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The Inaugural Blog

2015 felt like a good time to put in writing where I stand on things.
The Preamble
Welcome to's Totally Random Blog.  This is the first in what I hope to be many entries that explore what is going on in my “helmet.”  I hope to be provocative, thoughtful, entertaining and interesting in my writings and hope you enjoy this journey into my thoughts and opinions.  While you may not agree with everything I write (or anything for that matter), I hope that I can at least open a dialogue that will give you, the reader, a different perspective. In this inaugural blog, I give you a bit of where my headspace is now.  I give you my mindset as well as a list of my beliefs which I plan on expanding upon in later blogs.  So please see this as a skeleton to which the meat will be added later over time.  And now, without further ado, I bring you my first blog entry.   I hope you enjoy!
Resolutions: I Am Not A Fan
People still seem to love the New Year's Resolution. Every New Year's with the resolutions.  I have to admit, I am not that big a fan.  Resolutions usually are things that will be easily broken by January 15th, things you should be doing anyway or also things so nebulous that they don't really make sense.
The bottom line is that New Year's Resolutions never seem to be successful for most of us.  They are just a recipe for disaster. So when I decided to create a website and blog this year I was just looking for an outlet, not a commitment like resolutions demand.  I wanted something that would allow me to express myself the best way I know and in a format I could control rather than one that has the restrictions of the social media formats. Life is not structured 140 characters or unending selfies or “like” buttons. Life is an unstructured place where it may take you a couple of paragraphs to explain why you feel the way you do, where you are not always camera ready and people may not just “like” something you say, but they may be inspired by it or they may hate it, but that is life. At least in a blog I can show and explain that and if you still don’t agree it will not be because you didn't get a different perspective.
I figure a short State of the Stafford should help set a tone while a nice Belief Document of Stafford at 43 would act as something to build on for subsequent blogs.

View the State of Stafford as kind of my "I Am Woman Hear Me Roar" a la Helen Reddy.  (Who Helen Reddy is you ask?  Never heard the song?  What are you a troglodyte? Don't know what that means... aw, never mind, here is a video of the song below and click the link for a definition.) The Belief Document of Stafford at 43 has a strong flavor of Marvin Gaye's"What's Goin' On," but MUCH lighter in tone. (You definitely know this song, right? If you don’t I really want to know, what is it like living under rocks?  I am guessing they don't have the sounds of sweet soul music.) I am thinking every Wednesday I will have a Belief Document Wednesday blog that will address in more detail some of the things I discuss below.  It is very Oprah of me I think….

The State of Stafford

In the first month of the year 2015 I can report the state of Stafford is good.  I am pretty happy with myself.  I like me. I am in pretty good physical shape, however I can't say so much for my hairline but I can walk a flight of stairs without being winded.  I run every other day and do Pilates and CrossFit on the opposite days.  I can still wear clothes from High School though it does me no good unless rayon print shirts, M.C. Hammer genie pants and/or overalls come back in style. I feel like I still have my mental faculties even though I will walk into a room with a purpose and totally forget why I am there. I think calmed with age, especially with regard to things I cannot change or control, attempting to live Niebuhr's "Serenity Prayer."  Although the 2012 election and Facebook tested me.  (Chris Rock recently said on Twitter, “Hey, I found a new app that tells you if people are racist! Its called Facebook!” and truer words have not been spoken. Although  I have to admit, most of the comments were not at heart out of racism, but more due to the media’s lathering up of the electorate.  More on that later.)

I have been very fortunate to be blessed with a family and friends who love (probably more tolerate) me and are all incredible humans being in their own unique ways.  These people bring so much to the table that they force me to be the best I can though their example and encouraging nature. I continue to be grateful for them. For the last 3 years, my family was afforded something I never imagined possible. We were able to live as expatriates in the UK because of my beautiful, strong willed wife’s company assigned us. It was a game changing life experience. In that time we visited over 18 different countries, saw numerous West End shows and made some lifelong friends. We were even able to reconnect with dear friends also assigned during the same time. It was an opportunity for us and the kids to experience life outside of our “four walls” and really gave me a chance to reconnect with our family as a full time stay at home dad. Many of our experiences helped me to solidify, and in some cases reevaluate, my world view culminating in the Belief Document below.
The Belief Document of Stafford at 43
I think one thing I have finally realized after 43 years is that it is OK to have an opinion or a belief and it’s OK if not everyone agrees with it. What is important is that I respect the fact not everyone is going to agree with me all the time and understand that we all have different perspectives. My hope is that others reciprocate belief, not just as it relates to this blog, but in life too. Let me quote Barry Goldwater (because it is a thoughtful quote and because I am all about surprises), “To disagree, one does not have to be disagreeable.”
I believe in being open minded and looking at the world as a huge community rather than groups of isolated people and interests.
I believe in having the hope that one day we will all see past our differences and embrace our basic similarities.
I believe the world is filled with “assholes” and we should stop designating what type of asshole they are. A “racist/homophobic/sexist/terrorist et. al. asshole” is really just an “asshole” why differentiate? (You can also use douchebag if asshole is a bit too harsh, but you have to admit, asshole is a pretty good catch all.)
I believe in love and that everyone should have to opportunity to love who they want regardless of race, color, creed or gender.  
On the same hand, I believe that all consenting adults regardless of sexual preference should have the right marry.
I believe that if you are opposed to same sex marriage you should really do something more productive with your time. Quickly… Let’s be frank, all sex, homosexual or heterosexual, pretty gross looking. With the exception of well done porn there are truly a handful of couples outside of the porn industry that I would want to see doing the deed, at all.  Brad and Angelina, Will and Jada, Chely Wright and Lauren Blitzer (check em out...) and Ricky and Lucy.  Admittedly, the last one is a bit freaky, but at least I didn't say Fred and Ethel.  (Don’t judge me!)
I believe having a penis totally disqualifies me from making any decisions as they relate to a woman body. Honestly, I am just happy historically any woman has decided to have me near their body.
I also believe that my penis does not give me the right to make more money than a woman who is as or more qualified for a job than I am.

