Friday, June 29, 2007

Mom & Pop Story (Part IV of IV)

I didn't know how to end this, and honestly I still don't. I wish I could play an instrument well enough, excel in a sport and be a hero to many, sing and dance or make a blockbuster movie. Perhaps I could have graduated from college within four years, perhaps I could have married and started a family. I wish I could do anything else, because what I say here will never be good enough to show how much I miss you.

I began to take the things you always told me to heart after I came back. I wanted to make up for what I thought was a major disappointment in my failing to graduate from college. I never told you about how I was assaulted near the brand new school dormitory by a gang of roving gang-banger wannabes, nor did I tell you about my experience as a homeless young man. You were always a lioness in the ferocity with which you protected me. I could not help being sick; I know my first seizure scared you to no end, and I never let on that I knew that I had nearly died on the operating table after they performed the catheterization. I rememember when we moved to Wappingers Falls on June 30, 1979, you planted four small pine brushes in front of the house, and later my youngest sister told me that each one represented the four of us, and that the bizzare instance of shock, grief and anger you displayed one day was because the last tree had died. You never let me know that, I either figured it out or was told years later.

I began to understand what it meant for you, all of the times you stood up for me in my education, in our neighborhood, in the doctors' offices and hospitals... yet it took me longer to understand how you could put up with Terry. The constant bickering, the yelling and screaming, the pettiness that transpired between you two... I had all of this in mind when I started to stay away from home. What did I really know, I just stayed away. I could never handle the fighting, it was like how you told me how Dad beat you while you were nursing me. We all left right after that. But even though there was never any threat of physical harm between you two, I can only imagine the beatings you put on each other's minds... on each other's hearts... and all I could do was stay away.

I don't know if it was this fear of things I could not control, or if it was a divine intervention that caused me to stop and understand something as I was leaving my sweetheart's home for what I thought was the last time. She said something you always said, but now it was in a way that was meant for me to hear. There was a desperation in her tone, the same desperation you had developed in the last year as you spoke of family and honoring and loving and respecting, as though it were urgent that I understand this right away. It made me stop in my tracks, turn around and go back in to listen to some more. You had a way with saying something so intrinsic that I had to stop whatever I was doing to make sure I heard it right, and hope that there was more.

I came home during the day; it was summer and it was very warm. I had already started over at Dutchess a couple of years before, but you felt I was wasting time. I didn't take kindly to that; after all, my youngest sister had attended and graduated from there nearly ten years before I got there. There were some people there who still remembered her, too. Was I not the Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper? Was I not the program director at the school radio station? Did I not become a commissioner in two different departments in student government? And was I not also an outstanding performer in the school's drama club? Was this really a waste of time?

Consider all things.

I consider the most the day I came home after having spent several weeks away, finding it easier to stay with my sweetheart than at home so that I could get back and forth to work on the school grounds. You had been angry at me because I took the car and stayed out with it for days. You threatened to call the cops if I didn't give it back. I drove home, left the keys on the counter and walked back to her place, fifteen miles away. I stayed away for quite some time. But now I was back, home for rest. You greeted me with open arms and hugged me as though you hadn't seen me in years. You asked if I was hungry; even Terry was concerned. You both gave me money and told me to go buy something to eat. It was dark when I came back, and your concern was quite disconcerting. There was something very odd in your regard and maybe there was something that made you think that I was still mad. Was it that there was no anger, no tension, not even the mildest bit of annoyance? It was concern. For me.

The next day, I decided I had to go back again, as my schedule would pick up once again. I was going to walk, but then Nikki came rushing in; we attended Dutchess together, much like we attended elementary school together for one year. My own car had broken down, and the car I bought to replace it had also broken down. Nikki offered salvation in a ride back to the school, where I was working as part of the maintenance crew. I was not in a particular rush, so I sat in your courtly antique chair in your bedroom and talked. And listened. We talked a good while. Then as I gathered my things to leave, you watched, then followed me to the door. You smooched me playfully as Nikki honked the horn and threatened to leave.

"I'm staying," I declared, and turned to wave her off, but she had already left. Good, I decided, as I had felt a sudden urge to stay. It was absolutely necessary, I felt, as I hadn't seen you in a while, and now we found so much more to talk about. I went downstairs to my room to unpack the few things I had gathered. When I came back up, Nikki was back, honking the horn once again. Strange, for once she made up her mind to do something, there was usually no turning back. I had wanted to help out around the house, work in the backyard with you, watch some TV with Terry as we were at peace once again, and just enjoy being in the company of my family. But Nikki came back, a significant gesture I felt compelled to honor.

I hugged you tightly. You kissed me and said, "I miss you." "I miss you, too," I said.

My mind fought my instincts, but I yielded to my instincts and Nikki's horn. I got in the car and we drove away.

It was late afternoon the very next day when my beeper went off. It was hot and humid. I was in a bad mood, and I ignored the buzzing. It continued twice more, then the telephone rang. My sweetheart answered it, then handed it to me.

"Why didn't you answer your pager?" demanded Nikki's voice. I was already in a bad mood, but let this go. "Did anyone call you?" she continued, "there was a fire in the house." I remembered the several instances of small kitchen fires we had, and easily put them out. "Was it a kitchen fire?" I asked, wondering why she would call me about something that was really not cause for panic. "There was some damage," she said. She wouldn't quite tell me how much. " Actually, it was bigger than the kitchen."

Now I was worried. "Where are Mom and Terry? Put Mom on the phone, I wanna speak with her." To this she became cagey. "Well, I don't know where she is." What? "Well put Terry on the phone." "I don't know where she is, either." "Did they go out to the store or something?" "I don't know." Is the car in the driveway?" "I don't know where the car is."

"Look out the window, Nikki, and look in the driveway. Do you see the car?" I was getting frustrated. "No, I can't see anything. I don't see the car, I don't know where Mom or Terry are..." Now I was worried. If it were a small fire, there would be no reason to call, right? But if it were bigger than that, then I imagine they could be anywhere but inside the house. But if the car wasn't there, where where were they? "Let me have Dorothy call you back." "You find out where Mom and Terry are, then you call me back! Stop being so fucking stupid! Don't call me back until you find them!" I was trembling with anger at Nikki's obstinacy. How could she do this? Call me up and tell me that the kitchen was on fire, but then not tell me where Mom and Terry were? If it wasn't so bad, why doesn't anyone know where they are? I played out the likely scenario in my mind. Maybe it was a bigger fire that damaged a part of the house, but they got out and drove off to get help. Or maybe they were driving around, laughing at their escape, or calming their nerves, or taking care of emergency things as the case may be. If the car wasn't there, they had to be driving around, I said anxiously and hopefully to my equally anxious sweetheart. She agreed with me as the phone rang again, and this time I picked it up.

