Thursday, January 28, 2010

E-TV: One Year Later

So it's been over a year since I started this blog. I'm pretty happy with how its turned out so far - an outlet for me to show that I'm more than just a sports guy but I have a lot of interests in the world.

Saying that, I know sports was a huge theme this past year. I write a lot about it because it's probably my passion and maybe some readers might not like the overkill. Eh, so what. Between the Lakers winning the title, March Madness, the World Series, Dodgers baseball and various takes on issues I love, it's been rewarding to develop my love of sports and show that I'm not just an average sports fan. I listen to takes from other people and try to come up with my own.

I also talked a lot about music. I did Electric Relaxation posts to fill you in on some of my favorite songs/albums I'm enjoying and I'm gonna keep doing that this year. I can already see me doing a post on Radiohead cause I said this will be the year I finally buy an album.

The big thing about E-TV is that I'll never let it be a one-trick pony. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I have a lot of interests and they're going to be discussed on here at length. I'm always looking for something new to talk about or something in society will make me speak up.

But more than anything, I'm grateful for the chance to let something break the monotony of work. All I can say is I can't wait to see what 2010 holds. I'm gonna try to do more posts so you'll being seeing more of me - that's a challenge to myself.

An early goal is to do some great Black History Month posts. I already have an idea to do one on my hero James Baldwin and another hero Curt Flood. Hopefully I can do more poetry on here. I haven't written in years but I have plenty of older poems you would like. Maybe I'll do a spotlight on some other great blogs to read via friends/acquaintances.

Keep tuning in and thanks for watching.

Why Titanic is still the biggest blockbuster

So Avatar has been the No. 1 movie in America for 7 weeks and counting and its already made over $551 million in America. Pretty soon it's gonna be the highest grossing film in American history to join with it being the highest grossing film worldwide, passing that 2 1/2 hour love story I hated as a 13 y.o. kid called Titanic.

James Cameron - you're one lucky, creative S.O.B. Dude could never make a movie ever again and his grandkids would still be eating off Titanic, much less Avatar.

But no matter how much money it's already made, it will still never top Titanic as the biggest blockbuster of my lifetime. I'm an 1984 baby so we can't count E.T. - but here's why Avatar can't come close.

1) Titanic was the No. 1 movie in America for 15 straight weeks. Four months people. Avatar is only halfway there but I don't see it duplicating another 7 weeks. Plus remember, the Oscar buzz AFTER Titanic no doubt made it some more money.

2) Titanic the SOUNDTRACK was the No. 1 album in America for even longer - 16 weeks. This is where Avatar falls short. Nobody's rushing to get that soundtrack but the music from Titanic was everywhere. You couldn't go anywhere without hearing "My Heart Will Go On" or the various techno remixes. So the movie wasn't just dominating theatres, it was dominating the radio.

And lest we forget, that song won Four Grammys (including Record/Song of the Yr), an Oscar and a Golden Globe. It was No. 1 on SEVEN different U.S. charts (10 weeks on three of them) and of course led to an overkill that made us all hate Celine Dion.

(By the way, Dion put that song on her album Let's Talk About Love - helped her sell 10 million copies in the US and 31 million worldwide)

So to recap. Titanic had the No. 1 movie, album and song on lock for at least 2 1/2 months. Yeah, Avatar's got nothing on this, but oh wait, there's more.

3. Titanic made STARS out of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. I don't see any actors from Avatar become worldwide sensations, especially when the main characters are an indigenous tribe.

Kate and Leo already had Oscar nominations under their belt before this movie but they blew up to superstardom that has still followed them to this day. Fortunately, both of them have outgrown Jack and Rose and become two of the finest actors of this era (I still think Leo should have gotten a nomination for Titanic but eh - its hindsight)

Let's see Titanic blows Avatar away in durability, dominance in more than one medium and star-making ability. Anything else? Well, we'll have to wait and see on Oscar nominations but I highly doubt Avatar is gonna walk away with 11 Oscars.

Like Babe Ruth said after hitting 714 home runs, "let's see some SOB try to top that" - it will NEVER happen. Like Ruth's record, somebody may top it numbers-wise, but they won't have the impact of the initial powerbomb. Albums aren't selling and the last song from a movie soundtrack to made an impact was "Shake Ya Tailfeather" from Bad Boys 2.

So Avatar may make movie history and have quite a bit of deeper meanings, but it's far from having 1/4th of the impact Titanic had not just in the box offices but with other people's careers and other types of media.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stop the Clock on Ke$ha

First off, I wanna apologize to any fans of Ke$ha out there. I'm sorry you all like a sassy chick who can't sing worth a lick (or isn't showing it that well)

So last month, I saw the LA Times music blog geek her up as a face to watch for 2010. Of course, since I barely listen to the radio, I had no idea what this song was - probably something for girls to like similar to Lady Gaga (don't get me started on her). They also mentioned she's from the San Fernando Valley, which is a key buzzword for them to ride her jock.

I give the Times credit - they go hard for local artists. It's a big reason why I'm a fan of the Silversun Pickups because they got talked about so much there, it added to me liking their music.

Anyways, they were giving her a lot of shine and even had their lead critic review her album. I read an interview she gave with the New York Times and figured I'd give her song a listen so I'd know what I was dissing. Especially since she had the No. 1 song and album in the country.

Red flags: I saw the words hip-hop and auto-tune before I even heard the song (*cringe). If there's two things I hate in music right now, it's auto-tune and White girls pop-rapping. Thank you Fergie :(

Long story short, Ke$ha auto-tune talks her way through her verses with that typical White girl poser/swagger and then her simple hook kicks in. First off, how are you a singer and you can't sing your verses? I mean dang, this chick would barely pass through American Idol based on that song.

As far as that rapping? I mean the bar is pretty low for skill these days but still there's no flow. Rapping is NOT talking. I'd rather listen to Nicki Minaj and have my ears cringe than this. And that's my biggest problem - she calls this rap and everyone's gonna talk about her new spin on the genre EXCEPT SHE'S NOT RAPPING. Singing on a Flo-Rida track does not mean you have the license to rap.

(Rapping is not just making words rhyme and talking. It's about a flow and rhythm just like any other music. 30 years later and mainstream music critics still can't tell the difference.)

