For Those Who Are Unaware, Dangerous Weather Approaches Again…

Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near i...

Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near its peak Category 5 intensity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Brennon Keys

Yes, just seven years ago, the costliest and deadliest natural disaster in the history of the United States, Hurricane Katrina, reached landfall and wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast. Much like late August 2005, Katrina’s younger — and subsequently, weaker — distant cousin, Issa, decided to pay the South a visit some weeks ago. Thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the most recent storm, and those who still deal with the lingering effects of Katrina’s wrath.

But, honestly, I’m not sure if these every-so-often tropical storms destroy as many lives as the Katrinas or Issacs we all know. And yes, we all know at least one… Continue reading

NBC, I Thought I Knew Ye…

To My Beloved National Broadcasting Company,

*sigh* In the past two days, I feel as though you have said “____ it” in regards to your 2012 London Olympics coverage (I’ll leave that blank open for interpretation). Here are some reasons why:

  • You are showing everything on a delay. I think this has pretty much been established on Twitter, especially today.
  • The gold-medal events featuring the U.S. (wrestling, track and field, volleyball, etc.) have been superseded by field hockey, handball, and racewalking. RACEWALKING?! And rhythmic gymnastics, of course. Oh, and how could I forget synchronized swimming? You might as well ask me, “Which bullet would you like me to kill you with?” At least be that courteous.
  • You have yanked your coverage of boxing because YOU were distracting ringside officials from doing their job. Apparently, also because there were no more U.S. competitors? How selfish. You’ve always been so giving…
  • They’ve let Mexico win gold in men’s soccer. I don’t know who else to blame.
  • They’ve created soft-porn videos of female Olympic athletes to circulate around the Internet, yet they quickly zoom in to head shots every time they cover track and beach volleyball. Forgive me for wanting to admire a lovely athletic build; it’s not like they walk around the block routinely where I live…

*double sigh* My friends, these things should not be. Such a grand Olympiad should not end in such a sad way. I’m incensed and disgusted.

The most disappointing aspect of NBC’s shortcomings to end this fortnight is… well, I just thought we were better than this, you know? I’ve faithfully watched your programming–remember Quantum Leap? Nastia Liukin is probably ashamed of you right now.  Then again, she did look good in tights.

Brennon Keys is a former sports writer for the Pine Bluff Commericial. When he isn’t busy pulling his hair out, he works as a freelancer in St. Louis, Missouri.

Racewalking?! Really???


As I’m sure most of you are aware, the Games of the XXX Olympiad (better known as the London Olympics) officially kicked off last Friday. One thing I haven’t been able to get over, despite my growing affinity to different forms of athletic competition, is the amount of events considered worthy of the Olympics that… well, they just don’t matter.

It is very easy, in this day and time, to be considered a ‘hater’ for not giving just due to a person or group of people that are finding success for doing something you are not or for something that anyone is capable of doing. Just look at reality television, mainstream music, and today’s job market. I’ve often been assigned this ‘hater’ title, or the title of ‘pessimist’, because I share these views; however, I’d like to think of myself as more of a realist (as I’m sure most pessimists do. Ha ha.).

Regardless of the label I wear, there are very few things in life that have a solid argument from the majority. In other words, some stuff is just plain wack, yo. As far as acting or entertainment, think Kim Kardashian. Or Paris Hilton, for those old enough to remember The Simple Life… when it comes to music, consider Waka Flocka or Ke$ha (yes, that dollar sign is placed correctly). Now I’m not saying that we, as humans, don’t have guilty pleasures; Lord knows I love me some Nickelback. But this doesn’t absolve the fact that something is wack. In fact, wackness is all around you… it’s an epidemic. You may just be numb to it… and that is why us realists exist.

I’ve been more dialed in to these Olympics than I can ever remember. Maybe it’s because of the timing in my life (23, fresh and free), maybe it’s because I sit at home bored contemplating the cardboard-sign-on-the-street-corner hustle, or maybe just because my interest in competition has spiked like never before. Whatever the case may be, I’ve been more willing to give every single event a fair shake at entertaining me for the next fortnight.

With six channels of NBC-family coverage, DVR and nothing but free time, I’ve pretty much caught every memorable moment thus far that has been televised. But after viewing some of these events and listening to the radio this morning, I’ve been made aware of way too many items that need to be permanently shelved, especially in lieu of baseball and softball’s exclusion from this year’s Games.

Here’s a list of what I’ve gathered so far. You can attain Olympic gold for:

  • Beach Volleyball
  • Archery
  • Men’s Field Hockey
  • Steeplechase (humans!)
  • Racewalking
  • Synchronized Swimming
  • Trampoline

Let that settle for a minute. Granted, all of these required a unique level of skill and technique, but really? The Olympics? The grandest stage of international competition, and all you have to do is be able to shuffle your feet faster than the rest of the world?

