Pleading No Contest~Or Just Not At All

…but he answered him not a word.


One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is when not to defend myself.  Normally this is something I find hard not to do.  By nature I am a communicator, a negotiator and a peacemaker.  As liberal as I am towards respecting other people’s opinions, I also have my own views on a wide variety of subject matters.  These attributes equate to my natural desire to be understood.  My preference is that even if someone disagrees with me or is angry with me for something – I would much rather that person have an accurate assessment on what I mean to say or meant to do relative to his/her beef is with me rather than it be for some reason that isn’t true.  But sometimes less is more and there are times that an attempt to bring understanding to a situation would do nothing to remedy the problem.  Sometimes defending one’s self only makes things worse.  Especially if the people I may try to convince may not be in a good place to hear my point of view, or they flat out may not care.


Jesus is a wonderful example of a man knowing when not to defend himself.  As he faced his accusers before being sentenced to death by crucifixion, he was asked to defend himself.  This is how the exchange went in Matthew 27:11-14:


Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked Him saying, “Are you King of the Jews?  Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.”  And while He was being accused by the chief priest and elders, He answered nothing.  The Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?”  But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.


When one really examines the life of Jesus through his exchanges with different people, we find that people are always asking Him questions.  And I have found that depending on the person asking and what his/her motivation was for asking a question determined the way Jesus would respond.  When one of his disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, He gave them what we know now as the Lord’s Prayer. (Luke 11)  If a guy asked to be healed he accommodated that.  (Mark 2:41-42)  Even when John’s disciples asked Jesus why His disciples didn’t fast, Jesus gave them a decent answer. (Matthew 9:14-17)


The issue in the scripture reference before Jesus was crucified was that the governor wasn’t 100% sincere when he asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews.  And the chief priest damn sure didn’t give a hoot as to what Jesus would say to his accusations.  His and his friend’s agenda would have been the same regardless… “Crucify Him!”  Therefore Jesus did not waste the little time and breath he had left in answering the questions or defending himself in the presence of fools.  He illustrated this in Matthew 13:10-11 when he told his disciples that the reason He spoke in parables was because there were certain valuable words that were not for the masses to gain insight into.


And so it goes neither should we care to defend ourselves in the presence of people who are not on a hunt for truth nor have our best interest at heart.  Whenever Jesus would get a suspect or tricky question from an individual, he would either give them a smart assed question and answer back, (Matthew 20:23-27 -Luke 20:20-23) point out their true intentions, (Matthew 9 1-6) or simply be silent.  However, if a person was sincere in wanting to know the truth he was more than happy to relay that truth until understanding was achieved.  Proverbs 26:4 says it best, “Answer not a fool in his folly, lest you be like him.”  Sometimes even if you are totally misunderstood, misquoted, or accused of wrong doing.  There is a time to defend what the truth is.  But if the person you are talking to does not want the truth of have your best interest at heart, inside you may want to scream out for justice.  But it takes great inner strength to hold your peace and allow God to fight your battles.


When Mother Nature Becomes A Bitch

Living in the St. Louis Metropolitan area, I remember the flood of 1993.  It was amazing as the water from the mighty Mississippi River came pouring down from the northern states of Iowa and Minnesota.  Talks of crest and leveeys were rampant.  Sandbags and the communities that built them in rapid speed trying to out-race the water were thrilling.  For the most part the results were nothing short of both amazing and tragic.

According to Lee W. Warson Chief, Hydrologic Research Laboratory Office of HydrologyNOAA/National Weather Service, Damages totaled $15 billion, 50 people died, hundreds of levees failed, and thousands of people were evacuated, some for months. The flood was unusual in the magnitude of the crests, the number of record crests, the large area impacted, and the length of the time the flood was an issue.

Looking back, I remember going down to the riverfront during the Fourth of July which normally would hold Fair St. Louis.  There was not much of a fair, but still people came from all over the country to see the wonder of the flood waters as they covered Leonor K Sullivan Blvd where people would normally walk the banks of the front.  The water rushed through at a mighty speed carrying anything in its path with it.  People were talking pictures and sight seeing as if it were a The Grand Canyon.  It was really something.

