Wednesday, March 31, 2010

AB.com Rewind - Do We Really Need Token Blacks In HollyWeird?!?

[Editor's Note: In the time since I wrote this, I've seen "Danny" in 3 more made-for-TV movies, serving as "the token Black friend each time. I guess it's an honest hustle.]

I've been addicted to CBS' Harper's Island since the first of its 13 episodes. For those unaware, HI is a miniseries in which a group of twentysomething urban hipsters attending a wedding on a remote island near Vancouver, BC. who are we kidding? Seattle get killed one by one by a serial killer long presumed to be dead. A classic murder mystery with a hint of slasher movie-style violence, the show definitely pushes the envelope of what's acceptable on network TV. Seriously, if all network TV was this good, I wouldn't have a need for the TeeVee Sux tag. Sadly, the show comes to an end with its series finale this Saturday. I'm obviously hoping its relatively good ratings translate into more shows of the type. Don't be fooled by the cheesy promo, this is pretty good TV. If you wanna catch up, you can peep full episodes on CBS.com. No, that was not a paid plug.



But one thing that's sorta bugged me about the show from jump is the "obligatory token black guy" named Danny, the brotha who got about 0.4 seconds of face time in that promo you just watched. Danny is billed in the credits as "The College Buddy", but reality is, they could have called him "the black dude with no lines" and been just as accurate. Of the cast of nearly 3 dozen characters, Danny is the only minority. He's also the only character who is completely inconsequential. He never says or does anything that doesn't compliment the show's main characters. He isn't given even an inkling of a storyline or backstory of his own. While all the other characters are busy bonin' each other on the regular, he has no love interest to speak of. He has no family of his own. His sole purpose in life is to provide one-liners that either support or make the show's main characters laugh. He is a Mystical Negro, minus the magic. He is for all intents and purposes, a human prop.

I know what you're thinking: this is a horror show, so on which episode did he die? Well, oddly, even though he is little more than a background character, Danny has somehow miraculously managed to make it through 12 episodes unscathed, which completely undermines the whole "black folks die first in horror movies" stereotype. On a show whose entire premise is "who dies next?", this is pretty confounding.

In a move merely underscoring just how weak Danny's character is, peep the show's website. The final episode is this weekend. The show's premise every week is "pick the victim". My counting could be off, but I think there are only 7 characters remaining. So, peep this sh*t.

Uhmm, where the *!@# is Danny?!? C'mon CBS, that's jive weak. Danny, you need a new agent, bruh.

I guess my question is sorta silly, but play along anyway. For years the NAACP and other organizations have rallied against Hollyweird for more diversity in primetime TeeVee casting. This hasn't necessarily resulted in any tangible difference. Most shows have, at most, 1-2 black or Latino characters, whose jobs are to do little more than support and otherwise coddle the white stars.[1] The demise of the black sitcom has been well documented. The black drama is about as common as a John Stockton dunk. I might could be crazy, but I'd swear the NAACP's protests didn't exactly work as planned.

In the end, if all we get outta the deal is a few token characters here and there, what exactly is the point? I'll really rather just look at an all-white cast than be insulted by "obligatory Negroes". Diversity should ideally be about different faces being the star, not merely the supporting cast. Could you imagine the Lakers with 11 Luke Waltons and one DJ Mbenga? Me neither. After years of activism, we're still not quite there just yet.

But for the record, my money says Danny makes it off the island. We'll see Saturday.

Question: How important is diversity in casting of primetime TV shows? Is merely having "faces of color" good enough, or do the characters need to be integral to the story to actually count? Got any particularly awkward examples of token Black characters on TeeVee? Do you watch Harper's Island? Is Danny gonna make it off the island, or will he be turned into yet another John Wakefield victim?

Harper's Island Official Website [CBS.com]

[1] Notable exception: The one sista on ABC's Private Practice, who actually gets painted as a real, living, breathing character who actually "matters".

Name That Sample - "Don't Look Any Further"

Name That Sample is simple: I play the original song, you tell me who sampled it. Winner gets a day's supply of Cyber CapriSuns™. As always, no Googling! Google is for losers.

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This classic 80's tune by Dennis Edwards has been sampled numerous times. But who can name the most songs that have used these delightful bars?

Difficulty Level: Simple, but there are some obscure uses beyond the obvious. Think harder. Extra credit to the first person to name the semi-famouse woman singing the other half of this duet.

Question: How many songs can you name that used the "Don't Look Any Further" sample? Don't be fooled into just listening to the opening bars, or you'll prolly miss half the possible answers. Feel free to cheat and use other commenters' work, but do NOT Google! Google is for losers.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

AB.Com Rewind - Enough "Nice White Lady" Movies, Already!

[Editor's Note: don't be swayed by the whimsical nature of this post. There's a semi-serious question at the bottom.]

Please don't bother asking how this happened, but I somehow managed to find myself watching a godawful WifeTime movie called Fighting the Odds: The Marilyn Gambrell Story the other day. Perhaps you've seen this movie, but just in case you haven't, just watch 10 seconds of this dreadful trailer and fill in the blanks.



Seriously, haven't we had enough of these "Nice White Folks Save The Ghetto Kids Through Sheer Will And Determination" movies already? Dangerous Minds, Hardball, Wildcats, The Ron Clark Story, Finding Forrester, Take The Lead, Freedom Writers. Seen one, you seen em' all.



So, I wanna test ya'll's knowledge of this shopworn Hollyweird formula, mad-libs style. First person to fill in all the blanks successfully wins a prize.
New, from Lion's Gate pictures, in association with ________________ productions, and director __________ ________, comes the movie _____________ ____________ _________ starring __________ ___________ as a woman who leaves a lucrative job as a ___________ to help combat the ____________ of ________-city schools. By the sheer power of her ____________, she makes a difference in the lives of teens from ___________ homes, who struggle to avoid ___________ and _________ in the __________ jungle, where every day is a fight to ____________.

____________ will help these children unlock their inner __________, by making them ___________ in themselves. Using _____________ and ______________ to express themselves, the kids confront the _____________ ______________ and gain _______________ to help them navigate a ________________ ________________. But will they show enough improvement in their _______________ _____________ to prevent the __________ _________ from shutting the program down?

With an inspiring soundtrack featuring the music of ____________, ______________ and _____________ _________, __________ ____________ ___________ is the feelgood movie of the summer, culminating a touching scene where the students bond with their teacher by showing her how to _____________.
Can you fill in all the right answers?

Question: Why does Hollyweird have this odd obsession with "Whites saving Blacks" movies? Can you complete the mad lib above? Just cut and paste your answers into the comments, filling in the answers where the blanks are. What's your (least?) favorite Nice White Lady movie?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Wackest New Music Video Evar. Period.

I don't personally buy the "hip hop is dead" argument, precisely because there's still so much good music being made. You just have to look for it.

On the flipside, I definitely think "hip hop has the flu", mainly because advances in technology have made it easy for any ole' untalented bastard to download FruityLoops and record his own video with a flipcam. This is obviously going to lead to some bad product.

The esrtwhile Bangs now has some competition for worstest video evar. Witness the following.

[Editor's Warning: For those of you at work, this video contains somewhat scantily clad models. Be sure the boss ain't around before you press "play". I warned you.]



Jesus, I sure hope these Negroes didn't quit their Day Jobs, assuming they had any. There's so much wrong with this video, I don't know where to start.

