Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I just read an insanely long Facebook post by my good friend Janelle, and I commented that she should consider putting those thoughts in a blog. Then I realized, hey I have a blog too, and I've neglected it like D'Angelo did his fans until two weeks ago. So on this the final day of 2014, I won't attempt to make any grand proclamations about the resuscitation of this blog. I also won't attempt to write any New Year's resolutions or 2014 in review posts. For now, I'm just going to talk.

I bought the aforementioned D'Angelo album/cd/download a couple of weeks ago, and I enjoy it immensely. I won't declare him as the second coming of Prince, and I won't let his 15 year absence cause me to inflate the importance or quality of this album. But what I DO appreciate is his attention to detail on this album. Once you sift through his mumbled vocals, you can hear deep lyrics, funky baselines, chord changes, orchestral arrangements, etc. Most R&B singers shun live instruments, and just put out a packaged, artificial product. D'Angelo, god bless his hesitant-to-pull-the-trigger soul, took his sweet time and it was worth the wait. Go buy the album.

Happy New Year everyone. Listen to this song, reflect on the past and upcoming years, drink responsibly, and most importantly, get laid.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Earlier in the summer, I stated that I wanted to ride cross-country with my son as a father-son team building exercise. I ran the idea by my son, and he complained that the drive was a bit too long, and he really wasn't interested (aka, it would keep me away from my girlfriend much too long for my liking). Luckily for me, I had a plan B in my pocket, and I proposed to my son that he and I should run the 5k race to prevent cancer. I did the race in 2013, and I thought my son would enjoy it, since he's an avid runner. To sweeten the deal, I told him his girlfriend could run too, and he agreed in a heartbeat.

Not only was this race important because I could spend time with my son and his girl, but cancer prevention is something that remains important to me. My father had a brief bout with prostate cancer, and I had a bit of a brain cancer scare myself last summer, so I am conscious of how important cancer prevention will be for the rest of my life. Granted, I'm not the only one in the world who shares that sentiment, but before those two factors affected my life, I can't say cancer was at the forefront or even the back of my mind. Plus, my son's grandfather (on his mother's side) was just diagnosed with cancer, so I know the disease was floating around in his mind as well. Everything about our participation in this event felt right, and the morning of the event, the perfect weather (60 degrees and sunny) pretty much confirmed that statement.

My goal was to finish under 30 minutes and to defeat my son (17 and an avid runner) and his girl (16 and a member of the track team). I ran the 5k in 25 minutes, and I defeated the both of them by 5 minutes..I did not let them forget that for a good hour after the race. But in the same token as John Thompson says, we laughed, we talked, we ate a healthy post-race meal, we got post-race blood pressure readings, and it was just an overall fulfilling time. I continue to be a proud dad.

Speaking of fathers..Common's dad, Lonnie Lynn (aka Pops) recently passed away. He didn't know me, and I didn't know him, but I did appreciate the appearances he made on his son's recordings. One particular recording--the one I attached below--is especially important to me. The song is called Fatherhood, and I played it in August of 1997 when my son Carlton was born, and I played it again in 2011 when I sent Nyles home. My wife doesn't even like for me to play this song, because it makes me cry every damn time. The words aren't all that moving, although they are poignant, but the thoughts it invokes are powerful to me. My favorite part is at the 2:57 mark:

"You've been a teacher to me, like I have supposed to have been a teacher to you. A lot of people think that parenting and raising a child is a one way street, but you taught me continuous, numerous lessons...and I love you my son"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I have no problem admitting that my wife is much better at dressing my son than I am. She factors in the morning and afternoon temps, she knows exactly what does and does not fit, she's in tune with what my son likes to wear, and her shoe selection is always perfect. It takes a bit of work to nail all of those seemingly minor details, and send Nyles to school looking like a champ, but my wife pulls it off each and every day. I tend to just grab what I want him to wear (aka what I would wear), and I could give a damn about the weather or Nyles' comfort, and I just basically impose my will on him. Sometimes it works, most times it does not.

When it doesn't work, my wife unapologetically (and discreetly) removes my (un)carefully crafted outfit, instantly comes up with something that's infinitely better than what I've chosen, and sends my son to school looking like a champ. And then to add insult to injury, she will make fun of my outfit through fake-ass, sarcastic conversations with my son:

"Let's see what Dad put on you in today?"
"Oh, I see Dad picked out your little outfit today"
"Now what do we have here? Dad has you wearing pants and it is 98 degrees today, how special is that?"

