Twitter - @usanegro


Associate well spoken with something that makes sense

I am not a racist. I don't believe a particular race is superior. I am not a bigot. I don't hold prejudice against racial or religious groups. I am associative. I associate people with things. Tall Short People of Asian descent...Asia. I admit it. I do it. I think others do it. And I don't mind when they do. Except when the association is "speaking well" and White. Or Gay. Then I mind.

These associations seem ridiculous. Yet, I have come face-to-face with both. From the same man. This man, whom I associate with one of the twelve tribes of Egypt, first asked if I was mixed, then asked if I was gay. Upon receiving two no's, he exclaimed, "but you speak so well."

"Speaking well" or being well-spoken - according to - is having a clear, articulate and socially acceptable accent and way of speaking. There is nothing racial or sexual about this definition. But for some reason my way of speaking made this man believe that I have a White parent or that I romantically love men.

I can kind of see the White part. Dr. John Baugh, the researcher who coined the term "linguistic profiling," said in the PBS special Do You Speak American, "It is often assumed by Blacks as well as Whites that African-Americans speak bad or lazy English." If my guy holds this same assumption, then my good and active English must have meant a heavy White influence.

Dr. Baugh went on to say, "Black English has roots as deep and a grammar as consistent as Scottish, Irish or any of the other Englishes spoken around the world." I associate this statement with the opening number of the musical My Fair Lady. Professor Higgins sings, "Oh, why can't the English learn to set a good example to people whose English is painful to your ears? The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears. There are places where English completely disappears. In America, they haven't used it for years." It would seem bad English is a nondiscriminatory equal opportunity practice.

I don't get the gay association at all. I don't even know how to begin to connect those dots. I chalk that association up to the unfortunate fact that we live in a society where anything and everything can be labeled gay. I'm sure someone will associate me with gay for referencing a musical in the previous paragraph. The association between well-spoken and gay is ignorant. And I'm willing to bet that there are thousands of homosexual men and women nationwide brutalizing English.

I am an American and I embrace English because it is the language of my home. I practice pronunciation and articulation because verbal communication is a large part of my daily life. I have found that life is more enjoyable when I'm understood. And I believe the same is true for everyone. Life is better when you are understood.

So, associate on, good people. It's natural. Just do me a solid and associate well-spoken with things that make sense like reading, dictionaries or Pappy the Cat. Just not race or orientation.


Love Is The Worst Reason To Get Married

"Of all the reasons to participate in marriage, love is the worst one."


It is all I ever talk about these days. With friends getting married or wanting to get married or just simply dreaming about getting married, I talk a lot about marriage. There is so much to say on the matter. There are so many questions with no clear cut answers. There is no concrete reason why anyone would ever participate, as there is no reason why anyone would not. There are so many reasons to participate and yet, so many reasons one should not. There is so much to gain and yet, so much to lose and despite the fact that so many marriages are falling apart people keep doing it. It is the riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma to quote the great Winston Churchill.

I am absolutely clueless. However, despite my vast ignorance, I do know one thing. Of all the reasons to participate in marriage, love is the worst one.

I am not hating on love. Love is the awesome supreme power that makes the world go 'round. Claude says, "It is possible to love every human being on the planet in a unique way" and I believe it. This is exactly why love is not a reason to participate in marriage. Because one can love everyone and anyone and marriage is not a party.

A man much wiser than me once said, "If we were meant to mate for life we would just do it. Naturally. Like penguins." But we don't do it naturally. We do it institutionally. Marriage is an institution. An agreement. An arrangement. It is a bond that is designed to be stronger than nature itself and that strength cannot be found in love.

The English language is cruel in that it does not provide us with enough words to qualify love. So, we love shoes; dogs; The Hills; Kobe Bryant; and Grey's Anatomy and despite the fact that these loves are all different, the expression of the emotion is still the same. It's love. It's love. There is no other way to describe it because it just is love. And love is...

...Fleeting. One bad design; an unexpected bite; a horrible season finale; a rape charge; or a season of bad acting and the love is gone. The good thing in all these situations is that we can turn the channel or find a new show or love a new player. Marriage doesn't work that way. Or at least it shouldn't.

Marriage, essentially, is a threesome. One, one and something else. The something else in most cases is God. Or kids. But it could be Tradition. In the days of Chivalry, it was Lineage or Politics. The something else is a firm principle that does not change; it binds the two together and stands firm against nature and/or the comings and goings of love. Side note: My second favorite scene in Fiddler On The Roof is when Tevya and Golda after 25 years of marriage discover that they actually love each other.

Love is...well love. And it comes and goes and goes and comes and I think it has its place in every relationship. I have love for quite a few people. Some emotions can't even be expressed with words. But love is not the foundation of any of my life long relationships. I think of love as the space that fills a house. It is the air, the scent, the aura, the vibe, the feel. The stuff that make a house a home. The substance that produces the warm and fuzzy comfortable "I could be here forever" feeling.

