Friday, October 28, 2005

Becoming An "Old Guy"

I’m now officially one of those “old guys”. When I used to run a lot of pickup basketball games in college at the Rec center, there were always a number of older guys who would play. Now in most cases they weren’t really old, they just were past college age (except for Mr. Henry, who plays softball on the same night I do but in a different league, he has to be at least 65, but he told me he still plays basketball in the rec 3 or 4 nights a week, I hope I’m like that when I get that old). Two things stood out about this group of guys; first, they were cool to play with. They didn’t call fouls every time someone blew on them, and real biggie here, they didn’t throw fits and hold up games for 10 minutes at a time because they felt someone made a bad call. Nothing ruins a pickup game faster than some idiot screaming at everyone on the court and refusing to give the ball to the other team over a dumb call. Second, all these guys wore either ankle or knees braces, or they had other body parts bandaged or wrapped. Consequence of getting old and staying active I figured, well…

One night this past week I played tennis, I looked like on of those old guys (and I’m only in my 20’s). On my left knee I had a brace for my knee that doesn’t want to act right. I had my right thigh wrapped due to a hamstring injury. And I had an elbow support on my left arm. And I actually needed them all. I guess I’m learning there is no shame in that, besides I’m thankful I can still be active and athletic.

Small stuff:

Good thing football teams don’t lose points for ugly uniforms, because if they did Virginia Tech couldn’t score enough to beat a pop-warner team of 10 year olds.
picture link

On the Purple and Gold Confederate Flag issue from earlier (here), very good to hear some of the players speak out (here). Often times we stereotype college athletes as dumb jocks, but in most cases they are as intelligent and well-spoken as everyone else, basketball and football players included.

Now facebook has picture albums. They must be trying to get me fired, between emailing friends and facebook they will have to pay me overtime to get all my job stuff done.

Going to watch LSU and the Saints this weekend, LSU has an easy game, the Saints play the Miami Dolphins, St. Nick’s return to Tiger Stadium (article). Should be interesting to say the least.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Speaking Up Cause I Can't Stay Quiet

I gotta speak out on this. Way back in 1999 when this flag first started to appear I wrote what as far as I knew was the first letter to the editor in the student newspaper about the purple and gold confederate flag. Now it’s a yearly debate on campus, and it seems to get hotter each year. If you check the article this past Saturday the LSU chapter of the NAACP led a march around campus before the game for the purpose of encouraging LSU to ban the flag from campus. I definitely applaud the effort.

I have this debate with myself yearly during football season, is it worth it to go to the games when I invariably observe some stupid redneck behavior (waving purple and gold confederate flags qualifies) that infuriates me to no end. But I always come to this conclusion; I have just as much, if not more of a right to go to campus on Saturday, tailgate, and watch my alma mater play football. I’ve also learned most of those knuckleheads aren’t alums; they just come out to drink beer and watch football.

A few points:

My comments only refer to the “Purple and Gold” flag unless otherwise stated. I don’t like the original confederate battle flag, but fly it if you want; it’s your world…

But in my perfect world no one would be ignorant enough to fly this stupid purple and gold flag, and the also the New Orleans Saints would be a good football team. Well obviously we don’t live in that world. LSU is notorious for dragging its feet in racial matters (like most Southern institutions), but they have taken a stand against this particular flag by stating the university does not endorse it and also by punishing any retailer who would try and sell the flag by prohibiting them from selling authorized merchandise. In fact, short of bootleg sidewalk stands you can’t walk into any store around here and buy it. And if you find a store selling it let me know the name of the establishment, I got some connections, it will be stopped.

Now I would love to see LSU ban that flag from the stadium, I think that could be done, a la Ole Piss, um I mean Ole Miss. But I’m not sure if LSU can legally ban this flag from campus. I would like to see the chancellor and athletic and school administrations have a press conference repeating the school's policy and condemnation of the flag. If that happens, count me as happy.

As far as the debate about the original confederate battle flag, talk about heritage all you want, no one flew the damn flag in the south till 1954 and Brown vs. Board of Education, that’s all I need to say.

Big Wes, keep up the good work LINK raising hell on campus is the best thing you can do (and its pretty fun also). I do have to admit instead of joining I stood by watching and eating a hamburger. But in my time I fought my battles, now it it’s your turn. Keep trying to bring LSU up.

One more note on the whole thing, I won’t kick your a.. for flying a confederate flag, but I would kick you a.. for doing something like this to the Alpha house. LINK If you don’t know Alpha Phi Alpha is the oldest historically black fraternity and the only one with a house on campus.

