Monday, April 29, 2013 Random Notes.

Alright, I'm finally back, and playing catch-up. Honestly, not much going on besides sports (did I miss something?). Anyways...

Washington Wizards Center Jason Collins "Comes Out" - Frankly, I'd be more ashamed to admit I played for the Wizards than being gay (bada bing!) but props to Collins for being true to himself. While many as going to laud this as a watershed moment for progressiveness in pro sports, I'm not so sure. Collins, for one, isn't very good or very well known. Much like WNBA player Brittney Griner's recent announcement that she's a lesbian, I foresee a collective "meh" on the horizon. Collins is a free agent whose career shoulda ended a few years ago, so unless some team thinks the potential sideshow outweighs the utility of signing him as a 15th man next season, today is probably gonna be the beginning and end of this story. Now if this was Lebron or Melo on the other hand...

Obama (Finally) Appoints An AverageBro To The Cabinet - Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx is the new Secretary Of Transportation. Good for him.

AverageBro Jockey Is Favored To Win The Kentucky Derby - I don't know horseracing from dragracing, but I'll prolly tune in to this.

The NBA Playoffs Are THE BEST PLAYOFFS PERIOD!!!! - Man, those were some good a$$ed games. Even with a gang of injured stars on the sidelines (Kobe, D-Rose, Westbrook, Rondo) there's still no lack of drama and nailbiters. I don't have a dog in the hunt (what's new?) but between Chicago's epic comeback, Boston staving off elimination, and Steph Curry going all NBA Jams, it's hard to argue that the NBA's playoffs aren't the most exciting and unpredictable in all sports. Sure, the NFL has its "one and done" allure, but it's hard to replicate the crazy environment of Oracle Arena in any other American professional sport. Those fans were standing the entire 48 minutes!!! Who does that? If anyone cares to debate me on this, chime in you-know-where. And please bring some anecdotal evidence.

Tim Tebow (Finally) Released By The Jets - Let the Christian Conservative outrage resume begin. I'm still not sure of Tebow is an NFL QB, but there's a team with some ugly new uniforms with his name written all over em'. And that's a fact, Jack. Go to Maria, cause it's a match made in jersey-peddling Heaven. Welcome to Jacksonville, America's Armpit!!

Question: Got any links/stories you wanna share?

Obama White House Correspodents Dinner Speech.

Some real zingers here. Obama clearly has stepped his comedy ghostwriter selection game up. His timing, once cringe-worthy, has also improved markedly since his first couple of Nerd Proms. I thought he went a little overboard with the Muslim/Kenyan stuff, but whatever.

I'm not saying he has a future in stand-up, but this was at least entertaining.

Baltimore Inmate Gets 4 Guards Pregnant (At The Same D*mn Time!). #SWAG

Yeah, I know. It's been a week since I posted anything here, and I come back with some whimsical local story. Gimme a minute to catch up. In the meantime, checkout this coonery.
Four female prison guards in Baltimore fell pregnant to the same inmate, according to authorities who have busted a major smuggling gang inside the jail system.

Two of the women tattooed the inmate's name on their bodies and he showered three of them with expensive gifts including cars and jewelry. The four women are among 25 people who face federal charges, including 13 female prison guards, CBS Baltimore reports.

The scheme involved smuggling drugs and cell phones into Baltimore City Detention Center.

U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said the 25 defendants participated in running the activities of the Black Guerilla Family - a prison and street gang - from behind bars in Baltimore City.

The indictment says the ringleader, inmate Tavon White, reportedly made $16,000 in one month from the smuggled contraband. Four corrections officers-Jennifer Owens, Katera Stevenson, Chania Brooks and Tiffany Linder, who are also facing charges - allegedly fell pregnant to White while he was behind bars.

Charging documents reveal Owens had "Tavon" tattooed on her neck and Stevenson had "Tavon" tattooed on her wrist. White allegedly gave gifts to three corrections officers. Owens, Stevenson and Brooks received a diamond ring and luxury cars.

Secretary Gary Maynard is taking full responsibility.

“It becomes embarrassing for me when we expose ourselves and we participate in an investigation that’s going to show what’s going on in our jails that I am not proud of,” Maynard said.
I know Baltimore gets a bad rap, and that's really a shame. People who've never been to the Charm City only know about it via "The Wire", and niggardry like this only reinforces the negative stereotype of a corrupt city teeming with dopeboys and violence. And yeah, that's certainly based on reality, but it's hardly the whole picture. But I, of course, digress.

The most remarkable part of this story isn't the fact that the women got pregnant by an inmate. That happens all the time. I'm not even all that shocked that the women were (prolly) knowingly all involved with "Tavon" at the same d*mn time, and letting an inmate hit that raw dawg. Again, happens all the time. Yawn.

What's most amazing here is that two of the chicks had his name tattooed on a very visible part of their bodies and nobody running the prison thought that was a wee bit suspicious. Seriously, I know the supervisors at the BMore City Jail were turning a blind eye to a lot of tomfoolery, but didn't the matching tatts tip off someone? Anyone? Seriously?

Props to "Tavon" cause that's some big time pimpin' right there, my man. He lives better in captivity that most cats do on the outside.

Question: What kind of woman lowers herself to such "standards"?!?

Thursday, April 25, 2013 Open Mic Thursday.

I'm on a much needed vacation. You know how it goes. Hold it down. I'll be back Monday.

Question: What's on your mind today?

