Sexually Inappropriate and Harassing Behavior During Daily Conversation

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3/16/2021 6:35pm EST: Updated with a doozy of an example that I forgot about.

Note: Contains sexually explicit language

Excuse the typos, I needed to get this conversation out on the floor real quick!

If you read my recent post on Racism and Prejudice in Daily Conversation, you’ll remember my observation that Zager and Evans’ song, In the year 2525, didn’t offer much in the way of great expectations–other than to wonder “if man is still alive…”

Well, to be fair, they weren’t just concerned with “man.”  They actually continued the thought by pondering whether “…woman can survive.”

So here we are again with me offering my “two cents” about  sexually inappropriate and harassing behavior in daily conversation.

I might even throw in a little story.

And so…

If you are ever confused about what to say and what not to say to avoid even the appearance of being sexually inappropriate, or engaging in sexually harassing behavior, avoid the following statements and/or questions:

  1. “You’re being overly sensitive.”
  2. “What’s wrong with me complimenting your legs?”
  3. “I see you have a tattoo on your neck, where else do you have tattoos?”
  4. “Maybe if you flirted a little, it might help us get <insert thing here>”
  5. “Do blondes have more fun?”
  6. “That’s not sexually inappropriate/sexual harassment!” (An easy out for people who are uninterested in learning about sexually inappropriate conversation/sexual harassment)

This list is not exhaustive.

Again, while some of these points are blatant, others are very subtle yet highly offensive— and today, I am going to include some REALLY blatant shit that people have said or done to me.

For your consideration:

Once upon a time, LadyG was seated at a table reading a book when a co-worker sat down at the same table.

This guy, a real tool, was the son of a well known Dentist in South Georgia.

Anyway, while LadyG sat quietly reading, this jackass started singing his own rendition of Prince’s “Darling Nikki—where he substituted ‘LadyG’ in the verse that talks about “masturbating in the lobby with a magazine.”

It should be noted that this same guy later grabbed LadyG’s behind and stated, “I always wanted to know what a black girl’s butt felt like—Wow! It’s jigglier than I thought.”

And do you know what LadyG did in each case?

NOTHING.

-THE END

It is important to note that I was selected to receive this position by my professors. 

In fact, I was the only female there, at the time, working with three law school students—one of which was the asshole that I just told you about.  

It definitely didn’t help that I was only a sophomore working toward my BS degree.

To be honest, I felt that I was the most powerless person in this situation.  

Flat out, I was the only woman working with a group of men during the height of Anita Hill versus Clarence Thomas.

Chile, I saw what happened to Prof. Hill so I never reported the guy.

But let me be clear, the other law students and my supervisors were very kind and helpful to me.  That said, I often stuck under the other two law students in order to feel safe from the third guy’s advances.  

Now I know that there is someone in the ethers saying, “Well, he was just an asshole.”

He most definitely was an asshole.

But, this was more than being an asshole, this was him sexually harassing me.  

Now I know that what he did was pretty cut and dry, but there are many situations where, like with racism, you can’t “define it” but you know it when you see it.  

My cousin Ron describes this phenomenon perfectly in his post, I cannot define it.

Sadly, this is not the only time that I experienced this, or something like it.

Shall I elaborate?

How about the time I was at the mall grabbing a maternity dress for my baby shower, when this jackass walked right up behind me and said, “Hey, why don’t you let me finish that off.”

Or the time a friend of my family said, “You’re good and grown now, I just want to come visit you.”  Let’s just say, he was NOT my peer and he was not my friend.

Or the time a male who was close to the family told me I was a “fine mother-f’er.”

Or the time I was in the library and a dude, who was in one of my classes, called me over to the table and began counting a large wad of money while looking up at me and back down at the money in a suggestive way.

Or when a security guard at work tried to kiss me in an elevator—totally unprovoked!  He offered to do something else more explicit that I’ll keep to myself.

Whew…once again chile—the shit is tiring and I really could go on.  

I’ve had so many sexually explicit and not so explicit things said and done to me in my lifetime that I cannot count them.

Sadly, the first instances were in childhood and the perpetrators were mostly grown men—none of them were family members.

