Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Nothing really need be said for this ol'skool song. If you're from the era you're blessed with the memories it triggers. If you missed it, listen and make a wish!

The End Of It - Book Review

The End of It

by Mitchell Goodman
Edition: Hardcover

Reveals the Beauty of Italy and the Ugliness of War,

I enjoyed the writing in this novel in spurts. Sometimes the places and situations Lt. Freeman shares has a poetic ring to it while at other times it seems to bog down in repetitious sarcasms about war. The parts with soldier Bowen preaching christian doctrine also seemed to bog down the story.

The book reads more as a world war II memoir than a novel. The descriptions of Italy with it's mountainous landscape and villages are very realistic and picturesque. Overall not a bad read, but I was expecting more of a war story and less of a artillery lieutenant's relationship with his men and their big guns. The opening paragraphs describing the troopship full of young green soldiers shipping out from New York harbor and being greeted by the violent hurling of the Mid-Atlantic sea is captivating.

What this book does do well, besides giving an ugly snapshot of war and it's corpses, is to show the difference in the native soldier fighting for his country's freedom versus an invading or occupying army fighting for profits. In war all soldiers are killing for a cause, but there are some who kill with the thought of protecting their families from evil.
(1961 Horizon Press edition)

3.5 stars

pg.54 from both sides of the line artillery fire kept the war going - chewing roads, eating villages, biting men in half

pg.131 one thousand guns.(One of these guns can deafen a man, two of them can drive him insane)

pg.200 at first you do not know how to kill, but you learn. (18 year old italian girl partisan/rebel)

The story of a U.S. WWII Lieutenant in charge of an artillery unit in Northern Italy. Giving commands to fire the huge artillery guns, devastating the lush Italian countryside while in pursuit of a retreating German army was enough to drive the Lieutenant nearly insane.

Hearing the Lieutenant’s thoughts made for a very philosophical and dreamscape read. With descriptions that go from heavenly to hellish in a second, you’re narrated through Italian countryside, war-torn villages, war-shocked villagers, lusting and fearful young soldiers, arrogant generals, vengeful partisans (rebels) and desperate women.

He looks at his function as that of a worker in a factory or corporation, skillfully setting up one big machine brought along to do a job. He doesn’t really believe in the job but he’s loyal to the machine. It represents the superior manly power of the United States.

I think Mr. Goodman wrote this book as a warning to humanity. The message written between the lines is very clear; war not only destroys an enemy but also takes its devastating toll on the land, it’s people and the conquering army. There is no innocence left or pardons given after a war. All are guilty of crimes against humanity and ecology.

By the end of the book you begin to think that maybe soldier Bowman was onto something when preaching about the evils of the apocalyptic war. He too went insane.

When it’s raining body parts, there’s no umbrella one can use to shield his mind from being disturbed.

Great descriptive writing, however, the Lieutenant too often lets his thoughts veer off into intangible war essays. The reader must follow the Lieutenant as best he/she can or else risk getting lost and uninterested. I almost didn’t finish this book. The voice behind the writing brought me back to it more than twice. Glad I finished it though. Nothing all revealing at the end, but I wouldn’t wanna miss knowing the Lieutenant found peace in an Italian village laundry detail.

I still wonder what importance the village laundry detail holds in the story. Maybe it was put there to show that some sanity did return to the lieutenant.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Corporate Personhood Case

It's Going Down Folks!

Can corporations be held accountable for international human rights violations?

If you live in a oil producing country like Venezuela you don't need a judge's ruling, you bare the corporate victim's scars as proof. If you're part of the corporate machine, you're leaning on precedence where no international courts have held corporations liable for human rights violations.

Come'on sports fans, get informed on current events in our globalized geopolitical world. It's truly a game of inches when it comes down to major court rulings. Best be informed because if it hasn't already, someday your health, marriage or livelihood could be drastically changed by a supreme court ruling.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

West All-Stars Prevail

Kobe Bryant leads the Western Conference NBA All-Stars to a 152-149 exhibition win over the Eastern All-Stars. Kobe in his 13th All-Star game passes the legendary Michael Jordan for most points scored in All-Star games. For this generation, Kobe is watermark for NBA excellence.

