Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Maestro

Dr. William P. Foster the living legend who orchestrated the creation of the Florida A & M Marching “100” (arguably the world's most famous marching band). Today celebrates Dr. Foster’s 91st birthday. Dr. Foster was born Aug. 25, 1919 in Kansas City, KS. It was in 1946 that “the Maestro” arrived at what was then Florida A & M College for Negroes and devised new techniques that would be the mainstay for marching bands forever. However, this is the world’s viewpoint of “Doc” (as his students affectionately call him).

To me he was much more!

I first met “Doc” in the fall of 1984 as a 17 year old "green" teenager with hopes of wearing that “100” emblem one day! My first impression was... this man clearly is of royalty and what a blessing it is to have him as “my” band director. He spoke in a diction that I’ve never heard a man speak before (Yes Doc was known for spouting words no one but perhaps Dr. White knew). But, it showed me the effectiveness of building one’s vocabulary and how men (of all walks & color) respected you when you mastered the King’s English. Doc Foster was almost God-like to a freshman entering those hallowed halls of the Foster/Tanner music building.

You know, I can still remember the first time “Doc” called on me by name! “What, Doc knew my name” was the only thing I could come up with. Foster knew the names of ever student that came through the “100”and he could tell you much about who you were as a musician and a person. He cared for his students much like a proud father would. Those of my fellow bandsmen who knew Doc will share my sentiments when I say…I loved him like a father!

The world knows him as a Hall of Fame Band Director and Artist! You may have heard of him once or twice mentioned at a Society Gala or as a Key note Speaker. Some bandsmen may know him as “that other band’s Director" who walked like a gallant gentleman. He is known for creating band pageantry. His band represented the US in the Bastille Day parade in Paris.

I will simply know him as….”The Law”

Ten things that remind me of “Doc” and those old band days

  1. Doc’s practices where we “Take the 1st measure”...... for a full hour!
  2. The way Doc spoke…what swagger!
  3. His tilted walk or glide
  4. His powerful handshake!
  5. The way everyone said “HUBBA DOC” to his every word
  6. Looking at the way his face lit up when he directed the concert selection on Game Day
  7. That perfect white conductor’s Uniform & Hat
  8. The honor of carrying Docs suitcase and items to his room during check-in
  9. Hearing him as a Keynote speaker at the Rotary Club and hearing a pin fall!
  10. Knowing that one day I’ll be able to look my kids in the eye and tell them….”That’s my “Doc”!


**** I want to hear your favorite memory of "Doc Foster"!!!!!

Milano Flascucci~

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our President~ The Muslim

Don’t look at me like that! I heard it from a reputable source. The other day Franklin Graham (son of evangelist Billy Graham) informed the Nation once and for all, the President Barack Hussein Obama is indeed….A Muslim! I knew it all along! He might have fooled the state of Hawaii, Harvard, Congress and the American People but he darn sure did not fool Franklin Graham! Mr. Graham informed CNN that the facts are Mr. Obama was born the son of a Kenyan Father.

So, (for the folks that are keeping score) whatever RELIGION your father is at the time of your birth will ultimately determine your faith as an adult! Got that? I’m still amazed that a Christian Minister proclaims to be an expert of the Muslim faith! Wait a minute…who the H#%$ is Franklin Graham anyway!!!?

At any rate, Mr. Graham is on record for saying Islam is a most “Wicked” religion full of Hate! I’d love to ask him are we Christians diabolical due to the “8” crusades Christians launched primarily over land, spices and gold ( I know,I know it was to get back the Holy Grail!) The deeds of a few do not condemn the morality of the masses. I do not (for one moment) condone the terrible injustices done by a few zealots in the name of Allah. I do, however, have a problem with the Republican Party trying to make Pres. Obama into a symbol of Muslim corruption all in order to win an election! The man says he is a Christian…So…He is a Christian! Who are we to say he is not!?


