Why I Hate The Holidays

Ok, well maybe hate is too strong a word.  Let’s just say I haven’t always looked forward to the holidays anyway.  Specifically the trilogy we call Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years, (TCN) that are slapped together the last two months of the year.  I am skeptical about several holidays anyway.  Most seem to have double meanings, in that its partial religious and partial if not mostly marketing.

Look at Easter for instance.   I grew up simultaneously thinking it was about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and at the same time for bunnies and egg hunting.  The same can be said for Christmas.  Don’t even get me started on that one.  Thanksgiving can’t get over with without stores opening up in anticipation of Black Friday and loads of shoppers coming to spend a lot of grip!

Know More About Aztec Culture Stereotypes and  Myths in America.

Speaking of Thanksgiving; It has its own set of issues as it inaccurately tells of a relationship between pilgrims and Native Americans.  They talk about Native Americans helping the Pilgrims, but they don’t tell of the massacre and land grab the Pilgrims put down on them in return.  With the amount of turkeys being sacrificed on one day, it shows how much it’s commercialized too. ****Side Note: Will someone please explain what this whole mess of the president pardoning a turkey is about?

I tend to get into holidays like Veteran’s Day or Memorial Day, or something like these.  I mean they are commercialized too in that they do have Memorial Day sales in department stores.  But they tend to have less.  Labor Day is pretty straight forward.  It celebrates the workers of the nation.  And what the heck, if one wants to enjoy some savings at JC Penny’s for their hard-earned dollars who can argue with that?

Martin Luther King Day is almost a joke!  As much as I think we should have it for I truly believe MLK is the greatest American ever produced, the talk of dreaming and speeches is sickening.   It’s more memorial and legend than it is substance.  Take the good with the bad I guess.  But we, (black folk who want to deify King as a messiah who could do no wrong – and white folk who wish to use the dream message while eliminating the more meatier pieces of his words that challenged American white supremacy and classism at its core therefore rendering King a toothless lion) have basterdized Kings legacy as far as I’m concerned.  But I digress.

Valentines Day is a funny one to me.  Flower prices soar to astronomical proportion leading up to February 14 as men scramble and come up off them dollars to buy those roses and chocolate.  If you have a woman and she’s into that stuff, you can forget it!  Come off that grip or cancel Xmas cause if she feels dissed and can’t brag to her friends about what you did, there won’t be any presents for you under her tree!  I’m just saying.  As my friend Jim Thornber once wrote me about this same point, “I know I know.  But I got to do what I got to do!”

I’m not a total Scrooge about this mind you.  But even as a little kid I had love/skepticism relationship when it comes to holidays.  When I was a child and thought that Jesus was born on December 25th, I honestly didn’t care as much about presents.  I didn’t turn down any either.  But I did make a point of saying, “Happy Birthday Jesus!” when I woke up that morning before running for the living room.  As I recall I think I just thought us kids had the benefit of getting some presents on the slide.   I didn’t believe in Santa Clause too long cause I couldn’t figure how dude could hit all the houses all around the world in one night.  Just couldn’t wrap my brain around that.  All possible illusions were put to rest when I heard my mother and then step father sneaking in the crib at 3:30 in the morning setting up my race track.  I wasn’t disappointed at all.  More so relieved that I wasn’t crazy.

Back in the day,  another reason why I grappled with some of our holidays, (specifically the TCN trilogy) is because these holidays interrupted my otherwise action packed distractions layered lifestyle of mine.  (When I used to work 2-3 jobs at a time as a much younger man)  Most of my adult life I have struggled at times with depression, anxiety and stress.  Back then I worked hard and I worked a lot.  Therefore I was able to busy myself meandering with the important and the mundane.  If it wasn’t one thing to do it was another.   I’m still busy now but with a better plan.  The distractions are no different though.  Going from one side of town to another working or head to the coffee shop to wind down or jot some thoughts or view Delonte West free-styling in a KFC drive-through about buying $50 worth of chicken after a weed burn can keep one’s mind off his troubles.

I remember one year-long ago.  I was driving on a Thanksgiving afternoon to pick something up from Walgreens.   As I drove down the street I noticed how everything in the world has seemed to stop.  Here it was broad daylight in the middle of a metropolitan city, during the week no less, and there were hardly any cars on the street.   My neighborhood looked like a ghost town.  Subconsciously I noticed the trees too.  There were no leaves.  Only traces of dead ones laying on the streets and along the curbs.  Nothing was growing outside.  Nature seemed to be hibernating and the chill of the air cause me to cover myself so that the cold couldn’t attack me as it was the rest of nature.  That’s when it hit me.  “Damn!”, I thought.  These are the thoughts that flowed through my mind as I assessed the situation.

