No Good Deed – A Movie Review

MovieNoGoodDeedI love me some Idris Elba and big up to my girl Taraji P. Henson! Both starred in and executive produced the latest thriller out this weekend – No Good Deed.  Sidebar:  It makes me so proud to see minorities in lead roles and in executive producer positions no less. Any step in that direction is a step up. So of course, you know I had to go and support.

Now on to the review: I don’t know whether I expected too much or what but this one didn’t deliver everything I imagined.  Of course, like any thriller it moved slowly to build intensity and unfold the story line.  And yes, there was a certain amount of suspense, great acting, good cinematography, but it initially fell short.

An escaped convict named Colin (Idris Elba) drags Terri (Taraji Henson) around scene by scene. Oh, she gives him a run for his money, but he doesn’t kill her.  It makes the audience wonder what’s going on.  You soon learn that it’s part of his torture and part of his plan.  He wants her to see what he knows.  It’s his final act in his own crazy drama, except it doesn’t quite end the way he wants it too.  (You should know by now I do not give away the juicy stuff in my reviews.  Nah.)

But remember I said that it initially fell short?  At the latter half you get a surprise that is worth waiting for.  The screenplay’s formula is not new or original (and maybe that’s part of the problem), but No Good Deed does give a fresh appeal to an old-as-time story line.  So it redeems itself to some degree in the end.

So how would I rate this movie? I expected a great movie, but it was only a ‘good try’ of a kind of movie.  Not bad, just not great.  It is currently number one at the box office (an estimated 24.5 million domestic gross on a 13.2 million budget). If you go see it, write me and tell me what you thought about it.

Ciao!

Playing ‘The Game’ – Are Office Politics Always Bad?

Woman Throwing Paper Airplane at CoworkerEveryone hates a brown-noser, a backstabber, and a suck up.  Usually these terms apply to people who do things – no matter how unethical – to climb the so-called corporate ladder.  But what about those of us who want to advance, are very good at our jobs, but are somehow stuck?

The short answer is to overcome being afraid and put yourself out there.  After doing a little research on this subject, I learned that we all play the game, we all get involved in office politics – some more than others and for different reasons.  For example, one day you see a great, new position has opened up and is now listed on the job board at work.  This is what you’ve been waiting for.  What are you going to do?  You may call someone you know in HR that can tell you more about this job.  They not only give you the 411 about the position, but they let you know how many people have applied so far and how you stack up.

You inform your current boss (who has always encouraged advancement) that you’re interested in this position.  He is excited for you and promises he will personally put in a good word for you as well as write a letter of recommendation if necessary.  You wouldn’t say no to this offer, would you?  You just played the game.  So you see, it’s not bad or evil based on if you play but how you play.  In other words, no dirty tactics allowed.

4 Things You Don’t Do to Win

  • Don’t take sides – Focus on the business.  Steer both parties back to the middle.  This move will build trust.
  • Don’t take it personal – Remember negative behavior on your part will only hurt you in the long run.
  • Don’t think you know or understand before you really do – Be a good listener.
  • Don’t think I must win at all cost – Try instead to go for the win-win for both sides, even if both sides have to compromise a little.

4 Things to Do to Win

  • Network – both above and below you.
  • Get a mentor – someone you respect.
  • Initiate something fun at your workplace.
  • If you lack courage, work on that.  Learn to speak up.

Crazy People and the Things They Say and Do

I love the way crazy people get away with saying or doing what they want, when they want, and sometimes to whom they want.  Crazy can be bad, sure.  Look at Charles Manson.  That’s bad crazy all over.  But then, from some types of crazy come the most amazing words, films, art, and deeds.  Lastly, some crazy brings on just more plain old crazy.  I’ve listed some examples below, you decide.

Chris Rock

Chris RockI think comics as a rule have to be a little insane.  Come on, who gets up in front of masses of people and says, I’m gonna make you laugh?  Not only that, but I’m going to talk about me, you, and your fat wife you’re sitting next to but we are all gonna laugh about it?!?  Well, Chris Rock is one of those rare breeds and he is good…albeit a tinch crazy. This is just one of his brilliant quotes that I like listed below.

“You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America’s Cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, Germany doesn’t want to go to war, and the three most powerful men in America are named ‘Bush’, ‘Dick’, and ‘Colon.’ Need I say more?”

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg

JohnKelloggDr. John Kellogg helped to change breakfast way back in the 1800’s.  At this time only rich people could afford a “good” breakfast while the rest was stuck with porridge.  Dr. Kellogg changed that with two words:  Corn Flakes!

The good doctor had one weird obsession though:  masturbation prevention.  To which he claimed caused serious health problems like excessive hair loss, excessive hair growth, blindness, nausea, insanity, and cancer to name just a few.  To prevent masturbation, he advocated special dieting, circumcision (and not at birth mind you), and everything from special genital contraptions to electric shock therapy.  Talk about weird science.

Nikolai Tesla

TeslaThis man invented many, many things.  Just to name a few, the AC, the induction motor, wireless technology, the radar, and robotics.

His crazy?  Can you say OCD?  Not just washing hands, but a number three obsession to the ‘enth degree.  For example, when he entered a building he had to walk around it three times.  He had to have nine napkins at dinner, because nine was divisible by three.  His hotel room number had to be divisible by three as well.  And, of course, he counted all of his food before he ate it,  and hated dust or anything round or metal.  Wow.

Andrew Jackson

andrew jacksonOld Hickory.  Twern’t called that for nuthin’ ya’ll.  Yes, he was the seventh president, fought and won battles, reduced the national debt, and caused important structural changes to political systems at the time. 

But in our time, Old Hickory would have easily been called the Terminator.  Why?  He was shot at (and hit) so many times that he probably jangled when he walked.  Good thing the musket was a historically inaccurate gun.  But it landed enough shots in him that he coughed up blood on a regular basis.  And the name “Old Hickory?”  Dude carried a hickory stick and whoop tail at a drop of an eyelid.

Crazy self.

 

Ebola Virus – Three Things You Need to Know

featured-bacterial-infections-101The Ebola virus has resurged and become all but an epidemic in parts of West Africa.  As of this past July, as many as 60% of the infected with the virus has died in this recent bout.  But if you are like me, I was oblivious as to what Ebola really was.

MedicineNet.com defines this disease as follows:  “Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a viral disease caused by Ebola virus that results in nonspecific symptoms early in the disease and often causes internal and external hemorrhage (bleeding) as the disease progresses. Ebola hemorrhagic fever is considered one of the most lethal viral infections; the mortality rate (death rate) is very high during outbreaks (reports of outbreaks range from about 50% to 100% of humans infected, depending on the Ebola strain).”

Additionally, here are three main things I found out:

How it’s Contracted

The Ebola virus is native to West Africa, stemming from countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Ivory Coast, Uganda, South Sudan, Gabon, Guinea and Liberia.  This virus lives in animals, and in turn, humans can contract it from these same infected animals.  How?  The main thing to remember is that this virus can be passed on by coming in contact with body fluids of an infected person or animal.  Scientists have deduced one of the ways the virus is transmitted is from eating the infected animals.  In this case, it could be monkeys or fruit bats which are a part of the diet of West Africans.

Another way transmission occurs is by using unclean medical equipment or needles after caring for Ebola patients.  In developed countries this is very seldom the problem, but in poorer countries where funds and trained professional help is scarce, this is certainly the case.  Also, the virus can be passed on from the dead to living.  When infected patients die, those handling the body are in danger of contracting this disease if they are not wearing the appropriate protective gear.

Signs and Symptoms

The Mayo Clinic states that signs and symptoms can start as early as five to 10 days of infection.  At this point, the infected individual may start to experience:

  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Weakness

Over time, symptoms may worsen to include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea (possibly bloody)
  • Red eyes
  • Raised rash
  • Chest pain and cough
  • Stomach pain
  • Severe weight loss
  • Bleeding – from eyes; worsens toward death, coming from every orifice: eyes, ears, nose and rectum
  • Internal bleeding
  • Multiple organ failure
  • Delirium
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Shock

Cure and Prevention

Even though scientists are working on a cure, there is none at this time.  And since there is no known cure, prevention is the key.  The Mayo Clinic provides some clear-cut prevention steps:

Avoid areas of known outbreaks – if traveling abroad, check for current epidemics

Wash your hands frequently – use soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs (with 60% alcohol)

Avoid bush meat – do not buy wild animal meat while in developing countries

Avoid contact with infected people – caregivers need to take special care to avoid contact with the person’s blood, semen, vaginal secretions and saliva

Follow infection-control procedures – wear protective gear and dispose of used needles

Don’t handle remains – let specially train teams bury remains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crackhead Mentality

crackheadSoooooo, an older relative of mine had her house broken into recently.  Let’s just call her Aunt Mae.  Yep.  They came through the locked gate, the double-window, bars and the security system.

What did they steal?  Oh, a lot of her better jewelry, some of which she’ll never get back because she had them over 40 years.  But I want to get to the point of this article – what kind of crackhead gets up with the very intention to steal???  Exactly how did that conversation go?

“D’oh, ah.  You know that lady down the street?  (I’m speaking in my crackhead voice now).

She be gone at a curtain time.  So let us go down der and see wha’ she got.

But her got an alarm, don’t it?

I ‘un care ‘bout her havin’ not alarm.  We do it quick, we can beat the po-po der.  Let us just steal something quick and light.

Let us see…a TV?  Nah, nah, nah.  Dat’s too big.

A furniture?  Naw, that still to big, ain’t it?

Hmm…(crackhead is now scratching his temple).  May have to settle on jew’ry.

Yeah!  Dat’s it.  Jew’ry!  We is so smart!  She dun already pulled out the driveway.  Is we got ev’rything?  Den let’s go!”

Then, I imagine the crackheads walked down the street with their crackhead walk.  You know, the way that crackheads do.  They busy their little gnarly crackhead fingers and break down gates, glass windows and such.  They run like skinned crackheads as the alarm goes off and shuffle to where they think the jewelry is.  It’s there.  Minutes are rolling by.  The alarm is still waling and now the crackheads are beginning to sweat.

They get all they can and out the window they go.  Leaving all their little crackhead fingerprints that the officer later lifted and sent in.  What will I say to these puppies when and if they are caught and confirmed as the culprits?  Oh let’s see, what comes to mind?  Oh what name can I call them or will roll off my lips that will wrap up my emotions as well as my Aunt Mae’s?

You.  Crackhead.

Interracial Dating

interractialInterracial dating and marriages have increased substantially according to The USA Today.  In fact, an article entitled, Census Shows Big Jump in Interracial Couples, posted April 2012 in the same online magazine stated, “Among opposite-sex married couples, one in 10 (5.4 million couples) are interracial, a 28% jump since 2000. In 2010, 18% of heterosexual unmarried couples were of different races (1.2 million couples)…”  Wow.  That’s a big change.

This move has caused a lot of dialogue as you can imagine.  In the last few years I have read more than enough articles on the subject.  The following is just a few I can personally recall:  I can’t find a man within my race so should I date someone who is not black?  Why do black men date white women? If I date a white man, does it mean that I, as a black woman, am turning my back on the brothers?  I have heard all the reasons and rationales – some hate-tinged, some not, some skittish, and some bold as brass.  But you know what I’ve concluded?  Grown people are going to do what they want to do.  Others may or may not like it, love it, or agree, but once a strong, intelligent person has made up his or her mind, there it is.

Really, the fact that there is a rise in interracial relationships should not be surprising at all.  We live in a technical world; it is ever so easy to reach out to a person, who under normal circumstances, you would not have the opportunity to do so.  That’s what the technical world of the internet does – it opens up opportunities for those who are inclined to take them.  So many barriers that once separated people are just not a problem at all – language, distance, culture or race.  Let’s talk about Facebook, Myspace, Instagram, Twitter, Flicker, Pinterest, Tumbler, and just good ol’ email.

But then there’s the other side of this coin to consider.  My coworker and I was talking about how people will put more time into buying a particular automobile than they would getting to know a person that they intend to marry or are dating.  This same coworker, however; was quick to point out that he knew of instances where a person married only after dating for a couple of months and they are still married years later.  Now that was a risk – even though the same is true with any marriage – we both agreed that a hurried decision like that was a bigger risk whether of the same race or not.  In some cases, the more external differences there are, the more risk factors there are as well.

But ultimately, as time and experience has shown us, managing external responses to interracial relationships are not unmovable barriers but it is something a mature person considers beforehand, knows what she is up against, and prepares herself for it.

Nappy – The Other ‘N’ Word

Pretty woman portraitI had an argument with a coworker a while back.  We both were so excited that natural hair is not just a trend with many black people, but for many of us, it seems to be a part of our way of life.  But here’s where the disagreement came in:  she said black people’s hair is not nappy.  It’s tightly coiled and actually curly.

OK, I agree that it’s tightly coiled and curly. But how about that’s exactly what the Merriam-Webster online dictionary lists as one of the definitions of the word nappy?  And I quote, “Nappy, adjective, of hair:  having many tight bends or curls.”  See, that’s how we get into trouble as humans, we either use words or stop using words thinking we already know their meaning and don’t.  Further, you can turn any word or phrase into something ugly. It’s all in the way you use it.

For example, Ms. Jealous walks up to Ms. SheGotItTogether and says, “You think you look good.”  See what I mean?  Now, because of one small-minded person, looking nice or being confident seems wrong. I can even remember when I was much younger when one of my older brothers wanted to hurt my feelings they would say with a snarl, “With yo’ blllaacck self!”  My feelings would be so hurt!  But of course after a while I came to the realization that I am black so why should this word hurt my feelings so?  The hurt was gone.

This is true of any word that has been misused to degrade another.  And it doesn’t just start and end with race.  It goes on to include gender, cultural issues, and on and on.  Additionally, it doesn’t always come from people who are different from us. Sometimes they are family members like my oh-so-young and immature brothers.  So what can we learn from this?  What will we do when people (who may be black themselves) call us nappy-headed?

Claim it, what else?