Thursday, April 28, 2011

Every year before the NBA playoffs start, Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson picks a time--usually after his team loses--and takes a subtle swipe at the referees. He doesn't have a set script in terms of what he says, but it is always something to the effect of, "There are a lot of teams that get more calls than we do, and I hope when the playoffs start that evens out, because dammit we deserve it and I'm Phil F. Jackson."

Shortly after he gives that annual speech, the fireworks begin. The NBA league office usually fines Phil and the Lakers a substantial amount, other owners get flustered and start accusing Phil of manipulating the refeeres, opposing coaches get pissed and say Phil is the master of mind games, and even his own players get a little exasperated that Phil is up to his antics once again. But when the playoffs start, Phil and the Lakers get favorable calls, they win games and everything works out in his favor. At some point he probably steps back and tells his team, "See what I did there?"

The same applies to Mr. Donald Trump. Somewhere in that rich, attention-starved diabolical mind of his, he decided that he was going to be a pain the ass, en route to his attempt to possibly run for President. And since this pursuit of the Presidency would have be done from the Republican viewpoint, Trump had to customize his plan for that side of town. And if he could gather some Tea Party folks along the way, then that would be even better.

So he excavated the birther issue, he casually threw out the word "blacks", he questioned Obama's academic background, trashed Mitt Romney's method of getting rich, boasts that he's rich and smart, and if he had extra time to spare, he promoted his show, "The Apprentice". The media has reported every move and speech that he made, black people got upset and called Trump a racist and vowed to revoke their support (support of what? I'm still not sure), Obama called a press conference and reluctantly (but in a smug dismissive fashion) flashed his birth certificate like a gang sign, and Democrats and Republicans just wished this man would go away.

And at some point during Trump's day, probably when he's on the golf course with a cigar, a stiff drink and his pals, he winks at them and says, "See what I did there?"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My mother and Hill Harper a few weeks back..this has nothing do with anything, I just think its a swell picture..

I wonder if he's saying, "Love 40"...(an obscure Hav Plenty joke)

Marvin Gaye's, "I Want You" came on my ipod on my way home from the pool this morning, and I was reminded of the brilliance of this song. Then I remember what I wrote about this song on this here blog way back in May of 2007. I realize it is lazy and perhaps a bit pompous to be quoting my own blog, but this is what you come to expect from me isn't it?

Here's what I wrote:

You ever listen to your favorite song, and hear one part that you just cannot get out of your head. You keep rewinding and rewinding, and you wish someone was around, so that they could hear it too. THIS is the real reason why blogs were created, just so you could share these private, and previously elusive moments with friends and family. I'm sitting here at work, listen to a song, and I hear my favorite part for the 1000th time, and I say to myself, someone else needs to hear this. So now you will get the chance

Yes I have posted this song before..twice before in fact, but now you have something to listen for..starting at the 3:54 mark of I Want You by Marvin Gaye and ending at the 3:56 mark, you'll hear the following in the background: ooooooooWEEEEoooooo. Yes the rest of the song is great, but that part is beautiful to me. its haunting, its chilling, and other things that i don't possess the vocabulary to describe yet.

Oh and one more thing, my friend Nichole wrote a short story the other day, and you can check it out right here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The New Lenny Kravitz comes out this summer Here's a preview:

Monday, April 25, 2011

So today's damn-I'm-getting-old(er) moment came right after I finished my morning swim. I didn't see the lifeguard when I initially got in the pool, but as I got out and dried off, I noticed he was walking around and cleaning up around the pool. I kind of glanced at his t-shirt, then I did a double-take and looked a bit closer, and noticed that his shirt said, "The Infamous Mobb Deep".

Now if I was a different kind of dude, I'd have been simply taken aback by the fact that this guy was white and a Mobb Deep fan, but I'm not that ignorant and that didn't throw me off at all. What DID throw me off however, was the fact that this lifeguard is 20 years old. That means Mobb Deep was in its heyday when he was between 5 and 9 years old--there's no way in the world he was listening to them then. In fact, I was 20 years old and in collee around then, and I was playing the sh*t out of Mobb Deep and loving it..they've fallen off a bit since then, but Prodigy just got out of jail, so I'm sure he'll be releasing something soon. And yes I actually just typed that sentence.

