Since my migration to southern California in April, I’ve recently started attending Hillside Community Church on Saturday evenings for their 5:30 service. Sure enough last night there was a guest speaker, and luckily for me, I was in attendance. Dr. Tony Campolo, professor emeritus at Eastern University was in southern California to speak at Hillside for the weekend. Dr. Campolo has written more than 35 books including his latest release “Red Letter Christians: A Citizens Guide to Faith and Politics.” I found myself more engaged with this particular sermon on this particular Saturday than any of the other sermons I had been privileged to entertain at Hillside. Please don’t mistake this as detraction toward Dr. Dave Burns. I believe he does a marvelous job of delivering God’s word and connecting with the congregation. I personally noticed the difference in myself while Dr. Campolo was speaking. I was literally up on the edge of my seat for the entire 40+ minutes of his delivery. In essence he was speaking directly to me, in direct relation to my present situation. His ability to completely engage the entire congregation on every single word that came out of his mouth was uncanny. There was laughter amongst his jokes, yet shaking of the head at his subtle realities. His analysis of the world in which we live and the direction in which we are heading was not only astoundingly accurate but also unmistakably true. Two quotes from Dr. Campolo that I felt really encompassed everything you needed to take from his visit “It’s one thing to believe the doctrines. It’s another to surrender to their perspective.” And lastly and most importantly; “Living by faith is trusting your future in the hands of God!”
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Dwight Howard scored 40 points to lead the Orlando Magic to a 103-90 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The win propelled Orlando to their 2nd NBA Finals appearance in franchise history where they will square off with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron James scored 25 points for the Cavs but received little support from anyone else, as the team with the league’s best regular season record was sent long “Gone Fishing” for the summer. Game 1 of the 2009 NBA Finals is set to begin Thursday in Los Angeles.
I received this in an e-mail this morning. Hilarious reminder of life in Tennessee.
The Ten Commandments
Some people have trouble with all those 'shall's' and 'shall not's' in the Ten Commandments. Folks just aren't used to talking in those terms. So, in middle Tennessee they translated the 'King James Version' into ' Jackson County ' language....no joke, (posted on the wall at Cross Trails Church in Gainesboro, TN)
(1) Just one God
(1) Just one God
(2) Put nothin' before God
(3) Watch yer mouth
(4) Git yourself to Sunday meetin'
(5) Honor yer Ma & Pa
(6) No killin'
(7) No foolin' around with another fellow's gal
(8) Don't take what ain't yers
(9) No tellin' tales or gossipin'
(10) Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff
Now that's plain an' simple. Y'all have a nice day.
Now that's plain an' simple. Y'all have a nice day.
Touching show of support by Colonial Country Club and the PGA Tour today at The Crowne Plaza Invitational in Ft. Worth, TX. Many including the players, caddies, media, and fans in the gallery are wearing pink in honor of breast cancer awareness and Phil Mickelson’s wife, Amy. Phil recently took a leave of absence from the Tour to be by his wife’s side as she battles breast cancer. Make sure to keep the Mickelson family in your thoughts and prayers.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Fred Durst tweeted last night that Limp Bizkit will play a U.S. show in Las Vegas on July 10 at Mandalay Bay Beach. The gig will be part of a prelude to UFC:100. Their current "Unicorns & Rainbows" European tour marks the first time the original band members have been together in over 8 years. The Euro-trek tour runs through July 5th.
What began with a billing throughout Denver as the biggest playoff game in Nuggets history, ended with the Lakers making an enormous statement as Kobe Bryant scored 35 points with 10 assists in a 119-92 victory at Pepsi Center Friday night. Los Angeles will now have nearly one week of rest before making their second straight Finals appearance. Game 1 is scheduled for next Thursday either in Cleveland or L.A. Kudos to the Lakers for closing out the series on the road, and giving Black Mamba time to rest his legs and replenish his venom through intravenous therapy. My early prediction, Lakers win the title in 5. Who they play is irrelevant at this point. Kobe’s will to win a title sans Shaq is so overwhelming that his teammates can’t help but buy in. He may not be the greatest teammate but neither was Michael Jordan. All that matters is rings!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
King James lead the way with the fourth triple double of his 59 game postseason career: 37 points, 15 rebounds, and 12 assists to lead the LeBron’s past Orlando 112-102 at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland came out blazing from the start, as this battle was very one-sided early. Feeding off the energy and emotion of the hometown crowd, the Cavs raced to a 32-10 with 4 minutes left in the first quarter behind 4 three pointers from Mo “don’t call me Casper” Williams. Orlando was able to overcome the initial onslaught from Guarantee Ghost and end the half on quite a run. The Magic all but completely erased the Cavs big 22 point first quarter lead with Rashard Lewis’ three pointer pulling the Magic with in one at 56-55 as we hit intermission. While walking to the locker room, you could almost hear Mike Brown thinking; “do we realize this is an elimination game, and it lasts 4 quarters?”
