Friday, February 29, 2008

I can't name the specific song right now, but there have been plenty of times I have heard the phrase, "Letting go is hard to do". I currently have someone who calls and leaves messages for me once a month or so, wanting to talk to me, when clearly I want nothing to do with this person anymore. I have two pairs of jeans that have sizable holes in the crotch area(and I have even worn them work), that I refuse to throw away. Somehow in my mind, I think the holes will one day disappear. And sometimes I think back to past years in my life, and harp on situations where I could have done something differently, when clearly I need to let those things go as well. But as hard it is for us mere mortals to let go of something, it is much more difficult for athletes let go, which is exactly what I thought of when I saw this.

Now the knee jerk reaction when you see that there could possibly be a third fight between Holyfield and Tyson is that, Tyson's crazy ass needs to let go. But I completely disagree. Tyson has barely fought over the past 10 years, because of his legal, mental and drug problems. He has little to no wear and tear on his body, and if he gets in shape, I am sure he can be a semi formidable opponent. I mean sure he is only fighting because he is broke, which means his heart won't be in it, but he can still fight on some level. Evander Holyfield is a different story altogether. Evander is STILL as cut as any 45 year old man you'll see. But that's where the dazzling traits end. He already is starting to slur his words more than he ever did in his youth, he fights much slower, the opponents who he fights are substandard, and considering the man is insanely rich, it is easy for people like me to just suggest the let go and retire. But for some reason Evander can't let go, and I really wish he would. That being said, if this fight comes on pay-per-view, I will buy it in a heartbeat and I will like it.

I should make an entire list of athletes, entertainers and politicians(that means you Huckabee) who need to let go.

The lunch crew that I mentioned back in October decided to send an email out to selected individuals and invite them to a pizza party they are having today around noon. I don't know how I got an invitation, but I did, and I guess I should feel honored; however, sitting around a bunch of people eating pizza, divulging little known facts about my personal life, and concocting mundane sentences peppered with fluff, is not my idea of a good time. So I will blow them off, and go visit my lady at lunch instead. And then when the party is over, and I'm back from lunch, I'll take the residual slices home and eat them while I pack tonight. It's a win-win-win situation.

Power to Love - Jimi Hendrix

Dedicated to drummer Buddy Miles, drummer of the Jimi Hendrix group Band of Gypsys, who passed away yesterday.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I know I wrote about this yesterday, but it is certainly worth mentioning again. When I sat down to sign my new lease, and I looked at the cover sheet, and it had both my name and my lady's name on there, I paused for a bit. Not out of nervousness, and certainly not out of a case of cold feet, but it was a dose of reality. This was the first of what could be many commitments with this woman, and the voluminous nature of the situation was not lost on me. Good times. Oh and by the way, if any of you kind and generous people are interested in giving us(not me) any gift cards or cash , I will more than happy to give you an address or a paypal account. And if you give cash, we like the kind that jingles, but we prefer the kind that folds. (seriously what good is a blog if you can't promote your own cause).

I was searching for something yesterday on youtube and I found this scene from the movie Dead Presidents, and I wanted to write about briefly. My brother and I have watched this movie to death, and this is always our favorite scene. To those of you who have NOT seen the movie, allow me to give you some context. About 5 years earlier these same two gentlemen were playing pool, and Anthony(the guy with the cigarette in his mouth) got his natural ass kicked by Cowboy (played the brilliantly diabolical Terence Howard). Five years and a tour in Vietnam later, Anthony and Cowboy face off again with a very different result. But me telling you the result of this scene doesn't ruin the genius of it all. Watch how the anger builds crescendo style. Watch how the camera carefully captures each of the facial expressions in the room. Listen to the song being played in the background. And of course listen to words of Cowboy, as he gives his views on Vietnam. It's a damn good scene, ended by the words, "That's game!". Usually when I obsess about a song or a movie like this, no one really feels me, but in THIS instance, at least I know my brother will share my enthusiasm so I don't have to curb it.

Love No Limit - Mary J. Blige

I was watching VH-1 Storytellers last night, and I saw Mary J singing this song, and her performance reminded me that this is my favorite Mary song by far. She doesn't over sing, and she even gives us a little scat towards the end.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Today at 1pm, I will sign a year long lease at my new place with my girlfriend, and that is a major milestone for me for a couple of reasons. One, this will be the first year long lease I will have signed since the fire last May. I am not going to say that I haven't had very comfortable living situations since then because I have, but there is nothing like living in a place with your name on the lease(except for owning a place of course). Two, I have never signed a lease with a woman before, but I must say(you know, I use the expression "I must say" quite a bit and no one ever calls me on it) I feel comfortable with this. I have lived with women in the past, but it was completely different, because they either moved in either me I moved in with them, and in those situations neither party is COMPLETELY comfortable, because ultimately if something goes wrong, the person whose name is on the lease can wake up one morning and say, "Get the f**k out", and the other person has to roll out. However, when you sit down at the table together, and put BOTH names on the lease, both parties are basically saying, "Its just you and me buddy", and I'm ready for that. To the holy rollers who read my blog, and you are thinking to yourself that I am living in sin, I deeply apologize, I am a work in progress.

I am sorry if I am a substandard citizen for not watching the debate last night, but I just could not do it. We JUST had a debate last Thursday, so I simply don't understand why we need another one less than a week later. Its overkill, and it is WAY more entertaining to watch the candidates engage each other in the media. So someone who did watch, please give a rundown.

