Thursday, January 29, 2009

Happy Birthday to a King of Bass

James Jamerson expand the idea of bass support for pop, rock, funk and jazz music. With one finger (The Hook), he opened the door to a rhythmic and tonal wonderland. His lines are classic and his feel was timeless. His influence on my bass playing is enormous. His bass gave Marvin Gaye's What's Goin' On and Mercy, Mercy Me their breathless earthy quality. Go back and listen to the Motown before the move to LA and focus on the bass. Plus, rent Standing in the Shadows of Motown. You will understand why James Jamerson is Funk Brother #1. He would have been 73 today. Here is a sample clip of James with the great Marvin Gaye:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

John Dickerson's Blog Posts Monkisms.

What I love about John Dickerson's Blog: Notions is his knack for gathering inspirational words or visuals. He is a journalist, author, commentator and man about Washington D.C. He has a dry wit and a keen intellect. He hosts the Political Gabfest Podcast at with David Plotz and Emily Bazelon.

I got into the Big Picture Blog because of John and I love this post featuring a note of inspiration to the great saxophonist Steve Lacy from my favorite pianist, Thelonious Monk Like John said, I can read this all day. I became a musician to attempt to be as cool as Monk.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ten Observations: 24 Deluxe Edition

This is a Deluxe edition because I'm going to cover the last 2 episodes. You can always catch up with episodes on the 24 website.

1. 12:00-1:00 PM: The Justice Department wants to investigate Renee because she squeezed a tube too tight? That would never happen to Jack Bauer in the past. Is it because the country's feelings on torture have gone south?

2. 12:00-1:00 PM: I loved the way Renee gets introduced to Jack's undercover life. Trust and I will only graze your neck and bury you alive. What a pal.

3. 12:00-1:00 PM: Jack can cook, too. Some deadly gas to smoke a brotha and sista out of their hole. Who knew?

4. 12:00-1:00 PM: Who is the source of the leak in the FBI? Is it the mousy dark haired dude who can save his while on a plane in a national crisis while he still macks the blonde chick in the office? Should he be directing Vince Chase in Medellin?

5: 12:00-1:00 PM: Agent Gedge, no.....Man I was hoping he would become another Aaron Pierce. What a sick bastard. He immobilizes the first husband and toys with him. What is it about Presidential spouse in this show? If they aren't killing people by denying heart medication or getting shot or being crazy or stabbing their spouse with scissors, the spouse is getting set up for a murder. Makes you think what would have happened if Hillary Clinton was elected. I think Bill would be good for a few of those things.

6: 1:00-2:00 PM: Ahhh the good ol' adrenaline shot. Credit Quentin Tarantino to making this a staple in action/drama lore. Somebody Oding? "Get the shot!" Buried alive with a nice flesh wound on the neck "Get the shot!", I hear John Travolta screaming that all the time now.

7: The Emerson double cross and Tony's reaction to having to kill the man that save his life. Kinda like when Jack killed Curtis. How Henderson missed Tony's artery is a wonder. He must have had the hands of a surgeon.

8: Dubaku
and Matobo are cool names. The president in exile was name after the African country in The Interpreter.

9: The looks on President Taylor's face after the plans collide and after her speech of defiance to Dubaku's demands are great. Cherry Jones should be up for an Emmy if this great acting continues. I like the fact the 24 has always placed the POTUS in difficult positions. The casting directors are great on this show.

10: Regarding Henry. Gedge stabs the woman that is the key to the conspiracy while Henry can only watch. What the hell kind of paralytic did Gedge give Henry, a Quaalude? Action Henry has a mess on his hands and I wonder if he can recover. What about the dude outside, the federal car service? Does he come in and act like he doesn't know about the conspiracy? Will Henry have the strength to fight after the fall?

I will be back on track next week.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Here We Go...

