Showing posts from 2014

Big Jon's 50th Birthday: A Great Way to end 2014

The hype actually began last year with Jonathan Wright's 49th Birthday party.  Kurtis Blow was the surprise guest and he turned the party out.  Yes, Kurtis Blow of rap fame.  Big Jon is like that!  We received a save the date card back in June.  Jon was reserving a block of rooms at the Hamilton Hotel and December 27th, 2014 was the date to be in the place.  I wonder if the owners of the Hamilton are related to Edward 'Rab' Hamilton?  If they are, I didn't get the family discount.

We had an awesome time at our annual Christmas Eve party.  Shawn and I didn't get a chance to do a count, but I would say that about 60 people attended the soiree.  Big shout out to Tasha and Mike Samuels for the chicken.  Kia and Leslie Pinkney for the Swedish Meatballs and Pasta Salad.  It was a bottle of Hennesey tucked in there also.  Marta and Moo Cottman for the Chicken Salad and adult beverages.  Trevor for the Sangria and beef brisket.  K-Wall for the jerk meatballs.  Rab for th…

Domestic Violence is All Too Real

I was horrified by a string of recent murders carried out in Pennsylvania.  A father kills his ex-wife, her mother, a nephew and a number of other relatives.  He then kills himself after an extensive manhunt.  Bradley Stone was an Iraq war veteran and had been discharged honorably.  He was trying to cope with the effects of Post Traumatic War Syndrome.  He committed these crimes in a bucolic section of Pennsylvania in which the first response will often be, 'This type of thing doesn't happen around here'.  It doesn't make it any better that this event happened right before Christmas.  While many of us are watching Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer for the 50th time, this family is planning multiple funerals.

The aspect of this crime that concerns me is the veteran status of the perpetrator.  We have so many young men and women that have been exposed to war and the atrocities that are committed during war.  My idea of a veteran is a seventy year old who might have served i…

Philadelphia Eagles: We Need the Win Tonight!!

A major NFC East battle looms tonight.  Philadelphia Eagles fans were treated to a convincing win over their bitter rivals on Thanksgiving Day.  We went into Dallas and handled the business 33 - 10.  Tony Romo was falling on the ground untouched numerous times during the game.  We are both 9 - 4 and the possibility that the loser will not gain a playoff berth is serious motivation for players and fans alike.  I am focused on getting some housework done while the 1:00 and 4:00 games are on today.  Christmas decorations are calling.

Mark Sanchez had a serviceable game on Turkey Day.  We do miss the long ball though and Chip Kelly has not been dialing those up consistently.  Jeremy Maclin seems to be struggling in Nick Foles' absence.  We no longer have DeSean Jackson to stretch the field.  He is in purgatory in Redskins land right now so we have to work with what we have.  I need to see Zach Ertz get untracked tonight.  Riley Cooper has all but disappeared from the offense.

Our spe…

Slavery and Involuntary Servitude are Wrong

I am prompted to write this article by an article that I read on CNN yesterday.  It featured a pamphlet written by what I would call a terrorist group.  It was entitled 'Questions and Answers on Female Slaves and their Freedom.'  It was written by leaders of ISIS in what can only be described as a situation closely resembling hell on earth.  The U.S. was involved in air strikes trying to save they Yasidi population in Iraq.  They had been driven into the mountains by ISIS fighters and it seems that the real purpose was to enslave the women.  Many of the men and boys over ten years old have been murdered as there is no need for their services.

As an African American, my ancestors experienced the horrors of slavery here in the United States.  My Great Grandfather, Grandfather and Mother and Father were born in South Carolina.  In the 1800's this was a slave holding state and one of the original members of the Confederate states of America.  The Civil War was started in Fort…

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!!

It is Cyber Monday.  I am not exactly sure when this designation was accorded to this day but retailers will do their best to drum up business.  I understand the growing population of people who sit at home and order anything from televisions to couches on-line.  It made for a hectic season when I was driving as a contractor for Fed Ex.  It is a back on the grind day for me.  I am trying to stay afloat in this job market and want to one day partake in the Cyber Monday spoils.  I wish consumers and retailers happy shopping.

One of the highlights of my Thanksgiving Holiday was celebrating the 1st Birthday of my Granddaughter Malayja.  It was on November 26th.  What started out as a small gathering for cake and ice cream turned into an all out party.  Kevin, Ronnie, Reggie, Mike, Denise and CJ Wallace were here.  My Sister Kia Boggs-Pinkney and Karen attended.  Julius, Gram and Mom Bell were also here.  I usually celebrate with a bottle of fine spirits for the Godfather.  We also remini…

Marion Barry: Rest In Peace

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Marion Barry this weekend.  Marion was the Mayor of the District of Columbia while I was a student at Howard University.  He was an ardent supporter of Civil Rights for African Americans whose personal struggles were also a part of his legend.  He affectionately earned the term Mayor for Life.  He was currently serving as a City Councilman when he died of natural causes.  He had just checked out of Howard University Hospital before he passed.

