All posts by Planet Noun

Founder, PlanetNoun.com and Planet Noun podcast

March 17, 2020 at 7:40 PM

Good God Almighty! I haven’t written a stitch in my journal since July of last year, and a whole heck of a lot—hell of a lot might be a better description, because it feels that hell is nigh—a whole hell of a lot has happened since then.

First of all, Kobe Bryant is dead.

Yes, Marley, dead as a doornail. In a helicopter crash that killed nine people total…including his middle daughter, Gianna.  What in the world? Like, why? I’m still asking because I’m STILL getting over that one. 

It STILL hasn’t trickled down to that hardly disturbed gathering spot—the place where facts go once they actually make sense…or that other settled place where we accept that they won’t EVER make sense.

But still. It. Just. Doesn’t.  Maybe it never fully will settle in.

 I was working the editor’s desk at WTOP that Sunday morning, and it was a flurry of an afternoon. Seems like such a distant memory now–barely two months later…because LOTS has happened since.  Including Super Tuesday (I worked the desk that evening, too—Lord—keeping track of all those states and American Samoa was a pleasantly exhilarating chore), Democratic presidential debates, and just life.  I’m still working on my podcast–my free-time labor of love, Planet Noun, and have some pretty good interviews in the can, but now, this heifer named Rona is trying to steal my joy.

Rona’s not its real name.  It’s COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus.  It’s been traced back to Wuhan, China and it’s spread the globe, to nearly 200 countries.  Once Wuhan was the epicenter, now Italy is the new epicenter.  So many people have died there, and the death toll in the United States is also climbing. The number of cases in our area keeps rising, and each part of the DMV is reporting deaths. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

I don’t know what else to do, but write out my thoughts so they don’t crowd my mind… and create stuff.

I wrote some darn-silly lyrics for Rona…First time I heard someone call this outbreak The Rona, Bobby Brown’s song Tender Roni immediately came to mind…

SneakyRona

Truth about The Rona 

It’s a sneaky little virus

Don’t treat it right, fight it back don’t hold it tight. 

Only sneaky Ronas can swirl around the world

A special pandemic where symptoms can even hide.

If you believe in health and all that it can do for you 

Buy you some veggies

Buy some fruit tooo-oooo

And if you find that sneaky Rona has crept up on you

Make it official

Go get it a di-ag-noooo-ooo-sis 

Chorus

My lungs…

Tryna stay clear from the Rona

It is not my love 

My lungs staying clear of the Rona

It is not my love

Verse 2

Truth about Rona

It’s always on the move

Don’t matter what you look like-it can come for you…

So stay your hind parts home. 

And cook you some food. 

Netflix and chill and Amazon Prime too

(Just don’t order food)

If you believe in health and all that it can do for you 

Eat you some veggies

Eat some fruit too.

And if you find that sneaky Rona has crept up on you

Make it official

Go get it a di-ag-noooo-ooo-sis 

Chorus

My lungs…

Tryna stay clear from the Rona

It is not my love 

My lungs staying clear of the Rona

It is not my love

Bridge

The truth about Rona—it’s a sneaky skank

Bout as sneaky a skank thats around the way

It makes the toughest homeboys get fever, dry cough. 

Sore throat runny nose or-no-symptoms…

Wash your nassssy hands to keep that Rona out your life. 

 Cover your mouth

Don’t go out in a crowd 

You don’t want the Rona cause the Rona ain’t right…

So getting toilet paper it might save your liiifffffeeee.

Chorus

My lungs…

Tryna stay clear from the Rona

It is not my love 

My lungs staying clear of the Rona

It is not my love. 

(Repeat 2x)

Sometimes foolishness is what saves us (read: me) from anxiety or panic.  And panic and brawling over fibers used to clean hindparts is not what I’m about. But then again, sheer foolishness and selfishness is what leads some to do just that.  Hoard and fight. 

Rona Shopping

Made a Target run yesterday, and found toilet tissue. May make another run tomorrow morning for a few more things.  

Things with this COVID-19 outbreak have totally upended he way we do things…folks staying at home, teleworking, San Francisco on lockdown, part of New Rochelle, New York on lockdown, gatherings of 50 or fewer banned—then that number squeezed down to 10 people or fewer. 

I’m usually glad and content to stay home—but there’s the knowledge that I’ll get to go to the store and get what I need.  

