Showing posts from February, 2011

February 28th -- The day drivers became lazy

On this day in 1932, the patent for the automatic gearshift was secured by a black man in San Francisco named Richard Spikes.
No one seems to know anything about Richard, but I damn sure know enough about automatic transmissions to know that they seemed to have stopped informing most new drivers how to changed their own damned gears. What we DO know is that he is also the inventor of those turn signals for which none of us can now HAND signal our intentions when the lights fail. In all, 10 items were developed or directly patented by Spikes, but the most lastingly important is the one that allows lazy women a free hand to hold their cell phone as they run me off the road in their Expeditions.

February 27th -- "Big Game James" Worthy

As a North Carolina resident/native and Los Angeles Lakers fan, I would be wrong to let James Worthy's birthday pass without mention... We know James' pedigree... NCAA Champion at the University of North Carolina.3-time NBA Champion with the Lakers1-time NBA Finals MVP As the top-name role player on the Showtime Lakers, we can argue until we're blue in the face that he rode Jordan into the NBA from Carolina, then Magic and Kareem to the NBA hall of fame. I do not subscribe to that line of thinking, if only for the consistency with which James played, even if he always was an "assistant pimp." Career averages of 17.6pts, 5.5 rebounds and 3 assists on a team that features top scoring (Kareem) and assists (Magic) talents suggests that something was very right with his game to me.
Anyway... I do enough basketball talk over on Reading & Writing is for Dumb People, so let us stop short of taking this post there... Instead, let's bid James Worthy the happy birthday he…

James Earl Jones alarm clock?

It is often assumed that I am punctual just out of habit, and find it odd that I call it heredity...
One habit I took from my granddaddy - alcoholism notwithstanding - is that being late or absent irks the fuck out of me.

Extenuating circumstances are extenuating circumstances, and they continue to exist as a caveat to never say never, but damned if I am habitually late or out, even if I am clear on the signs shown that my employer hates my guts...
When I CAN get here, I get here, and on time. I have been working since I was 16, and looking back over my history, I have missed more time to…Deaths in the family (3 in the whole of 16 years)Deaths of dogs (just couldn’t make myself want to go)Weather (one missed day and a bit of late time for travel complexities)Traffic (yes, sitting in the car on I-85 counts)9/11 (building closed 2 hours into my shift)Car trouble (much less than you might think, considering I have never owned a car newer than 6 years old at time of purch…

February 26th -- Cassius Clay is no more

No, I am not telling you that Muhammad Ali has died... I am simply saying that this marks the date of his "official" conversion to Islam.
Regardless of your views on religion, be it organized, non-organized, cults or just ANTI, you have to respect the strength of a public figure willing to stick their necks out for what they believe. This is ESPECIALLY so when that decision can put their wellbeing, safety and ability to continue to sustain in peril. That said, even though I am not Muslim, I can give all the respect I can muster to the champ for this leap of faith. ESPECIALLY so when considering the heat he took for it (and his actions resulting from it) in the years that immediately followed.

Sure, I COULD have done Ali/Liston yesterday, but out of respect for the champ, I decided that THIS date is probably a bigger deal to him than that one ever was.

February 25th -- Iron Mike/Frank Bruno

I COULD have done Ali/Liston from 25 years prior, but you will see why I did not do that tomorrow.
There is NO secret that (pre-Buster Douglas screwjob/fake rape charge) Mike Tyson was my favorite boxer EVER... On today's date in 1989, in the midst of a failing marriage he should not have been in and ahead of the personal shit that would derail his whole career, Mike Tyson fought Frank Bruno in a fight that represented the first time I had ever seen Mike even remotely STUNNED in a fight. Alas...

... that thing they say about fool's gold... 5th round knockout, Michael Gerard Tyson victorious after the ref stopped the fight while Tyson beat mercilessly on a laying-on-the-ropes Bruno. 9-year-old-Phlip was happy.

