What A Difference A Year Makes: 500,000+ Coronavirus Deaths And Counting

It’s time to Break It Down!

On Monday, two days ago, the U.S. Coronavirus death toll eclipsed 500,000. One year ago, today, not a single American was known to have died from the illness. On February 23, 2020, then President Donald Trump proclaimed the virus was under control in the United States. The first reported U.S. fatality, due to COVID-19, was on February 28 in the Seattle area. Months later, in April, it was determined via postmortem testing, that at least two people died in Santa Clara County, California, attributable to Coronavirus.

In my March 11th post last year, entitled, “Coronavirus: The Next Big Thing,” I laid out the basic details, as we knew them to be at that time. In what has been a year-long evolving litany of proposed remedies, we have witnessed, and in far too many instances, experienced, competing narratives between science and conspiracy theories about how to stem the scourge of the latest global pandemic. Focusing upon the national ramifications of the dreaded disease, the one-half million American lives lost, has to be the headline, but quickly thereafter, we must confront the opportunity costs of the politicization of the virus. 

The former President of the United States rejected, for far too long, the premise that Coronavirus posed a serious threat on American soil. Ergo, his enthralled mass of supports followed suit. Even now, many of them disparage mask-wearing, and more pointedly, the team of doctors and scientists selected to lead our national effort to defeat the menace that is COVID-19. The collective resistance of the man formerly holding what some consider the most powerful position in the world, along with his supporters, resulted in Coronavirus establishing a much more significant foothold than it might have gained otherwise. The list of actions that ultimately muted, and or delayed, our national response is long and substantive. 

Here is a less than exhaustive sample:

May 2018 – The Trump Administration disbanded the White House pandemic response team.

July 2019 – The CDC epidemiologist embedded in China’s CDC left the post; the role was eliminated.

January 22, 2020 – Trump said, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

January 24, 2020 – Trump said, “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American people, I want to thank President Xi!”

February 2, 2020 – Trump said, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

February 7, 2020 – Trump said to Bob Woodward, The Washington Post, “It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu… This is deadly stuff.” (Made public September 9, 2020).

February 10, 2020 – Trump said, “I think the virus is going to be—it’s going to be fine.”

February 10, 2020 – Trump said, “Looks like by April, you know in theory when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”

February 24, 2020 (one year ago today) – Trump said, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… the Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

February 25, 2020 – Trump said, “CDC and my Administration are doing a great job of handling Coronavirus.”

February 25, 2020 – Trump said, “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine”

February 26, 2020 – Trump said, “The 15 (cases in the U.S.) within a couple is going to be down to close to zero.”

February 26, 2020 – Trump said, “We’re going very substantially down, not up.”

February 27, 2020 – Trump said, “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

March 4, 2020 – Trump said, “If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”

March 5, 2020 – Trump said, “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”

March 5, 2020 – Trump said, “The United States… has, as of now, only 129 cases… and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!”

March 6, 2020 – Trump said, “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it… Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”

March 7, 2020 – Trump said, “No, I’m not concerned at all.”

March 13, 2020 – Trump said, “I don’t take responsibility at all.”

March 14, 2020 – Trump said, “I’d rate it a ten,” [Trump’s rating of his coronavirus response]

March 17, 2020 – Trump said, “The only thing we haven’t done well is get good press.”

March 19, 2020 – Trump said, I intended “to always play it down.”  [Trump in a private taped interview with Bob Woodward, made public on September 9]

March 26, 2020 – The United States becomes the country with the most confirmed coronavirus cases. A title it keeps for the remainder of Trump’s time in office.

March 30, 2020 – Trump said, “Stay calm, it will go away. You know it — you know it is going away, and it will go away, and we’re going to have a great victory.”

April 3, 2020 – Trump said, “I’m feeling good. I just don’t want to be doing — somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful resolute desk, the great resolute desk, I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don’t know, somehow I don’t see it for myself. I just don’t. Maybe I’ll change my mind.”

April 6, 2020 – Trump said, “LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!”

April 6, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 10,000

April 9, 2020 – Trump said“I couldn’t have done it any better,” [When asked if his coronavirus response could have been better]

April 11, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 20,000

April 14, 2020 – Trump said, “[w]hen somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total.”

April 15, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 30,000

April 20, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 40,000

April 24, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 50,000

April 29, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 60,000

May 5, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 70,000

May 11, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 80,000

May 18, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 90,000

May 22, 2020 – Over 38 million jobless claims filed

May 27, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 100,000

September 19, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 200,000

October 2, 2020 – Trump tweets that he tested positive for COVID-19-19.

December 9, 2020 – 3,103 COVID-19 deaths in a one day

December 14, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 300,000

January 1, 2021 – U.S. surpasses 20 million confirmed COVID-19 cases

January 4, 2021 – CDC reports that 4.6 million people have been vaccinated.

January 6, 2021 – Trump mob stormed Congress. Officials reported at least 3,963 new coronavirus deaths in the US, a new single-day record.

January 14, 2021 – The Trump administration promised to have 20 million people given their first shot by the end of 2020. Two weeks later, they have administered just over 11 million.

January 20, 2021 – Each day in January, covid-19 killed an average of 3,100 people in the United States — one every 28 seconds.

Trump’s term in office saw over 25 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, over 400,000 of which resulted in death.

February 22, 2021 – U.S. death toll surpassed 500,000

The Biden administration has been in office just over a month. He has pledged to be guided by science in working to fight Coronavirus. The disease Trump conspiracy theorists claimed would disappear November 3rd, has continued to ravage the country. While there are signs it is receding at long last, partly due to getting past the holiday season, partly because of the expanding vaccination effort, and partly as a result of masking, social distancing, and handwashing, doctors and scientists warn, this is no time to relax. Doing so, may lead to another spike.