* Video "pros" in granny drawls? [1:40] Where they do that at?

* Is that Jermaine O'Neal lookin' bama [1:20] in the bathtub with a headband on? Why?

* "Iverson" baseball jerseys? [1:27] Really?

* 6-foot high ceilings? [1:34] Lemme guess, they had to shoot this in someone's basement while they mama was at work.

* What's with the Middle Eastern lookin' chick in the background dry-humping the car [2:35], and the other one who looks 15 [2:41] that clearly can't dance a lick but is hogging the camera?

* Why is this chick doin' the Tootsie Roll? [3:05] What is this, 1994?

* What's up with the Hispanic dude standing in the background [3:14] with the ice grill? What's he so mad about? Is he thirsty? Dos cervesas, por favor.

* Oh, so that's what the Hispanic dude's in the video for. [3:24]

* This guy is clearly on the Plies Diet And Exercise Plan. [3:50]

* Please don't mention "The Lord" is the midst of this f*ckery. Please. [4:22]

* Rape! Rape! [4:45]

Question: What YOU thirsty fo'?!?

* Hat tip to C&D.

AverageNation™ March Madness: Week Two Results.

I'm currently on vacation, sans BlackBerry, iPod Touch, or for that matter, reliable web access. Don't get it twisted, this post was written last week, and is showing up thanks to our patented time-release method.

Markus Liles (aka: EbonyGentleman) was leading the field after Week One. If you wanna peep the current rankings, visit the AverageNation™ March Madness page on CBS Sportsline.

Question: How messed up is your bracket now?!? Who's your choice to win now that the Final Four has arrived?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Too Much Jigga, Not Enough Talent.

Given the funny concept, this really, really, really coulda been much better.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Let Me See Ya' Grill. No, Literally, Let Me See Ya' Grill, Fool!

What the holy heck?!?

Friday, March 26, 2010

AB.com Rewind - Can You Cook?!?

[Editor's Note: Irony of all-ironies, just after I did this post and bought the Neely's cookbook, my gas grill had some technical difficulties. I haven't even opened the book, watched the show, or cooked much of anything since.]

This is gonna sound a bit silly, but since TV really sucks, I now find myself addicted to cooking shows. Don't get me wrong: I'm definitely not a "foodie". I'm one of those "eat to live" guys, not vice versa. I can eat the exact same thing night after night, so long as it's filling and reasonably healthy. I do this all the time when I'm on the road with the Day Job.

Nonetheless, I consider myself a semi-good cook, and really just like doing it for the sense of accomplishment. I'm a master of all things grilled (ah, the modesty) and can even make a little bit of ethnic food (Indian, Caribbean). Maybe it's the Engineer in me, maybe not. I just enjoy cooking for no particular reason. And in this post racial America, two shows on The Food Network have proven to be Tivo Season Pass-worthy.

Down Home With The Neelys is my favorite. It features a married couple from Memphis who happen to own a chain of BBQ restaurants. The show is entertaining, but I wouldn't eat 75% of the fat and sugar laden meals they prepare. I swear these bamas fried a freakin' garden salad!!! on one episode. That said, I find the couple's on-air banter refreshing. Seriously, how often do you see a black married couple get to carry on like this on TV? Get a room ya'll!



Big Daddy's House is another good one. Camden, NJ chef Aaron McCargo usually cooks a bit healthier fare than the Neelys, but still manages to keep it a little hood' for good measure.



Perhaps it's just the superior production quality, but both shows are head and shoulders above TV One's Turn Up The Heat With G. Garvin and Livin' It Up With Patti LaBelle. Or maybe it's just me.

Everyday Italian is also good for the occasional tip. And since we're on the topic, what's with this show? I've heard of the whole "food as pRon" concept the Food Network uses to make their programming more appealing, but I always find this show a little over the top. All the soft focus lenses, the pulsating smooth jazz, the sensual lighting, the extreme closeups, and of course, Giada's ever-plunging necklines. Is this a cooking show or a SkineMax 2:00am flick?!?



Question: Can you cook? If so, what's your signature dish? Do you watch The Food Network? Is The Neely's slightly ghetto on-air act refreshing, or cringe-worthy? Is Everyday Italian "food pRon"?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The AverageFamily Vacation.

By the time ya'll read this, The AverageFam will prolly be somewhere on I-95 South, headed towards The World's Happiest (and Most Expensive) Place: DisneyWorld. What possessed me and my wife to take a 15 hour roadtrip with two toddlers is beyond me, but we're outta here. I'll be back in a couple of weeks. While I'm gone, in addition to some pre-written drops and our usual weekly features, I'll be rerunning some of my personal favorite posts in celebration of The 3 Year Anniversary of AB.com.

That's right folks, I started this erstwhile blog on April 1st, 2007. If you're new here, many of these posts, which have been locked away in the secret vaults of Bloggerdom, may be new to you. If you're an old head, well, leftovers are always better the 2nd time around. In most cases, I'm remixing the posts and posing a different set of questions to spark new convo. As usual when I'm away, I expect ya'll to play nicely and police yourselves in the comments section.

That said, enjoy these Classic AB.com Rewinds.

See ya'll soon. Or later. Whichever comes first. Or last.

Jay

AB.com Rewind - Has "The N-Word" Lost All Its Power?!?

[Editor's Note: In retrospect, this post was a little flippant, but I still feel the same. I don't think the word's lost all of its sting, but I think that moreso than any other time in history, the word only has as much power as we give it.]

Earlier this year, at the request of my wife, I made AB.com an "N-Word Free Zone". I suppose this was my version of the whole "shaving off your cornrows and growing up" thing ballers and entertainers are doing lately. Still, this didn't come with much deliberation, she simply said I should stop using it on the blog because you never know who's reading, and I agreed. I consider myself a skillful enough writer to not have to resort to using such gutter language to get my point across, and I haven't had a slip-up (out of context, that is) or lost a step since. Water under the bridge...

On the flipside, part of me wondered why it was even necessary. I think we can uniformly agree that the N-Word is most often used amongst Black folks to disparagingly describe the wayward actions of some other Black folks (ie: "Dem N-Words need to cut they damn grass, this is the suburbs!"). Sure, some folks claim to use it as a term of endearment (ie: "What up my N-Word! Let me borrow your lawnmower!") , but I haven't heard widespread usage in this manner since the Clinton Administration.[1]

The remaining usage is obvious: as a racial epithet (ie: "We should have never let those N-Words move in this neighborhood. Do they even know what a lawnmower is?"), it's the proverbial "3rd Rail" of American slurs. But how frequently does this even happen anymore? I can't personally remember the last time I was called one by a white person, although I'm sure I was still living in NC when it happened. When was the last newsworthy mention of the "N-Word" being used as a slur? KKKramer? Dog The Bounty Hunter? The OJ Trial? Marge Schott?

In a roundabout way, I guess I'm wondering if maybe the incessant dumbing down of hip-hop culture has actually succeeding in it's (admittedly unintended) job of robbing the word of its meaning. It's used so often, yet so seldom in its original, highly offensive context. It is possible the word, as a slur, has lost its power?

