Tag Archives: Beyonce

Grown Woman

Bey Grown Woman

…I can do whatever I want.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Mrs. Carter Show.  Man, let me tell y’all why I stan for Beyoncé Knowles Carter.

The woman empowers me.   She makes me feel strong because I am a woman, and not in spite of it.

In my experience, many, if not most women younger than 40 define themselves as contemporary women — those who can be assertive, sexually liberated, both brainy and beautiful, both around the way and upper echelon.  I think Beyoncé successfully bridges the gap between women who personify traditional values, bra-burning feminists and these contemporary women.

I heard somewhere that if an artist catches you at a critical point in your life, you’ll stick with them forever.  Well, ‘4’ was the album and Beyoncé is that artist who has recorded the soundtrack of my life over the last few years.  I’ve liked Beyoncé since the Destiny’s Child days but I really became a fan after spending some quality time with ‘4’.  In that period, I gained clarity about love and relationships, and I confronted my negative conceptions of womanhood. Though I’d shutter to say it aloud, I admit that in the deep recesses of my mind, I associated femininity with weakness. I thought, for example, that traditional women (stay at home moms, cook, clean, and serve type ladies) devalued our struggle.  I was wrong.

I appreciate that Beyoncé embraces the entire spectrum of femininity, and that painted a clearer picture for me.

I can be bad if I want / I can do wrong if I want / I can live fast if I want / I can go slow all night long / I’m a grown woman / I can do whatever I want  

I realized there wasn’t just one way to express womanhood and certainly more than one way to conceive of strength and power. There are socially and culturally constructed standards, but those are constructed — negotiated and decided by society. They are not genetic.

Speaking of genetics, I often hear these expressions of disdain for parenting girls, and it makes me sad because typically, the excuse is no more complex than “girls are difficult.”  I understand that we tend to identify first with what or who we already are, so I get why a man might wish for a son. It is disconcerting though to hear women dismiss the beauty in having little girls and raising strong, proud women because “boys are easier.”   Certainly, the world can be an ugly place for girls, but must it start this early? Imagine that it is your little girl who changes the world for the better, and it’s because you taught her from the jump how dope, and not how difficult girls are.

Beyoncé said in her ‘Life Is But A Dream’ HBO documentary that feminism isn’t about changing laws per se, it’s about changing the way we think. We are conditioned to think of women as one-dimensional beings.  She’s either a wholesome homemaker with a man and some babies, or she’s ruining the family dynamic and the social order with her divergent interests and ambitions.   Here’s a counter paradigm for your consideration:  women are human beings first.  This means we won’t all fit within the narrow boundaries that patriarchy has set up for us.   Women make up 51% of the population; we exist as more than adornments for men.  We are partners in this life.

While our strengths are sometimes different from men’s, they are strengths nonetheless.  We have babies and run businesses, we are supportive wives, family providers and heads of households — with or without men present.  We are both assertive and submissive when appropriate and with whom we consider appropriate.  The beauty of modern feminism — that which Beyoncé represents so well — is that none of these qualities is inconsistent with what it is to be a woman.  No one dictates to us what our role in this life is; we make those decisions for ourselves.  We are grown women.  We can do whatever we want.

All hail King B for bringing home such a powerful message.

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BET Awards

Was it just me, or was last night’s BET Awards more respectable than they’ve been in years!?  In the past, I tuned in mostly to make jokes about how far from grace the network had fallen.  I haven’t been a regular BET view in a while, but I can say my experience with it last night left me more like “Ok.  I see you, BET” as opposed to “Really, BET?  Really?!”  They attempted to mix ratchet with a tish more respectability.  I’m wasn’t mad at it.

