An Ode To Steve Summers

A decision to pursue something to fill your life and time is special, especially if you’ve spent time bettering yourself to do it.

Whether that means going to college, an internship or just grinding in your business, to succeed doing that every day is a great thing to live with. Those conditions create people who are happy to wake up, happy to deal with the day and enjoy just what they do.

But just because you’re happy with what you’ve decided to do, doesn’t mean I have to watch it.

That’s how I feel about the majority of the sports associated with the Olympics. I’m not doubting their athleticism or questioning the credibility of their sport like cheerleading, but I’m not entertained by it. And as a people, we have determined what sports we find entertaining and are willing to pay to watch people play. They’re called professional sports.

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

If walking outside with no agenda I noticed a world-class curling match taking place, I might be inclined to stand and watch.

However if someone requested money for me to continue watching, I would look questioningly at them, then with a slight laugh, I’d walk away.

This is all because the sappy elevator-pitch ads about amateur athletes that NBC plans to market during their coverage are annoying and getting more preveleant as the Games get closer.

Meanwhile, we’re getting closer and closer to the start of another baseball season. A sport not featured in the Olympics, but with a worldwide competition that just took place last spring.

There won’t be another World Baseball Classic for three years, but the season will begin with the New York Mets searching for another World Championship.

The transition from young to old is almost complete, whether talking about the changing of the sports calendar or the roster of the boys in orange and blue.

12 minutes past the hour. Alexa is on the other side of the glass and the phone lines are open. We’ll take Martin from New Jersey.

Yeah, the Adrian Gonzalez signing is the sign that GM Sandy Alderson is going for it this year with this team. Yeah he might be 35 and coming off a down year (.242, 3 HRs in 71 games), but he’s still a career .288 batter with an .847 OPS.

If he can get back to .275 at first, it will be the first time in a long time that we’ve had an actually first baseman with a decent glove that can hit.

And yeah, this means Dom Smith is more than likely headed back to Vegas. I’m confused why everyone thinks this is so bad. He was a top prospect, he may need some more time or he might turn out to be trade bait for later in the year.

I mean, if he goes back to Triple-A and rakes at a .350 clip, we can move him and Lagares for something big at the trade deadline, if necessary.

But personally, I like Lagares and I think he’s gonna shine to star this year. He’s gotta know the center-field job is his to start the season. With Bruce and Cespedes surrounding him and Gonzalez in the lineup, his bat isn’t necessary, so there’s not as much pressure.

Uh…last thing. I know this is a sports show, but I was curious who you think will win the RDAT? I think that people sleep on DMX and that album is gonna make a run. I’ll hang up and listen and that’s the truth.

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RDAT: NYC Play-In – Polaris vs. The Latin Comet

RDAT Tournament – Game 3 – NYC Bracket

No. 4 – Eric B. & Rakim – Paid in Full vs. No. 5 – Big Punisher – Capital Punishment

I once watched the sun rise over a Montana mountain range. It’s one of my favorite memories and while I’ve declared it here, it’s a subject that doesn’t find itself in everyday conversation.

If conversation finds its way to where related that tale to someone is fit, I will. However, if not it will stay locked away regardless if I see remnants of it.

Comets are similar in a sense that we all know they have happened, but you wouldn’t necessary share your viewing of one without reason. Sadly, I feel this is an easy comparison to the career of Big Punisher.

For those of us absorbed in hip-hop in the late 90s, the name alone is a reminder of a time when the art was sculpted through the vision of money, women and crime.

Listening to Terror Squad members Cuban Links and Triple Sies claim how they’re similar to characters from movies by Al Pacino and Robert Diniro is a flashback to when it seemed like that’s all anyone talked about.

While Terror Squad is referenced, claimed and shouted out repeatedly throughout the LP, luckily the best member is the featured artist. I remember reports that Christopher Lee Rios didn’t always look like an out-of-shape offensive lineman, fitting into his signature nickname of Big Punisher.

