Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Shows that should be on DVD...and aren't

To break a little bit from the monotony of Oscar week, I decided that I would voice my opinion on the growing epidemic of a lack of certain former television programs on DVD. If you go to your local Tower, Target, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc., you'll find at least one or two aisles of DVDs of shows that were so obscure, or that are so new, that you really don't want to see them on DVD. There are however, some things that need to come out on DVD RIGHT NOW, that currently are not available. Below is a list of the shows that should be available, but at press time, are not.

Beverly Hills 90210 - Seasons 1-8

Thursday nights at 7 or 8 depending on where you grew up, were definitely made cooler with the advent of this program. Even when I got to Howard, I found a loyal legion of followers of this show that had more soap operatic twists and turns than I care to admit. Dylan McKay is still the man.

Head of the Class - Seasons 1-3
This was a great show for nerdy kids, or for watching a young Robin Givens, whom other than Holly Robinson and Jasmine Guy, were basically all of the sistas on television at the time. Seasons 1-3 were when the show was still cool, and had not lost its touch or soul, which it did in later years.

A Different World - Seasons 2-5
Don't mess with me about this show. There's nothing I don't know. Try to stump me, and you will lose money, face, and a bit of your ego. Seasons 2-5 were when the show got on track and never looked back. They were more daring (read: preachy) in Season 6, but 2-5 was the heart and soul of this groundbreaking and highly important show who found its way in the Neilsen top ten at first with Cosby, and later with its own legs. (I know you saw Jasmine Guy's sweater in the picture above.)

Frank's Place
I'm not a huge CBS fan, but this show, a one hour African American drama, is so rare. What's worse about the fact that it only lasted one season was that it was so very, very good. There's no reason in the world that this show, with the racism of the time only lasted one season, is not on DVD.

Small Wonder
A syndicated hit. When I was at Howard, we watched this show non-stop, and I really can't explain why. If you aren't familiar, this is the little girl who was a robot. "Silly when said now, but those were the days when Freaknik, and Daytona, and Spring Break made you wanna drop out of college and never go back..."

The Larry Sanders Show - The Complete Series

I have a serious bone to pick with Bravo for dumping this show in syndication. I watched it every night it was on. I think there are one or two seasons out on DVD, but this show was amazing, and deserves its just do by having the full set available for the hundreds of thousands of fans who could never get enough of Larry, Artie and Hank.

Dream On - Seasons 1-5 (During my research I found that seasons 1 & 2 are available)

Before Sex & The City, and before Real Sex, there was Dream On. Now, for the pubescent age group, this show was a dream. Every episode, Martin Tupper played by Brian Benben, slept with gorgeous women, and HBO, true to form showed just the perfect amount of (A(dult Situations), N(udity), L(anguage)) in every single episode.

First and Ten - Seasons 1-5 (I found out this was available as well)
Another HBO gem, First and Ten was about the fictitious California Bulls, and the trials and tribulations of a ragtag misfit football team playing well below their potential. Also high on the aforementioned A, N, L.

He's the Mayor
Kevin Hooks plays the mayor of a town. Tackleberry plays the deputy. Hilarity ensues. Check it out.

Mama's Family
If you ever watched any of the original episodes, you know that it came from the incomparable Carol Burnett. This show was just as fresh and hilarious as the original sketches on Ms. Burnett's show, and though the plot varied over the years, Mama never did.

One movie that needs to come out on DVD...She's Gotta Have It.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

45-11...The hits keep comin'

After last night's defeat of Philadelphia at the swank American Airlines Center, my hometown Dallas Mavericks are 45-11 and perched loftily atop the Midwest Division and the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association. We are also currently number 1 on the NBA Power Rankings from www.cnnsi.com.

It certainly feels good.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Per the request of our faithful readers

It has come to my attention that some of you want to comment or ask me questions about certain things on the blog, but don't want to do it publicly, nor do you want me to respond publicly.

To alleviate this problem, I have created a new email address where if you have questions that you don't want to post on the COMMENTS section, you can now send to me at howjoeseesit@gmail.com.

I still very much want to read your comments, and I am so very thankful for all of them and for all of you who read my work, but if you don't want anyone else to know your question, just hit me up on the Gmail account, and I'll try to get an answer to you with great haste.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

My Fondest Oscar Memories: 1998 - 'You make me wanna be a better man...'

On Monday, March 23 at the Shrine Auditorium in beautiful Los Angeles, California, the Oscars were held. I was in my second year at Morehouse at the time, and I lived with the uber-intelligent Otis (aptly named) Smart.

Tizzoe as was his nickname, knew of the importance of the Oscars to me, and allowed me to have the room from 8pm until the end of the show. He and I lived on the first floor of the Thomas Kilgore Residence Hall in room 113. Tizzoe had a 20 inch color television with rabbit ears that had perfect reception. See, he was a dual degree engineering major, so I am not surprised that we had the best reception on campus, cable or not. He wasn't just a major, he was the best in the whole department, so from time to time, random cats would come by and look for him so that they could get a hold of his notes, or receive tutoring from him. Most times, he declined the offers, but there was a list of 4 or 5 cats that he allowed me to tell them where he was actually studying. I was supposed to tell everybody else that he'd be in Douglass studying, when in actuality, he'd be in the balcony of Sale Hall Chapel. That's right, in the same room that Martin, Maynard, Andy, Malcolm, DuBois, Ali and Mays spoke, he was studying electrical engineering. Gotta love the House.

Anyway, I was extremely stoked about this year's Oscars because one of my cultural heroes, Jack Nicholson, was up for an Oscar for his portrayal of Melvin Udall in As Good As It Gets. I saw that film 3 times in the theater, and loved his seamless wordplay, and the undeniable attraction between him and the other characters.

