Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Coming Soon To UPN/WB/CW: The Rebb'n Wright Comedy Hour!


When my homegirl The Black Snob roasted Rebb'n Wright's appearance at the National Press Club in an AB.com Guest Post the other day, I withheld judgement since I hadn't seen the whole thing in it's entirety. I finally got around to watching the whole spectable today, and all I gotta say is when does this guy's UPN/WB/CW/WhateverIt'sCalledNow show come out? If you haven't watched this coonfest, have a look at what this old ass bama did Monday.

In Part One, he discusses his patriotism, Farrakhan, and his relationship with Obama. Watch this idiot actually throw up the Que sign around the 2:10 mark.



The subsequent parts are just as bad. Peep Part Two.



And mercifully, the final installment, Part Three.



Wright continually upstages the poor young lady asking questions. He puffs out his chest. He pumps his fist. He points at folks in the audience. He preens, he prances, he bojangles. He answers questions like he's Dennis Green[1] or something.

This is the ultimate example of C.Y.I.N. and it's ain't pretty.

After his very reasonable interview with PBS' Bill Moyers, Wright's public actions have taken a nosedive. He gave Barry no excuse not to throw him in the path of a speeding Metrobus.



This was so over the top, part of me wonders if this whole thing wasn't some sorta well-orchestrated act. Wright acted such a damn fool that Obama had to completely distance himself. Was this some sorta plan to present Wright as so far out there that Obama could finally cut the cord without any reasonable person questioning him further? Who knows?

Some say this public denunciation of Wright and Farrakhan could jeopardize Obama's support with black voters? I call that B.S. Seriously, do you think black folks will flock to Hillary Clinton and Old Man McCain in droves? Most black folks know enough about "playing the game" to see what's going on here. He had to cut bait, and he did.

One thing I'm rather sure of is that this is a longterm win for Obama. Folks who weren't gonna vote for him still won't. Folks who would have still will. But by burying the hatchet so publicly, I think he takes this issue off the table come the Fall. Seriously, the Old Man presented himself as the Ultimate Debit To The Black Race. Obama tactfully, yet decisively kicked him to the curb. What more can really be said about this?

Question: Assuming you've watched the above spectacle in it's entirety, what is your impression of Rebb'n Wright now? Is it possible this whole thing was a setup? Does this finally put this issue of guilt by association to rest for once and for all? Would Rebb'n Wright's UPN/WB/CW show be better than Flavor Flav's?

[1] An old black NFL coach, just in case you're not a sports fan.

Barry is Baaaaallin'!!!


I'd like to see John McCain pull this one off.

Senator Barack Obama played another game of basketball today, this time suiting up here with the North Carolina Tar Heels. There were no injuries.

With a wave of controversy swirling around him – after a day in which the TV news was dominated by the incendiary words of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. – Mr. Obama began his day of campaigning in the friendly confines of the Tar Heel zone. Basketball has suddenly become a piece of his strategy to connect.
And at least here in North Carolina, where the Democratic primary is one week away, could the images of him on the basketball court replace – or at least supplement – those of his former pastor?

The senator played for several minutes, occasionally lagging behind the bunch. His best chance for a basket came shortly after he made a behind-the-back pass. As the ball was passed back to him, he fired up a jump shot, but it bounced from the backboard and around the rim.

The senator did not score any points, while cameras were rolling, but campaign aides later reported that he sunk a 3-point-shot.
Sure, you can call this extreme pandering. Is it silent manipulation when you play pickup ball in a state where hoops is religion? Yessir! But I'd much rather see Obama doing something he can actually pull off than rolling more gutterballs like he did in that much maligned bowling excursion in PA.

I can't wait to see Hillary warming up with the Meredith College women's lacrosse team.

Besides, what's worse: a candidate playing a game he's halfway decent at, or a candidate's wife who has never cooked a day in her life having an intern crib recipes from the Food Network and calling them her own?

Michelle would never pull no B.S. like that.

You have to wonder sometimes if the Obama campaign is throwing out these images to send a subliminal message to voters. He's played pickup ball in front of reporters and cameras at least a dozen times thus far on this campaign. Is this some underhanded way of telling you about his relative health and youth vs John McCain?

Here Obama is stylin' on my Tarheels and breakin' ankles. Meanwhile, McCain prolly eats his Cream of Wheat and goes to bed by 7pm.

Putting a 6-3 and relatively athletic 40-something beside a crusty, 5-9 septuagenarian will be a pretty potent contrast when these guys line up for debates in the Fall. Yeah, I know that's blatantly trivial and borderline ageism, but folks far smarter than I have studied this sorta stuff and surmised that people do actually factor candidate's heights into their overall assessments of a person's capabilities. Cause short dudes stay losin'.[1]

Thank God I had good genes.

Question: How much does a candidate's overall appearance effect your personal assessment of their abilities? Before you ladies start giving me the Nth degree, just ask yourselves this: how many short dudes have you dated?

Bonus: Obama also introduced Rebb'n Wright to the underside of a Greyhound today.



Dribbling Past Reverend Wright [NYTimes]

McCain "Family Recipes" Lifted from the Food Network [HuffPost]

It Pays To Be Tall [Salon]

[1] For the record, I'm 5-11 1/2. Not Dikembe Mutombo, but not Mini-Me either.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Matters Of The Heart. Literally.


Ok, serious bidness for once. No jokes today.[1]

I'm nearing my mid-30's, and generally consider myself to be in good, albeit not great shape. I pretty much have long lived with the ethos that I can eat whatever I want as long as I work out enough to equalize it. This has worked fairly well for me to date. I typically work out 3-4 times a week, doing mostly cardio. My eating habits are so-so. I generally will eat better at home than work, but when I'm on the road, as I frequently am with my Day Job, this regimen falls completely out of balance. Logging 55-60 hour weeks, while trying my best not to C.Y.I.N. and knock somebody the eff' out is pretty stressful stuff and leaves little energy for hitting the hotel exercise room by the end of the day. That's more or less been my lifestyle since I entered the real world.

Like any responsible adult, I have a regular physician I see twice year to check my vitals. This routine has always been the same for as long as I can recall: they check me, give me a generally clean bill of health, and send me on my way till the next time. But my most recent check-in a couple of months ago was a bit different. After the nurse checked me out, the Doc came in with a somber look on his face. And that's when I knew something was wrong.

In short, I had pre-hypertension. Not anything borderline fatal, but higher than what they'd seen in past visits. I didn't think much of this, till my Doc recommended I see a cardiologist. You know, a real doctor. A specialist. This was suddenly serious business.

A week later, the cardiologist checked me out, and asked me a million and one questions about my lifestyle and what might have lead to my sudden spike in blood pressure. In the end, while I'd love to blame my maladies on George Bush, Hillary Clinton, vocoders, or Fox News, reality is the culprits were far simpler: sodium and age.

I know I do a lot of joking on this site, but for me, this whole episode showed the importance of paying greater attention to your health as you age. Simply put, I can't get away with doing the same stuff I've been doing. Had I not been going to the doctor on a regular basis, and worse yet, had I not had the health insurance to get the specialized attention I needed, who knows how this story might have ended. If I hadn't identified my blood pressure as an issue that needed to be controlled, I could have eventually had some catastrophic circumstances, mainly because cardiovascular issues seldom are accompanied by notable symptoms. This is precisely why people drop dead each and every day with no prior warning. My situation obviously wasn't anywhere near that dire, but I learned my lesson nonetheless.

With a wife and child to support, I found out rather quickly that your health is something you can't fool around with. It's the one thing that money can't really buy if you think about it.

This story, of course, has a happy ending. I mean, I am blogging about it after all. The doctor recommended some very basic, yet permanent lifestyle changes that I needed to make part of my everyday routine. This mean not adding extra salt to anything, cutting down on fried and/or frozen foods, no fast foods, water instead of soda, mixing in more weights with my cardio workouts, and monitoring my blood pressure on a regular basis. I'm proud to say that I've lowered my blood pressure back to a very normal systolic/diastolic reading in just 6 weeks by making these minor changes in the way I do things. I even dropped 5 unnecessary pounds in the process. And honestly, it wasn't even all that hard.

This post wasn't really meant to do anything other than get you guys to think, and consider your health if it's something you might typically take for granted as I used to. If you don't have a regular physician, ask a friend and find one. If you've got a friend or loved one who you know is slackin' on getting him/herself checked out, checkout the Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day website and find out ways to make it happen.

Whatever you do, treat your body good before it's too late.[2]

Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day [HealthLink]

American Heart Association Website

[1] I'll resume these tomorrow of course.

[2] This has been an AB.com Public Service Announcement, sponsored by Gregory Abbott's Greatest Hits, now on iTunes, CD, and 8-Track.

This Would Be Scary If The Kid Weren't So Darned Funny


I have no real reason for passing this along. It's just plain funny.

Scary, yes, but funny. Checkout what Charles Barkley's love child just did.[1]

Police say a 7-year-old South Florida boy faces grand theft auto charges after taking his grandmother's Dodge Durango for a joyride.

The eight minute trek left a swath of damage in his Palm Beach Gardens neighborhood yesterday. The boy smashed mailboxes, hit parked cars and signposts. He was unhurt. Police say he literally drove until a wheel fell off. The right front wheel, to be exact, which broke off after the boy hit a sign.

The boy's mother says he apparently grabbed the keys to his grandmother's sport utility vehicle, backed it out of her driveway, and took off. Police spokeswoman Ellen Lovejoy says the boy is unlikely to be prosecuted. They arrested him so he can get some help, noting the excursion was "unusual behavior for a 7-year-old."
Here's the video.



"I wanted to do it cause it's fun. It's fun to do bad things. To drive into a car."

"I wanted to do hoodrat stuff for my friends."


Okay, actually I do have a reason for passing this along.

Somebody please get this kid his own Nickelodeon sitcom before he actually does kill someone. Keep him off the Ritalin and put him in some creative arts classes or something.

This child will either be the next Keenan Thompson or the most entertaining guy on the yard. And by yard, I don't mean Penn State, I mean State Penn.

This is why I'm so adamant about asking you guys to Take The AB Challenge. This sorta acting out is clearly a plea for attention. Someone needs to help this child. Please!

Question: In 30 words or less, tell me what's really wrong with the story above?

7-Year-Old Joyrides in Grandmother's SUV [ABC11]

[1] Is it just me, or does this sorta stuff always happen in Florida!?!?

* Props to Phil from GVille.tv for passing this along.

Monday, April 28, 2008

AB.com Guest Post: Rebb'n Wright Tells White America To Go Eff' Itself!!!


[Editor's Note: AB.com of course isn't the only blog I read. One of my newest AverageSiblings, The Black Snob, goes in on the Jeremiah Wright Redemption Tour 08'. As usual, show our guest some love in the comments.]

I checked out Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Hallelujah strut in Amen Corner of the NAACP convention. He's been making the rounds after an interview with Bill Moyers followed by at a press conference today and another speech to the press club today. And as fascinating as I found the guy, I didn't think he helped his ace Barack Obama at all. Mostly because Wright, who's not running for president, was himself in full, unrepentant, proud, defiant, resilient, brilliant and glib, charging that his critics were misguided, miseducated and misinformed.

He was practically basking in the glow of making the white folk uncomfortable.

As I was born a black person, nothing Wright has said is new to me. He doesn't sound any different from the Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu books I read as a child, given to me by my mother. It didn't sound any different from the Malcolm X speeches I studied. And not any different from the speeches of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. if you weren't solo worshiping the end of the "I Have A Dream" speech.

I've been inoculated from such blushing surprise. A black man? Complaining about America? I think I got the vapors! But for individuals who never take a stroll in black America, Rev. Jeremiah Wright's "Fuck You" Tour is not going to set well with those looking for apologies and pleasant, grinning pretensions.

Now I don't think Wright ever had anything to apologize for. It was his opinion. He is not a public figure. And most people outside of Chicago wouldn't even know he existed if he had not been the pastor who Baptized the Great Hope Mongerer and his daughters. But this "anti-charm" offensive (or regular charm offensive if you are a like-minded black person), only stoked the fires that Wright was always this colorful in his preaching and Obama's claim that he'd never heard Wright's more incendiary words is false.

I always thought that was a major flub when Obama claimed he never heard Wright speak this way (which evolved some when he gave his "race" speech). I don't even think Bill Clinton could have squared that circle and he professionally lies to people on a daily basis. Of course Clinton, covered in the friendly pall of whiteness could have Rev. Wright's love child and still get a pass. Obama is daily being taunted by the press and the opposition to throw black America, and all its complexities and inconveniences, under the bus.

Soon he'll be apologizing for everything from Body Count's/Ice T's "Cop Killa" record to Barry Bonds to Nat Turner's Rebellion. Forced to deny all of us in his bid for the White House, the same community he worked so hard to become a part of.

This is your cross to bear when you run as the post-racial candidate. Especially when no one else is post-racial. Sounds like everyone else is just old fashioned racial, arguing for Obama to pull a King Solomon and split the half-black baby.

Question: So how should Obama handle the fall out of Wright's "I'm Grown and I Say What the Hell I Want To Say" victory lap? And how many denials does Obama have to do here before he heads into "Peter" territory? When do you cross the post-racial Rubicon, where you can't go back to tidy up all these fuzzy edges and clear the nuanced gray haze that no one likes in a black or white world?

Checkout more from The Black Snob

The Redemption of Rebb'n Wright


Like most of us with lives, I was out Friday night, so thank God for Tivo. Otherwise, I might have missed the full, uninterrupted interview of Barack Obama's much criticized pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright on PBS.

If you didn't see it, and chances are you didn't, I'd encourage you to go to PBS and view the entire one hour Bill Moyers interview when time permits. Do yourself a favor, and don't let this extensive clarification of the man's full body of work be fed to you in intentional soundbytes, which if you think about it is how the whole problem originated in the first place.

Here's a 2 minute snippet from the interview.



After watching it, many of the things I'd heard about Wright were clarified. He is an extremely intelligent man whose dedication to his country (he served dutifully in both the Marines and Navy), his community, and his God are beyond reproach.

Completely beyond reproach.

Moyers did a good job of asking the questions of Wright that needed to be posed, but in a tone that spoke of a need for clarity, not one-sided accusation. There's a big difference in the two, just peep that time Wright was on Hannity and Colmes and the bushwhack job they pulled on him.

He addressed his military service, the origins of TCC, his community outreach efforts at home and abroad, Black Liberation Theology[1], need for comprehensive black history in public school curriculums[2], and of course the soundbitten "G.D. America" and "chickens come home to roost" quotes that have been taken so widely out of context. By simply playing the 3-4 minutes that proceeded each of those misquotes, and allowing Wright to clarify what was meant, he more or less dispelled any concerns that any rational person could have about his association with Obama. As far as I'm concerned, this was never an issue, so it definitely should no longer be one after this interview.

Of course, there are lots of people who will believe what they want to believe for their own self-advancing purposes. The North Carolina GOP is already running commercials smearing two Democratic gubernatorial candidates who endorsed Obama and accusing them of guilt by association. John McCain continually acts as if this shouldn't be a concern, yet he tries to draw the same "radical Obama" connections himself. But considering the fact that none other than Mike Huckabee has come out in Wright's defense, wouldn't that make McCain guilty by association as well?

I'm just sayin'.

My only qualm with Rebb'n Wright is the same as it's always been: timing. Namely, why did he allow this situation to fester for weeks and weeks when he could have just as easily granted the very same interview the minute this became an issue? One quick visit to 60 Minutes, 20/20, or hell, even Maury could have squashed the whole beef immediately? Instead, Obama is forced to defend another man's words and the media (not just conservatives) has a field day at the expense of a history making run for President. Whether this delay was Wright's decision, Obama's request, or somewhere in between remains unknown. Many of you slammed me when I named Wright one of the 13 Debits To The Black Race a few weeks ago. I hope you understand exactly why I did so now.

This being America and all, I'm sure many people won't bother watching the interview in it's entirety. These people will instead keep spouting the same B.S. about how Wright, and by proxy Obama, is an American hating, Black-nationalist Muslim. And that's all well and good. Because I have a name for these people.

Idiots.

Question: After watching the PBS interview in it's entirety, do you have a different opinion of Wright? John McCain says he will not use this issue in the Fall, but do you believe him?

See The Entire Wright/Moyers Interview [PBS.com]

The Wright factor, part II [Chicago Tribune]

[1] Black Liberation Theology is little more than a call for black folks to be more accountable for their own actions, and less dependent on the government. You'd think the right wing would be all for this.

[2] Slavery and MLK were the only things I learned about black folks in 12 years of public schooling. Period.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Obama vs Hillary: WWE Smackdown

The video game...



The "real life" SmackDown...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Vocoder Anthology: The Motion Picture


Looks like someone read the epic Vocoder Anthology post and decided to cast T-Pain and Akon on their own straight-to-DVD movie. Here's the trailer.



Bonus: R-Kelly's Hairbraider



Double Bonus: Let Me Smell Your Johnson. It's only lightly vocodered, but it is sufficiently ignant. I so wish this wasn't a real song. Cop them headphones first.

Friday, April 25, 2008

$6 Cereal?!?!? It's The Economy, Stupid!!!


Part Two in our The Real Issues They Should Be Talking About series.

My disdain of grocery stores is well documented here at AB.com, but I still sometimes have to handle the weekly shopping as part of my Honey Do List.[1] So, yesterday, I find myself and AverageToddler at our local discount supermarket (keyword: discount) picking up a few (keyword: few) items. As I'm going down the list, I find myself on the cereal aisle where my favorite Saturday morning healthy junk food (Kashi Heart To Heart Wild Blueberry) is usually found. For some reason the box isn't in it's usual middle shelf, it's high up above. And as I reach for it, I note something alarming on the price tag.

$5.19!!!!!

$6!!!! For friggin' cereal!?!?!?!!?[2]

The rest of the trip wasn't much better. Everything on the list, from milk ($4/gallon) to eggs ($2 dozen) spaghetti-o's ($1.39, used to be $.89) to oatmeal ($3 used to be $2.50) and even bread ($3.29 used to be $2.89) is far more expensive than I'd last noted.

Even rice ($2 for a box that used to be 10 for $10) is inflated.

Rice, ni@@a! Rice!!!! WTF!?!?

Seriously, with all the jibberjabbering about the economy this election season, I've yet to hear many concrete solutions from any candidate on how to fix the basic everyday inflation that's killing my wallet everytime I venture out of the house.

My old (keyword: old) barber started charging $20 (up from $15) for a cut last month. His explanation: inflation. Never mind the fact that he isn't even at the shop 90% of the time I drive all the way over to College Park, and often cuts my hair the way he wants, not the way I tell him. $20 is just friggin' insane. So, I started going to these Koreans down the block. As long as you don't ask for anything more difficult than a basic Ceaser, they're actually ok. The shape up's not extra tight, but the neck taper is good. It's a serviceable cut. But last week, even they recently flipped their price from $10 to $13. Needless to say, I'm about to invest in a new pair of Wahls.

Jamba Juice kicked their prices up as well, which means I've got to find a new vice, especially since ya'll aren't helping me with buying those damn AB.com t-shirts.

The Wizards didn't even offer any el-cheapo playoff tickets this season. They didn't seem to miss my presence last night though, throttling King James and the Cleveland Travelliers (1-3 step) by an astounding 36 points.

Movie tickets are now universally $10 and up. Thank God for Netflix.

Yeah, some of this stuff is trivial, but still. It seems like everything just costs more nowadays, and sometimes for no really good reason.

Sure, gas prices are a hot button issue, and in some parts of DC, a regular gallon is already over $4. And we all know home foreclosures are exploding and dropping home values across the board. But what about the other, day-to-day stuff that's quietly been inflated too? Huh? What about THAT economy?

John McCain doesn't give a sh*t about the economy because he left his old broke first wife (who'd stuck by him through 5 1/2 years of captivity) and hooked up with a beer magnate (while still married). Dude doesn't even have a remote understanding or concern about the economic struggles of regular folks, despite this populist Rust Best Tour 08' he's been on lately. McCain's idea of economic stimulus is marrying a rich white woman. If only there were more of those to go around.

The Dems are no better. Hillary Clinton gets caked up by writing books about her philandering husband. Her philandering husband gets caked up writing books about being a philandering husband. And if I hear Barack Obama say the phrase "lessen our dependence on foreign sources of oil" one more time, I might seriously consider voting for Alan Keyes.

Note to all candidates: Get a clue. It's the economy, stupid!

Do something about it before I o.d. on these generic "Corn Puffs", already.

Question: What's the most ludicrous example of "everyday inflation" you've personally observed?

[1] Oh, I guess I'm the only guy with one, huh?

[2] Yeah, I rounded up for dramatic effect. But that Kashi is some good stuff.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Let The G.O.P. Games Begin


[Slick Willie and his "spiritual advisor", Rebb'n Wright.]

If you thought Hillary Clinton's attacks on Obama throughout this campaign were classless, wait till you get a load of what the GOP has in store.
The North Carolina Republican Party is planning to roll out a television advertisement on Monday attacking a pair of Democrats running for governor in the state for endorsing Senator Barack Obama by playing a clip of his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, excoriating the United States.

The release of the commercial, which Republican officials said would debut during 6 p.m. newscasts in the state on Monday, injects a potentially divisive racial element into the state’s upcoming Democratic presidential primary on May 6. The advertisement features a narrator intoning, “For 20 years, Barack Obama sat in his pew, listening to his pastor.”

The North Carolina G.O.P.’s commercial says Bev Perdue, the lieutenant governor, and Richard Moore, the state treasurer — both of whom are seeking the Democratic nomination in North Carolina for governor — and have endorsed Mr. Obama should “know better.”

“He’s too extreme for North Carolina,” the narrator says.
As a native of the Tarheel state, I'm familiar enough with the mentality there to know that this sort of ad will absolutely work. And that's a large part of why I no longer live in NC.

Here's the commercial.



I suppose all this is fair game obviously. The G.O.P. is playing the old guilt by association card and trying to smear any person who endorses Obama by implying that by proxy, these folks are racist haters of American ideals.

I'm sure Sean Hannity is somewhere with an erection right now.[||]

This shouldn't be too surprising. The Republicans are the party of Lincoln and Willie Horton, so this is really just par for the course. Nonetheless, folks wouldn't run these sorts of ads if there weren't people dumb enough to believe their messages and vote in kind. So, get used to it.

Question: Is there any way Obama can mitigate the Reverend Wright damage? Does it even matter at this point, since people's minds have already been made up?

N.C. Republicans Preview Wright-Obama Ad [NYTimes]

Hillary's Fuzzy Math


"We don't believe you, you need more people."[1]

I know I said I'd lay off the politricks for a minute, but sometimes it's good to remind myself exactly why laying off politricks is a good idea. When I see stuff so brazenly outrageous as Hillary Clinton's latest ploy for Superdelegate attention, I can't help but say somethin'.

Witness this nonsense.
If numbers don't lie, the Democratic presidential race is proving they can confuse: Both campaigns claim they are ahead in the popular vote.

The day after her big win in Pennsylvania, Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that she now has more votes than anybody who has ever run for president in a Democratic primary.

"I'm very proud that as of today, I have received more votes by the people who have voted than anybody else, and I am proud of that," Clinton said at a rally in Indianapolis. "It's a very close race, but if you count, as I count, the 2.3 million people who voted in Michigan and Florida, then we are going to build on that."

Clinton is including Michigan and Florida, primaries she won after all the candidates agreed to boycott the states for holding votes too early for party rules. Obama had his name pulled off the ballot in Michigan, so he doesn't get a single vote from that state.

Including Michigan and Florida, Clinton has 15.1 million to Obama's 15 million - a lead of about one-half of a percentage point for Clinton. Without Michigan and Florida, Obama has 14.4 million to Clinton's 13.9 million - a lead of about 1.7 percent for Obama. Neither total includes the primary vote total from Washington state, since it doesn't count toward the nomination and the party awards delegates based on its caucus.

The other problem with counting the popular vote is that states that held caucuses aren't included at all - Iowa, Nevada, Washington and Maine. Those four states don't have a popular vote total to include - instead they count the number of delegates elected for each candidate to determine who wins. And those states are relatively small, Obama won every one except Nevada.

Nor does the total reflect the outcome of the Texas caucus, which Obama won. The caucus counts the delegates elected instead of voter turnout. But Texas also conducts a primary, which Clinton won, and the popular vote count does include those votes.
For the last friggin' time: Barring an unforeseen circumstance Hillary cannot mathematically finish the primary schedule ahead of Obama in any statistical category. Period. That's been the case since Super Tuesday, yet the MSM still seems intent on dragging this thing out. If you watch CNN[2], you'd think it was still February, not damn near the summer.

Vapid as I am, it finally occurred to me just why this logic is being ignored yesterday. Quite simply because this is pure gold for talk radio, print media, and cable news talking monkeys. The minute they deem this race over, they basically have to shut down operations until late Summer when the Dems and GOP have their conventions. Really, what other news is there to report if both candidates have long since been chosen?

Silly me. What the hell was I thinking?

As entertaining as the above media can be at times, I think it's best for my sanity (and yours) to start tuning some of this stuff out. It's pretty clear what the Grand Hu$tle here is.

The better question is what the hell is the Democratic Party just standing idly by for? Why hasn't Howard Dean and Co. pulled out a calculator and done some very basic math? Clinton can't mathematically pull this out. Unless Barry's illegitimate baby in East St. Louis magically pops up, that's not likely to change over the course of the final 9 contests. So why don't they just put an end to this costly, and unnecessary slandering of Obama, and start working on bringing the party back together. This whole thing makes John McCain look like The Pope by comparison.

Enough already.

Question: Is the MSM just milking this thing for all it's worth or is it just me? Does Hillary have any chance at convincing the SuperDelegates to side with her?

Clinton, Obama Both Claim Lead In Votes [AP]

The Delegate Math Gives Obama a Mortal Lock On the Nomination [JedReport]

[1] Yeah, I know I run that Jay-Z quote into the ground, but it's so necessary. And appropriate.

[2] They had me going with that whole "best political team" slogan, but I know a bunch of hustlers when I see em'.

Rudy Sellin' Booty? Say It Ain't So, Coz!


You guys know I run hot and cold when it comes to Tyler Perry. He's put out some pretty decent stuff, put out some lousy half-assed stuff, and he's put out some sh*t so bad that Al Jolson can't even bear watching, all in one year, which is quite a coup if you think about it.

Perry's a pretty polarizing character. Some folks applaud his most "positive" portrayals of blacks, and his insistence on employing black actors and actresses whom Hollywood doesn't usually give a fair shake. Others think his chittlin' circuit plays, movies, and TV show are low level pandering that would be protested if produced and directed by a white man.

I'm guessing both camps will have some fuel to add to the fire when Perry's next movie drops.

Little Rudy from "The Cosby Show" all grown up and playing a hooker? Yes indeed, thanks to Tyler Perry.

Keshia Knight Pulliam will star as an imprisoned prostitute in "Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail." Derek Luke also stars in the Lionsgate comedy, which is set to begin filming in Atlanta next month for a tentative early 2009 release.

Writer-director Perry returns to the front of the camera as the irrepressible matriarch Madea, whose penchant for trouble-making lands her behind bars. She comes to the rescue of Candy (Pulliam), a fellow inmate preyed upon by a large woman. Luke will play an attorney who has a past with Candy.
Damn, Rudy as a hooker? What Would Cosby Think?

I've recently supported many of Perry's better efforts, but I think I'll be taking a rain check/barbershop matinee for this one.

Question: What is your initial impression of Madea Goes To Jail? What is your overall impression of Tyler Perry?

Bonus: video from the stage version of Madea Goes To Jail. Man, this one has UPN written all over it.



Cosby daughter hooks up with "Madea" comedy [AP]

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another Hot G.O.P. Mess


I'm sure you guys are expecting me to prattle on and on about last night's results in Pennsylvania. But let's be honest, last night changed nothing. The pundits will go back and forth about how Hillary is back in the game. Reality is, Obama chipped away at a double digit lead and despite all the mud slung the past six weeks, only lost by about 9%. That's pretty respectable all things considered.[1]

The race is going on to my home state in a couple of weeks (NC, stand up!) where he'll throttle her yet again, then she'll win KY and WV, and he'll win a few more, and gracefully this whole thing will end with a Superdelegate-to-Barry rush in June.

In the meantime, don't expect this site to cover the race much more. I'm worn out, and back on yet another CNN-fast. The analyzing and over analyzing day in and day out is just an exercise in futility.

Anyways, on the other side of the aisle, the GOP has a real problem on their hands in the Hoosier state. This one's so far out there, I don't even think our resident AverageCommenting conservatives, Spool32 and Daedulus can justify it.[2]

A congressional candidate is defending his speech to a group celebrating the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birth, saying he appeared simply because he was asked.

Tony Zirkle, who is seeking the Republican nomination in northern Indiana's 2nd District, stood in front of a painting of Hitler, next to people wearing swastika armbands and with a swastika flag in the background for the speech to the American National Socialist Workers Party in Chicago on Sunday.

He compared his speech to other politicians appearing at Bob Jones University.

"Some people are going to impute motives and say things that I mean, but many of these people have never even talked to me. So their ability to say what I intended is not very credible," Zirkle said.

He said he did not know much about the neo-Nazi group and that his intention was to talk on his concern about "the targeting of young white women and for pornography and prostitution."

The event was not the first time Zirkle has raised controversy on race issues. In March, Zirkle raised the idea of segregating races in separate states. Zirkle said Tuesday he's not advocating segregation, but said desegregation has been a failure.

Zirkle received 30 percent of the vote in the 2006 primary, losing to incumbent Chris Chocola, who was defeated in the general election. Zirkle said Tuesday that winning the election is not his primary goal.
As if the fact that this nutjob resonates with enough voters to pull 30% of the tally isn't scary enough, how about this proverbial icing on the cake.
"I'll speak before any group that invites me," Zirkle said Monday. "I've spoken on an African-American radio station in Atlanta."
Wow, so it's cool to equate a Neo-Nazi rally with some talking head in Stone Mountain?

Geez, and GOP wonders why they can't attract black voters.

Question: What sorts of things does the GOP need to do to attract black voters in the Fall. On a scale of 1-10, just what level of Idiot would you rate Mr. Zirkle?

House GOP Candidate Spoke At Hitler Event [AP]

[1] Because let's be honest. Obama could have outspent her 55-1 and still lost. PA's demographics just dont' favor a black candidate any more than South Carolina's favor a white candidate with diarrhea of the mouth. It is what it is.

[2] Yes, I'm puttin' ya'll on blast. You can't possibly try and defend this nonsense, can you?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spare The Rod... Or Beat The Child Into Submission?!?


crossposted at BlackAndMarriedWithKids.com

We all know the first part of the bible verse, Proverbs 13:24.

"He who spares the rod hates his son,..."

But do we pay any attention to the other half?

"...but he who loves him is careful to discipline him."

My son just passed that magical age of 20 months, which for all intents and purposes means he's in the throes of early onset Terrible Twos. Everything in the house is fair game to get chewed on, thrown under the couch, or doused with apple juice. Remote controls mysteriously go missing for days on end. Food is tossed. Food is intentionally regurgitated. Food reappears in mysterious places. And of course, as first time parents, we eat all this up and happily snap pictures to embarrass him with someday.

That said, there are those (increasingly more frequent) times when the young fella's natural enthusiasm and wonderment with his growing awareness of the world grates on your next-to-last nerve. He climbs on things he shouldn't. He doesn't fall asleep when he should. He pretends not to hear you, even when you've called him for the umpteenth time. And this is when we as parents are faced with a common dilemma: To Spank, Or Not To Spank.

That is the question, and I'll freely admit I don't always have the answers.

Old-school parents will tell you you've gotta pull out a switch every now and then to keep order in the house. That's how my parents, and most of the other parents in the Southern neighborhood I grew up in did it, at least. Generally, Mom was the day-to-day, multipurpose disciplinarian. She'd bark out orders, dole out punishments, and occasionally fry some legs if the situation warranted. But when things were really severe, she called in the Big Gun, aka: Daddy. After a long day at work, the last thing my Pops wanted was to have to lay hands on some unruly kids. Thankfully, this only happened a handful of times, but I remember them so well today that my butt still stings. The combination of both parents (as well as grandparents) and their contrasting styles of ass-whoppin' worked. My two brothers and I, by all accounts, turned out just fine.

But like most other remnants of the past that we tend to over-romanticize, I don't know if this brand of discipline is best suited for today's climate and today's kids. What used to constitute normal discipline would probably warrant a visit from CPS nowadays. Whites are often criticized for such laissez-faire tactics as "timeouts". Many will argue that this approach leads to kids who don't respect parental authority, talk extra greasy to their Moms in the grocery store, and eventually go on to become serial killers. Then again, the "switches and stension' cords" model of black discipline ain't exactly perfect either, as evidenced by the 8,000 or so black people who die, primarily at the hands of other blacks each year. You could argue that this suppression of anger, as opposed to giving an explanation of what was done wrong and an appropriate punishment, is somewhere at the root of this violence.

Before I was married and had my own kid, I pretty much agreed with the whole "spare the rod" bit. If it worked for me and my brothers, why would I do anything different with my own child? But like many other things that come with having your own family, I've since become really familiar with the phrase "never say never".

My wife and I use various tactics to keep our child in line, including punishment by loss of privileges, raising our voices in instruction (not anger), and yes, even the much picked-on "timeouts", which surprise, actually do work. Do we sometimes have to call in the Big Gun and "fry some legs"? Yes, but this is always a last resort, and for that matter, hardly a regular occurrence.

Only time will tell whether our method of discipline "works" by whatever terms you choose to define that word. But since we're talking, I figure I'll ask you guys.

Question: What forms of discipline do you typically employ to keep your children in line? What sorts of things will you not do? Have you found that certain types of discipline do not work?

Yet Another Reason To Hate Vocoders.

Last week's epic Vocoder Anthology post broke the not-so-new musical phenomenon down to it's very last compound. Among the many modern-day practitioners of this artform is R&B Singer[1] and producer Akon. For those of you not familiar with Akon, a good percentage of his tunes revolve around his ex-convict back story. Apparently this guy spent 4 1/2 years in prison for running a Gone In Sixty Seconds type of car-thieving criminal enterprise. Or at least that's the story Vibe, XXL, Rolling Stone, etc. have been running for years.

Turns out, Akon's street cred ain't all it's hyped up to be.

A recent investigative report by The Smoking Gun[2] revealed that not only had Akon not been at the helm of a multimillion dollar criminal enterprise, but he also hadn't done 4 1/2 years in prison either. Quite the contrary, it turns out this moron only did a few months for getting caught in a stolen car.
In the hip-hop world, a performer's street cred can often be gauged by the number of entries on their rap sheet, the time they have spent behind bars, or the gritty details of their illicit escapades. By any of those metrics, the chart-topping R&B singer Akon appears to have compiled an exemplary outlaw resume, one brimming with scrapes from a hard knock life.

As recounted in scores of interviews since his first album, the platinum-selling "Trouble," debuted in 2004, Akon was incarcerated for a total of four-and-a-half years, including a long stretch for his role as the "ringleader of a notorious car theft operation." Akon's gang specialized in boosting Porsches, Lamborghinis, and Mercedeses, he owned four chop shops catering to "celebrities and drug dealers," and he frequently escaped from cops in high-speed pursuits. His criminal empire collapsed, though, after underlings--who "felt like they deserved more than they were getting"--cut deals and ratted him out to law enforcement. In fact, the singer not only named his company Konvict Music, but he settled on "Konvicted" for the title of his second album, which sold nearly three million copies last year.

As it turns out, however, "Kontrived" might have been a more accurate choice.

While the performer's rap sheet does include a half-dozen arrests, Akon has only been convicted of one felony, for gun possession. That 1998 New Jersey case ended with a guilty plea, for which the singer was sentenced to three years probation. Another 1998 bust, this one in suburban Atlanta, has been seized upon by Akon and transformed into the big case that purportedly sent him to prison (thanks to his snitching cohorts) for three fight-filled years. In reality, Akon was arrested for possession of a single stolen BMW and held in the DeKalb County jail for several months before prosecutors dropped all charges against him.

There was no conviction. There was no prison term between 1999 and 2002. And he was never "facing 75 years," as the singer claimed in one videotaped interview.
So, you have yet another rapper more or less trumping up his criminal record in the name of "street cred". Those of us alive in the 90's might remember gangsta raptress BOSS, a hardcore female signed to Eazy-E's Ruthless Records. She was more or less a female version of Ice Cube, but some similar investigative reporting revealed that not only wasn't she a gangster, but she was a product of a suburban middle class upbringing a private schooling who simply cooked up a false background because she knew it could be profitable. Needless to say, her career was pretty much toast immediately. I'm sure she's got a degree to fall back on.

That said, I wonder what the longterm effect on Akon's career will be. While he doesn't necessarily sing "thug anthems" (I has done songs with Gwen Stefani after all), his whole persona is built on a back story that has since been revealed to be mostly fabricated. Does this mean an immediate debit to his street cred? Will his career suffer? Does this mean the hopeful end of the Vocoder Revolution?

Only time will tell, but I guess the fundamental issue here is why artists continue to make up stories to sell records. Wouldn't the people who like Akon (assuming these folks actually exist) like him just as much if he were just a regular guy with a weapons charge, not some imaginary Nicholas Cage? I don't have the answer, maybe you do.

Question: Do you think Akon's fabricated bio will ruin his career? Why does a quasi-singer even need street cred in the first place?

Akon's Con Job [The Smoking Gun]

[1] I guess you'd call it singing. Not really sure.

[2] Uhhh, shouldn't hip-hop publications like The Source and XXL be doing this sorta investigation? I know they're largely funded by these same act's record companies advertisements, but still.

Monday, April 21, 2008

AB.com Makes The Paper... Again!


Somebody down at The Washington Post must have AB.com on their RSS reader. I wasn't even aware that they name dropped yet again last week until someone forwarded me a backlash comment on my Alicia Keys post, which I guess must have also appeared in the paper sometime last week.

Either way, if you work for The Washington Post Express, please do me a favor and let me know beforehand so I can at least get the actual print version for AverageGrandma's scrapbook. We commuting suburbanites don't exactly have folks handing us the paper on our way into our parking garages.

Peep the blog excerpt on Page 36 of the PDF version of last Wednesday's WP Express newspaper.

How Do You Feel About Illegal Immigration?


Part One in our The Real Issues They Should Be Talking About series.

As I've stated here various times, I'm pretty much laissez-faire when it comes to illegal immigration. Generally speaking, most people who cross the border to come here are hardworking, family oriented, and above the law, despite the oh-so-obvious infraction they committed to get here in the first place. And I don't necessarily blame them to "stealing" jobs. After all, if there weren't employers so willing to exploit them for cheap labor (a far bigger problem), they probably wouldn't bother coming here. Besides, as a guy who once got four bathrooms gutted and remodeled from the floor up for just over $10,000[1], I'm complicit in this very same exploitation (albeit not knowingly)[2] myself. So, I prolly shouldn't talk.

That said, while I don't live in a neighborhood directly effected by illegal immigration's flipside, I do respect the right of those who have seen their property values adversely effected. When 10-12 people are crammed in a house, coming and going at all times of day, triple parking, playing loud music, and pissing on your front lawn, you might just get a little irritated. While some of this Lou Dobbsian anti-immigrant rhetoric sounds xenophobic, classicist, and borderline racist, I guess I can't really call it either way.

All that said, I read this article in today's Washington Post, and was perplexed. While I respect these women's desire to "take back" "their neighborhood", if you close your eyes and let your mind wander, some of the things they saying hearken back to Jim Crow.
When Chris Pannell walks down the Prince William County street she has called home for all of her 39 years, she's dismayed by what she sees -- vacant houses -- and delighted by what she says she doesn't see -- illegal immigrants.

"I will take coming down here and looking at 10 empty houses any day over what we had before," says Pannell, a title examiner, as she and her neighbor, Allison Kipp, 42, amble past lifeless houses.

This stretch of Lafayette Avenue in the Manassas area is a fairly gloomy scene. "For Sale" signs flap outside two of the 30 1960s-era red brick starter homes on the block. Eight others appear to be vacant. Few cars are parked on the street. The worn sidewalks are deserted.

But to Pannell and Kipp, it is a tableau of hope. And victory.

For much of the past decade, according to the women and other neighbors, parking was bumper-to-bumper and most of the empty houses were packed with Latino residents they believe were in the country illegally. Now Pannell and Kipp are convinced that Prince William's illegal-immigration crackdown, which both championed as first-time activists, has helped flush many of those people out of their neighborhood, West Gate.

The experiences that hardened their attitude and the relief they now feel have been voiced by many Prince William residents who bridled at the influx of immigrants, many of whom they suspected were here illegally, according to activist leaders.

Pannell and Kipp, who were strangers a year ago, scoff at the suggestion that they are racists and say most of those who left were not single families. As a light rain fell one spring afternoon, they strolled along Lafayette, smoking cigarettes and collecting the yellowed newspapers that dotted driveways. The women stopped in front of a house with a mailbox shaped like a barn. By Pannell's count (she says she zealously tracks the block's comings and goings), a family with six children and five single men lived there until vanishing nearly two months ago.

Next door was a foreclosed house that Pannell said was filled for a decade with Hispanic men who frequently spent afternoons drinking on the front stoop and in the beds of pickups. She said she witnessed several brawls and saw men urinate in the front yard at least 10 times over the years. The inhabitants disappeared more than three months ago, she said, "and that's a good thing."
You'd probably have to read the entire article for the full context, but I think the underlying question is pretty evident, so I'll pose it to you guys.

Question: What is your overall feeling about illegal immigration? Have any of this year's Presidential candidates sufficiently addresses this issue?

A New View of Vacant Houses [WashPost]

[1] Seriously, you should see the quality of work and materials used. Granite countertops, walk-in shower, two jacuzzi tubs, vessel sinks, the whole nine. Amazing.

[2] They were a reference. We didn't know who would actually be doing the work until they showed up. And I am only guessing they were undocumented. They didn't tell, and for $10k, we didn't ask.

Yep, The Apocolypse Is Near....


Clearly we've come a long way since Mother Goose. Witness the latest craze in children's lit.

I so wish I wasn't making this up.

Mom's getting a tummy tuck and a new nose. But how does she tell her kids?

A Florida plastic surgeon has written the first known picture book aimed at 4-7 year-olds that seeks to reassure them about mom going under the knife.

But the book, "My Beautiful Mommy," has stirred up a hornet's nest among feminists and even some cosmetic surgeons who feel it may undermine the self-esteem of the very young.

Dr Michael Salzhauer, a father of four, said he wrote the book because many of his patients are having "mommy makeovers" to fix saggy breasts and slack tummies a few years after childbirth and were concerned about what to tell their kids.
Hmmm, what do you tell the kids?

"I hate your friggin guts for giving me these Madea boobs, so read this friggin' book and stop cryin' already!"

Yeah, that sounds about right.
Salzhauer said feedback to the book from his own patients has been very positive. But some of the explanations from the attractive, cartoon-style mom in the book have sparked a furious online debate.

"As I got older, my body stretched and I couldn't fit into my clothes anymore. Dr Michael is going to help fix that and make me feel better," the mother tells her daughter.

Her nose surgery, she explains, will make her look "not just different, my dear -- prettier!."
I'm just speechless.

If this new genre of "reality children's books" catches on, what's next?
"Daddy's Going On 5-7 Year Vacation!"

"Grandpa Didn't Mean To Touch You There."

"Mommy Has A New Friend, Don't Tell Daddy."

"Barney Is Gay. Sorry."

"That's Not Oregano!"

"You're Going To Have To Live With Grandpa For Awhile."
Whatever happened to, you know, talking to your kids and not using a book as a crutch? Sheez.

Question: Is this the dumbest thing you've heard in awhile or is it just me?

Mom's having tummy tuck? What to tell the kids [AP]

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Baracky: The Motion Picture


Comin' Soon To A Barbershop Near You...(Or Not)




Bonus: Dirt Off Your Shoulders 08' (Presidential Remix)


Friday, April 18, 2008

An AB.com MultiMedia Exposé: The Vocoder Anthology

I know ya'll are probably just as sick of hearing me moan and complain about vocoders as I am of hearing songs that feature them. But just how much do you truly know about the instrument that has singlehandedly ruined black radio and eardrums? Allow me to enlighten you.[1]

[Editor's Note: For any "anonymous" lurker that's about to check me on the difference between the vocoder, auto-tunes, and talk-box, get a life. You know exactly what I'm talking about, damnit! Spare me the technical circle-jerk, and take your wealth of knowledge over to Scratch Magazine.]

From the wiki entry.

A vocoder (a portmanteau of vox/voc (voice) and encoder) is a speech analyzer and synthesizer. It was originally developed as a speech coder for telecommunications applications in the 1930s, the idea being to code speech for transmission. Its primary use in this fashion is for secure radio communication, where voice has to be digitized, encrypted and then transmitted on a narrow, voice-bandwidth channel. The vocoder has also been used extensively as an electronic musical instrument.

For musical applications, a source of musical sounds is used as the carrier, instead of extracting the fundamental frequency. For instance, one could use the sound of a synthesizer as the input to the filter bank, a technique that became popular in the 1970s.
Okay, now that we've got the technical jibber jabber outta the way, let's talk music, decade by decade.

1970's

History says The Alan Parsons Project, Giorgia Moroder, and Pink Floyd were the first cats to really mess with the vocoder. I don't really know any of these folks, but I guess I have to provide token representation, so here's "Mr. Roboto" by Styx.



No, I still have no friggin' idea what this song is about. So let's fast forward to the familiar stuff.

1980's

Herbie Hancock probably had the first breakout 'urban' hit of this genre with his Grammy-winning single "Rockit".



It's a real shame that most people still associate Hancock with this single song, when his career as a jazz artist is far more accomplished than one hit. And speaking of one hits, how could we forget Rockwell's creepy "Somebody's Watchin' Me, featuring a still-black Michael Jackson on the hook?[2]



While other bands like Dazz, Guy, and the Gap Band successfully used the machine to crank out 80's hits, perhaps no single artist exemplified vocoder fever more than Roger Troutman. With a plethora of hits like "Computer Love", "Slow And Easy", and "More Bounce To The Ounce", the frontman for Zapp elevated the artform to all new levels.



1990's

With the exploding commercial popularity of hip hop music, interest in pure R&B began to wane during the 90's, and the vocoder appeared to be on it's last legs. With the exception of a few notable guest appearances by Troutman on West Coast gangsta rap songs, the 90's weren't too kind to the ole' voicebox.

The seminal mid-90's hit "California Love" featured Troutman gettin' down with Dr. Dre and Tupac.[3]



While this version of the song gave 80's babies a nice feel for vocoder magic, the slept-on "California Love: Part II" where Troutman really gets off is a far better representative example.



Troutman enjoyed a brief career renaissance after the exposure, but sadly was violently gunned down in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. So overlooked are his contributions to the history of the talkbox that the wiki entry doesn't even mention his name. This must change.[4]

2000's

With a second George Bush in office, and black music reaching creative all-time lows at the advent of the century, there was little to sing about. But a few years ago, a Senegalese ex-car thief named Akon dusted off the ole' voice box and quietly started pumping out hits like "Locked Up", "Belly Dancer", and "Lonely". While this young[5] man swore up and down he was singing in his own unaltered voice, anyone born before 1980 knew full and damn well he was stealing Troutman's old tricks.



Sadly, while Troutman's voicebox was studly and masculine, Akon's came off as chipmunkish and comical. But this being America circa 2003, tweens who don't know any better thought Akon was cool and unique. Payola was exchanged, and in short time Akon became a chart topping household name. He even had his own Verizon commercial and toured with Gwen Stefani before an odd humping incident with an underaged Carribbean girl became a Youtube sensation.[6] Still, Akon had gained enough juice to unleash his secret moneymaking weapon: a marginally talented ex-rapper turner singer named T-Pain.

The husky Floridian exemplifies the average (and we do mean very very average) guy on the street done good. By unapologetically embracing the voicebox, Teddy Pain has become a commercial success beyond Troutman's wildest dreams, with such ditties as "I'm Sprung", "Buy You a Drank", "Bartender", and my personal favorite, "I'm In Love With a Stripper".



Seldom has mediocrity sounded so good.

T-Pain has gone on to become a highly sought after collaborator and general debit credit to his race, essentially driving hook singers like Faith Evans and Nate Dogg into early retirement. And like any other successful Rappa Ternt Sanga, he's spawned a legion of copycats, including some reasonably talented artists who've recently adopted his computerized gimmick to garner airplay. Peep the imitators of this imitator.

Snoop Dogg's catchy "Sensual Seduction"[7]



Lil' Wayne's disgustingly bad "Lollipop"[8]



And oddly enough, Mariah Carey's new single "Migrate", which just happens to feature T-Pain.[9]



All of this madness culminates in the sadder-than-sad video below. Buddah take the wheel.[10]



Epilogue: If you managed to make it to this point in the post, I can only conclude one of two things. 1) You are wearing earplugs. 2) You must really love AB.com.

For the foreseeable future, the vocoder will continue to ruin black radio and eardums worldwide. It's now a fully established, incredibly profitable cultural phenomenon, and there's no way to put the genie back in the bottle. We might as well embrace it, or at least learn to tolerate it.

Sadly, Roger Troutman never got to enjoy the spoils of his years of hard work, which is a travesty in and of itself. Somewhere in his condo in West Heaven, he probably looks down at these assclowns who are profiting off his pet rock with a mixture of disdain and pride. You know, sorta like the same way I feel for having spent an hour of my life documenting this whole thing.

But let it be known, Roger is the master of the Electro Harmonix "Golden Throat" talkbox and Yamaha DX100 FM synthesizer, regardless of how many iTunes downloads Akon and T-Pain rack up this year.

Respect the Architect.

The Vocoder wiki [wikipedia.org]

The Roger Troutman wiki [wikipedia.org]

[1] Admit it. You thought I was kidding about this post didn't you?

[2] Wasn't Rockwell some famous person's nephew or somethin'?

[3] I still hear this song somewhere or other at least once a week. But for the record, I don't consider it classic material. Not by a mile.

[4] Anybody know how to update a wiki?

[5] Some people say he's pulling a Dikembe Mutombo and is nearly 47 years old.

[6] Come on, he HAD to know that girl was 15 at best.

[7] Probably the most original video I've seen in ages.

[8] I threw up in my mouth the first time I heard this.

[9] See [8].

[10] Doesn't this little girl look like Connie from King Of The Hill?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"But Mama, 'Boy' Is A White Racist Word!"


We've seen our share of ignorant, borderline racist mudslinging throughout this campaign, so maybe this shouldn't really be all that surprising. Insulting, yes. But not exactly surprising.

A Republican House member Monday sent a letter of apology to Sen. Barack Obama, after calling him "boy" and comparing him to a "snake oil salesman" in attacking his national security credentials at a weekend fund-raising dinner in Kentucky.

According to a Lexington Herald-Leader blog item, Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., said Saturday that he had recently participated in a "highly classified, national security simulation" with Obama, and said that exercise showed that Obama can't be trusted to make difficult decisions.

"I'm going to tell you something: That boy's finger does not need to be on the button," Davis said. "He could not make a decision in that simulation that related to a nuclear threat to this country."
Here's the audio/video. Was Davis taken out of context? You tell me.



Well, if it looks like a "boy", sounds like a "boy", and walks like a "boy", then by golly, it just might be a racial slur.

Again, I've accepted this sorta crap as par for the course, and now that the Republicans are piling on, we should probably expect more of these attacks come the Fall. But make no mistake about it, racial politricks is as bipartisan a smear tactic as you'll find. This ain't about the GOP or the Dems. It's about common decency.

What's most surprising though, is how many whites don't even think this is a disrespectful statement, let alone racist. To wit, just reading the comments Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane's always entertaining blog, many white folks just don't seem to get it. The link's below, go over there and prepare to have your mind blown. Or not.

Seriously, any white person who finds calling a black man three years his junior a "boy" acceptable is either completely ignorant to American history or just stuck on stupid. To his credit, Davis has apologized, but who the hell really cares at this point? He already told us all we need to know.

If only these folks had watched the seminal "But Mama, 'Boy' Is A White Racist Word!" episode of Good Times, they'd know better. Hell, even a preteen Michael Evans was hip to the game.

I don't have video of that episode handy (Thembi, where are you?), but here's a video montage of the Militant Midget gettin' down, just to end things on a happy note.



Question: Is calling a grown assed black man a "boy" racist, or merely garden-variety disrespect?

And the GOP wonders why it can't attract black voters [Raisin' Kane Blog - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

GOP Congressman Apologizes for Calling Obama 'Boy' [ABC News]

Your WeedCarriers Can't Save You This Time, Carmelo.


I knew it was Spring when I walked to the gym today at lunchtime, and saw a pasty, pudgy, middle-aged white dude sunbathing on the town square. Except for that frightening image, this is generally my favorite time of year. The lawn is lush and green, flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, and of course it's NBA Playoff Time.

So, with his team fighting to merely make the playoffs at the end of a disappointing season, what does Denver Nuggets All-Star and perennial moron Carmelo Anthony do? Why, go out and get slizzard beyond comprehension and catch a DUI in the process, of course.

National Basketball Association star Carmelo Anthony, who was booked on alleged drink driving Monday, apologized for his arrest on Tuesday. The Denver Nuggets forward was arrested just hours after Denver's 111-94 playoff victory over Houston on Sunday. Denver has been in the process of trying to lock up the eighth and final playoff spot for the Western Conference.

"I want to apologize to my family, fans and the Denver Nuggets organization for my actions early Monday morning," he said.

"I regret putting myself in this situation. I also want to apologize to my teammates for the distraction this has caused."
The DUI in and of itself is nothing notable. It happens to athletes and entertainers all the time, and thank God Anthony didn't kill anyone in the process. No, what makes this story special is how Denver's Finest treated Melo' after his arrest.
It was early Monday morning when Anthony was pulled over on I-25 for allegedly driving drunk. Anthony became angry and began swearing and arguing with the arresting officer who immediately called for backup, sources told News2. Anthony was taken to a hospital for a blood test.

Tuesday, Denver police said, "it is not standard practice to drive people home, but it is done on occasion and doesn't violate department policy." Still, many believe Anthony did get special treatment after another officer took his car, a $130,000 silver Mercedes, and drove it to a city-owned police parking lot rather than tow it to an impound yard. Police on Tuesday called that parking lot a "safe location" and driving it there was an "option that officers exercise regularly."

There was some speculation about whether Anthony received special treatment because the police offered to drive him home after his release.
Even worse, it's reported that his permanent fiancee/baby mama, ex-MTV veejay La-La Vazquez, refused to come pick him up from the clink, which resulted in still more preferential treatment by Mile High police.
Then, when his fiance refused to pick him up, because she was angry that he was out partying, the sergeant offered to personally drive Anthony to the Ritz-Carlton hotel, according to those same police sources.

Anthony's fiancee, La-La Vazquez, released a statement that said, "I fully support my fiance, Carmelo Anthony, and stand by him through this ordeal. I will always have his back, and never refused to pick him up from the police station. In fact, they offered to bring him to me."
I suppose it's cool that Denver police root for the home team and wanted to keep their star in the game so they could watch him get ethered by Kobe and the Lakers in their first round playoff series. But what's not cool is how the judicial system as a whole gives folks (see yesterday's T.I. post) a free pass just because they're famous.

Let's not forget this is the same Carmelo Anthony that appeared on that infamous Stop Snitchin' street video, got into a raucous bar fight to protect the honor of his fiance/baby mama, got caught with the ole' "weed in a napsack" trick and subsequently had his weedcarrier take the charge, and then suckerpunched New York Knicks guard Mardy Collins in what had to be the greatest display of poor sportsmanship this side of Tomjanovich/Washington.

Yep, all that in just over a year.

But since the guy can score nearly 30 points a night and sell sneakers, he keeps getting second chances the AverageBro would never receive if they'd racked up this Grand Theft Auto-type track record. And surprise, I don't blame Anthony for one bit of this.

Nope, I blame the Denver Nuggets, his coaches, the NBA, Nike, the Denver Police, the City of Baltimore, and everybody else who gave the guy a free pass just because he has a nice mid-range jumper.

They're called Enablers.

And they need to stop enabling and start holding Anthony and his ilk responsible before somebody gets killed.

But I'm not holdin' my breath.

Question: Do you blame celebrities like Carmelo Anthony and T.I. for taking advantage of their fame when faced with adversity?

NBA Nuggets star Anthony makes apology for arrest [AP]

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

T.I. Wants To Save Your Children.


The fine folks of Atlanta never cease to amaze me when it comes to their relentless celebrity worship. Last year, I told ya'll about two Atlanta area school systems that invited noted one hit wonder Yung Joc to speak to elementary school students about achievement. It didn't make much sense to me that in a city chock full of black entrepreneurs and professionals, the best representative of "achievement" that the school system could find was a guy best known for such lyrics as "meet me at the traaaap, it's goin' down", not to mention that idiotic motorcycle dance. On the bright side, at least he didn't use a vocoder.[1]

Well, eager to one-up each other, school systems and civil rights organizations, and various other bastions of impressionable youth are lining up to help (c)rapper T.I. serve his 1,000 hours of community service.

If T.I. will speak, people will listen. That was the reasoning behind the U.S. Attorney's Office plea deal with the enormously popular Atlanta rapper — giving him a reduced prison sentence but making him earn it by spending at least 1,000 hours over the next year preaching nonviolence to "at-risk youth."

Less than 24 hours after the highly publicized plea, requests for the rapper to speak have come rolling in, Steve Sadow, one of the rapper's lawyers, said Friday.

"The idea really is he can get through to kids and fans like nobody else can," Sadow said. "Why not take advantage of what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?"

T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris Jr., pleaded guilty Thursday to three firearms violations charges. Under the advisory federal sentencing guidelines, Harris faced between 4 years and 9 months and 5 years and 11 months in prison. Instead, when he is sentenced in March 2009, he will be ordered to spend a year and a day in prison as long as he fulfills the obligations of his community service and stays out of trouble.

For community service, Harris will speak out in opposition to drugs, gangs and illegal and reckless gun use. He also must promote respect for law enforcement, according to the plea deal. Already, local district attorneys, a law enforcement group from Florida and a local NAACP chapter are among those asking for Harris' time, Sadow said.
I don't just play a parent on TV, I'm actually one in real life. That said, I'm not a child psychologist. Perhaps one of my more enlightened readers can tell me if this sorta 'scared straight' public speaking that T.I. will engage in is proven to actually deter kids from a life of crime and inevitable punishment. My completely uneducated guess is 'no'.

I can just see T.I. pulling up (chauffeured of course) to Bankhead Middle School in a $400,000 car, draped in jewels, publicist and weedcarriers in tow, entering an auditorium full of giddy kids. He'll probably say something or other like "drugs are bad, stay in school, take your vitamins, blah blah blah", but inevitably, the whole thing will turn into typical idolatry. T.I. will sign and pass out promotional copies of his latest single "Thank God For Good Jewish Lawyers", pose for some flicks with kids and a wannabe cool assistant principal, and dip in less than an hour. And as he pulls away in his Maybach on the way back to his million dollar home, the kids won't think anything other than "man, that's a fly ride, and I gotta get me one." Nobody will be saved from the traaaap, nobody will be enlightened to stray from crime. Why?

Simply because T.I.'s music is all about nothing but crime. I seriously doubt many of these kids will draw the distinction between the guy who raps about ignant sh*t and became a millionaire in the process, and the guy who tells them not to do the very same ignant sh*t that made him a millionaire in the process. It's just human nature.

Besides, isn't this the same T.I. who helped me coin the phrase "raise your own damn kids"?



How soon we forget.

If the judge really wanted to make this whole charade impactful, he'd demand that T.I. be treated like the criminal he is, not a celebrity. He'd be brought to the school in a squad car, draped in an orange jumpsuit, and shuffled into the same auditorium in handcuffs with his probation officer behind him. He would be forced to explain to these kids what his dumb ass was thinking for amassing a military grade stockpile of guns when his fool ass was already on probation. As he sat there, shifting uncomfortably in his seat[2], and looking emaciated[3], he'd also have to espouse the virtues of truthfulness by telling all about the person(s) he snitched on to get such a sweetheart deal in the first place. There would be no promo CD handouts, no autographs, and no photo ops. He would be shackled back up and lead back out to the squad car, as the impressionable kids looked on at this miserable scene and thought to themselves, "man, T.I. really f*cked up! I need to stay in school." But you and I know there's no way it goes down like that.

This is good P.R. for Clifford Harris, and little more. A Grand Hu$tle indeed.

And for that, the celebrity worshipping adults who will invite the rapper to appear in front of hundreds of kids as he effortlessly burns off his thousand hours oughta be ashamed.[4]

But that's just my opinion, what's yours?[5]

Question: Will T.I.'s Scared Straight Tour 08' actually deter kids from a life of crime, or is this dude just lucky he's rich enough to hire good attorneys?

Requests roll in for rapper T.I. to speak to groups [AJC]

[1] The Vocoder Anthology, coming soon to AB.com

[2] Catch my drift?

[3] Well, moreso than he normally does.

[4] And if you're shakin' your head at this whole story, but not doing anything to prevent the next T.I., then you oughta be ashamed as well. Do somethin' already!


[5] What the heck does T.I. stand for anyway? Totally Ignant? Terrible Influence? Truly Illiterate?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

C.Y.I.N. Case Study: Has Alicia Keys Lost Her Friggin' Mind?!?


crossposted at The Secret Council of American Negroes

I've never been the biggest Alicia Keys fan. Not because I don't like her somewhat bland and overly-hyped music, but mainly because I just don't really mess with R&B like that much nowadays. Yeah, I'm cool with Dwele, and that recent Erykah Badu was a-ite, but overall, I spend more time on the AM dial, far removed from the thump and bump of the typical Hot/Power/Kiss genre of playlist-driven stations. When I do listen to music on the radio, I'm far more of an "urban contemporary" or "smooth jazz" guy.

And besides, I'm just not feelin' those damn vocoders.[1]

[Editor's Note: I'm also prolly still a little salty over that India.Arie/Grammy thing a few years back. And I know India's career has since fizzled and she's back to working the 3rd shift at Denny's, but still, she got straight robbed!]

That said, while I generally find Keys to be relatively inoffensive Starbucks background music and little more, I wonder exactly what was she sippin' when she went all Dale Gribble[2] on us and gave these quotes during a recent interview with Blender Magazine.

There’s another side to Alicia Keys: conspiracy theorist.

The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter tells Blender magazine: "‘Gangsta rap’ was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. ‘Gangsta rap’ didn’t exist."

Though she’s known for her romantic tunes, she told Blender that she wants to write more political songs. If black leaders such as the late Black Panther Huey Newton "had the outlets our musicians have today, it’d be global. I have to figure out a way to do it myself," she said.

Keys, 27, said she’s read several Black Panther autobiographies and wears a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck "to symbolize strength, power and killing ’em dead," according to an interview in the magazine’s May issue, on newsstands Tuesday.

Another of her theories: That the bi coastal feud between slain rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. was fueled "by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing."
This whole thing reminds me of that old Chris Rock routine. Just put on your headphones and fast forward to the 40 second mark.



"MLK was assassinated. Malcolm X was assassinated. Them two Negroes got shot!"

Alicia Keys, please stick to your formulaic piano ballads and leave the Biggie and Pac conspiracy theories to the LA Times.

Question: Is Alicia Keys making any sense?

Alicia Keys shares her conspiracy theories on 'gangsta rap' [NY Daily News]

[1] Seriously, what the hell is Mariah Carey doing singing with a vocoder? She actually has talent. My "The Vocoder Is Ruining My Life" post is coming later this week. Stay tuned.

[2] Only the best character from the best animated TV series evar, just in case you were wondering.