The Great Black out Of San Francisco. Part 1

                                                                WARNING

 

And no! I am no means talking about power outages. This next upcoming series will be talking exclusively about the Black Americans in San Francisco. We will go back to the Gold Rush era, talk about all the wars (From the Civil War to present), Economics, Sports, Culture, Climate, Politics, Unemployment, Crime, Entertainment, Drugs, and even Housing. We will bring you this series little by little to help you as the reader understand what it is like to be a Black American in San Francisco today.  When you read the title, what do you think I am talking about? Do you think it’s  power? Wealth? Opulence? Success? History? Unity? Etc? We are going to talk about all of that today. Before we start (dammit why does he always preface things) I must tell you that this piece was a long time coming. I’ve worked tirelessly on interviewing folks, researching intricate facts, tapping my memory banks to access my personal experiences, reading, and most of all observing. The Black Out of San Francisco is exactly what it is. The Blacks are out of the city. Hence BLACKOUT. My goal is to not only make people aware but hopefully, there is one person who reads this, and says “by dam that dude is right.” I will be referencing a few books throughout this series. The 1st book is entitled “Images of America, African-Americans of San Francisco by Jan Batiste Adkins.” The 2nd book is entitled “Black San Francisco: The struggle for racial equality in the west. 1900-1954.” Please enjoy and I thank you infinitely for taking time out of your day to check us out.

         2nd WARNING

 Wait, oh shit in typical Tareau fashion I forgot to tell you this. Considering that I am a so-called writer, I am going to do things completely unorthodox. Instead of presenting to you an array of information at once, I am going to give you little tid bits of info. You see no one wants to be bombarded with stuff that they are faking an interest on. (Did I just accuse my readers of being fake) Probably? Honestly ask yourself before you get into the meat and potatoes of the story. “Do I really care?” I care. Do you? If you choose yes, than you will come to appreciate my writing styles and my ADHD-esq writing formats (Jumping from place to place) If not than there are several of millions, if not billions of writers in this world that is for you. This topic is a sensitive one and by today’s standards, it should be handled with a delicately.  Well FUCK THAT. It’s truth time in here. It’s time once again to challenge yourself to put yourselves in someone elses shoes. Get out of your comfort zone and get your hands dirty. Slum it up. Low Brow it.

3rd WARN… AWWW SCREW IT. WE’LL DO IT LIVE

I think I warned you enough. I don’t apologize one bit for what I am about to say. Today, living in San Francisco, You can literally go miles without seeing a black person. San Francisco overnight has become
game-of-thrones-kings-landing
King’s Landing. Game Of Thrones. Basically I am just saying that this is what San Francisco has become. A playground for White and Asian people while the Black and Brown people live in Flea Bottom
Slums
While these Slums represent San Francisco’s Black and Brown Population.
Kings Landing in the Game of Thrones while the colored people all reside in Flea Bottom. Basically a big twinkie. Nothing but Asians and Whites. It’s true. You don’t know how many times I’ve been in places here in my own city, where I am the only black person there. Do you think our counterparts of the fairer skin ever notices? Do you think they say “Well I’ll be a son of a gun, there are no black or brown people here.” (Latinos included). I don’t know how many times I’ve walked from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge (a 6.1 mi Walk) and only saw 1 other Black person. Come on San Francisco. That’s a slap in the face. For a city who prides itself on equality, and freedom, they sure did a great job of hiding us didn’t they?  Let us step inside my head for a minute and get my perspective on this. I’ll use 2 examples so you can kind of comprehend where I am coming from.

 

 

                    1st example

When I go to beautiful place in San Francisco like Golden Gate Park, and I see these little kids from great preschools, great prominent families full of energy, fresh-faced and all, There are no Black or Brown children with them at all. The children are our future and imagine that they are being cheated out of the truth. Being cheated out of getting to know some of the greatest human beings ever. And imagine that a lot of these innocent little kids, will only identify to Black cultural from what the masses tells them. From the negative shit that they see on ESPN or BET. To stories from their parents. They will think that every Black person is LiL Wayne, or that every Black girl can twerk. Or that we are all fast, beautiful, talented dancing singing mofos. No one ever identifies or pair Black culture with innovators or brilliance. (Partly our fault as well) It’s sad but true. Just think if you meet a new neighbor and they are not Black, You yourself, might be the only Black  representation that those folks will ever see. That’s how our culture is so clouded, because as diverse as our Black skin is, only a handful of people will actually identify with the roots of it. Some of us have become Unofficial Black Spokespersons just from being around a certain demographic. (Or the TOKEN BLACK GUY if you will) When I meet new people who are White or Asian and they live here in San Francisco, that is always in the back of my head. Like “Wow, I might be the first Black person these people are meeting.” Tremendous pressure right? Wrong! You are who you are. It’s our job to educate people about how wide our spectrum as people is.