Overshadowing 1998's Oscar telecast was the film Titanic. I liked only the last third of Titanic, when the boat was going down, and everything had gone haywire. That was entertaining to me, the rest of it was just sappy formulaic pap. King of the world, man please.

My choice for Best Picture that year was L.A. Confidential, which had it all; drama, suspense, comedy, acting unknowns for the most part and one helluva storyline. You tell me today, which movie holds up, Titanic or L.A. Confidential? Exactly. Titanic is easily one of the most panned Best Picture winners ever, and L.A. Confidential is still heralded as great art. It did win best picture from the Austrailia, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Florida, Las Vegas, London, New York and Texas film criticis associations, respectively. The film also received eight Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Art Direction, Cinemetography, Film Editing, Score and Sound, but it only won in one category, a Best Actress nod for Kim Basinger, and most deservedly so.

Even the other pictures up that year were better than Titanic. Good Will Hunting, As Good As It Gets, and The Full Monty (well maybe not the last one).

Back to Best Actor. Up agains Jack were fresh faced Matty Damon as the title character in the classic Good Will Hunting, Robert Duvall in The Apostle, Peter Fonda in Ulee's Gold, and Dustin Hoffman in Wag the Dog. Damon was in some pretty heavy water, given the fact that all of the other nominees had either been nominated or won Oscars before. He too would walk away with a statuette that night, but for writing Good Will Hunting. He and Ben Affleck walked away with the award that Oscar gives the young up and coming talents: writing awards. Spike was nominated for his in 1989 for Do The Right Thing, Tarrantino won his in 1994 for Pulp Fiction, and the list goes on and on.

Though the field was heavy with big names, and though Damon probably gave the best performance next to Nicholson, it was still a beautiful thing to see Jack win. My Dad always rooted for Jack in the movies. Even as the Joker in Batman, my Dad was actually on his side rather than Michael Keaton's. Because of that, I too developed an admiration for Jack's work, and I even affected his speech patterns, not to mention he was the biggest Laker fan in the world, which made him that much easier to admire.

Nicholson had many great lines in As Good As It Gets, and here are a sampling of them:
"Think white and get serious!"
"Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here!"
"Don't look at me, I didn't name ya!"
"I think of a man, and I take away reason, and accountability..."

and of course

"You make me wanna be a better man..."

That line was used as his Oscar clip. There was never any real discussion about the disorder that his character suffered from, or why he was prone to politely racist, homophobic or sexist rants, albeit brief, but the character was flawed overall, and his redeeming quality was that he seemed to want to get better and be better. That line of 'wanting to be a better man' resonated so clearly I'm sure with men, that it makes one almost helpless not to use it when needed. And believe me when I tell you that when friends used it, it ALWAYS worked.

So, when they called his name, and he won, it was kind of a vindication for the redemptive quality in all of us, as long as we at least try to change, especially for the better. And when he dedicated his Oscar win to Miles Davis, Jack won me over for sure. Two greats of the arts, and though one was gone, he was hardly forgotten, and Jack wasn't going to let anyone forget that.

So, here's to Jack Nicholson, in my fondest Oscar memory of 1998, and to teaching us all the line that has helped many of my friends get off the hook.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

"Baby, you can't have all of me, 'cause I'm not totally free..."

Ladies and Gentlemen...Guy

Sunday, February 26, 2006

My Fondest Oscar Memories: 1993 Denzel gets robbed

Other than Thanksgiving and Morehouse-Spelman homecoming, Oscar week is the biggest week of my life. In recognition of Oscar week, I will write a memory or two from specific Oscar telecasts or Oscar campaigns of certain films.

I was a senior in highschool at the Lakehill Preparatory School in the East Dallas enclave known as Lakewood in March of 1993. Already accepted at Howard University, Hampton and Dillard, I was 3-3 and had decided to enroll at Howard in the fall and study film production. Back in 1993, the Oscars were held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in Hollywood on the fifth Monday in March.

I was very excited about this year's telecast because I was absolutely certain that for the first time in history, an African American man would win the Oscar for Best Actor. How could Denzel not win for his performance as Malcolm X? Notice I didn't write 'in Malcolm X', but rather 'as.' He did it with a depth and warmth that made the audience accept him when he was a thief, admire him in prison, be charmed by him as a minister, and follow him as a legendary fighter for equality and freedom. I went to see the picture on opening day with my co-best friend, Hampton Cude, and we both left the theater changed people. Flash back to the Oscars...

By late March, basketball season was well over, so I had no excuse to not get home as soon as possible after school. I remember leaving Lakehill around 4 and making it home around 5. My mother asked me to run some errands for her up the street, which I did, and she made me a heaping plate of her world famous spaghetti while I was out. When I got back, I noticed that my 15 year old brother Jordan and my 10 year old sister Marjon were upstairs, and not downstairs, and that the den was unusually quiet. Mommy made them go upstairs to do their respective homework, so that I could watch the Oscars in peace. What a lady.

I finished my spaghetti, salad, french bread and sweet tea at the dinner table, finished my homework, and I was ready to watch the end of the red carpet on the new and fledglin E Network.

Before I knew it, the program had begun and there was my main man Billy Crystal, running the show. The opening number was dazzling, the stars were all there in their finery, and there wasn't a lapel or dress that was missing a red AIDS Awareness ribbon. Oh, how I miss 1993.

When the nominations had come out a few months earlier, I was already extremely peeved over the fact that Malcolm X was not nominated for more awards. On the now famous Saturday Night Live that Michael Jordan hosted and Public Enemy was the musical guest, the season opener of 1991, Spike mentioned on Nat X to Chris Rock that Malcolm X would be nominated for 10, count 'em 10 Academy Awards. I guess he meant ideally. But, he was right to think so. Sadly however, the Academy thought otherwise. In a year when Malcolm X should've been nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design, Art Direction and Original Score, the film only garnered two nominations, one for Denzel and the other for Ruth Carter for Costume Design. Malcolm X was robbed...badly.

