Beat It

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
9 October 2017

I. Showtime

If this presidency were an episode of Showtime at the Apollo, Sandman would have hooked a heckled Donald Trump – he of the 32% approval rating – off the stage a long time ago.

II. Audience Reaction

It has been said – or at least used to be said – that when you write a letter to a network, the network execs are aware that there are another thousand people that feel the same way but didn’t take the time to write and mail a letter. As such, they don’t look at your sentiments as those felt by one person, but by a sizable group of people.

So when Sen. Bob Corker refers to the White House as an “adult day care center,” one has to wonder how many other Republicans feel the same way. Furthermore, what are those others waiting for before they will speak up?

And speaking of waiting, why did it take Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to tell us that the president is smart? Has he only shown that quality to Rex? What is he waiting for to show the rest of us?

III. Charlottesville Pt. 2

The unwelcome tiki torch carriers were back in Charlottesville this past weekend. Anybody see any early morning tweets about that?

IV. Oh, Shoot

Having only lived in the northeast, it was a little shocking, while visiting another state, to find myself in the fast food line with this man who was obviously not wearing a blue nor a green fatigues uniform.

V. At The Risk…

…of seeming foolish tonight given that they are one loss away from winter vacation, I have to insist that the Yankees have one of the most dangerous teams in the MLB playoffs. Don’t fall behind against them with that bullpen.

VI. The King of Pop

You think anyone ever noticed that when a Michael Jackson song comes on, whenever and wherever you happen to be, you’re immediately ready to sing and dance? Oh yeah…silly question.

VII. Don’t Get Attached

If you’re a Laker fan, my advice might be to refrain from getting too attached to Brandon Ingram. The young partner to watch alongside Lonzo Ball is Kyle Kuzma.

NBA Predictions later in the week.

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Take A Knee

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
24 September 2017

I. Current Climate

Drop this in your browser if the link doesn’t come up. This type of sentiment has become too prevalent in the age of DJT.

https://www.facebook.com/6abcNydiaHan/

II. Jemele Hill

Why is it that these people like Sarah Huckabee Sanders – and, unfortunately, my favorite team sport athlete ever, Darryl Stawberry – are more upset about Jemele Hill calling Donald Trump a white supremacist or Steph Curry not wanting to visit the White House than his behavior and statements and tweets that led them – and others, for that matter – to feel this way?

III. Mnuchin and Christie

If the truth be told, I wasn’t in agreement with the concept of Governor Chris Christie using a state helicopter to get to his son’s baseball game – but as a father and a coach, I could totally understand his desire to be there for his son. But Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s alleged request to use a government plane for his honeymoon is just on another level altogether.

That said, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. If you’re in the Cabinet and you see the Trump family using the presidency as their personal fiefdom, you probably are thinking, “let me jump in too while the water is warm.”

IV. Use It Wisely

When Floyd Mayweather said that Donald Trump was a real man by virtue of his grab her by the p-word comments, I began to wonder if perhaps Conor McGregor had hit him harder than we had thought. Maybe Floyd can use some of the $200,000,000 for some sensitivity training, or some history courses.

He might just learn that for hundreds of years white males felt empowered to grab his ancestors by their genitalia, with no repercussions. I would hope he would acknowledge that that didn’t exactly make them “real men.” And he might also learn that some men have felt empowered to treat all women less than equally and pay them less than equally throughout the entire history of this country. It certainly couldn’t hurt.

V. Cleveland

Shout out to the Cleveland Indians, who clearly didn’t make too many mistakes by the lake during their 22-game winning streak. Should they return to the World Series and win this time, it might take some of the sting off of a LeBron James departure in 2018.

VI. Melo

It would be great, as a professional athlete, to return to the city of your birth and lead that team to a championship. In New York – where the Mecca of Basketball/World’s Most Famous Arena has housed but four championship teams in the last 77 years – that would have been huge for Carmelo Anthony. Unfortunately for him, that didn’t happen, and now will not since his trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder. (As an aside, I thought he wanted to play in a media-centered locale…no disrespect to OKC. I guess playing with Russell and PG13 is good enough.)

Carmelo was obviously frustrated by the futility of the Knicks during these last few years, but even had they been good enough to squeak into the playoffs in the previous four seasons, they would have likely met up with the Cleveland Cavaliers (or, in the case of four years ago, the Miami Heat), which would have undoubtedly ended their season. The team that LeBron James has played on has won the Eastern Conference seven straight years, in part because the East is nowhere near as strong as the West. For the foreseeable future, LeBron’s team would continue to be either the favorite or among the favorites in the East, whereas if he were to go to a team in his second home of LA, his new team would just be one of many tough Western Conference teams, with no guarantee to make it out of the second round. Perhaps Cleveland fans don’t have as much to worry about as some of the media seems to think.