Anyway, before I walked by the lifeguard and headed to the showers, I stupidly asked him if he was a Mobb Deep fan, and he said he was. Then I asked him (the way older people so arrogantly do sometimes) what his favorite Mobb Deep song was and he said Quiet Storm with Lil Kim, and I agreed that was a good song, then he asked me mine and I said "Drink Away the Pain" or "Live N***a Rap" on Nas album (I said "N" word, not nigga). He didn't know either one of those songs (they came out in 1995 and 1996 respectively) and I instantly got a little annoyed that a Mobb Deep fan wouldn't know those songs, but at this point I realized I was coming off like a music snob, so I abruptly cut off the conversation. Plus I felt stupid for actually saying "N" word out loud..I never realized how ignorant the song title, "Live Nigga Rap" was before..again I digress

Before I left he asked me if I heard Prodigy's new song since coming out of jail, and I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. He gave me the name of the song, told me some rapper named Currensy was rapping with him, and that I should check it out. And then magically my age advanced from 36 to 56..because I had no idea who Currensy (I now know that's how its spelled) was, and I had no clue anything new had been released. I just said I would look out for it, and got the hell out of there. So this morning I will play all the Mobb Deep cds released before 2000 to make myself feel better.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I have nothing of note to say today, so I will share a project that a friend of a friend has taken on called, "Letters From Dope People". The video I'm linking to below is the fifth installment in a series of interviews, and it features 9th Wonder and Phonte of the former group, "Little Brother". Even if you have no clue who they are (and chances are high that most of you do not), it is still entertaining to least I thought it was.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

VIDEO PREMIERE // Bilal "Little One" from Centric TV on Vimeo.

Right before I walked into my building this morning, I noticed a woman wearing very short skirt. She was a plus-sized, Ashley-Stewart woman who looked to be about 5'6" or 5'7", and she wasn't overweight, she was just thick. But her skirt was yellow and short, and she was desperately clutching the sides of the skirt for dear life, and I couldn't figure out whether she was pulling it down, keeping it from flying up or both. What I DID notice is that she was completely uncomfortable with that skirt, and I started to feel badly for her, and then I thought again.

This is not the first time I've seen a woman wear clothing that looks hopelessly uncomfortable, and I do not get it. I had clothes that I don't like, are kind of snug, or just looked better in the store than they did on my person. I don't force the issue, wear them anyway, and then walk around looking like my diaper needs changing and I'm diaper-less. I either give the clothes away, or they simply don't get worn. But (some) women seem to force the issue and wear shoes, tops and bottoms that they really don't like just to prove a point to either themselves, other women or maybe the store they bought it from.

Perhaps this girl is trying to impress someone at her job by wearing a skirt that would certainly reveal all of goodies if she even bent halfway over. Maybe only walking with that short skirt is problematic, and its the sitting down in a swivel chair part of the day that she's really looking forward to...Or maybe the discomfort is worth it, because she thinks she looks that sexy..I don't know what the hell it is, and I know its technically none of my business, but when has that stopped me from noticing or bitching about something in the past?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Roots are one of my favorite bands ever.
Rakim is my favorite rapper ever. He's also better than your favorite rapper ever will be.
They will be performing "Paid in Full"(and other things I'm sure) at the Blue Note in New York on June 22nd (yes that's a Wednesday and yes I'll be at the late show). There's no way I'm missing this show, because who knows when this particular combination will be together again..

The Roots featuring Rakim and John Legend - In the Ghetto

Monday, April 18, 2011

In two weeks, my father, my son, my brother and I will be attending the Penn Relays in Philly. We went last year and had a ball, and it was decided among all of us that it was something we should try to do annually. Last year I bought the tickets, and I didn't make my brother and my father pay me back, because I was just happy to kick this tradition off. I even paid for parking once we got up there. This year I bought the tickets once again, but I was hoping someone else would take the lead on paying for them. When that did not initially happen, I just went ahead and bought the tickets again, and then I sent both my brother and my father the receipt. They both said they'd pay me when they saw me.

So yesterday we were all sitting in my living room watching the fantastic NBA playoffs, when my father just hands me a check out of nowhere. It felt a little awkward taking money from my father, but I said thank you and put it aside. I tried to put the check close to my brother so he would pay me too, but he did not take the bait. 15 minutes later we said our goodbyes, and they both left my place.

20 minutes after I took a shower, and I thought about the situation a bit and I felt guilty for taking money from my father. I can't even begin to account the number of times he helped me out financially or otherwise when I was struggling. I haven't needed to ask him for money for years and that feels good, so the last thing I needed to be doing was collecting money from him (from my vantage point at least). Right after I got out of the shower, I told him that I could either shred the check or give it back to him when I saw him, but I damn sure wasn't cashing it. He tried to fight me for awhile and tell me to just keep it and buy something for my son, but I wasn't having it. He finally just told me to just give him the check the next time I saw him.

