Tuesday, September 29, 2009

U Can Crown Brett Favre A Hall Of Fame QB

#4 Brett Favre, Quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, completed a game winning touchdown pass over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday with 2 seconds remaining. 49ers coach Mike Singletary gave this analogy as a way of handling the Favre Finish:

"You take it, you chew it, spit it out, learn from it and get ready for the next opportunity," he said. "Winners let it go. Losers wallow in it."

Understand that Mike has to pick his team up after a tough loss and prepare them for their next opponent, the St. Louis Rams. But the rest of the football world is rollicking in the Favre Finish. Not only are media and fans continuing to chew on it, their blowing bubbles and snapping it like a wad of Bazooka Bubble Gum.

Brett is known for his 4th quarter comebacks and this one ranks right up there with the others. The pass and catch are deserving of the many replays the sports networks are showing. Almost every person who played a role in the play has been interviewed and asked their opinion of Brett Favre as a quarterback. The running theme throughout many of the comments is "Hall of Fame Quarterback."

Brett's popularity is at such a high right now that many don't know or don't care who the unknown Viking wide receiver is who caught the touchdown . For the record, on the receiving end of the Favre Finish was WR Greg Lewis, catching what would be his first reception of the season in Rice-like fashion. The catch by Lewis was as remarkable as the throw by Favre. Lewis not only managed to catch the 50 yard heaved ball but came down with both feet inches from the back line of the endzone. The catch required booth review from above; it was good.

As I finish this blog entry I overhear ESPN calling it possibly the best play of the young NFL season so far. The Minneapolis Star Tribune called it: "A Favrelous Victory! Who could dispute that?

Final Score
Vikings 27
49ers 24

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Raiders Offensively Bad In Loss

The Oakland Raiders offense showed no signs of attack against the Denver Broncos today. Interceptions and turnovers were just a small part of what was an ugly overall performance. Many of us fans are blaming QB Jamarcus Russell. I won't put the entire blame on Jamarcus, but I'm willing to bet my season tickets that if released QB Jeff Garcia were at the helm today, he'd have found a way to make the offense competitive.

With the fans raining boos down on the offense and Jamarcus, I feel its definitely time for some type of change. If not now when? Why not start at the head with changing the Quarterback? Show us fans and the rest of the offense that the problem is not at the quarterback position. The coaches are on the verge of losing the team for another season, they may have lost a good percentage of the fans today.

I'm still hanging with my Raiders. Who else I got? But I'm seriously having to make a decision on whether I have faith in the current coaching leadership. We Need Winners!

Russell's lethargic stats in today's loss:

12 of 21 for 61 yds 2 interceptions

Final Score

Raiders 3
Broncos 23

Vitali Klitchko Tames A Bull

40 year old Vitali Klitchko retained his WBC Heavyweight belt in a dominating win over Cris Arreola. But the Mexican-American challenger never quit and continued to stalk straight into all 301 punches that landed for Klitchko.

The 6 foot 7 Klitchko bruised and battered his shorter opponent through 10 rounds. With a large showing of Mexica-American fans cheering him on, Cris Arreola put up a gallant fight even though judges only had him winning one of ten rounds. By the tenth round he was battered and bloodied yet continued to creep forward looking to get inside and land a powerful punch. Vitali's long reach and angled punches kept the bull at bay while splattering him with some devastating blows. It took Arreola's trainer, Henry Ramirez, to save his fighter two rounds of final pulverizing with a "No Mas" like stoppage in the 10th. Only difference in this "No Mas" was that the fighter was in his corner on his stool wanting more while the trainer indicated "No Mas."

Whether it was his drive to become the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion or just his grit to earn the respect of the boxing world, Cris Arreola was determined to finish the fight regardless of the harm to his body. He'd threatened earlier in the fight to do bodily harm to anyone in his corner if they stopped the fight. No word on whether that threat was carried out.

Meanwhile, Vitali Klitchko wins his third straight fight after returning from a four year retirement a year ago. For many boxing fans this fight may appear to have been a one-sided bore, but for those who love the science of boxing it was a display of artistic skill in taming a charging bull.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Runaway Slave Blog

One of my hobbies is researching my family genealogy. I've been successful in tracing my family back to the 1870 U.S. census. Records for many African-Americans in the southern United States prior to that decade are difficult to research being that many were not free. The "Slave" population was counted for census and property taxation purposes on a document called "Slave Schedules." These schedules listed the White owner's first and last name followed by first names of slaves. For the slave it gave each one's age, gender and racial identity (either black or mulatto). I've sometimes seen the slave's estimated book value listed in county records.

