Without Explanation

August 6, 2014

Black DeMatha Jesus 2

Species Profile #1

March 4, 2014

So I go to the Native American Zodiac Animal page and I came across my totem, and it is the Sea Otter.  (Even though on the page they keep referring to the pictured animal as just plain “Otter,” which basically means that it is of the freshwater variety.)  Take my word for it –because I’m a biologist, that the organism pictured is, in fact, a sea otter Enhydra lutris

I wrote a species profile on the animal mainly because God only gave Adam one job…  Consider me as one of the faithful, even if you never hear from me ever again.  I’m innovating on the fringes so I don’t have time to post much. 

If you care to read some of my original science work about sea otters (Enhydra lutris) then here it is.  (Don’t plagiarize me, bro!)

I’m busy, but Happy Mardi Gras people!

DeMatha at I-95 Kickoff Classic: Claimbombing Edition

September 4, 2013

“There is no rest for the weary” – Common Idiom

“Claimbombing is when you just keep dropping names in conversations for no reason because you can.” – Maya Brown

If the DeMatha Stags (2-0) want to win a National Championship in High School Football then they can’t be worried about the mental lapses that fell under the scrutiny of a national ESPN audience last Monday.  DeMatha is travelling to New Jersey to take on the Green Knights of Saint Joseph Regional in Montvale (0-0).  The Green Knights opted to make the Stags their first opponents of the season in the high profile, annual Interstate 95 Kickoff Classic which matches teams from New Jersey against those from the DC metropolitan area.

I know Maya Brown, personally.

Claimbombing nomenclature proponent, model, and personal friend, Maya Brown.

This important speculative high school football showcase was conceivably fabricated in order to consolidate the rankings between the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.  (So far it hasn’t worked and DeMatha doesn’t even to benefit from “comparative losses” given their strength of schedule.)  Still only wins matter and none of the teams participating can afford to take games lightly as the outcome of each game will be a deciding factor in the rankings the following year.  In short, if any team from Maryland is going to have a chance at a national title then the easiest route is for all the Maryland teams to win their games against New Jersey competition -or at least most of the games played.  The same is true, vice versa, for the New Jersey schools but DeMatha has clearly benefited from Maryland’s showing last year.

The jury is still out on what, exactly, the Green Knights are holding over there but DeMatha should maintain the focus on building a championship team.  These antlers can’t possibly stay fuzzy for too much longer: the regular season starts in a fortnight.  Classes have only been in session for a full week and I know that there is plenty to distract them from the task at hand right now.  The key to a DeMatha victory is to improve upon overall team performance from prior weeks and to capitalize on real game experience.  There are going to have to be a lot less turnovers and much better play execution in order for the Stags to accomplish that.

The main rub on the Green Knights is that they aren’t going to have any points of comparison to build on from 2013.

On to more claimbombing.

I would love to see that redheaded kid from Long Island throw for three hundred yards in a semi-homecoming but there is an easier victory to be had if DeMatha sticks with the run.   The Stags’ offense is in the hands of QB #16 John Lovett and his ability to deliver the ball to playmakers like WR #5 Cameron Phillips and RB #28 Taiwon Deal.  (I also love the check down plays to FB #32 Jaire George.)  DeMatha has an outstanding defensive unit and I’m guessing that this is a game in which CB #3 Jamal Robinson, DE #9 Deonte Holden, and super sophomore DE #34 Shane Simmons will all truly emerge as outstanding talents.

The entire team seemed to breathe a sigh a relief when RB #1 Mark Allen was able to run for his first carry since tearing his ACL last year because he is just one more play maker with something to prove in 2013.  I’m also expecting LB #33 Ju’Whuan Bentley to pick up where he left off by instilling fear in opposing teams.   The entire DeMatha Stag Offensive Line needs to continue to do what they do (which is mainly block and weigh 300 lbs eat pancakes), as well.

So far, I don’t think that we have seen the true identity of this 2013 DeMatha Stag Football Team.   Strength, speed, power, size, and finesse are all words that can be used to describe the team right now but will they also be great?  DeMatha Catholic High School for Boys has certainly had great teams and each of them had a signature.  Make sure you pay attention to all the signs.

I believe the game is being broadcast on the internet somewhere, so you will have to check Twitter for coverage…

DeMatha Stags Tople Florida Power Godby Cougars 26-9 On ESPN

September 2, 2013
Links to Prince George's Gazette article on the game.

