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Friday, December 18, 2015

The Flashback Fridays #1 For 12/18/15: OutKast - Ms. Jackson (2000)

The first Flashback today is from the 4th album that further certified Andre and Big Boi status as music legends of current times. A second single hit was needed after the high energy fun but depressing title choice and sorta flop that was "B.O.B." And they got that in this smooth classic produced by them and Mr. DJ.

There was no long term taint however with this one. "Ms. Jackson" really got Stankonia the crossover sales it needed to become the selling hit album it became as you know. So, first Flashback of the day, enjoy.

More from The Whole Delivery, soon. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Flashback Fridays #1 For 12/4/15: Mary J. Blige - Family Affair (2001)

Based off her rousing performance in the fine live remake of The Wiz on NBC, TWD celebrates its first Flashback Friday selection of December 2015 with one Mary J.Blige.

The wicked witch was superb in her role Thursday evening, and provided all the elements that showed why Ms. 411 is always as real as they come.

Taking it back to her 2001 "revival," it's the smooth joint that lead to a Jadakiss and Fabolous remix and another in the sound production archives of Dr. Dre. It's "Family Affair," as the Flashback Fridays return.

And there will be another Flashback Friday selection coming soon. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Flashback Fridays #2 For 10/23/15: Jojo - Leave (Get Out) (2004)

Before major label troubles that showcased how she was certainly the opposite of a soft, cookie cutter pop princess some wanted to carve her into, Jojo really appeared to be someone who would have the status that Taylor Swift occupies now.

Back in 2004, "Leave (Get Out)" was a powerful enough beginning for her, with this video retired on MTV's TRL thanks to the quality production of Danish R&B/soul producers Soulshock & Karlin. It reached #12 on the Billboard 100 and was a force across the world, especially Down Under in Australia and New Zealand.

Though Jojo now hates how this song and the rest of her first album sounded, she's still appreciates it enough due to it being her start in the game. And though she has never built on that early promise thanks to the aforementioned label struggles, along with the occasional difficulties for many childhood stars to keep their illumination going into their young adulthood, Jojo is certainly not giving up hope of reaching the top.

So, without further adu (no pun intended to her and former boyfriend Freddy Adu), it's Jojo's first single, from 2004, "Leave (Get Out)."

Quite the contrast from the first Flashback of the day choice this week, isn't it? More to come at The Whole Delivery. 

The Flashback Fridays #1 For 10/23/15: M.O.P - Ante Up (2000)

(Viewer and listener discretion is advised, especially if you aren't black and/or lived in an American hood).

A song near and dear to my heart, since it was filmed in my neighborhood 15 years ago. It's the crowning moment of M.O.P's respectable career (and before they went the disastrous G-Unit route).

It's the North Brooklyn hood classic that gave so much energy to Tompkins Park when they shot the video in the area during that 2000 summer. It's the unapologetic  "Ante Up," your first Flashback Friday video of the day.

More to come from TWD Friday, stay tuned. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The 1st Thread For 10/14/15: How's CNN's Bogus 'Fact Check' Once Again Displayed How Fradulent it Always is

It's always going to be an embarrassment when CNN hosts any debate in this era when they have largely been exposed, day after day, year after year, of being centrist media clowns laughably desperate to appear being the network that actual holds anyone accountable.

And after Anderson Cooper's latest, constant interruption of a Democratic debate to make it seem like he's a real journalist when he is just a fraud, the network went and got its usual fact check hack Tom Foreman to try and pull a fast one on Bernie Sanders. Only, it failed miserably.

It was centered on of course the gun debate, the one topic where centrist media fools like CNN will think that they can show Sanders as having the usual duplicitous politician tactic of possibly "flip-flop" on their weakest topic just like everyone else.

Now, we can discuss whether his D- rating for NRA or his preference to not want gun manufactures to be sued under UNKNOWING circumstances (I capitalized that because that is key) is the most important part of his under the microscope position on the issue, since it won't be going away until his campaign ends in the primary or in the White House. But look closely at the latest nonsense of journalistic integrity Foremann and this pathetic, desperate network chose to embark on again.

In that potion of the debate, Cooper asked Sanders "do you want to shield gun companies from lawsuits?" Now here's what Sanders FULLY stated in that section (start at the 1:33 mark, end, if you chose, at the 2:04).

"Of course not, this was a large and complicated bill. There were provisions in it that I think made sense. For example, do I think that a gun shop in this state of Vermont that sales legally a gun to somebody, and that somebody goes out and does something crazy that the gun shop owner should be held responsible? I don't. 
On the other hand, where you have manufactures, and where you have gun shops, KNOWINGLY, giving guns to criminals or aiding or abetting that, of course we should take action."
Now, in July, Sanders told Jake Tapper, "If somebody has a gun and it falls into the hands of a murderer, and that murderer kills somebody with the gun, do you hold the gun manufacturer responsible? Not anymore than you would hold a hammer company responsible if somebody beat somebody over the head with a hammer. That is not what a lawsuit should be about.”

Okay, we got all of that? Good.

Now, watch the nonsense after the debate when Cooper calls on Foremann for more of their "fact checking", or rather, half-fact checking.

You see what Foremann and his hackish producers did? They completely cut off Sanders' first answer, which is CONSISTENT to what he said in July. And, Foreman did not emphasize the key word that Sanders said: KNOWINGLY.

All they played was the latter half of Sanders' reply, the holding gun owners accountable part ONLY if they KNOWINGLY knew they would contribute to a mass shooting crime.

Foreman and his producers completely edited out Sanders consistent, initial response to what he said in July and made him appear as a calculated flip-flopper to someone not able to pay attention or see the full details of this all. And they were happy with their work to label what he said as "False." Only, it was the CNN that was once again "False" themselves with their half-fact checking.

KNOWINGLY is an important, huge distinction. KNOWINGLY is a subtle but massive detail that was completely ignored here by Foremann and CNN's usual, pathetic attempt to still appear to outsiders as a great, accountable news organization to all.

Thankfully over the last 10 to 15 years, CNN have been constantly dressed down as clowns here on the site and everyone else able to pay attention. And their thirst all day for Joe Biden on Tuesday was about as bad as All Republicans saying the word "Benghazi" or Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake's constant addiction to proving they know a LOT of hip-hop songs.

But it's moments like this where no matter who you support, this should be another reminder to constantly hold powerful media networks like this accountable despite how irrelevant they have become. They still host these debates and still have a perception with some in the daily public, either some of my colleagues in media or people who don't have time to see the frauds that they are on a regular basis, as not being as terrible as they truly are because they have these spots.

It's another moment of an endless array at how CNN and centrist media as a whole continue to think they are slick. And why our political culture is the crapfest it will always be if they continue to freely operate like this, no matter how irrelevant they become on a daily basis when no has to suffer watching their debate coverage. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Music Wakeup Call For 10/13/15: Alphacat's Barack Obama - Back 2 Back (2015)

The best Obama impersonator ever, one Alphacat, has decided to make another classic parody song, this time with Aubrey's "Back to Back" beat and having it be 100 times better than Aubrey's diss at Meek. It's "Back to Back" Obama style, and it is another classic from what maybe the greatest parody person ever. He is that great.