Yes, it was a sad and cruel time for Black people in the American south back in those days. Today I was reminded of that sad history while researching slave activities on a plantation I believe my family to have resided at in the post-civil war south. Funny how that word "resided" leaves much to be desired. Property is the correct word, but I just can't bring myself to label them in that way here.

Well, while searching the web today I came across a blog simply titled "Runaway Slave Blog." The blog is a compilation of runaway slave notices, many listing reward amounts, taken from eight Tennessee newspapers of the day. What struck me like a whip was not that an owner would post a lost property ad in a newspaper classified section offering a reward, but that almost half the ads were posted as "Jailor's Notices."

After reading some of the "Jailor's Notices" I realized that the jailor/sheriff could and would commit to his jail any negro who either could not produce a traveling pass from his master or did not have manumission papers on him to prove his freedom. For the jailed runaway slave it was an ordeal of complete fear; fear of what would happen if his master didn't come and claim him as well as fear of how the master would deal with him if and when he arrived.

For the free negro caught without his freedom papers the fear was not of a master but the racist prejudice and reward seeker's greed to profit from what was then southern justice. The southern judicial system for the jailed free negro was a system of guilty until proven innocent. And without proof of freedom many freed negroes in the south were captured and sold into slavery. There's a well documented case of a northern negro man (Solomon Northrup)
from upstate New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. One jailor summed up his ad in the list as follows:

The owner is requested to come forward, prove property, pay charges and take him away, or he will be dealt with as the law directs.

Also included in this list of notices are ads for sale, hiring and estate auctioning of slaves. Think of it as the human craigslist of the 1800's south. I challenge anyone reading this to try reading some of these ads without feeling a knot form in your throat or gut. I believe any person of any race in today's society will agree that what these humans with dark skin suffered through was not only unjust but inhumane. Just because it was the law did not make it just.

My final thought was how could honest and respectable free citizens in a slave community argue that slavery was good for the negro, when the proof of the slave's discontent was staring them right in the face from their morning newspaper advertisement section? I don't think the slave was running away from a safe and loving home to say the least.

Here's the ad that my family search led me to:

13 MARCH 1840 : Memphis Enquirer

$30 Reward.

RANAWAY from the subscriber on the 1st instant, living in Desoto county, Mississippi, 35 miles south east from Memphis, a Negro Boy called PAUL, of common size, dark color, 5 feet 8 or 10 inches high, 21 or 22 years old, had on boots when he left. I suppose he is lurking about Skipwith’s in Memphis, as he came of the Carey family. I will give the above reward for him if delivered to me, or $20 for him if lodged in a jail so that I get him.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Watching Baseball On The Radio

How do you watch baseball on the radio you may ask? Its simple, just listen to broadcaster Jon Miller call a Giants game, or any game for that matter.

Jon Miller is a baseball play-by-play caller who entertains while he educates listeners. He's so much of what many announcers in baseball are not. You'll never get a dull monotone delivery of a game by Jon no matter what the play on the field might reflect. He paints a baseball picture using his baseball knowledge, tone of voice and language which lets listeners know where they are, who their watching, pitcher and hitter's history and so much more. When you're done listening to Jon Miller call a game you feel as if you've just sat in the broadcasters booth with him and it were just you and Jon watching a game of baseball together. Imagine that, watching a master perform his craft up close.

Baseball being a game of many pauses, Jon's unique gift is his ability to fill in the silence with a rhythmic story that gives the game a musical harmony. And unlike many announcers in sports he knows how to captivate listeners at that dramatic moment in a baseball game where the tension is so thick that nothing else in life seems to matter other than the next pitch and/or the next swing of the bat.

As Miller lowers his dialogue (he talks with us) to a whisper to announce the pitch, we listen to his pause like parishioners at a bible belt revival meeting under a big tent, waiting for God or Satan one to make their presence known. What we get is not a blessing or a curse, but Miller's follow up call describing the batter's reaction or inaction to the pitch. With bated breathe we pause to hear the fate of our team's success or failure in this inning of the story so wonderfully narrated by Jon.

Yes folks, Jon Miller is a jewel to hold up to our eyes, examine with wonder and amazement then cherish the sparkling gift of creative sports broadcasting he distills. We are so fortunate to have in our treasury of baseball today a voice that rivals those announcers of earlier baseball lore.

