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:

Throwback Thursday: Innovation and Motivation

Old-school TV knob replacement
Old-school TV knob replacement

Those of us over a certain age remember this multipurpose tool as an effective replacement for the worn and broken television knob.  Yes children, televisions had knobs that were used to tune into different channels…all three or four of them.  After a few years of twisting and turning the knob too and fro, the plastic slot that fit over the tuner stem would wear and/or crack, rendering the knob itself useless.  Enter the handy set of pliers from dad’s tool box.  The tool sat on the television stand at the ready when it was time to navigate from The Price Is Right to the day-time soap operas.  I imagine those of you from families that could afford to replace the television did so in earnest.  For others like my family, we used the pliers until the metal stem of the tuner itself wore down.  The pliers, because of their multipurpose use, exist today.  The television knob…not so much.  It, as you know, was replaced by the remote control unit.

As far back as the late 1800’s, inventor Nikola Tesla described remote control technology in a U.S. Patent and Zenith Radio Corporation created the very first television remote in 1950.  These disruptive innovators endeavored to solve problems and enhance comfort and convenience.  Today, Panasonic has developed voice-activated televisions with facial recognition technology.  Tomorrow remote controls will join the TV knobs in tech heaven.

Examples of innovation and useful disruption on various scales are all around us as models of how we can and should live our lives.  A disruptive technology is one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry.  Innovation is a new method, idea, product, transformation, metamorphosis, etc.  This is all scale-able to the personal level.

astronomyCenturies ago man looked at the moon and said, “damn it, I want to go there”!  And we did.  That’s innovation and motivation on a large scale.  As artists, creators, educators, leaders, managers and contributors, we should always endeavor for disruption and innovation.  Unless your position in life requires obsequious service, you should push yourself, your craft or your organization toward transformation.  Self-motivation is the time-proven cure for stagnation.  Ensconced in comfortable positions, happy to collect a pay check or simply survive to the next day is a reality for many.  Sameness can be as comfortable as an old fuzzy blanket.  Comfortable yes, but not necessarily useful or healthy.

Motivation pushes us to achieve at higher levels, feel more fulfilled and improve overall quality of life.  People who are self-motivated tend to be more organized and have more self-esteem and confidence.  Be it intrinsic motivators like having fun, being interested or creating personal challenges; or extrinsic motivators like money, power or high marks, self-motivation can help you take control of many aspects of your life.  Take a moment to take inventory of your life.  If there is a way for you to be more useful to yourself, your employer, or your organization, do it.

TV knob

The TV knob wishes it was still relevant.  The TV knob wishes it could have found a way to be of continued service to manufacturers.  The TV knob wishes it hadn’t just hung around and waited for the remote to replace it.  Don’t be a TV knob.  Get out there and shake shit up.

Men’s Fall Fashion Trends – 2014


What does one do on a chilly 66 degree day…in August!?  He starts thinking about fall fashion.  A well dressed Hominid is a cultured Hominid indeed.  If it is too soon for you and you haven’t done your research yet, no worries my friends.  I’ve scoured the net for you and have chosen some age-appropriate trends that will get you started on planning your fresh look for the season.



This is very similar to a boot that I already own but creepers (rubber soled) were a theme that I noticed.  Comfortable and versatile, these boots will pair well with denim or a suit.


These handsome oxfords with fancy toe stitch and comfortable soles are also versatile.  Wear with denim and a blazer or a pair of wool or plaid slacks.

Tailored Pant and Layering



After a brief excursion into roomier, baggier slacks, the tailored pant is back.  The cropped bottom was a theme I noted in many fall fashion reports.  The pant is also worn with bulkier layers on top.  The model here is sporting an overcoat, un-tucked button down shirt, cardigan sweater and scarf.

Speaking of Scarfs

Big over-sized scarfs appeared on runways from New York to Milan.  Some were tasteful for men-of-a-certain-age and some were just silly.

Do this (left)


Not this



The pashmina look might work for a younger man moving about the streets of NYC but for you and I…we’ll just get laughed at.

The Roll Neck


I was excited to see that the roll neck (turtle neck) was back on the scene.  Especially living in the Northeast United States.  Go classic with a dark roll neck under a dark jacket.

The 3’s


The three-piece suit and 3-button jacket is in the line-up.  The look is far better suited (pun intended) for men over 6 ft tall.  Us shorties will do ourselves a favor by keeping the top button undone and covered with the lapel.



