Archive | October, 2011

My Favorite Costume

31 Oct

Tanya H. Franklin HalloweenWhat did I want to be for Halloween?
I HAD a favorite costume
Every year the same concept, slightly modified.
I couldn’t wait to try it on.
One year, a cowboy…not a cowgirl.
I’ll take the trousers, not the skirt.
Another year, an Indian chief
No Pocahontas for me!
After that, let’s try half man half woman.
Watch their eyes widen when they see me comin’
Ain’t that somethin’

So fascinated with dressing up like a man
But can’t understand why.
Was I showing early signs of being transgender?
I remember always being called a “tomboy.”
Did I have a affinity towards the look of a man?
I can admit that I’ve always found comfort in loosely fit clothing.
Looking back now, I think I have a clue.
Too many people to count, even strangers,
Which makes it stranger…
Remark about how I resemble my dad from his features to his gestures,
But these gestures enhanced the mark of resentment
My father had for having a female child in his likeness
Like this was something I could control,
Told on occasions, “Stop lookin’ like me!”
How frightening it was
To feel unloved at times.

But instead of shoving me in the other direction
with hatred festering
I sought out a way to fulfill his dream,
Or so it seemed.
I mean…I gleamed with excitement
as I looked at my reflection
knowing that I’d get my dad’s affection
with me hair tucked under my hat,
I just knew he was gonna like that!
Checking out my painted on mustache
And thick side burns

Took me years to learn that all attempts would be abortive.
Though my mom seemed supportive…
Shaking her head…
“You look just like your dad!”

By Tanya H. Franklin aka Anonomz

Profound Hip Hop Quote #41: Drake Tickles My “Fancy”

29 Oct

“And you don’t do it for the man, men never notice
you just do it for yourself; you’re the f*%$^*g coldest
intelligent too ooh you’re my sweetheart
I’ve always liked my women book and street smart”
 

—“Fancy” by Drake featuring T.I. and Swiss Beats

DrakeWhy do people, specifically women, take painstaking measures to beautify themselves?  Of course, most people do like to look nice and uphold a certain image, but how much of that necessity or desire is for themselves, and how much of it is to be noticed by potential suitors or to keep the current love interest captivated?  The typical woman could spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month on hair, make-up, clothing, handbags and other accessories all in the name of looking good, or “fancy” if you will, but does all of this work really tickle the fancy of the typical man?

On Drake’s album Thank Me Later, his song “Fancy” briefly  addresses this issue.  No doubt, most men want a woman who takes pride in her appearance because it demonstrates that she cares about herself.  However, this interpretation may not always be accurate.  Some women do everything in accordance with what they think men or their man may want and may actually not be happy with themselves and lack self-esteem. Some women (and men) let themselves go because they have become too comfortable within the relationship, which could mean that it was always about looking good for their man or men in general, not for themselves.  Drake proclaims, “…you don’t do it for the man, men never notice…you just do it for yourself…”

Men want a woman who looks good because in actuality her fancy style might be what initially attracted him; however, most men who are serious about a woman will eventually be interested in her intellect.  A woman can have a beautiful outer shell or at least be able to create the illusion of having a beautiful outer shell with the hair, make-up, clothing and other accessories, but how long will that shell suffice?

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Bonus English Lesson:
Drake uses slang to drive his point home about the “fancy” women
“you just do it for yourself; you’re the f*%$^*g coldest”
To refer to someone as the “coldest” could be interpreted as a person who is distant and unapproachable; however, it can also mean that the person is “cool,” which in this instance means the best!

Profound Hip Hop Quote #40 Head West When It All Falls Down!

22 Oct

“Man I promise, she’s so self conscious
She has no idea what she’s doing in college
That major that she majored in don’t make no money
But she won’t drop out, her parents will look at her funny”
 

—“All Falls Down” by Kanye West

Kanye WestWhy do people decide to go to college?  Is it now a necessity in order to be successful and achieve one’s dreams?  No doubt, I’m all for education, but decades ago, people could obtain their high school diplomas and fair well in the job market if academics was just not their strong suit.  Now, landing a good paying job without a college degree or a vocational trade would be considered an anomaly unless a person is starting his or her own business. As a result, there are an increasing amount of people who either recently graduated from high school or who have been laid off from their jobs enrolling in college when they are not necessarily academically prepared making it an uphill battle.  Of course, it is possible for people with determination to overcome their academic shortcomings in math and English and any other courses that may present hurdles. However, how many of them actually go the extra mile to jump those hurdles or even know what they need to do while in college?  How many know what they want to do after college or what it takes to be successful after completing college?

