Cheers! My Birthday Celebration with the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours

After losing my grandmother a few weeks before my birthday, I really needed to celebrate life. I know she would want me to do that. This year, I decided to ring in a new year of life in wine country. My soror traveled up from So Cal to visit. This would be her first time in Napa. I didn’t want to drive so instead, we bought bus tickets for the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours.

Let me tell you something, going on this bus tour was one of the BEST decisions I made. The Napa Valley Wine Country Tours bus isn’t just any bus. It’s a limo bus that looks like a VIP club lounge on wheels. We paid $119 for an 8-hour trip, visit to 4 wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties, continental breakfast and lunch. It was worth every penny. The tastings aren't covered in the bus fare, but they ran about $10-$25. Wineries won't charge you for tastings if you buy a bottle. I recommend this for tourists and any Bay Area locals who have folks visiting from out of town and want a short excursion to Nap…

Cocoa Bits: Tax Day, Tea Bags and Texas
Teasing Drives Boy to Suicide

Tea Time
Happy Belated Tax Day! Yeah right. I hope you got your taxes in. If not, you better call Uncle Sam and work something out.
After you mailed out your taxes did you hit the streets for some good 'ol tea time protests? I didn't. Some conservatives are going overboard with their objection to the Obama Admin's approach to spending. The picture to the right is the most extreme I've seen. Obama is the new Hitler? Really? I didn't know Obama killed masses of people. As I've said a million times before, the GOP platform differs from the Dems. Little government, little spending vs. bigger government, more spending. So it is no surprise that conservatives are not happy with the Obama Administration's approach to our jacked up economy. And I don't have a problem with them disagreeing with government's approach. The government is spending a lot of money and people are worried about their futures. What I do have a problem with is hateful means of protest like the one above. Then there's the Texas governor talking about seceding from the Union. LOL. I feel like because the conservatives haven't gotten their way after losing the election, SOME of them are throwing a fit. Come on Gov. Perry. You don't like the changes taking place so you're going to give up and break away from the country? What happened to working together? Governor you can't take the wealth, military and resources of the most powerful nation in the world with you when you split ya know?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and I agree on on the future of the GOP. If the GOP keeps going on this path of ultra conservatism when it comes to change the party is going to split. You have a lot of independents who support small government, tax cuts, pro-life, pro-guns positions. And you have those moderate conservatives who joined the GOP during the Regan era and are nostalgic for the party that drew them when Ronny was in charge. The GOP is shutting them out. I know some people write off Meghan McCain as an airhead. I don't agree with her all of the time, but I think she's calling for a change in the GOP that some moderate conservatives want.

But back to the tea party. Where were these activists when Pres. Bush invaded Iraq on the mythical WMD? I agree with Republican Lenny McCalister's blog post at Global Grind that big government started 8 years ago--during the Bush Administration. So why are these people blaming Pres. Obama for stuff that the GOP and Pres. Bush kicked off 8 years ago? I'll sip to that.

11-Year-old Boy Kills Himself Over Being Called "Gay"
I saw this story Tuesday on ABC I wasn't going to write about it because it broke my heart. Eleven-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover from Springfield, Mass hanged himself because he couldn't handle the bullying from kids at his school, New Leadership Charter School. The school, ironically, was co-founded by the Urban League in Springfield. The kids called him "gay," "fag", threatened to beat him up, and teased him about his clothes. Some people said he was flamboyant.
Carl's mom complained but according to her the school didn't do SQUAT. And Carl wouldn't identify some of the kids who teased him because he didn't want them to call him a "snitch." Honey, don't get me started on that "snitch" foolishness.

Yeah he didn't identify the culprits but I can't imagine those teachers didn't know who was messing with that boy. I used to be a TA in K-12 schools and I knew the trouble makers. So did my colleagues. Carl got good grades in school, played football, did community service, helped with planning his Black History Month program and wanted to be president when he grew up. Sounds like a good kid. And judging by his photo he was such a cute boy.
I'm tired of hearing about these cruel kids and their blind parents. Teach your children tolerance and respect. I grew up in the Bay and my mom talked to me about homosexuality when I was a girl. We would go to San Francisco and it's common to see two men or two women holding hands. And you'll find some men wearing makeup and women with a butch swagger. My mom simply told me some men fall in love with other men. Some women fall in love with other women. They're gay. It's nothing wrong with it. That's just how some people are. And then she told me about her gay friends and not to stare at gay people I saw on the streets. The End. She wasn't nervous when explaining this to me. Moms told me like it was part of life. She didn't think explaining this to me would turn me gay.

The kids who called little Carl "gay" and "fag" heard it from somewhere. I wouldn't be surprised if they heard it at home. You don't have to accept homosexuality but people should respect those who are different from them. And when your kids come home crying about being teased don't just tell them to suck it up. Listen to them. And we as black people need to stop the homophobia. There are gay people in the world. Yes and some of them are black. GASP. So what. There have been gay people around probably since the beginning of time. I have a book on erotic art from ancient civilizations. There are statues and paintings in the book that depict homosexuality. Maybe if more black people were tolerant of homosexuality we wouldn't have such a severe down-low problem because brothas would come out the close. Then we could put a handle on the AIDS virus that's taking out black women and black gay men. Carl may have been gay or not. Who knows? Regardless, somewhere those kids learned to be bullies and they weren't stopped. Maybe if the school and parents had stepped up, Carl's mom wouldn't have found her 6th-grade son hanging from the ceiling by an extension cord.

Photo Credit:
1.Tony Romao, Huffington Post
2.Bruce Lettier, Huffington Post