Monday, November 29, 2010

Just last week I spoke of being disappointed that my honeymooon trip to the Dominican Republic had to be cancelled because of ONE case of cholera. I hadn't heard a damn thing about another case until just now when my lady forwarded me this article about the SEVENTH case. Cases two through six flew about as under the radar as you can get. No one has died of it in the DR thank God, but still, the fact that it was not reported is a bit disturbing..

It appears as if we made the right decision to bail and go somewhere else..
Now I understand why some couples do not choose to have televisions in their bedrooms..

I would like to spend a special, special shoutout to the movie, "The Family Stone". You came on the television right as the lady and I were attempting to go to sleep, and despite our best attempt to ignore you and go to sleep, we got sucked into you. We laughed, one of us cried (and it wasn't me), and by the time we tried to go to sleep, it was approaching 3am. Now the lady and I are looking like Thriller extras on a Monday morning--a day that is already difficult when you get 8 hours of sleep.

I attempted to stop by my local Starbucks so I could imbibe a little liquid pick-me-up, but the line is insanely long and they seemed to be under-staffed. The rest of my day will be better I'm sure..

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I don't know if you read, but you should. Starting with my article on the brilliance of John Legend.
If you did not watch or attend the Wizards game last night, you missed a damn good game. Here's my article.

And now here's one of my favorite SNL skits

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The lady and I were all set to take a wonderful, luxurious, week-long honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. We did a few weeks of research, found the resort we liked the best, and made a final decision. I can readily admit that my lady did more of the researching than I did, but I was still right there adding my two cents. Not a day would go by without us mentioning how much fun the DR (as we call in the biz) was going to be.

Then, the terrible cholera outbreak that has been going for months in Haiti, spread to the DR last week. Apparently thousands of Haitians cross the DR border for work each and every day, and one such construction worker did that, and caught the virus. It was caught early and he was treated and released, but still it was scary enough for the DR to issue a maximum health alert.

So the lady and I had a decision to make. Did we just wait and see how things would play out on the cholera front, and not change anything right away? Should we be proactive and just change our destination, since we no longer felt completely comfortable with a trip to the DR? There were lots of questions to be answered, and even though we had gotten insurance on our trip, it was still going to cost extra money to adjust the trip and find a new one. The longer we waited to switch things up, the more difficult it would be to find a new place with unlimited availibility, with flights that lined up blah blah blah.. But we wouldn't just be paying extra money, we'd be paying for peace of mind right?

Well we decided to be proactive, we paid the penalty plus a little something extra, and we've adjusted our destination to a new, undisclosed location. It stressed us both the f**k out, and its a little disappointing, but hey..we are still getting married in less than weeks, the honeymoon destination is still as warm and tropical, and we are happy....BUT

Its been a damn week and there hasn't been another reported(and I do stress reported) case of cholera in the DR. No construction workers, no regular workers, no citizens, no tourists or anybody. Now the little voice inside my head said don't look back, you can never look back, but the cruel, less rational side of me wants some people in the DR to come down with cholera. I don't anyone to die from it, I just want about 20-30 people to be deeply afflicted, treated, and then released from the hospital, so I can say now THAT is why we made the right decision. No such luck yet though. I know that's not nice, but come on, you have to know where I'm coming from right?

Peaceful Journey - Heavy D featuring Jodeci

Saturday, November 20, 2010

This picture was taken by my wife-to-be-in-three-weeks this past Saturday night, 10 minutes before we left for the Kurt Elling concert (which was fantastic by the way). When Kurt comes to your town, find a date, and take that special person in your life. I promise you'll get laid. I also promise not to post pics of me often..its vain and a bit corny. But considering my name is in the url, I figured I could get away with it just this once

Anyway, here's Kurt performing the Joe Jackson classic, "Steppin Out". If it seems like I'm on Kurt's jock hard, than I am. Jazz, whether it be vocal or otherwise, is a dying art, and I'm doing my part to keep it alive (as are my main men Neil and Jazz Brew) My lady and I were the only people at the show who were under 40...everyone else was at LEAST 10 years older. That's no good.
My latest article

Thursday, November 18, 2010

One of my favorite journalists on the face of this planet, Mr. Michael Wilbon, is leaving the Washington Post for greener and more lucrative pastures at ESPN. I can't say this is a surprise at all, because as of late, he's been doing more television appearances and much less writing, which is a privilege he's more than earned.

Mr. Wilbon started off as an intern, and then he covered baseball, football, pro and college football, the Olympics, tennis, basketball, and eventually his own column. He's basically done everything there is to do as a journalist, so as he did more tv and less writing, I wasn't even mad at him. He, along with one of his best friends (and one of my other favorite writers) Tony Kornheiser wrote and wrote until they had no more to give, so why not get paid for talking on tv and sometimes radio?