Here are a few observations that stood out.  In no particular order:

  • I can’t believe Samuel L. Jackson hosted that joint.  How’d BET pull that off?
  • The rendition of ‘Niggas in Paris’ performed by SLJ and Spike Lee was pure torture/comedy.  It reminded me of when my uncles first heard rap music and exaggerated everything about it.  It was absurd but hilarious. But whatevs, it was Spike Lee and SLJ – two cats I kinda love – cuttin up on tv.  There are way worse ways to spend 5 minutes of your life.
  • Speaking of SLJ, Django Unchained looks good!  Could this be my people’s ‘Inglorious Basterds‘?  I.  Can’t.  Wait.
  • It was dope to see Jay-Z and Beyonce, Kanye and Kim K in attendance.  Seems like they usually call it in on the BET Awards, like they too cool for that.  So it was a nice surprise.
  • Oh, and Jay’s “scuse me, Kanye,  I’ma let you continue but…” jab was pretty great.  Whatever your feelings about whether Taylor Swift or Beyonce should’ve won that award that year, Kanye was a dick about it.  The moment last night was a collective get back.  Gotcha, ‘Ye.
  • Looks like D’Angelo might be back, y’all.  Dude sounded and played pretty good.  My fingers are crossed that this is an actual come back, not  a Lauryn Hill style tease.
  • So Lauren London’s the new character on The Game,eh?  Yeah, that’s incentive to at least watch the season premier.  But I’m out after that if the show otherwise still blows.
  • I get what y’all see in Kevin Hart.  He’s funny.  I like him.  The divorce stuff from his acceptance speech was awkward though.  Funny/sad isn’t the same as funny…
  • I’m so glad the great work of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly was honored last night.  Those cats are so smooth.  Maze’s music has been part of the soundtrack to some of the best moments of my life.  My college band, the Marching Crimson Pipers, used to play ‘Before I Let Go’ in the stands between plays at football games.  And no proper cookout is complete without  ‘Happy Feelings’ and ‘Golden Time of Day’ to wind it down.  Here, get to know Maze ft. Frankie Beverly.  You can thank me later.

  • I was nervous about the Whitney tribute after BET had completely dropped the ball on Michael’s in 2009.  But it turned out nicely.  Short, sweet, and sincere.  Well done.
  • Now I, too, thought it was wack to end the show on Tyga’s Rack City, and not Whitney’s swan song.  But I remembered that it was Mindless Behavior,  a group whose music I don’t think I’ve ever heard, that won the viewer’s choice award.  Their song, ‘Hello‘, beat out Jay-Z and Kanye ‘Otis,’ Beyonce’s ‘Love on Top,’ Wale and Miguel’s ‘Lotus Flower Bomb,’ and Drake, Lil Wayne, and Tyga’s ‘The Motto.”  In other words, R.I.P. Whitney, but life goes on.  And the show must go on.

C’est la vie, I guess.  Last night’s awards show was definitely Black entertainment television, and with a lot less cringe.  I enjoyed it, and I could still face myself in the mirror this morning.  I’d say that’s progress.  I see you, BET.

One last thing:  SLJ did shade the shit out of BET though.  “I did my job.  Now I gotta go back to being professional.”  smh…


Fantasyland

Fantasyland is where suspension of reality is reality. Whether you engage it – pop its g-string and tip it, or you dream it – seeing Idris Elba’s face giving you the business, instead of that bamma, Clyde, that you married, Fantasyland is your mind’s playground. Where wonderment can freely roam.

I was at a drag show recently and there may be no greater suspension of reality anywhere than that which exists at drag shows. Make no mistake about it, drag queens are dudes in dresses and makeup. Wearing heels and purses and sequins and things. But drag is also art, creativity, courage, and skill. You have to respect the work that goes into beating one’s face the way these queens do.

Ms. Jujubee, Ms. Kenya Michaels, Ms. Nina Flowers

I’ve seen linebacker-built queens move with remarkable poise and grace in absurdly high heels .  I’ve even seen them drop into a split and pop it like a stripper with ease and precision. Drag queens are masterful at pushing the boundaries to create their perfect illusion. And the experience is especially dope if they have a personality dazzling enough to really pull it off.

I think what’s most fascinating to me about drag culture is folks’ reactions to drag performances – which sort of represents the success or failure of the queen’s illusion. My granny says the eyes never lie, and she’s right. What happens with fans at a drag show is the same thing that happens with fans at a concert – how, in my their fantasy, I they pretend that Beyoncé’s really singing ‘Speechless‘ to me them and me them only. The shoulders sway from side to side and the eyes are locked, all hazy and shit. Before you know it, it’s happened. You’re under her spell.

