Monday, July 28, 2008

"They're Playin' Bas-ket-ball " or "Basketball Johnson"

From right to left, Ray Steele, Crystal St. John, Medowlark Lemon, Kenya Cabine and a starry eyed punk.

When I grew up in the Seventies, I had three major heroes in my life, other than Superman. They were Muhammad Ali, Evil Knievel and Medowlark Lemon from the Harlem Globetrotters. The three men were larger than life in their sports, that is you call jumping over Snake River Canyon in a rocket cycle athletic. It was my dream as a kid to one day meet my heroes and while one is living a quiet, private life due to Parkinson's Disease and the other from ironically, kidney failure, the third is still around as The Clown Prince of Basketball.

I had the pleasure of seeing Medowlark Lemon along with other with other former members of the legendary 'Trotters in a charity game for the victims of and families of the Imperial Sugar refinery explosion of last year against local radio and television personalities, fire fighters, clergy and others here in Savannah. Although a serious cause, it turned out to be a very fun event. If you're wondering if I played by the way, sadly I didn't nor couldn't. Although we had others from the radio stations involved, I couldn't due to my stupid kidneys. I would have done anything I could have to at least said I got jammed by a Globetrotter and even threatened to run home, grab my jeans shorts and hi-tops and taken the court. It would have also involve an oxygen tank as soon as I made it to half court as well, so I cheered. For both sides. I wore my station shirt, but underneath I wore my limited edition Harlem Globetrotters long t-shirt from FUBU. I'm sorry but if my brother played for the Washington Generals, I wouldn't root for him either. It's a good thing this game is for a good cause, otherwise I don't know those bums.

Crystal and I working on pregame strategies. By the way, the socks she's wearing are mine, so I was kinda sorta in the game.

Watching Medowlark and the other Harlem All Stars took me back to what most would call "a simpler time", that being childhood, which is never "simple" in the first place. In my day, you were either a fan of the 'Trotters or not. If you were "not", you were hated despised and possibly stoned to death. I was one of the smart ones. I followed the team first on television as I saw their first cartoon show on Saturday Mornings. These guys were so good, they had an old lady driving them around while continuing to dribble a basketball out of a moving vehicle. Plus, all the tricks they did on the cartoon court somehow came to life on the real court, other than going head to head with robots and pirates. Still, if anybody could out shoot, out dribble, out anything the Medowlark and the Globetrotters could do it, even becoming the first African-Americans to have their own Saturday Morning show.

I was very lucky to talk to Mr, Lemon a few times before the game, once when I was entering the Savannah Civic Center and saw the great man signing autographs and got to shake the hand of the man who made my days just a little bit better when I saw him on the black and white screen. He was just a bit older now, but he still had that great smile and that twinkle in his eye that he carried with him around the world. I told him that I was finally blessed to meet him and was humbled by his presence. He told me "thank you", but to me he seemed humbled that so many people still remember those good days and still honor him for all his work.

Later at a reception with all the game players, I was told by the radio station's marketing director that one of our fellow players had decided that since he showed up for practice after he volunteered to play, he'd go home. Truthfully, I was pissed. How dare you agree to do something for charity and then turn around and walk away from it, I told the marketing director. Surprisingly, Medowlark was standing right next to me and overheard what I said. He asked me what was wrong and I explained to him the situation. He looked at me, but his hand on my shoulder and said, "That's okay, man. You're here and that's good enough." There's been moments where I just want to stop being a man and become a boy just once more so if I cry people would understand when the man you look up to let's you know everything is going to be alright. For just a moment, I forgot about something stupid someone else had done and nearly returned to being myself at ten years old seeing my hero in real life at the Civic Center in his prime with all his teammates. Curly, Goose, Marcus, Gator and the rest. It took everything I had to return to being 42 and holding back the mist in my eyes so Medowlark wouldn't see me want to cry.