Research has shown a disparity in who’s getting vaccinated. Blacks and other people of color are disproportionately impacted by the effects of the virus, but are also the least likely to receive vaccinations. This combination presages a deadly double jeopardy. It is wrought by a confluence of circumstances that includes an uneven distribution system, further complicated by an inherent reluctance of certain groups to avail themselves of the vaccine. Black people in particular, are concerned about being on the receiving end of historical patterns of abuse, perpetuated by what at times has been a wantonly irresponsible healthcare system. That the current wave of vaccines came about so rapidly is by and large a good thing. It does not, however, lend itself to alleviating the reservations of people who have legitimate reasons to mistrust a system that has abused them on a horrific scale, on more than one occasion.

Nevertheless, there is an undeniable hankering to return to some level and degree of normalcy. Refusing the vaccine heightens the likelihood one will contract the virus, which increases the probability one will become seriously ill, which ups the odds one with prematurely perish from Coronavirus. Over half a million of our friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances have already died on that hill. Most of them didn’t have the option to take the vaccine. It’s coming to your cohort; sooner rather than later. Don’t be a vaccine martyr. Take the shot. Your kith and kin need you. “What A Difference A Year Makes: 500,000+ Coronavirus Deaths and Counting!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

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Blue Lives Mattered…Until They Didn’t: Is Kneeling Really That Bad?

It’s time to Break It Down!

OK, here’s the skinny; this is how privilege works.

How often have we been immersed in the righteously indignant refrain of Blue Lives Matter! Typically, a rejoinder to a Black Lives Matter event, or banner, or pronouncement. It’s as if, in the hearts and minds of those who declare it (Blue Lives Matter), two things cannot be true at once. They can, of course. In fact, Black Lives Matter, in and of itself, is not a diminution of Blue lives, White lives…or any other lives, for whatever its worth. Yes, Blue Lives Matter. But don’t tell that to Trump’s marauding MAGA-mob; that’s right, the same riotous interlopers who begat an insurrection on that vaunted citadel of American democracy, the U.S. Capitol, on January 6th.

On that day, as you, and most Americans, and countless people around the world, know by now, the marauding MAGA-mob attacked, not only one of our pre-eminent symbolic institutions, and the 535 men and women who work there as members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate, but they also attacked the men and women, the Blue Lives, if you will, who protect the Capitol and the Congress. Three Blue Lives were lost, due to the events of that day. One who perished from the injuries he sustained while trying to protect the Congress, as it went about its Constitutional duty and responsibility to certify the 2020 Election results, and two others who subsequently committed suicide. Many others sustained serious injuries, courtesy of the marauding MAGA-mob. Say it. Say it loudly. Blue Lives Matter! But, apparently, not that day. Not to those people. Not to Trump’s marauding MAGA-mob!

These were part and parcel to the same crowd that derisively scolded Colin Kaepernick, for kneeling during the Nation Anthem. Donald Trump, and many of his loyalists figuratively flayed Kaep, and anyone else across the sports world who dared kneel during the Anthem. They considered it a desecration of Old Glory, our preternatural flag. Even though a veteran suggested kneeling to Kaepernick, as a way to register a peaceful protest of police brutality and violence against people of color, Trump and his “super-patriot” crew would simply not hear it. Trump called them SOB’s and suggested they be fired. Team MAGA co-signed, and attacked Kaepernick, and anyone who agreed with or supported him, at every turn. To this day, many of them preach about the sanctity of the flag.

At least, they did, until January 6th. On that day, the marauding MAGA-mob repurposed the flag, along with the pole upon which it was hoisted, into a spear; a weapon to poke and bludgeon the enemy, which included…you guessed it…Blue Lives. Can you hear me now?

All of these actions reek of sheer hypocrisy. The variety that oozes privilege as its source and inspiration. I understand denying white privilege is in vogue. That’s a debate for another day, as far as I’m concerned. For now, I’ll leave it at this. “Blue Lives Mattered Until They Didn’t: Is Kneeling Really that Bad?”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

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It’s Showtime

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday afternoon, Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial kicked off on the Senate floor. Conventional wisdom suggests that the proceeding is a mere formality. Second impeachment trial; let that sink in.

So how can an historic second impeachment trial be categorized as a formality? Consider the prevailing context. Congress, both the House and Senate, like the country, is separated by a political and ideological divide. The chasm, as I’ve frequently noted, is deep and wide. The Senate is the jury; they are also witnesses. The Senate/jury is composed of 100 members, and is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. It would take 67 Senators to convict Trump. For anyone who may be arithmetically challenged, that means, if all the Democrats vote to convict, 17 Republicans would be required to join them in order forge a conviction.

In a vote to determine whether the proceedings aligned with the provisions of the Constitution, the outcome was 56-44 in favor. Yes, that’s right, only 6 Republicans were even willing to say it was Constitutionally permissible to conduct the trial in the first place. And that’s after 5 weeks of airing and re-airing the events of January 6th, including what amounted to a pre-insurrection pep rally, led by the individual formerly known as President. Apologies to Prince Rogers Nelson.

For two months after the November Election, Donald Trump hyped the untruthful notion that the election was fraudulently stolen from him. In the days leading up to January 6, when Congress was scheduled to meet to certify the final results, and officially declare Joe Biden President, Trump “invited” his supporters to come to Washington; thousands did. In a rally, just prior to the scheduled vote at the Capitol, Trump exhorted his already fired up crowd to “fight like hell,” or they would no longer have a country. He urged them to walk down to the Capitol, and added that, he would be there with them.

Now, as his recently reformatted legal team attempts to defend him, they are arguing he played no role in the MAGA-mob action that resulted in virtually the entire Congress fleeing to safe rooms, at least 5 deaths, including a Capitol police officer, and a lingering distrust among some members of Congress, who believe a number of their cohorts conspired to have them killed. The mob broke windows, doors, and furniture, yelled epithets, and threatened to kill Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, and others. That his defense team had the audacity to make that claim after the House Impeachment Managers presented the 13-minute video linked below was clear evidence that Trump has no self-awareness, and his legal team has no shame. The Impeachment Managers are expected to present new never-before-seen footage today of the insurgent Capitol mayhem inside the Citadel of the U.S. government; the inner sanctum of the People’s House.

