Why Are We Listening to Steve Harvey?

"I'm an expert. Because I say I am."

It’s great if you can find success in two different and unrelated skill sets but Steve Harvey is a comedian.  Why does anyone take his shtick as a relationship counselor seriously?

It’s no joke though.  His syndicated radio program reaches an audience six million and as the New York Times reported in a flattering profile, his book, “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man” was on the New York Times best-seller list for two years and held down Number One for 23 weeks.   A movie based on the book is in production and the sequel, “Straight Talk, No Chaser” debuted in the top spot in the Times’s advice list.

It’s good to be Steve Harvey.  What’s not so good is the backlash.  Harvey’s ex-wife, Mary Harvey went the viral video route and aired the funnyman’s dirty laundry of affairs, infidelity and betrayal.     In an interview on The Tom Joyner Show, Mary Harvey explained why she broke her silence about the marriage.

“…Steve insists in bringing me up publicly and making me the heavy in the breakup of our marriage, what I want the public to be is more informed about this man that they are calling the relationship expert and the love guru. People need to understand who it is that they’re dealing with. In using the media to promote his book, once again, that’s a show of power. I want this to be public because I didn’t want Steve to think that I was weak, and I was powerless, and I was voiceless so that he could keep doing me the way he wanted to do me,”  Mary Harvey said.

What does the “love guru” have to say about this?   Nothing, really.   He will square off against his ex-wife in a Texas court next week as a judge considers whether Mary Harvey has violated an injunction preventing her from talking about the divorce in the media or internet.

“Some men say it ain’t always about sex.  They lying…it’s always about sex and the other shit is just a bi-product”, Harvey writes in  “Act Like A Man…”

People actually pay good money to be told this?

Guess I’ll have to put the moves on all my platonic female friends since I’m a Black man like Steve Harvey and I gotta be as big a dog as he is.

Except I’m NOT a Black man like Steve Harvey.

I have a theory why Harvey doesn’t have any female friends.  Maybe he doesn’t really like women all that much (he certainly doesn’t respect them) and lets the little head do the thinking for him and not the big head.

You wouldn’t trust an unmarried marriage counselor for advice on how to fix your relationship, so why are so many Black women trusting a comedian on his third marriage to tell them how to fix theirs?

I’m tired of Harvey’s b.s. Really, really tired of it.  Here we have a born again “expert” on who filed a cease-and-desist order against his ex-wife and boasts how he has no female friends. He adds 99.9 of men–including those who do have female friends–are hoping that woman will give them “a crack” they can slip into and nail them.

If first you don't succeed, try, try again--and write books about it.

Misogyny by any other name still stinks.    Harvey’s “advice” seems to be coming not from an earnest wish to enlighten Black women and men about their issues and more about making a buck off of folks who have been unlucky at love.  He has too but  found a way to profit from it.

With all due respect to Mr. Harvey, he is a failure when it comes to relationships. I observe my 30th year of marriage, but I don’t style myself as any sort of authority nor am I about to pen any books.  Marriage is hard, damn work and every day you have to be on the job.    He’s an expert on HIS life as a man. He doesn’t know anything about ME as a man.

If anything, Steve needs to sit his butt down and let ME tell HIM, “Look brutha. This is how you do it…”  I’m vaguely uncomfortable with self-styled “experts” whose expertise is limited to their life experience.

It was one thing when Harvey was selling a line of suits and ties.   How Harvey has reinvented himself as an expert on male/female relationships despite his messy track record with women himself is bizarre    Why does anyone think a guy who boasts he has no female friends and has failed with women repeatedly become the go-to guy for advice on how fix a failing relationship?

People are free to read whatever books they want and support whom they like. I don’t find anything remotely admirable about anyone who builds themselves up by standing on top of someone else the way Steve Harvey is doing Mary Harvey.  

I’m sure she’s no angel and has her own flaws, but reinventing herself as a relationship guru isn’t one of them.  What makes Steve Harvey any kind of expert?  Because he’s a serial cheater and has messed up relationships with women?   ANY fool can do that.

There’s a market for men telling women the “secrets” of what men really think about women, but it’s all just a scam to worm their way into their purses–and it’s working.    If  Steve Harvey wants to tell a joke I’ll listen.  Otherwise he’s just another hustler working a hustle.

Like Sarah Palin On Steroids

Think you got enough eyeliner there, Congresswoman?

The good thing about being a politics junkie?   Your brain is overstuffed with bits and pieces of information about important and standing-on-the-verge-of-becoming-important figures and organizations whom may be partly in the public eye, but have yet to fully emerge.

The bad thing about being a politics junkie?   There’s no satisfaction in being ahead of the curve.