Funny that 10 years ago we had Fred Durst and Papa Roach's Coby Dick rapping at the peak of nu-metal, rap-rock. Now I guess we have White girls doing the same - and to be fair, I'm not dissing White girls who can ACTUALLY rap. It's more a diss at Fergie's entire style that Ke$ha is running with.

It's an embarrasment to Blondie's "Rapture" when it gets mentioned in the same breath as this - Debbie Harry and the rest of the group was immersed in the hip-hop culture when it started. She had a typical flow like most rappers of the day so the hip-hop community loved it.

Ke$ha's cred? Just listen to this quote from the NY Times: “Rap in general has never been my steez, but I like it.”

So she's doing it for kicks and giggles. *rolls eyes* That explains it all. But of course, what does it matter. It's a catchy song that fits in with all the other synthesizer-pop on the radio now. Lady Gaga has spawned her first daughter - butterface and all. No lie, I had a hard time finding a photo I could actually try to get y'all look at without cringing.

Oh yeah, that NY Times article is a good read, a lil bit of slobbery but just adds to why I don't like her. It sounded like she's doing this for a joke but the author is talking about her changing the sound of rap. Riiiiiiiight.

If she can actually sing a ballad or country like the article said so be it. I'm not hating on fun, I'm just saying don't call it a movement or anything and don't let it be on hip-hop radio. (That's a whole different issue right there - hip-hop letting Top 40 come in)

Let's Break It Down: Why Do Gooood Girls, Like Bad Guuuuys (c) DMX

(Sidenote: I met this guy on my college football team and he was a laidback cat for a while. 5 mins later, he busts out singing this song in the title (DMX "Good Girls, Bad Guys") as his anthem. This big 6-3 dude just acting a fool and singing that female part. On to my take)

I got into a good conversation on Twitter with a friend over the weekend about this old adage. Good girls always want bad boys. It's been a dilemma for me since high school because I consider myself a good guy but instead of telling you about me, I'd rather examine this whole bad boy deal.

When girls say they want bad boys, what they really mean is - they want a guy with balls who won't back down. They want a dude who's not afraid to get his hands dirty. They want a dude who's a lil spontaneous and not predictable. They don't want a guy who's mushy, too sensitive but still knows how to show his love.

They don't want a real bad boy who's gonna disrespect them and allow them to make excuses that it's out of love. They don't want a man with a record who's doing things that'll get him thrown back in the clink. They don't want a dude who's gonna bring them down and cause more headaches than good times.

So in essence, they want a good guy who's not boring, willing to be spontaneous, not soft and creative. Got it?

The term "bad boy" is really subjective. It's a dig at guys who would give girls the respect they'd deserve but it's also a challenge to do more than just be a "friend." Either way, women need to give good dudes a chance and stop trying to find a guy who's bad for your personal expense.

Don't shortchange them and ultimately don't shortchange yourselves. It all comes down to the same thing that we all should look for in a person worth dating -balance.

*Fellas, the same applies to you too. I just tackled this issue for women cause it's something I've thought about for years.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Electric Relaxation: Clipse "I'm Good"

I just really love this song. My friend Irma was bumping the Clipse's last album during my first night in San Diego and it just seemed to fit the mood. This song was another solid collab with the Neptunes.

The vibe is just something to ride to - good for being at the beach, driving around in a good mood, hanging at a party. And let's face it, we need more music to enjoy ourselves that's good quality.

I love the line "Today was a good day, Ice Cubes on my chest, Lookin at my Blackberry" just cause I do that all the time. Sometimes you just want a song to speak to the mood where you are now.

To be honest, I don't think too many groups sound as well with Neptunes as Malice and Pusha. They have a great chemistry and it's produced three solid albums - if you don't have Hell Hath No Fury, you need to. It'll change the way you view the Neptunes.

Just enjoy this song.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Date With Sandy (In Words + Images)

Sorry for the delay on this guys - this past week i was battling a cold and I just didn't feel like doing much outside of drinking tea and fighting it off. Always a bugger about this time of year.

I didn't forget about writing about my vacation last week. The last few days gave me some time to really think about why I love going to San Diego and maybe an understanding of something else. All metaphors make sense at some point.

The first day with Sandy had me smiling from the moment I left my driveway until I ended it in my hotel. It was a clear day and I had +44 blasting on the drive (Mark and Travis from Blink-182's side project). Something about sitting peacefully in Mission Bay in the middle of the day just had me feeling like I was free.

Had lunch in Little Italy (quote Big Pun's classic line) and went to the Cabrillo National Monument where the Spanish explorer Juan Cabrillo discovered San Diego Bay. Besides the beauty of seeing a part of the city I've never seen, I was in awe of seeing the Point Loma Lighthouse, which has been there since the 19th century.

I came to the hotel and surprisingly killed time watching of all people Sean Hannity interview Sarah Palin. Why, I dont know. Then had dinner with a friend who surprised me by taking me to a driving range - I've never hit a golf ball before so that was pretty fun - and then showed me a side of Coronado Beach that exposed the San Diego downtown skyline at night.

One word, beautiful. Sitting on the dock of the Bay like Otis Redding and I felt like whistling and reflecting.

Day 2 with Sandy was cloudy but I still hit up Mission Beach. It's funny, in San Diego, everything revolves around the beach - I saw people in T-shirts and shorts, I saw suits. That's how it is down there. That's why I love the city - it's a slower pace where almost everyone keeps things in perspective.

Oh yeah, I went to my alma mater, the University of San Diego. I had to see the new wing they built on campus in the student center and I was impressed. A bigger cafeteria, a bigger student supermarket - yep our tuition dollars at work.

But this right here pissed me off. There were parking meters at the back of campus - PARKING METERS! I know private schools can do what they want but this is brand new, just another way for them to make money. It even had a credit card slot in there. C'mon man, parking is bad enough on that campus but having to pay for it now? You gotta be kidding.

And one word, if you ever visit my second home. Get some carne asada fries. It's a must.

I ended the night like any good date on a Friday night - at one of her best clubs, Stingaree. Alchemist was spinning down there and he was putting in work mixing dope songs together - although I was bummed because they didnt announce him and the crowd appeared indifferent despite the fact everyone enjoyed the music.