Dorothy, my youngest sister; nearly ten years older than me, spoke.

"Weo..." she said in a low tone.

"Where are Mom and Terry?" I demanded.

"There was a fire in the house," she replied. "It was bad, Beo... they found two bodies."

***

I wanted to write an epilogue to this story, but I can't think of an ending. All I know is that when I asked to inherit a double portion of your spirits, much as Elisha asked Elijah as he was carried into Heaven on a chariot of fire, I never thought you would grant it. Obviously I wasn't very good at handling it at first, but I hope in your mind's eye I have gotten better. As of June 19th it's been ten years since I last saw you both, and it's the longest ten years I could ever imagine. What happened then and what happened after that, I could never wish on my own enemies. No one was ready for that, least of all me. There was so much more to share, so much more to talk about. Like Dorothy said to me when she moved out and I went away to college, "just when you were starting to get interesting... " I know these words mean something to somebody, but I know there's no way for me to tell our story in a way that people will really know what was going on.

All I can hope is that you know how much I want to thank you. I understand now why you protected me, why you worked so hard, why you never let us see you cry, and even why you put up with Terry. She was your child, and you would give your life for any of us, no less her. You taught me so much in so little time, and I realized something at that moment in time: you were more than my mother and my father. You were my hero. You were our hero, Mom. And Terry... I understand. Thank you. And I hope with the spirit you both gave me, I can be a hero as well. In the meantime, may you both always be my Mom and my Big Sis. I miss you.

Love, Weo :)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

beastie boys are known to let the beat...mmm-DROP...

i may get clowned for this, but i still got love for the Beastie Boys, even after all this time. they never pretended to be anything other than what they are. granted, during their Licensed to Ill period they kinda had the frat boy contingent by the nuts by trying to out-drink and out-obnoxious them (think "Fight For Your Right To Party" video - a classic example of becoming what you make fun of), but we're all young and stupid at some point. you kinda have to allow for that. the progression in their work speaks for itself.

as much as i dig hearing them on the mic, their live instrumentals are something to behold. back in 1996, they released an album called The In Sound From Way Out!, which collected their instrumental work from the Check Your Head and Ill Communication full-lengths. it was a genius idea and it made for a great listening session - funky, chill, and just plain good. it still remains one of my favorite releases from them, so imagine my delight to find out that their latest album is all new instrumentals from Ad-Rock, Mike D, and MCA.

just released on Tuesday, The Mix-Up catches our beloved Beasties in the moment on guitar, drums, and bass along with guest musicians. this is that summertime bbq type ish, a musical brew of the funky soul, latin jazz, and fuzz-filled rock that comes together just right. i probably sound corny writing this, but i've been sitting with this album for a good three weeks and it sounds brilliant every time i play it. some cuts are more hard-hitting than others: i recommend "14th St. Break," "Freaky Hijiki," and "The Melee" to give you some idea of what you can expect with this one. our Boys are well-traveled men at this point, having learned a lot from the trials and tribulations of beats, rhymes, and life. it shows in the way that they ride the groove throughout the album, paying respect to the sounds and musicians that came before them with every guitar strum, bass slap, and in-the-pocket drum break.

yeah i know, i'm probably reading more into instrumentals than i should, but notes can say more than words more often than not. if your memory of the Beasties is a fond one but you thought they didn't bring it on To The Five Boroughs, or if you never felt them lyrically to begin with and wondering why you should care about the new album, give The Mix-Up a day in court. don't be surprised if you find yourself rocking this one while gettin' your grill on over the 4th of July weekend...

p.s. getting back to their lyrics for a minute, as quiet as it's kept, they could get at somebody when they needed to. ever hear MCA's closing verse on "Professor Booty" (from Check Your Head) where he's taking it to MC Serch? "i'm bad ass, move your fat ass, 'cause you're wack, son / dancin' around like you think you're Janet Jackson." seriously, go back and listen to that cut (or just click here to read the lyrics). i think the 3rd Bass cut "Sons of 3rd Bass" from The Cactus Album is what brought that on. Serch and Prime Minister Pete Nice didn't have the nicest stuff to say about them. and MCA wasn't goin' out like that. i say he brought it...

Monday, June 25, 2007

During the Golden Years of The Three Teams, there was also THE NEW YORK CUBANS!

From 1947 to 1957, a baseball team from New York City would win the World Series. The three teams present in New York City were the New York Yankees, New York Giants, and Brooklyn Dodgers. Some of the greatest players came out of this decade. The Yankees would win five World Series Titles from 1949 to 1953, and would again win World Series titles in 1956 and 1958. The Dodgers would win their only title in 1955, while the Giants would win two in 1954 and 1957 before both teams were to move to California. Yet there remains one question: “Does anybody remember the New York Cubans??”

Yes, the New York Cubans, who won the Negro League Championship in 1947. That same year the Yankees won the first of five World Series in a row, yet no one talks about the NY Cubans. Why, because they were a Negro League team and had players who were just as good as the Major Leagues Players back then? Here are some of the players who played on this team; the average baseball fan today most likely has never heard of them, but in the hearts and minds of the Latin Community, they still exist.

Among them stands Martin Dihigo, considered by many to be the greatest ball player who ever played in the Negro Leagues. Dihigo is the only ballplayer elected to four baseball Hall of Fames; in the U.S.A, Mexico, Cuba and Venezuela. Long before Pete Rose became an All-Star in five different positions, Dihigo had done the same. He was called “El Maestro (The Teacher, or The Master). As a pitcher he won 256 games, with a winning percentage of 653. With a bat he had a life-time batting average .303. Satchel Paige, the greatest pitcher in the Negro Leagues said this when he was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971: “I’m not the best, Martin Dihigo is! Dihigo was elected to the fame in 1977.

Tetela Vargas (Dominican Republic,) considered by many to be the “Father of Dominican Baseball.” Long before fellow countryman Juan Marichal (elected to Hall of Fame in 1987), Manny Ramirez or Vladimir Guerrero, there was Vargas. He was known as the “Dominican Deer”! He excelled in defense, was a consistent hitter, good speed, base stealer. When you see Ramirez’s power, Guerrero’s arm, you will see Vargas in sprit!