Boy the joys of living in the South never end, but I still love it here, my people, we just gotta keep moving up. Now that I’ve said my peace I can get to talking about football and other stuff.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Crazy Football Fall Saturdays

Saturday was one of those crazy fall football days, woke up at 6:45, eating Krispy Kreme donuts and tailgating by 8:30, getting ready for a 2:30 game.
After tailgating all morning I was walking to the stadium with a friend, Mike. I acquired a student guest ticket, Mike’s ticket was in the North end zone, we figured we would probably meet up later, most likely in the student section, because generally the student section is more fun and has hot college chicks. Now I had 2 ziplock bags filled with, ummm, stuff, in the cargo pockets of my shorts. At the student gates there are normally a fleet of police officers searching mostly innocent students for intoxicating beverages. I walked by them with no hesitation, because they are looking for obviously drunk, polo-wearing, white frats boys and sorority girls with their pearls and Louis Vuitton purses to check for alcohol. Yes, I’ve found the one spot where a brother can get by without getting harassed by the police, walking into the student section in Tiger Stadium, ok moving on…..The Tiger Stadium student section for big games is a standing room only, packed, mass of loud, crazy, young folks. Right as I walk into the lower section I run into some old friends, Jen and Beth, like me old, graduated, but still fabulous. After a happy reunion we stood together in one of the aisles as the game begin. Well the Tigers start off great, early TD, the crowd is really in the game, and my ziplock bag starts to leak. Generally that means time to get a coke and get to mixing. So I come back with coke, and Jen reveals her hidden stash.

Despite the lubrication, I managed to pay attention to the game pretty well. With about 6 mins left in the 1st half, Jen and Beth went to get another coke and to the bathroom. Twenty-five mins later (its halftime now) still no Jen and Beth. So instead of going to look for them (the sober thing to do), I decide to go find my friend Ashley who was sitting in the next section over. I walk over to the section she is sitting in, still don’t see her, but I do run into Jeremy H. Talk to him for a bit, ask if he knows where Ashley is sitting, he says, “Fred, you don’t see that girl with the curly hair sitting over there, are you drunk.” Of course not, Jeremy, so I refocus and rebalance, spot Ashley, walk down the row, stumble over some random white folks, go talk to Ashley for a minute. I then see Jen and Beth in the aisle, apparently lost. So get up, stumble over the same random white folks again, go get them and find the 2 seats on the other aisle we were using for 4 people. Mix some more drinks, cheer, yell, scream, etc. Yep, good times all around, by midway thru the 4th quarter we emptied the flask, my ziplock bag, and mike’s ziplock bag. LSU did try to give the freakin game away, but the Tigers pull out the win at the end. Good game, waited about 15 minutes after the game, sang the alma mater, headed back to the tailgate spot.

Random Notes:
Mary Lou Retton was at the game, I don’t know why that was cool (probably because I was drunk) but she was still kinda cute, would be even cuter if she was taller than 3 ft 8 in.

Becky from Florida graced us with her presence, she was much hotter than Mary Lou Retton, (I bet she has never gotton that compliment before). Becky was a great sport before and after the game, if more gator fans (and LSU fans too) were like her the world would be a better place.

When I got back to the tailgate spot some had thrown the dominos all over the place. But that’s my bad, I shoulda packed them up before the game. Hopefully they found them all before leaving.

I think “Midnight Train To Georgia” is gonna become one of our official tailgating sing along songs. Jeremy, Cesar, and myself are gonna get it together and bring it even stronger next week.

The dart board is a great idea, however after “losing” the board late Friday night off Nicholson Rd, the stand needs a few physical repairs. Should be ready to go for Auburn.

Sunday night I watched a lot of the Southern – Jackson St. game replay. Southern won, 20-7, played a good game. However when SU and J-State get together everyone knows the big event is the battle of the bands between the Human Jukebox and the The Sonic Boom. I think the Jukebox got em’ this time, breaking out the “Tha Ratchet” and “marching like J-State” put them over the top.

About 10 am Sat, I’m throwing bones……for anyone with no clue what I just said we were playing the game called Dominos…….with Cesar and Joslyn, who is just learning how to play. At some point Joslyn asked if her “tile” was placed correctly. “TILE”, I’ve been playing dominos since I could walk and I have never, ever, heard anyone call a domino a “tile”. I could just imagine slapping down your bone and yelling out “tile, m…. f…..”, that just doesn’t work. It was her first time though, if we were playing with my uncles they would have probably made her leave the table. But you live and learn.

