Saturday, December 13, 2008
As far as holiday music goes, I don't think I want to hear any song other than Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas." On a continuous loop. Well, maybe with some "Temptations Christmas" thrown in the mix to change things up.
No one has ever had a voice like Hathaway. I came to this conclusion earlier this week, when I stumbled across his remake of Stevie Wonder's classic "Superwoman" on YouTube. Honestly, I might buy an album that consisted of Hathaway singing his way through bread recipes.
Anyway, because it's my iTunes and I can do what I want to, here's a small sample of what I've been listening to from Mr. Hathaway:
1. Someday We'll All Be Free - For years, I believed this song was written as an anthem for the Civil Rights movement. Mostly because it was featured at the end of Spike Lee's biographical film about Malcolm X. Not so, at least according to wikipedia. It's such a hauntingly beautiful song. Despite the uplifting lyrics, I can't help but feel melancholy. Too foreshadowing.
2. I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know - Is this not what a man would (should) say to a woman he loves? "I'm only flesh and blood/But I can be everything that you demand/I can be king of everythang/Or just a tiny grain of sand."
3. Love, Love, Love - One of the more light-hearted, playful songs in his catalogue. I wonder what sort of singer Hathaway might have been without the hurt, though?
4. To Be Young, Gifted and Black - Just seems appropriate in a year that America elected a black president. "We must begin to tell our young/Don't you know there's a whole world waiting for you?/Don't you know the quest has just begun for you?"
5. I Believe in Music - More of that grimy shit. Donny does this best.
By the way, do you roll your eyes at the woman in your choir who insists on squeezing every last bit out of each lyric? Are you irritated with "American Idols" who seem more interested in hearing their own voice? Have you been to chitlin-circuit musicals where some of the characters keep trying to one-up their co-stars by holding ridiculously long high notes?
To me, Hathaway is to blame. His influence on music has lived on in ways, both good and bad. Lesser singers have tried to mimic his beautiful sound with little success over the years. It's just damn near impossible to replicate the anointed instrument that was Hathaway's voice. Continue Reading »
I stand by my initial answer. And I should know: I am 100 percent black, after all.
Friday, December 12, 2008
UPDATE: Maybe they just hate unionized American autoworkers. From Steve Benen: "Right now, Democrats in Congress and the presidential transition team are crafting an agenda to help respond to the financial crisis, while Republicans in Congress are using the financial crisis to undermine unions. It's a very odd time for GOP lawmakers to invest so much energy in ensuring American workers receive less money. And yet, here we are." Continue Reading »
Thursday, December 11, 2008
But Barry Sanders, Jr., ain't afraid of the expectations. Only a high school freshman, Barry Jr. looks like he's at least inherited his father's feet and balance. I know somebody who knows somebody at TCU who needs to be called about making him a scholarship offer - STAT.
On another note, there's a little debate in a comments thread at TBL about the best running backs of all-time. I'll humbly submit my top five in ascending order: 5. Earl Campbell; 4. Barry Sanders; 3. O.J. Simpson; 2. Walter Payton; 1. Jim Brown. Continue Reading »
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
You'll find that I'm pretty consistent in this regard, whether it's O.J. or Plaxico Burress or Sarah Palin in "Troopergate": let's allow the case to run its course before reaching a judgment. Someone smarter than me in these matters agrees, sort of:
True, true, three times true. The presumption of innocence is one of the bedrock principles of our courts. I realize the scope of the case seems damning at first glance and that, at a minimum, Blagojevich seems absolutely insane. But that's different from being guilty of criminal behavior.
Despite the sensational treatment given the arrest of Blagojevich and aide John Harris in today's New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune, the governor has yet to be charged with attempting to sell Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat. All those juicy details about Blagojevich making plans to trade the Senate seat for a position in the Obama Cabinet, another job, financial support, or jobs for his wife appear in the complaint brought yesterday.* But U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald has yet to file charges over the alleged attempt to sell the seat.
... Before we turn down the sheets on Blagojevich's prison cot, let's see transcripts of him actually making a money deal or power deal with somebody for the Senate seat. Even U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald says his office isn't "trying to criminalize people making political horse trades on policies or that sort of thing."
The burden of proof is on Fitzgerald. Let him lay out a case, hear some rebuttal and then allow a verdict to be rendered. Until then, please spare me the obnoxious outrage. I've grown especially tired of our lynch mob mentality.
UPDATE: I should clarify, though - I do think it would be wise if Blagojevich would resign. If only so he doesn't hold up the process of naming a replacement for Obama's seat in the Senate. Continue Reading »
As politely and thoughtfully as possible, Stewart manhandled Huckabee on the issue of gay marriage.
My favorite moment: Huckabee infers that homosexuality is a choice and Stewart responds with "I think religion is more of a choice than homosexuality" and then asked Huckabee at what age he decided not to be gay.