Screenshot_20160730-173311

                  2nd Example

As you know, I am a Bus Driver. I was also a Tour Guide here in San Francisco for 4 years. Yes a driver guide doing lectured and narrative tours of the city. I took pride in the Job. There’s fast money to be made in the summer months. When tourism is high and for me it was easy. I would interact from people from the world and they loved it. Some what of an entertainer. Hell you can tell them lies and they would still love you. Of course like any self-educated brotha from the SOHK (School Of Hard Knocks) you would get the occasional white person to tell you that you speak so good and educated. That is probably the most backhanded compliment ever to me. That aside, when I would get the Prominent Upper Middle Class Black families, they would always pull me aside and ask me “Where’s all the Black people at in San Francisco?” They would pull me aside because honestly, It is a black thing. They are not going to bring up race while other folks who are not black that are around. (Great Decent Black Folks, because COONS would of been like “Hey Tareau, where all the real Niggaz at?”) Plus they didn’t wanna cockblock on my tips. Those were times that I felt like a sellout. An Uncle Tom. Yes me. Here I am, giving an amazing 4 hour tour about how great San Francisco is, but San Francisco doesn’t want our Black ASSES here. Black doctors,Lawyers, Entrepeneurs, Accountants, Writers, Business Owners, would always ask me it. It was really heart breaking to tell them that we are subjected to just hoods or blocks. There are no wealthy or upper middle class neighborhoods in San Francisco anymore. (Which is something we will get into in the future of this series) So Imagine those 2 scenarios. Little kids that are not black in San Francisco, being taught about diversity and Equality but not seeing one black person (except Tareau Barron the bus driver) and when Black People do come to visit this city, they see no one who looks like them.
As you know, Our history is swept under the rug and only is used as the forefront of White guilt during Black History Month, I wish during Black History month, that people was challenged to not use Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Jackie Robinson, and Barack Obama. It seems that unintentionally those names have become the DEFAULT of our history. Not such great leaders and innovators like William Alexander Leidesdorff or Joseph James are never mentioned in our cities inclusion of Black History. Is it not our job to challenge things as American citizens? To ask questions? LMFAO I just learned about these people 7 years ago. 7. Man not one school teacher who was born and raised here in San Francisco ever told me this.
Leidesdorf
William Alexander Leidesdorff

 

Please join us next time as we will go back in the past and work our way up to now. Until then stay black and proud. But most importantly, STAY FREE.

 

Advertisements

Pt. 3 of my childhood. You still care??

Back again. Ok spare the civilian hellos. Let’s get to business

 

15. River Raid for Atari.

Atari was our family’so first and only video game system. A good friend of mine named Jimmy gave me this when his parents bought him a super Nintendo. Our controllers did not go to the right. Only up, down, and left.

 

Screenshot_20160726-203900
Ellesse

14. Ellesse Shoes.

I had these same pair of shoes pictured above. As black people, we wore these to symbolize not being poor but very far from rich. These were one step away from Payless shoes. (XJ-900 and Prowings)

Screenshot_20160726-181147

13. Super NES Super Scope 6.

I never had this but it symbolized wealth. I played it a few times at Jimmy’s house but I most of the time had to watch him because all of the games were 1 player.

 

Screenshot_20160726-181847

12. Safeway’s Cragmont Soda Line

Man before safeway select, my generation of safeway had these sodas for 25 cents a can. I would steal the root beer one and the grape on all the time.

Screenshot_20160726-203717

11. Interstate 480

Alot of people hated Interstate 480 because it obstructed the waterfront views but honestly, I loved it. It was fast and convenient. San Francisco’s main problem with traffic today is that they choose aesthetics over efficiency. Imagine going from one side of town to the next, within 15 to 20 mins. Need more tunnels and bypasses in this clusterfuck.

Screenshot_20160726-204217

10. Word Munchers Apple/Microsoft

Man I used to spend hours on this game at the Buchanan YMCA. 3rd grade this was my go to game in 1992.

Screenshot_20160726-181435

9. The Colossus Jack In the Box.

As a tween boy, ( especially a black tween boy), you constantly had to prove how tough you are. One way to do this was to eat a grown up burger. This burger was for men. 2 all beef patties, 6 slices of bacon, sauce, and 3 slices of cheese. Can u say heart attack ?

Screenshot_20160726-203943

8. Super Off Road the Baja SNES 1993.

My homie Jimmy introduced me to this game and we would play this game forever. It’s funny because when you pressed the nitro button the driver yells ARIBA and you go faster. Unfortunately there are alot of dudes on go karts on this game and you kill them. Wait unfortunately? Hahaha naw man let’s intentionally run them over.

Screenshot_20160726-204254

7. Gamepro Magazine.

I had every issue from Jan 92-Dec 97. I remember getting the flyer 12 issues for 12 dollars. That was alot of money back then. Gamepro was an escape for me. Looking at all the graphics and video games made me fantasize about living in suburbia. Man all the cheat codes and moves from this video game bible.

Screenshot_20160729-164918.jpg

 

6. Woolworths on Powell and Market st.

Ok let me take you back. If the 1st or 15th fell on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, we were going to Woolworths downtown. 1st thing is we would hop on the 42 Downtown loop gold bus, get off on Market and  1st st, and catch any bus (with the exception to the 38) going outbound. Next go to the check cashing place downtown, go to Molars Barber College on Mason st and get a Covadis hair cut, Then it was on to the original Blondie’s pizza followed by a shopping spree at Woolworths. Sometimes I would sneak off to go to the video game section and just stay there the whole trip. Awww memories.

Screenshot_20160726-204132

5. Chips Challenge on Lynx game system.

Yall remember Lynx? The handheld gaming system designed for right and left handers? Well if you don’t you should Lycos it. Or Ask Jeeves it. Or Yahoo it.

Screenshot_20160726-205322

4. Mo Music Frisco Hats and Tapes. Hayes and Ashbury.

My first time coming here was in 1994. I was with some friends from Fillmoe’s Central District. (CDP 237) And we went in here and they had everything. With my weekly allowance I bought Bone Thugs Creepin On Ahhhhh Come Up for $12.50. No taxes just $12.50. CD. Tapes were $5 each. Got my first Fillmoe visor here too, but since I wasn’t from fillmoe, I got jumped for misrepresentation hahahahaha.