Thanks for sharing you're love of baseball with us Jon. I am a better student of the game because of you. Keep resonating through the airwaves.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Raiders Struggle In Win Against Chiefs

The Oakland Raiders won their first game of the season 13-10 against the Kansas City Chiefs and all the talk is still focused on the poor play of QB JaMarcus Russell.

Russell had a poor performance this Sunday but managed to put together some completions in the final 69-yd drive and setup the winning 5-yd touchdown run by RB Darren McFadden.

Its a huge win for coach Tom Cable who believes that once his team gets on a winning track and knows how to finish games the Raiders culture of losing will be a thing of the past.

Until that winning streak becomes a reality we Raider fans will have to continue a week by week analysis of what went wrong this time.

One constant in the Raiders two close games is very apparent; QB JaMarcus Russell's play is appalling at worst and inconsistent at best.

Russell's lethargic stats in today's win:

7 of 24 for 109 yds 0 interceptions

A Soldiers Story

Raiders 3 Chiefs 3 Halftime

Anybody watching this game will tell you that the Raiders poor offensive execution is a direct result of poor quarterback play. Receivers are open, offensive line protection is adequate, field position has been fair. If coach Tom Cable has any say in who will lead the Raiders, he must make it known by changing quarterbacks immediately, before its simply too late.

Russell needs more time to learn. He ain't there yet and he won't get there by playing poorer and poorer each week. If he's not being told or shown his mistakes, he'll probably continue to make them.

Bench JaMarcus Russell
Give The Defense A Chance To Breathe
Give The Team A Chance To Win

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Giants Slug Dodgers In L.A.

I'm guilty of writing off the Giants no less than three times this season, most recently after the loss to Colorado Thursday. I was at that game and the Giants were going through their usual "where-is-waldo" offensive drought. Fans started leaving around the seventh and eight innings as Colorado held a 4-0 lead with no sign of Giants hitting in sight. Then in the 9th "Waldo" arrives and the Giants rally for three runs and in losing the game give us fans something to hang our hopes on going into L.A. for a critical three game series.

So last night's Giants/Dodgers match-up was tough for any Giants fan to tune into knowing that this could seal their non-playoff fate for 2009. My excuse for flipping away from the game a few times was that I knew my Giants, with a 1-1 tie into the 3rd inning, would lose track of "Waldo" as the Dodgers began their usual home run attack. The Dodgers produced home runs in the 4th and 5th innings only this time the Giants didn't lose "Waldo." Building off Kung Fu Panda's three run homer in the 3rd, the Giants kept "Waldo" alive while their pitching shutdown the Dodgers bats.

The SF GIANTS stand 2.5 games behind the Colorado Rockies for the wild-card spot thanks in part to a Rockies 5-7 loss last night against the Diamondbacks. We Giants fans find ourselves in an awkward yet enviable position. We have the excitement of being in a wild-card race, however, we and everyone else knows our weakness of losing "Waldo" and relying on pitching to get us through games. But that was before last Sunday's broom stealing 7-2 win over the Dodgers. Before that we'd scored more than 4 runs only once in the past eleven games. Since then we're finding "Waldo" and are a threat to produce runs in any inning.

With the Giants 8-2 win over the Dodgers last night, we fans who've stuck with them through this season are getting much more than we bargained for in April. Hold on to your hats guys and gals, the fat lady has been led off the stage without as much as a peep.

Go Giants!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

IRS Amnesty Day Deadline Approaching

Did you know that next Wednesday, September 23rd, is the deadline for U.S. citizens with foreign bank accounts to pay unpaid/unreported taxes on that money to avoid penalties and/or prosecution?

A millionaire, Finn M. W. Caspersen who reportedly hid millions in foreign bank accounts, committed suicide on Labor Day. With a rich sounding name like his you'd think he could've "worked out a deal." The IRS does give advice as well as counseling and therapy to those who owe millions and are concerned about the coming amnesty date. Our sports celebrities are not excluded.

Boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr., who reportedly owes the IRS 6.17 million dollars, finds himself back in the ring this Saturday against Juan Miguel Marquez. Mayweather didn't hide his millions, he reportedly just never paid taxes on his earnings. If Marquez doesn't knock Floyd the freak out, he may get a counter left cross to the jaw from the IRS that'll do the damage. Take the advice of Wesley Snipes Floyd and just pay up. There's nowhere to hide in the ring against the IRS.

