Sunday, May 17, 2009

Spring [your action] Forward & Good TV...You're Not Watching

Spring [your action] Forward.

I know it has officially been spring in other places for a month and some change now but up here in Chicago [crappy weather capital of the Midwest] spring is just showing up. Flowers are blooming [being planted anyway], trees are blooming and yesterday I could’ve sworn I saw a butterfly. Or was it a piece of trash caught in an updraft? Either way spring-like weather is here and I’m not complaining. Aside from the nature cues you also know its spring due to all of the social cues. People smile more, bright colors are unavoidable and you can smell the sex in the air. Real talk. All the sunlight, bright colors, smiling faces and extra skin are enough to get anybody riled up. I always wondered what the scientific rationale was behind springtime friskiness and, Lord knows, I know.

"All of the senses are dramatically affected by the coming of spring — the warmth of the sun on your skin, the vivid colors and pungent scents, the sounds of the birds," says anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph.D., author of Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love. "You're being bombarded by pleasant, exciting, novel stimuli, and novelty stimulates the neurotransmitter dopamine, which in turn triggers testosterone production. Testosterone is associated with the sex drive in both women and men."

Read more, take notes and make this spring count.

Good TV…You’re Not Watching

The Game is one of the best shows on television. It really is. Why CW isn’t treating it as such I don’t know [I do but I don’t feel like getting into it]. The writing, acting, music and production are great. Its beyond great it’s refreshing. Now if you’ve been living in a bubble you don’t know about all of the hurdles The Game has been through. There’s been swagger jacking copycats and ongoing drama with CW who’d rather make TV shows for teenage white girls because it has yet to respect the power of the African American viewer [yeah I said it].

The Game’s cast has been working overtime to make sure that their fans keep bombarding CW with support of the show to prevent it’s cancellation and hopefully I pray it works. Right now so many shows are on the bubble [in jeopardy of cancellation] uncertainty is rampant amongst all networks but I hope that all of the fan support and positive ratings trends keep The Game in the game [you knew it was coming].

Quote of the day

"Your birthday is a special time to celebrate the gift of 'you' to the world."


(Happy Birthday Xavier! Love, Uncle Roy)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Skinny Jeans: I'm Just Saying and Dhani Tackles My TV

Skinny Jeans: I’m just Sayin’

Black men are we really doing this? Really? I’m all for men dressing with the times but this whole skinny jean trend is really bothering me. Recently I saw one of my favorite artists perform and he tore it up, real talk, but he had on some of the tightest jeans I have ever seen on a black man. Jail muscles and tight jeans don’t convey the image you want in my opinion.

This may sound ignorant but some trends only skinny white dudes can pull off and the skinny jean is just that. All up and through Chicago I’m seeing dudes (mainly younger kats) wearing these uncomfortable looking, tapered leg, sagging tight ass jeans. I just can’t comprehend how the look is acceptable and why someone would want to make their lower half look five inches shorter (when they sag them). Maybe this is the beginning of me getting old.

I’m just sayin’.

Dhani Tackles My TV

Dhani Jones has been on my radar for a minute partly for being a beast on the football field but mostly for being sick with his fashion game. Having a couple of millions makes it a little easier to be fly but something tells me Dhani has always been a fly dude.

Recently Dhani’s very own television show premiered on the Travel channel. Dhani Tackles the Globe is a brilliant platform that allows the charismatic fellow to travel the world, experience different cultures and partake in the athletic traditions of the citizens. It’s educational, funny, exciting and just all around good. He’s a great guy with a great job (I wonder if he’s looking for a sidekick) and you should check out Dhani Tackles the Globe Monday nights at 9 est.

Quote of the Day

"Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there."

-Clarence W. Hall

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hair Care for My Brothers: I'm Just Saying; Why I Like: Bill Cunningham & Rethinking Genius with Elizabeth Gilbert

I’m Just Saying: Hair Care for My Brothers

If you’ve been reading The Genius Syndicate from the beginning then you know the “I’m Just Saying” segments are my opinions/questions/perspectives/rants and if I offend anyone that is not my intention. But some things just need to be said.