According to Wikipedia, “between the ages of 18 and 21, Rios’ weight ballooned from 180lbs to 300lbs, and Rios became so large he was unable to tie his own shoes.” Hailing from the South Bronx, it was only right that he would link up with Fat Joe once he created a successful underground following.

”Off the Books” is the ultimate underground smash. It’s produced by The Beatnuts, one of three tracks that any true fan of the genre will recgonize in seconds. While they may not know the lyrics or the artist, they definitely know the beat.

“Watch Out Now” and “Props Over Here” are the other two, but neither feature the vocal tug that Pun pulls with his verse. His speed of lyrics is on display earl and it’s fascinating to think how many words he’s stuffing into each bar…and the fact that as a listener, we can make it out.

It’s a true standout verse on an equally impressive beat. He didn’t necessary do something similar lyrically on the mainstream single “Still Not a Player (featuring Joe)”. It’s a couple of years after Notorious B.I.G. released “One More Change/Stay With Me (Remix)”, but there is an audience for a good R&B/rap song and both tracks can still be found in deep rotation.

Wheras Biggie’s Billboard hit was a separate release, Pun’s remix is on Capital Punishment with the original. There’s also quality feature spots by the aforementioned Fat Joe on a Dr. Dre beat and Black Thought of The Roots on “Super Lyrical”, which samples the aforementioned Christopher Wallace.

There’s also an obligatory appearance by Busta Rhymes (a standard clause in all rap contracts in the 1990s), another track with Joe and the Terror Squad, a forgettable verse by Wyclef Jean and an interlude smoothly produced by dead prez that features Pun singing.

There’s also five different skits with a more graphic mimic of “Sooper Luver Interview” on Redman’s Whut? Thee Album or a more direct mimic of the sex scene on Ready to Die.

Off a quick look and listen, one could say that Pun is a Latin version of Big but that would take away from his skills as a lyricist. He was capable of painting pictures through his words, but could also battle rap and play the simile card.

A similar overall skill set was evident upon listening to Rakim. The best rappers will admit that Rakim is among the greatest among them, regardless of when. Rakim was considered that when Paid in Full was released in 1987 and that sentiment remains today.

The first verses that Rakim spits on wax and is heard by the greater New York City area are the foundation of countless other lyrics going forward.

I came in the door, I said it before
I never let the mic magnetize me no more
But it’s biting me, fighting me, inviting me to rhyme
I can’t hold it back, I’m looking for the line
Taking off my coat, clearing my throat
The rhyme will be kicking until I hit my last note

To read them is one thing, but to hear the cadence, energy and positive aggression in his voice is another. It was likely assisted by the fact that Eric B. worked for WBLS, one of the two ‘urban music’ radio stations in New York. Not that anyone was complaining about hearing the song at least twice every weekend after 10 p.m.

Marley Marl had the production equipment, Eric B. came up with the sounds and gets production credit and Rakim had the lyrics. It is a classic and while the beat may not, the rhymes stand the test of time.

You could say something similar with the other singles: “I Ain’t No Joke”, “I Know You Got Soul”, “Move the Crowd” and the album’s title track. One in which like a good communications employee, Eric B. recites everyone behind the scenes that made their group go.

But the song is an example of the major issue with the album. On a track that lasts 3:49, only a minute is spent with Rakim actually rapping. There’s a lot of the beat, including replays on “Extended Beat” and “Paid in Full (Mini Madness) [The Coldcut Remix]” and two other instramental tracks.

There are 12 tracks on the album and one-third don’t feature arguably the greatest MC ever. Granted, it wasn’t a known fact when they pressed the wax, but his absence is glaring like looking into the night sky and not seeing the North Star.

More like the fact that Polaris is the brightest star in the sky besides the sun, yet we hardly note its importance. Rakim’s pretense in rap history is just that – something known as importnat and amazing and easily forgotten when the latest comet flies through, despite the fact that we shall forget that as well.