I read at least two reports that suggested the clean shaven look is back in.  Thank goodness because I never let my facial hair grow out.  However, if you are single and on the market, I read a study this year that suggested that women tend to find those men going against the facial hair trend more attractive.  So in seasons when beards are in, women prefer clean shaven.  When clean shaven is the norm…you get the point.

These are just a few ideas for you.  Feel free to do your own research to better define your look for Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Now go make fashion happen!

Have We Forgotten How To Have Fun?

Apes Laugh

Let’s face it. This stage in our lives can often be stressful. We have high pressure jobs that are demanding, vicissitudes in our economic situations, family responsibilities, sleep deprivation and overcrowded roads full of road-rage potential. Stress, as mentioned in my two previous posts, is a normal and damaging part of our lives.  Prolonged stress can pose significant health risks.


Your body is made to react to stressful situations in ways that would keep you safe from predators and other dangers. It releases adrenaline and Cortisol which increases heart rate, elevates blood pressure and boost energy supplies. When stressers are constant and you feel under attack, your fight-or-flight reaction stays on and your body reacts accordingly. The result can be in the form of anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep deprivation, weight gain and memory and concentration impairment. This according to the Mayo Clinic.



I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.

I’m always struck by that quote from legendary actress Audrey Hepburn because it is so true. Study upon study shows the health benefits of laughter and fun. Humor lightens our burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you rooted. We know this stuff.  It is not a new revelation. But somehow, it seems to me, that we have forgotten how to laugh, how to have fun. Our society is far more sensitive to racy jokes. Social media feeds the “gotcha” reaction to everything and anything considered not politically correct.  We are a more uptight people who need surgery to remove the stick from our collective asses.

The benefits of leisure and recreation are clear but are we taking full advantage of that knowledge? Are we having fun? Are we laughing enough?  Or do we confine it to the one or two weeks of vacation time each year? Here are a few tips to get us back on the fun train:

Maintain a sense of humor. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re an uptight bore. Take a moment to laugh at the absurd things in your life.

Spend time with friends that bring out the laughter.

Engage your partner. Avoid bitching and complaining about your ass-hole boss or your annoying office mate. Share stories about amusing things that happened throughout the day. Like the dude that had toilet paper sticking out of his pants and no one told him.

Avoid laughing at the expense of others. Aside from toilet-paper-dude, don’t be cruel with your laughter. You’ll only feel guilty later.

Watch a comedy show or movie when feeling stressed. Sometimes, you need not follow up a stressful day with The Walking Dead.

Find a funny video on line and share it. There are a million of them out there.

Act like a child. Who knows better how to have fun than our children. Have a water balloon fight in the back yard or some other messy activity.

Run around the house naked and shake your butt in the mirror. Trust me it works. But only if you are home alone. Or maybe not. You decide on your comfort level with that one.

PryorShout out to those who spent a lifetime bringing out the laughter in us all: Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Bernie Mac, Gilda Radner, Bill Cosby, John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Cheech & Chong, Don Rickles, Phyllis Diller…the list goes on.

I’d love to hear about your idea of fun. What makes you laugh? Do you have a hobby? What are your silly moments? Can you make milk spill out of your nose? Show me.

In the meantime, enjoy this funny video. It breaks the rule about laughing at someone else’s expense but, he is a dictator so screw him.


We Know It’s Coming and Still We Do Nothing to Prepare

The dreaded plateau
The dreaded plateau

You’ve been consistent with your workouts, hitting the gym on schedule, running on the hamster wheel, and you notice that the needle is not moving much at all. It happens to us every year and, for some, multiple times per year.  It’s the dreaded plateau. I’ve written about it before and, because I’m going through it now, it’s time to give it more attention.

A plateau, in fitness terms, is a performance peak. It usually happens when there is little variation to your workout. Your body gets use to your routine, your metabolism stabilizes, and muscles cease to grow.

There are a few things that you can do to shake things up a bit.

People love the treadmill, but is it getting you the results that you want? If the answer is no, consider switching your treadmill routine with high-intensity intervals. Do 4 minutes of any cardio exercise as hard as you can and then do 2 minutes of strength exercise. Repeat that 5 times.

Are you a walker? While walking is good for your health, it doesn’t help you lose much weight. Mix it up a bit by throwing in other cardio exercises like stationary bike, outdoor cycling, running, row machine, elliptical machine, stair climber etc.

If you are an early riser but you save your workouts for the afternoon and evenings, try getting your cardio in in the mornings.  Light cardio in the AM can jumpstart the fat-burning enzymes in your liver.