Marion Barry had his share of personal troubles to go along with his public accomplishments.  He was famously caught on camera inhaling from a crack pipe after meeting a woman in a hotel room.  He has been interviewed about his supposed drug use but would never submit to a urinalysis.  He was at the helm as DC suffered through a crack and love boat epidemic.  He always engendered a sense of civic pride in his supporters.  Currently, DC is undergoing a major building boom.  Also, the term Chocolate City…

Bill Cosby's Carefully Crafted Image is Shattered

I grew up listening to Bill Cosby comedy albums.  for whatever reason, I remember 'Why is There Air' like it was yesterday.  This album was recorded in 1965 at the Flamengo Hotel in Las Vegas.  That was almost fifty years ago and it reflects the supposed staying power that Bill Cosby once enjoyed.  Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was one of my favorite cartoons.  It premiered in 1972 and played for 13 years.  Mr. Cosby's residuals must be astounding.

Some of Bill Cosby's current troubles started when he was working on a proposed pilot for a new show.  Bill, most people will call him that because we feel like we know him, is now seventy seven years old.  Once again, he was going to reprise his role as a loving patriarch who dispensed wisdom to three grown daughters with children.  I guess we can never get enough of the wholesome advice that he dispenses.  The Cosby Show ran from 1984 until 1982.  It featured Bill as an Obstetrician and Phylicia Rashad as an Attorney.  I…

The Midterm Elections Don't Reflect That Poorly on the Democrats

I am a student of the political process.  I was a Political Science major in college who could not be involved in politics due to a city job.  I am aware of the importance of political participation by our citizens and I work hard in my ward to stay involved and to get my neighbors involved.  I barely had a chance to gloat in a Tom Wolf victory for Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania before I had to study the impact of the Republicans regaining control of the Senate.  This supposedly portends bad tidings for President Obama and doom and gloom for Democrats.

The recent gains by the Republican party call to mind the advances made during 1994.  Can anyone remember the bluster with which Newt Gingrich proposed and marketed the Contract with America at the time.  This Contract occurred during the first term of the Clinton Administration.  It seems like anytime there is a President that has social issues and equality at the top of the agenda that an inevitable conservative backlas…

Voter Turnout in Many Divisions Exceeded Expectations in Philly

As a Committee Person for the 36th Ward of the Democratic Party in Philadelphia I was disappointed with the prediction of 18% voter turnout in the Gubernatorial election.  Governor Tom Corbett and Candidate Tom Wolf put in a lot of time and energy in order to get their message out about their platforms.  Voters barely saw Congressman Chaka Fattah who was opposed by a relative newcomer in Armond James.  Also, there was a number of State Representative seats up for grabs.  Senator Anthony Williams was running pretty much unopposed.  I attended a rally for Tom Wolf headlined by Hillary Clinton.  Michelle Obama and President Obama also stumped for Tom Wolf here in Philly.  All of the efforts produced a win for the Democratic candidate.

The major sticking point for many voters was the lack of funding for education in Philadelphia.  The story was the same throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  If you weren't fortunate enough to live in an affluent district, then your taxes were …

The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln: A Novel

I had to visit the Library the other day because I did not have anything to read.  I finished Medusa by Michael Dibdin recently.  It started off kind of slow because it was culturally a little foreign to me.  I had to translate various Italian phrases.  The novel involved the discovery of a body some thirty years after the individual met a tragic end.  His fate was intertwined with a number of the characters in the book's fates.  I returned a few CD's also before the late fees hit.  Thank goodness for e-mail alerts.

I wanted to pick up a book by James Patterson but I am in the habit of finishing those in two days or less.  The Quickie was an intriguing read with murder and mayhem and a number of interesting plot twists.  It was more layers to it than the title implies.  I was looking for something recent by Eric Jerome Dickey but he must be in the middle of something intense.  A Wanted Woman made me want to pass out.  Hence, I am trying to finish The Impeachment of Abraham Li…

Aino Jefferson: Rest in Peace

Aino Jefferson was the Mother of two of my sons childhood friends.  Storm Maragne and Cash Jefferson grew up on Chadwick Street right behind us on 15th Street.  I can remember Mike and Alonna and Storm and Cash, along with Rome, riding bikes or skating for hours in the summer time.  Bike rides turned into trips to Wildwood.  We used to have amazing times in Wildwood.  Cash, Mike and Storm are now parents.  Alonna was babysitting Savannah when Cash was at her Mother's bedside.

Aino was only 51 years old.  She and I were 1963 babies alike.  She had talked about celebrating her 50th last year.  We were supposed to hang out for drinks with Shawn.  I don't think we did.  My celebration was low profile.  I am so appreciative of life and the growth that I see in myself as an individual.  This past Saturday, I attended two funeral services.  Samuel Wilson passed away at 94 years old.  He was the father of one of my best friends, Kenny Wilson.  Mitchell Beckett passed away at 61 years…

The Lighter Side of Darkness by Troy 'Pappy' Johnson: A Spiritual Thriller

I admire individuals who can take the time to put their thoughts and ideas into book form.  I regularly visit libraries in any city that I visit.  I understand how difficult it can be to create a captivating book that will attract readers and provoke thought among those willing to take the time to invest in the story.  The Lighter Side of Darkness is the first novel written by Troy 'Pappy' Johnson.  I actually read the prequel entitled 'The Redeemer' when Mr. Johnson was in the early stages of entering into the realm of fiction writers.  I saw the potential then and I am witnessing the fruits of his literary labors.

