Tuesday, August 30, 2005


From the time that I was in kindergarten as a youngster, I discovered something unique about myself that other kids did not have. While most children I came in contact with had some soft of birthmark, I was one who had no such indication on the surface of my skin. What I was born with was much more noticeable in a sense, but a lot of kids never took notice initially. It was a trait that both my mom and her father (my grandfather) possessed. It was something that made tracing the outline of my hands a lot more exciting in the 1st grade. When the 25 students in class traced their hands and the teacher placed the pictures on the wall outside of the classroom, my hands stood out much more than the others. Wanna know why? Take a look at my hands.

Click the pic for a LARGER view of my hands

What is the one thing you see that stands out?

A) My pretty brown skin
B) My very short fingernails
C) The gold watch and other nice jewelry
D) A few bruises and scars on my hands

E) Crooked pinky fingers on each hand

Obviously, the correct answer is E. These crooked pinky fingers are a gentic trait that I share with my mom, my younger brother and one that my grandfather had as well. I’ve always been aware that my pinky fingers were crooked. I remember family members pointing out my fingers to my mom as they told her that she couldn’t deny me. Until a few weeks ago I never knew that there was a medical term that defined the condition of my fingers. While getting a routine check-up, my orthopedic doctor looked at my hands and said “Hey… you’ve got Clinodactyly”. I looked at him with my eyebrows raised and said “I’ve got Clinodacta whaaaat??” He then explained to me the genetic disorder that was prevalent in my family.

Definition of Clinodactyly - courtesy of MedicineNet.com

Clinodactyly: Curving of the fifth finger (the little finger) toward the fourth finger (the ring finger). Sometimes called "fifth finger clinodactyly" to distinguish it from similar curving of other finger or toes.

Clinodactyly is a minor congenital malformation (birth defect). The basis for the clinodactyly is that the middle bone in the fifth finger is underdeveloped and, instead of being rectangular, is wedge- shaped.

Clinodactyly may occur as an isolated finding in a person who is entirely normal or it may be found in association with other congenital malformations and, sometimes, mental retardation. It is a common component of Down (trisomy 21) syndrome and Klinefelter (XXY) syndrome. No treatment is required for clinodactyly.

"Clinodactyly" is derived from the Greek "klinein" (to bend, slope or incline) and "dactylos" (finger, toe). Other English words formed from "klinein" include "clinocephaly" (a condition that causes skull depression or flatness) and "clinophobia" (fear of going to bed--that is, to bend the head to a pillow.) Other English words formed from "dactylos" include "dactylogram" (fingerprint) and "dactylography" (the study of fingerprints).

I never knew that name of it, I just knew that I had crooked pinky fingers. I was accustomed to people making jokes and laughing at them. I could never make a bet with someone and join pinky fingers with them to seal the deal with a chuckle or a strange look from them. In 1990 when I was being fingerprinted prior to going to the Navy, the technician bust out laughing when trying to get an imprint of my fingers. For every other finger the pressed into the ink and rolled onto the sheet. However with my pinky fingers, all they had to do was press and stamp flat. I swear that over the past 20 years I’ve answered the question “Hey, did you break your finger” over and over and over again. Each time the question has been asked I hold up both hands together and sarcastically say “Yeah, I broke both of em at the same time". The response generates laughs and I then explain the genetics as best as I can.

I think it’s kinda cool to have em. It’s something that sets me apart from everybody else, yet it reflects a connection to my family.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Charm City Hustle

I'm sittin' up in the crib on Saturday afternoon cuz it was hot as hell outside. I give my man Big G a holla and he reminds me of the Ravens-Eagles game goin' on in Baltimore later on that night. We make plans to go down to the stadium and make some extra dollars scalping... I mean hustling tickets. He scoops me up and we roll down the I-95 towards to Charm City. Being that he had a parking pass for the stadium lot, we had no problems getting a space once we got down there. We walk around M&T Bank stadium for about 15 minutes and I was sweating like a dog out there. The temperature wasn't really hot, the humidity was just ridiculous though. 5-0 was pretty deep on the grounds of the stadium so we had to set-up shop on Eutaw & Pratt st. No if you know anything about Baltmore, you'd know that we weren't exactly 'close' to the stadium. We had to walk from M&T stadium, go through the gates of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and stand about a block from there. It wasn't a big deal though cuz most of the folks trying to get rid of extra tickets had to park far away anyway and most we coming from down near The Harbor.

I call my man J and ask him if he wanted to come through and chill wit me at the game and he was cool with it. Me and Big G spent about 90 minutes or so buying and selling tickets for the game and it was pretty much an easy day at the office. The folks trying to get rid of extra tickets don't really know the value of what they have and me offering $20 for a single $60 ticket was better than them keeping it in their pocket. But then I just flip the script and sell that same ticket for almost double what the face value is on the ticket to another fan who desperately wants to go to the game. I didn't learn how to run this game overnight and some days & events are a lot easier than others.