Each side has up to 16 hours to make their case. Neither the House, nor the Senate is expected to use all their time. Initial estimates are that a vote may come as early as this weekend. I admit, I fully expect Trump to skate, even as I know, had a Democrat, any Democrat, done the things Trump has done, Republicans in Congress, and Republicans/conservatives throughout America would be calling for prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. And yet, it is what it is. And what it is, is, now on the record”It’s Showtime!”

I’m done; holla back!

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Mourning in America

It’s time to Break It Down!

As with many people I know, it would have been hard for me to have envisioned our country finding itself enmeshed in the degree of national civil discord that we find ourselves today. But, on the short odds that we’d find ourselves here, arriving at this unenviable space, largely via the courtesy of a President of the United States would have been simply unfathomable. At least, it would have been before 2016.

Now before keying another word, let me say, emphatically, Donald Trump is not the root cause of our national internal strife and rancor. It has always been with us. Having stipulated that, Mr. Trump has elevated matters in a distinctly next level way.

From disparaging Mexicans before descending down that escalator in 2015, to nauseating Birtherism claims, to boasting he could shoot someone on 5th Ave. and not lose any voters, to initiating lock her up chants, to at first, refusing to disavow David Duke, to rolling out the Muslim ban, to the good people on both sides assertion, to the s-hole countries comment, to siding with Putin over his own Intelligence community, to 30,500+ false and misleading statements, to 2 months of patently false claims about election fraud, culminating in a high-octane pre Capitol riot speech, he has increasingly stirred disunity and fanned the already sizzling embers of rage into white hot flames of tumult. America mourns.

In the August 5th Edition, I wrote about Jonathan Swan’s (Axios) Donald Trump interview, aired by HBO, when Trump discussed his antipathy toward the late Congressman John Lewis, also known as the “It is what it is” interview. Well, Swan has delivered on another epic storyline. This time, as part of an eight-episode series, entitled Off the rails, plus a bonus piece co-written Swan and Zachary Basu; called, Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency. The story is linked below, for your edification. To give you a sense of the internal acrimony, as Trump’s term wound down, here are a number of the more compelling quotes for you:

“How the hell did Sidney get in the building?” White House senior adviser Eric Herschmann grumbled from the outer Oval Office as Sidney Powell and her entourage strutted by to visit the president. 

“Hold on a minute, Sidney,” Herschmann interrupted from the back of the Oval. “You’re part of the Rudy team, right? Is your theory that the Democrats got together and changed the rules, or is it that there was foreign interference in our election?”

“It’s foreign interference,” Powell insisted, then added: “Rudy hasn’t understood what this case is about until just now.”

But Powell, fixing on Trump, continued to elaborate on a fantastical election narrative involving Venezuela, Iran, China and others. She named a county in Georgia where she claimed she could prove that Dominion had illegally flipped the vote.

Herschmann interrupted to point out that Trump had actually won the Georgia county in question: “So your theory is that Dominion intentionally flipped the votes so we could win that county?”

As for Powell’s larger claims, he demanded she provide evidence for what — if true — would amount to the greatest national security breach in American history. They needed to dial in one of the campaign’s lawyers, Herschmann said, and Trump campaign lawyer Matt Morgan was patched in via speakerphone.

By now, people were yelling and cursing.

Flynn went berserk. 

“You’re quitting! You’re a quitter! You’re not fighting!” he exploded at the senior adviser. Flynn then turned to the president, and implored: “Sir, we need fighters.”

Herschmann ignored Flynn at first and continued to probe Powell’s pitch with questions about the underlying evidence.

Flynn was ranting, seemingly infuriated about anyone challenging Powell, who had represented him in his recent legal battles.

Finally, Herschmann had enough. “Why the fuck do you keep standing up and screaming at me?” he shot back at Flynn. “If you want to come over here, come over here. If not, sit your ass down.” Flynn sat back down.

The meeting had come entirely off the rails.

This was a remarkable level of personal familiarity, given it was the first time Byrne had met the president. All the stanchions and buffers between the White House and the outside world had crumbled.

Byrne kept attacking the senior White House staff in front of Trump. “They’ve already abandoned you,” he told the president aggressively. Periodically during the meeting Flynn or Byrne challenged Trump’s top staff — portraying them as disloyal: So, do you think the president won or not?

At one point, with Flynn shouting, Byrne raised his hand to talk. He stood up and turned around to face Herschmann. “You’re a quitter,” he said. “You’ve been interfering with everything. You’ve been cutting us off.”

“Do you even know who the fuck I am, you idiot?” Herschmann snapped back.

“Yeah, you’re Patrick Cipollone,” Byrne said.

“Wrong! Wrong, you idiot!”

The usually mild-mannered Lyons blasted the Powell set: “You’ve brought 60 cases. And you’ve lost every case you’ve had!”

Trump came back into the Oval Office from the dining room to rejoin the meeting. Lyons pointed out to Powell that their incompetence went beyond their lawsuits being thrown out for standing. “You somehow managed to misspell the word ‘District’ three different ways in your suits,” he said pointedly.

In a Georgia case, the Powell team had misidentified the court on the first page of their filing as “THE UNITED STATES DISTRICCT COURT, NORTHERN DISTRCOICT OF GEORGIA.” And they had identified the Michigan court as the “EASTERN DISTRCT OF MICHIGAN.”

These were sloppy spelling errors. But given that these lawsuits aimed to overturn a presidential election, the court nomenclature should have been pristine.

Powell, Flynn and Byrne began attacking Lyons as they renewed their argument to Trump: There they go again, they want to focus on the insignificant details instead of fighting for you.

Trump replied, “No, no, he’s right. That was very embarrassing. That shouldn’t have happened.”

The Powell team needed to regroup. They shifted to a new grievance to turn the conversation away from their embarrassing errors. 

