Month: May 2019

Read With a Purpose

We can all agree that alot of reading goes on in public transportation. Swiping pictures of funny taglines and titles draws you in. The visuals are there so you can read the words.

From one topic to the next information gets thrown at us.

People have pretty much gotten use to seeing and reading the latest tragedy and then tuning in on their favorite sports game and then catching up on the latest movie to watch. All within minutes.

It’s time to take control of what you read.

Too much content interrupts our lives every day. How many readers would naturally watch much less choose so many topics to look into in such a short period of time? Our society has normalized this behavior.

It was called t.v. surfing when someone constantly changed channels. Now we just skip from the internet, to U-Tube, to Instagram, to e-mail, to Netflix, to app, to game, and whatever else.

Have you ever made a waiter annoyed while skipping from one part of the menu to the next because you didn’t know what you wanted to order? Well that’s what we do to our brains everyday on our cell phones. We lack focus and intent when we just skip from one screen to the next.

It’s like eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks all at once. No one eats all their meals at once.

Stop doing that with your mind.

It’s an easy fix to read with a purpose.

Every day make a choice of 3 – 5 things you will do on your cell phone.

The list can look like this:

  1. Text or telephone important people in your life.
  2. Watch one favorite U-Tube channel.
  3. Read a novel.

Next day:

  1. Watch the news to stay current.
  2. Upload and share pictures.
  3. Read an article or magazine.
  4. Make important calls.

Or the following day:

  1. Listen to music.
  2. Choose a topic you wanted to learn or research about.
  3. Check up on what’s going in Social Media.

We have to become like parents/guardians to ourselves when it comes to how much time we spend using our cell phones, laptops, smart phones etc.

With the weather becoming sunny and bright, look up rather than down. Life can be lived in the moment in the real outdoors not just another scene created for you on your cell phone.

If you suffer from a bit of withdrawal symptoms, take a book along and stay concentrated on reading just that book with your cell phone away.

You don’t have to be entertained or stimulate your brain all the time. Learn to take time to listen to your own thoughts one day at a time.

Get on purpose with your life. Choose wisely what you read or what you watch.

Shut off the attention hogs for 24 hours every once in a while. Leave your phone in your bag or better yet at home. Try for just one hour and then increase the hours so that you can do more.

Again, read with a purpose. You’ll see your life improve when you do.

Regine Baptiste


May, 2019

Review of PBS Documentary Mister Rogers: It’s You I Like 1968-2018

Alot, was going on in that neighborhood. People of diverse backgrounds were welcomed by Mr. Rogers; the most unassuming man in America tiptoed into our hearts and minds.

A character on t.v. who was a misfit to what had just occurred in the Civil Rights movement.

Mr. Rogers had such a profound effect on me that my very first copywriting letter swiped his mantra of “Would you be my neighbor?” The jingle still tap dancing on my brain decades later.

Just be yourself. Children learned how to engage and have conversations with others different from themselves. Mr. Rogers asked the questions and we patiently listened to the answers along with him. Needless to say many future talk show hosts would imitate his style.

Mr. Rogers showed us what compassion looked like.

It seemed like he and the American men protrayed on the t.v. miniseries “Roots,” were light years apart. In Mr. Rogers’ personality, we saw an example of what Martin Luther King stated about not judging a person by the color of their skin but the content of their character. Mr. Rogers was MLK’s poster child and we never made the connection. The gashing wound of so many marginalized men just a few generations from slavery still dominated the American pulse.

Mr. Rogers simply invited you into the neighborhood. Segregation, Jim Crow, flight from rural areas, and continued marginalization did not exist in Mr Rogers’ neighborhood. Nor could we imagine the gentrification to come.

Rather than exploring all of these tough issues, little children found a safe space to laugh, ask questions, wonder, smile, get comfortable, sit down and relax.

Eddie Murphy shattered that image on Saturday Night Live’s skits of the hood. A ghetto stereotyping “black” men as criminals with warped thinking that made people laugh. Eddie Murphy’s Mr. Rogers sarcastically robbed a little old lady of her groceries only to use the contents in a “nutrition lesson” for little children. Back to square one. The reality so grossly protrayed that some neighborhoods are outright scary.

Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood was a fantasy, a lie.

According to Eddie Murphy, we were no longer laughing with Mr. Rogers but laughing at him.

We had already grown up and were no longer watching Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood. Our childhood icon had sent us out in the world with unrealistic expectations. Eddie Murphy didn’t tell us anything new.

Mr. Rogers had a way of softening the blow with a song. He sang, “when the whole wide world seems all so wrong,” to calm our protests as little kids. Not the song to sing at the real rallies of grown-ups.

Mr. Rogers, a man who had a way with us kids. He skipped into our imaginations not yet corrupted by disappointments and responsibility.

Mr. Rogers was our guide outside his make- believe neighborhood. He showed us how things were created in a land where most jobs had not yet been exported.

Mr. Rogers’ gentle touch was welcoming against the abrasive and cruel realities some of us kids had already faced. Let’s remember him that way.

People can change. We don’t have to live up to stereotypes. Mr. Rogers just was. You don’t have to live in a prison of your past.

Mr. Rogers invited girls and boys to imagine neighborhoods where you would be engaging in dialogue. Let’s keep the conversations going. Keep reaching out to those in your community. Social media does not have to dominate.

Regine Baptiste

Copyright May, 2019

Gen X & Bread

Caught between Boomers who made history and Millennials who think history can be made swipe after swipe, you will find Gen X.

What prompted this thought?

While kneading dough for the first time I was watching the news on t.v. I rarely watch the news because my cell phone keeps me up to date on breaking news every day. Those flashes on my cell phone of two bit sentences don’t keep me up to date on what’s going on locally.

Here we go again, here was this newscaster talking about boomers and millennials on t.v.

I am not one to follow trends. It takes a while before I start using new buzz words or take on new categories for people, places, or things. I don’t want my view of the world to be narrowed or manipulated.

The choices in my life shouldn’t change every couple of months because the media puts it out there 24 seven.

I tend to wait to see what the scenarios are developing into before getting on the band wagon like everybody else. I need to understand the why of what’s going on before focusing my attention on new lingo.

I am too busy trying to make things happen then to allow the media or social media to steal any more of my time than they already have.

While following this new update on Boomers and Millennials, GenX was not part of the dialogue, not even once. I waited and watched the segment until the end, not one mention.

I had only one loaf pan and one sheet pan to split the dough into. I looked down after making the separation and one dough was fitted into the loaf pan like a rigid conformist Boomer who had had enough of challenging the establishment. The dough on the sheet pan was spread too thin like a so woke and informed millennial with a know it all cause I can get it at my fingertips bravado.

For those of you like myself who had not done so, try baking some bread to understand that the process takes time. Waiting on dough to rise one hour then another, well it will try your patience. Only those who make a living from baking and those who are committed to baking from scratch can fully appreciate the wait. Millennials, try to understand that before things happen they are planned beforehand. Think about what a programmer does. Life is much the same way. As they say, the matrix is real.

I wondered what a Gen X loaf of bread looked like? Maybe we’re not loaves at all. Just a hot popover, quick and easy to eat, so easily dismissed.

Gen X’ers are at a time in their lives where everything is on review.

No, not a mid-life crisis. Wasn’t that a Boomer trait? We are sort of looking back and reevaluating what we’ve accomplished. What to toss and what to keep. It’s like the wardrobe that’s not working anymore; much less does it fit like it use to?

The internet with its watered and stripped down resources is not a place that will produce deep thinkers. As a oh my do we have to go there, some Gen X’ers can still remember The Dewey Decimal System where you had to dig for information and go through volumes of books to get a grasp of true content. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that for some professions, intense training is still the norm. What I am talking about are blurbs of comments about this or that being vomited at the speed of light. Who can keep up?

I don’t want to engage in this rapid fired dialogue anymore. It’s not worth it to try to keep up with what everyone is saying or doing.

Just like the baking of bread you got to put in the time to get it right. It’s a no brainer to buy bread from a store.

In this ready made info wars society, it’s who can engage the public for the longest that’s causing a zombified existence for most.

You have to do your own thinking. No one should hijack that space in your brain where you see the world as it is and not a world that’s overexplained or distorted. You have to get to the root of the agenda of who’s speaking.

We the Gen X’ers have taken risks. Failure comes and successes come as well. We’ve come to see a fair amount of people die much like the Boomers. Not to say that millenials haven’t had their share of tragic losses. It’s not the famous people who die that are only important to notice.

Life for more and more Gen X’ers is lived more cautiously. We don’t believe everything we hear and we cannot be easily manipulated. We were once there, being thought of only as a market to target. We’ve also come to understand that a profile picture and selfies are empty time wasters. It’s alright to take pictures, but really do so many of them have to be about you?

Spiritually, you call that worshipping yourself.

Much like generations past, those ahead of us (boomers) have conquered hardships that we’ve all benefited from and those behind us (millennials) should understand that life with community and family is better than a hand held device of constant info.

Boomers and Gen X’ers can still remember a time when you came home after a day out and about in the world to catch up with the rest of the world. You know, millennials that archaic dinosaur, the t.v. which was too big to take with us everywhere we went. I do remember though those boom boxes of music being played on one shoulder in the “hood.”

Don’t bench Gen X’ers just yet, we have more firsts to achieve, much like my baking of bread.

Gen Z we hope you break old ground by being determined not to live life behind a screen of ready made info, but in real time much like days past.

Regine Baptiste

P.S. I really enjoyed eating the artisanal looking flat bread more than the one baked in the loaf pan.

Copyright May, 2019