(Sidenote: I'm realizing as I get older than I have a harder time walking up to girls and dancing with them. Thats a main difference with guys and girls at a club or in life - all girls have to do is tell guys no, while guys have to find someone who'll say yes. Its hard all around and the fear of rejection is real)

Day 3 started with some waffles and ended with some football. In between, I visited Coronado Island during the day and it's easily one of the best spots on the West Coast. When you have the natural beauty of clean sands and mini dunes plus one of the finest hotels in America and beautiful homes, you have a paradise.

My recommendation - go watch a game at Seau's (Junior Seau's spot) or a good bar down in Pacific Beach. It was a short trip but it was worth it just to get another taste of my 2nd home.

When I got home, I told somebody that it was like a secret rendezvous with my favorite mistress. I felt at peace, I feel excited, I feel refreshed and I feel free - just like I can be myself and have no worries. Just being around the water is like being renewed without being baptized.

It's almost like everything I would want in a great relationship. The peace of mind, the smiles - all of that is what I would want from a girl. San Diego gives me things I can't measure and I give her my time and a special place in my heart.

You can't artificially create internal joy - it has to be real. And that's why I keep going back there. It's a sign of peace that I hope to find personally in someone else and it always holds a place in my heart for helping me grow into who i am.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Child's Play

I know I was supposed to write the followup blog to dating Sandy but this cold kinda sucked the life out of me. But it didn't stop me from being reflective on something else - being a kid again.

Do you remember when summer came around and you couldn't wait for summer camp? The field trips to all the great spots - theme parks/movies. The games you'd come up with to pass the time? Those were the days, man.

I remember we'd use to have big water fights at one summer camp I went to. Back when you could ACTUALLY have water guns and people not think they were real. Compete for the biggest Super Soaker and try to have the guy with the biggest gun on your side. That was war games for us back then.

You had friends that you'd meet at summer camp who didn't go to your school that you looked forward to catching up with. It was like a whole different world.

For me, I lived for summer camp. One summer I went to a dance camp in the early 90's where I got exposed to a bunch of stuff like "Poison" "Iesha" and of course MJ's "Black or White". There were two summers I went to a camp where we went to every theme park in L.A.

Childhood memories are supposed to make you smile and I'm glad I have ones that do. What's some of yours?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Date With Sandy (In Pictures)

So I went to San Diego this past week for a few days of rest and reflection. I can't stress it enough how much I love being there and how I feel like I'm free. I'm gonna do two things. First, give yall some visual evidence of my love. Then, I'm gonna share some of my thoughts tomorrow - my girl NaijaCandy on twitter made my mind start churning like she usually does and I felt excited to talk about it.

Can we call this evidence of a love affair? Guilty as charged. Her name is Sandy and yes, I cheated on LaLa with her - for a couple of days. And I liked it!

I tasted her sweet winds at Mission Beach where even on a cloudy day, she was still lovely.

I saw her finest home - one of the prettiest hotels in America. The Hotel Del Coronado, she wanted to invite me in but oh no, I had to refuse (plus I couldn't afford her tab)

She showed me how beautiful downtown can be from the other side. Unfortunately I don't have pics of her at night but trust me, she's so much prettier under the lights.

She took me to one of her highest points and showed me her beautiful shores from another angle. The angle that her earliest discoverers once saw. This is Cabrillo Nat'l Monument

And naturally she took me to the best place to watch a sunset - Sunset Cliffs. Yes, I enjoyed re-exploring her natural beauty.

I got more pics on my facebook page but this is a nice tease. It's called America's Finest City for a reason.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Reflecting on MLK

Today represents the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This is what I think he means to me.

(My reflections from 2008 on Myspace and an article I wrote questioning King's legacy among this generation that same year)

King is bigger than "I Have a Dream" - a speech that has been his hallmark and his defining moment. To me that speech means working together with people for a common goal, envisioning a world where barriers come down and all of us.

What people have to remember is that the focus of the country changed after that speech in 1963. The focus slowly shifted to Vietnam and poverty. Global issues and class issues dominated the day and MLK rightly knew that's where the fight had to shift (so did Malcolm X after returning from Mecca).

He wanted to change with the times and continue inspiring people of all races to FIGHT with compassion against injustice, not just racial injustice but human injustice. He wanted us to be free - free from prejudice, hate, ignorance and limits placed on us by society.

That's why I love that picture of him I found above. It urges us to act

People forget that Dr. King was a minister. He was an agent of God who felt like he was following basic ideals of Christ - love your neighbor, love thy enemy, teach the people to do the same. The greatest sign that you love Christ is loving your fellow man and King did that.

Too often, he gets placed him on this unreachable pedestal and keeps him pristine. But MLK was a man - flesh and blood like you and me. He helped show us how to achieve change - hard work, confidence in your voice, taking risks, upsetting the establishment and following your vision.

He got his start at 26. One year younger than me at the moment - I can imagine what he must have thought. What am I stepping into? Can I do this? Will people hear me? I can believe that as vulnerable as King was - he probably debated this a lot with his close advisors and internally but he never gave up his cause.

My favorite speech is the Mountaintop Speech - the Moses moment where he saw the future and left his people to get there and finish his work. But I love the Riverside speech as well - the moment where he spoke vehemently against Vietnam and the unjust war.

Some people may hate the Boondocks episode regarding his comeback, but I love it. I believe it rightly showed how King was treated in the world today and how Black people needed a swift 21st century kick in the rear from his updated message. We need to hear King speak today instead of being a monument from the past so people can "wake up from their apathetic slumber."

God bless his memory and may it live forever. U2 "In the Name of Love" helps do that.

VSR: I'll Take a Double Whammy and a side of Rain to Wash It Down

I was gonna try to write an MLK blog in honor of the holiday but I know that if I read the sports section, I'll be reminded of why yesterday sucked. It was almost fitting that it was raining because I wanted to wash away the stench of two terrible losses.

Me and my godbro saw the Vikings-Cowboys score after church and I was literally ill. Tony Romo had his worst game in six weeks (3 TO's) and Sidney Rice destroyed our secondary like Randy Moss did on Thanksgiving 98 (3 TD's). 34-3...yeah I didn't expect the Boys to get destroyed like that.