I'm 35 years old now, with a wife and two kids. My biggest concerns in life are nurturing my marriage, raising my sons, and keeping a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs. Period. Everything outside this isn't even secondary, it's thirdary, assuming that's a real word.[2]

With that said, I honestly wonder how much I'd even be upset/offended if someone called me the "N-Word" to my face right now. I'm not an "N-Word", by whatever definition you assign to the word, despite the viewpoint of the theoretical accuser. I know this, whether the person calling me one thinks otherwise is irrelevant. Again, I can't say how I'd react if this happened (I'd probably be too shocked to react, honestly), but I don't think "whoopin' somebody a$$" would be in the Top 5 of my possible responses. Bewilderment, maybe. Amusement, perhaps. "Beat a Cracka's A$$"-level rage? I can't say for sure, but knowing myself, not entirely likely.

Besides, let's face it, if someone really has that much disdain for you to call you that word in this day and age, what good would a beatdown accomplish other than landing you in the clink? Do you think you'd actually beat the "hate" out of them? Prolly not. I'm thinkin' you're just taking totally unnecessary penitentiary chances that will result in you getting a record, and them having a very cool story to tell at the bar.

Again, if the intent of the word doesn't apply to you, why would you really be offended? I didn't get offended (I know, this isn't exactly apples & apples) when TLC's "No Scrubs" came out, cause I'm not one. I don't get offended when I hear all these blogs, songs, movies, TV shows about "Black Men Ain't Sh*t", cause well, they ain't talkin' bout' me. So why exactly would a word that doesn't (by whatever definition you give it) apply to me be offensive?

If you wanna offend me, call me "Dumb". Depending on the context/setting (ie: work, my kids' school), you just might wanna guard your grill. But "N-Word"? Sorry, I'm just a bit too busy to get all worked up over something like that.

Then again, I'm talking from a relative lack of recent experience. Until you're actually confronted with something, who knows?

Question: Would being called "The N-Word" be grounds for you whoppin' somebody's a$$, or does the word not hold that sort of power over you? What words are "fightin' words" in this post-racial America? Got any notable instances where you were called "The N-Word"? For my white, Asian, Latino, and others, what similar words raise your ire?

[1] Let's not get tied up in "gga" vs "gger", please. It's the same thing. If you don't believe me, go to your Grandma's house and just start spouting out either version. Tell me how long you're able to do this and still stand upright (or at least a stern talking-to).

[2] It isn't.

3 Play Thursday - The System

It's 3 Play Thursday. Today: 80's Duo The System.

Often confused with Babyface's incubator "The Deele", The System is a New York duo that put out a few nice, albeit overly synthesized grooves in The Greatest Decade Evar. Here's a trio of my favorites.

"Don't Disturb This Groove"



"In My System"



"Why You Wanna Hurt Me"



Question: Do you even remember The System, and if so, for what?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Black Folks' Rule #4081: Know When To Shut Up And Sit Down.

A viral video of a college student being cuffed in class is circulating the web, and bringing back memories of Gates-gate. But I wonder if many folks are jumping to conclusions yet again, without considering context.
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee student Robyn Foster may have crossed the line last Monday, March 15, during a discussion with Anthropology professor Kathleen Foley Winkler.

In a video posted to YouTube, a student identified as Foster yells back-and-forth with Foley Winkler, who remains off camera, reportedly arguing over the wording of a question on a recent exam.

Things got heated and when a fellow student told Foster to sit down. Foster allegedly threw a water bottle at the student, compelling the professor to call campus police. That's when an unnamed fellow student and intern at a Milwaukee TV station began recording the incident.

Campus police arrived and took Foster to the ground when she refused to leave the classroom. Foster now faces a charge of disorderly conduct. A witness told WTMJ radio that before calling police, Foley Winkler gave Foster "four or five chances" to leave the classroom on her own.
Here's the video. You sorta have to wait a sec for the action to start, but watch the whole thing or you'll miss the context.



Predictably, this has some folks yelling "racism", claiming that the girl wouldn't have been arrested if she weren't black, and drawing comparisons to the Henry Louis Gates/Cambridge cops kerfuffle.

Bull.

Watch the video. Homegirl is clearly way outta pocket. She'd tossed a bottle at a fellow student before this video got rolling. She'd interrupted class (for 15 minutes!) because she was "arguing over the wording of a question on a recent exam". You'd think they'd just given her an unwanted rectal exam if you look at the reaction.

Were the cops (who seem to just materialize out of nowhere, I have no idea how long they were watching) out of line for arresting her? Sure. But she specifically told them "I ain't goin' nowhere, so you gon' have to carry my ass out if you wanna!" And so they did.

You really can't defend this sorta conduct. She had thrown a bottle at a fellow student, and was cursing out a professor for damn near 15 minutes before 5-0 showed up. I don't know what sorta campus UW-M is, but I'm assuming they don't just have a gang of cops sitting outside each classroom door. Reality is, if the professor called them (before this video began) it took them awhile to arrive. And still, Foster wouldn't stop running off at the mouth.

I hate watching a sista go out like this, but damn, black folks, we gotta learn. There's a time and place for everything. If you have an issue with the wording of an exam question, it's probably best to take it up with the professor after class. Not during, when you're certainly not going to gain any grace points by showing up the person responsible for your final grade, while also disrupting other students who paid just as much as you did for the privilege of learning.

Go. Sit. Down. Robyn Foster.

Question: Were the cops out of line for arresting this young lady in class, or is there a time and place for questioning a professor's decisions?

Robyn Foster Arrested (VIDEO): University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Student Yells At Students, Professor [HuffPost]

Name That Sample - "Stay With Me"

Name That Sample is simple: I play the original song, you tell me who sampled it. Winner gets a day's supply of Cyber CapriSuns™. As always, no Googling! Google is for losers.



This classic 80's tune by DeBarge has been sampled numerous times. But who can name the most songs that have used these delightful bars?

Difficulty Level: Simple, But There Are Some Obscure Uses Beyond The Obvious. Stretch Yourself.

Question: How many songs can you name that used the "Stay With Me" sample? Don't be fooled into just listening to the opening bars, or you'll prolly miss half the possible answers. Feel free to cheat and use other commenters' work, but do NOT Google! Google is for losers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Caulk In The Booty?!? Personally, I Blame Beyonce.

Ladies, be happy shakin' whatever moneymaker your mama gave ya'. Whatever you do, please don't resort to this.



Crackpot caulker botching butt-shapes; 6 women hospitalized [NYPost]

People I Strongly Dislike: Nicki Minaj Wannabes.

Every 2-3 years, a new cultural phenomenon sweeps young black America reeking general havoc that prolly makes MLK and Rosa roll in their graves. It was the 5-foot-long white tee phase, then the throwback jersey phase, then the skinny jeans phase, which may or may not still be in fashion. When each "phase" takes effect, it's often the trickle-down effect of the influence of whatever rapper's hot at the moment. And this latest "Harajuku Barbie" trend is no exception, as it can clearly be traced to the ascent of one Nicki Minaj.[1]

For those under a rock, Nicki Minaj is a reasonably talented rapper from Queens who has made a reasonably successful career out of free mixtapes and guest spots on other folks' songs. I can't hate on her lyrically, I got both Sucka Free and Beam Me Up Scotty on my iPod.



However, I personally cannot stand her stoopid antics, facial tics, faux British accents, and dem' stupid assed pink extensions. That, however, doesn't stop millions of impressionable young black women from co-opting this "style", as any short trip on the Metro will provide sufficient evidence of. And yeah, there are a million and one obligatory YouTube knockoffs to boot.







Go. Sit. Down. All of you. Sit!

I'm sure this is exactly what Soujourner Truth had in mind when she was being chased by the slavemaster's dogs through some Georgia swamp.

I suppose this is mostly harmless if you're in middle school, but if you are over age 25, have pink yaki in your head, and refer to yourself as a 5-Star anything, please get a clue, a life, and a GED. Do not pass Go. Go directly to Everest College. Do better.

Question: Have you also observed a Knockoff Nicki outbreak in your city/burb? Is this mostly just harmless kiddie stuff, or have you also observed a Nicki Knockoff doing clerical work on a gubb'ment job?

[1] Hopefully NOT catching on: grotesquely overdone Hydrogel butt/thigh shots. Man, this chick is gonna look turrible in about 10 years. She already looks cartoonishly freakish as-is.

AB Goes To The Movies: The Blind Side.

Much like Precious[1], it took me awhile to bring myself to watch The Blind Side. The reasons are many. I live in the midst of enough black dysfunction on the daily. Why would I wanna drop $50 to experience this nonsense on the big screen? Perhaps even worse is the "white Savior" aspect of both movies. Namely, poor, shiftless Negroes are rescued from themselves by White(ish) folks, largely by virtue of tough love and motherly nurturing. If you ain't seen this Hollywood staple before, then might I suggest you go rent Freedom Writers. At least that movie had a good soundtrack.

For those utterly clueless, The Blind Side is about a wealthy white family that takes in a large, slovenly, mushmouthed black kid from the other side of the tracks, and magically teaches him how to perform pancake blocks to get himself drafted in the NFL. Of course, it's not this simple, but after watching this cliche-ridden piece of drivel, I can't say there's a whole lot more to it.



Sandra Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, a Southern Belle married to a rich man, with two beautiful kids and a large suburban home. When Tuohy realizes that a new kid named "Big Mike" at her children's exclusive private school is homeless, she and her husband take him in out of the kindness of their hearts and make him a part of their family. They bathe him, dress him, educate him, and motivate him to turn his life into something other than a statistic. In the end, "Big" Michael Oher goes on to play four years of college ball at Ole' Miss, and was drafted last year as a first rounder for the Baltimore Ravens. It's a true story that was inspired by a book of the same name, and provided you're able to turn off your third eye, this is a relatively entertaining movie.

As ya'll know, my Negro Spidey Sense has no off button, so I couldn't watch this nonsense without wincing. Sure, much of what's here is true. The Tuohys did indeed take in Oher, and rightfully deserve much praise for helping out a kid who was headed nowhere. But come the hell on! So much of this movie is insulting, and borderline stereotypical for the sake of manufactured drama, it kills any good vibes I might have walked away with.

Perhaps the most alarming is Oher himself, who is portrayed as a damn near a mute. Sure, Oher in real life is pretty soft spoken for an NFL player, but they movie makes him look like an imbecile. He is routinely tutored academically by his 3rd grader "adoptive brother", a child so comically obnoxious you want to punch your TV screen when he's on it. Leigh Anne reads "Big Mike" children's books for Crissakes. WTF? And in an act of fiction so egregious, I'm shocked Oher didn't sue for defamation, the movie basically shows him being taught how to play football by a 9 year-old and a 50-something white woman. In real life, Oher had been playing football since Pop Warner, but here, he somehow, thanks to the magical Tennessee twang of Sandra Bullock, goes from not even knowing what a snap count is, to being recruited by every SEC school in a matter of two weeks time.



Even worser, there isn't a single black character in this movie that helps Mike. His real Mom is on drugs and has nearly 20 kids, so she willingly gives him up for adoption. His neighborhood is full of dope boys who ogle Tuohy and try to get Mike to join a gang. And even once he gets a scholarship, his dreams are nearly derailed by some evil sista who suggests that that Tuohys only allowed him to move in because they wanted to steer him towards playing college ball at their alma mater. Of course, when Mike finds himself in even more trouble, a pistol-packin' Leanne simply rides over to North Memphis and threatens some gangbangers to set him free.

Holy Caucasian Jesus, who the hell wrote this crap?!?

Again, this isn't a terrible movie, so much as its typical. You've seen it all before, and there's nothing new in The Blind Side, whatsoever. What's atypical is how successful this movie was, raking in a cool $200M, and giving Bullock the distinction of being the first female lead in a movie that did those numbers. That, more than anything else, is what I suspect earned her the best actress Academy Award, because it sure wasn't her performance in this movie. Yeah, Bullock captures the Southern drawl and overall presence of the real-life Leigh Anne Tuohy to the tee, but this movie is so cookie-cutter, and so full of cliches, I can't imagine why someone deemed this worthy of an Oscar.

Final Verdict: Is The Blind Side decent "turn off your brain" entertainment if you have nothing better to do? Sure? But if you're like me, and find that "off" switch hard to locate, you might wanna pass. 2 1/2 Stars (Out Of 5)

Question: Did you see The Blind Side? Is this "White Folks Save The Negroes From Themselves" genre of movie getting played out, or is it just me?

[1] The review is coming soon.

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's AverageNation™ Obama Approval Rating Time Again.

Yep, it's about that time yet again. The polls (quietly) opened today and will run for about a week. As usual, vote early and often, don't allow yourself to be systematically disenfranchised when the Blogger.com Poll Widget inevitably starts kirking out yet again Da' Man tries to administer that poll test. I don't know how many bubbles are in a bar of soap, and neither do you.

Don't think about voting, Vote! Do it now! Do it for your ancestors! Do it for the chill'rens! Do it for my Technorati Rating!

Obama registered an all-time low 65% Approval Rating when I last ran this feature the back in December 09'. With the passage of historic healthcare reform, I expect this number to go back up, but well, as sports commentators say, "that's why they play the game". So vote, please.

I'm holding my commentary for now, I'll save it for the recap. We'll see what the rest of AverageNation™ thinks when the polls close in about a week.

Question: How did you vote? Why? Do you think the overall approval rating is going to drop, rise, or stay the same this time around?

The TeaBagger Circus.

Yep, these were the folks I saw Saturday.

AverageNation™ March Madness: Week One Results.

Like most of America, I didn't watch as much BBall this weekend since I was spellbound by the political pRon HCR deliberations. This is probably for the better, since by bracket was screwed when Kansas (my pick to win it all) got bounced. Even with that epic bracket-fail, I still managed to keep my head above water, and in after the first round of AverageNation™ March Madness, I'm still near the top. Which is good, cause man, it would really suck to end up on the a$$-end of your own pyramid.

Congrats to Markus Liles for wearing the crown after Week One. But watch your back, buddy. We got plenty more games left to play.

Question: How messed up is your bracket?!?

HCR: The Morning After.

Depending on who you are, last night was either the culmination of a century-long effort to ensure equal rights for all, or the first step in the systematic takeover of your internal organs by evil bureaucrats in DC. You can prolly guess which camp I fall in.

I didn't share my random thoughts sooner because of time constraints, but here's a few parting thoughts.

