Tooth Fairy IV: Not Quite Finished

I was told to come back in a week for my follow-up appointment, that there would be some swelling because there was a lot of drilling. “Anytime there is a lot of drilling there will be swelling, and we did a lot.” It should start going down in about 2 – 3 days. That was Wednesday. I tried to go to work on Friday and when my supervisor saw me she shrieked and told me to go home. “Go home now!” I tried to tough it out, but left about an hour later. By Sunday my face was still swollen and the pain was still with me. Monday morning I called the dentist and told them, “My face is still swollen, my teeth are numb, my lip is numb, my face is numb, my tongue is numb and I’m still bleeding.” She sounded surprised, told me to hold on they were going to get the doctor. When they came back, I was told the doctor said that was normal and he’d see me on Wednesday.

I went to work that day and got some sad looks of sympathy; my face was still swollen. By the time I went in on Wednesday it was still swollen and I told him everything I had before. He gave me a Zpack and told me something that did not quite set in until I got home. “Come back in a month and if it’s still not looking good, we’ll get you a referral to the oral surgeon. A month? It had already been a week and nothing improved. I was supposed to go another month to see if things were going to improve? That made absolutely no sense. So I sent an email and stated that I thought it unreasonable, unfair and unrealistic to expect someone to go through the discomfort of not being able to do regular daily activities; eating, exercising, sleeping, driving, etc. That waiting a month (from the 18th of March to 16th of April) was not going to be acceptable and I requested the referral right away.

I got a call that day saying they were going to forward my x-rays to the oral surgeon and that an appointment would be set up for me. I got the appointment it ended up being the 25th of March. When I got there and I explained to the doctor my symptoms, he did not have a single good thing to say. He told me that the numbness typically does not last as long as it had been. He also stated the numbness to my face, teeth and gums COULD last for a couple months or longer. However, the numbness to my tongue was rare and there was no telling when or if it would ever come back.

What?!

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Say Cheese!

Honestly, I would say that my best quality is my smile. Nothing about my eyes, cheeks, face… just my smile. I’ve always liked my teeth. Even at a young age I can recall saying to myself, “Those are some nice choppers you got there.” I chipped a tooth once (which is a separate story altogether) and recall the dentist asking if I wanted it filed. I told him no, I liked the appeal of the imperfection. I probably should have had him do it, I mean who listens to a 9 year old boy? Really? All in all I’ve maintained a pretty good dental routine. I won’t get into my most recent terrifying visit to the ‘Chair of Death’, I’ll save that for another story.

Maybe though, my smile could be attributed to something else. Could it be all the diary I consumed as a kid? Perhaps that kept my teeth in such good condition? It was really a lot; I used to drink milk like a was a baby cow. Milk did not last long in our house… sorry mom. Now-a-days, I’m an almond milk kind of guy, but I still love cheese. I think that in an alternate universe I must be a cheese connoisseur who sits at tables, sampling tasty cheeses and delighting in the process. Pass the brie fool! I went to a function back in December, it was pretty informative but I came home talking about the cheese 🙂 So imagine my dismay when I learned yesterday that Kraft® Singles… sniff, wait. . . Sigh, Kraft® Singles, is not real cheese!

By the FDA’s standards, Kraft isn’t permitted to refer to Singles as “cheese” because this word indicates that a product is made with at least 51 percent real cheese. This is why the label reads “pasteurized prepared cheese product.”

MSN

 

Sad cheese is sad
Sad cheese is sad

How could they do this!? Less than 51% real cheese? So what’s in it!? What have I been eating all this time?!Sigh.

It certainly has me thinking though, what things are we eating that is not what we believe it to be? I recently watched a short documentary on how companies play on words and  labels in their marketing, in order to get people to buy what they’re selling (both in mind and money). I guess this is a really good example of that. This whole time we… I have been happily eating this STUFF, all the while ignorant to the fact that it was never cheese in the first place.

Something to truly think about is, will this cause me to change anything about myself? Will I change my spending/buying habits now that I have this extra piece of information? Will I pay more attention to the labels (something I probably should do anyways) of products that I buy?