Every judge is corrupt, she claimed. We can’t rely on them. The White House lawyers couldn’t believe what they were hearing. “That’s your argument?” a stunned Herschmann said. “Even the judges we appointed? Are you out of your fucking mind?”

Powell had more to say. She and Flynn began trashing the FBI as well, and the Justice Department under Attorney General Bill Barr, telling Trump that neither could be trusted. Both institutions, they said, were corrupt, and Trump needed to fire the leadership and get in new people he could trust.

Byrne, wearing jeans, a hoodie and a neck gaiter, piped up with his own conspiracy: “I know how this works. I bribed Hillary Clinton $18 million on behalf of the FBI for a sting operation.”

Herschmann stared at the eccentric millionaire. “What the hell are you talking about? Why would you say something like that?” Byrne brought up the bizarre Clinton bribery claim several more times during the meeting to the astonishment of White House lawyers.

Trump, for his part, also seemed perplexed by Byrne. But he was not entirely convinced the ideas Powell was presenting were insane.

He asked: You guys are offering me nothing. These guys are at least offering me a chance. They’re saying they have the evidence. Why not try this? The president seemed truly to believe the election was stolen, and his overriding sentiment was, let’s give this a shot.

The words “martial law” were never spoken during the meeting.

But this was a distinction without much of a difference. What Flynn and Powell were proposing amounted to suspending normal laws and mobilizing the U.S. government to seize Dominion voting machines around the country.

Powell was arguing that they couldn’t get a judge to enforce any subpoena to hand over the voting machines because all the judges were corrupt. She and her group repeatedly referred to the National Emergencies Act and a Trump executive order from 2018 that was designed to clear the way for the government to sanction foreign actors interfering in U.S. elections.

These laws were, in the view of Powell, Flynn and the others, the key to unlocking extraordinary powers for Trump to stay in office beyond Jan. 20.

“How exactly are you going to do this?” an exasperated Herschmann asked again, later in the conversation. 

Newman again cited the 2018 executive order, which prompted Herschmann to question out loud whether she was even a lawyer.

Then Byrne chimed in: “There are guys with big guns and badges who can get these things.” Herschmann couldn’t believe it. “What are you, three years old?” he asked.

Lyons, the staff secretary, told the president that the executive order Powell and Flynn were citing did not give him the authority they claimed it did to seize voting machines. Morgan, the campaign lawyer, also expressed skepticism about their idea of invoking national security emergency powers.

Herschmann was primed to brawl and ready to dump on Powell. It had been a long day.

“Rudy,” he said, turning to Giuliani, “Sidney was just in the Oval telling the president you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing. Right, Sidney?” He turned to Powell: “Why don’t you tell Rudy to his face?”

Three days later, Giuliani would publicly distance himself from Powell, telling Newsmax that Powell did not represent the president, and that “whatever she’s talking about, it’s her own opinions.”

It didn’t take long for the yelling to start up again. They were now in hour four of a meeting unprecedented even by the deranged standards of the final days of the Trump presidency.

Now it was Meadows’ turn, blasting Flynn for trashing him and accusing him of being a quitter. “Don’t you dare challenge me about whether I’m being supportive of the president and working hard,” Meadows shouted, reminding Flynn that he’d defended him during his legal troubles.

Powell at one point turned to Lyons and demanded, “Why are you speaking? Are you still employed here?” The staff secretary, who had already resigned, laughed and joked, “Well I guess I’m here until midnight.”

It was after midnight by the time the White House officials had finally said their piece. They left that night fully prepared for the mad possibility Trump might still name Sidney Powell special counsel. You have our advice, they told the president before walking out. You decide who to listen to.

Yeah, that was one crazy day. Meanwhile, We are “Mourning in America!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

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Au Revoir Mamba: A Requiem for Kobe Redux ’21

It’s time to Break It Down!

As a lifetime Lakers’ fan, I decided to add today’s post to my litany of reprised editions. For many of us, 2020’s downward spiral is underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic…but the spiral was launched by the crash of Kobe’s copter. To wit, without further ado…

A year ago yesterday, on Sunday morning, January 26, 2020, around 9:45 a.m. PST, a helicopter crashed in Calabasas in Northern Los Angeles County, California. As we now know, that crash ended the lives of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, A.K.A. GiGi, six other passengers, and the pilot, nine souls in total. Kobe Bryant gained immeasurable notoriety as a star among stars in the NBA constellation. There have been numerous memorials, and undoubtedly, there will be countless more.

But before going any further, let’s make it perfectly clear, the accident was a tragedy not just because Kobe Bryant was killed, though that was tragic. Rather it was a tragedy of immense proportion because in a moment, 9 people lost their lives, including one of Kobe’s own daughters, whom Kobe was scheduled to coach in a basketball game at noon Sunday at Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy, two of her teammates, both parents of one of them, and the mother of the other, an Assistant Coach, and the pilot, in addition to Kobe. Every single one of those individuals was a vital functioning and contributing member of a family and friends circle. That multiple members were taken from three different families certainly deepens the blow. Those killed in the crash include:

  • Kobe Bryant, 41
  • Gianna (GiGi) Bryant, 13
  • John Altobelli, 56
  • Keri Altobelli
  • Alyssa Altobelli, Daughter, Team Member
  • Sarah Chester, Mom
  • Payton Chester, Daughter, Team Member
  • Christina Mauser, Assistant Girls Basketball Coach, Harbor Day School, and at Mamba Sports Academy
  • Ara Zobayan, Pilot

For many basketball fans, Kobe Bryant often appeared larger than life. This was especially true for the majority of folks who claim occupancy in Laker Nation. More than a few consider him the greatest ever. Drafted out of Lower Merion High School, located in Lower Merion, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia, he certainly distinguished himself with a highlight reel career that included 20 years with my beloved Lakers. Kobe amassed a resume highlighted by 18 All-Star Team selections, 15 times a member of the All NBA Team, 12 Times All NBA Defensive Team, 5 NBA Championships, 2 Time NBA Scoring Leader, 2008 NBA MVP, 4th on the all-time NBA regular season scoring list (Just passed by LeBron James this past Saturday night), 4th in all-time NBA post season scoring, first guard in NBA history to play 20 years, scored 81 points in a single game, and amassed 60 points in his final game as an NBA player. Without question, he’s a Laker Legend, and an NBA luminary of the first order of magnitude.