I have no place to go.  No place to hide.

 I knew instinctively that I was not in a good place.  I felt lonely, and empty.  I had no distractions to keep me busy and occupied.  I never even realized how much I was hurting or missing.  But here it was face to face now.

Whatever you really feel, wherever you really are, whatever state you are in for real, is always revealed during this time of year.  It’s unavoidable.

So there I was.  I knew it.  Nothing I could do about it either.  And Monday couldn’t get here fast enough.

For the most part nowadays I tend to look at holidays as an opportunity for me to rest.  To take a load off and maybe sleep in a bit.  I do see redeeming qualities with some of these holidays as they do give us time to reflect from busy lives and have a reason to stop, look, and hopefully listen to others.   To realize that family is important and that there is a season of giving.  Traditions can be a good thing when looked at properly.  And these holiday traditions tend to give those fortunate opportunity to take stock of the many present blessings.  I too will do some holiday shopping.  And since I have ‘things’ in perspective I am free to give and be a blessing to loved ones without tripping off the commercialized contradictions.

But for the lonely, the depressed, the homeless, the destitute, this holiday season will once again be a not so gentle reminder of the bold and true reality of their lives.  Let’s remember them too!  As I know full and well, it can easily be us!

‘Precious’, Opening Today!

This film has had a lot of pub and build up.   I’ve heard nothing but good things about this movie.  One article I read said that, “Precious” is so graphic it makes “The Color Purple” seem like “Snow White.”   I will support the actors, actresses and director Lee Daniels.

I encourage all to see this important film regarding subject matters that are rarely examined in society.  Most of all I hope that people don’t merely walk away from the movie talking about the performances of Mo’Nique or new actress Gabourey Sidibe, but again begin to examine and discuss openly our little girls who are the real Precious’. 

I realize that art entertains.  But art can also teach.  I hope we take advantage of a teachable moment.

No ‘I’ in Team, But a Capital one in ‘I’verson!

The Memphis Grizzlies have parted ways with disgruntled guard ...

Well after talking about how God directed him to Memphis to restart his career, God decided that since AI was not going to start for the Grizzlies it was time for him to take the road to Jericho, New York, or Miami. 

This is such a shame.  This guy still thinks he is too good to even consider coming off the bench.  His pride is so huge that he’d rather sit at home or play at the local rec gym than to attempt to help an NBA team on the cusp win a championship. 

There are plenty of great players who at some point came off the bench to help a team during their latter years.   Iverson can’t score as prolifically as he used to, play the same amount of minutes effectively, let alone ‘D’ anybody up seriously.  But yet in his mind if he isn’t introduced in the starting lineup he’d rather pass. 

Of course he bailed out on the Pistons.  He was set to get a second chance.  Now he’s about to be Stephan Marbury or worse.

Incredible!  Whatever man!  Suit yourself!

Whats Wrong With The NBA?!!! And Where The Hell Is David Stern!??

Donald Sterling

This story confirms my belief that if Rush Limbaugh had ownership in a team that the African-American and Latino players who play in that league would not buck a paycheck by America’s favorite racist.  The man pictured here Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.  He just paid out the largest fines for a federal housing discrimination suit in this nation’s history.  Seems The Donald doesn’t like to rent to African-Americans and Latinos. 

This has been a long standing issue for Sterling.  And what gets me is the overwhelming silence around the league, including the NBA Players Association.  What is most telling is the likes of NBA Czar David Stern not having one word to say about this owner in a league which is probably the most diverse in all of professional sports.  This is the same David Stern who changed the dress code policy of players so that they don’t turn off sponsors with a ‘thug look.’    This is the same owner who fines and suspends players with the quickness for ‘off the court’ actions that hurt the image of the NBA whether convicted or not.  This is the same David Stern who fines the likes of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban at the drop of a hat for merely speaking out on what he thinks will make the league better.  Whether the commish agrees with Cuban or not, the very fact that he doesn’t hold the line in terms of some of his comments regarding league business, officiating etc. Cuban has racked up fines in the millions.

This owner discriminates to the point of having the United States Department of Jusice in his mix and there is complete silence from the NBA offices in New York.   So what gives?