What have you been duped into buying?

Offical Side Eye Post o_O

Blkb

SIDE-EYE

A sidelong glance expressing disapproval or contempt: after we complained of being ignored she kept giving me the side-eye she casts a side-eye and nods dubiously

– Oxford Dictionary

Recently, at work one of the supervisors came over to talk to some of my coworkers. Everything was fine, until someone asked a question. The supervisor snapped, “Just do what I told you! Don’t worry about it!” The tone of her voice got my attention, everyone in the room fell silent. I looked from side to side, no one else moved; it must be how they communicate; I’m new here, maybe it wasn’t that bad. The employee asked the question in a different way, obviously not understanding and genuinely seeking clarity so as not to face the issue again. The supervisor snapped again, “What about ‘don’t worry about it’ do you not understand? The ‘don’t’, ‘worry’, ‘about’ or the ‘it’!” Then came my side-eye. That was strange. A few moments later someone asked a different question, relevant to the work and the supervisor’s response was… “Shhhhhh!!!”

Wait a minute… Did they just shush an adult? A grown person? Awww hell naw!!!! What is wrong with people these days?

So there are 54 Republican Senators, 44 Democrats and 2 Independents in government. 47 of those God bless ‘Merica loving folks signed a letter penned by Senator Tom Cotton. I had thought he sent out a statement that garnered some support. I found out that it was an entire letter:

It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system. Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution—the power to make binding international agreements and the different character of federal offices—which you should seriously consider as negotiations progress.

First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them. In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote. A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate). Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement.

Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics. For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms. As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then—perhaps decades.

What these two constitutional provisions mean is that we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.

We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as nuclear negotiations progress.

Sincerely,

FYC
F@^%$! Yo’ Couch!  (FYC)

Senator Tom Cotton, R-AR

In other words,”F@#& your couch!” Okay, I added the GIF. Howevef, if that is not a FYC moment… I don’t know what is. I’d like to think that I’m someone who has some culture… at times. Don’t let the degrees fool you; I can still recognize fighting words when I see them. The sad part is that the Senator(s) are looking to start the kind of fight that Obama has been trying to avoid, war with Iran. Not all Republicans joined the crowd chanting, “Fight, fight, fight!” However, there weren’t enough who walked away that made Cotton question what he had done. He actually got a boost from some of the more… Republican, Republicans like Bobby Jindhal.

Cotton pretty much insulted The President, The Office of The President, the American Government, the country as a whole and Iran. But C’MON SON! Your President? A grown man? Another Adult? And why on earth would you disrespect the dude POTUS is trying NOT to fight??? In other words they are trying to play Obama like he’s a punk. I could only imagine The President’s face when he saw/heard about this, it was probably a look only Arnold would make.

What is wrong with these people? I feel like Tom Cotton came in, bossed up after his 65 days in office and told Obama to ‘Shhhhh!’ and to the negotiation process he said, “Don’t worry about it!” I just know, somewhere in the White House there were some aides startled by a loud, “Awww hell naw!!!!,” not able to locate its origination; it had to be Obama.

How can people present themselves so disrespectfully and then believe that they are in the right or have done no wrong? What adult tells another adult to ‘shhhhh’ in a room full of other adults and what respectable office holder disrespects the POTUS, It’s office and their country. They must be crazy.

I’m gonna rate Tom Cotton ‘5 Arnolds’ for this one:

side-eye side-eye side-eye side-eye side-eye

So when someone pulls a FYC on you, how do you handle it?

I Must Be Strange . . .

 

In the words of Cee-Lo:

I must be strange, is that why all of these strangers like talking to me?

I get it. People are weird. What we find normal someone else might give you the side eye for. For C'mon son!example, a couple of weeks ago while the new Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter was being sworn in, Vice-Motha-Loving-President Biden lost his mind! While dude was on stage giving his speech, the VP was seen standing behind his wife (Carter’s), with his hands on her shoulders and then he leans in to whisper in her ear. Man!!!! It brought back memories of when Biden was photographed in a very similar situation.