(Note: While the Magic were making their run in the 2nd quarter, I witnessed something that I’d yet to notice. This actually had nothing to do with LeBron. Dwight Howard actually posted up Zydrunas Ilgauskas, spun across the lane with power and finesse, ala Amar'e Stoudemire, and finished at the rim while drawing the foul on Big Z. If someone that young and raw can ever fully develop that aspect of his post game, he truly could be unstoppable down low. Not just LeBron James unstoppable, but Wilt Chamberlain “I will average 50 ppg in any decade” unstoppable. Obviously the self-proclaimed next “Superman” still needs a jump shot, or any shot for that matter, but that’s what the off-season is for. In a short time he will become much more than the best defensive center who can only dunk.)
The second half was much more tightly contested, back and forth, until the Cavs finally wrestled control around the five-minute mark of the fourth. Thus started the typical parade to the foul line, as is usually the case come playoff crunch time. In the end the LeBron’s were able to defend the King’s Court, and promptly send the series back to the Magic Kingdom for game 6 Saturday night at Amway Arena. Cleveland was able to cover the spread (-8) in Vegas tonight, with the over/under (191) hitting as well. One positive: the growing personal foul epidemic did find a temporary antibiotic this evening, with Orlando committing 27 to the Cavs 25. Although 75 free throws were attempted between the two teams, there were far less of the head scratching, jaw dropping, unbelievable displays of officiating ineptitude that have seemed to plague a few recent playoff matchups. Celebrities in attendance at the Q included rapper Jay-Z, quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Brady Quinn, as well as Yankees stars Alex Rodriquez, Mariano Rivera, and C.C. Sabathia who were in town for a 4 game series with the Tribe starting tomorrow evening.
I’m watching Billy Crystal serenade Jay in the prelude to his Friday finale as host of “The Tonight Show.” It’s great to see all the flashbacks, with my choice of late night variety leaning toward Leno as opposed to Letterman. I’m not quite sure if it was due to his location out west, his famous “chin” and crazy hair, or just the fact that my best friend Brad loved Letterman. He lived next door so I’d often be watching late night television there. His whole family loved Letterman, so naturally I would lean the opposite. Yes, Dave’s Top Ten is legendary but so is Leno’s monologue, not counting the enormous shoes that Jay had to fill. Rumor has it that Letterman still hasn’t shaken the sour taste over not being chosen to replace the legendary Johnny Carson. The Late Night War between Leno & Letterman was even waged across giant billboards in Times Square years back. You remember Dave’s GIANT mug proudly proclaiming to be #3 in late night! It was great for their ratings, great for the fans, and great for their careers. It will be interesting to see if Letterman has openly addresses the Leno/Conan transition on the air
With that, they have just brought Prince out of the woodwork. And yes, that is how he was introduced. Not “The Artist Formerly Known As,” not “The Artist,” no symbols, just Prince. The dude looks like he hasn’t aged a day in 20 years. Very nice performance by the way, albeit a little creepy, but the crowd loved it. NBC has already spoiled the final episode tomorrow night, and what I did see seemed to look rather awkward. The common mantra all week with Leno’s guests has been “well you’re going out on top.” Or “at least in prime-time you will get home earlier at night!” And then you look at Jay, and he’s thinking, “Do you really think I want to leave this gig! $18 million a year!! Do you know how much money that is in a recession!?!" It was right around my birthday in 2004 that Conan was first tabbed to replace Jay in late summer of ‘09. Many fans, myself included never envisioned this day coming so soon. I actually really enjoy Conan O’Brien and frequently stayed up to catch him after Jay. Undoubtedly “The Tonight Show” will continue forward as #1 in late night. And no need to worry ol’ faithful fans of Leno. He will be back in the fall, ironically right before Conan.