Sunday, December 31, 2006
The Detroit Lions have ended 2006 on high note. The offense finally clicked. Roy Williams was great. Surprise newcomer Mike Furrey was great. Jon Kitna was great. When was the last time I could say that? Even Mike Williams caught a touchdown pass. I must admit, it was rather impressive to watch. Why couldn't they play like that all season long?
All kidding aside, this was a pretty good game to watch. Detroit actually played like a team that knew it could win and knew how to win. The latter had been missing all season. Despite giving up their early 13-0 lead, the Lions stayed in this game and never collapsed. They took advantage of just about everything Dallas gave them, including a fourth quarter fumble that allowed Jason Hanson to kick his fourth field goal of the game and give Detroit extend a five point lead to eight points.
I must admit, I was worried that Dallas would tie the game in the final minutes. Detroit's defense allowed the Cowboys to inch down the field and actually get into the red zone. But, on fourth and goal, quarterback Tony Romo was stopped at the two yard line as he tried to run the ball in on a busted pass play. Game over. Lions win! DET 39-DAL 31.
Okay. Now comes the reality check. With the win today, Detroit finishes the 2006 season with a dismal 3-13 record. That's good for second worst in the NFL, just above the Oakland Raiders 2-14 tally. The Lions remain in the cellar of the NFC and the NFC North. Detroit was 0-6 in the division. They were 1-7 on the road, just 2-6 at home. 1-3 versus AFC opponents, 2-10 versus NFC opponents. There is MUCH work to be done.
When the 2007 season rolls around next September, I won't make the same mistake I made this season. I was excited about 2006 and felt Detroit had a real shot at finishing #2 in the division behind Chicago and earning a Wild Card playoff spot. Next season, I'll go in expecting nothing and hope the team surprises me.
Oh, Good Evening!
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
I then went to msnbc.com to read more about the only man from my home state of Michigan to occupy the Oval Office. National Affairs Writer Tom Curry wrote a great piece on President Ford's lasting legacy, which is the appointment of Associate Justice John Paul Stevens to the U. S. Supreme Court. But what grabbed my attention was Curry's description of several headlines from the Ford Administration that for most people older than 32, may be just vague recollections. His words, not mine.
I was six days shy of my 10th birthday when Ford took the oath of office as the 38th President of the United States. I remember those days quite vividly. I was quite intrigued by the Watergate scandal. When the infamous White House Watergate transcripts were published, I read them. I think the fall of Richard Nixon triggered my fascination with the presidency.
I remember watching President Nixon's address to the nation in which he announced his resignation. I remember watching, the following morning, his farewell address to members of his administration and the White House staff. I remember watching Vice President Ford become President Ford. It was all so, fascinating to me then. I don't think I recognized the true significance of what I was witnessing- our constitution at work- but I knew it was important.
I also remember many of the things Curry wrote about as likely vague recollections. The SS Mayaguez incident; Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme's assassination attempt; Sara Jane Moore's assassination attempt. I remember the address to the nation announcing President Nixon's pardon, but I don't remember President Ford testifying before congress. Nor do I remember any of his major policies. I wasn't much into the true politics of the time at that age.
President Ford was special to me because he was a Michigan man. He was raised in Grand Rapids, went to college at the University of Michigan, he played on two national championship winning Wolverine football teams. Elected to 13 terms in Congress. Hand picked by President Nixon to become the nation's 40th Vice President after the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew. That was all so cool to me at age 9 growing up in Detroit.
The only man to serve as both vice president and president without having been elected, President Ford spent just over two years in the Oval Office. He dealt with many major issues, not the least of which was helping the nation heal from the black eye of Watergate. I will remember the courage he demonstrated in handling the Watergate affair, pulling out of Vietnam, and negotiating nuclear arms limitations with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. I will also remember his loyalty to family and country. His devotion to former first lady Betty Ford and their children is truly admirable. But what I will remember most is President Ford's gentle humanness. Despite the demands of his office, he always found a way- not always intentionally- to show us all that he was still just a man. Tripping down the steps of Air Force One comes to mind often.
58 years of marriage, 4 children, 25 productive years in Congress, 8 months as Vice President, and 2+ years as President. All of it encapsulated within 93 years of meaningful life.
Take your rest, Mr. President. You've earned it.
I don't know when or where Nala was born. But I know she was just a young puppy, maybe a year old or so, when I, and an acquaintance at the time, found her crawling out from beneath a dumpster at an apartment complex in southwest Jackson, Mississippi. I wasn't sure how the other two dogs in my household would react, but I took her home and fed her and when Joe came home from work, he fell in love with her almost immediately.
I remember not wanting more than one dog in the house, and that was my Shar Pei, Coco. Joe had expressed to me that he wanted a dog of his own, but since I didn't want another dog in the house I said, "no." Then, I came home from work one day and found Joe sitting on the sofa with a tiny Miniature Pinscher in his lap. He got the dog anyway, knowing that I wouldn't put it out. I love dogs too much. So, when I found this wiry haired little mutt under a garbage dumpster and brought her home, I knew she was there to stay, too. Dad felt pretty much the same way when Joe showed up in Vegas with dogs in tow.
She was the only girl of the bunch. The dog queen of the house. We named her Nala after the character in Disney's The Lion King. She had a great personality. And loved to make noise. Her bark was distinctive and endearing and she was fiercely loyal. After I moved to Columbia and Joe packed up and moved to Las Vegas, whenever I would go out West to visit, Nala always remembered me and was overjoyed to see me. But when Joe would walk in the house, she ran straight to him and never moved from his side.