In laboring through constructing this retrospective, I’m the first to admit, I was not always all-in on Kobe. I am that rare Laker fan who was not the most avid Kobe fan. Don’t get me wrong; I always fully appreciated his talent and totally respected his game. He was all that, and a bag of chips. But in 1996, when the Charlotte Hornets used the 13th pick of the First Round to Draft him, I therefore and forever adhered to the notion he should have been a Hornet; my home team. Never mind that the Lakers are my all-time favorite NBA Team. Been a fan since the days of Baylor, West, Chamberlain, and Company. But as a Charlotte resident, and original Hornets’ Season Tickets owner, I’m also vested in their success. Moreover, I fully believe Kobe would have significantly altered and elevated their trajectory.

After his retirement, I softened my position. I never abandoned my opinion he should have played his career in a Hornets uniform, but I did understand (as I always did), that he made a shrewdly strategic business decision, and I absolutely respect that. I also recognize that he was instrumental in helping the Lakers win a handful of NBA Titles, and I don’t know if he’d have been able to do the same in Charlotte. On balance, he made the right call for Kobe. Each of us must do that for ourselves.

That brings me back to an undeniable reality. Our time on this earthly journey is brief, and unpredictable. According to Job 14, King James Version:

“Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. And doth thou open thine eyes upon such a one, and bringest me into judgment with thee.”

Mamba obviously had a great career in hoops. He had also created a successful Brand and had become a formidable business magnate. Of late, he was immersing himself into being a model husband and father of four daughters. By most accounts he was committed to helping GiGi develop her basketball talent and eventually achieve her stated dream of playing in the WNBA. More complete biographies will address the challenges Bryant overcame in his quest for unparalleled greatness. I am content to report that he lived his life by the standards he set, and the bar was high. He was not afraid to pursue his passion, or of the success that came from such pursuits. Many will say, he left us too soon. Unfortunately, to paraphrase Job’s sentiment, that call is  not ours to make. It’s above our pay grade.

So, as I conclude, instead of lamenting the irreversible, or framing an even longer good-bye, I say, go with God. “Au Revoir Mamba: A Requiem for Kobe Redux ’21!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

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The Mob’s Gotta Eat: Trump Fed Them Lies

It’s time to Break It Down!

I’m gonna keep this one short.

Yesterday, the last full day of Trump’s term, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell directly blamed Mr. Trump for the deadly mob that attacked the Capitol.

On the floor of the U.S. Senate, Mr. McConnell said:

“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the President…and other powerful people.” Mic drop!

In the world of conspiracy theory and denial, enflamed and expanded by Trumpian rhetoric, Trump’s most ardent supporters claim Antifa is responsible for the insurgency at The Capitol on January 6th. Numerous news outlets have identified Trump supporters as having been directly involved in the insurrection and attempted coup. This news is anything but fake. Mitch nailed it. There’s other news, of course. Not the least of which is, due to the wisdom of American voters, we get a new President at noon today. Adios El Presidente; Hello Mr… President

Meanwhile, there will be other days for other news. For me, today, this story says it all. For now, shoutout to Unindicted Co-conspirator and Individual 1. “The Mob’s Gotta Eat: Trump Fed Them Lies!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

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Impeachment Round 2: This Time Is Different

It’s time to Break It Down!

Today, in all likelihood, Donald John Trump will claim another dubious page in the annals of American History. The United States House of Representatives is on a path to impeach Mr. Trump on the charge of “incitement of insurrection.” That will render him the first, and we must hope, the forever only, President to be impeached twice. Last night, the House approved a resolution calling for Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump. Pence has said he is uninclined to do that, and he does not feel it is the appropriate action to take. Democrats have indicated, if Pence refuses to act, they will impeach Trump. The House adjourned until 9:00 a.m. this morning when they are expected to take up impeachment. Unlike last time, the effort is expected to receive a measure of bi-partisan (read that Republican) support. At least two Republicans, Liz Cheney (Wyoming) and Adam Kinzinger (Illinois) have signaled they are likely to support the measure. Maybe more.

A week ago, Mr. Trump gave a speech, during which he urged thousands of his supporters to walk down to the Capitol and “act with strength” to take back their government. His own sentiments were preceded by fiery remarks from Missouri Congressman Mo Brooks, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and First elder son, Donald Trump, Jr., among others. Mr. Trump’s incendiary comments were presaged by two months of repudiated and debunked claims that the 2020 Election was stolen, and that he actually won in a landslide. His provocative gaslighting was repeatedly rejected and/or disproved by vote recounts, in excess of 60 court cases, anchored by numerous Trump appointed Judges, including 3 he appointed to the SCOTUS, results certification in all 50 states, and vote validity confirmation by several GOP Governors, Secretaries of State, and election supervisors. In short, Mr. Trump lost the popular vote by over 7 million votes, and in the Electoral College by 306 to 232.

What happened? In short, after Mr. Trump implied he’d be joining them, he was driven back to the White House for one of his favorite pastimes, watching the events unfold on TV, while his trusty fans, followers, and fealty pledgers marched forthwith to the Capitol and instantly began to wreak havoc and mayhem on the fully assembled Congress of the United States, and his protégé, Mike Pence, as the joint session of Congress convened with the express purpose of certifying and confirming Joe Biden as President, and Kamala Harris as Vice President. Over the ensuing week, investigators have been busy dissecting the elements of what Trump’s most avid acolytes call a patriotic act, and what most of the rest of call a high crime, committed by a ruthless band of domestic terrorists.