We interrupt this blogpost to report a crime against womanhood that just occurred at the Oscar awards in Hollywood:

The beautiful, luxuriously dressed sex symbol actress Angelina Jolie, who I admired in the movie SALT, just presented the best original screenplay award wearing a stunning black dress and exposing a torso and upper limbs resembling that of a concentration camp survivor from World War II.

The Oscar Awards should really consider banning any and all women from stepping onto the red carpet much less presenting an award if they appear undernourished and anorexic. The message being sent to young women throughout the world encourages serious eating disorder illnesses. Angelina's naked arms had a bonechillingly (pun intended) deformed look.

And the saddest part is many women along with Angelina herself, probably feel she's too fat. I pray Angelina is well.

Here's the hotline for Eating Disorders outreach. Help for the Disease is only a phone call away:

It appears I'm not alone in my assumptions about Angelina Jolie. I wrote this post moments after my shock from viewing Angelina's frail body at the awards. At the time there were few if any full length pictures of her on the web. The majority of the media were talking about how beautiful Angelina appeared, showing complimentary pictures of her on the red carpet. Now that all the pictures are out it seems folks are rechecking their idea of what constitutes beauty and healthy. There's now definitely a nation-wide concern about Angelina's health.

We must remember that Hollywood's idea of patient treatment is body enhancements, plastic surgery and liposuction. Oops my apology, they have a new name for liposuction, Lipoplasty(Fat Modeling). Shame on Hollywood for ignoring the health risks of one of its own and playing the part of an enabler to Oscar winning perfection.

NBA Slam Dunkalicious

On his second dunk of the night the Utah Jazz's Jeremy Evans gave a NBA All-Star performance for the ages. The dunk is worthy of legendary streetballer Earl Manigault type praise.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ferocious Football Females - LFL

Just a final farewell to football for a season. While excitedly blogging about the New York Giants Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots I failed to give credit to the Lingerie Football League's championship game which was played that same sunday.

Well here's to the LFL and the female athletes that play with a passion. They might make a cute and cuddly fantasy, but out on the gridiron a man could get knocked the freak out trying to tackle one of these football players. Yes, I think they've earned the honor of being called football players; don't think so? check out some of their championship footage:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Desert Warriors Win

Nate Robinson rushes to greet Monta Ellis after Ellis' game-winner.

The Golden State Warriors had lost 28 of the last 31 match-ups against the Suns in Phoenix. So when I saw they were playing Steve Nash and company yesterday in Phoenix, I simply scheduled other activities of entertainment.

Well, for those who saw the Warriors out-basket the Suns 106-104, I say you deserve medals of courage and loyalty. Not only did the Warriors do their usual second half collapse, allowing a trailing opponent to get back into the game, but they also gave up what could've been a buzzer beating shot with less than a second left in the game that luckily clanged off the rim.

Simply put, it's torture to watch a Warriors game. The agony of defeat seems to always appear on the faces of Warriors fans after close games. But not yesterday, Feb. 21st, two-thousand and twelve in the year of our Lord . Oh no, the Golden State Warriors fans were beaming with the thrill of victory as their team held on to somehow, someway win a road game against a team who's had their number since Coolio's "Gangsta Paradise" was riding the top 100 music chart in 1995.

Going into the all-star break the Warriors are a questionable 13-17. They'll need better performances than yesterday's game to prove to a fan like me that they've learned how to finish. But for now, consider the 2011-12 Golden State Warriors ..........Coolio!

Monday, February 13, 2012

In Tune with the Infinite

In Tune with the Infinite

Ralph Waldo Trine

Pgs. 109-114 partially

He who would enter into the realm of wisdom must first divest himself of all intellectual pride. He must become as a little child. Prejudices, preconceived opinions and beliefs always stand in the way of true wisdom. Conceited opinions are always suicidal in their influences. They bar the door to the entrance of truth.

All about us we see men in the religious word, in the world of science, in the political, in the social world, who through intellectual pride are so wrapped in their own conceits and prejudices that larger and later revelations of truth can find no entrance to them; and instead of growing and expanding, they are becoming dwarfed and stunted and still more incapable of receiving truth.