It's the happy return of the Music Wakeup Call at TWD.

It's just so timeless, so many classic lines and facial reactions like this:

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Flashback Fridays For 10/9/15: Monica - Don't Take It Personal (Just One Of Dem Days) (1995)

Flashback to 20 years ago when one Monica Brown came out and was one of the freshest talents in the game, with this hit that got its deserved respect for a number of years but has been forgotten lately considering how Monica has been off the radar.

It's the Dallas Austin produced classic from then 15-year-old Monica, "Don't Take it Personal (Just one of Dem Days)", your (late) Flashback Friday choice for this week.

TWD, your home for music's best nostalgia moments.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Flashback Fridays #2 For 10/2/15: Janet Jackson - Doesn't Really Matter (2000)

After today's first Flashback Friday selection, we keep it 2000 related with the legend Janet Jackson's effort from the Nutty Professor 2 soundtrack. It's the enjoyable and fun "Doesn't Really Matter." 

This really was a quality music video. 

More to come at TWD. 

The Sports Thread #1 For 10/2/15: Da Vinci Code Becomes Da Vinci Crazy

Welp, Roberta Vinci really will officially become the prime enemy of Williams' fans for good after irrationally and angrily calling out Venus Williams moving on match point in the Wuhan Open semifinals today (Wuhan is 12 hours ahead of the ET zone).

Here's the match end.

Vinci would have already looked bad if she said it in English. But the fact that she said "what the f--k" and then asked Venus if she wanted tea or coffee in Italian makes her look more cowardly here. Roberta truly is a fun, fiery person, but this was really a lame move from her. Even more bizarre would be if she did not complain about Venus' time during the match.

Either way, another huge win for Venus in a great week at a big tournament, where she will play Garbine Muguruza in a quality final to salvage a prestige event that has been hurt by absences and laughably bad attendance.

The Flashback Fridays #1 For 10/2/15: Common - The Light (2000)

One of the truly great songs of not only a magical and timeless 2000, but really ever, with a video that perfectly matches it.

It's Common serenading his then wifey at the time in Erykah Badu with the special song that is "The Light," from 15 years ago. It's the first of several flashbacks today on Flashback Friday.

More to come in a bit. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Flashback Fridays For 9/25/15: All 4-One - I Swear (1995)

Now because of "The Minions" in Despicable Me 2, this song got a hilarious second wave.

But what makes this hit from 20 years ago even more funny is the fact that honestly, no one from this 4 person group is known by anyone individually. Like, none of them have their own Wikipedia page. Yet, they have sold so many records just on this main hit, especially over in Asia.

And the even funnier thing was, "I Swear" wasn't even their song. It was a cover of a popular country music song from a John Montgomery that dropped a year before in 1994.

The Flashback Friday of this week, it's the still largely mysterious group that is All 4-One with, one of the all time weirdest videos and most endearing songs ever, in "I Swear."

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Flashback Fridays #2 for 8/28/15: Chris Brown feat Juelz Santana - Run It (2005)

And just like his former flame, this clown came out in 2005 before he became a clown, and was just destined to be massive. He did become massive, not as we all know, in both the good and really bad ways that still persist today.

With Juelz Santana and Scott Storch producing (talk about two careers that have hit a downward spiral), it's Chris Brown with his classic debut, "Run It."

More to come from The Whole Delivery later today. 

The Flashback Fridays #1 For 8/28/15: Rihanna - Pon de Replay (2005)

Before she became known for threatening to beat b----es up for money to the current entertaining, original brash superstar she is now, this is when it all started for one Ms. Fenty 10 years ago. It's "Pon de Replay," her debut song. when she was just that island girl.

More to come from The Whole Delivery today, stay tuned. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sports Sunday Thread #1 For 8/23/15: La Liga BBVA 2015-16 Preview - The Other 18

Since so much attention is given to the Big 2 and their continued preference to have the rest of the league be broke and not competitive against them, this La Liga preview will take an important, quick look at the rest of the 18 teams in the second best league in the world.

It's the historic 85th season of La Liga BBVA.

Atletico Madrid are arguably the deepest they have ever been under Diego Simeone, and that includes the title winning, Champions League finalist campaign of two years ago. Still, that deepness is created by the absences of key figures Arda Turan, Mario Manduzkic, Miranda and Mario Suarez. Though the latter have been replaced by equally talented figures, Turan's passing quality and vision is something yet to be seen consistently from exciting prospects Oliver Torres and Saul Niguez. Nevertheless, if Simeone gets a great season from the explosive Jackson Martinez, Atletico could certainly benefit from Barcelona's early season lack of depth and Real Madrid's always potentially combustable situation with Rafa Benitez at the helm.

Valencia was The League's most exciting team after the big two last season. A free following attack with a vibrant midfield and class finishers Paco Alcacer and Alvaro Negredo saw Nuno Santo name rise as a potential star manager for years to come. The loss of Nicolas Otamendi, however, is a big blow right before the start of the season, as Los Che will hope Portuguese youngster Ruben Vezo can form a fine partnership with German young stud Shkodran Mustafi. They also hope they can get the steal of the summer in Belgian talented teen Zakaria Bakkali, banished from PSV after being the youngster player ever to score a hat trick in the Eredivisie's great history. With the Champions League playoff tie against Monaco a must win as well as anything else in either the Champions League's group knockout stage or Europa League, this season will definitely show us all if Valencia are back among Europe's elite.  

Sevilla haven't been so lucky at keeping all their valuable figures, as the Europa League champions see Carlos Becca, Aleix Vidal and Stephane M'Bia gone. Unai Emery knows that Sevilla are a smart transfer club, and the arrivals of Michael Krohn-Dehli, Yevhen Konoplyanka, Ciro Immobile, Sergio Escudero, Gael Kakuta, and record signing Steven N' Zonzi could have the Andalusia power as owners of the best summer business. Kevin Gameiro is more than capable of picking up the slack from Bacca's departure in what will be a season that asks Emergy's side if they too are among the continent's best or a tier below.

Villarreal has suffered some many losses, with Giovani Dos Santos leaving to Los Angeles the least of the major departures. Standouts Denis Cheryshev and Luciano Vietto have either went or returned to the capital, meaning manager Javi Garcia will have to count on Spurs castoff Roberto Soldado to refind his sparkling form from his time at Getafe and Valencia. The two Malaga Samus, Garcia and Castillejo, will also be vital to whether Villarreal will be amongst Spain's elite or be mired in a relation struggle their club has seen too often. Atletico Madrid man Leo Baptistao will also be key.

Atletico Bilbao has managed to keep their core players and will be formidable this season if they can handle the Europa League awkwardness that can plague teams. Ernesto Valverde has retained key men Adruiz, Susaeta, Iturraspe, Muniain and de Marcos to name a few, making times at San Memes very positive right now.

Celta Vigo meanwhile will have to overcome the departures of young promise Santi Mina, lead line leader Joaquin Larrivey (to Baniyas of all clubs), clever Brazilian veteran Charles and solid Dane Michael Krohn-Deli. Eduardo Berizzo will do well to hold onto the much coveted Nolito before this transfer window ends, but has at least made up for his departures with good editions. UEFA U-21 Championships star John Guidetti comes in on a free, while solid Daniel Wass keeps the Denmark representation at the club going on for another season with his move from Evian. Iago Aspas returns from where he made his name a few years back and hopes to shake off a few humbling, disappointing seasons at Liverpool and Sevilla.