It Ain't Perfect, But Something Needed To Be Done - Folks, the bill isn't perfect. No bill is. There's no way the Feds can pass legislation limiting fraud, driving down HC premiums, or getting people to make healthy life decisions. No way. And yes, I believe this will probably add to the deficit over time. But guess what? Who cares? Something needed to be done. Much of what's in the bill will go into effect immediately. The stuff that's not so great will be gradually refined (by both parties) over time. My sense is the more folks enjoy the sausage, the less they'll care about how it was made.

The Cost - Yeah, $1B over 10 years sounds like a lot, but consider what's being covered here. Then consider the fact that we spent a cool $1B (and going) on both those wars we're still engaged in since 2001. I've yet to see a TeaParty protester complain about that bar tab. Have you?

Taxes, Schmaxes - Taxes, like death, are a given. Initially, the taxes for this bill will fall squarely on the shoulders of the wealthy and those with "Cadillac" health plans. Raise your hand if you fall in either category. At some point, taxes for the rest of us will likely go up to cover this. But guess what: taxes are gonna go up at some point anyway, simply because stuff costs money, and by virture of this weird thing called "inflation", that cost of that stuff gradually rises over time. Cutting taxes (especially for the wealthy) and not paying for sh*t (ie: two wars and a prescription drug bill) is why we're running the crazy deficit we are right now. You have no say-so over how your tax money is used. If you don't like this, good luck finding another country with lower taxation and all the same freedoms as the US.

The TeaBaggers Are Toast - So, when folks rally by the tens of thousands for a whole year, yet still catch an "L" on their signature initiative, what do they do next? Pundits would tell you they're going to be even madder and will keep showing up for rallies. I disagree. Those poor TeaBaggers who I saw in person Saturday don't look like fighters. They look like sheep. Obama and Co. will be on to the next one in a few weeks, and some of these folks will actually realize that not getting dropped or denied coverage for preexisting conditions is a good thing. Sure, the multi-millionaires who fire them up and give them their marching orders will keep beating a busted drum, but I don't see this "movement" moving much more.

The Dems Aren't Necessarily Toast - The American Collective Attention Span is short. Folks forget sh*t real quick, which explains how George Bush somehow made gay marriage the number one issue in 2004 and miraculously won re-election despite having already run the country into the ground. The economy will again become the number one focus, in just in case you haven't been paying attention, it's already improving. The Dow is pushing 11,000. The unemployment rate is dropping. People are going back to work. It hasn't been a magical turnaround, but then again, rebuilding Rome prolly would take more than 14 months, too. Sure, some Dems will lose their seats, but with things getting better than HCR in the rear view mirror, it won't be nearly as bad as some think.

The GOP Is So Insincere - Watching Orange-Boy Boehner and the rest of the GOP assclowns up there pretending to care about "The American People" was beyond laughable. Not only did these folks have 6 years of Bush to get something done on HCR (and do nothing), but they "bill" they suggested as an alternative to ObamaCare is the biggest joke I've heard since BeBe's Kids. Does anyone remember the BS they submitted to the CBO last Fall? If not, go have a look, and tell me if you think they had any intentions all along of doing anything to help "The American People".

"The American People" - If I hear one more person on either side of the aisle use this term, I am gon' cut somebody. There is no such thing as "The American People". I haven't personally been polled for anything, nor has anyone I know personally. How politrician after politrician can pretend to know what "The American People" outside their own personal echo chamber actually wants is beyond me. Actually, that's wrong. We do know what "The American People" want. They told us on November 4th, 2008.

Obama Might Be A Bit Too Good For This Job - President Obama made history last night, but I wonder if history, the way its being written today, will even reflect the enormity of what he just pulled off. I personally think Barack Obama is a guy of great character, intelligence, and integrity. And while I am now squarely back in the "approves" corner, it still strikes me that maybe this isn't the right job for him. A brilliant guy surrounded by idiots (on both sides, but especially his own party), he seems like he's just above the nonsense he has to deal with as President. It sounds a bit silly to say this guy "deserves better", but honestly, I sometimes think the job of President is a bit beneath him. How he manages to "dumb it down" and deal with some the sh*t flung at him is beyond me. I'm happy this guy is our President, but I can't help but wonder if even he has regrets about what he got himself into.

Question: What are your thoughts on "The Morning After".

HealthCare Reform Open Discussion.

Well, he deeed it.

HC Reform passed last night, and depending on who you listen to, the US is either better off, or a full-scale revolt is nearing.

What do ya'll think?

Question: Is HCR going to help this country or only further tear it apart? Have we seen the last of the TeaBaggers? Will Dems who voted for HCR be in trouble come November, or is the country's collective attention span shorter than pundits would like to think? How will this bill effect you personally?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

AB Goes To A TeaParty. Accidentally.

The weather was nice today, and one of my favorite places to take in the sun on such a day is the National Mall. There's plenty of wide open spaces for the boys to run until they get tired and conk out for a nap. The splendor of all the monuments, and museums, and people, and assorted stuff just makes this a great place to burn a few hours. So, I packed the kids in the SUV, and headed downtown, giving my wife an empty house for the afternoon.

Not long after we found our usual parking space near the Union Station did I realize there was something a bit different going on. Sure, protests are a regular occurrence on the Mall, but there were more people carrying signs than usual. I took a glance at one which read "Liberty Over Tyranny. Take your damn hands off my healthcare!"

And then it hit me: I had accidentally ended up at a Tea Party!

Sure, I'm acutely aware that with HC Reform nearing a vote this weekend, folks would be gearing up for a last ditch effort. But I hadn't banked on these opponents of the bill taking over the Capitol and ruining what would otherwise be a great day out with my two sons. Since I was out there on Daddy Time, and not as a blogger, it would have been quite easy to just pack up and leave, or head in the other direction toward the museums. But of course, morbid curiosity and general amusement about TeaBaggers overrode common sense. I pointed that double stroller toward the Capitol.

We were joining the Tea Party!

Here's some totally random, mostly unrelated observations from the 30 of so minutes I could tolerate before taking my impressionable children elsewhere:

"Go Back To Africa!" - As we were crossing the street headed toward the Capitol where the "rally" was taking place, the Obama motorcade just so happened to be headed up to the Hill for what I found out later was a well publicized meeting with Congressional Democrats. So, as the 20 deep delegation of black Tahoes sped by, TeaBaggers quickly ran to the curb (seriously, imagine a few hundred people running and wielding signs.) to serenade the most hated Negro this side of Barry Bonds. And like magic the "Go Back To Africa!" chants just materialized out of thin air. It was totally predictable, but still a little freakish.

Crowd Control - The crowd, as you might guess, was overwhelmingly white, and by appearances, not very well to do financially. Lots of mullets. Lots of misspelled signs. Lots of American Flag dress shirts. Lots of West Virginia license plates. I'm not saying this looked like a casting call for Deliverance 2: Revenge Of The MouthBreathers, but it was pretty damn close. It also wasn't all that big, when you consider the stakes. Perhaps the TeaBaggers have just resigned themselves to the fact that they're going to have to accept not getting denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, and not having their healthcare premiums continue to skyrocket. Either that, or it was simply too pretty a day to be worried about ObamaCare. Despite what Fox News might say to the contrary, there were no more than a couple thousand people there at best.

Not Many Negroes - I know what you're thinking: how many black folks did you see amongst the TeaBaggers. Honestly, I only saw one person whom I would consider a protester, because she had a sign. She was not a looker by any means. There were other black folks just milling about, taking the whole thing in, just like I was, but it was pretty easy to tell they were folks who stumbled upon this and wanted to observe out of morbid curiosity. I fact, I'd say at least 1/4 of the folks on the Hill were either clueless tourists, locals, or gawkers.

"We're Not Here For This, Lady." - Just because I was there with my kids out of curiosity didn't mean the TeaBaggers could tell. A black man pushing two kids in a double stroller prolly does look like a protester to a casual outsider, and I was frequently given thumbs up, smiled at, and otherwise looked at as a welcome token. For a brief moment, I wondered if this was what it felt like to be A Black Conservative. Once I unpacked the kids, and we sat down for our picnic on the Capitol grounds, a real-life Peggy Hill looking woman who was sitting under a tree behind us waved her hands to get my attention, and asked me "Do they know what they're here for?" I was a little puzzled at first, then I realized she was asking me if I'd explained to my kids that I was also against the tyranny of ObamaCare. I said, "We're not for this, lady. We live here. I'm not for this protest." She looked at me like I had entered her puppy in a dogfight. She didn't speak to me anymore.

"Kill The Bill!!!" - When we finished eating and were ready to go, I decided to roll up close to the Capitol, where the actual protest was taking place. No sooner than we approached the crowd, they in unison started chanting "Kill The Bill!" and the lynch mob protesters started marching toward the other side of the Capitol, presumably near where Obama was meeting with Congress. I'm no punk, but when a couple thousand angry folks are marching towards you yelling "KILL! KILL! KILL!", it's probably time to leave. And we did.

Despite reports that members of Congress were spat on, and called n*gger and f*ggot, I didn't witness any of this firsthand. For the most part, the Tea Party protesters I encountered were courteous, and gladly moved out the way as I maneuvered my stroller through the crowd. And while I completely disagree with these folks, and find them comically misinformed, reality is, what they're doing is as American as apple pie. It's great that we live in a country where folks can be manipulated by millionaire talk radio hosts to vote against their own economic self-interests, but that's the way the founding fathers and the slaves who cooked their pancakes would have wanted it. One man's Tea Party is another Man's anti-war protest, is another man's pro-immigration rally. Instead of making fun of these folks, we should be grateful we live in a country where they're allowed an opposing opinion, no matter how idiotic it might sound.

God Bless America.

Question: Assuming HealthCare reform passes, will we have the last of the TeaBaggers?!?

NBA Jam 2010

I always hated this game as a kid. Now, my kids can also hate it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

People I Strongly Dislike: Personal Trainers.

For a largely passive activity[1], my daily trip to the gym still serves as a huge, and constant source of agitation. The reasons are simple: because most gyms contain a host of unsavory and mostly annoying people whose sole purpose in life is to get in your way.

There's "do curls with 95 pound dumbbells and grunt like you're having sex with each rep" guy. There's "show everyone how strong I am, squat 450 and look at myself in the mirror" guy. There's "dress in workout gear totally inappropriate for my body type and walk around an hour trying to get hit on" girl. But perhaps nobody is more annoying than "the personal trainer".

I should be very clear in my distinction here: I have a good friend who's a personal trainer and takes the job very seriously. He wastes no motions or time when in the club. He charges reasonable rates. He understands proper workout techniques and nutrition. He can create reasonable workout routines to help his customers reach attainable personal goals. He treats his customers like any professional rendering a service would. I'm not talkin' about him.

I'm talkin' bout' Big Al.

Big Al is the standard bearer for why I hate personal trainers like their last names were Palin. 9 times of out ten, when I arrive, he is either standing in front of the club trying to holler at office workers passing by on their lunch break, or inside trying to holler at women as they come out of the dressing room. For a personal trainer, he isn't even really in that great shape. He looks like a former CIAA running back, 20 years after his last game. This bama looks just like Clifton Powell, and sounds just like Steve Harvey. He probably should be somewhere downtown behind a desk working for Wackenhut, but instead, he's working at a large, franchised personal fitness center which shall not be named for legal purposes.[2]

Perhaps oddest is the one time out of ten that Big Al actually does have a client. Man, I gotta tell you, I just don't understand middle-aged suburban housewives sometimes. Again, Al has a stomach out to here, but these poor, clueless women take his advice like it's gold, albeit gold that costs $35 per session. Big Al "talks" them through a pretty flimsy "workout" of situps, stretches, and band exercises when he's not busy flirting with passersby or talking on his phone. And perhaps most disturbing is when Al has these women laying down on one of those huge "workout balls", which I assume is for the abs.[3] Watching Al playfully tap the women (repeatedly and forcefully) on the backside with each rep, and watching them smile at the attention is sorta gross in a "catching your aunt and uncle making out in the living room" sorta way.[4]

I'm sure these women come to Big Al to make up for some of the attention they might be missing at home, and he gladly provides it for a mere $140/week. Are they getting an actual "workout"? Judging by the continually expanding waistlines of many of these chicks, I seriously doubt it. And sadly, I can probably say the same for most of the other personal trainers at my gym, who also seem to prey on middle aged women, and are rather, shall we say, "liberal" with their hands when showing these women how to stretch, and bend, and whatnot. It's like a 2am SkineMax flick with fewer plastic parts, more clothes, and even worse music.

Then again if I looked like Clifton Powell and sounded like Steve Harvey, I'd prolly rather grope these thirsty, middle-aged chicks than do some lame security gig myself.

I ain't (that) mad at ya' Big Al.

Question: Do you use a personal trainer? Have you actually gotten results, or are they simply telling you to do what you already know? Is Big Al pimpin' these chicks, or is he providing a valuable service to the suburban community?

[1] I usually keep my headphones on the entire time, even in the shower. Yes, it's possible.

[2] But just for the record, it rhymes with "Gold's Gym".

[3] What the heck are those big balls for anyway?

[4] All together now... "Eeeewwwwwwwwww!"

Why Do Folks Like "Bad News" So Much?!?

A common refrain when used to describe traditional forms of media is "it bleeds, it leads". Sure, blogs are new school, but they seem to follow the same ethos. And reality is, folks in general are more driven by negativity than positivity. It's just human nature.

AB.com is hardly an exception to the rule. If you're new to my blog, you prolly think I spend an inordinate amount of time hatin' on random sh*t, and judging by the total post counts for the appropriate categories, you'd be correct. The "Doin' Good" tag is pretty meager when compared to Negro Nonsense. Try hard as I might, presenting a balance of "good news" stories to typical "bad news" is hard, mostly because there's simply more "bad news" than "good". And perhaps more curiously, people tend to respond (via comments, hits, forwarded posts, retweets, etc.) to negativity. So, I (and most bloggers) stay on that tip. Show me a "positive news" blog, and I'll show you a blog with post after post of zero comments. It's sad, but it's true.

All that said, I don't expect many comments, if any at all for this post, but I'd be foolish not to pass something this good along, after it's been forwarded to me, oh, 500 times or so already.
The entire senior class at Chicago's only public all-male, all-African-American high school has been accepted to four-year colleges. At last count, the 107 seniors had earned spots at 72 schools across the nation.

Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago Public Schools chief Ron Huberman surprised students at an all-school assembly at Urban Prep Academy for Young Men in Englewood this morning to congratulate them. It's the first graduating class at Urban Prep since it opened its doors in 2006.

The school enforces a strict uniform of black blazers, khaki pants and red ties -- with one exception. After a student receives the news he was accepted into college, he swaps his red tie for a red and gold one at an assembly. The last 13 students received their college ties today, to thunderous applause.

The achievement might not merit a mayoral visit at one of the city's elite, selective enrollment high schools. But Urban Prep, a charter school that enrolls using a lottery in one of the city's more troubled neighborhoods, faced difficult odds. Only 4 percent of this year's senior class read at grade level as freshmen, according to Tim King, the school's CEO.

College is omnipresent at the school. Before the students begin their freshman year, they take a field trip to Northwestern University. Every student is assigned a college counselor the day he steps foot in the school.

The school offers an extended day--170,000 more minutes over four years compared to its counterparts across the city--and more than double the number of English credits usually needed to graduate.
If this story doesn't warm your heart, even if just a little bit, then you don't have one.

It's little shock that this story isn't getting more shine. Heck, even the newspaper that reported it dropped it in a "Happy News" section, rather than "Metro/Local" or "Education", which seems to signify its status as human interest exception, rather than rule.

Either way, this is good news, so let's give props to the administrators and kids at Urban Prep.

Well done, fellas. Well done.

Question: Why do people tend to gravitate more towards bad news than good? Had you heard about this story before now?

Charter school in tough neighborhood gets all its seniors into college [ChicagoTribune]

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Laugh Break: Robin Harris.

[Editor's Note: This week marks the 20th anniversary of the death of a guy who might have been the best that ever did it with a few more years of material. Since I've already done a special edition of We Owned The 80's for Robin Harris, I figured this was as good a time as any for a Rewind. Enjoy.]

Anyone alive in the 80's surely remembers Robin Harris' shortlived career. I usually give my brand of commentary to these 80's retrospectives, but I am pulling from the guy's bio since I don't want to overlook anything.
1985 was Harris' year; as the master of ceremonies at the Comedy Act Theater, his “old school” brand of humor began to gain him a mainstream following. A large-eyed stand-up churlish brand of humor and quick put-downs were his trademark. Harris made a promising feature debut playing a no-nonsense bartender in the feature film I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988). Harris performed in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989). As "Sweet Dick Willie," Harris served as part of the neighborhood "Greek chorus" that commented on the events of an increasingly tense day. Harris was Pop, the no-nonsense, quick-witted father of Kid in House Party (1990). He followed up later that year with a small turn as a jazz club MC in Mo' Better Blues. He also had a role in Eddie Murphy's Harlem Nights (1989).

In Harris' "Bébé's Kids" routines, Harris' girlfriend Jamika would insist that he take her friend Bébé's three ill-behaved children with them on a date, as she continually agreed to babysit them. The children would regularly make a fool out of and/or annoy Harris. "We Bébé's kids," they would proclaim, "we don't die...we multiply."

The Hudlin Brothers had intended to make a feature film based upon the "Bébé's Kids" sketches, but Harris died while the film was in pre-production. Bébé's Kids instead became an animated feature—the first ever to feature an all-Black main cast—directed by Bruce W. Smith and featuring the voices of Faizon Love (as Harris), Vanessa Bell Calloway, Marques Houston, Nell Carter, and Tone Lōc.
Here's Harris' renowned BeBe's Kids routine. I've heard this over 1000 times, and it's still funny to this day.



The infamous "follow the drip" scene from House Party.



And here's his HBO One Night Stand. Yeah, the guy repeats jokes sometimes, but he still kills.



Sadly, Harris' career was short circuited by a massive heart attack that took his life in 1990. Odd as it may seen, he was only 36 at the time. Imagine what he'd have gone on to do had he lived.

Question: What's your favorite Robin Harris Joke? Had he lived, could Harris have eventually challenged Richard Pryor for the Funniest Of All Time crown?

Ashy Or Classy?!? - Notorious P.R.E.C.I.O.U.S.

So, the folks at The FoxxHole find themselves in trouble yet again.

For those needing a back story, last Friday on his weekly Sirius XM show, Jamie Foxx and Friends (who got in trouble last year for some bad words about Miley Cyrus) overstepped their bounds and went in on poor Gabourey Sidibe. It wasn't nice. Cop the headphones, cause this is definitely language that ain't safe for the Day Job. Cube-dwellers, you have been forewarned.



Predictably, some black people are screamin' mad.

Folks, I hate to break it to ya'll, but these are comedians. They are paid to say funny stuff, and sometimes this stuff is gonna be crude.[1]

Sure, Foxx (who isn't even the funniest person on his own show) comparing Precious to Biggie Smalls, mostly based on skin tone and build is heartless, and in bad spirit. But then again, this is a subscription-based radio show, not NPR. Folks (myself included) tune in to hear Johnny Mack, Speedy, Corey, Jamie and Co. act a d*mn fool. The show is never PC, which is what makes satellite radio worth the $11/month. And yeah, I laughed my a$$ off during this routine and didn't find it all that different from Howard Stern's similar stab at Sidibe, which granted, was more mean-spirited than funny.



Turrible as both Stern and Foxx's words were, reality is, it's a free country, and they're both entitled to say dumb sh*t, because neither does anything of significance (starring in Stank Robbers doesn't carry the same weight as being an elected official. Sorry.) other than entertain. Period.

Question: Ashy Or Classy?!? Was the FoxxHole's jab at Gabourey Sidibe heartless and unconscionable, or do comedians have free reign to push the envelope, so long as those who pay to hear them aren't offended?

Jamie Foxx Calls Gabourey Sidibe "The Notorious Precious" [AOLBlackVoices]

[1] If you want to call me a hypocrite for getting upset about DL Hughley calling the Rutgers girls "nappy headed hoes", but laughing at Jamie Foxx making fun of Precious, go right ahead. I'm a big boy, I can take it.

3 Play Thursday - The Deele.

It's 3 Play Thursday. Today: 80's R&B Group The Deele.

Long before LA Reid and Babyface became the hottest production duo of the 90's they did time with an ultra corny 80's R&B group called The Deele, which actually put out some decent music, despite making the cheesiest videos of the decade, which is quite an accomplishment of its own. Here's a trio of my favorite.

"Two Occasions"



"Shoot 'Em Up Movies"



"Body Talk"



Question: Do you even remember The Deele, and if so, for what?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sign Up For AverageNation™ March Madness.

Yep, it's that time of year yet again. Office productivity will hit annual lows later this week as the first round of March Madness gets underway.

[Editor's Note: Yeah, the tourney technically started last night, but you can still sign up, so hurry! And BTW, props to Arkansas-Pine Bluff for reppin' HBCU's with that play-in game win last night.]

Unlike last year, when I smack-talked my UNC Tarheels to a championship, I have nothing to brag about. The Heels' dismal season will probably end with an NIT loss at home to William & Mary tonight. But in the true spirit of turning lemons to lemonade, I'm doing the first annual AverageNation™ March Madness bracket, thanks to the kindness and generosity of the fine folks at CBS Sports.

I know all of you prolly have an office pool and the requisite brackets, but just for fun, sign up for AverageNation™ March Madness by going to our page there, and make your picks. Use the password blog when prompted.

The winner will get a giftbag full of random leftover sh*t that's been sent to me for review over the past few months. Hey, it's free stuff. Don't be so picky.

Sign up now, and get ready to talk smack.

AverageNation™ March Madness Signup Page [CBSSports]

We Need A JumpOff Code Of Honor (Revisited).

A few months back, when Tiger-gate broke, I made the naive suggestion that perhaps it was pretty stupid, and downright dishonorable for women who sleep with a famous, knowingly married man to go blabbing to the press. Beyond the obvious issues (ruining the man's kid's lives), jumpoffs telling-all strikes me as a particularly bad career decision. Call me crazy, but women who sleeps with famous married men usually have some prior experience in said area of expertise. A large part of being a professional groupie (and yes, such an industry does indeed exist) is discretion. If you're dumb enough to go running your mouth to The Enquirer, you're more or less telling any future mark paramour that you are incapable of performing a basic job requirement.

I'm not saying women like Jamie Jungers aren't still bangin' random PGA Tour participants, but I'm willing to bet the "hush money" she typically gets out of such a deal has decreased dramatically. Thus, kissing and telling then becomes a counterproductive, career-limiting move.

Then again, nobody mistook these women for geniuses.

Anyways, I can't help but wonder why a guy who is smart enough to become a multi-millionaire trial lawyer, a US Senator, an Veep candidate, and darn near President of the whole country wouldn't insist on inserting some sort of "hush" clause in his "agreement" with his now-very-public baby mama.
Rielle Hunter seems to be having some regrets about her her GQ spread. On The View today, Barbara Walters said she had talked to Rielle Hunter this morning.

"She was in tears when she called," said Walters, "and said that when she saw the pictures in GQ she screamed for two hours. She said she found the photographs repulsive."

So Walters says she asked if that was the case why did she pose for them? "She said she trusted Mark Seliger, whom she said is a brilliant photographer and quote, 'I went with the flow,'" recounted Walters.

Walters says Hunter "thought that having one of those photos was okay and would be sexy and that there were others that were just beautiful headshots, but that GQ picked photos to hit one note."
So, while Hunter had no problem whatsoever bedding a married man on the first night, carrying on the charade of not being the mother of his child, and posing in a man's magazine in bed with no drawls on (and disturbingly holding her child a few pages later on the same bed), suddenly she sees the final photos, realizes she has no drawls on, and is finally "repulsed".

Trick Please.

Clearly Hunter isn't working with a full deck, which of course, I blame Edwards for not seeing sooner. I mean, come on, what sort of turrible powers of judgement do you have to:

1) Go bareback on some chick you just met when you're running for POTUS.

2) Put said chick on your official campaign payroll.

3) Hide said chick at your campaign assistant's house.

4) Blame said campaign assistant when said chick's pregnancy goes public.

5) Move said chick into a huge house in the same neighborhood as your wife and family.

6) Not put a gag order on said chick as a condition of your "agreement".

I have no personal experience (nor shall I) with extramarital affairs, but even I'd assume common sense would dictate that the above are all extreme sucka moves.

And to think, I actually voted for this numbnut in twice 2004.

On second thought, eff' the jumpoffs. Perhaps there needs to be a jumpon code of honor.

Keep it in your pants.

Question: Should Rielle Hunter Go Sit Down, Shut Up, and collect them checks, or is it legally impossible for a man to put a gag order on his baby mama? Assuming it's even possible to assign blame unevenly, who is more to blame for this collective nonsense: Edwards or Hunter?!?

Rielle Hunter 'in tears' over 'repulsive' photos in 'GQ' [USAToday]

Name That Sample - "Ooh This Love Is So"

Name That Sample is simple: I play the original song, you tell me who sampled it. Winner gets a day's supply of Cyber CapriSuns™. As always, no Googling! Google is for losers.



This classic 80's tune by Al B Sure has been sampled numerous times. But who can name the most songs that have used these delightful bars?

Difficulty Level: Moderate.

Question: How many songs can you name that used the "Ooh This Love Is So" sample? Don't be fooled into just listening to the opening bars, or you'll prolly miss half the possible answers. Feel free to cheat and use other commenters' work, but do NOT Google! Google is for losers.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Yet More Bad News For Single Black Women.

Sorry single ladies. As if The Lonely Black Woman Industrial Complex wasn't depressing enough, a new study by "a leading economic research group" found that unless you can somehow trick a man into marrying you (yeah, even a white one), you are prolly gonna stay losin' financially.
Women of all races bring home less income and own fewer assets, on average, than men of the same race, but for single black women the disparities are so overwhelmingly great that even in their prime working years their median wealth amounts to only $5.

In a groundbreaking report released Monday by a leading economic research group, social scientists turned a spotlight on the grave financial challenges facing an often overlooked group of women, many of whom could not take an unpaid sick day or repair a major appliance without going into debt.

Among the most startling revelations in the wealth data is that while single white women in the prime of their working years (ages 36 to 49) have a median wealth of $42,600 (still only 61 percent of their single white male counterparts), the median wealth for single black women is only $5.

Wealth, or net worth, measures the total of one's assets -- cash in the bank, stocks, bonds and real estate; minus debts -- home mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and student loans. The most recent financial data was collected before the economic downturn, so the current numbers likely are worse now than at the time of the study.

Black women, in general, were more likely to have participated in the subprime loan crisis with upper-income black women being five times more likely to have received a high-cost mortgage than upper-income white men.

For all working-age black women 18 to 64, the financial picture is bleak. Their median household wealth is only $100. Hispanic women in that age group have a median wealth of $120.

"That means half of [black women] have a net worth of more than $100 and half have a net worth of less than $100," Ms. Lui said. "So that gives you an idea of how far in debt some women of color are."

Married or cohabitating white women have a median wealth of $167,500. Married or cohabitating black women have a median net worth of $31,500.
Of course, no discussion of black vs white wealth disparities is complete without some discussion of redlining and other systematic forms of racism that prevented many black families from owning homes in the past. Most families build "wealth" when homes, most peoples biggest investments, are passed from one generation to the next. Still, FIVE FREAKIN' DOLLARS!?!? Come on sistas, skip the MAC counter and get you an Ameritrade account. F'real.

All jokes aside, part of me can't help but wonder if this study by "a leading economic research group" is either terribly flawed, or intentionally misleading to only further drive black women crazy. What do ya'll think?

Question: Beyond the obvious issues of inherited wealth, why are sistas taking such an "L" financially when they're vastly outpacing black men in the areas of education and earning power?

Study finds median wealth for single black women at $5 [PittPostGaz]

Monday, March 15, 2010

Too Much Glenn Beck, And Too Little Common Sense.

"Crisis Garden"?!?

See what happens when you use irrational fear of The Beige One to scare poor trailer park dwellers into buying gun, anno, and overpriced gold? Now seemingly another post-apocalyptic cottage industry is springing up preying on the poor sheep listeners of Conservative media everyday. And now, you got these morons peddling seeds for $150. Seeds!!! Yeah, the same packs of seeds you could go down to Duane Reade and get 5 for $5.



I'll tell ya', this goes waaaay beyond a typical Grand Hu$tle, all the way into "someone oughta call the Better Business Bureau" territory. Pity the poor sap who just spent part of his refund check on this nonsense.

Question: Are "Survival Seeds" the final frontier in "The Fear Of A Black Prez Industrial Complex", or is something even more inane still out there, just begging to be sold next? What will it be next? Air? Dirt? Sunlight? Can Obama actually take people's sunlight?