i am

My photo
harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Monday, September 29, 2008

No Playoffs for Mets or Yankees

writing as a proud native of chicago, i'm neither a huge new york mets nor new york yankees fan. still its disconcerting to have both local baseball teams absent from this year's fall classic. the fate of the yankees was officially sealed last week, ironically after a win. yesterday the mets surrendered their opportunity for a wild card berth by losing the last game of the season to the florida marlins. the milwaukee brewers secured that spot by defeating the national league central champion chicago cubs on the strength of cc sabbathia's magnificent left arm. both teams will move into sparkling new stadiums to open the 2009 baseball season.

the yankees are undoubtedly the most storied franchise in modern sports history. legends like ruth, gehrig, dimaggio, berra & mantle are revered worldwide because of their championship teams yet for the first time in 13 years the yankees will watch their rival american leaguers vie for a coveted world series ring. they split a day-night doubleheader with the boston red sox yesterday. in the opener yankee veteran right-hander mike mussina became, at age 39, the oldest player to win 20 games for the first time. the savvy mussina finished the year at 20-9, with help from future hall-of-famer mariana rivera, winning 6-3.

the mets suffered their second consecutive year coming up a day late & dollar short. new manager jerry manuel will prolly shoulder the blame from their fickle fans & the arrogant media for playing an inconsistent september. a couple of weeks ago the mets were in first place yet lost their lead to the eastern champion philadelphia phillies, who were led by mvp candidate fist baseman ryan howard. newly acquired johan santana pitched a glorious three-hit, nine-strikeout, complete game shutout to tie the mets with milwaukee on saturday, thus setting the stage for the season's final showdown. unfortunately the mets potent offensive trio of david wright, carlos beltran & carlos delagdo were quiet as they lost 4-2.

both teams had emotionally charged farewell ceremonies during their respective final home stands, welcoming past players onto the field for the fans to celebrate their legacy one last time. shea stadium in queens was primarily known for the '69 amazin mets - who overcame an eight-game deficit in september from the struggling chicago cubs to make the nl playoffs & ultimately defeat the baltimore orioles in the world series with timely defense, clutch hitting & solid pitching. loyal new york baseball fans will have to make the necessary adjustments to the new stadiums - as do the players - yet we can all be grateful for the wonderful memories provided by two classy franchises.

many people predicted another subway series. not me. i'm hoping the chicago white sox can pull off a miracle by winning their last regular season game today against the detroit tigers. if the white sox are successful, they'll play the resurgent minnesota twins in a one-game playoff for the american league central crown. the white sox won the world series in 2005. the last cubs world series win? 100 years ago. omg. i want a chicago subway series! that's my story & i'm sticking to it. it would be both an historical & improbable achievement to see the cubs & white sox play for the title. as a life-long cubs fan (on the down-low) i'd welcome the thrill of victory & the agony of defeat...

yes we can.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Roger Federer and Serena Williams Triumph at 2008 US Open

Roger Federer & Serena Williams were victorious singles champions at the 2008 US Open. Federer won his fifth consecutive title, just one shy of tying Bill Tilden, who won six straight titles in the early 1920's. Williams, who upset #1 Martina Hingis as a teenager in 1999 for her first Grand Slam title here, won her third title at Flushing Meadows without dropping a set. Williams also claims the number ranking as a result of her win. Federer remains the #2 player on tour.

The men's draw promised to be a showdown between newly ranked #1 Rafael Nadal of Spain & Federer, who lost to Nadal in the finals of the French Open & Wimbledon this year. In fact, prior to this tournament Federer had not won a major; he lost to world #3 Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Federer avenged his loss to Djokovic by defeating him soundly in the semis in four sets. Nadal lost in the semis to world #6 Andy Murray of Britian - in a match delayed by rain & continued the next day - in four tough sets.

Federer played Murray on a beautiful Monday afternoon. Murray was coming off a hot summer & clearly the underdog, this being his first Grand Slam final, yet he has a career 2-1 match edge over Federer. Murray has worked hard over the last 18 months on his fitness & mental toughness, also changing coaches a few times to spearhead his rise to the top. Both players are brilliant shot makers & excited the crowd with their talent, but Federer was his usual charismatic self as he won 6-2, 7-5, 6-2. As a result of his fine efforts here, Murray will become the #4 player in the world.