As a black man I think I have had just about every hair style imaginable [except the frohawk…I refuse] and there was NEVER a time in which I felt it unnecessary to take care of my hair. I understand that having more texture is in style now. We got everything from shags, to the mini fro, Mohawk, frohawk, and I could’ve sworn I saw Bobby Valentino with a rat-tail a few months ago. That’s all well and good but please take care [wash, brush and moisturize] your damn hair!!!

We as a people usually have drier and more brittle hair than our counterparts and while others wash the natural oil out of their hair we need to add moisture to ours. Does this mean run out and get a jheri curl? I can’t cosign on that but you need to commit to keeping your hair looking healthy [healthy= clean + moisturized] if you’re going to let it grow. Oh and please don’t make the mistake of thinking just because you got Indian [or whatever else] in your family you don’t have to subscribe to black hair care rituals like greasing the scalp. Get over it bruh. We men don’t have as many grooming responsibilities as women so when we let one thing go unkempt it makes a loud unflattering statement.

I’m just saying.

Why I Like: Bill Cunningham

When I lived in Brooklyn my Sundays were pretty routine. Church in the morning, brunch with friends, stop by the wine store, check out Bill Cunningham’s slide show on and have a feast for dinner with my boy Carlos. Well, since living in Chicago I’ve found a church, still need to work on brunch, I get my wine from the grocery store (so convenient), have feasts for dinner with my brother (the future chef) and still catch Bill Cunningham’s slide shows on I’m a creature of habit.

Mr. Cunningham does an amazing job highlighting fashion trends but more importantly he crafts weekly stories based on people’s attire. I think it’s fascinating. The only thing that would make his slide shows a little more gangsta is if your boy was featured in one. Until that happens I’ll just have to settle for checking out the slide shows every Sunday. I ain’t mad. Check out Mr. Cunningham's work [especially the Nov 4, 2008 feature] when you get a chance.

Rethinking Genius with Elizabeth Gilbert

I was strolling through the TED site today [as usual] and found a great little ditty from the TED 2009 get together. Elizabeth Gilbert is a best selling author but unlike other creative types she refuses to be tormented by the pressure that comes with being a successful creative soul. Her liberating take on what it means to “have a genius” and transcending the physical into the beautifully creative supernatural is breathtaking…and funny. Take a twenty-minute break and listen to what Elizabeth has to say. If you’re a creative soul I highly recommend this.

Quote of the Day

“Three words: Black, Muthaf*ckin, President. Hey now.”

-David Allen Grier

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Recycle that Cell Phone Bruh; Sip on South Africa's Wines; Foods & Moods and The Flipside Wallet

Recycle that Cell Phone Bruh
Purchasing a new cell phone is so easy isn’t it? So what about your old phone? Where is it? What have you done with it? If you’re like me it is probably in a box somewhere or being used as alarm clock. You don’t want to throw it away but you don’t want to hold on to it forever so what is a tech savvy person supposed to do? Recyle that bad boy.

While watching Current TV I saw a piece about recycling old cell phones and Samsung is heading the initiative. Honestly I didn’t even know you could recycle cell phones but in an age where everything is recycled {christmas gifts, vegetable oil and originality [see Fox Network]} why not have the option to recyle your old phones? Especially since it seems like cell phone lives are getting shorter and shorter anyway {I’m looking right at you Tmobile}.

Its estimated that there are 4 billion cell phones in use today and 25% of them are old or not being used. It doesn’t stop there either because today’s cell phones contain very harmful materials like lead, arsenic and mercury that could make our troubled environment a lot worse.

On Samsung's website where you can print off postage paid labels and mail in your old cell phone to them. They will break the phone down, I mean all the way down, and make sure the entire phone is recycled. In addition to recycling Samsung is launching a line of bio-plastic phones that are made with environmentally safe materials (e.g. corn products). And before you ask, no it doesn’t look, taste or smell like corn.

To find out more about Samsung’s recyclying genius go here.