Upon deeper inspection, it turns out, this group was not merely a loose collection of foot soldiers marching down to the Capitol to show devout support for its dear leader. These were men and women on a mission, armed with insider intel, and boosted by officials set to aid and abet their nefarious effort. As news continues to unravel the events, we now know that at least one elected Congressman was part of the invading horde, and that as many as 20 or more members of law enforcement were complicit in the attack. The FBI even indicated that they issued a warning the day before the incursion that extremists were planning to travel to Washington and commit acts of violence and war.

In True Trump form, he insists that, as with his erstwhile questionable calls, his speech was perfect. Likewise, his supporters fervently argue, the handiwork at the Capitol was not the action of Trump supporters, but rather the deviously desperate devices of Antifa and Black Lives Matter. As I told a Trump supporting friend, even Judge Janine Pirro and other fixtures at Fox News, along with a number of GOP Congressmen and women concede the miscreants were in fact, Trump supporters. When you’re stuck with denying the obvious, you’ve lost both the high ground, and more importantly, the argument.

History is sure to be replete with more than a few books about last week’s events. On one hand Americans will be reminded that one day in January, 2021, voters elected dual Democratic Senators from the state of Georgia, one Black, one Jewish, both firsts. On the other hand, they will be reminded of the un-American activities that unfolded the very next day (technically, later the same day, since both races were called after midnight. The latter event will undoubtedly be known as many things; a crime, a conspiracy, a coup attempt, sedition, insurrection, and as unfettered lawlessness which resulted in the death of at least 5 Americans, including two members of law enforcement, as well as an attempt to locate and murder Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Trump’s own #2, Mike Pence.

Republicans will vote to impeach Donald Trump today, when none did in 2019. The fact that Individual 1 took actions that at least some of them perceived, could have resulted in their having been killed, will be sufficient motivation to change their tune, if not to sing an entirely different song. It’s too bad that epiphany required them to face their own mortality. But, as Mr. Trump has been known to say, “it is what it is.” The former is story of Americana at its best; overcoming great odds to succeed. The latter is the saga that gave birth to”Impeachment Round 2: This Time Is Different!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

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Another “Perfect Call,” No Doubt: This Time With Receipts

It’s time to Break It Down!

I’ll keep this brief. So, the nineteenth time was the charm. Last Saturday, Mr. Trump finally connected with Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger. He had made 18 previous calls to the Secretary since the November 3rd Election, ostensibly to persuade, to coax, to convince, to cajole, and ultimately, to beg Raffensperger to overturn numerous court cases, a legal vote count, at least two recount’s, state certification, the vote of the Electoral College, and most importantly, the will of We The People. 

Secretary Raffensperger, along with Governor Kemp, and Lieutenant Governor Duncan, all Republicans, have repeatedly pushed back on the narrative and notion promoted by Trump and his most devoted supporters, that somehow in a state like Georgia, with stout GOP leadership, somehow they oversaw, or permitted a scheme to allow Democrats to steal the election from Donald Trump. The Associated Press and other major news outlets called the election on November 7th. For the past two months Mr. Trump has been vacillating between whining/complaining and threatening/bullying people in an attempt to reverse the election results. That’s basically the set up for “Another “Perfect Call,” No Doubt: This Time With Receipts!” Hear the complete audio by clicking the second link below.

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

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Happy New Year: Here’s to Auld Lang Syne Redux — 2021 Edition

It’s time to Break It Down!

During the close of this holiday season, here’s another reprised edition of “Break It Down!”

This Issue has been revised from the Break It Down post I originally conceived, created, and published December 29, 2010, and subsequently re-posted in amended formats December 28, 2011December 31, 2014, December 30, 2015, December 28, 2016, January 3, 2018, January 2, 2019, and today, December 30, 2020. This is my final post of the month, and of the year 2020. This is the 705th Edition of Break It Down, which debuted August 20, 2007 on the BlogSpot platform. I migrated the principal site to WordPress August 3, 2012, approximately three weeks before the Fifth Anniversary of the blog.  You may find this and most other posts at either site.

With this post I wish you a blessed and bountiful Happy New Year. Now, enjoy today’s blog post.

The one-half fortnight between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a unique occurrence in the unfolding of the American version of the Gregorian Calendar.  It is the only instance in which the space of a mere seven days separates two major holidays. Unquestionably, the timing is propitious.  Even in a year dominated by the coronavirus, millions of holiday travelers are returning home from their Christmas commemoration and revelry, just in time to get a day off to “celebrate” the New Year…and recuperate from the old, most notably their extracurricular activities, including the exploits of New Year’s Eve. I know it’s a lot to ask, but I hope to the extent feasible, most people celebrated Christmas, and plan to observe the arrival of the New Year, responsibly.

In last week’s post, I presented a re-formatted airing of my personally crafted Christmas Concert (https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2020/12/23/twelve-days-of-christmas-the-e-concert-2020-edition/) from past Noels. This week, I doubled down and revisited my trusty time capsule. Once again, this tack permits new readers to catch-up by seeing the piece, it allows long-time readers to reflect upon both the passing year as well as the theme lifted in the post, and finally, it ensures that those busy readers, with no time to invest in checking out a new blog during the holidays, will not have to miss anything. It’s a win, win…win!

With that loosely framed preamble behind us, here’s this week’s déjà vu all over again:

Since we are still in the Sweet Spot of the holidays, I shall practice minimalism. For your purposes, that means the blog should be available, but not intrusive. To that end, I am taking a page from the Christmas e-concert but going a step further. Instead of a concert, I give you a song…of reflection.

Robert Burns, a Scot, wrote a poem (Auld Lang Syne) in 1788 that has come to symbolize the spirit of mass contemplation that people around the world invoke as the clock strikes midnight, signaling not just the dawn of a new day, but of a new year. Undoubtedly, you have been somewhere, at some time, when you joined those assembled to sing Auld Lang Syne, which loosely translated means, Times gone by.