RDAT: Groups Play-In – Founders vs. Finance

RDAT Tournament – Game 2 – Groups Bracket

No. 4 – Run D.M.C. – Run D.M.C. vs. No. 5 – Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill

Did you know that Beastie was actually an acronym? It means Boys Entering Anarchic States Towards Internal Excellence. That may be what they were about when the three Jewish boys from various parts of New York City released their debut hardcore punk album entitled Polly Wog Stew.

But by the time they get into the studios of Def Jam and are working with Rick Rubin, it’s clear they’ve changed their ways to what was happening at the time. Rap was still in its infant stages, at least commercially speaking. The trio of Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock couldn’t have known what would happen when they released Licensed to Ill, but like Nas said – It’s ain’t hard to tell.

While it might ruffle feathers, the easiest comparison is to Elvis Presley in the 1950s, taking something done primarily by black people and admired from afar and bringing it to the mainstream – aka the white suburbs.

Add in the MTV factor, meaning audiences could see three white boys, rapping in the midst of a crazy party scene full of scantily clad women. But the visual is one thing, the sound that Rubin created for them was perfection. The album’s first track, Rhymin & Stealin, begins with a loop from Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks”.

The whole album sounds like a rock record with samples from The Clash, War, Steve Miller Band, AC/DC and a guitar solo by Slayer’s Kerry King on “No Sleep till Brooklyn”. But it’s clearly a rap record, with scratches and cuts and break beats and everything else. That’s why it was accepted on both sides of the proverbial railroad tracks.

“They’re legends in the rap community,” says rapper WC, who along with Ice Cube and Mack 10 is a member of the Westside Connection. “I always listened to the Beastie Boys coming up. They were on one of the heavy-hitting labels [Def Jam] at the time.”

From Meet the Beasties–Again – Los Angeles Times, August 30,1998

That quote speaks to the power and influence the Beastie Boys’ album generated. A record label founded by a small time drug dealer from Queens who managed and produced his younger brother’s group released an album that is one of the few rap/hip-hop records to sell 10 million copies.

The younger brother in question was Joseph Simmons, better known as Run, but better known now as Rev Run. Along with Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels, both are credited as writers on “Paul Revere” and “Slow and Low”.

Getty Image – Photo by Ebet Roberts

Run D.M.C.’s eponymous debut was released in 1984. It was a slight change from early rap releases like “Rapper’s Delight” and “The Breaks” as both Run and D.M.C. go back and forth over a sound that was simple, yet complex.

Coming from an era that was built around the rappers championing their DJ, Run DMC did that and more. While the Beastie Boys’ subject matter includes girls, shooting guns and drug use (there are a lot of references to ‘dust’), Run DMC managed to mix boosts about Jam Master Jay with going to school and what it would be like if everyone was at peace.

“Wake Up” is a five-minute song about “thoughts that came from a wonderful dream” that included countries joining together to end world hunger, employment for everyone and no prejudice.

On the album, it was placed right after the first released single “It’s Like That”. It’s a track that would never get radio play, but speaks to where the group’s mindset was.

“Jay’s Game” is another track that wouldn’t get radio play back in the 80’s, but an instrumental track featuring scratches and showcasing the skills of Jam Master Jay could be a hit if remixed behind an EDM beat.

The album is only nine tracks long, but five are memorable with “Rock Box” being featured in classic singles like “Runnin'” by The Pharcyde and “Now You’re Mine” by Gang Starr. But it’s the quotable phrases that stand out more.

Two years ago, a friend of mine
Asked me to say some MC rhymes
So I said this rhyme I’m about to say
The rhyme was Def a-then it went this way

The number of artists who have used a parody of those lines is long. There are other lines like that on both albums, but Run DMC seemed the larger influence both for the art form as well as commercially with the release of “Walk This Way” on July 4, 1986.