Anyway, shortly before 8 my man J gives a call to inform me that he was down by the stadium. I was done working the streets and decided to go ahead on into the game. Big G stayed outside and continued the hustle. There's just something about night football games that I really enjoy. I didn't care that it was a preseason game, I was just glad that the start of the football season is right around the corner. I hope to be back in Baltimore when the Ravens take on the Colts on Sunday night Sept. 11. I don't have tickts in hand for that gmae at the moment, but I'll be making a few deals between now and then in order to secure my seats for that one. That will definitely be a game to look forward to. Are you ready for some football??? You betta believe that I am!!!!

My pics from the game

Monday, August 15, 2005

Uncle Greg as Spiderman

So, I go over to my sister’s for while just to check up on everybody to see how they were doing. I hadn’t been there for 5 minutes when I heard the familiar call of “Hey Uncle Greg” coming from the bedroom where the kids were. I walk over to the door and they all run over to give me a kiss, a hug and to give me ‘5’. They had so much energy and were hopping, jumping and running all over the room. I figured I do my customary duties and play with them for a few minutes. I donned the Spiderman mask that I saw lying on the floor and decided to play the role of the super hero. I hollered out in my loudest voice, “I’m Spiderman”. Boy, these kids didn’t know the difference between the superhero and the villain. They attacked me like I was the Green Goblin. I had to fend for my own as these rugrats drew plastic weapons and threw stuff at me. I literally was jumping around the room trying to get away from them. I ran around the room as each one of them chased me like I had a bag of Halloween candy in my hands. I got bopped in the head a few times and decided to call a truce. I pulled the mask off and hollered out “Hey it’s me… it’s Uncle Greg”. The chorus of them burst out laughing and they got in their last shots on the retired superhero.

I decided to pull out the camera that was in my pocket and take a ‘few’ photos of them. They all sat together, posed and said “Cheese” about 50 times altogether. Everytime I tried to put the camera away, they hollered at me to take one more picture. Eventually I got in the mix and took a series of pics holding the camera on all of the kids as well as myself. This entire process of taking pics must have taken close to 15 minutes. But it was a lot more fun than playing the role of Spiderman. I was about to get roughed up by those youngins. Anyway, after I was able to escape from the bedroom, I went to the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge. You’d a thought that I hadn’t had a drink for days the way I gulped it down. Those kids had wore me out. Life is not easy being a superhero…. lol.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Happy 22nd Birthday Lil' Sis

Hey sis, it took me a minute to get these pics aiight. Hell, I had to download the entire episode of The Wire just to be able to still the frames and make the pics. Yeah, it might be kinda small but I can still see you in the background with the pink shirt on in the first pic. Then in the second pic, (as the courtroom photographer) you're right in the middle of the screen walking towards the front of the room. Hey that was your breakthrough and I was gonna do anything in my power to capture those shots that you were in. Since that was your first taste of 'the industry', I wanted to know that I was proud of your for getting that gig on the first episode of HBO's The Wire last season. I look forward to seeing you more involved in TV, film or theatrical stuff in the future. I know that I may not give you a great deal of encouragement when it comes to you desire to go to Hollywood. It's far from discouragement however, i just don't want to see you get focused on things that are difficult to attain. As your BIG BROTHER, I feel that it's best to keep it real about my experiences in the industry.

Anyway, I'm sitting here reminiscing on just how fast time has passed by. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was watching you in a school play or one of those gymnastics performances. You've always had the talents and abilities that I didn't have. You know I don't like the spotlight or wish to be onstage, but you seem to thrive in it. You betta believe that I'll be sitting front and center when you're in The Wiz this upcoming fall. I mean, I did give you the info on the casting call and you took advantage of the opportunity. That's the kinda stuff I'm talking about. Your ambition is amazing to me!!! Your dedication to keeping that family together has been nothing short of incredible. We both know that the road has not been easy, but you've never given up. You have 3 beautiful daughters and they are blessed to have you in their lives. You give so much of yourself to ensuring that they are well taken care of. How you manage to go to school during the day, work in the afternoon and still be there for them as much as you are is a testiment to you as a great mother. Of course, having BIG BROTHER aka UNCLE GREG around to assist and entertain the girls once in a while doesn't hurt now does it???

Being that I'm 10+ plus years older than you of course means that I have more knowledge right? I suppose that why you're always calling me for advice huh? lol. Okay, I'm just messin' wit'cha. Continue to stay focused on the things that you wanna do in life and they'll all come to you and pay off in the end. You didn't get to where you are today by giving up. Maybe one day you'll be able to look at me and say "I told you so" as we both look up at the marquee and see your name in bright lights. You know that I'll continue to mention casting calls and opportunites that are out there in hope that it'll bring on something big. Lord knows that BIG BROTHER could use some extra funds for all those ice cream cones and sweets bought for you over the years. Anyway, I know it goes without saying but, I love ya baby sis... have a wonderful birthday!!!!