Thursday, July 02, 2015

SUCCESS!

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men, the trust of pure women, and the love of children; who has left the world a better place than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it, who has looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration, whose memory a benediction.

Let others have fame and fortune and jewels and places, if I may but have the kindly spirit. Give greatness and power to those that want them but give me Brotherly Kindness. Amen.

- George A. Miller
Pg. 216
Ours is the Faith
Walter Dudley Calvert

Friday, June 26, 2015

Raiderhed - South Oakland Baby!



This is why I love my Raider Nation so much. Our fans are just downright creative with their fandom. Raiderhed, the unofficial/official band of the Raider Nation has taken a tune from the 1970's Cheech and Chong movie (a favorite movie of my youth) and colored it Silver & Black.

The 1978 movie - "Up in Smoke," the song -"Lost Due to Incompetence."  The tune itself was just a catchy beat with a strumming bass and nice electric guitar riff; perfect for that late 70's sound.  The movie introduced me to everything California, me being an east coast kid. In the movie, Cheech and Chong were rolling in weed, chicks, cars, music and sunshine. I'd never seen a low-rider until I saw "Up in Smoke."  

Mind you I'd heard of many of these things but had never actually seen them. The best that east coasters could compare to California was Florida. And not many families from the hood were making it down to the Sunshine State for vacation.  You want a sandy shore, go to Coney Island kid, and wrap up in a snorkel coat.

Today's 420 hour of weed and relaxation was what the late 70's was to me. Travolta was still king and the boom box playing the latest hit music was a cultural necessity. 

A band by the name of Yesca was responsible for the cool song in the movie.  I specifically remember the band because I'd worked in a Record World music store during that time. Because of a rumor, I'd read the album cover to cover looking for word of the complimentary insert inside.  See, It was rumored that a large complimentary zig-zag sheet of rolling paper came inside the album cover along with the album. I never did see one, but it made for a good sales pitch back then.  For you young spliff rollers, zig-zag was how it was done back in the day.

Thanks to the internet, all those old facts and tidbits are right at my fingertips.  Like the Spanish meaning of Yesca; "to burn up like tinder," up in smoke....

Its nice to be able to reflect on a time that once was and is no longer.  The oddball thing is that I ended up not only making California my home, but becoming a Raiders fan...For Life!  Fate I suppose, but my story and how I became a Silver & Black die-hard beginning in 1996 will have to wait for another time.  

Just wanted to give a good Raider Nation Shoutout to Raiderhed and recognize them for a job well done on the video. If San Diego Chargers fans knew that we'd renamed their city South Oakland they'd move to Florida (The Gunshine State.)  

Win, Lose or Tie



(The band known as Yesca)
Waddy Wachtel - Guitar
Danny Kortchmar - Guitar
Jai Winding - Keyboards 
Stanley Sheldon - Bass
Rick Marotta - Drums

Lou Adler - Producer
Waddy Wachtel - Producer (8, 9, 11, 13)
Danny Kortchmar - Producer (8. 9, 11, 13)
Jerry Leiber - Producer (5, 6)
Mike Stoller - Producer (5, 6)
Jerry Goldstein - Producer (3)
Steve Katz - Engineer
Howard Frank - Assistant Engineer

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Thrills, My Agonies, My Champions


My Champion Golden State Warriors point guard and league MVP, Stephen Curry, has made the cover of Sports Illustrated, again.  Wait, wasn't Riley Curry on the cover a few weeks back? Curry & company have given bay area basketball fans reason to attend a parade, wear blue and yellow hats & t-shirts all week long and ride around with Warriors flags flapping in the breeze from every car window; in June! In Frick'in June Warriors Fans. Wow!


My Oakland Raiders have just sent out season ticket holder invitations to this year's Napa training camp. The event is a great teaser for what should be a turnaround season. 

This will not be the usual look and see the new shiny players signed. This year we'll be seeing a new coaching staff and the return of a "Proven" leader at quarterback in Derek Carr. Yes, "We Got Quarterback" Raider Nation. And I also hear free agent QB Christian Ponder looks impressive throwing a football wearing silver & black. Best book a training camp invite spot to get a peek at a potential Champion while there's still availability. I just did.


My Champion San Francisco Giants are going through some odd-year aches and pains again, even though they're only half a game out from the division lead. Inspirational team leader, as well as runs producer, Hunter Pence (tendinitis) has been out most of the season after suffering a broken forearm in training camp, and now newly acquired hitting sensation Nori Aoki will be out for many, many weeks after suffering a broken leg (fibia) in Los Angeles over the weekend.  Oh Brother! Both injuries sustained by the outfielders were from hit-by-pitches. 