I believe proclaiming yourself a Conservative, Liberal, Progressive, Republican or Democrat has become as silly as describing yourself as a Trekkie, Brony or Steampunk.

I believe in 10 years, the same people that despise President Obama will be the same ones saying, “I wish that old Obama was back in office.” Trust me. To quote Hanz and Franz, “Hear me now believe me later.” These are the same folks that despised Bill Clinton in 2000 and after his 2012 DNC speech were the ones pining for him. (Even though I forget what I came into a room for, I remember this type of stuff… and the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon. I should have a doctorate at that game. Seriously.)
Like the first line from The Godfather, I believe in America, but we have some issues to deal with. We are becoming the dysfunctional extended family that gets together for Thanksgiving dinner and sits in silence or superficial chat until your faux-senile old aunt/uncle says something about a minority group/gays/someones hair, etc and all hell breaks loose. This invariably culminates in someone flipping over their plate saying, “F’ this, I’m going to watch football.” (This scenario was an awesome SNL commercial back in 95 with Will Ferrell.)
I believe Americans should be forced to live or at least visit a country outside of the United States before they can say “America the Greatest Country In the World.”
I believe Americans should be stoked that people are trying to come to this country and we should celebrate this as the greatest compliment rather than vilify these people.
I believe the NRA does not care about school shootings.
I believe that calling on "Black leaders” to “calm down the African American community” after something like Trayvon Martin, Ferguson or Eric Garner is so condescending.
I believe that we rely way to heavily on the media to frame the news narrative and set the tone. Seriously, the vision of television portrayed in the movie Network (1976) has come to fruition and that is not a good thing.
I believe we put way too much importance on what celebrities and comedians say and way too little on what reporters, news personalities and politicians say.
I believe I am finally too old to go to “Tha Club: with out getting table service or VIP or something. At 43, with my hairline, I just look like a creepy old ass man.
I believe I am so lucky to have wife that understands that loving Prince, John Mellencamp, The Beatles, Public Enemy, Miles Davis, Marvin GayeFoo Fighters and P!nk does not make me crazy but just a person with eclectic music tastes. (Believe me this list only scratches the surface.)
Even now, I still believe in getting the Parents Advisory version of a song over the clean version.
I believe my aspirations to be as debonair as George Clooney, will almost always end with mb looking like “George Goofy.”
I believe that it is entirely ok to be a straight man who loves Show Tunes and Musicals. Dammit, give me "Don't Rain On My Parade" from Funny Girl sung by Barbara Streisand on a run and I immediately pick up the pace. (Truth be told, it is my "Power Song" on Nike+) I have seen "Wicked" at least 5 times and still get chills at the end of "Defying Gravity." "You Can't Stop the Beat" from Hairspray? More like you can't stop my tapping feet.  I am listening to "Seasons of Love" right now and the hairs on the back of my neck are standing up.
I also believe that "reality" shows like "Teen Mom," "Keeping Up With The Kardashian's," "Honey Boo Boo," "The Real Housewives of" installments, et. al. are a concerted effort by TV Executives to summon The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
I believe that being Black and from the South has not helped me to relate to Tyler Perry movies. I have tried and I just don't get it.  I don't find them remotely entertaining, funny or uplifting I just find them to be bad.  
I believe the Twilight movies have ruined the vampire genre for a generation. 
I believe "Man of Steel" was a really bad movie which has tempered my enthusiasm for "Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice."   
I believe "Smallville" is in my top ten favorite shows of all time.
I believe if you saw the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer and got pissed about the "Black Stormtrooper," you are what we call in my neighborhood a jerkoff. Also, if you didn't like the new light saber, the “menage a saber," then I find your lack of faith disturbing.
I believe I am a geek.
I believe Dr. Charles Drew, Dr. Jonas Salk, Philo Farnsworth, and Alan Turning are way underrated and deserve their day in the proverbial sun.
I believe that people that use the word "thug" or "thug behavior" to exclusively describe Black people have found what they think is an acceptable replacement for the word "nigger."  (Hard "r" sound at the end.)  
I believe the NFL should be ashamed of its self for hawking its pink breast cancer awareness merchandise every year to us and then only donating $7 million over the past 5 years to the cause.  (Matt Shaub made $7.5 million for starting 1 game this season.)

I believe in a higher power but I don't believe you have to belong to or go to a house of worship to be a good and spiritual person.  Not to belittle those that do attend services. Good on you, actually. 

I believe modern religion, not God or spirituality, is broken, but I think Pope Frances and this guy, Bishop John Shelby Spong, may have some of the fixes.
I believe that parts of religion have become judgmental and it has adopted a "buffet style" of teaching.  Religions now take what they like and leave what it doesn't fit the narrative they are trying to spin.
I believe some politicians as well as terrorist are using this “buffet style” religiosity to divide us not just as country but as a world.  Check out this clip from the "The West Wing" that puts this demagoguery used in some circle of politics into perspective.  Unfortunately, President Josiah Bartlett is a fictional character, but the struggle is real.
Finally, I believe that people will not agree with me on many of the above points, and that is OK. It's healthy.  Variety is the spice of life but in the coming weeks, before you completely run off, come back to get a new and different perspective.
Happy 2015 and hope to see you soon online!