Yesterday I put my head down, powered through, and decided to come up with an outfit that she could not jump in and replace. The temperature was tricky yesterday (cold in the morning, mild, but not hot in the afternoon) so I knew had more options and more leeway to f**k or luck up--and I"m happy to say the latter happened. I picked out a long-sleeved shirt that was relatively thin, and I picked out khaki shorts just in case the weather warmed up. When the morning forecast turned out to be a bit colder than I thought, I replaced the khaki shorts with khaki pants which really set the outfit off. When my wife saw the outfit Nyles had on, she could not help but notice how handsome he looked. I know I shouldn't blow my own horn, but after nearly three years of trying to pick out bullshit outfits for this little monster, I'm happy to have finally nailed it.

On top of that miracle, my son has recently decided to start wearing his Despicable Me backpack. He loves the movie and all the characters in it, so my wife bought him the matching backpack. Instead of gleefully wearing it to daycare every day, my son would throw a tantrum if either one of us tried to put it on, and he insisted that we wear it, even though the backpack is clearly made for people three feet tall and shorter. So when I leave to drop my son off at daycare, I have to carry my bag and his backpack. Not cool.

But yesterday, on top of wearing an outfit I picked for him, he finally wore the backpack. The daycare staff attributed this to the other kids in his class who have miraculously decided to start wearing their backpacks, but I choose to attribute his change of heart to the outfit. Of course that theory when out the window this morning when my wife picked out his outfit, and he still wore the backpack. My wife is probably reading this and saying to herself, "It is not a contest Rashad!" But it SO is, and I'm losing big time.

Here's the visual evidence of our son's outfit/backpack combo:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Since I had to stay home from work due to this cold kicking my entire ass, I decided to give my father a call. We talked about the Mayweather fight, the NFL, the Atlanta Hawks, and even DC politics. But we spent most of the time discussing Adrian Peterson, and the trouble he's gotten into after beating his 4-year old son.

My father spanked me (and my brother to a much less extent) from the age of 5 until 12. He primarily did his damage with the belt, although he was equally skilled with the palm of his hand on my naked flesh. I was a sneaky child, and my father felt like words at that stage of my life weren't nearly as effective as a good, old fashioned ass-whipping. Most times I was just sore as hell, but there were many times when I went to school, soccer and basketball practice with visible marks on my legs and arms. I had no problems telling people my father had spanked me, but in those days, people just looked at me like "What the hell did you do?" rather than, "Call the police on your dad".

Once I was 13 or so, my dad abandoned the belt and most physical intimidation (I still got in the chest via his fist from time to time), and he switched to mental warfare, which was way more effective. He didn't have to beat me, he would just stand real close to me, or mildly hint around hitting, which made me want to get my shit together. In his mind, the early ass whippings laid the ground for the mental domination in my teenage years--right up until I went to college.

I asked my father today to reflect on both the Adrian Peterson situation and the way he used to beat me, and he was in full mea culpa mode, which caught me a bit off guard. He said he regretted hitting us as much as he did, and acknowledged that distance from that style of parenting has taught him ways he could have been smarter. He also said that his parents used to beat him relentlessly with switches, belts, extension cords and their hands. And considering he had me at 25 years old, he simply did not have time to re-evaluate that style of parenting, so he just repeated what his parents had done with him. He absolutely understood why Adrian Peterson did what he did, but my dad did not condone that level of beating for a 4 year old. He also admitted that what he did to me in the early 80s simply does not cut it in 2014. My ass, arms and legs appreciated this 30 years late apology.

I didn't have my 17-year old son with me on a daily basis, so I didn't have to dole out too many ass whippings. I have popped my two-year old on his butt and hands, but it is never done hard or with bad intentions. It startles him and he magically starts to listen, which is all I'm really trying to accomplish. I hope my wife and I keep each other in check so we never go overboard the way Peterson did, but that can be a tall task since as my father says, "Children test your patience and grind your nerves". So far so good though.

Happy birthday to me mother-in-law, who sent me this link to celebrate the life of Joe Sample:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My friend Oni sent me a message via facebook the other day, and asked me why I had not commented on the events of last week (Ray Rice, the Atlanta Hawks fiasco and Adrian Peterson). I explained to her that between work, being a father and being a husband, I really had not devoted any time to sitting down and stringing together some thoughtful words about what has transpired the past seven days. Even right now, I have an hour's worth of free time to myself since my wife and my son are at the playground. I spent part of that time cleaning the house, part taking a shower and trying to get this flu out of me, and the last part watching football (of course). I decided that the remaining free time I have alone, would be devoted to writing.

