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…

Showing Love to "Everybody Hates Chris"

If you haven't heard by now, it's a wrap for The Game and Everybody Hates Chris. According to the LA Times the CW canceled both shows. I didn't watch The Game but I know a lot of black folks were hooked on it. The good news for Everybody Hates Chris cast and fans is the show will air in syndication on Nick at Nite.

I caught the Everybody Hates Chris series finale two weeks ago. I hardly heard a peep after it aired. It was like crickets chirping in the airwaves and cyberspace. There was so much hype about this show when it debuted four years ago on UPN. Chris Rock is my favorite comedian and I knew a show based on his childhood in Brooklyn would make an unforgettable family sitcom. But after UPN became CW, some of us did forget. The CW didn't give it the support I thought it deserved. There was very little marketing for the show and the network switched the series' time slots. The week of the finale, TMZ's show featured footage of Terry Crews out somewhere and the TMZ producers couldn't remember what show or movie he was from. They didn't even refer to him as the dad from Everybody Hates Chris. This was around the time of series finale!?

Why does Hollywood do this to black shows? Girlfriends, New York Undercover, The Game, The Hughleys and others I can't think of right now because it's after 1:00 am. All good shows yanked off the air. I signed a petition, along with many people, to save the The George Lopez Show and ABC still gave it the boot. He's not black, but you get my point.

I didn't want Everybody Hates Chris to go off the air without giving it props. The show had crisp writing, sharp acting and guaranteed good laughs. I loved when the neighborhood pimp and bullies would jack little Chris for his wallet by saying, "Let me hold your money." As if they were going to watch it and give it back to him. It was interesting to see how Chris used comedy to help him survive the racism he endured from classmates and teachers at his predominately white schools. Then use those experiences to take him to the top of the comedy world. Chris Rock was so honest about how bad it was being the only black kid in his schools that one of his teachers sent him an apology after the show debuted.

My favorite character is the father. His extreme frugality is hilarious. Only Julius Rock would buy knock-off Halloween candy called Gravy Ways , Nickers and M&N's. I remember when my mom brought home crazy knock-off products to save money. That's what I love about the show. Chris Rock pokes fun at the way we live in the hood, while at the same showing what makes the hood home.

Luckily the show actually had a real ending. Just like Chris Rock put his spin on the "Everybody Loves Raymond" title, he did the same for the final episode. This time The Sopranos was his inspiration. A suspicious dude walks into in the diner. It's not Journey's Don't Stop Believing pumping out of the table's jukebox, but Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer (I love Bon Jovi!). Chris is going to need a whole lot of prayer since he dropped out of high school to pursue a comedy career. The whole family arrives to the diner and join him in singing Living on a Prayer. Mom (Tishina Arnold) is about to open the large manila envelope and read Chris' GED scores. Right before she says the results, the screen fades to black. You know Chris Rock has keep it black to the end. Unlike The Sopranos, we all know the ending to Everybody Hates Chris. Chris Rock gets the last laugh, a lot of love and some serious ching-ching.

Hey Chris, if you're reading this--let me hold your money.

Photo Credit:
1. (l-r) Vincent Martella, Tequan Richmond, Terry Crews, Tyler James Williams, Tichina Arnold, Imani Hakim