Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Curry flavor

There's no secret about my affinity for the Curry at Davidson. But another Curry at Liberty.

Seth, the younger brother, was passed over by in an eerily similar way that his brother was passed over. How does this happen twice to siblings? Shouldn't somebody have been on alert?

You would think they'd learn.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Samson who?

Much ado has been made about Carmelo chopping his locks off. He is shooting a career low percentage and putting up a career low in points. Well 'Melo watchers. feast

33. Friggin ridiculous. Absolutely sublime. Artificially real. The Western Conference number two seed, the Nuggets, are proving to be the league's biggest surprise. Who knew that a point guard who many thought was on the decline would make that much of a difference?


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jerry Sloan

J.A. Adande's piece on the best coach to never win a championship. An excellent article on an excellent coach.


Blackbird: Exclusive or Empowering

There was an innovative tool promulgated to the market on Monday called the Blackbird BETA. It is specifically created to be the ultimate primary launching point for all pertinent news African-American.

Blackbird was developed on the simple proposition that we, as the African American community, can make the Internet experience better for ourselves and, in doing so, make it better for everyone. Primarily we believe that the Blackbird application can make it easier to find African American related content on the Internet and to interact with other members of the African American community online by sharing stories, news, comments and videos via Blackbird.

Already, griping about whether the product is too narrow-minded or not has surfaced. Why create another product that only appeals to African-Americans? When can we get out of this box? Who is this site to determine what pertinent black news is shown? What is “black” news anyway?

To that, I offer this: poppycock.

An argument speaking that a product is too insular is an argument devoid of historical and practical context. Jews, Italians, Nigerians and African-Americans in this country have created high-powered organizations that appeal exclusively to their race. Back to the days of Madame Walker, who gave every black woman a reason to get up early Saturday morning (or Thursday evening), onto the Johnson empire that started BET, their creations jump started with a niche crowd. Asians and Italians have both made a fortune in this country with delicacies from their homelands. Nobody would call them narrow-minded for that; that’s smart business.

To assume that “black people should get out of this box and produce something that appeals to the mass market”, not only ignores the low percentage profitability in that (axiom in marketing: he who sells to everybody sells to nobody), but ignores the fact that blacks only comprise 12% of the country. If one looks at societies where there are multiple cultures, the dominant culture always swallows the minority culture. There is no such thing as balanced integration, because that connotes equal mixing and standing. History supports this: if you want to start a business to make money, you’d better find a small hole and drill it like mad.

Who buys most of the rap albums? It’s no secret that the hip-hop industry has been funded by white dollars and support for years. Who owns BET now? Viacom, and no they were not started by people of melanin. What demographic provides BET’s biggest audience? You guessed it. Not African-Americans.

Ebony, Jet, Essence, Clutch, AOL Black Voices, 40 Acres and a Mule, Def Jam, Radio One and others have developed their “place” not through being solely supported by African-Americans, but by people of differing cultures and backgrounds. In fact, their authenticity of depicting their versions of “black culture” is what makes them highly desirable. If I want to find out more about Washington politics, then I would hit up the Washington Post. Why? Because it’s close to the action and it’s proven to be reliable to that facet, back to the findings Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. David Simon, creator of The Wire, said that if you produce something that’s so credible that the insider will stay with you, then the outsider will follow as well.

All of which is why Blackbird is a supportable innovation. It provides a portal to a culture, a demographic, a group that many people are infatuated with, no matter how much they would admit. Whether it remains supportable is dependent on its merit; its ability to provide the services it promises to provide.

If a few black people from say, Bismarck, North Dakota, don’t agree with the “monolithic” view of which they feel that black life is portrayed, then they should build a business model that states otherwise.

Homogenized products are for the birds. I’d take the niche product any day.

No More Hating

Three weeks ago, I made a point of calling out a certain politician about his sour grape tendencies.

Well, it's been dropped.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Brandon Roy

In my Hawks-Knicks game notes for Slam Online, I included a blurb from an advanced NBA scout who speaks glowingly about Brandon Roy:
Talking to advance scout Paul Cormier, I asked him who was the most underrated, fundamentally sound player in the League: “One that comes to mind is a player who people know, but I love his game. He is a stud,” Cormier said, eyes gleaming with genuine fervor. “He plays at his own pace and for a guy who only has been in the league two or three years, he controls the game tempo better than anyone I have ever seen.”

Who is this player? None other than everyone’s darling, Brandon Roy. Henry Abbott would be proud.

Then I come across this article from the ever-cerebral Eric Musselman. This is a must-read for any serious NBA fan.
Thomsen contends that "Roy is the most valuable piece of the league's most promising young team not because of his athletic instincts, but because he has spent his short career taking the time to think things through."

According to Roy:
"I'm always trying to analyze things. I try to see what may work for another player, and see what may work for me. I've always played that way, even in high school. I always thought the game. Sometimes when the athleticism isn't there, having that edge of thinking the game helps me a lot. Especially on nights when my legs aren't there, but I'm thinking, 'If I can just get this move or I can just make this cut...' That's my strength: Maybe not running and jumping, but just thinking the game a little bit."

The most amazing part of this article is that Portland stops to hear Brandon Roy talking to the media. That is the ultimate display of respect.

Let's just say that March 15 is a big day for me as a journalist.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Mad Dog Retires: Beyond The Numbers

Has there ever been a more contradictory nickname for a great player than "Mad Dog"? He was anything but mad on the mound, and he wasn't canine in his appeal. Randy Johnson, yes. John Rocker, Maddux's former teammate? Sure. I'd even bestow that nickname upon Kevin Brown. But Maddux? Fuhgetahboutit.

That nickname in its essence is what makes Maddux so special. He thrived and overpowered hitters in an era of thumpers and velocity throwers. He is like the Haile Sellasse of baseball: overwhelming not through brute force (Napoleon) or physical presence (Maxinimus Thrax) but through intellect, discipline and that inexplicable intangible. You hear and see all the time the pitchers who have successful careers despite physical limitations and lack of velocity. In fact, there's one pitcher on every roster who fits this mold. Maddux didn't just have success; he had unprecedented fluorescence. Like Charles Barkley and his success at his position with his size, you can't explain how this guy was able to do the things he did on the field.

I grew up a diehard Braves fan. When Maddux arrived in Atlanta in 1993, I barely knew much about the guy. Of course I was eight years old at the time but he had spent his playing days prior in the Midwest and neither the internet nor instant informational access was as ubiquitous to a little kid at the time. I also had issues of my own then: my parents got a divorce and my grandfather died that year. I, like many children, used sports as an escape of sorts. The Braves became my haven. Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz formed the best three-man rotation in baseball history (I will not argue about this). They would wreck havoc on the opposing lineups with untethered reign. Everybody knew why Smoltz was dominant: a sickening splitter and an overpowering heater. Glavine lowered batting averages because of an unhittable changeup and superb stubbornness (he never yielded that outside corner). Both pitchers could, in their prime mix in an offspeed with a 92 mph smoker.