But, as African Americans in the early nineties, we suck that up don't we? We accept it and move on. It's kind of like in 1991 when arguably the greatest songwriter of his generation, Stevie Wonder writes 11 new songs for the Jungle Fever soundtrack, and none of them are nominated for an Oscar. Or in 1991 when Wesley Snipes is chilling and far too good as Nino Brown, and he gets no nomination at all. Or even this year, when Terrence Howard didn't get a nomination for 'Crash' as well as 'Hustle and Flow.' I'm digressing.

The gentlemen up for Best Actor were: Robert Downey, Jr. for Chaplin, Clint Eastwood for Unforgiven, Al Pacino for Scent of a Woman, Stephen Rea for The Crying Game, and Denzel Washington for Malcolm X.

Honestly, I watched all of the performances of the nominees excepte for Mr. Downey's. Eastwood was menacing and tough in Unforgiven, and his role and the film in general truly was one of the best pictures I've ever seen. I understand why he was nominated and why the picture one Best Picture, however, he wasn't better than Denzel. Al Pacino phoned in his performance as a blind vet, and stammered through his lines and yelled, and said 'Ooh Aah', but he was no match for Denzel. Pacino himself had been robbed on Oscar night several times for both Godfathers, Serpico, Scarface, etc. Needless to say, he was no match for Denzel as Malcolm. Stephen Rea was refreshing in the gender bending Miramax feature, The Crying Game, but even through his accent, his facial expressions, his brief comedic trips, and everything else that the movie had going on, he didn't hold a candle to Mr. Washington's performance. But when they read the name of the winner, my heart plummeted. Mr. Pacino won the award. He won the old Oscar switcheroo. In other words, give it to the guy who should've won before, but we'll do it for another movie. I was heartbroken.

Later in the evening, a resplendent Denzel Washington presented an award with a gaunt and tired looking Tom Hanks. Both wore audaciously agregious tuxedos with morning coats that caught my eye. For prom, a few weeks away, I did everything I could to get a tux as close to the one that Denzel wore that night.

So, Denzel was robbed that night of Oscar gold, which would have been his second Oscar, and at the time was his third nomination. He would go on to be nominated for 1999's The Hurricane and win his Best Actor award for 2001's Training Day. All in all, by most accounts the greatest actor of his generation, Mr. Denzel Washington has five nominations and two awards, which isn't too shabby considering Oscar's sporadic history with honoring achievement at the right time.

But even the win in 2002 wasn't as satisfying as the win in 1993 would've been for his portrayal of the controversial, strong, and relevant African American leader, Malcolm X. I guess the Academy just wasn't ready for that.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Raymond Lee Jones, Jr.

Ray, me and Spence at the 2004 Candle In The Dark Gala in Atlanta

I've got to take a moment to recognize my dear friend and brother Ray Jones. Ray has been a faithful and avid reader of this blog for quite some time and has been very instrumental in getting the word out on the street about my writing. Ray, you've been a proponent since Day 1, and I truly appreciate your support, friendship and backing.

Not to give too much away from my tentatively titled upcoming book, "When I Was In College: A Memoir", but Ray and I became fast friends after a variety of meetings at my former residence, the legendary manse, 145 Spence Avenue. I lived there from August 2002 until July of 2004 with three of his line brothers, and the good/wild times never ceased during that 23 month period.

Ray-Ray, you are missed immensely pally. I hope to see you soon.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.


The Mavs have won 18 of their last 19 games, and are a conference best 44-11.

The bandwagon just left the station.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I love 'Crash' but I liked it better when it was 'Grand Canyon' and 'Falling Down'

Go back. Go to Blockbuster or Target or Tower and pick up these two movies, 'Grand Canyon' and 'Falling Down.' No, 'Grand Canyon' is not a western, it's a movie about life in the culturally, economically and class diverse city of Los Angeles, California set in the early 1990s. Oh, wait, that sounds familiar. It sounds like Joel Schumacher's film 'Falling Down' that tackled the same issues a few years later, but instead of the protagonist being Kevin Kline it was Michael Douglass. Or, does it sound like this year's Academy Award nominated 'Crash'?

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

"Please show the same love to my friends...Dear Summer,"

I will be working very hard to finish my book over the next two months so that I can have a copy completed by Mother's Day. So, in the meanwhile, I won't be posting as regularly as I'd like to.

I will however being posting at least once a week to give my opinion on a number of things or rant when need be.

Thanks for the support and love.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

My Sister's Blog

Please check out my sister's blog at...


I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Just another Morehouse man

DOB: March 20, 1957
POB: Atlanta, Georgia
Morehouse College, 1979 B.A. - Film
Tisch School of the Arts @ N.Y.U., 1982 M.F.A. - Film Production
'Last Hustle in Brooklyn' - 1977
'A Day in the Life of Miss Maroon & White' - 1978
'The Answer' - 1980
'Sarah' - 1981
'Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads' - 1983 - Winner, Student Academy Award
'She's Gotta Have It' - 1986
'School Daze' - 1988
'Do The Right Thing' - 1989 - 2 Academy Award Nominations
'Mo' Better Blues' - 1990
'Jungle Fever' - 1991
'Malcolm X' - 1992 - 2 Academy Award Nominations
'Crooklyn' - 1994
'Clockers' - 1995
'Girl 6' - 1996
'Get on the Bus' - 1996
'Four Little Girls' - 1997 - Academy Award Nomination
'He Got Game' - 1998
'Summer of Sam' -1999
'The Original Kings of Comedy' - 2000
'Bamboozled' - 2000
'Jim Brown All American' - 2002
'25th Hour' - 2002
'She Hate Me' - 2004
'Inside Man' - 2006