And just for good Bay Area sporting news measure, Oakland Boxing Champion Andre Ward is Back Ya'll! And he's still a Thrilla.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Movie Night - Great Choice - BOBBY



Watching the 2006 movie "Bobby" was like being time-warped back to the sixties.  The music, the wardrobe, the people and politics were all featured; and everything came across as authentic. Except for having to sit through a scene referencing a baseball game with Dodgers great Don Drysdale pitching, Go Giants, the movie was flawless.

How the makers of this movie created this story was incredible.  Instead of making a movie featuring the detailed tragic 1968 assassination of senator Robert Francis Kennedy, they made a movie about the place, peoples in the place and the political issues of the times.  It all takes place on the fateful day leading up to Democratic primaries election night at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.  

The movie gave me a sense of the bright hope that this young leader gave the country and all that came into contact with him.  He was an idealist who believed the United State of America had an obligation to promote peace, justice and equality at home as well as abroad.  A humanitarian at heart, Bobby just had that charisma, today's "It Factor," which gave citizens hope for change and a better future at a time when war and violence were rampant.



I think the all-star cast in the movie makes it a classic. Almost every actor and actress seemed to underplay their roles, giving the hotel and the many unfolding situations the bigger spotlight.  By the time the main situation comes to fruition, you realize that all the happenings played out that day, regardless of how big or small,  help turn our focus and attention even more on the character and dreams of Bobby Kennedy. We see the shock of every character once they realize just how great a loss the world has suffered on this night, at this place, witnessed by these people.  

The Bobby Kennedy speech that plays at the end of the movie, along with the song "Never gonna break my faith" by Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige, are fitting tributes to the man and his legacy.  

The speech summarizes all that he stood and hoped for, whereas the song is a reminder for us to stay strong in our faith when storms arise.   The sixties were a very stormy time.  With the assassinations of John, Bobby, Martin, Medgar and even Malcolm, the country seemed to be angry, out of order and in complete disarray. We were at war with ourselves and our purported enemies. 

And yet here we are, 2015 and still standing. I'd like to think that there's been some progress since those dark and dangerous times.  Some healing and soul searching.  I'd also like to believe that a bit of all five of those brave and courageous young men, who's voices were silenced by a finger pulling back on the trigger of a firearm, live on in the spirit of  leaders today. 

We know we have a whole lot further to go before even glimpsing the dream those men envisioned for us.  Though there are many indicators that we've taken as many steps backward as we have forward, we soldier onward.  We move forward in faith and purpose to make things right in the world for all. That's what Bobby and the others would expect from us; to soldier on in our fight for peace and justice in this one world we all share.

For those we lose before their time

I pray their souls will find the light
I know that the day will surely come
When his will, His will, will be done

More lyrics http://www.allthelyrics.com/lyrics/aretha_franklin/never_gonna_break_my_faith_with_mary_j_blige-lyrics-1121404.html#ixzz3dgKxiVPg


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

World's Best Basketball Team - Golden State Warriors


Can You Dig It!

Our Golden State Warriors (Dubs) are World Champions.  Wow!  I gotta say I'm still pinching myself.  Who Knew that they'd be this good?  We Bay Area sports fans have lived through decades of pro basketball futility thanks to bad drafts, bad play and just bad luck that's followed our Warriors.  What other team has a best player choking the coach incident in their history?  We've come a long way from that ugly Latrell Sprewell assault folks.

All the bad and ugly was washed away last night when the best TEAM in basketball snatched victory and a championship out of the reaching arms of the self-proclaimed best basketball player in the world and his Cleveland Cavaliers. Our Golden State Warriors have brought a basketball shine back to the Bay Area, and the world has seen a slimy catepillar turn into a beautifully bright, blue and gold butterfly; a Champion butterfly. 

Andre Igoudala was deservedly voted NBA Finals MVP, but the Championship Trophy belongs to the team, coaches, ownership, Oakland and the rest of the Bay Area that supported this team throughout this incredible season.  Northern California fans can finally don blue & gold Warriors colors with pride as they travel with their kids to Disneyland in Lakers territory. Kobe Who? Dubs Baby!

My first professional sports game attended here in the Bay Area was a Warriors game. Sleepy Floyd attended my 21st birthday party with family friend, and then Warriors player, Mickey Johnson.  I once gave up my Coliseum floor seat to a recently waived player named Sonny Parker. Didn't know at the time who he or the fine leggy female companion were. Back then you couldn't give away Warriors tickets. But that was a time before time.  That was before Don Nelson, Mark Jackson and Steve Kerr.  That was when the Warriors were Oakland's team.

Now the Warriors are the Bay Area's team and beyond.  They've ascended to greatness and sit atop the basketball world as Champions.  And it feels so good because its been so long.


Congratulations Golden State Warriors 

2015 NBA Champions