To me, there’s something deliciously intriguing about drag because no one studies women (for non-sexual purposes) like gay men and drag queens.  See the documentary film, Paris is Burning, if you don’t believe me.  It tells the story of drag and ball culture in the New York City’s Black and Latino LGBT communities during the late 1980s.  You can watch the entire film using the link above, and you really should.  The culture  and characters are so engrossing, you feel like you’ve gained insight into a whole other world.  In one ball scene, the emcee advises emphatically, “It is a KNOWN FACT, that a woman do carry an evening bag at dinnertime.”  How could you deny yourself this pleasure?  Go on and watch.  And the next time you see a professional queen lip syncing for her life to a Beyoncé tune, understand that only Beyoncé herself could do Bey better.

At drag shows, I also love watching folks stalk the stage, and stride up with their stack of ones in hand, ready to make it rain on a queen for being so fucking fierce. They think they got all the power, but soon find themselves up close and realize she’s this stunning projection of masculinity and femininity at the same time – stunning, maybe in the way women are.  But stunning, definitely, in the way a work of art can be.  In any case, the eyes are locked, and before they know it, they’re under her spell. The queen looks em in the eye, takes their lil ones, strokes the hand a bit. And keeps it movin. The power has been transferred.  The illusion was successful.

I suppose this magic is what all great performers hope to achieve – the ability to suspend reality and forge some connection in Fantasyland.  Or, perhaps, to be able to make the fantasy real and tangible for a moment.

Or maybe it’s enough just to wanna have a good time.  Whatever the case, Fantasyland allows you that freedom.  You get the green light to go ahead and go in.


Love on Top

When Beyonce Knowles revealed in the most spectacular way the news that she and Jay-Z were expecting a little one, reactions from the people were varied. Y’all can be mad funny actin sometimes…

In my house, there were smiles and squeals of joy for a happy couple. A happy, married, Black couple — a singer and a rapper, no less — who shared with the world news of the little life their love had created. Across the twittosphere, there was the snark and irreverence that we’ve come to expect. But also, there was glee and hosts of folks congratulating Bey and Jay, knowing full well that neither Bey nor Jay would ever even read their lil tweets o’love and congratulations. Those people didn’t care though. They seemed genuinely happy for these two. Genuinely happy for the seemingly solid relationship they’ve built and reinforced through creating life together.

Look how she looks at him. He's the only one she sees.

The “great reveal of 2011” was definitely a dope moment. In the beginning, I wondered why Beyonce The Silhouette Knowles would perform at the VMAs in all those clothes. Why wasn’t there more pyrotechnics and wind and more hair slinging? Why was she goin hard, but not nearly as hard as we’d come to expect from ol Bey?

Then she dropped the mic. And rubbed that belly, and it all made sense. And to top it off, there was the expression on her face.

This, my friends, is elation. You can’t take it away from her, and you can’t keep us from feeling it through the screen.

And there was Jay’s reaction, too.

Peep the salute.

This, my friends, is pride. Not braggadocio for a material thing whose luster will fade in time. This is Man acknowledging and affirming his Mrs., and their young’n.

As far as we know, Jay-Z and Beyonce have been together nearly 10 years, and married for 3. That’s married. Not engaged. Not something similar to marriage, but married. Wedding rings. Vows. “…forsaking all others” and shit. So there’s something to be said for that kind of longevity between two über-stars. Their star power individually is eleventybillion volts. Thus, sharing that kind of power could have spelled disaster early. But it didn’t. Because people who want to be together will eventually work it out, becoming a far more formidable force together, than they would be apart. Nothing’s perfect but its worth it…

I don’t usually get caught up in who’s marrying who, and who else is having Lil Wayne’s baby. But I admit to loving these two, and to loving watching their relationship flourish. They’ve been so private for so long, which probably is why they’ve been successful and seemingly happy as a celebrity couple. We don’t know everything, and we don’t need to know everything. We can share in their felicity, but we don’t have to live vicariously through them. For this reason, that they shared such an intimate gift so publicly felt like a *Jigga Salute* to fans, who have respected their space and rooted for them from afar.

Finally, let me disabuse this chauvinist assumption that Bey is now in the clear because she done landed herself a good, rich man. Lest you forget, like Shawn Carter, Beyonce Knowles is a brand. An enterprise. She was on her way before she began a relationship with Jay-Z, and her stock will likely continue to rise for as long as she does what she’s done to make good on her own name. See that?

She does what she’s done to make good on her name.

