The other day I got a phone call from a number that I did not recognize. A man was on the other line and he sounded a little belligerent. He told me that he was calling in reference to my Visa account. He said that he wanted to address my delinquent payment. A red light came on in my head and I decided to contest him on his issue (because as far as I knew all my cards were up to date payment wise). I then asked him “Which Visa are you referring to?” He then told me that by law he couldn’t mention that over the phone. I then told him to give me the last 4 numbers of the account. He said that he was not allowed to give out those numbers over the phone either because he wasn’t sure that I was the actual account holder. He insisted that I give him my account number instead. I sensed “the mother of all scams here.” I notified him that I would check all my Visa accounts and if there are any delinquencies I would call the phone number on the back of the card and address the issue with the company. I then told him that if I find no delinquencies then I was going to report this phone number to the authorities for fraud. For a little bit more he tried to debate me on giving him my card information. I told him that if he were standing right in front of me I would deck him immediately for trying to swindle me out of my money. He then “hung up.” To try to get the name of the company, I called the number right back and the phone didn’t even ring. I just kept hearing small “beeps.” Obviously this was a scam and today I just wanted to alert others. There are a lot of people out there with gimmicks designed to mislead you and trick you out of your money. If ANYONE demands your account number NEVER give it to them until you can verify who they are and who they represent. Even though this idiot didn’t get me he probably got other unsuspecting people. Be cautious, be alert and be aware. Never hesitate to question anything that doesn’t feel right. By the way, when I checked all my cards there were no delinquencies whatsoever. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Singer James Ingram (“One hundred ways”) with Brett Jolly. In the background are Sheldon Reynolds (formerly of Earth, Wind and Fire) and Johnnie Croom (former music director for Boyz II Men)
The other day some guy came up to me and asked how I felt about rap music. He said that the lyrics in these tunes are hardly ever positive and that he felt they were a negative influence on our youth. He wanted my personal opinion (and we all know I have plenty of those) so I gave it to him. First, I said that you have to go beneath the surface when it comes to anything that is popular. Most fads, styles and promotions are driven by the concept of “making money.” As bad as you may think rap music may be, it won’t make a difference what you think if people continue to support it by buying it. While it would be great for rap music to promote more “positivity in the songs” the labels only care about making profit. I did manage to tell him that however, the industry will “follow the leader.” In other words, if he could come up with a new positive rap lyric song and it sells somehow, then those other labels will take notice and most likely “follow suit.” I also told him that the state of most current popular music has been dwindling as well. A lot of those big name record labels from back in the day are gone now. The few big labels that are left are putting out “cheap sounding music product” and depending more on marketing to sell it. What this means is that they are hoping that their marketing strategy will make “any song they promote” a big hit (and a profitable one) no matter how horrible it is. This concept costs a lot, which is why the radio industry is in the toilet now. The music you hear on most of the big conglomerate radio stations is basically music that is easy (and cheap) for them to produce. The quality doesn’t matter to them anymore because they figure the young market will buy it “as it is.” The real question is whether or not they are making any profit doing so. It costs a lot of money to promote your song, and since most of the younger generations don’t buy CD’s anymore then rarely does anyone sell enough to make a big splash financially. Remember the old days when you could buy someone’s CD for around $10.00? The days of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston are gone, and what’s left is a trail of “watered down” product that is not worthy. Often you will hear reports that a certain song sold “millions” when it was first introduced. Don’t believe everything that you hear. If these songs were selling, then why have all these labels “folded?” The real money comes from doing concerts and not from music sales. Currently the music industry is on “life support” and in need of a blood transfusion. The radio giants are motivated by money. They need us in order to make it. If the majority of radio listeners don’t like the music then the best way to make a change is to “not support it.” That concept works with just about anything. I told the guy that rap music is “only as bad as it’s support.” There is strength in numbers and through a unified effort we can bring the music industry back to where it should be. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
David Banner, Ciara, Vickie Winans, The Williams Brothers, Chuck Brown, Janet Jackson, James Ingram, Yolanda Adams (with Brett Jolly to the right on bass)
