Showing posts from April, 2011

April 15 -- The reason no one can wear #42 in baseball

Look, I know it is documented, my distaste for baseball... there is no denying, however, that it is the second most commercially viable sport in the United States right now, NFL Labor problems notwithstanding... But! I would greatly and unfairly be underplaying the necessity of the contribution of Jackie Robinson – and what it did to pave the way for April 8th’s topic – if I let my disdain for the sport he happened to play at the time to keep me from speaking on it. That said, the influence spilled over to other professional sports in the US as well. I mean, if the most popular at the time sport is taking on black players, then it is only natural that the others fall in line. I will not go into the outcome in terms of established majorities in said sports to date. People often ask me what my favorite baseball team is, and while my answer is usually something in the neighborhood of “fuck baseball,” if I had to choose one, it would probably be the Dodgers for the very act of the chan

NBA Season-End post

And what a season it was, no? Needless to say, for reasons not related to basketball, we have reached the close of one of the most interesting NBA seasons since the halcyon days of dudes who played in shorts that covered less than most dudes’ briefs do in 2011. Strangely, though, it had so little to do with actual basketball! “The decision/the ‘new big 3’ in Miami” “Where will Melo go?” “Where did these San Antonio Spurs guys come from?” “Why are the Bulls this good this fast?” “Why aren’t the Celtics and Lakers as good as we thought they were?” “Anyone seen Steve Nash lately?” “That Blake Griffin guy sure can dunk!” “Kevin Love… How’d we miss THAT guy!?” I really could carry the list on and on, but I try to limit myself to 5 million words or fewer in these posts… So never mind the drama that kept us watching basketball this year in the void that might be football (and basketball, by the way) in the coming fall/winter. Let’

Unfriend your mom on FaceBook

Before I move into this, let me make it abundantly clear that this applies ONLY to non-minor or to those who are minors but are legally independent from their parents (don’t laugh, I’ve seen 16 year-olds like this before). Dependent children are not allowed to even think that privacy is implied until they’re putting in on the bills in the house. Anyway… Some of us adults do have a well-enough working relationship with our parent(s) that there is literally NO harm in having a parent as a friend on facebook. Same can apply to aunts/uncles, old-ass cousins and grandparents who don’t think computers are evil… HOWEVER!!! Some of us (“us” meaning people who are on Facebook, not myself) are in for nothing but trouble the moment that the “[your mother] wants to be your friend on Facebook, click the link below to respond” email. “aww SHEEIT!!!” is usually the first thing that pops into mind, followed by “okay, how can I get around this?” Next, one thinks of what they could say if they decli

April 12 -- Happy Birthday, Herbie!

Another April birthday repost jant, this. Today marks the anniversary of Herbie Hancock's 70th trip around the sun, give or take the amount we lose to the idea of time being a still inexact science, thus necessitating leap years. As some of you know already, I happen to be one of the biggest fans of Herbie you'll ever come across. I happen to very much dig how easily and effectively he blurs the lines between genres of music without cheapening anything he should happen to involve himself in. Need someone to play a concert piano? You got it! Need someone to master the not-so-much-used clavinet? Yep! Hip hop is taking influence now, could you learn the 808? Damn skippy! As one of the ones tapped to play in the youngest of Miles Davis' famous quintets -- known as the "second great quintet" -- we saw Herbie come in on what SHOULD have been the coattail of an even-then careermaker in Jazz music, but still find his own right there, using things rarely if eve

April 9 -- Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson was a great many things… Singer Activist Athlete Actor The son of an escaped slave, Robeson would go on to a life of things that black people even these days don’t much get into, and was successful in them at a time where NO black people were even allowed to do them. … and he did shit HIS way… His baritone sang Negro Spirituals in concert halls. He played college and professional football at a time before blacks were fully accepted into organized sports. Hell, he even WENT to college. And this is where it gets interesting… At the top of it all, where he has been allowed into the “fraternity” of ‘safe negroes’ where he was allowed careers in sports and entertainment, he shifted the focus of his work and exposure to an interest in civil rights, and that is BEYOND commendable. He would see retribution for it by way of revoked passport, being tailed by the feds, losing work (and subsequently, income) and eventual sullying of his legacy. To that last part, he fell ill and passe

April 8 -- 715

Today we will revisit the topic of 02/05's discussion ... Given my well-documented disdain for one of the two truly American sports – and the definite more boring of them – I can only seem to allow myself to be drawn into discussion of it to speak ill of it or to draw out coffee-colored heroes of it. Today, in 1974, Hank Aaron forged through the mountain of death threats and hate mail to break a record that no black dude was supposed to ever own. Any lesser man might have simply said “fuck this” and gone and done something else instead. As times changed, “those” people seemed to get that Hank Aaron was a genuinely good human being and not to be judged by the content of his skin, but by the color of his character… [Phlip note – wait… did I get that right?] We would find later on in life when as a certain Barry L Bonds drew in on the record himself just what might happen when someone who was NOT likable made a run at a record held by someone who was and his recent conviction has me S

April 7 -- Most of My Heroes Don't Appear on no Stamps!

But one of them rightfully does... I know what you’re thinking… “Phlip, you lazy f*ck!” And you MIGHT not be terribly inaccurate in such an assessment, except for 2 things… Nothing was more “on topic” for today’s post than what I have chosen. And… if I had known that this would happen just 2 days later, I might have chosen differently the first time around. Anyway… Today marks the day that, in 1940 and quite apparently to commemorate his date of birth, Booker T Washington – my topic from 2 days ago – was made the first black American to appear on a postage stamp. I could go in on why this should matter, but I SWEAR I did the research and typing on that just a couple days ago, please refer back to that instead? Please and thank you.