Malaga have seen the departure of some of their exciting wave of young talent that made their mark last season. Juanmi and the two aforementioned Samus (Garcoa and Castillejo) have exited, but Javi Garcia's has done well to retain dynamic Moroccan Nordin Amrabat while bringing in his countryman Adnane Tighadouini from a good season at NAC Breda. The signing of Charles from Celta was a fine move as well.

Espanyol have seen a number of changes to their side. Longtime captain and figure Sergio Garcia has journeyed off to a big pay day in Qatar, while other big names Kiko Casilla, Christian Stuani, Hector Moreno and Lucas Vasquez have departed as well. It will be a challenge for second year manager Sergio Gonzalez, who hope a bunch of new young additions lead by Gerard Moreno and Italian keeper Francesco Bardi will overcome big losses.

Rayo Vallecano is another fun mid table side who will have to overcome key departures. Gone is club record scorer Alberto Bueno and pacy Gael Kakuta, where Paco Jemez will hope his passing side have enough to stay comfortable this year.

Real Sociedad start their second season with David Moyes with a lot of stability. Only struggling Alfreo Finnbogason is the key departure, as the Scottish manager may have gotten the steal of the summer for a midtable club with the signing of talented Brazilian forward Jonathas from cash strapped Elche.

Levante seek David Barral as the only major departure, as Lucas Alcaraz has done well to add Liga Sagres talents Nabil Ghilas and Deyverson. Mainstays David Navarro, Ruben Garcia, and captain Juanfran return for Lucas Alcaraz in his second season in charge. But he'll be asking himself all season once again on where the goals will come from.

Getafe sees rookie coach Fran Escriba retain most of his key players. Pedro Leon, Pablo Sarabia, Angel Lafita and Alvaro Vasquez are still with the former Burger Kings, with influential left back Sergio Escudero as the only key man out gone. And with incoming on loan young talents Moi Gomez, Alvaro Medran, Emiliano Velazquez and Benard Mensah, it could be a funny season for this unglamorous Madrid club.

Deportivo La Coruna features another second year coach in Victor Sanchez, who will likely have another precarious campaign to avoid the drop. As another cash strapped La Liga side, it's another season of loan arrivals and departures for Deportivo. Longtime club personality Helder Postiga is gone for good, with youngsters Ivan Cavaleiro, Borja Lopez and Isaac Cuenca's time at the club unfulfilling and short. The big additions of talented veteran Cani, after his disappointing loan spell at Atletico, and uber talented Valencia on loan man Federico Cartabia will do wonders for the club, especially if they and sharp Celso Borges can be clever in the middle. JuanFran returns again, with Oriol Riera and Juan Dominguez back to lead Deportivo into the 85th season of The League.

Granada also had a stress filled campaign with their fate saved at the very end. Manager Jose Sandoval doesn't need that pressure again, but it seems inevitable with a boatload of players egressing and a good number of them coming in. Granada cashed in on Jeison Murillo's solid Copa America
for Colombia. Gone as well is right back Allan Nyom to Watford, but there are way more welcomed editions for Sandoval to deal with. Fast Congolese forward Thievy is capable of producing some tallies, though Uruguayan youth international Nico Lopez could be the new singing hit for the Andalusian side. The development of young talents Isaac Success and Jhon Cordoba could make for exciting times for Sandoval, especially if they and veteran duo Piti and Youssel El-Arabi bring their best.

Sporting Gijon return to La Liga BBVA with Abelardo Fernandez establishing himself as the man to lead this team back up to the second best league in the world. Fernandez's third year sees no major departures, vital for Gijon's chances of surviving a drop many people expect them to take. Gijon also saw the major boost of getting on loan young talents Antonio Sanabria and Alen Halilovic. The Croatian Barcelona wunderkid in particular was a notable scalp for Fernandez, as many good clubs throughout the continent clamored for his services. Gijon had by far the best defense in the Liga Adelante and will need that in ambulance this season, especially in their opener against Real Madrid of all teams. Luis Hernandez, Bernando, Alberto Lora, Bernardo and Ivan Cuellar's play determines the fate of the Asturias located club. Can their backline be superb with higher competition?

Real Betis also see their return to the Spanish top flight, with Pepe Mel bringing in a number of notable names. Longtime Hamburg regulars Rafael van der Vaart and Heiko Westermann, along with Peruvian Juan Vargas, are the "glamour signings." But the editions of Francisco Portillo, Petros and German Pezzella could prove more valuable. More important than bringing in players for Mel, however, was seeing star scoring duo Ruben Castro and Jorge Molina remain. Betis definitely have enough in attack to stay up, but they know full well the dangers of thinking you are too good for the drop.

Las Palmas dramatic playoff promotion win sees their first return to La Liga since 2002. Goal scoring was never a problem for the Canary Islands club in Liga Adelante, producing a league leading 73 goals with champions Betis.  Former Boca Juniors and Barcelona B product Sergio Araujo is their star man, as the 23-year-old will look to see if he can finally shine at the highest level. Veteran backline editions Antolin Alcaraz and Javier Garrido will be tested week in, week out, with young Argentine holding midfielder Federico Bravo a player who may have to protect them. Paco Herrera knows that they are the favorites to finish bottom at the league. But he and the Las Palmas fans will certainly enjoy the experience and give it their all. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Flashback Fridays For 8/114/15: T- Pain - I'm Sprung (2005)

10 summers ago, T-Pain came out in the game with Akon backing him with this 2005 late summer classic, and the rest is history.

It's T-Pain's "I'm Sprung", as the Flashback Fridays return to entertain you on your late summer journey.

The Flashback Fridays will continue later on, as will the rest of The Whole Delivery. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Sports Thread #1 For 8/13/15: How Djokovic Isn't a Lock To Win The US Open

As his return to competition begins at the Rogers Cup in Montreal this week, it appears nothing can stop Novak Djokovic from capturing a 10th Grand Slam title at the upcoming US Open, not even a grown man on his back with a steep flight of stairs in his path. His recovery from a devastating Roland Garros defeat to Stan Wawrinka, by winning Wimbledon for the third time, was just as impressive as if he were still up for a calendar Slam. It was a signal that Djokovic is clearly the best in the world at the moment as questions beset his other Big 4 rivals with Roger Federer’s age, Andy Murray’s consistency and Rafael Nadal’s confidence affecting their level.   

Coupling Djokovic’s current dominion of the ATP World Tour with his hard court supremacy may appear to make him a larger favorite in Flushing Meadows. The Serbian has already won the three biggest titles on the surface this year, capturing a fifth Australian Open with ease and showing his legendary resilience in conquering the big Indian Wells-Miami double once again. All signs appear pointing to Djokovic repeating his extraordinary feat of 2011 in winning three Grand Slams in a year. 