For the sightseers, while we were hypnotically captivated by the waters, many in Grafton, Earth City, portions of Hazelwood and Alton etc. were washed out of homes and communities.  This was the mother of natural disasters.  I remember feeling and praying for those stranded and homless.  People’s lives were thrown for  a loop.  And most recovered.  The same will have to be said for this season.  And it may be more difficult than ever.  Think of the people in Iowa who were told they didn’t need flood insurance this year. 

Whether it be a tornado in the midwest, hurricane on the East or South Coast, or wild fires on the West, the eyes are still amazed by the wonderment of nature when it takes its course.  This time I was prompted to take pictures to record a small piece of this history.  As you will see, even the pictures of the Gateway Arch looked rather gothic and mysterious on this night.  God bless those who were flooded, and those who fight the waters… feeble as it may seem.

True Messages

    Somehow I got on an email listing from a sister whom I have never met.  She sends these out once a day and sometimes I think they are really some outstanding things written that I can appreciate.  I found a couple here that I will share.  Thanks to sister Francello McCoy.

Good Morning Prayer Partners;
    The thoughts and purpose of the (consistently) righteous are honest and reliable, but the counsels and designs of the wicked are treacherous.  Proverbs 12: 5
Don’t be ashamed to back off if you get out in the middle of something and find that God is not in it. Just be secure enough to simply say, “I thought this was God, but it’s not, so I am not going to do it anymore. “You can apologize to others if you caused them any trouble or confusion.  But there is no shame in quickly admitting that you were wrong. In Jesus name, Amen

                  Yes, let none who trust and wait hopefully and look for You be put to shame or be disappointed.  Psalm 25:3
Our day might seem better if everyone would just do what we tell them to do. But God doesn’t override people’s will, and we are not to do so either…If someone persists in doing something his or her own way today, show your confidence in God by stepping aside. You may learn that you were wrong, or they may learn that you were right….Either way, He will get the glory, if you put your trust in Him.  In Jesus name, Amen. 
With love your sister in Christ,
Francello McCoy-Founder& Ministry Networking
Paradise Retreat-Resort Center
P.O. Box 52242
Saint Louis Mo, 63136
Restoring Broken Women and Families

Balls Up! Punks Down! Testicular Fortitude Awards

Everyone who knows me knows that I am an avid Los Angeles Lakers fan.  Since 1980 I have referred to the team in WE terms not they.  If the Lakers won then “we” won… and if the Lakers lost “we” lost.  Many die hard fans have blind spots and are not able to critically assess their favorite team and its performance.  Yea guys call radio shows and second guess this or that – but I am talking about straight out rebuke when necessary.  I have never been that guy.  Win or lose I tell it like it is.  If the ref’s had a bad night I’ll be the first to say that.  If “we” play a team that’s just better than us then I cop to that too.  And in this case, if “we” all out sucked I’ll say that too.  This was definitely the case as I watched that debacle of a basketball game in Boston Tuesday night.  My Lakers started the game – well Kobe started the game being aggressive and it looked as if it may be a nice 6 which the Celtics were favored to win.  But once the second quarter started – all Celtic-Hell broke loose and soon my beloved purple and gold team were rolling over like Rover and played dead.  I shook my head in disgust as the Celtics “toyed” with the Western Conference Champions and ran a clinic on our asses. 

Thus the Balls Up Punks Down Testicular Fortitude awards.  I mean listen, sometimes its not about Xs and Os.   By game 6 of the Finals, both teams know each others players and plays.  It becomes an issue of executing the game plan – which often comes down to forcing your will over the opponents.  Simply put it’s about NUTS, Balls, who has them and who doesn’t.  Its not about getting your butt kicked in a game cause that happens.  Previously in another blog I talked about the Memorial Day Massacre in 1985.  It was an issue of the Celtics being a hot team where everything they did turned to gold.  But it was not as if the Lakers lacked balls or will.  They fought and came up short – but came back to win the series.  This was not the case on Tuesday night.

Let me be clear – the Celtics deserved to win.  Overall they proved to be the better team.  But what pissed me off more than anything was the fact that our players were so freaggin SOFT.   It started with Pau GaSOFT, who made Kendric Perkins look like Bill Russell defending him in the post.  GaSOFT was so timid he looked as if he panicked every time he touched the ball in the post.  Then there was Vladimir RadmoNOSHOT – who looked more like he was trying to crack the Boston Bricklayers Union for a job this summer.  Sasha VuiSHIT was awful too.  Though he helped LA to a victory in game 3 by, it all feel to the ground in game 4 when Ray Allen waltz past his ass for an easy bucket down the stretch when it counted the most.  That was vintage stereotypical European defense at its worst. 