In all, it was an amazing game. The Savannah team lost, of course but not to worry. They played their best, if not good enough. Okay, let's just they were adequate. The biggest surprise was from the rabbi who got a three point hook shot off Medowlark and even the both of them were shocked it happened. Also, most of the All Stars were former Savannians who graduated from my Alma Mater, Beach High School. In fact one of them, Larry "Gator" Rivers dated my sister Shirley when they both went to the school, which meant I was this close to becoming the brother-in-law of a Harlem Globetrotter and none of you would ever hear the end of it. The best part is money was raised for the victims a horrible tragedy that shouldn't have happened. If the joy and laughter that The Harlem All Stars brought to Savannah with their classic antics made you return to your "simpler time" and made you forget your troubles, then their job is complete.

Did I mention that could have been related to the Globetrotters?

Me and my almost brother-in-law.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

HOW TO KEEP UP: Viva La Prozac!

I like posting my True Life adventures for folks to read as most of the stories are cautionary tales of what not to do. I know that there are the ones who shake their heads and say to themselves, "How in the name of Joe Peschi does he do it?" Well, I can not let the world in on a little secret that I might have kept hidden for a bit.

Prozac does wonders.

Think for a moment on this one. You lead a busy, hectic life. You work, you take care of the home and the pressures of the world just build up on you. How do you get though it all? There's many different ways, and at least half of them illegal in about 22 states. The only choice you have other than climbing a clock tower with a BB gun is seeing a doctor an d getting a prescription for an antidepressant sush as Prozac, Zoloft, or any leagal drug that will calm your happt butt down just like I did.

It was a road I never really want to go down months ago, taking a mood altering drug to make me feel better about life. I had no choice in the matter, considering the situation I'm going through. I never considered that going back to college, working at the job and doing dialysis at the same time would beat me down, but it has. It got to the point to where I would have major anxiety attacks and could breathe. There would be points where I thought I was having a heart attack. The worst happened when I caught a case of it during a Speech class. They wound up calling an abulance to the campus and yet I wound up not having to go again. I felt so stupid that day that I knew something had to be done. That is when I talked to my doctor and let him know about the attacks and earlier this year is when I began taking Prozac. Since then to be truthfull, I have never felt better.

Now, I'm not telling everyone to go out there and go down the same road I have. I mean if it feels good, do it by all means. I just know that the stuff works for me quite well. I take a low dose of it once a day, only 5mg. of the stuff, but that's all I need. I haven't had an attack for a long time now so that's good. The funniest thing though is the fact that I don't get super mad anymore and not even angry. For the most, I just say "screw it" and move on. I mean I have truly mellowed out. Yes, gas is now over 300 dollars a barrel and the price of tea in China has gone up in a major way, but I seem to be fine with that. I'm working more hours at work, I get my classwork done, and other than very crappy chairs at the dialysis clinic that are killing me more than having only 30 & of my kidneys actually working, I'm quite fine with that now. I thought I would have to go to the hospital last night ecause a friend of mine thought that after my left leg went dead as a doornail in the clinic, she thought I might have a blood clot and I needed to get to a surgeon and stat. For a brief momet, I thought about that while I went to work later that day and told the guys at the station that it may happen. All the while I was cool with the fact that this thing could run though my veins, hit my heart and kill me quick. The next morning which is today, I called the clinic and let them know what was going on and they told me if I didn't feel any pain (of which I didn't) then it wasn't a clot but just maybe a pinched nearve from sitting on my ass four and a half hours in a crappy chair every other day of the week and that I would be okay. I was relieved, but relaxed the whole time. This is how I know the Prozac is working for me.

As I said before, do what you have to do to feel better. If you have to just walk away from something to catch a breath, do it. If you need that bottle of Merlot to get you through the night, go right ahead. If a good cry is what it takes to make things better, I understand. Times are tough and people have to do their best sometimes not to punch another human in the face for all the stuff that happens in the world and that's one of the illegal things you can't do. As for me, if this it what it takes to help me cope with life then I welcome Prozac and all its drugginess. It's either that or worry about how to pay the rent next month. I'd rather be stoned when I pay that bill.

Monday, July 21, 2008

How To Keep Up, Home Entertainment Edition

With prices going up and up these days, purses and wallets are getting a major kick in their folds and they aren't happy. Folks would take them out, show them off then open their mouths wide and yank out numerous denominations of bills to pay for stuff. These days, wallets have started to gain frowns since people have less money to spend. I know the last time I opened my leather, I saw a bat fly out and a Joker chasing after it. I do have ways of saving a few bucks here and there, especially on my entertainment. I'd figure I'd pass along a few tips that very timely for those feeling the pinch.