But those presumptions pronouncements about Djokovic hoisting the trophy on the final day of the year’s last Slam need to be halted, as arguably the tennis season’s toughest stretch is where Djokovic has found the most difficulty. The men’s world number one has gone a full two North American summers without taking home a title, and has still just one U.S. Open title to his name, from 2011. The two big Masters 1000 events, the Rogers Cup (both Montreal and Toronto alternate the tournament each year with the women) and W & S Open (Cincinnati Masters), Ohio, have seen roller coaster results from Djokovic that has culminated in ordinary finishes at Arthur Ashe Stadium. 

Despite being in the fifth year of his gutten free diet that has taken his fitness and game to the elite level, Djokovic has still at times struggled when the conditions get hot and humid in North America. That was mostly prevalent in his U.S. Open semifinal loss last year to Kei Nishikori, as the smaller, slighter Japanese talent, known for his own array of physical problems, was the stronger man in that four set surprise upset. But even coming into that tournament, Djokovic was already on shaky hard court form after winning Wimbledon 2014. He suffered shock, straight forward defeats at both Masters 1000 warmups. Jo Wilfred Tsonga completely hit him off the court in a 6-2, 6-2 thumping in Toronto that served as one of 2014’s shock scorelines. The ageless veteran Tommy Robredo followed that up a week later in Cincinnati to defeat Djokovic 7-6 (6), 7-5 in another eyebrow raising result. Djokovic’s forgettable 2014 summer came after a titleless 2013 summer hard court season, at the hands of a then sharp Nadal (in both the U.S. Open final and Montreal semifinals) and John Isner (in Cincinnati) out serving him. 

The Canadian cities have by far been the best place for Djokovic in the summer. His three titles north of the border, including his Montreal 2007 breakthrough win defeating Andy Roddick,  Nadal and  Federer when they were the Top 3 ranked players at the time, give him some comfort there. But Djokovic has been completely shut out of the winner’s circle in Cincinnati, a four time runner up who has been denied the last significant hard court title left on his resume by Federer and Murray. The heat in the midwest has affected him, as well as the pressure expected to win on his best surface. And it’s where Djokovic’s career hit its nadir, suffering a frustrating quarterfinals defeat to Roddick in 2010. It was a loss that almost resulted in him departing with then longtime coach Marian Vajda and almost going out in the Open’s first round to countryman Viktor Troicki. Djokovic went on to later beat Federer in a dramatic semifinal before losing to Nadal in that 2010 U.S. Open, citing that tournament as the turning point in his career before that amazing 2011 campaign.

Despite all of that, Djokovic is still the worthy favorite at all three of these prestigious hard court titles. The great momentum he carries from winning Wimbledon, coupled with the mysteries surrounding Nadal, Murray and Federer (who is not playing in Montreal), will not be ignored by any rational soul.  But just like how the nerves of winning a calendar Grand Slam could prevent Serena Williams from being a solid lock in New York, past summer form indicates that writing in Novak Djokovic as the 2015 US Open champion is way too premature. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Flashback Fridays #1 For 7/31/15: Common - Sweet (2011)

After Meek Nil's awful (first) diss back at Aubrey, here is a "diss" that was already made actually less atrocious with how embarrassing Tweet Mill's was. It's Common's largely forgettable 2011 song that had the middle of the first and second verse aimed at Drake during their Serena Williams love triangle. "All that La La, you ain't no motherf--king Frank Sinatra."

More to come from The Whole Delivery today.  

Monday, July 6, 2015

The FIFA Women's World Cup Review Thread For 7/6/15: How The Third Time Is The Biggest Charm For The United States Women's Soccer

Photo from Fifa.com/Getty Images

Score Settled. 

Those are the operative words when one comes to mind the minute Carli Lloyd put two goals into the back of the Japanese net in 6 minutes to show the full intent on the United States closing out their World Cup of revenge. It was a start so expedient and clinical, unlike any other World Cup Final had ever seen before, a determination that was set in stone the minute Saki Kumagai hit the final penalty past Hope Solo four years ago in Germany. And it was a desire to feel the glory that the 1991 and 1999 teams felt, instead of the agonizing heartbreak that tormented them for four years all the way to the final whistle was blown at BC place. 

The Olympic title for a third straight time and instant revenge in London wasn’t satisfying enough. The hashtag “#ScoretoSettle” was established, because this United States women’s national team program hates when it is not in first place. In their minds, it is against the law of the universe for the country that invented, reinvented and revitalized women’s soccer to not be at the forefront of the sport. And when it was the third major program that had denied them that purch atop the sport’s heap, the USWNT was hell bent on bringing hell to Germany and especially Japan. 

The final two matches (especially the final) for the United States were the opposite of how the first five matches went: the attack was at its best saving the defense. Lloyd, the feisty New Jersey legend of clutchness for her big goals in Olympic gold medal contests, ascended to another level unlike any other female player in a major final. Say what you want about a Naomi Sasaki coached backline and organization that completely fell apart. Lloyd just has that innate gift of seizing the moment that not every elite athlete can achieved. 

The crestfallen spirit the 32-year-old midfield ace displayed after she skied her penalty kick attempt into the stands four years ago served as a noticeable but minor blip on a radar of bringing her best in the biggest moments. It’s one thing to score two set piece goals off horrendous defending; it’s another when you are able to pull a goal from half field to complete a hat trick even she couldn’t have fathomed. 
The compliment to Lloyd’s record book performance was her midfield partner Lauren Holliday having a moment that made her easily the most grateful person in the entire stadium. For the entire month, the player even more a proper #10 than Lloyd herself had to be shackled with the burden of knowing when to go forward and when to protect her centerbacks. It was a moment of utter relief and joy for the Kansas City star when more  atrocious Japanese defending gave Holliday the opportunity to unleash a full volley hit of the top order. For an offensive talent who has had to sacrifice and take a back seat to other attacking options for several years on this national team, Holliday’s class finish was a moment as significant as Lloyd’s epic eruption. 

Still, as mentioned before, the defense reverted to having the struggles the offense previously felt. After a five match and a half campaign of sheer brilliance, Julie Johnston began looking more like the good but still young, error prone defender that everyone expected her to be at age 23 and just with 19 caps, not the precocious dynamo she ascended to before getting her hand on Anja Mittag’s shoulder. Fortunate to be in this game in the first place, Johnston gave the reigning world champions hope that they would produce a miracle comeback. Her over aggressive and wrong reading of Japan’s intricate passing was fully exposed, allowing Yuigi Ogimi the chance to wake up Japan from their miserable nightmare. Johnston continued her decline from Best XI member of tournament in the second half, as her own goal header gave Japan hopes that a 4-2 deficit could lead to one of the all time comebacks ever in sports. 

But the pain of four years ago was too much for the U.S. to blow a lead of four. Tobin Heath, one of the youngest players back then, galvanized herself once more this tournament in the most emphatic way. Another set piece disaster from Japan, highlighted by the latest moment where keeper Kaihori did not cover herself in glory, set up Tobin Heath to score the 4th goal for a New Jersey woman on the day. It was a low finish that provided a fifth tally and the most important goal in the game, just when it seemed that Japan, led one last time by its legend Homare Sawa coming off the bench, had all the momentum to produce a comeback like no other. 

But the only comeback here was the United States women coming back to the position they held in the first and third editions of this tournament. It was the full reward for a team and program under justifiable criticism in 2014. Tom Sermanni was suppose to be the coach that lead the USWNT to full glory again, not Jill Ellis. Sermanni was suppose to be the coach to prevent the USWNT from falling behind the rest of the pack in cultivating young talent. And Sermanni was suppose to be the coach that got the USWNT to win matches against the elite without having to rely on their great athleticism, fitness and fight. But after a promising start, it began to turn sour when the established stars complained more and were given the best reason for Sermanni to be replaced by Ellis: that seventh place showing at the Algarve Cup. It was a full players revolt of Sermanni, whose firing remains quite the mystery to those still wondering what happened, especially with a six month silence period he signed into with U.S. Soccer for his dismissal.  

Sermanni’s shocking firing seemed so foolish at the time, an inevitable sign that the most privileged women’s team and program in the world would be humbled by being so obstinate to necessary change. It felt the collapse of a superpower was beginning to manifest itself right in front of our very eyes. The way Ellis was slammed after the Colombia match, from Michelle Akers all the way down to your favorite women’s soccer blogger, was a clear sign that the things Sermanni wanted to be implemented with this team needed to be taken by Ellis immediately. Gone was Wambach and the 4-4-2, and in came Morgan Brian and the 4-3-3. The rest is history. 

The energy, the vigor and the overall quality that a team wanting to be the best in the world has to show returned to the United States’ women’s team once their quarterfinal with China started. A tired, shorthanded Germany and a physically overmatched Japan felt the full force of this resurgent team desperate for a third crown.  

Only the United States women’s team can have a players’ revolt on a quality coach, see one of its star players in Abby Wambach intentionally skip club play to just focus on training for Canada 2015, deal with the endless array of Hope Solo’s alleged domestic violence actions, and have overaged veterans Christine Rampone and Shannon Boxx be on an elite team at the end of their careers and still win a World Cup.  

July 5 at BC Place served as the reward for enduring all of that and standing on top of it in the end. It is the chilling excitement and tears of joy for this group of women sans Rampone, who had to hear the whispers of whether they could match the feats of the ’91 and ’99 women. While those teams had their own pressure to make women’s soccer become a thing in this world, the 2011 & 2015 World Cup teams had to keep it a thing. 

And the only way for them to do that, to get record ratings for Fox and endless array of tweets in the United States to capture the country’s imagination again, was to settle the score. 

Mission complete. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Wimbledon 2015 Thread For 6/2/15: Van Diagram - How Dustin Brown's Win Over Nadal Validates His Tennis Odyssey

Photo from ATP/Getty Images

When Dustin Brown was riding in a Volkswagen van throughout Europe a few years ago, it seemed being an unknown tennis nomad would define his career. All the characteristics as an itinerant player with modest accomplishments was firmly in the script for him, coming from a country in Jamaica who supported him less than the number of people who don’t know who Bob Marley is there. 

Brown would always be known as the man in the van, the van that his white German mother and black Jamaican father invested for him when he needed to somehow survive in tennis. It was the van that served as his house and kitchen. It was the van that created a racquet stringing center for him to take care of fellow lower ranked players’ sticks as they too were on the precipice of homelessness. It was the van that had him wondering, when he was stuck in a world of doubt and second guessing, if continuing the tennis odyssey he set himself on since the age of 8 was worth continuing at all? 

After an afternoon in which he stepped onto the hollowed Centre Court grounds for the first time in his career, at the most hollowed tennis tournament on Earth, Dustin Brown of both Germany and Jamaica defeated Rafael Nadal for the second time in as many encounters to secure the biggest win of his career. Suffice to say, the time in the van and the sacrifice that came from it all was worth it. 

“I’ve never been on the court before,” Brown said after his 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. “They asked me before the match if I wanted to go on the court, and obviously I didn’t know what was going to happen, so I’ll just go on when I play. It was awkward where I actually thought I would freak out a little bit.” 

Even before the result that got his name as the #1 trending topic on Twitter, Brown knew that he long validated going through the intense adversity of being a peripatetic, unheralded tennis player. He hasn’t lived in that Volkswagen van for a while now, and he has been able to get into Grand Slam fields now for several years, whether through direct entry into the main draw or the pressurized grind of qualifying he is well accustomed to. He beat Lleyton Hewitt two years ago at Wimbledon. He beat Nadal last year in Halle, along with John Isner in Houston. He was already a Top 50 ATP doubles player. Even if he lost triple bagel to the 12-time Grand Slam champion, Brown had fulfilled his parents’ sacrifice years’ ago, as well as his own. It’s why from 2-2 on in the third set, he did not wilt when it seemed like Nadal would ride the wave of capturing the second set and taking over the match. Instead, Brown stuck to the style that got him to where he was at before the famous victory and now after it. 

Using his unpredictable, athletic, fast and powerful all-court game to not get in protracted rallies with Nadal and keep him off balance, Brown became the fourth straight early round stopper at Wimbledon for Nadal. It wasn’t like the magic man from Mallorca wasn’t fully prepared to make the ultra quick transition from clay to grass as in recent years. With his Roland Garros quarterfinal loss to Novak Djokovic, Nadal was given unofficial extra time along with the additional week now in between the French Open and Wimbledon for everyone. And after winning the first grass warmup in Stuttgart, the legendary lefty was determined to make a resurgent run. But it was yet another moment in sports where the profession doesn’t adhere to a cliche, similar script. And if ever there was a player that follows that characteristic through and through, Brown is indeed just the one.  

“Whatever I do was to take him out of his comfort zone,” Brown said about his successful strategy against Nadal. “(If) I stayed in the back and rallied with him, left right, that would not be a very good match for me. I know that. So obviously I tried to play my game, even if I missed a few returns. On this surface, obviously I feel confident to play my game.”  

Brown showcased in his post match media engagement afterwards his pensive persona, a requirement for how he had to manage food and money throughout his tennis journey (and still does). It is a stark contrast from his loose, flashy and sometimes uncontrolled style of play, representing a fitting combination to a person whose story is as multi dimensional as the game he plays.  

The 30-year-old could have given up his playing dream and found himself a second career, in coaching or doing something outside of tennis. He could have been deterred after seeing many criticize his inability to be consistent with his tactics, shot selection or accuracy. He could have   succumbed to the belief from some, in his fathers’ country and throughout, that “Jamaican men don’t play tennis.” All of these things the man affectionately known as Dreddy Tennis could have predictably done. But he did not. 

July 2 was another reminder that there isn’t anything predictable about Dustin Brown. His tale is arguably the most unique you will ever find in tennis, and one that would challenge any other in sports. “The man with the van” has long outlived that title. And for at least one match, Dustin Brown can have the title of just simply, the man

A video posted by Drew Jones (@twdbk) on

Monday, June 22, 2015

The 1st Thread For 6/22/15: Denial of White Terrorism And How Charleston Isn't an Attack on Christians

Denial of reality can be an alarming, misguided practice that a person can willingly partake on oneself. It is a conspicuous moment revealing how individuals are fully insecure with accepting the truths that they don’t want to embrace, tormenting themselves into a place of a dangerously false universe. Denial is a toxic behavior, and it has long been prevalent in America’s constant struggle with its racist characteristics, long before it became a union and in the current aftermath of its formation two centuries after. The tragic assassination of nine black people at the hands of a 21-year-old white terrorist has sparked another episode of racist denial, not only from conservative Caucasian Americans but even some notable white figures outside the right-wing spectrum.

