Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sports Fandom: The Rules.

For those who might not have known, my beloved (and often hated)Philadelphia Eagles kicked the living dogshit out of the Dallas Cowgirls this past Sunday to the tune of 44-6. During a season which Donovan McNabb and the Eagles had found themselves all but completely counted out, they've managed to make the playoffs through a series of losses by other teams (The Raiders beating the Bucs? Come on fam; nobody saw THAT coming...)and most importantly, by winning the BIG one against our most despised foe. What made the victory even sweeter was that our sound trouncing of those no-talent, ass-clowns served not only to launch us into the playoffs, but also to bounce their undeserving butts OUT of the postseason picture.

Sometimes, life is good. I mean like really, REALLY good.

My postgame ritual for Cowgirl ass-kickings by the Birds is usually capped off by expletive-laden phone calls to two good friends of mine (Jeff and Rob) who have the misfortune to be misled, yet diehard Cowgirls fans.

Don't get me wrong; those who know me know that if my squad beats your squad in ANYTHING, (I mean ANYTHING-effing spades/tiddlywinks/paper football included fam; I'm so NOT joking about this)you can best believe that you will hear from me POST HASTE. Just ask the teenagers I was counseling this past summer when we had boys vs. girls volleyball. My boys squad won and the girls (female counselors who were coaching them included) heard about it for a good 5 minutes as I ran around the grass in front of Station 100 like Jim Valvano back in 1983.

What further fuels my passionate rants at Jeff and Rob is the fact that I have a fundemental issue with their fandom:

Neither of those two are actually FROM Dallas. They're from PHILLY! (WTF?!)

Which brings me to the purpose of this post.

Here are The Rules for Sports Fandom. Thoroughly thought out and articulated as I eat day-old Chinese take out and watch Spaceballs. The Rules are here to help you. Abide by them. Always.

Rule #1.)Root for your home team.

I really shouldn't even have to talk about this but I will. I was born in Philadelphia, raised in Philadelphia and will represent Philadelphia until my lodge brothers lower me 6 feet or spread my ashes over the Schuykill. Therefore, I am a Sixers, Eagles, Phillies and Flyers fan. Regardless of how much they suck, these are my teams. Period. You can be a fan of PLAYERS for other squads (shit; I was the biggest Michael Jordan fan until the Wizards fiasco and $200 kicks in steel cases)but you root for the HOME TEAM. And, you STAY loyal to your team no matter where you reside or go.

Above: Lives around the freakin' corner from me! J/K; but still gets no love from me with that shirt on. Eff the Cowgirls.Word.

This goes for my friends Sandy,(Giants/Yankees fan)Chuck (Lakers fan) Jeff(Cowgirls fan) Bill (Giants/Knicks fan) and the worse offender of all my friends, Rob.(Cowgirls/Celtics fan) All from Philadelphia or the surrounding area. All traitorous in their sports alligiances.

Exception 1.) Exception shall be granted for those who are from cities/regions bereft of professional sports franchises. For example: I had a paramedic instructor from Kentucky. There is no professional football team in Kentucky, so he chose to be an Indianapolis Colts fan. Perfectly acceptable. But, even within this exception there are rules...

See: People from New Jersey or New York City.

North Jersey folks more readily identify with New York City and are de facto New York Giants/Jets fans. People from South Jersey are usually Philly transplants and are therefore, Eagles fans. Jersey has a hockey team so native Jersey folks are to root for the Devils only.

(Subsection A: Parental lineage and influence. Say my wife and I moved from Philly to...I dunno-say, Cleveland. And say we had another child that was born in Cleveland. We would then raise said child to be an Eagles fan, not a Browns fan. This actually piggybacks off of rule #1.)

Residents of the boroughs of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and The Bronx root for the Yankees. People from Queens root for the Mets. That is all.

Rule #2.) The "Enemy of My Enemy is my Friend" Rule.

One of my Lodge brothers hails from our nation's capital. He, therefore is a Redskins fan. The Eagles' most despised enemy are the Cowgirls. Therefore, even though I don't like Washington, if the Redskins are playing the Cowgirls, I root for the Resdkins. It's that simple.