This week, Michelle Bachmann, a conservative Congressperson from Minnesota popped up in the public consciousness as the Republican who gave the second Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address.   The official response/rebuttal came from Rep. Paul Ryan,  a rising star among economic conservatives for his detailed plans to cut, hack and slash Medicare into bloody ribbons and sell off the carcass to private investors to manage.

The unofficial and unsanctioned rebuttal came from Bachmann, the self-appointed queen of the House’s small, but noisy Tea Party caucus.   Most responses by the opposition party to any president’s official address to a joint session of both houses of Congress are standard grocery lists of why the president’s ideas blow and why ours are so much better.  Few of these scripted comebacks are memorable, but a few become so because the person contradicting the president screws it up.

Bachmann’s problem was while she touched on all the right-wing hot buttons of attacking the stimulus and repealing Obamacare, she did so while noticeably staring off to the right at a Webcast camera, and not the “pool” camera which broadcast her speech to the television networks.   If you’ve ever been in a tv studio before they turn on the camera they will tell you which camera to look into.   Bachmann kept her gaze locked to the right and apparently nobody bothered to whisper, “Pssst!  Hey dumb ass, YOU’RE LOOKING AT THE WRONG CAMERA!”

Thus an You Tube moment is born.   What she said will be quickly forgotten.   The bumbling way she said it will never be.    Bachmann did manage to work in a few exaggerations and misrepresentations (okay, lies) into her six minutes that were shot down by PolitiFact.com.

It was an embarrassing performance, but the damage was limited as only CNN bothered to carry it.  Liberal bloggers (like me!) won’t let it go but it won’t be as damaging to Bachmann’s ambitions.    Already her name is being floated as a possible GOP presidential contender.  Unlike a certain ex-governor turned reality star, Bachmann actually likes governing and is a formidable fundraiser. She raised $13 million in her reelection bid and has two million remaining should she choose to challenge Democratic incumbent Senator Amy Kloubuchar in 2012.

Bachmann is not simply a Tea Party loyalist, but a true believer and a up-and-comer in the G.O.P. She’s probably better off trying to knock off Kloubuchar and bide her time for a presidential bid.

Less popular than Palin, but just as extreme.

Bachmann is probably unelectable as a presidential contender, but she is a formidable figure and could play a role in deciding who represents the Republicans.

It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds.   Michelle Bachmann is Sarah Palin with just as much crazy, but a much stronger work ethic.  She’s as much of an attention seeking publicity whore as Palin, but unlike the ex-governor, Bachmann doesn’t mind diving under the hood of the political machinery and getting her hands dirty.   She’s not much good at being a legislator and John Boehner and the GOP leadership tolerate her lone ranger act more than they support it.  They were uber-pissed off by Bachmann undercutting Ryan and the Republican united front against the president, but they can’t control her or shut her up as the third-term representative is a darling of the anti-establishment Tea Party and a force on the fundraising circuit.

None of which changes the fact she’s still fucking batshit-crazy.

Michele Bachmann has no chance of being elected President of the United States in 2012.

But does she have a chance to be elected Vice-President of the United States? Hell to the yeah.

Bachmann, and whomever it is that’s whispering in her ear know she’s too far out on the extreme Right to win on the top of a ticket. However, following the Palin template, she could make an effective attack dog for someone like Mitt Romney.

Romney is never going to be the darling of the GOP base since Obamacare looks suspiciously like Romneycare. He knows as much as he tries to evoke Ronald Reagan he doesn’t come across as a true believer. Bachmann is a Tea Party pin-up girl. Nobody can question her conservative credentials, her ability to raise tons of money, or her affinity with the Tea Party.

Bachmann can raise enough money to play in the Republican primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire and probably go to South Carolina and dazzle ’em down there as well. Bachmann could be everything Republicans dream Palin might be and then some. She has the experience Palin doesn’t have. She has proven she can both raise wads of cash and elect more Republicans. She’s photogenic. She’s charismatic.

I could be totally wrong. I could be totally right. Either way I wouldn’t be surprised if within a year we see her tramping through the snows of Iowa while Palin is left wondering how she blindsided by the equally conservative, but far more electable Bachmann.

Yes, she’s batshit-fucking-crazy, but some folks find that a minor, but endearing character flaw.

Sorry folks, but Bachmann wants top billing.

“True Grit:” The Dude Tops the Duke.

 

The story remains the same. The eyepatch does not.

The wife and I decided we would go to the movie theater to see the new Coen brothers film, True Grit, their version of the book and which  inspired the 1969 movie that provided John Wayne with his lone Academy Award.  I will not attempt to speak for my wife as she is quite capable of doing that for herself, but I rather enjoyed the contemporary retelling of the Charles Portis novel.   It was a rousing and stirring entertainment.

It would be crass to relate the details of the film, but I will say the superb performance by 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld properly places the emphasis of the story on Mattie Ross instead of the supporting character of Sheriff Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn.   I have never been a fan of Wayne due to his appallingly unkind and crude racial views about Native Americans and African-Americans.   Additionally, I do not find him as an actor to be someone whose body of work I have much admiration for.

The decision to cast Jeff Bridges at Rooster Cogburn was an exemplary one by the Coens.  He is a vastly superior actor in comparison to Wayne and has a great chemistry with his youthful co-star.   Wayne reportedly had little regard for Kim Darby, who played Mattie in the earlier version.

The film has done well at the box office and received ten Academy Award nominations this week including Best Picture, a second consecutive Best Actor nomination for Mr. Bridges and a Best Supporting Actress nod to Miss Steinfeld.

Hailee Steinfeld: shooting for an Oscar win?

The Best Supporting Actress nomination actually makes little to no sense.  Steinfeld is on-screen for the majority of the film.  It is her story that is the centerpiece and she more than capably holds her own paired with veteran actors of the caliber of Bridges, Matt Damon as the pompous Texas Ranger, LaBoeuf (pronounced “la beef”) and Josh Brolin as the villainous coward and murderer, Tom Chaney.

In a just and fair world, Steinfeld would have nominated in her rightful category: Best Actress.  Alas, the world is neither just nor fair.   Young actresses often are kicked down to the lesser “Best Supporting” category whether their performance is a leading one or not.

There are some critics who do not appreciate this film as much as I do.   I strongly believe they are very much in error and I will list a few ways in which True Grit 2010 stands head and shoulders about True Grit 1969.

* John Wayne won his Oscar playing Rooster Cogburn for sentimental reasons as much as his performance. He triumphed over Richard Burton in Anne of the Thousand Days, Peter O’Toole in Goodbye, Mr. Chips and both Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy.  That speaks clearly to me that Wayne sailed to victory as nothing so much as a lifetime achievement award for “the Duke.”

* Kim Darby was 22-years-old trying to play 14-year-old Mattie Ross. Hailee Steinfeld was 13-years-old when she played the part. Clearly the advantage is with Miss Steinfeld.

* Oscar-winning directors Joel and Ethan Coen are vastly superior to Henry Hathaway who directed the 1969 version.

* Matt Damon vs. country singer Glen Campbell as LaBoeuf?  Nothing more needs be said about that.

I do not know if I believe True Grit to be the best movie of 2010, but it is worthy being considered as one of the best.  I would not be distraught should it be chosen by the Academy Awards as such.

If my phrasing seems stiffly formal and oddly unnatural as it deviates wildly from my usual casual (and often profane) writing style, it may be a lingering influence from viewing this film.  A Coen brothers film would not be a Coen brothers film without an artistic flourish peculiar to them and in True Grit it is the extremely stylized way of speaking everyone uses in this version of the West.  Think of Fargo with horses and jangling spurs.   Contractions are used only rarely.  There is slang and collaquisms peculiar to the time in question but as soon as you settle back in your chair you will find the dialogue affected and forced and rich and resonant.  I found it to be the latter and not the former.  The actors speak as if Shakespeare had relocated to the Old West.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the cinematography of Roger Deakins and the musical score by Carter Burwell.  Now I have.

I do have one reservation: much like Spike Lee, the Coens do not always wrap up their films with tidy endings.  I am not entirely satisfied with the wrap-up of True Grit, but at least it is not No Country For Old Men.

Please keep in mind: this is not a remake of the first film.  It is an adaptation of the book.

True Grit has a heart and soul I do not recall in the original and I will enjoy adding this film to my collection to be viewed again at my leisure.

And now I will stop talking this way.

Jay Cutler Gets Sacked—After the Game.

Cutler is tough, but not enough?

The Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears for the right to play the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl.   You wouldn’t know it though because the headlines from the game weren’t about the Packers winning.   It was all about Bears quarterback Jay Cutler going out of the game with a knee injury.  That didn’t go over so well with his peers around the NFL who retreated to their Twitter accounts to unload on the guy.

If i’m on chicago team jay cutler has to wait till me and the team shower get dressed and leave before he comes in the locker room

~ Darnell Dockett/Arizona Cardinals

Its hard to know, but it def looked like it. RT @LSUFAN869: @LanceMoore16 Cutler gave up wouldn’t you say?

~ Lance Moore/New Orleans Saints

All I’m saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee… I played the whole season on one…

~ Maurice Jones-Drew

I’m no fan of Jay Cutler.  The Chicago Bears are not my team and he’s not the guy I’d want leading my team as the quarterback.  Maybe he’s a little soft and spoiled.  Maybe he’s the modern-day Jeff George or Cryin’ Ryan Leaf.  Nobody likes a prima donna.  I get that.

What I like even less are a bunch of jock sniffing sportswriters and NFL players like Kerry Rhodes, Darnell Dockett and Maurice Jones-Drew whose teams didn’t even MAKE the playoffs sitting on their butts talking (or tweeting) all this CRAP about another man’s guts.   My threshold for pain is not yours and vice versa.  I love those old war stories about old players like Jack Youngblood balling on a broken leg or Ronnie Lott having part of his thumb removed so he get back in the game.  That’s all very macho  but Jay Cutler is NOT Jack frigging’ Youngblood.

NFL Network analyst Deion “Prime Time” Sanders said about Cutler,  “Folks I never question a players injury but i do question a players heart.”

What the hell does a guy who played as soft as Sanders know about “heart?”

You can look through every highlight NFL Films has on Prime Time and not find one hard hit.  More often that not the Sanders method of tackling an opposing player was to push them out of bounds if they were near the sidelines or grab a leg, hold on for dear life and wait for reinforcements.

Cutler’s body language on the sidelines was lousy.  Maybe he wasn’t listening to the plays being called in or trying to advise third-stringer Caleb Hanie.  And maybe–just MAYBE–he was bummed out to the max at not being able to play in the biggest game in his career.

A true Monster of the Midway stands by his man.

It’s not as if Cutler was having a great day anyhow before he was taken out of the game by head coach Lovie Smith.  Cutler finished the day with 14 attempts and 6 completions for 80 yards and one interception.

“I don’t give a shit about players around the league who are watching the game from home,” said Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.”It’s easy to talk shit about someone while you’re sitting on your couch watching the game. That’s all I’m saying. I don’t understand it. I don’t get it. Let them sprain their MCL — or do whatever he did to his knee — and let them get back in the game. Let’s see them do that, see how well they run the ball, or see how well they do at whatever position they play. I don’t agree with it. It’s easy to write that stuff on the Internet.”

Against the Seattle Seahawks–the “champs” of the putrid NFC West with a 7-9 record who stomped Lance Moore’s Super Bowl winning New Orleans Saints into a greasy stain—Cutler ran for two touchdowns.  He was sacked 57 times behind a rickety offensive line.  I watched him get pounded like a nail by the New York Giants who took him down nine times and beat the hell out of him.  Cutler is also a Type 1 diabetic who has to check his blood sugar during games.  This guy may not the most macho stud in the NFL, but no way is he a pussy either.

If you turn on the radio or ESPN you’ll hear a ton of former jocks and current jock-sniffing yakkers rip Cutler as a gutless coward who quit on his team in their biggest game of the season.  There will be polls asking if Cutler faked his injury.  There is one thing they will all have in common:  not one of them will have the ability to read Jay Cutler’s mind or walk in his shoes.

Urlacher has been the unquestioned leader of the Monsters of the Midway for ten seasons and he’s a throwback to other Bears linebackers such as Dick Butkus and Samurai Mike Singletary.   If Urlacher has  Cutler’s back and  his teammate was hurt that’s good enough for me.   It should definitely be good enough for the losers around the league who were running their mouths instead of running down the field on NFL championship Sunday.

I’ve never blogged about Jay Cutler or the Chicago Bears before and I doubt I ever will again.  At least I sincerely hope it’s not over something as ridiculous as this.

The Bears lost the game, but did Cutler lose the Bears?

Keith Olbermann Leans Forward, Falls Out at MSNBC.

Out through the in door. Bye, Keith!

It was a Black Friday for both the Left and the Right that loves to bash the media for left-wing bias.

Keith Olbermann and MSNBC went their separate ways with the final episode of “Countdown” airing Friday, January 21.

 MSNBC’s statement reads as follows

MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavors. 

As for the updated schedule, Lawrence O’Donnell’s show will be moved to 8 p.m.; while “The Ed Show” with Ed Schultz will air at 10 p.m. Rachel Maddow will stay in her regular slot at 9 p.m.  Olbermann bid a brief three-minute farewell to the viewers, but among his “thank you’s” he pointedly neglected to mention MSNBC president Phil Griffin who suspended Olbermann for not disclosing campaign contributions to several Democrats including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. 

The question  destined to burn up the liberal blogosphere is whether Olbermann jumped or pushed?   MSNBC signed him two years ago to a four-year $30 million contract, but this relationship stopped being a love match early on once it became clear while Olbermann was great at doing opinionated and advocacy, he was not interchangeable as a straight and sober newsman. 

Hear that?   That’s the  sound of Bill O’Reilly laughing his ass off. 

Something I noticed on MSNBC this week was the appearance of a sight rarely seen in their evening programming.  Republicans!

On her show Rachel Maddow interviewed former RNC chairman Michael Steele followed by Lawrence O’Donnell questioning Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)  one of the president’s most committed (and bigoted) opponents. I can’t recall if I’ve ever seen Olbermann interview any Republican politicians. Even Sean Hannity invites a few token, weaker than day old beer “liberals” to show up for a little public humiliation.

The new star at MSNBC, then and now.

It’s doubtful Comcast is going to turn MSNBC into a little league version of Fox News, but as Olbermann and the execs at MSNBC weren’t blowing sloppy kisses to each other, maybe they figured they’ve gone as far as they can go as the liberal alternative to Fox. The denials that the FCC approval of the sale has nothing to do with Olbermann’s exit is garbage. Like they would admit they waxed their most popular host as conditions of the sale?

I feel a little bad for Olbermann because I don’t know where he’s supposed to land. CNN seems unlikely the way he dumped on Campbell Brown. CBS and ABC wouldn’t touch him. ESPN might, but he burned a lot of bridges in Bristol.

If Roger Ailes calls it’s only because Bill O’Reilly is looking for someone to take his suits to the cleaners.

Aw, the hell with it. With a $30 million contract I’m sure Keith saved a few nickels to rub together.   I never worry about wealthy White men and their uncanny ability to land on their feet.   He may even find a better opportunity, though I can’t imagine where.  With Olbermann hitting the bricks the new go-to guy at the network is a girl;  Rachel Maddow, better known as the woman who made Rand Paul cry like a whiny baby.  

We’re talking about a freaking Rhodes scholar. She’s a real doctor. Paul just plays one in Kentucky.

Dr. Maddow is only 37 years old. She’s not nearly as good now as she’s going to be. MSNBC should lock her up to a long-term contract. She is what Katie Couric wanted to be: the true star of her network and their brightest light.   O’Donnell is well-liked by the front office as a Democratic insider, Ed Schultz will pick up the stragglers from Olbermann’s camp (maybe he’ll pick up the “Worst Person In the World” segment too?)  Chris Matthews will get a tingle up his leg as he never seemed comfortable being paired with Olbermann.   The breaking point was the lousy job they did covering the 2010 elections where they could barely hide their dismay and disgust at the Republican wave sweeping away Democrats across the country.  

Meanwhile, MSNBC remains as  predominantly male and White as ever.  Some things just don’t ever seem to change.      

I hate to be the skunk at the garden party, but instead of joining a Facebook page demanding Comcast/MSNBC hire back a guy they just paid $7 million to take a walk, why aren’t all good libs and progressives demanding they replace Olbermann with a liberal and progressive PERSON OF COLOR?

We haven’t  tried that, have we?   Let’s try a little thinking outside the box here, people.

 It’s not like CNN or FOX are busting their asses to put someone in their primetime programming that adds a little diversity to the proceedings.   Why does the default reaction to a wealthy White guy losing his show have to be “Oh no!  We must get him back!  Storm the ramparts!” 

Meet the new Ted Williams?

Standing On the Verge of the Super Bowl

A little ground and pound never hurt nobody.

…and then there were three.

Nope, I’m not talking about a Genesis album (though there is one playing as I type this).   There’s three games left in the 2010 NFL season.   The two conference championships between the Packers vs. Bears and the Jets vs. Steelers followed by the Super Bowl.   Notice I did not include the Pro Bowl that occurs between the championships and the Super Bowl.   Nobody cares about the Pro Bowl.

I’m hoping these will be some good games this  Sunday.   They could be the last we will be seeing for a while.

On the horizon is the great possibility of a lockout of the players by the owners in there’s not a new collective bargaining agreement in place by March 4.    Both the owners and the players union are dug in to their respective positions and playing the blame game.   There are no negotiations going on between the two sides.

I won’t get into the specifics because frankly I don’t much care.   There are a series of articles on the National Football Post that explains the reasons for the conflict in great detail.    For my part,   I am not choosing between the players and the owners.   I do not know which side is right or wrong.    I just want my NFL football next fall.

How I get it and who the winners and losers are is irrelevant to me.    When I’m sitting in front of my TV with a cold beverage in one hand and the remote in the other I just want to be able to kick back and chill for three hours.    Millionaires fighting with billionaires over money doesn’t hold my interest.

Some other thoughts standing on the verge of the Super Bowl:

  • It was the same old song and dance for the Winbush brothers as all three of our teams, the Browns (5-11) , 49ers (6-10) and the Raiders (8-8) finished the season in their usual positions:  out of the playoffs.   All three teams shit-canned their crappy coaches and will enter 2011 with new leadership and  high hopes for a return to respectability.     IF there is a 2011 season.
  • With the 49ers in their usual post-season place (watching from the cheap seats like everyone else), I have no rooting interest in who ends up in the Super Bowl.    I’m a little sick of the Steelers, but I find them a bit less annoying than the Jets.    No team in the league swaggers more than the Jets and has accomplished less.    So they beat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in respective weeks.   Good for them.   After all the mad shit they talked leading up to the Patriots game last week it would have been an embarrassment if they had lost.  Fortunately, they did not and spared me the annoyance of the “Bill Belichick is a super genius and Tom Brady is Jesus” storyline.   Tired of it and don’t wanna hear it anymore.
  • Speaking of Brady, Belichick and the Patriots, what profits a team to go 14-2 during the regular season (with one of those losses being served up by the lowly Browns) only to get punked in their first game of the playoffs.     The Hoodie had two weeks to work his magic against the Jets, a team they had smoked 45-3 back in December.   If I were a Patriots fan I’d have to ask myself, “What in the hell is going on here?”
  • I have beau coup respect for Brady as one of the NFL’s élite quarterbacks, but I cannot stand the way the league protects him from a defensive player even looking at him cross-eyed.    One of the worst moments of the season came when Brady whined to the officials and they threw a penalty flag on the Ravens due to his goading.   Mike Freeman of CBS Sports wrote a column that nailed how protecting Brady goes beyond the five big boys on his offensive line:

It was October of last year in Foxborough. The Patriots and Baltimore Ravens were playing in one of the more-hard fought games of the year. In it, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was pummeled repeatedly, by my count, a minimum of five times. The last hit on Flacco led to a roughing penalty.

Brady was hit only twice and both times the Ravens were called for roughing the passer. One hit was borderline and the other looked legal. The penalties called on Baltimore were key because they extended both drives and led to Patriots scores.

This is the interesting part. On one of the Brady hits a game official was standing almost directly next to Brady. He watched the hit. The official did nothing … until Brady angrily expressed his displeasure to the official.

Brady claimed the hit was a penalty and then about one second after he complained the official threw the flag. I wouldn’t have believed it had I not witnessed the scene with my own two eyes. It looked clearly as if Brady’s complaining had influenced the call.

The Ravens were generally incensed over the two calls and, later specifically how Brady basically goaded the official into throwing a flag.

“Without totally going off the wall here, it is embarrassing to the game,” Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said afterward. “Brady is good enough to make his own plays, let him make the play. When you have two great teams that are going at it, let them go at it. Both of their touchdown drives had personal fouls that kept drives alive. Did that win or lose the game? No, but it got them 14 points.”

 

"Hey ref! HE'S TOUCHING ME!!! Doesn't he know I'm Tom Brady?"

 

  • Hard hits are part of the game and when you take the hitting out of it it’s just flag football.    Network executives and the fans pay big money to watch Tom Brady vs. Payton Manning, not their scrub backups,  Brian Hoyer vs. Curtis Painter.   I get that you can’t demand the big money for scrubs, but it’s getting so even knocking a quarterback down is going to get the laundry flying.   It’s not football anymore when it gets to that point.
  • I think it was a good season, but not a great one.   I saw a few exciting games, but a lot of boring ones plagued by risk-free play-calling and unimaginative offense.   Then again, I am a 49ers fan, so I should be used to that kind of thing.   The most fun game was the Browns vs. Saints game with the Brownies pulling out all the stops with trick plays and fake punts.   It was absolutely nuts, but hell, when you’re a bad football team like the Browns, do you have to be boring too?   No you do not, and if more coaches would unclench and take the leash off their players, the NFL would be a lot more exciting than it is.   Too many running plays up the middle for three yards may be safe, but it is boring as fuck to sit there and watch.

The day of the Super Bowl has become an unofficial national holiday.   President Obama says he’ll be there in Dallas to watch his beloved Bears if they beat the Packers this Sunday (sorry Mr. President, but I don’t think they will).   I’m taking the day off and plan on being armed with plenty of food and drink as I settle in to watch  a lot of  expensive commercials, an over-hyped game, and typically a putrid halftime show.  Prince dancing in high heels and playing an electric guitar in the rain was one of the best performances in recent memory while last year’s appearance by what’s left of The Who was god-awful as the two original members who haven’t dropped dead yet wheezed through a sorry-ass show.

Not that I’m expecting this year’s act , the overexposed/under talented Black Eyed Peas to be any better.   Hoping for the best.  Preparing for the worst.

Way too old to rock n' roll.

Feeling the love, enjoying the hate.

This isn’t so much as just another in an ongoing series of blog posts as this is a victory lap.

It’s been a minute since the last time I had an article published in The Root. Okay—more like, it’s been five months since I had an article published in The Root. I’ve been on this losing streak  for so long that when I submitted my Sarah Palin: Graceless Under Pressure post, I wasn’t expecting anything but yet another, “Sorry, not for us.”

Only this time it was and the response was to put it mildly, pretty good.

How good?   The essay was selected as the “most popular” and most “e-mailed” story on the site.   There were almost 300 comments and another 1,588 “likes” on Facebook  plus an untold number of page views, but no doubt it’s a big number.

None of which will hurt my chances the next time I pitch a story to my editor.  Editors like a lot of traffic on their websites.   The fact I get paid for it too does not suck at all.

Apparently, I struck a nerve.  Then again when the subject is Sarah Barracuda and the stupid shit she spews out with clockwork regularity, readers don’t straddle the fence.  They love her intensely and hate her with the same degree of intensity.

They aren’t shy about sharing their feelings about ye olde wordsmith either.   Some of them were too good to keep them to myself.

Mr. Winbush is lying when claims he implies that Sarah Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” is anti-Semitic. It is the false accusation that Jews were complicit in the murder of children, which the term describes, that is anti-Semitic. Ms. Palin used it because she was herself falsely accused of complicity in murder. Not too hard to understand, even for a dimwitted Leftist.

Mr Winbush also lies when he describes Rabbi Hirschfield’s piece, to which he links, as explaining “why many Jews took offense at Palin’s use of the phrase.” In fact the rabbi said “I have no particular problem with people, including gentiles, analogizing their own woes to that of Jews”. What a dishonest creep Winbush is.

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If Sarah Palin said Hi, how are you? she would be criticized. This article is doing the same thing that Obama criticized by it’s attack on Palin. It is incorrect about the use of blood libel which is commonly used to express serious libel against someone. Originally it referred to libel against the jews that was prevalent eons ago. However, it is not a jewish phrase nor is it anti-jew. There is no doubt that Palin has been attacked and deserves to make a response and call the attack exactly what it is. This slanted incorrect article is the same type of rhetoric that is causing dissention in this country and it is an attempt to prevent Palin’s free speech.

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I am astounded about your remarks here. I live in rural America and I feel that some of you who spend your lives within the concrete cities must have no idea what life is like in the real world. Out here where most of us live we are bound by constitutional law and we expect same from our government. We are the sons and parents and grandparents who have fought the wars against communism like those who live in the cities have. America, “land of the free home of the brave” is not just rhetoric to me, it is a way of life. In this slow economy while my business is slow I find much time to “TARGET” socialist politicians for replacement by far sighted, conservative representatives to fill the job of public servant in Washington DC. I am a horse that is tired of being dragged around by the cart. Truth is Sarah Palin is a conservative Wife, Mother, Grandmother and her roots are vary American. If you listen real American values issue forth from her mouth when she speaks.

If you are tired of this sort of back stabbing journalism please comment. It is important that this sort of thing is met with overwhelming rejection.

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Oh good F#%^ greif!!! You stupid moron! She was responding to you RABID liberals who were accusing her of inciting this violence. Her quote of R. Reagan was exactly right! But you moron on the left are too friggin stupid to be able to see what the average American see as plain as the nose on Jimmy Durante’s face!

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I don’t know who Jeffrey Winbush is, but his criticisms of Sarah Palin are complete nonsense. I suspect that Mr. Winbush is young, a strong Obama supporter, and either a socialist or a communist. Socialism and communism are nothing new. They have been tried by totalitarian regimes in numerous countries around the world. The people that have suffered and lived under these regimes do not recommend them. –Just ask anyone that lived in the former Soviet Union. –Just ask the twenty million souls that died in the Soviet labor camps under Comrade Stalin. –Just ask the hundreds of people that have died under socialized medicine in Great Britain and Western Europe. Maybe Mr. Winbush should have a conversation with some of the first generation of Cuban refugees still living in Miami. I suspect Mr. Winbush received his journalistic education from liberal professors that have never operated a business or missed a meal. He criticizes Sarah Palin because he has no real understanding of history, and even less of American conservatism. He bases his criticism on the term “blood libel.” He knows full well that Palin was not referencing the medieval use of the term. Winbush is looking for any flimsy excuse to defile the stature of Palin in the eyes of the public. I am seventy-one years old, and in a few years I will be dead. When I consider the generation that will soon be in charge of things, death doesn’t look so bad. Good Luck Mr. Winbush. I too was once young and ignorant.

As opposed to being old and still ignorant?   How else would you describe  some guy who accuses someone he doesn’t even know of being a “socialist or communist?”

Sarah Palin groupies crack me up.  A bunch of  conservative White guys holding out hope their wet dreams of fucking her will one day come true.

I hate writing about Palin but I love my haters.   They reassure me I’m not wasting my time even while they’re juicing up my page hits.

Hey, Palin groupies! This what you REALLY want?

Hiromi is the Hendrix of the piano.

She plays like a girl. A really GOOD girl.

I don’t get jazz sexism.

I used to read Down Beat magazine and my favorite section was the blindfold test where notable artists would listen to tunes selected for them to critique.   When you got someone like Miles Davis listening to something he thought was crap he wasn’t shy about saying so.   What I don’t remember even Miles at his meanest saying, “Take that shit off.  That bitch can’t play.”

