better in a world that constantly brings up challenges and obstacles.

Super Performing is available via River Grove books and retails for $16.95.

Disclosure: This review was sponsored by River Grove Books and a sample copy of Super Performing at Work and at Home The Athleticism of Surgery and Life was provided to me at no cost.  All opinions listed herein are my own and have not been influenced by the post’s sponsors in any way.

Weekly Obsessions 7.17.14

It’s time for Weekly Obsessions!!!!

First up, I was riveted when I came across this first video.  Here you can view Tom Thum, armed with just a microphone, delivering some of the best beatboxing work I’ve ever heard.  This is a clip of his TEDxSydney talk from 2013.  It is a little long but it’s well worth the watch!

A friend on Facebook shared the news that a group of 8th graders had recently been signed to Sony Records.  The metal band, Unlocking the Truth, is unique because of their age and their race. This group of young black men are doing what they love and showing people that stereotypes are lame all at the same time. Watch this performance of them in Times Square on 6/23/13.  Also check out their Facebook page too!

What’s in a Book: Mascupathy

mascupathy-book-cover

Written by two psychotherapists, Mascupathy: Understanding and Healing the Malaise of American Manhood is a deep look into the modern male psyche.

If you’re an academic and interested in masculinity and gender studies, chances are Mascupathy is a book that you’re definitely going to be interested in.  In our current U.S. culture we see the ways in which men have difficulty navigating the world, whether it’s an inability to express ourselves without violence or finding new ways to excel at work, there are definitely challenges we all face on a day-to-day basis.  This is precisely what makes Mascupathy relevant as a book.  What if this perspective could have helped prevent violence if addressed early enough?

What I like about Mascupathy is that it views some of these difficulties, not as inherent character flaws, but more as an effect of socialization and environmental feedback.  Modern masculinity is challenging at times and I would venture to say that all of us at some point experience difficulty navigating the waters.  But, authors Charlie Donaldson and Randy Flood have no interest in making men out to be bad guys and recognize that difficulties exist on a continuum.  And better yet, they do provide insight into how we can be more responsible men in in modern times.

The book lands at 158 pages but certainly packs a hefty punch at only $14.95.  You can learn more about what authors Charlie Donaldson and Randy Flood think about mascupathy at their website for the Institute for the Prevention & Treatment of Mascupathy at www.mascupathy.org.

Disclosure: A review copy of Mascupathy: Understanding and Healing the Malaise of American Manhood was provided courtesy of the authors and Wilks Communications.

Book Review: Richard A. Clarke’s STING OF THE DRONE

Sting of the Drone

With 30 years experience in the national security business, bestselling author of Against All Enemies, Richard A. Clarke recently released his latest novel STING OF THE DRONE.

Clarke’s latest novel is comprised of an incredible amount of technical detail which makes for an amazingly realistic, and urgent novel. STING OF THE DRONE drags you into its timely story line in spite of its heavy use of technical jargon at times. It’s clear that Clarke is an expert in the business of national security.

I have to be honest, something like STING OF THE DRONE is not something that I would normally be interested in, but Clarke’s writing is compelling and balanced enough on the topic of national security and the use of drones in STING OF THE DRONE that it kept me engaged and chugging along with his characters.

The cast of characters is interesting and one strong positive about the novel is that the characters offer have a balanced perspective on the pro-drone side while those labeled as “terrorists” have a decidedly different perspective on the U.S.’ use of drones.

Full of action, accidents, loss and regrets Clarke’s STING OF THE DRONE offers a lot at under just three hundred pages.  It’s clear that Clarke has a profound knowledge base from which he draws and is likely able to project his own complicated thoughts on drones and nationals security in his novel’s characters.  For someone interested in national security, it’s a must read and for the curious reader STING OF THE DRONE offers a casual foray into territory we only hear about in the news.  No matter who you are, however, the novel is incredibly relevant to our times and presents an inside look into how the United States’ tries to keep its constituents safe.  STING OF THE DRONE is now available in hardcover for $25.99 via St. Martin’s Press and Thomas Dunne Books.

Check out Richard A. Clarke on Democracy Now earlier this month.  His portion starts around the 13:40 minute mark.

Disclosure: St. Martin’s Press provided a review copy of STING OF THE DRONE for the purpose of this review.

Happy MLK Day!

Like many of you I’m spending my MLK relaxing but I also think it’s important to take a moment of reflection to honor one of the most significant figures of the 20th century, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from MLK:

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for the law.”
– Letter from Birmingham Jail

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
-Strength in Love

Weekly Obsessions 12.18.13

If you’re looking for a good laugh this week then you may want to check out the series of videos Cell Phone Crashing by Mediocre Films on YouTube.  The clip below was my first find and obviously I found myself watching others in the series too.  I don’t know how this guy keeps a straight face through all of this.  Check it out!

If you’re a fat kid foodie like me, then you’re going to love my next obsession.  A few months ago, I was visiting with friends in Brooklyn and discovered Mike’s Hot Honey.  This stuff is INCREDIBLE! If you dig honey and love something a little spicy then you will likely become as obsessed with Mike’s Hot Honey as I did.  The product is basically chilli infused honey and is made locally in Brooklyn, NY.  It’s absolutely delicious and to be honest, if I could put this on everything, then I definitely would. Life hack, add a little cayenne pepper to honey for a quick substitute…it’s awesome with friend chicken or chicken nuggets!

Mikes Hot Honey
Mike’s Hot Honey

Unless you’ve been living under a rock then you know that late last Thursday night the internet exploded with one word, “Surprise!”   Beyoncé   herself set social media on fire with a surprise launch of her newest album, “Beyoncé” which features 14 songs and 17 videos.  According to ABC News on 12.16.13, the album sold 878, 773 copies in just three days, crushing Taylor Swift’s previous record of 617, 213 for 1st week album sales. Incredible!  Check out the video for the must-loved hit “Drunk In Love” (NSFW):

Weekly Obsessions 11.25.13

Hello all!  Today I’m sharing with you a new blog post series called Weekly Obsessions!  Check out this week’s favorites which include a little music, a little style, a gift and a little bit of sports news.  Get into it!

Since winning the NBC show the Sing Off back in 2010, a cappella group Pentatonix has continued to re-imagine pop songs with a unique sound and incredible vocals. There newest album PTX Vol. 2 is currently on repeat on my iPod and has been for a few weeks now.  Check out their Save the World/Don’t You Worry Child mash-up that has been playing incessantly in my head this week:

 

Del Toro shoes are unique, stylish and just freaking cool man.  I haven’t gotten my own pair just yet but Del Toro is a brand that takes risks which is really nice to see.  Check out these new men’s Silk Blend Bamboo Alto Chukka Sneakers.

Del Toro Bamboo Chukkas
Del Toro Men’s Silk Blend Bamboo Alto Chukka Sneaker

New York Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez has been in the midst of arbitration hearings for alleged PED use (performance enhancing drugs).  Last week, after hearing that the MLB commissioner was not going to be a part of the hearings, ARod basically lost his marbles and threw a bit of a man-trum.  Hear the audio below for the full (impromptu) interview with Mike Franseca where a candid ARod dishes on what happened.  PS IT’S GOOD!

And in the event you’re still looking for a gift for the amateur chef in your family check out this new spice subscription service called Spice to Meet You.  Here’s a video of the company’s founder jazzing up a burger (insert drools here…).