Come Live With Me Angel - Marvin Gaye

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

If you haven't seen the movie There Will Be Blood, then you probably should turn away from the blog, because I am going to vaguely reference some points in the movie. If you have seen the movie, you know that Daniel Day-Lewis' character, Daniel Plainview had two sides to him. He had a charming side to him, that allowed him to accrue substantial wealth and power, and most people had no choice but to give him exactly what he wanted. But Mr. Plainview also had a mean, cold and heartless streak to him, that eventually contributed to his downfall..even in the last scene of the movie, he had this smirk on his face that to me said, I am resigned to being exactly who I am. That smirk is that same look I see on Hillary Clinton's face recently. She knows she's behind in the polls to Barack, and she knows that she has been beaten pretty soundly over the past few weeks, so she has basically put aside that nice charming side of her, and she's unleashed the dragon. When I see her on television, she is visibly angry when she attack Barack, which is a distinct switch the calm and collected woman she portrayed herself to be earlier in the race. It is in stark contrast to the cool demeanor that Barack constantly shows, and it just makes me wonder what voters are thinking when they see it. My lady and I noticed it instantly last night, and we both were like, "what the hell is wrong with her?". As Tim Russert commented last night, Hillary needs to pick a stance, and ride it on out from here until the end of the race, otherwise she will stay on this losing streak and lose the nomination.

I gotta be honest with you man, i am operating on about 3 hours sleep today, and I am slightly nervous about a doctor's appointment this morning, so my writing has no cohesiveness at all. Perhaps this afternoon I'll redeem myself.

Soliloquy of Chaos - Gangstarr

Monday, February 25, 2008

I know this entry is going to sound like I have had a steady diet of Iyanla Vanzant or Dr. Phil books, but that is not at all the case. But it is absolutely important for everyone to take at least one if not two days just to sleep. 90% of the time, I am operating on about 4 hours of sleep, and for the most part it has served me just fine..or so I thought. I went out and stayed out to at least 2am, from Thursday night to Friday night, and then Saturday I basically stayed in the streets of NY until it was time for me to take the train back at 7am. I think I may have gotten a combined 8 hours of sleep all those nights, but since my name is Rashad I kept on pushing through like it was nothing. But since that train ride back here to DC, to about 5 minutes ago when I finally woke up for good, I have basically done nothing but sleep. Sure I've dabbled on the computer, and I have continued to play with new phone, and I have peeked at a few athletic events, but for the most I have slept, like I have never slept before, and it is almost as good as sex. So good in fact, that I have taken the day off, so I can do it once more. I suggest everyone do the same.

I am not one of those people who is going to do an Oscar recap, but I am going to comment about Diablo Cody. Diablo was a struggling writer who never stopped blogging and writing on her on, and all of her hard work finally paid off last night when she won an Oscar for best original screenplay for Juno. I won't even pretend that I knew her story before my lady told me last night, but I find it to be very inspirational. There is still hope for me to make it big in some capacity.

By the way, I took a picture with Questlove early Sunday morning, and as soon as I get it back, I am putting it up here in true groupie fashion.

Manic Monday - The Bangles

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Well, day one without my girlfriend certainly wore me the hell out. The day started with a relaxing 4 hour bus ride, and I must say this was not a bad way to travel at all. I had free internets, the bus didn't stink at all, and the trip only took about 4 hours in a driving rain/snow/sleet storm. And as if God was making a point to me of some sort, there was a 20-21 year old guy sitting next to me, and guess what kind of phone he had? A T-Mobile Sidekick Instantly I felt justified in my decision to shun that phone. Oh and by the way, my new phone came in the mail just 1 hour before I was scheduled to leave for NY. Me being the lazy fellow that I am, I have yet to sit down and read the instructions about how to truly work this phone. I do know how to text and I DEFINITELY know how to take picture. For now, I can be happy with that.

Once I arrived in New York, I met up with friends, and went to a restaurant called MoBay, and I am happy to report that both the food and the atmosphere were excellent. A couple times during the evening, I was wishing my lady was there with me, because the atmosphere was just that romantic. And I was able to get full, while eating healthy and that's not always an easy balance for me to achieve. The ONLY thing that I found to be unusual, is that gratuity is added into the check, even for a party of 4. I don't like that at all..let me decided how much I give you, don't play God with my money.

After MoBay, me and the crew headed to the Apollo theater to see the legendary Roots crew. I must admit that as I walked into the venue, I thought of all the stories my father used to tell me about his visits to the Apollo in the late 60s and early 70s. He saw Richard Pryor, Earth Wind and Fire, Natalie Cole, and OJays, etc. And as with most places you see on television, it was smaller than I thought. But The Roots put on an excellent show man. When I used to see them a few years ago, they realy couldn't decide whether to be a rap group who just happened to have live instrumentation, or they wanted to be a band who had rap as part of their repertoire. Last night, they struck a balance, and it was definitely impressive. They did their usual string of hits, the covered some hip hop classics, and they performed some Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix songs which impressed me as well. I have seen them at least 10 times, and it never gets old. I feel like I'm writing for the Village Voice here. Anyway, the other thing I noticed while at the show, was the presence of something I like to call, the cheeba cheeba. It was everywhere man.

Our tour guide for the night ended our evening, by taking the crew to yet another spot in Harlem called the Den, and it was a nice spot as well. There was no traditional dancefloor there, but people managed to find places to dance regardless. I'm not a dancer per se, but got up a few times and did my own Bill Cosby impression.