Other outstanding players included Pedro Anibal “Perucho” Cepeda (Puerto Rico) who played shortstop. He was the father of Baseball Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda. He was on the Cubans roster in 1941. An outstanding fielder and hitter, he finished with a .325 batting average. When you see Derek Jeter (NY Yankees), Miguel Tejada (Baltimore Orioles) or Alex Rodriguez when he played shortstop for the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers; representing the new prototype of power-hitting shortstops and hitting those long balls, that was Cepeda. Talk about the great hitting shortstops Honus Wagner, Ernie Banks; who knows how many records he would’ve made!

Still others included Luis Tiant, father of Cleveland and Boston All-Star pitching great Luis “El Tiante” Tiant , and Saturnino Orestes Armas “Minnie” Minoso, who would set an MLB record for appearing in games, mostly with Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, over five decades (and even attempted a sixth!)

Could this team compete with the “Golden Teams 1947 to 1957? HELL YEAH! I’ll bet all those other New York teams would’ve met their match!

For more information about the New York Cubans and the Negro Leagues, visit the following links:

http://www.nlbpa.com/new_york_cubans.html - Negro League Baseball Players Association

http://www.answers.com/topic/new-york-cubans

http://www.coe.ksu.edu/nlbemuseum/history/teams/nycubans.html - Negro League baseball Museum – eMuseum

Control Freak

I was riding on the 2 train back home when an elderly mother of somebody asked a fellow passenger if she was on the correct train to 242nd Street. 242nd Street? Yes, I'm meeting my family at a park at 242nd Street, I don't quite remember what the name is, but it's somewhere around 242nd Street.

"Van Cortlandt Park?" chimed in a brotha from nowhere. "You tryin' to go to Van Cortlandt Park?"

Yes! that's the name! exclaimed the elderly mother of somebody in relief. Is this the train to Van Cortlandt Park?

No, I said, as she had looked in my direction. You need to take the 1 train. Take this train back to 96th Street, where you can catch the 1 train.

As other passengers nodded in agreement, the brotha leaped from his seat. "You could always take a bus, there's a bus that goes over in that direction. Here's what you need to do," taking the elderly mother of somebody's arm and leading her to a subway map.

"You can get off at this stop... um, Burke Avenue, Pelham Parkway, NO! 180th Street... there's a bus that will take you straight over to here," pointing at what may or may not have been the 1 train. "You can take the 25, the 26, the 40, oh, what is it? well, you can ask somebody where the bus is when you get downstairs. That bus will take you straight over to the place you tryin' to get to without having to go all the way back to 96th Street, that's dumb. This will save you a lot of time... the 12! That's the bus I'm thinking of. Take the 12 when you get downstairs and it'll take you over to Van Cortlandt Park..."

The elderly mother of somebody looked worried and confused; as worried and/or confused as the other riders were upon listening to the brotha's testimony. Um, is there a stop where I can just cross over and take the train back to 96th Street?

"But why would you wanna do that? There's a crossover at um... 180th Street; as a matter of fact, that's where you can go downstairs and catch the 12, just ask somebody to tell you where it is. Why go all the way back down, that's stupid!"

I don't mind, she deferred as the other riders shook their heads and encouraged her to cross over and take the next train back.

"C'mon, it'll save you a lot of time, all you have to do is just ask somebody. But if you wanna do the stupid thing and take the train all the way back into the city, go ahead, I don't give a fuck what you do," he mumbled as he plopped himself down in another seat. He continued grumbling as the 2 train pulled into East 180th Street and the poor elderly mother of somebody stepped somewhat dazedly off the train. Another elderly mother of somebody called out to here to wait on that track for the train back; perhaps erroneously thinking that since all the trains were running locally, the train in the middle track would open on the northbound side. Neverthless, the poor lady was safely away from the confused directions of the brotha, who continued his griping as the train pulled off.

"That was the dumbest shit I'd ever seen in my life!" he brayed, very satisfied with himself, yet agitated that the woman did not heed his advice. "Can you imagine someone going back all the way to the city when they easily could've take the bus right over to where she wanted to go..."

But that wasn't the right stop you were telling here to get off at, a much younger woman sitting next to him said.

"Listen, I was telling here to catch the bus where I knew she would be able to get it, if she wasn't so stupid she would've been there already. So i didn't know exactly which bus it was, I told her all she had to do was aks somebody..."

That's when I spoke. If she'd listened to you, I said, she would've gotten completely lost. Yeah, the other riders all agreed. You didn't even know what bus she was supposed to take, and when you did somehow get the right bus, you told her the wrong stop!

"What the hell do you mean, I told her the right bus, I told her where to get off, all she had to do if she wasn't so damn stupid was ask somebody where to catch the bus! All she had to do was listen, why didn't she just listen to me??"

Let the woman go the way she wants to go, she's elderly and somebody's mother, she obviously doesn't know her way around here. If she feels safe doing it that way, why should that bother you? There's no reason to get all upset about it...

"I'm not getting upset, I know where she needed to go, she could do whatever the fuck she wanna do!" snapped the brotha. As he continued barking, each of us tuned out in various ways; I picked up my cel and dialed my uncle to have a chat with him. As the other rider s each got off, he made a snarky comment to himself after they stepped off. Finally, with just me and him in the car, he snarled something that sounded like directions to the bus to Van Cortlandt Park, and bailed to the next car before getting off.

Ladies & Gentleman, I give you: Control Freak.

Control Freak comes in many various forms: big, small, man, woman, black, white, dog, cat, whatever. There are four main characteristics that I'm aware of when it comes to Control Freak, and I ususally see them in rapid succession:

Generous and helpful
Confused testimony
Annoyance or anger at rejection
Deflection of criticism and/or denial of blame.


Control Freak is never a pleasant individual to deal with in any form. There are various ways to handle Control Freak, depending on what the circumstances are. In the instance above, the woman handled it as one should; kindly deferring to take another suggestion and leaving as soon as possible. Other common manners of dealing with Control Freak are as I demonstrated, by tuning out the noise. Unfortunately, Control Freak can be aggressive and harder to deal with so easily, so it's always best to be in the company of trusted people, or among a crowd of people in public areas where Control Freak's powers are diluted by scrutiny. And of course, if Control Freak crosses the line, run as quickly as possible to an authority figure, i.e. those cops over there.

