Time to Cut the Cord

I have mentioned here a few times that I was seriously considering getting rid of my cable television subscription. I have been thinking about it for a while due to the growing cost of it and lack of interest in watching most of the hundreds of channels in my package.

This decision is bittersweet. When I was growing up in the early 1990s, we were one of the last households (it seems) to get cable. I remember begging my dad to get us cable TV because it seemed like all the cool kids had it. He didn’t understand why we needed to pay for TV when we could get five broadcast channels for free.

Eventually, he relented, and we got cable, and I finally felt like I was part of the in-crowd. There was a lot of great things to watch back then for a curious kid. I was finally able to watch Teen Summit on BET and Yo! MTV Raps on MTV. I believe Tevin Campbell’s music video for Round and Round was the first video I had ever seen.

MTV was great back then because they actually used to show music videos! There was also this new show called The Real World, which was awesome because it exposed me to people and issues I wouldn’t have seen in my life. I think Pedro from the San Francisco cast was the first openly gay, HIV-positive person I had ever seen, and Tami from Los Angeles left an impression on me when she had her abortion on the show. MTV culture back then was different from today. The VMAs were worth watching back then, Kurt Loder was MTV’s Walter Cronkite, and who could forget Bill Clinton being asked about wearing boxers or briefs?

In my later teens, I started watching more CNN, which helped me decide to become a journalist. I loved watching Christiane Amanpour reporting from Bosnia and Bernard Shaw covering the Gulf War.

Today MTV, CNN, and the many other cable channels have become complete garbage. It is possible that I have “aged out” of MTV’s targeted demographic, but the programming on there now is just awful and lacks any substance. The same is true with CNN, which used to report the news. The last time I turned it on, I was watching Anderson Cooper, who had ten people on his panel yelling at each other. Now with Trump becoming president, I will want to watch even less of the cable news pundit yelling.

Enough, enough, enough!

In the next few weeks, I am going to look into alternative options to replace my cable. I get most of my news and entertainment from online these days. It is funny how life makes a full circle. Most of the shows that I like to watch today are on broadcast channels, like Law and Order SVU, Jane the Virgin, Designated Survivor, Quantico and Madame Secretary. The only regular newscast beside local news that I watch are Democracy Now, BBC, CBC, France 24 and CNN International online.

If you have any suggestions for the cable weening process, please let me know. I need to get off this cable habit real quick!

2016: My Year In Review

hand-1105331_640This has been a very strange year.

Who would have thought a year ago Donald Trump would be our next president?  I explained all my reasons he won previously: Hillary’s misguided campaign and low-information culture.  However, I do think there is some truth in saying that there are two sides of America and one side – working class whites – felt left out of the conversation.

Nonetheless, I do want Trump to succeed.  When he succeeds, everything that matters to me will also succeed – my family, my friends, my business and my livelihood. Unless there is a miracle before January 20, he will be our next president.  I can already see all the achievements Obama made over the last eight years disappear as soon as Trump comes to the White House.  I want to hope for the best, but I might have to settle for the worst.

Then on top of all that, we lost a lot of great people this year – Prince, David Bowie, John Glenn, Muhammed Ali and many others.  As I was writing this, I found out George Michael passed away too.  It almost seemed like Fidel Castro would live forever. Unlike George Michael, good riddance to Castro.  Hopefully, other aging dictators will be departing soon too.

Because this year was so stressful, I hope to continue with the work/life balance by doing less TV and internet searching and reading more books.  I want to also continue growing my business.  I was actually able to travel more for leisure this year to Canada, Morocco, Spain, and France.  And just when you think you are traveling to get away from all the political madness in America, I find it head-on in these locales too!  Almost everyone I met from Toronto to Madrid across many languages had the same question: “What is the deal with Donald Trump?”

I would just say: I don’t know; I didn’t vote for him, Je ne sais pas or No se, no voté por él. No es mi presidente as I said to one really disgruntled man in Barcelona.

I feel like I am going to have to do this a lot over the next four years.

Let’s be hopeful.  See you on the other side… of the new year!

What’s Cooking: Jamaican Rum Cake

rum-cakeIt is a tradition in my house and other Caribbean homes to eat rum cake during Christmas.  Rum cake or black cake or fruit cake (different terms on various islands) is a rich mixture of raisins, butter, dates, prunes, vanilla, eggs, cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, and, of course, rum.  Every island has their version of making the cake.

The cake is eaten during other special occasions like Easter, weddings, and childbirths.  When I was growing up, rum cake was something my family eat after Easter dinner.  My mother usually bought it from a friend of hers who made it and then shipped it to us in Boston from Miami.  It is also eaten on special occasions (in my opinion) because it takes so long to make.  But the great thing about it is that it lasts a long time.  You can keep it in the fridge nicely wrapped up in tinfoil for months, and it will still taste fresh.  I also like it with either vanilla or cream cheese frosting.

Yummy!

I am making it this week for my loved ones.  Again, I am hoping if it turns out okay, I will have enough to keep in the fridge until next Easter.

Here is a video that is close to how I make rum cakes.  Some of you have asked me if I would be making cooking videos anytime soon.  If I have time in the new year, I will see what I can do.  Stay tuned!

More Compassion and Joy Is Needed Today

dalai-lama-desmond-tutuThe holiday season should be a time to think about our common humanity.  This has been a really ugly year, and now is a good time to step back and to maintain our courage under fire.

My favorite book from this year was The Book of Joy:  Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.  These two men have faced harsh adversity in their lives and it was great to read their perspectives and advice on dealing with life’s struggles.

Desmond Tutu has been a role model to me for many years and I have had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times.  He is a true fighter and definitely someone that everyone should listen to when he speaks.