The Ray Rice situation really is not one that leaves much for interpretation. Everyone knew that he hit her back in February, just like everyone knew that Donald Sterling was a racist the past 30 years. But TMZ leaked video and audio of Rice and Sterling respectively, and it changed the proverbial game. Folks who had turned a blind eye, were forced to make knee-jerk, yet forceful reactions. Folks who were in the dark, were outraged and jumped on their high horses. Agenda-based folks had (and continue to have) enough ammunition to last the next few weeks. But it should have never come to that, especially with the Ray Rice situation.

Each and every season, NFL players--whether it is in the offseason or during the regular season--get suspended for domestic abuse against their wives, girlfriend, and exes. And each and every time, the NFL basically slaps them on the wrist, so they can get back on the field as soon as possible. In fact, the only way the NFL keeps players off the field for any sustained period of time is for drug use. Domestic violence gets treated as a minor inconvenience. This recent Ray Rice situation will be to the NFL what 9/11 was (and still is) to this country. It'll force the NFL to review all of their processes, and it will probably cause someone (not Roger Goodell who is a made man thanks to the NFL owners who empower him) to lose their job. So if there is any good to be had out of this, it will the changes that the NFL has been forced to make.

But Ray Rice and his wife still need individual and collective counseling to get through this rough time. It isn't for me to say whether they should stay together or not, but you can't endure what they've endured, and just think it'll pass, because it won't without some work. I've gotten into fights with girlfriends and my wife, and I've said some nasty things, I've hit walls, I've yelled at close proximity and I've even grabbed out of anger, but I've never hit a woman. Have I wanted to? Hell yes, just like I'm sure my wife has wanted to hit me, but it isn't worth taking that extra, foolish step, because it changes everything. But once you cross that line like Ray Rice did, you have to pay the price, and he is.

I'm also quite sure that the NFL thought this story would go away, which is why they ignored the tape, and gave Rice a b.s. two-game suspension initially. But this isn't issue isn't going away any time soon, just like the concussion issue, the drug issue and the other problems the NFL is facing these days.

I'm rambling and I'm rusty, so forgive me. I'll tackle the issues of the world tomorrow, when I'm healthier.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

As I got ready to start writing this entry, I realized that July 20th marked the 8th anniversary of the creation of this blog. Not to be to self-congratulatory, but I never thought I'd continue this blog for this long. I thought I would either run out of things to say, or get the type of job that would cause me to delete this blog for my own safety. Neither has happened and here I am about to start yet another entry.

Swimming was one thing that I could not do when I started writing this blog. I had a traumatic experience when I was 5, and I chose to avoid all things swimming until five years ago. My main Sabin learned to swim, and I decided to do the same, and now I'm able to swim one to two miles as part of my morning workout.

The scary part of not knowing how to swim was when my oldest son Carlton and I would go to the pool. He learned how to swim at age 3, and by age 10 he was diving and swimming in 12-feet deep water. I was terrified because if at any point he lost control or started to drown, I'd have to rely on the lifeguard or someone who could swim, because I couldn't do jack shit. Luckily, he never got into any trouble.

Today, my youngest son Nyles and the rest of my family, attended a cookout, and there was a pool in the backyard. I got in the pool, and I was able to guide Nyles in the water so he could begin to get comfortable with being in the water. He clutched me for dear life, and he did a little bit of crying, but he enjoyed his time in the water. More importantly, it felt good to be leading my son toward being more confident in the water at a young age. That's a little something we call, bringing things full circle. Again, this is probably not a big deal to anyone but me, but that's how it should be I suppose.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

This morning after my five-mile run, I was in the midst of doing my customary cool down walk-stretch combination, when I noticed a white woman walking towards me. She had her earphones in, but I noticed that once she saw me, she pulled her iPod out, turned the volume down, and took one ear bud out--something I also do when someone is coming towards me or when I notice someone behind me (keep in mind it was 5:15 am). Once we walked by one another, she said, "Good morning", and I returned the favor. Harmless enough right? No

I didn't simply say good morning my friends, but I summoned the most proper good morning greeting I could muster (think Geoffrey Holder meets Dennis Haysbert). I felt it was necessary to let this woman know that I was just a regular, proper-speaking black man who was out for a morning jog, and not an improper speaking thug looking to harass her at 5am. Never mind that at that very moment I walked by her, a very defiant and profane song by Brand Nubian, entitled "Lick Dem Muthafuckas" was playing in my headphones, and after a five-mile run I was feeling anything but pleasant and cordial. Yet, in an effort to be disarming and pleasant, I ignored my first inclination to be "normal", and chose the safe route.