Awards and Nominations
Academy Awards
1989 - Do The Right Thing - Nomination for Best Original Screenplay
1998 - Four Little Girls - Nomination for Best Documentary Feature

Cannes Film Festival
1986 - She's Gotta Have It - Winner, 'Award of the Youth'
1989 - Do The Right Thing - Nominated for the Golden Palm
1991 - Jungle Fever - Nominated for the Golden Palm
Jungle Fever - Winner, 'Prize of the Ecumenical Jury'

Golden Globes
1990 - Do The Right Thing - Nominated, Best Original Screenplay
Do The Right Thing - Nominated, Best Director

Independent Spirit Awards
1987 - She's Gotta Have It - Winner, Best First Feature

Los Angeles Film Critics Association
1989 - Do The Right Thing - Winner, Best Director
1986 - Do The Right Thing - Winner, New Generation Award

Just another Morehouse man.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006



Get on the bandwagon now, we'll be leaving soon.

Avery's got those boys playing serious ball down in my hometown, and he's even coaching the west team on Sunday.

40-11 going into the break.

Believe it.

Dallas is for real.

I'm Joe, and that's how I see it.

National Public Radio

I'm addicted to NPR. My father got me into when I was growing up. Every saturday morning, when on our way to Boy Scouts, or soccer games, or Home Depot, Daddy would be listening to 'Car Talk' on 90.1 KERA in Dallas.

A few summers ago, while driving down Cascade Rd. with my friend Seth, I noticed the music for NPR's 'All Things Considered.' I looked over at him, laughed, and he said, it's something I got from my Dad. I understood all too well.

On my morning ride into work, and on the alarm clock waking me up, my radio dial is set to 90.1 which in Atlanta is WABE. There, in the early morning hours I hear Morning Edition with my main man Steve Inskeep. At 9AM, I switch over to 91.9 WCLK and listen to the great Ed Gordon do his show, News & Notes from 9-10.

One day while working, I was flipping through radio stations and I happened upon 'Fresh Air With Terry Gross.' I was instantly hooked. The first guest I ever remember hearing on the program was Mos Def. She speaks to everybody. From rappers to politicians to writers, to Supreme Court justices, to anybody whose anybody. She has a great delivery and style, and she's not afraid to ask the toughest questions. My mother calls it invasiveness, and Mommy's probably right, but I see it as the mark of an excellent journalist, not afraid whatsoever to dig as deep as possible in search of the truth.

If you don't listen to it, please try her program out one day. Go to NPR.org, click on her show's page and download a few interviews. See when she comes on in your area and enjoy.

I also strongly suggest listening to News & Notes with Ed Gordon for a different point of view on the news, primarily from people of color. His roundtable discussions, one on one interviews, Political Corner, and in-depth features make 9-10AM the most enjoyable hour of my day. Check him out on NPR.org as well.

I'm Joe, and that's how I see it.

Monday, February 13, 2006

My Favorites

The Dallas Cowboys
Reece's Pieces
Turtleneck sweaters
Spike Lee
Kelly green
'With Every Beat of My Heart' by Stevie Wonder
Annie Hall
A Tribe Called Quest
Brooks Brothers No Iron
Kiehls Facial Fuel All in One
Gentlemen's Quarterly
The Republic
'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou'
The Atlantic Ocean
Maureen Dowd
The New York Times
The Lincoln House Deli
Club sandwich
Bill Murray
Age 18
Time spent with Marjon
Howard University in the fall
Bryant Park
Golf in the summer of 2001
John Madden
Woody Allen
Mom's lemon cream pie
Freshly cut grass
Jack & Jill memories
Tennis with my brother
Dr. Walter Eugene Massey
Sweetwater Creek
Maker's Mark
145 Spence Avenue
From Thursday until Monday of each homecoming
Sunday dinners back home
Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk Ice Cream
'When Harry Met Sally'
Ghiardelli Square
Car service in New York instead of cabs or the train
'High Fidelity'
The way my parents look at each other

I'm Joe, and that's how I see it.

Another Message to Gen

Dear Gen,

In my Modern Political Theory class at Morehouse, we read 'Leviathan' by Sir Thomas Hobbes. Of all the things in that work that stayed with me, the following quote was the most striking, (I'm paraphrasing) "to acknowledge a man is to honor him."

Thank you as always for your comments. I wrote my last entry not in a response to you or anyone else, but because tomorrow is the 139th birthday of my alma mater. So the 'you' in in the last reason was not directed to you dear, but more so a 'you' in general. And actually, if you did not attend, you can't understand. You can empathize, you can have an idea what it's like, you can even feel you kind of know what's like, but until you've stood in the lines, dealt with the professors, received the hateful looks from others at the mere mention of Morehouse, dealt with the stereotypes, and tried in vain to live up to the shadows that cast so ominously over the campus, you don't understand.

I sincerely do invite your comments, and I am happy that you are thoughtful enough to provide opinions about what it is that I write. I write my blog not solely for my Atlanta University Center sisters and brothers, but I write my blog firstly for myself. Secondly, I write about things that people that I know, grew up with and went to school with might find interesting.

The aforementioned brotherhood and loyalty in my list about Morehouse is why Ray responded the way he did. If you met him you'd know what I am saying. I apologize if you were offended by his comments, but I do not apologize for his spirit.

That same spirit is something that is not easily translatable or transferable in the world outside of 830 Westview Drive. It's a connection that is forged over turmoil, tumult, good and bad times, times of comfort and of conscience. It's the mystique that we talk about so much and rarely if ever find the full amount of words to describe.