But just like Kobe Bryant’s death fractured the once secure lenses through which folks may have seen life, COVID-19 has tilted us into thinking that we may have to hunker down for a long time…that resources that were constantly stocked on supermarket and big-box shelves may be scarce.  Yes, if everyone buys 80 packs of toilet paper each, yes, things will be scarce.  

To make sure we all have what we need, we must be committed to being good humans and not moved by fear.  And moved to thank our store clerks for their service along with medical teams, servicemen, firefighters, cops—and journalists who help us stay informed.  As a journalist, I’m biased about that last one…But during that Target run, I made sure to tell staff members “Hey, I’m glad you’re here!”

I’m afraid all of this will be our new normal.  Already, I’m longing for the halcyon days when I was getting over a bad breakup…or those days when I worked seven days in a row here and there—and the only thing I had to worry about was being a little tired. 

It’s thrown many of us for a loop. And we’re just trying to navigate and deal, and adjust. It’s the human way.

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How 1 thing, 1 day, 1 time became a monthly matter with Jay Herriott of The 25th Project

As always, this episode of Planet Noun is about the People, Places, Things and Ideas that teach us, prompt us to make a difference and do more with what life presents.

Today’s guest is Jay Herriott of The 25th Project, an organization dedicated to helping the homeless on the 25th of each month—and beyond. 

Tomorrow is TODAY! But if you miss Soup ‘N Socks on February 25 of this year, no worries-it’s every year. The 25th Project also has year-round opportunities to serve the homeless population in the Washington, D.C. area.

We met through my job, a former co-worker recommended him to me as a source for story ideas. I’ve interviewed him for work stories a couple of times, and wanted to talk a bit more with him, so I called him up for Planet Noun.

But HOW did his organization get started? 

That’s pretty simple. It started with one meal from one restaurant—and a bit of sharing and an idea that blossomed from there.

Episode 27 of Planet noun features Jay Herriott of The 25th Project

Thanks again for listening to Planet Noun! 

You’re definitely appreciated!

Learn more about The 25th Project and the activities they have going all year long (including Soup ’N Socks which is today), go to The 25th Project website or their Facebook page.

During today’s episode, Jay mentions some statistics on homelessness in California. Click here  to find more information about those numbers, or here.

Jay mentioned a news story about New York moving their homeless population to other locations. He didn’t specifically mention this article, but here’s one of several that are about this topic–one from CNN, and the other from a local ABC affiliate station.

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Land your next promotion with “Promotable”

This book is GOOD!

Promotable is a quick read that doesn't drone on and on. It pulls no punches and gets straight to the point and quickly tells you how you can become more Promotable in your career. It's also filled with suggestions that can be used right away.
Promotable is a quick read that doesn’t drone on and on. It pulls no punches and gets straight to the point and quickly tells you how you can become more Promotable in your career. It’s also filled with suggestions that can be used right away.

I could end this book review by right there, but it wouldn’t explain WHY I think Dr. David Arrington’s, founder of Arrington Coaching, has given readers a good thing.

Well, let’s get to that. Why should you snag a copy this book?

Reason #1: It’s a quick read. I read Promotable: How to Demonstrate Your Value, Highlight Your Potential & Land Your Next Promotion in two sittings—I put it down the first time only because it was time for bed. I had stuff to do the next day, but guess what? I used one of David’s suggestions during a meeting.

How about THAT?

Reason #2: I like this book because it doesn’t drone on and on, but gets straight to the point of how you can become more promotable and prove your value at work. It’s also packed with extra resources and links to additional reading material—including probing questions to ask yourself, and free worksheets to help you think through the things you desire in your career.

Another thing I enjoy is that the author’s personality shines though this-here work. Full disclosure: I’ve known this dude for decades, and his wife even longer than that. This book is not only a helpful read, it’s also a throwback journey down memory lane with film and old-school hip hop references!

Long story short: With so many books out there, it’ll be worth your while to pay attention to this one. Click the image to learn more.

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Time and the Terraced Land–beloved Palos Verdes

The beauty and vistas on the Palos Verdes Peninsula are awe-inspiring and majestic.

Somehow, I don’t quite know how, a book about the Palos Verdes Peninsula titled “Time and the Terraced Land” ended up in my hands. Actually, I think it ended up in my dad’s possession when he made a visit to a brick-a-brack store when I was a teenager, I think. As an adult, I kind of lifted it from him to get more information about one of my favorite places on the planet.

