Thursday, September 27, 2007

Roxanne Shante: Who Needs a Royalty Check?

The Gulliest move in Hip-Hop history!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Generation Hates Reality

I'm 26.9 years of age and I've come to the conclusion that everyone in my generation has spent their lives trying to recreate fiction. My generation is beating itself over the head with concepts, goals, and expectations that aren't only an exercise in futility, but also utterly unrealistic. We've all woven our lives into some lost episode of 'Beverly Hills 90201' or that really funny scene in '(fill in buddy comedy here)'and if yo look closely you'll see that it is ruining our lives.

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

Just A Quick Thought

Sometimes I watch the news and wonder why the news media play anything that a Muslim does as an act of terrorism. I mean, we don't do that to any other religious group in the world. Mussolini wasn't regarded as a Catholic terrorist, the KKK isn't spoken of as Christian terrorist group, Stalin isn't remembered as an Athiest terrorist. So why the bias when it comes to Muslims?

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

Just When You Thought People Couldn't Get Any Dumber

Sherri Shepard wins the "Idiot of the Past Two Millennia" Award.

The Government Is Mentally Deficient

Yesterday there was all this hoopla over the Fed cutting interest rates by a half a point. Today I read an article on how the government plans to expand FHA programs to help distressed home stay out of foreclosure. Both of these events sound like they are good things...if you don't understand our current economic situation and how the country got there. If you do understand these things you'll realize that we have just had two more dumb ideas slapped on the table by our government, which for some unknown reason likes to ignore factual data and research (see Iraq).

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 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 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

CNN Is A Joke

This is just a little plea from me to America...let the O.J. Simpson thing go! Please!
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 Race Card Has Two Faces

Jemele Hill over at wrote a outrageously interesting article today on the media and their coverage of Barry Bonds as opposed to their coverage of Rick Ankiel which you can check out for your own enjoyment at . I'm sure you're all familiar with the Barry Bonds situation so I won't go into that, but Rick Ankiel has been pretty much the opposite of Bonds this year. He came into the major leagues several years ago as a pitcher, failed miserably, was out of baseball for a few years, and has returned this year as an outfielder to much fanfare and excitement as the feel good story. Then it was found out that Ankiel received 8 shipments of HGH, a substance banned in baseball, back in 2005...whoops.

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

Mos Def, Bill Maher, and Cornell West

I love how Cornell West ends all the bullshit with madd knowledge.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It's Only Wednesday??

I'm getting sick which means I'm more cranky than usual (if that level of cranky is even possible) so here we go...

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 Sports Teams That Don't Need To Exist

I was watching ESPN this morning and as they were showing highlights of yesterday's sporting events I started thinking about the number of sports teams across football, baseball, and basketball that no one cares about. Or how about the ones that have been losing for so long that THEIR FANS don't give too much of a shit about them (with the exception of Cubs fans). So now, in the spirit of that thought, I give you 8 teams no one would miss

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.