I never said anything about it or my Dad would still be in jail for murder!

I think Alice Walker’s words, spoken through Sophia in The Color Purple, express it best, “A girl child ain’t safe in a house full of mens.”

So, I think I’ll stop here and encourage anyone who is ready to have a polite and meaningful conversation about anything that I mentioned in this post to drop down in comments so we can chat.

Racism and Prejudice in Daily Conversation

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Racism no longer exists!

-Some Earthling from 7510

Astute 1960s music aficionados will recognize the aforementioned, 7510, as the year that Zager and Evans said, “If God’s a-coming, he ought to make it by then…”

That’s right, over 50 years ago our dear singers predicted that 7510 would be the year of Divine judgment!

Personally, I believe that we are being judged daily–by our own conscience.

That’s assuming that we have one.

Anyway, I find it kinda eerie that while Zager and Evans titled the song, In the year 2525, they don’t say much else about that year–other than to wonder “if man is still alive…”

In fact, it appears as if they simply opted not to complete their thesis about what 2525 might bring.

I shudder at the thought!

Anyway, this post has very little to do with that song other than to illustrate how much farther, as a society, we have to go in order to become more advanced in our thinking; I pray we get there before 7510 because 2525 is beginning to look like a freaking wash!

Ok, so after watching and listening to a whole lot of people talking about racism these days, I decided to put in my proverbial two cents by offering a couple of suggestions on how to avoid racist/prejudice talk in your daily conversations.

I might even throw in a little story.

And so…

In essence, if you are interested in having a genuine conversation on race–or anything else–with black folks, please refrain from saying any of the following:

  1. “Racism does not exist.”
  2. “You’re being overly sensitive.”
  3. “How do you know <insert complex, intellectual, technical, little-known, sophisticated topic here>
  4. “How did he/she/they get a better grade than I did?”
  5. “How did she/he/they get that job, house, car, thing?”
  6. “Family doesn’t mean much to Black people” (Said by some foolish ass congressman, very recently.)
  7. “That’s not racism!” (An easy out for people who are uninterested in learning about racist remarks and behaviors.)

This list is not exhaustive.

While some of the above points are blatant, others are very subtle yet highly offensive. In fact, I’m NOT even going to include the REALLY blatant shit that people say.

That said, I am willing to offer a more slick example of how prejudiced beliefs and attitudes slither into a daily conversation. (This is an example of my 3rd point from above)

For your consideration:

Once upon a very recent time, LadyG was having a conversation with a couple of co-workers about travel.

During the conversation, Lady G stated, “I’d like to go visit Findhorn someday.”

To which one of the co-workers, a white female who fancies herself to be very well versed on just about every damn thang, inquired, “What is Findhorn?”

To which LadyG replied, “It’s a beautiful community in Scotland where they have been known to grow gigantic vegetables by working closely with spiritual beings that inhabit the land.”

Before LadyG could complete her sentence, her co-worker had whipped out her iPhone, looked up Findhorn, and was instantly amazed at how accurate LadyG was in her description of the joint.”

“Hmm,” dear co-worker responded, “And how do you know about that?”

To which LadyG shot back, “I’m just nosey as hell.”

-THE END

Granted, the average person in Georgia has no clue what Findhorn is–never mind where it is.

Hell, some of you are also probably wondering how I knew about it.

Let’s just say that I am an avid reader who loves to learn about new people, places and things.

At any rate, it’s not so much that she asked that question, it’s more the way she asked the question.

It was clear to me that she didn’t think it was possible for me to have any knowledge about a subject that she did not already know about.

Who was I to know so much about something that she had never heard of?

Now, I can hear someone in the ethers saying, “How is that racist, she’s just a know-it-all.”

True dat!

She definitely was a know-it-all!

But here’s the thing…do you think she would have asked a white woman or man the same question– with the same kind of undertone?

Would she have been completely amazed that another white person could know about Findhorn?

I’d wager that she would not have asked another white person that question–at least not in the same way.

She asked me with an air of suspicion–disbelief.

Now, if, in fact, she had asked another white person, it would have been out of genuine curiosity–a “tell me more” kind of situation.