Back to game 6…  It was sad to see coach Phil Jackson beg his team not to “give it away” at halftime.  But boy did they ever!  The second half was more of the same – and it ended with a 131-92 ghetto project beat down.  Tuesday night the Lakers simply “gave up the booty” – and Boston took it with no vaseline!  They wanted it more – and they earned it.   They went after the Lakers like the Leonidis went after the Persians in “300!”  I think I saw Kevin Garnett scream out SPARTAN!!!!!!!!! 

Gerard Butler as Leonidas in Warner Bros. Pictures' 300

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not throwing my cats under the bus totally.  They deserve credit for winning the toughest division in basketball.  When nobody thought they would make it this far they swept the Denver Nuggets, Beat Utah in 6 games including closing them out in Salt Lake City – one of the toughest places to win at any time.  Then they beat the World Champion Spurs in 5 games.  These were impressive feats and they deserve props for sure.  They had Gasol but no Andrew Bynum who was having a great year in the middle.  The Lakers should and will make some changes to get a bit tougher.  Game 6 does not take away from the great year they had.  But still it was a disgraceful effort.

So congratulations to Paul, Kevin and coach Doc Rivers.  Balls Up for the Celtics – Punks down for the Lakers.

Our second Balls Up award goes to Eldrick Tiger Woods.  This cat comes has knee surgery on tax day in April to remove cartilage from his knee, suffered a double stress fracture of his left tibia while trying to return in reading to the PGA tournament last month, missed The Memorial and shows up at the US Open in Torrey Pines -forces a playoff against Rocco Mediate – Then wins on Monday for his 14th career major after 91 holes on the largest course in US Open history.   “What the…??”  In severe pain this dude does the last 18 holes and out-shoots his opponent – only to have to have ACL surgery a couple days later which will cause him to miss the rest of the year.  I say again… “What the…?”  Talk about a champion!  This was like Jordan when he had the flu in Utah and scored 38 against the Jazz in the Finals while having an IV hooked up to him during half the game.  I hope Tiger waits and rehabs his injuries properly.  Cause when he comes back, he will have such a psychological advantage over the rest of the field – that he will break every record left in the sport of golf and amaze anyone who had any doubts to the contrary.  Balls UP Tiger.  Yourrrrrrrr GREAT!

The pain Tiger Woods felt in his knee during the U.S. Open was caused by a stress fracture he suffered two weeks before the major tournament while rehabilitating from surgery.

Our last Punks Down award goes to New York Mets GM Omar Minaya who fired Willie Randolph in Anaheim earlier this week.  Much speculation has surrounded Willie’s job as manager both this and last season.  After Sunday’s home game the Randolph had a meeting with Minaya that if he were going to fire him, please do it now and not humiliate him by sending he and his crew to the West Coast.  Minaya gave Willie the impression his job was safe.  Then Minaya flew to Anaheim himself under the radar, called Randolph to his hotel suite and pink slipped the dude just before 3:15 am.  This after a victory over the Angels and after the Mets had won 3 of 4.   Every organization has a right to hire and fire as they see fit for the betterment of the organization… still the way business is handled is just as important and reflects the class or lack thereof of an organization.  Clearly Minaya lacked class in the way he handled his first managerial hire.  Word now is that interim manager Jerry Manual is a front office pawn, the team is a mess and Minaya may very well be the next one to get pushed on a sword before Spring Training of next year.  Regardless – Omar Minaya – Punks Down!

300 Pictures Courtesy of Warner Bros. / Celtics Team Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images / Woods Photo courtesy of the NY Post / Omar Minaya Photo by Francis Speckler/

Albums That Helped Shape My Life

Music is wonderful.  I consider myself a scholar in the area.  You have your one hit wonders, as well as the genuises that laste and laste.  I won’t get into the artist as much.  That would take too long.  But some albums are everlating in my heart.  Meaning they will always have significance.  Here are my top ten… subject to change upon memory of albums that have helped shape and make a big difference in my life. (In no particular order)

1. What’s Goin OnMarvin Gaye * Music and lyrics just as relevant today as they have ever been!  An album too honest for the times and still underappreciated fully for the substance it contains. 