VII. #TakeAKnee

The flag stands for the ideals of the country. If the country is seen to be falling short in some manner, then calling attention to that is in fact patriotic, not unpatriotic. I wonder how this will be viewed now that white players have participated. Will the President call them SOBs and call for their firing as well?

Whether it’s taking a walk in 1955 or taking a knee in 2017, there will often be discomfort with the way protests around racial injustice are conducted. But if said protests are peacefully and legally conducted, I think it wise to not focus solely on the means with which you disagree but to also examine the issues that have led to these protests.

Both Sides Now

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
28 August 2017

I. Nazis 2017

Clearly my mother’s first husband – the main character (aside from her) in her book, “WWII Diary” and my award-winning screenplay of the same name – turned out to be…well, read the book and see the film when it comes out. That said, he’s probably turning over in his Alaskan grave – along with all of his deceased fellow soldiers – if he can see the 2017 America where neo- Nazis are excused by some and half-heartedly rebuked by the President.

Fifty-four years ago today a bigger man – not in height but definitely in stature – stood minutes away from the White House and spoke of his dream. That speech might be better morning informational material than FOX or Breitbart.

II. Colin

Perhaps Colin Kaepernick should link up with a CFL team to keep his skills fresh…maybe even win a Grey Cup…until some owner has the courage to buck the tide and sign him. He might even enjoy a back-end career like Warren Moon.

III. Stanton

Congrats to Giancarlo Stanton for joining the exclusive 50 home run club, and helping to catapult the Miami Marlins back into the pennant race. It’s crazy to see guys like Stanton and Aaron Judge hit Home Run Derby-distance homers in actual games where the pitcher is trying to get them out.

Of course, the rise of the Marlins sadly brings to mind the tragic boating death of Jose Fernandez. What if he were here…

IV. Conor and Floyd

So the future looks somewhat like $200,000,000 brighter for Floyd Mayweather, and a great deal brighter for Conor McGregor as well, who by all accounts acquitted himself very well in his first professional boxing match. Looking at it from the outside I can give props to Conor, but if I were twenty-nine years old like Conor, and a welterweight boxer who had literally given blood, sweat and tears to this sport from my teenage years in Golden Gloves to the present day, I might not be as quick to congratulate. I might very well think that the multi-million dollar payday and shot at boxing immortality should have gone to me as opposed to a man – UFC champion notwithstanding – that is now sporting a professional boxing record of 0-1.

That said, I think I was on point with the outcome a few weeks back. Here’s what I wrote:

“Anyone that thinks Conor McGregor has any more than the slimmest ever chance against Floyd Mayweather should revisit the professional minor league baseball career of Michael Jordan. No disrespect to MJ; I actually think hitting .202 with three homers and 51 runs batted in and 30 stolen bases is quite good for someone who had not played baseball in 13 years. My guess is that had he chosen to play baseball instead of basketball at UNC, he might have made the majors (and my Georgetown Hoyas might very well have won another NCAA title).

That said, his baseball career shows that being the best at what you do doesn’t mean you are anywhere near the best at what someone else does. Conor’s best shot is to body slam and suplex Floyd. He probably won’t get up from those.”

V. On Both Sides, On Both Sides

Were it not for the hurricane in Texas and the fight in Vegas, we might have had a week of All Kyrie, All The Time after the bombshell Thomas-Irving trade. Now that there are reports of Cleveland’s discomfort over the rehabilitation of Isaiah Thomas’ hip, we can see that there is front office discomfort on both sides, on both sides – and both need to get this deal done.

The Celtics don’t want to have to bring Jae Crowder and IT4 back into the fold, and be forced to explain why they thought Kyrie was worth so much more than they were. Meanwhile the Cavaliers do not want to begin training camp with Kyrie Irving on the roster, and training camp will begin earlier this year due to the earlier start – October 17th – of the season. That means that the Cavaliers are on the clock if this deal is rescinded, and other general managers will know it.

So I expect this deal to happen one way or another…and that that first game on 10/17 is going to be a monster.