Rule #3.) The "Get off the "Di__" rule. Otherwise known as the "Anti-Bandwagon" clause.

If you are from Detroit and are a Lions fan as you SHOULD be, you are not allowed to be a Colts fan now. You say your team just went 0-16 for the season huh? Tough. Gut that shit out. The Sixers went 9-73 during the 1972-1973 season and my father and other Philly fans grabbed straws and sucked it up. Red Sox fans remember 81 years of misery before they finally rid themselves of "The Curse."

Above: Want some cheese with that whine?

There's nothing more detestable than johnny-come-lately Patriots/Lakers(I'm talking to you Chuck)/ Yankees/Cowboys fans. Crawl back under the rock you from whence you came.

Rule #4. The Cowgirls SUCK. Fo' real mayne.

As always, feel free to add on as I'm sure that I missed something important.

May the Schwartz be With You.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Little White Lie?

I had a good Christmas.

I rose from my sleep in full possession of my faculties, enjoyed time with my immediate and extended family and still had like five bucks in the account this evening, despite my kids and Madison Avenue's combined efforts. (More like $3.75 but hey, who's counting.)

I'm blessed by the best. This I know for certain.


Something has been bothering me for a while now and I'm wondering if I'm the only person who's feeling or has ever felt this way.

It's a touchy situation though...because it's about Christmas.

Well, my quandary begins with Christmas but ends in a much more vast/general question.

Let's start with the Christmas issue. The thing is, the celebration of Christmas as we know it on the 25th of December, is pagan in origin. Around the time of the creation of the Julian calendar, winter solstice fell around the 25th of December and was celebrated by many pagan religions in Europe. The Church had been looking for a time to celebrate the birth of Christ and superimposed the Christmas celebration onto the pagan winter solstice celebration. They'd figured that it was easy since people had already been celebrating on this day so it wouldn't be that hard to convince them that this was a Holy day and it was also a means of 'civilizing' the various pagan worshippers.

I've reconciled the fact that the modern celebration of Christmas is based on a lie but the birth of our Savior is 100% true. So I never lose the reason for the season.
We should be celebrating His works on a daily basis anyway.


...Christmas on the 25th IS a lie, nonetheless. Invented and perpetuated by the Church.

So my questions are:

1.)Am I the only one who has ever struggled with this?

2.) Is a lie, even if it's "for a good reason," ever an acceptable course of action? Doesn't have to be as deep a conundrum as the one I worked through with Christmas, but in a general sense, is it ever really okay to "stretch the truth" or embellish a bit as long as you have good intentions? (Point of clarification: The road to Hell is NOT paved with good intentions; rather it is paved with the same crap they use to pave and re-pave various Philadelphia streets and/or expressways at least 23 times in a two year period and ALWAYS during rush hour when I'm running late for work at the furthest duty station possible from my home.)

Above: Dante's 7th level. I'm.Not.Kidding.

If you're up from your "itis" induced, Christmas meal nap, I welcome you to share your thoughts on this.


R.I.P. Eartha Kitt (1927-2008)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

That's What's Up.

(Pre-Blog note: First off, I'd like to say "Thanks" to Chris A. and my fellow VSB'er, the lovely BBMo for subscribing to my foolishness. I don't know what it says about you guys, but ya'll are all right with me.)

ANNOUNCEMENT! (Like anybody the eff really cares...)

I spend a lot of time during the week following "Very Smart Brothas." (Thanks, Champ and PJ) As such, I haven't really gotten around to writing in this blog with any amount of consistency. I decided that I'm going to stop fooling myself and embrace my addiction. From now on, I will update this blog Fridays to Sundays, leaving me with time during the week to follow VSB, frustrate myself by expecting way too much from asshole patients and enjoy slices of sweet potato cake.(Yeah, It's that good.) That is all.

Back at the actual blog post.......

Those who know me in real life know that I say "That's What's Up."

A lot.