If you don’t know where the Palos Verdes Peninsula is located, it’s in Los Angeles County, Calif., past Torrance and near San Pedro, Calif. 

It juts out, as peninsulas are wont to do, in the Pacific, gifting folks with extraordinarily beautiful views—especially on clear days. This particular Sunday wasn’t the clearest one, but the beauty was still extraordinary…and enough where a healthy crop of people came out to enjoy the vistas.

This land has had plenty of visits from me—from peaceful, scenic drives, to stops by the interpretive center just near the Point Vicente Lighthouse, and pauses along the pathways there to listen to the waves.

On this particular trip, I parked my rental car and walked toward the fence separating walkers, joggers and whale watchers from a precarious fall. 

A kind man named Desmond let me look through his binoculars at these lovely seals perched on a rock.

A kind man named Desmond started telling me about some seals perched on a rock near the shore. He had some really super duper binoculars and he shared some of his views with me—along with a snippet of his story…see, his wife was with one of his granddaughters. And they were at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center.

In the mean time, I found out this man (hadn’t asked his name just yet) had traveled the world with the Navy, so he tells me, and was on this day out spotting sea life like dolphins (he let me look at a pod traveling north) in addition to the seals. 

He also told me that he and his wife did things differently—formerly living in a boat in the area—and that they both love to travel and she, at the tender age of 52, he tells me, decided to become a flight attendant, which fell in line with their love for travel. 

Folks had gathered there to see if they could be party, visually speaking, to migrating whale pods that move along the California shoreline during the winter months. While we didn’t have any luck with whale sightings, there was that group of dolphins we saw. Desmond engaged others who happened upon our little section of the fence, and then I noticed the group gradually grow larger as folks learned dolphins had been spotted out yonder. One of the dudes who was there with another lady and a dog estimated about 100 dolphins were swimming and leaping with the group. 

After meeting Desmond’s wife and lively granddaughter, I decided to take a walk through the interpretive center. It had been some years since my last visit. 

The center tells the story of the Palos Verdes Peninsula from prehistoric times and the indigenous people who resided there, to the era of the Ranchos in Alta California, to the history of Japanese Americans there, and the era of Marine Land, a marine zoo (akin to Sea World) which closed in the late 1980s, to the Fresnel lens of the Point Vicente Lighthouse which is on display courtesy of the US Coast Guard.

Whaling was also big business back in the day, and there’s a whaling boat as well as a display of an array of products used throughout the years that relied on parts of Baleen Whales in order to produce. From soap to toothbrushes, clothespins, and oils for various purposes.

The center also explains the dynamic nature of the peninsula, and the constant, albeit slow, movement of earth in the Portuguese Bend landslide area. The Bend is part of one of my favorite scenic routes ever, and I like to drive it when I can—just to see how the roads have changed and how much new road patching has been necessary to repair bumps and cracks that inevitably develop due to the constant movement of the earth there.

Another cool thing about the PV Interpretive Center—the awesome walking trails overlooking the ocean with a cool view of Catalina Island. That actually was two things…and the third? It’s FREE! Nothing better than the opportunity to experience grand views and learn something new for $Free.99!

That interaction was quite nice and refreshing, and here are some images from that day, as well as one of the view through Desmond’s binoculars:

Place: Point Vicente Interpretive Center

Address: 31501 Palos Verdes Dr W, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

Contact: www.rpvca.gov 310-544-5375

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Get moving by getting unstuck with author Fredrick Bussey

So…who ARE you?

I can’t help but think of Alice in Wonderland—the Disney movie…and the caterpillar with the hookah…asking Alice this question while blowing smokey designs in her face.

No smoke here…but the question remains the same.  

Who ARE YOU?

What are you here to do?

What’s your gift?

No, I’m not talking about something you got for a birthday or holiday—if you celebrate those.

I’m talking about something that’s special about YOU…something that you were BORN with—that no one else can do just like you.

I’m not talking about a skill like playing an music instrument.

I’m not talking about talents either…but gifts. 

But what’s the difference, you ask?  That’s what today’s guest on Planet Noun is discussing in this episode. Fredrick Bussey also wrote a book about it. 

So let’s get right into it…he’s a dad…a speaker and entrepreneur…founder of marketing and branding consultancy IconStatus…his work? Helping brands and individuals to convey their stories with more power.

More from Fredrick Bussey author of the book “Breaking Orbit: Rip Out of the Regular by Unearthing the Power Within” on Planet Noun.