Trust me, as a black woman, I know the difference.

I’ve experienced this, or something like it, more times than I can properly count.

Seriously, I could give you a thousand other examples; including the one where the white male student asked my Political Science professor how I got a better grade than he did on an essay exam. It should be noted that the professor, who was also white, was the one who told me what the guy said.

Oh! What about the time a white co-worker told me that I was not “black… black.” By that, she meant that I was not like “regular black people”–whatever that is.

Or, the time my white Biology professor told me that I was one of only two black students to ever get an A in his class. Why did he feel the need to tell me this?

Oh yeah, what about the white English professor who stopped me after class one day to ask where I was from because she could tell from my writing style that I couldn’t be “from around here.”

Whew chile…it’s tiring y’all!

So, I think I’ll stop here and encourage anyone who is ready to have a polite and meaningful conversation about anything that I mentioned in this post to drop down in comments so we can chat.

Racial Equity In The Economy Means We All Win

Racial equity is a win-win proposal.


My cousin Ron and I often talk about the nebulous meaning of a “good economy” and how some people love to point to it whenever they want to brag about how well the country is doing.

We heard a lot of that during the previous Presidential Administration.

Back to my point.

Now, if we were to quiz these same people on said “good economy” they would likely be hard-pressed to give a coherent definition of the concept.

To be more specific, I would argue that the measures which determine what is and what is not a “good” or “healthy” economy are difficult for most people to practically comprehend –with the exception of the unemployment rate.

However, a few months ago, I ran across a study that pointed to a direct connection between discrimination and major economic loss in America.

No doubt, this fact is shocking but definitely not hard to understand.

Point blank, discriminatory practices in the U.S. have resulted in major economic loss for the country as a whole, and now is the time to turn these deep rooted practices around.

If we can do this, we will have brought racial equity to the table and we all win.

Sadly, there are those who will gladly accept this and future losses–to their own detriment–out of sheer hatred and stupidity.

But, that said, I’m convinced that more of us are interested in the well-being of the collective.


Here is what the study found:

According to Citigroup, as quoted in this article from NPR, the U.S. economy lost $16 trillion since 2000 due to discrimination and other broad reaching policies that were blind to racial equity.

The article goes on to count all of the losses:

  • $13 trillion lost in potential business revenue because of discriminatory lending to African American entrepreneurs, with an estimated 6.1 million jobs not generated as a result
  • $2.7 trillion in income lost because of disparities in wages suffered by African Americans
  • $218 billion lost over the past two decades because of discrimination in providing housing credit
  • And $90 billion to $113 billion in lifetime income lost from discrimination in accessing higher education

Today’s Black History Month Observation:

Despite popular public opinion, Black people are not asking for handouts, we are asking to have systemic filters removed so that we can proceed through and rise to our highest potential.

LadyG


I don’t want nobody

To give me nothing

Open up the door

I’ll get it myself

Don’t give me degeneration

Give me true communication

Don’t give me sorrow

I want equal opportunity

To live tomorrow

James Brown, The God Father of soul (1969)

Morgan Freeman on Black History Month

I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history —Morgan Freeman


You can’t extract the history of Blacks from the history of America; it is one and the same.

I am inclined to agree with Mr. Freeman–Black History is American History and should be included, in a substantive way, in our national educational curriculum, as well as the broader cultural lexicon.

According to DNA ancestry, my Black ancestors have been here for just as long as some of my White ancestors and even longer than others (Irish).

Clearly, black history has suffered in isolation for long enough. It’s time to bring it out and give it the honor and respect that it deserves.


Here’s a fascinating and very necessary project from The Atlantic that seeks to fill in the blanks of lost Black history in America.


Here’s a link for more great quotes related to Black History

Bring Back String Instruments–For Our Sanity

I’m not even kidding!  We need string instruments back!

Yesterday, my fifteen-year-old daughter, Lady J, and I had a conversation about the music that she enjoys listening to.  She even shared some of her favorite songs–which shocked me since Lady J, like most kids her age, can be very elusive.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to find that all of those songs had very gorgeous and complex arrangements–they were beautiful—they were lovely—I was touched by the melodies.

