Morning thoughts

If you are picked to be on a jury are you do you have an injury?

Scuba is not a real word.  It is  The term “SCUBA” (an acronym for “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus”) originally referred to United States combat frogmen’s oxygen rebreathers, developed during World War II by Christian J. Lambertsen for underwater warfare.



U-boat, German U-boot, abbreviation of Unterseeboot, (“undersea boat”), a German submarine. The destruction of enemy shipping by German U-boats was a spectacular feature of both World Wars I and II.

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noun: barrister; plural noun: barristers; noun: barrister-at-law; plural noun: barristers-at-law

  1. a lawyer entitled to practice as an advocate, particularly in the higher courts.

And I thought it was a form of a bartender.  How tender is the bar?


The Black Stereotype

It is hard to watch but there is a movie on youtube called Charlie Chan in Egypt.  In the movie is StepNfetchit.  A terrible portrait of a Black Man in the movie.  Today one winces on watching it.  And yet this actor became a millionaire for a short period of time.Then from riches to rags.  It is a sad tale to be true and yet it happened.  Hollywood is a hard place where people go to hell over a life time.


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Stepin Fetchit remains one of the most controversial movie actors in American history. While he was undoubtedly one of the most talented physical comedians ever to do his shtick on the Big Screen, achieving the rare status of being a character actor/supporting player who actually achieved superstar status in the 1930s (becoming a millionaire to boot), his characterization as a lazy, slow-witted, jive-talkin’ “coon” offended African-Americans at the time he was a major attraction in motion pictures (primarily the 1930s) and still offends African-Americans in the 21st century, more than 50 years after he had faded from the screen. Yet some African-Americans claim him as the first black superstar, and thus a trailblazer for others of his “race.” The controversy over Stepin Fetchit remains alive to this day, with two biographies published about him in 2005.

Stepin Fetchit was the stage name of Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry, who claimed a birth date of May 30, 1902, but he may have been born as early as 1892. Perry was born in Key West, Florida, to West Indian immigrant parents. Sometime in his teens Perry became a comic performer. A literate and very intelligent man who wrote for the premier African-American newspaper, “The Chicago Defender,” Perry evolved a character called “The Laziest Man In the World” as part of a two-man vaudeville act that broke through to play the white circuits. Eventually, he went solo (“Stepin Fetchit” likely was the original name of the act covering both performers, as “Step ‘n Fetchit.” As a solo, he kept the name).

While some believe that his stage name is a contraction of “step and fetch it”, implying a servile persona (the so-called “Tom”) that is synonymous with degrading racial stereotypes in popular entertainment in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, Perry claimed he got the name from a race horse. However, it’s important to make the distinction that African-American cultural historians do (while at no time condoning Perry’s career) – rather than a servile Tom (named after Harriet Beecher Stowe‘s “Uncle Tom”), Stepin Fetchit was an evolution of a later construction, the “coon” who undermined his white oppressors by denying his labor and cooperation through an act of defiance that included the appearance of being lazy and stupid. Essential to the “coon” persona was talking in what to white ears is gibberish (which Perry excelled at), but which to black folk can be understood and contains barbed insults to “The Man.” What rankles so badly (since the Coon remains a stereotype that resonates in African-American culture) is that white audiences swallowed Perry’s Stepin Fetchit act whole, as a true representation of a “Negro.”

The “Coon” persona mitigated the low status accorded African-Americans by whites by feigning near-idiocy in order to frustrate whites by ironically fulfilling their low expectations (the “Tom,” by contrast, is praised by whites for his good work and loyalty. A parallel racial caricaturization of black men by whites, the “buck,” is the repository of their racial and sexual fears, and still can be seen in blaxploitation movies of the 1970s and, more recently, in the “gangsta” rapper). Perry used this mitigation stratagem when dealing with whites in real life, allegedly maintaining a coon persona while auditioning for a role in _In Old Kentucky (1938)_, where he stayed in the Stepin Fetchit character before and after the audition. Often, while making movies in which he found the lines offensive, Perry would skip or mumble lines he did not like, pretending to be too stupid to comprehend the script.

The “Coon” stereotype existed long before Perry decided to adopt it (its prevalence as a defiance stratagem intensified after the gains that African-Americans had made in the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era were rolled back by segregationist Jim Crow laws, when an “uppity” African-American could well wind up hanging from a tree at the end of a rope). However, he was such a hit with white audiences that his Stepin Fetchit persona popularized the “Coon” image to an unprecedented degree in the medium of film, and many stereotypical black movie characters, including the child Stymie in the “Our Gang” comedy series, were based upon Stepin Fetchit to cash in on his popularity.

Perry reached the apex of his career co-starring with Will Rogers in several films, including John Fords Steamboat Round the Bend (1935). When viewed objectively today (without revulsion), Perry’s Stepin Fetchit character can be seen as more than holding his own with the great Rogers, achieving some kind of inverse parity with his white “massa” through the sheer forcefulness of his personality. Rogers clearly is fond of Perry (if not Stepin Fetchit), although he is liable to denigrate the Stepin Fetchit character unmercifully. In a way, it provides a window on race relations in that Southern and other white Americans could experience fondness for black folk, but would “put them in their place” at any time, for any reason.

Stepin Fetchit became the first African-American actor to become a millionaire, but he mishandled his fortune through lavish overspending and was bankrupt by 1947. In the 1940s his career in mainstream “white” cinema was essentially over, and he crossed over into “race” films, movies made specifically for (and sometimes by) African-Americans, where he essentially played the same shtick. By 1960 he was a charity case in Chicago.

Perry had been denounced by the same civil rights leaders that eventually forced CBS to mothball the popular TV series The Amos ‘n Andy Show (1951), as they didn’t want any stereotypes pandering to the inherent racism of whites while they were trying to obtain equality. Cast out and an exile in the 1960s, Perry was rehabilitated by heavyweight champion Cassius Clay–the symbol of African-American racial pride who had become Muhammad Ali–making him one of his entourage after Perry allegedly showed him a punch that Ali successfully used during a fight. Following Ali’s example, Perry converted to the ‘Honorable Elijiah Muhammad”s Lost-Found Nation of Islam (the so-called “Black Muslims”). He was saved,

My grandson interviewing a Buc

By Michael Wax    /This is my Grandson and I am extremely proud of this sixteen year old writer.  

@MichaeljWax on Aug 20, 2017, 7:04pm EDT +

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Receiver Shaq Hill was recently signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on August 3rd of this year. In his senior year at Eastern Washington University, he broke the school record for career kickoff return yards (2,280). He also finished ranked 8th in career catches, 7th in career yards, and 5th in career touchdowns.

Michael: What are some songs on your pregame playlist?

Hill: My playlist is a little scattered right now. Haven’t really made one yet, but some artists I listen to would be Jay Z, Meek Mill, and Lil Durk. One of my friends from college has a good song that I listen to before my games called “Bounce It” by Zaytov.

Michael: What is one word that describes you?

Hill: Smooth

Michael: What has it been like to transition from college football to the NFL?

Hill: It’s been kinda tough going through the routine changes and scenery change.

Michael: What does it mean to you knowing that you hold the record for the most kickoff return yards for Eastern Washington University?

Hill: It’s a cool thing to brag about. I took a lot of pride in kick returns, so I was actually eyeing that record for a while.

Michael: Who were some of the sports figures that you idolized growing up?

Hill: Kobe Bryant, Marshall Faulk, and Mike Vick.

Michael: Who has been a key person to help you adapt to the NFL?

Hill: I would say a little bit of everyone, from my family to my friends, constantly being in my corner.

Michael: Where was your favorite place to play in college?

Hill: Anywhere loud, so I would say Montana/Montana St. I would even throw Portland in there for toughest places to play [because] of their dirty weather we usually got when we played there.

Leave your opinions below and please follow me @Tampa_baysports on Instagram for the latest news and scores of the Lightning, Bucs, and Rays. If you have any questions or suggestions about my next article, please feel free to email me at


Memories of the past: Actors and Actresses now gone.

I asked my granddaughter if she recognized some names.  Names of actors and actresses who were a part of my movie and television life.  There was no recognition.  As Andy Warhol stated,  “You only get fifteen minutes of fame”  and then you fade from the scene.

Case in Point:   Jerry Lewis.   Do you remember the marathons to raise money?  Do you remember the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis breakup and then meeting ten years later for a reunion.  One of my favorites movies was Scared Stiff.  It was a remake of Bob Hope’s movie of the Cat and the Canary.  And yet our youth of today no nothing of which I speak.  Jerry Lewis dead at 91.  Thanks for the laughs of your aid to the charities.

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Mary Tyler Moore:  I honestly thought Dick Van Dyke and her were married.  The world at that time radiated her smile.

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Dick Gregory:  He made you laugh about the inequities of the races.  His wit like a knife showing how absurd it all was.

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Ty Harden:  He was a throwback to the old west and the television shows that depicted the west years ago.  He was Bronco.

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Glen  Campbell:  Singing Wichita Line Man.  Music was gentle years ago and songs like that were the rage.  Today in comparison is harsher and in your face.

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Mr. Nakajima was the Japanese actor who, in a 200-pound rubber suit, played the movie monster Godzilla in a dozen films and whose booming steps as the creature sent the denizens of Tokyo running into cinematic history.  I remember the first Godzilla. Raymond Burr was in it.

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My past was loaded with people and their names are now fading from view.  Those were the days or were they?


Some Cat words that do not stray from the mark.

Alley cat – A stray or homeless cat.

The “alley” portion probably refers to prostitutes, who at one point literally carried a mattress around with them.  The “cat” probably alludes to the mating habits of female cats.

This probably includes a reference to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.


As nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs The problem is the tail.  I guess the Lynx is safer in that room.


Cat burglar – A nimble, silent, sneaky thief

Refers to the way cats are able to sneak up and steal their prey

Cary Grant had cat features in To Cat-ch a Thief.


Caterwauling – Making harsh noises or cries

Probably came from Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night: “What a caterwauling do you keep here!”  (see also Cat’s cats / cat’s melody / cats in chorus)

Shakespeare was a cat lover.


Cat got your tongue – Why aren’t you talking?

The phrase probably comes from a custom in the Mideast hundreds of years ago, when it was common to punish a thief by cutting off their right hand, and a liar by ripping out their tongue.  These severed body parts were given to the king’s pet cats as their daily food.

Sounds delicious.


Catnap – Sleeping for a short period of time

Reference to the ability of a cat to sleep frequently and lightly

Humans take catnaps. Deep down we have cat imbedded in our DNA.


Cat o’nine tails – A whip

In olden days, people were flogged by a nasty device made up of three separate knottings of three stands attached to the whip’s handle. While the strands may have been made from the hide of cats, the multiple of 9 had already been associated with cats; presumably if a person being flogged survived, they were as lucky as a cat with 9 lives.

Whipped like cream.


Cat’s pajamas – Something considered to be outstanding

The term “cat’s pajamas” comes from E.B. Katz, an English tailor of the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, who made the finest silk pajamas for royalty and other wealth patrons.  Nothing like a cat nap in Kat’z pjs. (from the book, “Cats out of the Bag” compiled by Terry, Don and Ken Beck)
Alternative:  A slang phrase coined by Thomas A. Dorgan in the 1920s when the word “cat” was used as a term to describe the unconventional flappers from the jazz era. This was combined with the word pyjamas (a relatively new fashion in the 1920s) to form a phrase used to describe something that is the best at what it does, thus making it highly sought and desirable.

Cat’s paw – To be labeled a “cat’s paw” means someone has taken advantage of you and you weren’t smart enough to “cat”ch on.   Also (for sailors): Cat’s paw means a brisk, skittish breeze that might catch you unawares ~ the way a playful cat might paw you.

The phrase has its origins in an old folk tale in which a clever monkey tricks a cat into reaching into a fireplace to pull out some roasting chestnuts.  The monkey got the chestnuts, but the cat got burned.

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Beware the mutant cat.


We are fascinated with the cat, the soothing purr,

The amazing colors mixed or not of the fur.

An animal of amazing grace,

Almost a half of the world has members of their race.

Types abound and names vary,

They cross the lines of dynamic or merry.

Whiskers used to determine the width of a hole,

They are soft and cuddly as if an extension of our sole.

And there are some feral and alone,

Hiding in mans world gnawing on the rat and his bone.

Petting them and hearing the purr,

Puss and Boots with soft grace, against the cur.

Love is deep

My love is deeper than the sea,

I would swim it but I cannot swim.

I would climb the highest mountain,

But I get dizzy with heights.

I would write the great novel,

But my spelling is poor.

I would prove my love in so many ways,

But I know you know I love you.

I do not have to prove anything,

I am one lucky guy.

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