First, let's talk television. My long-time chum, bosom buddy, pal, confidant and all around Joy Boy Ivan (Stronger Than Dirt and Just as Old) Shreve, Jr. makes comments constantly about how much he hates the cable companies. It was Comcast originally (which he called Bomblast) when he lived here in Savanah and now that he's moved to Athens which is three and a half hours away he deals with Charter, which he now calls CharredHer. Really Ivan, if you're going to whine about how bad the thing is, at least have the smarts to think of a better/worse name, like Chowder Cable, but I digress. I made a comment about how I got rid of a terrible channel on my Dish Network account and he was surpised that I never really talked about it.

The reason for that is simply I'm very happy and it's much cheaper than cable. I've had Dish now for just over two years, after I moved to my house in 2005. Having roommates in previous places, I thought it was okay to have cable because at the time I could afford it. When I moved on my own I tried to continue to have Comcast Digital and high speed internet but that only lasted six months before I wound up getting over my head paying one hundred forty-five dollars a month, including HBO and Starz. After a while, I switched to Dish and 0ver 200 channels plus the HBO and Starz for around 80 bucks and some change. I think that is a doozy of a bargin for anyone and I still get a full signal when it rains.

Next is first run movies. Okay, I'll admit that I didn't pay to see "The Dark Knight" since it was a radio promotion and I work in radio, so sue me. If we get to promote a good flick, I want to know just what the heck I'm shilling. Otherwise, I will pay for a movie. I don't have time during the day for the matinee so I have no choice to go at night, where the movie will cost me nine bucks and the medium popcorn/small drink combo (if the definition of "small" in concession talk is 32 ounces) runs around eight bucks. Here's the new way of seeing a movie. If you have to see it and I mean really desperatly have no other choice, find your nearest bootlegger. That's right, I said it. Look, I know this is illegal and wrong thirty-five ways to Sunday. However, look at the points on this: Usually, the guy who sells them lets them go cheaper than a matinee, with three movies for ten dollars and that could be a triple feature. Second, it's almost and I do mean almost like going to a real theater, except the projectionist forgot to focus and too many folks are pretending to be auditioning for Mystery Science Theater 3000. It's still cheaper to see it than having to hear about it from your freinds the next day or having to wait a couple of months before it hits pay per view. That and a bag of chips from the dollar store and you just spent eleven bucks.

There's other ways of saving a dollar these days and the above were just a couple of items. Try them out and keep and eye on your money. If using these and other tips, there'll be more dough in the wallet and it'll have that old smile on it's face while money is ripped out of its gullet to finally pay for that gallon of gas you've been paying for.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

We Watches The Watchmen

I'm just gonna say it. I have had a train wreck of a weekend. If it wasn't one thing, it was fifteen other things. I'm making this post short so I can continue with the other stuff I have to do today, but I shall have a regular posting tomorrow. This explains why I read comics so much. I just need flights of fancy once in a while, but I digress. Until then, here's the new trailer for the next big comic book movie "Watchmen". I know that "The Spirit" is coming later this year, but I have a funny feeling it won't be near the two fisted fun of Will Einser's work, even if Frank Miller is directing it (Sorry, Mark) Enjoy the trailer and let me know what you think.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Isane Clown Posse

First, let me give you the wrap up of the poll in with me asked who was the best Joker. There wasn't a whole lot of voters, though I will say that "You Geeks get off my lawn" surprisingly lead the votes, so it looks like there'll be another Geek Fight Club poll happening soon. Mark Hamill was the actual winner of the poll with his voice portrayal, but I think after what I saw last night, the phrase "Heath Ledger will own them all" will be used at Oscar time.

What can I say that hasn't been already said by every movie reviewer this week about "The Dark Knight"? It is a comic book movie and a tight crime thriller all at the same time. A morality play and psychological story as well. This film is a blockbuster among Summer blockbusters. You may have superhero movies like "Hancock" that do well, but that pales to what Christopher Nolan has done.