As I sat there listening to one song after another, I noticed two things. 

First, the songs were heavily punctuated with string instruments.

Second, they were mostly written, composed and performed by Japanese artists.

You might be wondering where I’m going with this…

You’ll see.

Let me begin by saying that I totally understand Lady J’s current taste in music.

Like her, when I was a teenager, I was mostly interested in music that evoked feeling.

The Late Great Maestro, Barry White said, “When I want to bring emotion, I pull out the strings.” 

I don’t know where I heard that, but, based on his musical catalog, if he didn’t say it, he would likely have agreed with it.

May his soul rest in power!

But I digress.

Back to Lady J.

As a teenager, Lady J has become aware of the importance of finding healthy ways to live and cope with daily happinesses (not a real word) as well as the occasional hazard. She has learned that certain music provides the perfect vehicle for the sound (forgive the pun) expression of a range of emotions.

Have you ever heard it said that someone or something “pulled at the heartstrings?”  

Now, I got no time to google the origins of that saying but I guarantee that it is related in a some circuitous way.

Got it?

Good.

Now comes the part where I have to confront my own emotions about the current state of music here in America–in the Year Of Our Lord 2021.

To be blunt, I am struck by the fact that my daughter kept sharing song after song by artists who hail from elsewhere. I mean, oftentimes my child feels like she has to “go” all over the world—albeit digitally— to find the kind of music that she likes.  

Now, before folks go off, let me check them right now.

I am not writing this to be used as a study in xenophobia because, as a black mother, I don’t play that.

I’ve taught my children to respect the beauty of all races, colors, creeds and cultures.  

However, I have also taught them to learn their own—especially when it comes to music.

But there’s a problem.

Excuse my “Southern-ness”–I know it’s showing–honey, there just ain’t that many folks round here making music that incorporates string instruments—or any other classical instrument for that matter.

That’s why my baby gotta go all the way across oceans to find the stuff that she wants, and I would argue, needs to hear.

But, why am I so bothered? I mean, regardless of where it comes from, she has found the music that she likes, right?

To answer that questions, I must take us back in time…

You see, string instruments were an integral part of my childhood. 

Hell, I even played violin briefly but I gave it up in order to become a majorette—Sheez! 

Priorities!

Anyway, during that time, in the mid to late 1970s, violins, violas, cellos and the like were EV-ER-Y-WHERE—Barry White made sure of that! 

The MAESTRO!  

Enough said.  

However, Barry, wasn’t the only one, string instruments were all over the place then, not just in Soul music (which, I know seems counterintuitive), but in just about any genre that you could think of.

Yes, that’s right, string instruments, the ones of classical music fame, were everywhere—not just at the “INSERT YOUR CITY HERE Symphony Orchestra.”

Granted, I know that violins and cellos were NOT invented in Georgia–nor were they played solo at the cook-out–but that’s not the point. Forget where and when string instruments originated, talented musicians, back in the day, made them do things that Beethoven never could have imagined.

Hell, we were shook by the Delfonics professing love over a wall of high-flying violins in LA-LA- Means I Love You.

And don’t get me started on Bill Withers telling us about a Lovely Day with classical violins, violas and cellos backing him all. the. way. up!

My loves, those kind of heavy handed string arrangements gave me all of the things that I needed to get my emotions out about:

My dying dog, Bones

My unrequited love for…What’s his name?

My very, very, very, serious relationship with…What’s his name?

Flat out, string instruments gave me, and so many others, a quick way to access our emotions about any number of things.

Anyway, you know what I mean.

I just hate the fact that my daughter can’t readily find the kind of mental and emotional tonic that string instruments provide in her own backyard without crossing oceans or sifting through the music of yore.

And so, it seems that the strings are notably absent, but I would contend that we MUST bring them back for our sanity!

This is especially important as we all muddle through some version of a lockdown.

We need string instruments to give us a healthy way to release emotion!

Now, in the midst of my rambling, I must say that I’m grateful that my dear daughter has sense enough to know that mess like Danileigh’s “Yellow bone what he want” is not a good lyric and I shudder to think about the “music” that is enveloping those words. 