This is the second dog Joe has lost. The Min-Pin, Griffin, died shortly after the move to Vegas. He had gotten sick in Jackson and doctors couldn't diagnose the problem. Now, Nala is gone. I know Joe's heart is heavy. I know, all too well, the feeling of losing a best friend. It's true what they say about dogs and their masters. Even among all the people my brother has in his life and considers close friends, none is closer to him than Nala was. I'm so sorry she's gone. But I know she's in a better place.
Joe, your heart will heal with time. Remember all the good times you had with Nala over the last 12+ years. And, take comfort in knowing she is reunited with Griffin and Coco in Doggie Heaven.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
For the better part of the last month, I've seen any number of commercials, trailers, appearances on Oprah, reports on Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Access Hollywood, and other shows promoting Monday, December 25 as the release date. Now, that Christmas is just a couple of days away, and I'm planning my holiday around Beyonce' Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Anika Noni Rose, Jaimie Foxx and Eddie Murphy, I find out the movie will not open in Columbia on Monday. Unless I travel to Charlotte or Atlanta, I can't see Dreamgirls until January 19th!
I feel like Della Reese's character, Vera Walker, in Harlem Nights when she went to the refrigerator in Benny's (Redd Foxx) kitchen with her "mouth ready for some orange juice" only to find "just a swallow left in the container."
I might be okay with waiting until Friday, December 29th, but January 19th? That's another 25 days! That's another three and a half weeks! That's unacceptable!
If DreamWorks and Paramount were going to do the staggered release, they should have promoted that. "In major cities Christmas Day, everywhere on January 19th," would have worked for me. Instead, they became Messrs. Grinch and stole my Christmas.
I guess this makes my holiday planning a bit easier. In terms of Dreamgirls and December 25th, I can just sing a few bars of my favorite song from the show. "And I am telling you, I'm not going!"
Oh, Good Evening!
Monday, December 18, 2006
(Posted at 1:25 PM)
Suspensions and fines have been issued by the NBA as a result of the Knicks-Nuggets brawl. They are stiff. Read Commissioner David Stern's statement.
A co-worker, friend, and regular reader of this blog wrote me this morning to say that she came looking for my thoughts on the now infamous Denver Nuggets versus New York Knicks brawl that happened over the weekend. Well, here they are.
I was at a holiday party on Saturday night when I looked at the television, which was tuned to ESPN-HD, and saw the SportsCenter anchor introduce highlights of that evening's game between the Nuggets and Knicks. The volume was turned down so all I could do was watch. When the video started rolling I was shocked. I grabbed the attention of a friend, whose husband is a former Nuggets player and current assistant coach with another team, so she could see the melee.
Here's the short of things: Knicks rookie Mardy Collins committed a flagrant foul on Nuggets guard J. R. Smith as he was driving to the basket. The game was out of reach to the Knicks and clearly, Mardy was frustrated that Smith was about to add to the New York deficit. The foul didn't go over well with Smith or his Denver teammates. Nate Robinson, another Knicks player, also played a role in instigating the ensuing brawl. Things really got out of hand when, out of the blue, Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony sucker punched Collins.
My thoughts: Carmelo Anthony is an idiot for doing what he did. He'll face a stiff penalty from the league, which- considering Commissioner David Stern's ongoing efforts to clean up the league's image- could include a lengthy suspension in addion to a hefty fine. Several others will face discipline as well, but Anthony clearly deserves the harshest.
One would think that after the Pacers-Pistons brawl of a couple years ago, this type of thing wouldn't happen again. I suppose that would be giving some of the NBA players too much credit, huh?
Oh, Good Evening!
(Photo Credit: AP)
Sunday, December 17, 2006
When you look at the numbers, they truly tell the story for Detroit:
- 10 first downs
- 2 for 12 on 3rd down conversions
- 58 rushing yards
- 84 passing yards
- 6 sacks for a loss of 51 yards
- 4 turnovers
The Lions are a joke. The season home finale is next Sunday against the NFC North champion Chicago Bears who have clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Then we close out the seaon at Dallas. I anticipate the Lions will lose both of those games and finish 2-14 for the campaign. The only question is will the equally hapless Oakland Raiders win one of their final two games giving Detroit the #1 pick in the 2007 NFL Draft? Go Raiders!!
Oh, Good Evening!
As I make plans for the trip, I'm anticipating the many concepts that will be unveiled giving us a glimpse of future models to come from the likes of General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, and others. Not to mention all the current production models on display, most of them available for visitors to get up close, personal, and a little touchy-feely with. Here are some of the things I'm most looking foward to seeing at NAIAS 2007.
I think HUMMER models rock! I was fortunate to recently have an H1 Alpha for the weekend. I have an H2 and after a test drive, found the H3 to be a fully capable mid-sized SUV worthy of the HUMMER badge. Now, with the H1 Alpha in automotive production heaven, the HUMMER brand is looking to expand its line with more models attractive, and more importantly, affordably available to the mass consumer base. Word is, HUMMER will unveil an H4 concept vehicle at NAIAS aimed at competition with the Jeep Wrangler. The division is also said to be working on an H3 pickup truck, something that has been expected. But spy photos indicate the division is looking at releasing a crew cab configured model which, to me, would be disappointing.
I think a HUMMER pickup truck should be a production version of the H3T concept introduced at the auto show a couple of years ago. HUMMER is a statement brand with "in your face" styling. The crew cab idea is too safe. Go with the H3T! I would also like to see a diesel engine for the H2 and a V6, V8, or both for the H3.
I saw the Buick Enclave concept at last year's auto show and loved it. I told my mother-- whose last five vehicles had been Buicks, the last two, Rendezvous models-- that this would likely be the Rendezvous replacement. She wasn't too excited about that. But, when we went to explore a new vehicle for her in October, the Buick salesman confirmed my prediction. Mom ended up getting the all-new Saturn Aura sedan.
I'm looking forward to seeing the production model of the Enclave and it's corporate siblings, the GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook. These are very good looking crossover vehicles with comfortable looking interiors that include a plethora of passanger and cargo configurations.
With a starting price above $100,000, I don't anticipate being able to buy a brand new Mercedes Benz CL550 Coupe. But I sure look forward to, at least, seeing one up close and personally and possibly sitting in one to dream. That's the beauty of the auto show. The model is so new that we probably won't be able to get in on at this year's show, but next year-- oh, yes!
The Dodge Nitro is a hot new SUV based on a modified Jeep Liberty platform. I've seen a couple of them on the road and they look way cool. Boxy, just like my HUMMER. Distinctive with the trademark Dodge, big mouth grill. And from what I've seen and read, full of cool features to make the vehicle attractive to youthful, active buyers.
Dodge, and its upscale cousin Chrysler, have hit some big homeruns in recent years. Between the two, there are several very desirable models including the Dodge Durango, Chrysler Crossfire, and Chrysler 300C SRT8. I've driven each of those models and they do not disappoint.
I'm not a big Ford Motor Company fan, but the nation's struggling #2 automaker could be on the road to recovery with models like the Ford Edge and Fusion, Lincoln MKX and MKZ. They have very good looks and reviews on their performance aren't bad either. Also, there is talk of a Mustang-based sedan concept. If true, that will be very interesting to see.
I'm also not a big Land Rover fan. But, I do look forward to checking out the new LR2. The entry level SUV replaces the much maligned Freelander here in North America. It also has an estimated starting price tag of $39,000. That would be about $13,000 more than the Freelander. Land Rover did the same thing with the Discovery replacement, LR3. Prices jumped by pole vaulting type figures which seemed to lock out some of the division's customer base. We'll see if the new LR2 is worth that much more than its predecessor.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Watching this team play football-- make that attempt to play football-- is truly laughable. Sunday's game against Minnesota begins with former Lions running back Artose Pinner running through every hole the Lions defense wanted to give him. The Vikings ate up almost half of the first quarter on their opening drive which went 80 yards for a touchdown and the game's first score. I said at that time, if Detroit does not match that and score a touchdown on their first possession, the game would be over. So, what do they do? They fumble the ball away and the Vikings proceed to score another touchdown. It's 14-zip!
Next possession, Jon Kitna throws an interception on the third play. Detroit had two possessions and held the ball less than four minutes in the first quarter, running a total of nine plays, two of which resulted in turnovers. Oh, and yes, the Vikings did score again after that second turnover pushing the score to 20-zip early in the second quarter.
Detroit's first possession of the second quarter-- three and out. I was about ready to turn the game off until Jamar Fletcher picked off a Brad Johnson pass at the 12-yard line and ran it back 88-yards for a touchdown. It's now 20-7. Woohoo!!!
Minnesota appeared to want to let us back in the game. A fumble recovered by the Lions resulted in a Jason Hanson field goal to bring us back within 10 points. I guess we had a ballgame. But, everytime the Lions offense got us closer to the Vikings, the defense would let the Vikings stretch their lead back out. Then comes the clincher for me.
In the fourth quarter, with a little more than four minutes to play, Detroit is down 10 points and driving. The Lions get down to the Vikings one-yard line. They run Kevin Jones up the middle for no gain, and Jones gets injured to boot. He's out. Next play, Arlen Harris goes right, no gain. Next play after that is 4th and goal and instead of kicking the field goal, which they need, head coach Rod Marinelli decides to go for it and Jon Kitna gets sacked!!! Detroit gets NO points!! What the HELL was Marinelli thinking? That decision is right up there with former head coach Marty Mornhinweg winning the toss to start overtime at Chicago in 2002 and opting to kick instead of receive. Lions lost and the road losing streak continued.
Detroit did get the ball back, but it was too late then. They still needed two scores and that wasn't going to happen in the 1:50 left in the game. The final score: MIN 30 DET 20.
While you are not supposed to win when you turn the ball over 6 times, if you are truly trying to win the game and you know you need two scores and the clock is your enemy, you can't get into the red zone knowing you need a touchdown and a field goal to extend the game and not get either.
All of this leaves me right where my brother, Joe, has been for a while.
- Jon Kitna is NOT the answer. He manages to throw multiple interceptions each game, most of them at THE most inopportune times.
- Rod Marinelli may be another Marty Mornhinweg in terms of head coaching ability. The only difference, Marinelli is a defensive coach, Mornhinweg was an offensive coach. Both seem clueless in terms of decision making.
- The above two notes are both a result of Matt Millen's total incompetence as Lions president. If he keeps his job after this season, we'll know the Ford family has no intentions of fielding a winning team anytime soon.
I'm done. The Lions gear is coming off the truck three weeks early this year. It's time to focus on the Pistons!
Oh, Good Evening!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
As I gripped the steering wheel and eased off the gas pedal in hopes of not swerving out of control, I heard a slight bump indicating contact and kept rolling until I got to the Shell gas station at Farrow Road and Hardscrabble. I turned into the station and jumped out to survey the damage. At first glance, there were no signs of damage. On closer inspection, I found a piece of molding slightly out of place. Boy, these HUMMERS are truly sturdy! I know my car would have been messed up.
After seeing little damage to the truck and truly feeling sad about the deer, I circled back to see if it was laying in the middle of the road. It was nowhere to be found. But there was another little deer on the side of the road where the first one came from, looking poised to cross the street, too. I, again, circled back, and continued on home.
What is it with deer that they will run out into a street and keep going even though they see a vehicle coming straight at them? Do they have tunnel vision? Are they partially blind? Or, are they just dumb like that?
Bumping Bambi was not fun. I am thankful I apparently did not kill the deer on Farrow Road. I am very thankful my truck suffered little to no damage. And, I'm most thankful for the Seagram's I savored to calm my nerves when I got home!
Oh, Good Evening!
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Here's what I don't get. The BCS rankings are determined using several polls and a computer ranking formula that considers things like strength of schedule. The USA Today/Coaches Poll is among the factors in the formula. Throughout the season, the college football coaches across the country vote weekly on the Top 25 teams. Their votes remain secret. However, when the final poll is taken, the votes are made public. Why?
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel did not vote in the final poll citing his desire not to play a role in influencing which team his Buckeyes would face in the championship game. While some have criticized him for not voting, I think he did the right thing. What I want to know is why it's suddenly so important that we know how each coach votes in the final poll if it wasn't important that we know how each coach voted in the previous polls throughout the season?
Oh, Good Evening!
Monday, December 04, 2006
So began my weekend in the ultimate loaner vehicle-- the HUMMER H1 Alpha.
As most people know, I love just about anything and everything associated with the HUMMER brand name. So, when I found out earlier this week that I would be driving some of my colleagues through Downtown Columbia in an H1 for the annual Carolina Carillon Christmas Parade, I could hardly contain myself.
I remember the first year we rode in the Christmas parade. The dealership sent a beautiful light blue metallic H1 to the station to pick us up. It was so cool. But compared to the equally beautiful maroon metallic H1 Alpha, that first one pales. The exterior is the same. But inside, there is a world of difference. The H1 Alpha has heated leather seats, a fantastic stereo system with 6-disc CD changer, multiple cup holders. All the luxuries we've come to expect in our personal vehicles. But the biggest difference is under the hood. Gone is the loud, clunky, 6.5 L, 205 hp/440 lb/ft, turbo charged diesel engine, replaced by the much more quiet 6.6 L, 300 hp/520 lb/ft, Duramax Turbodiesel engine. The smooth, powerful engine accelerates the 7200 pound truck quickly and gives it great towing capacity. The H1 Alpha can pull more than 9000 pounds! I'd love to have the Duramax engine in my H2, not for the additional towing capacity-- which I would probably never use-- but for the additional fuel economy.
Enough of the serious motor talk. Just look at this truck! It's huge. It's clunky. It's 110% military metal. It's not a practical street vehicle. But it's hella fun to drive. It turns heads. I got a serious kick out of the reactions people had as they saw it roll by. Whether they were seeing me on the highway, rolling down Two Notch Road, or in my neighborhood, this truck grabbed attention. I took the parade crew to get coffee at Starbucks in Five Points and little kids were checking out the H1 in its parking spot. Yes-- it does fit in a normal parking spot! And, it also fits nicely in my driveway.
The H1 Alpha is as cool as cool gets in terms of 4X4 vehicles. But to really enjoy it, you need a gazillion acres in Montana or South Dakota-- like Ted Turner or Tom Brokaw-- where you can truly put it to the test. You also need the $130,000 to buy it in the first place and roughly $125 each time you need to fill up the tanks, one main and one auxiliary. If you can handle those two small details, the H1 Alpha just might match good sex on your list of most enjoyable things. It truly is "like nothing else."
Darn! Now, I have to take it back. Thanks to Columbiana HUMMER for allowing me to keep the truck for a few days!
Oh, Good Evening!
The Lions were on the road playing the New England Patriots. This was a game Detroit was supposed to lose and they did. But, they were in this game the whole way and you can easily make the argument that they could have and should have won. However, typical of the Lions, they found a way to give the game away. In this case, multiple turnovers including three in the fourth quarter. DET 21 NE 28. Detroit is now 2-10 and going home to face the Minnesota Vikings next week.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Pistons were in Charlotte to take on the Bobcats last night. I made the 80 mile trip up Interstate 77 to see this one in person. I bought the ticket as soon as the Bobcats put single game tickets on sale before the season started. Section 104, Row F, Seat 12. I was in the North Club Seats with a fantastic view, just 8 rows from the floor behind the Charlotte bench. There I was wearing my Pistons red, white and blue among all the orange and blue clad Bobcats fans quietly trying to cheer my team to victory. It didn't happen.
Chauncey, Rip, Tayshaun, Rasheed and the rest of the Pistons all seemed to lack energy last night. This was their third game in four nights (@ Miami on Thursday, vs. New York on Friday, @ Charlotte on Sunday) and they were trying to extend an eight game winning streak. Detroit led at the half but things fell apart at the end of the third quarter when, after tying the game at 68, the Pistons allowed the Bobcats to reel off seven unanswered points. Charlotte never looked back, winning the game by eight. DET 89 CHA 97.
At least the Pistons currently lead their division. The hapless Lions sit in the basement of theirs and if they could go lower, I'm sure they'd get their.
Oh, Good Evening!
Friday, December 01, 2006
With all of that said, why are some folks so upset that a man recently elected to serve in U. S. House of Representatives who claims Islam as his faith would like to be sworn in to his new position using the book of his faith, the Koran, instead of the book of Christianity, the Holy Bible? If America is truly the land of opportunity and the melting pot of the world, a place where people truly have the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness without fear of persecution for things like race or religion, why is Congressman-elect Keith Ellison's choice an issue?
The people of Minnesota's 5th District have made Ellison the first Muslim ever elected to Congress. Obviously, they believe in the man, not because of his religion, but because they think he has the ability to get things done in Washington, DC to benefit them and the rest of the nation. Why does it matter whether he, or any other elected official, swears to do their job and do it to the best of their ability on the Bible, the Koran, or the Betty Crocker Cookbook? Whether he ends his oath with "so help me God," or "so help me Allah," or "so help me Betty" matters not to me. What matters is him delivering on his promise to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America." Worship who you want. Draw strength from whatever higher power you choose. Just keep my country safe for all who call themselves citizens.
If Congressman-elect Ellison wants to swear his oath on the Koran, more power to him. I applaud his willingness to serve in our political system. Think about it. Wouldn't you rather have him swear on the Koran and truly believe that he is bound to do right, than to swear on a book representing a faith that he doesn't hold and feel like his oath is worthless and not something he has to live up to? Yes, America's money says "In God We Trust," but I don't necessarily think everybody has to swear to America's god in order to serve the country.
Mr. Ellison, good luck on Capitol Hill. Take your oath the way you want to take it. Swear to do your level best to the higher being that you freely worship and then get at the business of protecting my right and everyone else's right to do the same.
Oh, Good Evening!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
When this hit the headlines, I admit to finding the information eyebrow raising. But, I must be honest in saying that when it was all said and done, my ultimate reaction was "who cares?"
Stop the madness, please!!! Call me what you want for not finding this earth shattering but I really don't care that Richards went on his tirade and don't see why others, particularly prominent African American public figures and officials, think this is on the level of the Iraq War, or illegal immigration, or national health care, or any number of other far more important issues.
"Have you seen the tape?" you ask. Yes, I have. Watch it yourself at TMZ.com and tell me what you really see. I can tell you what I saw. Michael Richards-- who I wouldn't know unless told he was on Seinfeld because I didn't watch the show when it ran on NBC and still don't watch the show in syndication-- on stage using offensive language to express his anger over some customers who apparently decided to talk through his performance. You can hear one of the customers engaging Richards back then you see several people begin to walk out.
Somebody tell me why I should care.
If not for the home video-- complete with captions-- that popped up on TMZ.com, we wouldn't even know about this. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking whoever taped the tirade and got it to TMZ, but let's be real here. Richards is not an elected official. He's not a man of the cloth. He's not a high ranking Fortune 500 executive. Richards wields not one ounce of important influence on anybody's life. He's just a two-bit comedian who happened to reach fame through a television show that most African Americans don't watch. Yet, we have the likes of Rev. Jesse Jackson granting interviews calling Richards a racist who needs psychological help. Okay. Based on what we've all seen, tell us something we don't already know on the racist tip. As for Richards needing psychological help, that's debatable. There are a lot of well adjusted, successful and wealthy people in this country, who are as racist as they come and they don't need psychological help. And, they come in all colors and genders. Let's just be clear.
We have a guy who claims to be the person in the audience that Richards went off on apparently saying he might seek legal action because he's now had to explain to his four year old son why some white man was calling him the "N" word. Is that not ridiculous? How does the boy know the man was talking to his father? Was the boy sitting in the club, too? If so, that would be newsworthy. Hell, no! The boy only knows something is up because his father has decided to go public in hopes of hitting a jackpot in court. How do we know Richards was talking to you, brutha? Did somebody tape you shooting your retorts back at Richards during the show?
Or did Gloria Allred get to you and say, "I can make us both a lot of money if you just do as I tell you."
The only good thing that seems to be coming out of this is that Jesse Jackson is now publicly calling for something I've been telling friends for years. We (Black people) all need to stop using the "N" word in our personal conversations, in our music, in our movies and television shows. If you're going to be offended hearing the word come out of a white person's mouth, you better be equally offended to hear it come out of your mouth. ERADICATE THE WORD FROM YOUR VOCABULARY!
As for Michael Richards, consider these solutions:
- Stop talking about him. Stop making him a daily headline. His publicist is eating this up, probably telling him to milk this thing for everything he can. You know the saying, "bad publicity is better than no publicity." Don't feed the beast.
- Stop going to see him perform. When folks stop buying tickets to his shows, clubs will stop booking him. When Richards walks out on a stage to find an empty venue, and leaves without a pay check, he'll get the message.
- Stop watching "Seinfeld." Don't call television stations and ask them to take the show off the air. They won't do it. Just stop watching. Trust me. I work at a station which airs "Seinfeld" in syndication. We've received calls and emails asking that we remove the show from our lineup. But, it will stay right where it is until the ratings drop to a hash mark. Don't watch.
Of course, all of the above assume that you really care to begin with.
Oh, Good Evening!
Friday, November 24, 2006
Thursday's game started with such promise for the Lions. They drove down the field and scored a touchdown on the opening drive. That was a first for the season! We're in Week 12. Then, the defense holds the Dolphins, forcing a punt. That was big because the build up to this game centered around the return of former Lions quarterback Joey Harrington. Harrington is now starting for the Dolphins. The Lions got a 52-yard field goal from Jason Hanson on their second drive. Detroit was up 10-0 and it looked like we would roll to victory. NOT!!!
The Dolphins defense made some quick adjustments and shut down Roy Williams-- he burned Miami for 110 yards in the first quarter-- which pretty much shut down the Detroit offense. Without Kevin Jones in the backfield, Detroit managed just 21 yards of rushing. One dimensional teams rarely win and the Lions didn't on Thursday. After scoring 10 quick points in the first quarter, the Dolphins shut them out in the remaining three quarters while scoring 27 points on their way to victory and the dinner table. MIA 27 DET 10. Sweet revenge for Harrington who, before Thursday, never had much success on turkey day. With the Lions, he was 1-4 with no touchdown passes on Thanksgiving Day. With the Dolphins, he comes back and leads the team to victory on the strength of three touchdown passes!
Detroit is now 2-9 and guaranteed another losing season. Though, that was a foregone conclusion a couple of weeks ago.
Oh, Good Evening!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
When you beat the teams you're expected to lose to, that's a good thing. When you lose to the teams you're supposed to beat, that's bad. Detroit has lost two in a row to teams they should have defeated. Last week, the Lions lost to San Francisco at home. SF 19 DET 13. This week, they lost to Arizona on the road. DET 10 ARI 17. It's clear that we are destined to suck. Enough said.
Oh, Good Evening!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Reading your comments about the difficult trip has left me in tears. I am truly sorry you've lost your best friend, Bruce. I do understand your grief.
All I have to say right now is that you must remember you have others in your life who are special friends. One person cannot be everything to us. Each one of our friends is a unique person and brings something special to our lives that not anyone else has the ability or nature to do. Think of each of the people in your circle of friends and what is special about their contribution to your everyday life. I think you'll see that you still have a number of "best friends." You named one of them at the end of your comments.
Just a few words with love from your mother.
Take care, my dear.
As is usually the case, my mother is correct and I knew that. My circle of friends is special. I feel closer to some than others, but I know many of my friends feel close enough to me to reach out in my times of need. I am grateful for each expression of love and concern I have received from my friends over the last few weeks. Many of them had never even met Bruce, yet they could tell how much he meant to me and they just wanted me to know they were praying for him and for me. That's special.
I told Mom that her note helped me realize that in a special-- though painful-- way, Bruce's passing has brought many other members of my circle closer together. We all talked about that over the weekend.
Mom's note helped boost me over an emotional hurdle concerning Bruce. I know there will be others to jump in the days, weeks, months and years to come. But just like the pain from a cut on a finger or a sprain in an ankle eventually goes away as the injury heals, the pain in my heart created by Bruce's passing will eventually go away as the injury heals. And, just like a couple of aspirin tablets can help relieve any minor pain that pops up, my closer relationships with my other "best friends" that Mom described will help keep any recurring pain in check.
Mother always knows best.
Oh, Good Evening.
Monday, November 13, 2006
I helped bury my best friend last Thursday. Like my relatives previously mentioned, Bruce lived and led a productive, loving life. He just didn't get very long to do it. I am truly grateful to have had his friendship, brotherhood, and unconditional love in my life for close to 15 years. I feel cheated that it won't be four times that long.
Bruce and I talked everyday. Sometimes we talked two, three, four, maybe five or more times a day. We just wanted to know that each other was OK. He's gone now and my heart is so heavy with grief because I can't pick up the phone and call just to ask, "what are you doing?" My phone doesn't ring at 1:30 AM anymore with Bruce on the other end asking, "what's up?" in that deep voice of his. I miss him so much.
I'm typing this through tears so I guess it's good therapy. But damn, it's so painful.
Seeing Bruce in his new navy blue suit, white dress shirt, and red bow-tie, laying in a casket less than six months after his 40th birthday was so upsetting. Seeing so many people packed into his mother's church, Stronger Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi, was a blessing and provided great strength to his family and to me as we got through Bruce's services. But the finality of seeing his casket lowered into the ground at Henry Magee Cemetery in Magee, Mississippi was overwhelming. I broke down in the arms of one of Bruce's cousins and wept, "I have to leave him, now."
We were supposed to grow old together. Two best friends with so much in common just enjoying life and each other. I think Bruce knew that wouldn't happen. But rather than shatter my dreams, and those of his numerous other friends and relatives, he just put his all into each day and made sure we all knew how important we were to him.
He was always giving. He rarely took. He was fiercely independent. He carried himself with great dignity and pride. And, he was very loyal to his family and friends, even in times of disagreement.
His passing has left a lot of people in pain. Mr. and Mrs. Coleman, his mom and step dad; his sister Markita; his brothers, Chris and Nick; a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews; his many friends, including Gilbert, Karl, Rudy, Curtis, Hilda, Lawrence, Elroy, me and others. It was good having a huge circle of support to get us all through last week. Now comes the hard part-- getting through the rest of our lives without Bruce.
Mrs. Coleman asked me to serve as program guide at Bruce's funeral service. That was hard, but I got through it. Surprisingly, I received several compliments about how nice the service was and how much everyone appreciated the way I led it. Mom's tribute to Bruce was wonderful. She wrote a touching speech about her "baby" and delivered it in a clear, convicted voice. Gilbert and I stood with her for support. She was amazing. Three people sang selections at the service, none more powerful than the performance of Michael Barnes, Bruce's friend from Memphis. The spirit moved when he sang and it brought much needed peace to many in the sanctuary, including me. Friends and former co-workers offered personal tributes. Hilda spoke about knowing Bruce for 25 years. Rudy told everybody how he could call Bruce to ask his opinion about some music and a few days later, the CD Rudy inquired about would be in his mailbox. I shared how much I'll miss taking Bruce home with me to Detroit to attend the annual North American International Auto Show. Bruce loved cars more than I do. His cousin, Linda, from Colorado read an original poem. Then, there was the video tribute to Bruce. A collection of photographs from his childhood through adulthood. Many of them made us laugh. Finally, Rev. R. K. Moore delivered a moving eulogy which left me in tears, but greatly inspired.