Senior Defensive End #9 Deonte Holden comes up big with a sack.

DeMatha took care of business in the Under Armour Fallen Heroes Classic at College Park, Maryland -effectively holding down home turf against a defending Florida state (5A) championship team.  The Godby Cougars found it extremely difficult to move the ball against a stout DeMatha team defense.  The famous speed of Florida high school football only seemed to burn DeMatha once on a 89 yard kick-off return for a score, but the game was already out of reach.

DeMatha was able to run the football between the tackles on a consistent basis.  Given the Stags’ history they have a 95% chance of winning games in which that scenario plays out.  In the case of the ESPN match up honoring recent alumni killed in action, it was done strictly by committee.  Of course a whole lot of credit has to go to the offensive line, being the collective heavyweight chairmen of the running committee.

DeMatha used size and strength to over power and straight up bully in the trenches and at least three different running backs for DeMatha were able to capitalize with big runs over the course of the shortened game.  DeMatha dominated in time of possession despite turning the ball over multiple times and giving the momentum back to the Godby Cougars at crucial times.  Click the picture above and get more in-depth game coverage from the Prince George’s Gazette.

Brendan Looney DM '00

LT Brendan Looney USN SEAL wore #10 at DeMatha

This DeMatha team is obviously young and inexperienced, but they are also obviously talented at all of the impact positions in football.  There are simply too many Stags to name here in this missive so I won’t single any of them out.  Today’s showing on ESPN was very much a team effort, anyway.  The mistakes that were made revealed that the DeMatha Stags have a lot to work on.

Fumbles and goal line interceptions cost the Stags more than points but luckily the game was never in doubt.   After giving up a field goal early in the first quarter the Stags reeled off twenty points to go into halftime with the lead.  When the DeMatha football team played well, which was most of the time, the Godby Cougars looked over matched.  However when DeMatha didn’t play well the entire team suffered enough to offer glimmers of hope to the weary visiting Florida team.

For DeMatha this game is an important win on the road to perhaps what could be a High School National Championship in Football.  A win over a Florida team by Maryland creates a pairing point in national rankings.  DeMatha travels to NJ next in a bid to consolidate the East Coast football landscape and focus it in on Maryland for the first time in a decade.

All of this is happening before the grueling WCAC season even begins for the Stags.  They haven’t won the title in four years and yet this summer DeMatha had the highest ranked football team in the Washington DC metropolitan area.  The Stags will have to make good on all of this early season promise in order to best the competition in the finest conference in America regardless of what happens in New Jersey.

Stags are getting fat right now on that good summer grass that sweeps over begging to be devoured.  Pretty soon the Stags are going to stop feeding their faces long enough to rub the itching velvet off of their racks.  And I think you know what happens after that…

Bedlam in Hyattsville.

GO Stags!

Stags Set to Play Florida’s Godby Cougars on ESPN

August 29, 2013
Serious Florida Competition

The Defending 2012 FHSAA Class 5A Champions

Some of you may recall that when DeMatha plays sports on ESPN, I have a tendency to completely relapse into my Stag fanaticism.

Here is a reminder: http://dicooper.wordpress.com/2007/09/01/a-culture-of-winning-the-big-game/

OK.

I’m just going to breathe right now for a second.  Ok.

I’ve kind of collected myself, so I am just going to write it now alright?  Ok.   The DeMatha Stags are playing on ESPN on Labor Day (September 2nd) at 3PM Eastern Standard Time.

Yes, I am aware of what actually transpired the last time that DeMatha played football with national title implications on ESPN.  I’m just going to try and be really subdued and cool like it’s a regular everyday thing because I guess it really is.  My high school alma mater plays on national television on a regular basis.  Ok.  Right?  We’re itching for a title again.

I really need us to win this game though.  Ok.  I can root for my team, right?  Ok.  I’m not getting too weird.  Last time I got into that whole cult of Kenny Tate thing.  In 2013 the DeMatha Stags don’t have that type of dynamic player but they are in the hunt for a national title just the same.  Taiwon Deal, Brock Ruble, Ju’Whuan Bentley, and Cameron Phillips are all Stags that we should know.  Ok, agonizing antlers man the Stags better not lose any games!  Breathe.

DeMatha is going to play the Florida 5(A) Champions, Godby Cougars.  Ok.  They are really good.  I saw them on ESPN last week and they demolished the team that they were playing against.  Alright and now I am imagining myself in a happy place, counting down from six…  Godby Cougars had this tremendous Outside Linebacker #16 Jacob Pugh that had some poor quarterback running for his dear life.  It looked scary.  Well, back to my happy, non-fanatical place.

If the DeMatha Stags win this game there will be bedlam in Hyattsville.

Do my antlers still look fuzzy and like velvet?

All the Hype in Hyattsville

August 23, 2013
Head Coach Elijah Brooks, DeMatha Class of 2002

Head Coach Elijah Brooks, DeMatha Class of 2002

Do I need to get into the whole DeMatha-has-a-very-serious-football-team thing on here in 2013?  Here are the facts:  DeMatha is ranked as high as #6 in some polls, but at #15 in the USA National High School Football poll.  The DeMatha Stags have a chance at a national title in football for the first time since late early 1990’s.  The DeMatha Stags have a talented and capable coach.  The DeMatha Stags are playing a very ambitious schedule.  Click the picture to read what some of our competition says about us this year.  Yada Yada Yada…  Vote.

Tinkerbell’s Return: No More Kook

August 12, 2013

Tinkerbell’s Return: No More Kook

Kookboxx Surfboards is over.

Yeah, let that sink in for a little while.

This was us back in Virginia Beach when he started this whole Duct Tape Invitational thing with VANS.

Dandini & Joel

This was us back in Virginia Beach when he started this whole Duct Tape Invitational thing with VANS.

Kookboxx finished. I could get into the whole story on here right now, but I’m not.

I just got off the phone with Mama Denise and she really broke it down, but there are some lingering issues that need to clear before the whole story gets out.  All you need to know right now is that the boys aren’t really doing Kookboxx anymore. I spoke with Joel earlier this morning so I knew that he was serious.  I was honestly in a state of shock when he told me, but after he explained it made perfect sense.  Sometimes you just have to move on and make a better way.  It doesn’t always make sense to dwell on the past when you already have momentum and you can keep on pushing. I’m not wearing anymore t-shirts, even though the logo was fresh.

As a matter of fact, this is the last time that I will use the Kookboxx name in a sentence.  I can’t now, anyway…  I’m rocking with the best.  You are still rocking with the best.

So yeah, kids.  That’s how it just went down.

Nothing Beside Remains

August 6, 2013
"My name is Ozymandias… Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair."
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

In only my second meeting with Ms. Everee Jimerson Clarke, I had somehow arranged to meet her down at the now defunct Heritage Gallery building at 2117 N. Dixie Highway in order to help her move boxes from a storage closet to a display on the gallery floor. My introduction to West Palm Beach, Florida and the intricate communities of which it is comprised had a less than grandiose start.

The facility is modest in size, located next to an elementary school and a block away from a community center within the formerly districted Black neighborhood of Pleasant City. The Heritage Gallery is setup in the style of a shotgun double-wide with only three or four compartments walled off, and with a small kitchenette and office cordoned off in the rear. Everything was out in the open with displays set up on mobile racks and original photographs, some of which can be found in her books, in every available space and perpendicular surface down to the floor.

There were costumes and props from productions long past, gear donated from local professional sports teams, tap shoes and ballet slippers, all sorts of local and national memorabilia and even copies of speeches of prominent African-Americans throughout history. Bookshelves were full of African-American classics, such as Roots, and hand held toys and knickknacks were lined up for the taking. There was such a variety of material to instruct children that I was having a hard time remembering exactly how I volunteered to be the labor force to move it in the first place.

Ms. Clarke doesn’t really let on, but she is holding out hope that she can sell enough of her gallery wares, through sheer volume, to prevent the foreclosure of her property that houses the museum. She has a court date on the 14th of August, and then ten days from that to act on the decision rendered. These are dire times. The edifice served as a home base of sorts since the Heritage Gallery was established by the Pleasant City Family Reunion Committee in 1996. Both organizations were the culmination of years of work by Ms. Clarke in historical preservation, business, and politics.