Sip on South Africa’s Wines
This is my life in beverages: breast milk, cow’s milk, water, fruit juice, soda, kool-aid, fruit juice, hot chocolate, egg nog, beer, more beer, liquor, more liquor, beer again, more liquor then wine.

Ocassionally I still indulge in a dirty vodka martini with extra olives {my friends are probably chuckling right now} but for the most part I’ve been sticking to wine. For me it’s the all purpose alcoholic beverage that offers flavor, aroma and goes with meals as well as parties. Specifically when I think of south african wines I think of living in Brooklyn {Clinton Hill Baby!!!}, walking down to Olivino on Fulton Ave and picking up two bottles of Indaba wine- one bottle of shiraz and one cabernet.

I’m still a novice when it comes to wine but I like what I like and I have been gravitating more to South Africa’s wines. I love me some Indaba but a recent article in the NYT has opened my eyes to more wines from South African that have really put the country on the map.

South Africa has out done themselves with their cabarnets so don’t be surprised when you start to hear more about Stellenbosch’s family of cabernets and {the best value pick} Bon Cap Robinson Cabernet Sauvignon priced at $15 and described “Balanced, earthy and well structured with flavors of fruit and a touch of bacon” that’s right BACON!! Check out the NYT piece and keep an open mind next time you’re shopping for wine. You could be missing out on great flavors and a great bargain.

Foods and Moods
I was combing through again and found something interesting about foods and their link to elevating your moods. Before you rush and say “duh” just hear me out.

Walnuts: “Walnuts have long been thought of as a "brain food" because of their wrinkled, bi-lobed (brain like) appearance. But now we know that walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, a type of fat that's needed for brain cells and mood-lifting neurotransmitters to function properly and possible help some people with depression.”

Didn’t know that did you? Well I sure as hell didn’t. What about this?

Salmon: “In the past few years, research has suggested that vitamin D may increase the levels of serotonin, one of the key neurotransmitters influencing our mood, and that it may help to relieve mood disorders.” Guess what food is high in vitamin D? -- Yep salmon.

For the rest of the list as well as tips on how to incorporate more of these healthy and mood lifting foods check out the article.

The Flipside Wallet: Not Your Pop’s Wallet
Damn that Josh Spear. I’m not hating on him personally just his uncanny ability to make me want shit I didn’t even know existed. Check out the Flipside wallet.

It’s a slick, durable wallet that is just as tougher on protecting your assets as it is on design. The Flipside not only looks good but it prevents you from being a victim of the newest form of identity theft—RFID theft—which is a result of punk ass identity thieves using RFID readers to lift vital information from our credit cards {ding dang shame}. Check out more of the Flipside’s bi-fold functionality and new age appeal in the

Quote of the Day

"If you don't like your job, you don't strike! You just go in every day, and do it really half assed. That's the American way."

-Homer Simpson

Thursday, January 1, 2009

White Tube Socks: I'm Just Saying, Young, Black & Murdered & SIR spa

White Tube Socks? I’m Just Saying

Us men only have a few opportunities with our appearance to add some personality and flair. Now if personality and flair isn’t your thing then you can jump down but if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to add some more You to your wardrobe think about your socks. My favorite pair was a green and pink horizontal stripped pair with black Playboy bunnies on the sides. Fresh. {RIP my favorite socks}.

As men, I’ve noticed that we view socks from a functional point-of-view. This makes sense because I see countless dudes with run over shoes so it’s no surprise they settle for the honorable mention of socks: the dreaded white tube sock. Now don’t get me wrong; white tube socks have their time and place in a man’s wardrobe- just not every time and every damn place. And if you don’t believe me then check this out from Bob Strauss at eHow.

“Unless you’d like to relive your elementary school days, act like an adult and opt for nice, solid colors like blue or brown. Remember, sneaker socks should only be worn with sneakers. “

Bob knows what he’s talking about. Get the rest of the sock buying tips here and be opened minded. Bob graduated from the school of “match your socks with your shoes” but I didn’t. Remember that your socks show off your flavor and with that said I better not see any more white tube socks worn without sneakers. Let’s strive to really be fly from head-to-toe in ‘09. Shall we?