So needless to say, I did not get in the bed until after 4am, and now I am too tired to do any damn thing today. And I must say, as good of a time as I had last night, it still would have been nice to have my better half around, although we did trade text and phone calls throughout the course of the evening. As I am typing this paragraph, I can hear my brother telling me how soft I am for typing that about my lady. BUT then I can ALSO hear myself retorting by saying that HE is married and that is the epitome of being whipped. Although I'm not too far behind him.

i'm rambling and to be honest i'm too tired to thoroughly proofread. but i was an English major, so I get a pass

Flashing Lights - Kanye West featuring Dwele
This is my new favorite song, and already I have played it 5 times this morning. The beat damn near puts you in a trance

Friday, February 22, 2008

This weekend represents the first weekend in quite sometime, that my lady and I will be spending apart, and I must say it is pretty weird. We spend a great deal of time together without getting sick of one another, so this separation was not really necessary, but it will be interesting to see how I cope. She is on a ski trip with her female cousins, so I am quite sure that she will be just fine. I am headed to NY today to visit friends, and to see the legendary Roots crew at the Apollo. Many of my male (and some female) friends would say that my trepidation about being without my lady for the first time in awhile is a sign that I am whipped, and they may very well be correct. But I can't say that I mind.

I also need to come clean with something this morning. A couple of days ago, I was dreading meeting up with a high school friend of mine, because I thought he would annoy me. Well last night, during the party, he and I actually had a damn good conversation about life, our fathers, Obama, hip hop music and women. I looked up, and almost 2 hours had gone by, and I didn't even mind. So perhaps I need to be less of a social recluse....yeah right

The Way Love Goes - Brian McKnight
This song will always remind me of my freshman year of college back in 1992. That's the year the Mr. McKnight came to THE Hampton University, and wowed everyone in attendance with his vocal stylings. I maintain that his first album is still the best work he's ever done.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

With the exception of a birthday, there is no day more exciting in a child's life than Christmas morning. The child usually wakes up early in the morning, just thinking of all the toys he/she will have at their disposal. They start thinking of that special breakfast that their mother or father will cook for them, and in some cases, that child longs to watch the Christmas Day parade while they are opening gifts. Usually all that excitement dies down 2 to 3 hours later when all the gifts have been opened and thoroughly played with. Why do I mention this nearly two months after the Christmas holiday? Because waking up early and waiting for your lady to wake up, so you can have sex is the same type of deal.

I woke up about 5:45 this morning, and my lady was knocked out, and I didn't want to wake her, but clearly I was ready to roll. So in an effort to distract myself, I started thinking about my day, I started thinking about my lyrics to my upcoming cd, and I just patiently waited. Anytime she would twitch or move sleeping positions, my ears would perk up like Lassie, but it would turn out to be a false alarm. Around 6:15, I realized that it was time for me to get up, so I would either have to blatantly wake her up to get some action, or do the responsible thing, and just get up, get ready and just wait until later to go decision was also helped out by the fact that I remembered she had a big day at work today, and she needed all the sleep should could get. But man I was a sight to see for 30 minutes or so. And now all day long I will be thinking all types of work inappropriate thoughts until the situation can be amended later. And yes I am fully aware that this entry toes the line between TMI and necessary info, but that's how it goes sometimes my friends.

An hour long conversation with my father last night, pretty much prevented me from writing about last night's Laker/Heat game, but I saw just enough of it to enjoy what I saw. Both teams played hard, both teams were balanced, and clearly there was a playoff atmosphere to the game. The Daddy was a step slow for three out of the four quarters, and then during the last stanza, he showed flashes of that dominance that allowed him to win four NBA titles. As he gets his wind back, he'll be even more dominant. But the night belonged to Kobe (41points) who played like he wanted to send a message to both his former teammate and the Suns in general. Its too bad they won't play again until the was quite an entertaining spectacle. And I wonder how many of you people actually took my suggestion and watched the game.

With A Little Help From My Friends - Joe Cocker
aka The Wonder Years theme song

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The recent juggernaut that is Barack Obama is really starting to resemble the NFL's New England Patroits. Barack is on a ten primary winning streak, and the Patriots won 18 in a row at one point. Barack is starting to win these primaries by surprising and sizable margins, and the Patriots were routinely blowing other teams out by at least 30 points.. in the beginning. Barack hasn't really wavered off of his message of change, new ideas, and the thought that a younger, fresher mind needs to be occupying the White House. The coaches and players of the New England Patriots, no matter how much they were winning, always preached the message of one game at a time and the Super Bowl is the ultimate goal. Obama has been accused of plagiarism, because he took elements of a speech from his good friend Deval Patrick who happens to be the governor of Massachusetts. And even know the Patriots season is over, Bill Belichick is still being questioned about the extent to which he cheated by videotaping opponents. Now, the one trait that the Patriots took on towards the end of their season, that Obama needs to be leery of is overconfidence. Two days before the Super Bowl, Tom Brady was so arrogant, that he laughed at the notion that the Pats could lose a close game to the New York Football Giants. He had to go back and eat those words later after New England lost. Based on what I have seen of Obama, he is staying extremely grounded and humble, particularly because he knows that the Texas and Ohio primaries loom large.

By the way, if you are free around 9pm tonight, and you have ESPN, it behooves you to watch the Phoenix Suns play the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2008 version of Shaq vs Kobe. I think I'm inspired enough to write about this tonight.

Street Life - Randy Crawford

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

There are people in my life who I really enjoy emailing, and not talking to. Its not so much that I cannot hold a face to face conversation with these people, but it is more a function of efficiency. I find it to be much more efficient to cover all the important details via email. How are you? What's been going on? How are parents? Did you watch the game? I figure after a good 4 or 5 email exchange all of the basics are covered, and for at least two weeks or so, you really don't have to be bothered with one another. Again this isn't mean, this is called friend efficiency. However, every now and then, someone becomes restless with this arrangement, and they decide that they want to mess up the rotation a bit, and be a more prominent friend And this is when things fall apart and tend to shatter. Such a thing is in the process of happening to me.