Shifting the focus off racism as the main reason for Dylann Roof’s devilish acts, some quickly attributed the shooting deaths to being simply an attack on Christianity.  Leading in that chorus of denial unsurprisingly was the folks apart of the Rupert Murdoch empire. Fox & Friends added to their endless list of inane segments by hosting a conservative black pastor who insinuated the mass murdering as a “rising hostility against Christians across this country because of our Biblical views.” (In addition, that same Pastor, E.W. Jackson, shepherded the unhinged idea of churches arming themselves in the wake of the attack.) That prompted the usually deranged co-host Steve Doocy to be in disbelief at the crime being labeled as racially driven. “It was released earlier, extraordinarily, as a hate crime,” Doocy said.  

Continuing in that same peculiar trail of thinking was Presidential hopeful and proverbial war monger Lindsey Graham. Appearing on ABC’s The View, the South Carolina Republican Senator was obviously disturbed at the latest tragic events that took place in his state. But he quickly described Roof with the same characteristics usually bestowed to only white mass murderers and not Muslims, Hispanics or black troubled individuals: He was disturbed, he was a loner wolf and he wasn’t a terrorist. He continued on by saying Roof’s actions was not indicative of South Carolina as a whole, a stunning irony considering its white supremacist history and still glaring obsession with keeping its confederate flag as its symbol. When asked by new co-host Raven Simeone if the tragedy was hate crime motivated or mentally disturbed, Graham could only muster “both” and that Roof was “just whacked out.” It was a startling contrast from how Graham never hesitates when seeing any Muslim involved in any crime, calling “terrorism” at the blink of his jihad eye whenever he sees or hear an Islamic name. 

Probably the grossest denial of white racism to describe Roof’s brutality, however, came from rising conservative pundit and Miami Herald columnist AJ Delgado. To the amazement of most following her on Twitter, Delgado immediately questioned whether Roof was Caucasian after seeing the images from the surveillance video showing his entrance into the church. “Sorry, am I the only one who isn’t seeing a “white male? I know media wants to run a racial angle here but this guy doesn’t look white?” she brazenly wrote. Delgado followed it up with another tweet so ridiculous that it made one question how she has been worthy to be on an intelligent show such as “All in with Chris Hayes?” “None of this story adds up,” she wrote. “Even if a ‘white supremacist,’ their targets/hatred isn’t usually church-going African-Americans.”  The Ku Klux Khan probably could not find a better candidate for a press secretary position than Delgado presented herself as with her elementary school view on white racism. 

These three views from Doocy, Graham and Delgado came despite the news already surfacing for hours of the AME Church surviving person indicating the chilling words that Roof told his victims before their sad deaths. “I have to do it,” Roof allegedly said, as reported by a cousin of a fortunate survivor relying a message from another present during the tragedy. “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” That report preceded a bevy of information after Roof was identified that shows him embracing apartheid nations South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), along with “The Confederate States of America.” Later, one of Roof’s friends since the ninth grade stated that Roof had a history of telling racist jokes and recently talked about how segregation needed to return because of his belief that “blacks are dominating now.”  If all of those details still could not convince you to label it a “hate crime” (and Roof as a terrorist), then you probably would struggle to believe that grass is green, that the sky is blue, and that two plus two equals four. 

Even some non-conservative outlets couldn’t muster up the courage to say the obvious. The prominent liberal blog Emptywheel featured a post railing against the idea of labeling the Charleston massacre a hate crime, calling it “bogus” and “hyperbole.” Salon staff writer Mary Williams, despite the appropriate title, wasted an opportunity to slap down the absurd “Christianity was attacked” argument from the Fox & Friends segment, letting it go unchallenged by writing a non sequitur about immigration instead. CNN morning show anchor Chris Cuomo followed a similar script of disbelief that Delgado fell under, literally writing that Roof “possibly” was not white. Like Delgado, Cuomo proceeded to delete one of the worst tweets of 2015. Unlike Delgado’s cowardly decision to delete her full account, Cuomo however has kept his up for the time being. 

Although nowhere near as egregious as Doocy, Graham and especially Delgado’s statements, that lack of clinical confirmation that this was pure racism from notable figures, even on the white left, shows how much progress we still have still left to do as a country to be fully accountable for the crimes against black people. And as a black person born and raised in this country, I frankly believe we will never reach that point of having racial common sense. If we haven’t gotten it after slavery, segregation and other suffering, then what makes you think we truly will?      

Denial is a scary thing, a failure for a person to reconcile with the fact that a painful truth must be accepted. But it becomes a massive threat to a society as a whole when the denial is deeply systematic, analogous to American racism. It does no one good, and only creates more American nightmares, where black victims are again held hostage, or given worse, by the deadly shackles of white supremacy. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Flashback Fridays #2 For 6/12/15: Pretty Ricky - Grind With Me (2005)

Another song with "Slow Down" that was a major hit at the start of summer 2005 was another perfectly timed debut single in R&B. It was from Pretty Ricky, and like Bobby V, never could match the success from their first song (and let's not even go there on how bad Pleasure P's solo career has gone).

The second Flashback Friday choice of the day, it's Pretty Ricky with "Grind With Me."
(And those at Warner Music Group screwed up again. This came out in late May 2005, not anytime in 2006. Big Music labels really are so horrible).

More to come at The Whole Delivery, stay tuned. 

The Flashback Fridays #1 For 6/12/15: Bobby Valentino - Slow Down (2005)

10 years ago at this time, Bobby Valentino was new and very relevant. Now, not so much. But you can't deny the smoothness that was and still is his debut song/single, "Slow Down." Definitely near graduation/prom music here, it's today's first of several Flashback Fridays from 2005.

More to come from The Whole Delivery. Stay tuned. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The 1st Thread/Music Wakeup Call For 6/11/15: Jidenna ft Roman GianArthur - Classic Man (2015)

Of the edges of D'Angelo and Kendrick Lamar's pro-black efforts, Janelle Monae artist Jidenna has done the perfect song and video for his debut single "Classic Man." It was firmly a representation of black old school excellence in a new era. It's broken through so good that LeBron's "Beat by Dre" commercial plays it.

Today's "Music Wakeup Call," Jidenna with "Classic Man."

More to come at TWD today.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Super Sports Saturday of June 6 Thread For 6/6/15: Barcelona Are Treblerric Once Again (Postgame Versions)

Final Words: 

From Luis Enrique being on the hot seat to being a manager of one of the greatest sides in the history of the game, Barcelona have proven how amazing their club is once again and will go to the Club World Cup to make official their status as the best football side on Earth.

It has been another memorable year covering the Champions League. Here is the team of the season below, where the likes of Carlos Tevez, Thomas Muller, Jordi Alba, Thiago Silva and Dani Alves just miss out. Until next season, when it starts back up in late July and August, peace to this great competition.

Full Time: Juventus 1-3 Barcelona (Barcelona become 8th European treble winners)
A video posted by Drew Jones (@twdbk) on

More to come, including the team of this season's Champions League

GK: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus) - The 37-year-old marvel may still not have a European trophy to his name, but he still is one of the best in the world and showed it all competition. Even today, despite not being able to parry Messi's hard shot for Suarez's winning tap in, Juve's legendary shot stopper was still so marvelous indeed. Unlike Iker Casillas, no question who is the main for the Turin giants

RB: Danilo (Porto) - Despite the longer campaigns for Dani Alves and Stephan Lichtsteiner, the future Real Madrid man showed why he is a growing star, leading the Portuguese giants to a fine quarterfinal showing and making Bayern Munich sweat.

CB: Gerard Pique (Barcelona) - After a few seasons into the wilderness and wondering if his career had peaked too early, the stoic but skillful centerback return to his place as arguably the world's best centerback. Pique was more physical and stronger this season, while adding his unique talents to show all his critics that the 28-year-old's question ability is here to stay for more years to come.

CB: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona) -
Arguably helping Pique return to his form has been the amazing evolution of the Argentine hard tackler and ball winner from a quality holding midfielder into a top centerback. His positioning and timing has helped give Luis Enrique confidence and Barcelona fans' assurance that they haven't seen from their centerbacks since the latter days of Carles Puyol.

LB: Patrice Evra (Juventus) - When the energetic Frenchmen left Manchester United for Serie A, most thought that his best days of playing consistently at the elite level were gone. How those analysts were proven wrong, as the 34-year-old rolled back the years with a terrific season of fine positional defending and venturing forward at the right time as he has always been able to do.

M: Ivan Rakitic - What a debut campaign at a massive club for the Croatian, who cemented himself as one of the world's best midfielders as the perfect replacement for the legendary Xavi. Few humans on the planet could do what Rakitic did this season, with the mental and physical pressure to perform in new, highly charged surroundings on him. He handled it so beautifully.

M: Arturo Vidal - The Chilean proved how he is such a force in the midfield, especially when fellow box to box dynamo Paul Pogba was out. Quality going forward and always willing to do the defensive work when he comes back,  the former Bayern Leverkusen man proved for another campaign why he has to be in everyone's world class list.

M: Lionel Messi - He was only placed in the midfield to get all the deserving attacking talent on the field. Even without scoring in the final, he was still the best player on the field of many fine performers. Nothing more needs to be said.

M: Cristiano Ronaldo - You couldn't have just one all time leading goal scorer on this team and leave out the other, even if the other goes trophyless this season. Despite not playing well against Juventus and again not being a superstar in big games, the Portuguese talisman is still a legend and undoubtedly second only to Messi.

F: Neymar - All the Brazilian wonderkid did was become the first player to score in a quarterfinal, semifinal and final of the Champions League. He has lived up to the hype, and will only get better from here on out.

F: Luis Suarez - From "The Bite Seen Around The World" to the "Winning Goal Heard Round the World."  Suarez may not have made anyone forget his carnivore actions, but he's reminded everyone how outstanding a player he truly is once more.

Halftime Version-The Goal 
 Key Matchups of the Game

-Battle of the fullbacks:  Evra and Litchsteiner have slowly come on towards the end of the half.

-Pirlo protecting his centerbacks: Can the greatest play maker do the defensive duties today. SO far in the first half, he did not on the first goal, as he allowed Rakitic to come in the box with no problem.

-Can Busquets harass Pogba: Still the case, but Pogba has definitely had his moments. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The NBA Finals Shootaround Pregame Thread For 6/4/15: A Look Back at Their Real First Meeting

If Kevin Love was in this series and both teams were full strength, the Cleveland Cavaliers would win this series in five games. These two teams' second matchup this season in Cleveland showed that, as the Cavs outshot the Warriors and dominated them when it came to the second chances and length.

More to come with the NBA Finals and TWD, in a bit.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Flashback Fridays #1 For 5/29/15: Trey Songz ft Twista - Gotta Make It (2005)

It's been 10 years in the game for Virginia's top two R&B duo.

First it was Trey Songz, who came to the game in a different state than the psuedo-R.Kelly state he currently is now. From a decade ago in May 2005, it's his refreshing, earnest and deep to the soul debut single/song that made you think he wouldn't go all the way in on his freak, sex song routes he's fully gone in on now.

And asking the question, "All I got is a dolla and a dream, will you roll with me?" is a powerful one that tests one's real love from day one.

From 2005, it's Trey Songz's first release with Twista right there, it's "Just Gotta Make It."

More to come at The Whole Delivery on TWD Fridays.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Midday Music Energy Boost For 5/28/15: Tamar Braxton -The One (2013)

With superb usage of MTume's "Juicy Fruit" and Biggie's "Juicy," Tamar Braxton's "The One" has been the full consolidation of her rise to solo stardom, branching off from her family and her previously more known sister Toni. Two years later, it still is a treat to listen to.

It's "The One", your Music Energy Boost for today.

More to come at TWD later.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The 1st Thread/Music Wakeup Call For 5/19/15: Natalie La Rose ft Jeremih - Somebody (2015)

With the Whitney Houston "Dance with Somebody" sample down well by producer team of The Futuristics, their effort has allowed Flo Rida article Natalie La Rose are catchy hit with Jeremih. She is the latest performer to not have a good singing voice, but all that matters is that she has a hit for the last 4 months. And for Jeremih, with his label issues, another hit is good enough for him.

It's "Somebody," today's Music Wakeup Call.

More to come at The Whole Delivery, stay tuned. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Flashback Fridays #1, Special Edition For 5/15/15: BB King - The Thrill Is Gone (1970)

The legend Riley B. King went up above last night at 89. And to honor his great life and career on Earth (as it continues in heaven), here is he performing his classic of many classics. It's "The Thrill is Gone," a song made first by the late great Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell.  The first of a few tributes to this legend today in The Flashback Fridays.

More to come at TWD today. Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The 1st Thread/Music Wakeup Call For 5/13/15: Afrojack ft Shermanology - Can't Stop Me (2012)

The Music Wakeup Call is back, with one of the rare EDM songs I can tolerate. And I'm so glad that Shermanology was black. Because honestly, there are not a lot of black women in EDM.

More to come at TWD today, stay tuned.

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Flashback Fridays #1 For 5/8/15: Avril Lavigne - Complicated (2002)

It's been a rocky road of late for Avril Lavigne, where public disputes with her love life, ups and downs with her music career, and now battling lyme disease have been the story for the still young Canadian rocker. But the 30-year-old still has so many fans with her "regular girl" style and persona, and it is why she has been an unquestioned major success.

So take it back to where it all started for her. It's 2002 around this time, and it is "Complicated," the breakthrough single for Lavigne to prominence. Enjoy your first Flashback of the day.

More to come at TWD, stay tune. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Sports Thread #1 For 5/5/15: 2014-15 UEFA Champions League Semifinal #1 - Juventus vs Real Madrid (Second Version)

Half-Time Version 

It looked as if Ancelotti's gamble to not play a forward up front would back fire, as there was no outlet for his midfield to go up top to anyone for most of the first half. Here is a prime example of that, as neither Bale nor Ronaldo was in the box despite Real being well into Juventus' half. 