3 Play Thursday - Christmas Songs We Really Didn't Need.

3 Play Thursday is BACK!!! Today: Christmas Songs We Really Didn't Need..

Christmas is my favorite time of year, especially now that I've got two three kids to go broke buying Thomas and Disney Pixar Cars and various girly stuff for shop for. And yup, I love me come Crimmus music too.

[Editor's Note: Yeah, damnit. I know it's not Christmas, it's April. This is a repost. Just go with it.]

The other day I'm listening to Sirius XM, and the most ratchet holiday song I've ever heard came on the radio. It was basically some Uncle Luke (the Too Live Crew guy) Christmas song with Poison Clan. They were talkin' about hoes, and I don't mean the type Santa prefers. I tried in vain to find a YouTube for this, it was so awful I had to share it with ya'll, but couldn't.

And Jesus wept.

On that note, here's a few more Christmas Songs We Really Didn't Need.

H-Town - "Knockin' Boots For Christmas"

Seriously, how unnecessary was this song? I mean, I get the point. Preying on a woman's seasonal sentimentality to get some booty is as American as apple pie. Still, did we really need to mix Baby Jesus' birthday with a ghetto quiet storm classic? "Makin' Jingle Bells ring till' the break of dawn". Why? Why? Why? Even weirder, this song appeared on the Christmas at Luke's House CD.[1] Yes, that exists. No, the aforementioned Poison Clan song isn't on it. Thank you Jesus.

Juelz Santana ft. Skull Gang - "Christmas Song"

Did you know there was a Dipset Christmas album a few years back? Yes, this actually happened. When Jim Jones had that unexpected hit with "Ballin'", he rode the wave of popularity to this atrocity. There was even a Santa Claus-themed remix of "We Fly High", which was every bit as turrible as you might imagine. As for this song, well, if you're at work, in a festive mood, or have some level of personal dignity, please don't press that Play button.

TLC - "Sleigh Ride"

This song wasn't necessarily all that terrible/triflin', it was merely awful sounding. I don't want T-Boz's raspy chain-smoking voice nowhere near my Christmas tree. While this song inexplicably has withstood the test of time and still gets spins on radio stations every December, reality is it just sucks. At best, this sounds like a throwaway track from Ooh... On The TLC Tip. Not that that helps.

Question: Got any other tacky, random Christmas songs that I missed?

[1] Given some of the songs on this album, that cover art is just... I have no words.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston Terrorist Manhunt Open Mic.

I'm gonna basically just leave this as an open mic for ya'll to discuss the goings on in Boston today. One suspect is dead, the other's on the run like Kool G Rap (no Polo). This has all the makings of a good movie someday, and I'm not talking LifeTime movie of the week neither.

If you wanna know what my thoughts on this whole thing are, just follow me on Twitter. I got plenty to say, I just don't have the time to say any of it in blog form. Maybe later, maybe not.

I'm hoping they catch Suspect #2 and bring him in alive so we get some answers here. I doubt that's gonna happen though. I wouldn't bet money on it. Checkout this site for a launch of Top Betting Reviews if you wanna put 5 on it tho'.

Question: What are your thoughts as you watch this whole thing unfold in real time?!?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gun Control Dies A Gruesome, Yet Totally Predictable Death.

Don't pretend you didn't see this coming. Cause anyone with a set of eyes and a semi-functional understanding of Amurrica surely saw this end result the moment President Obama muttered the words "gun control" back in December.
President Obama’s ambitious effort to overhaul the nation’s gun laws in response to December’s school massacre in Connecticut suffered a resounding defeat Wednesday, when every major proposal he championed fell apart on the Senate floor.

It was a stunning collapse for gun-control advocates just four months after the deaths of 20 children and six adults in Newtown led the president and many others to believe that the political climate on guns had been altered in their favor.

The national drive for laws that might prevent another mass shooting unraveled under intense pressure from the gun rights lobby, which used regional and cultural differences among senators to prevent new firearms restrictions.

One by one, the Senate blocked or defeated proposals that would ban certain military-style assault rifles and limit the size of ammunition magazines.

But the biggest setback for the White House was the defeat of a measure to expand background checks to most gun sales. The Senate defied polls showing that nine in 10 Americans support the idea, which was designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

“All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” a visibly angry Obama said as he delivered his response to the nation.
So, in short, a lobbying organization essentially overrode the opinion of 90% of Real Amurricans by convincing a handful of cowardly Senators that they'd be in the proverbial crosshairs if they dared defy the NRA.

Freakin' amazing. And in a strange way, not that amazing at all.

I almost wonder if this thing isn't actually about gun control to the Senators who voted against this, and more about disliking the President/being perceived as siding with the President.

I'mma just throw this out there for debate, even though it's not really all that debatable at all, after yesterday's verdict: Wayne LaPierre is the most powerful man in America. Period.

If dead white children and white women can't get substantive gun control legislation of even the most water-down variety passed, then clearly we, as a country, and totally f*cked.

Question: Does LaPierre have the biggest set of brass balls this side of Sam Cassell? Is gun control dead, or should the President keep pushing?

3Play Thursday - When Non-Dancing Rappers Dance.

It's 3 Play Thursday. Today: The strange things that happen When Non-Dancing Rappers Dance.

Unlike most other musical genres, rap isn't one in which dancing (by the artist) is actively encouraged. Before anyone rebukes that statement by uttering the word "Dougie", let me remind you that most of the cRappers delivering dance tunes are teenagers (ie: Soulja Boy) whose gimmicky careers are almost entirely based on dancing. The dominant hip hop aesthetic of the post-Golden Era involves a guy walking back and forth on stage grabbing his package and little more. Heck, modern age hip hop is so anti-jiggin' that there have even been songs made about it.