Beyonce is just about as self-made as her man. They are equally yoked. Even if there’s a hundred million dollar difference between them, she’s still in the hundred million dollar club. In other words, Jay may wear the pants, but she wears the pumps. It’s a perfect match. In fact, I don’t know that any other romantic situation is possible for these two. What single woman (I mean “single” woman as opposed to “harem” of women) could capture the attention and affections of a rapper mogul, but a femme mogul-in-the-making? Perhaps Kim Porter knows. Perhaps, but probably not.

Beyonce doesn’t “need” Jay-Z to take care of her; she doesn’t “need” any man to. She acquiesces because he captured her attention and affections too. Folks criticized “4” for being…I don’t know…I don’t know what folks expected it to be. What it sounds like to me, though, is a familiar Beyonce meme: celebration of womanhood. “Girls Run the World” sends a powerful message about the strength of femininity.

My persuasion can build a nation…

Boy you know you love it how we’re smart enough to make these millions/strong enough to bear the children/then get back to business.

I love that.

But “4” also succeeds in celebrating grown ass decisions about love and happiness. “I Care,” “1+1,” “I Miss You,” “Best Thing I Never Had,” and “Start Over” lead us lovingly into “Countdown,” “End of Time,” “Rather Die Young,” and finally, “Love on Top.” “4” definitely feels like Beyonce’s baby. And parts of it feel like a love letter to her husband. It really seems fitting that the only entity able to eclipse the Knowles-Carter shooting star would be the little fella or the little lady they created together. Talk about Love on Top.


A Bit of Commentary, If I May

What follows is a little of what I’ve seen and heard over the last few days, and a little of what I thought about it.  Enjoy; opine; delight in my words.

Beyonce, 4

If you follow my facebook page, you know I stumbled upon Beyonce’s Party last Thursday.  Upon further investigation, I found out that I was just mad late.  The song had been leaked weeks before I discovered it.  However, when I found it matters not.  Since I found it, there is no longer country for y’alls lofty critiques of Bey’s efforts.  Sure, the album doesn’t hit nearly as hard as B’Day or whatever the last one was called.  But who the fuck cares?  All I know is that I am a slave to the groove, and very little of what I’ve heard in the last several months has come close to what she does there.  Yes, I know Jill Scott’s and Ledisi’s albums were also recently released.  And no, I don’t take it back.   That 80s slow jam, synthesizer, harmony thing, coupled with “I told my girls you can GETIT!” on Party is indeed greater than absolutely everything.  It’s one of those songs you tip your fedora to, and raise your glass to, leaving aside everything else that isn’t the pure, unadulterated boogie!

Also, it’s always a treat to get some fresh Andre 3000 in your system.  That brotha may be argyle and buster brown’s out this mug, but he’s also Atlanta, Gawjuh all day long.  He muses in defiance of convention, “I ain’t stuttin the beat… talkin ta me?  girl, why you fuckin with me?  move on, aint nuttin ta see!”  Oh, 3 Stacks.  Thou art the lovely holy grail of i’mma do this my way.  

And finally, I don’t think folk would argue that this is Beyonce’s “best” work, but it’ll definitely do until something else comes along.  And by something else, I mean until she thrusts her hips again this way and that, sayin something country and femininity-affirming backed by a solid bass and a catchy chorus.  Mind you, I’m not an artist apologist, nor am I a  Beyonce “stan,” but in Bey’s defense, I do feel like I get more of a sense of  her in 4 as opposed to what we think or wish or want her to be.  That notwithstanding, Party is my summer jam.  And I don’t mind one bit if y’all sit this one out; your absence on the dance floor leaves more room for my drink and two-step.   Here’s the song if you haven’t heard it.

Look at her. Just, look at her.

In The Club:  “I mean, come on, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants and take their greasy hair – ew – and cover it up with a backwards cap and we’re supposed to swoon?”

On Saturday night, we celebrated a good friend’s birthday, and her forthcoming voyage to the Republic of Zambia, where she will do the people’s work with the Peace Corps for the next twenty-seven months.   I shudder to think of the comforts she is giving up over the next two years, but I know she is uniquely qualified to do it.  I wish Miss Nia well, and I am incredibly proud and awed by the work she’s about to do.  I am positive that she will leave her mark Zambia, and that the people she will serve will be better having met her.  Good luck, babygirl!  We love you!