I first read Mr. Wilbon's articles in the fall of 1987 when I moved to Maryland from Connecticut. I first saw him on tv a few years later, when he appeared on NBC with George Michael and again on a show called the Sports Reporters on ESPN.

I first met Mr. Wilbon back in 2000, when he was a guest speaker on a panel at the Smithsonian. I waited until after the event was over, and I asked him what I needed to do to get into the field of sports journalism. He told me to read as many sports books as I could by good authors who I respected, so that I could get a good feel for what great writing felt, looked and smelled like. Nine years later when I had my press credentials, and we were standing side-by-side in the press room, I reminded him of this, and he smiled and shook my hand. Very classy guy..and he gave me great advice.

Mr. Wilbon isn't going away by any stretch of the imagination. He'll be on ESPN whenever there are games on the NBA, and I suspect he will start writing on whenever he officially leaves the Washington Post. But it won't be the same as getting a paper, opening it up and reading his words on the front of the sports page. The demise of newspapers continues, but that's another post for another day.

And here is the only pic I have of us together..he's the light-skinned bald headed brother in the bottom left hand corner, and I'm standing to his right..not a good pic I know.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I have nothing of note to say today, but this story struck me as uplifting in a odd way. This kid has both parents in his life, and they both advised to make a decision that will save his life. His reward? He gets to stay on the football scholarship he earned, and get a degree at an above average university the same time. Now there's nothing wrong with single parent households, and if you try to infer that I'm downing single parent households, then you're a jackass. I'm just saying its nice to read about two seemingly (and I do stress seemingly) good parents making a sound decision where their child is involved. Hopefully I've hyped it enough for you to want to take a look. In case you missed me hyperlinking it in the first sentence, here it is again.

House of Pain - Jump Around (Pete Rock Remix)

I don't know how old you people are who read my blog, but I'm 30 f**king 5 years old, and about 15-20 years ago, a Pete Rock remix was a pretty big deal. Yes he was in a group with CL Smooth, and yes he would occasionally attempt to rap. But for my money, his ability to remix a song was his best asset. The Jump Around remix was my second favorite. My favorite Pete Rock remix???

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First and foremost, I would like to send a sincere shout out to all the Washington R*dskins fans who are going into work with a heavy heart. My beloved Eagles got way up in that ass last night, and although I was tired, I stayed up and watched each and every minute. The Eagles could lose each and every game that is left on their schedule (won't happen) and I would STILL cherish that ass whippin. As I am typing this, I am listening to Washington fans bitch and moan about what's wrong with their team, who needs to be fired, blah blah blah. Just shut up and take it like a (wo)man. And if that doesn't work, just look at me in my Eagles jersey again.

I would also like to send my sincerest apologies to the three women and two men who got copious amount of water splashed on them, by a DC Metrobus down the street from my job. I was lucky enough to see the bus coming, and I backed away from the curb, to save my precious outfit from getting wet and staying that way all day. You assclowns were so eager to jaywalk and get across the street, that you actually had both feet in the street, and not on the sidewalk. So when that bus came motoring down the street at 30 MPH (or more), you got wet, and not in the good way. In fact, two of you got wet pants and wet tops, and that won't dry any time soon. You'll know better next time.

Finally, if you are free on Saturday night, and you are in the mood for some jazz, come to down to the Kennedy Center, and listen to the smooth vocal stylings of Kurt Elling. The lady and I will be there, but if you see us and try to speak to us or exchange pleasantries, we will walk away from you. But I promise you the show will be excellent, Kurt puts on a damn good show.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My son was here this past weekend (no I didn't cut his hair, but we did trim it down a bit as a compromise) and one of his wishes was to play me one-on-one in basketball. He has vowed to play me each and every time he sees me, until he beats me, and I have no problem beating his ass each and every time we play. If I can keep beating him until I turn 50, then I will have done my job.

While we were playing one-on-one, I noticed four other individuals (ranging from ages 20-25) had started shooting the basketball on the court right next to us. I told my son that sometime in the next 15-20 minutes, they would come over to us and ask us if we wanted to play 3-on-3, and he needed to start mentally preparing himself for that. He said ok but he didn't think they'd come over to us...and sure enough, 15 minutes later they came over and asked us to play, and my son looked at me and smiled. I beat him 13-8 by the way.

Now typically when you have six people on the court, you have three people shoot from the foul or 3-point line to determine who the teams will be, so I fully expected this to happen. Yes my son was at least 8-12 years younger than these other guys (and 23 years younger than me), but he was going to have to hold his own, with or without me on his team. Then out of the blue, one of the other guys said the following:
You guys should be on the same team, we can't break up a father/son team, just pick who you want to run with

Honestly, when I heard this guy say that, I was totally overcome with emotion, and I would have teared up a bit if I weren't on a basketball court full of testosterone. You see my son and I have never played on the same team before, and just to hear someone say that we should did it for me (what can I say, I'm getting older, I get emotional). I pulled my son aside and told him that he needed to play intelligently, aggressively, but not scared and he said ok.