We have officially reached the halfway point at my college, and some students sadly do not take their college careers seriously and may be there simply because their parents made them or just because they don’t know how to be good students (focused, no procrastinating and organized, etc.). I genuinely care about all of my students and hope they will one day attain their goals, but this revelation about some students not being as invested in the learning process or the end result is nothing new.  It is the way it was when I was a college student too.  Nevertheless, this got me thinking about the first verse of Kanye West’s song “All Falls Down” from his freshmen album.

Going to college and sometimes working and having a family can be overwhelming and stressful to say the least.  That is why it is essential to plan accordingly so that it does not “all fall down,” or “when it all falls down” you are prepared to pick up the pieces and start again. If you “have no idea what your doing in college,” take some time to figure it out.  I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I’ve always had an affinity towards English and literature, so that was my major in undergrad.  Even though I’ve always been a diligent and hardworking student, I later learned that the “major I majored in don’t make no money.”  If only I had done the extensive research, I would have alleviated some stress and anxiety about landing my “dream” job.  Through my experience, I came to realize that money is not everything and that I am glad that I selected a major that allows me to teach and be immersed in a subject I am passionate about: English!

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin

Bonus English Lesson:
Kanye West uses a double negative which is common in slang and hip-hop dialect to stress his point and also utilizes the non-standard verb choice for third person plural not third person singular.  This method also minimizes the syllables for the rhythm of the line.
“That major she majored in don’t make no money.” (Twelve Syllables)
The standard English version would be, “That major she majored in doesn’t make any money.”  (Fourteen Syllables)

Profound Hip Hop Quote #39 Bound to “Miss” Spell

15 Oct

“I S-P-E-L-L very W-E-L-L
I only spell so all can T-E-L-L
Rhymes I got or write will S-E-L-L
For rappers who don’t believe me go to H-E-L-L.
” 

—“Spellbound” by K-Solo

K-Solo SpellboundDo you know how to spell well?  Do you think it’s even necessary to know how to spell well? Really…there’s spell check, and most smart phones even auto fill the words for you, so you don’t have to even think about how to spell a word.  As an English professor, I am obviously biased and believe that it is not only important to know how to spell but an absolute necessity in more circumstances than people realize.

Yesterday, I was listening to a local news report on a woman who has been prosecuted for falsifying doctor’s notes and even a report claiming that she had terminal cancer in order to receive paid time off and to dupe the company and coworkers out of money to support her battle against “this so-called cancer.”  Low and behold, the woman was eventually caught because of the many misspellings and misused words in her “doctored” doctor’s notes.  Just imagine…if this woman knew how to spell she might have gotten away with this unsavory deception for quite a while longer.

Hearing this report got me thinking about the old school rap song by K-Solo, “Spellbound.”  What makes this song so profound is that he actually spells out some of the words in order to not only create a rhyme but to demonstrate his lyrical finesse.  How many people can honestly say they “S-P-E-L-L very W-E-L-L?” If you think spelling is not important, just ask people who read employment applications and resumes.  Companies receive hundreds and hundreds of applications and need to find ways to minimize the applicant pool.  One way is to get rid of those applicants who do not know how to spell well or who do not even take the time to proofread their spelling.  Think about the instances in your life when it is necessary to spell well or at least have the ability to double check your spelling for accuracy. Even if you do use spell check, that does not guarantee that you are spelling the word you want to use properly.

MisspellingThere are times when I have been to stores that have misspellings, and it drives me nuts.  We are all bound to misspell, but it is pertinent to think about the negative impression or possible confusion you may cause from your misspelling.  I took this picture of a local supermarket with a job opportunity. If I was interested in the position, I’d have some difficulties applying because there is no “Cutomer Service Desk.”

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Even though spellbound is a creative rap, the rhyme technique is rather simplistic because it uses basic words to develop the rhyme pattern.  I’d love to hear a modern day spellbound rhyme with more complex vocabulary words.

My Life Resume: The Career Journey Decade Three (From Age 21 – 30)

13 Oct

What do you think about as your birthday approaches?  Do you think about getting one year older?  Do you think about all of the hopes and dreams you have yet to accomplish.  Yes, I’m guilty of having those thoughts, but I also think about all that I have accomplished and the wisdom that I have attained as a result of getting older.  Presently, I am an English professor, and I enjoy teaching and playing a role in the successful careers of my students.  Also, I take pleasure in writing poetry and short short stories.  One day, I actually hope to publish a book and even a memoir.  So I thought why not use my birthday week to review my life resume by exploring where  I have been on my journey thus far?  