I get it, everybody is weird and there is no such thing as normal. One man’s milk shake is another man’s french fry dip. C’mon son… You know you dip your fries. However, there are times when things go from weird to strange.

Side eye abounds!

While visiting a church last week, a lady came to greet me. She started with the normal formalities, “Hi how are you… What’s your name… My name is…”. However, after that it got strange; when I extended my hand to shake hers, I suddenly felt like I would never see it again. She gripped my hand with one of hers and gripped my forearm with the other. I intentionally use the word grip, because that is exactly what she was doing. Her grip tightened and released over and over up and down my arm. As if she were attempting to assess which part of my arm she was going to pick out for the butcher.

side-eyeMy eyes widened and I could feel myself pulling away from her. . . but she wouldn’t let go. A couple moments more and my fight or flight senses were likely to turn on. She finally let go. She didn’t leave though without promising to return later to give me  a hug. My friends and family all thought it was funny. It wasn’t funny! It awkard, it wasn’t weird, it was down right strange. For pulling a Biden move like that…

When she came back, she got the side eye.

What is it that people do/have done so strange they got the side eye from you?

 

SIDE EYE GALLERY

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What We Don’t Know: Net Neutrality

There was some national news yesterday that reported the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) passed rules/regulations for net neutrality. So while my Spidey-Sense is not tingling, FYI I am very interested in technology. I don’t feel like it is something that I have to try really hard to understand (at my level). So when the news dropped about net neutrality I (being the geek that I am) was interested, surprised and overall pleased with the outcome.

The basics of net neutrality basically state that all internet traffic and content should all be treated the same; hence the name net neutrality. This conversation started a couple of years ago and there was a bunch of stuff happening that brought more attention to the issue. Basically the government tried to say play fair,  but service providers like Verizon said, ‘It’s my ball, you’ll play with it the way I want you to.’ Verizon then made Netflix pay more money in order for the service to be used without a hitch.

For a very good definition of net neutrality let’s turn to Fox:

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers should treat all traffic on their networks equally. That means companies such as Comcast Corp (CMCSA) or Verizon Communications Inc (VZ) would be barred from blocking or slowing access to any website or content on the web, for instance to benefit their own services over those of competitors.

Fox News J . This will become very ironic later on.

One of the things that I find interesting in this “great” country of ours is how much we pay for internet compared to other countries. Broadband (~25Mbps) in DC which costs about $70 a month compared to it being almost a $100 a month San Francisco. Speeds of 45Mbps in the US on an average cost almost $90, but in South Korea (where they have been ranked number 1 for like I don’t know how many years) speeds of 100Mbps cost less than $20 a month o_O That’s crazy!!! Even Japan which has some providers offering the same service as the US only charges about $30 a month. I currently pay about $90 for 45Mbps, but then came Google which offers 1000Mbps (1Gbps) for $70 in some parts of the country. The good folks at Comcast and AT&T own so much of the telecom access, Google cannot make it to every city because they are muscled out (with fees) to access the telecom. These practices are with the ruling should be doing away with. They were allowed because internet service was not regulated, it was considered an information service and now a utility.

Now if you listen to the folks over at Fox, the same ones who gave such an amazing definition of net neutrality, they would have you believe that:

Make no mistake. The greatest tool for freedom of expression to come along in our lifetime is in danger. One cannot have genuine freedom of expression with a government monitor, an overseer, a censor prepared to immediately shut down any “threats” to the state. This is Orwellian, even if even opponents are reluctant to say it. But they must remember that the greatest miscalculations in history are those that underrate the determination of the power hungry to grab even more power.

Fox news

cjones11112014Not surprisingly, Fox’s view is also the view of conservative republicans. Interesting that this ruling which makes the Internet “open and fair” could be seen as something that is a “threat” to “freedom”. I do see it as being a threat to people who make money (Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, etc) from the system not being fair. Without this ruling blog posts could see speeds slow down so it takes longer for a page to load than a page like Yahoo, which could pay for stability and a faster loading time. The ruling will additionally do the following:

“ban blocking, ban throttling, and ban paid-prioritization fast lanes,” adding that “for the first time, open Internet rules will be fully applicable to mobile.”

So all in all, for little folks like us this is great news. What it should mean is the internet will continue to operate as we know it; innovative and growing. It also should mean more diversity in service providers and hopefully mean more competition leading to better pricing. The moral of the story…. Faster downloads for me!!!!!!

image

SNUB OF A B!#@H!

So more than likely, everyone is abuzz about The Oscars. Then there is likely to be a small group of folks who are abuzz about one of the women, who votes for the Academy, who gave an anonymous interview stating her thoughts about Selma.

First, let me say that I’m tired of all of this talk about “snubs” — I thought for every one of [the snubs] there was a justifiable reason. What no one wants to say out loud is that Selma is a well-crafted movie, but there’s no art to it. If the movie had been directed by a 60-year-old white male, I don’t think that people would have been carrying on about it to the level that they were. And as far as the accusations about the Academy being racist? Yes, most members are white males, but they are not the cast of Deliverance — they had to get into the Academy to begin with, so they’re not cretinous, snaggletoothed hillbillies. When a movie about black people is good, members vote for it. But if the movie isn’t that good, am I supposed to vote for it just because it has black people in it? I’ve got to tell you, having the cast show up in T-shirts saying “I can’t breathe”— I thought that stuff was offensive. Did they want to be known for making the best movie of the year or for stirring up sh#t?

Hollywood Reporter

121514-Centric-Whats-Good-Selma-Cast-I-Cant-Breathe-Protest-NYC-Premiere-NIght

Now, I feel like I just talked about this; but this looks to be another conversation about bias. Not regarding Selma getting a snub… but the voter’s last 3 sentences. This is what many have been saying for so long, some people just don’t know how to interact/relate to Black people. While I was in graduate school (for Social Work in 2007), one of my classmates could not understand why colleges had separate and specific groups for those that that were underrepresented (I don’t really like the term minority by the way). Her question, “Why do Black people need their own groups, why don’t they just join the ones that are already there?” Yes, she was White, and let me just disclose that there were other White folks there that also shook their heads. I had to ask her, “Are you serious?” The other end of the spectrum would be the time I was visiting my brother and we had dinner with some friends of his. I thought it strange that I was provided a disclaimer about the wife of his friend and her mouth prior to going to dinner, but while we ate I understood all too clearly. The wife started to tell a story (while I was partaking of the blandest chicken I had ever eaten) and without losing a stride all of a sudden she says, “… N!@@A please!” I stopped chewing the cud-like chicken and then SHE SAID IT AGAIN! Almost immediately everyone at the table looked at me, except for her, who did not quite understand what just happened. I had to ask her, “Are you serious?”

My response now is the same as it was in both of my previous situations, “Are you serious?” Heavens no, just because a film has Black people in it, it deserves a vote. Could you imagine the horror of films such a Soul Plane or Who’s Your Caddy? winning anything? Perhaps this is the same lady that voted for Chicago over The Pianist in 2002 (That one is for my movie buffs). Maybe she just does not know a good movie when she sees one. Maybe she’s out of touch with current films. Perhaps by her standards the movie was not “artful”; but I find it brave that the cast showed up in T-Shirts saying “I can’t breathe”, I find it amazing, encouraging, supportive, moving, and impactful. It makes me want to get a shirt. It also, if I’m being honest, makes me want to go see Selma. In my defense, I changed jobs, bought a house, moved and a bunch of other stuff going on; so no I haven’t seen it… yet. But thanks to her, I soon will. I find it “offensive” that she would think of their actions as antics. Exactly what was offensive to her, I have to wonder? I try to be understanding of a lot of things, but the first thing that comes to mind for me is that she has some sort of bias that allows her to think this way; perhaps her son or husband was/is in law enforcement? I dunno, but these wonderful people, having the bravery to peacefully protest the death of an innocent man when so many others have avoided it, been on the wrong side of it, or simply didn’t understand it should be celebrated and applauded not scorned.