February 24th -- The SOLES of black folks

This one is a direct play on yesterday's post, and definitely one of those asshole moves of mine as it relates to the topic of Black History Month. As you read this, I more than likely have a pair of Nikes on my feet. The same can be said for EVERY black dude I have seen this week. The same can be said for the dude I mentioned on the 9th and 17th, considering the company made him more rich than basketball probably did directly. Anyway, what's the point? Nike was started by a certain Philip Knight, and today is HIS 73rd birthday.
Don't you just LOVE stereotypes? Somewhere, RIGHT NOW, in America all at once, there is a black kid being beaten up for his Nike Airs, and an African in a flea market selling a bootleg pair to someone for $45 bucks. In my demented mind, these combined facts make the founder and majority owner of the company relevant to a series of Black History Month posts... Ain't that crazy?
Anyway... I can't hate or judge, as I am enjoying the comfort and perfo…

February 23 -- The Soul of Black Folks

You know, when I undertook this as a project, I had no idea how many people/events we actually WERE made to hear/read about in school actually WERE born DURING Black History Month. But... Today is W.E.B. Du Bois' birthday.
W.E.B. standing for William Edward Burghardt.
Look, we know about him, and if we don't, Google is a good friend of ours...
Pan AfricanistFirst Black Doctorate Graduate of HarvardHeaded the NAACP when they mattered were more necessaryAuthorPossessor of a bad-fucking-ass mustache
and a great many more important things...
I will have a thought of unearthing my copy of the book that titles this post as a celebration of the day, but don't hold me to that.

February 22 -- A Doctor is Born

And by "doctor," I mean Dr. J, Julius Irving. The dude who influenced Michael Jordan to become Michael Jordan.

Look, there is little I can say about the man that has not been said in his time on the planet, so I will let a highlight video tell it this time.

Happy born date to the great doc!

February 21 -- "GET YO HAND OUT MY POCKET!!!"

If you're familiar with Spike Lee movies, you know what the title of this one refers to. If you're not, I will tell you that was what was yelled out just before Malcolm X was gunned down on 02/21/1965.
Yes, Malcolm was on the stage at a meeting speaking when a disturbance broke out, which opened the floor for someone to step right in and shoot him with a sawed-off, then two more with handguns made sure the job was done…Onlookers grabbed and beat on one of the shooters, but the others got away. Three people were charged and arrested, one at the scene and two via eyewitness accounts. The two fingered by witnesses maintain innocence, but the one who was clearly guilty refused to name his co-defendants, so all did time. All have since been paroled or otherwise released as of last year.Reasons for WHY he was killed remain varied and largely will see the aisle divided several directions based on race, religious affiliations (up to and including sects within said religion), and persona…

February 20th -- RIP Frederick Douglass

Okay, I will be serious(ish) from here on...
On today’s date in 1895 at the age of about 78 – the birth dates of blacks were not recorded back then – Frederick Douglass, born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, passed away in Washington DC.His life, as we all learned, served as a counter to the assumptions about black intellect that still dog us to this day (thanks, Gucci Mane fans!). That said, there is no need for me to delve deeply into the gritty details of what we know of his life. Even a perfunctory Google search will give you ALL you need to know about the life of Frederick Douglass.
Or Wikipedia, if you’re feeling lazy.
What I am here to do more than anything is to introduce you to why we should not forget the chance to celebrate the life of those who have helped to drive us to where we are, sometimes in spite of ourselves.Again, not here to give super-lengthy posts to be plagiarized by one of your lazy-fucking children in years to come, I will stop here with a RIP to one of th…

February 19th -- a winner is Vonetta Flowers

Vonetta Flowers is an athlete (bobsled) and on this date in 2003, became the first black woman to win a gold medal at the winter Olympic games in Salt Lake City.

If you aim to learn more about her other than the accomplishment named in the above sentence, please use the links that take you AWAY from the above-linked Wikipedia entry, as it seems only to exist as a testament to how ignorant internet users can be.
She retired from competition in 2006 – presumably to raise her twins born after the Salt Lake City games – but the size of her accomplishment will live on.

February 18th -- (please open this one for the surprise topic)

Today, I am skipping over things such as…·The birth of Dr Dre
(until I get Detox, I refuse to discuss Andre Young)·The death of Dale Earnhardt
(he was not black)

and…·Trinidad being surrendered to a British Fleet
(even though this is ‘technically’ a “black” topic)Nope!
in lieu of all of those, I am discussing the first publication of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.“but Phlip, how the fuck is THAT on topic?”Thanks for asking!One character; two words…Nigger Jim.Look, I have read the book a few times, I know that the words only appear together ONE TIME in the whole 300something pages, but damned if that has not become a great many peoples’ go-to in the whole “what I know about Huck Finn” info share.The tenor of the book was accepted in negative light and critically panned because of such language choices, and I guess one could see that as valid in the grand scheme of things, considering that the book was not published in the States until 1885, thus a time where one might think th…

NBA Mid-Season report

Also posted over on Reading & Writing is for Dumb People [link]
All-Star weekend is upon us, which means a couple of things...Some marriages will be ruined in LA this weekend.Phlip presents a mid-season report despite the season being closer to 70% done than "halfway."
For my mid-season NBA report, I am here to eat some crow as well as to be able to say “told you so” at the same time.
Odd, I know…In my pre-season post, I said that the San Antonio Spurs were not dead yet, and my prediction was that they would turn it up in the playoffs. Scarily, however, they have had it on all the way through the season, all while Popovich is resting Tim Duncan so effectively that he is having the worst regular season statistically of his career. This is scary because he is being rested for the long haul. That said, I am EXTREMELY surprised at the Spurs’ success of this season, at least in the regular season. As a fan of the Lakers, the fact that Tim Duncan’s effectiveness is being sandbagge…

February 17th - ol Cheese Eyes

Michael Jordan happens to not be my favorite basketball player and human being... I concede that he was the best basketball player ever, but that in no means makes him my favorite.
Michael Jordan's eyes are yellow, damn what you say or think to the contrary.
and... My granny always told me some shit about not saying anything at all if you don't have anything nice to say, and I have already run afoul of that once or twice in one half-paragraph and one image.
Today is Michael Jeffrey Jordan's birthday, happy birthday to the dude who invented the market for $100.00+ sneakers.

February 16th -- LeVar Robert Martyn "Kunta" Burton

You know, you never know how full a career some of the people I randomly-as-fuck choose to profile had until you choose to look deeper into it…Yes, we all know Reading Rainbow (which made us all think he was gay), and Roots.
I didn’t know him as a director as well, from TV shows I heard of (but never watched) JAG, Cahrmed and Soul Food: The Series.Yeah, we remember the Star Trek shit, and we pretended to ignore Roots: The Gift in 88.
We vaguely remember him as MLK in Ali.Voice work saw him on Batman the Animated Series, Pinky and the Brain, Captain Planet and Transformers Prime.
[Phlip note – I know some self-righteous individual is waiting to say “man, I knew ALL of that, where YOU been?!!?” and to that person, I say eat a dick]His directorial resume impresses, even though I have only sat through like 8 episodes of Star Trek in my whole life, and probably none are among the 28 he directed inside of 4 different seasons, but I know that there is a fervent nerd fanbase for that show, a…

February 15th -- RIP Nathaniel Adams "King" Cole

Unfortunately, a great many people born after I crossed the 3rd grade (1987, btw) will think of Dave Chappelle when they think of Nat "King" Cole, and this is why... fortunately, however, a great many of us grew up in a time where a head jammed up one's ass was the exception, instead of the expectation... that said, we remember Nat for his smooth Baritone and for siring a talented daughter as well.
On this day in 1965, at the age of 45, we lost one of our legends.
Given the time that he NATURALLY had to make his star, we can thank him for the doors he opened, and the shit that he went through to open them, be they segregation and racism that was allowed to be WAAAAY more out front (including a kidnapping plot and cross-burning, among other things) than now. An accomplished pianist who had to lean on his looks and charming voice, 2011'ers might call him a "sellout," but damned if I won't call him a "trailblazer."
He lived under the belief that his ci…

February 14th -- Gregory Oliver Hines

Yes, the tapdancer...
February 14, 1946 marks the anniversary of the date that singer/actor/dancer/choreographer Gregory Hines was birthed into the world.Multiple award nominations/wins, including Tony Awards, Daytime (and regular) Emmys, Image Awards, Black Reel and Screen Actors’ Guild just to name some…What movies will YOU remember him from?If this were YOUR blog, then I would be concerned with that, but since it is mine, off the top of my head the list goes…History of the World, Part 1
(one of my mom's favorite movies)The Muppets Take ManhattanTapA Rage in HarlemWaiting to ExhaleThe Preacher’s Wifeand on television... Bill Cosby’s failed attempt to recapture Fat Albert glory, Little BillLaw & Order
and...Will & GraceWe know that my alcohol-pickled brain is missing a great many things that I know I have at least SEEN, but I am trying to scribe these from memory and what I know, or can easily find and relate to, so that is what I will name.Either way, today is the anniversar…

February 13th -- a copycat sit-in in Nashville

You know what? That was mean…As many of the two of you – or ALL of you who can read plain damned English – know, I was born and have been raised in/near Greensboro, NC…
Without getting too in depth, my fanship of Rick James and refusal to do the SAME shit we’ve all heard during Black History Month led me to NOT post on the Greensboro Sit-Ins of February 1, 1960. Sorry, it just isn’t as huge a deal to me when one stops to consider that it took them over 20 years after closing the Woolworth’s where it happened to get the fucking museum open.
Digging now for today’s post, we find ourselves just 12 days later than that event which took place a mere 800 or so feet (yes, FEET)from a where a barbershop I once frequented used to be.Put a few hundred miles on your car down I-40 to Nashville from Greensboro (and yes, that highway serves both), and you will be in 3 downtown Nashville establishments, where groups totaling 124 students would be seated, ask to be served and (of course refused). They …

February 12th -- "Honest Abe"

Yes, I know I posted something that included him JUST YESTERDAY, but my only other option was the date that the NAACP was established.
And you know what?
I motherfucking REFUSE!Therefore, 02/12/1809 is the date of birth of assassinated 16th president Abraham Lincoln.An opponent of the expansion of slavery and apparent possessor of an annoyingly nasal voice native to northern Kentucky/Illinois residents of his time, it is quite surprising to me that he even MADE it to the presidency.
No, I am not looking a gift horse in the mouth, now, I am WELL aware that his bucking the odds are a large part of why I can actually speak English and sit at a computer right now, I am just sayin’.That said, dear reader…
If you cannot understand the importance of Abraham (no middle name) Lincoln to Black History Month, I would casually and respectfully invite you to become a former reader of my blog.

February 11th -- 1861, it becomes federal law that "we ain't gettin' involved"

"what in the purple hell are you talking about, Phlip?"

Thanks for asking!
Following the election of Lincoln, and the resulting ramp-up to the beginning of the Civil War, it was (OBVIOUSLY) up to question what was the Federal Government’s stance on the whole thing.Well…The stance became, with a House of Representatives UNANIMOUSLY signed a resolution that amounted to, basically “my name is Wes and I ain’t in this mess,” guaranteeing NON interference with slavery in any state.This is a big deal, considering how just 10 years prior, there was the Fugitive Slave Law, which REQUIRED that officials in “free” states aid in the capture of fugitive slaves. Because of this, at the time, slaves were made to run a LEEEEEEETLE further north to Canuckistan Canada, as there was little good in staying in the states.With the official stance of non-involvement, the door was opened for the escape to a better situation for (now former) slaves.
I guess I shouldn’t need to mention why my mind leads…

February 10th -- Ron Brown is elected...

Before Barack Obama, there was ANOTHER "safe" lightskinned black guy with political pull... His name? Ron Brown.
Ron was elected as the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee on 02/10/1989, and would go on to assist in the election of a then little-known Arkansas politician named William Clinton as he himself would become the President of the United States.The reward for his work would be appointment as the Secretary of Commerce in 1993 by new President Clinton.While it might seem on the surface that the plays were in order for Ron to become a (perhaps) major player in a run for the office himself sometime down the road, the unfortunate reality would be that he would leave us early. On 04/03/1996, on an “official trade mission,” the plane carrying Brown and 34 others would crash in/near Croatia, killing everyone onboard.Awards, honors, scholarships and even a NOAA ship have since been named in his honor, so Ron Brown has not been forgotten.

February 9th -- The Greatest Dunk Contest Ever

02/09/1985, Indianapolis Indiana - The Hoosier Dome.

Know what? Forget it...

No need to even talk about it, we'll let YouTube tell you...

February 8th -- Orangeburg Massacre

One might call this one relevant to the task at hand once time has been taken to consider that I have a cousin and a good friend both in school in Orangeburg.
Anyway, the story has it that on this night in 1968, nine Highway Patrol Officers shot up an unarmed – but pissed off – mob protesting the segregation of a bowling alley. This atrocity would leave 3 people dead and something like 28 more injured. Adding to the cowardice of the whole situation, most people shot were shot in their backs.

The protest itself was set in motion by local high school and college students, and was carried out as they arrived throwing bricks and bottles and starting a bonfire.
As the police worked to diffuse the situation, one was apparently hit with thrown debris and now – egos bruised – the age-old police technique of “empty your pistol and lie about it later” would take over. Now, officers fired on them and told in their reports that they heard gunfire, though nothing to substantiate this would surface. A…

February 7th -- James Dewitt Yancey

Biggie and Tupac are not martyrs in hip hop to me... They're dead and people started referring to them as the "greatest ever" after they died, quite possibly as a result of how the irony that how they lived had such a hand in how they died.
Another blog for another time, Phillip.
Anyway. James Dewitt Yancey popularly known as J. Dilla is one of those people in hip hop who died, be it from causes not (necessarily) of the black condition - a hailstorm of bullets - but from legitimate illnesses. Today would have been his 37th birthday...
It would not be until THEN that people would come forward with the "Dilla was my favorite" talk, as people generally tend to do when someone is no long around to enjoy the love that they're name is now getting. I will not be one of those holier-than-thou fans who can LITERALLY sit back and say "I told you so" as it relates to his life before he was gone. Seriously, I HAD the earlier work and one Slum Village album before hi…

Fenruary 6th -- Virginia Minstrels

I didn't say I was doing all positive or readily-known black history...
Today we talk about the opening of the Virginia Minstrels, and if you know what a Minstrel Show is, then you know why this is not the greatest of things to be talking about during Black History Month.

But there again, speaking of Minstrel Shows and such, I discussed Gucci Mane a few days ago, didn't I?

That was then, this is now...
The reasons you SHOULD know the Virginia Minstrels, in addition to the one that you might not have known til now - that they introduced the minstrel show in the US - is that they're credited with introducing little diddies that you're already aware of. Jimmy Cracked Corn ring a bell? told you
It is readily understandable how hurtful minstrel shows were to the black experience and how they're likely seen as a shitstain on black American history, but the fact remains that they're a conduit from where we were to where we are. Therefore, this entry is valid to my series of B…

February 5th -- Henry Louis Aaron

Hammerin' Hank Aaron was born today...

My feelings about baseball aside, there is no denying what the man would go on to do for black folks in the sporting world. Yes, Jackie Robinson would be the one to break the barrier to the game, but he wouldn't be the one to DARE be the one to break Babe Ruth's record while committing the cardinal sin (and apparent felony, even to this day) of being of negroid descent en route to it.
I once watched a documentary on the television (yeah, pretty much my favorite TV, actually) where they showed some of the letters he received as he drew closer to Babe Ruth's record, and INVARIABLY, they included the words "boy," "nigger," and/or "monkey." And all this toward a dude who - unlike the person who would go on to break HIS record - was an as-described-by-everyone, a LIKABLE guy! Sure, Barry Bonds was/is a surly douchebag, but there was no room for black athletes to be that at a time.
Because of the shadow cast ove…

Spot a bigot using basketball...