This was not the only time this occurred.

With the backline rattled as Iker Casillas continues to look shaky, Allegri's side was given a real opportunity to at least be the ones in control of this tie when halftime came. Marcelo had a terrible first half and lacked communication with Isco, which helped lead to those two and Varane not following Tevez, whose shot basically acted as an assist for Morata's goal against his former side.  

But the aforementioned Isco and James Rodriguez, for any deficiencies they may have defending sometimes, really provided the spark for Real to snatch the momentum of the game away from the hosts. James, along with Kroos and Carvajal helping, took advantage of Evra being outnumbered with Pirlo not being able to get over there and Sturaro not helping to prevent what lead to a great assist by the Colombian for Ronaldo's reply. Vidal tried his best to prevent it, but could not. Chellini and Bonucci did themselves no favors with awful defending as well. 

With the momentum at the end of the half, Ancelotti won't put on Hernandez for now. It is imperative that Allegri's centerbacks make Ronaldo and Bale be in hold up positions. And it's more imperative that they don't Ronaldo, of all players, a free header in the box. 

Pre-Game Version 

Not an easy one to predict here, as both teams are without star Frenchmen (although Varane and Evra are available to start for Allegri).

While Pogba's absence will be felt, Ancelotti is fortunate that Ronaldo getting back to top form against Sevilla with the hat trick could cancel out the loss of Benzema. Still, Ancelotti has decided to leave Hernandez on the bench, as Ronaldo, Bale, Isco and James Rodriguez will jockey to see if the four of them could create without a main forward.

Genoa on loan man Sturaro will have to play the game of his life, as the 22-year-old is Pogba's replacement.

Back for halftime thoughts and a post game wrap up.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Flashback Fridays #1 For 5/1/15: N'Sync - It's Gonna Be Me (2000)

Just because it's the first day of May for 2015, it's only fitting that this is the Flashback Friday main choice this week, just on the line, "It's Gonna Be May," I mean, "It's Gonna Be Me."

Before Timberlake dropped the group for his own selfish ambitious being the sometimes douche he can be, they still were the most accomplished boy band ever for a reason, and it's quality like this. "It's Gonna Be May", or I mean, "It's Gonna Be Me" from JC Chavez & company from 15 years ago in the year 2000, part of that massive "No Strings Attached" second album..

More to come from The Whole Delivery, in Las Vegas, later. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The 1st Thread/Music Wakeup Call Returns For 4/30/15: Chedda Da Connect - Flicka Da Wrist (2015)

(Listener and Viewer Discretion is Advised, especially if you are not black or grew up in an American ghetto). 

It is really along the same lines of "CoCo" from OT Genasis, but undeniable that "Flicka Da Wrist" has popularity in the party scene, even with how it is the same terrible club song only made great by the beat. But the comedy of Chedda Da Connect's hoodness makes it even more memorable.

The Music Wakeup Call returns to The Whole Delivery, and it's from Chedda Da Connect.

And please at some time today, especially if you are black, say "Kitchen Plate......Kitchen Plate."

More to come, stay tuned. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The 1st Thread/The Charm City Curfew Thread For 4/29/15: Baltimore Riots Highlight the Delicate Balance of Using Police Force

A myriad of criticism has been directed at Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s restrained handling of her city’s massive riots the last two days, as the delicate balance of whether a government should enforce strong action on its citizens is once again under debate.

That conundrum has placed Rawlings-Blake into a current "Damned if you do, damned if you don't" place, where she will inflame social media activists if police force is continuously active like it was on Tuesday night, or further incensed outsiders that have slammed her for her police department's lack of aggressive on Monday. 

Rawlings-Blake adamantly defended her decisions for a calm, hands off response from her police department hours after mostly young adults and teenagers began their raiding of local stores and locations throughout West Baltimore. Over the weekend, the 45-year-old mayor and native of Baltimore emphasized her support of first amendment practices.

"I made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech," Rawlings-Blake said. "It's a very delicate balancing act. Because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate."

The words "we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that" have been centered on by many as to highlight Rawlings-Blake allowing the riots to occur. She vigorously hit back at those claims during her press conference Monday evening.

"I was asked a question about the property damage that was done, and in answering that question, I made it very clear that we walk a -- we balance a very fine line between giving protesters -- peaceful protesters -- space to protest," she said. "And it's very unfortunate that members of your industry decided to mischaracterize my words and tried to use it as a way to say that we were inciting violence. There's no such thing."

Those candid words from her did not help stop the wave of criticism she faces, as headline such as the one from CNN above exhibits the continued denunciation she faces. It's why she again had to open up once more, this time to TIME Magazine, about how she felt she did display some sagacity the past few days. 
“I’m not green to these types of issues. I’ve been mayor for five years. I’ve led a city. And directed a police department. I know how to use resources. We’ve done it and we responded to protests,” she said Tuesday evening, hours before police began enforcing the first night of a week-long 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. “I’m comfortable with how we’ve responded in very, very challenging times.”
Rawlings-Blake even hit back at her governor Larry Hogan for claiming that the Baltimore mayor was unavailable to make a request to him for more force. It was just the latest tension between the two of many since the Republican was elected as governor last November to succeed Martin O'Malley . 

The rioting went against the planned day of non-action from some in the community in respect to the funeral of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man killed by police force two weeks ago that has ignited the wave of protests.

“We had made a covenant with the community, the city at large that this day, there would be no protests, there would be no marching, as it was the request of the family, that this would be moratorium,” said Jamal Bryant to MSNBC, the pastor who delivered the eulogy at Gray’s funeral. “Imagine the shock and amazement coming from the burial, getting the news of a code red that this outbreak had taken back is really disappointing and is unfortunate. It doesn’t mirror or reflect the ideology of this movement - which is in it to itself non-violent-  and all the more peaceful.”

A major example of the lack of aggressive demonstrated by Baltimore police was when protesters raided a local CVS pharmacy. One young man, interviewed on CNN, mentioned how the SWAT unit observing the situation did not intervene.

“They stood out there and watched them go into (CVS),” he said in frustration over the events. “They allowed it to happen. They could have moved down there like they have done and stopped it. But they allowed it to happen!”

The Baltimore police’s cavalier reply to the riots is a stark contrast to the recent, much publicized actions taken by police departments in Ferguson and New York City during their citizen protests over the death of black men. Those incidents arguably played a major factor in Rawlings-Blake's choice to not repeat those tactics, which many have felt escalated the high tension already between local black residents and cops.

Bryant also came to Rawlings-Blake’s defense, mentioning how Maryland’s laws protecting police have contributed to a lack of response against the suspended six cops who brutalized Gray. The pastor called any slamming of the mayor and the city for not taking action on the suspended officers as "an absence of knowledge of the law." He cited current LEBOR law that allows officers to not talk to their higher ups for 10 days following an incident.

"The mayor's arms are proverbially tied behind her back," he said. "None of those six officers can be terminated until charges are filed."

Baltimore's leaders, topped by Rawlings-Blake, are dealing with a juggling act that even Cirque du Soleil's top performers would struggle to handle.  

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