What was Maddux's alibi? His fastball clocked in a 89. His pitch location was unteachable (don't care what the Tom Emanskis of the world say, you cannot teach his location skills). His pitches were more moving than a Nicholas Sparks novel. He didn't just induce ground-balls and fly outs. He earned them the hard way as well, ranking 10th on the all-time strikeout list with 3,371. He perfected the efficiency model. It was a running joke among me and my buddies growing up that if Maddux was starting, then you only had to allot two hours of game time. If there was anything that needed to be done, get it done before the game because a quick store run could cost you seven innings. It was great and to me, unfathomable.

It is said that we are always attracted to the things that we don't understand, and figuring out Maddux is something I have yet to do. It is something that I don't think I will do. It is something I don't think I want to do.

Which is why his legacy will never be lost on me.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The price of the bricks went up...

so why is a first grader robbing his fellow students for a dollar?

By the way, that won't be the last time you "hear" me use the title of this post.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

When Class Cutting Goes Wrong

In a strange attempt at humor by the US News and World Reports, a list of the top ten signs of too much class cutting was published today. This provoked much reminiscence. Why? I thought you’d never ask.

It was Economics 2101: Microeconomics. It took place in a huge, auditorium style classroom that left it open for the laggards in the classroom to hold regular-toned conversations in the back of the room and not interrupt the teacher. I was a laggard. If is easy to hold outdoor-toned conversations in the back of the classroom, it is even easier to rack up some absences.

So I skipped one class. Then two. Then the days got downright sequential, to the point where I didn’t even consider it an actual class; it was more of an option. One day, while missing another day of Adam Smith’s theories, I texted a friend of mine who was in the same class. A fellow laggard.

“Wassup man, you in class today?”

“Yeah…what’s going on?”

“That’s wassup… do you know when the next test is?”

Ten minutes later…

“Taking the test now.”

Ouch. A midterm test. That was my academic rock bottom. I was cutting class so much that I disregarded a mid-term test. It was a shameful as well as seminal moment for me: that test cemented my repeat status in Economics 2101, thus instilling in me a deep and intricate understanding of the economy now.

(Raises eyebrows, cringes lips and looks off to the side).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Speaking of which...

You know, I just couldn't resist. If only for nostalgia's sake. I remember watching this as a kid, and this scared the living s--- out of me. To this day, I still get flashbacks looking at this scene. What a movie.

My belief is stronger than your doubt

A random post about a hyper-phenomenal athlete. The closest player in the league to, you know, him. Special point of note: 3:52 mark in the clip. My eyes literally bulged out of my head like the Judge at the end of Roger Rabbit.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stephen Curry's big day

This is a pure case of numbers not telling the whole story. In fact, it didn't even touch on a fraction of it.

The appalling moment of the game came when Loyola's squad went down by 20, and still applied the shadow technique on Curry. Check out, among other tidbits, this mirthfully foolish quote by Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos:

"We had to play against an NBA player tonight," Patsos explained. "Anybody else ever hold him scoreless? I'm a history major. They're going to remember that we held him scoreless or we lost by 30?"

Some will remember the catcalls Patsos received from the fans when he stuck with the defense well after the game was decided. Davidson coach Bob McKillop was so annoyed he kept Curry in the game until the final minute.

"It seemed to me they were willing to risk the game at the expense of locking Steph up," McKillop said. "When you put two people on somebody and you do it for 30 minutes and at the end of the game, you have to wonder what the reasons for that are."

The amazing thing about all of this is that Curry was perfectly content with sharing the ball, not in an "I wanna pad my assist total" way, but in a "let's win the game and stats-be-damned" way. That's commendable. People around me now how much I abhor bandwagons, but my fervor for Curry and his flight will have to be an exception. I latched onto him in the NCAA tournament game - UM vs. Davidson - in the opening round two years ago. He put up 29 in a losing effort but caught my attention if only for the baby-faced ease he put into that effort.

Now, over 1,000 NCAA points later, he has added another chapter to his legacy. The self-less play of a man who actually has much to prove this year otherwise. If he would have garnered 9-10 dimes along with the nil he put on the board, then he and Davidson benefits statistically. But to one who didn't see the game - yours truly included - his three assists, three rebounds and two turnover game makes him look as if he was Mugsy Bogues on Space Jam after his skills had been absconded. That wasn't the case. Humility has been his calling card and there will be many tests that will compel him to give up that card. But for now, it's still in his hand.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mick Vic

Here we go again.

This news comes expected. The real grist is the irony that this story comes two days after the Falcons recorded a big win win - against a team that Vick routinely TORCHED - in their miracle season. The Falcons have clearly moved on, but Vick's fate is as uncertain as a hungover test-taker.

The Vick aficionados (and they still are out there) are steadfast in their belief that he will don an NFL uniform again. Some believe he will be a starting quarterback again. Many people doubt that last point. Frankly, I can't blame them. He would have missed two full football seasons by the time he is released. There's no guarantee that NFL teams will want to deal with the excess media, PETA and the diversion of focus in the locker room. And he'll be 29 by the time training camp rolls around.

Despite this, he does have a few factors going for him.

Every year, there are a bundle of injuries that befall quarterbacks that somehow place previously unknown quarterbacks (J.T. Sullivan anybody?) at the helm of the quarterback position. If Daunte Culpepper, Matt Cassel, Kerry Collins, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyler Thigpen and the aforementioned Sullivan can start for an NFL team in 2008, then surely Vick can eventually find his way behind a center sometime in his career. But it will take him training out of his mind to get back in NFL shape as well as a rehabilitated attitude to show teams that he is more than legs (not just talking about his behavior either. He was the anti Peyton Manning in terms of preparation.).

So in memory and nostalgia for the Falcon fans who suffered the most from, you know, that... here is something that will make you smile.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And they say rap lyrics were harmless...

Stupidity at its zenith

Playa hata' say what?

I wonder what flavor Alan Keyes likes his Hater-Aid in?

Read for your erudition...it doesn't matter. Even if he is right about Obama's citizenship, what exactly does it prove? That Obama is dishonest about where he was born? Does that make him less American than you and I because we just happened to pop out of our mother's uterus on American soil? Or is this just another episode of the 'Aid?

This is fruitless. No good will come out of this. Hating never helps; it only exacerbates. In fact, I dare somebody to give me an example of hating producing a positive change in a situation. Just so that there's no ambiguity in that dare, allow me to define the simple parameters of "hating":

1) It must be a subject about where the outcome does not make a difference in the "game." For example, if it is a playoff or playoff determining game, and a team is screwed over repeatedly or in the final seconds of a close game because of an egregiously bad call, and they call attention to the referee after the game, that is not hating. That is reasonable complaint. But if it's a game in which you were down by 15 and you make a comeback but a questionable call goes against you, and you call attention to that referee, that is hating. That call wasn't the reason that you were down by 15 in the first place. That's the reason you lost...so don't blame the call.

