coach wooden and me-kareem abdul-jabbar

“you like brazilian music?”

ok so, was this commonly known? i’ve read a concentration of kareem abdul-jabbar‘s books lately, and this is the first one of the bunch that he hasn’t written with a cowriter. i suppose that makes sense, as it is the most personal. the inside jackets are proof of how prolific he’s been (lately, and ever), i feel like this one must have been released within months of writings on the wall. i learn something every time that i read one of his books, and this time, the most surprising thing was when he just tries to casually drop the detail “i had just started training with bruce lee“. the most basic google search yielded this fascinating (and at times homoerotic) clip with a curious soundtrack that i won’t ever be able to unsee.

long relationships always make me cry because they are proof that people can and do choose to stick around and work things out. intentional ones infinitely more so for the work and hurt (and triumph) of these reasons.

***i am feeling the urge to interject my continued feeling that vince carter should retire here because the jersey pictures have already surfaced, and i don’t remember which basketball book it was that i learned that the first step to trading a player is to leak it in the press and see how people receive it, but i did read that, and the response has been great. i’m sad that it didn’t happen by the deadline, i mean, bruno for vc should’ve been a good trade? but they (cleveland and the nba) must have known that veteran leadership and all of they symbolism would’ve pushed this current team towards at least the nba finals…so….***

i am interested in coach books because i am inspired by people who do right because it’s the right thing to do (and sports in general because it is a secular form of witness/worship). respecting, influencing and teaching people is thankless work that may never pay big dividends because it requires those people to also do the work. it may come years later, and in strange ways, as kareem accounts many times in this book (and his others).

here are the highlights as i have pulled them:

“Being good is the payoff, athletically and spiritually. That’s why he didn’t care for sports movies in which the underdog team or player learns the hard way that winning isn’t everything, but then they go on to win at the end.” (8)

bad news bears. it’s also the reason that i dislike the fact that awards for individual merit often outshine team play (i will never get over russell westbrook‘s kick in the face of an MVP award).

“His players would graduate with grades that would give them career opportunities beyond sports. He was worried about our long-term happiness, not our win-loss record.” (23)

no kidding.

“Both of us spoke fluent basketball, a language free of emotion. He loved that shot and saw in it possibilities I hadn’t imagined.” (106)

(sky hook).

“There’s very little creativity in racism.” (133)


“I tried to make the point that true patriotism is about acknowledging problems and, rather than running away from them, joining together to fix them.” (142)


“It was jazz as religion: everyone playing the same song, but adapting, improvising, harmonizing until we produced beautiful music together.” (217)

this was a really interesting point-no set plays, just lots of practice. i basically told some teenagers the same thing when i was working at the music school, “don’t be scurred, just be pre-purred”. i am almost certain that this is at least part of what’s been happening in san antonio all this time.

the other night, at the rather lacklustre celtics game, we honoured bill russell for black history month as he should be honoured and one of the images on the big screen was obama awarding him with the same award that he awarded kareem with to start this book, the same one that bush (jr) awarded to coach wooden and i got to thinking about whom, if anyone, this sitting guy will honour, since he doesn’t seem to have much regard for or interest in history or the future, and my i am truly sad that he doesn’t know the power of reading.


annex writes-too

and so, we were down to two on wednesday, but it was lovely to talk, continue getting to know each other, be served tea and a “yuppy snack”, as well as be sent home with lunch for the next day along with plenty of accomplishment and inspiration.

here were the poems that we made, first the collaborative word faux sestinas:

toothless smiles
holding tight
a reign of nurturing
the dependence gradient
proceed with tenderness
in this bookend of care

gradients of burden
technicolour cares
shades of reign
grasping at shadows
toothless yet full
tenderness for miles

and the haikus:

going round and round
circular motion always
one day we will stop

if a woman lives
without making another
does anyone know?

dogs come home with fleas
kids with lice and chicken pox
i don’t live with bugs

we all get older
though we don’t always get smart
men get passes though

volume and volume
tomes and issues and chapters
same book or a/new?

we were speaking on themes, perhaps that’s evident?

if you’re reading this we meet next on valentine’s day. it would be lovely to see you again, parkdale writers.

regretting motherhood-orna donath

“By asserting the coexistence of love and regret, these mothers refuse to be sorted into categories in a way that would force them to leave behind pieces of their emotions and themselves.” (114)

“you’re wrong, asshole, i am the mothering type”

a cunt once called me “motherless”. if you’re reading this, hi cunt!

ok, that was petty. and i don’t just go around calling women cunts (all the time). i had a long and unhealthy relationship with this one that no doubt was informed by both of our relationships with our mothers, and i think it’s just funny that she charged me with this, a fact that is beyond my control. i mean, call me annoying, call me uncouth but motherless? what the fuck is that? i mean, maybe my mom was like many women who regretted being a mother and she did something about it. maybe her mother was exactly the same but instead of bouncing, she stayed and made her and her sisters’ lives miserable as a result. who’s to say who was right or wrong, i actually don’t believe there is such a thing possible, as the subject position is so personal, fluctuating to the second even. the final point from the whole breakup is that she objected to my use of “cunt”, charging me with being unfeminist, but proceeded to call me a bitch over three platforms. oh, women. we’re so complicated. but as we move through this life and these same situations that our mothers probably once found themselves in, we can only benefit from considering things from each others’ perspectives, so, my dearest cuntiest one-time friend-i meant it with affection (even though i was mad as hell) and i still do (although i have zero interest in engaging with you further) and i wish you all the best with everything, whether you have children or not.

i’m not sure how this book came to me, but i think it was through surfing the contributor’s notes of nasty women. i was recently directed to the podcast via inflection point, and relieved to see that there were only ten episodes.

i’m glad that there is a growing narrative of choice, and here’s hoping that it is tinged less and less with the consequences of the patriarchy as we go forward. i applaud these women for being brave enough to speak up, and hold space for the personal and political risk that they underwent to do so, for all of us.

it’s like you can’t spell “mother” without “martyr”, and definitely not if you call your vigilante film proud mary. now, i will see taraji p. henson in anything, and i’m glad that she comes out of this one alive. perhaps it’s a hope-full story after all-she killed all of the men, the father and the son, and adopted the orphan that she made because she also killed his father. it’s semi-bechdel approved, as it centers mary as the protagonist, but every single one of her relationships is with a man, even though she kills most of them.

at least she kicks ass and i heard that anthony hamilton song in the theatre.

and it wasn’t downsizing.


i think we were all a bit tired last night.

we did exercises on character, switching gears from place, and i found it challenging for this reason:

“I think it’s easier for me to write about place than character in this neighbourhood because the hood is a character, and so full of real ones, that it’s hard to imagine one in.

Perhaps I should personify the tamarind balls that I forgot are for sale in that OG general store.”

and, so.

perhaps i was just too full of baked onion rings.

we’ll try again next week.

dear parkdale…

i am so excited that i signed up for the writing workshop at my library that started last wednesday.

i am always up for quick, prompt-based writing with strangers, and i learned some new (to me) rules about haiku. i only knew 5-7-5, i didn’t know that they cannot be a simile or metaphor, and that they must involve nature. huh.

here are the somes that i wrote about the neighbourhood:

my sketchy solace
colour me falling in love
cold sanctuary

teeny bachelor
with high ceilings was perfect
no things after fleas

autumn leaves fall in
perfect light in the front room
worshipping sunday

quick circle of life
senior cat slayed baby mouse
and then her mother

and some non-sestina/sestinas:

seeking sanctuary in the city,
all i found was fleas
ignored red flags and sketchy landlords
cautious of falling again
missing the solace for the trees
that first year, my gratitude
was as frozen as the olive oil, -25degrees

there’s room for everyone
as far as our minds can reach
the streetcar arrives
and people cram into the first two feet
different languages, different destinations, different hygiene
but everyone gets to where they’re going, even the fleas.

i did throw the whole thing by contributing “fleas” as my word to the soup, but people really ran with it. shoutout to lindsay and the love lettering project, this was a lot of fun-see you next week!

top 4(:44)

here are my top 4 quotes from this album:

4) “your body language is remedial”

there are a lot of specific instances of petty shade on this album (“lazy eye, no biggie” “in the future other ni$$as playing football with your son”) but this general one is hilarious.

3) “i apologize, because at your best, you were love”

is he actually, finally acknowledging aaliyah, all these years after her death?

2) “daddy, what’s a will?” or “daddy, what’s a whale?”

i mean, i’ve listened to this numerous times, and i don’t know which babygirl is saying, but either is perfect. considering that it segues into a track about legacy, it could be her plotting for his early death. conversely, she could just be fucking five years old.

but khaled‘s kid is already an executive producer of an album so….

1) “everything is chaka

in light of the current challenge (nobody beats issa and regina-no one even comes close) i think it’s worth noting that this child raps better than a lot of folks with real records out.

also, it means that half of my favourite quotes come from the on the run superchild, and i’m fine with that.

overall-it’s a great album, best and most listenable in a long time (i didn’t think we were coming back from magna carta, tbh).

also, i got it from the library-on cd.

remember those?

the ways of white folks-langston hughes

i read this because it was recommended to horace grant by phil jackson.


here are my questions:

1) did phil jackson read this?
2) when did phil jackson read this?
3) what the hell prompted him to recommend this to horace grant (in the same year that he recommended a beevis and butthead title to stacey augmon)?
4) did horace grant read this?
5) did these players have questions on the correlations between them and their books?
6) were the reading assignments handed out at the beginning or the end of the season?
7) again-what the natural hell?!

and of course, the most affecting story, father and son, is the last chapter.