Screenshot_20160726-181344

3. Fox Kids Cartoon.

Man I subscribed to their magazine, and I would read it front and back. Bobby’s World, Tasmania, Eek the Cat, Xmen, The Tick, Carmen San Diego, Power Rangers, Mask Rider, Batman The Animated Series etc. These were real cartoons.

Screenshot_20160726-204037

2. Heroes Quest by Milton Bradley

This was my Inner Nerd coming out. I love this game. Right now it cost $300 on amazon. This was Dungeons and Dragons before Dungeons and Dragons. Imagine you could be the good guys or the bad guys. Spells, demons, fights, orbs, orcs, secret passages etc.

Screenshot_20160726-205051

1. SFUSD PE UNIFORM

No explanation needed.

Still a proud member of the faithful!!

Even though I will never call them the “San Francisco 49ers” again, you need to accept the fact that us die hard 49ers fans, will be here forever. Even though us blue collar fans can not afford those tickets, I honestly feel proud seeing these new white collar fans fry in that Santa Clara sun. While they are spending hundreds of dollars on seats, tickets, concessions, parking, and merchandising, I am saving my money while cheering on this shitty team. But guess what? It is still my shitty team. I am not one of those fans who turns off the TV when our team is losing. No I watch the bleeding. What people don’t realize is the NFC West has gotten better. I honestly think the Arizona Cardinals will make the Superbowl this year. (The AFC is open)  We need to expect the 49ers rebuilding and will suck for the next 5 years or so. The team is in disarray. The fan base is torn. The new coach needs to decide on a quarterback. Anquan Boldin is still a free agent. (See below) Aaron Lynch is suspended for the 1st 4 games of this upcoming season. New coach. The failed Kaepernick trade. Man this off season has been exhausting. Nothing but bad news. My colleague at work asked me to talk about last year, the 2015 49ers season. Honestly there is no point. As an observant person and a die hard sports fan, you can kind of predict certain things. I called it last year. I said we will be 4-12 or 5-11 for years to come.
There are various factors to my predictions. In a nutshell the 49ers brass thought that Colin Kaepernick would lead this team back to a contender. Hahahahahha. This younger generation and Silicon Valley fans needs to know that Colin is an exceptional athlete. But that’s it. Being a “SOLID” Quarterback in the NFL takes intelligence, leadership, courage, awareness, and a sense of tranquility under pressure. Just a solid QB though. Not evwn a star or superstar QB. Colin lacks that. In fact he is the total opposite. The reason why I am so hard on this dude, is because as a Quarterback you are supposed to take the blame. When things go well, it’s always the QB. (Which we need to change as sporting fans) Other than contributing to our horrid play is the Offensive Line. Our O line is terrible, We fire Harbaugh, to use Tomsula as a yes man, to hiring Chip Kelly. So there’s personnel changes that factor in to that. 3 coaches in a span of 1 calander year. Dysfunction at its best.
(Editors note: As of 7/27/16 Blaine Gabbert will be the week 1 starter according to the 49ers. Also Anquan Boldin signed a 1 year deal with the Detroit Lions. Long time disgruntled OT Anthony Davis, who took a year off, resigned with the 49ers. Also Tom Gamble was hired as the assistant general manager and some think he might be in line to replace Baalke’s punk ass.)
This is our projected starting line up for both offense and defense
QB Blaine Gabbert
RB Carlos Hyde
FB (Hahahah we might just use a 2 TE set. We don’t have a FB)
LWR (Honestly is open, but I predict Jerome Simpson over Quinton Patton or Bruce Ellington)
TE Garrett Celek
LT Joe Staley
LG Joshua Garnett
C Daniel Kilgore
RG Zane Beatles
RT Anthony Davis
On the defensive side of the ball this is where we could be solid. 3-4 defense is our strong suit but our secondary is still small
LDT Arik Armstead
NT Ian Williams
RDT DeForest Buckner
LOLB Ahmad Brooks
RILB Navarro Bowman
LILB Gerald Hodges
ROLB Aaron Lynch (Suspended for 4 games so Michael Wilhoite might start)
LCB Treamaine Brock
SS Anthony Bethea
RCB Jimmie Ward
NB Chris Davis
*And I doubt you give 2 shits about special teams*
Anyways I expect the 2016 49ers season to be very intriguing . My hopes are different from reality. We will suck. So what do we look forward too? Depends on your level of Fandom! I’m actually excited for the defense. I do want to see a healthy Carlos Hyde and I’m interested to see which one of my predictions come true. Will Jerome Simpson get 700 receiving yards? Will Patton or Ellington do well? Will Bowman lead the defense into elite status again? Will the secondary stop playing like biatches and man down and ball out?
Well, stay tuned and find out.

California Dreamin’

For my entire existence I’ve lived in California. Up North mostly—from Oakland, to San Francisco, Sacramento, and all the way down the coast to Los Angeles. The older I get, the more my mind wonders if California loves me as much as I—or it’s inhabitants have. It’s an interesting thought. Think about it, we rep this state to death with tattoos, shirts and hats. From social media, to in person bravado; we are damn near arrogant about a place that we can barely even afford to live in. It’s borderline comical. Despite the overpriced, ever shrinking square footage, people are dying to move here. Mostly, because they think they’ll become famous [LAUGH… OUT… LOUD], or they have dreams of lying on the beach and surfing.

The irony of it all…Natives are moving out in record numbers, while people from other states are moving in. Those that are left are the ones stuck and or destined to spend the rest of their lives here…

Inconvenient Truth

Lets speak openly and candidly shall we? California’s income tax is 13.3%, highest in the country. What does our hard earned money go toward? Let me know when you find out—because I still don’t know. If one doesn’t understand why a free agent in any of the four American major sports considers NOT moving here, you are delusional. Regular citizens are barely keeping their heads above water, due to this tax rate—believe it or not.

You see, the misconception about California is, everyone is rich and having a great time—while snorkeling on weekends and rubbing elbows with our celebrity friends. Truth is most of us work, and the majority of us commute—for hours, before we ever get the chance to actually work. Idealing with the other thousands of cars stuck on the freeway, burning this $3.75 a gallon gas.

Yes jobs here can pay more than whatever you would make in your native land, but between taxes and astronomically high rent and housing,  at best, it evens out.

Example:

Bus Drivers in San Francisco make up to $31 an hour. The trade off is, average rent is $3,000 a month for a studio. A fucking studio apartment! The cost of living is trickling into cities all across the Bay Area including, the beautiful Oakland, Ca where hipsters think it’s cool to roam around downtown, live in apartments where there aren’t anyone of color and brag about living in Oakland.

Oh California

Ah yes my beautiful state where the government believes they know whats best for your life, even though they’re inept but no one wants to rock the boat —yet somehow the citizens end up drowning. About one-third of those surveyed by the Bay Area Council say they would like to exit the nine-county region sometime soon. Why? Taxes, traffic, unnecessarily high cost of living, , the over crowding, and did I mention traffic.

Nobody seems to notices the decline and diminishing middle class, no, never seems to bother anyone—and it leads one to believe no one cares. If greed is mans biggest downfall, then what do you call it when a person is content with their state giving them the short end of the stick—daily?

The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge was made with cheap Chinese parts (cause ‘Merica), that are corroding as we speak, governor Jerry Brown wants to build a “high speed rail” costing tax payers $64 Billion, oh and don’t forget the so-called drought going on.

We haven’t really scratched the iceberg on problems in the Golden State, but I just wanted to paint the picture for Non-Californians that it’s not all sunshine and In-N-Out Burgers.

Little Rays of Sunshine

There’s plenty of reasons to move, but there are just as many to stay.

In Sacramento there are over 300 days of sunshine, even more in L.A. If you are in the market for gluten-free, grass fed, organic dog food this is the state for you. San Francisco has arguably the best transit systems in America—with a bus or train touching almost every corner of The City.

Los Angeles boast the best Mexican food outside of actual Mexico, plus the best beaches, and is a fashion mecca. Silicon Valley goes without explaining, and you can make a pretty penny in the Bay Area doing regular blue collar work, like driving a bus. Rent is out of control, but you’ll make a pretty penny none the less.

There are 18 professional sports teams in California. 5 Baseball teams, 4 Football teams, 4 Basketball teams, 3 Hockey teams, and 2 Soccer teams.

There’s always something to do, for all ages, from the Hollywood walk of fame, Pacific Coast Highway, to the beautiful scenery all the way up in Redding. Calling California Esthetically pleasing is a tremendous understatement.

However…

One day this tech bubble will burst, and when it does things will be ugly—for the citizens. My theory is all these government lifers are setting themselves up for fantasy style retirements, while setting the people up for failure. We endure stupid laws, and plenty of our public schools are…lets just say they could be ALOT better.

This article isn’t meant to change your mind whether you’re coming or going, I just wanted to write about the not so glamorous things going on here. In my travels, peoples eyes light up when they find out where I’m from. They make me realize how powerful media is.

I guess all those commercials with Arnold Schwarzenegger worked. As for me, I’m going to treat this like free agency and figure out where I’m going to take my talents.✌🏿

Random Stuff from my childhood pt. 2

Yes I told you guys that I wasn’t done with this. But no, you didn’t listen. Well here is some more bs for ya. Enjoy. Or not. Whatever. Haha

Screenshot_20160722-144126

20. Government Cheese.

What?? They made the best grilled cheese sandwiches. You don’t remember that AFDC food boxes? With Egg Mix, Government Cheese, Pork in a can, Farina, Grape Juice, Orange Juice, Beans, and Rice?

 

Screenshot_20160722-144308

19. Domino Rally

I had one of these but because we had carpet, we were limited to playing this game. And you know mom’s wasn’t having that shit in the kitchen. Hahah

 

Screenshot_20160722-144358

18. Mall Madness

OK Truth time. Yes I played this and I would tell everyone that my girl Cousins made me play, but I loved this game. And if you tell anyone that there is a sale at the shoe store, I will break your face in two.

 

Screenshot_20160722-144640

17. Dodgeball

And not none of this pussified dodgeball today. I’m talking about a big red ball to your dome, in the rain playing, trash talking dodgeball. The mightiest of men and the womenliest of women could only play this.

 

Screenshot_20160722-144723

16. Koosh Balls

We would play dodge ball with these when the yard teacher took our ball. You can hide these on your Keychain, in your pocket, in your backpack or even in your shoe. Game on

 

Screenshot_20160722-144919

15. The Sound Effect Key Chain

Remembering these were sooooooooooo annoying. Just hearing that bomb sound effect. Arrrggghhh hhahahahahahahhaha. I do miss it though

 

Screenshot_20160722-145125

14. VCR Rewinders

Man, I had a pet peeve about unrewinded VHS tapes. I hated rewinding in the VCR so this invention would make it so much easier. I loved when it got near the end of rewinding and it would sound like a bomb had just went off. Remember when blockbuster video, used to fine you for not rewinding.

 

Screenshot_20160726-175949

13. Mortal Kombat arcade game

This game changed the landscape for violence. I remember in the early 90s when this game came out, one of the programmers from midway was there. It was at the Pier 39 arcade. You remember? With the bumper cars? Any who the guy did a fatality with sub-zero. He took someone’s head off. All of the kids were in shock.

Screenshot_20160726-180402

12. The Croix de Candlestick pins

The San Francisco Giants gave these out if you stayed for extra innings and if the Giants won. I had a few of these. The reason was because Candlestick was fucking cold and foggy. Real fans stayed. Always stay

Screenshot_20160726-180931

11. Original Starter Jackets

I’ve seen many brothas robbed on the 44 O’Shaughnessy bus, right when the McAteer kids got on for these Jackets. I couldn’t afford one but the Hornets one and the 49ers one, were two of the cleanest jackets at the time.

I’ll finish 10-1 later. I’m about to watch USA whoop on China again for the Olympic Exhibition. Ciao. Wait did I just go foreign on yall? SMDH siggggghhhh

 

Press Select. The 2016 Women’s National team Vs. Select Team

 Screenshot_20160725-210152

I just finished watching the 2016 US Women’s National team vs. The Women’s Select team. Wow. It was awesome. The Select team almost won. Poise and turnovers were the only reason why they did not win. Could you imagine a scrimmage team beating the actual real team? Like a Frosh/Soph team beating a Varsity team. The whole game was entertaining. Aside from usual boring commentary from Lisa Leslie, I enjoyed every bit of it. It was actually more exciting than watching the Men’s team demolish China and Argentina. Me being a hoop junkie, you can kind of predict an outcome before it happens. The game was pretty close until the National team took a 12-2 run late in the 3rd quarter. Then that’s when it happened. The select team had a secret weapon. Screenshot_20160725-210225A young lady (who comes off the bench for the Minnesota Lynx mind you) came in and balled out. Scoring 19 points late in the 3rd and 4th quarter, she single handedly closed the gap, and the select team even took the lead. She went  6-6 from 3pt range in that span as well. Her name…. Natasha Howard. Now I predicted the select team losing and this was mainly because as most young teams tend to do, they don’t ride the hot hand. They forget about looking for the hot shooter.Screenshot_20160725-210305 Jewell Lloyd, the Select teams point guard assisted in the rally but a costly turn over in crunch time and an ill advised shot cost them their chance of bragging rights. I encourage everyone who needs something to watch or if you are a hoop junkie, to watch these tremendous athletes compete. Just turn the volume down on the annoying commentary and you will be ok. Support these athletes as the look for another gold medal to add to the collection. I know I will.

Detroit vs The World

One can argue that a professional sports team should always mirror the city it represents. How else do you get the citizens to identify with the roster? To get behind—and root for the squad bearing the cities namesake on their chest. Detroit,Michigan founded in 1701, was once the pride and joy of United States. The premier American city from late 19th century to mid-20th century, The Motor City faced major decline, after the loss of blue-collar jobs, and became the face of  how not to manage a city. The Teams here in Western Michigan have had similar journeys—albeit not as dramatic. from World champions, to lovable losers, to laughing stocks, to fighting back and becoming respectable organizations.  Much like the city these teams represent, things are looking up, more than ever, I assure you there’s hope. Things are changing, oh yes they are changing. Some small steps toward progress, and some bigger steps toward optimism. I’ll provide you this plate of positivity, and a tall glass of hope. Detroit is on the way up, back to prominence.

Heading In The Right Direction

On July 18, 2013 the city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, becoming the largest Metropolitan city in American history to do so. At one time Detroit had at least 70,000 abandoned buildings, 31,000 empty houses, and 90,000 vacant lots, and had become notorious for its urban blight. As of today July 21, 2016 The Motor City is ascending, making great strides on a great comeback trail. With 10,000 blighted homes demolished, a revitalized downtown, and Dan Gilbert is trying to single-handedly stand the city on it’s own two feet—or at least downtown. Gilbert has purchased 60 properties, spanning 14 million square feet for $2.2 Billion. His companies remain the largest employers in The D, with 14,237 employees. There are more bars, eateries, and retail stores including, Nike are setting up shop downtown. Just like a team would do, Detroit is building from the inside out. As for the professional squads representing this place:

  • The Detroit Tigers are similar to the citizens of this great city. Yes they went through a lot of losing in the past, endured some tough times, but they kept pushing. Detroiters have endured things you only seen on the movies, and many are still alive to tell their stories. The Tigers endured more losing seasons then the organization would like to remember, but they are in a position to control their destiny. Currently  51-48, good for second place in the A.L. Central, and now 6 games back behind division leading Cleveland Indians. In the last 10 years the Tigers have made it to the World Series twice, coming up short both times. In the last decade, Detroit has had 7 winning seasons. Before the Tigers turned things around they had 12 losing seasons in a row, including the horrible 2003 season when their record was 43-119.
  • The Detroit Pistons are comparable to Downtown. Promising, most definitely on the rise, young and up-and coming. Hoarding young talent, in “win now” mode, and last season they made the playoffs for the first time since 2009. After locking up All-Star Andre Drummond,  with a contract extension keeping the big man in The D at least until 2021, the Eastern Conference is definitely on notice. The way this roster is constructed, the Pistons should go deeper into the playoffs starting this upcoming season. They were swept in the first round by the eventual NBA champs, but it was valuable experience for this young squad.  Maybe I’m more excited for this upcoming season then I should be in the middle of July, but this is one of the teams I have on my “break out season” radar.
  • The Detroit Lions are comparable to the East and West side of Detroit. Still in need of a lot of TLC and hope, yet people are hopeful for “what could be.”  The Lions have been historically inconsistent even in the Barry Sanders years. Yet, as with most fans east of California, Detroiters have lived and died with this team. As a die hard, if you invest your emotion into a team, and invest your hard earned dollar, you eventually want a winner. The Lions as an organization have given the great fans in Michigan mostly losing seasons, with glimpses of winning— every couple of years. Now the Lions find themselves—much like the city they represent, rebuilding. For the second time in franchise history Detroit loses a once-in-a-generation talent (Calvin Johnson) to early retirement, and the Lions have to figure out how to fill a gaping void. Maybe this team may not be as bad as some think, but maybe they will be. The defense is underrated overall, but with the release of middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch, there’s one more hole to fill. The offense may be the biggest question mark of all, with the departure of a hall of fame wide receiver, questions at the running back position, and the question of which Matthew Stafford  will fans get this season. The receiving corp should resemble that of Seattle’s, with no real stand-out, but pretty good pass catchers overall.  I don’t expect a 4-12 season, but 8-8 or 9-7 is a real possibility—back to hopeful thinking.