The Dark Knight" has a wonderful set of actors and created another high point in comic book movies, surpassing any of the others that have screened this year, including "Iron Man". Both films feature tortured heroes by night, rich playboys by day. Tony Stark enjoys the thrill of putting on a shiny suit of armor, while Bruce Wayne in this film realizes that he has no other choice but to wear the black armor to end crime in his city, which has now gone from dealing with the mob to criminally insane people dressed in costumes, unlike himself.

Saying that, Heath Ledger's take on The Joker will go down as possibly one of the great movie villains of all time. This Joker isn't a plain guy in makeup robbing banks or angry mob guy, this Joker is as he calls it "an agent of chaos". A man who just doesn't care about the mayhem he causes to anyone or anything he crosses, this version of the Joker just wants to see death and destruction happen. There's no origin story of how he came to have the scars and whenever he tells someone on how they came to be, the tale becomes another time after time, with the moral ending in the killing of whoever hears it.

With al the talk about Ledger and The Joker, let's remember the other cast as well. Christian Bale once again plays Bruce/Batman sometimes blurring the two characters into one when he needs do quite well this time. Micheal Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox do wonderful jobs in trying to keep Batman in reign this time, both letting the crimefighter know that he has a responsibilty now, but not to take it to the extreme. Gary Olman as James Gordon is once again the one good cop in Gotham who understands what must be done to rid the town of evil and goes above and beyond the line of duty to do it.

As for Maggie Gyllenhaal, taking over the role Katie Holes created in "Batman Begins" does what I thought was much better version of Assistant D.A. Rachal Dawes as a stronger woman working along with new D.A. Harvey Dent, played by Aaron Eckhart. Dent wants to rid Gotham of crime as much as Batman but doesn't wear a mask to bring them in. Still, if anyone who knows the history of the D.A. from the years of reading Detective or any of the other Batman comics over the years, his fate is not a good one as he is left only with a two sided chance.

I saw "The Dark Knight" around just before one in the morning on Thursday night and when it was over it was just after three thirty. This movie is an epic in story and time, but it's well worth it. This summer has finally seen superhero movies finally make growth and acceptance from Hollywood. After "Iron Man" and now "The Dark Knight" taking it to the next plateu, let's hope that the next set of films (including the trailer I saw of "Watchmen" coming April of next year) takes the genre up another notch.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Heroes and Villians

If you're in the mood to watch a three-day-interent only-musical-comedy-about a supervillain, then Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog is for you. It stars Neil Patrick Harris (The Barney, How I Met Your Mother) and Nathan Fillion (Firefly) about a bad guy trying to get into the League of Evil and his nemesis, Captain Hammer, as in "dumb as..." . It's very funny and did I mention it's a musical as well? If that doen't grab you, it was created and co-written by Joss Whedon, who gets huge props for the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The trick of it all is that it's only running online for three days, with today being the first act. Once it goes into the next act, the previous will disappear into the air, never to be seen again. At least, until it comes to DVD later this year. Still, if you have a chance for the next couple of days try to give it a watch. It'll be legen...

Oh, I justr need to mention that I will be at the "Dark Knight" premiere here in Savannah Thursday night at Midnight. I hope that Friday afternoon I'll post a review.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008


First Rule of Geek Fight Club is you don't talk about Geek Fight Club. Actually you do, but you try not to let normal folks know what it's about.

I had this idea when I saw something on MTV's movie blog that says the version of The Joker from "Batman: The Animated Series" is the best portrayal of the character. Personally, I happen to think that Mark Hamill's take on the villian is hands down perfect, even if he never kills anyone onscreen. Viewers still got that chill up their spine whenever he sprayed acid from the flower on his jacket and hear the maniacal laughter from the drawn lips. However, from all points Heath Ledger's final full film role looks to be just an amazing performance, almost like a jacked-up-on-goofballs James Dean from the looks of it to me. It's so intense to see on the screen that I still can't believe that General Mills had creepy little Joker toys inserted in their cereals (if Mr. J were real, he would get a hoot I imagine watching a kid pull his evil clown image from the Lucky Charms box and seeing mom pass out).

Anyway, I created a poll to see who yo uthought was the better Joker. Don't worry, Cesar and Jack are in there for the rest of you and voting ends next Friday, which is also the premier of "The Dark Knight" in theaters. By the way, isn't it cool the way Warner Brothers never even uses Batman's name in the title? Now that is name recognition, folks.