This is probably the beginning of the black backlash. This one is, to me, ridiculous.
Black fashion designers are upset Michelle Obama didn't chose a black designer for any of her gowns. C'mon. I don't see Ozwald Boateng jumping all over President Obama for not wearing any of his designs. If he did, he would be the best dressed President in the history of the United States. He is my favorite designer, but I'm a English haberdasher whore, but I digress.

I saw this in the NPR News and Notes blog. The response from the Michelle Obama Watch blog is this:

Folks I could write about 15,000 words about this story from Women’s Wear Daily, but I won’t because sometimes Chicanery and Foolishness speaks for itself.

The Black Artists Association is taking her to task for not wearing anything by an African American designer. Cofounder Amnau Eele said Wednesday she will make a formal appeal to the First Lady’s office on behalf of the BAA. “It’s fine and good if you want to be all ‘Kumbaya’ and ‘We Are the World’ by representing all different countries. But if you are going to have Isabel Toledo do the inauguration dress, and Jason Wu do the evening gown, why not have Kevan Hall, B Michael, Stephen Burrows or any of the other black designers do something too?” Eele said.

Then Women’s Wear Daily threw in the kicker:

Asked if perhaps the First Lady isn’t looking at the world colorlessly, Eele said, “It’s one thing to look at the world without color but she had seven slots to wear designer clothes. Why wasn’t she wearing the clothes of a black designer? That was our moment.”

Funny. I thought it was HER moment after sacrificing her life and the lives of her children to allow her husband to run for and win the White House. I listened to the inagural speeches and did not hear anything about the INAUGURATION being a moment for Black fashion designers. I’m going to stop right there, but just let that marinate for a moment. “That was OUR moment!” They sound like they are a group of easy to work with people

This reminds me of the dust-up with Tavis Smiley because President Obama had the audacity to skip Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union in because President Obama concentrated on campaigning before the big March 4th primaries (Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont)in 2008. Michelle Obama was not good enough for Tavis. We must keep our eye on the bigger picture and understand the first couple represent all of America, not just Black America and save our concern for real problems.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's Hard For a Sister Kennedy.

Among the joy and ecstasy of President Obama's inauguration is the strange ending to one of his key allies of his campaign. Caroline Kennedy withdrew her name from consideration to Hillary Clinton's vacated Senate seat. I admit I have a soft spot for her. I always liked the way she handle herself in the middle of her family's public tragedy. I am speaking of primarily her immediate family. I don't care how much money or how much "power" a family has, every family has real pain. A father murdered in public, a mother dead of cancer and a brother and sister-in-law dead from a plan crash, right before the wedding of a cousin. I don't have time to get into her extend family issues-including a dying uncle in public. Put yourself in her shoes. How would you react? I am lucky to have both of my parents and my sister still active and feisty as ever. My wife is blessed in the same way. I know she didn't handle this adventure in public service well, but I am still a fan.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

44 is the New Black

It is my distinct honor to present the Chief Justice of the United States, the honorable John G. Roberts Jr. who will administer the presidential oath of office. Everyone, please stand.

Are you prepared to take the oath, Senator?

I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear

I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear

That I will execute the office of President of the United States, faithfully

That I will execute...

Faithfully, the office of President of the United States

The office of President of the United States, faithfully.

And will to the best of my ability,

And will to the best of my ability,

Preserve, protect and defend

Preserve, protect and defend

The Constitution of the United States

The Constitution of the United States

So help you God.

So help me God.

Congratulations, Mr. President.

Thank you. Thank you.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land -- a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America -- they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted -- for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions -- who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort -- even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West -- know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- honest and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence -- the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed -- why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I like this play on words better the headline on the Huffpost, Obama-Stock. I had the TV i picture in picture mode. I peeked into the performances while watching the NFC title game (as of right now, it' Arizona 32, Philadelphia 25).

The performances were pretty good. I still don't get Josh Groban. The speakers were great also. I like Tiger Woods talking about his father and his military service. It Garth Brooks was enjoyable. I have to admit I am tired of John Legend. Pairing Usher with Shakira and Stevie Wonder makes you realize how awesome Stevie Wonder really is. U2 was well, U2. Springsteen with Pete Seeger was a very classy way to end it. Near the end, 44 got up and put the mode in perspective. He reminded us about the problems we will deal with after the parties. On the fashion tip, everyone looked great. I dig Beyonce's chocolate Sgt. Pepper's jacket. The Boss looked great. I love the military jackets with the mandarin collar. I think tries to hard with his fashion. He is like a black Jeremy Piven, forcing his way to be fashionable:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

First Martin, Now our New 1st Lady

On Thursday January 15, Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 80 years old. The country will celebrate his birthday holiday on Monday. The woman who his a symbol of his dream and will be the symbol for grace, beauty and dignity for the United States is Michelle Obama. Happy 45th birthday to our new 1st lady.

Awesome Pictures....

Here are a few pictures symbolizing the optimistic feeling flowing through my body. I caught wind of them through the wonderful blog of John Dickenson. He talked about the great feature The Big Picture. The pictures are really grand and majestic. John focused on the ski jump set. They made me feel that anything and everything is possible in 2009. Here are some of my favorites:

Friday, January 16, 2009

I Feel Good.

Maybe it's Bush leaving and people kicking him out the door...
Maybe it's a pilot's unbelievable heroism...
Maybe it's the Inauguration...
Maybe it's the Bulls beating LeBron last night...

I know the economic sky is falling, there are wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, pirates in Africa, etc. I just feel positive about the future. I think this time in history is full of opportunity to change our thinking and to get rid of dead ideas, like Matt Miller has been preaching.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

They slayed all suckas who perpetrate and layed down law from state to state.

Age is creeping up on me. Run-DMC got inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. These guys were the 1st rap group that acted like a rock band. Bravado, guitars and leather. Their lyrics are still some of the greatest rhymes ever. "Peter Piper" still rocks the party. "My Adidas" is the 1st rap I memorized completely. I saw them on tour with L.L. Cool J (Cut Creator was perched on top of the largest ghetto blaster I had ever seen), Whodini and the Beastie Boys. When "My Adidas" was performed, everyone in the UIC Pavilion in Chicago(1986)hoisted their shoe in the air and "rocked to the beat with Lee on my legs and Adidas on my feet." "King of Rock" has the biggest intro at the time, with DMC proclaiming the throne behind one of the biggest beats you ever heard. I can go on for days with their music.

Big ups to Metallica for getting into the Hall, too. That was the thing about coming of age in the 1980's. Me and my peers listened to rap and metal. It is an angry young male thing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Delicious Damages.

I can't watch this show looking straight at the screen. The angles of this show cut and slice. The twists are awesome. The acting is great. What I love about this show is the pain and twisting is in all of the actors' faces. The actors all have strong jaws that seem to be taut with tension at all times. The writing is just as tight. Here is my Top Ten Things about this episode:

1. I love the dramatic use of the time jumps. It makes the show appear to squeeze closer to some terrible truth. The clues about the ending get juicier as the audience gets squeezed in the vice.

2. William Hurt will get an Emmy for this role. His acting is so subtle, he acts with the gait of his walk. Some actors have such control of their movements-Denzel Washington is one that comes to mind. When he is walking toward his daughter as she is planting a tree for her murdered mom, his fatherly walk is great. He is a superb actor.

3. Patty Hewes (Glenn Close), getting it done. This woman has great calves. So is Claire Maddox (Marcia Gay Harden). Go for that cleavage girl! Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) is pretty easy on the eyes too. These women are sharp dressers, also. What is so great about these cable shows is the attention to detail they have. The sets, the clothes and the casting is top notch.

4. Wes Krulik (Timothy Olyphant) obsession with Arthur Frobisher (Ted Dansen). Clipping the news article was creepy and you knew once he opened the cabinet, there would be more clippings. I thought they would be pictures of Ellen, but no! Homeboy has more weapons of mass destruction than Iraq had in 2003. Did he work for Frobisher? The flash forward with him and Ellen in bed was interesting. The fact that she gets called out of the apartment and Tom Shayes(Tate Donovan) gives her the gun she waves and shoots the mystery person with is great.

5. Ellen's turn on Tom Shayes. One of the lingering story techniques I love about this show is how the audience is engrossed with the characters, without liking them all the time. The way Ellen turned on Tom, letting him hang himself was not cool. I like the trick of having Patty (she knew about the bribe since she bugged the office) save Tom from himself. Or is it more of Patty's games with Tom.

6. Ah a Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader moment between Daniel Purcell (William Hurt) and Michael Hewes (Zachary Booth). They pass by the elevator. The are both blond and Daniel seems to be extremely touched by meeting Michael.

7. What the hell is Daniel Purcell digging a hole for and what is he burning?

8. Claire Maddox, so timid in the car with Daniel Purcell. Are they having an affair? Is the a conspiracy concerning the documents?

9. The FBI agent-Agent Werner (Glenn Kessler) going through the divorce while trying to nail Patty Hewes. The realism with his partner-Agent Harrison (Mario Van Peebles) getting annoyed it a nice touch.

10. Uncle Pete (Tom Aldredge) is a disturbing man. Talk about the man who knew too much!

You should be watching Damages.

Favorite news story of the day, so far.

I guess you can only go so far with the "Idol" thing. Since I live in Austin, I might need to really investigate these allegations and interrogate the perpetrators of this heinous crime.

'American Idol' sues Texas strip joint.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Has it been 10 years?

On of my favorite writers and personalities, J. A. Adande, wrote this wonderful piece remembering the retirement of Michael Jordan. Jordan meant a lot to me, as a black man and as a Chicagoan. His dominance was so complete, he became a verb, adjective and adverb. For excellence people say that someone is the "Michael Jordan of" whatever the states subject. He did things on the court I had never seen before. J. A. Adande reflects:

The end of MJ's Bulls run, a decade later

Adande By J.A. Adande

Jan. 13, 1999, the game's greatest player announced he was done (until 2001).

Ten years ago today, I stepped off a red-eye flight from Los Angeles, met up at O'Hare airport with The Washington Post's Michael Wilbon and caught the train downtown, then fought a Chicago wind so fierce we had to walk backward to hail a cab for our trip to the United Center to see the official farewell to the Michael Jordan era.

It wasn't the end of Jordan's career, as it turned out. There was that two-year comeback with the Washington Wizards. But Jan. 13, 1999, was the final moment of the basketball player as icon, a business perfected by Jordan in a way that never will be seen again.

There were more than 800 reporters in the United Center that day. I was part of a two-man team from the Los Angeles Times. Can you imagine more than 800 reporters from around the country converging to cover a retirement news conference today, with a bank of 25 cameras focused on one individual and a fleet of satellite trucks parked outside to beam his words to the world?
Michael Jordan Press Pass
J.A. AdandeThis is the press pass from MJ's retirement conference.

Wouldn't happen in baseball, although it's hard to judge because the greatest hitter and greatest pitcher of this era, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, still won't officially announce their retirements. Maybe they're afraid if they held a news conference, someone would show up with a subpoena.

The NFL is our most popular sport, but would Peyton Manning draw 800? Are there still 800 sports reporters employed in America?

It's not the athletes that have changed as much as the world outside the sports bubble. Media cutbacks mean fewer journalists to create the mythology, and more Web sites mean more opportunities to take people down. Every collegiate misstep speeds across the Internet so fast that by the time a player gets to the pros, he's already been pre-ridiculed. An early Jordan TV appearance just popped up on the Web; if YouTube had been around when Jordan was at North Carolina, he would have been so humiliated by that he probably wouldn't get in front of a camera again.

