Monday, November 5, 2007
Sex education in this country usually takes one of 4 avenues: 1) don't talk about it at all and hope nothing happens 2) talk about it but only just enough to not make any person involved feel uncomfortable 3) the "you'll catch an STD and your balls will fall off" method (my personal favorite) and 4) the sex is great get all of it you can theory. Now keep in mind all of these settings don't take place in an academic settings. Also keep in mind that there is a 5th method that we will get to later, but for the time being let's talk about numbers 2 and 3 shall we?
Number two is the preferred method of stuffy parents who think their child wouldn't dare have promiscuous sex and those who feel so uncomfortable with their own sex lives that they can barely stand to think that sex exists. It is also sadly the method your parents probably gave you. We've all had those delightfully strange sex talks with your parents where they try to explain how sacred/evil/wonderful/life-altering sex is and why we should not have any unless its with someone we love and plan to grow old with but give you some long, rambling, confusing story about how a whale's blow hole is his lifeline (pause). The obvious problem with this method is clear no real knowledge or information is actually being exchanged so the parent walks away feeling like they've done their job and the kid is more confused than Michael Jackson at an all black whorehouse. Then the parents are shocked and awed when the boy/girl comes home with an STD or a little bundle of unexpected grief. It's giving a deaf man an Ipod.
Number 3 is the one that is taught most in our schools. First schools start out by giving you all the scientific names and functions of your reproductive organs to inform you while simultaneously making putting a penis in a vagina the most boring and mundane process known to man. Then when that doesn't work (and it never does) the focus shifts over to the gross-out method. We've also all seen this. Sophomore year of high school Health class, the bring you in and make you watch a video (or a slide show in some cases) about people with genitals mutilated by the horrors of sexually transmitted diseases. You feel sick, you never wanna think about sex again, you're thinking of joining a monastery. Then you leave class and see the nicest pair of breasts you've ever seen attached to a body anchored by an ass that'll make you cuss out (insert deity here) and you spend the next two weeks masturbating while imagining said girl rubbing that body all over you...that is to say that this method fails miserably. Yeah you talk to all your friends about how that video scared the crap out of you, but I've never met a person who turned down sex because of that video alone. You'd think in a institution made up of (alleged) academics that a better and more effective deterrent could be fathomed.
NEWSFLASH! This deterrent already exists and it goes by the name common sense. Just like every other problem in this country, this can be solved most easily by just using that hat rack of yours. When parents talk to kids about sex they need to apply this God-given device by A) talking to the kid like a human being instead of some kind of otherworldly idiot. Your 13 year old knows more about sex than you can even imagine (or want to imagine) so when you approach him/her about sexual responsibility remember they've seen the internet, HBO, MTV and a thousand other media outlets where sex is prevalent B) being mature about the conversation when it is had and C) instead of coating sex wit a fresh coat of evil, talk to your kids openly and get to understand their thoughts on the subject. You're never gonna get a teenager to NOT think about sex all the time, instead focus on getting them to think about sex responsibly.
I dread the day in X amount of years when my son or daughter comes up to me and asks me those intimidating questions on sex. I dread even more having them not ask me and sending my child out into the world as a sexually repressed being.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Look, public displays of affection are cool. Everyone in a relationship will probably dabble in a little PDA from time to time. Turning my Friday night into a snapshot of your pre-coital adventure is a totally different story. The biggest problem is they weren't the only people. In the course of yammering about this that and the third, I noticed about 5 couples about ready to hump it up on the bar. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, true. Does it have to lower your class? And don't these people feel odd? Here one minute you are standing next to some couple who are looking at each other with THAT look in their eyes, the next minute you're watching a porn shoot.
If you wanna jump your partner in the middle of a bar please just be aware that not everyone in the bar came to see a live sex show. Kissing your partner in public is totally acceptable and kinda awesome if the two of you are feeling each other like that. The line has to be drawn when you and your partner start feeling each other like THAT.
I know some people are gonna see this and say "Here is another person who is completely conservative and stuffy about PDA." To those people I ask, when was the last time you saw a couple you didn't know mobbing each other right next to you and felt comfortable enough to completely ignore it? Not ignore it in the sense that you tongue-lash (pause) your friends for being so adverse to it, but ignore in the sense that you don't talk about it, don't acknowledge it, and continue along with your day as if it never happened. Never! Thanks for your time.
*WARNING: SPORTS RELATED MATERIAL TO FOLLOW*
I was just watching 'Inside the NFL' and I heard to great comments about the New England Patriots head coach
1. "He needs and emergency personality transplant"
2." Bill Belichek is so arrogant that he stole a copy of Tony Dungy's playbook and sent it back to him with corrections"
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
1) I started a new job. So now instead of hating myself for working a thankless job I now work a "real" job and thus my time has been filled with actual work and things of the sort.
2) I moved from Evanston, IL to Skokie, IL (a 2 minute drive). The move was facilitated by me quitting my former job (working for my father-in-law) in late September. I will be living here until somewhere around March or April and then I'll be making another move probably to a town near you.
3)My youngest sister left this life on October 16, 2007, 6 days after my birthday and 2 days after my sister Ruthie's birthday. She was a devoted mother of 3 loved and missed by all who knew her. I've had a lot of sleepless nights and cried a ton of tears since her death and I don't think I'll ever fully recover from it. That is a blog for a later date, but one that I must write to clear my head and heal my heart.
Well, I will be returning to blogging about 2 or 3 times/week because I have a ton of things to comment on and ramble about so keep your eyes peeled for more yammering. PEACE!