Now that that’s out of the way… there was some shit I saw Saturday that I’ve seen for years but never really had the platform to discuss.  Lucky for you, I has that now.  Here we go:

Ladies, y’all are way too thirsty for the less than minimal effort these dudes put into wooing you.  From attire to attitude, reciprocity is virtually invisible.  Ladies get dressed up to go out, dudes just get dressed.  I mean, cats aren’t even wearing their flyest fitted cap anymore, or their cleanest white tee!  They don’t even dance with you!  You drop it like it’s hot in 6 inch pumps, and he stands there with his feet planted and his shirt untucked.  Mouth open and shit.

Y’all chase these cats all over the club for them to just  stand there.  And look atcha.  Which, I admit, wouldn’t be so bad —  I’m given to voyeurism on occasion.  But fuck your roaming eyes if your mouth doesn’t close, and you look like and smell like eighth grade.  Sistas, raise your fucking standards.  Brothas, step your fucking game up.

True Blood

I am 3 seasons late on this joint.  But in my view, it is a completely absurd, debauched, and delicious way to spend your Sunday evenings.

That is all.  As you were.


A Cognitively Promiscuous Week

There were several happenings last week that stuck.  Imma see if I can wrap ’em up neatly for y’all.

1.  According to a Study by an asshole, Black Women are “Rated Less Attractive” than Other Women 

I often say it’s amazing what people think they can say to you.  In an article for Psychology Today, Satoshi Kanazawa waxes scientific with tables and graphs and “mean physical attractiveness” indices, attempting to obscure the inherent bullshit in his study.  I thought we’d already done and summarily dismissed this kind of racism — using pseudo-science to support the absurd notion that Blacks are inferior in every way not just to whites anymore, but to everybody.  Black women, even the “best” of us, can’t land a man to save our lives.  And we’re perceived as uglier than everyone else to boot.  I won’t dignify the Psychology Today post with a superfluous defense of Black women’s beauty.  I will, however, note how insidious this kind of shit is.  Although Psychology Today hasn’t the reach or credibility of, say, the American Medical Association or the like, the deep-seated othering embedded in Kanazawa’s article was researched, edited, and published.  Folks will read this article, and some will believe it, and the cycle of “black is wack” will continue.

In a bitchass, but also wise move, psychologytoday.com has since removed the original post.  It was bad for business, I suppose.  That it was ever there in the first place though is telling.  This questioning of Black legitimacy is part of the fabric of our great Nation.  It is the part we tend to gloss over in our understanding of who Americans are, what America is, how the America we know came to be.  Initially, we questioned the very person-hood of Blacks.  And when we decided reluctantly that Blacks were in fact “persons,” and indeed deserving of all the rights and privileges the quality of being human accords, we then questioned their ability to intellectually conceive of, well, anything intellectual.  They weren’t smart enough to govern themselves, or anyone else for that matter.  And “science” supported those faulty claims too.

It’s easy for Psychology Today to remove the post from its site, perhaps as a way of punishing the author or as a self-correction for publishing inflammatory garbage in the first place.  What’s more difficult to remove, however, is the hubris –the entitlement– that affords this work the light of day in the 21st century.  What grand sense of enlightenment is bestowed upon the masses when we resolve to research the attractiveness of Black American women?  Who benefits when we learn that, scientifically, Black women are less desirable than all other women?  No one does.  The study is yet another advancement of the narrative we’ve heard and witnessed and attempted for centuries to abate:  that we are less than our worth.  There have been victories in this fight, but the work continues.  The President of the United States may be Black, but even he had to prove, in long form no less, that one could be Black and American and President of America at the same fucking time.

2.  Professor West vs. President Obama

The debate on Black leadership wages on, as does the face of Black leadership apparently.  Last week, Professor West said some pretty fool-hardy shit about President Obama.  In my view, his characterization of the President was incendiary and counter-productive to his cause.  All of this nonsense about Obama not returning West’s calls and failing to get him tickets to the inauguration was petty, and beneath the Professor’s dignified intellectual position.  You’ll get no argument from me there.  West’s point, on the other hand, was spot on.