"They don't dance no mo'"

They d*mn sho' don't. Seriously, when's the last time you saw Jay-Z do anything other than pace back and forth? That doesn't mean there isn't the occasional non-teenage rapper who dares to cut a rug in his video. And the results are usually atrocious. Here's a handful of examples of what happens When Non-Dancing Rappers Dance, and the often permanent damage it does to their careers.

T.I. - "I'm Serious"

Anyone else remember when T.I. first came out and was basically an Andre 3000 clone? While I'm sure he'd like to forget this one, the image of a middle-schooler-sized Tip dancing around in a bamafied linen suit is downright hilarious, considering his later pivot to become a Traaap Star.

Freakin' hilarious. Of course, his first album went triple wood, he lost his record deal, reformulated with a more "street friendly" image, and the rest is history. Epic Fail averted.

MJG - "That Girl"

Southern rap pioneer MJG made a name for himself with his partner in rhyme 8-Ball, but like all artists in a group, decided to try his hand as a solo act. No need to lie, I sorta liked this song. Sure, it's a Stevie Wonder rip-off, but thug love songs always #win with me, and it's always good to see Stacey Dash working. However, things took a dramatic turn for the worst around the 3:30 mark.

Wow. How do you go from "Space Age Pimpin'" to lousy Darren's Dance Grooves step routines in a zoot suit? Thankfully his solo career flopped, MJG went back to the trill sh*t, and thus spared us anymore of this Hammer-esque nonsense.

Mic Geronimo - "Nothing Move But The Money"

Few other rappers better typified the New York/Hoodies & Timbs early 90's rap style than Mic Geronimo. The man even made a song called "Sh*t's Real" for crissakes. He was as underground and "real" as you could get. And then when made the mistake that's deaded the career of many an artist. That's right, he hooked up with Puff Daddy.

Mic Geronimo's street cred was shot quicker than you can say "Shiny Suit". He's probably working at Sizzler now. I'm sure Diddy enjoyed that production credit though.

Devyne Stephens - "Uh Huh"

I spent some time in Atlanta back in the early 00's (man, I'm getting old) and I couldn't avoid hearing this annoying song on the radio. I'd never heard of the dude who made it, but damn if this song wasn't omnipresent. Naturally I assumed whoever "Devyne Stephens" was, he was prolly some hood' cat. Then I saw this video. Uh.... Uhhhhh.

What. The. F*ck?!?

Sorry dude, it simply isn't possible to look like a thug and dance like Ciara. I didn't know that choreography was what's hot in SWATS, and apparently neither did this cat. Lucky for him, "Devyne"[1] has made a nice career out of discovering acts like Akon and crafting routines for folks like Britney Spears. Lucky for us, his solo career ended with this atrocity.

Question: Why isn't it "cool" for rappers to dance?

[1] That bama knows his mama named him Devin.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Few Random Thoughts On The Tragedy In Boston.

I had a bit of 9/11 deja vu yesterday. I watched the coverage of the Boston Marathon Tragedy in the office. I listened to it on the way home. I watched it over dinner. I watched it after my wife and kids were long asleep. When tragedies like this occur in public, in broad daylight, with video footage, it's hard not to find yourself all-consumed with watching in disbelied, praying for all involved.

If you do believe in prayer, I really hope you sent one up for the victims and families affected by yesterday's senseless act of violence. Sadly, such occurrences seem to be becoming commonplace. Yesterday it's Aurora... and Newtown... and Oak Creek... and Fort Hood.... and Blacksburg... and...

I don't really have much to add to the situation. I applaud the President for keeping a level tone and addressing the nation without jumping to conclusions. I think those who ragged on him for not using the word "terror" as overreacting, as are the jackasses on all sides of the political spectrum who are already using this incident to score points, as if the 3 dead and 100+ injured really care about who's winning right now. Or ever.

And for everyone who retweeted or posted gory photos on their wall/Twitter, please check yourself. Redistributing photos of people with their legs missing does nothing. Some things shouldn't be gawked at. You surely wouldn't want photos of your loved one in a time of crisis RT'ed for shock value. Have some common decency.

Much like 9/11, I suspect we'll eventually find out who is responsible for this atrocity. Much like 9/11 the impact of this event on the rest of society will be somewhat intrusive (in the name of "security") and probably long-lasting. And much like 9/11, it will probably bring out some of the best and worst in this country we all love. It's something I'm not at all looking forward to.

So for now, just pray. If you believe in prayer.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

N*ggas In Havana: The Song.

Back during the run-up to the 2008 election, I had a recurring feature called Why You Should Never Ask A Rapper About Politricks, which features several examples of misinformed idiots trying to chime in on the candidacy of then-Senator Obama. The results were often disastrous, but since most of these folks were #TeamObama, people generally gave them a pass. Now, a rapper trying to put on for McCain, that was a problem on the other hand.

I suspect the Obama White House sees this particular strain of celebrity endorsement the same way. You can't be mad at rappers for occasionally saying ignorant sh*t in support of you, because the last thing you want is those same rappers against you. Unless said rapper is named Lupe Fiasco, cause nobody actually cares what he thinks anymore.