Tanya Harris FranklinThe Career Journey: Decade Three

Sears Credit Card:  I learned so much about the importance of credit from working for Sears.  Also, I became even better at being patient with people as a result of being promoted to a customer relations manager where I only received escalated calls from mainly irate customers.  I worked at Sears Credit for a good portion of my undergraduate academic career.

Maximum Advertising:  After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in English, I was hired for what I thought was my dream job.  I’m sure this company is either going by a different name or no longer in existence.  According to this company, I would have been a millionaire after working for them for a year–that is only after I contributed a portion of my earnings, which were next to nothing, back into the company.  I can’t believe I fail for that scam, but they certainly did teach me a valuable lesson about researching the legitimacy of a company as well as reinforcing the old adage, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

Careers USA:  I am so grateful to this temp agency.  They kept me working after I graduated from college with my bachelor’s degree and had to quite working for Maximum Advertising after they swindled me out of most of my graduation money I received from family and friends.  What would we do without temp agencies???

Rosemont College:  It surely was a blessing to come full-circle and work for the college that I graduated from.  Being an administrative assistant for the Assistant Academic Dean after receiving my degree was a humbling experience.  I was expecting to jump out into the workforce and land a job in my field immediately.  Nevertheless, I am glad that I took this route.  I met some wonderful people and built some long-lasting rapports and was given the opportunity to pursue my master’s degree in English and Publishing at Rosemont while I was working there which saved me a bundle of money in potential student loans..

TV Guide:  While hoping to transition into publications, I took a part-time call center job at TV Guide while still working full-time and taking classes full-time at Rosemont.  Even though I worked as a customer service rep, I enjoyed my experience and later realize the significance to working at this establishment, albeit for a short period of time.  My manager was actually the son of one of my favorite high school teachers, and a few years after working at TV Guide, I taught a former co worker in an English Composition I course.

School District of Philadelphia:  Finally, I was going to be working with at risk youth who needed individualized tutoring at a local middle school!  Little did I know that I was going to be thrusted in front of the classroom without formal academic training for handling eighth graders with several behavior problems and learning disabilities.  I truly wanted to make a difference, but the time and place was not right for me.  This experience truly caused me to reevaluate my desire to teach.  Teaching has always been my niche, but extreme behavior problems  with lack of support from the administration or parents was too arduous of a task to undertake.

Pindar: After choosing to shift gears with teaching, I landed a position that was going to get my foot in the door with publications as a proofreader with the chance for advancement!  Even though the work could be rather mundane, it was a breath of fresh air which I certainly needed to prepare me for my next position.

Rosemont College:  Thank God for Rosemont!  They gave me my first opportunity to teach a college level course while working second shift at Pindar.  I wonder if they know the role that they have played in my present success???

CCP: Proofreading was just not paying off, and I still had teaching in my hear, so I went on to work as an administrator at a college hoping to transition to teaching.  While working at CCP, a local community college, I met some wonderful people and also some people who may not have been wonderful but helped direct where I am today.  As a fairly young administrator, there were some fund days in the beginning, but there were several days where the stress became unbearable.  Interestingly, I’m glad that it became unbearable because it caused me to step out on faith and leave a secure full-time job for a part time job that would have an integral role in where I am now.

Peirce College:  This college took a chance on me when I had limited teaching experience on the college level.  Also, they kept me working when I decided to leave CCP.

DCCC:  Here I am!  This local community college took a chance on me and not only gave me part-time work but gave me temporary full-time work after only being there for one year.  Now, I am in my fourth year on the tenure track and am absolutely ecstatic.  I truly do love what I’m doing!

In my third decade, something that I already knew was confirmed: hard work and diligence will pay off in the end.  There were times when my faith wavered a bit, and I was not sure if I was headed in the right direction for my career to blossom. But through it all, I always tried to keep a smile on my face and remain positive because I believe that everything happens for a reason.  Any job we have and our performance on the job, regardless of how big or small, dictates where we are headed in the future.  I must say, I like where I am headed!  Do you ever think about how you ended up where you presently are?  Give it some thought. Please feel free to share.
Best regards,  Tanya H. Franklin

My Life Resume: The Career Journey Decade Two (From Age 11 – 20)

12 Oct

What do you think about as your birthday approaches?  Do you think about getting one year older?  Do you think about all of the hopes and dreams you have yet to accomplish.  Yes, I’m guilty of having those thoughts, but I also think about all that I have accomplished and the wisdom that I have attained as a result of getting older.  Presently, I am an English professor, and I enjoy teaching and playing a role in the successful careers of my students.  Also, I take pleasure in writing poetry and short short stories.  One day, I actually hope to publish a book and even a memoir.  So I thought why not use my birthday week to review my life resume by exploring where  I have been on my journey thus far?  