Then I called my brother and very begrudgingly told him he didn't have to pay me either. It sucks taking money from your dad, but it feels absolutely great to take insane amounts of money from your younger sibling. But I felt like this was the right thing to do, and I don't regret my decision this morning either.

The lesson here? Sometimes you just have to suck on it and like it..or if that's too sexually charged for you, sometimes you have to take one for the team. That's a lesson that Carmelo Anthony did NOT learn last night but that's a whole other story..

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Springing forward and falling back
My cornrow-less son looking pitiful but like a lighter version of his father

I promise I won't keep mentioning my son and hair issues...

Yesterday morning around 6am or so, my son started to undo his braids because he felt like on that particular day he wanted the afro look. He was cutting it close because his bus arrived at 7am, and his mother warned him about how close he was cutting it but my son assured his mother that everything would be just fine. When he finally walked out of the door to catch the bus, he had unbraided all but two braids, but assured his mother everything would be fine (no way in hell would that have been acceptable under my administration).

My son walked out of house, waited for the bus, and tried to remove those last two braids, but they just would not budge. My son ran back home to ask his mother for help, and she gladly helped him out, but she said if he missed the bus there would be hell to pay. My son and his freshly removed two braids ran back outside and saw the bus passing him by like the Pharcyde, and he took that long walk of shame back in the house to give his mother the bad news.

His mother didn't get mad at all, she just calmly gave him a ride to school, and then told him that the hair was coming off that night because he basically had chosen his precious hair over the school bus. She said my son was emotionless. She called me after she dropped him off, and I'll admit I had mixed feelings. I was glad the hair was coming off, but I was upset that the agreement my son and I had signed off on was now void..kind of. I still expect the good grades, but now I have to come up with new incentives, which is kind of sad when you think about it..good grades should not have incentives tied to them..I digress.

I told my son's mother to have him call me before any hair was removed and he did. I basically told him that if he were in the right, I could have possibly saved him from his fate. But I told him what he did earlier that day was dead wrong, and now he would have to man up and take his punishment. Then I heard sniffles and whimpers, and I realized he was crying, which is absolutely the wrong thing to do with me over the phone. I ignored his crying, I finished my speech and I asked him why he was crying, and he said that he really wanted to keep his braids. I reminded him that a man who wants to keep his braids doesn't undo them an hour before school, and he agreed. I also told him that crying was fine, but learning his lesson and acting with some damn sense was more important. He finally stopped crying, I told him to call me later if he needed to, and we got off the phone.

20 minutes later his mother called me saying my son lost his temper, she had to (try to) spank him, and they were at some kind of standoff. She said it was time for him to come live with me (a statement she rescinded towards the end of the conversation, but she's absolutely right) and that I needed to talk to him. Because my talk would involved loud talking and choice words I said I'd call when I left work, but I wasn't able to reach my son (or his mother for that matter) yesterday evening. I'm hoping that means that a short-term resolution was reached. But I'm 100% sure that hair was cut off..his mother was pissed

But I'm betting good money that when my son starts high school in September, he'll be catching the bus from my house not his mother's...Thanks for humoring me on this.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My latest article on former Georgetown Hoya and current Boston Celtic, Jeff Green
So last Friday while my son was en route to Washington DC by train, he gave me a call. He wanted to let me know that his train was running late, and he would not be in until 10pm, instead of the scheduled 8:58 time (he actually ended up getting in around 11pm instead). I called his mother to let her know this, and during that conversation she all but foiled my plans to cut his hair.

She said that I better not cut his hair, because her and my son had agreed that he was old enough to determine his own hairstyle and I had no right to just come and do what I wanted just because I didn't like it. Mind you, I had not even mentioned that I was going to cut his hair yet, but she knows I think cornrows are the cousin of death, so I suppose she had to preemptively cut me pun intended. I tried to explain my case, but then I just shut up. If my son lived with me full-time and then he went to stay with his mother for a weekend and she tried to switch something up, I would absolutely hit the roof. But I did tell his mother that if my son's grades did not improve, I would overrule her little bullshit agreement, and she agreed that was fair.