Whatever the case may be, be prepared: Control Freak is lurking about, waiting to offer bad advice and compel you to take it. My advice: study a map if you're going somewhere unfamiliar, keep close to somebody who's job is to know what to do, and be prepared. This would be the only time I advocate cellular/IPod behavior as a method of distracting or tuning out Control Freak. But all-in-all, be prepared and be safe >;)

"Yankees Suck!" Replaces Pledge of Allegience as Top Exercise in Irony

You heard it for years in a rival town close by, forever regarded as the birthplace of the revolution in this country. You heard it across the river and around their own hometown. You heard it when two of the teams screaming it the most in that same town fled to the West. And you hear it every time they go to podunk and engage another team, whether they're in for the umpteenth time or the first time in years.

Yankees suck! Yankees suck!

You're probably hearing it a lot more often than usual this year. They got off to a very rough start, what with injuries and all, then started a significant surge before falling back to earth once again.

Yankees suck! Yankees suck!

The Head Idiot In Charge cares nothing for the weeping and nashing of teeth from the fans; his only concern is that the economy moves upward and that trends continue in a growth pattern. His useless minions sabotage the efforts of the few generals in charge that know more than enough how to handle the situation, but are hogtied by resistance from the enemy and resistance from the top.

Yankees suck! Yankees suck!

It reverberates in the ears from the tube, chuckles and winks from the papers and rips apart families from coast to coast. The losing gets worse and worse and people climb further to the edge, or strike matchs in anticpation of a massive self-immolation.

Yankees suck! Yankees suck!

Well, folks, this is turning out to be one hell of a bad season, and it's not even halfway over, it seems. I'll tell you... Iraq has turned into a quagmire of biblical proportions, and Bush will easily make history as the Worst President Ever...

And the wind cries: Yankees suck! Yankees suck!

(what did you expect, me bashing the New York Yankees? Get a grip, I'm loading up for the trade deadline... but for now we've got far more important issues at hand! >;)

Friday, June 22, 2007

sugar's free, but i'm not. what the deuce?

consider this your official act-a-fool friday audio segment, while still getting your cultural studies learn on at the same time.

so let me get this straight: professor, author, and critic Mark Anthony Neal AND comedian/actor Paul Mooney on NPR...discussing Juneteenth?!?

it's like Christmas came early for me, man...

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11182637

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mom & Pop Story, Part III

Behind every good man, there's a better woman. But what if the good man is a better woman? Before you jump to any inane conclusions, allow me to explain...

Before you and I, there was Mom. She loves, protects, nurtures and educates us on the rudimentary issues of life; eating, walking, talking, burping, pooping, caring and dying. Oh, and taxes, there's no avoiding that. Some mothers are more involved in those things than others, but for the most part the instincts are there. But when you're a single mother, it becomes an issue of working two jobs, both demanding double overtime.

With Mom, she had to do those jobs for four, plus one more. I was number four, "the baby." I was the baby because I came late in my parents' life, when most parents are eligible to become grandparents. I was the baby because my closest sibling was nine years older than me. I was the baby because everyone got to parade around with me on their hip, or lead me around by the hand as we walked for miles on end.

I was always the baby, because in Mom's eyes I never changed past a certain age. And though that was certainly restricting after I got past a certain age, I see now why she stayed at the same spot with me for so long.

Naturally, being a a single parent implied that one would have to work. Mom had been working since she was nine years old, even while attending school. She did housework and scubbed floors for richer folk until she was encouraged to apply for a job in the cushion room at the Fisher Body plant at General Motors. She became one of the first women to work at General Motors permenently, eventually moving to the assembly line and becoming an inspector. Later she would repeat the first trick by becoming one of the first female plumber-pipefitter-steamfitters at GMAD Tarrytown. She worked for thirty-five years at the plant before it was finally closed for good.

During that time, Mom moved her four children around, from North Tarrytown to Ossining, then Croton-on-Hudson and back to Tarrytown before settling in Wappingers Falls, NY. While North Tarrytown represented a walk down the block to work, Wappingers was a fifty-mile commute one-way. As a young child, I often slipped away to walk down to the plant, landing at the security desk to "pick up my Mom."

As I grew older, I memorized the long trips up and down Route 9 she routinely made to work at any given time, day or night depending on what shift she was working. If it were first shift, Mom would come home in the early evening, ready to either relax and watch TV or cook dinner. If it were second, my youngest sister would wait up late until she came home and they would share some brownies and coffee or milk while catching up on events of the day. If it were overnight, I would sit in her room as she prepared herself for work, then kiss her goodbye on the way out. I was often on my way to school when she got back home, so I wouldn't see her again until after school for maybe a few hours a day.

This went on for all of my life as I knew her, as she did what many single parents have to do. Yet, there always seemd to be an abundance of time...

My older siblings each had a turn in being responsible for "the baby", which later on became "the munchkins" as I was joined by my oldest sister's newborn daughter. My oldest sister Terry was born on March 2, the same birthday as Mom. For this, she was named Terry Jr. Similarities appeared to stop there, however, as Terry Jr. was not as slight as Terry Sr. Not even close. Terry played the big sister in many ways, and certainly fit the part. Terry played bigger than life in everything; loud, boisterous and sometimes perhaps obnoxious. She could be crass and I often wondered if she'd invented foul language. She had as bad a temper as you can imagine for a woman her size, and she ruled with an iron hand... but a gentle heart. Terry contained much of the same sense of style and grace as Mom did, and she commanded attention to the same effect as her mother. Their styles were a generation apart and perhaps the flip notions of each other, but their impact was equally devastating, and equally exhilarating. One of my earliest memories was of me crawling all over my sister as she sat in an easy chair, cradling me in her arms, much like a grizzley bear with a very young cub.

Terry often played the substitute Mom, as it was very easy since both of their names were the same. People hardly ever asked whether Terry were my mother or my sister; whatever paper needed to be signed or chaperoning that Mom herself couldn't do, Terry was Mom Jr. People who did know winked along with us, as they knew what the deal was. My brother, a former body-builder out of the Air Force and the Enforcer of our siblings, often said that Terry was his protector growing up. Terry inherited Mom's dancing skills as she and my big brother often tore up the local parties and discos. And Terry certainly exhibited her protective nature, as alluded to earlier. they amassed a huge collection of records between the two of them. Terry often listened to or quoted specific names, album and song titles or even lyrics. In fact, she amassed a massive quantity of stories and history about our family, our people and our culture. And when she had her first and only child, she nicknamed her after her favorite poet, Nikki Giovanni.

Women ruled the house in my family. From my grandmother, herself an owner and operator of a country inn (The Dew Drop Inn, really!) and a bar & grill, to Mom; full-time mother/plumber/pipefitter/steamfitter and later woman's empowerment activist, to my oldest sister; griot, civil rights activist and advocate for the mentally ill, they all exhibited a strong, full-charge personality that was driven by a purpose only another woman in their circumstance could really understand. But what was absolutely without a doubt evident was the love and devotion they had to their family, especially their children...