Come to think of it, I also write this blog because I fancy myself a writer. I do not bow to the will of others interpretations of my opinions or my words, but rather write what is on my mind and in my conscience. I haven't the time nor the inclination to worry about who the writing is for, because in the end, if it makes me happy, then I've done my job. I do not want you to misunderstand that last line though. I do openly and gladly welcome readers from all over and all walks of life, so please keep them coming.

Sarcasm and inuendo gets us nowhere, so it's not something that I subscribe to. I do subscribe to healthy discourse, and you have definitely been providing that Gen.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Friday, February 10, 2006

123 Reasons I Love My Alma Mater...Morehouse College

A few weeks ago, I did a similar list for Atlanta, and for some odd reason, I'm really feeling nostalgic about the little school known the world over for educating African American boys and making them men...Morehouse College.

Maybe it's the crisp February air, my alma mater's 139th birthday on Tuesday, February 14th, or the comments from UGA grad and most welcomed frequent commenter, Gen, but I'm feeling incredibly proud of the House lately, so here it goes...

1. Because Morehouse is the only college in the United States of America that is all-male and predominately African American.
2. Because Samuel L. Jackson is a member of the class of 1972.
3. Because Graves Hall is so majestic.
4. Because Morehouse sits on a former confederate battle field. In other words, it is so fitting that young African American men walk to class and are educated where confederate soldiers once fought so that would not be a reality.
5. Because our basketball team is guaranteed 20 wins a season.
6. Because Crown Forum, nearly every Thursday at 11AM.
7. Because Morehouse's campus newspaper was founded in 1898, the oldest of any HBCU in the country.
8. Because Clark Atlanta is right next door.
9. Because Dr. Walter Eugene Massey, '58.
10. Because the Davidson House is so choice.
11. Because during special events, there is always an influx of Cadillacs.
12. Because our school history, "A Candle in the Dark" is so well written.
13. Because Morehouse has three single letter fraternity chapters.
14. Because though we got our colors from Colgate, Maroon and White go together so beautifully.
15. Because Miss Maroon & White 1984-85 Adrienne Joi Johnson, played 'Sheraine' in 'House Party.'
16. Because we miss Morris Brown.
17. Because of the delicious smoothies served in our new on-campus jazz cafe, Jazzman's.
18. Because Dr. Hugh Morris Gloster, '31.
19. Because our rivarly with Tuskegee has nothing to do with athletics, but is rooted in the difference in ideals between DuBois and Washington.
20. Because we have the most successful tennis team among all HBCU's in Division II.
21. Because we produce more African American male doctors than any other school in the country.
22. Because Dr. Tobe Johnson, '58.
23. Because despite the probable outcome, we still pack B.T. Harvey stadium.
24. Because unlike several other schools in Georgia, our athletes graduate.
25. Because Woodruff Library.
26. Because fried chicken day in Chivers Cafeteria.
27. Because every decision Dr. Massey makes gets better and better.
28. Because Black Enterprise has stated that we are the number one school for African Americans for the past 8 years.
29. Because Spelman sisters.
30. Because New Student Orientation.
31. Because Spirit Night.
32. Because Dorm step shows.
33. Because on any given night, the tennis courts are fully occupied.
34. Because the basketball intramural playoffs draw crowds that include local celebrities and professional athletes.
35. Because Andre Pattillo, '79.
36. Because Mr. Sterling Hudson, Director of Enrollment Managment.
37. Because Sam Jackson was on the championship swim team.
38. Because Steven Schukei, '98 was elected vice president of the SGA.
39. Because Morehouse-Spelman homecoming.
40. Because Martin Luther King, Jr. Internationa Chapel.
41. Because you can always go home again.
42. Because Morehouse campus police.
43. Because Thomas J. Kilgore Campus Center.
44. Because Martin Luther King, Jr., '48, lived in Joseph T. Robert Hall, and it still stands.
45. Because we didn't have a website until 1997.
46. Because along with Spelman, we were the first HBCUs on Facebook.
47. Because Dr. Mordecai Wyatt Johnson, '11 was the most influential president of Howard University, and Dr. James Nabritt, '23 succeeded him.
48. Because Shelton 'Spike' Lee, '79 lived in Charles D. Hubert Hall from 1975-79.
49. Because Benjamin Elijah Mays.
50. Because transfer students live in Mays Hall.
51. Because of the tranquility of Danforth Chapel.
52. Because Dean Lawrence Edward Carter.
53. Because Coronation.
54. Because Student Government elections are bloodsport.
55. Because a haircut will never cost more than $5.
56. Because Edwin Moses, '78.
57. Because the proper amount of arrogance is instilled in each member of the incoming class.
58. Because the Biology Department is one of the largest producers of preachers and business majors.
59. Because Dr. Howard Thurman, '23.
60. Because we are the only college or university in the country that has an alum with a national holiday in his honor.
61. Because looks can be deceiving.
62. Because a walk through Brawley Hall can allow your ears to hear ten to fifteen different languages.
63. Because our homecoming concert is the one that Atlanta comes to.
64. Because Mahogany 'N Motion.
65. Because the Morehouse v. CAU game is the biggest bet in town. A rivalry game only second to the UGA-GT football game in Georgia.
66. Because we used to play Howard for homecoming...fearlessly.
67. Because after the realization of one secret society at Morehouse, several other pathetic attempts have sprouted up.
68. Because at Homecoming in 1996, Jamie Foxx, A Tribe Called Quest, Ice Cube, Jay-Z and Kirk Franklin all performed.
69. Because Spelman College.
70. Because Keshia Knight Pulliam, was on the 1999-2000 Miss Maroon & White court.
71. Because Friday afternoons are reserved for wasting limitless time at Spelman.
72. Because the best snack machine is at the Physical Plant office.
73. Because Rep. Sanford Bishop, '68 (D-GA).
74. Because graduation is such a beautiful ceremony.
75. Because Henry M. Goodgame, '84 inspires us to be better.
76. Because 'School Daze.'
77. Because there is no shortage of supporters, brothers and true friends.
78. Because our in-class philosophy is 'support each other.'
79. Because Mr. Bobby Westbrooks is so very, very cool.
80. Because there is a definite distinction in the grass that seperates Morehouse and Clark Atlanta University.
81. Because we never see anyone from Morehouse School of Medicine.
82. Because two of my Political Science department classmates were Rhodes Scholars, Chris Elders, '02 and Tope Folarin, '04.
83. Because the Morehouse College Glee Club's rendition of 'Bethelhemu.'
84. Because everybody who's anybody drops by to see the campus and say hello.
85. Because former Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher, '63.
86. Because Lerone Bennett, '49, Executive Editor of Ebony Magazine and accomplished African American historian, was the Editor-in-Chief of 'The Maroon Tiger' during the 1948-49 school year.
87. Because The Candle in the Dark.
88. Because Collegiate Exchange.
89. Because of the 12 inch Gutbuster, steak and cheese with ketchup, pickles, salt and pepper, with fries covered in ketchup, salt and pepper with a Cherry Coke.
90. Because Hank Aaron, husband of Morehouse trustee Mrs. Billye Aaron, owns the Church's Chicken and the Krispy Kreme up the street.
91. Because I bought 'ATLiens' and 'Life After Death' from The Mall at West End.
92. Because Spelman's LLC was my sister dorm.
93. Because visitation rules at Morehouse rarely if ever apply anymore.
94. Because the laundry facility under Graves Hall is so convenient.
95. Because Hon. Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Jr., Esq., '56 was Atlanta's first African American mayor.
96. Because Rep. Major R. Owens, '56 (D-NY).
97. Because at Morehouse, legends never die.
98. Because Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, '72.
99. Because our school spirit and pride knows no bounds.
100. Because hatred of our institution is usually the direct result of a rejection letter.
101. Because there are currently three Morehouse men on the Atlanta City Council.
102. Because Dr. Michael L. Lomax, '68, president of the United Negro College Fund.
103. Because the annual Morehouse-Spelman Christmas Carol concerts.
104. Because the grounds are always expertly manicured.
105. Because despite what you may have heard, we actually embrace the diversity of fellow classmates backgrounds, socio-economic levels and lifestyle choices.
106. Because Geoffrey Robinson Bennett, '02.
107. Because running into Omari Young is always a good thing.
108. Because back in the day, the Hawks used to hold practices at Archer Hall.
109. Because Julian Bond, '72.
110. Because the Morehouse Mystique.
111. Because 'you can always tell a Morehouse man, but you can't tell him much.'
112. Because our track team has dominated the SIAC for at least the last ten years.
113. Because Mr. James Stotts, Director of Financial Aid.
114. Because Dr. Louis Sullivan, M.D., '54.
115. Because graduation lists.
116. Because need sheets.
117. Because we were the only Division II school in the country that Nike sponsored selling merchandise all over the world.
118. Because Bill Nunn, '76.
119. Because the first African American Rhodes Scholar from an HBCU, Nima Warfield, '94, is a Morehouse Man.
120. Because the class of 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005.
121. Because Adrienne Harris keeps everything going.
122. Because Morehouse is the only school that has an alum with a street named after him in every major city in the world.
123. Because never, have so few, done so much, with so little.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