Baby, I’m not EVEN gonna address that controversy—it would call for a different post.

Let me just say that if you’ve never heard that nonsense, do NOT google it and consider yourself and your ears blessed.

Moving on…

Right here, right now, I’d like to implore musicians in America to find a way to incorporate string instruments into your music! 

Do your part to help us get in touch with our emotions.

And if you are wondering, the previous sentence was my “call to action” for musicians from a passionate lover of music advocating for her dear daughter-and the rest of us!

Now, if you don’t get my point, consider this whole thing an exercise in academics–and keep it moving past this old woman–who is probably out of step with the times droning on about nothing.

I bid you Good Day!

America Needs Some Samfundssind Up in Here!

That’s not a typo! Read on.

Hygge, which roughly translates to ‘a quality of cosiness’ – may be the most appropriated Danish word of the past decade, but it’s samfundssind that’s really come to define the nation in the era of Covid-19.

If hygge is something you practice with people you know, samfundssind is more of a behaviour towards those you might not know. Rarely used until just a few months ago, it’s now entered the Danish vernacular in an explosive way. 

Like hygge, there’s no direct English translation of samfundssind. Marianne Rathje, senior researcher at the Danish Language Council, says you can think of it as putting the good of the greater society above your own personal interests. 

Mark Johanson. August 3, 2020. A word buried in the history books helped Danes mobilise during the pandemic, flattening the curve and lifting community spirit.

It should be clear that the title of this post is most assuredly NOT grammatically correct.

However, the message behind it is sincere.

I think that we can learn a lot from the Danish.

Simply put, America needs some samfundssind up in here!

It’s not always about individual rights and freedoms; especially when those “rights and freedoms” infringe on the health, safety and welfare of others.

Any thoughts?

The Devil?

The Devil.

ANYONE who knows me knows that I used to joke about Facebook being THE DEVIL.

I joked that because I believed it encouraged stalking, lying, jealousy, narcissism and the like.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that Facebook is useful for people who want to keep in touch, raise awareness or distribute important information.

But, sometimes, I wonder if the bad outweighs the good.

Peep this…

When I was in Seattle visiting one of my oldest and dearest friends, we watched a documentary about how a certain political campaign, using a group called Cambridge Analytica, commandeered Facebook to target certain populations with false ads, confusion and other disinformation.

The goal?

To sway them politically and influence voting.

The old scare the shit out of ’em, depress ’em, or piss ’em off strategy!

Timeless!

Sadly, it worked!

Quite a few folks fell prey because they believed what they read.

Hell, they made the ads look and sound convincing enough.

So, for instance, some ads were used to scare people to the polls and other ads were used to make people feel so discouraged and dismissed that they would opt not to vote—they weren’t even trying to get some of these folks to vote for someone else, they were, in fact, trying to get them not to vote at all.

And this was all served up on a nice platter of Facebook!

Currently, the informed public is fully aware of this fuckery, as evidenced by this testimony.

But for those who still need a bit more convincing, check out this article which details the whole evil plot.

Which brings me to my original point…

Who enjoys engaging in evil plots?

Wait for it…

The Devil!

Just kidding…

Hmm…

Now, far be it from me to give you a problem without offering a solution.

That would be RUDE!

LOL!

Here’s the solution to “turn off” political ads on Facebook.

Just click past any pop-up windows in the article.

Frankly, there’s no reason to believe that they won’t start the same shit again this election year.

So, I urge you to turn these ads off for YOUR peace and for the goodness of us all!

We can’t take another four years of this INSANITY!

Defund the Police?

“Caller, you say what?”

Years ago, Oprah Winfrey used to take calls from the public on her national show.

Whenever she wanted to get a handle on what the outside audience thought about a topic, she would simply inquire, “Caller, you say what?”

To which a caller would respond with his or her take on the topic at hand.

Well…

The topic today is “police reform.”

In listening to folks talk about police reform, you might have heard about a concept called “defunding” police.

Now comes the confusion.

Defunding the police is NOT about completely taking away police funding, thereby rendering them powerless to help a vulnerable population.

That’s a scary ass thought; hell my brother is in law enforcement and so was my Dad, so I definitely know and appreciate their value.

Anyway…

Actually, “defunding” police is much better than it sounds.

In my opinion, the terminology is a bit of a misnomer.

And so…

In this video, I cull together information that should detail and explain the true meaning of the concept and how defunding can help reduce police workload by reassigning non-police duties and re-allocating commensurate funds to professionals who are much more qualified to handle certain services.

Seriously, have we been asking police officers to do too much?

Take a look and tell me what you think down in comments:

Run time: Less than 5 mins

Sources

MSNBC:

Maya Wiley Explains What It Means To ‘Defund The Police’ | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

Fortune Magazine:

This is what people mean when they say they want to defund the police.

Missing American History Lessons: They Had Me Standing on the Front Line

My Uncle

I am a veteran of the war
I up and joined the army back in 1964
At sixteen I just had to be a man at any cost
I volunteered for Vietnam where I got my leg shot off
I recall a quote from a movie that said “who’s more a man
Than a man with a reason that’s worth dyin’ for”

They had me standing on the front line
They had me standing on the front line
They had me standing on the front line
But now I stand at the back of the line when it comes to gettin’ ahead

-“Front Line” by Stevie Wonder

In today’s lesson we learn that a disproportionate number of Black service men were killed during the Vietnam Conflict, about 12.4 percent. Some figures suggest that Black men made up only about 11% of the total young male population at the time.

Just for perspective, these 18 and 19 year olds, would probably be described today as kids.

Hmm…

Just like prior Black veterans of war, Black Vietnam soldiers fought, and many of them died, on foreign soil for freedoms that they did not have back home in America.

In Vietnam, Blacks were also disproportionately placed on the “front line,” putting them at even greater risk for injury and death.

You can find this information in the article linked below by Dr. Helen Black.

A good friend of mine, who served in Vietnam, reported that the Vietcong set up high-powered speakers in the jungle where they broadcasted messages directed to Black soldiers.

They’d say, “Black man, why you fighting here, you don’t have freedom in your own home!”

Can you imagine how they must’ve felt hearing that while continuing to fight?

My friend went on to say that these broadcasts did give the soldiers pause.

At any rate…

Here’s an article published by the Gerontological Society of America, and written by Dr. Helen K. Black, that details experiences of Black soldiers of Vietnam, Korea and World War II.

I can’t say that I agree with every word, but then again, I am not a scholar on the subject.

Hey! For fun, go research health and wealth outcomes for the Black soldiers returing from Vietnam.

Not saying that it was easy for the White soldier…

But White soldiers are not the focus of today’s lesson.

By the way, remind me to tell you about my uncle, who is pictured above.

He was a Vietnam veteran who ultimately died of old age at 34 .

Sadly, he was the lone survivor of a racist attack on five little boys when he was about 7 or 8 years old.

It never made the news.

The killer lived his best life without any consequences. At. ALL.

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

-Muhammad Ali

Class dismissed!

Lady G loves YOU!

Did we slip?

ufo-2144977_1280

 

…into an alternate UNIVERSE?

Where we don’t know wrong from right?

Day from night?

Left from right?

Truth from lies?

Soldiers from spies?

Dumb from wise?

Laughter from cries?

Horseflies from pies?

Don’t worry, this is not poetry.

NOT EVEN CLOSE.

Simple word play for easy questions like….

Where are we?

Clearly, we dropped our MORAL COMPASS and lost our way back down the road a few stops ago.

Or was it a few years ago?

Who are we?

Do we simply overlook duplicity as long as it’s “our guy” who is being duplicitous?

Do we value all life?

REALLY?

To date:

247,752 valuable lives lost…

Millions of valuable lives affected…

And counting……………………………

And counting……………………………

And counting……………………………

Where is our common sense?

Do we blindly drink or shoot up the “Klorox” Kool-aid because someone thought it might be a good idea?

Where is our humanity?

Do we value ME  and MINE over THEE and THINE?

Are we expanding OR contracting?

Just a few questions for us to ponder.

Either way,

Lady G LOVES YOU!

REGARDLESS!

Check out this minute video: