Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Stallone Classic - Rocky II

After watching Rocky II tonight, I'm appreciating all the little things about the film that make it so memorable and timeless.  Sylvester Stallone gives us a hero who stays true to his roots and continues to inspire us to overcome obstacles, both inward and outward, and achieve success in life.

In the movie you have one of the best character actors ever in Burgess Meredith, giving an Academy Award nominee performance as a trainer.  There's the actor who played Rocky's brother-in-law Paulie, with his scruffy sight and gruff sound.  But again, it was the littler things that made us all cheer for this Rocky sequel.

The emotional piano soundtrack seething into the almost torturous scenes always at the right time and with just the right touch. The Piano becomes a soothing character in the movie, that's how strong its presence is.  It accompanies scenes of love and affection, then later gives way to the harsher, triumphant brass horns rendition of "Gonna Fly Now" by Bill Conti. 

The greasy underworld character hints to the darker side of the city of brotherly love while Rock's meat packing co-workers and  neighborhood street lifers season the movie with that tough yet together Philly flavor. The movie has a pace that keeps any viewer on edge anticipating the clashing climax with the brash boxing champion Apollo Creed, played superbly by Carl Weathers, a former Oakland Raider.  

While this is a boxing movie with a comeback theme, at the heart of it lies a love story pulling at the heart strings and making us choke up just a bit every time we watch it.  Rocky's love and new bride Adrienne is the little cog that shifts the gears of this movie.  Adrienne, played by Talia Shire, is the driving force behind why and when Rocky decides to fight against the recommendation of doctors.  She also helps define the man's humanity, because without Adrienne, Rocky would come across as just another pug amateur boxer, more brawn than brain, driven by a childish hunger and fiendish need to overcome his handicaps and achieve greatness in the ring; all for selfish reasons.

Rocky is a man made from the ol' skool blue collar mold of supporting his wife and family by the sweat of his brow.  His pride and determination to do just that is what makes Rocky II a film that carries huge cultural meaning for all underdogs regardless of race, color or ethnicity.  It shares that thing about us men that women sometimes fail or forget to realize; being a man means there are times in life where you must step up to the threatening challenges that life brings and defend your place and that of your God, Family & Country. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tim Lincecum Smokes Padres

Congratulations Timmy On A Smoking Performance

Now I'm not suggesting that Timmy had smoked some sticky icky before going out to the mound yesterday and throwing a one walk no-hitter but 'The Freak' sure looked like his old safe, except for the caterpillar mustache, with every pitch in his arsenal hitting its target and mowing down hitters one-two-three.

Tim Lincecum was Major League Baseball's man of the day with an incredible winning performance that reminded fans and opponents alike, that 'The Freak' can still get his freak on in any given game.  The San Francisco Giants were in need of such a reminder after a harsh last few weeks that saw their double digit NL West lead dwindle down to just three.  

The final out would be fielded by newly called up second baseman Joe Panik, the kid from my neck of the woods in upstate New York. John Jay Joe didn't have a hit yesterday but his glove contributed to sealing the deal on a historic no-hitter.  What rook wouldn't wish for a chance to be a part of a smoking Timmy No-No?  Say it is so Joe, you just experienced a no hitting celebration in your fifth game as a major leaguer.  Wow!

Final Score
Padres 0 0 0
Giants 4 11 0

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Parenthesis In Eternity by Joel S. Goldsmith

Incredible book about mysticism and spiritual development.  For those of us that have found ourselves trekking along a spiritual journey, the lessons found in this book serve as a torch lighting up the pathway. The lessons serve as a "steppingstone or bridge to a deeper awareness" of truth.

"To Seek, To find, and to experience this inner glow, this inner communication with God, and then realize that each time that it is repeated it becomes a deeper, richer experience, and a more fruitful one, so that there can never be an end, or a sense of dullness, monotony, or boredom in it - therein lies the real adventure of the spiritual life."

Pg.17  The lessons that we learn in the interior world become the basis of our conduct in the outer world.  The spiritual grace we learn within becomes our life without.  Without the impetus of this spiritual grace, the life as lived on the outer plane is an animal life.  It has its periods of good and its periods of bad, its periods of health and its periods of disease.  It never knows the peace that passes understanding; it never knows the life that God gave us, the life that is God.  This life is discerned only through inner grace.  Through this power of discernment we glimpse the Spirit of God and then behold It in others; we witness that Spirit living in what we call human form, and just as the Spirit of God lived as the human form of Jesus, so It lives as individual you and me when we are animated by it.