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Take the way we consume news for example. If you were to walk the streets right now and ask 300 twenty-somethings about what is going on in Myanmar right now most of them would give you the blank look of someone trying to figure out what state Myanmar is in. Conversely, if you were to ask those same people and ask them the title of Dane Cook's new movie, I'm assuming you'd get at least a third more correct responses. In short, we don't care. If we can't get any entertainment value out of an item, it holds no intrinsic value to us. We want to talk to our friends about our new dvd player not some depressing oppression going on in southern Asia. What you then have is a large group of self-absorbed, materialistic, and celebrity obsessed dim wits who wouldn't have it any other way...and these are our future leaders and parents in these groups!
Our personal relationships have also become a casualty of this era. Love has become some cheesy romantic-comedy by-product. A child who was spanked out of justified discipline by his mom twice in the eighties has grown up to be "the product of an abusive childhood" in the new millennium. People whose parents drove a Saab instead of a BMW now tell people they grew up poor. Where did they get this from? The fiction we see everyday and internalize as fact. On TV "the one" is perfect in all aspects and loves you endlessly despite the fact that you're narcissistic and cheated on them twice. In this book you read, it said spanking was a brutish, cruel punishment that resulted in serial killers and suicides. If my parents can't buy me everything I want then I am an underprivileged child, so feel sorry for me. Our expectations of life have skyrocketed into some alternate universe.
It's even gotten so bad that people who break their neck to keep pace with whatever out of reach fantasy they are trying to portray look at people who are just happy living life as being weirdos and losers. Mention to your living-beyond-my-means-and-loving-it friends how you don't want a Bentley or how their $800 dollar purse was a waste of money and you'll be called a jealous hater directly to your face (which is better than what they'll call you behind your back).
Trying to turn apples into gold will only result in you ruining some perfectly good apples. My generation has been raised by absentee parents that hired the TV as a babysitter; and now that we're all growns up (© Vince Vaughn), we look at the world around us as a series of purchases, boasts, and bitch sessions.
Monday, September 24, 2007
I have no solid reasoning as to why this happens and it is going to continue to bother me. Is it just the propaganda machine at work? Is there some level of racial or ethnocentric undertone? Are Muslims really terrorists and the rest of the world peaceful flower-picking lovers of man? I can't call it, but when I do expect a lengthy discussion.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Sherri Shepard wins the "Idiot of the Past Two Millennia" Award.
The banks have no money. The people who you give your money to for safe keeping, the people who are the main source of money for lending, have no money...the market is illiquid as the they would call it. How did this happen? Well remember 6 years ago when those planes flew into those two buildings in NY? The government panicked as people started freaking out about the events of 9/11 and had to figure out away to keep an already sagging economy from nose diving into the ocean...enter Allan Greenspan. The Federal Reserve, headed by Mr. Greenspan, slashed interest rates to nothing making it extremely cheap for people to borrow money (read: they paid less interest). This caused millions of people to spend like its 1999 because they could spend more and pay less.
Enter the mortgage industry. Mortgage lenders, eager to get in on the huge profits to be made from the rate cuts, started coming up with these "exotic" (read:stupid) mortgage programs to make it easier for people to buy homes and take advantage of this easy credit. Sounds good...it wasn't. A lot of the people who ended up getting homes couldn't REALLY afford them. They got their mortgages on a 2/28 or 3/27 adjustable mortgage that starts out at a low "teaser" rate and then adjusts to reality after the introductory period, or a stated loan where borrowers were allowed to just tell the lender what the earned in income instead of proving it, or interest only loans that make no payments toward the principal balance. The result? Millions of Americans are losing their homes because they couldn't afford them to begin with but bought homes under some rogue lending practice.
Now that people are foreclosing like it's a new dance and mortgage lenders are closing up at breakneck paces, the Fed has stepped in to save us all, but they forgot the saving part. Their move to cut interest rates yesterday is like taking a crack addict to a shoe store to cure his addiction...it doesn't speak to the problem. Cutting the interest rate doesn't help the people who are losing their homes as we speak. At this point they are probably 2 or 3 months behind on their payments and the foreclosure proceedings have already begun. Mortgage lenders aren't going to bring their standards down from panic mode on a half percent cut because, now brace yourself for this one, THEY ARE STILL GOING TO LOSE MONEY ON THE PEOPLE WHO ARE FORECLOSING NOW!!! Oh, but the government has another genius idea to help along in this process.
Let's make FHA the new "Foreclosed Homes Association". Let's lower down payment requirements from 3% to 0% and raise the loan limit from $417,000 to $729,750. In other words, let's turn FHA (who insures mortgages for low and moderate income families) into an agency that insures the same bad loans that got us in this situation to begin with...this will not end well. On a second note, what low income family do you know that can afford the payment on a $729,500 home??!! Exactly my thoughts.
To make a long blog long, the government is painting a red wagon red. They are doing the same idiotic things that got us into this situation to begin with. So while people are at home calculating how the half percent cut in interest rates will help them save money on their new home, that time would be better spent calculating what they are going to do in a year when the house is foreclosed on.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Yesterday, my wife comes home from a day out with her mom and sister and tells me about this story her mom saw on CNN about a possible al-Qaida plan to blow up school buses. I didn't see that story when I watched CNN for an hour yesterday afternoon because all I saw was O.J. on the screen!!!
I get it, I really do; he killed his wife, an alleged boyfriend, and got away with it. I know people (read: white Americans) are STILL pissed about that over 10 years later. What I don't get is why we gotta hear about this mofo breaking into a hotel room in Vegas like its important world news. They had the "Breaking News" banner out for this shit and all that. This cat can't do anything for me to consider it breaking news...NOTHING.