On one hand, I feel I like did what has been very normal and comfortable for me for the longest time. Since elementary school, I've been in situations where there were less than five percent black folks, which meant I took it upon myself--either at the urging of my parents or some type of internal instinct--to carry myself in a certain way, so that I could show the majority (white folks) how the other half lived (that's some painful shit to type in 2014). On the other hand, given that I am damn near 40 and grown (but not sexy), I know good and goddamn well that I should not be dancing that dance for some woman I don't even know. If she was scared as I approached her, that shouldn't have been my problem and I shouldn't have bent over backwards to make her feel comfortable, by acting in a way that made me feel the exact opposite. I know we all wear the mask and shit, but damn..I took it too far, and I still feel like a sellout.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Some holiday observations..:

A co-worker of mine handed me a flyer yesterday, and the contents of said flyer indicated that a) There was a birthday party on 7/12 and b) It was an all-white (attire, not race) affair. I thanked the young lady for the flyer, and then promptly placed it my work satchel. That flyer has since been tossed in the trash.

By no means am I a snob, and I don't think I am better than anyone for the most part, but as I approach 40, there are certain things I simply have no interest in doing. One, I haven't gone to a party which requires an invitation via flyer since college. Back then, there was no Internet. so party promoters had to catch students outside the cafeteria, the book store or a sporting event, so that everyone knew the details of the party later that night. These days, I just want to be told verbally, via text or via email. The flyer aspect of the transaction just makes it juvenile. Again, I am well-aware that I could possibly be using flawed logic here. It is neither the first nor the last time that has happened.

Second, I am NOT a fan of the all-white party phenomenon. I call myself a responsible adult, but the stark reality is that I am as sloppy and clumsy as my 2-year old son. If I'm dressed in all white, and then I decide to do my usual and drink red wine, I am basically a time bomb waiting to go off. One trip, one moment of losing balance, and I have red wine on my all white and I will either have to leave, or play it off (not a real option).

Furthermore, the current state of my closet, doesn't even allow me to attend a white party. I have white shirts for days, but I do NOT own white pants, white shoes or a white belt. That means I'd have to go shopping--which in Rashad-speak means I'd send my wife to the store--to get clothing items I would never, ever wear again. And this would all be in the name of attending a co-worker's birthday part? Negro please.

On another note, please read my latest article right here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The laptop I am currently blogging on was purchased in March of 2007, and I took the time with this entry right here, to write and celebrate about that glorious occasion. Two months after that, my laptop was the only possession of mine to survive a fire that ravaged my apartment. I decided to use the survival of my laptop as motivation, and I kicked off my writing career, by writing about basketball games for Hoops Addict, and eventually landing at ESPN True Hoop, via Truth About It, where I currently write (I haven't written jack shit in a month though).

Even when the basketball writing career kicked off, I somehow managed to keep blogging and writing, and the end of July will mark eight years of me writing about my life in some shape, form or fashion. I've attempted to kill this blog many times, and yet here it is. Unfortunately, this laptop will not last much longer.

To say my laptop is moving slow these days is an understatement of epic proportions. Some nights, when I'm trying to write, my screen will freeze for 20-30 minutes at a time, making it damn near impossible to establish any type of writing rhythm. Other nights, my itunes will freeze mid-update, the porn i'm trying to watch will stop way before the money shot(s), and I want to throw my laptop through the window like Mookie protesting Radio Raheem's death. I have a netbook, but that's tiny, and my wife bought me that for game days only, not full-time use. But even the netbook is a tad outdated in terms of what I can do, so a real life-sized laptop is needed, instead of this seven-year old Dell I've been rolling with all this time.

My new laptop should be arriving later this week, which means I then have to begin the task of transferring music, pictures, files and porn to the new machine. Eventually I will scrub the old laptop of any residual incriminating evidence, and bid it adieu. It has served me well the last several years, and it survived that devastating fire, but it is time to let that shit go, and start anew. I won't I put the final period on this blog entry, I shall do just that.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lots has happened in my world and beyond, since my ambitious desire to blog every day this month fell woefully short after six days. The first and most important event which went down was the downfall of the Miami Heat at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. Not only did I revel in the pain that LeBron James and his teammates must have felt (I'm not a fan of anyone on that team except for Shane Battier), but my 16-year old son was right here in my living room with me when it all went down. He's a big Heat fan, and I was tickled pink as he writhed on the couch in frustration as the Spurs methodically took apart King James and his much ballyhooed cohorts.