Overall it was good game, but can’t want till next Saturday, finally get a night game in Tiger Stadium, should be wilder.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Putting My Foot In My Mouth

I have a friend, Margaret, who I met at a music and arts festival in May at City Park in New Orleans (see here). She was in town for a dance performance, then she was going home to Kansas City. About a month or so later she emailed me, she was planning on moving to New Orleans in August/September. In July she emailed me the following:

....i'm so excited to
move to new orleans, lil nervous for the hot and humid
weather, and the hurricanes, but i'll deal.

A few days later I wrote back the following:

.....I'm happy for you, I could tell you really wanted to
move to New Orleans, its great you have an opportunity
to do it.  Don't worry about the heat or hurricanes,
the great food makes up for it.

Boy did I miss it big time. I did hear back from Margaret, she is doing well, was in Chicago at the moment and planning on moving to New Orleans in January. I do still believe in the future the awesome food (and people, music, culture, etc.) will make up for all Katrina has taken from us.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Night Out On the Town

Last night I was planning on going out to meet a few people at this restaurant/bar in town, Champs, to get some food, maybe a beverage also. On the way there about 8:30 I called one of my friends who had planned on going, well it turned out she wasn’t really feeling like going out so she decided to stay at home. No biggie there, I definitely understood how she felt; in fact I wasn’t really excited about going myself. If I would have called her before leaving I probably would have decided to stay at home also. However I was already on the road (I had to stop back by the gym, forgot my pants in the locker room which had my pass-card to get around the building at work) and I was only 5 minutes from the place. I did know a number of people who would be there, most of them astoundingly cool including some fellow members of the best slow pitch softball team around, Second String. But I just didn’t feel like going to Champs last night. Maybe it was the fact of it being karaoke night, I didn’t really feel like hearing the croonings of the talented (like Ebony who totally blew the roof off the place last week with The Fugees version of “Killing Me Softly”), or in most cases the entertaining but untalented.

My decision, since I was already out, I was going to try and call up someone to go out and grab a bite to eat somewhere else in town. So I pulled out my cell phone with probably 200+ numbers in it, and pondered for a minute who I should call. And just to clarify it wasn’t a booty call type of night, I was just going to try and call someone to hang for an hour or so, grab some food and beverage. Back in undergrad, even for a few years later, this would have been no problem, I have a decently large friend set and in college people are always up, out, and looking for something to do. But now, it’s a lot harder, I go thru names in my phone and I see: friends who don’t go out past 7:30 on a weeknight, friends who live in other places now, friends who are married, friends who are not married but act like they are, somewhat undependable friends who would say they would meet me, then show up 2 hours later, and a few crazy chicks whose numbers I have but I would never call under any circumstances minus lack of sobriety. After making a few unsuccessful calls, I ended up going home, probably the best decision for that night. A few years back I would have probably despaired, but as I get older I realize its no big deal, can’t be out every night anyway. Besides I need to rest up for the weekend, starting Friday afternoon, it will be crazy, Live After Five, a friend’s going away dinner, very brief appearance at Natty Night, a planned 8 am (if not earlier) tailgating start, LSU-Florida at 2:30 in Tiger Stadium, then after party at the tailgating spot. Should be fun.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Good Music, Good Times

If you don’t like New Orleans music, you may not like Deacon John. If you don’t like good music in general, then you probably won’t like the music of Deacon John. If you don’t like dancing and having a good time, you probably won’t like going to a show by Deacon John. Baton Rouge has these concerts downtown on Friday afternoons in the fall and spring called Live After Five. In my opinion there is no better way to start the weekend than getting together with a few friends at a street party with great music. I even forgot about my pulled hamstring and got my boogie on. Of course my hamstring felt horrible the next day, but it was worth it.

Deacon John's Website if your interested.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I Still Believe

I’m back to writing about football for a quick minute. I took a few weeks off, had some other things to focus on like actually doing work at work. But I’m back to goofing off, here are my thoughts on my favorite NFL team, the sort of New Orleans Saints. One clarification here, these were my thoughts up to 2 pm today.

The Saints remind me of this cat that I used to run track with in high school. He was very talented, easily one of the most talented guys on the team. But you never knew what he was going to do, would he come to practice? Would he run hard? Would he show up for the meets? Would he run hard thru the exchange zones on relays? He ran some very good times, but he also dogged it just as much. When he was on he looked great (in a totally heterosexual way) flying around the track. But when he didn’t feel like running it was bad. That is my New Orleans Saints this year. When they are playing well they look great, so good your start to think, “Man, if this team can keep it together they’ll cause some damage and if they make the playoffs, watch out.” A good example of this is the last 4 games of last year, and game one of this season against the Panthers. But when they are bad….. you get 52-3 Green Bay or Peyton Manning throwing 6 TD’s against them in the dome. My prediction for Saints next 11 games, of those 11, 8 will be “who knows” games. Either the Saints will come out and dominate, or they will get blown out. I think they will go 4 and 4 in those games. The other 3 will be the key games. These will actually be regular games where the Saints play ok and the game is decided in the 4th quarter. If the Saints can win 2 of those 3, they end up at 9-7 and probably make the playoffs in NFC.

Now…. I just found out running back Deuce McAllister is out for the year with a torn ACL (Link). My initial reaction, 3-13, season over. But after thinking about it for a few minutes, I changed my mind. I still have faith in the Saints, but only if they do the following …….. go to the Run & Shoot the rest of the season. I mean the old school, Jerry Glanville, Run & Shoot I learned from Tecmo Super Bowl. All the Saints need to do is get Aaron Brooks to channel Warren Moon for a season. Maybe they could find the same witch doctor that put that three year spell on Kurt Warner when he was lighting up the league with the Rams a few years ago (or maybe just trade for a 28 year old Marshall Faulk). Screw the defense, they won’t stop anyone, let’s just try to outscore everyone else. The key is Joe Horn, if he can stay healthy it could work. Just my idea. But if it doesn’t work, I already gave the Saints a pass for this year. Too much going on, I have no real expectations. I gotta get back to work, Brandon I may expound on this later. Also good to see LSU play some defense again this weekend.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Motown Remixed

So I brought this new CD, Motown Remixed (you can listen to songs on the website). I heard about it listening to NPR driving to work one day this past week. I had not purchased a new CD in probably 2 years for myself. I used to be a self proclaimed hip-hop head, but since about 1998 my interest in the genre has steadily declined. I still consider myself part of the hip-hop generation, but to be honest I relate more to cats like EPMD than I do to Lil John. But my love of 60’s and 70’s R&B has never waned cold. Given a choice I would rather go see the Gap Band than I would any current R&B group. I know Gladys Knight and the Pips would sing and perform circles around Destiny’s Childrens. And I love the classics, especially the Motown songs. That being said I really like the Motown Remixed CD. A lot of the songs have a very jazzy and bluesy feeling. A few of the songs seem to lose too much of their original feeling in the remixes, but overall I enjoyed the project.

Falling Apart

Physically, this has been a rather painful past few months. I hurt me left knee again in June. In August I had a blister on my toe that caused my entire right foot it to swell about twice its normal size. My elbow has also been bothering me lately; I probably have a little “tennis elbow”, although I wouldn’t mind this as much if I could actually play tennis better than I do currently. And yesterday while attempting to play softball I pulled my hamstring. But I played the rest of the game and I made it to work today, on pure willpower and Advil. I feel like the habitually injured but always effectual Tennessee Titan’s OB Steve “Air” McNair. Of course when he goes to work hurt he makes six figures a week, needless to say I don't make that much. A few of my fellow Saints fans at work have made a few Donte Stallworth hamstring jokes, but I won’t go there because he has been playing well so far this season. Anyway it’s still good day, I just gotta make it to 5, then I’m going downtown to hear some good music, courtesy of the great New Orleans music man, Deacon John.

Monday, October 03, 2005

August Wilson

I direct this first statement to a dear friend of mine; see today is a Monday and I am capable of writing about things other than football. On Sunday August Wilson, arguably the greatest Black American playwright of the 21st century, passed away. Although I can’t claim to be much of a connoisseur of theatrical works I attended a number of performances during my college years and later, mainly to watch friends perform. I remember attending two of his plays performed by professional companies, “Fences”, and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”. Both plays were amazing experiences, not just for the acting which was superb on its own, but mainly the quality of the plays. I also remember reading part of Fences in an African-American Literature Class (I also remember this really fine young woman who I would sit next to in class, we would talk sometimes after class but we never really did more than that, I think I was halfway dating someone else at the time, but man, if I would see her now I would ask her out in second, no doubt). Getting back on subject I just wanted to take a short moment out of a busy day to salute the great August Wilson, thank you for your work and your life which has inspired many including myself.