I'm just saying.

Young, Black and Murdered

It seems that the number of young black men and teenagers who committed murders or were murdered in shootings has increased since 2000. Criminologists at Northeastern University in Boston will release a
study that compares how national murders have leveled off but murders among young black men have increased dramatically by 40% since 2000.

While factors like low unemployment and poverty are constant all fingers point to the Bush administration’s lack of funding local police and juvenile crime prevention programs. To combat Bush’s mess Obama and Biden have promised to implement funds that will put 50,000 more police officers on the streets- we’ll see.

Cities like Houston, claiming to be the leader in national black youth murders, may not have time to wait. According to research Houston’s black youth homicide {14-27} is up 139% from 2001 to 2007.


My dad always made sure my appearance was on point as a kid. I was probably the only boy who got a haircut every week {every two weeks is the norm}. I was going to the barbershop so much that the barber actually sent me away one day. Thanks to my dad I know that a real man takes care of his appearance. It has nothing to do with being a “metrosexual” which is one of the stupidest terms ever created. For those who still don’t know the difference between a metrosexual and real dude let me draw a comparison:

-A metrosexual shaves his chest, gets his eyebrows arched and has gloss added to his nails during a manicure.

-A real dude trims his chest hair, doesn’t touch his eyebrows and gets a manicure without gloss.

A real dude cares about his appearance but doesn’t go the extra mile to implement feminine techniques. Grooming is to maintain health not to be pretty. With that said I want to introduce you to SIR spa in Chicago.

A trip to SIR was my bday gift to myself and it was amazing. In the Andersonville neighborhood of Chitown SIR offers a range of services like massages, facials and hand/foot treatment in addition to products for hair, body and face.

You’d think a guy who was raised to take care of his appearance would’ve visited a spa a long time ago but yesterday was my first time- ever! The people at SIR spa {shout out to Dave, Emily and Tisha} were professional and remarkable. Thanks to them my hands and feet look presentable to the world, my face is radiant and my body is still relaxed from my massage {Dave you are the man!}. If you are in Chicago or visiting soon treat yourself to a trip to SIR spa. You won’t regret it.
Tell them The Genius Syndicate sent you and you’ll get a whopping 0% discount. Sorry, I don’t have that much juice to hand out discounts but I figured it'll be nice for the team at SIR to know they are doing a great job.

Quote of the Day

"I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma."

-Eartha Kitt

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter Coats for the Fly Guy, The Obama Name, Fighting Winter Skin & Paper Butterfly

Winter Coats for the Fly Guy

This is my first Chicago winter so let me go ahead and get this off of my chest *&%$@!!*$ it’s cold!!! It’s like someone took the vibrant and soulful city I was enjoying in the summer, stripped it scrotum naked and dropped it in the Antarctic. Not cool Chicago. Not cool at all.

Okay, I’m back. Since winter is inevitable up here that means winter wardrobes in Chicago have to be just as fly as summer wardrobes. Why should summer be the only season with a little flavor to it? One way to see some serious winter style is on Sunday morning when everyone’s going to church. Oh Chicagoans turn out for the Lord. Minks and sables and any other fur that could be used to make a coat is usually sitting right beside you on the church pew and these are men and women a like. But what if you’re not the “bitch better have my money” kind of fur coat wearing brother like myself? What are you winter coating options for the rest of this glorious season? I got you covered homie.

I found a list of
10 hot winter coats for men that are more than trendy these coats are investments in 1} maintaining your body temperature when Chicago winds decide they want to steal your body heat as well as your soul and 2} maintaining your style for seasons to come because these coats are made from cuts and materials that are winter fashion staples for any man.

Check out this Kenneth Cole number. It’s sleek, sharp and with the layered look you can pull just about anything off. Bundling up doesn’t mean look sloppy.

This is one of my personal favorites from
Scotch and Soda. When it comes to coats remember that what you wear over your clothes has to have some personality as well. With the right hat, scarf and gloves you can easily set it off in this one.

