Valentine’s Day: Sun and Moon

My fortune in the wife department runs deep.  I am endowed beyond category.

Like the sun, she is the star that illuminates my solar system.  The star that gives light to the planets and moons that revolve around her.  She warms me.  Keeps me grounded.  Keeps me dreaming.  She is at the center of it all.

I am like the moon, dark and mysterious.  Moody and in need of anchoring lest I float aimlessly without light, searching for gravity and synchronicity.

The star of my galaxy
The star of my solar system

Like the moon, I appear bright on the surface, luminescent without cause.  My sun is the reason I shine.  My sun is the reason I continue to revolve and evolve into something greater than what I was.

While there are billions of suns in the galaxy, my sun shines brightest of them all.  She provides the light by which I see and the warmth by which I am nurtured.

Today is a day that I celebrate my sun, the star of my solar system; the one that shines brightest in the galaxy.

May your sun shine as brightly on this Valentine’s Day.

Throw Back Thursday: Stoner Shaggy

You remember this dude and his “meddling friends and dog” don’t you?  Let’s face, what they didn’t show us kids on screen was that this chicken-hearted, lanky, slacker was a first class pot head.  As evident by his insatiable appetite and chronic munchies.  And what’s worse is that his dog suffered from second-hand smoke.  He too had uncontrollable munchies.  Created in 1969 by Hanna-Barbera Productions, the Scooby-Doo cartoon and franchise has enjoyed significant longevity.  It’s not because of the cuteness of Scooby or the interesting, spooky mysteries that the teens solved each week.  I think it’s because a lot of us wanted to be Shaggy.  Or was it just me?  You kind of secretly wanted to lay around, solve a few mysteries, smoke weed, and eat anything that wasn’t nailed to the table, didn’t you?

Shaggy always had the munchies
Shaggy always had the munchies

We should have predicted then that marijuana would move from counter-culture nuisance to mainstream recreational activity.  We aren’t quite there yet, but the movement is growing and gaining steam.  Cannabis prohibition began in the 1920’s and was heavily regulated as a drug in the mid 1930’s.  Today, 23 states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books legalizing marijuana with Maryland, Minnesota and New York joining the ranks in 2014.

There is no real point to this post other than to say that Shaggy was harbinger of the socialization of marijuana in mainstream America.  Shaggy was the star of the show.  I can’t even tell you the other dude’s name.  He was flat and insignificant.

Side bar:  I was always more attracted to the bright and nerdy Velma than I was the pretty Daphne.  Not sure what that says about me other than I like smart, nerdy women.

Velma & Daphne
Velma & Daphne

It will be interesting to see how our culture continues to evolve around the legalization of marijuana.  Perhaps one day in the near future, some brave city will erect a statue of Shaggy, or Cheech & Chong or Jeff Spicoli or Smokey from Friday or Jeff Labowski or Harold and Kumar or…

Throwback Thursday – Petey Greene

Legendary broadcaster Peetey Greene
Legendary broadcaster Petey Greene

I thought I would take this Throwback Thursday opportunity to also recognize Black History Month because A) it is February and B) I’m too lazy to create two separate posts.  And since I am posting about achievements in Black History, I thought I would focus on my own industry – radio.

There have been some outstanding broadcast pioneers, trailblazers if you will, to come out of the black American experiment.  The “black DJ” was an integral member of the black community since the late 1940’s.  Not so much today given cross-over formats and corporate consolidation.  But back in the day, there were some true gems in the business.  Cats like Jack “The Rapper” Gibson, Rufus Thomas, and Jocko Henderson held daily parties in the studio and invited listeners in with their fast-talking, hip-talking lingo in the 1940’s and 50’s.  But by the 1960’s, things began to change.  The social conscience of black America gave the black DJ a platform from which he could speak directly to the community en masse, and with some authority.  That’s when cat’s like Petey Greene changed the game.

My hometown had its own stars like WEBB's Ron Pinkney
My hometown had its own stars like WEBB’s Ron Pinkney

Ralph Waldo Greene, Jr’s start in radio actually began in prison in the early 1960’s where he served some time as the prison DJ.  The charismatic high school dropout manipulated his way to an early release in 1966.  In the summer of ’66, Petey started his professional career as a DJ at WOL AM in Washington, DC with the Rappin’ With Peetey Greene show.  Unlike the trailblazers before him, Petey broadened his repertoire beyond popular music and included controversial subjects like race and politics.  And the people loved him for it.  Loved him for “telling it like it is”.  They loved him so much that his popularity elevated him to the television broadcast game.  He won two Emmy’s for his Petey Greene’s Washington TV show. Petey had the gift of gab.  He demonstrated how wit and charisma could move people to action, and in the case of the 1968 riots in Washington, DC, move people to inaction.  The human voice, amplified by radio, encourages sodality and community.  This is what he showed us.  He demonstrated the power of voice and the power of radio.  His life was chronicled in the film Talk To Me starring Don Cheadle.  Worth a view if you haven’t seen it.  And now…this moment in black history…is brought to you by Petey Greene:

The Road to 50: Heat Check

Limp Noodle

There’s a term that sports announcers like to use when referring to a shooter’s hot streak – the heat check.  The reference relates to the next shot that a shooter takes to test just how hot he/she is.  I too have a “heat check”.  It happens when I reach for my wife Angela under the covers to see if I can generate a physical reaction.  An equipment check if you will.  A good portion of the time, I am less interested in intimacy at the moment and more interested in the equipment appearing in good working order.

Virility is a major concern of men over 50.  We are far more concerned with having strength, stamina, energy, and a strong sex drive than we are in the degradation of youthful appearance.  The heat check, for me, is a way to gauge my virility.  Lately, I find that recovery from vigorous workouts is taking a bit longer, my energy is down, and I think about sex far less than I ever have.  And I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t a concern.  This is my new reality.


It’s a concern of many men but we just don’t talk about it.  When men talk about sex, the conversation is full of half-truths and gross exaggerations.  Rarely does the discussion center around issues or concerns.  I had a recent conversation with a friend who shared some of the same concerns and described experiencing similar psychological and physiological changes.  It was comforting to know that I wasn’t alone in the journey.

The saying is that men think about sex every 8 seconds.  While that claim has never officially been proven or disproven, I can guarantee you that it is a lot.  At least in our teens, 20’s and 30’s.  My friend pointed out that if we had focused our thinking and directed our energy on other things rather than the thought and pursuit of sex, we might be brain surgeons or astrophysicists today.


When the fellas get together to talk about sports, their golf game, careers and family life, here’s what we are NOT talking about:

Andropause – the male version of menopause.  Yes, there is such a thing.  Also referred to as “aging male syndrome” (AMS), andropause happens roughly the same time that women experience menopause: somewhere between the ages of 35-70, but most commonly experienced in the early 50’s.  In its simplest form, AMS is the decrease of the male hormone testosterone.  Symptoms include a loss of energy, lower sex drive, decreasing strength and endurance, mood changes and erections that are less strong.  All difficult things to discuss with your homie.  I can imagine the conversation, “Hey Joe, how’s it hanging?”  “These days it’s hanging low and a little depressed.  How about you?”  Crickets.

Erectile Dysfunction –  While not a direct result of aging, impotence can come with age due to increase risk.  It can be caused by mental, emotional, or physical factors.  It can also be a side effect of certain medications or excessive drinking.  Concerns about developing ED could lead a man to perform the occasional “heat check” on his wife.  How do you even start a conversation about this with another dude?  It’s easy actually.  Just ask. “Yo, how’s your sex life these days?”  And hope that he is completely honest with you.  According to the National Institute of Health, 5% of 40 year-old men suffer from ED.  So if you’ve just finished a full-court basketball game with the fellas, bring up the issues of ED, and they all say there is no issue…the shortest person on the court is lying.

Attachment – Here’s an interesting one.  Apparently, as testosterone levels decrease and oxytocin levels stay the same, men tend to attach more to their partners after sex.  Testosterone can drive sex and interest in sex while oxytocin (the love hormone) is responsible for bonding partners and children.  A 2012 study that increased oxytocin in monogamous men found that they were attaching themselves more to their partners after sex.  So the conversation after shooting hoops goes something like this, “Yo, want to grab a brew or something later?”  “Naw man.  I think I’m going to stay home and cuddle.”  Crickets.

Recovery time – It used to be that the amount of time that you needed to recover for round two with your babe was about 15 minutes or so.  That was in your 20’s.  According to the Male Health Center, the “refractory period”, the time it takes to achieve another erection, can take 24 hours or more for men in their 50’s.    But if you’re like me, you don’t even want to think about it until next weekend any way.

The Premie – A University of Chicago study showed that 31% of men in their 50’s experience premature ejaculation.  There are two primary reasons for this: anxiety and penis-centered sex.  Penis-centered sex puts more pressure on the male organ than it can handle.  Actually, that sounds kind of fun, huh?  Anxiety comes with concerns over performance.  The pressure is daunting and can lead one to “fire one off” well before he or his partner is ready.

The possibility of interesting and helpful conversation exist if we would assiduously share our experiences and concerns with one another.  One thing’s for sure, I’m not telling you mine unless you tell me your’s first.