Category Archives: Uncategorized

Leaving all dreams on the table with author Keosha Turner

You want dreams.  Well dreams cost. 

If you don’t remember Debbie Allen uttering those words on the television show Fame, we can’t be friends.  

Kidding!

But seriously,  what I’ve learned from interviewing folks on the 30 previous episodes of Planet Noun, is that there’s a cost to realizing goals and aspirations.  Even when it seems like luck, trust and believe—there’s a lot of work that goes into being ready for that “lucky” break and being ready when opportunity calls.

Today’s guest is Keosha Turner—a woman who has a busy life, but she manages to write fantasy books in her spare time, like a page turner called The Disappearance of Magda Harden.

In this conversation, learn more about Keosha’s path to writing, and her writing plans.  

I’ll have to circle back to see if anything has changed, because this episode was recorded a little before the COVID-19 ish hit the fan and a national emergency was declared in the United States.

So if you’re looking for something new to read—even as things are opening back up…check out Keosha Turner!

And good news—the second installment of the Magda Harden Series will be out in July…that means not only one, but two of Keosha’s books for your spring/summer reading list!

Oh, and if you don’t know that “Fame” reference I referred to earlier, that means I’m getting old…and you’re about to get schooled, lol:

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Revolutionary in the regular with poet Romus Simpson

Meet today’s guest, Romus Simpson. He always has a funny story to share, and has been a vivid storyteller since I’ve known him.  I don’t even remember the year we first crossed paths, but it was through my cousins at their parent’s house—many years before they both passed on.  

Years later, we ended up in a long conversation after my aunt’s memorial and became pals.

He reminded me that I asked him to come on the show for National Poetry Month earlier this year.

A short time later, the world CHANGED with COVID-19 and worldwide stay at home orders and lockdowns.  As cities and states grapple with reopening plans, we still don’t know what it’ll look like when things get back to “normal.”

But finally Romus and I got to chat virtually — right in time to bid adieu to this year’s commemoration of the poetic form.

Romus Simpson…right here on Planet Noun. 

Thanks for listening to Planet Noun where it’s all about the People, Places, Things and Ideas that teach us, prompt us to make a difference and do more with what life presents.

Life and our surroundings present us with ample opportunities to chronicle daily life—opportunities that are ripe with the ordinary.  And for anyone who’s been marginalized, thought of as less than, and constantly delivered mainstream messages that your life and experiences don’t matter (NOTE: Those messages are LIES), revolution can be found in the regular, everyday occurrences—that can shatter the racism of low expectations.  Black history is as much the big, course-shifting names and events as well as the unknown citizens and everyday moments stepped in our humanity: Life and black history through everyday poetic moments.

Don’t forget to follow us on Social Media… Facebook, Instagram and Twitter…We’re on SoundCloud…. Oh, and please stop by Apple Podcasts and rate the show!

Thanks again for stopping by… Hope you enjoyed this episode! Until next time, take care!

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We’re so interconnected

I took part in a Zoom girlfriends conference call earlier. About five of my longtime friends and I met up in a room set up by one of my decades-long pals…

Living during a pandemic and social distancing and shelter in place orders…made me realize that I allowed work to get in the way of maintaining my friendships.

But no one’s knocking work. It’s important. It allows me to buy things—like food. And toilet paper. And more hand sanitizer—when I finally track that down.

But one of the things we discussed that is sticking to my mind—how interconnected we are—top to bottom, side to side, everyone incredibly integral to everyone else’s survival and well-being.

Doctors.
Nurses.
Hospital Techs.
Custodians.
Physical plant staff.
Guards.
Police officers.
Fire/EMS.
Dispatchers.
Grocery workers.
Restaurants.
Journalists.
Research scientists.
Imma say that again for the people in the socially distant back who may need to read it again.
Research scientists.
And everyone in between.

Let’s not forget the delivery drivers—shout out to all of y’all from the Amazon, UPS and FedEx folks to the gig-working drivers who deliver app-based food orders.

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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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Where Brooklyn At?

(Where Brooklyn At?)