What difference does it make if he was? I was under the impression that the founding fathers created America with the intent to have religious freedoms? So, if he was Muslim would he be ineligible for the top office? I looked everywhere in the Constitution and I don’t see any reference to a person’s religious beliefs as a qualification for that office. (Now, back to Obama’s dad) Mr. Graham declared that Obama is Muslim simply because his dad was muslim and that Islam passes to a child from their father? Just for the record. To become a Muslim one need only…

Utter the words La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur rasoolu Allah, which loosely translated means “There is no true god (deity) but God (Allah),1and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.” And:

n Believe that the Holy Quran is the literal word of God, revealed by Him.

n Believe that the Day of Judgment (the Day of Resurrection) is true and will come, as God promised in the Quran.

n Accept Islam as his or her religion.

n Not worship anything nor anyone except God.

So, any one of us can become a Muslim today! You ready? Now, unless someone has Pres. Obama on tape uttering these words and professing Muhammad as the one true messenger of God…stop with the madness…Please!!! I ask you, have you ever heard of a Muslim scared to tell you he is a Muslim? I haven’t!

But if Franklin Graham says he’s a Muslim…then he’s a Muslim! What do I know?

Milano Flascucci

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"Paid Forward"!!!

A month ago Survive 365 sent out a National event on facebook and titled it “Pay it Forward Day” (based loosely from the Hit Movie with the same name). The purpose was to have this one day where a group of people would collectively focus on doing a positive selfless deed for some unsuspecting person.

The good news was, we had over 400 people around the United States who committed to the collective day of giving!!!

The bad news was some people just did not get it!

To my surprise….I got a few push backs from several people!?? Comments ranged from “I don’t need to participate because everyday is Pay it Forward Day for me"…to "I would participate but I’ll be at work that day!??" HUH????

Who? their right mind could say that they focus everyday on giving to others without expecting something back….(now let’s see…Mother Theresa & Jesus) but both of them are no longer with us (figuratively speaking of course!). Obviously, the point was totally missed!!!! If the American Cancer Society sponsored a walk for Cancer, it does not imply that this is the only day they give a damn about finding a cure for Cancer. It’s just one day out of “365” (no pun intended) where a group of supporters show up and represent! Oh and by the way…can you not do a good deed for someone at work? God knows they probably needed it!

Ok here’s the best one yet…Someone argued that they don’t need to spotlight their good deeds. If that person would have taken just a moment to read the description for the cause they would have noted that Absolutely No One was to post their “Pay It Forward”…reading is still fundamental! :-)

However (back to the positive), it was so wonderful knowing there were over 400 people around the states(27 states represented) that received a gift of giving and perhaps they now may have enough hope to carry on. The point of the event was due to all the cynicism in the world that there’s no one left who cares. We wanted to get people back focused on others instead of “self”. Of course we are in an economic recession. Anytime you look on T.V. to see 30,000 people standing in 100 degree weather just to snatch an application from police like its water in Haiti after the Earthquake, you’ve got a problem. If you’re wondering... this happened in East Point, Ga. just this week. However, if you view the footage it appeared that they were in a third world country. (Just to get on a 'waiting list' for subsidized housing.)

Lastly, I read a wonderful story that garners repeating. A woman in New York gave a homeless man her credit card after the man asked for change. The woman (a corp. exec) wanted to “Pay It Forward” and did what most of us wouldn’t do if our lives depended on it. She gave him her American Express Card. The homeless man took the card, bought a few things (totaling only $25.00) and brought her the card back to her where she was having lunch in the local cafe! Wow, that just helped restore my faith in mankind and who knows, like the movie "The Seventh Sign," God may have granted us another millennium of existence!

***Here’s my personal thanks to everyone who participated last month; and yes, I hope you do it on a more consistent basis…I APPLAUD YOU ALL…

Milano Flascucci~

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The APEX Museum Experience!

Have you been to the African-American Panoramic Experience (APEX) Museum? If not, I highly recommend you plan a family outing and scurry on down to 135 Auburn Ave. Atlanta, Ga. 30303 in historic downtown Atlanta!

APEX Museum is the creation of Mr. Dan Moore, Sr. In 1978 Mr. Moore (while attending a much overdue appreciation banquet) envisioned a museum that would highlight the accomplishments of African-American whose accomplishments were not generally widely known. In a nutshell…if you want a snapshot of the African-American experience in America and their (or in this case…our) notable accomplishments this is the place to visit (It is the only one of it’s kind in Atlanta).