I've been sitting here thinking about things that currently cause me to smile knowingly and say "That's What's Up." Here's a small list:

-When I'm eating at a restaurant, I order my food and then about three minutes later, I purposely go to use the restroom. When I come back to the table, my food's usually there. It's like magic. And magic, is what's up.

-Sweet Potato Cake. With the cream cheese icing. That's what's up.

-Women with pretty feet. DEFINITELY what's up.

-Anticipation for 2009. With B+ taking office, I'm excited to see how his management/leadership style and foreign policies will differ from the crap we've been force fed for the last eight years. I'm keeping my expectations realistic though. Cautious optimism is what's up.

-Spending time with my sister is what's up.

-Shifts where I don't turn my ambulance on for anything else except to get breakfast/lunch/dinner, is most certainly, what's up.

-The women in Ryan Leslie's video for "Addiction." While they're definitely the size of typical video women, they're darker than the average video women put forth as the standard of beauty in music videos. Redefining what beauty is, is what's up.

-Gangstarr's song 'Skillz.' In fact, anything that Guru and Primo get together on, is what's up.

-Loving Christ and professing it verbally, is what's up.

-Family is what's up. All day every day. Twice on Sunday.

If anybody else has opinions on what is or what is not up, feel free to add them in the comments.

Exchanging ideas is what's up.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Getting in touch with your star player....playa.

2009 is almost upon us people.

Lord willing, I'll be 36 on my born day this year.

Only 4 more years to the big 4-oh; a fact that is NOT lost on your intrepid author.

While I've never been a person who's been able to keep a resolution, I will say that we're not getting any younger and it's high time (if you haven't already) to, as Katt Williams says, "get in touch with your star player."

Don't confuse what I'm saying here with another popular phrase that people like to say...

You know the saying.

"Do You."

I've heard it said umpteen million times. Shit, I might've even said it that many times myself but it's time to change the way we think and operate. I mean, what if 'Doing you' has negative effects or ramifications on someone else? Unacceptable.

In 2009, let's take a page out of Spike's book and instead of "Doing Us," let's "Do the Right Thing" (Which, by the way, Spike HIMSELF isn't even doing by rooting for the loser ass Knicks.
Sixers, Bitches.)

But back to the original point of my post, what I AM advocating is finding your niche and applying laser-precise focus in order to bring your thoughts into reality. You can't afford to be out here lacking direction these days.

above: DEFINITELY does not have her mind right.

Don't get me wrong, there are always going to be setbacks, obstacles and distractions but a dude I know (thanks, Jacobini) said something to me earlier this summer that's going to stick with me forever: "The Devil fights hardest when you're closest to your glory."

If you want to see focus...I mean REAL effing focus, watch this youtube video.

Say what you will, but Captain Pugwash is focused, man. Fight for your dreams and goals the way he's all in for that broccoli.

"Persistance beats Resistance." (Thanks Kev.)

Perservere, people.

Note: I know this post might've come off as being a tad trite, but it was what I was feeling. Writing this was as much (If not more) for me as is was for anyone else. A catharsis of sorts. Ah well...at least I feel better. And really, isn't that all that matters anyway?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Painful Truths Revealed Over Beef Lo Mein