Our team lost 15-9, but it wasn't because of my son per se, we just lost to a team that was more talented than we were. And of course the other team pissed me off by saying that they had to leave afterwards (which denied us a a rule, you don't play just one game of ANYTHING. If you win, you run it back as a courtesy. If you win again, you are THE MAN. If you lose, you play a third game to truly crown the king). Still, I was so god damned proud of my son. He made several shots, he played physical defense, and when he got frustrated, he played through it without complaining. As we were headed back home he said to me, "Daddy I thought I was good, but I still need to improve," and I smiled once again.

I told my father about this later that night, and he reminded me that more fulfilling father moments like this are on the way, and I can't wait.

In this Quincy Jones article from yesterday's Washington Post, he claims that the Michael Jackson song "Baby Be Mine" (which he produced) has elements of John Coltrane in it. Aside from the chord changes out of the blue towards the end of the song, I really don't hear any similarities. If you do (especially you jazzbrew), please help me out.

Baby Be Mine - Michael Jackson

Friday, November 12, 2010

My latest article
First off, I'd like to send a shout out to my main man JazzBrew, who recently tried some Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap. He now understands the power, the greatness, the if you're out there and you've yet to try it, I highly suggest you do. I've abandoned the Peppermint Soap as of late, because it dries my skin out in the colder months. But I think I go back to Dr. Bronner's, and get some Rum and Cake for the skin dryness.

I finally saw the movie The Town yesterday afternoon and it was great. Ben Affleck actually decided to show folks that he can indeed act, as well as direct, so that was a treat. It took me awhile to wrap my head around Jon Hamm being anyone but Don Draper from Mad Men, but eventually I did. I didn't like the ending too much, but I won't spoil just in case there is someone out there who is waiting even longer than I did to see it.

On my way back from the movie, I'd say around 5:30 or so, I walked past a basketball court. Now mind you, it was getting dark, and the temperature was definitely dropping at that point, so it wasn't ideal basketball weather. Still,there was this homeless guy who looked to be around 55-60, on the court with a shopping cart full of clothes, bags, and who knows what else. He had on a long, dirty overcoat, pants, tattered shoes, and something that resembled a hat on his head. In his right hand, he had a cup of something (I won't assume it was liquor, but the face he made after he took one last sip would suggest that it was) and in his left hand he had a basketball.

I watched this guy take 3 shots from the free throw line with one hand (the other hand was clutching the liquor), and he hit them all--without even glancing the rim. He would make a shot, walk over to get his rebound (without dropping the cup), reset at the free throw line, hit another shot, etc. This may not sound like a big deal to you, but shooting with one hand, while holding something else, in hot ass clothes, while drinking, being homeless and fighting middle age, is pretty goddamned impressive to me. Not only that, I've seen this guy play at a basketball court close to my house, and he has game. His lateral movement isn't great, and his defense is suspect, but he can shoot all day long..basically he's Reggie Miller

I was about to record this homeless guy on the court, but my lady told me not to, so blame her for the lack of footage.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Tomorrow, it will be exactly a month until I tie knot, which means I need to really be coming down the home stretch with my workouts--and I have not been doing that at all. The combination of the start of the Wizards/NBA season, and the fact that I've been fighting a cold the past week or so, has basically rendered me 0 for November in the workout department. I haven't run or swim since October 29th, which is really f**king sad. What's even more sad is that due to the diminished appetite that seems to come with being sick, I have actually lost weight, but that's of no consolation because I know that's not real. Plus, I'm sure I've lost a bit off my stellar 5 mile run/1 mile swim times.

This morning I was supposed to get up and finally run, but I still don't quite have the energy to get up early like I used to (just 2 weeks ago), and workout. So this means that a)I'm being stubborn with my sick recovery plan b)I'm just flat out getting old(er) or c)some combination of the two. Whatever it is,I am currently struh-ga-linng, I need to get it together quickly, because the wedding and then the tropical honeymoon await me, and I can't be looking or feeling anything but my best. God, this feels like a corny affirmation...but its true.

Of course my sickness and my lack of workouts has nothing to do with me not writing/blogging. I just haven't had much to say, although judging by these few paragraphs (that are basically only written motivation for me) I still don't.

Friday, November 05, 2010

I've put this up on my blog before, but I don't care, its funny:

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I need to put together a "navigating in the rain" handbook for my fellow DC citizens who walk the sidewalks, so I can avoid seeing incidents like I saw this morning. This young fellow, who looked to be my age (35) was walking swiftly, talking on his phone, holding an umbrella, and neglecting his surroundings. Had he been paying even a bit of attention, he would have seen the slippery grate in front of him, and sidestepped it like everyone was doing. You see, rule 4 in my yet-to-penned "Navigating in the Rain" handbook, is that you avoid all manhole covers, street grates, leaves, and anything else that can threaten your ability to look semi-cool. I learned this rule the hard way when I was in my early 20s.