One of the questions I asked my students on their final exam was: Do you think a minority agenda (racial/cultural/ethnic etc) is helped or hindered by capitalism (or capitalist ideology)? Their answers speak to the legitimacy of West’s policy and ideological criticism of Obama.  Personal affronts aside, I don’t think old school Black leaders (and I don’t mean that disparagingly) were necessarily wrong or myopic to expect a certain pointed focus from Barack Obama to minority communities. We assumed, perhaps immaturely and without regard to realpolitik, that because of his background and his own progressive positions and rhetoric, Obama would be a different type of politician. We assumed that he could in some meaningful way dismantle the power structure that keeps Blacks disproportionately poor and disadvantaged — because it’s about personal accountability and all, but it’s also systemic and institutional.

Obviously, West loses the credibility of his argument in calling the President “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.”  But President Obama is now part of the American Institution.  He can chip away as best he can at its unsavory aspects. But his job is to see that the Institution perseveres. And given that capitalism is sustained on the backs of most folks, Obama’s pragmatism — his seeming aloofness with regard to the issues of the poor — unfortunately is par for the course. It is unfair and unrealistic to expect that President Obama might be able to fix the deeply, deeply embedded problems Black Americans face in America. However, the President has the biggest bully pulpit we’ve ever seen, giving him the ability to address more directly the issues of the poor and the disenfranchised — of which Blacks make up a solid majority.  I can appreciate Obama’s professorial and diplomatic pragmatism, but West and these old school Black leaders are right in a sense — Obama ought to stiffen his spine.  But he can’t.  To do so is to take a big, black ass bite of the hand that feeds him.  I know our Black bourgeoisie is comprised of post-Civil Rights Movement Blacks, and we think our era is “different.”  But let’s not be so hasty in assailing our rightful disappointment with the powers that be, which now includes black faces.  In short, the system is the system, and Obama is President of the system.  For cats like West who’ve railed against overt and institutionalized racism for years when it wasn’t personally or socially expedient, seeing a Black man at the helm of this same system that still crushes poor, voiceless folks, hurts.  Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade — you don’t gotta call it dirty names.  But you gotta call it like you see it.

3. Beyonce and 21st Century Feminism

Bey’s new single, “Girls Run the World,” doesn’t inspire me to shake a tail feather as much as “Single Ladies” did.  I’m pretty sure I won’t rush the dance-floor for “Girls” like I did for “Upgrade U” and “Get Me Bodied.”  But I also have no problem dissociating myself from the hoes and the bitches and the groupies that most cats rap and sing about on contemporary radio.

Beyonce Knowles is no bell hooks.  Likewise, these little girls aren’t great scholars with any meaningful interest in Audre Lorde’s or Patricia Hill Collins’ powerful feminist musings.  Bey meets girls where they are, and provides them with the armor they need in the 21st century:  Femininity, power, self-respect, and self-determination.  In other words:  if you got a man, great!  Don’t sacrifice your dignity for that cat though.  And if you don’t have a man, great!  You are enough all by yourself.   So don’t sacrifice your dignity to get one.

Bey isn’t going around unshaven and shit to lend credence to her particular brand of girl power.  She asserts in her own way that little girls can be ladies and all that entails, and still be bawse, runnin shit too.

As academics, we see the world normatively — operating from “should be” and “ought to be” perspectives.  Sometimes it is what it is though.  We’d love it if 9 year olds girls would look to Patricia Hill Collins to explain feminist thought and sexuality, but they aint though.  I’m glad Beyonce speaks to them in a language they understand, and I suspect they are stronger with her than they are without her.

4.  The Rapture

A guy — the rapture guy —  in California thought it was laughable that folks were predicting the world would end in 2012.  On his biblical authority, the end of days was slated for May 21st, 2011.  Yes, last Saturday.  I’m assuming I didn’t get in cause I failed to RSVP.  I’m terrible with those things.  I, like you, was “left behind”.

I don’t do religion.  I understand why people do, and I respect those people.  I’ll just practice the golden rule and respond to the spirit that thrives within me, instead of the guy — the rapture guy or any other — who claims to know what the Creator has in store.  On Saturday night, I didn’t fret about the hereafter.  Instead, I toasted a dry martini to the only Rapture I respect — Ms. Anita’s.

And if Saturday night had turned out to be the end of days, I was ok with where me and the good lord stood.  I didn’t need the rapture guy — or any other — to scare me to my knees.