Thanksgiving, Traditions, Native Americans and Evolved Self Definitions

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It’s that time of year again.  The heaviest travel day in the United States.  The time when family and friends gather to feast, mingle, catch up, argue and watch a little football. Since the expansion of social media, it’s also the time where we are reminded of the horrific tragedy that befell our original citizens, the Native Americans.  The memes are have been prepared with care, ready to remind America of just one of it’s original sins.

I get it.  As a matter of fact, I endorse the expressions of truth regarding the historically accurate facts of our nations history and hypocrisies.  Those that know me, know that I do that just about everyday.

But there is another side to this as well.  As a people, especially people who have been the abused, the tortured, the terrorized and murdered, those who have been placed in the under caste status; Those of us who have survived in spite of the fact that we are still in a battle for our lives; With our ingenuity and ability to adapt on the run, we have managed to turn what was originally a negative into our own divine positive.

I remember as a boy in school hearing that story about the pilgrims and the settlers.  I remember drawing turkeys by tracing the body and head around my spread apart hand.  Like every  other school kid, that part about the small pox blankets and slaughters were left out.  But you know what, growing up at MY house, we never talked about that crap anyway.  For my parents, grandparents, aunts and elders, it was about the fellowship around a meal that took several hours of hard work and dedication to perfect.  (Or at least try to perfect)

Listen, as a people, even as we come into new knowledge, we should also embrace our abilities to make lemonade out of lemons, sugar out of sh#!  And you know what, there is no need for us to apologize for it. One of my biggest realizations in life is that two things can be true at the exact same time.  Yes Thanksgiving as is being told to us traditionally is a farce.  One could compare it to the Nazi’s telling a false narrative of how they collaborated with Jews in Europe.  We should know that history.  Equally true, is that like many other things in life, we as a people have created our own narratives and definitions thereby turning a tragedy upon its head and making our empowering choices work for us.

I’m a social and political warrior.  Many of you are.  Even in war time, troops get leave, rest.  In order to fight the long game and not die of exhaustion, you must come away.  Traditions are neither good nor bad. They are the product of who and what we decide to make them to be.  Though I am mindful to thankful everyday, there is something good about much of our activities stopping, folk taking the time to slow down, be present and enjoy a few moments where we are all focusing on the same things.  I can do that and still fight for and stand with Standing Rock.

Bless You All~

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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

Weekend of Activity

Lots going on over the weekend.  I wasn’t around to experience much of it but I’ll hit what I know and ask for clarity on the rest. 

Sunday Morning Obamathon

President Obama discusses the economy and other topics with CNN's John King.

After a late night watching the Mayweather fight over my cousin’s house, I totally slept in on Sunday morning and therefore missed Obamathon.  I undertand he hit up all of the major Sunday morning talk shows.  Saw a few clips this morning along with the standard Republican responses of how ineffective he was in stating his plans etc.  It will take some time to catch up to see if anything substantive was there.  If anyone cares to comment (intelligently) then let it rip. 

Intelligently – Doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with the president.  Only that the comment is free from hyperbole, lies and name-calling.

May is Money!

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Juan Manuel Marquez

It was amazing the way Floyd Mayweather dominated Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night in spite of being out of the ring for over a year.  Marquez, a well respected fighter who many believe defeated Manny Pacquiao who is considered by many to be the best pound for pound looked like an amateur against the speedy and slick “Money May.”

Mayweather is a “change the game” kind of fighter now.  By that I mean he makes us alter the standard in which we view the sport as it relates to the competition.  Tiger Woods did this.  So did Lou Alcinder. (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)   In other words, when the NCAA doesn’t allow dunking because one guy is going to kill the rest of the sport, he changed the game.  Shaq did it too in that the NBA allowed zone defenses to be played in a  league that prided itself on promoting ‘one on one’ competition.  May has now done that in boxing.  I know this by the hate he gets from the media. Surely they don’t love him like they loved Oscar.   And also the way Marquez acknowledged that he was dominated, but was reduced to feeling that he is now a legitimate fighter after being in the ring with Mayweather.  This was Marquez’s comment in the post fight news conference.

“I proved that I can fight.  I gave it my all and I tried.”

What?  This man, a world class fighter of almost 20 years now thinks he can fight cause he “tried” against Mayweather. 

Hey man, whatever.

Mayweather is old school talk the talk and walk the walk.  He said all that needed to be said on Saturday night.

Quick Hits

My Steelers lost a tough game!  Jeff Reed had one of those forgettable days kicking the ball.  Hey, it’s early.  Be like that sometimes.  Love the way Mike Tomlin handled it after the game.  He doesn’t run from the truth but he sticks with his guys in a positive “can do – will do” attitude.  True professional and this is why his guys respect him and will continue to play hard for him.

Trojan Horse

It’s been said that Pete Carrol never loses a big game, only the small ones.  With or without the true freshman QB, they had no reason to lose to Washington on Saturday night.  Perhaps its early enough for them to work their way back into a BCS championship game should they run the table from here.  But who knows.

