Saturday, December 27, 2014

NBA Live Forever

NBA Live Forever

Have pretty much played them all when it comes to basketball simulation and arcade style video games.  From Double Dribble, All-Pro Basketball, Jordan vs. Bird, NBA Live 95, Coach K's College Basketball, NBA Jam, NBA Shootout, NBA Action, NBA In the Zone, NBA Streets, the 2K series, etc.  

NBA Live has always been the preferred go to b-ball video game since the mid 90s... Never quite lasted a full season or any competitive rivalries amongst gamers playing other simulation video b-ball game except Live.  Especially amongst my brothers... for more than five years we stayed on NBA Live 2010.  Never understood the hype of 2K.  It played and felt generic, from the player's look to the controls. When we seen the advertisement behind the Jordan machine and 2K11, we decided to give the game a chance abandoning the Live series which by this time became a Dead series. 

We played 2K11 for a couple of weeks and decided to sell it.  Disappointment is not even the final word... just had to get rid of it.  We decided to keep playing NBA Live 10' until something else came out.  Even manually updating the rosters ourselves as we went along with our main squads, Boston, Miami, and the LA Lakers.  

Fast forward to this year (beyond the epic fail of NBA Live 14) and EA Sports finally delivers with the installment of NBA Live 15.  From the soundtrack, camera angles, controls, set up, feature player, halftime report, etc... it feels as if basketball as we always thought we knew it on video game platforms has finally arrived to the PS4.

As brothers, including our nephew E-Man, we keep track of each others beat downs... a custom we started playing Live 10'... whether it was Josh's Heat vs. Isaiah's Lakers, or E-Man's Heat versus my Celtics, we tallied the wins and loses for bragging rights on a small dry erase board.  The records are now also available here on the Me & My Baby Brothers blog (to the right scroll down)... it's a point of access for us to see who's up and to share with anyone else out there that's connected to NBA Live Forever.

Great game.  Glad its back.

Keywords + Tag = NBA | National Basketball Association | basketball | hoops | video games | Nintendo | NES | Sega Genesis | Sega Saturn | Playstation | PS4 | PS3 | PS2 | PS | NBA Live | NBA 2K | EA Sports | Visual Concepts | Damian Lillard | competition | gaming | gamers | Double Dribble | Coach K | Boston Celtics | Miami Heat | Los Angeles Lakers | Golden State Warriors | Dallas Mavericks | San Antonio Spurs | Houston Rockets | Los Angeles Clippers | Portland Trailblazers | Charlotte Hornets | Cleveland Cavaliers | Big Man | E-Man | Lee 95' | BB.Josh

Friday, December 19, 2014

E-Man's Shelf Game World, A Novel

E-Man's Shelf

It's too cold to be reading on a stoop, but we're still reading!  Also added E-Man's Shelf to the links list to the right.  His latest read, Game World by C.J. Farley!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Reading Console Wars by Blake Harris | El Paso Public Library

"There was no such thing as a magic touch, and it wouldn't have mattered if there were, because the only thing it takes to sell toys, vitamins, or magazines is the power of story."

P. 26, 'The Story of Tom Kalinske', Console Wars, Blake Harris

Keywords + Tag = Sega | Nintendo | consoles | Blake J. Harris | Seth Rogen | Evan Goldberg | Tom Kalinske | El Paso Public Library | It Books | video games | Mattel | Sonic the Hedgehog | Super Mario Brothers | quotes | reading | every1reads | literacy | fun | story

Monday, December 1, 2014 RBros Web Launch Announcement

New RBros website is up!  Come and check us out ya'll.  Have several posts up including photographs, a new component of the site called Every1Reads, a calendar of upcoming games/events, an about us page, and other thoughts on education, sports, programming, etc.

Special shout out to KDeezee aka Mz. Utep, El Paso's no. 1 graphic design specialist.  One of the most creative people I've ever met.  She designed the official Every1Plays logo featured above which we will be adding on to our sites and business cards very soon! :)

You can also find us on social media at the following links:

Keywords + Tag = athletics | school | education | participation | youth | children | adults | El Paso | Northeast El Paso | Texas | TX | programming | volunteer | organization | learning | mentorship | mentor | mentee | building | playing | basketball | sports | training | social media | technology | people | relationships | recruiting | capacity building | community | communication | conversation | coaching | sports | fun | life | peace | anti-bullying | respect | unity | appreciation | promotion | early childhood development | health | wellness | reading | literacy | digital literacy | consistency | motivation | higher learning | opportunity | employment | future

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lincoln Park Hoops Summer 2014

Lincoln Park Hoops
Pt. 1 & 2 of Barrio vs. Barcelona
Summer 2014

El Paso, Texas

Pt. 1: click here

Pt. 2: click here

El Paso has a lot of cool spots to play a game of street ball.  All over the city.  Passing over Lincoln everyday on my way to work, I always thought how great it would be to record a game underneath the city's Spaghetti Bowl at Lincoln Park.  Featured is one of our brothers in light green, BB.Josh. 

We added some intro beats from El Paso producers, check the names in the rolling credits.  The beats were productions from a beat contest probably long forgotten back during the radio days.

The videos were recorded on the mobile phone... the second in landscape.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ode to Mr. Maurice Montague, Sr.

On Sunday evening, October 5, 2014, my family and I attended the viewing of Mr. Maurice Montague, Sr. joining the Montague family and friends to pay respects at the Sunset Funeral Home in Northeast El Paso, Texas.  That afternoon I had the chance to write a piece in thought of Mr. Montague and the impact he had on our lives growing up.  There were several deep stories shared that day from my brothers and several people in the community that knew Mr. Montague.  Once the pastor opened the evening, Maurice, Jr. got up to the microphone to speak.  This moved me the most considering the father/son relationship between Maurice, Sr. & Jr.  Being a first born, Jr. myself, it took a lot listening to a childhood friend speak on the passing of someone so close as his father.  It opened the opportunity for people to have the chance to get up and share their thoughts on Mr. Montague.  

He's a big part of our memories coming up as children in the Northeast.  And with the piece I'm going to share below in bold, I attempted to capture that, while being true to my own relationship with the Montague family.  All my brothers (RBros) got up to share stories of Mr. Montague.  We're all 8 years apart, each with our own story of knowing Mr. Montague and getting the chance to experience the love he had for children in the community.  

I hope we have it in us as a community to share stories of our elders, our children, both living and past.  Often the busy of our lives keeps us from writing.  Keeps us from documenting those stories and helping everyone understand why these lives matter.  I was born and raised in the Northeast and love this community dearly.  Though I haven't lived in many other places for an extended period of time, there is something I feel about the Northeast that is unique from anywhere else.  Whether its the stories that connect us to families that have crossed between Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua Mexico and El Paso, Texas USA or our military base, Ft. Bliss, that brings people from all corners of the country and world to coexist.  Often our origins hold their own stories of how we got here and came to settle in the city of the sun, towards the bottom of the mountains.  My family is no exception, and its the same for the Montagues.  A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Mr. Montague's journey to El Paso was also through the military where he'd meet his beautiful wife Estela, giving birth to his son Maurice, Jr., who I called "Lil' Q". El Paso born.

Listening to those that spoke at the viewing about Mr. Montague and his impact on our lives through his love of children and sports... I wanted to put the words I read at the viewing out there.  To remember.  To document.  And to encourage us to remember our loved ones through stories.  We're not promised tomorrow and life will go on... and like us at one point in our lives there will be kids out here running around wanting to play... looking for someone that will give them a chance.  

To the spirit of Mr. Montague, thank you sir, and to the Montague family we love you.

I title this an Ode to Mr. Maurice Montague, Sr.

I can still remember the first time I heard Mr. Montague.

A few miles from here at a Northeast YMCA half court basketball game. It was me at 5 years old versus a soon to be friend I'd later call "Lil' Q".

Above all other cheers for children was the voice of Mr. Montague.

His voice consumed the acoustics of the entire gymnasium, an unforgettable sound.

I remember we won that game and feeling proud, my memory drifts into a Taco Bell where my mom, Maria, and Q's mom, Estela, allowed me and Lil' Q the space to see if we'd get along... the beginning of a friendship involving our families and so many stories throughout our city's chain of basketball courts.

Mr. Montague's presence in my childhood would become monumental. 

As a child, fear is a common factor in growing up and dealing with the unknown but when you were with Mr. Montague, you learned from a man who walked stomping fear beneath him.

Mr. Montague feared absolutely nothing.  

And as a child being around Mr. Montague he made sure we understood how much he cared about us and the strength of his love.

As a coach, Mr. Montague would commandeer some of the best children hoopsters I'd ever known.  Names I'd follow years after like Terayno, Terrom, Kilo, Kello, George, I remember Ruben and the leaping ability of a youth named Robert.

Thinking back, I have no clue what my role was on a bench with such depth and talent as the Northeast Storm.  But I was there, watching a story I'd never forget.

I spent some time in the back seat of Mr. Montague's white Cadillac.  Driving around the city between games in the far east, Lower Valley, West side, or after hanging out with Lil' Q at the Northpark Mall where we were always at the card shops and arcades consuming junk food prior to watching a movie at Boomerangs Theatre... maybe something like Class Act or Menace II Society.

One story I remember is Mr. Monatague at one of our games during the McDonald summer leagues... When I was subbed in my coach on the McDonald's squad shouted, "...c'mon LeeROY, let's go!  Get aggressive!"

And as if Zeus himself screamed from the clouds above the Austin High School gymnasium, all I heard was Mr. Montague's orders to the coach, "HIS NAME IS LECROY! Boy, don't let him call you by a name that ain't yours!"

I nodded my head glancing at the coach who if my memory serves me correctly, had a blank stare, probably processing his place in the gym, which wherever we went, if Mr. Montague was there, belonged to him.

Over the years, I'd meet people that either loved or hated Mr. Montague.

And as a child, to me, Mr. Montague was one of the most powerful fathers to someone who was like a best friend... He had a superhero aura.  At war with anyone that dared step foot in his path. 

He was the one who'd take me to see Malcolm X at the Basset theatre when my father was stationed for duty across the sea.  Mr. Montague was a man that absolutely loved the children in his care, including my little brother, his God son, Joshua.

Today I remember Mr. Montague with these words in hope to learn more from others and to celebrate a man, who during his time in my life, left me with so much to process.

In closing I dedicate this piece to his son and one of the most kind and beautiful mothers this life could ever give to us, Mrs. Estela Montague.  

Thank you all for your respect and time to share, and to Mr. Montague, you may have passed on in the physical, but you will be present in my mind and thought for as long as I'm alive in this world.

To your spirit we extend our love, our admiration, and hope that we find the strength and heart to carry the pain of losing those we can't imagine living without.

Thank you sir, thank you Mr. Montague.

by Lecroy, Jr. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Note about Reading, 15 Minutes, & Walter Dean Myers

A Note about Reading, 15 Minutes, & Walter Dean Myers
by BB.Lee (Lee Rhyanes / big brother)

This post today is inspired by a number of reasons.  First, on September 20th I stumbled across a tweet by Reading Rainbow calling for people to take on the 15 minutes a day challenge (click here).  It linked to an article written by Lisa G. Kropp, a youth services coordinator at the Suffolk Cooperative Library System in Bellport, NY.  The article she wrote is titled 'A National Effort to Read to Kids 15 Minutes a Day Needs Our Support' (click here).  

I thought about this article and how much it spoke to me, first as an avid reader ever since my days of early childhood through my mother and father, and second through my work today as a grant writer which requires a daily intensive amount of reading, writing, and thinking.  

Over the past seven years that I've worked as a grant writer I've been able to challenge my mind to see through every and any reading task, even those reading assignments that were once unbearable to read often leaving my head leaning to the side being awoken by the sudden tilt that I was falling into sleep.  It took a while to get use to, but it was those difficult reads that made recreational reading that much more fun.  Coupled with online reading of current events and through my teaching at NMSU its allowed for a consistent daily routine of close reading.  I'm inspired also by my family and our expectation of one another to read.  Whether it's bringing home a book for our brothers or nephews, nieces from the library, going to the library... or even our father thinking of us when he's browsing through Barnes & Nobles on an early afternoon as a retired Army Veteran.  He'll often bring back books he feels will help me with work, or help my brothers with school and sports.  Books & reading is as important in our household as any other basic necessity and its constant in our interaction and expectations of each other.  It's what would inspire the concept behind Reading on the Stoop in which we make space to read where ever we are... whether we're at a library, in front of our homes, on a road trip, or waiting at the dentist.  All space is a reading space as long as we remember to bring a book along.

Every Saturday morning upon waking up, I started making it a priority to read before I go do anything else.  And this morning I decided to pull Just Write, Here's How by Walter Dean Myers from my reading shelf.  Though the initiative to spark 15 minutes a day for reading is loud and clear today, for me, it was a literary hero like Walter Dean Myers, who's stories spoke to me louder than anyone's message to read.  Myer's dedicated his life to stories that would connect with youth, especially older teens, who like myself could have easily gotten lost in the distractions of teenage life to even care about picking up a book.  My appreciation and interest for Myer's stories called me back to the library often, even when I felt I was drifting away from reading responsibility in high school.

Myers passed away this year and often I've thought about a blog post I wanted to write in memory and recognition of Walter Dean Myers and how his books impacted my trajectory through life from school to what would become a career in writing.  While it was the blessing of having two loving, caring parents who were just as passionate about my academic success as I ever could be, it was Myers who inspired me to maintain a daily reading routine.  He was the first writer to really make me think about the connection between story and how we could better our lives.  A concept I would later describe as connecting story to social change, a subject I'd eventually teach at the university I graduated from. 

So as we encourage folks to partake in the 15 minutes a day reading challenge, I want to set off something I've been wanting to do all year since learning of Mr. Myer's passing... and that's share notes from my reading of Myers, any notes I have of Myers over the years and different pieces of information that teach us something new that we may not have known about Myers.  While the RBros blog is about a lot of subjects, I have no problem with it also being a blog fully dedicated to the life of Walter Dean Myers and what he contributed to the world of literature for myself as a youth and adult.  

I will track these posts through two Twitter sites that I post to... (Voices Behind Walls) and (Hip Hop Alumni).  If you want to track these tweets simply visit the twitter site and search for the hashtag #WDMnotes.

For the first post... this one's from this morning's read...Chapter 1, 'Roll Up Your Sleeves'...

"I think a lot more writers would successfully complete their books if they spent more time planning.  I don't mean months or years of planning, but at least getting down the basic idea of where they're going and how they want to get there." - WDM

Keywords + Tag = Walter Dean Myers | WDM | #WDMnotes | Reading Rainbow | www | Lisa G. Kropp | reading | 15 minutes reading | Hip Hop Alumni | Voices Behind Walls | twitter | Christopher Myers | Scorpions | Just Write, Here's How | Harper Collins Publishers | in memory of | Fallen Angels | Monster | Malcolm X | Hoops | Muhammad Ali | Harlem | 2014 | RBros | dedication

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Brother's Reading Journey (OTSOG)

My Brother's Reading Journey (OTSOG)
Follow up to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Post: click here

With school already under way for MC Zoo's senior year and E-Man's first month of third grade, the summer left a lot to reflect on.  One of this summer's major accomplishments was my brother's completion of his first 250+ page book.  Instead of checking out the text from the library we decided to purchase one of his choice so that he could take his time to read it.  Searching through Amazon, my brother, who's been a Laker fan for as long as he could talk, decided on a text by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Raymond Obstfeld, with forward by Quincy Jones titled On the Shoulders of Giants, My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance.  I wasn't sure how my brother would take to reading about history but immediately he got into it and appreciated that it was about more than just sports.  It told stories of not only Kareem's experiences, but many names throughout history such as Langston Hughes, Louis Armstrong, Marcus Garvey, Duke Ellington, Zora Neale Hurston, Alain Locke and details about many others from the Harlem Renaissance that impacted sports or vice versa.  The writing style and the references to specific teams including the Harlem Rens and the Original Celtics left a lasting memory on my youngest brother, both through the writing and the photographs included in the book.  The text inspired a respect for Kareem that went beyond just sports and the unstoppable hook shot my brother's been working all summer trying to perfect.  It was a text that traveled with my brother when he tagged along with our pops (aka King Kong) and it also accompanied him on his first trip out of town to support the varsity Andress Eagles basketball squad and their first ever battle towards the Texas regional title.  On the bus, while the Eagles were on their way to making history, my brother was reading about history and continued doing so throughout the year all the way to the final page.  

We worked on a few laptop journal activities but weren't able to get a consistent reading + discussion schedule going (only brief updates from time to time).  To close out the book, we've decided to que the documentary of the same name, On the Shoulder's of Giants (see below) through a Netflix DVD selection.  It'll be a cool way for my brother to reflect on what he's learned as we get ready to archive his first official text.  While my brother has read a lot of books since middle school this is one of the most challenging books he's sought out to add to his own personal library collection.

Currently, he's reading a text titled The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Heads of Basketball's Best Players by Idan Ravin checked out from the El Paso Public Library Irving Schwartz branch.

Keywords + Tag = Kareem Abdul-Jabbar | Bill Cunliffe | On the Shoulders of Giants | basketball | history | Harlem Renaissance | Andress Eagles | Texas | El Paso | Los Angeles Lakers | Paul Baker | Langston Hughes | Louis Armstrong | Al Sharpton | Marcus Garvey | Duke Ellington | Richard Lapchick | Zora Neale Hurston | Jesse Jackson | Alain Locke | Raymond Obstfeld | Isaiah Rhyanes | journey | Barry Cohen | 1920 | Tantor Media | Harlem Rens | The Original Celtics | Netflix | Herbie Hancock | sports documentary | Maya Angelou | Wynton Marsalis | Deborah Morales | Anna Waterhouse | Chuck D | New York Renaissance | Johnny Juice |  Iconomy Multimedia | Cornel West | Samuel D. Pollard | Spike Lee | Union Productions | Jamie Foxx | Bob Costas | Dick Enberg | Harlem | Charles Barkley | John Wooden | David Stern | Bill Russell | Dr. Julius Irving | Clyde Drexler | Carmelo | hoop dreams | hook shot

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Social And Emotional Benefits Of Video Games: Metacognition and Relationships

I like this article in thinking about the "growth mindset".  

A majority of my peers were and some still are gamers.

Would be great to adapt what kids love so much into activities that will provide food for thought or promote more positive messages.  Below is a clip from the article.

Social And Emotional Benefits Of Video Games: Metacognition and Relationships
by Jordan Shapiro | KQED
Article: click here

"In 2013, the American Psychological Association published a study that identified some of the benefits of gaming, and the results were surprising. For example, in controlled tests, kids who played first-person shooters showed “faster and more accurate attention allocation, higher spatial resolution in visual processing, and enhanced mental rotation abilities.” This likely has very little to do with the violent narrative and a lot to do with repetitive execution of reflex-based actions. Essentially, first person shooters are intricate 3D virtual simulations of the carnival classic “whack-a-mole.” Players need to react fast. This is why kids who play a lot of games seem to show “measurable changes in neural processing and efficiency” and a positive increase in creativity. Players practice quick thinking and hurried response."  

Shapiro, Jordan. "Social And Emotional Benefits Of Video Games: Metacognition and Relationships." KQED 16 May 2014. Web.

Keywords + Tag = motivational intelligence | Jordan Shapiro | KQED | stimulation | video games | video game | Pacman | incremental theory | growth mindset | life-long learners | metacognition | critical thinking | interpersonal skills | character education | social and emotional | health | mental health | relationships | nutritional value | Space Invaders | chess | Atari | Playstation | Sega | Nintendo | X Box | joy sticks | Carol Dweck | Stanford | intelligence | Reach for the Sun

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A License to Drive Story w/ MC Zoo

Today had a discussion with my lil' brother about his experience through driving school as he completes requirements for his permit ... later his driver's license.  He's a big time gamer so I asked what his top 3 "driving" related video games are... From 3 to 1, 1 being the best... 3... Motor Storm on PS3, 2....CTR on PS1, and 1.... Grand Theft Auto V on PS3.  Back when for me it was all about the NES Road Racer!

Road Racer!

Keywords + Tag = Road Racer | Nintendo | Family stories | MC Zoo | Isaiah | driver's license | Texas | GTA V | Playstation 1 | Playstation 2 | Playstation 3 | Playstation 4 | CTR | Crash Team Racing | Crash Bandicot | Motor Storm | NES | cars | driving | safety | fun | Sega Genesis | 90s on my mind

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Reading on the Stoop, Basketball Math on the Court

Basketball Math on the Court
by Tom Robinson
Published by The Child's World

For our recent Reading on the Stoop session E-Man's Dad, my lil' brother BB.Josh, said that he wanted a book that told a story about basketball.  I searched for a children's book with a touch of history, but couldn't find one.  Though I found a brilliant book written and painted by Kadir Nelson titled We Are the Ship, The Story of Negro League Baseball (will be sharing more on this later), I did not find anything at the Richard Burges Library about basketball history, specifically.  What I did stumble across though was Basketball Math on the Court, which I thought was real cool considering we all love and play basketball (our father even played as a teen and adult and was a great referee in El Paso for all sorts of leagues city + school/youth + adult).  Personally, I thought the book was wonderful and recommend it especially for adults that are coaching youth leagues and would like to encourage reading amongst their players.  Even as an adult reading to E-Man, I learned a lot.  It was just a tough read, at times kind of dry for E-Man's reading level as he had a tough time engaging with the activities to learn ratios and percentages.  At times I wish there would've been more details related to the game's history, maybe even the players themselves, height/weight, vertical leap and any other factoids that allow readers to connect with more of the story of basketball as opposed to the statistics.  But these opinions stray from what I felt this book intended to do and what I feel it succeeds at doing for helping young readers understand the mathematics of the game.  So definitely check it out!

In addition, learning about the publisher of this text The Child's World was cool considering they're an independent, family-owned company that has been publishing books since 1968.  It's an interesting go to if you're looking for stories about specific subjects or recommendations for school libraries to help make connections to some of the subject matter being taught in schools these days.  

Upon visiting the site, I didn't find any titles I'd be interested in reading, but then again, I also didn't notice the Basketball Math on the Court book so I'm going to assume there are a number of titles out there from the past and present that would be good for reading to children.  I do recommend you connect with their social media accounts, especially Facebook for the posts.  Here's a picture they have posted on their timeline: 

We need to spread these messages as often as possible. 

Keywords + Tag = Basketball Math on the Court | Tom Robinson | The Child's World | mathematics | Los Angeles Lakers | Oklahoma City Thunder | Kobe Bryant | Ron Artest | Russel Westbrook | June | court measurements | math on the court | learning | comprehension | statistics | formulas | ratio | percentage | points per game | Wilt Chamberlain | Brittney Griner

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Reading on the Stoop, Last Day Blues

Last Day Blues
by Julie Danneberg
Illustrated by Judy Love

After work this past June, I decided to head out to the Irving Schwartz Library in East El Paso to look for another book for the Reading on the Stoop session with E-Man, our 8-year old nephew.  The goal was to find any children's story that had something to do with what was going on, what was current.  Scanning the shelves, the word blues caught my attention on the book's cover.  At first, I thought about looking for something else until the idea came up to connect the theme of this book to our nephew's last day of school, which was coming up at the time.  2014 also marks the prelude to 12th grade for our youngest brother who's public school education is in its last chapter, "Senior Year".

Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg is a fun book.  A great story with amazing illustration by Judy Love.  We'd often pause during our reading to scan the pictures, the expressions on faces, the activity of a school ground, and the resemblance of teachers we all knew at some point in our lives.  

Following up on Julie Danneberg's website I learned of other texts illustrated by Judy Love such as The Big Test, First Year Letters, and First Day Jitters.  It's a neat site for learning more about Julie Danneberg and other titles for future reading sessions.  Fans will also learn about what inspires her to write, when she writes, and responses to some commonly asked questions she's received.  One question I'd have is the connection between her writing and the illustrator and whether this collaboration inspires new stories when she finds time to write.  Also how much of her future writing is inspired by re-reading her own books?

I found Last Day Blues at Irving Schwartz Library in El Paso, and it is also available at the Main Library downtown, which if you haven't visited already, I'd highly recommend taking your younger siblings to pick out a book.  It's a great place for them (and you!) to discover new and random books to read for the summer.

To view the text on the El Paso Public Library online catalogue, here is the link: click here.

To view Julie Danneberg's website visit

You can also view some other illustrations by Judy Love at  

Keywords + Tag = Last Day Blues | Julie Danneberg | Judy Love | Illustrator Judy Love | children reading | Reading on the Stoop | El Paso Public Library | Irving Schwartz Library | El Paso | El Paso Texas | Texas | The Big Test | First Day Jitters | First Year Letters | last day of school | elementary school | Charlesbridge | ISBN 9781580891042 | | Mrs. Hartwell

Monday, June 9, 2014

Redbox & 42

Redbox & 42
A Film Review
by BB.Lee

After my first unsuccessful run, I thought if I started playing the Albertson's Monopoly game from the beginning that I was bound to win something.  I visit the store frequently for food and house stuff so I collected as many tickets as possible in the second season of the game.  Even started keeping track of the tickets I needed.  For about half the alphabet I only needed one ticket.  I was certain I'd get at least one of those tickets since it was so early in the game.  Needless to say, I didn't complete any of the categories on the Monopoly card and ended another season with nothing.  On my very last ticket though, I noticed it was different from the other tickets.  It was for a free rental from Redbox.
I've been renting movies since the days when you could get a VHS at a gas station.  Not to make it sound like I'm that old but how long has the world been "renting" movies anyway?  I remember at the time the membership process of Blockbuster sounding to complicated and expensive so I stuck with grocery store/gas station rentals for as long as they stayed around.  I loved movies.  My parent's were one of the only families in Rockenhausen, Germany with a VCR when the Army stationed my Dad out there in the early 80s.  Throughout the decade my parents accumulated a bunch of VHS recordings of flicks like Gloria, Barborosa, Scarface, Silent Rage, Bad Boys (with Sean Penn), The Rose, Star Wars, 48 Hours, Rambo First Blood, Death Wish 1 & 2, the first couple Rocky flicks, Conan the Barbarian, Urban Cowboy, Halloween, The Toy, TV music videos, and a crap load of other flicks, like Escape from New York, Kramer vs. Kramer, Disney & He-Man cartoons, etc. 

When I graduated from high school and moved to New Mexico I was able to manage the costs and time of renting flicks from places like Blockbuster and started collecting my own personal favorites like Menace II Society, Belly, Boys N the Hood, New Jack City, Out of Sight, Do the Right Thing, Clockers, Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction, Malcolm X, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting, Goodfellas, Mo Betta Blues, Juice, Above the Rim, New Jersey Drive, Rosewood, Friday, Nothing to Lose, Life, American Me, Money Talks, Bound By Honor, Godfather, Taxi Driver, The Professional, Rounders, He Got Game, Sandlot, and a few others.  Around this time places like Hollywood Video started popping up and I also started renting from places like Hastings. 

Fast forward to 2014 and most of those rental places are gone.  I read back in November of 2013 that Blockbuster (the last rental I see around here) is shutting down the last of its stores.  Every time I see one I wonder what it's going to turn into.  With Netflix, Gamefly, other web streams & wireless everything, the thought of renting or taking back anything is tomorrow's new joke.

But back to my free rental from Redbox... The whole process is new to me.  I've seen people standing around those bulky red vending machines, sometimes late into the night... Walking by a Redbox I'd glance at the flicks on display and it looked like the same collection of flicks you'd find on stock at a Wal-Mart.  Nothing special for a fan of films.

With my free rental ticket from the Albertson's Monopoly game, I stood in front of the Redbox kinda lost so I asked the clerk to walk me through the process.  At first, I selected the Wolf of Wall Street, based on what I liked about the Oliver Stone flick from the 80s.  She said the box didn't have it.  So I asked to search for the Gravity flick... the box didn't have it.  I didn't care about anything else on display but wanted to use this stupid ticket.  It was my only real winning from the time I wasted on that Monopoly tease.  The clerk started scrolling through the search, giving instructions along the way when I noticed the Jackie Robinson film 42 on Blu-Ray.  For a long time, I've avoided watching the flick.  One, never been interested enough in baseball, two, I thought about Bill Burr's bit (click here), and three, Hollywood is known for barfing out some really bad bio flicks.  But, my co-worker told me I really need to check it out and his recommendations are on point... seeing that it was something the Redbox had in its belly, I asked the clerk to help me figure out how to use the Monopoly ticket for a copy of 42.

From the start of the flick Chadwick Boseman had me locked into what I'd have to say was my first journey through the life of Jackie Robinson.  Even as someone that has dug into the history of sports through figures like Muhammad Ali, Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Oscar Robertson, Jim Brown, Nolan Richardson and some of what I've been learning through the 30 for 30 documentaries and other books/publications... I can't recall ever getting much of a history lesson from anyone on Jackie Robinson.  Beyond knowing that he had done something great in the world of baseball as an African-American, I'd only heard him mentioned by one of my favorite film producers Spike Lee... and while I've heard of Jackie Robinson's legacy before, it was almost always in footnote fashion, never anymore detailed then the street names I drive past of other famous baseball players.

I blame a part of my lack of knowledge of Jackie Robinson's legacy on myself, for sure.  While I know of him, I've done nothing in the past to tap into the details of what exactly he had accomplished and the circumstances under which he built not only his legacy, but a movement against such a blatantly racist, exclusive, and dangerous system as existed during his time.  Watching Chadwick capture this role made perfect sense as to why we may have had to wait this long for the right person that would be able to study and relive what Robinson's experience and impact meant.  I really believe that this role was meant for Chadwick and Chadwick only.  There were times when I'm watching the film and just in disbelief by the expressions he's able to capture from Jackie.  Chadwick Boseman was right on time for this film and just as the random nature depicted in the scene where Branch Ricky discovers Jackie (though we later learn the film twists the credit of Wendell Smith)... it's interesting to think about the process of casting for 42 and discovering Boseman.  I want to know this story.

The setting of the film was crazy.  This flick felt like it had been carefully placed in its time, with the vintage tones of a baseball field that were dream-like.  It's something I'd like to learn more about... It reminds me of some other videos I've been seeing lately such as the vintage feel of the video by Blu (click here), and also the tone of Spike Lee's Red Hook Summer, another flick I highly recommend (on Netflix).  It takes me back to the feeling of those old VHS tapes from Rockenhausen and the way our memories play out in our minds sometime.

Overall, there were a lot of things I liked about the film that I wanted to learn more about.  Of course beginning with Jackie Robinson himself, but also the characters of his life, such as his wife Rachel Robinson, who is depicted by an incredible actress that starred in American Violet, Nicole Beharie.  It was also crazy to see such an accomplished actor such as James Pickens, Jr., who as soon as I heard the voice, I remembered from his role in Menace II Society ("...who you think you is Ron O'Neal!?!?") and Mr. Curtis from Dead Presidents.  Despite a deep catalog of steady work, it has been years since I've took notice of the acting brilliance of James Pickens, Jr.  And of course, there is Han Solo himself, the legendary Harrison Ford stepping into a role I've never seen him play before.  All across the board, each actor stepped up for 42.  Especially, one of my favorite characters I hope to learn more about, Wendell Smith, performed by Andre Holland.  I stumbled across a solid write up on Andre Holland and his role in 42 that you can read here by Bob Carlton: 'From Bessemer to Brooklyn: John Carroll Graduate Andre Holland Arrives in Jackie Robinson Film '42' (click here).

There is much to say about this flick, much to learn and dig through to truly understand the whole story.  What I loved most about this flick was how it inspired me to want to learn more.  Not only about Jackie Robinson, but about his wife Rachel Robinson, about Wendell Smith, about Branch Rickey, about his teammates and the story of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and those athletes that would follow in his foot steps... and pretty much everyone that has a story to tell about Jackie and that had been affected by his contribution to the world through the sport and life in general.

Pass the word.  This is one for the collections.

Until the next Redbox review, here are a few videos (interviews, clips, etc.).

Keywords: Jackie Robinson, Rachel Robinson, Chadwick Boseman, Andre Holland, Nicole Beharie, Wendell Smith, Redbox, Blockbuster, 42, Harrison Ford, Netflix, Hollywood Video, Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey, racism, American segregation, baseball, World Series, film review, legacy, African American history, Black history, U.S.A., American history, James Pickens, Jr., classic films, steal, home run, Hall of Fame, Screening Reviews, film review

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reading on the Stoop, No Bullies in the Huddle

No Bullies in the Huddle
by Dr. William T. Hoston
& DeSean Jackson

Illustrated by Charlie Neerman

The next children's book for Reading on the Stoop was No Bullies in the Huddle, which I heard about online and later through the Arsenio Hall show with guest DeSean Jackson.  The text is written by Dr. William T. Hoston and DeSean Jackson, with illustrations by Charlie Neerman.  For more information on Dr. Hoston you could visit and for more information on the text itself or to purchase, the publishing company link is  For DJax the site is

Overall, it was a cool read... it got a dialogue going for sure.  As we started to read on the stoop, the light couldn't hold up to the evening dark so we took the reading inside.  Below is a shot of a young father (my younger brother) and his son reading the book.  Everybody in the room took turns reading though the focus was for E-Man to get in some time to read out loud and learn some lessons from the text.

I wasn't really feeling the artwork... I've seen other artworks that I think would bring the story's appeal out a lot more.  For example Theodore Taylor's work and AG Ford.  Neerman's artwork in this text reminded me of the type of illustration you'd find in a pamphlet at a dentists office or a Smokey the Bear ad, or a Beavis & Butthead cartoon.  Nevertheless, the message is there... I thought about different ways the topic of bullying could be addressed... whether its bullying taking place in school, on a team, in a neighborhood, or even a child's own household. 

I think the story lacks creative depth we've experienced in other books... but I enjoyed what I thought was one of the book's main purposes to start a dialogue.  It's important to note also, in light of some of the problems going on in sports, this topic isn't only isolated to how bullying impacts children... but the culture of bullying amongst adults too, whether its in the workplace or in situations where adults exert and abuse their power.  We saw a lot of this come up during the Incognito situation and even through Donald Sterling who had a reputation of being disrespectful to athletes on the team he owned.  Baron Davis for one talked about the discomfort and anxiety of playing for a person like that.

In thinking about dialogue, its important for adults to understand how they could facilitate an environment that is free of bullying (especially if they teach in a classroom, have a large family with several children, work in an facility where children are placed, etc.).  Its also important for adults to to take a look at themselves and to examine whether the attitudes and qualities they carry as a person day to day mirror that of what we'd consider a childhood bully.

End of the day, no bullies in the huddle.  No matter how old you are.  

Desean Jackson, No Bullies in the Huddle, Dr. William T. Hoston, Charlie Neerman, Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, Pro Athletes Organization, Reading on the Stoop, children's books, Football, NFL, bullying, anti bully campaign

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Circuit Training w/ Pops aka King Kong - The Workout 2014

Circuit Training w/ Pops

BBZoo has been circuit training with my pops for a couple of months now.  Between a constant work schedule, I haven't been able to make one of their workouts.  Or sometimes my brother and I will spend an afternoon on the weekend at the Stout Gym to utilize the space and equipment there.  This Sunday though between NBA Playoff games my pops set the garage for the circuit training program that got us all involved... me & my youngest brother guided by pops (our bro and young nephew/niece would show up later but next time the goal is to have us all together to get it in).  It was a great time to take in some knowledge from our father (we call him King Kong), to share, and to encourage one another.  One of the best workouts I've had in a long while.  

Next time though we need to work on that music.  Cause the city radio just isn't cutting it.  Below is an album that's long overdue as a recommendation here on the RBros blog... it's from one of the greatest records ever put out, The Workout album.  I highly recommend it and am currently looking forward to what I heard was going to be a volume 2.  I included the covers below along with one of my favorite tracks on the album, ((Let It Burn)).  The track ((Bruce Lee)) was included on the Lee Jun Fan Tape that I put out last year.

This post is to encourage families (including our own) to either begin or continue to workout together and to exercise a healthy lifestyle that's free of alcohol, free of tobacco (and all drugs), and that exercises improved eating habits (that one is easier said than done, I know) where there are more family dinners, more healthy choices, etc. 

Let's get that work out in!

In our 'Hard Work &  Dedication' links you'll find the RBG Fit Club website which you can visit at  Includes cool merchandise including gym bags, music, literature, clothing, and more.  Check it out!

81' Til Infinity Hip Hop Channel / YouTube: click here

RBROS AudiO ((Son of Yvonne)) - MA Doom

Masta Ace / meets / MF Doom
((Son of Yvonne))

I love this track.  Props to one of my all time favorite MCs, Masta Ace, representin' for Hip Hop mothers.  In the spirit of Pac, The Last Emperor, and past time legends like Earth, Wind & Fire who had the courage to get on the mic and represent for the lives that brought us in this world.  We need more of these tracks.  This is one of me and my youngest brother, BBZoo's favorite instrumentals from MF Doom... its been one of my favorite for well over a decade, but its like listening to it all over again with Ace's composition. 

We're going to start loading up some of our favorite tracks at the 81' Til Infinity Hip Hop channel on the RBros YouTube page, check it out: click here

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Currently, one of my favorite dictionary resources for learning about new words and learning new things about words I thought I knew all about.  Login, register, and bookmark!

Border Book Festival 2014

Border Book Festival 2014

International Children's Digital Library (ICDL)

International Children's Digital Library

An online resource to keep up with the latest in children's literature from around the world.  "The ICDL Foundation's goal is to build a collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world.  Ultimately, the Foundation aspires to have every culture and language represented so that every child can know and appreciate the riches of children's literature from the world community."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

From the Segundo Barrio to the Hall of Fame, Nolan Richardson

From the Segundo Barrio to the Hall of Fame

Growing up in El Paso, Texas my younger brothers and I were all in some way connected to the name, Nolan Richardson.  One of my first basketball camps when my father was stationed overseas was set up by Rus Bradburd and Coach Don Haskins.  I was still in grade school when I joined the week long camp which consisted of free meals at the Fort Bliss mess hall, an afternoon of swimming under the hot El Paso sun, and a chance for those that were good enough to show off in front of parents on the closing day of activities.  Years later Rus would go on to write Forty Minutes of Hell, the Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson.  

In the highlight tape that I made of my younger brother Josh during his high school years we conclude the video which is posted on YouTube with an old clip we were given from a family friend at a Nolan Richardson basketball camp filmed around 94' at Bowie High School.  Towards the end of the video Coach Richardson is walking with  my brother Josh down the court, then five years old. Richardson is seen encouraging him, and patting him on the head.  At this point I was just starting my first year of high school and was also present at the camp.  Years later my brother and his team led by Coach Arzola would go on to win district, I believe in 2002 and 2003 at Nolan Richardson Middle School, which opened its doors in El Paso in 1998.  

My youngest brother Isaiah's first year of middle school was spent at Nolan Richardson until the district decided to throw the special education program out into H.E. Charles Middle School.  It was my brother's first year playing basketball in the city, before trying out and playing with H.E. Charles Middle during his 7th & 8th grade years.  Had my brother had the chance to stick around Nolan Middle, he could've been a part of yet another district win at Nolan Richardson.  Today, our brother Joshua's name is up on the district banners at Nolan Richardson from the years 02' and 03'.

On August 7th-9th this year, 2014, Nolan Richardson will join several other Hall of Famers for the Enshrinement Ceremonies.  I hope its televised to watch Coach Richardson make history, yet again.  Until that time, I highly recommend that you read Forty Minutes of Hell by Rus Bradburd, if you haven't already... it's a powerful story of El Paso's own, Nolan Richardson.  

Below I've included a recording I took when Coach Richardson visited the University of Texas at El Paso during Black History Month in 2010.  Before walking in to be seated I also got the chance to take a shot of the huge Triple Crown ring that decorated his left hand (included below).  Much respect and congratulations to Nolan Richardson... a life full of struggle, hard work, and will that I'm glad will be recognized at the level of such an honor like the basketball hall of fame.  It's about time.

Reading on the Stoop, The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X

Reading on the Stoop
Malcolm Little, The Boy Who Grew Up
to Become Malcolm X
by Ilyasah Shabazz
Illustrated by AG Ford

Young E turned eight years old this month and on his b-day, after the cookout, eats, gifts, cake, & running around we got the chance to settle down with some popsicles to read one of the newest children's books from Ilyasah Shabazz.  Ilyasah is one of Malcolm X's daughters and she wrote a book that focuses on the childhood of Malcolm, his family, and many lessons from his upbringing.  We were joined by Young E's cousin, Savanah, and read the whole book with all three uncles present (RBros) including a few of Young E's great uncles who were hanging out in the background.  

From the text, one of my favorite moments is where Ilyasah writes about Malcolm's mother, Louise Little, and the family garden... "...Louise taught her children to love every living creature equally - large or small, pretty or ugly, busy or still, fast or slow, insect or plant.  The garden was a testament to true and unconditional brotherhood from the earth on up to the sky, a daily lesson in acceptance and equality.  Each living creature had a story, a purpose, a reason for being, and a beauty of its own.  Through the majestic trees in the garden, Malcolm would also learn about the importance of roots: nature's anchors, the base of every living creature; and through the outspread wings of the chirping birds above, he began to see the power of possibility.

... And so this special garden became a source of knowledge, a Little family sanctuary where lessons came each day like tiny droplets of sweet morning dew."

The artwork by AG Ford are powerful scenes throughout the book, capturing the tone of Ilyasah's words, both of whom do a wonderful job introducing Malcolm X through his childhood to a whole new audience of young readers.  It's a first step towards learning about a life that lives in literature, study, research, & a lifetime worth understanding.
I also learned that Malcolm's favorite vegetables to grow were peas. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

NMSU Basketball Aggies 2014

NMSU Basketball Aggies 2014

Heck of a run this year and a great battle up against San Diego State.  Looking forward to the season to come and the return of Sim Bhullar alongside his younger brother, Tanveer.  I was real impressed with the entire roster this year especially the beat down we gave UTEP in Fall of 2013  Check out history being made in the Land of Enchantment on Sports Illustrated: click here

Playing with Music at Home

Playing with Music at Home
Article: click here

So important!

"Young children love to sing, make music, and move to the beat. They feel competent when they learn a new song, powerful when they pound a drum or shake a tambourine, and proud when they invent a new dance. As children explore and enjoy music, they can develop skills in math, literacy, and social studies. Teachers relate music to diverse subjects and your family can continue this learning at home."

Baylor Lady Bears + Kristina Higgins

Baylor Lady Bears
+El Paso's No. 44 Kristina Higgins

It's March Madness and while I hear a lot of people talking about the men's bracket let's not forget about what's sure to be a most competitive tournament this year with NCAA Women's basketball.  Especially as it pertains to the Baylor Lady Bears and El Paso's own Kristina Higgins!  She's getting some PT out there so be sure to set your calendars for Baylor's schedule.  They have an exciting squad this year led by Odyssey Sims and an impressive freshman year by rebound muscle Nina Davis.  And as fans from the Sun City we couldn't be prouder of Kristina Higgins and the successful transition she's made from Chapin High School to the top of collegiate hoops with Baylor.  

Andress High School Eagles 2014

Photograph from the El Paso Times
Article: click here

Just a shout out to the AHS Eagles this year for an exciting season that kept us all tuned in through the web as they traveled back and forth for tournament play.  The season ended in a match up with Amarillo who went on to face a Kimble squad that was ready for the state title.  AHS made history with the guidance of a solid coaching staff and a group of skilled athletes, many of whom I've been watching through city league teams since they were barely able to reach for the net! 

A salute to AHS basketball and the bar you all set for great teams representin' the Sun City.  We knew how great this team was all along.

Below is a shot from BB.Zoo and his travels with the squad this year heading to Midland.  Major props also to the AHS JV squad who secured the district title in El Paso's Division I.  MC Zoo had his best year yet.  We're real proud of our youngest brother and the hard work he's put in to get better.  We're all looking forward to this upcoming off season and his last year with Andress High School. 

WAB all day!  Since 94'.  Twenty years of AHS Hoops.

Time Hardaway

Tim Hardaway 1988 UTEP

Cool video on one of the crossover greats.  We couldn't afford those expensive basketball camps in the 90s once Hardaway hit pro, but fans were allowed to drop in a couple of times to meet the UTEP legend.  It was a great time, had my NBA Hoops rookie and Fleer All-Star cards with me.  I think the rule was we could only get one card signed.  I got back in line for another.  I think Tim got kinda pissed about that. 

Lebron James

Lebron James Draws Inspiration from
Bruce Lee, Mahatma Gandhi
Article: click here

This one is going out to BB.Josh.

Reading on the Stoop: Malcolm Little

Malcolm Little
The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X

by Ilysah Shabazz & Ag Ford

Our next Reading on the Stoop day is going to focus on the text Malcolm Little, The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Malcolm's daughter Ilysah Shabazz and Ag Ford.  

You can learn more about Ilysah Shabazz and Foundation X at and also Ag Ford's blogspot, includes many other book projects! at

Reading on the Stoop

Reading on the Stoop
Feat. the R-Bros + E-Man & Lil' Lucy

If time allows, once a week after work we'll be reading new stories on the stoop for the little ones, E-Man and Lil' Lucy.  Going back to the early years of reading as a big brother with the lil' brothers. 

Our first book was about DJ Kool Herc by Laban Carrick Hill and Theodore Taylor III, When the Beat Was Born, DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop.  Highly recommended for all libraries and family collections around.  Great story.  Had E-Man doing the downrock!

Get your copy at!  click here

This is the story of Hip Hop.

Michael Thomasson

The World's Largest Video Game Collection
El Paso Times: click here

Tú Libro 915

El Paso Program Tú Libro Gives
Books to Children Not Served by Libraries

Story by Ramon Renteria / El Paso Times: click here

I really liked this article and wanted to make sure to share it.  Read it a little while ago.  Full article is linked above to the El Paso Times.  Here is a quote from the article by Georgina Perez aka Libro Lady.  Hopefully this inspires the next person that will find it in them to see themselves as a literary activist.  Great story.

"Perez is the founder and inspiration behind Tú Libro, a grassroots effort to collect and distribute free books to children across El Paso County, especially in impoverished rural areas and colonias where libraries often do not exist. "Anywhere there's a kid, there should be books," Perez said. "You cannot have a healthy lifestyle without nutrition or education." Perez became a literacy activist in recent years when she started working with Chicano author Dagoberto Gilb and other educators urging Texas to include Mexican-American literature and culture in the public school curriculum."

For more information:

Artwork by Stephen Gammell

Artwork by Stephen Gammell
From the Scary Story Series

I use to keep my distance from these books in grade school.  The artwork was all too creepy.  I'd pass by the book every now and then, sometimes picking up a copy to flip through momentarily, and put it down, creeped out by the artwork.  Throughout my middle and high school years I'd forget all about the books til' meeting a few artists in life who made me think back on those Scary Story drawings.  I forgot all about the book's title and author and had a hard time finding it.  A good friend sent the link that has a few of the pictures from the stories archived.  One of my favorite ones revisiting the images is the one up above.  They look like chess pieces.  Creepy chess pieces.

Ended up ordering a copy of the book for old time's sake.


Gary Payton Hall of Fame

Gary Payton Hall of Fame

Taking it back to one of my all time favorite players.  Won't ever forget that series run towards the title in 1996 against the Bulls.  Skipped going to my Abuelita's house on Sunday just to watch em'.  Congratulations to none other than the Glove.  


Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Regular Show

Slam Dunk! - The Regular Show

Shot from a hilarious episode on Cartoon Network.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Andress Eagles

Andress Eagles 2013 (Junior Varsity)

No. 1!

Photograph by Lee*

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

On the Shoulders of Giants

BB.Zoo's latest read. 

Here is a clip from the foreword by the great Quincy Jones.

"In the epigraph that begins this introduction, the brilliant African-American scholar Ron Karenga says, "Our youth can be our fate or our future."  Something is our fate when we blindly stumble into it without having any control.  But the future is something we first envision and then go about creating - if we know what we want and how to get there."