Speaking of my son Carlton, he is in Arizona until August, at which point, I will fly across the country solo, and then he and I will drive from Arizona to Hampton, VA. I got the idea from the late, great Ralph Wiley, who died 10 years ago. Ralph drove from Maryland to California with this then-22 year old son Cole, who had an internship with Johnnie Cochran (lots of name dropping going on here). Cole and Ralph had always been close but driving cross-country just brought them closer. Ralph got back from his trip on a Thursday, and died on a Sunday, which means that drive was the last memory father and son had together. Now I certainly don't plan on kicking the bucket before, during or after this drive, but I definitely want to spend some quality cross-country drive time with my son, as he prepares to enter his senior year of high school. Circumstances have prevented us from spending every day together, but I feel like this will be a good exercise in truly getting to know one another on a much more personal level. I could be wrong, but it is certainly a gamble worth taking.

And last and certainly not least, my doctor of nearly 20 years, Dr. Charles Franklin, died a couple weeks ago of an unnamed illness. I knew he was sick, because when I had my brain cancer scare last year, I called his office to get a referral, and they mentioned he ha abruptly retired due to health issues. Still, it does a little something to you when the man whose job it is keep you up and running, just dies at the relatively young age of 68. He was a good man who was devoted to preventing trips to the doctor, rather than just being reactionary like most doctors are. He will be missed.

Friday, June 06, 2014

A Tale of Two Injuries

I won't pile on LeBron James and the leg cramp which prematurely ended his night on Thursday against the Spurs. I have gotten calf cramps before, and it is no joke. But I will post two videos. One is Kobe limping off the court under his own power after a torn Achilles, and the other is James being carried off due to a cramp. You form your own opinion(s):

Thursday, June 05, 2014

If you can find time in your busy schedule to actually pull away from my blog, please go read Janelle's new blog which can be found here. Much like me, life has gotten the best of her over the past year or so, so she's been on an extended hiatus, but now she's back to dazzle you with her prose.

Also, while you're in the mood to learn new things, please listen to my wife and her friend Antonella, as they wax poetic about "The Bachelorette". I'm not really a fan of the show, and I often make fun of her for liking such an asinine show, but she likes to watch it, and more importantly she likes to poke fun at it via her podcast, so click here.

So after years of shunning the joys that technology can bring, my father, who now lives in balmy Arizona, has finally caught up to the rest of civilization. He has an iPad with a keyboard, an iPhone and a kindle (something i refuse to sellout and buy, out of loyalty to the endangered species we call books). The upside to his decision to be current is that he can now talk to me an his grandson via Skype, which narrows the cross country distance between us. I can also send him interesting links to articles, and he can now click on them, as opposed to faking it. The downside? The NPR app.

My father loves the NPR app 100 times more than the rest of the apps on his phone and iPad, and how do I know this you may ask? Each and every article he reads, he sends to me my gmail as a recommended article I should read. Some of the articles I truly care about like D'Angelo's interview with Nelson George or Kelis' new cd . It isn't so much that I don't care about the others he sends to me about jazz, books, African-American culture and American history, because I definitely appreciated the depths of his knowledge (I wrote that sentence in case he stumbles on this blog), but the number of articles he sends to me on a daily basis is overwhelming. Sometimes he sends 10 articles in an hour like some sort of machine.

This past Sunday I called my dad via Skype so he could talk to young Nyles and me, and he seemed disinterested and distracted, so I cut the conversation short. Not even two minutes after we got off the phone, he peppered my gmail inbox with 5 NPR-recommended articles for me to read. In fairness to my dad, he just texted me (its 9:02pm and the Heat/Spurs game is getting ready to start) and asked me whether I was rooting for the Spurs or Heat, and I said the Spurs. He's still cool, he's just out-of-control. There are worse problems to have involving a parent, so let me stop complaining, and go watch this basketball.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

I went back to work today, and it kicked my ass, so I don't have a whole lot to say today. This article is funny though, so read it if you get a chance.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Doing It At The Park

Nyles' fever finally subsided a bit, but it was still too soon to take him back to daycare, so we ventured out to the park. When I go to the park on the weekend, there are usually mommies and daddies standing around half-watching their kids, and half-playing around on their cellphones. It is a chaotic scene for the most part, although my wife likes to scour the park looking for a fellow parent to befriend so they can go back and forth about the rigors of parenthood (she's yet to find a friend, except for once when she thought she found a friend, and then realized she had written this woman's number down incorrectly. She's never seen that woman again, although she feverishly looks for this phantom woman every time we re-visit the park. I digress..)