The charming and persuasive grande dame goes out of her way for people just because it is in her heart to do so. Ms. Clarke is still very sharp and witty and she was proud to proclaim that she was 87 years old. She boasts that the Heritage Gallery is the only such of its kind to preserve the memories and records of African-American pioneers in Palm Beach -all without the benefit of city property easements. The daughter of original Palm Beach pioneers who once had a home in the Styx, an original settlement on the island, is also quick to point out that the Heritage Gallery operates free of charge.

"It’s all for the children, anyway" she instructs me in a grandmotherly voice that reminds me of my own.

Alex Haley is credited with saying that "in every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future" and Ms. Clarke endeavored to embody that through the Heritage Gallery. Her plan was not only well thought out but it has also been proven to work: recent studies of the obvious bolster the claim that high self-esteem correlates with higher performance in school. I guess the only problem is that Ms. Clarke contends that many people in Pleasant City are completely unaware, or otherwise uninterested in, the African-American pioneers’ prominence in the history of the region.

Black West Palm Beach has endured as 32% of the population according to the 2010 US Census figures -which is exactly double the percentage found among the total population in Florida. Success of the pioneers, and gains in subsequent generations also contributed to turnover in the West Palm Beach region. Many Blacks sought opportunities or became educated from elsewhere and never returned.

The great shame is that Ms. Clarke has continuously proven to be the exception to the rule, opting instead to cast down her talents where she was born. However, she wasn’t always the resident expert African-American historian in West Palm Beach.

Ms. Clarke left the region to attend a number of professional schools including the Lippel School of Dance, American Ballet Academy, and the famed Julliard School of Music and Dance. She cut a dashing figure in her YouTube "video" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfxdMJqTvJQ

Take a moment to go back in time.

) of black and white photographs slideshow from the Heritage Gallery website.

She initially returned to Palm Beach County in 1960 to improve her community and join in the African-American struggle for civil rights despite the fact that, "nothing big ever really happened here." Ms. Clarke built on her successful establishment of her self-named School of Charm and Dance in Newark, New Jersey and expanded into West Palm Beach at a time when there were many Black owned businesses still downtown.

Today the scarcity of Black owned business in West Palm Beach is difficult to put into perspective. Early Census Bureau data is incomplete but Black firms represented 14.8% of the total in West Palm Beach compared to just the typical 9% of Black firms reported in the rest of Florida as recently as 2007. The Pleasant City Family Newsletter, also published out of the Heritage Gallery, specifically laments the loss of all the original, Black pioneer, family, operated businesses.

While it is hardly a comparison to the famed Black Wall Street, the African-American community of West Palm Beach enjoyed relative economic prosperity in large part due to the watchful eyes of a clandestine "Vanguard," and to being a relatively self-sustaining, contained community. The same segregation that excluded Blacks from the island of Palm Beach left them with relative autonomy in West Palm Beach. Some time after integration Black businesses and residents began to get pushed out, concentrically, after their island economy collapsed.

Some cite the disappearance of domestic jobs provided by the wealthy of Palm Beach as the beginning of the end for sustaining the African-American economy in West Palm Beach. Indeed, the Standard Oil and railroad magnate Henry Flagler is accredited with being one of West Palm Beach’s earliest planners and it is said he did so to ensure that the island inhabitants had access to Black labor. Steady, seasonal, employment by domestic workers in West Palm Beach provided the foundation upon which the rest of the economy was built and also promulgated peculiar race relations.

"It was different back then, because the families would take care of you." Ms. Clarke carefully explained.

Situations change. While nobody can seem to agree as to how or why situations changed, everybody can agree that the transition has been a rough one.

Perhaps that is why in the 1970’s Ms. Clarke devoted a considerable amount of her energies to the areas of business and politics? In 1969 she was a founder of the Tri-County Chapter of the National Business League in West Palm Beach and later founded the Pleasant City Economic Development Corporation. Both organizations, as well as that of the old Vanguard, became obsolete or defunct shortly after the establishment of the Urban League in the area. Ms. Clarke sites jealousy, envy, and good old fashioned backbiting from others in the community that withheld their support because she maintained her early affiliation with the Republican Party.

It has largely been considered political suicide within the Black community to be involved with the Republican Party after the great Reconstruction following the Civil War, but Ms. Clarke was determined to make it work. She ran for the West Palm Beach City Commission twice, in 1973 and again in 1974, and was eventually named as a Republican Area Chairperson for a host of Palm Beach County districts. However it might have been Ms. Clarke’s co-chairing of the Florida Black Committee to Re-Elect President Richard Nixon that earned her a reputation of being somewhat of a pariah amongst her own.