There is a great law in connection with the coming of truth. It is this: Whenever a man or a woman shuts himself or herself to the entrance of truth on account of intellectual pride, preconceived opinions, prejudices, or for whatever reason, there is a great law which says that truth in its fullness will come to that one from no source. And on the other hand, when a man or a woman opens himself or herself fully to the entrance of truth from whatever source it may come, there is an equally great law which says that truth will flow in to him or to her from all sources, from all quarters. Such becomes the free man, the free woman, for it is the truth that makes us free. The other remains in bondage, for truth has had no invitation and will not enter where it is not fully and freely welcomed.

And where truth is denied entrance the rich blessings it carries with it cannot take up their abode.

And the man who would rob another of his free and unfettered search for truth, who would stand as the interpreter of truth for another, with the intent of remaining in this position, rather than endeavoring to lead him to the place where he can be his own interpreter, is more to be shunned than a thief and a robber. The injury he works is far greater, for he is doing direct and positive injury to the very life of the one he thus holds.

Who has ever appointed any man, whoever he may be, as the keeper, the custodian, the dispenser of God's illimitable truth? Many indeed are moved and so are called to be teachers of truth; but the true teacher will never stand as the interpreter of truth for another. The true teacher is the one whose endeavor is to bring the one he teaches to a true knowledge of himself and hence of his own interior powers, that he may become his own interpreter. All others are, generally speaking, those animated by purely personal motives, self-aggrandizement, or personal gain. Moreover, he who would claim to have all truth and the only truth is a bigot, a foot, or a knave.

In the Eastern literature is a fable of a frog. The frog lived in a well, and out of his little well he had never been. One day a frog whose home was in the sea came to his well. Interested in all things, he went in. "Who are you? Where do you live?" said the frog in the well. "I am so and so, and my home is the sea." "The sea? What is that? Where is that?" "It is a very large body of water and not far away." "How big is your sea?" "Oh, very big." "As big as this?" pointing to a little stone lying near. "OH, much bigger." "As big as this? pointing to the board upon which they were sitting." "Oh, much bigger." "How much bigger, then?" "Why, the sea in which I live is bigger than your entire well; it would make millions of wells such as yours." "Nonsense, nonsense; you are a deceiver and a falsifier. Get out of my well. Get out of my well. I want nothing to do with any such frogs as you."

“Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,’ is the promise. Ye shall close yourselves to truth, ye shall live in your own conceits, and your own conceits shall make fools and idiots of you, would be a statement applicable to not a few, and to not a few who pride themselves upon their superior intellectual attainments. Idiocy is arrested mental growth. Closing one’s self for whatever reason to truth and hence to growth, brings a certain type of idiocy, though it may not be called by this name. And on the other hand, another type is that arrested growth caused by taking all things for granted, without proving them for one’s self, merely because they come from a particular person, a particular book, a particular institution. This is caused by one’s always looking without instead of being true to the light within, and carefully tending it that it may give an ever clearer light.

(reading these pages seemed to confirm my belief about those religions that shun others. Are they short-sighting their followers to the all-encompassing and all revealing God almighty? There are many paths to the truth, but only one truth.)

"Let there be many windows in your soul,

That all the glory of the universe

May beautify it. Not the narrow pane

Of one poor creed can catch the radiant rays

That shine from countless sources. Tear away

The blinds of superstition: let the light

Pour through fair windows, broad as truth itself

And high as heaven. ... Tune your ear

To all the worldless music of the stars

And to the voice of nature, and your heart

Shall turn to truth and goodness as the plant

Turns to the sun. A thousand unseen hands

Reach down to help you to their peace-crowned heights

And all the forces of the firmament

Shall fortify your strength. Be not afraid

To thrust aside half-truths and grasp the whole"

Photographer Alain Briot's luminous landscapes collection

more about Alains's Photography

Sunday, February 12, 2012

NBA Going Tebow

The hot story of the NFL this season was Tim Tebow, hands down. The NBA is trying to match tebowmania with a player who brings instant star media power.