What's Going on

2. Thats The Way of the WorldEarth Wind & Fire * A mixture of grooves such as Shining Star and Happy Feelings.  The title track along with Reasons are timeless classics.  This album is music that covers our afro traditional roots along with complicated relational and interpersonal issues.

That's the Way of the World 

3. The Isley BrothersThe Heat Is On * I mean forget Fight The Power – I don’t have to even go there.  But it has the Big Three on side 2: For The Love of You, Sensuality, & Make Me Say It Again Girl!  I used to listen to these over and over again even as a little kid.  Lots of black folk were conceived on that side of the album.

The Heat Is On

4.  JourneyEscape * The first Rock and Roll album I bought.  Journey introduced me to other groups like REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Rush, Genesis, Teg Nuggent, Led Zepplin etc.  Don’t Stop Believing is still being played in bars all over the country.  It may be sappy, but after a couple pops, your singing along too! “Strangers – waiting – Up and down the boulevard – their shadows searching in the niiiiight!”


5.  Earl KlughHeart String *The first jazz album I bought.  I credit Jeff M. an old friend I used to bus tables with for hipping me to this wonderful guitarist.  We used to smoke the hippie lettuce while sitting in his car jamming this.  I have this CD in my car right now as a matter of fact. 

Heart String

6. Michael Jackson – Off The Wall * I know for a lot of people it’s all about Thriller.  Thats a great album and the sales records prove it.  But without Off The Wall and it’s success at the hands of Quincy Jones, there would be no Thriller.  The record exeutives didn’t think a jazz man could produce a pop album.  Michael said he wouldn’t do the record unless “Q” was the man to produce it.  Well when Mike spoke it was like EF Hutton.  The rest is history!

Michael Jackson Off the Wall

7. Prince1999 * During the height of the competition of who was the King – be it Michael or Prince.  Prince changed the game with this one.  A double album with crazy stuff like D.M.S.R. and Lady Cab Driver.  The bass line on Lady Cab Driver is one of the funkiest of all time.


 8. Stevie WonderSongs In The Key of Life * Still his best and most complete work in my opinion.  Cut for cut this is a musical kaleidescope of rhythms and lyrics.  A must have for any music fan. 

Songs in the Key of Life

9. Teena MarieIt Must Be Magie * Actually my second Teena Marie album.  Irons In The Fire was the first.  But with jams like Yes Indeed, (brilliant piano by Patrice Rushen) 365, Square Biz and Portugese Love… it was a wrap!  A great album from a great artist.  Go ahead Lady T!

It Must Be Magic

10. Fred Hammond and Radical for Christ – The Inner Court * At first I didn’t get the excitement others felt for this former member of the gospel group Commissioned.  His voice sort of irritated me.  But the more I listened, the more I understood this brilliant artist who literally worships God through his music.  Listening to this album is much more of an experience than anything related to normal entertainment.  And when I sing along I find myself worshipping as well.

The Inner Court

 What are your favorites?

Movies That Scared The BeJeezus Out of Me

Friday will be yet another “Friday the 13th.”  I am not superstitious mind you but there are always horror or scary movies released around that time.  I think of the new Mark Walberg movie “The Happening” that will start this weekend.  Looks wierd – and I think I’m game to check it out.  This got me to thinking…

You ever watch a movie and have wierd dreams that remind you of the movie you watched?  This happens to me from time to time.  Generally speaking I try to stay away from violent movies or horror flicks late at night, cause I don’t want those images to be the last thing imprinted upon my spirit.  But thats not a cure all.  Recently I watched Big Momma’s House and the new Chronicles of Narnia and later had dream that Lester (Terrance Howard’s character in ‘House) was trying to shoot me with bows and arrows. (Narnia)  Its amazing how pictures and images will invade and reflect upon our dreams.  With that in mind…  it cause me to think of the movies that scared me the most as I was growing up.  Or in some cases, not that long ago.

The Happening (2008) Poster

1) Jaws – I saw this classic as an 8 year old.  It was July 1975 and we lived in the Normady Owens Projects we called, “The Hole” cause it was literally underground.  We had no air conditioning and the apartment was as hot as the dickens.  Didn’t matter… I was so scared I was deep under the covers sweatin like the devil.  I remember hearing some kids were scared to take a bath.  But I wasn’t that bad.

Jaws (Widescreen Anniversary Collector's Edition)

2) Damien The Omen II – Not only was this Anti-Christ talk and the three 6s in dude’s head scary, but that darn opera chanting made this one all the more scary!  I thought Damion was going to get me!