The cover of the Aerosmith song from 1977 was the real landmark crossover song that brought rap into suburban living rooms and made it acceptable, especially since it came out four months before Licensed To Ill. It made it acceptable for Adidas to sign the group to a million dollar endorsement deal, resurrected Aerosmith’s career and makes it clear why Run D.M.C. move on.

Image result for it's like that and that's the way it is

RDAT: Groups Play-In – Brooklyn vs. ATL

RDAT Tournament – Game 1 – Groups Bracket

No. 3 – Outkast – Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik vs. No. 6 – Smif N Wessun – Dah Shinin’

Whether it’s the exhuberance of youth, the culture you’re raised in or just being a black youth in a major metropolitan area; but there’s an essence of aggression against ‘others’ imbred within the boys growing up.

You made fun of one another. You insulted your best friends and had unrehearsed competitions going back and forth for no reason. You laughed afterwards and everything was forgotten, only remembered to use as ammunition for another assault. But it’s harmless…

Until it’s not. And that is the major difference between the urban and suburban environments to raise young men. But not exactly, since it’s truly between the have’s and have-not’s. It always has been and remains as such.

The children of the Have’s sometimes go too far and it turns to fisticuffs, to wrestling matches in the backyard or actual hands being thrown.  Depending on the strength of the relationship, iIf it made it to the final stage, that might be the last time you speak. You watch yourself in each other’s presence and that’s that.

The children of the Have-not’s don’t have that luxury.

That’s the essential messages coming from both albums in this Groups Play-In game. Both were released in the early 1990’s, an era when rap was headed west with the influx of Dr. Dre, the film Deep Cover and eventually The Chronic.

Dah Shinin’ is the second release from the Boot Camp Clik. The first, Enta da Stage by Black Moon, was the loud demand that rap started here and it’s still done best here. Whether that’s agreeable or not, it was a change of the sound with Da Beatminerz (DJ Evil Dee and Mr. Walt) going heavy on bass unlike anything at the time.

Black Moon’s debut might have made the list, but two remixes of the four released singles are much better. Mostly because they slow down and allow Buckshot’s gritty voice to really flow through.

I feel Da Beatminerz got it right with their next release featuring the duo of Tek and Steele or Smif-N-Wessun or The Cocoa Brovas after they moved from just an underground act from Brooklyn to something more.

Listening to the lyrics, they stay in their lane – describing the block they reside on, what will happen to rival crews and their dealings with the police. I was questioned by police just twice before my 18th birthday, but both times were tense. As a young black man, there’s never been a point when dealing with the cops is comforting.

So if there was a constant contact with cops as part of my upbringing, it certainly would be a topic of my outward expressions. Tek and Steele used lyrics and were good at it. Their voices were similar, but different enough to hear who you were listening to. They meshed well, going back and forth on choruses like ‘Wrekonize’ or within the verse like ‘Let’s Git It On’.

But I will admit the topic matter doesn’t change. The only outlier would be the one track that stands out as different on the album. In ‘Hellucination’, Steele gets info about an enemy, returns to the crib to smoke with Tek before they go out and shoot someone for “fucking with the family, Yo, they got to learn their lessons.” The catch is an undercover officer watches the whole thing, but only takes away their weapons and let them go.

When written out, it sounds blocky but with a fluttering high note in the background behind a constant kick-snare, the story plays out well and Smif-N-Wessun describe a scene you can hear. But with the title of the song, it was clear this wasn’t real. Or was it just that we, as listeners, weren’t ready for what is essentially the story-like tales that were Biggie Smalls’ forte.

It’s a solid album. If you took the best songs from Enta da Stage and Dah’ Shinin’ and made it one album, it would be an instant classic. But I’m not sure how much it would chart if released today. The Boot Camp Clik speak to a specific subculture that remains in existence today, but I’m not sure if they would respond.