Williams came into the tournament seeded #4. Like Federer, she had not won a major this year. Williams played her sister Venus, the defending Wimbledon champion in the quarterfinals during prime time. Serena saved 10 set points in her thrilling 7-6, 7-6 win. In the semis she soundly beat the hottest player on the tour, Dinara Safina of Russia in straight sets. Safina had an opportunity to become world #1 with a US Open victory. In the other semi-final match, world #2 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia defeated Olympic Gold medal winner Elena Dementieva of Russia. Like Safina, both women had a shot at being #1 with a US Open victory.

The women's final was moved to Sunday night because of the rain. Hurricane Gustav swept through New York Saturday afternoon, postponing all matches until the following day. While Jankovic & Williams have a career 3-3 record, the feisty Serbian (like Murray) has never been in a Grand Slam Final. Under difficult conditions & lasting nearly two & half hours they played one of the most competitive women's singles matches in recent history. Jankovic is known for her defensive prowess & Williams for her offensive firepower. Both players had trouble holding serve in each set, though Williams finally prevailed 6-4, 7-5.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Obama Tells 84,000 People Yes We Can & Yes I Do!

In front of over 84,000 people at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado, Illinois Senator Barack Obama accepted, "with profound humility and deep gratitude," the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Obama's historic affirmation took place exactly 45 years after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed over 250,000 people in Washington, DC in front of the Lincoln Memorial with his internationally acclaimed "I Have A Dream," speech.

The 2008 Democratic National Convention culminated on August 28 with the largest audience in political history to show their support for Obama & Senator Joe Biden, his Vice Presidential running mate. A star-studded lineup of musical performers such as Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald, Sheryl Crow, Will.i.am, John Legend & Jenifer Hudson entertained the crowd. Also, there were spirited speeches from community activists, grassroots workers, local organizers, military families & politicians, as well as everyday people affected by home foreclosures, inadequate health care, the recession, unemployment & the war in Iraq.

Obama was fiery, passionate & very specific in sharing his plans for changing the current landscape of American life. The dynamic young Senator proposed affordable health care for all Americans, a world class education from pre-kindergarten through college, to bring home the military troops from Iraq responsibly, cut taxes for 95% of all working families, end American addiction to foreign oil in 10 years, offer women equal pay for equal work & provide young people who commit to serving their community or their country an affordable college education. When Obama shared his heartfelt desire for an end to politicians who attack each others' character & sense of patriotism, the crowd stood in unison.

Senator Obama welcomed a debate with Arizona Senator John McCain, the Republican Party nominee for President. Obama drew laughter from the crowd upon noting how McCain has chided him publicly for lack of judgment, stating, "how can he talk about judgment when he voted for Bush 90% of the time." He added, "I don't know about you, but I don't want to take a 10% chance on his judgment for the American people." Obama spoke warmly about the familial influences of his mother, grandmother & grandfather. Then, in response to a recent McCain ad showing Paris Hilton & Britney Spears in the backdrop of an Obama campaign stump, the African-American said, "I don't know what McCain thinks about celebrities, but these are my heroes."

Throughout the almost 45-minute speech, Obama outlined "eight years of failed polices of the Bush Administration," saying, "America cannot go back, America cannot go back...we must move forward into the future because you can't fight 21st century problems with 20Th century ideas." Obama received thunderous applause when he graciously acknowledged his differences with McCain on such issues as abortion, gun ownership, immigration & sexual orientation discrimination. Also, Obama defiantly challenged McCain's stand against Osama bin Laden stating, "McCain wants to chase bin Laden into the gates of hell, but he won't even chase him into the cave he lives in."

I watched the convention all day, everyday on C-SPAN, occasionally eavesdropping on local news coverage. Since I only have basic cable service, I'm unable to assess the views on CNN, Democracy Now & MSNBC. My opinion of channel five? Fuck Fox News! Real talk. Anyhoo, never did I think I'd see with sober eyes the day when a brotha had a legitimate opportunity to permanently occupy the Oval Office - well, at least for four years. Michelle Obama, who brought me to tears of joy, love & pride with her powerful speech in Colorado on Monday evening, will make a brilliant First Lady. In less than 65 days, the country will decide who should lead the nation: an old, white male or a young, Black male. Hopefully, the winner will do the right thing for the right reason when he takes the solemn oath in January, 2009.