(Continued with Mom & Pop Story, Part IV...)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Schomburg's Legacy & Other Great Places To See

As the Summer is upon us one will see Latin-American activities taking place left and right. Parades, street fairs. Well if one wants to know about the Latin scene here in New York City and good libraries/research institutions.

Schomburg Library in Harlem Located at 135 Street and Lenox Avenue
this institution has the source for information on African/Afro-American History in the country. Some say in the world. All one has to do take the Number 2 train to 135 Lenox see a Brown building you are there. One can go hear the famous “I have a dream speech” by Martin Luther King during the march on Washington D.C. in August 1963. You can also hear speeches by Malcolm X. All the transcripts of all these speeches are there. There’s also a fine information one can check out about the migration of Africans to Latin-America, North America. Learn about the slave trade taking place in the Caribbean prior to someone named Columbus. The slave uprisings that took place everywhere, the leaders, who they inspired. Most importantly Arturo Schomburg born/raised in Puerto Rico was described by other libraries which serve both the Latin/African communities “Inspiration to all libraries!

Center for the Puerto Rican Studies
An easy commute, just take the Number 6 train to 68 street and Lexington Avenue, inside the Hunter College library just make a left you will find Center for Puerto Rican Studies Library. The library has the largest Puerto Rican Archive in the entire country.
The librarians know what they are doing, they serve you with a smile. The bad news one cannot borrow books from the library, good news one can read, make copies. To add, the library has videos/dvds on Puerto Rican Documentaries which American History books have never provided to the people. One will learn about back since the 1850’s there has been a Puerto Rican community here in the New York City. Many of who were activist here, among them Ramon Emerterio Betances a doctor, writer, journalist, poet, playwright. The poetry of notable poets who were born/raised/lived in New York City, their political activism, their inspirations towards the hip-hop scene.

Among them Piri Thomas who wrote the book “Down These Mean Streets” which recently was chosen one of the best books about New York City. This year 2007 marks the 40 anniversary of the publication. The works of Julia De Burgos the first Puerto Rican Poet/woman to open doors for poets in the Latin Community here in NYC, currently the neighborhood of East Harlem dedicated a street to her in her honor. One can see the name on 106 street and Lexington Avenue. The documentaries they have one can see them at the library and the person will provided a list of them. One popular area which many like to read about/study “The Young Lords! They have two powerful documentaries on them, one of which was put together by a former Young Lord Iris Morales titled “Palante Y Siempre Palante Young Lords Party! One will see a lot of familiar faces, both documentaries show the work of the lords, and show the impact they have made within the community. To know about the Centro Library you can go to their website which will give you information on their hours. http://www.centropr.org/

The Center for Dominican Studies
When the media often talks about the Dominican Community it’s often when one hits a home-run or strikes out 20 men in one game. If one wants to know more about the history of the Dominican Republic, the Washington Heights Community(considered the Dominican Capitol of the U.S.) go this library. The library is very similar to the Centro of Puerto Rican Studies. They have books where one can read, make copies, documentaries, which the American History and the American Media doesn’t provide. The library was founded around the time the crack/drug epidemic like the other neighborhoods of color were effected at the same time a young Dominican Male was assassinated by a New York Police Officer the media went frenzy in their reporting. The location of the library is in the right place City College. It’s open to the public, the librarians there are friendly/helpful, a proud source for information on Dominican Culture, Immigration, History, just like the Centro they will give you contacts on other Dominican Studies Departments in City University, and provide sources of information on Puerto Rican Studies Departments, Latin-American Departments as well.
If one wants to know more about the library check out their website at www.ccny.cuny.edu/dsi.

Center for Cuban Studies
Cuba is a four-letter to the U.S. government. There’s an embargo on them, Platt Amendment, Bay of Pigs, Operation Mongoose. Want to know about any of these events why Cuban-American Relations are so hot! Visit the Center for Cuban Studies located at 124 West 23 Street NY, NY for info you can give them a buzz at 212-242-0559. They have a fine collection of books where one can purchase, t-shirts. They also provide up to date information on trips to Cuba. The center was founded in the year 1972 gives you good information/history something of which what was mentioned earlier American History books hardly never provide.

Whatta Sport! (News) - Sam Perlozzo Fired as Baltimore Orioles Coach

I read from Bob Timmermann over on The Griddle at Baseball Toaster that Baltimore Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo was fired as of this morning. Bullpen Coach Dave Trembley takes over as interim coach until they find a replacement (or not!)

Quoting from the Baltimore Sun:

"Perlozzo's job security became a hot button issue following the Orioles' 6-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox on May 13. In that game, Perlozzo removed starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie just two outs shy of a complete game and saw Baez and Chris Ray, the supposed backbones of the bullpen, cough up the lead. Guthrie had thrown 91 pitches and was pulled from the game after catcher Ramon Hernandez dropped an infield pop-up."

Whadda cowinky-dink. In yesterday's Mets-Yanks game, manager Joe Torre elected to take out starting pitcher Chien Ming Wang after 113 pitches, which happened to make it 2 outs in the 9th. There was quite a bit of howling about that decision from various areas (including Bronx Banter, since I was "watching" the game on that site) , but in my opinion you have to consider that Wang threw a CG (Complete Game) in his previous start, and that took 104 pitches. 113 pitches may not seem like much compared to that, but to those who have watched this team overcome injury to most of its staff, it was enough for most to temper the notion that Torre was being completely arbitrary or capricious. Compared to what Sam Perlozzo did in the Boston game and the result there, you have to consider Joe quite lucky.

"Talk of Perlozzo's job security cooled late last month as the Orioles ran off six straight wins, but the club has fallen on hard times since, with each close loss seemingly pushing Perlozzo further and further out of favor with the organization and its fan base. During the nine-game home stand, which ended with a loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday that dropped the Orioles 1-8 during the stretch, Perlozzo was booed several times when he came out of the dugout to make a pitching change.His handling of his pitching staff was one factor that led to his dismissal, though team sources said that the Orioles' front office felt that the manager had also lost the clubhouse."

Sound familiar? Joe got booed only less than three weeks ago, and it was kind of surprising that it had gotten to that point, and then that it almost immediately stopped after that. One of the major criticisms of Joe Torre has been and continues to be his handling of the pitching staff. Yesterday's game almost put a permanent exclamation point on that criticism. Throughout the terrible swoon that was may, the Yankees' bullpen was a constanty failure, and Joe's consistent use of failing pitchers from the pen was constantly scrutinized. Since June started, the Yanks have won 11 out of 12 games, and the pitching staff has seemingly recovered from the plague (save a couple of stragglers), so talk of Torre being replaced has died down a bit...

"This season alone, veterans Jay Gibbons and Kevin Millar had gone public with their frustration over their roles with the club, which they said Perlozzo didn't define. Third baseman Melvin Mora, the longest tenured Oriole, had also criticized Perlozzo late last month after he was angered that the manager didn't tell him the night before that he wouldn't be in the starting lineup that day. Privately, other players had also let their complaints be known to upper management, said sources. When The Sun did a story on Perlozzo's job security last month, none of the team leaders, including Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts, Millar and Jamie Walker, stepped forward in support of their manager; instead declining to comment on his status. Mora and center fielder Corey Patterson did finally back Perlozzo after Saturday's loss to the Diamondbacks."

A-ha! Here's the difference: in Baltimore, the inmates are running the asylum. In New York, Joe is in command at all times. When things began to get really, really stupid for the Yanks, Torre drank some Green Tea and told everyone to basically hang in there, because these things are basically going to happen. When a reporter asked him if he ever woke up in the morning and asked himself, wy me?, Torre's response was remarkable in it's perspective. "Why not me?" he said. When you think of all the things you've accomplished in the time you've been here, he continued, why couldn't something like this happen? "It's how you react to it that matters the most."

Jeter and Posada, Joe's most experienced and trusted players in the clubhouse, both stood up for Torre when the papers and the speculators began to question his sanity and fitness for the team. I myself said that it was probably a good idea for Joe to take a short vacation to clear whatever was going on in his, and perhaps the teams' minds and rededicate themselves to baseball. A lot was going on at once besides injuries, and to be sure it likely had an affect on the team and the individual players. But Joe's strength has always been patience and confidence in his core players, even when they are experiencing a disasterous slump. Joe's confidence has seemingly paid off as the Yanks have climbed back into a race for the widl card, with the AL East not too far ahead.

Baltimore's reaction to similar circumstances is interesting. Had Brian Cashman or anyone else who matters listened to us or the media, Joe would have been out the door in mid-May. Who knows if we have this resurgence without him? But then, Joe is a different kind of leader, in that his style suits the needs of the players he has. Sam Perlozzo is no Joe Torre, apparently. But neither is Melvin Mora jeteresque. Nor are Miguel Tejada, Kevin Millar, Brian Roberts, Jamie Walker and Corey Patterson. Do see what I'm getting at here? That's gotta be some real nasty soup down at Camden Yards.

In conclusion here, the article from the Baltimore Sun also notes that Joe Girardi is being mentioned as a possible replacement, along with Davey Johnson. I don't think Davey comes out of retirement to take over a team that basically mutinied against a coach that was glad to be home until now. If he did, he'd probably have a lot to say about who stays and goes, and that would just make things worse. And as intriguing as bringing in Girardi would be, that would have the potential for disaster as well; Girardi has always struck me as a hands-on leader, and with the guys you have in Baltimore, hands-on might turn into "Hands Off!". Not to say he couldn't turn that club around in a couple of years, but does he really want to step into the arena, per se? Besides, he's got a sweet gig in the YES broadcast booth as a royal manager-in-waiting as we all wait to see what Torre does with this season and at the end of the season. Between him and Don Mattaingly, it would be interesting what turns out if Torre decides to hang it up.

But say that Joe does take the job in Baltimore... what then? Is Mattingly, assumed to be the crown prince or The Anointed One, really ready to take over the club? There is speculation that he's still not seasoned enough to do the job, though he did manage well in his one voyage this season when Joe was ejected for his umpire tirade during the lowest point of the losing. Would he coddle the vets and shun the babies; another constant criticism of Torre? And if not him, and with Girardi gone, who??

All I really know is, count your blessings and don't let the green grass fool ya. For what Torre and the Yanks have been through, do you realize how close we were to being Sam Perlozzo and the Orioles? Wowzers...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Mom & Pop Story (Part II of IV)

Dad never cried; at least not in front of me. Mom and Dad were separated even before I was born, from what I understand. I was sort of a product of reconciliation, but that didn’t last long. He was a strong, powerfully built man nearing forty when I was born, just like Mom who was a few months older in fact. He was not uneducated, though he never went to high school and lived much of his teen life raised by either his grandparents in North Carolina or his aunt in Long Island. At one point he was an amateur boxer, but killed a man in the ring and naturally decided to stop. He spent the rest of his life building in-ground pools; once having built one for Willie Upshaw, a major-league baseball player who gave him an autographed baseball card to give to me.

Dad went from state to state building pools during the warm seasons, and doing who-knows-what during the cold seasons. He would visit fairly often, sometimes he’d stay for a weekend, sometimes he only drop in for a few hours, sometimes he’d stay longer and sometimes we’d not see him for weeks or even months. Apparently, he didn’t get along with his own relatives; he was the oldest of a large clan of siblings living either in the greater New York area or in Wake Forest, NC. He ran away when he was young, and though he seemed to stay in touch, they never seem to regard him with any favor.

However, I regarded the times Dad would visit as fun times. He would take my other older sister Dorothy and me on road trips throughout the Hudson Valley, and even one time to his aunt’s house in Long Island. He spent a lot of money on us, or would give us money to spend on whatever we wanted. Mom and him got along well enough as friends, and though there were points of bitterness that would flair up from time to time, they would always show us love when together.

Dad continued that tradition of sending me money when I went away to Howard, sending me what he called an allowance once a week or once a month, depending on what he had. I would spend it on food, mostly, and to say the least I was not quite responsible, which he knew about and was unhappy with me for, but tolerated nonetheless. He even sent money to me on the weekend I spent at that same room I had lived in after coming off the streets, nearby the campus off of Florida Avenue. I was ostensibly there to see old friends I would be leaving behind, but in my mind and heart I was trying to decide whether I should stay or go.

I took the Amtrak back to New York; a trip that always fascinated me because of the scenery we would pass through, but we were stuck outside of Dee Cee at the train station in New Carrollton for almost an hour. It was during this time that I was struck by a premonition, and I found myself on the floor of the car sobbing uncontrollably. I was alone and apparently no one saw me crying so fiercely, or at least they did not find this strange. The train finally started moving again, but I could not shake the grief that struck me so hard at that time, and for the rest of the ride home to Wappingers Falls, I worried for Dad. It had occurred to me about month previously, on the occasion of his 58th birthday, that he was growing old and that I may never see him again. He was now walking with a cane, having lost two or three of his toes on his right foot to diabetes. His hair, which always had a streak of gray, which Dorothy and I inherited at birth, was now graying at the temples and making him look grandfatherly. The strong build had shrunken and bowed somewhat to that of a man who was once great. Dorothy planned a surprise birthday party for him, in a big tent that he had set up himself in the backyard. She bought a special cake for him and a gift; a nice watch if I recall. But what was special about the whole day was when we left the house (Mom teased us about how we both walked alike; a side-to-side shuffle) and when we reached the car for me to take him to the train, I looked at him deep in the eyes and said, “I’m glad you came.”

When I got back home, I immediately asked if Dad had called, but he hadn’t. I then spent the next four hours talking long-distance with my ex-fiancĂ©e in Texas, telling her about the awful experience I had on the train. When I had tried telling Mom, she brushed it off and refused to hear it. Still, she was very mad when the phone bill came.

A week later, I had a strange nightmare, where a giant cobra had gotten into the house and was terrorizing my family. As I was the designated snake-killer, I leaped between my family and the snake, fending it off with a sword and battling until I finally killed it, but not before it had managed to strike me. As I lay dying in front of my Mom, sisters and niece (my brother was absent as he lived in California), I gave them instructions to not worry, and to do something else, but I never finished it because I was awoken by noise from upstairs. My bedroom was on the very bottom floor of our house, connected to what we used as a formal dining room, my brother’s bedroom and the laundry/furnace room. I wandered upstairs to talk over the dream with Mom, as I normally did when I had strange dreams, but saw Dorothy bounding inside the house and upstairs to the upper bedrooms in a fit of tears. By now, Dorothy was living on her own in Connecticut to be closer to her job. Seeing her this early in the day and at such an odd time during the week was jarring, but seeing her and Mom embracing in the hallway and Dorothy sobbing as she was, I figured that she had broken up with her boyfriend, whom Mom and the rest of us had some slight issues with. Dorothy composed herself and they both came downstairs. They approached me gingerly and their wary expressions told me something was really wrong. “Weo,” Mom started, “sit down, we have something to tell you. “

“Dad had a heart attack,” Dorothy continued. “He didn’t make it.”

***

What’s important about having a father? I didn’t really have one growing up. Of course, I had my Mom, plus my older siblings and a host of male relatives and others who filled in for my own wayward father. And somehow, I’d never held that against him, like he owed me something or that I was too angry at him to have anything to do with him. Somehow I trusted him enough. He did see me do things, he did call, and he did come to spend time with us. He wasn’t a full-time father, but he was either Bill or Dad. He was proud of me, he showed me things that he knew, told me things and told me not to do things.

Half of what I learned about myself was by observing him, even if I never knew much about him. I learned much about what not to do just by seeing what he did. He wasn’t always nice, and sometimes you didn’t want him around. But the role he played in my life was important enough. I got to see what it would be like for a black man with a family to be on his own. He only had two friends that I knew of, his work buddy Jose and his estranged wife. They, along with Terry, Dorothy, my niece Nikki and I were the only ones to come to his wake. We had missed Jose by an hour, and would never see him again. We sat in an otherwise empty hall and stared at the coffin, which contained this once-giant, sleeping figure.

No one said anything.

I looked around hopelessly at the vast array of empty seats. I was at once overwhelmed with pity, confusion and anger. His own relatives refused to come, or even acknowledge his death. Apparently, we were the only people who had any kind of feelings for him.

I saw what it was like for a black woman to raise children on her own. Mom had been doing it for quite some time, but now she was really alone. To her credit, she rallied very well from it, though it was more of a blow to her than any of us would know. She started smoking again, the only real sign that his passing had an effect on her.

I was not going to be the same as my father. Dad made a lot of mistakes, but that didn’t mean I had to as well. In reality, I couldn’t blame him that much, as it seemed to me that he was dealt a very bad hand from the start and didn’t know what to do with it. But I realized after some time that as I tried hard not to be like him, I was becoming more like him. I’ve seen similar patterns of bad luck and poor choices in my own life. Still and all, it’s not such a bad thing to have a lot in common with him, especially if I can bring out the things in him that others didn’t see. Life is longer than it seems to be...

(To Be Continued in Mom & Pop Story, Part III very soon...)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Mom & Pop Story (Part I of IV)

My father died in 1992. I remember that because I had decided that spring not to go back to Howard University. I had been miserable since the first day I attended, having a grand mal seizure on campus right in front of Terry, my oldest sister. She had escorted me to Washington, DC to help find housing for me, considering that the Department of Resident Life had conveniently lost my application, all the while keeping my application fee. Terry was excellent in the application of volume when arguing, and it became immediately apparent that her skills were necessary when dealing with this particular department. It became even more necessary after I regained consciousness at the horrible hospital named after the university. After more than an hour of waiting, a nurse came in and asked me my name, how I was feeling, how I had gotten there, told me to wait and exited. Another hour passed, during which I observed cockroaches scurrying up the wall or an adjacent chair, when I decided to journey forth in search of either the same nurse or a doctor. I passed a nurses’ station, where I saw a number of uniformed individuals passing the time chatting or reading. I emerged in the waiting room, where Terry had indeed been waiting. She asked me if I had been discharged, to which I replied, “No. I haven’t even been seen by the doctor yet.”

Why, oh why did I say that?

After the explosion, I was immediately examined by a doctor who gave me two Tylenol, and then I was released to my sister Terry. Naturally, Terry wanted me to return home with her and forget about Howard, but I was determined to overcome whatever struggles would come my way. Almost two years later, having experienced a most wretched and horrid treatment from the school and from urban Washington, DC, I was back again to determine if I really wanted to give up. I stayed in a room for a weekend near campus in a townhouse off of Florida Avenue. It was my luck that I happened to find nice places to live when I was kicked out of the dorms because Mom didn’t meet the payment deadline. I bounced around quite a bit, actually, finding housing difficult at best to find (and maintain), and often dealing with unscrupulous renters; one such renter collected our rents for two months and disappeared when the owner of the house came around to tell us that everyone in the household was being evicted for non-payment. After much talk about staying put because of the unrighteousness of the whole situation, I was the only holdover when the owner came to evacuate the house a month and two weeks later; the water and electricity were shut off for two weeks before I was forced to leave. I took what few possessions I could carry and wandered over to my friend’s apartment in the brand-new Howard Towers dormitory. For days I slept on his floor, washed and looked for a place to live, all the while not telling anyone, including my family, what had happened.

How could I tell them? I wanted to prove that I could be an adult; that I could take care of myself. The seizures made Mom very protective, and she was not happy about my decision to attend Howard. But seeing that my choices were limited by finances that were not available (Syracuse, Princeton, NYU, Cornell and Yale had all accepted me, but I was only offered extremely crippling loans in regards to financial aid), plus my desire to escape the passive-aggressive racism of Mid-Hudson New York led me to consider what was regarded as the finest of black colleges. But then, Mom warned me “your own people can be your worst enemy.” Never was she so right about something as she was of that, at least in my opinion. But to be fair, I still consider Dee Cee my second home.

Somehow, I managed to find a room in a townhouse, nearby the campus off of Florida Avenue. The room was octagonal in shape and had three large sets of windows overlooking the street that ran into Florida Avenue. I piled my things into the room, saved up some money to buy some used furniture; one of those hide-a-bed couches, an end table with a lamp and a ratty lounge chair, as far as I can remember.

I also remember that at some point afterwards, Mom made a trip down to Dee Cee to spend time with me and to see the sites. I arranged for her and Terry (who despite her first go-around with the school had otherwise liked the rest of the city) to stay at the Embassy Suites Hotel on a nice part of 16th Street. I guessed on this hotel, knowing nothing about it except that the price was right and it was in a nice neighborhood. As it turned out, I was again quite lucky, as Mom noted how royally they were treated there, and at such a great price. Eventually, they made their way over to my place and Mom stayed behind while Terry and I ran errands on campus. We had no complaints this time around, and when we returned, Mom had swept up my room and completely rearranged it into a living space. I was shocked, but why should I be, considering that the place was so messy before that I was ashamed to even bring her there and tried to bar her from coming in. Mom couldn’t help herself, I guessed, but I was very thankful.

Years later, Mom revealed why she did it: “ When I saw your room, I felt very ashamed. I had no idea you were living like this, and I felt it was my fault for not knowing. I started crying after you left, then I just started cleaning up. “ She had bought curtains to give everything a nice touch, then went out with me to buy an armchair, a TV set and a radio, as well as fresh linens and clothes. I can never forget that, because there were only a very few occasions that I had even seen Mom cry, and just to imagine her crying was itself very painful...

(Continued with Mom & Pop Story (Part II) tomorrow...)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

just settling in...and musing on monch...

so i find myself drinking hot chocolate in the office because central air is on WAY too high, trying to stay awake and entertained via the giant step jukebox and thought to myself...i need to write something, anything...

and then i started thinking about Pharoahe Monch, mainly because i've been listening to an advance of his album Desire, which drops on June 26th. i think it's been about eight years or so since head nodders caught whiplash from his "Simon Says" single and the Internal Affairs album. its been at least 15 years since the first Organized Konfusion record. heads will probably hate on him for singing in spots, but there are a few joints i'm diggin'. his revamp of Public Enemy's "Welcome To The Terrordome" is kinda nice. "What It Is" is another joint that comes to mind. he almost gets Idlewild on "Body Baby," a cut that's bound to throw people who go back with him for more than a minute. production is on-point throughout, with SA-RA, Black Milk, (the late, great) J Dilla, and others offering their services. Pharoahe drops a line that i still can't get over on the title track: "Monch is a monarch, only minus the A&R." i'm sorry, but that's hot. very effective. and it's moments like those that i wait for in anticipation that keep me listening.

nothing lasts forever, and the "Releasing Hypnotical Gases" Monch could only stay out in orbit but for so long. but i think a joint like "Simon Says" proved that point already. (if that song didn't, then ghostwriting for Diddy certainly did.) as he stated at least twice in that song, "if you're holdin' up the wall, then you're missin' the point." i don't believe that coming closer to Earth's gravitiational pull has hurt his flow or his lyricism. the gifts are still there. to this day, i still find myself reciting the opening lines from his guest appearance on De La Soul's Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump:

"how many n*ggas who would actually kill still rhymin'?
how many n*ggas who are actually signed still killin'?
but when it comes to killin' a mic, you ain't willin'
and i'm supposed to be shook? that's the sh*t that kills me..."

if he never spit another line in life after that, i wouldn't be mad at him.

"i ridicule the pitiful, piss upon the miniscule
Pharoahe Monch, better park dat ass like municipal."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Play@UrOwnRisk!

Well, here we are. Welcome one and all to my first foray into moderating my own blog.

For those who have no idea who I am (and with apologies to those who do), I am known in this dimension as Chyll Will; aspirer of many things art and business-like. I'm an artist (comics, illustrations, computer graphics, etc.), an actor (film and stage, though I'm still in the in-fink stages), entrepreneur (I co-published an arts/entertainment magazine and I intend to publish my own comic strips) , music purveyor (I'm part of a trio of music-collage artists called Cut-Up City) and among other things, a smart-aleck (you'll see a lot of that soon enough.)

I'll be moderating these posts for the time being, though I have a gathering storm of talented friends, people I love dearly and would give everything I have for if need be. You'll meet them in the hours and days ahead, but in the meantime lets talk some more about me >;)

Let me first say many thanks and blessings to the community of Baseball Toaster, in particular Bronx Banter; where you'll often see my persona attached to some wacky comment in relation to the Yankees or playing off of what another "Banterer" has said. It was my family at Banter who encouraged me to start this blog right away, and in many senses has taught me how to do so, hopefully in an interesting and insightful manner. So, special thanks to Alex Belth and Cliff Corcoran for hosting the best Yankee blog; as a matter of fact, one of the best blogs in the notion of cyberspace. And Big Up to Ken Arneson for the Baseball Toaster for creating the world that hosts Banter and other other really cool, insightful and inventive team blogs. Thanks for putting up with me >;)

I'll be talking about many things that come to mind; cartoons, current events, personal observations and personal events, rant-rant-rant, you get the picture. Over time, I'll likely settle into a groove that you'll be familiar and comfortable with (or you'll get tired and ignore me), but at least there will be variety!

So far on the team is macedonia, a fellow member of Cut-Up City; intelligencia musique is an interesting way to begin to describe him, but you can also expect intensive thought therapy from this gentleman. Also on the roster is Aqua Boogie; visualist extraordinaire and existentially cool. There are a few more coming about and I'll introduce them as they come.

So. look around, kick the tires a bit if you wish, but most importantly, enjoy. We have a lot of opinions about a lot of things, but always respect each other and let's see where this goes. See you in blog world!

Love, Chyll Will >;)