VI. U.S. Open

With no playoffs for the Mets, the biggest September question in Queens is whether or not Venus (in her pregnant sister’s absence) will take the U.S. Open.

VII. Sheriff Joe

I wonder what would happen if I went to rob a bank today…other than my arrest, and possibly my death at the hands of law enforcement while attempting to escape after committing the crime. Were I to live to be convicted for the crime, would I then be fortunate enough to be pardoned for my law-breaking activity as was Sheriff Joe Arpaio? Probably not, given that I am a person of color and not a supporter of the President.

If I were killed in the midst of committing such a violent crime, many people would have no problem with the outcome, given the nature of what I was attempting to do. And that, in a nutshell, explains the validity of BLM. If you’re committing an heinous crime, you should expect that your activity might warrant a forceful response…but if you’re just standing in front of the hotel (like tennis star James Blake), or on the train platform (like Oscar Grant), or being twelve years old in the park (like Tamir Rice) or selling loosies (like Eric Garner), you should not expect to be maimed or killed. People of color should be treated fairly by those in law enforcement, which is why President Trump’s pardon of Arpaio is wrong. And it is why Black Lives Matter.

And Now For Something Different

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
2 August 2017

I. Anthony Scaramucci

When you have to tweet that there is No White House chaos, that says to everyone that the White House is full of chaos. Especially when the newly-minted communications director – who proved to be about as qualified for his position as so many other appointees – is fired the same day.

He didn’t even get to stay around long enough to try to clean up after the “White House is a real dump” comment. Mr. President, I hope we’re not inconveniencing you by making you stay in such substandard digs…so if you want to leave for Mar-a-Lago on a permanent basis, I truly understand. Please take Pence with you as you leave.

II. It Was All A Dream

If only that were true. Of course, the new citizens are probably happy that they haven’t gotten around to changing the letter.

III. Dream Team

I know…it’s all about talking trash and story manipulation, but Boston Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski was way off in comparing the Yankees to the Golden State Warriors after the Yankees’ recent trades.

If you had told me as I sat on the couch with my dad watching the Mets win the ’86 Series that I would, three decades later, be defending the Yanks, I would have told you how crazy you were. That said, Dombrowski speaks of these Yanks as if they were the Core Four version, which they are not…yet. In case he hadn’t noticed, the Yankees have won one World Series championship during the 2000’s…which is more than a lot of teams have, but that can’t compare to the Warriors recent run of success. Dave was creating a narrative of “they were supposed to win” should the Yankees win the division, which morphs into “what a job we did” if the Sox prevail.

IV. Triple Threat

So this is the place where I give some well-deserved shout outs, beginning with the multi-talented Denise Gordon. This singer, recording artist and actress has added designer to her portfolio…so let me let her explain in her own words:

“I am a musical performer and my wardrobe would always consist of normal clothes and diva wear. I am very funky and eclectic in my diva-wear. A touch of all my influences – bohemia, gypsy, Africa, flowing all in the challenging clothes size of Plus Size. Being a Plus Size woman you cannot always go into a shop and buy something off the rack. Sizes are usually too small or only come in blue, tan or black. This was not an option for Diva Me.

As I start to transition off the stage, my fashion sense still remains. I have spent 25 years in Africa surrounded by bold beautiful prints, spoiled by tailors who can make your dream styles come true. As I became a bit more focused on life after the stage, I was open to all different possibilities. I have always been interested in fashion, but never consider myself a ‘fashionista’. Fashion was organic. I never followed trends, I followed … me.

One day a girlfriend sent me an article about 2 American women who started an apparel company in Kenya where I was living. The thing about this company was that it only sold ONE DRESS! I was intrigued. I read the article and visited their site. For someone who was used to designing clothes in Africa, that dress was not all that. In fact I thought it was something I would only wear around the house, but I am not giving them shade. I thought the concept was brilliant, particularly they were able to sell the ‘house dress’ for $145! Clearly their market was not Africa, but moreso Europe and America. But the idea got me thinking… what single style could I use in a similar way. There was a hi-low fashion top that I adored the first time I saw it. I just kept it in my personal library , planning to one or two for myself. I started my Africa adventure in West Africa where the artistry of tailoring is very evident… tailors on every corner. East Africa is very different. More off the rack or in reality, I think most people buy second hand clothes.. yes, the one that comes from the Salvation Army from or very own closets in the US and elsewhere. Resellers buy in bulk unseen and hope that there are a lot of pieces that can be resold at a good price. It is an industry that has helped and hindered; Helped people who can only afford $1.00 to dress themselves while killing the local textile industry.

