Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Big Stone Gap On October 9, 2015

Billy C. Taylor, Sr of Big Stone Gap
The announcement has caused me to smile and goosebumps all over my body. This is just great. I was waiting for a long time to see Adriana Trigiani's book into a movie.  Big Stone Gap's own Adriana is successful author on Big Stone Gap, Big Cherry Holler, Milk Glass Moon and Home to Big Stone Gap.

Yes, I finished reading all Big Stone Gap novels back in 2000-2002.

Adriana's Big Stone Gap was no. 1 on New York Times Best-selling list for 25 weeks, Big Stone Gap was also No. 1 on Publishers Weekly best-selling list for 14 weeks. And last, Big Stone Gap was No. 1 on USA Today's Best-selling list for 26 weeks in 2000 & 2001.  Millions of people fell in love with Big Stone Gap after reading Adriana's novels.

Hrandma Martha Davis Taylor Callahan of Big Stone Gap
Many Critics praised Adriana for her warmth, hopeful & soft stories about Big Stone Gap, Virginia.  Big Stone Gap is a poor town with many people working in coal mines.  It was harsh place to live for many decades. I am sincerely hoping that her novels will prompt the millions of people to come and visit Big Stone Gap just like Anne of Green Gables in order to infuse the tourist funds to transform & help the town to snap out of economic depression and beyond.

My father was born in Big Stone Gap, my father's parents were born in Big Stone Gap, my relatives on my father's side are still there in Big Stone Gap. I appreciated Big Stone Gap because despite the harsh life, the Powell Valley is absolutely stunning place to observe.

Hrandma holding me & Hedy in Big Stone Gap
My father's mother was Martha Callahan, she used to have a small house where her backyard goes up the mountain. at a pretty steep thing to hike climb up the mountains. I still remember that when I visited Big Stone Gap in 1980, my siblings and few kids who live around my Hrandmother's house - Most of us were not even 14 years ago - hell, I was 7 at that time. We climbed all the way to the top of the ridge - my CODA brother & hearing kids heard Hrandma shouting at us up on the ridge from her backyard.

My CODA brother turned to say, "Hrandmother said to get down now because the dinner is ready!" Needless to say, we managed to get down in a hurry - it was such a miracle that no one did get an injury or fatality by racing down the steep mountain. When we got there, Martha was not upset at all. It is as if she knew that her backyard is where the kids played - she's OK with it.

When I first met my Hrandmother Martha (I always referred her as Hrandmother because she was my hearing grandmother and Virginia Pool Duncan was my Deaf grandmother, hence Drandmother) in late 1970s - She demanded me to come forward and hug her. I refused. My Mom said, "Hrandma is yours, she is your father's mother."

Glorious Powell Valley
I protested, "I already have Drandma back home in Richmond, Virginia. She is not my Grandma!!  She's not Deaf!!"

Later on that evening, my father showed me the photo albums to prove that yes, Hrandma is mine, too. When I realized that yes, she is my Hrandma - I went to see her in the kitchen to hug her. Shortly afterwards, I started to follow her around her small house out of curiosity - Hrandma went into the bathroom - she was cleaning her face and teeth. I wailed so hard when I saw Hrandma (she did not realize I was there) pulling her fake teeth out of her mouth. I freaked out and ran to living room crying to my Dad. Hell, I was 6 or whatever. It was my first time to see a fake teeth.

Hrandma has a freaking cool car which was rated as the ugliest car in the world back in late 1970s, it was AMC Pacer!!! I loved it - the car is freaking weird!

My late father, Billy C. Taylor Sr of Big Stone Gap
My Great Uncle, Paul Davis, (brother of Hrandma) was WWII soldier who was wounded at D-Day at Normandy Beach.  He was given the Purple Heart.  My uncle served under Lieutenant General George S. Patton at D-Day and beyond. Paul told me that he truly loved Lt. General Patton. What about General Douglas MacArthur, I asked? Paul stared at me then made a dirty look at me. He said MacArthur was a coward. Okay, what about Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower? He gave me a thumb down. Umm? United States Army Chief of Staff George Marshall? Paul laughed out loud, "He is an idiot!"

Paul had 11 children. The first one was Paul Davis, Junior. He used to be a personal hairdresser for Elizabeth "Liz" Taylor in Los Angeles & New York until his death in 1988 in New York City. Paul Sr & Lois never knew that his firstborn son was gay and had AIDS. His parents were overwhelmed that Paul Jr willed his wealth to his parents, effectively made the Davis the richest family in Big Stone Gap for the time being.

Despite the fact that Wise County is relatively poor, Wise was a high school football powerhouse under Group A, District 1, District 2 & District 3,  the total of four teams (Powell Valley, Appalachia, Eastside & J.J. Kelly) won 17 state championships. Powell Valley High led with 9 state championships and the record of 404-106. Just 6 miles west of Big Stone Gap is Appalachia High, Appalachia High won 6 state championships. Today, PVHS & AHS was consolidated to Union High School. PVHS had two brothers who went on to play for Notre Dame & Virginia - Thomas Jones & Julius Jones. Both went on to play in NFL.

My father was on undefeated team not in PVHS but at a deaf school in Staunton, Virginia in 1954. He probably learned the toughness mentality from Big Stone Gap and it was a good thing that at VSDB, there was an outstanding Deaf Coach in T. Carlton Lewellyn who guided my father and his team to have 4 years of winning records including the undefeated season in 1954.

Big Stone Gap is where Elizabeth "Liz" Taylor choked on chicken bone at a local restaurant. Big Stone Gap is where the first Walmart store to arrive in the state of Virginia back in 1984.  I wish Liz Taylor would be alive to see Adriana's film.

The Majestic High Knob at 4,160 feet above Powell Valley
Despite the fact that Big Stone Gap nestled in majestic Powell Valley, 23 tornadoes struck the town in almost 60 years which is bizarre because normally tornadoes does not hit in the mountains.

Right above Big Stone Gap lies a small lake named High Knob Lake which is very cold all year long because the trees partially blocked the sunlight from hitting the waters. It is guaranteed that anyone who swims there for a long time will get light blue lips. It happened to me as well as my siblings, too!

Mom ordered me and my brother to get out of the lake to warm up. Fun times!

Anthony LaPaglia remarked, "Wishing I was back in BSG!"
Anyway, back to Adriana Trigiani, I told my late father that Adriana wrote a book on Big Stone Gap. He was very proud even if Adriana is not a relative to him, he was still proud that someone from Big Stone Gap made it to the top & became successful author. Later I learned that Adriana planned to make a film on Big Stone Gap's novel sometimes in 2005 or 2007, I told Dad about it. He was looking forward to see it but that was not to be, he died in 2008 never seeing a film about his birthplace.

Now, Adriana Trigiani has announced that the nationwide release date of Big Stone Gap film is on October 9, 2015.  Which is very cool because my father from Big Stone Gap married my mother whose her birthday is on October 9!  I am excited to see Big Stone Gap on big screen - the film was produced in Big Stone Gap in 2013 with plenty of famous actors:  Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Krakowski, Jasmine Guy, Anthony LaPalgia, Chris Sarandon to name few. I just wish my Dad was here to see Adriana's film.



Saturday, May 02, 2015

Let's Pitch In To Help Sabrina Blount

Sabrina Blount & her 18 month son
Folks, I learned of this fundraising website and I am sharing this with you all. Not a long time ago, I mentioned that in North Carolina, two former ENCSD students has raped, robbed & ran over another former ENCSD student and left her for dead. But Sabrina Blount survived. Right now, she is still recuperating at a local hospital in North Carolina. 

The victim & the criminals are all Deaf and they all knew each other from their ENCSD days.

Sabrina will have to recover and rehabilitate not only her physical body, but also her mental & spiritual bodies as well. She has a long way to go. I made a donation to help her out and I hope you people would do the same as well. Any amount will be helpful for people like Sabrina. They told me that the donations will go straight into Sabrina's bank account which her mother will help Sabrina to pay the bills.

Few years ago, many of you helped in raising the funds for a certain person (Dawn Schriver Moore) so she can pay and severe any contacts with her ex. Dawn was never "injured" and many of you donated anyway. 

But this time, Sabrina Blount is severely injured and her family needs our help. Let's jump in to help out somehow. And yes, spread the word for me so that we can help her out. Thanks in advance. 



Here is the link to her fundraising website:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Why Do I Hate Connecticut Huskies?

4 No. 1 seeded teams in NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament has advanced to Final Four. It tells you one thing: The sport is stagnant. The parity is not there. Who do I blame it on?  

The answer is obvious: Connecticut Huskies.  

Some people, especially with UConn fans, tried to compare Geno's domination with John Wooden's domination. That is not even true. When I see them do that, I tossed a response similar to what Krona did to Hal Jordan when Hal thought he had the upper hand on him - Krona easily dispatched Hal and said this line:

"Is it ignorance or delusional confidence that allows you to actually believe you have the ability to do such a thing?"

Yes, there are many deaf UConn fans, mostly from New England like the Biskupiaks and so on. But do they really know the nature of the sport behind the basketball politics deeply like Mike Weinstock, Darlene Ewan and I do? Of course they may be the fans of UConn but they do not know the sport well as 3 of us do.

A true fan of the sport would not compare Geno Auriemma or Pat Summitt with John Wooden. One just cannot do that. Only a novice or bandwagon fans would do such a thing like that. Why? It all boils to the numbers!

It boils not down to the W-L records, it boils to the numbers of boys and girls basketball players! The history has proved that since 1960s, the numbers of little boys wanting to play basketball are 10 times bigger than little girls. The parents encouraged boys but discouraged girls from playing basketball. In elementary, middle schools' basketball teams as well as the AAU summer league teams, the boys still outnumber the girls.

So when the kids grew up, the numbers of outstanding high school boys basketball players are plentiful for 300 division I schools to recruit. On other hand, the girls basketball players tend to fight harder in proving their parents that they wanted to play basketball. So many girls simply gave up, the numbers of outstanding high school girls basketball players are not many.

Since 1984, I was introduced to the collegiate women's basketball by a school friend and I instantaneously was hooked to the sport. It was fun watching them play. When Virginia lost to Tennessee in Knoxville, 66-58, Mr. Richard Koch told me that it will not be easy for Virginia to win the national championship - he went on to explain about the recruiting battles and all that small details because he used to coach the girls basketball teams in the past.

In the past, it was not easy to identify the best high school girls basketball player in this country and beyond. For boys, many MBB coaches can rely on hundreds of AAU & high school observers all over the country for the tips to recruit who's who through the local or national press. For girls, many WBB coaches only had three for 30 years: Mel Greenberg, Mike Flynn & Clay Kellam through what? Because for years, the press ignored them - Mel, Mike & Clay had the Mailing List which they personally distributed to the WBB coaches when they asked them to send.

And the list is always small. The high school boys basketball players has a long list (500-800) of 5 stars, 4, stars, 3 stars, 2 stars, 1 star and honorable mentions. For girls? They mostly have only Top 100 per class. The best is always in Top 10. Guess who recruited the best HS girls basketball player year in and out in the last 10 years?


They would take maybe 4 or 5 players and the rest of the crumbs goes to Tennessee, Notre Dame, South Carolina and so on. When Tennessee got 3 best Top 10 players, what did Geno do? He went crazy and attacked Tennessee. If Notre Dame got 3, what did Geno do? He went crazy and attacked Notre Dame. If South Carolina got 3, what did Geno do? He went crazy and attacked South Carolina!

Because the recruiting pool is small, the battles are very vicious and very personal. Because the sport is not like MBB where there are plenty of players to recruit, the sport is very family-like and very personal. I could visit WBB coaches during the summertime just to say hello when I travel across the country when I was at Gallaudet (Virginia, Old Dominion, George Washington, Maryland, Tennessee, Southern Cal, Arkansas, Duke, North Carolina, Temple, St. Joseph's (PA), Richmond, VCU & Clemson are the schools that I stopped by just to say hello). There is no way you can do that with MBB coaches!

Because Geno has been a bully when it comes to recruiting the limited best hs girls basketball players, the growth of the women's basketball sport has been stagnant for the last 10 years. The attendance figures has indicated that many Division I colleges are losing fans because they are sick of seeing UConn bullying around year in and out. In the last 10 years, the attendance figures at Final Four and the National Championship games has dramatically declined each time UConn got there. But when Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Baylor, Maryland and Purdue won everything, the numbers go up. With Connecticut in it, the numbers go down. 

Unlike the boys basketball players where the numbers of outstanding high school players has continued to grow at an accelerated level, the high school girls basketball players are not growing at an accelerated level, they are growing very slowly. The numbers of girls basketball players participating in summer recreational leagues & high school teams are still smaller than boys had. So the talent pool within the girls is extremely small in comparison with boys'. 

So because of that, you cannot compare Geno with John Wooden at all. John had plenty of players to recruit and so does other schools! On other hand, in WBB, we don't have that luxury like John and other MBB coaches did - so for others to compare Geno with John, you're being stupid, really.

And it is appalling that both hearing and deaf UConn fans does not respect the history, the politics and the growth of the sport. You fans are terrible, to say the least. You UConn fans are the reason on why I despised UConn. You UConn fans are part of the problem on causing the stagnant in the sport and lack of parity within this sport. The truth is that ... the folks associated with UConn are selfish pricks to begin with.



Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Victims Is Not Limited To People

I wonder if there is a historical book focusing on the domestic & wild animals that were caught in the middle of many wars all over the world.

I knew that the US Naval Forces do use the dolphins in the open sea. I know that the Armed Forces used many kinds of dogs for different purposes like attacking & biting the enemy as well as sniff for any IEDs (homemade bombs) and so on. I know there are hundreds of domesticated animals like horses, chickens, sheep, goats & cows were either injured, killed or startled to death all over Europe.  I know that in Africa, Europe & Asia, they used the elephants, chickens, camels, pigs, rats, sea lions and yes, pigeons.  Pigeons were used to carry the messages from their base to someone's base. Chickens are used for detecting the poison & chemical gases.

The most devastating attacks by wild animals upon the soldiers took place in Ramree Island, an island in Myanmar (Burma) where the allied soldiers in World War II pushed & circled 900 Japanese soldiers who fell back into the swamp. the Japanese were battling on two fronts against the Allied soldiers ... and saltwater crocodiles.  The exact death tolls cannot be accurate as some said 500 Japanese soldiers successfully escaped the swamps. Only 20 survived.  Saltwater Crocodiles ate the rest of Japanese soldiers.

Not only that, when the Imperial Japanese Naval Submarine destroyed the USS Indianapolis in 1945, 880 US soldiers had to abandon the sinking ship and many of them still used the life preservers but they were also attacked by massive sharks who killed and ate 550 soldiers.

So there should be a historical book focusing on these animals from BC to the current. Is there one?



Saturday, March 21, 2015

Help me to make the right decision!!

I wanted to get a tattoo of Mordru on my right calf cuz he is Amethyst's archenemy. Amethyst is on my left calf so it will balance out But the problem is: I'm extremely indecisive on which image I wanted to put on my right calf.

If I had another life spare to use, I would tattoo on my face the same way Esteban Maroto's Mordru in Amethyst Mini-Series. 

If I had another life, I would want Mordru's face tattoo on my face
 I don't know if this image would be good on my right calf or not.  Aye or nah?

* * *
 Mordru's body on Dr. Fate's helmet 
Aye or nah

* * *

Only his body. Aye or nah

* * *

Only Mordru, Dr Fate & Mordru's comments on my right calf?
Aye or nah

* * *

Or this one?  No rainbow for me, of course.
Aye or nah

* * *

No words, just the transformation of Mordru
Aye or nah

* * *

Or this one? The entire comment, magic & Mordru - no background needed
Aye or nah

* * *

Flaw, Mordru & the fonts only.
Aye or nah

* * *

No white circle - remove it and good enough? 
Aye or nah

* * *

Only his comments but not the rest.
Aye or nah

* * *

And this one? Mordru, his magic creatures & his words stay.
Aye or nah

Finally, can you folks help me to decide which one I wanted it on my right calf?



Friday, March 20, 2015

All About Planet Daxam!

I was surfing the 'net when I came across this awesome graphic novel I ever had seen out of DC Comics' futuristic tale within the Legion of the Super-Heroes called "Great Darkness Saga".  This tale took place in 30th Century.

Many descendants at Planet Daxam were originally from Planet Krypton. People on Daxam is Superman's cousins. Therefore, Daxamites do get weak if they were under a red star. If the star is yellow, billions of Daxamites instantaneously became Supermen, to say the least!

However, this incident did not happen only once.  One was in The Great Darkness Saga, the other was the War of Lights.

During the War of Lights, Sodam Yat who was infused with the Entity of Will is from Planet Daxam. His mother fled Daxam to search for Sodam to tell him that Sinestro Corps has now seized Daxam and they are terrorizing billions of Daxamites for practically no reason. Sodam went back home for the first time since he ran away from his family due to their xenophobia nature.

Sodam and his colleague tried so hard to stop the Sinestro Corps but they were too many. And not enough Green Lanterns are responding to the emergency call about. Sodam had to decide immediately or his people will be annihilated by Sinestro Corps - they needed a leveling field to save Daxam and its people. Sodam had no choice but to enter the dying red sun and used the Entity of Will to transform the red star to the yellow star. Suddenly, billions of Daxamites from an infant to senior citizens immediately possessed the same powers that Superman has with the yellow sun in our solar system.

Whoa, is it?  The Mysterious creature who took the Entity of Will out of Sodam Yat's body was none other than Krona!

And yes, the tale of powering the billions of Daxamites using the yellow sun was nothing new for DC Comics. They used it in Legion of Super-Heroes' "The Great Darkness Saga". The premise of this tale occurred in 30th Century which the members of Legion of Super-Heroes were trying to identify the mysterious creature whose his planet & himself suddenly appeared in their universe after a thousand year of slumber. 

That mysterious creature was so powerful that he immediately seized 6 billions of Daxamites' minds and at the same time, he was able to teleport & switch his ancient planet with Planet Daxam so that Daxam can revolve around the yellow sun, not the red sun. With six billions of Daxamites under his control, he chose Daxam to make an announcement that the supervillain is finally identified.


Yep, it was Darkseid who seized the minds of Daxamites and used them to destroy and remake the Planet Daxam into his image. Powerful but cunning thing to do, that Darkseid guy.  



Thursday, March 19, 2015

NCAA Sucks

NCAA is punishing Syracuse by vacating 108 wins, suspending Coach Boeheim from coaching 9 ACC (Why only ACC?) games and took 12 scholarships away for next 4 years for what they did ... more than 10 years ago.

Why punish the current roster that has nothing to do with the allegations that occurred in 2004-06?  It is like you punishing someone for what his father did. That's not how it should function in 1st place.  The truth is:  NCAA failed miserably. And the late Jerry Tarkanian was right when he said:

"If you're so mad at Kentucky, just give Cleveland State another year or probation."