I need to chop it up with my boy Shane about this since I missed the game but watched the highlights. The Boys played well down the stretch and looked inspired on defense. Best of all, Romo started looking like a clutch QB who limited his mistakes and ran his offense. It's called maturity folks...not every young QB will be like Big Ben out the gate. People have been spoiled to see rookie QB's in the playoffs but forget that it takes a few seasons to be consistent.

Mark my words. I started this year criticizing Romo and I'll end the season praising him and expecting him to get even better next year. Another offseason with no distractions and all returning parts? He'll get better trust me.

But that's nothing compared to the Heartbreak Hotel I experienced a few hours later.

San Diego hosted the Jets and I figured we'd be needing some solid kicking in lieu of the Jets' strong defense. What we got was Ray Finkle taking over the body of Nate Kaeding once again.

Wide left from 36 in the 1st, a miss from 50 at the half and wide right at 40 with just over 4 minutes to go. I mean did Kaeding go to Florida State's kicking school??? The Chargers fittingly lost by 3, 17-14, and if this sucker makes ONE kick. (ONE FREAKING KICK), game goes to overtime.

I had my jersey on at church for the first time and I had to hear it all afternoon as we sat there and watched it. I was ill earlier and after that I wanted to vomit and sit in the rain.

Now before I roast this guy some more, let me point out that the Chargers played against a defense that was pretty tough and made them look silly. Rivers threw two picks (one that was ill-advised), players kept getting personal fouls and it looked like they barely had any poise until Rivers' led them to a late TD.

We were our own worst enemy - the D was tired and Shonn Greene took advantage with that backbreaking run. But back to the GOAT, let's string this kicker up higher.

2005 against the Jets - he missed a kick in OT to win the game as a rookie. 2007 - he missed a potential game winner against the Patriots. 2010 - he missed 3 kicks in a game after missing 3 all season.

I dont care if he's the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Mike Vanderjagt was too and after he missed his first FG of the season in that AFC playoff game against Pittsburgh in 2007, Indianapolis cut him with the quickness. Nate Kaeding has choked too much in the postseason and NOW its time to cut him.

Sidenote: If Sunday was LT's last game in San Diego, I've even sadder it had to end like that.

Here's what the Cowboys need to do. 1) Fire Jason Garrett as Offensive Coordinator - we need someone who'll exploit all of the weapons we have and turn Romo into a better QB/decision maker. 2) Draft some cornerbacks and safeties - our secondary has been a problem this year and this needs to be addressed.

I can't speak on the Chargers yet...I'm too much in a brooding mood and plotting how to pack Kaeding's bags with dynamite.

One quick playoff hit: Reggie Bush looked like he was back at USC on Saturday. I knew the Saints would blast Arizona but man that was just brutal.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Praying for Haiti

If pictures are worth 1,000 words, these fills an encyclopedia.

7.0 quake strikes the poorest countries in the West. Predominantly Black. Devastation galore because their buildings are not equipped to handle a quake with a 4-5 magnitude.

The irony is that last week, Northern California saw a 5.6 quake that barely made a dent in their day. Almost no structural damage. Contrast that with Haiti that saw aftershocks in the 5-6 magnitude.

Text "YELE" to 501501 to donate $5 for relief - Wyclef Jean has sponsored this relief effort to help his people and I'm pretty sure we will hear from Pras shortly (Speaking on CNN soon after I type this)

Text "haiti" to 90999 to automatically give 10$ to Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund.

Pray for Haiti, Stay informed. I have a friend from college who has family in Port-Au-Prince and I just hope his family is okay. Even in tragedy, God still has a way of delivering comfort better than anyone.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Harry Reid is no Trent Lott (but he is a fool)

I'm sure by now we all know that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is no expert in linguistics or tact. Saying privately that President Obama had a chance to win because he didn't speak "Negro dialect" and was light-skinned was a silly, foolish thing but it's time to break this down with some consideration.

First off, as I explained on Facebook, what is "Negro dialect"? Is it Southern Black speech - an offshoot of Southern English? What about Black people in California, Chicago and the Northeast, who each speak their own dialect - their own slang/jargon. Trust me, I've been to the South and they talk very different than I. An educated Black person speaks differently than an uneducated one. So again, what is this "Negro dialect" the good Senator speaks of.

Any smart linguistics professor will tell you that there are various branches of Black speech. But I digress to my point. I believe most reasoned folks of color are not offended by what he said, but in fact tickled at Reid's stupidity to even say that (more on this point later).

Second, the newest way to deal with insensitive comments is with a knee-jerk reactions. It used to be calling some racist and now it's fire somebody for making a ignorant comment. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is leading the charge for it by equating it to Trent Lott (more on this later)

This attitude is prevalent among people who apparently want to prove how the race conversation will never happen because they act like children. Call it taking care of a problem, I call it cutting off the head of a Hydra (go read your Greek mythology kids).

This is a chance for a teachable moment but unfortunately wanting Reid to step down is akin to hoping this goes away without making sure it does. It doesn't take away what he said or remove it from that public discourse. It's almost like treating a problem without asking how it got there or why it was there.

I almost want to say this is an example of White guilt where White people want to punish someone for saying something racial because they know its wrong but lacking the ability to learn from it. It is Black people who have had a history of forcing the racial dialogue, men like James Baldwin and Malcolm X that said the issue is NOT Black people but White people understanding the monster they have created and needing to learn how to fight it, not run from it or respond to it like children.

So like Coldplay - let's talk.

This leads me into Point No. 3 - what Reid said was poorly arranged (who since the 1970's has used the word Negro in everyday speech?) but unfortunately how many people have thought the same thing.

How many people saw Barack Obama after his 2004 speech - a well-spoken man who didn't appear threatening like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton - and felt comfortable enough to believe what he said.

I dont even have to use the President. I'll use myself. As a Black male who's pretty wellspoken, I've had people express surprise at the way I talk and carry myself. Growing up (and I know this is true for most Black kids), it was understood that speaking properly would help you get places which is why Mom corrected me all the time on it.

Think about when you watch sports. How often are you surprised when you hear a Black athlete speak well and sound like he has some sense. It's something that I've had the chance to see up close covering sports - people gravitate towards those who are well-spoken and have the ability to express themselves well.

The light-skinned comment goes back to old beliefs that light-skinned Blacks were given favorable treatment because they weren't as dark and able to pass. I never bought into it (didn't even know about until last decade) but it is historical.