Omen II

3) Phantasm – In a way I was intrigued by this mad doctor who threw those silver balls with the blades protruding out of them.  But in watching it I bit off more than I could chew.  I had nightmares about dude for days!



4) Abbey: (The Black Exorsist) – I was only 7 when I went to see this.  It was a part of a double feature that my sister and I saw along with Cooley High.  My parents dropped us off and picked us up later in the afternoon.  When that girl started gagging and spittin green stuff in the movie – I lost my freaggin mind crying like a lil bee-ach! I was spiritual as I knew it back then and into church.  So I believed fully in the devil.  I wanted to stay out in the hallway till the movie was over but my sister knew she couldn’t leave me.  For once, she actually felt for her lil brother and put her arms around me during the film and told me it was going to be OK and that it was just a movie.  Thanks Darcel!

5) Fallen – Darn straight I was an adult when this one came out.  But boy did it give me the creeps.  The whole touching scene on the street where the evil spirit Azazal goes from one person to the next was off the meat rack son!  The Rolling Stone’s jam they played at the end (Sympathy For The Devil) during the credits is quite haunting.  Here is a small sample:

Please allow me to introduce myself
Im a man of wealth and taste
Ive been around for a long, long year
Stole many a mans soul and faith
And I was round when jesus christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But whats puzzling you
Is the nature of my game
I stuck around st. petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain
I rode a tank
Held a generals rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah



The Garden of Eden, Bird does Hammer!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I saw this recently on 60 minutes… This is the facinating story of a place rarely and barely touched by man.  As a result there are some beautiful new (to man) birds and species.  See nature in perfect harmony and the bird I call the Original MC Hammer!








Divided He Falls – If Obama Picks Hillary!

I find it ironic that my main main and fellow blogger R. Fitzgerald aka The Rich House in his series of breaking down the 48 Laws of Power would choose to use the one regarding never putting too much trust in friends and learning to use enemies in his latest entry.  Robert Green’s bestseller detailing how to gain and maintain advantages in life is a great manuscript and it’s theories are a proven way of success.  However, every rule has its exceptions.  Wisdom is knowing how to balance a good theory and when to turn it on it’s head when appropriate.  Such is the case of Barack Obama as he ponders his choice of a running mate for the upcoming presidential election in November. 

With a relatively close campaign between he and Senator Hillary Clinton people have spoken for months of a so called “dream team’ should the two combine campaigns for a run at the White House.  Clinton certainly has her supporters and she won enough states to garner a level of respect.  Her constituency range from the Caucasian, African-American, and Latino community respectively.  The Clintons made a lot of friends of the Democratic persuasion over the decade of the 90s, and Hillary proved to be a leader who can gather consensus.  Perhaps on paper it could have worked.  An African-American male and a Caucasian woman creating history together to promote positive change for a nation that desperately needs it.  However, I must say that Hillary Clinton as Vice President would be a disaster for Senator Obama’s campaign and certainly his potential administration.  Since this isn’t the New York Times or some other “official” news source I can afford to keep it real.  And I will. 

Lets start with Clinton’s speech on Tuesday night.  After losing the battle for the Michigan and Florida delegates over the weekend and a not so dominating result in the Puerto Rico primary, Obama gained the necessary delegates to become the presumptive nominee with the Montana and South Dakota primary results.  I recall Senator Clinton saying on many occasions that if she were not the nominee, she would put her full support behind Senator Obama and unify the Democratic party.  On Tuesday night many Dems fully expected her to start that very process by steering her supporters to Senator Obama in a concession speech.  Instead she showed her ass once again as being a defiant and “deranged narcissist” as one commentator on CNN stated.  The race is over!  But instead of keeping her promise to unite the party, she gave Obama warmed over generic praise and tooted her own horn by continuing to try her case as to why she should have won.  Earlier in the day she was floating out her interest to be VP on Obama’s ticket.  And while on paper that ticket had its attractive features prior, Hillary’s words and actions only proves that she would be a cancer to an Obama campaign and especially his potential administration.  Despite her previous speeches of her desire to fight for Americans who have not had the platform they needed the past eight years, her speech on Tuesday night proves once and for all that Hillary Clinton is for Hillary Clinton.  Her desire to be VP is only a last minute ploy to get a piece of the action. 