2) When you have to call someone out based on factors that have nothing to do with the person's ability or skills to complete a task, that is hating. In Latin, this is also called ad hominem. During this past campaign, the cries about Obama's connections to Williams Ayers and Jeremiah Wright were fair game because they called to attention Obama's credibility and personal associations. Nothing wrong with that. What wasn't fair was how people didn't research thoroughly and consider the context of each situation: Wright's sermons were from years ago and when examined closely, had a great deal of truth to them. Ayers was a figure who barely knew Obama other than a few handshakes and conversations. If you look at all the presidents in U.S. history, I'm sure that you will find a few of them with dubious associations.

So, yeah, Alan. You're taking some mighty gulps buddy.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Seas of Economy

Pirates are back y'all!

This is not Captain Jack Sparrow. This is real life. What can you say? Times are hard...joblessness is higher than it has been in 60 years. You can either work harder (smarter) in your field, or change professions and become a pirate, which is making a vengeance-like bounce back. It hit rock bottom last year, and now it is up 75% in 2008. Does anybody see this as mere coincidence that piracy is emerging when the economy is sagging? I know that this is a bit thin, but it's something to watch out for as the tide turns and a new leader takes his seat in the Black House.



Only because this stuff is indefinitely fascinating.


Monday, November 17, 2008


Congratulations neologists! A new word has been added to your beloved tool, the Collins English Dictionary. The new object of fascination for you wordheads: Meh.

Meh is a term adopted because of its use on the Simpsons, courtesy of Bart and Lisa. It means tedium or indifference, or it can be used to depict an accountants' convention, a filibuster or a Greg Maddux interview. It is used best in one word sentences, akin to how someone says "bollocks", "stupid", or "(insert any of your favorite four letter words here)". Below are the best situations to interject "Meh" in your vocabulary:

5) When you see a Sarah Palin interview for the 20th time this week, you just say "Meh" and flip the channel.

4) After flipping the channel, you come across a advertisement about a skin product that claims to "invigorate" your skin's glow. You then see Kerry Washington, Alicia Keys, or some other starlet whose face was always immaculate in the first place. You realize that and you say "meh" and flip the channel again.

3) Finding nothing on the tube, you pick up the phone and call that cousin that you've been putting off. You get him/her on the phone and five minutes into the conversation, you realize why you've been putting him/her off. You say "meh" five times silently, but just loud enough for the person on the other end of the phone to hear you. The person says, "Were you about to say something?" and you reply with "somebody is calling me on the other line, and I have to take this." Five seconds later, you are relieved.

2) The television is useless at this point, so you decide to go read a book. But there's a problem: you have no "readable" books. Everything you have in print are cook books, old school text books, and that Dr. Suess book that your niece left over last weekend. "Meh" you say, before sagging over to the computer.

*1) You start browsing the 'net. You come across a website that some relative sent you through email. The email reads: "Check him out. He's writing some superb stuff." So you obediently click on the link, and it sends you to Clutch Magazine. You read some interesting pieces until you come across one with the byline "Zettler Clay." You force yourself through three sentences until you finally say, "Meh" and shut down the computer. 45 minutes later, you awaken in your chair with a black screen in front of you. You then deliriously drag yourself to bed and go to sleep.

*This is a true story.

Strolling for Sit-Coms, Take III

This will make you smile on a Monday.


Strolling for Sit-Coms, Take II

If you don't have time to watch the whole 9 minute clip, just turn to the 3:05 mark. I promise that this is worth it.


Strolling for Sit-Coms, Take I

A classic scene from an often-times scintillating show.

Yoshida: The Tide Is Changing

First girl ever drafted pro in Japanese baseball

Ain't this some stuff? That ball must really knuckle when it comes out of her hand. I'm talking about something unhittable. This is one of the world's most resistant-to-change cultures, taking in a female to pitch alongside males. Personally, I'm flabbergasted. You see young women turn pro all the time; golf, tennis, soccer, polo. But women and men aren't usually integrated in sports. Women have their own "section", because of the gender laws that govern each culture (a third cousin of the Civil Rights Movement).

But Japan? A 16-year-old girl...with men? It's going to be interesting to see how this one turns out.


Friday, November 14, 2008

First and Fifteenth...that's my cue

Clutch Magazine is right back at you, twice back at you, like Christ back at you! The much-abhorred line by Juelz Santana aside, Clutch is back up for the second time this month with 'views with .... I ain't telling. Go check it out!

But I will evince that it is an article with the inimitable Diahann Carroll in there, done by yours truly, as well as a few more engaging pieces by the other writers of the website. So check it out and show some love. The issue is on point. I'm may be a little biased.


Many men...wish death upon me...

Barack Obama is making history in the most inauspicious way possible.

Courtesy of the AP, it is now known that a litany of people want Barack Obama under. I haven't heard anything this surprising since the other day when I heard rain outside after it thundered for 20 minutes. Check out this excerpt of adject repulsion:
One of the most popular white supremacist Web sites got more than 2,000 new members the day after the election, compared with 91 new members on Election Day, according to an AP count. The site, stormfront.org, was temporarily off-line Nov. 5 because of the overwhelming amount of activity it received after Election Day. On Saturday, one Stormfront poster, identified as Dalderian Germanicus, of North Las Vegas, said, "I want the SOB laid out in a box to see how 'messiahs' come to rest. God has abandoned us, this country is doomed."
This, coupled with the report of gun sale spikes, provides for reasons that black folks need to wake up. How many people realize that Obama is in some serious martyr territory? More time praying and less time celebrating would be a start.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Turner Speaks!

Now this is what I'm talking about. See, forget all these analysts on CNN and Fox and their pontifications on the economy. I'd rather listen to billionaires speak. I voraciously read Mark Cuban's blog for this very reason. I want to hear what Warren Buffet has to say about a faltering stock market, not Glenn Beck. So when Ted Turner mused on the economy, I was all antennas. Here's what the man with the most land in the U.S. had to say:

I think we’re going to have to change our lifestyle. And maybe it will be for the good. For the last 40 years, we’ve equated how much we had with how happy we are. Advertising tells us if you buy a big car and a new TV, you’re going to be happier. But I really don’t think we’re happier than we were in the ’50s. Back when we were living within our means and people had savings. We might have to get to know our neighbors and play bridge with them. Maybe some children will have to move back home. On ‘Sanford & Son,’ the father and son lived in the same house. They had a lot of fun.

Way to go Ted. How much consumption do people need? I have always believed that while technological advances has its place, rapid advances do not. In fact, they cripple. iPods cause people to be more antisocial, more inward. Video games give children no incentive to interact with each other without a competitive endeavor being the reason. Credits card companies routinely exploit college students with hopes of being fly and being seen in a proper light.

Businesses have to be regulated, no doubt. But what about the consumers being preyed upon? The championing of individuality is the primary reason for the mass commercialization today. I'm not sure if Ted practices what he preaches or not, but the billionaire is on to something regardless.