When I was a little boy I could not understand why my parents would not let me go outside late at night to play with the other boys on the street. They would tell me that I couldn’t go and I would get highly depressed from it, because the other parents on the block wouldn’t care about letting their boys go out at any time of the evening. A lot of those boys ridiculed me for being a “momma’s boy.” Well, eventually I grew up (or at least I think I did) and now I can “fully understand why” my parents did what they did. A lot of the boys that hung out at night got into trouble. They had nothing else to do so some of them engaged in vandalism, some got involved in drugs and some even went to prison. If I had been with them then I might have fallen into trouble just like they did and my life could have been much different for me today. You see, when I had to stay at home, I had nothing else to do but draw, watch television and play piano. Playing the piano became a major part of my life, because now I am a full fledged musician, playing professionally. If I had not had to stay at home so much then this outcome could have turned out differently. I am saying this because as parents we sometimes have to “think for our children.” We may not always be able to give them “what they want,” but it is a necessity for us to give them “what they need.” Just because kids want to hang with their buddies doesn’t mean that they should be allowed to. Parents need to be able to “see the things that our kids can’t.” My parents were “very observant” and while I often didn’t like the “stringent hand” they ruled with, I can honestly say that because of them I am a better person today. As tough as it is to be a parent, we have to provide a suitable atmosphere for our kids to grow and learn. My kids know that they can come to me about anything (but that does NOT mean that I am going to give them “everything”). Your children are our future. Their outcomes reflect on “us.” Love your child with a special concern and be there for whenever your child needs you. It may make the biggest difference in both of your lives… Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Yesterday I went to my barber (Yes, I still go to one, so you can stop laughing now) and aside from getting my hair cut, I usually have good conversations with him. For those of you who don’t remember, I wrote about him before. Years ago he was young and foolish and decided to drive with his friends while recklessly shifting lanes on a highway. Well, his actions cost him the lives of one of his friends and two passengers in the approaching car. To make a long story short, he spent time in jail, he dropped to his knees in court and asked the families of the victims to forgive him. He was cut a break on his jail time and is now leading a “changed lifestyle” with a new attitude in life. He told me yesterday that considering his circumstances he could never ever be in judgment of anyone. We both agreed that it is easy for most people to judge others based on the “surface story alone” but in some cases those judgments could be highly scrutinized when given the background of those who actually committed the infractions. Most times we are “quick” to criticize the bank robber for robbing banks, and yet we may never take into consideration that this man (or woman) just might have hit rock bottom after being turned down on “numerous job applications.” What about the prostitute who works the streets selling her body because of her experiences when she grew up up being abused and molested constantly by friends and family? What about the child molester who suffered from the same things when he or she was younger? As a society we read about the infractions committed and the first thing we do is “form a negative opinion or judgment based on what we read.” However, what if that article doesn’t take into consideration the torment this person suffered while growing up institutionalized or the medication that the person was on that made him or her react that way? One thing we both agreed on was that “no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes.” If it is true that God forgives us, then “should it be considered unGodly if we choose NOT to forgive?” There is an old saying that goes like this: “Let he who is without sin cast the very first stone.” For the record, I am not saying that we should let all those who are guilty of crimes free. However, I do believe that most (if not all) of those incarcerated can be rehabbed and possibly even trained to function in society with a new chance. I also believe that we can reach out to the families of troubled youths and work with them “before they commit a crime” so that they can at least feel that “someone cares.” A child without hope is a child lost. If I had a choice between building more prisons and building more schools I would gladly take the latter. My barber got a second chance in life and he is now making the most of it. I honestly believe that others might do the same if they are “only given that opportunity.” I’m sure there are people out there who will disagree with me and probably judge men on today’s Daily Thought. I can deal with that… In the end, I know that there is only “one” judgment that “really” matters… Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Over the weekend I heard the stunning news that Louis Johnson from the great classic group the “Brothers Johnson” had passed away. During their heyday they were under the wing of Quincy Jones and had R&B toppers like “Stomp, Strawberry Letter 23, and Get the Funk out my Face.” George Johnson usually sang lead and played guitar, while his brother Louis was usually featured in just about every song of theirs with some kind of funky bass rift or solo that other bass players (including me) loved to emulate. Louis had patterned himself after the style of Larry Graham (from Graham Central Station) and would slap and thump the bass. He was an amazing player. For those of you who are not familiar with his work, one thing that you might recognize was that he was the one who played (and created) the famous bass rift at the beginning of Michael Jackson’s all time classic “Billie Jean.” While he also played on “many other” famous projects he kind of faded from view after a while. His style of playing seemed to no longer be fashionable but yet he had already made his mark in musical history. When watching a recent interview of his online the one thing he said was that no one should ever expect to make a living off of music. He said that it is great to improve your craft, but he had to do other things because the music business was not a very profitable one. He did police work, odd jobs and even was a property manager at one point (I was also one at one point). I had heard that the brothers were not getting along and maybe that was the reason why they were no longer touring. I would have loved to have seen them in concert again (I saw them years ago at the Spectrum in Philly and they were awesome). I invite you to Google Louis Johnson and see for yourself some of the famous tracks he actually played bass on and check out his fantastic style of playing. He was one of my inspirations in music and his life will always be celebrated by me. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
This is my own personal definition of “stress: That which you allow others to put on you…” In this business of music (or probably in any other business as well) you are bound to encounter people who just “don’t want you to smile.” They try to continually put pressure on you to get more productivity out of you, and in their eyes that is the way businesses should be conducted. They are not interested in your happiness and they get off on having control over you. These people could be bosses, supervisors, family members, friends or anyone who loves to make you just as miserable as he or she is. They often consider themselves to be experts in your field, even if in reality they don’t know squat. They thrive over having jurisdiction over your life. The deep part about this is that they can “only succeed” as far as you allow them. I am sure you know several people who are “never happy” unless they are “miserable.” While they have the right to feel the way they do they “shouldn’t” have the right to make you feel that way. What can you do to alleviate the pain and suffering that these people bring? The first thing is to “recognize” who you are dealing with. Is this person a boss or supervisor, and if so, does he or she have the necessary “qualifications” to be in that position? A LOT of employees work for people who are “dumb as a bat” and yet there isn’t much that can done about that. For these types of people it is “always best” to make “notations” about everything you are asked to do, because when things are not done right you can rest assured there will be an investigation and it is extremely advisable to make sure you have “your house” in order. Whenever your boss tells you to do something that you “know” isn’t correct, make sure to let others know. When the crap hits the fan it is always important to have “witnesses who know the truth.” Finally, if you have to, don’t be afraid to go “above the heads” of your supervisors to report wrongdoing. That way they can conduct their own investigations based on the knowledge that you have provided for them. I have personally worked for music people who will try to tell me what I should be playing. The truth of the matter is that i have perfect pitch, and I should be the one “telling THEM” what the correct notes are. For these people I often just try to give them “what they want” even if they “don’t even KNOW what they want.” No matter what, I refuse to let myself get as hyped and stressed out as they are. They worry, they fret, they make faces and weird gestures. I just do what I do, and I do it right. “No stress, Mon!” I hope you are living a stress free life and occupation as well. It is important for your health to be calm whenever possible. I love what I do, and I plan to be happy doing it. I apologize if that offends anyone. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer. Please make the most of it today.
Dear Mr. Jolly. I little while ago I decided to get buffed up. I am a woman and I would like to be a professional woman bodybuilder. I am also married and my husband has told me that he doesn’t want for me to be too well developed, but if I am going to win any bodybuilding contests I need to be in the best shape that I can be. I lift weights and do all sorts of exercises and I stay in the gym. My husband has been telling me lately that I am starting to look like a man. I would think that men would love for their women to be in the perfect shape. Bodybuilding is a great pastime for me and I love doing it. My husband took a marriage vow to love me through all obstacles, so why can’t he just accept me the way I am going to be? Wouldn’t most men crave a bodybuilder woman?
I am not too sure about this one. For me personally, I would prefer a woman who is “feminine” looking. If she is naturally stronger than me then I won’t mind it, but I surely would not want her to “look” it. I have seen pictures of some women bodybuilders and I have to honestly say that some do not “turn me on” that way. If it makes a difference, I have known of several woman who said they would NOT want a body builder man. I even heard one woman say that she would never want a man whose chest was more developed than hers. While bodybuilding may be a fun thing for you, it sounds as though this could possibly strain your marriage. Most men that I know of are NOT into bodybuilding women. Since men are usually more “visible” creatures than women your decision could possibly have a major impact on him. Yes, he should still love you through it all, but love (at least the physical aspect of it) can wear off quickly if the “attraction” is no longer there. When you are attracted to someone, that can only come from what “appeals” to you. If it is no longer appealing, then there is no longer any attraction. Did you talk to your husband or ask him about this before you decided to take it on? We ALL change through life… No one stays the same. The person we start out with when we get married is never guaranteed to be the person you end up with. I guess the best way to put this in perspective would be to imagine if the shoe were on the other foot. If your husband decided to change his image in “any” way that you didn’t like, would you speak up or would you just accept anything he decided to do? One day he could show up with a mo hawk haircut (I am making the assumption that he does not have one now) or he could do something else that you just don’t like “without” your permission. Would you be willing to just accept “any” change of image from your husband? Think carefully before you answer this one. While spouses should love each other for their minds, it is often very difficult to separate the bodies “from” the minds. The best way to handle this is to communicate with your husband, and at least be willing to try to “understand” his side. He may actually love you even more after he witnesses the final product, but you need to make him feel secure about what you are trying to do. Hear him out, and hopefully the both of you can “grow together.” Good luck to you and I wish you the best.
Sheldon Reynolds (formerly of Earth, Wind and Fire), James Ingram, Brett Jolly, and Johnnie Croom (formerly of Boyz II Men)