Just remember you Joe-the-plumbers out their, the IRS is doing you and I a favor with bringing these millionaire tax evaders to justice and making them accountable for their actions. That money belongs in our country where it could be swindled by American bankers and financial institutions dammit! Not some Swiss bank account where its truly safe from American crooks.

Six days and counting............September 23, 2009
IRS Foreign Bank Account Amnesty

It is reported that many sports figures are suspected of having foreign bank accounts. For their sake I hope they've paid their fare share of taxes on it. Wouldn't want one of my team's players to miss a game due to Tax Evasion. Or worse, take the way out that millionaire Finn C. took instead of amnesty.

There's always a shark out their who's willing to give advice to millionaires and do the paperwork for a small ransom. Here's one "shark tale" stating why millionaires guilty of hiding money offshore to avoid paying taxes should file for amnesty with the IRS.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chargers Escape Raiders on MNF

Game 1 of the 2009 NFL Season for the Oakland Raiders was a Monday Night showcase. The Raiders showed off their improved product and gave the Division champion San Diego Chargers a fight that left them bruised, bloodied and almost out for the count. Unfortunately, with little more than two minutes left the Raiders defense was just too punched out to stop the Charger barrage of short passes to speedsters like RB Darren Sproles. The Chargers, down by 3 points, marched 89 yards down the field and scored a touchdown with roughly 18 seconds remaining. Ballgame!

As a Raider fan I'm hurting right now. But tonight they gave me something positive with the loss, a spark of hope that this season of football I'll have more to cheer about than recent seasons past. The Raiders may have lost the game but they definitely showed the Chargers and the league that they've improved in many ways.

No drive killing penalties, No silly personal fouls, Offensive line protection, a strong defense and a running game that must be respected. They'll need to work on their passing game and special teams. Hopefully QB Jamarcus Russell just had an off night. He was late and inaccurate throughout most of the night, but still led his team in a competitive battle with a worthy opponent. Coaching needs to better identify what's working and what's not, then make adjustments accordingly and quickly.

It was a fun night at the Oakland Coliseum with fans shocked into watching their Raiders actually compete for almost a full game. The flyover of Military Jets during the national anthem was the first thrill in a night full of thrills in Oaktown. Check out this thrilling touchdown catch by WR Louis Murphy from Jamarcus Russell late in the 4th quarter; I call this catch simply: 4th-and-14

If the Raiders play this dominating style of football in the coming weeks against division opponents, I expect they'll find themselves with a winning record sooner than later.

Win Lose or Tie!

Raiders 20
Chargers 24

Heartbreaking Defeat

Dominating Loss

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wanna See The Fastest Mammal On Turf?

No, its not the Oakland Raiders rookie wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, but I wouldn't mind seeing a race between man and animal.

Just call him CHEETAH, because there's no moniker in the human language that better emphasizes his god-given gift of speed. Well maybe one, FAST!

Any Questions?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Savor The Flavor Of This Nixon Novel

I'm three quarters through this novel and I truly just don't want the writing to end. Author Cornelia Nixon has taken a real life post-civil war tragedy and hung all the the issues of that turbulent period on it like explosive ornaments on a Christmas tree.

The characters, the war, the customs and the prejudices all tussle to stand and be counted in this divided 1860's rural community of northern Maryland. Its A community full of two kinds of men just returning from trying to kill one another over the rights of the slave, now a freedman in their midst. The battles are over, Lincoln and Booth are dead, but here on the Mason-Dixon line the war continues.

You may not be a historical novel reader, and you may not want to visit a time and place that is written about so frequently. But trust me when I say that this novel is not your standard time period piece. At the center are people with loves, fears, dreams and hurts not unlike those of people in today's society or peoples of ancient Rome. Interesting to compare

The author begins by telling you what happens. In her telling of how it happens she fills you with enough mystery and suspense to make you almost forget that you know the outcome. Though my copy is an advance reading copy, I've found the story clear, the characters vivid and the flow of writing flawless. I especially enjoy it when a story is being told from a hindsight point of view by those most effected by its events. Love, murder and mayhem are hardly ever as convincing as portrayed here in "Jarrettsville." Maybe that's because it really happened and it took a woman wronged by a man to finally seek justice like a man. Violently!

5.0 out of 5 stars

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Charger Charged With ..........Choking A Bitch

No, Wayne Brady's choking threat didn't come to fruition, but San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman seems to have taken up where Wayne Brady left off.