Once again, that time is upon us. After thoughtful reflection, even during Covid, I have had no choice but to conclude, my travails have been few and small, especially when compared to my blessings, which have been both abundant and vast! All praises to the one true, omnipotentomnipresent, and omniscient God; a mighty fortress is He.

No need to thank me for my inherent thoughtfulness. But, by all means, “Drink a cup of kindness,” or eggnog, or Champagne, or “name your favorite adult beverage,” for me. And, if you are a teetotaler, water will do nicely, thank-you!

As I complete my final post of 2020, and, prayerfully and faithfully reflect upon the year framed by the narrative of COVID-19, I leave with you this familiar Irish Toast:

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

And rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

It has been my unique honor and privilege to visit with you briefly for each of the 52 weeks of this year. I hope you have derived a fraction of the pleasure reading (and occasionally listening to) the blog posts, that I have experienced from preparing and sharing them with you. May 2021 bring you the fulfillment of all your fondest desires. As it is shortly after midnight here in the Eastern Time Zone of the U.S.A., I humbly invite you to join with me in extending Happy Birthday greetings…to ME! Moreover, as we rapidly approach Friday, it’s my esteemed honor, and pleasure, on this the eve of the eve of 2021, to wish you Happy New Year: Here’s to Auld Lang Syne Redux – 2021 Edition!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

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Twelve Days of Christmas: The e-Concert – 2020 Edition

Twelve Days of Christmas The e-Concert 2020 Edition

It’s time to Break It Down!

(Revised from Break It Down – 12/24/08, 12/22/10, 12/21/11, 12/26/12, 12/25/13, 12/23/15, 12/21/16, 12/26/17, 12/26/18 and 12/25/19)

According to tradition, mine if no one else’s, my Christmas post includes a complement of Songs of the Season. Today’s issue will constitute the next edition in that tradition. It’s Tuesday night, or in my personal time dimension, Blog Night. In keeping with what I do, let’s make it so; Wednesday’s coming! As incorporated in the title above, many purists celebrate Twelve Days of Christmas. This has been documented in song, book form, at least one movie, and in countless tales and renditions.

It would be patently unfair, inappropriate, and frankly, unimaginable, for me to launch into a Christmas 2020 post without at least mentioning COVID-19, aka coronavirus. According to the CDC, in the over 9 months that have ensued since March, through 7:02 p.m. last night, 17,974,303 cases of coronavirus were reported in the United States, along with 318,569 deaths. On a number of days in the past two weeks, more Americans died of COVID-19 in one day, than the number of people who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. May each and every single life lost to this scourge, as well as the ones that will be lost, Rest In Peace, and may their memories be a blessing. Let us pray that we solve the COVID-19 riddle, so that we have just one Coronavirus Christmas.

Here, as scheduled, is the blog. I hope you enjoy the blog/e-concert.

Merry Christmas to you! I know some of you are caught up in the whole “We Are The (Secular) World” trip; thus you substitute Holiday for Christmas in seasonal greetings. But that really shouldn’t be a problem since the man we call President has brought Christmas back (wink-wink). But seriously though, in case you don’t know, Christmas never went anywhere.  In fact, a quick check back over the Obama years reveals…Christmas was a staple in his repertoire. (http://www.msnbc.com/am-joy/watch/-merry-christmas-never-left-the-white-house-824078915806).  Of course, those innately curious enough to conduct the requisite etymological research know that the root derivation of holiday is “Holy Day;” but I digress; that is fodder for another day.

By the time you get around to this post, most, if not all of you will already have done whatever it is you do to observe and/or celebrate Christmas. But you know what, herein lies an opportunity to take one more moment, a time out if you will, before returning full tilt to your normal schedule.

As is my custom, I will not use this Christmas Season Post, if you will allow me to call it that, to challenge you to sort through the facts, be they esoteric or mundane. Not the election, or the economy, no wars, and absolutely no (further) references to our big-league President, who frequently focuses on tweeting and golfing (despite insisting that if elected, he wouldn’t have time for the links), and who is scheduled to take a voter-consigned vacation in 28 days. Hey, I won’t even write out the I-word.

No, this is your time to take a break and leave all that behind. Notice, I did not say forget it, and I certainly would never ask that you pretend it doesn’t exist. Just give yourself a break.

In the true spirit of keeping it simple for both you and me, I am reprising an amalgam of previous posts. In fact, not just any posts…posts from several Christmas’ past. This is my eleventh e-Christmas Concert. Two or three years ago I pressed the reset button on the Concert.  Instead of simply providing 12 standards, I upped the ante and provided 24, 12 by female artists, and 12 by male artists. This year, Christmas Day is Friday, delivery day, as it were. I’m going to roll those out again. Take you time, but give them a listen, if you like Christmas Music.

The English playwright and poet, William Congreve, in the opening line of his 1697 Play entitled The Mourning Bride,” asserted, “Music has Charms to soothe a savage Breast, To soften rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.”  I think Congreve was on to something.  If indeed music is capable of enabling us to overcome our basest instincts, and in so doing, ennoble us to pursue our finer impulses, and then indeed, we should take more opportunities to render ourselves captivated by its magical spell. (By the way, it really is breast…not beast; caught you thinking, didn’t I?)

So, I identified and pulled together an assortment of my favorite Christmas Standards by several of my favorite artists. This year’s version includes a variation of the artistic olio I pulled together for your reading, viewing, and listening pleasure a number of years ago. Below, you will find hot links to YouTube video interpretations and two songs for each of the 12 Days of Christmas listed and included in today’s Yuletide e-concert.