Jay-Z has used his connection to #TeamObama to elevate is already sizable stature in the rap game, peppering his verses with the occasional shout-out to Barack, which in a strange symbiotic manner gives the President, a guy who prolly thinks hip hop ended with Young MC some street cred. Of course, there's a downside to this association, because anything somewhat controversial that the Jigga Man and his wife do inevitably gets associated with the Obamas, cause hey, that's just how this whole racism thing works and whatnot. When Jay-Z and Beyonce took a trip to Cuba last week, many on the right who probably can't even spell Beyonce without the help of WikiPedia used this to slam the President. While it was eventually revealed that the trip was fully cleared by the Treasury Department, I assumed this story was over.

But of course it isn't, cause Jay-Z didn't milk it for self-serving publicity yet. Cue the inevitable diss track that just leaked, and already has resulted in a White House rebuttal.
It seemed like White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was waiting for the question when he was asked Thursday about Jay-Z's newest rap, which focuses on his U.S. government-approved trip to Cuba with wife Beyonce last week.

In the rap, Jay-Z suggested their clearance came from the White House, when it actually came from the Treasury Department.

"I turned Havana into Atlanta… Boy from the 'hood, I got White House clearance. ..Obama said 'chill you gonna get me impeached.' (But) you don't need this – expletive – anyway. Chill with me on the beach," the lyrics stated.

In one of the most bizarre exchanges in the White House press briefing room, a reporter read the lyrics to Carney, asking about the White House approval. And Carney, without missing a beat, hit back.

"I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury," he said.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was nominated by President Barack Obama earlier year and subsequently confirmed by the Senate.

Pressed further on whether the president had a conversation with Jay-Z, Carney shot down the speculation.

"I am absolutely saying that the White House and the president on down had nothing to do with anybody's personal, anybody's travel to Cuba," he said. "That is something the Treasury handles."

After two members of Congress called for an investigation of the power couple's controversial trip and explanation of the type of travel license issued, the Treasury Department responded in a letter, giving more details about the licenses.
Here's the song. It's just 3 minutes of typical Hov boasting with some jibberish about selling his stake in the Brooklyn Nets mixed in for good measure. Mannnn, "The Takeover" seems like it was eons ago.

Step your bars up, Corey S. Carter. This sh*t is garbage, sonnn.

There are no winners in this conference of douchebags. Jay-Z's (completely unnecessary!) hyperbolic boasting on wax gets taken out of context, dragging the White House into the news cycles for something completely unnecessary. The Republicans who complained about this nonsense look like culturally brain dead assholes who also happened to burn valuable Treasury Department resources to get an answer to a question nobody else was even asking. And oh yeah, a few GOP Party officials look like total morons for wasting valuable time on this.

Seriously, enough already. I'm not saying Obama needs to issue a fullblown Kanye West-level bus tossing of Jay-Z, but it might help us all.

At the very worst, it might actually inspire Jay-Z to write a diss track worthy or more than one listen.

Question: Why did Jay-Z feel the need to record this nonsense? Shouldn't he just be somewhere counting his money instead?

Rand Paul Goes To Howard University. Lies His A$$ Off.

Part of the GOP's Autopsy Report issued in the wake of their November 2012 thrashing noted that the party needed to "re-engage African American voters" by "going into their communities" to "explain how Conservative principles" can appeal to them. The party pledged to spend $10 Million dollars as part of this outreach effort.

Of course, any black person with a working brain knows this "effort at engaging black voters" means one thing, and one thing only: giving more "street money" to black pastors in hopes of influencing votes. And quite honestly, I couldn't blame them. This tactic worked in 2004 when Bush used it to get black votes by pushing fear of gay marriage via the pulpit. And while nobody was paying attention, last Fall President Obama only won 93% of the black vote (down 2% from 2008) because the GOP played the exact same card. The party has no interest in addressing it's systematic problems that offend/hurt black voters. You know it, I know it, and so do they.

All of this makes Rand Paul's decision to go to Howard University and deliver a speech on the merits of Conservatism somewhat puzzling. It wasn't an appearance "sanctioned" by the party, and given some of Paul's past statements, had the potential to end very, very badly.

I'll save you all the trouble of watching the entire tape. Except for a few notable exchanges (and one really embarrassing audience question about Malcolm X's assassination, and another from a dude who appeared to be wearing a FUBU jersey... WTF, HU?!?) it's mostly boring, boilerplate "Party of Lincoln" crap you've already heard a million times. The kids were civil, and the thunderous applause is deceiving, given the fact that Paul obviously shipped in a bunch of his supporters, as seemingly all Conservatives do when speaking in front of "The Blacks".

Paul does get called to the mat for his past statements about the Civil Rights Act, and wouldn't you know it, he made some "factual inaccuracies". The Washington Post's "Fact Checker" reviewed Paul's speech and gave him a vaunted 3 Pinnochio's.
Rand Paul, a potential GOP candidate for the 2016 presidential election, gave an interesting speech on Wednesday to historically black Howard University, but his remarks were overshadowed by his attempt to explain the controversy over his 2010 comments on the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“I have never wavered in my support for civil rights and the Civil Rights Act,” he said in his speech. “The dispute, if there is one, has always been about how much of the remedy should come under federal or state or private purview.”

But then Paul expanded on his remarks in the question-and-answer period, saying in response to a tough question that he had been concerned really only about the “ramifications and extensions” of the Civil Rights Act.

The problem for Paul started when the Louisville Courier-Journal placed on its Web site an April 17, 2010, interview between Paul and the paper’s editorial board. Presumably that is the extended interview that Paul referenced. We have embedded the relevant section below and have highlighted the key sections.