I have a friend from high school, and we tend to talk once every 3 months. I have known him since I was 12, and we were close in high school, then we separated for college, and upon our respective graduations, we almost lived together back in 1997, but his girlfriend basically made the impossible. Since then I have seen him on the street, attended his birthday celebration, and traded emails with him, and I think that is pretty damn impressive. But he called me the other day wanting to hang out, and my face dropped. When I called him back yesterday, we pretty much covered all the important topics, yet at the end of the convo he proceeded to say, "Well yeah let's meet up soon". So what did I do? I decided to compromise. I will be attending this event on Thursday, and I invited him to come out as well. That way I can enjoy myself, then when things get slow I can talk to him a bit, and I can continue this back and forth for an hour or so, and then roll out with a guilt-free conscience.

That's not mean is it?

Why Can't It Wait Till Morning - Fourplay featuring Phil Collins

Monday, February 18, 2008

Michael Jordan turned 45 yesterday, and I cannot possibly convey to you how old that made me feel. I grew up on Michael Jordan's brilliance, and even though he has plenty of flaws off the court, I maintain that no other NBA player in my lifetime dominated the way MJ did. He was more fundamentally sound, he had more anger, he had more desire, and he had more natural ability than the players he faced. Dominique Wilkins jumped higher, Larry Bird had a better jumpshot, and Magic Johnson was a better passer, but no one had it all like Michael. So, in tribute to the man, I posted my favorite commercial from the mid 80s. Enjoy.

Steve Miller Band - Fly Like An Eagle

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I finally saw the movie, "There Will Be Blood" today, and I must admit it was damn good. It was a bit slow in the beginning, but by the end of the movie it definitely picked up. Daniel Day-Lewis has to be one of the most intense actors I have ever seen. Each and every time I see a movie of his, he seems to take the most challenging of roles available, and he makes the most of them. Also, during my Saturday outing, I had the pleasure of going to the National Portrait Gallery to see two different exhibits. One exhibit was an extremely lackluster one that centered around hip hop, and the other was an exhibit that basically featured photographs of influential African-Americans. It was during this exhibit that I realized(for the 345th time) what a fantastic job my parents did on informing me of my history. I am quite sure I was annoying my girlfriend during this exhibit, because I was giving her additional information of the pictured African-American legends that were featured. So if you happen to be in DC before the first week of March, please go to the National Portrait Gallery.

That is all for now..I need to be sleep right now, but my primal side is calling...

Friday, February 15, 2008

A couple of days ago, I decided that I would finally purchase a new cell phone. I have had the same cell phone since November of 2004, and I really did not see the need to upgrade, since it had been working just fine for me. I was able to text, receive calls, add groovy ringtones, check scores of games and all that. I mean sure I couldn't get on the internets and take pictures of my genitals, but I really didn't feel like I was missing much. However over the past year of so, I have taken shots from various people who would see my phone and laugh in my face. The last straw was about a month ago, when my girlfriend got a new phone, and was constantly pulling it out and doing all types of neat things with it. So on Tuesday, I went online and ordered a new phone.

Now at the time I ordered this new phone, I was totally unaware of which phones were cool or uncool. I just looked at the pretty pictures of phones, and decided on one that tickled my fancy. That phone was the TMobile Sidekick. Now due to TMobile messing up my address, I have yet to receive the phone, and that probably is a good thing. Yesterday, I casually mentioned to a coworker of mine, that I had ordered this phone, and she said, "Uh Rashad, a man over 30 shouldn't have this phone, its a phone for younger folks." I trusted her advice, but just to be sure, I emailed about 10 other people to get their opinion, and everyone agreeed that the phone was ghey, immature, and not for a man of my stature. Everyone suggested that I get a Blackberry instead, and instantly I felt stupid. Why didn't I get the cool phone memo? How is it that 10 other people instantly knew that the Sidekick was the Tito Jackson of cellphones, and I had no clue?

Now initially I resisted the pressure to order another phone, because I felt defiant. I even told my lady that I would keep my phone, because it made ME happy. Plus I don't like Blackberrys, because the keyboard is all exposed and something about that just bothers me. I enjoy the safe cover a flip phone..its like a surprise everytime you open the phone you know? As you can see I am easily amuse..but I digress But I quickly smartened up, and imagined how paranoid I would be walking around with a phone that was basically frowned upon by every damn body. So when my phone arrives today, I'm sending it back, and getting a spanking new Blackberry. I have succumbed to peer pressure and conformed to society. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this.

Do You Feel The Way I Do - Rahsaan Patterson

Thursday, February 14, 2008

There are a couple of things that can absolutely start even a day as glorious and overhyped as Valentine's Day, off on the wrong foot: Low water pressure and lukewarm water. I don't know about you, but I depend on both those things to get my started in the proper fashion. The high water pressure allows me to wake up, get my eyes open, and other things that I cannot be spoken about in a family blog. The heat, especially on a frigid morning like this one, warms me up and assists with the cleaning and moisturizing process. I'm not into cold showers under ANY circumstances. This morning I spent about 15 minutes in the shower hoping that one of the two would come through for me, but it simply didn't happen. I had to stand directly under the shower head due to the low pressure and the water was lukewarm at best..I walked out of the shower feeling a bit dejected; however, that dejection turned to anger when as soon as I turned the water on to brush my teeth, the water was scalding hot. Who the hell needs heat on their toothbrush? Mouthwash alone generates enough eat going down my throat. This was no way to start a day at all. Luckily for me, my lady talked to me a short time later, and I felt better. And then something else happened on my way to work to make me feel even better

If you've been reading my blog for at least a year, you know that I was extremely late to the IPOD game. But since I got one, it is always fun to see which song will get me inspired for my work day. Sometimes its a song with lots of cursing and misogyny, other times its the beautiful voice of Lalah Hathaway, and then we have a day like today when its Michael Jackson, "Billie Jean". I have no clue how anyone could hear this song, and not feel like doing some kind of dance. Personally, when I heard the song, I wanted to break out this routine right there on the train platform:

Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day to everyone with and without a mate. HERE is my gift to all of you.