Gilbert, Rudy and I all departed Jackson on Sunday. I dropped Rudy off at the airport at 6:30 AM and almost broke down when I hugged him goodbye. I climbed back into my truck and the loneliness hit me immediately. I cried all the way home. Gilbert and I wrapped up our initial work at the house then went to take Mom some important paperwork and the keys to Bruce's beloved Infiniti FX35 which is still in the garage. It was 8:15 AM. When Gilbert and I hugged goodbye, I almost broke down again. I knew I had a long, lonely drive back to Columbia, South Carolina ahead of me.
Thanks to Karl calling and getting Gilbert and Rudy on a four-way conference connection, we were able to spend a good bit of time talking which made the beginnings of the drive nice. Later, I had NFL games on satellite radio to occupy my mind. But when I approached the city of Atlanta, which Bruce and I often visited together, I started to feel a wave of emotion that I was finding difficult to control. I have a few very close friends in Atlanta and I started trying to find one of them who might be available to sit and talk. Condace agreed to meet me at the FOX Sports Grill at Atlantic Station. We sat, ate, and talked for a few hours. Condace knew Bruce, too. She had met him at the NABJ conventions in Orlando, Dallas, and Atlanta. I appreciate her friendship. Her willingness to drop whatever she doing when I called to come meet me was a true sign of love.
I was back on the road around 10:30 PM, made a rest stop about an hour later, then finished my drive arriving in Columbia around 2 AM. I had to text message Rudy that I made it home OK because I haven't found a new phone number for Bruce yet.
Oh, Good Evening.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Back in the day, Karl brought us all together. Bruce kept us all together. I was lucky to be along for the ride. True friendship is a special thing. And we had it. Things changed a bit on Friday because Bruce moved on to a better life in Heaven. Karl and I will join Bruce's family and a ton of other friends for services on Thursday and it will be a most difficult time. But we will be there for each other. Bruce and I were more like brothers than friends, but it was the deep friendship that made the brotherhood possible. I know it's going to be so hard to say "farewell, for now." But I have faith that we'll be reunited someday.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Guess what? Even the worst of cooks can occasionally produce a culinary delight. The Lions won! The Lions won big. And, they looked pretty good doing it. ATL 14 - DET 30. Detroit's record improves to 2-6.
It seems that Detroit took full advantage of their bye week to come up with the perfect game plan for the Falcons' visit to Ford Field. More importantly, they executed that plan to near perfection.
Jon Kitna throws for 321 yards and a touchdown with only one interception. Kevin Jones racks up 110 yards on 26 carries and scores two touchdowns. Roy Williams has his eighth career 100+ yard performance pulling in 6 receptions for 138 including a 60-yard touchdown catch. Rookie linebacker Ernie Sims records his first career fumble recovery. And, Pro Bowl cornerback Dre' Bly finally gets an interception this season!
This was the bright spot in my otherwise depressing weekend. Now, if we could just find some consistency in racking up wins.
Oh, Good Evening!
Friday, November 03, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
There will be no championship parade through Downtown Detroit for the Tigers. On Friday night, the World Series ended with the crowing of the St. Louis Cardinals as the new champions of Major League Baseball. They win the series 4-1.
What a disappointment. This was a painful series to watch for a Tiger fan, which- in the interest of full disclosure- I am not because I don't like baseball. But as a Detroit native, I became a semi-fan when the Tigers jumped out to the best record in baseball early in the season. They did fade down the homestretch, but found themselves and momentum when the playoffs started. They stunned the favored New York Yankees in the ALDS. Then shut down the Oakland A's in an ALCS sweep. The City of Detroit was elated to be in the World Series for the first time in 22 years and most of the baseball pundits had the Tigers as heavy favorites to win the title. Maybe that was the kiss of death.
Home field advantage disappeared in Game One. The Tiger bats went stone cold against the Cardinals' red hot pitching. Detroit's pitching went South. Kenny Rogers produced the only win and that was marred by "Dirtgate." The biggest disappointment-- all the defensive mistakes Tiger players made. They committed eight errors in the five games. The majority of those errors were charged to pitchers. It was downright embarrassing. I don't want to take anything away from the Cardinals, who played a terrific series. So, I won't say Detroit handed them the series. But Detroit handed them the series. The mistakes basically left me feeling like the Tigers didn't want to win the series. They weren't ready for the pressure of playing for all the marbles.
C'est la vie. My late grandfather was sitting by the radio in the kitchen of his heavenly mansion with a huge smile on his face when Brandon Inge whiffed on the final pitch of Friday night's game. My dad was probably happy, too. Earlier in the week, he told me he was pulling for St. Louis to win. Congratulations to the Cards.
The Tigers now become the third professional team in Detroit to be heavily favored to win their league title this year and not claim the prize. The '05-'06 Detroit Red Wings had the best record in the NHL and failed to win the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They didn't even make it out of the first round. The '05-'06 Detroit Pistons had the best record in the NBA and failed to make the NBA Finals. Now, the '06 Detroit Tigers, after holding the best record in Major League Baseball until the final weeks of the season, failed to win the World Series. When it comes to Motor City teams, it's obviously a curse to be favored to win a title and the Detroit Shock prove the point. They did not have the best record in the WNBA and were not favored to win the title, but the 2006 WNBA Finals trophy resides at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Oh, Good Evening!
Monday, October 23, 2006
Anyway, we have two weeks to think about being 1-6 and get ready for the recharged- thanks to their overtime win over Pittsburgh- Atlanta Falcons who come to Ford Field on November 5.
Oh, Good Evening!
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Five days after winning the American League Championship Series, the Detroit Tigers know who's coming to town on Saturday for Game One of the 2006 World Series. I'd say "rematch" is the word. The St. Louis Cardinals will fly into town after winning the National League Championship in almost the same dramatic fashion as the Tigers' win over Oakland last weekend. The stage is now set for a sequel to the 1968 Fall classic between the Tigers and Cardinals which Detroit won and the 1934 Fall classic which the Cardinals won.
As I have repeatedly stated, I am not a big baseball fan. But, I must admit, it has been great watching this post-season. The games-- both American League and National League-- have been great. The drama and suspense has been exhilarating. And, FOX Sports has done a fantastic job of broadcasting the games, adding great perspective and insight to the game through the announcers, field reporters, and the use of graphics.
I will watch this year's World Series with great interest since the Tigers are my hometown team and the Cardinals are my father's hometown team. I must find out who he plans to pull for. This could make for an interesting family rivalry.
Oh, Good Evening!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I think Detroit will have another stellar season though I don't see them jumping out to the kind of start they had a year ago. I also don't see them finishing with the best record in basketball again and that would probably be a good thing. That seems to jinx teams. The Shock won their title without having the WNBA's best record. The Tigers are doing quite well having not finished with MLB's best record. Let's see what happens for the Pistons this year.
I look forward to seeing the Pistons when they come down to Charlotte to play the Bobcats on December 3. My ticket is already in hand. GO PISTONS!
Oh, Good Evening!
Bill Bonds has long since retired from doing the news. He now does commercials for a local business. But, I still watch Channel 7 Action News whenever I come home to Detroit. Hands down, Action News is the best. They have the best anchors, reporters, set, graphics, and more.
I've watched a lot of newscasts across the country over the years and none has matched WXYZ's Action News in my opinion. Diana Lewis, Stephen Clark, Robbie Timmons, Jerry Hodak, and Don Shane are tops! I'm not big on Michigan winters so I'm in now hurry to come work in Detroit. But, if I were to move home, WXYZ is where I'd want to work!
Oh, Good Evening!
Monday, October 16, 2006
As I mentioned in a previous posting, Mom's current lease expires next month and she was hoping to make a decision on her next vehicle while I was home to help her do the shopping. She's been driving Buicks since 1989 and really enjoyed them. She's had several models over the years: A 1989 Riviera; a 1997 Regal; a 1999 Century; a 2002 Rendezvous; and a 2005 Rendezvous. They were all great cars which she didn't have an ounce of trouble out of. She wanted another Buick and we test drove the 2007 Lucerne on Friday. But when the salesman ran the numbers for Mom, she realized the Lucerne was a bit more than her budget will stand. Since we eliminated another Rendezvous because it no longer offers all-wheel-drive and is set to be discontinued after this model year, we considered a Chevrolet Impala. Mom has a friend and fellow GM retiree who drives an Impala and she likes it. But, we couldn't find one that totally met Mom's desires. Namely, leather seats with no rear deck spoiler.
I started looking for other options and suggested the Saturn Aura sedan or a VUE SUV. At first, Mom wasn't interested in a Saturn because the dealership isn't as conveniently located as the Buick or Chevy dealerships. But as we were headed to Great Lakes Crossing mall, which is north of Mom's house on I-75, she said, "the Saturn dealership is just off the freeway a bit north of here, let's go." So we did.
We arrived at Saturn of Clarkston around 4:00 PM and, after test driving an Aura and a VUE, we departed at 8:20 PM having left a deposit on the shiny silver sedan. Mom loved the way it looked, classy and European, and loved the way it drove. I was impressed with the ride and gave my hearty stamp of approval. Mom takes delivery on Thursday.
Also, everything you've heard about Saturn dealerships and their sales teams is absolutely true. This was, by far, the best car purchasing experience I've ever been associated with. From the moment we arrived on the lot, not an ounce of pressure. After looking at a couple of models in front of the store, we walked in and were politely greeted by a receptionist. She promptly summoned a salesman for us and he proceeded to help us make the right decision for Mom without ever pressuring her to drive, let alone buy, anything on the spot. From start to finish, this was a great buying experience. All car dealerships should be like Saturn dealerships.
Oh, Good Evening!
Sunday, October 15, 2006
The Lions were much better in the first half of the game. Kevin Jones took his first carry 52 yards and ended the game with 127 yards rushing, the first 100+ yard rushing performance for the Lions in more than 20 games. Roy Williams had 99 yards receiving in the first quarter on his way to a career high 161 yard day including a touchdown.
Detroit was up 17-10 at half and came out rather flat after the intermission. They managed only a Jason Hanson field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter and barely hung on for the win. BUF 17 DET 20.
Not surprisingly, Ford Field was not full. Yes, the game was officially a sellout but there was not a capacity crowd on hand. There were a lot of empty seats inside the stadium, many of them premium club level seats.
Speaking of club level seating-- it's very comfortable. The leather cushioned seats are much better than the hard plastic regular seating in the lower level, most of the upper levels, and the end zones. We had seats in the North Club where the lounge was nice with blue collar feel. Just right, if you ask me. Detroit is a blue collar town with serious blue collar football fans. Some of those fans can be a bit too blue collar. I could have done without the three guys sitting near us in the lounge at halftime dropping f-bombs, m-f-bombs, and b-s-bombs continuously.
Anyway, the Lions won. We were there. And, so was my sister, though she didn't get to see the game. Kathy was working one of the concession stands, raising money for a local charity. Mom and I bought our halftime goods from Kathy's stand to help the cause.
Overall, it was a great Sunday. The perfect cap to a great sports weekend. Michigan beat Penn State in college football; the Tigers won the American League penant and will have home field advantage in the World Series; and the Lions got their long overdue first win of the season! GO BLUE! GO TIGERS! GO LIONS!
Oh, Good Evening!