I always like going to New York City and this time was no different. Alaska Airlines was having a BOGO sale that my friends and I could not let pass. You don’t want to know how much our round trip tickets were…okay I’ll tell you. One hundred and thirty six U.S. ducats! I know, I couldn’t believe it either!! As you can tell I absolutely LOVE a deal (who doesn’t). Stick with me kids!

So this time around we stayed at the McCarren Hotel in Brooklyn. BROOKLYN! Home of the Living Single brownstone and some of my favorite MCs. Big Daddy Kane, Notorious BIG, Lil Kim, Mos Def and Jay Z, just to name a few.

The McCarren is a cute boutique hotel that is super convenient to shops and eateries on Bedford Avenue.

Tasty pastries from Martha’s bakery. The berry napoleon is their specialty and was superb!

While working from my hotel room, I saw on the news that artist Efren Andaluz just finished a mural honoring Kobe Bryant and his daughter GiGi who were 2 of 9 that lost their lives in a helicopter crash on that gloomy Sunday morning of January 26th. This still feels unreal. As a Los Angeles lady, it was my duty to check it out and my friends agreed.

This mural is in Brooklyn, on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Pacific Street across from the Barclays Center.

Kobe and Gianna Bryant mural in Brooklyn on Flatbush Avenue and Pacific Street across from the Barclays Center.

So after we paid homage to our Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, we headed around the corner to BK9

BK9 is a modern caribbean restaurant in Brooklyn with a warm and inviting atmosphere. The perfect place to meet up before or after an event after work for happy hour, brunch or just because.

This place was amazing!

We also got a chance to get out of Brooklyn because one borough can’t hold these chicks down!!

In Harlem we saw the Apollo Theatre and ate at Melba’s. The fried chicken and egg nog waffle with a side of strawberry henessy was delicious! Melba’s is located on 114th Street at Frederick Douglas Blvd and is a great dining option while in Harlem.

Strawberry Henessy at Melba’s

In Manhattan we went to Bryant Park to ride the bumper cars. Because of the weather, they didn’t bring them out. Bummer but we enjoyed some hot cocoa along with the sights and sounds of the city.

Subway life

If you want scenic views of NYC’s skyline, then the Roosevelt Island Tramway is the ticket. You can ride the tram for just the cost of a metrocard ride. Enjoy the views as you enter the station from Manhattan’s upper east side and ride across to Roosevelt Island.

Back to Brooklyn, where I got to see some cool street art. Brooklyn is definitely a vibe and I can’t wait to go back.

What are some of your favorite spots in NYC? Drop me a line.

A few of our stops in Brooklyn:

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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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Junkanoo in the Bahamas

In August of 2019 I had the opportunity to attend a wedding in the Bahamas. The Bahamas is such a beautiful vacation spot, I could not pass up the opportunity to visit this lovely island again.

I stayed at the Atlantis on Paradise Island. I wish I had more time to experience what they had to offer, but my time spent there was very enjoyable and fun.

As it turned out, Junkanoo was also being celebrated. Oh the joy! I’d told myself that I wanted to start attending Carnival and Junkanoo celebrations in the Caribbean, and look what happened.

Early morning at the Atlantis after the rain.
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Junkanoo

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What is Junkanoo?

“Junkanoo, a Bahamian national festival, is a kaleidoscope of colours and sound,” states this excerpt from the Bahamas Government website, which also summarizes the festival’s traceable origins, and evolution of its costumes.

“The rhythmic sounds of cowbells, goat skin drums and whistles, accompanied by an array of brass instruments, create a sweet musical beat that will move you; while brilliantly coloured costumes capture your eye, and bring much visual delight.  This bi-annual cultural highlight takes place on Bay Street in New Providence and other Family Islands during the early morning hours, from 1:00a.m. – 9:00a.m. on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) and New Year’s Morning.  Junkanoo can also be experienced on many celebrated occasions such as independence Day (July 10th).  There is also a Junior Junkanoo Parade in December, held in New Providence.”

Parade route in front of the Fish Fry.

I was told by several locals that the parade in December is much bigger and that I should come back. Putting that on my bucket list. Have you ever been to any Carnival or Junkanoo celebrations in the Caribbean? Tell me about them.

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