124. Because you'll never understand.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Happy Birthday B Font

I just want to extend a happy birthday to my dear friend and brother Brandon Fontenot Johnson. On his birthday in 2002, he nearly beat me to death due to my cavalier attitude towards my studies. I have never forgotten that, nor the impact that it had on my life and our friendship. I love you B, thanks for everything.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

How Joe Sees It Suggests: The Ipod Nano

I love my Ipod. I really do. I carry it with me all day and I'm usually listening to it, or wondering what other music I can load on it.

My approach to my Ipod, which is named 'Electric Relaxation' is rooted in my love for mixing up music. I normally play it on shuffle, so that the constant surprise of the music that I've chosen for the day greets me in that perfect way that only the Ipod can.

I've got a little bit of everything, and I love it when Yolonda Adams's 'His Name Is Jesus' is followed by Aaron Copland's 'Fanfare for the Common Man' which is followed by Jay-Z's classic 'Dead Presidents 2.' Pure bliss I tell you, pure bliss.

I try my best not to put too much music by one artist on Electric Relaxation, and because of the fact that I have the 2GB, I really can't give up the room for every song on a CD like my friend Caishe who has album after album on his. No, not for me. I like to pick and choose, and perhaps use the alternate take of Miles Davis's 'Flamenco Sketches' or 'Y'all Scared' by OutKast instead of the insanely popular 'Hey Ya' or 'All Blues.'

The sleek black frame and small and unassuming design of Electric Relaxation usually gets quite a rise from people when they feel how light it is. I've got pictures on there, contacts, a calendar. I use it to its fullest extent.

Here's a sampling of what's currently on the Electric Relaxation today...

Fruit of Islam - Terrence Blanchard - Malcolm X Soundtrack
Uncle Fucka - Terrence & Phillip - South Park Soundtrack
Who's Loving You - Terrence Trent D'Arby - The Hardline According to TTD
Stay Fly - 36 Mafia - Most Known Unknown
Cryin' - Aerosmith - Eat The Rich
Head Over Feet - Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill

Like Ferris said, "It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend it."