Lets me make it plain.  Despite losing, the Clintons and their supporters are trying to gangster their way into the White House by forcing themselves down Obama’s throat.  Her lack of concession and posturing in asking her supporters give her advice via her website is a sad and desperate attempt to headlock Obama into taking her through the Denver convention.  Her position to Obama is basically, “I have a following and you need me to deliver them if you want to be president.”  Some commentators talked of her trying to cement a legacy for her and Bill by gaining themselves one more go at the nation’s biggest political stage.  That sounds accurate to me.  That being the case we need not hear anymore from Hillary about her fighting for the needs of the nation.  Instead she is fighting for a place for her and her husband seeing as though she felt the presidency was her birthright in the first place.  Something needs to happen soon to end this foolishness.  Its getting out of hand with guys like Bob Johnson formally of BET writing letters to the CBC and making TV appearances to press Obama to accept Hillary.  Obama cannot afford to fall for these extorted power move by the Clintons. 

The truth is that while Hillary could be of great help were she able to make like a good soldier and fall in line with the voter’s desires and the rules of her party, her divisiveness only shows that if she were to be the VP she would only be interested in having a separate administration that would be in constant conflict with that of Obama’s.  Its plain that she and Bill would undermine everything they feel would not benefit their own need to gain recognition and power.  It can be clearly forcasted that an Obama/Clinton administration would be two administrations – one with Obama’s crew and one with Bill and Hillary’s in constant conflict for power and position.  For the first African-American president – this would be an awful thing because as Commander In Chief the buck is going to stop with him, perhaps more than with any other president in history.  Everything that goes wrong is going to fall on his shoulders.  To have a successful administration there has to be leadership across the board, but there can only be ONE leader.  One Chief!  Bill and Hillary are not humble enough to be Indians.  And her words on Tuesday night placing her voters on the table as bargaining chips proved so emphatically.  

Supposedly Clinton is supposed to concede tomorrow and throw her hat in with Obama.  People will be watching her tone to see if she can pull off the Oscar in convincing her loyal followers that she is indeed sincere.  Honestly, I don’t see her doing it with the enthusiasm needed to fully unify the party for the run at John McCain and the Republican Party looking to exploit any and all weaknesses.   

Meanwhile,  Hillary can blame herself for her own blunders and mistakes during this campaign.  For one she is still “sleeping” on Obama by continuing to underestimate his appeal and message to the nation.   Two, she continues to overestimate her own level of importance.  The Clintons may have some juice but the Democratic party is tiring of her self-appointed grandstanding.  They may indeed have to show her that neither she nor her husband is bigger than the party itself.  If necessary the leadership under Howard Dean will throw them under the bus before losing this election in November.  Her extortion play on Tuesday night was the last straw I’m sure.  And what will the Clintons do if Obama doesn’t pick her anyway?  Join John McCain?  Continue to travel the nation as solo artist?  That would be political suicide even for them. 

Clearly the Clintons have no respect for Obama and that is part of their ongoing problem – part of the reason she lost in the first place.  Its the same reason that McCain is going to lose in November.  He too underestimates Obama by summing him up to being merely a great speaker with no experience.  As if McCain has a lot of experience himself – as if George W. Bush had a lot of experience going in. 

Senator Obama was extremely gracious and classy in his praise of Hillary Clinton.  He’s a better man than me.  His poise is rather presidential and if anything this proves that is indeed willing and capable of working with anyone in a bi-partisan fashion.  Just as Jackie Robinson had the courage to perform under pressure while simultaneously standing above foolishness and stupidity, Obama has the courage and conviction to hold his tongue and know when to let folly slide when necessary.

One thing is for sure.  So far the Obama team has proved remarkably sharp in handling all things necessary for winning the White House.  They ran a great primary campaign by having a consistent message.  They raised and managed money equally in ways not seen before.  And they have handled adversity with class and dignity.  Therefore I am confident that they will not fall for the “okeedoke” with regards to the pressure put on by the Clintons and their regegade inner circle. 

BB&G C-Notes Week Ending June 6-9

 This is a big weekend!  My daughter Chrystal is getting married and I will be giving her away.  I am not sure what sort of emotions I will have but it’s an exciting time.  I am looking forward to it with reverence and humility.  Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Justin Curry to be.  Peace and blessings from Dad!