They weren’t stirring up sh#t… They were showing that they were tired of it and took a stand against it. I have to give her the benefit of the doubt and come to the conclusion that; she just does not know how to relate to Black people, nor the issues they face, or is she sensitive to those issues. When the nominations were first announced there was a critic interviewed on NPR when the topic of snubs were first approached. He stated that Selma did something to critics that most films cannot do… it made them feel uncomfortable. He stated that they did not know how to relate to a film that was predominately Black, and there being no one for THEM to identify with they didn’t know how to vote. I now see that as truth… but one would like to hope that they would at least be able to identify with people if not the films they are paid to review.

Besides… Everyone knows the real Selma snub happened between Beyonce and Ledisi.

grammys

 

Were the actors from the film inappropriate for wearing the shirts?

Will we always have to refer to predominately Black films as Black Films?

 

America The Beautiful

An interesting conversation to have with people is to ask them which phone is best. More than likely they’ll pull out their device and start to tell you all about it. Have enough people in the vicinity and you’ll get large groups that will likely split down the middle; Apple vs. Google. There are a small number of folks that are device agnostic, as well as a small number of folks that will call on other OS’s (Windows, Cyanogen, and dare I say Blackberry), but the majority will be placed in those two buckets. They will tell you stories, stats, and “facts” about their respective devices and why it is the best and works for them. The last part is the most important part, “works for them”. That statement is the focus because that is our introduction to bias.

BIAS: prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

1013I will frequent sites/blogs/vlogs and look in the comments section whenever race is part of the discussion. It is so interesting that as soon as they start talking about race, it is almost as if someone said “fire” in a movie theater. Suddenly everyone is an expert and they can tell you how racism is a tool used by liberals and Blacks to make White people feel guilty. It is even referred to at times as white guilt. You’ll have another group that claims racism doesn’t exist, Black people are the ones that are racist, and (one of the most ignorant) “the real racists are the ones calling out racism”. Then there is the one that l really don’t like,” I’m Black and l don’t see a problem.” C’mon son!

I don’t believe that a bias towards a group automatically makes one racist towards said group. Bias and racism are two entirely different things. For a person to assume that ALL Black people like chicken and watermelon is racist is far-reaching. It certainly would fall into the bias bucket, it could also be seen as stereotyping, and in some cases just plain ignorant. Similar to the Vice President’s recent remark about ALL his Somali friends being cab drivers. However, if that same person were to use that assumption (stereotype/bias/ignorance) in a derogatory remark, THAT would be racist.

The point is, many times bias can be born from racism. And racism, well… is about as American as fireworks on the 4th of July and apple pie. Yup. Lots of the racists here got it honest.

Brief History Lesson:

Just because slavery was abolished in 1865 (just 150 years ago, in some cases that’s only 2 generations), it didn’t mean equality for all. The civil rights act of 1866 came a year later to reiterate that which was already established with the abolishing of slavery in 1865:

“… That all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States…”

How about the fact that Andrew Johnson attempted to veto the Civil Rights Act. This president also allowed for the South to establish its bad practices (Jim Crow, etc.). Makes you wonder had he not become president, would King still be alive today.

Never mind this line was deleted:

“…there shall be no discrimination in civil rights or immunities among the inhabitants of any State or Territory of the United States on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

…or that the last civil rights act was passed in 1991.

So, while slavery was abolished 150 years ago, freedom still was not obtained considering that rights were still being established less than 25 years ago.

It is my belief that because the line about “no discrimination” was deleted and Andrew Johnson being a. . . well… racist he is a correlating factor as to why there were so many problems with racism through the years during and after The Reconstruction (even unto now).

FROM: .S. District Judge Carlton Reeves, who quotes Dennis Mitchell and his book, A New History of Mississippi.