The same can’t be said for OutKast. Both Smif-N-Wessun and OutKast are rumored to have been invited to be on 2Pac’s One Nation; a double-album that was to featue a West Coast side and an East Coast side. But while Boot Camp Clik was continuing a rap tradition from New York City, it felt like Andre 3000 and Big Boi were coming from outer space.

I had never heard anything from the South until Mad Skillz released ‘The Nod Factor’ in 1995. I don’t count ‘My Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me’ because while I still find it a great song, it didn’t lead me to learn more about The Geto Boys. I purchased From Where??? when it was released in 1996 and a few months later, I reviewed ATLiens for the college newspaper.

The advice I gave then is true today. While ATLiens is a good album, you would almost be better served listening to the single ‘Benz or Beamer’ off the New Jersey Drive Soundtrack or their debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. It’s an introduction to the children of the Have-not’s from a different part of the country and while a lot of the topics are similar, the underlying tone is different. Case in point – ‘Git Up, Git Out’.

The chorus, melodiously sung by Cee-Lo Green, is enough to move this album into the next round.

Nigga, you need to get up, get out and get something. Don’t let the days of your life pass by.

You need to get up, get out and get something. Don’t spend all your time trying to get high.

You need to get up, get out and get something. How will you make it if you never even try.

You need to get up, get out and get something. Cuz you and I got to do for you and I.

It’s the tone of the entire album. They’re apt at describing the lifestyles of the pimps, players and pushers driving in the Cadillacs and serving as the envy of all the young boys. But it’s more like pulling up the curtain and shining a light that while it’s great, we should be striving for more. That there is more and…

 

Old Man Rant

According to the math of Gary Braun, I recently became a man. All of us within this age are living at an interesting time. To have strong memories of a past that included pay phones, newspaper vending machines and pagers.

But to also be alive to see face-timing on mobile devices, cars that drive on sunlight and libraries losing their relevance thanks to the advent of the InterWeb.

It is, without question, a great time to be alive and witness the changing of the guard and be able to know both sides of the divide of time that wil be discussed going forward.

But I also am curious if those after me will remember to study history. Not just the standard stuff they teach in school because knowing about the War of 1812 is important, but doesn’t help to grasp why facial recognition for your phone is scary.

The Proverbia Powers That Be have always looked for ways to control their subjects. In Ye Olden Days, the proletariat needed protection and paid for it through taxes and other payments to those with physical power.

People were willing to pay that price, but those in power weren’t continuously checking in to see exactly how many cows you raised, exactly how much your garden grew and more importantly, how much you made from it.

I think that’s why fairy tales are full of upset farmers, scared that some ‘tough’ has knocked on the door looking for ‘the King’s due’. But this was the necessary funding for the soldiers, a necessary part of living.

However, as we got more modern, the need for a direct ‘police’ force became less and less, but the people were sold that it was needed more and more. I’m not saying there wasn’t crime or criminals, but not to the extent that cops were needed on every corner.

But the marketing departments of The Powers That Be are better than basic logic and the result is a society founded on fear. There’s a separate post about when television news went away from informing and became more concerned about making a profit, but once that happened it was only a matter of time.

That change, that determination to generate money from what was once a public service, is the ultimate turning point but one I’m willing to bet wasn’t truly noticed by anyone at the time.

But the fear has only grown exponentially since. We’ve moved from writing checks to holding cash in hand to ATM machines to using your phone with the relevant info stored on it.

It’s this last one that scares me the most. The US dollar was once based on gold, but now it’s just based on…honestly, I don’t know what it’s based on. Probably the same imaginary paper that allows politicians to increase the deficit without worry that anyone will truly question their decision.

But moving to everything being digital means losing control of your cash. It should create the same fears the farmers had way back when that an invading army would take thier land. Only problem is I’m not at all confident in the people I’m paying to protect me and that’s the truth.

RDAT Tourney Talk – Episode 1

Hello, Hi and welcome to RDAT Tourney Talk, brought to you by Papa John’s. Look, Pizza Hut is greasy, Domino’s a little garlicky and ours is pretty decent for box store. So our owner has issues? Does that matter for your pizza?

Well, last week we got the seedings with a little controversy with only three albums being released in the 1980s and the exclusion of seminal artists like Public Enemy, The Roots, Queen Latifah, Lil Wayne, Scarface and De La Soul not included.

Now the committee has released the brackets. There was a chance that with the seedings, the RDAT would use that to create the tournament bracket, similar to the NCAA Tournament with play-in games to determine the final two seeds.

Instead, they’ve decided to return to the initial groupings presented in the beginning of the process, catergorizing each artist to provide a bracket championship with proverbial stakes on the line. But since all of this is proverbial, who can prove really, becasue it’s a line of mullarkly.

And now, onto the bracket breakdown! The official RDAT Bracket Breakdown is brought to you by Midas. If your car breaks down, your life breaks down. Let us build back up your next breakdown!

 

Groups Bracket – Brought to you by our Corporate Champion, sports. Bringing complete strangers together with something to talk about for centuries.

1. Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the 36 Chambers vs. the winner of 4. Run D.M.C. – Run D.M.C. / 5. Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill

2. Black Star – Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star vs. the winner of 3. OutKast – Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik / 6. Smif-N-Wessun – Dah Shinin’

 

Outside NYC Bracket – Brought to you by our Corporate Champion, In-N-Out. The burger chain that East Coast rap fans would heard in lyrics about California and see in West Coast music videos.

1. Eminem – The Slim Shady LP vs. 4. Lupe Fiasco – Food & Liquor

2. Kanye West – The College Dropout vs. 3. Redman – Whut? Thee Album

 

Queens Bracket – Brought to you by our Corporate Champion, The New York Mets. Our owners are happy to ignore the fact that they’re in the nation’s largest media market and spend the millions they have to produce the best product…and the faithful fan base continues to believe,  regardless of who’s in the laundry they’re cheering for.

1. Nas – Illmatic vs. the winner of 2. 50 Cent – Get Rich or Die Tryin’ / 3. Black Sheep – A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

 

NYC Bracket – Brought to you by our Corporate Champion, Compentent Public Transportation. Whether you’re in DC, Boston, NYC or Chicago, just to name a few, as a commuter, you can get around the city without the use of a vehicle. It’s something you take for granted until you live in a city without it.

1. Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt vs. the winner of 4. Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full / 5. Big Pun – Capital Punishment

2. Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die vs. 3. DMX – It’s Dark and Hell is Hot

Initial thoughts from the seedings showcase some interesting matchups, especially in the play-in games. In one matchup, you get the two groups that, it could be argued, brought rap in the mainstream. The Beastie Boys basically funded Def Jam, the label started by Russell Simmons, who’s brother is a member of Run D.M.C.

The other play-in in the Groups Bracket is just as interesting. Smif-N-Wesson is part of the Boot Camp Click, a collective of Brooklyn rappers that drew attention away from the West Coast onslaught in the early 1990s. OutKast is the prominent member of the Dungeon Family, along with Goodie Mob and Organized Noise. To paraphrase Andre 3000, they proved that the South had something to say.

The last play-in features one of the greatest MCs ever to grace a microphone against a talent that was taken from us too soon. Interestingly, the longevity question should come up in this matchup since ‘I’m Not A Player’ garnished acclaim and can still be heard occasionally whereas Rakim’s time-honored classics are played by mostly fans.

Well, there are your brackets and pairings. We’d like to thank our Corporate Champions – Sports, In-N-Out, The New York Mets and Compentent Public Transportation.

Artists in the first play-in game are currently getting spins and both will be ready for a final judgement. The question is, are you?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, comment on Facebook and network with us on LinkedIn. Thanks for coming out and we hope to see you in the Final Four!

