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Wayman Tisdale – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now

Wayman Lawrence Tisdale

Wayman Tisdale was a star in the NBA and the world of jazz.

Wayman Lawrence Tisdale passed away on May 15, 2009, from cancer.

He was a big man with a bigger smile. Great athlete. Better person. A cool jazz man who was maybe the best slap bass guitarist of his era. A man of faith. Deeply committed to his family.

Having lived a few years in Tulsa, I knew he and his family cast a huge shadow over that city. His father was pastor of the Friendship Church for 28 years. When he passed away in 1997, one of the local expressways was renamed the L.L. Tisdale Parkway. Wayman’s older brother, Weldon, is now senior pastor at Friendship.

A high school basketball star at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Wayman went on to Oklahoma University where he was the first college basketball player to be named first team All American his freshman, sophomore, and junior years. He still holds the records at OU for points and rebounds. He played with Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and other luminaries on the 1984 US Olympic team that was dubbed the ‘Dream Team.’ The 6′ 9″, 240 pound power forward played 12 seasons in the NBA, averaging more than 15 points per game.

He didn’t grow up with a dream of playing basketball in college or the NBA – music was his first love. His music career began while he was still in the NBA with a Motown record called, appropriately, Power Forward. He recorded seven more albums, including Face to Face, which hit number one in sales for the contemporary jazz chart. His final album was Rebound and reflected his belief that he was not going to be defeated by cancer.

Wayman was diagnosed with cancer on the knee (osteosarcoma) in February 2007, when he fell down the stairs at his house and broke his leg. Chemotherapy that spring didn’t work and in August 2008 he had his right leg amputated. Tisdale kept his strong faith and never lost his trademark smile.

Governor Brad Henry of Oklahoma said of Tisdale:

“Oklahoma has lost one of its most beloved sons. Wayman Tisdale was a hero both on and off the basketball court. Even in the most challenging of times, he had a smile for people, and he had the rare ability to make everyone around him smile. He was one of the most inspirational people I have ever known.”

As a c-jazz lover, I was a bigger fan of Tisdale’s music than I was of him as a basketball player – he never played for ‘my’ team. But most of all I’m a fan of him as a man of persevering faith and and as an example of a resilient joy and hope exhibited and proven under all circumstances.

Anytime someone dies ‘before his time’ it is a sad story. Particularly for his wife, Regina, and their four children, along with a loving extended family. But his music is a joyful reminder of a life well lived and where he is now. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that his number one hit was his take on the standard, Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.

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10 Great Christmas Albums for Your Playlist


Tis the Season for Music 10 Great Christmas Albums

TIM RUSHLOW CLASSIC CHRISTMAS – Wow. What a fabulous big band sound from a singer known for his country albums. Don’t miss “A Soldiers Song.” An immediate classic! [Read more…]

Jerusalem: A Biography – Montefiore’s History of the Holy City

Jerusalem by Simon Sebag Montefiore

A look at 3500 year history of the Holy City – from King David to today.

Most of us know that in 1493 Christopher Columbus sailed the “deep blue sea.” But one of his key motivations for sailing west to secure the riches of India never made it to our childhood textbooks. It can be found in a section of his letter to Ferdinand and Isabella that is often redacted: “before the end of the world all prophecies have to be fulfilled – and the Holy City has to be given back to the Christian Church.” It is usually taught that the Spanish monarchs commissioned Columbus to beat the Portuguese in the search for the west route to India. But what is left out is that the drive behind the commissioning was they felt exactly the same way as Columbus – they needed more gold to fund a new Crusade to the Holy Land.

That is just one small glimpse into the unique, amazing, incredible, and fascinating history of Jerusalem – from King David to the Six Day War; from the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to the concurrent rise of Jewish and Arab nationalism to the Israel-Palestine conflict – woven throughout Montefiore’s exquisite narrative on the history of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem has seemingly always been at the center of international politics and intrigue. In the 3000 years of Jerusalem’s known history, it was exclusively Jewish for 1000 years, Pagan for 300 years, Christian for 400 years, and Muslim for 1300 years. In all that time no group has secured or held the Holy City without bloodshed. Today it is the capital of two peoples and revered among three faiths. It is a never-ending clash of faith and civilization – and for many Muslims and Christians the place of the ultimate battle and of Judgment Day.

I picked up Jerusalem because I wanted a comprehensive history of the Holy City, particularly due to the fact that Jerusalem is such a focal point for contemporary international political debate. I thoroughly enjoy every minute of this 700-page book that is filled with the good, the bad, and the ugly – and a surprising amount of humor. I might not have agreed with all of Montefiore’s biblical exegesis during the history I am more familiar with due to my Old Testament and New Testament studies, but it didn’t matter because what I wanted was a sweep of the history and got it – three thousand years of faith and compromise, beauty and slaughter, and hatred and coexistence.

Jerusalem was filled with surprises – and not just Christopher Columbus’s fascination with the Holy City. For example, toward the end of the biblical era, I was taken back to learn how influential Herod was in Roman politics – he was close to Antony and Cleopatra, Tiberius, and a major reason Nero made it to the throne. Reading through the Crusader centuries was like reading a novel. I didn’t think it could get any more interesting but then I got to the 19th and 20th centuries when Rasputin, Lawrence of Arabia, Churchill, Tsar Alexander, Hitler, and so many other characters show up – every historical period was fascinating because of the people who kept popping in and out of the story of Jerusalem.

I’m not a historian, but I feel confident in asserting that whatever world history you do know will be enriched by reading this book.

In the Epilogue, Montefiore sketches out the parameters of a peaceful solution to the current political impasse, but does not seem overly optimistic it will be achieved: “Jerusalem may continue in its present state for decades, but whenever, if ever, a peace is signed, there will be two states, which is essential for Israel as a state and as a democracy, and justice and respect for the Palestinians.” That is, of course, the point where readers will agree and disagree for a variety of reasons, politically and religiously.

In closing, I’ll state the obvious. This is not a biblical, religious, spiritual book. Nor is it a political science book. It is a history book, though Montefiore is mostly careful about religious matters and sensitivities and at the end he does give his point of view on achieving peace. You will be disappointed in Jerusalem if you read this to confirm a political or religious interpretation.

I almost forgot to mention. I read this on my Kindle. I wish I had bought the paper and ink edition because of the maps and illustrations.

Montefiore’s own family is part of Jerusalem’s 19th and 20th Century history – and a section of the city still bears his family name. He has also written biographies on Potemkin and Stalin.

The Best Selling Books and Series of All Time

What are the best-selling books and series of all time?

Presentation Notes:

With so many different formats, editions, and languages, counting the number of units sold of a book is tough – even with contemporary titles. Then there are the classics that have been published across centuries by many publishers and in many languages and editions. I’ve listed such classics, notably The Holy Bible, in a separate section.

I’ve also highlighted several books series as a separate category. But after referring to numerous ” sort of definitive” and “not quite authoritative” lists, here is a consensus of best-selling books of all time.

Any surprises for you? How many have you read?