Those who died at the hands of mobs, Litwack notes, some were the victims of “legal” lynchings — having been accused of a crime, subjected to a “speedy” trial and even speedier execution. Some were victims of private white violence and some were merely the victims of “nigger hunts” — murdered by a variety of means in isolated rural sections and dumped into rivers and creeks. “Back in those days,” according to black Mississippians describing the violence of the 1930s, “to kill a Negro wasn’t nothing. It was like killing a chicken or killing a snake. The whites would say, ‘niggers jest supposed to die, ain’t no damn good anyway — so jest go an’ kill ’em.’ … They had to have a license to kill anything but a nigger. We was always in season.” Said one white Mississippian, “A white man ain’t a-going to be able to live in this country if we let niggers start getting biggity.”

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program:

All over the country now people are having conversations about race. It cannot be had without knowing its history. American’s racist roots run deep.

All over the country now people are also seeing the ramifications of not racism, but the dangers of what happens when bias goes unchecked. In the instance of a cell phone choice, it just means that no matter how crappy the iPhone is (and it is) a person with a particular bias towards Apple will always buy it. They will even play with/use other phones to see how their phone lacks in a lot of areas, but will soon forget the advances of modern technology once they hear Siri’s voice cull them back into the iFold.

Unfortunately, when this is applied to people the outcomes are far worse than a person being stuck in a contract with an iPhone. In the case of several Black males it resulted in them dying. We all carry these same biases, but when it is applied to a person with a gun, the ramifications can be tragic. It can also be just as traumatic when the bias exists into our court system; that have failed to bring justice when it was sought.

My wife recently told me about a story she heard on the news that discussed a huge welfare rings that was just busted. Like many I’m sure, I started to think about a Black woman (with a blond wig/weave) who lived in, what looks like a housing project on the outside, but on the inside it looked like a Manhattan condo. My mouth went agape when she responded to my query, “Were they Black?” I asked with shame in my voice. “No.” she responded, “They were White.” Despite me having studied Sociology and Social Work and knowing that White people are the predominate benefactors of welfare, this bias still existed with me.

So when the police get a call about a Black person their bias is going to be shaped by the information that they receive regarding the call: what neighborhood is it, how old is the suspect, what time of day is it, etc. All these will shape their bias of the situation and if the bias goes unchecked… they will show up to the scene, guns drawn, ready to shoot and not at all interested in taking any chances. Hence we have the deaths of: Kimani Gray, Kendrec McDade, Ervin Jefferson, Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Ousmane Zongo, Timoty Stansbury Jr., Sean Bell, Victor Steen, Seven Eugene Washington, Alonzo Ashley, Ramarley Graham, Akai Gurley, John Crawford, Eric Garner. All killed by law enforcement officers. While I don’t know their hearts and cannot call them racist, I can state that had they gone into the situation with their bias in check, these folks likely could have lived. Even in regards to these cases I have my own bias, I was particular in typing each name because many that I researched didn’t fall into the same category as those I have listed; my bias, those that were involved in committing a crime. My controversial statement/stance, Michael Brown is not on my list as he was not an innocent. I was upset that his story got more press time than John Crawford. My bias again, I can relate to John Crawford; I like guns, I go to Wal-Mart, I AM LIKELY to pick up an air gun in Wal-Mart. Unlike Michael Brown though, l AM NOT very likely to steal from a convenience store or assault people.

On 02/12/15 FBI Director James B. Comey orated a speech entitled Hard Truths: Law enforcement and race.

“At many points in American history, law enforcement enforced the status quo, a status quo that was often brutally unfair to disfavored groups,” Comey said.

He also added to his speech this line from a musical

“Look around and you will find / No one’s really colour blind / Maybe it’s a fact we all should face / Everyone makes judgments based on race.”

December 5, 2014

So as we approach the end Black History Month and hopefully what has been one of the coldest winters ever; not just in terms of temperatures, but the frigid actions from law enforcement, judicial system and in some cases our fellow Americans. Let us be warmed with the knowledge that seasons change. Let us be encouraged that when the winter is over, the cold will abate and the road to recovery will be… can be exposed. And once that road has been exposed we can really get to work to repair the holes, cracks and damage that was done during our cold winter.