I went to a Chinese food spot where I work a couple of nights ago to pick up some beef lo mein with a little bit of fried Rice for dinner with my partner. I hopped out of the driver’s seat of the squad (I always start the night off driving; that usually means that my partner will take the first call. Thus giving me time to eat said food while partner is typing up paperwork. I’ve got this thought out…) and asked my boy Fred if he wanted anything. He’s like “nah…I’m good,” so I stroll inside to place my order. (Aside: I have a thing about eating Chinese take out because I hate coming out of the place smelling like the food they’re cooking. I don’t know if anyone else has ever thought about this but this definitely weighs heavily on my decision whether to eat Chinese food on a particular night or not) I look up at the menu then place my order with the affable Asian lady behind the open counter.** Now, to get to the reason for this post: Off to the side, I saw a young Asian girl and boy sitting at a counter in the restaurant doing homework. This didn’t strike me as being particularly peculiar. What struck me was the fact that while she was doing homework, the Asian girl was also putting boxes together to hold the food and ringing customers up. The Asian boy was folding a stack plastic food covers right-side-in, in between doing HIS homework. I was like “Wow-these folks are on their grind FOR REAL.” I’ve noticed this a great deal in Chinese restaurants, neighborhood ’stop and go’s, etc where even the children are contributing to the efforts of making the place successful and STILL getting their schoolwork together. I looked at these folks and then I thought about the kids who I mentored in Chester over the summer who GOT PAID to be at a medical camp where they got job skills/training, CPR certification and an EMS bag with a free blood pressure cuff, stethescope and bandaging equipment. The whole time, most of them kept putting their heads down, complaining about being ‘tired,’ and giving a lot of the other counselors attitude. (Not me; cause have no problem judo chopping a teenager in they mouf) The contrast just really struck me-and not in a funny way either. I’m not knocking anybody else’s (esp. immigrants) hustle and drive…the whole thing just drove home the fact that people (esp. black folk) from this country better step their game up-or get replaced.

**If you inferred that this Chinese food spot was in the burbs, you would be correct. If you inferred that this spot was in the burbs because I said ‘Chinese food spot’ and ‘open-counter’ as opposed to ‘Chinese food spot’ and ‘Bulletproof glass,’ you might be from the hood. Collect 4 chicken wings and a pint of pork fried rice when you pass ‘Go.’

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Pump Ya Brakes"

Look, I'm as excited as the next person about Obama's election to the nation's highest office. Maybe even more, for that matter.

I grew up in a household with a father who has always stressed the importance of Black achievement in general and in this country, specifically.

In my short lifetime, I've never been more glad to have been wrong about my feelings in regards to White America's willingness to elect a Black official to ANY office; much less to the Presidency.

Real talk-I remember being happy as hell when they elected Wilson Goode to be Mayor of Philadelphia in 1983! That was a HUGE deal back then. HUGE!!! (sitting in my parents room listening to the clock radio play the S.O.S. Band's "Just Be Good(e) to Me" over and over the night he was elected) In 2008, Black elected officials are fairly commonplace and I never thought that a Black person didn't have the ability to be President, but I can honestly say that I NEVER saw this coming.

So before anyone reads this post and calls me a 'hater' and threatens to revoke my 'Black Pass', I get It.

And by 'It,' I mean the significance of Obama's election. But as always, some folks are taking things too far.

Just as it's asinine to think that B+ is going to take office on 20 Jan, put a grill on the White House lawn with accompanying weight set and crip walk after his acceptance speech, it's just as stupid to think that this dude is going to solve all the country's ills at 21 Jan @ 12:01. This man is just that: A man. Complete with flaws and contradictions so please let him be human and allow for his mistakes and missteps.

Above: WTF?!!!

The way I see it, (how you ALL should see it) Obama will be lucky if he gets through even 1/4 of his agenda during the next four years. In all reality he'll most likely need antother term to even scratch the surface of the country's fiscal issues. I've overheard some people saying that he's starting to renege on some of his campaign promises even before he takes office. People, he's not reneging; he's trying to say that he's not going to be able to change things overnight. That's all.
Plus, as I said before Barack Obama is only one man. He may actually be the advocate for the common person that we've been looking for but even still there are issues he will not be able to change for you.

He won't be able to stop the violence in our communities.

He won't be able to make people think it's cool to be smart.

He can't stop Mike Jones from making records. (although I wish he would)

He's going to need our help. Get ready to put in some work.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

They Reminisce Over You....

As I sat back down on the futon in my dimly lit paramedic office in Lower Chichester a few days ago, I came across a movie playing on the TV that instantly took me to another, simpler place and time. Double K was busy sucking face with Rae Dawn Chong and impressing Kool Herc with the way he controlled the crowd at the 'Burning Spear.' Lee's windmill game was on point and it was the first time I'd ever actually saw what Doug E. Fresh actually looked like.

'Beat Street' was on and suddenly, if just for a moment, everything was alirght in the world.