The weekday scene at the park was quite different as you can imagine. There were two fathers (present company excluded) who were either stay-at-home dads or on vacation, but they mainly talked to each other, while carrying their infants in a pouch. There were two mothers sitting on a bench near me talking about the advantages and disadvantages of shaving their pubic hair (totally park-appropriate conversation by the way), and the rest of the 20 women at this park were clearly nannies. If I had to do a Harold Lederman-type breakdown on the racial demographics they would look like this: 50% African, 40% Hispanic, 10% Russian. They all sat in a group talking about various topics (they did NOT discuss pubic hair), and they all managed to keep a watchful on the kids that weren't theirs. It was an amazing display of racial harmony among with the women, and they even watched out for Nyles the few times (ok 100 times) he tried to take toys or balls away from the other children.

On several occasions, I caught the nannies trying to make eye contact with me, so they could engage in b.s. conversation (how old is your son? where does he go to school? When's his birthday? Is that a cyst on the back of his head? Do you live around here?), and I did a masterful job at evading each and every one of their advances. My wife and I are a team..she does the talking, I do the mean mugging from afar, and any attempts at switching the roles will fall flat. I suppose I should have stepped up and sat in the chatty chair for once, but I opted to stick with the mean mugging, while peppering in some fake discipline of Nyles when all my other tactics to run away failed. It was quite an operation I had going.

Thankfully, Nyles seems to be healthy, so he can go back to school tomorrow. Me on the other hand? I've been feeling like I have to vomit for 4 hours now, so I may be home alone.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Put It In Your Mouth...Hand and Feet

My son's daycare informed my wife and I that some kid in his class contracted a virus, which is called the, "Hand, Mouth and Foot Virus". This explains why my son has been clingy, vomiting and dealing with a fever that has hovered around 102 degrees. I had to stay home with him today, and he ran me ragged. In a span of 90 minutes, he wanted to color, watch Finding Nemo and Toy Story, go outside (that wasn't happening with a fever) and most importantly eat yogurt (which I cleverly laced with medicine to bring down the fever). When nap time rolled around, both of us were worn out, which is great, but when he woke up we had to go to the dreaded doctor's office.

I don't know if you people have noticed this, but doctor's offices have become increasingly impersonal and much less mom-and-pop-ish. I made a walk-in appointment earlier in the day, but by the time I got to the office it was 3pm, and the office was empty. Nyles begrudgingly allowed the nurse to weigh him and take his temperature and then we proceeded to wait for another 30 fucking minutes before the doctor came in to see us. I don't like waiting for the doctor when it is just me, but imagine how difficult it is to entertain a sick two-year old who had already been poked and prodded in the triage area. I brought up Nemo and Super Grover on my phone, and not even that was enough to distract him.

When the doctor finally came in, she did more poking and prodding and determined that Nyles did not yet have the Hand, Foot and Mouth virus, but we were to monitor him closely, which means I am home tomorrow again. Lucky me. It is tough to see a sick, two year old who vacillates between bouncing off the walls when the meds kick in to hugging me tight like he's being paid to do so. But I suppose this is part of what makes being on Daddy duty so damn fun right?

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Back Again For the __th Time

So right now, my son Nyles is finally napping after putting my wife and I through a special kind of Sunday morning hell. Nyles seems to think that the best and most efficient way to eat food--today it was pancakes--is to stuff each and every piece of food in his mouth at one time. We attempted to mitigate this behavior by taking his plate away from him, and he proceeded to throw temper tantrums and make life difficult. I say all that to say that I am worn out and ideally, I should be napping, but instead I have elected to write some thoughts down.

Since the Wizards' season ended a couple weeks ago, I have steeped in an anti-writing malaise of sorts. I come up with great ideas, I map them out, and then when it comes time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), something happens and I come up with any and every reason to NOT to do what I should be doing. Like right now for example, I should be writing something on Andre Miller, but instead I have chosen to watch the French Open, while listening to Bobby McFerrin and of course, drafting this here blog.