His name is Jeremy Lin. He's a point guard for the New York Knicks playing in his second NBA season. He spent the first with our Golden State Warriors. His college days were spent at Harvard University. Prior to that he attended high school in Palo Alto, California. He's 6 ft 3 inches and weighs approximately 200 lbs.

So why the Tebow comparisons? Is he a trailblazing christian, playing basketball like one who's been anointed by the almighty? What makes this record breaking Ivy League player with a Harvard degree in economics the hot story of the day?

It's really very simple. You remember the movie "White Men Can't Jump" starring Woody Harrelson? Well, just substitute the "White" with "Taiwanese/ethnic-Chinese" and you've got the Jeremy Lin show, proving that asian men not only can jump, but also can shoot, pass, play defense and beat a man on a crossover dribble. Only this show isn't fiction. It's real and proving to not go away anytime soon.

Jeremy and the Knicks are on a five game winning streak. In one of those games he scored 38 points against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. It's speculated that his #17 Jersey will set a Knicks franchise record. I wonder if they've heard of Lin in China yet?  Jeremy Lin was born in Los Angeles and raised in the SF Bay area. Both his parents, with ancestral roots in China, emigrated from Taiwan.  Both countries are claiming him as a native son. We in the states claim him as Asian-American. Politically, it's complicated.

With former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming retired, Lin carries the weight of a people on his shoulders and from the looks of it he's more than capable of handling the load. Last I checked China was still leading the world in population at 1.3 billion citizens. The United States has 312 million. Do the math.

I admit, I can't give a true opinion of Lin since I've only seen highlights of his skills. But from the few highlight reels I've seen of this young Asian-American man, I'd say his basketball smarts and skills are authentic and legitimate. He's no flash in the pan. So get ready NBA, if you thought Yao was a consumer cash cow, wait'll #17 Jeremy Lin becomes a household name. Probably in about two more hours.

Move over Tebow, it's J-Lin Time!

note: Korea has also put in dibs for Jeremy Lin as a native son. 

- Lin-sanity spans continents

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Raiders Rope In Al Saunders On Offense

Al Saunders, last seasons' offensive coordinator, will return to the Oakland Raiders as an Offensive Assistant; Whew!

In a nutshell, Saunders has been coaching in the NFL since 1983. He brings almost three decades of experience not to mention continuity for the Raiders offense. To have Saunders return is nothing but a win, win situation for the Raiders. Taking nothing away from new offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp, I feel a huge relief knowing that the man behind last season's offensive creativity before the injury plague hit us, will be doing his thing again in silver & black.

Running backs Darren McFadden and Michael Bush may not have been as successful were it not for Saunders tweaking the offense to fit their unique skills. Jacoby Ford, Danarius Moore and yes, even Darius Heyward-Bey may have never become the deep receiving threats were it not for Saunders.

The Oakland Raiders ended last season 9th in total offense. Imagine had they not incurred the offensive injuries that derailed their most promising season in years. Congratulations GM Mckenzie for not throwing out the baby with the bath water and retaining Al Saunders. He'll get the job done!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Former 49er assistant becomes Raiders DC

They say that former Niners assistant Jason Tarver is one smart cookie. He spent ten years in the red and gold organization across the bay, coaching various offensive and defensive positions. After leaving for a year to assist in coaching the Stanford Cardinal defensive unit, he's back in the pros with the Oakland Raiders.

Again, they say his coaching smarts matches his academic smarts. Jason holds a bachelors degree in biochemistry. The 37 year old appears to have had success communicating with and getting the most out of football players he's coached. That alone is telling of his intelligence, because when you see Tarver your first impression is college intern. He looks young folks! But he does have a slight resemblance to former Raiders coach Jon Gruden.

The only red flag I see is he's never been "Thee" defensive coordinator, only a "Co" (joint) or Assistant of some type or other. But in the famous words of Afred E. Neuman, "What - Me Worry?"