So with all of that said, Harry Reid was a fool for how he said it. But let's be honest, how many people thought that about Obama but never said it. Yes he won on his credentials but to assume it didn't cross some older people's minds is naive.

Finally - and this is why Reid should not resign/be fired - what he said was not as bad as Trent Lott in 2002. Just to recap what Lott said as Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either."

Thurmond ran for President in 1948 under a segregationist agenda and Lott indirectly implied that electing a racist would've made our country easier. Now my friends, is that similar to what Harry Reid said. Are we that stupid to not see the difference?

Lott made his comments publicly. Reid made his privately and off-the-cuff. While there is no difference in them both being insensitive, the weight the comments carry is far different. Implying America would be better off with a segregationist as the President vs. implying that a President would be electable because of skin color and how he speaks.

There are several degrees of murder. Several degrees of burn marks. Several degrees of various crimes (larceny for examples). All treated according to their level and none treated the same way. Why can't comments be given the same measuring scale when actions clearly are (and actions speak louder than words).

It goes back to why I said Reid should keep his job in the first place - people have said far worse and as a society we should be able to judge how to punish people appropriately. What he said was foolish and ignorant - but he's no Trent Lott. Give him the hell he deserves and let's keep it moving since we still lack the vocab/ability to discuss this appropriately.

Why do we seek to punish people when the target of someone's words considers the matter closed? Says more about us than them.

Friday, January 8, 2010

VSR: Don't Do It, Pete

If the speculation is true, it's only a matter of days (hours?) before Pete Carroll leaves his job as head coach of USC to be the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Put it simply, I'm shocked.

Shocked because we've heard this rumor every year for the last 5-6 years and every year, Carroll rightly turns it down because let's face it. He loves the control of being the man at USC, he loves being able to motivate COLLEGE players, and he's a man with the perfect personality for the college environment.

Shocked because he's become part of the L.A. community with his foundation - A Better L.A. He's actively worked with former gang members and gang intervention programs to help solve problems in the city and he's not afraid to take unannounced trips to Skid Row late at night to provide moral support.

He'd give all that power and influence and good works to head back to the NFL - a place where he struggled. I call him absolutely insane and power-hungry.

Over this decade, he brought back USC into national prominence, won 2 titles, sent numerous guys to the pros and produced 3 Heisman Trophy winners/countless All-Americans. He's arguably the most successful coach of the decade along with Urban Meyer and Nick Saban and he could've made a legacy as one of the greatest coaches ever.

But he's throwing that away for what. Ego, more money and the first down year USC has had since his first season in 2001? To coach a terrible Seahawks team? I guess it does take one of the richest men in America to make you leave paradise.

I know the probe into Reggie Bush accepting benefits is a lot of heat. I know Joe McKnight's SUV situation was a lot of heat you didn't need in a bad season. But if Pete Carroll wanted a challenge, he got it at USC.

Carroll built that program back from nothing. He took it to the highest of highs and continued attracting the best players to keep it there. 7 Straight BCS Bowls is a phenomenal achievement. But now, after a terrible season, his challenge should be to show people he can rediscover his touch after falling off the mountain.

Speculation is that he and USC AD Mike Garrett weren't seeing eye-to-eye anymore. His ego has also seen him get rid of great coaches (Norm Chow) and his quality assistants (Steve Sarkisian, Lane Kiffin, DeWayne Walker, and others) are at other jobs.

But what's better for your legacy? Going back to a league that has chewed up other college coaches like a grinder (Bobby Petrino, Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier) or treating USC like a pro program and mold young men into what being a pro is all about.

As a UCLA fan, I'm glad to see him go. I'm glad that the USC dynasty will end not just amidst turmoil but with an "abandon ship" order as Carroll, McKnight and Damian Williams are high-tailing it to the pros. But it's not the best decision.

It was fun/frustrating while it lasted. The Pete Carroll era is officially over apparently and he leaves the way he started, with a bad team. It's a shame he won't stick around to bring it through and add to his legacy. To me, thats a bigger challenge than dealing with a losing NFL team.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Farewell to the Big Unit (A baseball Sports Report)

Randy Johnson retired from MLB today after a brilliant career. Hands down he's one of the best lefty pitchers ever and I know that in the 90's and early 00's, few pitchers were more feared on the mound.

Imagine stepping in the batter's box and facing a 6-10, ornery throwing machine who reaches 100 mph with a fastball and slider. Yeah, if I batted lefty, I'd cry or just give up and take my three pitches. But I respected the Unit because in the early days of me watching baseball, I watched Seattle a lot because of Ken Griffey so I got an appreciation for his skill, his heat and when I played Ken Griffey baseball on Game Boy, I couldn't wait to use him and throw that heater.

Here's my favorite Big Unit memories
1. 2001 World Series - 3 wins. His Game 7 performance in relief of one of the greatest World Series ever reminded me of what I read Grover Cleveland Alexander did in Game 7 of the 1926 WS (came in with bases loaded, pitched 2 innings of scoreless relief that ended with Babe Ruth caught stealing.) Epic.
2. 1995 Mariners run. He won the one-game playoff to get them in the postseason, won Game 5 of the ALCS (along with Junior's epic score from 2nd).
3. Defeathering that bird in spring training: still one of the freakiest things you'll ever see.
4. Nearly killing JT Snow in 1997 with a fastball to the head
5. Watching him live pitch for Arizona in 2006, a sight to behold.
6. The perfect game at 40
7. Getting traded to Houston in 1998 and going 10-1 to win the Cy Young and put them in the postseason.

He's arguably the greatest lefty ever and he's a first ballot HOF. As far as power and intimidation and control later in his career, he was a great one and he'll be the LAST 300-game winner we see for a while...

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, congrats to Andre "The Hawk" Dawson for getting elected. He was a player who did it the right way and did it to the tune of over 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases, eight Gold Gloves and All-Star Games, an MVP on a la
st place team. No hate for that.

But I am mad that Roberto Alomar and Barry Larkin did
n't get in. Two of the greatest players of the 1990's and two of the greatest at their position didn't get in on the first ballot? That's a sham and a half.