Then here’s what Paul said on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show on May 20, in which he suggested he would have wanted to modify one section of the Civil Rights Act, one dealing with “private institutions.” However, his logic is a bit confusing because he appears to be referring to Title 2 — “public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce” — (such as hotels and restaurants) — but there is also Title 7, which prohibits discrimination in businesses of a certain size.

Paul is rewriting history here. We don’t see anywhere in these interviews “an extended conversation about the ramifications beyond race,” at least in the way that Paul describes it at Howard University.

Indeed, Paul claims he “never wavered” on the Civil Right Act but in the MSNBC interview he mused openly about possibly wanting to change one provision if he had been a senator. Ironically, the issue that troubled Paul was what Senate Republicans at the time had modified in order to deal with the very concerns that Paul raises almost five decades later.

We were tempted to give this Four Pinocchios but some of his language at Howard appears to be a product of fuzzy thinking. Still, Paul does earn Three Pinocchios for trying to recast and essentially erase what he said in 2010. It would be better to own up to his mistake — if he now thinks it was one — rather than sugarcoat it.
If there's anything I actually admire about Paul, it's his a ability to tell complete lies with a totally straight face, and spin his way into a suitable answer. This dude's gonna be a serious problem come the 2016 debates. He's really, really good at peddling bullsh*t.

But more than anything else, this speech highlight's the party's biggest problem with engaging black voters: a total and utter amnesia about everything the party has done (ie: The Southern Strategy) to turn away those voters in droves since the mid-60's. Paul keeps harping on the fact that Democrats were the party of segregation, that Lincoln freed the slaves, and Booker T Washington was an ideological Conservative. But guess what? Black people care about what you're doing today, not 2 centuries ago.

What have you done for us lately?

Question: How, assuming they actually cared, could the GOP honestly engage black voters?!?

3 Play Thursday - (More) Rappin' Ballers.

It's 3 Play Thursday. Today: More athletes turned cRappers.

Every rapper wants to be an athlete. Every athlete wants to be a rapper. Truer words have seldom been spoken, and blogged about ad nauseum. Here's a few new examples of what happens when worlds collide.

Serena Williams - "I Win"

Serena allegedly was working on a demo awhile back, and some studio guy just found the track laying around and sent it in. She doesn't sound any worse than Nicki Minaj/Azalea Banks/whatever TI's white girl cRapper is named. Still, this single verse is hot garbage, made with club play in mind. The "I Win" soundbite, the lazy Supa Dupa "..and I'm always on top... roofer!") flow, and the numerous not-so-clever "ballin'" references all add up to a lousy song. Keep your day job, and for the love of Richard Williams Black Jesus, stop dating so many damn rappers while you're at it.

Steve Francis - "Finer Things"

Francis has been out of the NBA for a few years now, and his last ditch effort to get money in China ended horribly last year. So of course, why not get the rap career started, since rap labels are clearly one of the most sound investments a man who won't be seeing anymore NBA paychecks can make? No need to lie, this isn't totally awful. More than anything else, it's just totally dated. This song coulda come out in like, 1994. 2 decades later, it sounds like a Murder Inc. throwaway track. Ja Rule would be proud of Stevie Franchise. I'm not gonna lie, his lousy 3rd grader raps aside, I sorta like this. The hook's kinda annoying, but I like the beat. Shoot me. Bonus points for putting his actual wife and kids in the video though. Nice touch.

Kevin Durant - "Ain't Worried Bout' Tomorrow"

Part of me thinks Kevin Durant isn't too comfortable with his squeaky clean choir boy image. The dude is from DC after all, and even playing in a far away state like Oklahoma, his game and outward appearance is still all DMV. His verse (the first one) on this song isn't bad, it's just nothing special. He's better than Kobe on the mic, that's for damn sure. So there's that.

Dejuan Blair - "You Better Recognize"

The Spurs big man has been trying to help out his homies for several years now, fronting studio time and well-produced videos for a clearly untalented group of bamas named P.O.P. Seriously, Dejuan, tell these bamas to get real day jobs, and work on your game before you end up playing for the Austin Toros. What Would Tim Duncan do? I doubt he'd do this.

Question: Should any of these athletes be working on their rap skills, or do they need to stick to the day job?!?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

LL Cool J Thinks Du-Rags And Confederate Flags Are Both Symbols Of Tyranny.

[Editor's Note: So yeahhh, I'm about 24 hours late with this one. Whatever, whatever.]

LL Cool J used to call himself the Greatest Of All Time, but I never really agreed with that assessment. I'm of the opinion that Big Daddy Kane is the greatest to ever pick up a mic, and I don't even think James Todd Smith's in the Top 20 on my personal list. That said, I admire the man's ability to re-invent himself. He's better known as the black guy on NCIS Los Angeles who oddly wears a long sleeved henley 365 days a year, as if complely oblivious to SoCal weather.

And speaking of weather, LL's now in a hurricane[1] of bad publicity and even badder music.
Brad Paisley's collaboration with LL Cool J on "Accidental Racist" has accidentally kicked up some controversy.

The song about racial perception has drawn ire from both the country and urban music worlds after its wide release.

Paisley's publicist says he isn't giving interviews about the song. But he briefly addressed the debate Monday night on Twitter when he reposted a blog entry and noted the debate is "Cool." He also told fans his new album, "Wheelhouse," out this week, "is meant to be FAR from easy listening."

LL Cool J's publicist did not immediately respond to messages.

At its heart, the song is about how cultural symbols favored by whites and blacks — the fashion choice of wearing Confederate flags or baggy pants, for instance — come loaded with meaning.
In case you've been under a rock, or still have dial up internet for some reason[2], here's the song in question.