Welcome to the Silver & Black Defense Coord. Jason Tarver

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Book of Eli

Eli Manning is an elite quarterback and a deserving choice for Super Bowl XLVI MVP. He kept his offensive unit poised and confident on the biggest stage of professional football. He led by example and delivered with the game on the line with his team needing him to make a play. I'm sure he's made father Archie Manning very proud.

Eli and the Giants continued to do the one thing the 31 other NFL teams couldn't; Finish.

Congratulations Eli and the New York Giants!
Special shoutout to elite coach Tom Coughlin

Flava Flav sighting at the Super Bowl? Come'on Man!

This is Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots since 2000.

Belichick has coached the Patriots to five Super Bowl appearances: victories in Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX, and subsequent losses in Super Bowl XLII and today's Super Bowl XLVI.

He's a good coach. Is he a great coach? I have to say No, here's why:

SPYGATE - on September 9, 2007, NFL security caught a Patriots video assistant taping the New York Jets' defensive signals from an on-field location. Jets coach Eric Mangini, a former Patriots assistant, tipped off league officials that the Patriots might have been filming their signals. After the game, the Jets formally complained to the league.

On September 13, the NFL fined Belichick $500,000—the largest fine ever imposed on a coach in the league's 87-year history,[17] and fined the Patriots $250,000.

Coach Belichick has not won a Super Bowl in two attempts since Spygate. Though many might say their signal stealing ways have come back to haunt them, the New York Giants and SB XLVI MVP Eli Manning know why the Patriots haven't won the Lombardi Trophy of late.

Final Score

New England Patriots 17

New York Giants 21

note: Today's game was almost as good as their first Super Bowl matchup in 2008.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Charging Toward The Super Bowl

Cartoon Patriots Vs Giants-Superbowl 46

It's the day before Super Bowl XLVI. Got my Raiders jersey already picked out for the party I'll be attending. Someone recently asked me why I'd wear my non-playoff teams' jersey to playoff game parties and I immediately responded, "what else would I wear?"

Well folks, the super bowl is the ultimate playoff game party and I'll be the pirate in the white with black lettering #21 Cliff Branch Jersey. It's the last day for us NFL football fans to talk junk and just enjoy the game we love so much. As much as I'm looking forward to next season, there's something about the last football game of the season that gets me a little choked up. I love the game of football.

Going back to my football roots I have to go with the New York Giants to win it. This could be the first blowout in years. Tuck that New England!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Don Cornelius 1936-2012

"... and you can bet your last money, it's all gonna be a stone gas, honey! I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!"

Boxing's Angelo Dundee

This week has seen a number of celebrities and public figures pass away. Usually I try posting a tribute for those who've touched my life in some small way.

The passing of Soul Train's Don Cornelius was one such celebrity. I could write a book about how he helped shape my life and the community I grew up in. Here I can only wish Don's soul love and peace. Rest well my brotha.

Though the man pictured above, towel over his left shoulder, celebrating with the greatest boxer of all time, didn't touch lives in a direct way, through Ali and other champions he indirectly touched the lives of millions.

His guidance in teaching the "sweet science" of boxing has given us legendary sports figures we may never have had without his tutelage.

Angelo Dundee, said to be the nicest guy in the dirtiest game, deserves to be called a legend in the sport of boxing. The ring bell will toll 10 times before this weekends' championship bouts, in respect and tribute to Mr. Dundee.

Angelo Dundee
August 30, 1921 – February 1, 2012

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday Surprise

Don't like watching pretty boy Tom Brady playing in another Super Bowl? Can't stand to see any New York sports team playing for a championship? Well fellow sports fans, obviously you're not alone.

It seems that some fairy godfather has been working overtime this football season to bring us not one but two Bowl Championship games come Super Sunday. Think that's a treat, wait until you see the two teams competing in the first game of the day.

At 4pm eastern standard time the football world will be thrown into ecstasy as two babe teams clad in lingerie will go head to head in the ninth Lingerie Bowl in Las Vegas. If you've never seen footage of an LFL game I suggest you take a peek, if for no other reason than to pick out some sexy lingerie for your woman.

Come Sunday there will be two Super Bowls, but only one will showcase penalty flags for uniform malfunctions. The Lingerie Football League; where flags are a fans friend.