Maybe I’m alone, but I surely find it hard to process that sports such as these qualify… especially considering missing sports as baseball, softball, golf, even cricket. What do you think?

Brennon Keys is a former sports writer for the Pine Bluff Commericial. When he isn’t busy pulling his hair out, he works as a freelancer in St. Louis, Missouri.

OVERQUALIFIED: The Distance Between Rookie and Boss

By Brennon Keys

 Ever been to that point where you don’t feel like doing anything? Exhausted every possible resource? Utilized every skill and colleague? Sick and tired of being sick and tired?

 Yep, I’m there. Been there for a while now. And while I’m sure there’s a calling for me to adjust, I haven’t.

 For those who don’t know me, I’ve always been able to bring people laughter with my life experiences. Especially the negative ones. Why? I don’t have the slightest idea… but I guess this is an opportunity to capitalize on that ‘gift’ (or ‘curse’, depending on your perspective).

 I am a recent college graduate of UAPB (Arkansas – Pine Bluff) with a focus in the print journalism field. Considering the day and age we live in, that’s a killer punchline in itself. I can hear the cynics and frenemies conversing in the shadows, like some chatty old women at the local beauty shop:

 Cindy Nick – “You hear about that guy that went to school to write?”                              

 Fran Emmy – “Yeah… good guy, but he lives in a time warp. Someone help him reset his DeLorean…”                                                                                                                       

Cin – “Just sad. Going into a dying field, and attempting to talk about sensical things? He’ll never make it…”

 Or something along those lines… but I digress.

 A bachelor’s degree used to be the key to financial and social success ‘back in the day’. If you attained one of these, you were on the fast track to being somebody important, someone revered and envied in your neighborhood, your field. Today, in this increasingly globalized and industrialized society, it’s the equivalent of graduating from high school.

 With that in mind, I think to myself, “That’s fine! I’ll still be on par with the majority of young adults, and find an entry-level opportunity that will allow me to show off my work ethic, superb intelligence, amazingly good looks and other gifts. Surely, I’m still ahead of the curve, considering how many high school dropouts I know personally and see regularly between my new alma mater and my hometown.”

 In short, these hopes have proven to simply be wishful thinking thus far.

 Funny thing about all of this is, although a bachelor’s has devolved from a luxury to a necessity, many of the jobs available (I’d go as far as to say the majority) still require you to have no experience or as little as possible. Similarly, on the other end of the scale, the higher-ups in my field laugh (literally, in my case) at recent college graduates walking in their direction with a degree in hand. They preach experience as the new necessity, in some instances over a decade of it. A bachelor’s degree is no longer considered that top-end prerequisite; it has become that dreaded middle ground.

 No sense in approaching directorial, managerial or presidential positions with degree in hand; they will simply turn you around and say “work a little harder, and a little longer”. So why not go for those positions that denied me summer after summer during my high school and collegiate years? Here’s where the story gets hilariously unfortunate… all encompassed in one, dreaded term.


 A word I never knew existed, nor made sense in any context, suddenly masks the “under-qualified” label I’ve sported since I was 16. I carry it with me everywhere now; it’s all the rage. It has become my favorite undesired accessory.

 Going into job interviews and experiencing this shift in social ideology first hand has been something else. Growing up with the traditional mindset of “college or bust”, with two parents who aren’t college educated and who never acknowledged to me that I didn’t HAVE to go to college, it’s extremely disheartening and confusing to hear the interviewer point out my new label, and (in most cases, so far) disqualify me from consideration because of it. It’s discrimination, I tell you!

 How could celebrating a sheet of paper I worked and slaved five years for suddenly take me from being too wet behind the ears to being out of contention? I understand the practical concern (if I were to see greener pastures in my field, I would run to them without hesitation), but most hiring managers don’t understand what’s going on in my distinct field; at this point, there’s very little chance that such an ideal situation will suddenly appear for a fresh college graduate.

 Newspapers have explained to me (again, literally) that the only way positions will open up is if a higher profile position becomes available to a staff member or if a staff member dies. I wouldn’t put my money on either of those possibilities, but it’s a moot point when speaking to someone concerned about their own job security.

 I’m willing to stick it out with a company for at least two years. I’ll take less pay, I promise *sniffles* *shoves hands into pockets* *kicks rock*.

 In the meantime, I’m a proud new member of the Hennen’s Observer: This Week In Review staff. I don’t do this for the money (although I like green rectangles as much as the next person); I love to write and empathize with groups of people who often feel misunderstood, misrepresented or just plain missed. I love the art and I’ll do my best to keep it alive and well. Plus, I’m taking my shot at being humorous (if you laugh, I’ve done my job).

 Shoutout to all my ‘overqualifed’ grads of the Class of 2012! May your future endeavors be successful and prosperous, and continue to push through the setbacks.

Brennon Keys is a former sports writer for the Pine Bluff Commericial. When he isn’t busy pulling his hair out, he works as a freelancer in St. Louis, Missouri.