So the next morning after my son was rested from his long night of Amtrak travelling, we had a talk. First I got in his ass for not reading during his spring break the way I had asked him to. Actually I almost cut his hair off because of that alone, but I relaxed. Then I laid out an agreement by which he could keep his hair and he had to sign off on it. I told him that by the next time I see him (which will be April 29th) for the Penn Relays, he had to have all A's and B's except for Math, where I told him a high C would suffice for now. His teacher told me that even with a C, my son has the highest Math grade, and that the kids are struggling to lead Algebra (which is an indictment of the teacher if you ask me, but nobody did). My son actually did have a short-lived low B at one point, but he lost it quickly. I digress.

I told my son if he did not have the grades I wanted by April 29th, I'd cut his hair off, and he'd be going to the Penn Relays with a low cut. He agreed. I then told him that next test would be at the end of the school year, and if his grades weren't what I wanted, I'd cut his hair, and again he agreed. And finally I told him that regardless of what his grades were, by the time he starts big bad high school in August of this year, that hair is coming off, because it would be time to grow up and begin that official march to college.. Again he agreed, we shook on it, I wrote it up, and he will sign off on it electronically this week which means its a binding contract. I told his mother about it, and she's on board.

Best case scenario for me? He gets off to a painfully slow start during this last quarter, and he has straight C's by April 29th. Then I cut that bullshit out of his hair, we have a beautiful time watching track and field at the Penn Relays, and then he goes back to school with renewed focus, and he gets straight A's until the school year is over. That is a little something I like to call a win-win.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

So I lost my wedding ring on Saturday...

I had it when I woke up, I had it when I was in the barbershop and I had it when my son and I left the house to try to play miniature golf and then headed to Dave&Busters. But I think while my son and I were playing competitive basketball at D&B, my ring fell off, and I didn't even notice. Somebody told me a few months back that I should remove my ring if I ever played basketball, but I thought I was ok, since I only took a few (about 30) shots. I was wrong...and yes I made more shots than my son.

I left D&B, drove home, watched the Masters with my son, walked to two stores and ran errands and then I realized my ring was gone. It was not in the two stores I visited, and when I called D&B, they could not locate it either. I did the adult thing and told my wife right away, and she was remarkably understanding about it all (she's made a few jokes, but nothing mean), but I still feel bad. I haven't even had that thing for five months and already its gone. Luckily for me, I didn't want an extravagant ring anyway, so it won't cost too much to replace. Still, it was embarrassing, and I cannot let this happen again.

Back to miniature golf..I looked this place up on the Internet, I got directions, I got the phone number, and I drove all the way out there, and the place was gone. It had been torn down and replaced with an under construction parking garage. My son looked at me like I was crazy, while I tried to explain that it used to be there. I even showed him the site, the pictures, the phone number and everything on my phone, so the he would know that his father wasn't a mental patient, but that's exactly what he thought. So for all the people who work at White Flint Golf Park in Rockville, Maryland, and read my blog, I'd like to say f**k you for making me look bad in front of my son. And double f**k you for denying me a chance to play miniature golf.

And finally, I watched some folks play the Michael Jackson Experience on Wii, and I fell in love with it. Now I have to buy a Wii, the MJ game, and the Tiger Woods Masters game. So if anyone knows of any sweet deals, please holler at me. I know I'm late getting in on all this, but hey..I'm old(er), cut me some slack.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

My latest article

My son's mother allowed my him to get his hair braided yesterday, and my son sent me a picture, because he continues to seek my approval. I asked him how much it was, he told me $30. I asked him if he liked it, and he said yes but it hurt a bit. I told him I was happy that he liked it, and then there was a pause, and then I told him I had to go because I was in the middle of a Wizards game.

I suppose I could have lied and told him I liked it, but I'm not in the business of lying to my son. He's had 9 months to grow his hair, braid it, twist and do whatever the f**k he wanted to do, and I hope he enjoyed it. This past Sunday I warned my barber that I'd be bringing my son in with a full head of hair, and it was all coming off, and I'm sticking to it this weekend. I'm even giving his mother $40 (I'm assuming she tipped the braider) so she won't bitch and moan about money lost. Enough is enough..he is more than welcome to revisit this sham of a hairdo when he's a senior in high school, and he's gotten into college. I like short hair, I can dig locs, bald heads and even well-kept afros. Cornrows? Hell no.

End of rant.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I would like to spend a special heartfelt shoutout to my main man jazzbrew for saving the day. Last week I attended the Branford Marsalis/Terence Blanchard concert, and although I had a great time, I was a little disappointed that I never got to see them do a song or two together. They helped compose the score of Mo' Better Blues, and I'm sure they had played together in other venues, why couldn't they do it at the Kennedy Center when I was in attendance.