Learn more about Bussey via his social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram:

Purchase a hard or e-copy of his book on Amazon:

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Astronomy Club aims for the stars, but they’re already there

What does it mean to be black?

To be black in America?

One thing is for sure—it doesn’t automatically mean the exact same thing across any boards. That’s what the new Netflix comedy series, “Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show,” appears to explore through clever comedy vignettes which are stitched together amid a reality show backdrop. They take the reality show format and hijinks and transform them into utter hilarity!

Each sketch is part of the thematic lattice that, as individual segments and as a whole, challenges what it means to be black and, in a not so low-key way,  asserts the oh-so-true notion that black folks in America (and anywhere) are not a monolith. 

The show takes on a range of topics through a comedic lens—from world geography to Ice Cube Day, the lunacy of some olden-day nostalgia, and the oft repeated notion that ‘black don’t crack,’ — until it does. 

There’s even a nod to a Mary Poppins who’s looking for a nanny job with a wealthy black family…and another nod to an original Twilight Zone episode–that one where a man was in a tizzy on a flight during a bad thunderstorm because every time he glanced out the window, he saw a demon on the wing…But the Astronomy Club puts a chocolate twist and some stank on it—and a little booty poppin’, too.

Each episode is roughly 20 minutes long, so the six-episode season is bingeable without decimating weekend or even weeknight plans. 

Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show was launched on December 6, 2019, and is executive produced by Kenya Barris—the creator of the hit ABC show ‘Blackish.’

The Astronomy Club is an improv sketch comedy group that was founded in 2014. Its members are Shawtane Bowen, Jon Braylock, Raymond Cordova, Caroline Martin, Jerah Milligan, Monique Moses, James III & Keisha Zollar. Read more about them on the Astronomy Club website.

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Episode 25: A skin problem + healthy solution = a skincare biz

So my sister and I met up for Essence Fest during the summer…it was the event’s 25th anniversary. And we had a BALL! We mainly went there this year for the music and the marketplace that showcased all of these black-owned and produced product.

So we were meandering through one aisle…and a gentleman approached us and started talking to us about our skin. We were both satisfied with our current products but wanted to learn more about this brand. Then he introduced us to the product line creator…who is today’s guest on Planet Noun…

So we tried the moisturizer on our hands…and were impressed with how our skin felt…supple-soft…and the product had no heavy scent…another plus for us.

Now sis and are loving Three Notes Skincare!

But how did this business get started?
Simple…It started with an issue that needed a solution.

Take a listen to Tanzania Crew—founder of Three Notes Skincare—on Planet Noun.

00:00—A skin problem needs a solution

24:38—The meaning of Three Notes

35:30—Good news for the company

Today’s guest—Tanzania Crew—founder of Three Notes Skincare. She joined me from the Memphis area. We met at Essence Fest where there were LOTS of quality products for sale in their marketplace at the convention center in New Orleans.

Learn more about Three Note Skincare and purchase products on the Three Notes website.

And on social media:

Instagram
Facebook
Twitter

Additional Links

Here are some other products and sites Tanzania mentioned during out chat:

Doughful website: An online marketplace for folks who create doughful deserts to those who plan events where such artfully crafted treats are served up and eaten. Learn more on the Doughful website: https://www.doughful.com

The Pupp Cleanse
This book sparked from the time when Tanzania got a rash after the birth of one of her children. She developed an intense rash and chronicles the process she used to eradicate hers.

As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases

http://www.pupppcleanse.com

Three Notes on Essence.com



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Helper’s heart + determination w/ Deia Davis-Williams of ExquisteM PR

Life can abound with various challenges, but it’s up to us to take that stuff and make it into something better.

There are some folks in this universe who, despite challenges, imagine how they’d like life to look. Then they plan and move boldly in the direction of those dreams.

My next guest is one of those beautiful humans.

Deia Davis-Williams and I go way back to college. We’ve been connected on social media, but and saw each other in person for the first time in YEARS in New Orleans as Essence Fest was wrapping up. It was the first time at Essence Fest for either of us. Shoutout to Essence for such an awesome, affirming event!

Deia is a publicist…and founder of ExquisteM Public Relations. She’s also in law school and is very specific about her goals and the impact she wants to have in the African-American community.

Take a listen to this driven sister’s story…On Planet Noun.

00:00—Deia’s organic road to becoming a publicist.