 

2016 is promising for the city of Detroit, the people have feelings of optimism toward what could be now more than ever before. It’s still going to take some years to convince those outside of the Motor City, but if you’re from The D, chances are you don’t give a shit about how people are feeling about the city or your teams. Why? None of you came to help, most of you laughed, talked bad—and pointed fingers, and kicked the dog while it was down. Now the comeback is on, techies,and investors are coming in, trying to make it the new “cool place”, the new “it” spot. But, there is no room for bandwagoners, it’s real life not sports, and even in regards to sports it’s bigger than your coattail grabbing life.  You have to go through storms to enjoy sunshine

 

Jeter, Bonds, and Griffey Jr. My stories on meeting all 3 them.

Awwww what a great trio of players. An age-old question is “Do you think Derek Jeter will be the 1st Unanimous Hall of fame vote?” I think so. Every generation has their greatest baseball players. In my lifetime, Barry Bonds (before roids), Ken Griffey Jr, and Derek Jeter were the greatest in my memory. I know another age old argument: “Well if Babe Ruth didn’t get in unanimously, why should anyone else?” Why not? Remember during Babe Ruth’s era almost everyone was a racist, sexist, homophobic asshole. Baseball was just for White men and was not open today like it is for everyone. Lets 1st talk a little bit about Ken Griffey Jr.

Screenshot_20160724-150821

Ken Griffey Jr. will be headed to Cooperstown this year with a 99.3% 1st ballot vote. 99.3%?? Come on man are you serious? Who is the 0.7% Asshole who didn’t vote? Remember Ken Griffey Jr. was injured for a lot of his career and still managed to wreak havoc in baseball. One of my favorite Griffey Jr. memories,  was unbelievable. The year was 2000 and it was my San Francisco Giants first year at AT&T Park (Pacific Bell Ball Park or whatever the hell you want to call it) I worked at the ball park in the concession stands. Our locker room was adjacent to the Giants players and the visitors locker room was down the hall. Our company had a rule that you could not engage the players but we still broke them. I mean come on man, I was a 16-year-old, weed smoking, lady killing, basketball playing, hip hop listening fool. I worked on the View level of the stadium which is the 5th floor. That’s right the Upper Deck. The Reds were in town and I snuck downstairs to watch one of my idols, Ken Griffey Jr. at batting practice. And that’s when I saw it: Ken Griffey hit a ball over the baseball glove in center field at AT&T Park. I’ll never forget how casually he took the next pitch. Like he hit the ball so far that he didn’t even react. Just business as usual. That glove is about 500 ft from home plate and Griffey Jr. just crushed that one. Wow. Griffey Jr. after his batting practice and looked at us kids and takes his batting gloves off, and blows on his hands. Kind of a gesture a basketball shooter makes when they are hot. Wooooowww.

Derek Jeter will pound for pound go down as the greatest baseball player ever. The fact that his era was known as the “Steroid Era” and he still came out clean and pure speaks high volume to his character. Since baseball is all about class, showmanship, and imagery, Derek Jeter goes beyond those qualities. We will compare stats of the three later in the article. Derek Jeter had a larger than life personality. Being a biracial, face of a franchise, in New York, dating multiple celebrities, being a team Jordan ambassador and making millions, you never heard anything bad of him. Everyone one wanted to be him. Every woman wanted to be with him. Even Red Sox fans admired Jeter. He was the real deal. To show you how much character Derek Jeter has as a man I have a story to tell. A previous employer of mine had a contract with the sporting teams to pick them up from the Airport and transport various athletes, owners, celebrities and personal to various places. It was 2012 and myself and a senior driver got scheduled to pick up the New York Yankees from SFO. The Yankees would always land at like 3am. My colleague said “Derek Jeter is the nicest guy you would ever meet” Me being a die-hard Giants fan (And Yankee Hater), I ignored his comment. The Yankees plane touched down and their security manager greets us first. Big corn-fed white dude. About 6ft 6in 260lbs all muscle. He comes over and says to me, ” you’ll be bus #2 so you will have most of the players.” I’m thinking ok cool. The players start to debarked their plane and walk over to the bus. CC Sabathia gives me a head nod and says “It’s good to be home.” When Alex Rodriguez bitch ass gets to my bus he hands me his Louis Vuitton luggage and with his smug accent he says “Driver can you put my bags separately?” In my head I was laughing and making fun of him. Outside I said ” No problem” Now as I’m loading luggage, I keep mimicking A-ROD’s quote. But for some reason I thought I was losing my mind. I kept hearing that A-ROD quote outside of my head. I looked around and guess who it was? It was Derek Jeter making fun of A-ROD. Derek Jeter had a huge smile on his face and at 3am was making fun of A-ROD in front of his teammates but myself and colleague. I started to laugh and Derek Jeter comes up to me, shakes my hand and says, “Good morning driver, How are you doing?” After he said that he actually paused to wait for my reaction. I said that I was doing “great!” Derek Jeter than said ” I appreciate you guys for waking up so early to drive us.”  I said ” No problem.” As we departed SFO and made our way to the Yankees hotel in San Francisco, the St. Regis, (which is on 3rd and Mission), the team is full of life. Laughing, joking, showing true team unity. Now one block away from 3rd and mission on 4th St, there is a pool hall/club called Jillian’s. Now word must have got out that the Yankees were arriving because there were about 300 people on Mission st. Mostly women. As we approached the hotel, this one lady threw her panties at the bus and said “I love you Jeter” the whole bus was laughing. When we arrive I get of the bus first, open the luggage bays and start to offload. Jeter gets off and does the Presidential Wave to his legions of fans. The later that day we arrive back at the hotel to transport the team from The St. Regis to the Oakland Coliseum to play the Oakland A’s. Us drivers get to watch the games for free. During batting practice Jeter is in a savant like state. Deeply focused. Hitting all over the field. The crowd cheers for him. Wow. Just wow. There’s more Yankee fans to see the A’s.