The Celtics won game 1 of the Finals last night.  It was a nice game and the series should be an exciting one.   But did ya’ll get a load of Paul Pierce’s act last night?  This dude goes down like he was shot after bumpting into Kendrick Perkins, is carried off by pallbearers into a wheelchair and carted off to the lockeroom, only to come back a couple minutes later slashing 3 pointers all over the place.  What the hell?  First of all Paul Pierce aka The Truth is my man!  He is a career Celtic and I am happy that he is in this position.  When he first went down I thought it would be a shame if he were really hurt and couldn’t compete from start to finish in The Finals.  However, I have to admit that when I saw him in that wheelchair, for some reason I felt it was overdone and I said out loud, “Paul’s gonna be back in this game.  He’s fine!  He’s gonna walk out of the lockeroom to an ovation and set it off!”  Of course he did and the rest is history.  Now people are trying to compare his performance to that of Willis Reed back in the day.  I agree with Jalen Rose who appeared on ESPN’s First Take opposite Skip Bayless when he said that Paul was not Willis Reed but Keyser Soze.  See ya Sunday for Game 2!    

Celtics teammates gloomily carried Paul Pierce off the court during the third period with what appeared to be a severe injury.


Let The Games Begin! Lakers/Celtics Renew Rivalry

The first NBA game I ever saw on television was in May of 1980.  I was 13 and we had a house full of company.  Some must have been basketball fans because the TV was on the NBA Finals.  The Philadelphia 76ers were playing the Los Angeles Lakers.  I wasn’t a huge basketball fan at all.  Though I did enjoy watching Hayward and Coolidge on the White Shadow,  I was a baseball man.  Sure I had heard of Dr. J (Julius Erving) but my heros were Pete Rose and everyone else who were a part of the Big Red Machine known as the Cincinnati Reds.  I collected baseball cards and could name most every player on every MLB team.  Regardless, there was a lot of enthusiasm for the hoops being played on the tube that day.  I had to see what the big deal was.  And what I saw changed my perception of basketball forever. 

Up and down the court was this young energetic cat who seemed to glide from one side of the floor to the other – grabbing rebounds, dishing out passes and scoring at will.  On top of that he was 6’9 playing point guard.  But what was most engaging about this 20 year old rookie, was the fact that he seemed to enjoy himself more than anyone on the court – as if he were on a playground instead of in an NBA arena.   His smile was infectious and I was hooked.  Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson made me a basketball fan and the Lakers with their colors of purple and gold became my team. 

I watched the game of basketball over the next decade and fell in love with what I found to be a beautiful sport.  In the early 80’s there were several good teams and players to get into.  Every sport needs stars and performers to sell it’s product.  The NBA had a reputation of being a drug infested league full of selfish and aloof black ballplayers.  But the guys I saw were outstanding on and off the court and taught me what good basketball looked like.  The Sixers had the Dr., but also Bobby Jones, Maurice Cheeks and Andrew Toney.  The Milwaukee Bucks had Sidney Moncrief, Terry Cummings and Paul Pressey.  The Rockets had Calvin Murphy , Robert Reid, and Moses Malone.  The Cleveland Cavaliers had a guy named World B. Free.  His name was as great as his fade-away jump shot.  There were plenty of ballers to keep my interest.

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But the decade was carried by the teams from Tinseltown (LA) and Beantown respectively known as the Boston Celtics.  Every year one of these teams factored into claiming the Larry O’Brien trophy given to those who would be called World Champions.  And boy there some series to remember!  I used to watch every game with great anticipation, jumping up and down yelling at the TV – comparing notes and “did you see that?” with my cousins.  I respected the Celtics because they had great players.  Names like Bird, McHale and Parish were all too familiar.  But others like Tiny ArchibaldDennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, Quinn Buckner and Gerald Henderson were ballers in their own right.  I will never forget the game dubbed The Memorial Day Massacare in 1985 when Scott Wedman blew up the Lakers in Game 1 of the Finals by hitting all 11 of his shots.  The Lakers won the series so I got over it.  Yea, I respected the Celtics, but I HATED THEM TOO!  I hated them cause they were the Celtics.  I hated them cause of their crazy fans.  I hated those hideous green road uniforms.  I hated the fact that they turned the heat on in June at the old Boston Garden during the Finals though it was 90 plus degrees outside to gain an advantage.  I hated that the media seemed to give Bird and McHale more love than they gave Magic and Kareem.  I hated that they seemed to get all the crucial calls.  Most black guys loved the Lakers anyway.  They had more black players.  The Celtics seemed to have most of the better whites. 