Pg.75  Life cannot be seen with the physical eyes.  Life itself is invisible: we see only the forms which Life assumes.  Life pushes Itself into expression as beautiful flowers and leaves, but we know that in time they all drop away.  The Life does not - just the leaf or the flower does.  The Life goes on forever and ever, always appearing as new forms.  

Pg. 71  The captain of a ship has to go through storms, but as he abides by the principles of seamanship, he will sail out through the storm.  No storm can last forever.  So with us.  There are storms in this human life - some of our own - but often we take on the storms of our families or of our students who are unable to find their peace.  Every teacher must accept the burdens of his students and patients.  He cannot avoid it.  He has to sit up nights sometimes; he may have to go weeks always taking on the burdens of those whom he is trying to lift across the wilderness, but that also makes life interesting, because there, too, proves for himself and for others that the way out is to know God aright.

A Lesson To Sam

Monday, June 16, 2014

United States World Cup Soccer

As I try getting excited about World Cup Futbol I had to ask myself, who the heck should I follow?  It took me five seconds to answer that question as I caught myself getting all nostalgic about the land of the free, home of the brave U.S. team.

Today I caught the last fifteen minutes of the Ghana vs U.S. game on the radio on my drive home.  Granted, the announcer was hyped enough to make any non-soccer fan pay attention, but I did more than just listen; I reacted with every kick & call on the field. Defense, offense, penalties, scoring, the game had it all in those fifteen minutes.  I was banging the car steering wheel, yelling with joy for the U.S. team one moment and cursing them the next. I probably should've pulled the car over, but I was in a frenzied fan zone.  I caught myself taken over by a world cup soccer match, completely. It Was Orgasmic!

So now I know what all the foreign fuss about this international fotbol event means; its a chance to get downright fanatical and freaky about your team and country.  The game itself is a sprint that leaves both players and fans breathless.  All the talk of Soccer needing more scoring to make it more exciting is hogwash.  Part of the beauty of the sport is the rarity of accomplishing a score. For one measly goal, many a men have put blood, sweat and tears into the game.  I must say its appears to be the truest professional sport that reflects grown men becoming as children when playing. 

As for the United States underdogs, a team who's coach didn't feel they had what it takes to win the cup, they showed stamina and resilience in beating Ghana with some amazing play.  Coach might of just placed a chip on their shoulders that the team is enjoying chipping away at.


Final Score
Ghana 1
United States 2

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Our Legend Ruby Dee Passes

An actress with so much grace and rambunctious spirit.  She took the name ruby and made it Ruby. I still feel the presence of my mother when watching any movie with Ruby Cast in it.  She'd take a small role and make the character stand up and be counted as significant.  Her acting skills were as far reaching as her love for people and causes.  She and her Ozzie were the prince and princess of a african-american era full of struggle and change.

Ruby Dee was one of those shining black pearls that african-americans will always be proud to call one of their own precious gems.  

Thanks Ruby for helping us see the beauty of our blackness and love ourselves so.


Miami Heat Wilt Under Spurs Pressure, AGAIN

The overused sports saying "Are You Kidding Me" was just sanctioned as the motto for this season's NBA Finals.  The San Antonio Spurs are blowing out the two-time defending champion Miami Heat in the Sunshine State for the second Finals game straight (game 4). And for the second time straight 22 year old Kawhi Leonard is out hustling everyone on the court, including the king of the hard court Lebron James.

Watching Leonard stop, pop and drop a three pointer in the face of the Great One is simply astonishing. For anyone watching, with mouth wide open in shock, your not only witnessing history in player performance, your seeing one of the greatest coaching clinics ever in a championship series.

Coach Gregg Popovich has placed his chess pieces so strategically and effectively on the court that any counter move by the opponent is powerless.  Damn, Leonard just took over Heat guard Dwayne Wade's dribble like a magician.  Are You Kidding Me?

The Miami Heat look beaten spiritually.  I don't see them bouncing back from this game.  They're down by 22 with 4:37 left in the game.  And the Spurs are still playing like thy're down 10.

Anybody watch any of the World Cup competion today?  

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Never Doubt The Boxing Pride of Puerto Rico

Miguel Cotto made Puerto Rican boxing fans proud last night by snatching the WBC Middleweight championship belt out of the defeated gloves of the favored champion Sergio Martinez.  Martinez, "The Spaniard" as I like to call him, was put down by Cotto three times in the first round, then one more time with a left hook for good measure in the ninth.  The Spaniard did not return for the tenth.

Congratulations Miguel Cotto on your fourth weight class world title, a first in Puerto Rico's great boxing legacy.

With the fight taking place in New York's madison square garden, we all know who'll preside over today's Puerto Rican Day Parade festivities as king;  move over Carlito, New York is doing things Cotto's Way today.