As a result of this chaotic, disjointed time in my life, I have decided to restore some order, and blog every day this month. I've also decided to both run and/or swim every day this month (starting tomorrow, today I have a touch of the stomach flu that has grounded me as you can imagine). I'm hoping this month-long exercise in discipline will someone ignite that passion that has been missing for a minute. I refuse to believe it is gone, I just think it needs to be resuscitated, and I hope I'm well on my way to making that happen.

Other issues:

1) The New Roots album/cd/tape/record, ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, is awesome. The first time I listened to it, I had no idea what to expect, and I decided that I hated it. There were no clear cut singles, Black Thought seemed to be an accessory instead of the front man, and it seemed a bit too dark for my taste. Then after I let it sit a couple of days, I noticed 4 or 5 songs were stuck in my head, and then I played the entire thing front to back several times, and now my appreciation for the release has grown. This album/cd/tape/record is best appreciated when it is listened to front to back--which only takes 34 minutes. Go buy it.

2) I wrote a long-ass blog about Donald Sterling last month while I was on the train, and then I lost it, and I haven't had the heart to rewrite it. To make a long story short, he's an asshole, he should have been gone, but there are plenty of people in the sports world who knew about Sterling's track recor and didn't make it their business to promote it as much as they promoted their own agenda or their articles. That doesn't make them as bad as Donald Sterling, but it does take the sting out of the outrage they've ratcheted up recently. Sterling should be gone, but we in the sports writing field cannot have tunnel vision when it comes to writing about stories. Sports personalities come in many different shapes and sizes and it is our duty to paint the full picture, not just the easy or palatable ones. There were a few writers who tried to warn everyone about Sterling, but it never produced the groundswell of Sterling-must-go rhetoric that we see now. End of rant.

3) If any of the 3 people who read this blog want to get me an early father's day gift, please get me one of two things: a) World Cup tickets or b)Tickets to this Dave Chappelle/Roots show. Thanks in advance.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

You may not know who David Aldridge is, but you should familiarize yourself with his work via Twitter and He's one of my favorite NBA writers, because his writing his clear, his reporting is thorough, and he's a occasional guest on the Tony Kornheiser show. But please watch this entire clip, and he displays a much more human to this Donald Sterling situation. It is touching...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In case you didn't know or had not heard, the Washington Wizards are in the NBA playoffs, and me and the good folks over at Truth About It, are covering the series extensively, so please visit the site early and often.

Secondly, I love Terence Trent D'Arby, I love his voice, his songwriting, and all that. But damn if Sheryl Crow's version of "Sign Your Name" isn't better than his. It is fine when a man sings it, but Ms. Crow's version has sex appeal (to me anyway). I heard this song randomly in a department store one day and decided that I had to have it on my iPod. Justin Timberlake is on background vocals by the way... Enjoy:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dienda is one of my favorite songs ever, and it was written by the late, great Kenny Kirkland. Kenny, Sting and Branford Marsalis were all in a band together during the eighties. Branford recorded his version of the song with Kenny still living and playing piano, and Sting recorded his after Kenny's death, but both versions are badass.

Sting's version:

Branford's version

Friday, April 11, 2014

I have spoken at length about how arduous and draining parenting can be, and sometimes I don't feel like my words do proper justice to just how difficult it is. But, a few times a week, positive rays of light will shine down upon me (and the wife) as a reminder that parenting is equally frustrating and joyous. I suppose these things balance themselves out for sanity's sake.

Earlier in the week, as I do most mornings, I took my son to daycare, spent 30 minutes trying to help him get his coat off (despite him insisting he could do it alone), kissed him and said goodbye. He's usually the first pre-toddler to arrive, which means he gets to be alone with the toys(and the teacher of course), and he could care less about the daily separation anxiety his father has--quite frankly at his age, he should not give a good goddamn about such things. I walked towards the door, looked at him enjoying his toy extravaganza a little more, and then i proceeded to walk out of the pre-toddler room and towards the exit to my car.

Before I could exit the building, my son left the pre-toddler room, and started sprinting towards me yelling, "Daddyyy!". He kept right on sprinting until he reached my legs, and he hugged me and said, "Bye Daddy", and I picked him up and kissed him and said, "Bye Nyles". Then I put him down, and he sprinted back towards the toys in the pre-toddler room, and went on about his business. The entire exchange lasted about a minute, but it made my entire day. I didn't get emotional and cry as I have been wont to do recently, I just had a big ass smile on my face that lasted all of 45 minutes until my evil co-workers ruined it all. But that brief moment of clarity still resonates with me, so I thought I would share.

