The Barber Shop

A barbershop philosopher/theologian talks about religion, current events, and issues concerning black america

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Great Site!

I stumbled across this site on a Cocoa Lounge thread and thought it was excellent. I had to add it to my favorites list. Visit it often and educate yourself.

Here are two reports that really caught my eye.

Big, Easy Money

This is a report about corruption in the Katrina cleanup.

Iraq After Halliburton

The title speaks for itself.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Summer is Over!


The summer is over. I guess it's time to get busy again. I've got a lot I want to talk about but I need to do some reading up first. It's going to take a few days to get into the swing of things but I promise I'm back for real this time.

I think it's cool that you guys keep checking my sight. I must admit I never expected to have regular visitors but I'm glad you've found my thoughts interesting.

More real soon...

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I’m Back!

I got to do a little traveling and finally made my way to Vegas. We had a good time but I’m glad to be home.

Lately I’ve been growing more and more cynical about the state of our news and disinformation. I hate being lied to and manipulated and I feel like that is exactly what’s happening with this Lebanon situation.

First of all I believe this current crisis is simply part two of a larger offensive being waged by the United States of Israel. Afghanistan and Iraq were part one, Palestine and Lebanon are part two, and Iran and Syria are clearly going to be part three. The propaganda machine is in full production. You hardly see stories about Iraq anymore and you would think Israel was at war with Iran right now if you watch the right news stories.

One thing that keeps killing me is when the news networks use Jewish experts to explain the Lebanese position, as if they could be unbiased. The other day my wife and I watched a news program on this conflict where every guest was Jewish. What kind of garbage is that!

Also, when is the last time you heard about Palestine. One supposed kidnapped soldier and Israel is dismantling a democratically elected government. This whole situation is criminal.

The Bush administration and Israel and proving that barbarism is alive and well in the west. Nothing is going to come from their efforts except more and more bloodshed and war. They have ushered in a new age of conflict that will take decades to clean up.

In this new age the Unites States has said to the world that strength is the only thing that matters. For a prime example of this look at how we are dealing with North Korea, a country with real weapons of mass destruction. We attack and oppress the weak and negotiate with the strong. What kind of America are we living in???

I ‘m going to write about this for my next few posts because I gotta get it off my chest.

More later…

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

About Marriage…

Marriage is a mutual commitment to a set of ideas, love, selflessness and respect being chief amongst them.

Before I can talk about anything else I have to talk about partner selection. At its baseline your relationship needs to be easy and enjoyable. Being with your partner should feel natural and pleasant. Your communication should be open and free flowing. Your going to face tough challenges together, some that might threaten the marriage. If your spouse is work to be with in the good times, they will be unbearable in the hard times. Life is hard enough without setting yourself up for misery.

It’s also important to choose a partner that shares your values. The longer you’re together the more this will become important. If you don’t share similar values you’re going to have friction that will build up over time. I’m not saying you need to be clones but you need to share enough values as to not conflict with each other very often. If you’re a saver and your partner is a compulsive spender, you’re going to have friction. If you want to serve Christ and your partner thinks it’s a bunch of B.S. you’re going to have friction.

One more thing I want to say about partner selection. Don’t think you can change them. If you’re thinking about marrying someone, you need to determine whether you can live with him or her just as they are today. What if they never change? Most people don’t really change that much. If they get on your nerves now, you will want to kill them in a few years.

Also, there is a reason why I haven’t mentioned looks. Looks are icing on the cake, but not the cake itself. Good looks can’t make a relationship last, and they can’t make it enjoyable over the long run. Sooner or later you have to come to terms with the person behind those good looks and love them too. The problem with looks as a basis for relationship is that looks only conger up emotions, and a marriage needs more than some warm feelings to be successful. Now if they happen to look good and you respect them and they’re easy and fun to be with and you share similar values, then more power to ya because you’ve hit a home run.

Many people enter marriage doomed to failure because they commit themselves to their feelings. Doing this I a terrible idea because feelings are fickle and come and go. Marriage is a shared commitment not a feeling. Commit yourself to the principles of marriage. Build into one another and help and encourage one another to maximize each other’s potential and life experience.

Communication is king. You have to be able to talk about your issues together. I think communication is one of the toughest issues because men and women often don’t speak the same language. Technically we do, but in a practical sense we don’t in our day-to-day encounters. Women often speak in a coded way that men do not. Often what is said is not what is meant and honestly I’m still not very good at interpreting it. In my experience it seems all women speak this way to varying degrees. Whatever the case you both have to come together and find a middle ground where you can communicate well together. In some situations counseling might be needed to help you find that middle ground. There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help. Sometimes you can’t fix it on your own.

Another marriage killer is selfishness. If you are more committed to yourself than your marriage you aren’t going to last long and it wont be as fulfilling an experience as it should be. Serve each other, respect each other and consider each other as you walk through your lives together. My wife and I will be 7 years next month, and sometimes I have to remind myself not to take the blessing of her and the kids for granted. It’s easy to take your situation for granted, especially if it’s been good for a long time.

Marriage can be wonderful, but like all good things in life you both have to work at it and want it to be great. All relationships take some amount of work and commitment or they slowly drift and fade into the past. The next thing you know you’re saying what ever happened to so-and-so, or remember when me and so-and-so used to hang out. You can end up basically doing the same thing with your spouse even though you’re sleeping in the same bed.

Never stop dating your spouse. Never stop talking. Never stop considering your spouse’s life experience. If you both want the best for each other your walk will be more enjoyable and satisfying. Your marriage is what you make it.

Be encouraged!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Movie of the Summer!!!


This is a must see movie.

You owe it to yourself to see this movie and learn what we are doing to our planet.

Scientists warn Bush on global warming

Global Warming

Summer Slump

I would like to apologize for not posting in a while. When I finished this past spring’s semester at school I guess I kinda exhaled and went into summer mode. I’ve been running after my kids, hanging out with the wife, and getting into other projects. What little typing I’ve done has been occasional posts in the Cocoa Lounge. I’ve been working on the follow up to my digging out of debt post but I haven’t been able to wrap it up.

I think what I will do is keep my posts real short at least in the summer or until I’m re-inspired to write again.

Monday, May 29, 2006

More Thoughts...

The elements that make up your body are as old as the universe. No new matter has been created since the original creation. Your body is as old as the earth, the sun, and all the stars in the sky. It's simply recycled parts (elements) formed around your spark of life.

The next time you drink a cool refreshing glass of water, think about the fact that it's billions of years old and still tastes so good.

The creativity and ingenuity of God is amazing!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Part 1: How I Dug Out of Debt

One of the best things I’ve ever done financially was reprogram my mind to keep my regular monthly expenses to 60% or less of my net (take home) income. Ideally less than 50% is best but if you can get to 60% you will have done yourself a lot of good.

Now I already know some of you are thinking I must be smoking crack to suggest something like this because you can barely pay your bills with 100% of your net income. I have to honestly say I’ve been there and I know it’s hard, but it’s not impossible and you don’t need to win the lotto.

Not that many years ago I was broke and deep in debt. I didn’t have enough money to make ends meet. My car was breaking down all the time because I didn’t have enough money to fix it properly. On top of car problems I was constantly being harassed my creditors. I often had to borrow money from friends (humiliating) to get from one month to the next. To say the least, the experience was awful.

In my defense, I had taken on some financial responsibilities I probably shouldn’t have to help a family member, but that being said, I was still responsible for most of my bad circumstances.

There were two main reasons why I ended up in so much trouble. The first reason was I lacked financial discipline. The second reason was immaturity. I lacked the wisdom to know when I was taking too much on. There is a lesser third reason I will talk about next post that has to do with a funny thing people do when they’ve hit hard times to keep themselves there.

Before I move on I would like to recommend a small book I read back when I was in trouble called
THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON. It influenced me a lot and helped change my life. As a matter of fact, I liked the book so much I use to buy copies of it to give to people I cared about.

Moving on… As I said before I lacked discipline and I knew it. Because I knew I lacked financial discipline I chose to accept this about myself and tried to do things to work around it.

If you haven’t been blessed with the gift of discipline or no one has whipped it into you, don’t lie to yourself and think you can all the sudden be disciplined. YOU CAN’T!!! You have to acknowledge your deficiency and treat it like a mental illness. You also have to be honest and admit that you made a string of decisions that have lead you to the point you are at.

What did I do to work around my discipline problem?

The first thing I did was tried to stop impulse spending. At the time I had a job that had a lot of overtime available so I signed up for as much as I could and tried to stay at work as much as possible. I figured if I were working I wouldn’t have time to spend money. If my job hadn’t had overtime I would have taken a second job.

In addition to this step I would often go on spending fasts where I would deny myself certain things for periods of time in the hope of gaining more self-control.

I also set up a budget for myself with a fixed amount of spending money from each chech no matter how much more I brought home from overtime.

I set my paycheck up for direct deposit into my bank account so I wouldn’t have any cash around.

I set up a savings account that automatically withdrew from my paycheck a small amount each time I got paid. I had no debit cards, bankcards, or checks for the savings account. For some reason because the savings deduction was listed with the other deductions on the check it was easier for me to ignore it being taken out.

Growing a small savings account even if you’re in debt is important because it starts to get you used to having money around. It’s an important step in developing financial discipline.

I targeted my debt one bill at a time and used my overtime money and money from not spending to pay off my debt. As I paid each bill off I increased my spending allowance a little bit but put the bulk of the increase in my cash flow towards savings and debt relief.

I think it took about a year to erase my debt, but when I finally did I felt on top of the world.

As I said before I believe there were too main reasons why I got into trouble. The first was discipline and the second was immaturity or in other words foolishness.

I had a bad habit of biting off more than I could chew by fooling myself into believing unrealistic visions of how things would turn out. As a result I took on too much debt and too many responsibilities. I was like a small child trying to carry too many toys and dropping one with each step I took. The funny thing was I didn’t recognize this behavior in myself, a friend had to point it out to me.

Once I realized that what they were saying about me was true, I looked back over my time of struggle and realized how often I had jacked myself up by doing this. I realized I wasn’t being honest with myself about who I really was. I was making decisions based off the me of my imagination, not the me of my behavior.

Once I started making decisions based off the me of my behavior I started to make much better decisions; the book,
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People talks about this idea. I wish I had read it before I went through my trouble years but I may have learned the lesson better through my struggle.

More to come…