So yeah, gold chains = iron chains. In other words, slavery was pretty bad, but gaudy jewelry is right up there in the annals of human rights violations.

Negro Please.

I'm not gonna blame Brad Paisley for this. Other than the fact that I don't even know who Brad Paisley is, it's just puzzling that LL Cool J thought this was a good idea somehow. The man really hasn't been musically relevant since "Headsprung", a song that was released in... wait for it... 2004. #audiblegasp

In the years since, LL's made horrible songs with Jennifer Lopez, had a brief, mostly embarassing stint as a member of G-Unit (anyone else remember this?), and saw his Def Jam send off record Exit 13 go triple wood. So yeah, this is clearly a guy whose rap career is over, and who isn't comfortable just cashing a nice NCIS check until retirement.

Cue the "really really bad idea" country slow jam rap duet.

I'm sure LL had good intentions here, but reality is, this isn't the sorta song he's capable of making without disastrous results. Could someone like Talib Kweli, or Common, or Nas pull this off? Sure. But those guys prolly wouldn't wanna make a slavery apology country slow jam rap duet, and LL prolly shouldn't have either.

Hollis To Hollywood. But is he good? As a rapper, not so much anymore.

Question: What do you think about this song?!?

[1] See what I did there?!?

[2] My cousin still has AOL. In 2013. No sh*t.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Beatdown Erupts On DC Metro Green Line After Man Drops N-Bomb On Passengers.

See why I drive erry'where? Metro ain't no joke, as this poor sap discovered firsthand.

Interestingly, the woman with the camera who got slapped is actually white. Despite the fact that at least one assault clearly occurred here, no charges have been filed.

Sean Hannity Loves The Blacks. As Long As They're Conservative.

I've harped on my qualms with "Black Conservatives" here many times. It seems like so many of these guys have some real self-identity issues, and use "Conservatism" as a convenient excuse for explaining away the lack of acceptance they get from other black people. I mean, seriously.

I actually watched about half of this very special episode of Hannity with my wife last night. There were a bunch of open mouth "did he/she just say that" moments. But one common theme was that very few of these people could talk about substantive examples of how Conservative policies help the black community. Instead, there was a bunch of woe-is-me victimhood, a teaspoon of self loathing, and some blatant "other Negroes just won't accept me" blathering. I really think these people, to a man, experienced some serious bullying during adolescence that now makes them ashamed of their community. This gets manifested in a very perverted mentality in which the Black Conservative is almost slavelike in defending a party which for all intents and purposes depends on race baiting as a winning campaign strategy.

I've engaged some of the people on this panel online before. When I've done so, I've always respectfully asked for tangible examples of how Conservative policy can help Black America. Instead, you get the usual BS about "the Democratic plantation" and "blacks voting like their parents did" and "free market capitalism", but nothing of substance. Instead they'll point to anecdotal examples of hard work and perseverance like Clarence Thomas and Dr. Carson, as if only black people who are Conservative actually value hard work and education.

It's almost like a Negro version of Stockholm Syndrome.

Question: What's up with these people? Do they truly believe in the GOP's policies, or is this some convenient way of not dealing with feelings of being ostracized as a child?

Monday, April 8, 2013 Random Notes

Alright, I'm finally back, and playing catch-up on some topics from the past week. Sure, this stuff's a few days past expiration, maybe, but play along anyway.

Obama Calls Good Looking Woman "Good Looking". Forced To Apologize. - If there's one thing I generally don't do as a married man, it's pay compliments to women not named Mrs. Anderson. Call me henpecked, whipped, or whatever, but my wife, and nobody else, deserves my daily quota of "damn you look good"s. I suspect the President and Michelle-O had a conversation on this topic once he got home from a now infamous fundraiser in California during which he called the state's Attorney General the "best looking" person with her job title in the country. Feminists, Conservatives, and garden variety Obama haters all weighted in, blowing what was an innocent comment about a friend into a fullblown (and contrived) media firestorm. Personally, I think the only person who has a right to be upset about this Mrs. Obama. Otherwise, the POTUS simply said something we all know: Harris is good looking, as are most successful politicians (Obama included). It doesn't take away from a person's abilities and talents to mention that they're good looking. At least, I'm sure that's what the President is saying to himself as he sleeps on the couch. Either that, or he's being forced to shop for Women dress blouses for Sasha and Malia.

N*ggas In Havana - So Beyonce and Jay-Z are apparently in hot water for taking an unsantioned anniversary vacation to Cuba. Lots of other celebs have taken such trips in the past, but since these two are officially #TeamObama, their trip has now triggered a Treasury Department investigation. And snitches demanding the investigation: two Congressional Republicans, of course. Way to "win the young vote", a$$hats. I can't wait for the Jay-Z diss track, which I could probably find at my Stock lot supplier. Then again, does Jay-Z diss anyone anymore?

Rugters Basketball Coach Abuses Players - Sorry, I know there's a lot of jerks in the media right now slamming Rutgers for firing their head coach after video of him abusing players during practice surfaced. Those jerks are wrong. If you have to kick, shove, verbally abuse, and hurl basketball at your players heads to motivate them, you're doing it wrong. And BTW, Rutgers basketball team sucks, so it's not like all this stuff was effective. This has nothing to do with political correctness or the "wussification of America". It's about a coach who couldn't come to grips with his own inadequacies (ie: X's and O's) and took them out on athletes whom he knew couldn't fight back. This being America and all, I'm sure Mike Rice, mediocre coach that he is, will take some time for "soul searching" and get another job. It happens to them all... provided your name isn't Nolan Richardson.