Bennie and the Jets (live) - Elton John

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Living in the DC area can be such a joy sometimes. We had icy conditions last night, and this morning, and now it is basically raining all over the area, but there are STILL numerous closings and cancellations all over the place. Even the Federal Government, who is usually extremely strict about delaying or closing, decided to open 2 hours late today. Something like this would never happen in the Midwest or even further up in New York, New Jersey or Massachusetts. I came into work my regular time though, because 1)I am a nerd and 2)I hope to leave early, by convincing my boss that I came in early and did my due dilligence.

About a block from my apartment yesterday, I saw an Asian woman, a white woman, and a white man each holding up Barack Obama signs, chanting his name, and encouraging people to vote for him. I know this is 2008, and America is progressive(some places) and all that, but I still had to chuckle at the sight. A black man who is not in the sports and entertainment field, is inspiring people of all races. That is pretty cool when you think about it...although I will admit that I was absolutely shocked to see Barack win Virginia. Maryland and DC didn't shock me too much, but when you think Virginia, you certainly don't think they would pick a black man to represent any party in the presidential election. I know Douglas Wilder was the first black governor there just 18 short years ago, but the stakes are MUCH higher here in 2008. It will be interesting to see how Virginia votes in the presidential election ASSUMING Obama gets the Democratic nomination. But as Tim Russert said this morning, there is still a lot of time and many pivotal states and delegates to be won before Clinton can be viewed as a loser and Obama can be declared the winner.

I hope yesterday's entry didn't gross anyone out. I tried to be clever.

Black Butterfly - Sounds of Blackness

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I would like to dedicate this morning's entry to the Crimson Tide. There are other names for the Tide both clinical and juvenile, but for the purposes of this laid back, yet classy blog, I'll continue to call it the Crimson Tide. If I can be perfectly frank (or Rashad, take your pick)I have a love/hate relationship with the Tide. There are times when I am very happy to see it arrive in a timely fashion, and there are other times when its arrival coincides a little too closely with Valentine's Day, and that makes me sad. There are times when all signs point to the Tide subsiding, only to find upon further review, that it is still here and very much alive. I would also like to thank the Tide for the drastic(and sometimes violent) moodswings that is causes. Often times I unknowingly walk into a Tide-provoked mood swing, and it makes me want to write the Tide a nasty note, for not warning me via text, email or something that it was indeed here to stay for a while. Conversely, there are times when I would like to personally send a thank you note to the Tide for giving life to some real and very primal urges, that I am able to benefit from. In fact on some nights, I want to include flowers and a teddy bear to go along with that thank you card. That's how good the pre and post Tide results are some times. And last, but certainly not least, the Crimson Tide rewards me in my later years, by completely vanishing from existence. The years of struggle, pain and even joy, are replaced by a sense of normalcy. Yes it can be sad and a bit uncomfortable for one party, but for the other, its like a sense of relief. The end.

I have no segue.

I will get out and vote in this so called Potomac Primary today and I must say its kind of exciting to live in this area and have a national vote actually matter. For once I can say I can't wait to come home and watch CNN to see how things are panning out.

Come Running To Me - Herbie Hancock

You may recognize the beat you hear at the 1:55 mark of the Herbie the from this Slum Village song.

Monday, February 11, 2008

There are some movies that come on cable from time to time, that no matter how many times you have seen them, you sit down and watch them like its the first time. For me, a lot of those movies involve Jack Nicholson who is on that short list of actors whose movies I will see no matter what(except for The Bucket List) which didn't look very good at all.) So yesterday, despite the fact that there were basketball games and Black History programs on galore, I repeatedly switched back to see A Few Good Men..specifically, the scene I have linked above. My boy Kevin basically knows that scene by heart, and its not just the "you can't handle the truth" line that makes it good. Its the intensity of both actors going back and forth. I still get a kick out of this 16 years later.

Yes I watched the Grammys last night, but I don't really have anything eloquent to say about it. I wanted Ledisi to win Best New Artist, but she lost to the juggernaut that is Amy Winehouse. I was happy that a jazz artist like Herbie Hancock was able to win a major award like Album of the Year, and I was even happier that Hancock took time to thank the jazz artists who came before him. Aside from that, it was kind of boring. I must be getting old.

Give It Up, Turn It Loose - En Vogue

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Friday night, after enjoying the super intense movie, "No Country for Old Men", my ladyfriend and I decided to venture over to the ESPN Zone for a fine dinner. As a man, I never pass up the chance to hit up the Zone, especially since there were at least 4 NBA games on at the same time. The only worry I had was what would I eat, because I am in the midst of an eat-healthy campaign, and most of the food at the Zone is fried, fast and unhealthy. But I was able to find a grilled chicken sandwich with no mayo and I had some mixed greens on the side. To wash it down, I enjoyed a glass of red wine as did my ladyfriend. The bartender only filled our glasses halfway, which kind of annoyed me, but I didn't make that big of a deal of it, because sports was all around me. After about 45 minutes of sitting at the bar and watching games, a handicapped gentlemen rolled up to the bar with a friend of his. They ordered drinks, and I noticed that the bartender put MUCH more liquor in the handicapped gentlemen's drink. My lady and I noticed it, and I think the handicapped gentlemen did too, and I said to him, "Well you're in a for a treat aren't you?" and he laughed. But do I have a right to be pissed? Here I am drinking a half full glass of wine, and this impaired guy gets a deluxe glass? Is this the treatement I deserve during black history month???