Get a good look at this snazzy mofo from April 77 {to the right}. Ain’t it the truth? Don’t get deterred by how homeboy ain’t rocking it right in the profile. Put a driving cap with this coat and a colorful scarf that will compliment the color of the coat {you can put any color with gray by the way} and draw attention up to your face. Trust me.

And what is winter without the down coat? Now I know how some people feel about wearing all white but this
Energie coat {pictured left} is fresh and it’s not something you’d wear every day either. Only places where there are no kids or dirty walls. Nah for real.

You can check out the rest of the list here and also keep this in mind; this is the time of the year and {unfortunately} the right economic climate to come up on some really good buys if you can afford it. Great brands and designers are slashing prices all willy-nilly and we all have the chance to come out on top in the name of winter fashion.

Be fly. Stay warm.

The Obama Name Game
We all knew it was gonna happen. When Nov 5th came there were two things I knew for sure 1} white folks would have to practice extra hard pronouncing ethnic names thanks to our President-Elect and 2} high school, 18 years from now, will be filled with thousands of kids who have Obama, Barack, Hussein and Michelle as their first and middle names. Just say his name.

Ba-rack O-ba-ma.

I bet those are syllables no American thought they’d be pronouncing so often. Now we have a new generation of Obama babies upon us and not just in the USA but worldwide. Sanjae Obama Fisher was born in Florida just hours before Obama whooped up on McCain and Barack Jeilah Williams was born on Nov 5th. Now a month and some change later parents from Indonesia to Romania are granting their newborns with the names Hussein, Barack and Obama. {Picture below: Sanjae Obama to the left and Barack Jeilah to the right}.

In a matter of two years the name republicans were making fun of has become the name parents covet for their children. Talk about a come up.

Read more here.

Fighting Winter Skin

I know I posted something on this subject before (Winter Skin Tips…Because the Hawk is Hell on Your Skin) but it bears reposting because guess what?

THE HAWK IS HELL ON YOUR SKIN!!! {For those of you who don’t know what the Hawk is just ask one of your black friends}.

Your skin is your first line of defense when it comes to protection and warmth and you can’t stay warm when you are dryer than British humor. Whether you live in North Carolina or North Dakota you need to properly take care of your skin when winter hits. And let me tell you this fellas it ain’t cute. Ladies pay attention to these things and shaking a woman’s soft supple hands with your rough palms is not a good look for a first impression. Chances are if your hands are ashy then you lips look like…never mind. Just read the damn tips below and thank me later.

Switch up to a heavier moisturizer. I have a friend who swears by Cetaphil face wash and moisturizer and I swear I haven’t seen her ashy since 1998. Real talk

Take care of your hands and feet. Winter air can take a toll on your extremities so rejuvenate them over night. Place moisturizer on your hands and feet and cover your feet socks and hands with plastic gloves while you sleep.

Pick up some fish oil pills. Winter skin care doesn’t just take place outside of the body. What we eat can provide our bodies with the essential moisture we need to keep the ash away.
And please, it has to be said, only ingest the pills. Don’t try to get savvy and use the pills for other shit because- trip this- fish oil pills actually have fish oil in them! If you want to walk around smelling like a salmon then by all means do what you want but I’m warning you. The smell isn’t pleasant.
Get the rest of the tips here.

Paper Butterfly
There are a few bastions of personal style that still ring true today as they did years ago like a tailor or even a great barber but to me an overlooked element of personal style is cards and stationary. Cards and personalized stationary are one of the easiest and often most overlooked ways to put some more uniqueness in your image. A good friend of mine has just launched her own paper design company called Paper Butterfly.

Everything is hand crafted and unique designs to Paper Butterfly. If you like standing out then you’ll love what PB offers. Now the company is in its infancy and the catalog isn’t that extensive but believe me when I say more designs are coming. Check out the website and pick up some Christmas cards.

Quote of the Day

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

{Thanks to Paper Butterfly for such a great quote!}

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

I don't give a damn what Peppermint Patty said. Snoopy did his thing in the kitchen.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Quote of the Day

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.