NCAA Championship Prediction - While "winning one for Kevin Ware" would certainly be a storybook ending, Michigan has 4 guys who will suit up in The Association next year. Sorry, but talent always prevails. Wolverines 65 - Cardinals 61.

Question: Got any links/stories you wanna share?

How Can You Work Customer Service If You Can't Parlez Englais?!?

So, I'm grabbing some quick lunch for the fam from my local fast food joint the other day, and I need some artificial sweetener.[1] I kindly ask the woman at the window for some Sweet -N- Low. Trouble ensues.
AB: "Could I have some Sweet -N- Low, please?"

Puzzled Window Lady: "Swing Low?"

AB: "No, Sweet -N- Low."

Puzzled Window Lady: "Coffee?"

AB: "Yes, the stuff that goes in the coffee."

Puzzled Window Lady: "Coffee?"

AB: "No, Sweet -N- Low."

Puzzled Window Lady, handing me a coffee stirrer: "Here. You go now."

AB: "No, Sweet -N- Low. It's like sugar. Pink packet!"

Puzzled Window Lady: "Sweet?"

AB: "Yes, Sweet -N- Low."

Puzzled Window Lady, handing me a pack of Sweet & Sour sauce: "Here. You go now."

AB: "NOOOOO!!!! Sweet -N- Low!!! It's like sugar. It goes in coffee! Arrgghhh!!!"

Suddenly Gully Window Lady, tossing me BBQ sauce: "Here. You go now. Line stop. You go now."

AB: "D MOTHER******!!!!! D!!!!"
Yeah, it almost got this bad.

Seriously, shouldn't there be some sort of language requirement when the job's main function involves speaking?

Before anyone gets bent out of shape, this isn't a racial issue. Yes, the woman behind the window was Hispanic, but I've has similar experiences with folks from all races. The gas station attendant at the Sheetz in West Virginia. The gum poppin' Safeway cashier in Soufeas'. The offshore client services agent now handling my account inquires for Bank Of America. It's all the same.

Question: Should certain jobs have a baseline language competency requirement? Do you have any similarly aggravating customer service stories?

[1] Unless you haven't eaten a single meal from a window/bag in the past year, please don't judge me.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Personal Trainers Suck.

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!"

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why I Hate Black Barbers. But Couldn't Quit Them If I Wanted To.

Something finally occurred to me the other day as I got out of the barber's chair. I hate strongly dislike barbers.

I have only had roughly 4-5 people who cut my hair on a consistent basis in my short lifetime, and I eventually had a falling out with each and every one of them for the exact same reason: because they cut your hair the way they want it to look, not the way you ask for it.

I have what is probably a moderately difficult head of hair to cut. I have what some older Black folks might refer to as "good" hair, which has always been the dumbest of statements to me. Isn't all hair good hair? Ask a balding dude if he'd rather have a "good" George Jefferson, or an "average" head of full hair. So enough of that nonsense.

Anyways, since I do have "good hair", this also means it's hard for most novices to cut the right way because it grows in very odd directions, as well as in odd lengths (ie: shorter at the top, longer near the temples). Also, over the past couple of years, I've noticed some light thinning around my hairline, which only adds to the complexity.

I usually stick with a barber who seems to figure out how to cut my hair correctly initially, but over time they all seem to revert to doing it "their way", regardless of what I ask for. So when I go in looking like a Wolfman and ask for "a little off the top and please don't push back my hairline!", then walk out looking like Kirk Franklin, you know something is wrong. These dudes are clearly just cutting it the way they want for the instant gratification and the praise of the other barbers when I step out the chair. They don't have to live with a pushed back hairline and a too-close for cold weather cut for the next couple of weeks. I do. And that kinda sucks.

[Editor's Note: None of these haircuts look "bad", "gapped up" or even remotely "jacked up" by any stretch of the imagination. But none of them happen to be what I ask for, so it doesn't really matter.]

Since I left my most recent barber a year or so ago[1] I've tried probably a half-dozen other barbers in search of someone who would just do what I asked them to. There was a girl who was cutting my hair for awhile that did a good job, but didn't do a great shape up, although she didn't push my sh*t back as I requested. There was a dude who cut pretty well, but then stopped showing up at the shop and answering text messages. Apparently he's taking a state-paid vacation in Jessup right now. And then, there's my current shop (and I use the word "current" loosely), owned by the Koreans. They, like everyone else, don't cut my hair the way I ask for, but the end result is usually not too bad looking, there's seldom a long wait (wonder why?), and the whole thing only costs $13, which in this economy is a steal.

But again, why can't people just cut hair the way they're asked to?[2]

To end on a positive note, I now present to you the greatest barbershop scene evar. Cop the headphones first.

Question: Fellas, do you have a similar experience with barbers who cut your hair the way they want it to look, not how you ask? Ladies, I guess I could pose the same question to you, although it's a given that women's hair is a different animal in and of itself.

[1] Yeah, that dude with the flying, rapping Superman website and the $22 cuts. I'll give him credit though, that soundtrack is still pretty tight. Listen to it. I guess that's why the cuts are so expensive. Somebody's gotta pay for all that flash animation and studio time.

[2] And before you ask, no, I'm not about to start cutting my own hair. I don't have that sorta talent.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Obama Calls Congress' Bluff. Takes A Ceremonial Paycut. Who'll Follow Him?!?