Arresting this guy and further public humiliation isn't gonna suddenly change the verdict to guilty from last decade. He's a scumbag and a bastard, but save me the drama, please. Report on stories that are important and stop the damn celebrity handjob for ratings system. We don't need hours of coverage of a retired running back that robbed a hotel room...we need NEWS, you know the stuff that we watch CNN to see. It's their middle name...literally, so why don't they act like it and give us some news.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The main issue that Ms. Hill addresses (and that I agree with)is the reason why Ankiel is STILL being heralded as a feel good story while Mr. Bonds is still viewed as a cheater and an insult to baseball could have a lot to do with the skin tones of the two principles. Ankiel being white and Bonds being black is not an issue that people are willing to address in this situation and I think, as does Jemele Hill, that it needs to be. I won't go into further detail about the Ankiel/Bonds comparison (Jemele Hill does a great job of that already), but I do want to discuss the underlying issue a lot further.
Let's step outside the world of baseball and into a little known place I refer to as reality. In reality, white folks hate it when black people "play the race" card. To some extent I can agree with them because race has popped up in a LOT of situations where it shouldn't have and it gets old after a while. On the other hand, sometimes the race card is a valid game piece that no one wants to recognize. As a black person in America, we live under the "guilty until proven innocent" umbrella and we're always on the defensive because of it. Sometimes being black is all the damaging evidence that is needed. It is very hard for most whites to understand how black people can rush to the defense of an O.J. Simpson or a Michael Vick (or to a lesser extent Barry Bonds) when that person seems to be guilty as charged. But for every O.J. there is a Jena 6 or an Amadou Diallo or a Sean Bell that make it hard for us not be skeptical of the charge.
Most people in this country tend to give a larger amount of credibility to their own kind than everyone else. Some people do call it down the middle regardless of ethnic, racial, or religious bias, but there aren't many who do. The comments to Jemele Hill's article are proof that people will persuade themselves to believe what they want to serve their own interests. I read many an excuse on why what Ankiel did was just fine and what Bonds did was deplorable, but the one thing that kept coming up from the Ankiel defenders was their dislike for the writer's use of the "race card" which to me kind of eludes to some layer of guilt over having played it themselves. Blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics, and every other race in the world plays the "race card"; black people are just more vocal about it. Sometimes (and I know this is hard for some of you to swallow) race is an issue and does represent the basis for unjust bias. You can't discredit the use of racial bias in certain situations just because you don't want to give credit to your own racial biases.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
The Speed Limit:
Is there any reason why most people treat the speed limit like the sign reads "Speed Minimum"? If you try driving 30 mph in a 30 mph zone you'll probably be honked at and fingered (no pun) by every single car you see sans old drivers. I'm on my way to work today driving 40 in a 30 and the guy behind me is acting like I'm parked. We're on a one-lane road and he's constantly trying to pass me in his (insert gas guzzling SUV here)which gets even more annoying because we're on a one-lane road. When he finally gets to an intersection where he can pass me he does so by bolting past me at maybe 50 while giving me a dirty frown which promptly makes me laugh at him.
Here's the big idea: IT'S A SPEED LIMIT!!! If you can't understand these simple terms then you shouldn't be driving.
This is a damn shame:
I was reading an article earlier about how Jesse Jackson was going around some cit BEGGING parents in black neighborhoods to send their kids to school. Come the fuck on black folks!! Our people spent all those damn years trying to get a good education for us and now we ain't even sending our kids to the school we fought for them to go to?! You might as well go up to your grandmother and spit in her face. And throw whatever ideas you have of Jesse out the window; he's not my favorite person on the planet but at least this time he's getting some TV face-time over a good cause. My mom would've beat the black off of me (and believe me she tried a few times) if I didn't go to school. We lived in the projects, we had no money, but we were gonna get that "edumencation" whether we liked it or not. Why is it that the same people in our community who are the biggest seller of the "White man holding me down" game are also the same people who don't do anything to uplift themselves?
Kanye West Vs. 50 Cent = A Loss For All Music Fans:
In all the hoopla over the Kanye vs. 50 9/11 CD release, I couldn't wait until a friend of mine came over with his *ahem* advance copy *ahem* of both CDs. My verdict: Kanye's album=marginally entertaining, 50's album=shit sandwich. Which is to say they both failed to make a positive impression on my ears. The release date drama is a loss for fans and a win for both artists and their record labels. The artists and the labels get to cook up some nonexistent beef between the two artists over who will sell the most albums (which record labels mistakingly think means it was a better album)which makes the sheepish fans go out and buy more albums. It's really a wonderful strategy in a time where a top selling hip hop album may not even go platinum. The fans lose because the artists and labels are not selling you music; they are selling you image. Neither one of these CDs is a musical masterpiece despite what Kanye and 50 supporters may have you think. Go fork over your hard-earned money on 9/11 for some hot garbage if you want to, but I'll be at home with money in hand and better music on my mind.
A Gay Senator Is Only Newsworthy For So Long:
It was entertaining, it was shocking, it was an undeniably dumb move, but for the love of everything holy can we please move on from this? Whether Larry Craig resigns or shows up at the next press conference dressed as Shirley Temple, this story has lost it's flavor. Even I posted a little video connected to the incident last week...and then I moved on with my life as most other Americans did. There are 300 million other more important stories going on in the world and the media is reporting on some senator who tried to pull a George Michael in the bathroom like it's the capture of Osama Bin Laden. Keep beating the story to death and keep watching those ratings continue to fall...or take the revolutionary approach and report the NEWS. Just a thought
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
I know the Bucs won the Super Bowl a few years back, but in the grand scheme of things who cares? I found this little bit of info on Wikipedia: No team that has lost to the Buccaneers during the regular season has gone on to win the Super Bowl, often referred to as the Tampa Bay Curse. You know how bad you have to suck that just by losing to you other teams throw their hopes and dreams away?! That and coupled with the fact that they have the greatest mock nickname of all time, the Yuckaneers, the fact that they lost their first 26 games, and the fact that they've only had 7 winning seasons in the past 26 years gets them firm spot on our shit list.
7. Toronto Blue Jays:
Joe Carter is one of my childhood heroes. But name 5 other Blue Jays players...ever. I've never met a Blue Jays fan. I've never once seen someone rockin Blue Jays apparel. I forget the Jays exist most of the time. I've actually turned on Sportscenter and seen a Jays highlight while thinking to myself "These cats still play ball?!". I'm not saying that the Blue Jays are a bad franchise, I'm just saying if you dissolved the team only the 10 baseball fans in Canada would be upset.
6. Detroit Lions
Barry Sanders will go down as one of the best running backs in the history of football...too bad he never played for a football team. Barry spent years carrying a lackluster team on his back and we all loved watching him do it. The only problem is that Barry retired in 1999. I think he should have taken the franchise with him. The front office is mind-boggling and watching the team play is stomach turning. The good people of Detroit have a great basketball team, a very good baseball team, and a football team that drafts under-performing wide-outs like Lindsay Lohan buys coke. The Lions are so bad the Ford Corporation is using them as a worst-case scenario business model.
5. Los Angeles Clippers:
When I was a youngin, my friends and I watched basketball religiously. I watched every game that was televised if I could; didn't matter what teams were playing. There was, of course, one exception: The LA Clippers. We always chalked it up as a win for whatever team was playing the Clippers. Nowadays, the Clipps are looking a little better than they did back in the early 90's, but not by much. They've only won 36% of their games...ALL TIME. They've made the playoff 7 out of 36 years making out of the second round only twice. They are the JV to the Lakers varsity squad and even though they share the same arena they aren't even in the same galaxy in terms of team prestige, history, and all-around recognition. LA is a one team kinda town and that shows when you look at the Clippers home games (with the exception of the past 2 or 3 years); just make official what the rest of us have been thinking for years and end the Clippers.
4. Arizona Cardinals:
Do I even have to say anything? The Cardinals are the oldest continuous professional American football club in the United States. It must be out of sheer train wreck curiosity that this team is still around. They've been an NFL team since 1920 and hold the prestigious lifetime record of 458-664-39. They won the NFL championship in 1947...and since then they've made only 5 playoff appearances. In my lifetime they've had 3 winning seasons...3 winning seasons since 1980!!!! Yet they just got a brand-new, state-of-the-art stadium...fittingly in the middle of the Arizona desert.
3. Toronto Raptors:
This has less to do with the team's performance and more to do with the team's location. Not to start any kind of anti-Canadian bias here, but do we really need an NBA team in Canada? The NBA is made up of mostly young black males and sending most young black males to Canada to play ball is like sending an Icelandic hockey player to a team in Uganda. Plus, I've never SEEN this team play...EVER. I can't tell you what the floor of their home stadium looks like and neither can most of the NBA's target audience who are young black males like myself. You don't have to disband this squad, just send them to a city where someone in the 48 contiguous states might catch a game.
2. Memphis Grizzlies:
As a matter of fact, why don't we just combine the Grizzlies with the Raptors and make one mediocre team instead of two. That really is the only reason why they got the #2 spot. The only purpose I could think of for this team was to merge it with another team...that's how much no one needs this team to exist.
1. Kansas City Royals
When have you ever seen the Royals on television not playing your favorite team? Better question, how many times have the Royals been playing your favorite team and you STILL didn't watch? (AL fans only, please). The Royals won the 1985 World Series and have failed to make the playoffs in the 20+ years since then. Not only that, but the Royals have also lost 90+ games 8 times since then. They've had 6 winning seasons since 1985. The waterfall at the stadium is the only redeeming quality of this franchise. George Brett, Hal McRae, and Gaylord Perry deserve to be apart of something better than this shit sandwich. Besides miscellaneous gangs, who have you ever seen rockin a KC Royals hat? I count none on my end. And even if you were a fan of the Royals why would you tell anyone? That's like telling all of your buddies that you had sex with our cousin: it's disgusting and you'll be shamed forever for it.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
White People Don't Speak Proper English
I get infuriated when I hear white people talk about how minorities can't speak proper English. It ain't like white folks are out there leading by example. Hell I'm from Mississippi where English is everyone's second language and even there I used to hear white people make fun of folks for having improper syntax or butchering words. In Mississippi where "car" becomes "coar" and "dog" becomes "dowg" in white folks speak, you'd think they'd be a little cautious before pointing out the speaking flaws of others. And it ain't just down south either.
I now live in the Chicago area and I don't think 50% of the population can put 5 good sentences together here either. Here "car" becomes "caarr" and "Chicago" becomes "Chicahgo" or "Chicawgo". I hear white folks use words incorrectly everyday. The real fun comes when you see people write this stuff down. Quick lesson: "you're" and "your" aren't the same word, "then" and "than" are not interchangeable, and disorientated is not a word. Please, please, please white folks get a 'Hooked on Phonics' video and then maybe we can talk.
People Who Brag About What Someone Else Does Are Annoying
I keep meeting these clowns that like to boast about knowing the guy who owns this or keeps yammering about how his cousin in New York is a big shot in this. Who the fuck cares? Listen, no one gives a shit if you know the billionaire who invented duct tape so stop wasting my damn time telling me about it. What do these people hope to accomplish by wasting my time and the precious hearing I'll need when I'm 79? Are we supposed to be impressed because you know someone? Unless this person is cutting you a check for telling people that you know him shut the fuck up and move on.
I have a guy in my office right now who is telling me about his rich nephew who is a big time judge in some city I've never been to. He keeps smiling at me and expecting me to go "Oh, really? That is wonderful!!", but I'm not going to do that mostly because I don't give two shits. It has nothing to do with why he's here and doesn't impact my life in any way possible. Please, when you meet one of these people, tell them you don't give a crap before they talk you into an assault and battery charge.
We Are A Country of Pussies
For all of our American chest pounding and bragging we are a country of subservients. We laugh at other countries for their lack of freedoms and the way they bow down to all powerful leaders, meanwhile Czar Bush is destroying the constitution and turning the US into a 'Demolition Man' knock-off. Millions of Americans jumped on the "Kill a Towel-head" bandwagon and now, years later, we're all talking about how dumb of a decision it was and how our idiot prez lied to us. The reality is, we sheepishly followed. Everyone I knew (save a few people with common sense) thought the Iraq war was a good idea back in 2003...now those people have gladly switched over to their war protester t-shirts. No one has stood up for common sense in the past 6 years. The macho in us cheered for war while the pussy in us all got fucked and the country is now pregnant with a mistake we cannot abort. Americans will bar fight, brawl at sporting events, and kill a man in honor of ignorance, but we won't lift a finger when intelligence and morality are taking a beating.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I haven't been a radio listener for about 10 years now (which I'm sure most music snobs can't wait to tell you) not because I don't think there is good music on the radio (which there really isn't), but because I need variety in my music. If you like pop-punk (why?) and you listen to the radio you've probably been listening to Blink 182 sound-a-likes for the past 8 or 9 years. Same thing with rap and rock music. There just aren't a lot of unique and intriguing sounds coming from mainstream (or independent) music these days. The topics are the same and the music is of a very bland color-by-numbers philosophy because it has been shown time and time again that the fans will listen to what you give them and like it.
Here is where we failed: instead of getting music we have been sold bastardized versions of different subcultures and done nothing to prove that we deserve better. In our rush to categorize ourselves as a part of whatever the popular misinterpretation of a genuine article is we've stopped short of asking ourselves a very important question: WHERE IS THE MUSIC? Record companies, as I've said before, have proof that we are indeed sheep. They can sell pop music in the form of Pink or repackage it in the form of Lilly Allen or give it a new face and call it Beyonce and people buy it all. The funniest part of the whole thing is that the biggest difference between those three artists is the way they dress and whom they are dressed to impress. No one is listening to the MUSIC because if they were they'd notice that a lot of these songs have the same lyrics in the same melodies with very similar instruments accompanying them. So while teens and adults alike rush to call one genre cheesy and another the soundtrack to their lives, they are essentially just pointing out their own ignorance by not looking past the packaging and trying the product.
I've heard people who say they love punk music glorify Fall Out Boy and call NOFX pointless. I've seen rap fans turn up D4L and tune out Rakim. We have based our decisions of what good music is on the ambitions of music executives and the tastes of 14 year olds...common sense is nowhere in sight. You don't have to have talent and stand out from the crowd anymore, just hire a good wardrobe designer and you've got it made.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I grew up in the projects in poverty so to see someone make it and get rich like Vick did is special to me. To see him, and countless others, throw it away in the dumbest ways possible makes me a little more than peeved. I wish I could say it was an isolated case, but it's not. I've seen it time and time again; and Michael Vick I'm tired of seeing you.
I'm tired of seeing the same story in Maurice Clarett who went from talented freshman at Ohio State to running from the cops with an AK on his lap. Or how 'bout being arrested for robbing 2 people with a .45 over a $150 dollar cell phone. Clarett, like Vick had all the talent in the world and threw it away.
When Rae Carruth was arrested for conspiring to murder his ex and their unborn baby I was in shock. I was in shock of the crime and in shock over how Carruth could throw away an entire career over a family that he made more than enough money to support.
Tank Williams, Pacman Jones, Jamal Lewis, and even Hall of Famer Michael Irvin have had more than their share of run ins with the law. What is the problem? You got it all, yet you wanna let it all go to Hell over some of the dumbest shit to ever cross a human being's mind. Get it together, for real, or you're gonna start to see NFL teams pass on great players with troubled pasts because their investments will spend more time in the courts than on the field; which doesn't help anyone in the process. The players, teams, owners, and fans all suffer when idiot players can't be happy living in multi-million dollar homes , having women throw themselves at them, and rolling around naked in their money. I'd take that life over a PMITA prison anyday.
Monday, August 20, 2007
The disturbing part of this is that we're going to implode. We're all up in arms over terrorism or some foreign assailant trying to conquer us when the country is digging its own grave and waiting for someone else to push us into it.
The economy? Let's shift manufacturing overseas for cheap labor and to maximize profits. Never mind that the more jobs you send to some foreign land the more American people lose the ability to buy your over-priced product because they have no job. Let's , because we don't manufacture like we used to, put our investments in mortgage-backed securities because the market is booming...oops. There goes the economy. Now what do we fall back on? Manufacturing has been the back bone of successful nations since the Industrial Revolution...its not coincidence. The trade deficit is growing like a 12 year old Shaquille O'Neal because we DON'T PRODUCE ANYTHING. We can think it up, copyright it, and sell it, but at the end of the day that only helps a small percentage of the population. The rest of us are out in the cold. Everything is being shifted toward more service oriented jobs, but if no one has any money who are you gonna service? College degrees are given out like 10% off coupons these days, so going to school no longer equates to getting a good job; more and more it is equating to getting large debt. The large debt that has made it impossible for middle America to buy a home in a decent neighborhood without having to sell their soul to XYZ Corp. for a wage that doesn't keep pace with the cost of living or inflation (I know).