The Career Journey: Decade Two

Tanya H. Franklin

Phila-Job Summers: From eighth through twelfth grade, I participated in a summer job program for youth in Philadelphia, PA called Phila-Jobs.  One of the positions just involved going to Temple University to learn about different careers, the importance of an education and responsibility.  In another position, I cleaned different neighborhoods throughout North Philadelphia by removing graffiti and debris from local parks and recreational facilities.  In my last position, I actually tutored Korean and Vietnamese children in English at a non-profit organization.  As a result of my work, I was selected as the top Phila-Job employee for my neighborhood and attended a ceremony where I was presented with an plaque for my achievements.  I still have that plaque today.

Northeast Boys and Girls Club: Upon graduating from high school, I spent my summer working as a volunteer camp counselor.  It was a memorable experience working with children from as young as six up to thirteen years old.  I was on my way to being a teacher!

Roy Roger’s Restaurant: This was technically my first real job out of high school and one of the most memorable – not for a good reason unfortunately!  This was the first job where I experienced blatant racism and was treated harshly by some of the customers and even some of the people working at the establishment.  It allowed me to see that some people are just filled with hate but not all people.  As a result of enduring such hate, I find that I work harder to build rapports with people and look at each person individually rather that let stereotypes dictate my interactions.

Children’s Village: Not only did I complete my course practicums at Children’s Village, a local Philadelphia preschool, but they also took a chance on me by hiring me as a substitute teacher.  Throughout a good portion of my college career, I worked as a substitute teacher and learned a lot about early childhood education.

McDonald’s: Unlike most people who have worked at McDonald’s I rather enjoyed my experience and looked forward to going to work.  Working the drive thru was my favorite duty because the customers often remarked on how clear my voice was.  Some even thought I was a prerecorded message.

Sneaker Stadium:  I’ll never forget the time I sold sneakers to a cheerleading squad and one time to several Saint Joe’s basketball players.  That was great commission!  But I also had the opportunity to interact with people from all different age groups, ethnicities and nationalities which I really enjoyed.

In my second decade, I had an opportunity to explore and learn from and about different people and professions in fast food, child care and even retail.  They may seem different; nevertheless, the commonality they all share is the interaction and customer service components.  These positions were polishing me for interacting with students as well as colleagues from multiple backgrounds.  Who would have ever thought it???Do you ever think about how you ended up where you presently are?  Give it some thought. Please feel free to share.
Best regards,  Tanya H. Franklin

My Life Resume: The Career Journey Decade One (From Age 0 – 10)

11 Oct

What do you think about as your birthday approaches?  Do you think about getting one year older?  Do you think about all of the hopes and dreams you have yet to accomplish.  Yes, I’m guilty of having those thoughts, but I also think about all that I have accomplished and the wisdom that I have attained as a result of getting older.  Presently, I am an English professor, and I enjoy teaching and playing a role in the successful careers of my students.  Also, I take pleasure in writing poetry and short short stories.  One day, I actually hope to publish a book and even a memoir.  So I thought why not use my birthday week to review my life resume by exploring where  I have been on my journey thus far?

The Career Journey: Decade One

Tanya Harris Franklin

Primary Grade School: By the time I was in second grade, I volunteered to help tutor the younger children.  Even though there was no monetary payment involved, I knew then that I wanted to be a teacher some day.

Primary to Secondary Grade School: From third grade until about sixth grade, I assisted my grandmother with the daily routines, such as setting up snacks, serving food and playing games with children at her family daycare.  During the summer, I was paid $25 a week when I was in third grade, and that was “good” money!

Middle School: Going to school was a necessity, but maintaining straight A’s and B’s was hard work at times. One of the incentives I received for doing well in school was a stipend from the White-Williams Scholar Foundation for $135 – $200 a month.  With each grade level, the amount of money increased.  My hard work was paying off.

What do you know??? I was already on the pathway to being a teacher at a very young age, but the second decade of my life definitely did present some alternative paths that I could have taken.  Do you ever think about how you ended up where you presently are?  Give it some thought. Please feel free to share.
Best regards,  Tanya H. Franklin

Profound Hip Hop Quote #38 Like It’s My Last

8 Oct

“Now, I’mma fill this glass up like it’s my last
I’mma do, do it, like it’s my last
I’mma spend this cash up like it’s my last
And I’mma make it last, like it’s my last.
” 

—“My Last” by Big Sean Featuring Chris Brown

Big Sean and Chris BrownWe’ve all heard the cliché phrase, “Live each day like it’s your last,” but what exactly does this mean?  The “gettin’ it in at the club song” “My Last” by Big Sean featuring Chris Brown focuses more on the party aspect, so the lyrics themselves are not necessarily profound. Nevertheless, the concept of celebrating each moment and coming to the realization that tomorrow or even the next moment is not promised is rather thought-provoking.