Barry Bonds I’ve met several times in my life. Yes the rumors are true. He is an asshole. He doesn’t talk to “The Help” The first time I met Barry Bonds, was that same year that I first worked at AT&T Park. He pulls up in his black big body Benz and gets out and orders myself and my coworkers to park his car. Uhhhh we are not the valets dumbass. We are just food service workers. Bonds gets into a hissy fit and berates the valet upon arrival. “Next time be there when I get here” Bonds gets out and walks into our direction. Now because our locker room is adjacent from the San Francisco Giants players, we sometimes see them. So we say hi to Barry Bonds and tells him that he is our favorite San Francisco Giant ever. No response. In a cement corridor where sound is amplified, 3 black men walked down 500 yards of silence. 2 of those men were myself and coworker, the other Barry Bonds. How awkward. We are literally walking side by side with Barry Bonds, and no acknowledgement, no apology, no smile. Motherfucker didn’t even blink. That’s how Bonds treated people and word had it that he especially treated poorer blacks worse than anyone else.  With that aside, Bonds was a helluva athlete. In the weight room, on the field. He had a tremendous work ethic. Seeing Bonds in batting practice is like seeing the incredible hulk prepare for a fight. A lot of controlled and precise power. You kind of felt bad for opposing Pitchers.  Just knowing that they were going to be annihilated.

What’s funny is ESPN’S punk asses just had a “Top 100 baseball players of all time list.” Look at this stupid list. Sigh Jeter is #51. Griffey Jr. was #14. Wow. Just wow. Lmfao Roger Clemens is #19. Jackie Robinson is #31. Wtf???? Clayton Kershaw and his post-season choking ass is what? You want to know? 26th Overall. Woooowwwwww. Bonds is #5. I’ll never understand the process of baseball voting. Considering that things were so one-sided back in the day. I hope we can get some better clarity and transparency in the future. Now let’s compare all 3 greats using my least favorite tool. Stats. Longer sigh. Which is why I hope that you as the reader break away from that machine the call “The 4 letter Network”

Screenshot_20160724-150757

13 times All Star, 1997 American League MVP, 10 times Golden Glove recipient, 7 times silver slugger recipient, 1992 All star game MVP, 2005 National League Comeback Player Of the year, 4 times American League Home run Leader, 1997 American League RBI Leader, 3 times Homerun Derby Champion, Seattle Mariners Hall Of Fame, Cincinnati Reds Hall Of Fame, #24 Retired by Seattle, 2016 Hall Of Fame Inductee

2,671 Games Played

9,801 At Bats

1,662 Runs

2,781 Hits

524 Doubles

38 Triples

630 Home Runs

1,836 RBI’s

184 Stolen Bases

1,312 Walks

Screenshot_20160724-115832

14 times All-Star, 7 times National League MVP, 8 times Golden Glove Recipient, 12 times Silver Slugger Recipient, 3 times Hank Aaron Award Recipient, 2 times National League Batting Champion, 2 times National League Home Run Leader, 1993 National League RBI Leader, 1996 Home Run Derby Champion, MLB Records for Home Runs (762), Most Home Runs in a Season (73), Career Walks (2,558), Intentional Walks (688), 1984 Amateur World Series Bronze Medal (Cuba)

2,986 Games Played

9,847 At Bats

2,227 Runs

2,935 Hits

602 Doubles

77 Triples

762 Home Runs

1,996 RBI’s

514 Stolen Bases

2,558 Walks

20160724_150702

14 times All-Star, 5 times World Series Champion, 2000 World Series MVP, 1995 American League Rookie Of The Year, 5 times Golden Glove Recipient, 5 times Silver Slugger Recipient, 2 times American League Hank Aaron award, Roberto Clemente Award.

2,747 Games Played

11,195 At Bats

923 Runs

3,465 Hits

544 Doubles

66 Triples

260 Home runs

1,311 RBI’s

358 Stolen Bases

1,082 Walks

Now that all that is out-of-the-way. Who had the better  career? Who would you pick? Longevity? Championships? Home Runs? So who ya got, man? I honestly would choose Griffey Jr.

Black Basketball Vs. Stats The Numbers Game

My biggest gripe with today’s modern fan is this…… STATS, STATS, STATS. In my anti following the crowd head of mine, I hate it when guys and gals Stat drops. I think this new generation got hooked when Jay-Z said “men lie, women lie, numbers dont” This is when Stat mania took off. The early 2000s. Granted, if you make your money telling people stats for a living or have to provide actual substance of proof, I’m all for it. But let’s go through a scenario where stats are irrelevant in sports. We will use basketball. And let’s brainstorm this for a minute. (And for the irony, what the hell I’ll use a few stats or 2) About 78% of nba players are black. Out of this 78% of black men playing the game, more than half of them come from poverty, broken homes, the hood, projects, ghettos, etc. Do you think when they were playing pick up ball on the block or in the gym the first thing they say is “Ahh man my PER is very low and my defensive win share % is not up to par” Hell to the no, right. When your playing pick up ball, AAU, High school, rec league, church league etc you will think of 3 stats… 1. How many points did you have. 2. How many points did your man you were guarding have. 3 How much did you win or lose by.  I can speak of this playing in all of those platforms as a black man. (Minus AAU)

Screenshot_20160722-215507

Now here’s the kicker. Growing up here in San Francisco Ca, we are known for being a soft basketball town. Hell San Francisco invented stretch 4s. It’s the only city growing up in the 89s and 90s where ulyou would see 7 footers playing soft as hell. Taking 3s. Playing outside the paint. Calling every foul. Crying. Bitching. Complaining. Now is that because San Francisco is 49% white, 33% asian, 10% latino, 6 % black, 2% other?? Meaning if you can’t get what these STATS are telling you lemme just flat out say it. Whites and Asians are softer when it comes to pick up games. Now go to Oakland moss wood park, go to detriot, Venice beach, rucker, etc you have some real ballers who are tough, talk trash, in your face etc. For us black men basketball is more than just stats. When I ball with my white and asian friends they all care about is stats. When I moved to the projects in 1995, basketball was the only way for me to eat. My mom would give me a $5 book of food stamps and I had to make that stretch for a week. So all us hood kids would play hunch (1 vs 1 vs 1 vs), put all of our food stamps in a pot and winner takes all. It was the only way to eat without selling drugs. I’ve had guns and knives pulled on me etc etc. But that’s why I play the game so hard. Like most black men in the nba. Balls out. (Iverson, Westbrook, draymond green, prime derrick rose, kd, etc) Do you think these guys had similar up bringing than I did? Better or worse ( hell use a Stat if u like, I know you want too. What’s your over/under hahaha) but my point is these guys who look like me, came from the same backgrounds as me, talk like me. They didnt care about any of that when your lights are off. They don’t care about usage % when you’ve been wearing the same draws for a week. But I wonder who does care about stats?? Advance stats, analytics and fantasy sports were a way for white collar guys to make billions of dollars off of black athletes. There I said it. Brothas in the barbershop are not talking about win shares. So next time you get into a debate about stats with a person of the fairer skin asks yourself this…

“Would they have the same argument if they came from poverty?”

Hmmmmm

Heart>Stats

My glutinous snacks that I miss from the past.

I’m trying to exhibit will power because I start my punk ass diet today. Laying in bed thinking about all the new millennium snacks. Hahahahah actually the old millennium snacks. This list is the junk food that I miss.. Enjoy

Screenshot_20160719-211425

10. Great Bluedini Kool Aid

Remember when collecting Kool Aid points was a thing. Send in 500 and you would get an official Kool Aid Mug. Well this one changed colors and was one of my all time favorites. (Orange, Black Cherry, and Purplesaurus Rex just missed the list)

 

Screenshot_20160719-211030

9. Oatmeal Swirlers.

Now this snack right here indicated that you had just went grocery shopping. It would not last a day in our household. My favorite Oatmeal Swirler was the cherry one.

 

Screenshot_20160719-210116

8. Reese’s Crunchy Cookie Cups.

These came out in the mid 90s and they were the bomb. Especially if you put them in ice cream. Too bad they were discontinued.  Ahhhh that cookie crunch.

Screenshot_20160719-205853

 

7. Cookies and Cream and Fudge twix

I hated when they discontinued these. I just don’t understand how the Peanut butter twix got more shine than these.

Screenshot_20160719-211143
Enter a caption

6. Waffle Crisp Cereal

Waffle Crisp actually tastes like waffles with syrup. I remember going to a friend’s house and eating the whole box. His mom’s was actually happy because they didn’t like the cereal.

20160719_210602

5. Black Radberry

Yes in the hood they would sell the giant Now and Laters for 5 cents a piece. They were the bomb. These are the smaller version. The only bad thing I hate about Now and Laters were when the melted just a Lil bit and trying to unwrap them was tricky.

20160720_120945

4. Golden Grahams

Not the new ones. These were delicious and it sucked when they changed the formula. They took all the sweet stuff out and now the new ones get soggy really fast.

Screenshot_20160719-210651

3. The Monterey Jumpin Jack Cheese doritios

These would scream. The tasted like cool ranch, with Monterey Jack Cheese. My greedy ass would go to 7-11 and put the Nachos Cheese sauce on them

Screenshot_20160719-211519

2. Dunkin Stix

Now these, heated up for 10 seconds in the microwave, with some milk is the shit. Had that glazed center.

Screenshot_20160719-211616

1. Flaky Flix.

These were my favorite because they meant that food stamps had came and we were going shopping. Imagine  having some Fudge Stix with some shaved brittle wafers. These were a little bit more expensive than the Fudge sticks but they were on point. I miss these. Why is mothers cookies so damn hard headed? I wrote them 3 times, demanding these to come back.

Well those are mine. What are yours? Enjoy