Friday, February 08, 2008

I have to go into work late this morning, because I am expecting an important FedEx package, so that means I get to hear the kids making all kinds of noise before they go to school. But this morning, I just happened to hear something that should never happen. This father was attempting to get his son out of the house, so they could head to school. Before they could even get out of the house, the kid was screaming and yelling that he didn't want to go to school. Then as they came outside, the kid continued to scream and the father was barely reacting. He didn't spank the child, he didn't discipline the child, and he didn't tell the kid to stop. He just kept dragging this kid towards the bike(yes the father was going to bike his child to school). This kid was screaming at the top of his young lungs, and the father kept trying to place him on the bike, but the kid REFUSED to oblige. After about 10 minutes, the father finally got him on the bike, but the kid kept screaming as they rode away. Now, I have a few comments about this travesty:

1) I don't know this for sure, but I suspect this was a situation where the mother usually takes the kid to school, and on this particular morning, the father had that task. He needs to be more involved if that is indeed the case.

2) This is not September. That kid has been in school for awhile, and he needs to man the hell up. Now if he's getting beat up at school or something, he needs to tell somebody. But crying, and saying you don't want to go, is not acceptable

3) As a parent, I'll be goddamned if my child embarasses me in public or behind closed doors for that matter. That's a HUGE no-no. I would have taken that child in the house, and beat his monkey ass.

4) When I was that kid's age, I NEVER did that to my dad at all. I knew the deal, and I didn't complain. My parents had to go to work, and I had to go to school. No questions asked. These kids today have this false sense of empowerment and it blows my mind.

In hindsight, I probably should have minded my own business and stayed in the bed, and out of the window. But this was just too good to pass up.

Tyrone Davis - In the Mood

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I spent the better part of my evening watching the PBS special, "African-American Lives 2" hosted by Henry Louis Gates. While I was watching, I was reminded of a time when I was about 13 or 14, and Mr. Gates was over to my house more than once. My mother was and still is friends with him and a lot of other English professors who at one time were in the DC area. Usually when my mother and father would have colleagues or any kind of company, my brother and I would be forced to introduce ourselves and speak briefly, and then we would be kindly escorted out of the room, so they could conduct adult business. I didn't really pay that much attention to Mr. Gates, except I noticed that he walked with a cane, and he used big words that I had never heard in my 14 years of life. Fast forward to my college days, and during my senior thesis, one of the books I had to read was "The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism" and of course the author was Henry Louis Gates. At that time I was 20, and that was the hardest book I had ever read in my life(probably still is). The words he was using forced me to keep a thesaurus in arm's reach, the sentences were a bit convoluted, there were so many footnotes, and I was expected to not only understand this book and the lectures that went with it, but I had to incorporate this book into my senior thesis. I even tried to call my mother, so that she could call Mr. Gates, so that he could give me some guidance, some Cliff notes, or something, but I wasn't so lucky. I say all that to say it is weird to see Mr. Gates on television or even at Harvard, doing big things, when once upon a time he was right in my home.

I also suggest that you watch the African-American Lives program on PBS. After awhile some of the stories do get a little monotonous, but there are still some very compelling stories. The thing that is so compelling/maddening to me is how many Southern, black families had to sell and/or abandon THEIR land. They sold land so they could hire lawyers to defend them against bogus charges; they sold land to other black families so that they would stay in the South to keep it strong, and not go North where so much was unknown; in other cases, black families just walked away from land, because their wealth angered the Southern whites, and they didn't want to get killed. All this land that they had legally acquired post-slavery, and circumstances forced them to give it away. And today, some of those same families are living in poverty, and some are even wealthy, but just think how much better off they would be if they had land they once owned throughout the South. Perhaps its nothing to you, but it definitely hit me hard last night.

On Green Dolphin Street - Miles Davis

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I am not the smartest brother in the world, but I damn sure am not even close to the dumbest. So from my semi-smart perspective, it seems to me that the structure of all these primaries is just jacked up, and to be honest it is starting to resemble the inept BCS system that is used in college football. It seems to me that if you win the popular vote in a particular state, you should win that primary. I know it sounds like a foreign concept, but it makes sense to me. I don't know how many times during the Super Tuesday coverage, did I hear an analyst tell me that although the popular vote was in, we had to sit tight and see the delegate count. In the BCS system I mentioned above, that is like a team going undefeated, but it is ineligible to play for the national title because they didn't play a "credible" team. Its is utter and complete bullshit. In the Republican primary, McCain is so far ahead, that it really doesn't make a difference. But in the nip and tuck affair that is the Democratic race, more clarity is needed. So, here in my little blog, I am going propose what I think is the solution.

I think by January of an election year, there should be a country wide primary for each party. It doesn't matter how many candidates declare themselves as candidates, everyone is welcome. Even Alan Keyes. Then the top 6 vote getters(not delegate winners, but straight up votes and percentages) are eligible for the next country wide primary in March. Then the final 4 are on the ballot for the next primary in May, and then the final two are on the ballot for the last primary in July. This is perfect because it serves as a perfect lead-in into the Democratic and Republican conventions. Also, if someone is the front runner, and if they are truly going to be the party nominee, they will have methodically earned it through popular votes, not via this nefarious process we have now, that has Obama and Hillary thoroughly confused. They are both claiming victory, while McCain sits back and laughs at his REAL victory.

By the way, lost in all this election excitement, is the fact that The Daddy(you know him as Shaquille O'Neal) is on the verge of being traded from the Miami Heat to the Phoenix Suns. I won't bore you with details, but this could possibly be the dumbest trade I have ever seen. Phoenix is a running team, and Shaq simply can't do that for an extended period of time, without sustaining injuries. Plus I like seeing Dwyane Wade and the Daddy together, although it looks like Shaq's days as a dominant center are numbered anyway. I wonder if Shaq's ongoing divorce had anything to do with him agreeing to go from Miami to Phoenix. This story will surely have greater details as the day progresses. Stay tuned.

Cleaning Out My Closet - Eminem
I know Eminem is very annoying and overly dramatic at times, but this particular song of his is my favorite. He's angry, he's yelling, and all that, but the third verse of this song is simply amazing. It's not just what he is saying that is so compelling, its how he says, how he phrases the words and divides the syllables that is me at least. Parental discretion is advised.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I have about three jobs that I need to apply for, and they have just been sitting in my gmail inbox for about a week now. I looked at the jobs, updated my resume, wrote some things down, and then I stopped short of sealing the deal. Why do I do this? I have no clue at all. Part of me doesn't like certain kinds of change. Part of me doesn't want to start a new job, meet new people, be the new guy, learn new rules and all that. There is also a fear element involved too. Will I succeed, will I miss the comfort of my old job, will my new efforts on the job be recognized. And eventually, I do so much thinking, that I have successfully talked myself out of being the proactive person I initially aspired to be, and I don't do jack shit. But I had a revelation this morning as I was walking into my office, and all this is about to change.

This revelation came from the oddest of places too. I was listening to Martin Lawrence's Talking Shit album from 1993, and in between laughs I started thinking to myself, "Now here's a man who is doing EXACTLY what he wants". He was telling jokes, having a great time, and he was in complete command of his audience. A man like that doesn't dread coming to work, or slack off on the job, or dream of other professions..a man like that cannot WAIT to get to work and make people laugh. Now I am well aware that this is a rather unorthodox source of inspiration, but i'm all over it anyway. And now that I have written this entry, everyone knows that I am now motivated, so now everyone will be following up with me to see where I am in my newfound motivation. I can handle that though. So today? I will ignore some of my normal job duties, and I will officially apply for all three of these jobs, and then send Martin a thank you note.

By the way, I wont name any names(Jamal and Cliff), but I know two registered Republicans, who are giving serious thought to crossing party lines for Super Tuesday and the general election. I suspect they won't be the only two doing that this year. There's just way too much at stake.

Sack Full of Dreams(live) - Donny Hathaway

Monday, February 04, 2008

The only person I know who predicted the Giants would win the Super Bowl is my father. When I talked to him on Saturday night, he explained to me that the Patriots had shown signs of slowing down during the past few games, and that trend would continue. He also told me that the front four of the Giants defense would frustrate Tom Brady and disrupt the offense, and the last thing he said was that Eli Manning would have a chance to win it at the end of the game. I totally blew off his prediction, and I told him that New England would win and win easily, and I was wrong. Never have I been happier to be wrong in my life. I hope each and every one of the Patriots is crying right now.

I must say, one of my favorite parts of the Super Bowl was when the camera kept showing Eli's brother, Peyton, clapping and rooting for his kid brother. As an older brother, I can say, that I would have reacted the exact same way if my brother was playing in the game.

This Is It - Kenny Loggins

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I want the Giants to win the Super Bowl today. I am sick of the New England Patriots and their quest to go undefeated. I recognize their greatness, and I must admit it is pretty amazing for a team to go an entire season without a loss. But the Giants are the underdog, and to me, an underdog defeating a team of destiny makes for a much better story. Unfortunately, the Giants have NO shot of pulling it off. So, my prediction: New England 37 NY Giants 21

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Two things of note have happened to me in the past 36 hours:

One, I finally got a diagnosis on my back. The doctor told me I have a muscle strain/tear in my lower back, and that is what it causing all the discomfort and occasional numbness. He said he takes an awful long time to heal, because no one really rests their back the way they should in these instances. He gave me some STRONG Motrin that I am to take for several weeks, and that should accelerate the healing process. If in 2 months, I don't feel relief, I have to come back to be re-evaluated. So join me won't you, in rooting for the Motrin

Second, I spent more time with my son. I was supposed to see his basketball game, but the other team decided not to show, so we had to go to Plan B. I brought down a computer for him and the family so that he'll be able to finally have internet access, then we went and got more prepaid minutes for his phone, got a haircut, had lunch, and finally we went and to the park to throw the football around(and yes I was doing all this on my bad back like an idiot). When we separated, he said Daddy, tell your girlfriend and Nazir(my nephew) I said hello and that kind of took me aback, but I said "Will do little buddy".

So now that I have gotten a back diagnosis and some time with my son in, so now I can focus ALL of my energies on writing a Super Bowl prediction post tomorrow.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The article I am posting below is a followup to this blog entry I wrote. Its beautifully written:

A Life-Changing Turn of Events
By Michael Wilbon
Friday, February 1, 2008; Page E01


The site of Super Bowl XLII, the gigantic steel-faced stadium that looks like a spaceship plopped down in the desert, is only a 35-minute drive west around the beltway known as the 101. The center of Super Bowl activity is a 25-minute drive south to downtown Phoenix, a quick trip past a residential oasis called Paradise Valley, past Camelback Mountain.

It's just outside my door, really, but I can't get there. Couldn't get to Super Bowl media day on Tuesday. Couldn't get to the Patriots' and Giants' interview sessions Wednesday or Thursday. Couldn't mingle with former coaches and former players in the lobbies of the downtown hotels to find out what they think about the Patriots being undefeated. Can't do any of it because I had a heart attack in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Since then it's been no reporting, no writing, no TV, no fighting with Kornheiser, nothing to do with football or the Super Bowl. What would have been my 21st consecutive Super Bowl assignment for The Washington Post has instead included my first ambulance ride, a trip to the emergency room, angioplasty, and a dramatic lifestyle change that now calls for heart medicine, insulin injections and daily blood-pressure checks . . . or else die early.

I landed in Phoenix late Sunday night, drove to my home-away-from-D.C.-home in Scottsdale, looked at some e-mail, and went to bed at 1:30. At 3:15 a heavy pain in my left arm and on the left side of my chest woke me. I thought it was indigestion, and started drinking water, but the pain persisted. Took some Advil. The pain got worse. Tried to go back to bed, but it became unbearable. They were classic heart-attack symptoms, the pain up and down the left arm and in the upper-left chest, stuff you see on TV dramas and sitcoms. It was after 15 minutes of denial that I woke my wife and told her: "I know this sounds insane, but we've got to drive to the emergency room. I'm having a heart attack."

Within six hours, after nitroglycerin pills, morphine drips and an ambulance transfer to an intensive care unit, a cardiologist to whom I will forever be indebted conducted an angioplasty, using a balloon to open a blocked artery. For the first time in my life, I was admitted to a hospital and stayed there for two more days -- and found out that not only wasn't I indestructible but that I now would be a full-fledged, insulin-dependent diabetic.

Until very recently, I'd never missed a big assignment of any kind because of illness. My father grew up plowing fields and picking cotton and bailing hay in the deep South during the Depression and his sense of work was you don't miss -- ever. If you do, it's a sign of weakness or frailty, and he didn't tolerate it from his two boys. And though that has overwhelmingly served us well and I believe in that work ethic wholly, the fact was this was a permissible exception, make that a mandatory exception. And I had any number of people, some friends and some professional associates and many who are both, drive that point home, that I needed to smarten up and look at life differently from here on out.

It was unimaginable to me that beyond my family members and dearest friends, so many people -- many of great public stature -- took the time to call or send flowers. One of the first calls was from Darrell Green, who should be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame by Saturday evening. Warren Sapp said if I didn't change my life he'd come looking for me. I heard from my basketball buddies, Grant Hill, Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, Mike Fratello, Rick Carlisle and Chris Mullin. Two commissioners -- David Stern and Roger Goodell -- called. I've heard multiple times from football buddies/Arizona neighbors Nick Lowery and Bertrand Berry. Byron Leftwich, whom I've known since he was 14, left a long, heartfelt voice mail. Howie Long sent a touching text message. Roy Green, who had a heart attack at about the same age, made himself available to talk about what comes next for me. I was startled to open the door and get a big basket of fruit from Abe and Irene Pollin and flowers from Phil Jackson and Jeannie Buss. I'm grateful for, and humbled by, each and every expression.

But two things left me speechless and of a mind to reevaluate a lot of stuff. The phone rang while I was in my hospital bed Monday night and the voice on the other end said: "This is Jeff George. I was calling to tell you I'm thinking of you and praying for you." Yep, Jeff George. No. 3 in your program. For years and years, especially during his brief time in D.C., I was pointedly critical of George. I'm sure some of it was over the top and unnecessary. Yet he was big enough to put that aside and call with get-well wishes. He told me about his father having a heart attack when he was about my age, 49, about lifestyle changes and how families respond with support.

George sounded like an expert on the topic and on recovery. He talked and I listened.

I've also, in this space and on TV, been pointedly critical of Kobe Bryant. Yet, I answered the doorbell Wednesday and there were flowers and balloons from Kobe wishing me a quick return to my duties. I hope I have the grace to extend myself to someone who might offer a public rebuke of my work.

The lesson learned is probably that a bad pass on third and 12, a missed jump shot at the buzzer or even a prolonged disagreement with a teammate doesn't make that the dominant theme of a man's life. It's not like I won't make a critical observation about Kobe in the playoffs, if necessary, just that such comments ought to be expressed in context and not cavalierly used to form larger judgments about a person's life. At the very least there ought to be an acknowledgment of a sense of compassion and humanity that aren't to be taken for granted.

There's also an obligation on my part to take all this support and advice and make the necessary changes that will enable me to get out of bed and be a producer again, a more responsible one who can go to work with the consistency of Cal Ripken and also understand the need for better health and a more balanced life. As Jeff George said in our conversation the other night: "This is definitely manageable. And you'll do it. But it doesn't mean you're in total control. This whole thing should help you learn the difference."

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people refuse to answer questions. If I ask you a question, then just say yes or no, and then if there is an additional explanation to go with it, by all means say that too. I hear some people say that there is no yes or no answer, and to that I say bullshit. Every question has a yes or no answer, its the explanation behind it that gives you character and panache. When I ask my son did he do his homework, he says yes or no. If my boss asked me if I submitted the monthly report, I say yes(never no). If I ask my lady if she came, I get an emphatic yes, or a quiet no. And if I ask my boy if he did my taxes, he says yeah I did where's my money, or he says, not yet, get off my back. What's the common denominator here? There's a yes or no. There's no "maybe" or "what do you mean" or "I don't have to answer that question" or anything.

I mention this because of something I saw during last night's 4000th presidential debate. One of the moderators asked both Obama and Hillary the same question, which was if you did NOT win the Democratic nomination, would you consider each other for the vice-president position. Obama went first, and he gave this eloquent(read: bullshit) speech about how he respects Hillary, and it how it is his desire to choose the most qualified candidate who shares his vision, who will tell him no when he needs to be checked, and blah, blah blah. The same question was posed to Senator Clinton, and she proceeded to genuflect and do the exact same thing. 10 minutes went by, and there wasn't a yes or no to be found ANYWHERE. And then they wonder why common folk like myself, get worked up into such an apoplectic rage when listening to politicians talk. They can dazzle me with promises of change and all that jazz, but if you can't answer a simple question, then how am I supposed to trust you? Just say, hell yeah I want Hillary as a running mate, or say, "Are you crazy? I would never have black-ass lipped Obama as my running mate". You may anger some people with the response, but at least folks can know clearly where you stand. That's Allstate's stand.

Hollywood - Bilal