As you were...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I spoke in my last entry about being irrationally emotional, and after speaking to my main man jazzbrew, it is clear that trait isn't going anywhere fast. But there also times when I am justifiably emotional due to the magnitude of the moment, and this picture causes that to happen:

This picture doesn't even capture the true emotion of last weekend. When Nyles woke up, he shunned his morning beverage and attention from his parents, and he made a beeline to Carlton's bed so he could call his name and wake up him. Carlton, bless his heart, would be knocked out with cold in his eyes, but he still would wake up just to say hi to Nyles--even if Nyles said hi 456 times in a row in just 30 seconds, Carlton still said hello right back. It warms my heart to see my two sons talking, joking and interacting. Nyles may not understand that Carlton is his older brother, but he seems to know they bond for some reason and he runs with it. Carlton knows that's his little brother, he embraces that role, even though he's 16 years old and knee deep in hormonally-charged emotions.

I put that picture on my facebook page, and jazzbrew wrote, "Me and Baby Brother", which I have mentioned several times in this blog when referencing me and younger brother Jamal. But that song fits the picture perfectly...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I don't know what it is, but being a father magically makes you lose control of our previously stable emotions. I cry at the drop of a hat these days, and if I told you the types of thing that provoke those tears (and I will shortly) you'd think I was a pregnant woman, not a 39-year old father. During the past month, I've shed tears during Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Despicable Me. And I'm not talking the type single tear that falls down the statue of Native American statue, these are real, plentiful tears that usually are reserved for births, deaths and funerals.

Nyles is completely oblivious to this, and my wife has always been emotional, so this is nothing to her. But me? I don't know what happened. I had an awesome cryless streak that extended over a 2-3 year span at one point, and now I'd be lucky to make it through an episode of Sesame Street without reaching for the kleenex. This is yet another aspect of fatherhood that my dad warned me about, and I slept on. Other things that make me emotional:

1) Fathers and sons walking together
2) Old black ladies struggling in the grocery store
3) My grandmother's failing health
4) This song by John Coltrane:

This may seem like a silly reason to blog, but for the 400th time I am refusing to kill this blog dead, and opting to kick start it, by writing a series of short entries. This is SO working.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I remember when I was younger and I would fantasize about being older, having my own place, and just doing the things I wanted to do, as opposed to having terms repeatedly dictated to me. My father would basically pat me on my head and tell me to cherish my youth, because being an adult was difficult and sometimes scary. I remember telling him I wasn't afraid, which brought to mind this scene from Star Wars:

Now I'm allegedly a full-fledged adult, doing adult things, and my father was right as usual. There are some real, live scary aspects to being an adult, and while I won't shy away from tackling any of them, it won't stop me from bitching about them in his nearly-defunct blog of mine. Allow me to itemize them:

1) Marriage. I love my wife, and she loves me, but man is it difficult (not impossible though) sometimes. Carol Burnett said to give birth feels like trying to pull your bottom lip over the remainder of your head. Marriage, at its best feels like unlimited orgasms. But at its worst? It is like pulling your top lip over your head.

2) My two year old son Nyles (pictured below)

I love the little guy with all my heart, but he's hell on wheels when he wants to be, which seems to be all the time. He wakes at 5:30am on the weekends, he touches things he shouldn't touch, he sticks his middle finger up(metaphorically of course) at the concept of potty training, he's obsessed with the movie Toy Story, and he does all these things while looking EXACTLY like me, which is some kind of cruel trick. And I haven't even mentioned his fickle eating habits, which result in my wife and I picking up food from the floor, that spent at least 30 seconds in his mouth. Very classy stuff.

3) My writing. As evidenced by the paucity of recent blog entries, I'm not writing with the amount of frequency as I used to and it bothers me. Also, my Wizards' writing production has fallen off a bit. This hasn't happened because I'm lazy or losing the desire, it just happens because life is taxing, and when I get free time, I want to relax, not write. That being said, read my latest article here.

Ok that's enough with the complaints. Besides, I'm sure other married people (like my wife) could come on here and put my little diatribe to shame. Being an adult is difficult, but that doesn't mean I'm not happy with my life. It just means when I'm not, I can blog about it--hopefully with more frequency.