How many people have chosen to modify the old adage about today and tomorrow and say, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?”  Every few months or so, a new film hits the theaters or a television show airs focusing on the end of the world or of human kind.  This often gets people talking about how they would choose to spend their last days.  Sometimes, a major event occurs causing people to reevaluate their life choices and the direction they are headed.  When is the last time you thought about your last day alive? Or the last time you would be able to walk, talk, see or even breathe without the assistance of an oxygen tank?

People often associate the “last” with death, but there is so much in life that we take for granted.  Of course, no one necessarily knows the how, when, what and usually not the why, but what we all know death will happen at some point.  Conversely, most people do know know nor do they expect to go blind, to lose their basic cognitive thinking skills or mobility.  If you were aware of when your “last” was, would it in any way impact how you presently conduct yourself?

Regardless if a person is religious, spiritual, believes in God or not, each moment brings us closer to our last – not necessarily just our last breath. While some people’s ideal last days involve wild parties, drinking, getting high, wild sex and whatever else fancies them, others attempt to get their affairs in order by righting their wrongs, spending time with their loved ones and just enjoying the beauty of life.  The bottom line is that most people want their last moments to be ones of happiness.

Why do people take life for granted and assume that they have time?  Why aren’t more people living each moment like it’s their last?  Who knows???  Perhaps they are.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
To demonstrate emphasis, rather than use words that rhyme, each line ends with “My Last.”  This is a practice that is common, especially in the chorus of a song.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #37: How Native is Your Tongue?

1 Oct

Two weeks ago, I posted a blog entry on A Tribe Called Quest to celebrate their documentary coming to DVD on October 18, and it got me thinking about the collection of positive-minded, “real-talk” rappers whose voices were prominent in the 1980s and 1990s: The Native Tongues.  Even though there are a sprinkling of artists presently doing their things who are on the same vibe, during the 80s and 90s is when they actually received consistent radio play and were able to get that positive message out there. So I thought, why not dedicate a post to reflecting on some of their profound quotes.

“Buddy” is a song that represents a few of the Native Tongue members.  Check it out!

  1. Black SheepBlack Sheep, “The Choice is Yours:” “You can get with this, or you can get with that.  I think you’ll get with this, for this is where it’s at.”
  2. Jungle Brothers, “Beyond This World” “Confused, no landing, no understanding.  But I knew not to give what life was demanding.  Found a new tab, thought I’d take a grab.  Tired of brothers who feign to backstab”
  3. De La Soul, “Stakes is High:” “Man life can get all up in your ass baby you betta work it out.  Let me tell you what it’s all about.  A skin not considered equal.  A meteor has more right than my people.  Who be wastin’ time screaming who they’ve hated.  That’s why the Native Tongues have officially been re-instated.”Jungle Brothers
  4. Queen Latifah, “U.N.I.T.Y.:” “Instinct leads me to another flow; Every time I hear a brother call a girl a bitch or a ho.  Trying to make a sister feel low.  You know all of that gots to go.”
  5. Leaders of the New School, “Understanding the Inner Mind’s Eye “Word is bond and I give my, Life before my word shall fall.  Do me a favor listen up y’all.  We got to activate social;  Activity for one common cause,  Cherish your mind or you will perish.
  6. Brand NubianBrand Nubian, “Wake Up:” You see, the answer to me is black unity .  Unification to help our bad situation
  7. A Tribe Called Quest, “Oh My God:” “Listen up everybody the bottom line.  I’m a black intellect, but unrefined; with precision like a bullet, target bound, just livin like a hooker, the harlett sounds.”De La Soul
  8. Monie Love, “It’s a Shame:”  “Get back on your feet please.  I’m beggin you to check out all your own needs.
  9. Large Professor, “It’s About That Time:”   “There’s a whole lotta rappers in the world today; Some good, there’s some that gotnothing to say, Some fake, some false, some imitation, But I’m the uncut raw for your generation.
  10. Fu-Schnickens, “Ring the Alarm  ” You can tell I’m a lyrical prophet from the words spoken and broken up.  In these books and scrolls that I unfold.  The knowledge I use does make me bold.  The intelligence in my system converts itself and becomes wisdom”Monie Love

The Limitations of not only ten songs but ten artists with ten specific lines from those selected those ten songs is no easy task; there’s so many more songs I could reference.  Who’s your favorite artist from the Native Tongues?   Please feel free to share.

All the best,

Anonomz aka Tanya H. Franklin