But the house. It must be built with mortar, concrete, wood, brick. And those things are Honor, Duty, Loyalty, Faith, Purpose. Things that will stand the test of time and remain firm so that love is free to flow within. I could be wrong.

But I don't think so.


Dear Crazy Pants

Dear Crazy Pants,

How are you? How's life? I think about you sometimes. I think I owe you $500.

Being a believer was hard for me. Not hard in the practice was hard or the discipline was hard. Hard in the sense that I am an American, Crazy Pants and if I am going to be a believer I am going to be an American one.

I can keep my head covered with a baseball cap. I can be modest in jeans and a button down. Why must I wear a throbe? By the way, throbes are hot as fuck. And I don't hot like oh he's so sexy going to prayer hot I mean hot like heat. Like why is there so much wool in The Way? Isn't it a desert religion?

I love The Way. I really do. I still read The Quran - I have a version that took all the transliteration out so I can read it without seeing Arabic words. I like that.

I prolly won't ever go back, Crazy Pants. I am so far away from being right. I feel like Hades awaits me and I'm just delaying the inevitable by living. And I don't think The Way can save me.

Plus, fuck throbes. Seriously, The Way needs a serious fashion makeover. Stat.

Take care, Crazy Pants.



Dear Dude I did the Bud Select CrowntownTv thing with that I just saw on an Law & Order rerun

*I have been thinking about a writing series for a long time. I call it "Emails Never Sent" It's like letters never sent only e-mails because who writes letters? Anyway, I decided to stop thinking about it and instead take a crack at it. So, here is the first letter. Dear Dude I did the Bud Select CrowntownTV thing with that I just saw on a Law & Order rerun.*

Dear Dude I did the Bud Select CrowntownTv thing with that I just saw on a Law & Order rerun,

Fuck you!

We had a sweet fucking deal. After getting paid $5000 plus hotel, travel and per diem to improvise - that's right  improvise - they came back and asked us to do it again for $7000.

Sweet fucking deal.

But you. You signed a pilot deal. You were big time now and so now you wanted $11,000. To improvise.

I get it. I am all about know your worth. I preach get paid. Make money. Fuck being broke. And your The Office but in an ad agency pilot was good. I know you showed it to us. All.

But asking for $11,000 to improvise for an animated web series was too much. Especially knowing the game. Agents talk. As soon as you asked, we all asked and the budget went from $35,000 to $55,000 plus hotel and travel and per improvise.

And if believe the narrative that we got dropped because the couldn't afford it you're an idiot. The very next Bud Select campaign was Jay-Z and I know damn well he didn't do that shit for $55,000.
We got dropped because you asked for too much to improvise. I am not shitting on improv. Love it. Teach it. But it is the sex of theater. Everyone can do it.

And there are humans of every race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and Creed literally blowing trolls for a chance to improvise and we got offered $7,000 to do it. You take that.

I forgive you. I am no longer angry. Looking back I am glad we didn't do that gig. I was really into partying then and I can only imagine how much blow I would have bought after making $7000 to improvise.

And you taught me something. You taught me we are not alone. Your choice affected four other actors, four agents, a director, an editor and web designer and countless other humans who worked the project. I am always mindful of how my choices in this biz affect more than just me.

I hope you are somewhere living your best life. I hope every know and then you go on YouTube and you search CrowntownTv and you watch a video - Hot Tub is still my favorite and you remember that time you got paid $5000 to improvise.




This damn blog

I have a blog. This one. I pretty much got it so that I could have my own email address but also because I want to be a writer. I want to write and I was told once that writers write. I don't write.

Not consistently. I don't have identify a specific amount of time daily to write stuff and I should. I want to be a writer and writers write.

I was told that I am too social to be a writer. Writers are those recluse types that hide in the woods and pen epics. I could never. I am tempted to right now to stop writing this post and grab my phone and tweet "trying to write on my blog" but I won't cause I am trying to write on my blog. Cause I want to be a writer and writers write.

This blog has gone through so many changes. It was once a blog with guest authors but they weren't writers so the posts were more sporadic than my posts.

It was once a place to find the scripts for my web series SWFS 4 Life but then I started doing rewrites so I took them down.

I have off and on used the blog to post the random writings I have written like stories from my life and whatever.

I don't know. I don't know if I am thinking more about the viewership or who is reading or what I want to talk about. It's not nerve racking. I don't stress at night about it. But I don think about it because I want to write. And writers write.

Maybe I should just stop thinking about it and just write.


Five essential Dixie Chicks songs not on The Essential Dixie Chicks Album

My random Dixie Chicks googling lead me to a link for the compilation entitled The Essential Dixie Chicks album. I did not buy this album as there is no need to buy a greatest hits collection when one owns every album - including the three without Natalie. So, I was shocked when I saw the track list and realized five essential songs were missing from this "essential" list.

I will assume that Natalie, Martie and Emily made this list and they would know what's more essential than I. However, as a diehard fan, I cannot look at this track list and not wonder why these five songs are not there. So here are the five essential songs that I think should be on The Essential Dixie Chicks album.