Allegedly Merriman, standing 6ft 4 and weighing 265 pds, wrapped his paws around girlfriend Tila (Tequila) Nguyen's neck and proceeded to choke and restrain her. Tila, the known television and myspace personality who's roughly the size of a lap dog, signed a citizen's arrest warrant, charging Merriman with battery and false imprisonment. Merriman was booked then released from San Diego central jail.

No man has the right to inflict bodily harm on a woman for any reason whatsoever, even if she is known as an internet slut famous for offering more than lap dances to strangers via myspace.

As a Raiders fan I'd like to see Merriman locked up in jail for 18 months, a la Mike Vick. I'm sure the San Diego Chargers are in media clean-up mode at this very minute, trying to put a domestic dispute spin on a seriously violent act.

Shame on you Shawne!

Richard Seymour A Frickin' Raider - Who Knew?

It is times like these that defines the mysterious genius of Al Davis. A day after having folks shaking their heads in doubt about the release of QB Jeff Garcia, Al pulls off what could be the steal of the century.

The Raiders have traded away a 2011 first round draft choice to the New England Patriots for defensive lineman Richard Seymour.


Richard Seymour, the five-time pro bowler who's terror on defense helped the Patriots think in terms of dynasty, is now a Raider. Let the naysayers continue to critique and question the foresight of Al Davis, peace and blessings be upon him. If Al is going senile and blind as the haters so viciously put it, then the other 31 NFL teams just got nosed out by an Alzheimer's candidate.

Today the Raider Nation salutes its fearless leader once more.

Old Magoo, you've done it again

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Raiders Cut QB Garcia

The Oakland Raiders cut QB Jeff Garcia today, and it may not be such a bad thing. I hope.

The best reason coach Cable gave for the cut: It Is What It Is!

Cable did starting quarterback Jamarcus Russell huge justice in saying that he is our guy and Garcia didn't seem comfortable in a backup role.

Okay Jamarcus, you've been given the keys to the car once again, now get us to the playoff destination this time.

note: Nick Miller and Louis Rankin have been retained as Raiders.

Nick Miller & Louis Rankin - Raiders Keepers

Granted, he's no Fred Biletnikoff, but rookie wide receiver Nick Miller has that something that you find in players who've been told that they couldn't cut it. Think Wayne Chrebet, Wes Welker or Pittsburgh Steeler great Hines Ward. The Raiders rookie has shown he carries that magic inside him that defies the odds and makes him a special player.
(#89 WR Nick Miller)

I hope the Raiders can find a way to keep Miller on the roster. I know we need defensive help but you don't give up a diamond in the rough, and that he is. For those third down plays where we see JaMarcus all to often drop back with no outlet receiver and be forced to take a sack, Miller could be the answer. He gets lost in the mix then appears when and where you need him to be for a pass. He also brings speed and explosiveness to our special teams. We'll need to keep Johnny Lee healthy as a wide receiver, why not have Nick Miller take on those duties?

Another wish-list keeper is running back Louis Rankin. He's quick, he plays smart football and he doesn't go down without a fight. After reading about Rankin in the blog "Loud and Proud" by BlitzChick, I'm convinced the Raiders will find a way to keep him. With our slew of running backs comes a slew of injuries throughout the season. Rankin would be a good fit as a backup.
(#41 RB Louis Rankin)

Well, there's my cut day stays for the Raiders. For the first time in many seasons I'm a bit jittery about the start of the season. Will my Raiders turn out to be what many "thought they were" during the preseason, a team going nowhere? Or will our Silver and Black 2009 team prove themselves worthy of wearing the football colors that once put terror in opposing teams?

For the first time I'm at a loss for words when trying to forsee this season's destiny for the Raiders. Guess I'll end this with the three words that always seem to escape my lips when forecasting the Raiders chances prior to NFL week one:


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Teen Hero - Keleb Eulls

For all the bad things that are reported on in this world, its comforting to see a good thing written up now and then.

Here's one good thing, done by a good human being for fellow human beings. I'm sure after reading the article you'll agree that the title "Hero" should be bestowed on this young man. NBA player Dwight Howard may soar across the hardwood floor like an athletic superman, but Keleb Eulls of Pickens, Mississippi (pop. 1,300) carries the human care and unselfish courage that goes into the making of a super human being.

Eulls is a four-star high school defensive end that is verbally committed to play football at Mississippi State next year

Hero: a man of distinguished courage or ability,
admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities