The cocky misunderstanding™

Cocky (adj): Having  or showing confidence in a way that is annoying to other people.

Are you the type of person who has never, I repeat, never held a discussion in which you vehemently denied being a cocky person?  If so, this post may not be for you as your time is likely better spent over at wired dot-com or reading Popular Science magazine. However, if your desire is to see how the other half-lives then please, by all means, read with us. What? I kid, those sites are interesting reads and furthermore nerds are en vogue and will continue to be as long as they own the world. I’ll just cut to the chase.

Personally, It seems I’m constantly mistaken for being a cocky man.  My claims of being simply confident in who I am, despite experiencing normal ups and downs in life, seem to blast in one ear and out the other, and I’m referring to friends, family and perfect strangers.  sigh

Here’s my take:  the phenomenon I coined known as “the cocky misunderstanding” (All rights reserved, 2015), comes from one of two if not both of the following scenarios: 1. Outward appearance, and 2. The words we speak.

Firstly, judgement is usually made before one single word is spoken as overtly cocky conclusions are drawn when your appearance is well, dapper or Lookbook quality, particularly when your style is expressive, and bold.  From my perspective, clothes are merely an outward expression of my personality or mood of the day, and not a hands waving, “hey look at me over here”, theatrical event. Nope, not me. My mood changes as does my style but I will always remain confident in who I am regardless of the outfit.  It’s just natural to be bold and expressive when you have a voice and a mind of your very own, and don’t we all?

Secondly, dare not speak positively about, well, something involving lifestyle transformations or change or risk or prosperity or vision as you will quickly be mislabeled.  Let me rephrase, the boldness in which we speak  about these things leads to the cocky misunderstanding. Check any popular blog and you’ll find a troll for every topic known to mankind, in all of history lurking to pounce on anything you say because your confidence annoys them.  Look, It boils down to the actions taken after your voice is heard. It boils down to the actions taken after your voice is heard.

Example:  You see an attractive person sitting alone while you’re talking to a group of friends.  If you’re the only person in your group who will risk it all by walking over, introducing yourself and holding a one on one conversation on the fly with a random, hot stranger, then you have likely been a victim of the cocky misunderstanding.  Action speaks louder than words, and the adjective or verb”hot” is the deciding factor in this scenario as it ups the ante as it relates to ones boldness.  But, it’s just a conversation with someone new.  What could possibly go that far south to the point of embarrassment is how most men think, but the next step is critical.  The next step involves walking over

Example:  If you speak life into every situation. If you  always find a silver-lining despite overwhelming odds.  If you repeat what you can and will do and then put it into action,  then you have likely been a victim of the cocky misunderstanding. Entrepreneurs do it all the time and are applauded and hated for their risk taking ability and wealth overflow lifestyle. Hmm, we want to see what that lives like too, don’t we ? Because we would do it better than them! We would…and then we find out you have to be willing to grind and then try harder.  And take a step and walk.

So whats the moral to this self-absorbed, narcissistic diatribe of a post? There’s a thin line between cockiness and confidence, but a line does in fact exist. When actions engulf your mind (vision) and you see the first step and you’re walking in it then you will understand the meaning of the bold presentation  and her dialogue that exudes confidence.

And furthermore, we’re fragile human beings who need to be heard and cuddled.  And guess what? there are millions of us out there ! So stand up and be heard ! Women and men embrace this call for action !  And it is at this very moment that we wonder how we morphed from 0 to 100 so quickly. Beam me up!

Captain Kirk: cocky or confident?


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“Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece”


Millicent’s Costa Rican Kitchen; Caribbean Flavors in America

I was recently blessed to write the Foreword for my mom’s new #cookbook, Millicent’s Costa Rican Kitchen; Caribbean Flavors in America”.  Details will be coming soon on how you can purchase one of the first autographed copies. I can just smell it!

Millicent’s Costa Rican Kitchen; Caribbean Flavors in America”, is a lifetime of food, flavors, seasonings and traditions unique to Costa Rica and Jamaica all accumulated in one repository, this cookbook.  It includes unique recipes handed down from generation to generation from her early beginnings in the Central American Province of Puerto Limon with the added benefit of being rooted in the spices and traditions of Jamaica.  This unique combination of Tico and Jamaican influenced cuisine makes her cookbook stand out among all others. When I learned she was going to make her succulent traditions available to the world in the form of a cookbook I, at first, licked my lips in utter desire then recalled what it was like when her dishes were a part of my daily life.

As a growing young boy my mouth watered in anticipation as the aroma of brilliant Caribbean flavors emanated from the kitchen. I laid in bed which was located at the furthest point from the kitchen, but I had a keen ear and nose for the sound of cabinets opening and closing, the sizzle and smell of plantains on the stove top and the circular stirring sound of mom whipping up a fresh batch of goodness in one of her many mixing bowls.  It was at this early age that I developed the reputation of being the plantain bandit in the house.  I would walk into the kitchen to conduct a little small talk with my mother and at the moment she turned her back, I snatched a plantain from the finished batch and in one swoop…gulp!

There was no better sound for three developing boys and two girls than the audible ring of the dinner bell. To us it was the sound of royal trumpets at Westminster Hall. It was at this moment we entered into complete pandemonium to be first at the dinner table.  Legs and arms flailing; pushing and shoving; blocking and tackling all to be first to experience what was on the menu.  My father prayed for what seemed like hours and then, finally, we all reached ecstasy and ultimately, a food coma.  We sat at the table for hours, talking and indulging in seconds and most times thirds.  I am of the opinion  good food promotes table conversation, laughter and more laughter.  This was our daily pattern.  This cookbook will bring joy to your life, family and friends.

Arroz Con Pollo

Her recipes will transport you to a Caribbean island without the hassle of a passport, plane and TSA agent.  However, if you turn your back while preparing one of her amazing recipes in your kitchen be acutely aware for the plantain, arroz con pollo or curry chicken bandit; they come in all shapes and sizes. Buen provecho!

Mortimer George Aldridge


Guest fashion writer:

Adult plantain bandit

Los Angeles, CA

Plantain Swipper

Plantain Swipper

Top 6 things that need to poof, be gone in 2015 !

We decided to give you a few days to get the 2014 backwash out of your system because we knew when the clock struck 12 o’clock on New Year day (Cinderella) you wouldn’t suddenly come to your senses and truly leave 2014 in the past.  So, in no particular order, we’ve put together the top 5 things that need to poof, be gone in 2015:

1.  Twerking –  Somewhere around Miley Cyrus the twerk industry went south, figuratively. Ok, ok, ok, technically it was 2013 but it gained a head of steam in 2014 with #twerkteams that included both men and women.  I lived in Georgia back in the mid-90’s where twerking was an art form not yet known to mainstream America, and only select booty’s were called forth to go up and down.  Twerking did not start in 2014.  Let’s go back to yester-year shall we?  Not all booty’s are made to clap. I think the picture speaks for itself which is more like the snaps at a poetry slam than a full-blown ovation.  To put it lightly…can we bring Hannah Montana back?  please? Love you Miley! Back that thing up.

2.  Men in Black…socks – Guys, there’s a new norm.  Let’s get out of the middle ages and enter into the new millennium in 2015.  This may shock you but Troglodytes are not in vogue. It’s acceptable, wait, it is encouraged to brighten up your life and emerge from your cave with a modern, stylish sock game that speaks to your personality and lifestyle.  Just to clarify, there is still a need for plain black or brown socks so keep a pair in the back of your drawer for that funeral or maybe a…funeral, RIP.  You might find it useful to look through the collection of bold cashmere socks at, and, get an additional 10% off by using the coupon code: titosixtyone.  So, how’s your sock game? for Breast Cancer Awareness

3.  Charles Barkley social and political rants – Chuck, love you to death and as an avid NBA on TNT fan, I look forward to the post game banter between you, Shaq, Kenny and Ernie, but please, please, please do not provide your opinion on anything in 2015 other than basketball!  You have made millions playing the game.  It’s what you know, sorta.  It’s your money-maker.  We don’t care for your thoughts about, well, anything else.  Chuck, when the media approaches you for comments on the next issue America faces, and we know they will, please resist the temptation to answer your phone.   Chuck it’s ok for you to continue making millions and talk basketball.  In other words, no 2015 freebies Chuck.

4. Replacing an “S” with a “Z” –  I thought this one would go away in 2014, but it just seems to persist.  ThiZ Zhit haz to Ztop.  Zee how that workZ?

5. Selfies – My selfie game is on fleek. This one is near and dear to my heart and it is with deep and utter penitence that I must say (gulp)…selfies are dead in 2015. I pride myself on being an intermediate selfie taker-er.  I glamorized my selfie game by writing a post about it, here.  You see, when selfies first became popular, we thought it was just a photo someone took of you, but now it is beyond obvious because your right arm is horizontally in view while your left is posing.  The selfie rookies have taken over the game. Let’s just say, it is time to post quality, SLR pictures.  By the way, an occasional “usie” is ok in 2015.

6. Snarks –  Checkout the popular pictures on Instagram.  Examine anyone who has made a major transformation in their life.  Check out anyone who has socially or financially upgraded.  Checkout anyone who is not basic and there within the confines of his or her mother’s basement and behind the safety of a computer monitor you will find folks who insult, belittle and spread negativity on social media in the very feed of those who are progressive. It’s time for snarks to “get a life” in 2015.

There were many others we could have added to the list, but we stopped at 6 because we stopped at 6.  Here are a few more.  Let’s call these the honorable mention “poofers”:

  • Facebook videos – ghetto fisticuffs videos to be exact.
  • Using the words: “haters”, “awesomeness”, “rachet”, “Bae”, “THOT“, “yassss”, etc.
  • Ice bucket challenges or any challenge for that matter.  Just give!
  • #Hashtagging #every #word or #Hashtaggingeveryword – I’ll do better.
  • Facebook Chain posts – the posts that give you the guilt trip if you don’t share it…Poof, be gone!

So tell us, are there others you would add to the list?  Tell us about your top poofers?  and don’t forget to share this article, the world needs to know.

Why I can’t breathe


Quite honestly, I’m genuinely tired of the bullshit!  I’m an exhausted black man. I’m not any different.  I’m not angry.

In order for you to understand why I can’t breathe you will have to take a trip with me and live my life for just a brief moment.  I’ll help you with this journey by recounting events that led me to this current state of oxygen deprivation.


Finally! there’s nothing like hearing the last bell ring for the day in high school.  It was like sweet music to my ears.  It brought a smile to every pimple ridden student’s face regardless of culture, color of skin or socio-economic status, yet unknown to me, this day would leave an indelible scar on my life.  I learned more about life this day than in the prior 10 years of attending school within the Los Angeles Unified School District.

As I left campus to hitch a ride with my homies, I was confronted by a grown man. I purposely used the word confront.  Confront /kənˈfrənt: meet (someone) face to face with hostile or argumentative intent.   The man was a white LAPD cop.  My friends and I were sitting in the car waiting on one more to drive home.  The car was filled with a virtual melting pot of teenagers with me being the sole black student.  To put things in perspective, I attended a high school at the time that was roughly 80% white,  10% latino, 5% black and 5% “other”. The cop walked up to the car and asked me who I was and what I was doing.  I told him my name and explained that I was getting a ride to work. At the time I worked part-time bagging groceries like any other high school kid with a plan. He abruptly told me to get out of the car.  He checked my high school ID and drivers license.  He then proceeded to tell me I “fit” the description of someone who assaulted and robbed another student in the high school bathroom and that he would have to detain me.  He asked me for my “nickname”.  I told him my  family calls me “Tito”.  He asked me if I went by  any other nicknames and I replied, “no”.  Apparently the cop knew the nickname of the black boy they were looking for.  He told me to place my hands on the side of his vehicle and he proceeded to “pat me down”.  Keep in mind school was just over and this incident occurred right outside of  one of the main exit gates.  There were several students walking by, looking and shaking their heads my way.  I was completely embarrassed as the cop continued to search my pockets, spread my legs and do his thing.  He found nothing.  He told my friends they can leave but I would have to stay.  He then handcuffed me and sat me in the back of the cop car.  Yes, I was effing handcuffed!  I literally sat in the back of the cop car for what seemed like hours as my fellow students walked by and peered in at me in disbelief. I felt like a caged animal on display.  He continued to question me. I told him I never had a real fight, robbed or assaulted anyone in my life.  I told him my dad was a pastor.  I told him I was an honor student.  I pulled out all stops to get out of that car because not only was I innocent but the embarrassment was overwhelming…and it continued.  He told me he was taking me to the Foothill Division to ID me.  As a matter of historical content this is the same division that was involved in the Rodney King incident years later.  I knew about the division because prior to this it had a negative reputation among us black boys.

Never once did a tear drip from my eyes, never once did I attempt to incite the cops.  It was as if, to me, this was expected and long overdue because  eventually it happened to all black boys.  After arriving at the Foothill,  I sat in the holding cell as the cops talked among themselves.  Real criminals were in the precinct.  They were around me.  I was confused.

Finally the “arresting” cop came in and took me to his boss.  The boss looked at me, he sized me up, grabbed me by the chin, turned my face and then turned to the arresting cop.  He yelled at him and said verbatim, ” this boy has no f*cking facial hair, a baby face and has never shaven a day in his life…the witnesses claimed the criminal had a f*cking beard”.  He proceeded to tell the arresting cop to take me home or wherever I needed to go ASAP!  That was THE single most awkward ride I ever received to work.


Six years later while a college student, I picked up my date and headed  to Beverly Hills for a night of fine-dining. I drove a gold sports car.  I clearly remember being dressed in a black suit, tie and  Ferragamo shoes. I always had a penchant for style. My girlfriend was elegantly dressed in a black evening gown.  I made a right turn on a side street to make a legal 3-point turn and arrive at our destination in the Hills.  Before I could complete the turn I was blinded by the oft familiar LAPD blue and red lights glaring both behind and in front me. I was hemmed in by two LAPD cop cars.  My girlfriend was in shock!  All 4 cops approached  my Z hands on holster.  The cop on the passenger side asked my girlfriend if she was okay.  I was enraged, but she remained calm and told me to relax and told the cops she was fine.  She was not black. The cop on my side asked me for my registration and this was where I learned a vital life lesson.  As I reached toward the glove compartment  I heard the sound of four guns being released from their holsters. I halted. I was staring down the barrel of four cocked 9mm guns! My girlfriend lost it emotionally.

They questioned my destination and eventually told me I “fit” the description of a burglary suspect in the area.  I wasn’t the same black boy of five years prior.  I was annoyed.  The guns did not phase me.  I questioned the cops as to how I could again “fit” the description of a burglary suspect while driving a sports car dressed in a suit?  With a date? What criminal does that? What was stolen and how could it fit in my 2-seater?  All this happened while still at gun point.  I questioned them in a non-confrontational manner. They interpreted my questioning as an encounter. They told me and my girlfriend to get out of the car.  They made us sit on the curb while they proceeded to search the trunk of my car, back seat,  between the seats, glove compartment…every nook and cranny.  The contents of the trunk and glove compartments were pitched to the ground as they continued their search. When they came to the conclusion there was nothing to be found,  I asked them to return my personal items back to where they were.  They scoffed at me.  The lead cop told me to do it myself.  My date and I just continued to sit on the curb as they drove off. I already had a negative feeling towards cops, but from that day on I held a disdain for any and all badges.


So I understand today’s anger, protests and confusion.  I’ve matured exponentially.  I realize all cops are not the same. Most importantly, humans are different and I refuse to place them in a box because of the color of their skin, badge or economic status.

I want you to understand black boys are not all the same too. They are humans just like you.

I realize the vast  importance to “protect and serve”.  I must remind you public trust is also part of your Oath of Honor.

I want my black boys to think twice before puffing out your chest. You ignite when there should be no flame. It goes both ways.

The life lesson I learned was to deliberately inform a cop exactly where my registration is located and tell them I am going to reach. for. it. now.

I talk to them as if they are a child because I don’t know the mind-set of this human with a gun.

I realize this first-world country we share is laden with ignorance. I want my black boys to seek knowledge.

I’ve been told I’m different by my “peers” as a compliment?  I want you to understand you are uninformed for saying it.

Because you don’t know where I came from.  Mr. Obama and I are not the only ones. Mr. Obama and I are not the only ones…

I understand the need for law and structure.

We do not all “fit” the description.  We are not clones. We do not all look alike!

Stop me, but don’t kill me. Stop me, but don’t kill me. Maybe if I live I will mature and understand.

Just maybe you will change and then live.

I shed a slight tear thinking of the night in Beverly Hills… if I made a sudden move would I be here writing this post?

This unhealthy relationship boils down to lack of trust. This unhealthy relationship boils down to lack of trust.

My aspiration is to exhale one day and simply. just. breathe…