Joe McKnight

Super Bowl Thoughts & Reflections

Of course it ain’t no secret who I was pulling for in the big game.  My girl/childhood friend Vonda came through and Fed-X’d my gear Saturday delivery from Tampa.  So though I suffered horribly with the flu I was still in full effect with the rest of my terrible towel family.  It was quite a game and quite the experience.  Most Super Bowls are just hype compared to the game.  But this one was like a Tom Clancy suspense novel down to the very end.  With that I will add just a few thoughts.

** Jennifer Hudson (bless her heart) tore that National Anthem to pieces!  I mean she took it to church without the stereotypical churchee flavor if you catch my drift.  My voice quivered as I mumbled to myself, “Damn she sang that song!”  Step aside Whitney! 

** Ben Roethlisberger is a flat out stud.  He played clutch football and whenever his team needed a big play, he delivered.  He may not be pretty or have the style like some of the other big name guys, but there need not be another conversation about the top echelon quarterbacks in the league without his name being mentioned among them.

** Kurt Warner… nothing but respect brother.  You took what the D gave you and wore us out.  You never forced it to Fitzgerald but when the time came you didn’t miss.

** Larry Fitzgerald – all man, all business, all world.  I don’t know that I ever saw a receiver beat a coverage and sprint past the safeties like Usain Bolt.  But I did last night!

** Santonio Holmes – had all the moxie of Fitzgerald and was just clutch all night.  That last catch was all pro and will be featured in Super Bowl films for ages to come.

** Mike Tomlin is a man’s man.  He has a presence and he gets it.  For a second year coach to take a team like the Steelers to the Super Bowl was just a tremendous feat.  He totally gained the respect of the players and the community.  He understands people, his opportunity and he is all business and all human at the same time.  There is no doubt he will continue to gain respect and loyalty as he makes those better around him.

** As intense as that game was, I am glad it ended the way it did.  For all of the talk of the Pittsburgh defense being #1 in the NFL, Arizona found a way to get over.  And right at the end when it counted they scored with the quickness.  It was the Steelers offense that had to deliver and they did.  Did you notice as well that every Steeler touchdown came under review either by a Cardinal challenge or booth review?  The first one they overturned should have been a score as well.

**Finally, The Pittsburgh Steelers,   What an organization!  The Rooney family really has it together.  Since 1969 they’ve had a total of 3 coaches which shows a sense of stability not known in professional sports.  They help enact the Rooney Rule which says that an NFL team has to at least interview a minority coaching candidate when they have an opening.  Then they actually hire a minority candidate at the next opportunity.  They are a shining example that diversity and inclusiveness are a combination destined to succeed.  I am sure that Tomlin was hired because they felt he was the best candidate regardless of his color.  But my point is that it’s not just talk with them.  To Tomlin’s credit he had his presentation together and was able to get with a team steeped with tradition – one of the strongest and most well respected franchises in sports history.  Mr. Rooney didn’t talk himself out of what he saw.  Now they have an unprecedented 6 Super Bowl titles.

NFL Addition ~ Denver Broncos I give you Bill Cowher!

Let me run down the math:

1. Jets coach Eric Mangini gets fired.

2. Bill Cowher says he is interested in talking to the Jets about a coaching position. 

3. Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum says he’s not opposed to sharing duties with a coach like Cowher.

4. Bronoc’s Fire Mike Shanahan – who is beloved by owner Pat Bowlen and has been untouchable even in dark times before and after they won 2 Super Bowls.

5. Coach Cowher says he is no longer insterested in coaching the Jets.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.  Cowher took a couple years off since leaving Pittsburgh.  He has the itch again to coach.  The Jets were ok… but not a storied franchise like the Steelers.  But with big time dollars and GM duties, he could have done a Bill Parcells (Buy the groceries and cook the meal.)  No way he goes to that cesspool of a team The Cleveland Browns.  Denver siezes the opportunity and calls Coach Cowher. 

Broncos – “Bill, you want some of this?”

Coach Cowher – “I can’t talk about that, you have a coach!”

Broncos – “Well we can take care of that.”

Coach Cowher – Well then call me back when you do.”   click

 It all makes sense.  Like the Steelers, the Denver Broncos are an institution not just a team.  They have a fan base across the country.  Their seats are never empty.  No one cares about the Rockies.  This is yet another place where Cowher can be king.

The only coach with a name and reputation better than Shanahan’s at the moment is Bill Cowher’s.  It’s a match made in Bronco heaven.

I waited for ESPN to make this connection last night.  But because they are so controlled by the NFL’s marketing team, they wanted to wait so it won’t look so bad for the Jets.  They didn’t want to have the appearance out there that there was a quid pro quo for firing Shanahan.  So they will let it ride for at least 24 hours I suppose… maybe let the New Years bowl hype take over.  That’s ESPN for you though.. a thoroughly predictable non-journalistic institution. 

I called my friend Paula today.  She, along with her husband Curtis and son Demetrius are from Denver and are die hard Bronco honks.  She hadn’t made the connection yet – but was happy to hear the good news.

Since I love the Steelers, I can’t help but be happy for Cowher.  He kept us relevant every year and gave us a Super Bowl.  After taking some time off to enjoy his family, I ain’t mad at him!

I also have people in Pittsbugh who have four season tickets on the lower bowl at Heinz Field.  I already called to get dibs on a ducket when the Broncos visit.

Happy New Year Denver!