Put down the contraptions and pick up the board games; embrace conviviality and shun reclusion. Build communication skills instead of joystick skills. Our lives as a result will be richer because of it.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I don't understand it. It's been a disturbing trend over the past few years. The criminal peak age for young men has progressively gotten lower and lower. Youngsters. Youngins. Lil' N----s.Hoppers. (Whatever you want to call them), has grabbed control of the murderous spirit early in life. (Queuing up my inner Hubie Brown voice) Normally back in quaint times, you had people grow up to become sociopaths. Sure you did. Now they have reached sociopathy and crossed over into sadism by the time they are 18. You know that things are going to get worse before they get better and you know that it will take the efforts of a community for that to happen.

(Turning the channel on Hubie Brown and landing on Bill Walton) The greatest crime and deprivation in the history of Western civilization is that men are growing up without men. I am firmly convinced that the loving guidance of a father is the reason that so many men grow up with bellicosity in their souls.

(Turning the TV off).

No parent deserves to read about the murder of their child through senseless killings. No parent wants to go through that, so no parent should let their child's associations go without inquisitions. Not questioning them outright, but questioning your child to question himself about healthy relationships. We talk all the time about how society and the venom that humans routinely dish against one another, but we don't question the people who allows themselves to get caught in the wrong situation. That's understandable because we are a forgiving nation, so we tend to cut somebody some slack for soundless decisions. Hey, it happens to us all.

But I seriously think that we have to vet those close to us more than we do, if we see the "train going on the wrong track". If we continue on in our own worlds, in our indifference - conscious or unconscious - towards those close to us, then we are letting somebody else fill the vacuum that your presence could occupy.

You know the saying "better you than me"? This time, let the answer be "me."


Monday, November 10, 2008

Something I thought I'd share with ya

Anthony Wilson of Bleacher Report writes a glowing - and accurate - tribute to the lone unsung hero of the Laker three-peat at the beginning of this century. My dad always told me that Rick Fox was a ballplayer.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Smoove loss

Right now, the Hawks are down by three at the half against a 1-4 Oklahoma City Thunder team. They are really feeling the Smoove blues. Russell Westbrook, who is a real player, and Earl Watson were able to penetrate into the lane with impunity in the second quarter. Statistics show that the Hawks shot 35% in the second quarter, hence the reason for their offensive struggle. But it's Josh. All Josh.

Smoove invigorated fast breaks and more aggressive defensive, because of his Nightcrawler-like ability to appear out of nowhere to smack shots into oblivion. Now the Hawks are reliant on stopping the team the good ole' fashioned hard way: man-to-man defensive execution. This tends to take compromise an offense because of the exertion needed to defend. Not saying that the Hawks are doomed without Josh; the Hawks just have to realize the implications of his loss and adjust accordingly.

As I typed that last sentence, Earl Watson dribbled coast to coast and flawlessly completed his layup drill. The Thunder have outscored the Hawks by 10 points in the paint thus far.

So in mini-tribute to the importance of Smoove, herein lies the block party countdown:


....for real

The first part of that sentence states:

The 2008-09 Atlanta Hawks are.

Yes they are. I wanted to get that out before the legions came in full tilt to position themselves on the bandwagon. To a wary watcher, a watcher who has seen the consistent inconsistency that Atlanta sports have displayed over the years, this comes as quite a shock. Of course I knew that this team would improve from last year (contrary to many "pundits"). That seven game playoff series against Boston isn't a fluke, contrary to many "pundits", who insist on ignoring that accomplishment. I knew that losing Josh Childress was leavened by the gains of Flip Murray and Maurice Evans. In fact, I even knew that those two were infinitely better than Childress. The main differences between Childress and Mo and Flip:

1) Mo brings much needed three point shooting.

2) While Childress was a better rebounder, Flip is a playmaker. He is the second best playmaker on the Hawks (outside of Cool) right now, and he anchors the bench. A cagey veteran (hear that term thrown around a lot, huh?), he is fearless if nothing else. You couldn't say the same thing about Chill.

3) Mo and Flip are old youth, meaning that they have been around the block while still remaining relatively young. That is IMPORTANT. By the way, these points not knocks on Childress. He has been an outstanding player for the Hawks and he is a real cool cat. My conversations with him have been nothing short of candid, and he is always respectful when conversing with the media. I wish him the best in Greece and he definitely made the right move in matriculating over there. This is just a situation of having pieces fit, and it turns out the Flip and Mo fits better than Childress. That simple.

So Flip and Mo's contributions come as no surprise, to me anyway. What is most astounding is the cohesion that this team is playing with right now. There has been much ado about their defense, but I have always said that defense comes from chemistry. Knowing where your teammate will be and trusting them to be there and them actually being there. Long arms, active hands and relentless rebounders go a long way too, and the Hawks do not have a shortage of those. You know how the good basketball teams seem to have this connection, this joy of playing for each other, rather than the name on the front of the jersey. That is where this team is right now.

They beat two 50 win teams on the road this season. They straight beat down a Toronto Raptor team that typically gives them problems. Before the game in the media room, I was chatting with AJC Hawks beat writer Sekou Smith about the Hawks (what else would we talk about?).

"Toronto is my sleeper team this year," I said.
"Yea, they have talent. Calderon always give them problems," Sekou replied.
"No, I'm not just talking about top four teams in the East. I have them really being a contender this year."

The Hawks later proved how foolish my statements were. They gave the Raptors what Dominique Wilkins called, "an old-fashioned beat down." After the game, like any game, the locker rooms were a tale in contrast. Toronto was stunned, with a sullen Calderon telling me after the game that "we were just spanked. Tonight, they just beat us." Nothing deep, but the countenance and body language told the story: Toronto came into the game knowing nothing about this year's Hawks.

I should have been focusing more on the Hawks before the game and their real shot of winning 50 games this year. That's the better story; that's the season that will give Joe Johnson MVP notice, Josh Smith All-Star consideration, and Mike Woodson Coach of The Year nominations. But as always, I remained stuck in the Atlanta Way of doing things: provide an illusory titillation, and then let down.

But up is down. Left is right. Barack is president. Anything can happen. Yes, that includes the Hawks being a real NBA threat.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What a day!

I don't need to say anymore. We all know the events of the past 24 hours. I'll have plenty more to say in the coming months and years. Below are some great reads from a dizzying day:

The Next President

McCain's Concession Speech

Obama's Poker Style (I dug this up from a while ago, but it's no less relevant today)

Praise from around the world

Financial changes already

Change coming to sports too

Also, a piece from me regarding my initial meeting with B.O.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Gotta do it again

One of the deepest scenes in television. Had to bring it back.


Allen Iverson in the MO

I just stepped back in the house from a trip to D.C. and the first place I went was to ESPN.com to verify what I'd been texted earlier: Allen Iverson swapped places with Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess.

This confirms two things:

1) Joe Dumars realized that his version of the 90's Atlanta Braves weren't going to cut it.

2) Rodney Stuckey is about to take over the franchise.

The Piston Era as we knew it is over. Chauncey Billups was more associated with the success of the Pistons than anybody on the team. That's like when the Braves traded David Justice. When they did that, the heart of the team left. Even though the Braves went on to win eight more division titles, they were fixtures for early playoff departures because they didn't have any position players to, you know, show heart. There's no mistaking that the Pistons needed to make a change. Their recent stagnation in the playoffs exhbited their tendency to be a step slower and lackadaisical than the other teams (Miami, Cleveland, Boston). But acquiring A.I.?