An Alcoholic's repost

Originally posted 04/07/2010 Do you know what happened today in 1933? If you're like me and you love beer, then you do. Today marks the day that Prohibition ended in the United States of America . Recently, as in from the day after Fat Tuesday until this past Sunday (Easter), I gave up Beer for Lent, against the expectations of those who might want to think I am what they want me to be instead of allowing me to be who I am... Anyway, the utter silliness of Prohibition compared to the revenue it created/creates, compared to money made in a flourishing bootleg market that brought us what is now NASCAR racing, oddly enough was eventually brought to a close on this day. One would think this to be kind of a big deal, but apparently no surprise to Frank Yuengling -- the son of the "Son" in the D.G. Yuengling & Son -- who sent a truckload of his "Winner Beer" to FDR to enjoy in the White House. Noteworthy is that Yuengling beer took 3+ weeks to brew and

April 6 -- Lando Calrissian

On today’s date in April of 1937, an ironically middle-named William December Williams Jr and his twin sister were born in New York City… This raises, I know, two questions… DAMN, he’s 74 years old?! and … middle name DECEMBER?! Anyway, the guy with the matching first and last names and a middle name after a month in which he was not born was birthed entered the world today. Known to black women of the world because now they all wanted their babies to have “good hair.” Known to the nerds of the world as the only black guy in The Empire Strikes Back. Known apparently to the guild for his longevity and versatility, having done comedy, drama, dramady, voice work, television AND movie (and music!) down through the years. 1959-now, to be exact. Last I heard of him doing was himself in an especially hilarious Boondocks episode and in a Cleveland Show episode that I do not recall off the top of my head. You know? As I type this post, I am thankful that mothers in the 70s and 80s had the good

April 5 -- And the 'T' stands for "Taliaferro'...

Here I am, 2 months and 26 (as this post goes live) days short of the release of the new Transformer’s movie my 32st birthday, and I didn’t know what the T in Booker T Washington stood for… But today, we celebrate his date of birth, which took place in 1856. An educator by ironic trade, given when and where he was born his family was granted freedom at the close of the civil war and he was given a good edumacation himself at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) and Wayland Seminary (now Virginia Union). He would go on to lead the Tuskegee Institute, the first one to do so and the only one to do so in the 25 yeas between his taking the position and his death. An as-described “dominant” leader of the black American community – which the last 3-4 generations, including my own and those after me has lacked for some time now – he was charismatic enough to speak to a slowly-converting southern white population to allow blacks paid working positions. Rubbing elbows with the wealthi

April 4 -- Dream, Deferred

I know I mentioned being rife to use the same topic – or person – in consecutive days, but this is one that was very necessary… I mean, I COULD have gone on about Muddy Waters or Maya Angelou’s birthdays, but I am pretty sure that if either of them were still alive today, they would rather I discuss this instead. [Phlip note – I know Maya Angelou is still alive and actually lives in the next county over from me, allow me to make my jokes in peace] Anyway… As alluded to in his speech the night before, it seemed that Dr. King – not too dissimilar to ‘Pac and Biggie – spoke of his demise as if it were imminent. Yes, I just compared Dr. King, a real martyr to two rappers whose behaviors may have had a hand in their own deaths. As it were, the initial plans - changed at the 11th hour according to this bust at the end of the street named in his honor here in town – were that Dr. King was to come to Greensboro and speak at Trinity AME Zion Church in its former location on Preddy Blvd. (no

April 3 -- "I've been to the mountaintop"

On today's date in 1968 on the day before being assassinated, MLK delivered what would be one of his most famous speeches . Fun history fact is that he almost didn't GIVE that speech... He was originally to come to Greensboro, NC and speak at a church that happens to be across the street from my best friend's house after moving some years ago, but changed his plans late in the proceedings. It seemed that he knew his time was near, though, as referenced toward the end of his speech, in the most memorable passage, with… “And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't really matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live - a long life; longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about

April 2 -- Hoya Paranoia

The date was April 2, 1984… The location was Seattle Washington’s King Dome. Participants were the feared-for-starting-5-black-guys (something still unheard of at the time) Georgetown Hoyas and the Phi Slamma Jamma-featured University of Houston Cougars. So yes, featuring several future Hall-of-Fame players with brown skin, this game was big because of Big John Thompson’s being a black coach to lead a black starting lineup from a private school that at the time might not have otherwise recruited them up against a bigger public school in the NCAA tournament. As we look back on this compared to the outcome of this or recent years’ tournaments, it is clearly representative of a time that the parity that they PRETEND the tournament has today was actually present. While the longshorts era has ushered in a time where the whitest of whitebread schools doesn’t feel so out of place starting 5 black dudes, in the Reagan era, it was quite the taboo for there to be 5 dudes on the whole of the camp

April 1 -- April (non) Fool's Day

Warning, reblog to come for this one... I am gonna focus on the day at hand now for what it is and what I can relate it to. Thinking back to Summer 2003, following the Epic Battle of Godzilla and Mothra , and a couple weeks in the hospital, then a couple more in the house, I chanced venturing out to do my normal things... One of them, naturally would be to set about the task of getting my considerably long dreadlocks washed, because damned if I will wash it myself, even without a broken right shoulder, which I was sporting at the time. Anyway... The homie/then-coworker Tairi was also in the shop (we go to the same lady for this function) and had been there a short while before me. We shot the shit a few minutes, as we often did, what with being on the same team at work (when I was not on leave) and of similar age and general interests and such, compared to the bevy of single black women doing the stereotypical single black woman cackle around us. We no-homeaux needed one an