Thin Line

Thin Line - which is a bonus track on Taking The Long Way - is in my opinion one of the best songs on the album. The groove is fantastic and the lyrics are right on. "Some days rock and some days roll and some seem to last forever Some days it's all you want and some days it's never never." That's pretty much life right there. Taking The Long Way is over represented on The Essentials - eight songs - and I think Thin Line is way better than Lubbuck or Leave It and Everybody Knows

If I Fall You're Going Down With Me

If I Fall You're Going Down With Me is my jam. Another song with a solid groove and great lyrics. The great thing about this song is the arrangement allows for all three Chicks to exploit their talents which they do fantastically. Fly has the most songs on The Essential Dixie Chicks album with nine and while all of them are good songs, I'd trade If I Fall You're Going Down With Me for Some Days You Gotta Dance.

Once You've Loved Somebody

Once You've Loved Somebody is one of the best songs ever to capture that defeated feeling after a relationship. It's the kind of song that reaches into your chest, touches your heart and strokes it gently while whispering "I totally get you right now." That's what the Dixie Chicks to best and this is one of their best examples of that ability. It is definitely an essential.

Cold Day in July

I actually had to copy The Essentials track list, paste it into Word and then print it on paper so I could use a pen and my glasses to make sure Cold Day in July was not on the album. WTF! Like seriously. W. T. F.! One of the more prominent memories I have from seeing The Dixie Chicks at the United Center back in 2000 was them performing Cold Day in July and fake snow raining down on the crowd. Sure this song is attached to a memory and that's why I think it's so amazing. However, the song is outstanding. I am willing to bet that if you asked every Dixie Chicks fan to jot down their top 30 DCX songs, Cold Day in July would make eighty-five percent of those lists.

Am I the Only One (Who's Ever Felt This Way) 

Remember when I said the Dixie Chicks have the ability to reach into your chest, touch your heart and stroke it gently while whispering "I totally get you right now? Well, no song does that better than Am I the Only One (Who's Ever Felt This Way). At one point or another in our lives, we have all found ourselves sitting in dimly lit room, alone, clutching a glass of something stronger than soda, completely smothered by the emptiness screaming - internally or externally, "God help me" wondering "Am I the only one who's ever felt this way." This song is as essential as it gets and could easily replace Easy Silence, White Trash Wedding or Bitter End on the album.

There it is. The five essential Dixie Chicks songs that are not on The Essential Dixie Chicks album that I think should be on the album. Do you have a song or five that you think should be on The Essentials album that is not? Hit me up on Twitter - @usanegro - and let me know what those songs are.



My answers to the Marcel Proust questionnaire

I have never heard of Marcel Proust and I had no idea some consider him to be the one of the greatest authors of all times.

I was looking for questions to answer and stumbled upon this article concerning Marcel Proust's questionnaire.

So without any knowledge of Marcel Proust or even the authenticity of this list of questions, here goes it:

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Surrounded by people whom I love that love me.

What is your greatest fear?

Failure. Letting down the people that rely on me.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Lack of discipline when it comes to projects like writing, organizing, etc.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Misrepresenting oneself to be a part of something or as we say, lying to kick it

Which living person do you most admire?

My grandfather.

What is your greatest extravagance?


What is your current state of mind?

Very thankful. Life has been good to me.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Multitasking. I don't get why the ability to give many things a small percentage of attention at once over prioritizing and focusing on the tasks in order is such a great attribute.

On what occasion do you lie?

When in danger of getting hurt.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

The lack of hair. I would love a flattop right about now.

Which living person do you most despise?

Jennifer Hudson. Not sure why but she drives me crazy.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Security in their manhood.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

The ability to cultivate friendship on an honest nonsexual level with men.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Nice. I respond to everything with "nice" which can be weird when the previous statement is something that is not nice at all.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

What: Acting on stage. Who: Me.

When and where were you happiest?

Downtown Chicago. Columbus day parade. 2015. I watched both of my daughters march in the parade. 

Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to sing beautifully.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be taller. Like 6'2

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Graduating from college. It was a long, hard road.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I would come back as someone who could sing beautifully.

Where would you most like to live?

The Bay Area. Nothing like it.

What is your most treasured possession?

My dictionary.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Being unable to love yourself.

What is your favorite occupation?

Actor followed by loader/unloader at UPS

What is your most marked characteristic?

It has to be the green eyes.

What do you most value in your friends?

Brutal honesty.

Who are your favorite writers?

Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen

Who is your hero of fiction?

Lord Henry Wooten

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Paul Robeson.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My grandfather, my father, my uncle, my brother and my best friend.

What are your favorite names?

Seth and Leroy

What is it that you most dislike?

Violent crimes toward humanity

What is your greatest regret?

Not attending the graduation of the T-42's

How would you like to die?

In my sleep.

What is your motto?

Love More.


What are your answers? Post them on the interweb and let me know on Twitter and I will check em out.