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Goodbye Mrs. King

I first saw Coretta Scott King on a bright and sunny Atlanta day in May of 1997. She was at a ceremony for the internment of the remains of Howard Thurman's wife to the same crypt where his remains are housed on the campus of my dear alma mater, Morehouse College.

Of course I had seen her countless times on television and in the pages of magazines and books, but there she was, in the flesh and standing ten feet away from me. When speaking of her, we need to invent a new word that stands for regal, poise, beauty, charm, character, grace, intellect and presence. Because she embodied all of those words and so many more. Anyway, here she was standing on the plaza of King Chapel waiting to take her seat, when she looked over at me, smiled and said hello. I was stunned, naturally, and uttered a hello back to her. I was speechless though. I couldn't muster anything else.

I saw her up close and personal a few more times over the years, at Morehouse commencements and Founders Days. I remember one year when my father and I went to the annual 'A Candle in the Dark' and she was waiting for her car in line before us. My Dad was speechless as well to be there in her presence, even in a motor lobby under the Hyatt hotel.

She was so much to so many people, and of all the fitting tributes and well deserved platitudes, I simply want to say that were it not for her strength, vision, tenacity, character, resourcefulness and zeal, so many advantages that people of my generation and the generations after take for granted, would not have been attainable.

So, with that, I say thank you Mrs. King, for everything.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Friday, February 03, 2006

A Message to Long Live Madness

Dear Brother,
I left my seat with 6 seconds remaining. The requiste time it takes to dap up every brother near the floor, do the obligatory high fives and hugs, and some slight mugging for the camera, meant I left the game 5 minutes after it was over.

I don't know if you're in the city still, but we would have loved to see you there.

Long Live the Madness indeed!

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

A Message to Gen

Thank you for your comment on my blog last night. Since I was there, and I don't know whether or not you were, I feel that my view of the game, while admittedly slanted, gave a full picture of what occurred.

The quote I use at the top of my blog has absolutely nothing to do with my blogging, but more to do with how I live my daily life. Thanks for noting it however.

And Dr. King didn't marry a Spelman woman, but Spelman women alone don't make up the world's population of woman of courage, character, intellect, poise, intelligence and unquestionable beauty. Fortunately he met Coretta Scott, a young lady who was a graduate of Antioch College, and more importantly as strong if not stronger than he.

Dr. King's choice in a mate however, is no reflection on the wealth of contributions that our dear Sisters to the east have made on 350 Spelman Lane for well over 100 years. And despite the great instruction that goes on at a number of our institutions nationally, there truly is no better place where an African American young woman can come to be educated academically, socially, and spiritually.

And since, given your comments, you haven't had the same advantages by not attending Spelman, I have to keep that in mind when looking to quickly criticize you for your comments, albeit possibly in jest in regards to my Sister school.

Gen, thank you for the comments. It is always refreshing to know that someone is reading my blog that I don't even know. You have no idea how special it was to read what you had to say.

I'm Joe, and that's how I see it.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Clash of the Titans

I just got back from the world famous Morehouse v. Clark Atlanta basketball game. It is always a thrilling contest pitting two teams never evenly matched, but brimming with so much intensity that they both push each other to the limits.

This year was no different.

I got to the gym very early, as I'm wont to do, and I slipped in from a side door adjacent to the pool at Morehouse's Archer Hall. My good friend and one of my Morehouse mentors Mr. Bobby Westbrooks, always keeps the door propped so that he doesn't have to walk all the way around, and since I knew this, I took full advantage of that knowledge and slipped in. The hallway of the fabulous Forbes Arena was silent other than a few workers milling around. As I turned the corner around the concession stand, there was Bobby. Our conversation went like this.

Bobby: I knew I was gonna see you tonight!
Me: Yeah Bobby, it's been hard to stay away. How've you been?
Bobby: I was out for a few days with the flu.
Me: I'm sorry to hear that Bobby. You've gotta take care of yourself.
Bobby: I know. Are you staying outta trouble?
Me: Of course Bob.
Bobby: Yeah, right. Have fun tonight.

So, I walked down the concourse to the doors, and into the actual gym where there was activity everywhere. Cameras were being set up all over the building, wires were being laid down, microphones taped in place, the cheerleaders were practicing, and the Morehouse team was shooting around. I saw the head Tennis coach, Mr. Terry Alexander, and he and I chatted about Morehouse's chances this year in tennis. He seemed hesitantly optimistic. After a short conversation, I made my way down to the floor where I've been sitting since I was given my seats by my friend and original Morehouse mentor, Tony Clark, '98. My seats are on the first row, floor level of section BB, seats 7 & 8.

I nestled into my seats, took my coat off and rested it over the back of the bench and watched the fellas shoot around. To my immediate left was a table set up so that the sportscasters covering the game for ESPNU would have a place to sit close to the action. Covering the game was none other than sportscasting legend, Charlie Neal.

I struck up a conversation with Mr. Neal in which we discussed his new job at ESPNU, the demise of sports coverage at BET, world affairs, greek life, News & Notes with Ed Gordon, and Southeast D.C. It was a treat to finally meet someone that I had watched and heard doing so many games over the years on television.

Eventually, the stands started to fill up with the Morehouse, Spelman, and Clark Atlanta faithful. They were dressed to the nines. Whatever the new fashions are, believe me, they were on display tonight. Everything from vintage to thrift shop to couture was on display at the game. Haircuts were fresh, and I could smell all of the newly pressed hair of the Spelman and CAU co-eds.

An old classmate of mine now in his senior year, Tommy, sat to the left of me, and my buddy Taurean sat to the right of me. Next to him sat another friend of mine, and fellow Maroon Tiger Sports Editor, Ken, and next to him, a friend of mine who came from out of town to the see the game, Doug.

Of all of the outrageous styles and fashions, the craziest thing of the night was most definitely a sign that one Morehouse student held that read, "I PREFER SPELMAN WOMEN." It got quite a rise from the crowd, and he proudly held the 4 x 3 sign for most of the game until it was taken by the authorities.

A great deal of the latest Southern/Atlanta rap was being played prior to the game, and the crowd growing larger by the moment, was becoming more and more animated as each song sent them further into a frenzy.

During the beautiful rendition of 'Star Spangled Banner' by a CAU co-ed, I would be lying if I said I didn't hear idle chatter. The chatter was not unnoticed by the ESPNU crew standing a mere 4 feet away from me.

The thing about being at a game that's being televised, is dealing with the tv timeouts. They come at unusual times, and they are often, which breaks up the action, but at the same time allows more music to energize the crowd, to be played.

When I was at Morehouse, I was a proud member of the Morehouse Madness. We were the spirited group of guys who sat down front and berated opposing players, coaches and the refs. Well, I guess the name wasn't good enough, because the Madness was renamed the Maroon Maniacs. I got a t-shirt out of the deal, and it's a cool logo, and the sentiment is the same, but they weren't nearly as loud, nor as knowledgeable about the game and its players as we were. Only my friend Ken and I were berating Clark's guards. And not once did I hear a comment about the head coach's horrible suit uttered.

Anyway, Morehouse scored first, and then CAU scored 5 quick points, followed by 7 more quick points from Morehouse, and an early double digit lead, which is customary in these games. Basically, Morehouse has a far superior team to CAU, and in the last 11 games, we've won 10. We outplay them, out-think them, outcoach them, make our freethrows, and the crowd definitely carries the team through. Any 3 point basket, or a big dunk, and the stands erupt into an ebullient and glee-filled place.

Though Morehouse had an early lead, we could never get it past ten or eleven early on, and eventually CAU came back within three once or twice.

Our comments about the game were hilarious and definitely on point. Tommy, Taurean, Ken and I debated a variety of topics including USC v. Texas, Vince Young, people from Houston, people from Dallas and what was going on on the court.

As halftime neared, the stands emptied as the young men from Morehouse hurried toward the court to watch the 3 count 'em 3 dance shows during the halftime period. First the cheerleaders danced, coached by my friend and classmate Mia Welsh, they were precise, syncopated, and they did an outstanding job, much to the delight of several thousand young men in attendance. Oh, by the way, by halftime both sides of the arenas stands were filled to CAPACITY. It was raining tonight too, and yet everyone still came. The second dance show was by Morehouse's Mahogany in Motion who did a fine job as well. The last dance troupe was from CAU, and due to the gamesmanship and very heated rivalry, there was a great deal of talking during their portion, and no one really watched at all, so I have no review of them.

Early in the second half, a scuffle broke out in the stands just two rows above us. Police from Morehouse, CAU and Spelman rushed to break it up. A Morehouse student, while being pulled away, was shouting obscenities and threatening someone, but never quite to their face. It was all very comical, and as I hear it, over a seat at the game. The Maroon Maniacs may be maniacal indeed, but in the future, a little empathy should be shown for a fellow student who wants to watch the game. Now granted, I don't have the whole story, but from what I've gathered, it was all over a seat.

During the timeouts, the Morehouse and CAU cheerleaders, perform a series of backflips. The CAU cheerleaders only flipped to mid-court, while the Morehouse cheerleaders flipped from one baseline to another, making the crowd go crazy. At the end of the flips, the cheerleaders, jump up, straighten their outfits and put both arms in the air, staring directly at the CAU cheerleaders with a look that screams, "CHALLENGE!!!" CAU's cheerleaders were no match for Morehouse's, and that's a fact.

A few minutes after the first fight, another one broke out in another section. Craziness ensued, and the scuffle was quickly subdued.

All the while, CAU, led by the tenacious #00 from Vallejo, CA was quietly hitting big shot after big shot and keeping them very close in the game, and even coming within 3. However, Morehouse senior point guard and SUPERSTAR Brandon Childs, would not allow Morehouse to lose. He led the Maroon Tigers throughout and made gravity-defying move after move as he continually drew contact that led to him shooting freethrow after freethrow.

When it was obvious that we were going to win the game, Taurean and I decided to exit stage right, and leave through the southeast tunnel leading to the middle of campus. The light rain was annoying but palpable, and as we walked and talked, Taurean felt that we should get something to drink from the new cafe' on campus, Jazzman's.

Jazzman's was absolutely packed, as live music and poetry were being read to a full house. I have to say however, that despite the heavy traffic in there, we did get our smoothies very quickly, and they were quite good, as always.

In the end, we won by 14, and proved once again that our team is rather superior, which in essence could be a commentary on so much more but, we'll save that for another time.

* The total control and dynamic play of Brandon Childs.
* Unselfish and smart plays by the Morehouse team.
* The Maroon Maniac t-shirts. Or really the fact that I got a free one.
* Taurean's LRG gear...live.
* The crowd was definitely in the game and came out in DROVES.
* The fact that the Morehouse v. CAU game NEVER disappoints.
* When Pattillo took the chairs from courtside. Classic Pattillo, always in control.
* The court was there, coordinating and in full effect.

* The two fights.
* The two figths during a nationally televised game.
* When they took the 'I PREFER SPELMAN WOMEN' sign the first time.
* When they took the 'I PREFER SPELMAN WOMEN' sign the second time.

Tommy, Taurean, Ken and Doug, thanks for making this one enjoyable.

I'm Joe, and that's how I see it.

My Hero

Ladies and Gentlemen...Gordon Parks