There'll never be another Jordan the way there'll never be another Johnny Carson or another Walter Cronkite. Individuals don't hold our interest that regularly and that long anymore.

For one thing, there are too many other issues that demand our attention, a shift that kept even Jordan from being the same Jordan in our eyes during his 2001 comeback. The wreckage of the World Trade Center was still smoldering when Jordan announced his return in subdued fashion after the Sept. 11 attacks. And in the athletic realm, Jordan's name was no longer bigger than sports itself.

When his debut in a Wizards uniform went against Game 3 of Yankees versus Diamondbacks in the World Series, almost six times as many people watched the baseball game. By the time his playing days were done, it seemed worthless to have another news conference -- those days were over, even for Jordan. Ultimately, his departure from Washington was documented by a single camera that caught his Mercedes zooming out of the parking garage after Wizards owner Abe Pollin told Jordan his services were no longer required in the front office.

Amid the current economic crisis, the last thing people are going to embrace is an athlete's popping up to pitch something superfluous to buy. Tiger Woods is probably the closest thing to Jordan on the American sports landscape, and even he has been victimized by downsizing in the new endorsement marketplace.

Jordan also benefited from the lack of a true challenger. At MJ's peak, there was no Bird to his Magic, no one with whom to share the accomplishments or divvy up the attention. All of Jordan's successors have had to do battle with Jordan himself, long after he retired. Going one-on-one with Jordan was nothing compared with competing with the memories of him, the moves glorified in highlight videos and even song. Unlike Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, Jordan never had to deal with the label of The Next Jordan.

If they carry that burden, they also have a ceiling placed on them by diminished expectations. People used to ask Jordan, in all seriousness, whether he could fly. He was compared to God. When Jordan retired that day in 1999, someone went as far as to ask whether he would use his spare time to help solve the world's problems.

"I can't save the world, by no means," Jordan replied, because apparently that needed clarification.

We no longer bother to ask our athletes to rescue us anymore. The best we can do is kindly request they don't shoot us in the club. In this environment, it's impossible for another athlete to become anointed. On that cold Chicago day 10 years ago, athletes still felt like historic figures worth chronicling. I still remember so many details about that trip, including checking into my hotel. Such is the legacy of Michael Jordan that even the person least familiar with his story could understand why I smiled at the coincidence as the front desk clerk handed me my key card and told me the number.

Room 2323.

Monday, January 12, 2009

24 is Back!, Part II ! 10 Thoughts on the last 2 hours.

Now we are cookin'!

Tonight's episode got back to the 24 we know and love. The double agents, the rogue agents, Jack turning on his friends and his friends forgiving him, the secret life of a Presidential spouse...

1. I am glad Tony is working the deep cover. I also like that Tony admits to Jack that he was on the dark side of the force for awhile so this leaves open the possibility that Tony and Jack will have more conflict.

2. I like the idea of the FBI hunting Bauer and that the pursuit might push agent Renee Walker into Jack Bauer mode. The hospital scene was cool.

3.Did I call this yesterday or what? The return of Chloe and she battled Janis in a hot geek chick showdown. Can't wait until they meet. But is the FBI turning into CTU (Jack-Renee, Chloe-Janis?)

4. Bill Buchanan all Zenned out and focused on some conspiracy. Where did he get the funds to do this? There is a can of worms there I think.

5. Is Henry, husband to the President, in danger? I can't quite get a handle on his security guy-Agent Gedge. He seems kinda creepy. I hope he isn't, I liked Aaron Pierce, the secret service dude from the past 6 seasons. By the way, he is the only character other than Jack to appear in all of the seasons of 24.

6. I think 24 is trying to insert some humor. The conversation between Jack and Tony as they are trying to escape the FBI offices is pretty funny. Sorry about that stuff about your wife. Sorry about almost breaking your neck. Plus as Jack drives the car over the edge telling himself "this is gonna hurt.." I wonder if they are going to add a little John McClane to Jack.

7. The action influences of new James Bond movies and the Bourne movies are evident. The car crashes, the breaking glass, the tight camera shots. This show is always ahead of the curve for network television. I think the void of the writers strike really hurt network TV more than cable. I am not so sure that Mad Men, Damages, Burning Bad or even the Closer or Leverage would have the audiences they have with the void of a show like 24 or Lost.

8. President Taylor is going to have a bad day. The conspiracy in her administration took out her son. That will be interesting. I wonder how Bill Buchanan knows about the it? Is he involved?

9. Why is Jack always attacking consulates and dignitaries?

10. Bill Buchanan has a something sinister about him this season. It's the beard and haircut making him mean.

24 will air on Monday nights, so I will have Wednesdays for Damages.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

24 is Back! 10 Thoughts on the first 2 hours.

After almost 2 years, 24 is back with a vengeance. The Redemption Teaser was pretty good. A great reminder of how thrilling Jack Bauer can be.

Well my first impressions of the season are:

1. The opening car crash scene was intense. I wonder if they are toning down the violence, because the guy they took in from the car had his daughter in it and she didn't die. Perhaps the writers are going to ease us into bloodshed.

2. I like Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) as a bad guy. I am curious about his endgame. I also like the idea that Jack is really going to be challenged by someone he knows again. Flashbacks, anyone?

3. Did David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) really have a subliminal influence with the election of Barack Obama? If so, did the writer's strike delay of 24 subliminally hurt Hilary Clinton's chances? I really like President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones). She is tough, smart and might a sense of humor that Palmer didn't have.

4. The subplot with her husband investigating the "suicide" of their son is going to some dark place. Beware of the presidential spouse! ( I miss Sherri Palmer!)

5. Janeane Garofolo is a welcome addition to the cast. Her off-beat delivery is going to be a nice addition. I wonder if there will be any scenes with her and Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub). That scene will be tense and funny.

6. I like the way Jack Bauer slides back into threatening his former friends. He almost puts a pen in the eye of a former associate. What a guy.

7. The subplot with the African genocide/political unrest is interesting. I like the way the writers can pull relevant world conflicts into the plot. I also like the how the show is used to make African issues more public.

8. What is the deal with the FBI agent Renee Walker and her boss. He seems obsessed with her. I love the government agency interplay. I am a sap for "rogue agents" going against protocol.

9. I like the move to DC. I'm tired of LA getting all the good action.

10. I wonder if the Justice Department will indict Bauer. I hope the story doesn't just end because he is dragged into another mission.

Tomorrow will be the 2nd 2 hour premiere. I think the show has moved to Wednesdays. That means Wednesday will be the TV night, since Damages also airs that night. I will be blogging about these shows for the season.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Late Night Musings

I am a late-night person. I usually go to bed at about 1:30 AM and rise at 6:30 AM. Funny, I am getting back to my work out regimen and it is making this sleeping pattern really work for me as opposed to going to bed earlier, but I digress.

Staying up late allows my mind to wander and drift. The solitude, the silence and the stillness really gets my river flowing with waves of ideas. Oh yeah, late-nights are full of absurdly bad television programing. The infomercials and very bad movies are a sight to behold. Tonight's bad movie, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.. This movie was terrible. In this multi-platform time in history, an informatio junkie like me will have this bad movie up in the back ground and start the googling, wikipediaing, youtubing and imdbing. This can go on for hours. I learn stupid, awesomely audacious and things that rate of the chart in unintentional comedy. I

I forgot that Ice T was in both Breakin' movies as the MC. Remember this from Breakin'?

And YouTube doesn't stop there! This gem pops up and I am glad that Ice T stuck to rapping, porn and playing a cop on TV.

Friday, January 9, 2009

If I played guitar I'd be....

Jimmy Page. That is a line from The Beastie Boys tune The New Style.
I play guitar and I am partial to Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Vernon Reid, Keith Richards and David Fiuczynski.

I think, though, Jimmy Page is the greatest guitar riff composer of all-time. His riffs exuded power, confidence, whimsical play and a complexity one does not truly understand until the riffs are studied. Chuck Berry, Keith Richards and Pete Townsend are great, but Page is the most prolific. Do believe me? Go to guitar center and listen to how many guitarists mess up, The Ocean, Stairway to Heaven, Misty Mountain Hop, Living Loving Maid, Over the Hills and Far Away, Black Dog...
The rhythm of his riffs fueled early Hip Hop tracks like She's Crafty by the Beastie Boys.

Happy Birthday Jimmy Page.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Celebrating a King and Duke ( a thin and white one at that)....


In my past, I had this sentiment about Elvis Presley

Elvis was a hero to most

but he never meant shit to me

you see, straight out racist.. the sucker was simple and plain…

-Public Enemy Fight the Power

Actually, he was human and had a great voice and influenced the world. Hell, if the Champ could hang with him, he couldn’t have been that bad of a guy.

If I ever had to be a white guy, I want to be David Bowie. He is the epitome of an artist and a musician. Plus he is married to Iman. How great is that?

Happy Birthday Elvis Presley and David Bowie.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

10 Thoughts on the New Damages Season.

I just watched the season opener of Damages and these are my immediate thoughts.

1. This show is so emotionally violent. The characters are just pieces of people and those pieces are rotten. It is like watching the slow destruction of psyches. It is delicious.

2. William Hurt is GREAT. His delivery is so subtle and restrained. His character(Daniel Purcell) is into something deeply disturbing and his past with Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) is probably just as disturbing.

3. Patty Hewes is the best at using information for manipulation. The way she sets up the daughter of one of her friends is awesome. She uses information from her son to do the deed.

4. Patty Hewes seems to be on the verge of a breakdown, but at the end of the episode, she tries to cover her ass with another lie. I like the flashback with Ray Fiske Ċ½eljko Ivanek. I love her growing drinking habit.

5. Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) is simmering with hate and the initial indication is that it will drive her over the edge. The intro appears to set that up for the season.

6. Love Timothy Olyphant as a squirrelly group therapy participant with an interest in Ellen. Man, he was GREAT in Deadwood and I wish that show was still going on.

7. Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson) is brilliant as the beaten down rotten cad. His hospital scenes are great. He survived the shooting, but got a liver transplant. When he thinks his ex-wife is coming to see him, he goes right back to being an asshole. He wants to stage the hospital room for more sympathy.

8. The camera work is so great. The shots of this show give it so much texture, you feel it. When the orderly leads "Mrs Frobisher" to see Arthur, the surprise is real.

9. The foreshadowing is great, subtle and so smart. It is what I love about Mad Men. You see what happens when you get great writing?

10. I like the fact FX and AMC repeat shows right after the original airing. I also dig the sponsorship type advertising. It lets the show flow naturally. Plus the immediate repeat lets helps me think about the show and digest it.

Bonus: This case the Feds are using to set up Patty seems dubious. I think the slow nature of the FBI is grating on Ellen, burning her up like an ulcer.

I will try to do my Top 10 immediate thoughts on Damages every week and on 24.

Damages Returns...

This show is one of my favorite shows from last year. The last episode Episode 12 “Because I Know Patty” gave me a scream out loud "Holy Shit" twist that totally caught me by surprise. If you missed last season, you can catch up with the series with Part One Recap and Part Two Recap. This so is so devilishly delicious, it should be a controled substance.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How Should I Approach "The Man"?

When I drive to work, I usually listen to hip hop. It gets me prepared for the traffic jujitsu I have to perform to get to work. This morning, the soundtrack featured on of my favorite Public Enemy tunes, Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos. The opening lyric, snarled by the great Chuck D is

"I gotta letter from the government the other day.
I open, read it.
It said they were suckers..."

I know writers have been questioning how President Obama will shape the viewpoint of minorities on the government. Here is a great article about it from the New Times by Matt Bai.

As I was driving and doing my best Chuck D impersonation, I notice a little let up in how I rapped that line. The most powerful person in the world is a black man. "The man" is a black man. Protesting will grow a different face in the future.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Mundane Task of Syncing Calendars.

It is funny how a little thing like syncing calendars can get a person to rethink how he views and organizes information.

My father bought me a Franklin Planning System when I was 16 (now Franklin Covey) I have adapted the system to suit my organization needs. I am rather anal retentive with my organization needs. Actually, my goal in life is to make my thoughts as efficient as possible. I know, but this is part of my personality. To go along with that process, I like all of my calenders to be on available on one device. I also want to be able to update from any device or computer and have all calenders update. I have an iPhone, a MacBook Pro at home and a Dell Laptop at home. My work calendar is Outlook, home is iCal and Mobile Me and I use my Google calendar for the Bureau of Labor Statistics in need for my job. Now, my iCal has my Google calendar synced and the Outlook Calendar syncs to my Google calendar, so my work calendar shows up in my iCal. The issue is that my iCal uses Mobile Me to update my iPhone, but Mobile Me doesn't sync Google calendar. So I have bored you by now. Now you know my life over the last 2 hours. I'm sorry, you won't get your time back for reading this blogpost.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Testing Mobile Blogging, Part 3

Testing Mobile Blogging, Part 2

Fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Sent from my iPhone

Testing My Mobile Blogging

In this time of instant news and citizen journalism, I am testing my mobile blogging capability with my iPhone. 2009 is going to be even more remarkable than 2008, I think. We start with the inauguration of Obama and facing the challenge of making America great. I have the challenge of putting out great music, blogpost, finding revenue streams for my newspaper through media analysis and being a good husband. This mobile feature will help me keep all of you up to date.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

End of the Season.

When I was child, the end of the holiday season for my family was when we put away our fake tree. I always like the ritual of putting it together on Thanksgiving and hanging up the ornaments. Today, I went and recycled our real tree, leaving traces of the tree as I dragged it to my truck. It was like little trails of the holiday memories. The end of the season always brings optimism for the new year for me. It's getting better all the time...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Why I Stayed Home on New Year's Eve.

I was in Las Vegas from Friday December 26 to Tuesday December 30 (yes, I got married..) We stayed at the Mirage and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. On Monday December 29, we saw this little white dude walking around in an all-white leather jumpsuit. Surrounded by his security detail, he strolled with a swagger. Then I walked by the bike.

Yes, it was Robbie Knievel. He jumped the volcano at the Mirage, so we stayed home to watch. This was how it looked on Fox.

This video has a better angle, but no sound.

This stunt, down the street at the Paris Hotel was baaadassss! This was performed by Robbie Maddison.

Oh yeah and we stayed home to avoid morons like the ones hassling the reporter just doing her job.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009: Optimistic

"You can try the best you can
If you try the best you can
The best you can is good enough."


I'm a list maker and a goal maker. This year I want to be a lot more positive and a lot more productive. I want this blog to stand out, be bold and to behold. I want my words to ring true and clear. I want to swing for the fences and take the last shot. I want to break barriers and set benchmarks. I want this country to recover and be glorious. I want President Obama to be successful. I want my newspaper to innovate media integration. I want my wife's business to be successful. I want to travel the ends of the earth and the ends of my creative juices. I want our troops safe and at home. I want the Israelis and Palestinians to come to an agreement. I want my family and friends to have peace, love and success. I want to be a better person. I want to be a better friend, brother, son, husband, guitarist, vocalist, bassist, writer, thinker, financier, competitive media analyst, photographer, human being. I want to run either the Chicago or New York Marathon. I want to be greener. I want to keep dreaming and keeping making lists and goals.

Happy 2009 to everyone.

"The sky is grey, but I see the sun..."