Female Artists

  1. Eartha Kitt is known for having had many talents skills, and abilities, among them acting and singing.  Last year I substituted her most popular Christmas song for “Nothing for Christmas.”  After a 1-year hiatus, I’m bringing back Santa Baby.  As I’ve noted before, the song was born in 1953, and as I will this Sunday, it turned 65 this year.  She slays (or if you’re really in the Christmas spirit — sleighs) it. https://youtu.be/Mk_GmhD053E
  2. Dianne Reeves is a Grammy-winning jazz artist who sings in the vein of Dinah Washington and Carmen McRae; a skilled lyricist and scat singer.  She presents “Christmas Time is Here” as if it’s her own. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hInJstw1cGE
  3. Vanessa Williams was the first black Miss America.  She had a short and tumultuous reign.  But cream rises to the top, and her talent ensured that losing her title was but a mere speed bump in a star-studded road.  Her rendition of “Do You Hear What I Hear” provides a glimpse of her musical flexibility and skill. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKmvk0NJnzE
  4. Lena Horne was a jazz musician whose career spanned over 70 years.  She was also an actress, dancer, and civil rights activist.  She demonstrates her vocal caliber in this version of “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh8JZp_gnU4
  5. Cassandra Wilson was born December 4, 1955.  Her birthdate alone ensured that I included her on this list; ’06!  But that’s not the only reason she made the cut.  Her range includes blues, country, and folk music, as well as jazz.  Moreover, she stuck the proverbial landing in her rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmAQzS5Zk7o
  6. Toni Braxton is a lot of things: a talented songwriter, singer, pianist, record producer, actress, television personality, and philanthropist. She is known to be sexy, sultry, and an unpredictable reality show star.  She’s still best known for her music though, and her version of “Santa Please” will do absolutely nothing to change that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nFWiF_E_VQ
  7. The Emotions are one of those classic Old School Girl Groups born in the 70’s.  Influenced greatly by Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire Fame, they continue to perform today.  One of my favorite tunes by them is their version of “What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas?” https://youtu.be/coO2E2v5RwE
  8. Anita Baker released her first solo album in 1983.  In 1986, she released “Rapture” and it was the dawn of her stardom.  She is known for her trademark “husky” voice, and she is at her Christmas best in this version of “The Christmas Song.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHze40h13mc
  9. Diana Ross and the Supremes were the “It” Group of Motown when Motown was the “It’ place of Soul Music.  The Supremes are America’s most successful vocal group with 12 number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Here they are with their 1965 rendition of “Silver Bells.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIJROwP4BnM
  10. Ella Fitzgerald is jazz royalty.  Frequently referred to as the First Lady of Song, the Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella, she was widely acclaimed for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing, and intonation, as well as a horn-like improvisational ability.  Virtually all scat singing is measured against her. Check out her version of “Sleigh Ride.”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnEbRaFaqfg
  11. Whitney Houston had a voice known worldwide.  Her recordings accounted for nearly 200 million records sold.  Hers was a clarion voice of our times.  This version of “Joy To The World,” taken from the movie, “The Preacher’s Wife,” is special, as was she. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYPpyTyPf6I
  12. Ledisi (Anibade Young) is an R&B and jazz recording artist.  Her first name means “to bring forth” or “to come here” in Yoruba.  She was aptly named.  Enjoy her rendering of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xMz5oGc8s1Q

Male Artists

  1. James Brown was renowned for his energetic performances, which earned him another of his many titles, “Hardest working man in show business.” His rendition of “Merry Christmas Baby” is not so up-tempo, but still a reminder that he had earned his chops the hard way, and that he was much more than just flash and dash. https://youtu.be/4VFZGRoZwB0
  2. Donny Hathaway was a multifaceted soulful crooner and a product of Howard University who excelled in jazz, blues, soul and gospel music; an Alpha Man.  He suffered from depression and died of suicide January 13, 1979 at 33 years old.  He rendered this marvelous recording of “This Christmas. https://youtu.be/pj1mVUEHeUE
  3. The O’Jays were formed in 1965 and have been a staple in Soul and R&B music ever since.  They knock it out of the park with this version of “Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas Anymore.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc4g1wsIA9g
  4. The Temptations were a significant part of what made Motown, Motown, in the 60’s and 70’s.  Their rendition of Silent Night lives on as a classic among classics as far as Christmas music goes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFc7STuQF0U
  5. Al Green, soul singer, turned minister, soul singer-minister was at his most popular during the 70’s.  He puts his considerable talents to good use in this version of “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cFyRwlR5YXk
  6. El DeBarge was the central figure in the group known as DeBarge, which reached its zenith in the 80’s.  El was one of several members of the group who went on to fashion solo careers.  He nails this version of “Christmas Without You.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_xB6VD7fS8
  7. Will Downing has been recording albums since 1988.  I’ve seen him in concerts twice, including a couple of weeks ago, and I own most of his recorded music.  He simply does not disappoint.  This recording of The First Noel is no exception. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOQWKBIuk-I
  8. Joe (Lewis Thomas) released his debut album in 1993.  He has maintained a presence on the music scene ever since. His nuanced presentation of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is just another fine example of his limitless talent. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vbpsVILCvU
  9. Jerry Butler, popularly known as the Ice Man, fitting for an Alpha, is a singer, songwriter, and musician (guitar, electric guitar, bass, piano, saxophone, and drums) who was the lead singer for the Impressions before going on to a solo career. He recorded this classic version of O Holy Night. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0dR1Dk7Bu0
  10. Luther Vandross was a musical icon. Period. End of story.  He is one of my favorite musicians, and his treatment of “My Favorite Things” is certainly among my favorite Christmas songs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6TRlV6MOOU
  11. The Whispers hail from LA, and have been around since the 60’s.  They became members of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003…for good reason.  They got it like that.  And they prove it with this version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbJ95aWUc_A
  12. Kem (Owens) is an R&B/Soul singer who has made his uniquely fashioned mark on the music scene since 1999.  He enlists Ledisi (Anibade Young), another single named musical star to create a fabulous rendition of “Be Mine For Christmas.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_8rVJ_ENaY

That’s it, 24 artists and videos and/or songs. Add it all up and you get “Twelve Days Of Christmas: The e-Concert – 2020 Edition!” Enjoy it throughout the Season, and by all means, remember the Reason for the Season!

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttps://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.”  Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

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