Troy took great pains to involve like minded individuals on his quest to publishing The Lighter Side of Darkness.  Jay Durrah, an accomplished artist, was chosen to complete the artwork for the cover.  Jay and Troy both share a Howard University foundation as the basis for moving forward in the arts.  Troy also employed a number of artists to illustrate va…

The Fight Against ISIS: U.S. Should Not Be Taking the Lead

The war on terrorism has taken a tricky turn in the last few weeks.  The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has upped the ante with televised acts of violence and intense land grabs with crucifixions and religious intimidation.  American journalists were beheaded and the Yasidis were forced to escape to a mountaintop and would have died without outside intervention.  Recently, a young serviceman was identified as the first casualty of the war against ISIS.  It is supposed to be a war fought by drone activity but ground troops seems to be inevitable.

It seems like there was an intense amount of pressure placed on President Obama to formulate an ISIS strategy.  I think he was quoted this year as saying that he did not have a strategy to fight ISIS.  After the U.S. failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the tremendous loss of American and Iraqi lives during the wars that followed, I would think that we would be hesitant to try to find a solution to the chaos caused by reli…

Stephen A. Smith: Really?

I am still feeling the glow from winning a hard fought game over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.  I know that the players that participated in the game are probably sore as all heck.  It was a very physical game with hard hits all around.  It was high scoring also.  The Eagles became the first team in NFL history to come back and win after experiencing ten point deficits in each of their three games.  We don't like having to do this but 3 - 0 is a pretty good feeling right now.

Another interesting aspect of the game on Sunday was the return of DeSean Jackson to the Linc.  DeSean was one of my favorite players for the six years that he was here.  I thought he was a little small coming out of California but what he lacked in size he made up for with speed and sure hands.  I would have been as insulted as he was when they signed the football playing Steve Smith to a contract before they secured him with a long term deal.  When DeSean finally received a nice contract that would ha…

Jameis Winston: What is the Matter with You?

I love to see superior athletes in almost any sport.  Bryce Harper was a phenomenon in baseball who has helped the Washington Nationals to clinch the NL East title.  Emmit Smith was a legend at the University of Florida and a Super Bowl Champion with the Dallas Cowboys.  John Wall lit up the nation in one year the University of Kentucky and led the Washington Wizards to the playoffs in the NBA this year.  Freddy Adu was drafted in his teen years to play pro soccer.  I am in a quandary as to how to place Jameis Winston among these gifted athletes.

I was happy that Florida State ended the run of SEC teams that have won national titles in college football.  If it wasn't Alabama winning the title then it was Auburn.  If it wasn't Florida then it was LSU.  The combination of speed and skill that the athletes in the SEC bring to the table are amazing.  I am partial to the Penn States and Ohio States of the world.  Jameis Winston was the young man who was going to end the reign of t…

Gay Bashing Attack in Center City Philadelphia: Astounding!

I saw a post on Facebook yesterday about a couple that were brutally attacked in Center City yesterday.  My first thought was that it was a group of young African Americans who were continuing a tradition of wilding out on people.  There were some horrific incidents on South Street, at the H & M store on Chestnut Street and in other locations.  I am African American so I don't think of it as racism.  In fact, the situation was so bad that the mayor got on his bully pulpit at a Baptist church and called out all parents for the apparent lawlessness.

I was shocked when the potential suspects were shown on surveillance cameras walking down 16th street after a supposed meal at another center city establishment.  They appeared to be well dressed, twenty-somethings who shouldn't have been angry enough to cause facial fractures and psychological injuries to a pair of committed individuals.  Credit social media for a quick response to the pictures of the alleged assailants.  One c…

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews: A Predictor of Current Ukraine Conflict

I have had an enjoyable summer of reading.  Minus a major vacation, it is the most effective use of time for me.  In anticipation of a successful Eagles season, I have made it a point to read at least a book a week.  First of State by Robert Greer was an excellent read.  Stone Cold by David Baldacci took me into the world of espionage and contract killings.  Spartacus: the Gladiator and Hadrian's Wall, which I am currently reading, immerse me in the world of ancient Rome. The Man in 3B by Carl Webber was my turn into the world of intrigue and double cross.

Red Sparrow started off like a James Bond novel.  An American CIA agent setting up a clandestine meeting with a Soviet official.  He had spent time trying to become 'black'.  Not in the racial way.  Becoming black was an attempt to evade detection and surveillance.  In spite of Nate's ten hour exercise, the meeting was interrupted by a random sweep of street agents.  They had to do a quick exchange of information a…