So, inspired I looked at this one top and said, one style would not be enough for me. But there was so much life in that one style, I could modify it ad infinitum.” And so she has started. Watch this space for more info.

V. Tiki Clothing Company

Next up – Javaris Neely. Sneakers can get a tad bit expensive. Check out this article from Blavity:

https://blavity.com/florida-entrepreneur-designs-affordable-sneakers-for-the-less-fortunate?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Blavity%20Daily%20Newsletter%208217&utm_content=Blavity%20Daily%20Newsletter%208217+CID_a70e97d7571425dbfa4024545a4fd6c0&utm_source=Campaign%20Monitor&utm_term=Javaris%20Neely%20is%20an%20entrepreneur

VI. Keloid

The Black TV and Film Collective is making big moves in the New York area, among which being the production of an outstanding web series, Keloid, written and produced by Huriyyah Muhammad.

Find the BTFC channel
on YouTube…another episode of Keloid is about to drop!

VII. The Roof Is on Fire

This was on Facebook the other day, and my first thought was you would have to save Obama, and might very well want to save Kaepernick, but somehow Trump must be saved. You wouldn’t want a fire to come between him and impeachment proceedings.

Big Nothing Burger

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
18 July 2017

I. Can You Tell Me How To Get…

No wonder Trumpcare sucks…if you can’t handle 17×6, you certainly can’t count to 23,000,000. Maybe the fired Kermit the Frog could help them.
http://washingtonjournal.com/2017/07/17/trump-son-daughter-asked-multiply-17-6-answer-ridiculous/

II. All Rise

Told you about Aaron Judge…

III. Melo

Man, the Knicks just signed a new GM, Scott Perry. I didn’t get to toss my hat in the ring for the position, but just maybe Scott needs an assistant. Scott, if you’re reading this, here’s the perfect three-way trade to get Carmelo Anthony out of New York (if that’s really what you want to do):

Knicks get LaMarcus Aldridge, Cleveland’s 1st round pick.

Cavs get Carmelo Anthony.

Spurs get Shumpert, Tristan, Knicks 1st round pick.

This deal is a possible win-win-win for everyone. Knicks get a still-potent Aldridge who wasn’t the best fit in San Antonio upon the superstar emergence of Kawhi Leonard, and a pick. Spurs get two athletic defenders who will fit in well with their system, and a pick from the Knicks that could be high. Cavs get Carmelo, a fourth star, without giving up Kevin Love.

IV. Playing Devil’s Advocate

Perhaps the Knick front office, now minus Phil Jackson, has come to the realization that you don’t trash and devalue the player you want to trade. But then again, perhaps Carmelo shouldn’t be the player you want to trade.

He apparently has a great relationship with Porzingis, the future face of the franchise. He can still score the ball. And the Knicks still play in the Eastern Conference, which has been weaker for years and may be that much more so next season, as Chicago and Indiana probably take steps back. A front line of KP, Hernangomez, and Melo might be a starting point for a playoff team in the East.

V. Trump Jobs

President Trump told people from the start that he would the “jobs president” – and sure enough, he has been just that. Look at all the lawyers his entire family and administration are hiring.

VI. Kushner, Don Jr., and the cast of Thousands

By the time I finish this that small “nothing burger” of a meeting Don Jr. and Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort took might be up to fifty confirmed participants. But however many people were actually present at this meeting which allegedly produced “nothing,” let’s remember this: if you enter a bank with guns and demand the money (which is a crime), the fact that you walk away empty-handed because the teller reported that all the money was gone for the day doesn’t let you off the hook. Think about this the next time you hear a Republican try to explain away that meeting.

VII. Conor and Floyd

Anyone that thinks Conor McGregor has any more than the slimmest ever chance against Floyd Mayweather should revisit the professional minor league baseball career of Michael Jordan. No disrespect to MJ; I actually think hitting .202 with three homers and 51 runs batted in and 30 stolen bases is quite good for someone who had not played baseball in 13 years. My guess is that had he chosen to play baseball instead of basketball at UNC, he might have made the majors (and my Georgetown Hoyas might very well have won another NCAA title).

That said, his baseball career shows that being the best at what you do doesn’t mean you are anywhere near the best at what someone else does. Conor’s best shot is to body slam and suplex Floyd. He probably won’t get up from those.

