Thursday, July 26, 2007

Class Act Graduates

Curtis Martin of the New York Jets, who has run for the 4th highest amount of yards in NFL history, retired today due to his bone on bone knee injury. Thanks for all of the wonderful memories, Curtis. It was truly a pleasure to watch you carry the ball. The loudest headlines went to individuals like Michael Vick and Randy Moss and Pacman Jones and (name your favorite pro athlete with a mug shot here) while you quietly and consistently carried your team on your shoulders year in and year out, letting your dominating play do most of the speaking for you and also serving as team leader and mentor to those who followed your elusive footsteps. You'll be greatly missed. I look forward to the day that the Jets retire your number and the day you're inducted into the Hall of Fame. Onward and upward.

- Roy Pickering (author of Feeding the Squirrels)

Source: via Roy on Pinterest

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Dog Eat Dog World of Michael Vick

Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons once seemed to be the most potential rich athlete in the NFL, if not perhaps all of professional sports. Although not that easily impressed, I was moved enough by his skill set to gush about him in the article that can be accessed by clicking on the following link -

That was then, this is now. On the field Vick has not quite lived up to his potential the way you can say someone like Lebron James has somehow managed to equal his hype, but the greatness of Vick's athleticism is undeniable and has led to many spectacular moments from end zone to end zone. His career is still in a relatively early stage, his team is no doubt better with him on the field than off, so what he lacks in playoff victories he has more than made up for in endorsements thanks to his being a pretty decent quarterback trapped in Eric Dickerson's body - the NFL's ultimate double threat. The sky has continued to be his limit even though other players at his position such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have managed to achieve more tangible success with their physical gifts than Vick has with his highlight reel theatrics. To put it most mildly, when your turn comes up to play against Michael Vick (once known as the smarter of the Vick brothers, lest you forget, you don't neglect to keep him in mind in your defensive gameplan.

If one has the proverbial whole world in his hands and opts to throw it away, hopefully the reasoning will be sound and heart true to self. Or in the case of Ricky Williams, you better at least have an excellent supplier of your favorite muscle relaxer (Isn't the brain a muscle? If not, it oughta be). The world of professional sports is full to overflowing with stories of superstars who screwed up their near magical careers, threw away the ridiculously wonderful opportunity to be paid a fortune to play a game they naturally excel at. The culprits tend to be repeat offenders - addictions to alcohol, to drugs, to whoring, to gambling, and combo packages of all of the above.

Michael Vick has certainly upped the ante when it comes to being a screw up. His vices fall within the genre of gambling, but they did not lead him to typical destinations such as the casinos of Las Vegas or Atlantic City. To the best of my knowledge he does not run in the same circles as Pete Rose or any NBA refs. Rather than falling under the spell of the blackjack table, Vick has managed to jeopardize his endorsements, his career, his reputation, and his liberty (not to mention safety from the wrath of PETA members and other friends to canines) by allegedly running an illegal dog fighting operation (not that there is any such thing as a legal one).

If guilty, and the evidence certainly does seem to be overwhelming, only one word comes to mine. ASSHOLE. Whatever interpretation you personally take from this description, chances are it applies. Unlike many, I don't expect or insist that the athletes I admire strictly for their athletic skill be perfect role models. I understand that like everyone else in the world they are imperfect, and therefore subject to temptation from all ten of the commandments and each of the seven deadly sins. Throw in tax evasion to either of those lists. I shake my head whenever these stories make front and back page news, but by no means am I shocked beyond belief or unwilling to forgive if they seek it sincerely. Child molestation is probably the one horrific act that I find completely beyond redemption, but it tends to be the result of serious mental/emotional issues that one can at least try to empathize with. But pitting dogs to fight each other to the death (not to mention killing pooches who aren't good enough at it by other sick means) to make a few bucks but primarily for the perverse thrill of it is about as low as the depths of hell gets. I've combed through my dictionary, thesaurus and extensive vocabulary of ebonics and a lone word of description keeps jumping to the top of the list.


Here's the indictment for those who may find the specifics of the alleged heinous acts of interest:

Consider this article the exclusive opinion of Roy L. Pickering Jr. (Author of Feeding the Squirrels)

- Roy Pickering (author of FEEDING THE SQUIRRLS: A Novella)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

And the drum of racism beats on

If you happen to wander into a major bookstore such as Borders, among the tomes you can find is "Tintin in the Congo" by George Remi (who wrote under the name Hergé). Tintin and his dog Snowy first appeared in 1929 and were featured in adventures until 1976, selling more than 200 million copies worldwide. Quite disturbingly, up until a few days ago this book (which is part of an illustrated series about a heroic Belgium journalist) was being peddled to kids. Why do I, much like David Enright who found a copy of it when perusing the children's section of a Borders in Britain, find this disturbing? Unlike the majority of the Tintin titles, this particular one is blatantly racist. A disclaimer is packaged with the book by its publisher and the author himself eventually acknowledged and apologized for the views expressed, reasoning that the mean spirited content was merely a reflection of naive views of the time. That is why Mr. Enright reported his alarming dicovery to a racism watchdog called the Commission for Racial Equality. The organization agreed with him, finding for example a scene featuring Tintin being made chief of an African village because he is a “good white man”, to be highly offensive. The book is filled with representations of black African people as baboons or monkeys, bowing before a white teenager and speaking like retarded children, and even a scene where Tintin's dog Snowy is crowned king. Borders did not agree to remove the book from their shelves, an act of anti-censorship that I somewhat reluctantly agree with, but they did eventually decide to move it from their children's section. Sadly, rather than this being the story of a minor moral victory, it is one of good intentions that backfired. Sales of the comic book have rocketed since the CRE declared it to be racist, shooting up by 3,800 percent. It has reached number eight on Internet retailer Amazon's most popular books list. So the end result is that children may now find the book a bit more difficult to find on their own when brought to the bookstore to pacify their hunger for reading, but racist adults are proving quite eager to buy copies for them.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Moment Has Arrived

My novella FEEDING THE SQUIRRELS has been published by SynergEbooks. For under $6 you can purchase a copy of this ebook in your choice of electronic formats. The fantastic cover was designed by the lovely Erin Rogers Pickering, and hopefully those who choose to buy it will find my prose to their liking as well. See below for a synopsis. To read an excerpt and obtain a copy for your reading pleasure,

  • “Feeding the Squirrels” tells the story of a self-absorbed philanderer who lives a life of leisure and usually manages to remain one step ahead of consequences for his actions. Michael reveals himself to the reader by chronicling his rapid fire sex life woman by woman. He is a prolific lover who defines himself by his various sexual conquests. Each chapter in between the first and last of this literary novella is named after a woman who has been seduced by him, and thus helped to shape his identity. Every one of the erotic encounters can be read as a story unto itself, with Michael’s single minded pursuit of pleasure being the common thread that unites them. Although his succession of affairs are singular experiences to a man who rarely thinks of yesterday or tomorrow, they eventually manage to intertwine and leave him with a web of his own design to untangle.
    I love to hear from my readers, so please stop by after reading "Feeding the Squirrels" to let me know what you think.
    - Roy

    Saturday, July 7, 2007

    Champion Again - She's Your Venus

    Thought I'd make a shout out to 2007 Wimbeldon champion Venus Williams for reminding the world yet again that she should never be counted out on the tennis court. Congratulations for exhibiting your skill, grace, and class on the biggest stage your sport has to offer.
    Below are links to a couple articles I've written in the past about Venus and her sister Serena, and above is a rough sketch Erin did of Venus Williams (going forward she plans to draw sketches to accompany some of my postings).

  • The First Family of Tennis

  • Female Athletes in Pursuit of Greatness
  • Thursday, July 5, 2007

    I am Teething Baby, Hear Me Roar!

    The lion was just completed today, and fits our current theme at home. Ava is cutting her bottom eye teeth, and a few molars, and it is driving her crazy. It is like changing, dressing, soothing, feeding - a tornado! We feel so bad for her, but anything we do to ease the pain just doesn’t last very long. So I dedicate this illustration to Ava, my little darling, as all those teeth come roaring in.

    "Lion Eyes"
    Ink on watercolor paper
    2.5" x 3.5"
    Copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

  • Lion ACEO at ebay