Name an instrument and if there’s a man who is playing it, odds are there’s a woman who can too.    The individual style in which one player employs may identify them as a man or a woman, but unless you see who’s playing how can you tell if its Cindy Blackman or Harvey Mason behind the drum kit?  Jazz  has one hard, fast rule: you got to be able to play and if you can gender has nothing to do with it.   It really is true it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

Duke Ellington nailed it when he say there were only two types of music: good and bad.   If  you can’t play it does not matter if you stand in the men’s room or you sit in the ladies room.  

Hiromi Uehara plays good.   REALLY good.   There’s real jazz and fake jazz.   In real jazz there is improvisation, virtuosity, spontaneity, a willingness to take risks and a spirit of adventure where the artist does not settle for the safe and familiar but is willingness to explore the limits of both their instrument and their imagination.   None of those qualities have a damn thing to do with a Kenny G. record.   That is fake jazz.   Now I like light jazz every so often.   It’s like a Big Mac and fries.   Far from gourmet dining but perfectly adequate and acceptable when your tastes aren’t that demanding.   But real jazz gives the listener many a moment of true artistry that makes the listener say, “damn.”  

Hiromi gives me a lot of “DAMN” moments.  She was a student at the Yamaha School of Music and continued on at The Berklee School of Music where on a full scholarship  she had the opportunity to play with Oscar Peterson, Chick Corea and Ahmad Jamal.   Jamal co-produced her 2003 debut album, Another Mind, which as a review in Allmusic.com wrote shows off  Hiromi playing with “an almost demonic energy and amazing stamina.”   Hiromi came to my attention while on a  trip to Nashville, I road tested Another Mind  and was blown away by her powerful technique.

Here’s an analogy that if you’ve never heard of Hiromi is going to sound ridiculous but follow where I’m going here.    What was it like the first time you really heard Jimi Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen show what they could do with a guitar in their hands?    For me, when I heard Hendrix doing “Machine Gun” on Band of Gypsies, I became a fan for life.  It took me longer to warm up to David Lee Roth’s vocals than it did Eddie Van Halen’s string shredding pyrotechnics on “Eruption.”   

Those are Holy Crap!  I’ve never heard anyone play a guitar like that! moments.

That’s what listening to Hiromi is like.  She’s to the piano what a Hendrix and Van Halen are to the guitar.   Yeah, she’s that good.

Oh, I can hear what you’re thinking.   But unless you can do better than this you should not doubt me. 

Sometimes I despair when another jazz icon like Hank Jones and Billy Taylor passes on, but my hope for the genre is rekindled when I hear young lions like Hiromi  blowing my mind with her jaw-dropping performance of “Choux à la Creme” from her solo piano album, Place To Be, which was a slam dunk for inclusion on my Best of list for 2010.

It would be one thing if Hiromi were just an affirmative action hire adding a bit of diversity to the man’s man world of jazz, but that would be selling her short.  You don’t get tabbed by Stanley Clarke to handle the piano duties as part of his acoustic trio if you don’t have serious chops.   She does.    Yes, she can play fast and coax sounds out of those 88 keys others either have not or can not, but she understands the tradition as well.   She’s not just a prodigy; she’s a student in a genre where she is not yet a master.

But she’s getting there.   In a hurry. 

To play jazz in America is to play without much fame or fortune laboring in relative musical obscurity where only the enlightened few know how good you really are.  That’s what I see as the greatest good I can do as a music critic and that’s to do my small part to provide some exposure to artists that don’t deserve to be ignored just because they aren’t on American Idol or starting stupid Twitter wars. 

NPR isn’t the first place that comes to mind as a oasis in the desert for jazz, but it is.  Somebody there has taken a particular shine to Miss Uehara.   There’s a lot of music and video links on their website including an interview and performance on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz show.   McPartland is no slouch on the keyboard, but she had to shake her head in astonishment over how fast and strong Hiromi’s playing is.   

There’s still a certain degree of “hey, look what I can do” to Hiromi’s approach to piano, but hell she’s only 32 years old.   She’s still having fun learning what she can do with her instrument of choice.   When you got the audacity to juxtapose  Gershwin’s “I’ve Got Rhythm” and Ellington’s “Caravan” with “Led Boots” from Jeff Beck’s Wired as she did on her album of covers, Beyond Standard, its obvious  Hiromi is a serious musician that doesn’t take herself too seriously.

Allow Hiromi a few youthful musical flourishes.   The girl can flat out play the hell out of a piano.   As she said in a 2004 interview with  a certain dazzled writer,  “I play the piano with my whole body. I was always trying to find the sound that I liked. I listened to many musical giants from jazz to classical. They had such a huge sound and I’m really small—like short? I couldn’t get the sound because I’m too short. I don’t have big hands and long arms. When I started playing with my whole body I finally could get the whole sound.”

Yeah, she’s short in stature.  But she plays big. 

Master and student at work