04:35—The role family plays in the ExquisteM brand

10:20—How she knows the law path is right for her and for giving back to her community

38:15—So who are some of her clients? You know I TRIED to find out…

39:02—How Deia rolls when she walks into a room when there aren’t many people like her present

Read more at https://planetnoun.com

Learn more about Deia—on social media:

Instagram

On IG you can follow her hashtag #exquistlyhandled

And connect via Facebook

Thanks for listening to this episode featuring Deia Davis-Williams of public relations firm ExquisteM! Quite a few nuggets to remember in each episode… A key from this one to remember: Set clear goals, and if you want to reach them, figure out a way do so with persistence, honest hard work and integrity.


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Episode 23: Single, childless aunties—a family staple

It’s always exciting when a new episode drops…this one is no exception.  It’s the second of two collaboration episodes with Liliana and Tamara of Barely Bougie Mamas—a podcast that was released during the summer.

If you haven’t heard last week’s episode, take a listen after you get through with this one.  

So Barely Bougie Mamas is a podcast featuring Liliana and Tamara—two moms who grew up in poverty—but have crafted lives for themselves and their kids that are totally different from their own upbringings…and all of the funnies and concerns that stem from those differences. 

My sister Lea and I joined them at Liliana’s home in Southern California for some kiki-ing and questions.  

Last week, we talked about some of their experiences growing up vs. how their kids are growing up.  

And this week, Liliana, Tamara, My sister Lea and I talk about something Le-Le and I know…being single, childless aunties….And the role all aunties play in the family fabric. Whether they’re linked by bloodlines or play aunties that are for real-real with their care, concern and involvement. 

So let’s get to it with the Barely Bougie Mamas and Planet Noun: 

Topics and timecodes:

03:13—Dealing with annoying comments like “You’re not married? You don’t have kids? And you’re HAPPY?” (Answer: Hell to the yes! Contented, single and childless women do exist, they’re real people) 

08:55—Aunties to O.P.K.-Other People’s Kids

10:19—The Sister-in-Law Co-Parent (Tamara says don’t skip your visitations) & the Auntie Posse 

14:15—Unmarried Aunties, do you realize your importance (and not just for babysitting)?

17:30—Liliana’s experience as a single, childless auntie 

21:28—The fun auntie

24:10—Deadbeat godmamas 

29:32—An auntie’s listening ear

35:05—Forging the relationship with a potential auntie in your life

If this is the first time you’ve heard of them, they have several episodes already released…12 of them…13 including this one. 

Listen to Barely Bougie Mamas on Anchor FM.

They’re also on Apple Podcasts.

And Spotify

Find them on Instagram

And Auntie Lea, my special guest on Instagram.


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Episode 22: A chat (& many laughs) with Barely Bougie Mamas

I’m always excited when a new episode comes out…this one is no exception.  It’s one of two back-to-back collaboration episodes we’re dropping today and next Thursday. Planet Noun’s first collaboration ever—and it’s with Liliana and Tamara of Barely Bougie Mamas—a podcast that was released during the summer.. 

A capsule-sized explanation of their show—it’s about two moms who grew up in poverty—but have crafted lives for themselves and their kids that are totally different from their own upbringings…and all of the funnies and concerns that stem from those differences. 

My sister Lea and I joined them at Liliana’s home in Southern California for some ki-ki-ing and questions.  

A little background…Tamara and I met the afternoon this was recorded…But she’s listened to some Planet Noun episodes, and I’ve listened to Barely Bougie Mamas shows. 

Liliana and I grew up together. My sis and I have known her for years.  Matter of fact, we go so far back, I don’t remember WHEN we met.  My mom says it was at church when we were wee children who were sat in the class for babies, toddlers and under fivers. We used to sit next to each other and suck our thumbs, mom said.

That’s enough intro!  There’s cussing in this episode. You’ve been warned…now listen in! 

1:32 — How Tamara and Liliana met, then  learned they had things in common

20:22—Dealing with bullies

21:03—Snitching then and now

30:09—Street sense

41:55—Whose kids are more bougie?  Tear-jerking experiences with their children

51:13—What to expect from Barely Bougie Mamas podcast

If this is the first time you’ve heard of them, they have several episodes already released…12 of them…13 including this one. 

Listen to Liliana and Tamara, the Barely Bougie Mamas, on Anchor FM

They’re also on Apple Podcasts

And Spotify

Find them on Instagram

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