I leaned back, took my boots off and felt the familiar pang of nostalgia that always hits me when winter hits around here. I guess that everybody has a story about how it used to be back in the day around their way, but man, wintertime in Philly back in the day was the shit. I remember:
  • Snow. I mean actual snowstorms-not just bone chilling, icy winds that are no fun and don't cause school closings (Real-talk; Connie Clayton wasn't closing school for us at all anyway so I don't know why I'm even bothering to mention this.)

  • Peanuts/Charlie Brown/ABC holiday specials. I don't care how old I am, THIS SHIT STILL MAKES ME FEEL GOOD. 'The Great Pumpkin,' A Charlie Brown Christmas,' 'Frosty the Snowman,' the one about the elf who wanted to be a dentist, etc. are effing classics that I will watch EVERY TIME THEY COME ON TV. Period. All I have to do is hear the 'Peanuts Theme' and I find it utterly impossible to frown about anything. Fuck being hard; holiday specials rule.

(Note: If you don't feel the same way about holiday specials as I, then you truly have no soul and there's no help for you. Locate your nearest expressway and play 'Frogger' in it. Word.)

  • Looking through the Sunday Inquirer for toy store circular in search of what I wanted for Christmas / Christmas ads on TV. The names of the stores come back so easily: Lionel Kiddie City, Toys-R-Us, Kay-bee Toy and hobby,etc. I used to look at the circulars for hours dreaming of what to ask for that year. Even stores like Radio Shack with all their 'Tandy' and 'Realistic' knockoffs held my attention every Sunday afternoon from Black Friday until Christmas Eve. I never got everything I wanted (Effing Reaganomics) but I felt blessed to have always gotten something-and it was all to the good.

Above: Fiscal policies jacked up Christmas from 1981-1989.

  • 80's Winter B-boy culture. Bomber jackets with the fur hood. Kangols. Linoleum floor pieces/cardboard boxes. Lee's. ('two-tone' or not) Massive, brand new radios blasting rap music on Christmas morning. 'Christmas in Hollis' by Run DMC or 'Christmas Rap' by Kurtis Blow. Fake rabbit-fur hats with the tail in the back. I remember inheriting my cousin Biz' old 'pleather' bomber jacket with the fur hood AND the additional gaping hole in the side. I could care less about that damn hole-I wore that shit into Leeds Middle School the next day like 'What!' It beat the hell out of the long, beige winter coat my parents bought me; if only from a style perspective. It resembled the coat Edward Woodward wore on a tv show that he was on back then called 'The Equalizer' and I got tired of my friends asking me why I kept wearing my 'Equalizer'coat day in and day out.

Above: Not a good look for ya boy back at Leeds Middle School.

I fell back to sleep while watching the movie (as I always do on EVERY movie) but it had served its purpose for me. To have a look back and to hold on to something good and real in these troubled times where Christmas is shortened to 'Xmas' (trying to take Christ out of 'Christmas') and where murder and mayhem never takes a snow day. Feel free to stop by and share your memories if you get a chance. God Bless. Fiat Lux.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thanks for playing.

The things written in this blog will offend you.

Well...maybe not EVERYTHING, but certainly some of the things I write may or may not sit well with people who happen to come across this page.


That means I'm writing what's REALLY on my mind as opposed to writing with my mental 'filter' engaged.

I hope that you come through here and get something out of this-I really do. But, if you don't get anything else but a chuckle and/or a "WTF" feeling when you read this stuff, that's okay too. I write for other people to read it (otherwise, why bother writing this blog in the first place, right?) but I'm also writing this to dissipate some of the stress that builds up in yours truly on the daily. If I didn't, I'd end up cutting a person's intestines out with a spork losing it.

I might write in this thing three or four times a week. Sometimes, it might only be once that whole week-mostly due to time constraints due to my wife and kids, church, school, and my lodge. Other times, it'll just be beacause the option of a mid-afternoon nap / having some turkey bacon /scratching my balls will just be a little more enticing than writing at that particular point in time.

In any case, thanks for coming. Stop by often. Comments and/or criticisms are welcome and encouraged. Enjoy.