If At First…

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
7/7/17

I. Try, Try Again

When the Republicans put out their version of Trumpcare, the Congressional Budget Office scored it as ultimately eliminating 23 million people from health care coverage. So then Senate Republicans took a stab at it, and the CBO scored it as only eliminating 22 million from the rolls.

If only they would try it 21 more times…by then they might come up with something as effective as Obamacare.

II. Do You

It happens frequently in sports; when one team wins a championship, others – admiring what they have done – try to assemble a similar team to compete against the newly-minted champions. That said, I was getting just about sick of ex-FOX news hosts getting spots on MSNBC. I mean, that’s where I want to be able to go for the unfiltered truth, and now these guys are bringing in people from the virtual media department of the Republican Party?

As it turns out, sports franchises often find that while imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, it doesn’t mean that a championship is immediately forthcoming. Thankfully the NBC networks are finding – or should be finding – that bringing on FOX people with high ratings there doesn’t necessarily translate into the same thing happening. Just do you…and bump up Joy Reid’s hours.

III. Oaktown

There is some discussion and disagreement about whether the Golden State Warriors should accept an invitation to the White House should one be extended. I’m not so sure one would be extended, in light of some of the comments team members previously made,

such as Steph Curry’s agreement with the description of President Trump as an asset to the country…”if you remove the ‘et’.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver thinks not going would be a lost opportunity to get important points across, which would make sense were we talking about most other people. If Trump wouldn’t listen to Barack Obama, what would lead you to believe that he would listen to a bunch of basketball players?

But should they decide to go, here are a few suggestions that would really make his day:

One third of the people wear a Barack Obama shirt. Another third wear a picture of Obama’s victorious 2008 electoral college map.

And the final third wear Hillary shirts.

IV. All Rise

If you’re not following Aaron Judge now, you can begin to catch up with Monday’s Home Run Derby and Tuesday’s All-Star Game. This guy reminds me of the young Strawberry…you aren’t going for a snack or the bathroom when he’s coming up…but he hits it even further.

V. Big Ballers

After seeing the Ball guys on WWE Raw…and of course seeing too much of Donald Trump raw…I realized that LaVar Ball and Donald Trump are somewhat alike. They are performers, they know how to draw the cameras, and will say whatever they feel they have to – wise or unwise – to attract attention. I am certain that they both subscribe to the theory that there is little difference between good and bad publicity, but what is really bad is no publicity.

The sole fact that someone can be somewhat entertaining doesn’t mean that you should entrust them with positions of importance. You may go out and buy Big Baller Brand merchandise, but that doesn’t mean you would vote him into any office. Keep that in mind in 2020.

VI. Obama Vacations

First of all, after being President of the United States for eight years, you deserve a vacation. But it’s funny how some of the people complaining that Obama has taken awesome vacations on his own dime – as if he’s supposed to go back to being a broke community organizer – haven’t complained at all about how President Trump goes golfing virtually every weekend and enriches himself by traveling (with his humongous entourage in tow) to his own properties, where he gets a cut out of every dollar spent there.

VII. “Voter Fraud”

If you haven’t already figured it out, this latest WH hysteria about “voter fraud” in the 2016 election is due to Trump’s absolute hatred of the fact that he lost the popular vote to HRC by the unprecedented – or in Trump-speak, “unpresidented” – total of close to 3,000,000 votes. His horrible sexist behavior shows that Sen. Elizabeth Warren was right when she said that he couldn’t stand losing to a girl. And of course he also can’t stand the fact that his electoral college total pales in comparison to those of Barack Obama.

I wish some Republican would stand tall and explain why they are so hellbent on voter suppression, trying  to keep people, usually those of color, from voting – which is the real voter fraud. GOP, if your ideas were so strong, you wouldn’t be so afraid at the prospect of them being judged at the ballot box.

Been A While

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
1 June 2017

I. Leading From Behind

If in the decades to come the environment is messed up for Donald Trump’s young son, he will have his dad to thank, in part, as a result of pulling out of the Paris climate change accord. Fortunately there are still world leaders like Angela Merkel.

Someday – and I’m not sure when – we will look back and kind of laugh about this period when the President of the United States was respected about as much as Idi Amin.

II. Language Experts

If only we could find one of the world’s languages in which #covfefe means “I resign immediately.”

III. Here Comes The Judge

I’ve seen this movie before, albeit taking place across town in Queens. Big slugger hits such monster home runs that you never go off for a snack if he is about to bat. We are about to witness years of moonshots from Aaron Judge of the Yankees

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