Alomar at least got 73.7 percent of the vote so he's a shoo-in next year, along with Bert Blyleven (287 wins, 60 shutouts and a staggering curveball). Larkin barely got over 50% (51.6) so it may take him some time - inexcusable. Blame it on these guys playing a bit too long but I remember hearing them as shoo-in HOF candidates all during the late 90's.

Both of them made over 10 All-Star Games. Both of them very popular. They shouldn't have to wait to go in. But respect to the Hawk - I remember Ryne Sandberg shouting him out during his HOF speech and now he'll be there to welcome him in.

Is it just me or is it a bit sad that the biggest Dodgers news this offseason is Matt Kemp dating Rihanna and already going on trips with her to the Caribbean?

We desperately need a 4th starter. We desperately need a 2B. We need to make a play on some of the guys still out there. But this stupid McCourt divorce has the organization's hands tied and because our GM answers to the CFO, baseball moves won't be made for the sake of $$$

I knew it was gonna be a long offseason after that NLCS loss but who know it'd literally be long and dull except for the off-field stories. I sure didn't but I have a feeling 2010 could be an interesting season when spring training starts.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Neverending Debate: MJ vs. Prince

It started on Facebook yesterday when I posted as a status that as much as I love MJ, I feel that Prince is the greatest musical genius of the past 30 years. I got great feedback from my friends on there, including my cousin, and inspired me to try to tackle one of the hardest debates ever.

Who was better: Michael Jackson or Prince. For years I thought this was one-sided and now, I'm not so sure. I won't answer the question but I'll just create some talking points based on what I know about their careers.

First let's get this out of the way. Over the last 30 years, few artists have had the musical influence that both have had. It astonishes me that both were born in 1958 and before they were 30, they produced some of the greatest music ever. Maybe because I'm now starting to reach the same age they were in their prime, it's mindboggling what these guys did.

MJ has his imitators (Usher, Justin Timberlake), Prince has his (D'Angelo, The-Dream). They both changed the sound of R&B and pop music - MJ gave it polish and edge, Prince gave it rawness and creativity. And I say imitators with respect to how they carried on the legacy.

Both of them studied James Brown/Jackie Wilson and other greats and meshed their own style with that. MJ was influenced by the legends of Motown around him, Prince by his father's jazz background and the various funk bands of the 70's. Both were/are incredible showmen that are some of the best live acts music has produced.

So now let's break down the argument. I'm not the best judge on both careers but I'm gonna try based on what I know.

PRIME (1979-1993)

Both Mike and Prince made a splash in 1979 ("Off the Wall" album and "I wanna be your Lover" single). That started off them owning the 1980's and making some New Jack swing albums in the early 1990's.

(If you want, you can argue that Prince helped influence New Jack Swing. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis co-wrote some of the biggest NJS hits of the day and they were former members of The Time - the greatest Prince affiliate ever.)

Prince made more albums, MJ had more hits. You can argue that MJ didn't make any missteps during this point except maybe his own stardom and making each album an event. Some of Prince's albums aren't good from this time but just when relevance passed him by, he rediscovered it.

What may give Prince an edge here is that he didn't just promote his career, he promoted other people as well. During this time, he wrote hits for Morris Day & The Time, the Bangles, Sheila E. and others (not to mention Chaka Khan and Sinead O'Connor covering his songs to No. 1 on the charts).

But then again, Michael Jackson only became the biggest star on the planet, reunited with his brothers, introduced the moonwalk, had the biggest selling album ever, performed at the Super Bowl and broke down racial barriers on MTV and co-wrote one of the biggest selling singles ever ("We Are The World") which also raised money for charity. Tough call, and we haven't even broken down their own music.


Michael Jackson changed R&B forever with "Off the Wall" - a mix of dance songs, ballads and maturity that set the stage for what he'd do with Thriller. Thriller changed music forever because of great songs, great videos, outstanding production, and a perfect storm that had been building since he was in the Jackson 5.

There isn't enough room to describe how great this album is. Still remember the excitement of buying it in 2002. The 20th anniversary edition.

I loved Bad for the hits and Dangerous because I grew up with it - but critics say they weren't as good as the first two. Whatever man. Bad had 5 No. 1 hit singles (most ever on 1 album) not counting Smooth Criminal. Dangerous was a great New Jack Swing album with Teddy Riley that still crossed genres and showcased his stellar writing.

Invincible was pretty much an album people loved or hated. A comeback that made waves but didn't have many hits that impacted the radio. But Butterflies was a great R&B jam.

It would take way too long to list all of Prince's albums. To me his downfall was doing too much instead of quality control. But his significant ones to me are Dirty Mind, 1999, Purple Rain, Sign O' The Times, Diamonds and Pearls, Love Symbol, and Musicology.

Dirty Mind and 1999 made Prince a star before Thriller came out. Purple Rain was his "Thriller" - one of the greatest movie soundtracks ever. A mix of funk, rock, R&B, computerized love and angst that made him a superstar.

Sign O'The Times was a risk because he fired The Revolution and did it all himself. One of the great double albums ever - it crossed so many genres (jazz, R&B, rock, pop, 50's pop, funk), lyrically hit on many issues of romance and the issues of the day. An underrated classic IMO.

Diamonds and Pearls/Love Symbol were great New Jack Swing albums and like MJ, it showed how he could update with the times and still be unique. And Musicology to me was a great comeback album that showed him aging well and still being able to make music that hit the masses.

If you use Rolling Stone's barometer of their 500 Greatest Albums list. Prince has 4 on there and MJ has 3. Dangerous to me >>>>> Diamonds and Pearls/Love Symbol (the songs on Dangerous hold up better in my opinion although I love Gett Off, Sexy MF, Diamonds and Pearls). But Musicology >>>> Invincible as far as a better comeback album.

Thriller and Purple Rain are even. Off The Wall and 1999 are too. So you're left with Bad vs. Dirty Mind and Sign O' The Times. Not a bad debate to break down in depth one day (and I forgot about Prince's Black Album)


Let's accept that "Billie Jean" is Michael Jackson's most critically acclaimed single. Let's accept that "When Doves Cry" is Prince's most critically acclaimed single. You want to break those songs down, be my guest.

Take MJ's best 10 singles and put them up against Prince's? Let's just pick 10 hypothetically.