That's a bold move for Detroit. This is not about Detroit acquiring a superstar to jolt the team. This is Detroit acquiring Allen Iverson; who is extremely skilled at filling up the box score but also a prodigious ballstopper. For Allen Iverson to be effective, he needs the ball in his hands for an inordinate amount of time. His assists tends to come in midst of double-teams than in the flow of the offense, as opposed to Chauncey Billups. Nobody has ever confused A.I. for a point guard, which is the position that he now is thrust into. In other words, Allen Iverson and his 27.7 point per game average is the anti-Piston.

That's why the Pistons as we know them have left the building. (The irony of this deal is that A.I. lands in the big D seven years after Larry Brown tried to ship him there. The only thing that stopped the deal is Matt Geiger refusing to pass on $5 million. Smart guy he was...what ever happened to good ol' Matt Geiger?)

But something tells me that Joe D isn't finished dealing. Just my penny.

Denver, meanwhile, gets the point guard it needs as well as a hometown star coming back. Denver gets a more than serviceable big man who comes back to the place where he started his career. Denver....gets better. Simply put, they got over on this trade.

Here is a nice piece by J.A. Adande on the deal, providing supporting details to my theory that Detroit winning that championship a few years ago was a fluke.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Black Masculinity Project

It's up and running. My blog that is. Check it out. Insightful articles are abound. Plus it's kinda cool to sharing a site with Stringer Bell.

Peep Rules To The Game...a personal favorite.

- IV

Friday, October 31, 2008

Guess who's bizzack

Yes, it has really been about seven months since I last posted on my own blog. This is somewhat excusable, at least in my twisted mind.

Much has been going on:

- Wrapping up a documentary on the ever-changing scenery in Atlanta. This is sure to ruffle some feathers and be a real eye-opener for even the most seasoned Atlantan.

- Writing for Clutch Magazine has escalated. Check out the kid's interviews with John Legend, Sheila Johnson and Keke Palmer. Check out the articles from the ladies on fashion (if you are a woman). Check out the design. Just check it out! I'll tell you what: If there's a better business mind for a start-up than Deanna Sutton, then I have to meet him/her. Her work ethic is sickening (though the eternally self-deprecating editor would disagree) and her passion for gauging consumer trends and staying ahead of the times is worthy of noting for any aspiring magazine guru.

- Blogging for the Black Masculinity Project. Details forthcoming.

- Building a business. More details to come later.

- Becoming a father...naw, just kidding. Just felt like doing that. Right now, it's business left to accomplish.

And I'm back now, with renewed focus and vigor and yada, yada, yada. Oh yeah, before you bounce, check out this take on the Jennifer Hudson catastrophe and leave your thoughts. This is a topic I will forever grapple with.

Get at ya later.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Has it really been...

over three weeks since I last posted? Where does the time go? Well, believe me, for me to stay away from my loyal readers (all three of you), it HAS to be something important. I am working on something people. What? Can't exactly say yet, but hopefully, in its completion it will be worth the withdrawal pains that you have been going through. Gotta skedaddle.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Back at ya...

It's been a week, a long week too, but I'm back at you live from the Georgia Dome, where the SEC tournament is taking place. Not a lot of big names but a few to go around: Charles Barkley and Pat Riley were the only people I saw personally. I am two games into the tourney, with a more talented LSU team losing to University of South Carolina, and now Vandy is beating Auburn by nine with 15:35 to go. A couple of things of note here:

1) The stadium is empty and boast the noise level of a library. I suspect when the big boys start playing tomorrow things will change. Of course, Philips Arena's decibel level is in competition, but I digress. But this is a bit disconcerting, and only emphasizes the lack of importance of basketball in Georgia. That right, totem pole bottom baby. I shouldn't be able to call out somebody 25 rows up in the middle up the game and that person be able to hear me.

2) Media people are treated very well. Unlimited ice cream, food and snacks. Unfettered access everywhere. People looking at you like you may be somebody important. OK, the last point isn't really important to me, but seriously, if there is a better job in the world for someone who loves to write stories and be around people, then God kept it for Himself.

Right now, the lead has stretched to 16 with 6:56 remaining, Vandy's way. The team is well-trained, but what sticks out to me about them is their interior defense and how they do a great job of moving their feet and avoiding fouls while still altering shots.

Alright, that's it for now. Audi 5000.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Check this out

An interesting read and take about Barack Obama and the lax treatment that the media gives him. Take from it what you will...

Hole in the armor?


Monday, March 3, 2008

Through The Wire - Late Editions

Note: Spoiler alert, if you have been comatose or under a rock for the past 59 episodes of The Wire, and don't want to be reminded of it, then DO NOT read ahead.

With the season and series finale airing next week, March 9 at 9 pm, I could not resist writing a quasi-assessment of the greatest television show I have ever laid my eyes on. Few shows contain the realism, entertainment and adhesion that The Wire has. Sunday's penultimate episode was in many ways a microcosm of the total series at large. Four quick points:

- The scene in which Carcetti's aide was in the office with Rawls and Daniels, with the aide imploring - more like demanding - that the police department bring the crime numbers down 10%. "This thing is a tanker, you can't expect us to turn this ship around like that," said Rawls. The same ole' games. Police department being handcuffed, and then given the impossible, and if that impossible is not given, then the police department falls on the scimitar. Seasons 1-4 had the same elements in it, and with an idealistic new mayor, Carcetti, promises of change were made. Yet, when it came down to it, even the most well-intentioned politicians fall prey to the crippling machinations of their predecessors. School system deficits leads to police budget shortfalls which leads to more criminals experiencing carte blanch. The faulty system prevails! God help us.

- Kima "snitching" to Daniels should have been expected. Remember in Season One, when she was in the hospital, and Bunk came to her to identify the shooters who put her in there? Well, she ID'd one of them but WOULD NOT point out the other. Notice I said would not. Bunk gave the best speech he could to assure her that it was Wee-Bay who shot her, but Kima didn't see him so she wouldn't play ball. An interesting scene at the time, who knew that it would persist as Kima's defining role? Her integrity and commitment to doing honest cop work involved her turning in her closest co-worker and friend McNulty. Many question why she did it. Did she have to do it? I wish she hadn't. But I don't blame her. She did what she felt was right...in other words, she capitulated to her conscience. Something rarely seen these days.

- Michael and Snoop produced arguably the best scene of the season. The poignance of the kill emphasized the dichotomy of Michael and Snoop. The way Snoop reacted when the gun was pulled out on her was telling - it was as if she really believed that "deserve ain't got nuttin' to do with it" and when it is your time, it is your time. That's how true assassins think and carry themselves. Micheal, who constantly questioned Marlo's indiscriminate killings, was told before he pulled the trigger by Snoop that "you were never one of us, and you never could be." Well, she was right. Snoop was soldier, Michael is more CEO. Soldiers are followers, CEOs are thinkers and hence leaders. Mike only got into "the life" because Chris embraced him and did him a favor. He cared about Bug, his younger brother, and protected him. That was his number one mission in life. Everything else fell in line. But for Snoop, the life was all there was. Soldiers die for a cause, CEO's always think a step ahead. I will be real surprised if Michael ends up expired when this series end...