In a strong way it reminds me of the NFL.  With the exception of Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams being fined for flipping the bird to fans, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell refuses to fine or suspend Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable for breaking the jaw of one of his assistants.  Again, the same commissioner who reserves and often takes advantage of the right to suspend players for things they are accused of without any unlawful convictions.  It looks like when it comes to keeping the natives in line, sports commissioners are great at drawing a line in the sand.  But when it comes to the owners they rarely feel the need to get involved. 

Roger Goodell’s policies are hypocritical to say the least.  But David Stern should be ashamed of himself.

Black, White, Grey, Red White & Blue

This undated self-portrait provided by Army Spc. Alexis Hutchinson shows Spc.

Let me say this.  I totally understand that when one signs up for military service it’s understood that being deployed oversees is a reality.  Certainly at the age of 21 this war has been going on for most of this soldier’s life. 

I was in the military so I understand that when they call they call.  When you got to go you got to go.  Equally true however is that there is also a time where common sense and brevity is in order.  For the superior officer to tell this mother to put her kid in a foster home so that she can deploy to Afghanistan is just not the way to go. 

I can tell you that I wouldn’t want to stand in battle next to a person who has no idea where her kid is while bullets are flying.  A parent of any gender is going to be concerned at best or overwhelmed at worse with thoughts of horror of what state this child is in.  I believe in this case the Army should help this soldier settle her child in a safe environment before deploying her oversees in battle.  It creates a sense of loyalty for one.  It protects moral as well.  Soldiers in the best possible state of mind going into battle are subject to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome during and after deployment.  It’s tough for them to get back in society as it is.  Certainly they are changed forever and we hope he/she can cope and that we as fellow citizens can be there for them so that they can maintain.  That is the best case scenario.  The worst is that we say to our soldiers, “We don’t care about you and yours,” and then curse them when they flip out and shoot the battalion.   I’m just saying that even the Army at such a time as this has to have an element of being a bit more holistic in its approach. 

Right now they have a stressed economy to credit for meeting recruiting numbers.  That may not be always.  I honestly feel for the Army to put a soldier on the battle field while turning their back on the welfare of her child is not in the best interest of those she would stand with being asked to hold a line;  Thereby putting her life and the lives of her fellow soldiers at risk.

Weekend Sports at a Glance

Manny Pacquiao (right) of the Philippines lands a punch on the face of Miguel Angel Cotto of Puerto Rico before Pacquiao won their WBO Welterweight Championship bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Pacquiao won his seventh world title in as many divisions.

Manny Pacquiao whooped up on Miguel Cotto Saturday night.  Manny is a freak and the only way we are going to settle this pound for pound mess is for he and Money May (Floyd Mayweather Jr.) get it on.  I say summer 2010!  Make it happen fellas!

And yes Floyd should get more but don’t try to make like Manny don’t bring fans in cause he does.  Somewhere between 60-55% should do. 

But if Manny sings “Sometimes When We Touch, on Jimmy Kimmel Live or anyone else’s show, he should fork over another 20% immediately!  Bro!  Put down the mike and stick with the gloves!

The Bengals swept my Steelers?  WTF?

And Marvin Lewis, do you really want to bring in Larry Johnson?  Come on!  That’s actually good news for us Steelers fans.  Go ahead and F up a good thing you got going.

Other Questions:

Has Touchdown Jesus had enough of Charlie Weiss’ act? 

I mean, he definitely fooled their dumb asses into giving him that ridiculous contract.  I ain’t mad that he got over.  The elites at ND must be the same type of folk who run other Fortune 500 companies into the ground! 

Reason 126 of why Michael Jordan sucks as a GM!

While most GMs and team presidents hang around their ball clubs and spend hours on the phone with scouts evaluating talent, or speaking other GMs proposing trades, trying to figure out how they can improve the team, MJ when he’s not golfing is sitting courtside at a Miami Heat game becasue Dwayne Wade is endorsing the Jordan brand and wearing his gear.  Way to prioritize MJ.  You never disappoint to show who #1 is!

And YES my Flyers are still in the mix!  They are in the semifinals this weekend as they look to repeat as Illinois State Champions!

They will play at Wheaton Warrenville South on Saturday outside of Chicago.  (One of the nicest neighborhoods I have ever been in.)  Two years ago they beat us at this same stage of the playoffs.  We need to return the favor this year!  Go Flyers!

Flyers WR Keante Minor (7, at right) makes the catch from QB Detchauz Wray (not shown) as O