Four Corners Friday

Dean Smith is one of the greatest college basketball coaches ever. He’s famously known as the one man who held Michael Jordan to under 20 points per game, mostly because the offense he ran at the University of North Carolina wasn’t built around one guy scoring.

It was about the team. The teams Smith recruited and coached while at UNC were always full of fundamentally sound players who understood basketball beyond searching for their shot. As much disrespect that is given to Rasheed Wallace, some of which is deserved since he is the most penalized player in NBA history, he did play two years at UNC under Dean Smith.

Image result for unc carolina blue basketball uniforms rasheed wallaceThat means Smith must have seen some sort of basketball smarts in Sheed to have him believe he could play within his system. Yes, the easy argument was Sheed and fellow recruit Jerry Stackhouse were Dean Smith’s foray into the AAU/One-And-Done athletes, but I feel it’s safe to assume that he would have picked the best version of that to break the mold.

The mold of the Carolina Blue uniforms has “become the epitome of an old-school, timeless look in college basketball.” Similar to that old school look was the Four Corners offense, one that was “invented by John McClendon in the mid-1950’s” and made popular by Dean Smith.

It became so iconic and associated with Smith that when he died in 2015, the current version of the Tar Heels honored him by running the play.

The essence of the Four Corners offense was to kill time off the clock. Back before they instituted a shot clock, this play could kill precious moments away from opponents. Even when they instituted a 35-second shot clock, it was still a great way to kill the clock and end up with an easy basket like in the video above.

The football equivalent occurs towards the end of any game when quarterbacks will take the play clock all the way down to a few seconds before snapping the ball. Then, depending on the situation, the ensuing play is either a run up the middle or the quarterback taking a step back and going to a knee.

The operative sentiment behind all this is to kill the clock, getting closer to the end. This is something I deal with without fail every Friday.

I love my job. I love what I do, what I’m asked to do and what I come up with to do. I’m allowed luxuries and freedoms unlike most other positions I’ve had, especially since the audience and higher-level managers have much stronger consequences for negative actions.

Dog lies down during afternoon siestaBut that doesn’t change the lack of motivation to do much of anything on a Friday. Maybe it’s an American thing since we don’t have a sanctioned short nap during the middle of the day. Although the famous Spanish Siesta is apparently no more, it’s not counting the countless number of Americans that find ways to nod off during the work day.

Anyone with an office and the ability to close their door surely has used that power to power nap for a few minutes. Depending on the location of and height of your cubicle walls, putting your head down and dozing is possible for many. While I’ve never truly slept while at work, I count zoning out in front of the same screen ‘thinking’ about what I will write next.

At my previous position, one filled with youngsters fresh from college or still close enough to remember what it was truly like, it was a free-for-all for those that grasped how exactly to handle their business. No, that doesn’t mean taking a two-hour lunch break with margaritas (not saying that didn’t happen), but early on we successfully petitioned for two monitors.

In my case, one monitor was dedicated to entertainment. Whether it was Netflix, Hulu or the phantom URLs that provided access to anything you wanted to watch, that’s what was up on one screen. The other was dedicated to work, but when you’re trying to catch up on ‘Breaking Bad’ or re-watch ‘The Wire’ for the second time, what’s truly more important?

Making that determination – what’s more important, my entertainment or my livelihood – would seem to be an easy thing. However, it clearly isn’t. Hence the number of talented people searching for work at home on their computers with a television running in the background and wondering why things aren’t happening.

What’s happening today is another classic example of a well-run 4 Corners. I’ve handled some lingering assignments, dealt with a urgent request and got caught up discussing Atlanta’s history and how Five Points MARTA station stands where a famous slave auction house previously stood.

I also took four different trips to the water station, picked up a quick lunch and spoke with a superior to set up a future project. All in all, it was a quite rewarding and productive day, even if I was running an office Four Corners the entire time and that’s the truth.