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I was pleasantly surprised, but happy nonetheless to see that Anquan Boldin has decided to part ways with Drew Rosenhaus. My initial reaction was “Thank God,” Q isn’t going anywhere, and now Rod Graves may be able to professionally negotiate a new extension. I’m sure the fans in Phoenix will instantly forgive and forget if it proves true that Super Agent Rosenhaus was indeed the culprit who contrived to elicit Q’s recent behavior. Makes you wonder if he simply got tired of being lumped in with the T.O.’s and Plaxico’s of this generation, or the persona that he is showcasing is not a true representation of one’s self. After all, that is the duty of an agent. Accurate and fair representation so that your client is compensated according to the industries standards for which they are employed. His decision to skip mini-camp with a supposed hamstring injury was nothing more than a badly thought out power maneuver aimed at trying to gain Q leverage, and ultimately force a trade. The problem is the organization has all the leverage, with Q deciding to take the majority of his money up front with his last contract extension. When it is all said and done, he is still under contract for two more years. By the way, The Arizona Republic reported yesterday that Boldin was seen at a local Phoenix fitness center not only participating in pick-up games but also actually throwing it down on some folks. I guess that leaves us no choice but to ultimately blame Drew Rosenhaus for Q’s behavior, at least that is what Q would like for us Cardinals fans to believe.
Smart move toward the end of regulation by Stan Van Gundy; Pietrus fouling LeBron, and in essence avoiding the home fans from having to “Witness” a re-enactment of Game 2. He did however make both free throws to force overtime. Props and respect to the Magic in the end. They keep punching the Cavs in the mouth. Ultimately, there is no other way. To be the best, you have to beat the best. Sounds cliché’ but it stands the test of time. Orlando deserves to win this series and if King James is able to bring the LeBron’s back, then that in itself will be of historic proportions. Something tells me that won’t be the case though. It would have been one thing to had LeBron making guarantees, but Mo Williams? He’s got about as much playoff credibility as Tracy McGrady. The Cavs may get game 5 back at the Q, but I don’t see them getting game 6 in O-Town. Not this year, and not this time, because for once, it looks like David Stern won’t have the final say in who plays for the Larry O’Brien trophy this season.
The more I’m playing around with the idea of this new bog; the more and more I’m drawn into the world of the Internet and the vast and endless possibilities. I’ve discovered the many different widgets and gadgets to use with my new column, and it’s almost overwhelming. I will continue to explore the vast reaches of the farthest realms still unbeknownst to my personal computer literacy level. I have already received one sound bit of advice from my first loyal reader, and I will apply it accordingly. In the meantime, Orlando is really doing a number on Cleveland. It will be hard for even the King himself to climb out of a 3-1 hole. I’m not saying that it can’t be done, but the numbers do not lie. Only 8 teams have ever come back from a 3-1 series deficit in NBA history, with one of course being the Suns ’06 comeback against the Lakers sans Amare. I’m a little skeptical of Cleveland and how much experience they actually have. Yes, they did make it to the Finals in ’07, but Boobie Gibson, Big Z, Pavlovic, Varejao, and LeBron are the hold-over’s. And the San Antonio Sterns did mop them up 4-0; “shout out to Doug Franz at Sports 620 KTAR for that moniker by the way.” And my gut feeling, the way this year has went throughout the sports world, with the Cardinals making the Super Bowl and all. I wouldn’t be utterly dumbfounded if Orlando does make it to the Finals. In fact, with the pure disdain I have for David Stern, I would love to see a Denver/Orlando matchup in the 2009 NBA Finals. Marketing nightmare for the league, but a nice poke in the belly for DS nonetheless. But back to the Cavs, other than LeBron, they just lack the killer instinct, and if they don’t survive game 4, it could be the end for King James and his Royal Cavaliers! As I type this LeBron just sank the second of two free throws to give Cleveland the lead 98-97 with :21 seconds left.
Monday, May 25, 2009
This new Twitter phenomenon seems to be taking the world by storm, including my own BlackBerry Storm. Not only can you receive weather, crime, traffic and news updates via Tweets, but also it seems that this has even caught on with many big name celebrities and athletes across the globe. From the ladies on The View to Coach John Calipari to President Barack Obama, the masses are sending tweets on the regular. In fact, Calipari posts many inspirational and motivational tweets including one I received on my BlackBerry this morning around 5:15 a.m., PT. “In order to be a complete person u must think of others and then find ways to give yourself to them. And giving can take on many forms.” It almost sounds like Calipari is some sort of prophet or Buddha, dare I say “zen” like master.