MJ: Billie Jean, Beat It, Off The Wall, Bad, Smooth Criminal, Human Nature, Man In The Mirror, Don't Stop Til You Get Enough, Black or White, Heal The World

Prince: When Doves Cry, 1999, Kiss, U Got The Look, I Wanna Be Your Lover, Little Red Corvette, Let's Go Crazy, Raspberry Beret, Gett Off, Sexy MF

Some of the best R&B/pop of the last 30 years. Think about how many songs I didn't include. (MJ: Dirty Diana (my fave), Rock With You - Prince: If I Was Ur Girlfriend, I Would Die 4 U).

Prince's songs span more genres, Michael's made you dance and think. Prince's introspection pre-Musicology (Strange Relationship, Sign O'The Times) doesn't get as much credit just like MJ's ballads (Break of Dawn, Lady In My Life) probably don't.


Prince - his guitar playing. We all know about his virtuoso musicianship and sometimes that overlooks how he can hold his own with some of the best. Listen to his solos on "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man", "Little Red Corvette" and especially The Time's "777-9311" if you don't believe me. He owned "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" when he was inducted into the Rock'N Roll Hall of Fame. I won't dare say Prince is one of the greatest guitarists of the last 30 years but he can shred with anybody to prove that he can play.

Michael Jackson - his songwriting. This was rediscovered in depth after his passing but MJ had the ability to write on a range of topics. For all of his superstardom, he never lost that ability to see beyond himself to write about the world around him as well as within. I watched the Jacksons "American Dream" and I saw a point where MJ said he had stories that he wanted to tell away from his brothers. Safe to say he brought us closer to him and I can't say this enough - he WROTE AND PRODUCED "Billie Jean" himself.

I can go on and on breaking this down but let's face it - this blog has already gone on long enough and I've made my point. Prince might be the greatest musical genius of the past 30 years but Michael was the greatest entertainer in that time period. Both of them are icons and while MJ has passed us on, let's appreciate Prince while he is making more accessible, grown folks music.

Makes me wonder what if they actually did collaborate on "Bad" - a dream we'll never know. But here's a treat I found on Youtube last year

Monday, January 4, 2010

Poetry Corner "Invictus"

After the year we all just witnessed, this was something that motivated me at times throughout the year. I think we can all be motivated by it now as we start 2010. No matter what happened to us or around us, we will not give up. Thank you Clint Eastwood and Co. for bringing this poem to a new audience in the movie which bears its name.

This poem still holds as much inspiration as when I read it in an English class in college. I guess being an English nerd has its advantages lol - you read some fantastic things that stick with you for years.

"Invictus" by William Earnest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
for my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance,
My head is bloodied, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll.
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

In Latin, Invictus means unconquered. That's how I feel about 2010. By the grace of God we made it (line 3, stanza 1) and we have a chance not to give up but be encouraged to determine how we respond to it (final stanza).

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 - Year in Review Pt. 2

Favorite Interviews of the Year
1. Cullen Jones - the Olympic gold medal swimmer
2. Stafon Johnson's father the day after Johnson's near fatal neck injury at USC
3. Lisa Leslie - an L.A. sports legend who waved goodbye to her career.
4. Juan Pierre - an almost forgotten man who became an inspiration after stepping in for Manny Ramirez.

Significant Moments for me
1. Waking up to watch Obama get inaugurated.
2. Crying the minute I heard Michael Jackson died and trying to write a story that day for the web.
3. Going to the NLCS and ALCS - seeing CC Sabathia and A-Rod show why the Yanks would win it all.
4. Joining Twitter.
5. Hearing the news my uncle passed. Never will forget the emotion I heard that day.
6. San Diego right afterwards...just showed me why I will love that city forever.

Favorite Moments
1. The Lakers winning the NBA title
2. Seeing the inside of my new house
3. Watching the Dodgers clinch the NL West title.
4. Taking a family picture at Christmas
5. Standing on the shores of Sunset Cliffs in San Diego before I flew to TX for my uncle's funeral.

I discovered Stevie Ray Vaughan more for the first time. I bought Jimi Hendrix's first and last albums with the Experience (had several Jimi jams in my I-pod already). I loved digging why they are both revered. Next year, Radiohead? Perhaps after I discovered "Paranoid Android" this year.

As a hip-hop fan, there's nothing better than discovering the samples behind your favorite hits. Thank you DJ Funktuall for doing that on Youtube and the good folks at

Twitter was my favorite discovery. Through it, I got inspired to find blogging topics and meet great people around the country. It's further sign of the world getting smaller but yet staying so different.

Best Games of the Year
1. Boston-Chicago Game 6 Triple OT (NBA Playoffs)
2. Boston-Chicago Game 4 Double OT (NBA Playoffs - screw it the whole series)
3. Super Bowl 44
4. Syracuse-UConn in the Big East Tournament (6 OT)
5. ALCS Game 5 (Angels' last stand against the Yankees)
6. Federer-Roddick in Wimbledon final
7. Men's 100-meter Final at World Track Championships (Usain Bolt sets WR in fastest field ever)

Albums of the Year
Maxwell - BLACKsummers'night (Comeback of the Year and just great R&B)
Silversun Pickups - Swoon (great rock from my favorite band of the moment)
Method Man/Redman - Blackout 2 (Cheech and Chong back with a vengeance)
The Dream - Love vs. Money (this is huge b/c I'm a big critic of him. great spaced out R&B)
UGK - 4 Life (The Pimp and the Bun say goodbye with a final statement)
Blue Scholars - Oof! EP (Seattle's best hip-hop export in years drop a love letter to Hawaii)
Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II (best rap album of the year, hands down)
Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown
Lupe Fiasco - Enemy of the State mixtape
Drake - So Far Gone mixtape
Fashawn - Boy Meets World
Slaughterhouse - selftitled

Songs of the Year
Maxwell - Pretty Wings (My Personal Song of the Year...beautiful)
The Dream - Rockin That Thang (Hypnotic and Overwhelming)
Eminem - Beautiful (when introspective, few are better)
Eminem - Underground (this is how you murder a track, esp. Verse 1 and 3)
Ciara - Love Sex Magic (slept on but she and Justin Timberlake got funky on this)
UGK - Da Game Been Good To Me (the last UGK classic we'll hear)
Silversun Pickups - Panic Switch (Favorite Rock Song of the Year)
Silversun Pickups - There's No Secrets This Year
Jadakiss - What If (Why? five years later)
Clipse - Popular Demand
U2 - Moment of Surrender (we've all been at this point before)
Slaughterhouse - The One
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero
Kings of Leon - Use Somebody
Rise Against - Audience of One (they are keeping hard punk alive)
Blue Scholars - Coo
Green Day - 21 Guns
Jay Electronica - Exhibit C (Hip hop's excited for him in 2010, this is why)
Raekwon - House of Flying Daggers
Drake - Houstatlantavegas (sidenote - Jojo killed this remix, go peep it)
Lupe Fiasco - Fire (Jimi would be proud of the wizardry on this)
Method Man/Redman/UGK - City Lights
Wale and J. Cole - Beautiful Bliss (J. Cole STEALS the show)
Third Eye Blind - Don't Believe Me
Third Eye Blind - Bonfire (a great comeback for them)
Wale - Hot Shyt (Curbstomping a beat at its finest - with help from Peedi Peedi, Black Thought, Young Chris and Tuphace)

Love or hate Drake, the kid made a big impact this year. He needs to step up his live game but he's got room to grow.

I didn't see many movies this year. "The Hangover" is the funniest film I've seen in years, "Sherlock Holmes" was wildly entertaining and "Avatar" reminded me of Ferngully/Pocohantas while being visually remarkable. Goal for 2010, see more flicks.

Rest in peace to the many we lost. Walter Cronkite, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Brittany Murphy, Steve McNair, Dannie Farber, Nick Adenhart, Jeremy Lusk, Chris Henry, Ted Kennedy, Patrick Swayze, John Hughes, David Carradine, Ed McMahon, Chuck Daly, Ricardo Montalban and too many more to name.

2009 was a heavy year. Personally, publically and professionally. I feel like +44 when they said "I wake up at the end of a long, dark, lonely year, it's bringing out the worst in me." Except I'm not letting it conquer me. Share in the joys, remember the sorrows and make plans to make 2010 better. Cheers.

2009 - Year in Review Pt. 1

“All your weight. It falls on me. It brings me down.” – Collective Soul “Heavy”

All I can say about 2009 is that it feels like a huge weight has been lifted now that it’s over. But like any good exercise, it’ll stay with you for a long time because it was just that heavy. And it nearly brought a lot of people down in the process.

It started with a glorious cold winter morning when Barack Obama was inaugurated as our 44th President. It ended with a informal house-warming party with good friends I spent more time with this year. In between here are my memories.

*Death defined this year. I said goodbye to my Uncle Levi Jackson (the rock of my family and a great male influence in my life). I said goodbye to a church deacon who lit up everyone around him (Jimmy Glover). Mr. Glover was one of my 3 church members I was close to who passed away and hit me hard.

*On the flip side of death, there was rebirth. My cousin Corey was released from prison – a credit to the 3 strikes rule being reviewed – and he’s a fine man with renewed faith and perspective. Several friends gave birth to beautiful girls so it’s the great cycle of life.

*More magazines shut down or went digital (Blender/Complex/URB) but VIBE is coming back after going down earlier. We said goodbye to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer/Denver Post. Those left were dramatically slimmer thanks to a financial diet. (GQ/Rolling Stone). Print media will enter its last decade.

*I didn’t make it to many concerts this year. I stayed on the local scene for the most part, peeping shows featuring the homie Destruct. But I did finally go back to the San Diego Street Scene for the 1st time in 3 years. And boy did I get a show (Public Enemy, Blue Scholars, Busta Rhymes and Silversun Pickups – although I regret missing MIA and the Dead Weather).

*My boss left the paper finally and I was confronted with realizing that my time there might be growing short. Hopefully these developments I’m working on with take hold in the coming weeks and I’ll have a better handle on my next move
- That said, I had great highlights this year that I’ll detail in Part 2

*Sports this year was filled with redemption (Kobe and the Lakers/Yankees), fallen stars (Tiger Woods/USC), insanity (Usain Bolt lowering his world records) and some great moments. Shucks Alex Rodriguez had all of that combined with his steroid admission, shocking postseason play, and World Series ring.

*Year One of the Obama administration brought a Nobel Peace Prize, a greater focus on Afghanistan, a chopped and screwed health care bill that’s drastically different than what he planned. But overall, it was a good start for a year that I expected to do more to correct Bush’s failures than progress. More must be done in 2010 I believe. “A Little Less Conversation, A little more action, please” © Elvis Presley

*Beer Summit? The ultimate sign that Obama maybe overstepped his role despite a fine teaching moment of talking about racial issues instead of just yelling our disagreements. Like Colin Powell said, he can’t do it all and just needs to pick his battles better.

*Ah yes, the rise of Glenn Beck and the Tea Parties and people who want to take our country back. Back to what? When Black people didn’t lead, but followed with their heads bowed? When loading up guns and going on hunting parties were done before debate. Not in my country.
- Beck accused Obama of being racist. Yeah, I’ll be watching his venom in 2010.

*Just like newspapers did, national companies started to expand their influence with local “bureaus”. NBC has websites devoted to local coverage and Huffington Post/ESPN created more localized coverage to major cities
- This is an underrated trend that will not only expand a brand, but pose the biggest threat to traditional local media. It’s just good business – fills a void or enhances the local flair of a city

*Message to the birthers movement. “Let it go dog, it’s over” © Eminem – It’s been over two years and still you think you’re smarter than people who thoroughly vetted Obama.

*We said goodbye to way too many people that we grew up with it. I can’t believe Michael Jackson and Brittany Murphy are gone. I can’t believe Steve McNair launched the decade with that Super Bowl final drive and ended it dead with a mistress. A career hero of mine, Walter Cronkite, signed off for the last time. Too many to list but I’ll try in Part II. Just crazy.

*Learning about faith. We said goodbye to Inglewood and hello to Redondo Beach – but not before being homeless for two months and staying in a hotel. It was a lesson in patience and trust and I couldn’t be happier to be in our new house.

Part 2 comes right behind this - my annual lists of best songs/albums/stories/etc. No matter what happened to us this year, we survived and we are stronger. Cheers to blessings in 2010 and let's just make it better.

- Virgo Kent