TRADING Free Polls

Monday, July 07, 2008


You read the title right, darn it. Go on and just say it right now before you go on and read the rest of this. Now, after you say it take a brief sigh. Then, say it again. Do that every thirty seconds and it is possible that a person can understand how I feel at this very moment in time.

Right now, I have a Summer cold. There is nothing worse in the world than having a cold during Summer. It's like having the chicken pox on Halloween or or the mumps on Christmas. It suck to Hell this cold. You can't do anything and you're sniffling and sneezing all over the place, trying not to spread your germs everywhere, but you can't help it. The cold has you in its nasty, filth ridden grip until it lets you go and so far, it has had me locked down for over two weeks. Two weeks is way too long to have this affliction. Someone, please take my life. Make it fast, quick and painless, just as long as I know this cold is gone and I can go to Heaven with a clean sinus and a clear head.

I'm trying to use the typical cold cures. You know, that whole "starve a cold, feed a fever" bullcrap. Yesterday, it was the other way around as for dinner I enjoyed an old fashioned home cooked meal courtesy of the Fairmont restaurant here in town. It's one of those little secrets we like to keep from the tourists in Savannah so they can stay away from the really good stuff. It's an all you can eat Southern buffet and I took home to go a tray of fried chicken, collard greens and rice, mac and cheese, potato salad, sweet potato soufflé and cornbread. I got that because every house I went to for their Fourth of July picnics has good food, but I wanted Mama's food. But, I digress. Well, kind of sorta. I wish Mama was here now. Just so I can get wrapped in a blanket and fed chicken noodle soup with a kiss on the forehead. Yes, it is that bad.

I'm going to stop this post now. I'm only going to be here at the radio station for another hour to get the local traffic reports done. But as soon as it's over, I am leaving to go to the grocery store for some lemon juice and some Campbell's Soup. I may have missed school today due to the fact that I look like a Black zombie, but I hope that by Wednesday I should be somewhat back to normal. Pray to Peschi that I make it through this Hell.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Radio Fireworks

Alright, this should be some good news for folks. Tomorrow, I'm back on the air again at my regular time of 12 Noon till 4 pm on WEAS FM/E93. The cool part is it's a Holiday Mix Weekend, where we play DJ mixes of rap and R&B. The cool part for me is I'm going to be playing old school Hip Hop from Run-DMC, Eric B and Rakim, Grandmaster Flash, The Beastie Boys among others. I liken it to the founding fathers of rap for the Fourth of July Weekend, so it's worth listening to. Plus, these freaking kids need a lesson on how to make music these days. I had one snot nosed punk call me Friday when I filled in for the midday jock and asked me during the mix was ever going to play something good at some point. That's when I caled him a few choice words and hung up on the little turd. He'll probably will grow up to be a reality show star and end up a rich little tool, but he will never be happy. At least that is what I hope happens to him and that's the nice version.

I almost forgot to mention that the station streams online. If you've got some time, sit back and give it a listen and let me know what you think. By the way, don't expect me to be too relaxed on the air. I have to play up the whole hype DJ thing and "spit fire", as I like to call it. It's a hoot, but you get tired at the end of the show.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Summer Book Learin'

I got the call on Monday from the offices of South University. "Mr. Johnson, I'm calling to let you know that you have missed classes today." You wouldn't believe how loud the "whoopee" came out of my mouth.

I thought that I was going to be dropped from the school as they asked that I start to pay my tuition now, which is five thousand dollars that I really don't have on hand at the moment and that I would need to refile a student loan. For that I'd need a co-signer and the chances of that happening is like me finally marrying Allyson Hannigan and that won't happen in my lifetime. Hence the surprise that I would be continuing school through Summer. Otherwise, I would be sitting around the house with no computer, no Internet and a whole lot of free time on my hands to start fires in my kitchen and surrounding areas. This go around, I'm taking Composition II which deals with literature and taking Basic Algebra over again since I screwed it up the first time. I'm just happy that I'm on campus again keeping busy. Otherwise, I'd probably tested myself this Summer on how long could I have gone with a full beard. It sounds creepy, but it would have kept me occupied.