Even I, a Black Republican pushing forty years old, have come into obtuse individuals in these liberal times that couldn’t fathom why or how it should come to pass, so I can identify with the plight of Ms. Clarke of explaining her political leanings. Ms. Clarke began disseminating the idea that a whole race of people should not belong to one party or the other, at a time when Blacks were beholden to the Democratic Party in a bid to advance civil rights. It is understandable that her feelings of alienation could have been much more acute, and the effects longer lasting, because of the times and their import.

Sometimes it is difficult to work with people, even when the cause is just, and even when your differences aren’t that far apart. With a history of campaigning for Republican candidates, Ms. Clarke was able to develop a wider base from which to launch her own initiatives but the fruits of such charity have seemingly dried up on the vine. Ms. Clarke says that she noticed a marked decrease in financial support since she came out publicly for Obama, when he ran for President in 2008. While she beams about the alumni of her charm school in Newark and their ability to organize well-attended reunions, she was unable to ultimately match that achievement in West Palm Beach.

Unfortunately for Ms. Clarke she was not as popular with local children of Palm Beach County. By her own explanation folks in Florida didn’t appreciate the messenger, and as a result, discounted the message. Up until 2005 Ms. Clarke was proposing tutoring and mentoring programs for Palm Beach youth out of the Heritage Gallery location in Pleasant City. In one proposed curriculum classes and activities included direction in Etiquette, Computer Skills, Language Development, Drama, Wardrobe, Grooming, Business Development, Job Training Skills, and Modeling.

One might think that this sort of program would be welcomed with open arms in an African-American community that is dealing with crime, talent exodus, disenfranchisement, and gentrification issues but Pleasant City evidently wasn’t having it. Ms. Clarke is still bemused.

Perhaps in a last ditch attempt to save the Heritage Gallery some years ago Ms. Clarke could have changed the face of her blade without altering its thrust? (The most promising candidate right now is a faithful volunteer named Esther who carefully scans pictures at the computer desk. By Ms. Clarke’s own admission Esther is her primary link to technology -but she leaves for college in the Fall.)

Similar swashbuckling has saved charities in the past but Ms. Clarke opted to stay the course. Sometimes the advice that you don’t take turns out to be the best advice. Life can be ironic that way. With the Heritage Gallery unable to produce an heir apparent able to breathe life and vigor into programs that benefit and interest area children, ultimately where else could Ms. Clarke turn to save the institution anyway? History is team-oriented academics.

"I’m going to be okay," she tells me after a spoonful of the whitest vanilla ice cream I have ever seen. "I’m ready for whatever."

Ms. Clarke has vowed the newsletter and activities will continue as long as she is able. She is also planning on writing another book to highlight the lives of Black Palm Beach pioneers.

Later, when a mother and her five children moseyed inside the Heritage Gallery during the foreclosure sale, Ms. Clarkes eyes widened with excitement. Knee issues prevent her from getting around with the grace that she is used to, and she struggled to follow the last patrons around on her scooter.

It was hot outside and the mother’s three girls all had on dresses and the two boys stood in the doorway in their shorts and jerseys ogling toy cars behind the counter. The littlest girl wanted to know about the shoes in the small boxes. Ms. Clarke wheeled herself over and looked.

"Those are ballet slippers," she says. "Those are very expensive."

I don’t need to inform you that the family left without buying anything.

Heroes

August 4, 2013

Heroes

If you know me then I don’t need to explain very much here. If you were to email me and ask me to send you the greatest Long Island-sensitive basketball documentary of all time, I would do that for you. I think I have it in JPEG and MP4, so if you can open those then you are in business.

Here we see The Doctor going above the zen hoops guru. Does anybody remember when The Nets used to play at Nassau Coliseum? Anyway, holler at me sometimes. I get bored easily.

Raekwon, The Chef, of Wu-Tang Clan & Lysa

July 10, 2013

Raekwon, The Chef, of Wu-Tang Clan & Lysa

I’m extremely jealous. Happy belated birthday and all that, sis. Sorry I missed it! You are doing big things so it must be Cancer season again. Italian Vogue was super saucy, and them hoes on The YBF made me laugh in the comment section like a signifyin’ monkey.


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