There have clearly been no "winners" in this sequestration nonsense. The President essentially claimed the country would fall apart at the seams if the cuts kicked in. That hasn't exactly happened yet. The GOP claimed Obama was trying to use this stunt to raise taxes on rich people yet again, but that hasn't happened either, so they've instead marginalized this whole thing by harping on the fact that the White House has stopped giving tours to schoolchildren, as if it's that damn easy to just roll up and take a tour of the White House. I been in DC for damn near 20 years now. I've been nowhere near any parts of the West Wing. Personally, I think it looks just fine from behind the gate, but that's just me.

As this cluster lurches into the summer, Real Americans are getting fed up with the total and utter lack of action from anyone in DC on anything. Other than John Wall and Bryce Harper, aint' na'er person in the District doing anything productive. Adding to the bad press for Obama is a recent string of trivial "controversies" drummed up by Conservative media that make it seem as it he's "living large on the taxpayer's dime" in these times of financial turmoil. They've ragged on him for playing golf with Tiger Woods, which is sorta triflin' if you think about it. But they undermine their (only vaguely valid) point by also slamming Obama for doing basic sh*t like filling out Final Four brackets, going to a basketball game a few blocks from his house, and playing golf at an Air Force base that's actually inside the Beltway.

And, oh yeah, they were talkin' sh*t about the Obama Girls. No bueno, guys. Cut that sh*t out.

It's odd to me that the GOP doesn't understand how crying wolf over every damn thing (and I do mean everything) the President does, they undermine any actual points they might have, and also ruin their limited credibility. I'm concerned about the possible rising cost of The Affordable Care Act myself, but when people are complaining about sh*t like this with the same level of fervor, forgive me if I'm not a little skeptical about whatever "facts" you might present.

Anyways, in an attempt to get the press off his back, the President did something completely contrived and totally political, but still ballsy, to call Congress' bluff.
President Obama’s decision to return 5 percent of his salary to the U.S. Treasury in show of solidarity with federal workers might make folks wonder whether Congress will do the same.

Members of the House and Senate earn $174,000 annually and haven’t voted to raise their salaries since 2009, knowing that increasing their paychecks would only make them more unpopular with the general public. Several lawmakers, many of them independently wealthy, donate considerable portions of their congressional pay to charity or back to the U.S. Treasury.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a double amputee and Iraq war veteran, was first to announce in late February that she planned to donate part of her earnings in protest of $85 billion in automatic spending cuts known as the sequester. Duckworth plans to return to the U.S. Treasury 8.4 percent of her monthly salary for each month that Congress fails to avert the cuts.

Duckworth’s 8.4 percent figure comes from the amount of money being slashed from discretionary federal spending accounts, which fund several primary education programs facing cuts in Duckworth’s district in the Chicago suburbs.
In the District, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) also plans to cut her pay. For each day that federal workers are furloughed, Norton plans to donate half of her pay to the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund, which provides emergency loans as well as child-care subsidies and other financial help for federal workers. The other half will go to her congressional office budget to compensate furloughed staffers.

The offices of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who earns $223,500 annually, and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.),who makes $193,400 per year, wouldn’t say Wednesday whether they plan to take pay cuts.

I wasn't a math major, but the above sentence says Harry Reid, who has been in the Senate since The Civil War actually makes less than John Boehner, who is a part-time drunkard and a sometimes US Congressman. Can someone explain how this works? I assumed the Senate, by virtue of being a much harder to attain gig, would pay a lot more. Silly me.

Anyways, it'll be interesting to see how Conservatives frame this one. Fox News is already on the job, I'm sure.

Question: Was this a good idea by #TeamObama, or is a 5% pay cut so insignificant that it makes no sense at all?!? (Finally!!!) Gets A Long Overdue Facelift.

Your eyes do not deceive you. That's right folks an actual new post that's not an Open Mic's got a slightly new, much lighter and brighter look. #AllWhiteErrythang

Nothing against the old design, but it was just time. You gotta keep it fresh and whatnot. The old banner image and color scheme felt a little dark/dated and since the site just (very quietly) celebrated its 6th anniversary on Monday, I figured now was as good a time as ever. That, and I'm on the road with no kids or wife some actual free time for a change. So enjoy the change of scenery and let me know what ya'll think. The new banner image is a work in progress. My main man @TheotisJones is tossing some ideas around. We'll settle on something eventually. The color scheme overall is a lot cleaner, I think, and I've done with a crisper font. It is, if I must say so, not too bad looking.

Anyways, I know none of this sh*t actually matters if there aren't new posts, and I'm working on that. You'll see some of our more popular features "recycled" in the coming weeks. If you're a longtime reader, your eyes aren't deceiving you. That's the same ole' sh*t you read a couple of years ago. Whatever. Roll with it.

Either way, things should be finally back to normal around here soon. Stay tuned.

Question: What do you think of our new look? Does it even matter if there's no new content?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 Open Mic Monday.

I know some of ya'll are wondering: what the hayell happened to my (once) favorite blog? You know the drill by now: the Day Job is killin' me. Pampers and NBA League Pass Montessori school tuition don't pay for themselves. Alla that stuff, and whatnot.[1]

So I'mma need ya'll to hold it down for awhile. Maybe I'll find some time this week, maybe not. Either way, your show. Have at it.

Question: What's on your mind today?

[1] The re-brand will be finished soon. Stay tuned. Hopefully I'll have some actual content to match the new digs. Hopefully... if I can just find the time...