Then yesterday jazzbrew sends me a review from the LA Times. Branford and Terence performed a show out there, and they actually did do two songs together, which made me even angrier that they shortchanged me in DC. Then jazzbrew told me about a cd that came out in 2009 that features Branford, Terence, the great bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts (aka the drummer from Bleek's band in Mo Better Blues). The cd is called Watts, Jeff Tain Watts composed all the songs, and I am listening to it right now and it is great. I highly recommend it to both jazz and non-jazz lovers.

Monday, April 04, 2011

First off, please read my article about the Cleveland Cavaliers

Ok now..I'm walking into work with my headphones on listening to Rakim tell me about his melody, when I feel something bump up against my ankle region. I look back and I don't immediately see anything, and I look down, and there's a medium-sized dog sniffing around my ankles. The owner of the dog has his headphones on, and he has one of those leashes stretch as far as the dog runs, but never detach. I continue to look forward thinking this is an isolated incident.

The second time it happened, I simply moved over on the sidewalk, hoping that dumb dog and his dumber owner would get the point and a) walk by me or b) at least walk along side me so the dog would quit sniffing my ankles and putting his wet-ass nose on me. I know that sounds like I'm being a baby, but come on..he's got to control his dog. The third time, the dog actually bumped into me hard enough to make me stumble a bit, and this point I stopped, waiting until the owner came up to me, and we had a little chat.

Me: Hey man
Him (removing his headphones): What's going on man?
Me: You know your dog keeps bumping against me right?
Him: Man I'm jamming here, I didn't even see, I'm so sorry man.
**then he pulls his dog closer and starts petting and talking jibbberish to it**
Me: Its cool, I just didn't know if you knew or you just didn't care or what
Him: My fault man, its cool
Me: Alright take care
Him: You too bro

So I continue to walk, and the owner and the dog continue to walk behind me, and about thirty seconds after we had the conversation that I thought had cleared the air, this dog runs right into my left leg again, causing me to stumble a bit. I look back and the owner is laughing and says, "I did that one on purpose man, I'm just messing with you." I look right at him without laughing and say, "Would you think it was funny if I kicked the sh*t out of your dog?". He stopped laughing, repeated that he was simply kidding, and he walked off in another direction. I didn't say another word.

Now, my track record as a good Christian brother is well-documented on this blog, so I think I handled this relatively well. You just don't joke around like that when a)its not even 8am b)Your dirty ass dog already ran up against me three times when you were none the wiser and c)you don't know me like that. But I've been wrong way more times than I've been right, so I figured I run this by my five readers and get a feel for what you would have done, and whether I'm right or wrong.

Friday, April 01, 2011

I would like to take some time to show some sincere gratitude to the editors at ESPN, my editor Kyle at Truth About It, and Ryan, my former editor at Hoops Addict. They have this magical way of being able to coax another line, another paragraph, more description and more passion out of you, just when you thought you had reached your own writing limitations. They don't tell you exactly what to write, but they drop a few choice words that almost throw down the gauntlet and say, "Look I know you THOUGHT what you wrote was the sh*t, but if you did this, this and that, it would be even better, and I know you're fully capable of doing it, so just do it".

For example, I wrote two articles yesterday, the second of which was finished around 11pm or so. I was tired, hungry, and I wanted to watch the Lakers game and spend some time with my wife--in that order too. I submitted my article and got ready to sit my ass down and relax, but my main man Kyle sent this message back to me:

Very nice stuff Rashad. I would, however, like for you to tell a bit of what happened on the court. Set the scene, describe how you observed LeBron and Wade to be carrying themselves ... I know you have that good ability to analyze people in this regard. I'm going to go edit some good pictures to go with, let me know what you think. Thank you sir.

Now my first impulse was to gift wrap at GFY, and send it right back to his ass via email. The I calmed down and re-read his email, then I re-read what I had written, and I realized he was 100% right. My story had a fever, and the prescription was more words, more description, and yes, more cowbell. I took about 10-15 minutes and wrote a few more paragraphs, and resubmitted my article--and it was to Kyle's satisfaction. Win-Win. So I thank you Kyle and everyone like you who has helped me grow (pause).

Now that article was about Dwyane Wade's backhanded compliments towards the Wizards, and you can read that right here. The earlier in the day I wrote an article about how the movie Star Wars compared to the Wizards/Heat game the other night, and that can be found right here. And finally the ESPN piece I contributed to, is right here. I want you to read them, but you don't give a good goddamn, please forward them on to your basketball friends.

And finally I'm going to post a video that's funny to me..I hope no one gets offended: