James L. Richard II / The Sekret Service™ / Blog

Got Me Working Day And Night

So much dialog is spewn to and fro about this word "work". Sometimes "dirty", sometimes reviled, sometimes revered, but always a topic? A "four letter word" to MOST, especially, and not exclusive to MUSICIANS. (wink) A "pedestal" is often hoisted for those with a strong "work ethic". Someone who does "hard" work, or "works hard" is held in high esteem? Conversely, one who is deemed "lazy", "shiftless", or lethargic is viewed as an ambitionless iso morph using up good carbon? :) When I was in College, my Dad sent me to "work" with a man named Robert Jackson. "Brother Jackson" had taken over my Uncle Cliff..s Landscaping business, known then as "gardening". He had joined my Dad..s Church in the early 70..s and became a Deacon. Brother Jackson would pick me up at 8am, after he had done 2 or 3 yards ALREADY. He would drop me off at 5-6pm and then continue to do yards until it was too dark to be effective. I will never meet another Human being with a "work ethic" such as Robert Jackson. He MUST have been an android? No person could physically do the things he did? I was 18 at the time and he beat me down like 1963 Muhammad Ali against Shirley Temple? I remember my limbs locking on me, worn from the BARRAGE of activity Brother Jackson mercilessly hurled at me, with no regard to my youthful vigor. Needless to say, Robert Jackson "passed away" last week at age 78 from Cancer, though he continued to work from 5am until 10pm most nights until RECENTLY? Now in my old age,and as I testified at his "Memorial" "service", it was he who instilled my INTENSE "work ethic". My Dad in his wisdom knew EXACTLY what he was doing, knowing that I would need a "role model", another Mentor if you will, to insure I at LEAST KNOW, what hard "work" and "work ethic" was all about. All these years later, when I see these lazy, lethargic, shiftless people infesting the Earth, I thank God for the people who at least showed me "the light". :) Of course I have no "job", but if you asked anyone who KNOWS me, they will tell you, no one has a stronger "work ethic".

The Pride And The Poise™

Lord knows I take so much "flak" for my "belief system". Yes, The Commitment To Excellence, Just Winning In Life, Wearing BLACK like a REAL Man, with Pride and Poise. For a lot of people they quantify this to the Raiders, which is the base from which I draw my ethic. But for ME, it has NOTHING to do with sports, it is a WAY OF LIFE, an attitude, a mantra to conduct my "viewpoint". As a young child, I went about my adventures in the most pristine areas of Piedmont, in the Holy City Of Oakland, where OLD "money" resides, attempting to segregate itself from the greater part of Oakland. The Holy City COULD BE the most INTEGRATED place on Earth, unlike that Godforsaken pile of crimson GARBAGE, San Francisco. But Piedmont is the closest semblance to "separation" in The Holy City? One Halloween I saw a woman sitting in front of her house handing out candy from a large "tub". We walked past and when we returned she was no longer there, so we looked into the "tub" and there was candy. Needless to "say", we took all that was there, screaming "Eureka"! :) The next year we approached it intelligently, waiting for the woman to go inside, cloaking ourselves covertly, the beginning stages of Sekret Service espionage. :) As soon as she went inside, we looted all the candy, TRUE Raiders. :) But the NEXT year the woman was again outside, but this time not with a "tub", but she was handing out something? We walked up and sure enough she had Raider gear, t shirts, hats, pennants. She asked us, "what is your team"? We told her, with speed that rivaled Quicksilver from the Avengers, "The Oakland Raiders". That was a Halloween to remember. :) But a few weeks later as we rode our bikes past her house, she was there doing some garden stuff, and we waved, she said, "come over boys, I would like you to meet someone". We saw a Man, an imposing figure, in all black, with a commanding gaze upon his face. She said, "this is my Husband Al". The Man asked us, "how are you doing in school? Do you commit to excellence? Remember, whatever you approach in life, strive to win, though you will not win every day. If you conduct yourself with poise and have pride in yourself, you will become real men. This will give you the will to win". Of course this man was Al Davis, Hall Of Fame legendary owner, former coach, GM and DICTATOR of Your Oakland Raiders. :) He lived a block from the home I grew up in, and they still own that home to this day. Jim Otto, the Hall Of Fame center, #00 of The Silver And Black used to come to my elementary school for EVERY Dads and Sons night, and show us the Raider highlight film for that year. This was from about 67-72, with the EXTREME HEROICS and mythical years of Raider lore, basically PROGAMMING us in the darkness of Crocker Highlands auditorium. As me WHY I represent my city and The Most Incredible way of life of The Pride and Poise? Look no further to the former. How could I be anything else? I commit to excellence, just win, with pride and poise, wearing BLACK like a REAL man. Once You Go Silver and Black you NEVER GO back, better dead than RED. :)

We Alll Need Somebody To Lean On

How cruel the clock can be? It never stops its quest to expire the moments in each of our lives? As each second ticks, what is instantly a new thought or occurrence, in the blink of an eye, becomes a memory. No matter how "independent" one is, no matter how ambitious, creative, or resourceful, there will come a time for every individual to be "assisted" in one form or another. Being an athlete, TEAM sports was always one of my favorite activities, though I do excel at Tennis, Golf, Swimming, Track and Field, among other things. :) The feeling of camaraderie and "teamwork", for me, was and is satisfying and invigorating. The "special" thing about team sports is the dependence on the whole to achieve the "goal", or in simpler terms, in that instance, you need someone to "lean on". Through my life I have had several "leaning posts". My parents, family, mentors, best friends, even my band members, and those who I have done music with, whether recording or performing. For me, this is what life is all about, the interaction with the people God blessed me to ENHANCE my life. Surely, a VAST majority of people would disagree with me. They see as an "asshole", arrogant, "difficult", obnoxious, and down right temperamental. My message to anyone who "sees" it that way, you obviously don't know me, or you have clouded your "judgement" with presumptuousness? That being "said", I have NO problem receiving the "help" I need to accomplish what needs to be accomplished? When we do the song "Lean On Me" in the Club Nouveau show, the lyric: So just call on me brother, when you need a hand We all need somebody to lean on It hits home and has significant meaning to me. No one will ever go through life without the "tests. In church, there was a FAMOUS "saying", "through many dangers, toils and snares. EXPECT that, "live" with it. OVERCOME adversity. And mostly, be your OWN person, don't FOLLOW blindly. Have an opinion, and be an INDIVIDUAL who LOGICALLY deduces, never rely on emotion in the decision making process. As Bill wrote: Sometimes in our lives we all have pain We all have sorrow But if we are wise We know that there's always tomorrow

I will NEVER forget my Father taking me out on the boat one hot Summer day on the Sacramento Delta, to "fish". Lord knows I HATE fishing, still hate fishing, don't want to fish! But I can look back now and see it was much more than that. The Mighty Rev. J.L. Richard, one of the most revered and reviled people to ever live, wanted to spend time with his Son? You could say this type of behavior was "out of character" for a Man like him? But looking back, he knew exactly what he was doing, and I can attest for his empathy. On this day, we raced down the Delta with the out board roaring like Jet, slicing through the water like a knife. He would let me drive, that made my days as a kid. :) We would then find a spot, drop anchor and pull out the poles. I cant say I remember him not saying much, if nothing at all? He had a "transistor" radio, and had it set to the top 40 station at that time. I can never forget that trip because the 2 songs I remember playing OVER AND OVER was Bill Wither..s Lean On Me and Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway..s "Where Is The Love". I googled the songs and it was 1972, I was 11, a year before my Mother died. The other memory I have of THAT trip was a HUGE Rat swimming by, my Dad pulling out a .38 and shooting the thing? I think I asked him why he shot it, and he said, "because it will chase away all the Fish boy". Needless to say, in my life, there have been MANY "Rats" swimming by, and I wish my Dad was around to shoot all of them, so that my proverbial "Fish" wouldn't be "chased away". What an analogy? :)

I Think I`m Turning Japanese!

Being from Oakland, we are exposed to ALL cultures. True, 155 languages are spoken in The Holy City Of The Pride and Poise, "arguably" one the most ethnically diverse places on EARTH? Human nature dictates certain behaviors that are constant amongst the species. Greed, lust, envy, myopia, hostility,indifference, insensitivity, cruelty, harshness; animosity, antipathy, or hostility The antithesis of these characteristics is the Human pension for compassion, empathy, sympathy, condolence, altruism, charity, rapport, generosity, which equates to one word; LOVE. By defining your Humanity, one can chose the negative, or when one has achieved self awareness, one can chose the POSITIVE. By the grace of God we are given this choice, to either be a harbinger of deceit, or be the messenger of goodwill. That is what makes an individual, his/her choice, or even still one`s decision, to be benevolent or chaotic. My example points to the people of Japan, to whom Club Nouveau and The Sekret Service paid a visit this weekend. Speaking to a resident of the Island of Okinawa, she informed me the Japanese people view the number 49 as evil? They refuse to use 4 or 9 to number an apartment, or the floor of a building, etc? How can I disagree with this ADVANCED culture? :) Because of my exposure to Asian culture in general, I portrayed a humble demeanor, (Jay will disagree), but this is the FACT. When speaking with someone, I would bow, utter "arigato" for their kindness, and recognize their cultural mores and social "value" system. Throughout the world, the vast majority of the populace cannot relate to the "differences" between Human beings. Most adhere to their particular PROGRAMMING to dictate their behavior, EXUDING "myopia". These individuals believe the color of ones skin defines their worth, not the content of their character? I composed a song years ago called "Power 2 The People", which stated. Hold it? Let me finish my story, mine eyes have seen the glory of brotherhood, solidarity That was taught by Martin Luther King The children are the hope of the future, that`s why I`m here to introduce you To an alternative to a selfish attitude, I know it`s rough but don't be rude Extend your hand, to your Brother man, in other lands Understand the difference in culture, CRUSH the Vulture of prejudice and ignorance Make some sense, it`s a rough world, make a place for all the little boys and girls Rise to the occasion, all the women and men, one world one Nation. We, as Club Nouveau, preach "Lean On Me", I don't need "Jealousy", and "Change The World". It is the RIGHT thing to do, the JUST thing to do, and the CORRECT thing to do. EMBRACE your fellow Man and his "differences", though no one will charge you to AGREE with him/her, RESPECT what you may not comprehend, and do your duty to make the world a better place. If for nothing else, the world`s children. You lead by EXAMPLE. :)