After taking up residence in the barbeque & blues capital for about 13 months in ’07-’08, I’ve gained a very fond appreciation for “Coach Cal” as he is affectionately and aptly bestowed. I’ve never seen somebody be able to complete engage a city quite like Cal did to Memphis during his tenure. Memphis is a Tigers Basketball Town! Make no mistake about it; the Grizzlies are nothing more than a mere after thought, with the Tigers outdrawing them by an average of nearly 5,000+ this past season. And forget about football, their been un-interesting since the day D’Angelo Williams was drafted. In fact, the day after the Tigers gave the championship away to Chalmers and the Jayhawks, Tuesday April 8, 2008, the Phoenix Suns were in town to take on the Grizzlies. The announced “inflated” attendance was 13,987. I’ll bet there weren’t half that many actually in the stands that night. You could literally feel the air of the entire city taken away , just from the atmosphere alone. I realize this is the Grizzlies, and they don’t have anything to offer, but this evening your REALLY noticed. Granted, the only reason I was even there was to catch Two-Time, STAT and the Big Cactus. The Suns are the only team that I have complete and ultimate devotion to. That and the fact that my big homey A.J. and I scalped $4 seats and sat in the front row, you have to love the Grizzlies! (Brief side note: this is why I am so excited to be living in Southern California. I just may become a Clippers season ticket holder before it’s all said and done. That evening at FedEx Forum was the scene of the worst hangover for a city I’d ever witnessed. Probably worse than the one us Phoenicians had after the Super Bowl. You know, the anger of Holmes not having both feet in, or Clancy Pendergast decision to go same ol’ Cards PREVENT and play not to lose! But that is for another column.
That Tigers team lost a majority of its starting lineup after that game, and I was skeptical of how they would fare in the 2008-09 season. It was a slow start as expected, taking some time to incorporate newcomers with previous holdovers Antonio Anderson, Robert Dozier, and Shawn Taggert, amongst others. However after incorporating the new crop of talent, notably moving Tyreke Evans to the point, the Tigers got back to their winning ways before ultimately falling to 102-91 to a tough Missouri squad, that also turned out to be Coach Cal’s final game as head coach of the Tigers.
After watching the Tigers season come to an end, in my own backyard ironically enough, I was quite shocked to see Cal mentioned in the Kentucky opening. With the recruiting class he had coming in, I never imagined him leaving Memphis for ANYTHING! I may have been in the minority of naïve fans who thought that those recruits might actually still honor their commitments to the Tigers. Awfully facetious I know. DeMarcus Cousins-University of Kentucky. John Wall-University of Kentucky. Eric Bledsoe, you guessed it…UK. Noticing a trend here? I’m not bitter for the simple fact that I was really only a Tigers fan because of Calipari. I’ll never forget the excitement, which I felt while playing at Galloway Golf Course right across the street from Cal’s former crib. My golf game is very subpar to say the least but you had better believe that I hit the shot of my life right there. I daydreamed that surely Cal was enjoying a morning jog and just happened to see the shot that I couldn’t reproduce in 100 attempts. His farewell speech he gave in front of that very house was very emotional, and as difficult for him to deliver as it was for the all of the Tiger Faithful to digest. Not as much for me though. Although I will still root for Coach Josh Pastner and the Tigers, that is not why I plan on purchasing the NCAA hoops package with DirecTV this year for the first time. I think you all know why. Hitch me to the wagon. I am now a Wildcats fan, GO BIG BLUE! Please don’t get it twisted, let me assure you of two things. I WILL NEVER BEAR DOWN, and it’s not because “It’s Kentucky!”
It’s funny as I’m typing this, they just had a story about Twitter leading into sports on the ABC 5 o’clock news. Apparently they are in talks to develop a Twitter television show with some sort of celebrity/average joe type of interactions….Apparently there is not yet a timetable for it going to production. With that, I am off to catch Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. These have been some of the best playoff games I’ve seen in quite a while. Should be a big win for the Nuggets tonight, ‘Melo will show out. We should be headed back to L.A. with the series tied up. Denver 113, L.A. 99.