Monday, December 31, 2012

Time to Clean House (A Chargers/Cowboys Lament)

An expression that I've sadly grown accustomed to.
So another season ends. The Chargers are home. The Cowboys got their hearts ripped out once again. 3 straight years that I haven't seen a playoff game involving one of my squads. Ironically it hasn't happened since I quit being a full-time newspaper guy.

Reality is I've been rooting for two teams that have been impossibly hard to be confident in. The Chargers went from an explosive offense to a team that can barely run the ball and watch Philip Rivers erode from great to average. The Cowboys? A total waste of talent and cursed by injuries and inconsistency.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holiday Bowl Preview (Return of the Video!)

Merry Christmas/Happy Kwanzaa/Happy Holidays from here at Virgo Gumbo. I'm back on the video tip as I preview UCLA and Baylor meeting this week in the Holiday Bowl. Pardon the shine cause I got a fresh haircut and having not shot too many videos at night, I realize why sunlight helps a lot.

My Prediction. UCLA 45, Baylor 35. Too much offense and I believe UCLA's defense will make more stands than Baylor will. Just sit back and enjoy it as much as we enjoyed Baylor-Washington last year.

I'll be doing a USC one previewing them in the Sun Bowl. But I'm also busy doing my year-in-review research because I've got some goodness to reveal. 2012 has been a great year of transition for yours truly.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Talking Sports with the Urban Post Worldwide

Forgot to post this last week, but I did some radio work with the Urban Post Worldwide talking sports. Hosted by Niele Anderson, a friend and former co-worker at the LA Sentinel, I'm chopping it up with my former editor Kenneth Miller, the guy who helped me get into journalism.

Enjoy if you like. I'm at the beginning so don't worry waiting to see me. If I can make some time, I'll be doing this more often in 2013 so stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Farewell Nintendo Power (Another Sign that Childhood Is a Memory)

A few days, I saw a link to a cartoon that was coming from the last issue of Nintendo Power. Besides being stunned, I clicked the link. I saw Nester (the magazine's unofficial mascot) talking to his son about NP and passing out gaming tips. Can't lie, I almost wanted to shed a tear, especially at the final panel. The final cover is a great homage to the classic first cover.

Nintendo Power was the very first magazine I had a subscription to. Back when I was a huge gamer and my life revolved around reading and playing the NES. It was my guide on knowing the video game world and back then, you didn't have much to read on it. I remember one of the first issues I got in 1st grade with Super Mario Bros. 3 on the cover.

I'd read them cover to cover, over and over until the next month came. I'd take it to school and I'd read it in my spare time. Reading up the codes to help me get through Super Mario Land 2 or Tiny Toons 2 on Game Boy. Learning every little thing about every new game so I could talk about it. Finding out how to beat those extra-hard bosses. Seeing the level layouts.

I even had dreams of being a video game designer and I created a series of games called "Superevan" back in 2nd grade borrowing heroes and enemies from my favorite games. The Main Boss was named Katz and I created a few extra characters like Crabman and his little brother Cramban, a spelling mistake that just stuck.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut - The latest outbreak of an American Epidemic

Time has passed since the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Two funerals are happening today and more will be done. I’ve shed my tears and gone through my wave of grief as I’m sure most of you have. Now I’m realizing that I’m going back to this other feeling. Numbness.

I’m numb to this because it’s no longer a shock. Since I was 13, I’ve seen kids and adults senselessly murdered for multiple reasons. And the numbers that have died has grown.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Breaking Down Rob Parker/RG3

Watch that video above. Here is the full text of what happened on First Take when ESPN's Rob Parker and Stephen A. Smith discussed Robert Griffin's comments on race.

Let me educate people on this. Robert Griffin is doing what many Black people have done for years. They strive to be the best, regardless of race, and they don't seek to be defined by it. I have personally felt the same way that I wanted to be seen as a great guy, not a great Black guy. Yet at the same time, I've been told in college that I blew people's minds on what they expected from Black folks.

This is not about how Griffin carries himself. This is about what Parker said and why people are looking at this wrong. The problem is that Parker put all of this barbershop talk on ESPN. A conversation that Black people may have had in front of a mainly White audience and you have people of all races rushing to call him an idiot for questioning Griffin's blackness.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Electric Relaxation: Blue Scholars "Loyalty"

I'm surprised I didn't do this sooner because this is one of my favorite songs of all time. But seeing Blue Scholars on Sunday reminded me just how much I love this and why I do. It's one of the best discoveries I stumbled upon and the minute I hear that intro, I get lost for the next 4 minutes.

The story behind me hearing it a good one. Just a reminder of how friends matter and share goodness with each other. Let me take you back to 2008 for a second before I break down the music.

I got a text from a friend who works at a radio station in San Diego. She told me to check out these guys from Seattle that she had just seen and listen to this song "Loyalty". I think I was up late at my newspaper so I went to YouTube and checked it out.

First thing I noticed was it used the same Sylvers sample that the Foreign Exchange used for "All That You Are". Yet it had a dreamy, uplifting groove like something you hear when you wake up for the first time. The video added to that with the clear skies and sun in the background but that sound just stayed in my ears and went to my soul.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hall of Fame Part 2: Who Should Go In

So as a follow-up to my Wednesday post on Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens' Hall of Fame candidacy, I'm going to submit a few names of first-timers and repeat candidates on the ballot this year and give my thoughts on why they should be in. Some quick rules on my logic.

First, I don't believe in waiting to be a HOFer. Either you're one or you're not (unless advanced stats prove otherwise that highlighted things that weren't known during your career). Second, no rules on how many guys I can vote for. My list is short but it'll have probably more than the average ballot. That said, here we go.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Why Barry Bonds is a Hall of Famer (and Roger Clemens is not easily one)

I've long said that I would vote for Barry Bonds into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Now that he's on the ballot, it's about to be time to see if he, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and others did enough to prove they were HOF worthy minus the stain of steroids.

First a disclaimer. My policy on steroids has been that I don't support it and that the discussion on it was always way too simple. I never believed roids or PED's improved natural gifts but they enhanced muscle recovery and improved power. They couldn't help bat speed, hand-eye coordination, IQ or anything else that comes from hard work.

At the same time, the moral hand-wringing over steroids is funny because baseball has long benefited from some type of cheating or advantage. Whether it be banning Black and Latino players until 1947, using greenies or amphetamines to get through the drain of a long season, stealing signs, spitballs and other tricks of the trade, the game has never been pure. It was pure because of storytelling and mythmaking and a slew of other factors. But it was never 100% clean and wholesome.

That said, here's why my vote goes to Barry Bonds. He was already a Hall of Famer before he allegedly started taking steroids. Here's the breakdown that I've believed in for a few years.

Monday, December 3, 2012

On Jovan Belcher and this Terrible, Complex Tragedy

There is no easy way to react to the full measure of the murder-suicide of Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins. On Saturday, Belcher killed Perkins with multiple gun shots, drove to the Kansas City Chiefs facility, thanked several members of the organization and then killed himself with a shot to the head.

Those are simple facts. What's not so simple is what happened next. Two families are grieving as they should. A Chiefs team grieved as they debated and decided to play on Sunday. A 3-month child named Zoe is now an orphan. The NFL followed their tradition and allowed the Chiefs to play on Sunday instead of stepping in to postpone this game.

In most minds, it makes sense to grieve for Perkins, an innocent victim, while calling Belcher a monster. This is true but to say that chastises the Chiefs for grieving a teammate. It's trying to say that head coach Romeo Crennel, general manager Scott Pioli and others shouldn't be shaken by seeing a man kill himself in front of their eyes. A man they've known for four years.