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But the Celtics had their share of fans in the African-American community.  At Lincoln Park or Dunbar Elementary on the South Side of East St. Louis,  it was pretty much split between who the cats were rooting for.  There were plenty of heated debates too.  We argued on the school yard about who was going to stop James Worthy on the wing or how Kevin McHale’s post moves were the best anyone had ever seen.  I saw dudes bet 6 packs and 40oz brews for bragging rights between games and ghetto commentators broke down key moments and momentum changes during the series like NBA PhDs.  Those were the days!  We lived and died with every quarter of every game.  We took the rivalry as seriously as anyone in Boston or LA would.   

As time went on, both teams got old.  And picking last in the draft tends to defleat youthful talent on the rosters.  So there was transition.  The 90’s belonged to Michael Jordan and the Bulls.  Guys like Ewing, Barkley and Miller could only dream of getting a championship ring since they played in the same era.  Olajuwon benefited from Jordan’s gambling ‘errrrr baseball’ hiatus.  Since Jordan left the scene the NBA has struggled with its fan base.  Many of the newer stars didn’t market as well corporately so the fans didn’t gravitate to the game the same.  The young generation of players associated with the hip hop image made fans of individual stars but not of the game itself.  The new rivalries didn’t measure up to the standard of LA v Boston.  The San Antonio Spurs had some great teams and they won.  But they were boring to the casual b-ball fan.   Last year when the Spurs swept the LeBron James’ Cavaliers, television ratings were at an extreme low for recent years. 

Its a good thing for sports in general and the NBA specifically that the Superpowers of the league are relevant and on top of their games again – at the same time.  The Lakers experienced winning early in the turn of the century with a three-peat thanks to a core of Shaq and Kobe, a very mature and experienced bench along with an awesome coaching staff brought over from Jordan’s Bulls.  The Celtics had not been so fortunate over the last 20 years.  They seemed to be cursed with tragedies like the deaths of their #1 draft pick Len Bias, and fan favorite Reggie Lewis.  During bad times Celtic coach Rick Pitino  told desperate fans that Bird, McHale and Parish were not “walking through that door.”  The Celtics thought they would get to draft Tim Duncan but that didn’t work out either.  Last year I was sure they were losing games on purpose so they could gain the top pick in the lottery.  As fate had it they ended up with the 5th pick.   But GM Danny Ainge prayed to the ghost of Red Auerbach and was able to trade for Jesus Shuttlesworth, aka Ray Allen and “The Big Ticket,” Kevin Garnett.  One year later the leprechauns are smiling again as the Beaners are eyeing another title.

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For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant has redeemed himself as an MVP who is a proven team leader with take over skills not seen since Jordan.  Like the Mychal Thompson trade in the 80s the mid season acquisition for Pau Gasol has been a hit.  The Lakers roster is the youngest in the NBA and yet they have made it to the Finals showing poise and maturity beyond the age and experience of most of it players.  Derek Fisher returned home after stints in Golden State and Utah to provide backcourt leadership and a dangerous jumpshot.  Lamar Odom is as versatile a player on both ends of the court since Scottie Pippen.  And the coaching staff lead by Hall of Famer Phil Jackson is stacked with experience and championship rings.   

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My prediction?  Well if you look at the rosters it appears that the Celtics have a leg up with the second coming of The Big Three in Pierce, Garnett and Allen.  Kendrick Perkins has been dominate on the boards and I wish we had Andrew Bynum to match up with him.  James Posey has championship experience and Rajon Rondo has handled himself well during the playoffs.   However, when I look at the Lakers I see the best player and closer in the game in Bryant, the best passing team with one of the better defenses in the league.  As previously mentioned the entire coaching staff is full of champions.  Phil Jackson has won 9 championships as head coach and has coached in 10 Finals series.  This will be Doc Rivers’ first Finals appearance and I suspect this will factor when it comes to making crucial adjustments between quarters and games.  Unless the youth of the Lakers team becomes apparent and guys like Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, and Vladimir Radmanovic seem overwhelmed, the experience and leadership of guys who have been there like Bryant, Fisher and Luke Walton should prevail over a bunch of stars who have yet to win it all.

Lakers in 6