My first experience to the APEX Museum was in January 2007 and to put in plainly…I was blown away! To see all of the amazing patents we as a race created over the past 200 years (or so) that are the mainstay of society now was a powerful reminder of our excellence! It gives you an appreciation of what it must have taken to create these inventions under the social vices of their times.

Below, is a brief interview with Dan Moore, Sr. and D.K. Garrison (Survive365: Your 360) at the APEX Museum…

Dan Moore, Sr., besides being a film maker, producer & curator, has authored several books. Recently, Mr. Moore has released In Search of a Match: Black & White and Sickle Cell Disease 100 Years Later. [Each of these books deal with a very genetic disease where a person’s red blood cells form abnormal shapes]. People who have the disease face a lifetime of “crisis” attacks that last 5-7 days (on average). It is a very debilitating disease where a person’s life expectancy is drastically decreased.

Mr. Moore had dedicated many years to finding relief for carriers and has a non-profit organization “Marrow for Life” ( who’s primary focus is to bring awareness and enroll more African-American’s to the National Bone Marrow registry. Can you believe of the more than 7 million people registered, only about 8% are African-Americans? A bone marrow transplant is ethnic based. Can you imagine how many African-Americans die annually because a donor can not be found? I encourage you to visit marrow for life and read up on how you can make a difference in saving someone’s life.

***August 21, 2010 at APEX Museum from 3-5pm Mr. Dan Moore and Author D.K. Garrison will be co-hosting a bone marrow registry. It only takes a cotton swab in your cheeks and you’re done! For more information about the event call the APEX Museum at (404) 523-APEX(2739)

The New APEX for the New Millennium will be a 90,000 square foot
facility with state of the art interactive exhibitions. It will allow visitors
to take a child by the hand and walk him/her through presentations,
capturing the experience with virtual reality.

We offer opportunities for Millennium Partners and Sponsors.

Milano Flascucci~

Sunday, August 1, 2010

...Nigger What???

The year is 2010…the word is “Nigger”! Racism has been around since the beginning of time! In olden age, it was a by product of territorial boundaries. In more modern times it simply is caused by the “color of ones skin”. The word “nigger” has its roots some 400 years ago in North America during the colonization of English America circa 1600. The word was based as a descendant of the Latin root word “niger” meaning the color black. Some historians credit the usage of the word to John Rolfe (of Pocahontas fame) describing African slaves who were brought to the Americas (although the word was negars). Ironically, the word was not used in a negative connotation. It was more of a word to describe the color of an African.

By the mid 1800’s the word became a pejorative especially in the south. Being called a negro was a term applied to remind former slaves that they were second class citizens. The word took another morph during the civil rights movement and “nigger” was born! This time it had become a weapon! Used primarily to cut through the psyche of negroes in the south. It has been almost 400 years since the creation of this hate filled word and during that time African have been freed through a terrible war, liberated during civil unrest and assimilated during the corporate American evolution. Yet, we still have not gotten past this affliction…

Over the past 40 years African-Americans have tried in vain to convert the name to a term of endearment using “nigga”. Although, it has now become mainstream in its acceptance it has only served to keep the word alive. Even politics has had its turn. The ever popular “N-word” used as a euphemism was made popular during the O.J. Simpson trial of 1995. It has only served as a tolerated form of the word in the press. By simply inserting “n-word” any writer can effectively say “nigger”!?

By no means is “nigger” the only racial pejorative….Macaca, pikey gringo, jap, & kike have all been used in our history to illuminate a cultural bias against one or more of our fellow human beings. Yet eventually their potent power has been diminished or vanished completely. Why then is the word “nigger” much like the cockroach? Impossible to illuminate? Below are a few questions I’d like for you to ask yourself…

When was the 1st time you heard the word “nigger”?

Have you ever used the word to describe someone?

After reading this blog…will you continue to use it?

Can you imagine your child calling someone or being called “nigger”?

Does it offend you to even have to read the word here in this blog?

Do you believe racism still exist or are we all just too sensitive?

Milano Flascucci~