-Bug and Duke and Bubbles. Another emotion-packed scene that left any tender heart in tears, or the hardest heart feeling like "Dang..." As stated earlier, Bug was everything to Michael. But Mike knows that Marlo will retaliate, so he has to protect the people closest to him. Duke is now living with a junkie...time will tell if he is using too. Reginald - the guy formerly known as Bubbles - is probably the biggest feel-good story of The Wire series. We have all seen his regression and progression from a drug junkie/police informant/streets salesman/mentor to Sharrod. As someone who has frequented a few AA and NA meetings in his lifetime, the veracity of that scene hit home for me. When Reggie opened up - finally - about Sharrod and ended with the line "There's no shame in holding on to grief, as long as you make room for other things as well," there wasn't a thawed heart in the room (for the record, I was the only one in the room). I wonder if Fletcher will end up writing that story on him and if his sister will finally let him upstairs.

- How about Marlo and his blow-up in jail? For the first time in the past three seasons, he snapped and misplaced his cool (I don't want to say "lost" because he regained it quickly). The thing that gets me is, why didn't his lieutenants tell him about Omar? I have had numerous discussions with colleagues about this, and I haven't heard a satisfactory answer yet. My guess is that either they were ashamed that Omar was getting the "best" of them - which is an indictment on them not doing their jobs - or that Omar had them shook and feared that Marlo would have been killed if he went at Omar himself. I am inclined to say the latter, knowing that Marlo would not have resisted a showdown with Mr. Little to protect his reputation. After all, his name is his name.

Now you wonder, how could Zet do a psuedo-review of the penultimate episode of the fifth season of The Wire without incorporating his livelihood, the media? Doing that, would be so un-Wire like. Unpredictability is David Simon and company's calling card. Who am I to break away from what works?


Friday, February 29, 2008

More on the absurdity below

Claps abound for the man in the article who took preventative measures to protect his two daughters. Claps abound for the daughters for having the smarts and composure to call someone who they knew who take preventative measures to protect his daughters. Claps abound for the call to the police by the male who took preventative measures to protect his daughters.

Common denominator in those three sentences: preventative measures, something the law doesn't have in its policy of self-defense. Now granted, we don't know for sure if the daughters were telling the truth about being followed. For all we know, they could have known the dude all along and set him up to get shot. If that is the case, then that is just downright despicable. Time and investigation will tell what really happened.

But if the tone of the article is correct, that the man did take - here's that phrase again - preventative measures to protect his seeds, then I totally sympathize. Why is it that something has to happen for the self-defense law to be enacted? I'm not for unwarranted killings, as I again sympathize with the deceased' family. But you can't play in dirt, and not expect to get dirty. When you infringe onto somebody else's life, you leave your life in their hands. You don't know what others are capable of, so why get entangled with that?

This happens all the time. Helpless women falling prey to vulturous men. Only this time, a father - something that seems to be missing in the black community - comes to the rescue. This stuff makes me beam and cringe, because I know I would have probably done the same thing. Maybe. Who knows? But I don't blame him one iota.

Now of course, this is assuming that everything that the daughters and father said was true. If there is a complete reversal, then disregard everything I wrote and go about your business in having a blessed weekend.


Check this absurdity out

One of many you have heard in your lifetime.

My thoughts will follow later. Let this marinate for now.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Perhaps the last bruhaha of a great season...

As I am currently sitting on my plush leather couch watching the Senators Barack and Hilary go at it for the 13,456th (seriously, the 20th) time in the last few months, a few quick things stick out like outliers:

1) The desperation on Hilary's countenance and in her voice is as palpable as a crater on a 14 year old's face on prom night. She knows that if she doesn't win Texas AND Ohio, her campaign is clinically effed. The cutoffs of the moderators, the chime-ins on questions directed towards Barack, and the over-emphasizing of her experience as First Lady all indicates a woman who is on the verge of going fishin'.

2) Barack, for the first time since I have seen him, looked slightly flapped. When the query of whether he will keep his word on the acquisition of funds from the general public, there was a glimpse of panic in his eye before he recovered with his answer (for complete analysis of the debate, hit up the New York Times. They have been magnificent in covering this debate.)

3) The inevitable Louis Farrakhan question came up. Great job by Barack in deflecting and distancing himself from Farrakhan without cheapening Farrakhan's endorsement.

4) How can you stop the effect and power of special interest groups if you are using their money to fund your campaign? Riddle me that Hil...

5) Great questions by the moderators Brian Williams and Tim Russert. They gave the tough inquiries, and pressed both candidates on the major linchpins of their respective campaigns. The mods could have been a little harder on Barack's drug history and how he plans on counteracting attacks from the GOP nominee, and on Hil's failed health plan in 1993. But who's tripping?

6) Barack didn't directly address the question of his pastor's affiliation to Louis Farrakhan. He's going to have to do that eventually.


Friday, February 22, 2008

The other side of the equation

I purposely left out the Eastern Conference in yesterday's analysis, waiting - and hoping - that they would perform a juke that would provide some sort of balance to a trading scene that has otherwise been dominated by the left region of the U.S. But Cleveland, Chicago, and Seattle engaged in a three-way trade right before the deadline to close things out. So again without further ado, let's get out the synthesizer for the Eastern Conference:

Well this is almost by default, but the unqualified winner is the Cleveland Cavaliers. They may not have acquired the biggest name - the Atlanta Hawks did - but they received the most helpful appliances without giving up a lot of production. In summary, they obtained Ben Wallace (who is declining, but has championship experience), Joe Smith (who is playing somewhat rejuvenated, averaging 17 points, 7 rebounds per while shooting 50% from the field this month), Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak. Oh yeah, not to mention a 2nd round pick to boot.

All they had to give up was a dilapidated Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Donyell Marshall, Ira Newble, and Cedric Simmons. More dependable scorers and more rebounding comes in, bad contracts and injured players go out. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The overrated "winner" trade:
Miami Heat and their acquisition of Shawn Marion. As stated in the last blog, this trade baffled me at first in a major way, from Phoenix end. So one would assume that I felt that Miami got the better end of the trade. Not true. True, the Heat snatched from the Suns (ironic that the two teams involved in this trade are the Suns and Heat, the two elements seen and felt by the planets in their revolving in the solar system. Clearly the NBA doesn't revolve around these two teams. They have a combined one championship in their existence in the NBA) a player of athletic marvel, who will drop 17-19 points a night with 10-15 rebounds to go with it, who is still in his twenties.

But that's where it stops. Marion has a knack for disappearing in big games. His contempt for his role on the team was palpable, to the point that he would take every chance he got - it seems - to point out his worth. He was the highest paid player on the team, yet, he didn't see that as a placation for his insecurity. And all this while he was playing on a team with Steve Nash and Amare Stoudamire and on a team that utilized his greatest gifts - running and jumping.