Check your food choices
Check your food choices

Eat healthier. You might think that you are so examine what you are putting in your body. 80% of weight loss results are based on diet.  Add healthy calories to your diet to boost metabolism.

Get your sleep on. When you are sleeping your muscles continue to build, fat continues to burn and your body recovers.

To get some advice on breaking through my own plateau, I turned to my trainer Lindsey Blair. She leads the Les Mills Grit class that I’m taking and she is in phenomenal shape. She advised me to add super-setting to my strength routine. She advised that I skip taking a rest between sets and do another exercise to eliminate the break. After those two exercises, Lindsey suggested taking an active break by jumping rope for 1-2 minutes.  The goal, she says, is to keep the heart rate up.

Super-setting is when you complete two exercises back-to-back with no rest between sets. There are two types of super-sets: 1) antagonist supper-setting pairs two opposite muscle groups like bicep and tricep. One muscle relaxes while the other contracts; and 2) agonist supper-sets pairs two similar muscle groups back-to-back. Combine compound movement with isolation movement. Compound movement could include bench press followed by incline bench press. Isolation could include barbell curls followed by hammer curls.

Here I combined cable curls with hammer curls
Here I combined cable curls with hammer curls

I set out to follow LB’s advice and have been doing so for the last couple of weeks. I’ve added super-sets to my strength workouts and concentrate on keeping my heart rate up between sets by doing high knee runs, mountain climbers or burpees.

Here I added barbell front rows with isolated front pull-downs
Here I added barbell front rows with isolated front pull-downs

I feel much stronger than I did a few weeks ago.  My muscles feel more challenged and my metabolism has increased.

Perhaps the most important key to breaking through any plateau is to get real with yourself. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. Recognize when your performance has peaked, man up, and change your workout by challenging yourself.



Cupid’s Calling

With total spending expected to exceed $17.6 billion according to the National Retail Federation, there is no denying that Valentine’s Day is a money generator for the nation’s retail outlets.  With so much money at stake and competition for your dollars, the pressure is on for you to get out there and stimulate the economy.  During my annual “oh shit” last minute gift shopping, I see men scrambling to find something to bring home to  loved ones that don’t make them look like total frauds.  It can be a comical out-of-body experience at times.  The average spend per male hominid is projected at $168.74 vs $85.76 for women further demonstrating society’s perception that Valentine’s Day is a woman’s holiday.  Dudes, that is some pressure for your ass.

So before you shell out a couple hundred gold pieces on perfume, jewelry, candy or naughty night clothes (actually that last one is not so terribly wrong, is it?), consider whether or not your gallantry matters at all.  Man Up guys.  It is time to evolve.

Poking around on the inter-webs and asking women for an honest response, I’ve come to learn that our perception and their expectations are disconnected.  This is particularly the case with those who have been in committed relationships for quite some time.  In an article written by Heidi Brown for, she points out that “women want things that a partner could easily provide, but might never guess.”  Things like “breakfast in bed”, “a kiss and a cup of coffee when she wakes up”, or a “card with more than just a husband’s signature, but with actual words that explain why and how much he loves me.”  

In my own unscientific yet still critical polling, women tell me that “it’s a day more meant for young lovers”, “I want special alone time, undivided attention with no kids and no cell phone” “some special time reflecting on how far we’ve come, preferably in a tub with wine in hand.”  And one of my favorites… “mutual recognition of love”.  This is the kind of shit that scares us for sure.  And I know what you’re thinking.  “How do I know that they just aren’t saying this so as not to come across like gold-digging, self-centered hussies?”  Because, my friends, YOU are going to pose the question yourself.  According to Jerry Shapiro, who teaches counseling psychology at Santa Clara University in California, “women are reluctant to communicate their expectations to their partner.”  She doesn’t tell you, you don’t ask, and the retail industry stands to earn over $17 billion from your lack of communication.  Shapiro continues, “Women think that if they have to spell out what they want, that gift somehow doesn’t count.”  Attention ladies:  Just stop this nonsensical rationalization.  It’s just too much to expect from hunter-gatherers.

So gents, your task for this step in the evolutionary journey is to 1) set a low budget; 2) get creative and 3) for goodness sake tell the woman that you love her and mean it.  I realize that I will be the toughest person to convince.  With a wife and two daughters, my average Valentine’s Day spend exceeds $300.  I decided to pose the question to my own bride of 23 years to which she quips, “something good to eat and something sweet at the end.  And you can interpret that anyway you want to.”  I love that chick!