So anyway, this guy took two steps on the slippery grate, and then he went down and he went down hard. He slipped, his head flew back, the umbrella went one way, the cellphone went another, and he just lost all control of his body. He seemed to be a proud man, because despite the hard fall, he bounced right up, reached for his lost belongings, and proceeded to keep stepping with purpose towards his destination. Unfortunately, his gait wasn't nearly as strong as confident as before, and he walked with a grimace and a noticeable limp. And then, to add insult to injury, he accidentally bumped umbrellas with another pedestrian, he lost his umbrella once again, and then he cursed at the lady who did it. The lady laughed at him and said, "That's why you fell on your ass bitch"...and this is when I finally started laughing too.

That's rule #23 in my upcoming book..don't curse at women when its raining. Their clothes are wet, their hair is jacked, they are carrying a million bags and an umbrella, and they are just waiting to unleash a barrage of expletives at someone who tests them. Anyway..

This is the first conversation I had when I finally did get in the office...

Co-worker: Hey Rashad, did you get wet?
Me: Nah, I'm good
Co-worker: You're lucky, I got pretty wet, and I still feel like I am
Me: Did you wipe off at least
Co-worker: I did, but I am still wet

Sexual harassment and the fact that she's damn near a senior citizen kept me away from the inappropriate jokes.

And finally, my son has a facebook page. I dont know whether to friend him, or to just watch from afar to see what does. But there will be a discussion about this tomorrow night when he arrives. Two of things he likes are Lady Gaga and Playboy..

Here is yet another Wizards article I wrote.

Layla - Eric Clapton

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

My article on last night's Wizards game. There are pictures and videos so please click.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I love conducting transactions via craigslist, and then giving people my work number at the Department of Justice. When they call me and I answer the phone, I hear the hesitation in their if they were even thinking of scamming me, they instantly straighten up and fly right. Its like having home field advantage...good times.

Anyway I just bought tickets for my son and my father to attend the Wizards game this weekend. My son, whose Afro has reached epic proportions at this point, has no idea that I am cutting his hair off on Saturday morning. I know he and his mom want cornrows, but enough is enough already. I'm putting my down. This should be interesting..

And on a more serious note, if you are a praying person (or if you simply have some extra nice thoughts to share) say a prayer for my mother. She's attending a Toni Morrison conference in Paris, and although I shouldn't, I always get a little nervous when she leaves the country..

Monday, November 01, 2010

My nephew had his fourth birthday party this past Saturday in Harlem (shout out the Harlem Bowling Lanes), and I decided to go up to NY for the day to help celebrate(I must apologize to all my NY friends, it was only a day trip, I didn't do any leisurely visiting). My dad and his lady were there, as were my brother, my sister-in-law, and of course my nephew Nazir.

Prior to hitting up the bowling alley, we stopped at Sylvia's for lunch (shout out to our severely negligent waitress). The lunch was especially nostalgic for my dad, since he used to go to Sylvia's every damn day during freshman and sophomore years at Columbia. This was my first time, and it was his lady's first time to, so everyone was happy...BUT

During the waiting-for-the-food-to-arrive portion of the lunch, my father's lady started an ill-advised conversation about the clubs she used to frequent in Washington D.C. when she was "younger". She mentioned Love, Republic Gardens, and other clubs that I very clearly remember frequenting when I was "younger" and it got me to thinking, "How old is this woman?". She kept talking about how hard she used to party, and my brother and I were looking at each other like "this will not end well", but that didn't stop my father's lady from talking.

I could tell based on her references, that she had been clubbing in these spots less than 10 years ago, which means she was somewhere in her 40s (she's 48, my dad is 60). Now everyone has a past, so there's nothing wrong with that. But to bring up something about your past that a)my father hadn't heard before b)was at a family gathering and c)you seemed to enjoy a great deal, is just a clusterf**k of a situation. My dad was quietly taking it all in with the Spock eyebrow.

Afterwards, in a private moment, I told my brother that this woman wouldn't be around next year(c)Craig Mack. Based on the conversation I had with my dad this morning, she was already on thin ice, and this was the nail in the proverbial coffin.

So what's the lesson here? Don't talk at family gatherings if you aren't related to anyone. Just shut up until you are spoken to, and even then, give short, concise answers. My sister-in-law has it down to a science..she needs to put together a Cliff Notes version and hand it out to any and everyone who comes in the family.

Oh and if you're a Wizards fan, go vote in this poll.
Keith Sweat - Something Just Ain't Right