It's likely that the Heat will see a different Marion, in the behavioral sense, as it is likely that those numbers will continue to sustain without Nash. But will it translate to a different win-loss record for the Heat? Yours truly is not convinced.

There wasn't any losers, not in the direct sense anyway. Most sat idly and watched while the top 8 teams in the West made moves. Does that make them losers? Well Boston is good...I digress. Chicago traded big-time talent within their division, always a no-no. For years, they could have used pieces to receive a big-name talent (Kobe and Pau, ironically the most notable names). But they dropped that beach ball. Thereby, this writer is declaring Chi-Town as the luckless guns this go around.

The Wait-and-See trade:
The Hawks procured the biggest name in the Eastern Conference, a name that was on the trading block for a couple of years. In Mike Bibby, the Birds now have a point who can run, shoot, pass, and step up when needed, something that they didn't have prior to last Saturday. But I am left feeling a bit incomplete, wholly because an already permissive middle has become more doughy. The Hawks need a viable big man to complete this deal and create the synergy needed to make the Billy Knight project work.

And on top of that, Bibby for all his skills, has a few glaring weaknesses of his own.
1) Not an Alpha dog, something the top teams have and need
2) Not a defensive stalwart himself
3) Injury prone over last few years
4) More of a shoot-first guard

Perhaps that is me nit-picking, but hey, somebody got to do it. Quality management is what it is called, and Six-Sigma standards are bred from nit-picking. The Hawks aren't there yet people. Sorry to burst it. But time will tell if you should take my word for it. That's why this is in the waiting room for the time being...


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Yes, yes, it is overdue...

With the deadline to player swap winding down within the next three hours, I am going to go out on the limb and say that the major trading is done for the season. Everybody is all up in arms about the marquee names migrating from the Eastern part of the country to the Western part, and it's not just the fans. Coaches are taking swipes and general managers are taking heed too, most notably Steve Kerr's panic-riddled hand pressing the proverbial red button and acquiring Shaquille O'Neal for Shawn Marion.

So without further ado, let's synthesize the "new-look" Western Conference:

Biggest winners:
Los Angeles Lakers
We all have heard the reasons as to why the Lakers got away like a fat rabbit. Giving away no production for a lot of production is what they did. Kobe Bryant wanted Jerry West to come to the Lakers. He wanted him back. Well, he got him. Jerry West still works for the Lakers. If there was any case that warranted a collusion question, this is one. So come May, the Lakers will be looking at a starting line-up of Derek Fisher, Kobe, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum. Now riddle me this, who is going to score in the paint against those fellows? Factor in the perimeter defense of Fish and Kobe, and Kobe's mindset of a cobra and you have a Western Conference finalist. At least.

New Orleans Hornets
Why the Hornets, you say? Because they didn't panic. They realized what they had was working and did not give away any talent in a fit of keeping up with the Joneses mentality. Also, it was on the wire today that they are acquiring Mike James and Bonzi Wells for Bobby Jackson and change. And forget what you heard, if the season ended today, the two MVP candidates are Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant. It's not even close after that. CP3 gets my vote.

San Antonio Spurs
SAS solidified an already solid frontcourt by getting rid of Francisco "I let KG punch me in the nuts" Elson and Brent Barry for a bona fide blue collar Greg Popovich style player in Kurt Thomas. There's nothing more to say about this other than the cliche' "the rich gets richer."

Most overrated "winner" move:
Dallas Mavericks
OK, quick, tell me how in any significant way is Jason Kidd an upgrade over Devin Harris? I'll answer that for you: leadership and court vision and rebounding. But when I delve further, I ask myself, is Jason Kidd really a leader? Is he the Alpha dog that the Mavericks need and think that they now have? When you factor in the point that Kidd a) can't shoot to save his life b) was quite turnover prone in the East, which figures to get worse now that he's dealing with lightning hands guards in the West c) will find it hard to contend with the quick point guards of the West, more so in a way that Devin Harris, most evidently noted by Paul's nine steal game last night. These are too many questions for me to be totally convinced that Kidd is that much of an upgrade, other than name recognition alone.

Most overrated "loser" move:
Phoenix Suns
This may come as a slight surprise to those that know me, because I was as befuddled with this trade as anybody with a brain. Why Shaq, for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks? It wasn't for contractual/financial reasons, for Shaq is due another two years. Marion was the Suns best defensive player, best rebounder, and the main recipient of Steve Nash's lobs. Then once I thought about it - though this may be a sign that I am losing some brain cells at the ripe old age of 22 - it made more sense.

Phoenix has been to the WCF two of the last three years. So you could look at it two ways: that they either are missing something to get over that proverbial hump, or that they are close and just need to stick with what they got. I mean after all, Detroit in the 1980's did bang their heads against the wall for years against the Celtics and Lakers before they could win it all. But with the Lakers making their play for Gasol, Kerr felt the need to beef up on the inside. And boy, did he. Shaq is Shaq, banged up or not. He is not 2000-2003 Shaq, or even 2006 Shaq. But he is better than what Phoenix had in the middle. Marion was a stat-stuffer, a do-everything player. But he was unhappy, and that can play on team chemistry.

Chemistry and change. Those are the two factors that Phoenix are banking on. At worse, they end up at the same predicament at they have in the past three seasons: an early dismissal from the playoffs. At best, they could have obtained the one piece that can contend with Duncan or Gasol & Bynum, and provide some balance in Phoenix's lineup and send them to their first championship ever.

So in reality they lose nothing, and have everything to gain.

A foolish gamble maybe, but one that I, at gunpoint would make.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

9.8 meters per seconds squared

Throw a ball as hard as you can and at some point, it will fall. Achieve any sort of flight in your life, and plight will happen. Just as a 25-year-old professional baseball player will throw a ball harder – and keep the ball in the air longer - than a 15-year-old baseball player, a more talented and experienced person will sustain their success more than the inept and youthful.

Gravity is what they call it. The inevitable law of nature that people tend to take for granted, gravity is that force that is the implicit bane of our existence. Without gravity, we wouldn’t die after airplane crashes because, there would be no crash. Bridges wouldn’t collapse because there would be no collapse in gravity’s absence. For that matter, busting our hips on a fall, curveballs, and jumpshots would be nonexistent sans gravity.

What are we as humans more afraid of, ascension or plummeting? Without a doubt, it is the fall that we dread. Gravity.

Pay attention to the laws of nature. They offer stark parallels to our day-to-day goings. Everybody wants success, the money the glitter, the recognition, whatever. Everybody wants it. But who wants to fall? The answer to that question aids in our understanding of the psychology of the dormant in our society. You know, the individuals who sit idly waiting for something to happen. Lack of moxie, they call it.

People need encouragement, true. But most of all, people need toughness. When buildings are built, a solid foundation is set before a level is added. That stability provides the toughness if you will, that sturdiness that keeps the building afloat amidst the external forces that comes to test its mettle.

Weak bricks and structure erodes from the constant pressure of precipitable forces. Weak people whittle away from similar forces. What does this have to do with gravity, you say?

We are all forced to adjust to gravity because we know that there is no way around that. Either you recognize it, or you will fall prey to its adverse effects. But we have no problem doing that. When is the last time you heard somebody say, “I wish that we didn’t have this damn gravity here, otherwise, I wouldn’t have dropped that table on my toe”?

But how many complaints have you heard about the weather, or any other factor that we cannot control? They have even figured out a formula for gravity and made laws for its understanding. But becoming tougher and less irritable about other immutable forces eludes us.

Take a lesson from Sir Isaac, and apply it to the bigger point: learn the laws and adapt, instead of trying to change the unchangeable. Acknowledge the laws of gravity. It will make you stronger…in more ways than naught.


Monday, January 28, 2008

OK, Let's talk about it.

The Wire. Best. TV. Show. Ever.

Those who I talk to every day can't get it out of the heads. That's because I insist that they watch it immediately. Of course, the bludgeoning method rarely works. In fact, it only turns people away (think of the parent cramming into the child's head what not to do, and the child doing it). People would rather become addicted to something organically, without verbal coercion.

But I digress.

This show, set in Baltimore, MD profiles life. Not buttered up, sensationalized, dramatized, made for TV life. Real life. There isn't a element of life that isn't showcased in this show.

Drug dealers, you got it.

A look into the life of a drug addict, yep.

Politics, uh-huh.

Clandestine trysts. Flawed school systems. Reformed criminals. Police department agendas. Gentrification. Corrupt journalists. Corrupt politicians (a tautologous phrase, huh?). Comedic scenes with the fellas. The ubiquitous sex scenes. All there.

Shoot, there's even lesbian love-making and two guys kissing in the show.

Pause...this is where I draw the line and ruin the spoiler. That's how I know the show is great: two of my favorite characters are gay thugs, one being a woman and the other a guy. And this doesn't affect my affinity for the show one iota.

But yet, this show boasts a declining viewership. HBO has picked this up for the fifth and final season (currently it is on episode five). Many question how, being that this is no Entourage, Sopranos, or even Sex and the City in terms of fan base. In retrospect, I shouldn't be surprised though, given the length of time it took for me to become attuned to this creation.

The Wire, Season One, began in 2002. I didn't start watching Episode One until late December 2007. I tried it out after persistent prodding by the uncle - and his putting up the dollars for the rentals. How good can it be? I shouldn't have asked myself that question. I watched four seasons in under two weeks. That's fifty plus episodes. That's complete addiction.

That's the start of many hour-long conversations discussing the unpredictability and volatility of it all.

That's a lot of time allocated towards my world education (yes, I consider this show a documentary. Nobody can convince me otherwise) that I could spend towards something else, like playing NBA 2K8 or reading some autobiographical novel or hang gliding or lifting up some mope on facebook.

That's one more fanatic for the depleted spectator-ship this show claims.

That's the reason that I have updated this blog.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A New Year's Salutation

I must admit that there is no unifying theme to this piece. This is a medley of thoughts and ideas that are in my mental list going into the new year.

January, for many, represents the primo time of the year. A chance to start over, get it right, set new goals, sustain prior successes, etc., etc. For others, January is just another day in the life. Regardless of your perspective, posterity has established January as the kickoff for all things financial, political, educational and vocational.

A war in Iraq continues. The presidential primaries commence this month. NFL playoffs begin this month. A gazillion bowl games will take place. Many of you will return to work, resume school or start that diet you promised to get on. But we know, that as much as we would like to boost January as a “new start,” some things will remain the same. No date can change that bad relationship that we are in, or that unemployment is hovering at its highest since 2001, or that there is a severe mortgage crisis.

With that said, below is a condensed list of things to keep in mind:

Barack vs. Hilary: There are the other candidates in the Democratic Party, as well as the GOP. But let’s be serious, the juice— to me anyway—is in this race. Three months ago, it was one-sided all the way: Mrs. Clinton held a resounding lead in the polls. Not that the polls are totally indicative (for they were unofficial polls), but they are quite indicative. But now, the man from Hawaii is surging, with a campaign ran on transparency and new ideals that suddenly make this Iowa caucus a must-see segue into a new leadership that will begin in November.

A personal aside: Launching two books before his presidential campaign (one a memoir of his life and the other a look into his political paradigm) has proven to be an excellent strategic move. Though he has caught heat for his drug use admissions and his Muslim background (his father was one), his books have given America a glimpse and a tour of Barack Obama, the person. This is something that Hilary nor John Edwards (another Democratic nominee) can claim. Whether or not this will help Barry in the election process remains to be seen.

What will uncrisis the mortgage crisis? Foreclosures are at an all-time high, and real-estate investors are suffering for it. How can this be? You would think that more people would be gobbling up homes, providing they have the money to do so. Faulty loans, increased interest rates and consumer uncertainty in the market have placed a lot of property being priced at 20 cents on the dollar. So what does this exactly mean for us?

The philosophy of our use of houses comes into question here: house as a wealth-generating asset or as a place of living and refuge? It’s reported that African Americans have the lowest home ownership rate out of any ethnic group in the nation. So if we aren’t buying homes, renting will become, (if it is not already), the de facto choice of sheltering for blacks.

The consumers most affected by this crossroads are those who took loans with little or no credit history, many of which who couldn’t afford a down payment. Mortgages are increasing everywhere, leaving those who recently bought their homes more in limbo because they don’t have much equity built up. Over half of the blacks that bought their homes in the last two years, acquired high-cost loans.

Translation: More blacks being put out of their homes, meaning that the home ownership rate among our race will continue to sleep with the fishes. Higher income people, this doesn’t affect as much, thus increasing the class and income gap between blacks and whites.

An ode to the stars and victims of 2007: Tony Dungy, Jordan Sparks, Lewis Hamilton, Saleisha Stowers all burst onto the national scene in a major way last year. Barack Obama started off with “60 percent of the world knowing me” to becoming one of the biggest stories of the year.

Despite the ignominy caused by a few black celebrities, there were plenty who made their marks in more favorable ways. Forest Whitaker won the Oscar for Best Actor, an award that until 2001, was privy to white actors. Last year was also a year that Idris Elba and Chiwetel Ejiofor also came into their own as the black actors to be reckoned with. Black college enrollment—contrary to many reports—continues to grow in a lot of areas, especially among black females. There is a new wave of black professionals making their marks that are not being reported on. Soon, these people will come to light.

But our prayers still go out to the families of the victims of the Valentine’s Day massacre in Utah, Virginia Tech massacre, and the Omaha, Nebraska massacre. 2007 wasn’t so kind to those victim’s families. It’s with heavy hearts and humility that we remember these people and others like them, because incidents like this remind us that life can be capriciously taken away. All of which makes our situations eminently enjoyable, because we are indeed blessed to be here.

So here is a toast to prosperity, wealth, sound decisions, family health, spiritual growth and overall goodwill for the year of 2008. May God bless your families, and may He bless you.

-Zettler Clay IV