I think, more than anything, that's the disconnect in the logical argument against gay marriage - social conservatives like Huckabee consider homosexuality a lifestyle choice. If gay rights activists and those interested in civil rights push back on that front, explose the flaw in that logic, I'm thinking some progress could be made in the debate.
Anyhow, I think the interview was important because Huckabee seems to be a truly good, kind, thoughtful man. Yet he's dead wrong on this issue. And he's on the wrong side of history.
Jon did a very important thing last night. And he made the case with equal parts kindness, intelligence and snarkiness. Gold star for him.
Continue Reading »
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
After yesterday's riff about my rediscovered love for BBD's "Do Me," I came up with five songs buried in my playlist that had to meet only one requirement: the title had to be a two-word directive ending in "me."
1. Sex Me by R. Kelly - I've previously discussed how "12 Play" was truly a pivotal moment in my childhood. There just couldn't be a list without this slow-jam classic from Kels.
2. Tell Me by Groove Theory - For the longest, I had a crush on Amel. I wonder whatever happened to her? She had a really chill vibe.
3. Groove Me by Guy - For real, Guy was one of the all-time best R&B groups of my lifetime. No foolin'. I miss New Jack Swing.
4. Freak Me (remix) by Silk - I've often wondered how many of today's teenagers were conceived to this song. It was a mixtape staple back in the day.
5. Show Me by John Legend - A little something to cool out to. One of my favorites from, to me, his best album. Continue Reading »
Monday, December 8, 2008
But, you know, someone sent this bit of online gold to me in an e-mail about four years ago. I wonder if The DeVoe Team survived the real estate crash of the past couple years?Continue Reading »
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Michael briefly thought about Jesse Jackson. I think someone mentioned Martin Luther King, Jr. Thelma suggested a woman. And J.J., showing himself to be a questionable judge of character, went with O.J. Simpson.
It was the year after O.J. became the first NFL running back to surpass 2,000 yards in a season, after all.
And, for all that's happened in the years since, let us not forget that O.J. was one of the best athletes to ever slip on a pair of cleats and one of the first marketable black athletes in this country. Below is some proof that there were better days for the Juice.
O.J. was really something of a hero to the children of another generation. It really wasn't too far-fetched at the time - I mean, as recently as my childhood days, I only knew of him because of his athletic legacy, Hertz commercials and from playing Nordberg in "The Naked Gun."
But as we know, the only real, earthly diviner of the truth is time: O.J. might be the most disgraced, former great athlete of my lifetime. And I don't even know if it's close.
As for the show, I fell asleep - or the First Lady changed the channel - but I think Michael went with his pops. Continue Reading »
Within days, nine-months-pregnant Bristol Palin will probably give birth to another in a long line of moose hunters, hockey stars, beauty queens, champion snow mobile racers, ass-kickers and all-around "f'in rednecks."
- So when's the wedding?
Other things on my mind this afternoon, a lazy Sunday if there ever was one:
1. I see that Ken Blackwell, former Ohio Secretary of State, has offered himself up as a candidate for Republican National Committe chair. Which made me wonder: is it me, or have I seen every black Republican in the nation on TV at some point this fall? That would bring the total to eight, I think.
2. I'm not sure that Caroline Kennedy is the best Gov. Paterson can do in his search for Hillary Clinton's replacement in the Senate. I tend to agree with Jane: other than being born into Camelot, there's not a lot to suggest she deserves the seat more than some of the other high-profile contenders.
3. In the midst of these very scary rounds of layoffs and record unemployment numbers, Atrios reminds us why McCain's employer-based proposal for health care was such an awful one: when people lose their jobs, they also lose their health insurance.
4. See? Louisianans don't tolerate all their politicians being corrupt. Only the memorably colorful ones. Good riddance, Dollar Bill.
5. We should all be thinking about ways to improve educational achievement in America. One issue, of particular interest to me, is how to lower tuition rates at colleges (and, uh, post-grad schools). I couldn't believe this stat from the Center for American Progress: tuition has grown by 439 percent over the past 25 years while family incomes have increased by only 147 percent. Seems to me lots of middle-class and lower-income families are being priced out of higher education.
6. In a year filled with them, last week was a particularly terrible week to be a journalist. Thousands were laid off - even a couple handfuls at my old Gannett-run shop in Shreveport - and thousands more will probably face pink slips in the coming months. I offer them my prayers and deepest condolences during this, the worst of times in my relatively short lifetime, to be looking for employment.
7. What happened to Obama Girl? Looks like she was so excited about the election, she could barely keep her shirt on.
8. A high school friend of mine and a faithful reader of this blog is celebrating a birthday today. To honor the occasion, here's a video that reminds us Notre Dame was once a relevant football power. And that Lou Holtz was once lucid.Continue Reading »