We're falling behind in education also. Government initiatives with fancy names that basically throw money at the problem have proven time and time again to be a waste of tax money and time. We have to change the learning environment. Our kids are being taught to regurgitate instead of think and because of this we are raising a nation of 4.0 morons. Train teachers to stop reading from the text and start challenging the pupils with concepts that make them solve problems instead of looking for the answer (there is a difference). We also need to change the cultural climate of learning in this country. We need to find a way to make students think and above and beyond that make them want to think (maybe by engaging them instead of talking at them...just an idea).
Speaking of cultural climate...our entire country needs a overhaul in that department. We're cocky, we're arrogant, we're ethnocentric...we're falling behind. This idea that America is the biggest, baddest, and always will be is starting to fall apart. Our high level of self-importance can't continue. We NEED other nations economically and politically to remain on top or at least near the top. France doesn't like our war and we'll write them off as frog-eating sissies. Another leader criticizes our policies and we brush it off as political propaganda. "Terrorists" attack us and we rush to accuse them of being jealous of our freedom and riches. C'mon. The same chest thumping complacency that has led to our decline in other aspects (education and the economy in particular) is leading us down a path to self-destruction. We don't need to change because we're on top and until someone knocks us off it's all good, right? Wrong. Asia (particularly China and Japan) are closing the gap and we may find ourselves on the outside looking in.
I think we'll get through the charade called the "War on Terror". I'm not so sure we can get out of our own way. We need to become a little more concerned not just with knowing what is going on in the world, but how the effects relate to us and what we need to do about it. We are absentee citizens waiting for the next person on tv to tell us what to do. This country will not survive, at least not as the world's strongest nation, being comfortable with the status quo. We need to think bigger, we need to think better, we need to invest in the good of the American people instead of the good in some millionaire's dream. The foundation is cracking and we're concerned with the roof.
Friday, August 17, 2007
- Our school systems are more akin to holding tanks than useful institutions (especially if you go to a black school as I did). I myself feel that I made it through the school system despite the idiots that were teaching me (read: regurgitating the text book) and students who had about as much interest in learning as I do in joining the Knights of the KKK. That is to say none. The worst part is how states keep lowering test score standards and academic standards to make it look like we're making progress in the fight against apathy-born ignorance. If you think our school systems are fine then go to a fast-food restaurant and try to get what you ordered. Better yet, go into most offices in white collar America and ask someone a question about something not related to their field of work and crap your pants in awe of the blank faces.
- The fact that the ugly daughter of our idiot president is getting married is not newsworthy.
- The same masterminds who gave us 'So You Think You Can Dance' are coming out with a new show called 'The Great American Band'. A couple of questions come to mind. 1) Are networks that desperate for show ideas that we have to keep seeing different versions of 'American Idol' every two months? 2) Where do they keep finding these contestants? 3) WHY IN THE NAME OF 4 GODS WOULD I WANT TO WATCH THIS CRAP??!!! (think back to that post about being underwhelmed by something you've already seen before).
- Nothing makes me more angry than seeing someone who has an opinion of themselves that has gotten way out of hand. For example, I'm walking to my car the other morning when a girl walks out of her apartment building. I look at her and give a friendly nod, she rolls her eyes, huffs and walks away all pissy. THAT made me made because A) I was just being friendly B)I'm married and my wife is 97000 times hotter than this girl and C) how did she get so high on herself that she thinks every man wants to make a pass at her? Listen, if you think you're God's gift then go right ahead and think that, but don't look down while you're on that high horse because you might be actually sitting on the floor.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
As far as Barack Obama goes, he's not black enough for the simple fact that HE'S NOT BLACK!!! His mother was white his father was black....half black does not make you a Black person just like having a broken leg doesn't make you handicapped. He's biracial, a mulatto, mixed, but just referring to the man as just black is disrespectful to his mother and a racist notion that has its roots firmly planted in the "one drop rule". The way the news media keeps talking about as Obama as the first legit Black presidential candidate is disgraceful; the fact that we've all latched on to this charade is even more disgraceful. That being said, the man shouldn't have to define himself by what other simple-minded people do. He shouldn't have to face scrutiny for not living up to being Black enough A) because he's not black and B) because it is a ludicrous concept in its entirety.
Here is the thing: the guy who everyone sees as being a "true" Black person and someone who isn't Black enough like Clarence Thomas face the same racial discriminations on a daily basis. They both get stereotypes applied to them, they both get called niggers by racists, and they both have the same everyday problems that all the rest of us have. While it is true that some people do their best to shun their heritage and any symbols or people connected to it, it doesn't make them any less black. Cowards, yes, but less black, no. By the same token (no pun) it doesn't make you more black if you perpetuate the stereotypes we see on television or even if you are working hard in your community to cure the problems that have sandbagged us as black people for the past 30 years, you are no more black than Clarence Thomas or, fictitiously Carlton Banks. You may be a better person for uplifting your community (or a idiot if you are perpetuating stereotypes) but at the end of the day black skin, black blood, and black heritage are what make us black, not some holier than thou construct of the society we live in.
Friday, August 10, 2007
I was just surfing the web and came across this article that shocked me:
Being the beer enthusiast I am, and Sierra Nevada being one of my staple breweries, I thought this was kinda sad. Not only for the beer ( I love their pale ale, barleywine, and stout) but for the company being one of few American companies willing to stick the middle finger to large corporations and do something that their own thing and produce what people wanted instead of going for the big profits a la Anheuser-Bush and SAB Miller and mass producing a lackluster, heavily marketed all flare and no substance product. There aren't enough people willing to do that in the world.
The Chico Enterprise Record is reporting today that Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Vice-President Steve Harrison has been missing since Monday afternoon. He was last seen leaving work at the end of the day. His car was found the following morning near the bank of the Sacramento River on River Road in Chico, California. The keys to his car were apparently found several feet from the car in the dirt. There doesn’t appear to be any evidence of foul play, though police have indicated they can’t rule it out, either. Brewery workers have been helping in the search all week and understandably have canceled the 3rd annual Hops Festival which had been scheduled to take place this Sunday.
I’ve known Steve for over a decade and he’s one of the finest people in the industry. I just saw him in San Diego in June during a CSBA meeting at Stone Brewery we were both attending. I wish there was something we could do to help, as this news has really taken me aback. If you’re in the Chico area or are nearby, perhaps you could volunteer to help with the search. If you have any information, please be sure to contact the Butte County Sheriff’s Office at 530.538.7321. If nothing else, join me in sending positive thoughts his way that he’s found safe and sound as soon as possible.
UPDATE: Butte County Search and Rescue is now concluding, based upon tracking dogs brought up from Napa County, that Harrison entered the river near the spot where his car was found Tuesday. County officials have begun using an underwater camera to search the river, which in places can be as deep as twenty feet.
Winner for most confusing headline ever and dumbest criminal under the age of 20.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Can someone please explain to me the allure of watching pre-season athletics? I love sports, I really do; I'm a huge pro baseball, football, and basketball fan. One thing I've never been able to grasp is why in the names of Abraham, Jesus, and Mohammed would you sit and waste time watching a game that doesn't count?
My good buddy JB always said that he was so excited to see football for the first time since the Super Bowl that he had to watch. Others have said they want to see how they new additions to their team is looking or how certain aspects of a team perform. I ain't buyin that. How the hell are you gonna evaluate a team's or a player's talent when they are playing 5 minutes at a time? Besides that the PLAYERS usually think that pre-season games are a sandpaper handjob. If they don't care, what are we talking about?
Here is the thing: Pre season football makes about as much sense as pre eating eating. The stats don't matter, the score doesn't matter, the good players don't play very long, and the coach doesn't use a lot of plays...in effect NOTHING HAPPENS besides elevating the risk of injury to your favorite player, the league makes a killing on idiots who come to the games and watch at home, and people with common sense beat their own ass in awe of the dumassity. I know a well-oiled, fine-tuned idiot catcher when I see one and that is just what pre season athletics are. If you think the pre season is a worth while endeavor then I have a car with concrete block tires that I wanna sell you.
Newspapers and television news were dead long before the internet became popular, but people didn't have any other options before. If you ask me, and no one has by the way, news outlets dug their own graves. Because I love lists, here are my feelings on how we got to this stage (which couldn't possibly be the news media's own fault):
- News became formulaic. No matter the city you live in your evening news prolly (that's southern for probably) plays out something like this: murder, murder, murder, murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, political scandal, commercial break, murder, on-going local issue, commercial, brief nation and world news, sports, commercial, weather, commercial, feel good story. I'm not saying any of these topics are boring or mundane, but do we need the same script everyday at 6 AM, Noon, 4 PM, 5 PM, 6 PM, and Ten?
- Newspapers are filled with wordy, rambling articles. I dunno how many times I've read an article, got all of the info in the first 3 paragraphs and spent the next 26 paragraphs getting rehashing of the first 3 paragraphs in long form.
- Both mediums have waaay to many ads. It's news not the season premiere of 'Survivor'.
- Stiff/heartless news anchors. Ever notice how most anchors tell the evening news like they are reading their own obituary on the air? Oh, the parade of personality doesn't stop there. How many times have you seen an anchor go from talking about a family of 4 being gunned down in their homes and then switch on a smile for the toss to the sports guy? What heartless douche switches from "...all their bodies were found in the family room." to "Hey, Bob! How 'bout them Sox?!" without missing a beat?
- Beating stories to death. If they can sell more copies or get higher ratings (which means more ad money) both outlets will gladly forgo reporting on anything but the one huge news item of the moment. How do you expect me to stay well-informed if you only inform me of one thing.
- Celebrity news. Needs no explanation, but unless one of these tools is curing cancer the shit ain't news.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
The more I thought about it the more I started thinking about those game shows as compared to the ones that show up on television today. I've gotta say it's pretty pathetic, but then again so is everything else in entertainment in this country. Let's examine.
Here are my favorite game shows from that era in no particular order:
- The Price is Right
- Jeopardy (best game show in the history of 4 universes)
- Double Dare
- Family Feud
- Wheel of Fortune
- Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
- Fear Factor
- The Weakest Link
- Don't Forget the Lyrics (dumbest show ever)
- Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
From television to movies to music mediocre is the new genius. The general viewing and listening audience has been reduced to either A) being interested in something because it gets shoved in their faces 45 times a day or B) people feel they don't have a choice. It's an obvious quantity over quality scenario. Advertisers and entertainment execs alike have figured out that you don't have to spend time developing a good product, but create a middle of the pack product with great marketing and you'll make millions. Who can blame them, would you work your tail off at work when the boss is handing out raises for leaving early?
AND they all produce the same product! Every show on television has a twin. Every genre of music has 4 or 5 bands or groups that sound EXACTLY the same. Movies get recycled every 6 months. Yet we continue to shell out money to be underwhelmed by something we've seen or heard before. We bought Lil' Bow Wow and Lil' Romeo cds. We watched 'Armageddon' and 'Deep Impact' (see also Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch). We tuned in to 'Chicago Hope' and 'ER' and 'Grey's Anatomy'. Maybe we're to blame instead of the studios.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Sunday, August 5, 2007
My wife's father is of the belief that "cleaning up" these neighborhoods and making life all nice and pretty for young, snotty inhabitants to move into is a great thing that should be commended. He contends that making the city appear clean, glitzy, and pricey is just what it needs to improve the living standards of its inhabitants and to get Chicago recognized as a world class city on the level of New York, London, Paris, and Los Angeles. He also thinks that by doing this you eradicate crime in the area by forcing the people committing the crime out of the area. Here is where we differ.
While I agree that something should be done to lower the crime rate in the Chicago metro area, I don't think that pushing out it's current lower income inhabitants is the way to go. As I see it, the number one cause of crime anywhere in the world is economics. Rich people (or people who are living in a comfortable situation) don't kill, steal, or burden their community at nearly the rate that poor people do. By gentrification pushing low income families out of the neighborhoods that they work and live in you're, in effect, just moving a brain tumor to your throat. That is to say the problem is not being cured. The crime rate doesn't go down in the city...it just goes down in that area specifically.
The crime is going to shift. Instead of a gang-affiliated teenager living and doing his various detrimental activities in say Cabrini Green, his family is pushed into an economically viable area near the same neighborhood. So the influence and activities that this teen is involved in move to that neighborhood with him and now people who never saw it coming slowly have more and more crime creeping into their everyday lives. This area becomes the new 'problem area' with no way to deal with the influx of crime that has stormed into it. No one is addressing this situation because they are not addressing the cause of the crime.
The cause is that you have people who can't afford to live being asked to not only live and support their families, but also provide some kind of economic example for their children to grow up with and prosper from. Parents who are working two or three jobs just to keep food on the table don't have the time to keep an eye on their children who are left to gain most of their knowledge about the world from the streets; the corner hustler, the pimp, or the gangster becomes a role model of sorts. These people usually have the money and respect that the teen craves and become the guide into a life of fast money, fast women, and hard living. These people also have words of guidance and encouragement for the child that they don't get at home from their stressed-out over-worked parents. The biggest difference between a South Side child sucked into a life of crime and a Lincoln Park child with Harvard aspirations is in their parents wallets and not necessarily some cultural or genetic dissimilarity.
Until this city, and this country on a larger scale, begins to address the root of inner-city crime we're never going to lower the crime rate. The answer is clearly economic development. In times of prosperity the crime rate falls and if you think the two items are unrelated then you probably think Iraq has WMDs also. If you create decent-paying jobs that allow people to invest time in their children and care into their community, then you create an environment where the positive aspects of life can be promoted rather than seen as an unattainable dream. If we continue to attempt to gentrify these areas instead of improve them from the ground up we're going to continue to produce angry and disenfranchised youth in low income areas that see crime as the only way they can make ends meet.
Friday, August 3, 2007
- Vitamin Water: Water? Check. Vitamins? Check. Food Coloring? Check. Fruit Flavors? Check. Didn't they already make this mixture and call that ish 'juice'?
- Outdoor Music Festivals: It's hot as a stripper in a wool thong outside and these clowns want me to stand in line with a bunch of ass clowns, pay 4 bones for a bottle of water, and hit me up for a Benji Franklin for a line up of 45 artists 39 of which I don't give a damn about. You out yo Gotdamn mind. Besides, I can see drunk white folks inside in the AC on the daily.
- Men with messenger bags and/or designer knapsacks: IT'S A PURSE, HOMEBOY!!
- Men who critique women's fashion: Just as a matter of note, if you've ever seen a good looking chick and didn't holla at her because she had ugly shoes on or her nails weren't polished...you don't like chicks.
- Corporations trying to convince consumers that they give a damn: I look dumb...that's where it ends.
- Political ignorance: Whether you vote right or left, the person you are voting for is a rich politician who doesn't have YOUR best interest in his/her interest. Stop all this "Politician XYZ cares" or "Party X is only for rich folks"...Jon Kerry and Dubya were frat brothers...end of discussion.
- Racism as a community building block: The Nazis did it, the Klan did it, some of my own people do it...and it's still fucked up. For some reason, people tend to trust a person who looks like them more than anyone else; which is fine. But how the hell did that turn into parents raising their kids to "stick to your own kind". You don't like Puerto Ricans? Your daughter gonna come home with "Livin' La Vida Loca" © Chris Rock.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
- White people who try to define blackness as whatever is on BET
- Black people who think that hating another race makes you more progressive
- News stories devoted to a celebrity's greatness/lack of self-control/money
- Linkin' Park
- That guy who tries to cut you off in traffic and gets mad when you don't let him
- Shopping for anything
- Politicians...all of them
- That one shopping cart with the broken wheel
- Rappers ternt actor
- Atheletes doing anything besides playing a sport
- Kurt Schilling
- Justin Timberlake
- Chicago Bears/Cubs/Sox fans
Not only do I hate Wal-Mart's ability to kill a healthy mule in a matter of seconds, but I also abhor them for all the other Wal-Marxish bull they get away with. Hiring droves of illegal immigrants with no penalty, pretty much destroying any locally-owned and operated business within its path (thereby weakening the local economy), and for the way it pretty much strong-arms any one who wants to sell a product into doing it their fascist way. My mother loooooves Wal-Mart. She also happens to work for an off and on bankrupt company called Winn-Dixie, which if you live below the Mason-Dixon line, used to be a beast in the grocery realm...until Super Wal-Mart moved in. Now no one goes to Winn-Dixie; the all go to Wal-Mart. Even my mother. She often asks the rhetorical question "Why can't Winn-Dixie get they shit together?" The answer is right in the Arkansas-based juggernaught. The way they beat suppliers, distributors, and merchandisers into using their logistics system and shelving practices is what leads to those low prices everyone loves...it also leads to companies going bankrupt and tons of people becoming unemployed. I'm just talkin'.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
At any rate, I'm just feeling my way around the set up of this thing so bear with me while I get started. Rest assured that once I get my feet wet (read: someone pisses me off severely...start the clock NOW) I will have a lot more to say.
So take a look around, get settled in, and get familiar with what I like to call 'Preserved Disorder'.