Using the comments sections on various sports news sites (MSN, CNN, ESPN, etc…), I have been conducting an experiment over the last several months…

Step 1 – find a white dude, generally a sports fan.Step 2 – engage him in conversation about sportsStep 3 – turn the conversation to NBA basketballStep 4 – watch his reaction…
If he goes with “I really don’t watch NBA ball…” then you ask him why.
If he presents you with an OBJECTIVE reason as to why, be it that he just doesn’t quite follow the game or care for how things are handled then all is well.

If his answer tails off into ANY use of the words “thug,” “gangster/gangsta” or “ghetto,” and all leading back to “I prefer college basketball” then you are dealing with a bigot.

If dealing in the regular real world, then the bigotry is naturally closeted so as to not incite a riot, but on the internets, where anonymity rules the day, all walls are down and the gloves are off.

Try it when you get bored sometime.

February 4th -- Ah ha, hush that fuss!!! Rosa Parks

Yes, pardoning the Outkast lyrics above, today marks the date that Rosa Parks was born.

Look, we all know the story from our regular Black History Month lessons in school… On December 1, a then-42 year-old Rosa was tired after work and refused to give up her seat on the bus.

And so on and so forth.
I promised not to kill the two of you in the face with the standard-fare “peanut butter, MLK, stoplight, open heart surgery” shit that we normally got during February as kids.

We’re here to bid the “mother of the civil rights movement” a happy birthday, though she passed away in October of 2005.

I really do hate that, in her later years while she was suffering from dementia that her greedy-ass family – unable to have capitalized on her status in Civil Rights – tried to SUE Outkast over the above named song.

Again, none of these posts will be as long as has been my norm for the years, I am here to provide the what/who and why it matters to a given date in February, then keep it moving.

[Phlip n…

February 3 -- a Champion is Crowned

Little-known Phlip fact... I'm a nerd for documentaries, and there was a period back in 2005 where I happily hauled my ass home from work to watch Ken Burns' Unforgivable Blackness: the Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson on PBS.
This will give us February third and its historical occurrence relative to Black History Month, as it matters to me.

On February 3, 1903; Jack Johnson won his first title, the World Colored Heavyweight Championship. This is significant at the time, because while black and white fighters were allowed to fight one another, they were NOT allowed to do so with a title on the line. With a young brute possessing better than 50 wins at the time, taking a title that he COULD have would be a natural conduit to the one he could not yet.
While surely a feared and formidable fighter at the time, February 3, 1903 would be the day that began the steps that would put Jack Johnson in the ring against Tommy Burns to win the not-until-then integrated title in December of 1908.

February 2 -- "BRR!!! BRR!!!"

February 2nd marks the birth anniversary of a certain Radric Davis -- professionally known as Gucci Mane.
Since I will not offer ANY seriousness to any discussion of this man's life, I will skip right to the parody and call this one done.

February 1 -- "I'm Rick James, Bitch!"

That's right...
February 1, 1948 marks the born date of James Ambrose Johnson, Jr. -- professionally known as Rick James.
Much has been said of the professional life of Rick James.
A great lot of it is lost when we allow ourselves to talk about drugs, promiscuity and the resulting legal issues instead of what might be more important.What is often left out is that he dropped out of high school and joined the National Guard to avoid being drafted, and even then wound up needing to run to Canada to lead his band.Whenever someone mentions the great musicians of our time, I am quick to throw Rick James’ name in the conversation, right up there with Prince – who I rate higher than MJ, for the record – and the like. Why, you ask?
As an assembler of talent, multi-instrument-playing ability, singer, dancer, producer and WRITER – which allowed us to forget such things like the fact that Teena Marie’s voice was not so great – Rick James was an entertainer par excellence. Again, his name is …