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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

As the year winds down...

As the year winds down, there are a great many of you who are scribing out your new years’ resolutions. Statistics have shown that 91.8738% (<- the arbitrariness of that number shows that I do my research on these… Trust me, I’m a doctor!) of those resolutions will fail. I am not one to make resolutions at the beginning of the year, I fly through life by the seat of my pants and make irrational decisions to keep shit interesting.
As a well-established connoisseur (yes, I spelled that right first time without spellcheck) of mistake-making, I am here today to explain and work with you on how to properly fashion your resolutions.

First of all, lose the Kanye line “aim for the stars, so even if you fail you land on a cloud” line of thinking. Aiming too high is where people set themselves for failure right out of the gate. Anyone who would PLAN for failure likely has more deeply underlying issues that need to be addressed, and unfortunately I am not THAT type of doctor.
For the sake of self-esteem, one should make a point of being sure that they can reach what they’re goaling for, or goal what they’re reaching for – word to Gil Scott-Heron. With that in mind, I am going to address the idea and spirit of a great many (well, five) resolutions that people make and fail at year in and year out, as only I can.

1 – GAIN weight
Every year, on January 1, people buy The Perfect Pushup, ShakeWeight, 6-Second Abs and a ton of motherfucking Billy Blanks DVDs and they tell themselves they will “get right for the summer,” and every year Easter, they are shopping for the same sized clothes they wore for one of their 4 annual forays into church as last year.
Then they beat themselves up about it for the remainder of the year… “but I tried so hard,” or “but I [yaddayaddayadda]” or of course the age-old “I'm finna/bout-ta/gonna… starting Monday.” Without fail, the return is always to square one and without fail, they’re super hard on themselves about it.

Well how do we fix it?
Simple! Stop making such lofty fucking goals! Seriously, replace “I’mma lose 50 pounds” with “I’mma gain 20 pounds,” and all of a sudden gaining that 20 pounds – or even losing “only” 10 – feels more like an accomplishment than it did the end of the world last year, doesn’t it?
The beauty of this is that you have to do literally nothing.

2 – be less-than-savory to those in need
Every year, hippies would-be volunteers begin their years marking out their calendars for the dates that they will spend feeding the homeless, volunteering time here and there, protesting things that are usuaually pretty much non-issues and tweeting mercilessly to make themselves feel better. Never mind that they usually never accomplish much more than being annoying and smelling like patchouli.
To actually fully go through with everything as planned would be time and effort-intensive, and might just make you kinda tired, now wouldn’t it? This goes not even to mention the money that transporting yourself to these things would be. And seriously, this will be 2011 soon, who has time and effort to give to OTHER people, we got our own problems. Instead of going all out of the way to serve those who can or will not serve themselves, simply pass them by. Offer a condescending “get it together” on the way by if you feel you need to expend ANY energy at all. Hell, THAT will at least give you the satisfaction that comes from the vindication that living better provides.
In the train station one day and the blind dude is playing his saxophone with the case open for tips? Drop in a few Canadian pennies and make change. By “change,” I clearly mean change of possession, pick up enough to cover your train fare. See? You’re doing better already and we all always knew that New Years Resolutions were all about bettering ourselves.

This point can be altered to fit your own geographical limitations, naturally.

3 – File bankruptcy this year
Fuck, what good will saving money do? You’re going to work like a slave until you’re 70 anyway and you won’t be able to take a DIME of it with you when summoned into the great beyond. I know you think that the very act of bleeding off all of your money might be a bad idea for the general fit-and-finish of living life comfortably in general but don’t worry, we got you. A full tutorial on how to make homelessness work has been written, should it come to that.
We all know what a daunting task that financial responsibility can be. Even to a fully responsible person, it can be a major pain in the dick. With the price of everything escalating, it is sure to become a bit more difficult, and we all run a bigger risk of needing to file for a strategic bankruptcy than ever before in our generation’s lives.
If you need to bleed off some funds, you can start off by forwarding us all of your life’s savings, we will take it as a gift and properly involve the tax man, I promise. From there, live your life just a little bit financially recklessly – preferrably involving some unsecured debt – and make sure you have ALL the unabashed fun your imagination can muster while doing so. When it comes time to pay the piper, do not call me, instead go ahead and file bankruptcy. While this could be a move damning to your credit rating, don’t think about that. Instead, think of all the FUN you had, look at those nice Jordans on your feet and smile knowing that you did it all the damned way big.
Again, you weren’t taking it with you anyway, why SHOULD you want to leave it to the tax man? Fuuuuuuuck saving money, SPEND money!

4 – Find lust
You’re getting up in age… You’re friends are all getting involved, getting married and having kids (and not necessarily in that order, but they’re doing it), while you aren’t, doing so under the guise that you’re “doing me,” what in the purple hell ever that means.
Love generally takes a lot of intangible effort and emotion. The fruition is the satisfaction of reciprocal love. With an estimated worldwide population of 6.9 BILLION people, the fact remains that a great many people just aren’t going to find love. Continuing a fruitless search for it can only serve to damn the sensitive ego of some of those people and that just ain’t right, now is it?
Well is there a way around it?
Damn straight there is!
See, love has an evil twin sister, and her name is “lust.” It comes with all - well most – of the physical accomplishment with (usually) none of the emotional baggage appended. The beauty of such an thing is that a grand many of that almost seven billion human beings can’t even tell the difference.
No need ‘wookin pa nub in all da wrong places’ when a good old-fashioned lust affair will serve the same discernible purpose to all those you want to think are paying attention, whether or not they actually are.

5 – get UNorganized
You know what OCD people all have in common? The probability of unprovoked anxiety attacks and other indicators of INSANE stress levels. Who gives a damn about Feng Shui when you have to take a cocktail of antidepressants before your brain will allow you to even face your front yard?
Look, this is not to say “become a slob,” just that there is a line to be crossed where “organization” becomes “obsession,” and unfortunately those approaching it too quickly don’t recognize it. If you know WHERE shit is, who is to care HOW it is there, as long as you don’t?
Need an example?
Sure, my “storage” room in my house somewhat resembles Haiti circa last January 16th, but damned if I can’t tell you the location of ANYTHING I might happen to have put in there. Rather than having obsessed about the location of every little thing and the stress that may accompany such a thing, I am more than chill with stepping over a bin as soon as I step in that door… Just make sure that door stays closed.
So yeah, stop worrying about organization, and work in terms of “good enough.”

So there we have it… 5 of the most commonly-employed new years resolutions, complete with how we’ve all been doing them wrong all these years by setting sights entirely too high. Of course, when you told yourself you were gonna make a billion dollars at your next job, that $40k/year offer seems quite insulting, even though it more than supported your lifestyle.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Spike Lee movies for 2010 well, '11 by this time (pt. 3)

Time for closure...

I am convinced that while Spike Lee Flicks, adapted for the current market, would be a critical success, in that most movie reviewers are – pretend to be – at least DECENTLY objective when looking into these things.
If Spike Lee’s name would be good enough to get the movie onto enough screens nation/worldwide, he would make enough money to cover production and make profit enough to continue doing him, but they would SURELY not be landslide success-level blockbusters.

“why,” you ask?

Black audiences these days tend to run away from being told about themselves. It seems that they would more often rather be told how to feel, be it feeling sorry for themselves, to hate their own or just when and how to cry.

White audiences often don’t understand “black” issues, even if they feed you the ‘I have tons of black friends’ line ad-infinitum.

The days of PAYING to be taught some shit died in college to a great many people of all races. You wanna teach me some shit, you need to pay me, on the clock, like my employer does when I am to be trained.

Polarizing figures of this type are not so much heralded in 2010 as they were in the late 80s. Tell black people they’re fuckin’ up and they’ll call you a ‘hater’ and ignore the lesson. Tell anyone else THEY’RE fuckin’ up and you’ll be dubbed an ‘angry black man,’ or ‘intolerant’ or one of those other fun words they usually sit on until they're in need of code language for why you should hate the president.

All told, there is a reason that Spike Lee movies are not so much a draw as they once were, and indifference in the community is the tip of the iceberg. That said, no matter HOW interesting or modern this could be made, I am not sure that these movies would have aged or gone over terribly well in today's climate.
Sure, there would be those to go and see them for nostalgia and a great many of them would like them, but those "for" are most often less vocally so than those who are "against," and the 'this ain't NOTHIN like the original' crowd would be the taste-makers.

[Phlip note - we must stop Michael Bay before he finishes killing Transformers for me]

To draw on my favorite parallel, it is the same thing that people can and do say “man, I listen to hip hop, but all I listen to is the beat, I don’t be listening to the words like that.”
No longer is it even COOL to expect someone to dissect and understand a message. Tell them how to feel, tell them when to cry and use overtly stupid-ass physical humor to dictate when they should laugh. They aren’t out to see movies for what the movie is about or what is conveyed so much as they are for who is in the movies. In the world we live in now, critical acclaim is no longer enough, you gotta do some numbers to get by. The movies could review wonderfully, but the fact that people have readily accepted being made dumb would make a HARD sell of a Spike Lee movie in the current climate.

… in my opinion, of course.

What do y'all think?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Spike Lee movies for 2010 well, '11 by this time (pt. 2)

picking up where we left off, now we will discuss the next of the mentioned Spike Lee Flicks...

Do the Right Thing (1989)

This movie deals directly with the multiple plights of the residents of a Brooklyn neighborhood on what happens to be the hottest day of the year.
The major theme dealt with in the movie happens to be race relations, centering around a pizza parlor and the treatment of black patrons, real or perceived... Irony comes from the titling of this movie, as it seems that NOBODY is doing the right thing in the entire movie.

[Phlip note - except Radio Raheem, he could DO no wrong]

We have EVERYTHING one could desire in a movie; Public Enemy music serving as damn near the ENTIRE score, Rosie Perez, Rosie Perez' titties, racism, class-based discrimination, hatred of immigrants, disregard for the elderly/mentally challenged, and (best of all) Samuel Leroy 'motherfuckin' Jackson.

Besides, who CAN'T love a movie that includes lines like...

"You gold-teeth-gold-chain-wearin', fried-chicken-and-biscuit-eatin', monkey, ape, baboon, big thigh, fast-runnin', high-jumpin', spear-chuckin', three-hundred-sixty-degree-basketball-dunkin' titsun spade Moulan Yan. Take your fuckin' piece-of-pizza and go the fuck back to Africa."

Again, this movie serves as a "show you what to do by showing you what NOT to do" up close and personally, up to and including the lesson learned of the riot that resulted in at least one death. The movie was both critically and commercially successful, I even watched it on DVD recently myself.

But what if they did it now?

No longer would it take place in a record-high NY summer day, but a record LOW southeast winter day...
I say that from a personal level, since I live in NC, where single-digit windchill this early in December are not quite the norm, but have been very much the reality this week...

The slowing of – or at least the changing face of it – will serve it that the pizza parlor is now owned by a Muslim family at on a strip mall very near to both black AND white neighborhoods. There will also be some Chinese takeout and your run-of-the-mill generic “Asian-Owned” nail and beauty supplies, as well as African hair braiding.

[Phlip note - holy shit, I just described my own neighborhood!]

The things would play out largely the same. Being that the pizza place is on the block with black people and only a half mile from white people, his foot traffic is largely of both races, exacerbated by his prime real estate; DIRECTLY next to the grocery store.

White people resent him because their own neighborhood is the old money that moved elsewhere in the city when the black folks moved in, which was bad enough before they started letting “them goddamned terrorist motherfuckers” open up shop everywhere in the city.
Black folks resent him because the first round of gentrification and business-opening in the neighborhood was all black-owned. This includes two video stores that are no longer open, one salon that is no longer open, a barber shop that barely is and 3 Laundromats, one of which has closed and reopened twice, one that moved and one that is only open to serve as a front for illegal operations otherwise.
His presence in the neighborhood comes to show their loss on the toehold of what they had “taken” from the white folks 20 years prior. It represented something they did NOT take action on when the Koreans opened the cleaners, then the beauty supply, then nail shop and takeout spot before.

This is where the similarities to the original movie really begins...

One of the chu’uch folks tries to set up a boycott of non-black-owned businesses on the block – which would mean no one does ANYTHING in the neighborhood except getting their hair done or washing their clothes at the Laundromat without free drying – until they’ve gone, at which point they reinvest in the community. The response from the younger generations came across more or less as a “fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck that, them terrorist-ass calzones is too good to be quittin’ on!”
The white people, though? For the most part, very few of them were willing to patronize the restaurant out of 9/11-driven fear of the unknown. That said, damned if they would EVER invite “those people” to their house for delivery either. No need to go too much further into why THEY would refrain from patronage.
Anywho, one night right at closing time, someone is leaving with their food that they’d ordered ahead of time, when a young black man enters the shop and wants to place an order…
3 minutes prior to closing…

When the shop owner advises that he has shut down the oven for the night, and the only thing he would be willing to make at the 11th hour would be a cold sandwich, a scene occurs. The would-be patron attempts to argue with him, but is repeatedly asked to leave the premises. This MIGHT have continued, had not the passing police officer who cases this lot every night at this time happened to roll through. The angered (and now still-hungry) 19 year-old leaves.

11:30 the following morning, he is standing on the sidewalk telling EVERYONE to enter the parlor that they shouldn't, prompting the owners' son to step out and confront him. Meanwhile, one of his knucklehead friends is harassing the Korean lady trying to open her nail salon across the parking lot. The harassment at the pizza shop goes on ALL day until the owner shows for his own shift. Ironically, the kid's friends are no longer bothering the other shop owners, but the pizza parlor owner instead.

I don't know how many people constitutes a riot, but the 5 kids who STARTED this shit, the one store owner who was just minding his own business and now the dozens of onlookers-cum-participants makes one in my mind. The cops come in time to grab the first black teenager who appears to be a troublemaker and employs that chokehold that they aren't supposed to use anymore. Trash cans are thrown and fires started, I hope these cops expected overtime tonight...
All the OTHER business owners have closed up shop, drawn security coverings over glass and beat it.

Just as the original ended, with Sm-m-m-m-m-m-miley distraught over what has become of the neighborhood, the movie will end with an--... um, "zesty" fellow in tears, screaming "why!" as the credits begin to roll.
Unlike the original, there will be no dialog between the shop owner and anyone else who was at the riot.

The movie, as the original was, would be critically-acclaimed.
Unfortunately, no one would go to see it, seeing as how people will not much go to movies with a message these days, even if the message is RIGHT OUT IN FRONT OF THEM. Asking someone to work to get the message beneath a metaphor is just too damned much it seems these days.
‘da fuck? Nigga, you tryna get smart?’ would be the response from the "peer" audience.
[Phlip note - "peer audience" = those who share skin color with the moviemaker]
It would go on to the Parthenon of cinematic GREATNESS that wad damned by not enough people willing to put their cash up to view, usually for reasons not reflecting the maker of the film. The Great Debaters comes to mind when I type that.

Closure to come tomorrow.
to be continued…

Friday, December 17, 2010

Spike Lee movies for 2010 well, '11 by this time (pt. 1)

While fatly pigging the fuck out eating out with The Katie last Friday night, I had an epiphany. Oddly, I would find that an “epiphany” is not an item on the buffet at Golden Corral…

Never mind that though. The burst of thought led to a tweet/FaceBook status update.

“What if Spike Lee remade his movies for 2010? What if he made school daze and do the right thing now but not then?”

No need to address the couple of responses I got, since this was not a question of the day, except for the one from the homie Simon, who retweeted it as well, which included You need to blog this.”
Never one to turn down the requests of my two loyal readers (or any of the others I might have scared off by means of not coddling their fragile little egos), here we are…

I will direct my focus in these posts on the two of Shelton Jackson Lee's movies specifically named, Do the Right Thing and School Daze, and I will take them on one at a time, doing so in the order of their release…

School Daze (1988)

This movie dealt with the homecoming weekend at a fictional (for the sake of the movie, as I am sure one by this name exists SOMEWHERE) HBCU named Mission College. In it, we would see addressed things that actually went on in black colleges at one point in history.
In it, we would see the politically active groups vying for validity in a world that might not give a damn about them. Their corollary would be the gang members Greeks, who would play the role of "jocks" to their--... whatever, I'm confused now.


Issues addressed range from “internal” racism – that between darker and lighter-skinned black folks that has always existed – to a system of cliques that often form on black college campuses. I might think that something similar does on white college campuses as well, but I never been to one of those, so I do not know.
It is all done in a sometimes humorous but always musical means. Most things presented were largely symbolic and metaphorical in their message, even the ones that were not so out front. What it all amounted to (in my mind) was the painting of the black college model as a largely dysfunctional model, which remains accurate in application and as-depicted even now, three months shy of 23 years later.

In total, the movie did decently well critically and commercially, with the loudest jeers coming from those who felt they were wrongly called on their ways.
Guilty dog barks loudest, I guess.

Well, what if they did it now?

The easy answer to this question would be “well shit, he would never get green-lit or funding from the studio,” and this post would end right here…
I don’t give in that easy.
So what do I think would have changed about the movie if it had been made in 2010/’11?
First of all, the amount of on-campus activities that took place would not have taken place. It seems that the focus on HBCU homecomings these days is less on the school celebrating what in the hell ever homecomings are to celebrate. I won’t even lie and say I know what they’re actually for.
No sense in focusing on the on-campus quarrels and such. Not when we can focus on the buildup to the concerts to be held 10 miles from campus. Not when you can focus on all the out-of-towners of the opposite sex headed in to converge on the city from Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning.

The movie – if released now without the context of the original – would likely play out more like a documentary than a drama to be totally honest. With Spike Lee being Spike Lee, it would be a forum to pan people for how their behaviors have devolved, if only as a “look at what you’re doing to yourselves” and would pull no punches in doing so.
But white people would call him an ‘angry black man’ while black people would call him a ‘hater’ and the movie would be a critical and commercial flop, barely breaking even on production costs.
Now, if remade for 2010, it would AT LEAST bear the sentimental value to those of us old enough to remember the original. Themes would be similar, but adapted for the current climate, but the focus on “school” things would be similarly shifted to extracurricular activities and the disdain would still be apparent. Again, the 30+ would come and at least SEE the movie, but younger generations would completely miss the point, likely calling Spike Lee a ‘hater’ just the same.

On to the next movie tomorrow, to be continued...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

You don't care? PROVE IT!

I will never understand why people feel the need to join a conversation just to inform everyone involved that they don’t care about the topic at hand. Maybe it’s just me, but ‘I don’t care’ should be a station you go through in action and not statement. If someone is talking about something you do not care about, for one to go out of their way to have to SAY they don’t care is a very out-front suggestion that the topic at hand took up enough real estate in their minds for them to say something about it. In application, this makes untrue the ‘I don’t care’ statement.
Perhaps better employed would be ‘I don’t care as much as you do,’ but fact remains that even THAT would have one coming off as a bit of a dick as well, what with the suggestion that ‘what you care about is beneath me’ and all.

As ever, argument of sorts will ensue and then people get feelings hurt. And to think how less-than-necessary this would be if people could refer back to the art of shutting up.

[Phlip note – as a blogger, I am SUPPOSED to be a Keyboard Cowboy of sorts, and accept whatever backlash may come as a result of my opinions, if only I could turn a profit for doing so...]

F’rexample… Some nice people are discussing something – ANYTHING – and this conversation could be in any avenue, be it FaceBook/Twitter, coffee shop, breakroom, mall food court, synagogue, abortion clinic or under Clarence Thomas’ desk. Venue really matters not, just so long as you have one person (a) with an opinion, at least one person (b) who is listening to that individual’s opinion and at least one person (c) to witness the conversation who harbors an opinion on the topic at hand. Whether or not that individual will cop to actually having one is where this gets fun.
Now, (a) is sitting in discussion with (b) over their lunch, in a common area, and (a) has developed a strong opinion on a current news story, which they happen to be quite knowledgeable about following a lifetime of active interest. (b) listens to the conversation – almost (read: pretty damned much) a rant from (a), but the topic interests them both, so it continues…
At this point, (c) enters the room and naturally overhears the conversation at hand. The topic is one that vaguely interests them, clearly not as much or as passionately as the individuals currently in discussion. Smart money dictates that this might be the one to just lay up and leave alone. Yeah, that would make sense, right?

“I really don’t care one way or the other, but I think that [angle not necessarily related to the topic at hand]”

[Phlip note – this would have made it this far if the person had done the right thing, no?]

Now that (c) has stepped into the arena, it is only naturally inferred that they have an opinion on the topic at hand, and hopefully a little knowledge on the item in which they’ve now become involved.

that is a DICK move.

, now fully okay with having another participant in the discussion, addresses the newcomer and their response with a fitting rebuttal which steers the conversation back to what was ACTUALLY being discussed.
It is now apparent that our newcomer has no real interest in the topic at hand as it was initially being discussed (or apparently any respect for the intelligence of those in other than themselves), made evident by the constant reminder that ‘well I really don’t care.’ This will naturally devolves into ‘I don’t know why y’all care so much’ and will come to include all the requisite patronizing language on the in-between. Any attempts at the hands of the initial participants of the discussion to steer it back to – or keep it on – original topic are met with apples-to-oranges comparisons seemingly designed to not only drag the discussion further down a road it never needed to go, but also denigrate those involved.
Nits are picked, nerves are grated and non-issues dragged into it. Non-points are made by the uninvited participant, which are met with valid counterpoints at the hands of others. Every valid counterpoint is responded to with “whatever” or “I don’t see why you even care,” and without fail, they slip and present the wrong argument. At this point, their entire agenda is picked apart piece-by-piece, point-by-point to the point where the thing that most people would do is just shut up and leave the discussion in defeat.

But wait!

This person doesn’t care and never cared in the first place, never mind that they have now committed a large chunk of time that they are not getting back, thus making not caring the stupidest thing they will have done today. At this point, with no one intimidated into cowering before their apparently immense intellectual accomplishments.
No new fans made in this venue, they will leave the conversation completely incapable of admission that they’d just stepped into an arena where they were clearly overmatched, so the answer as presented will remain an emphatic “what-ever!”

Back to the task at hand… (a) and (b) will attempt to trudge on, though thoroughly derailed in doing so. A general “what in the fuck just happened here?” will be the chosen response, with a “damn, you handled that one better than I might have” and the situation as it were is left no longer addressed.

Why in the hell DO people do that?
Are we all living in some kind of alternate universe, wherein it is somehow socially acceptable to drop in on people who DO care about something enough to converse about it, but only long enough to remind them that you do not care? Once engaged, when did it become acceptable to continue the discussion that you apparently only care enough about to pat yourself on the back, thereby basically insulting all participants involved?
There are three arenas where this seems to happen most often…

  1. Religion
  2. Politics
    and most frequent/fervently…
  3. Sports

As ever, the prudent move – even if you DO care – if your aim is to avoid an argument or being pwned in an attempt to one-up someone in their own comfort zone, is simply to shut it and keep moving… The day that people START doing that, though, will be the day that posts like this will stop popping up.

And now, speaking of how not to care, I plan to sit back and watch as everyone proves it, with no one commenting this post, lol.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

In dealing with the self-involved...


Let’s face it… All of us know at least 4-5 people who are so terribly self-involved that everything done or talked about MUST be turned into a conversation about them. If not directly, eventually… Today, I will deal with two of those individuals.

Given this fact, we’re all well aware what a drain it can be to be FORCED to deal with such folks, so I thought to myself “self… we should devise a system in which these people are to be handled as deserved”

[Phlip note – yes I do talk to myself, and you do too, fuckers…]

Make note of the word “deserved” in that sentence, as it is not to be understood as “how they feel they deserve,” rather “what in the fuck they have earned.

Scene 1…

You: “my birthday’s coming up in a couple weeks… We’re gonna have a big party at so-and-so’s house, you should try to come”

Them: “oh wow, is it your birthday again already? That means it’s only a few months left til mine.”

You: “Yeah, you want the address to the party, you comin’?”

Them: “hmm… I wonder what I will do or where I will go for my birthday this year.”

You: “um, it’s April right now? Your birthday is not until the end of October.”

Them: “yeah, but you know my birthday is like this big EVENT every year, I gotta do it big”

You: “so yeah, I invited you to a party for mine… whaddyathink?”

Them: “oh, I don’t know if I’mma be able to make it to that”

One thing of note in this conversation is that talking about yourself vs talking about someone else as established is just like a 4-way stop sign when no one is turning right – first come, first serve…

If the conversation is started with a topic, and that topic might be about ANYONE/ANYTHING in the universe – whether or not it is one of the participants in the conversation – any chance taken to turn that conversation into a conversation on one’s self makes them a dick…
Or a “dickbitch,” as my fiancĂ©e calls them when they happen to have come equipped with a vagina.

Worry not!
We have devised a plan with which to deal with these people.
Keep in mind, now, that THIS conversation takes place after you have extended the two more strikes to the individual to be in attendance at your event, only to have them flake out in the most passive-aggressive manner. It ALSO happens to be – and this is the kicker – ONE day after their birthday. Do not call, text, tweet or facebook them on their birthday. It is EXTREMELY fun to do this when you know so many people that EVERY day is a birthday on your FB friends list, as they will see you “happy birthday’ing” all your friends and family, and then NOT them.
Normally, it would be just fine to stop at this, as usually they will have seen this taken place. The fact remains that someone of that mindset usually has the worst tunnel vision and you’ll have to be a little more succinct with it, and I will tell you how…

First, make a phonecall

Them: “Hello?”


Them: “um, dick… my birthday was yesterday?”

You: “nah uh, it’s today”

Them: “I think I know my own birthday”

You: “hold up, lemme check” **typing furiously** “facebook says here that it’s--… oh shit, damn, my bad. Oops!”

Them: “didn’t you see me talking about it on facebook and twitter”

You: “uh… did you talk to ME about it?”

Them: “I been talking to you about it for months now, remember?”

You: “I remember you making my birthday party a conversation about your own”

This is usually all it will take for this person to take the conversation down in a ball of “whatever” flames and change the subject to avoid facing having brought this shit on themselves.

[Phlip note – either that or they’re LeBron James and will go on a “what do you want me to do?” rant on their twitter. Either way, be prepared to exchange very few pleasantries with this person in the near or probably distant future]

Scene 2…
This one is easiest, as it requires ZERO action on your part.
We all know someone who is an attention whore, and any attention is “good enough,” be it good or bad. We all see the FB posts, we all see the tweets and get the text messages. Hell, some of these people, we even encounter in person (like who does THAT shit anymore these days?) and will for SURE fishing not only for attention, but commentary to prove that attention.

“This weekend, I/I’m gonna…”

“Well, I was…”

“I think…”

“I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I…”

If you could apply one of those filters to their daily conversation patterns like some people do with keywords used in their blogs, the words most employed would be – head and shoulders above ANYTHING else – would be “I,” “me” and “my…”
And it wouldn’t be close.

All you need to do with these people is NOTHING. Don’t engage it, do not acknowledge it any further than to acknowledge ONLY that something was said, but do not go as far as to validate their self-assigned value (poorly) hidden in their words. If this means saying nothing at all, even if having to take the point of completely ignoring them, then so be it. The worst thing to do a raging dopefiend is to deny them their dope. Guess what an attention whore’s dope is?
Hint: it does NOT originate from ketamine.

Game. Set. Match… back to life.

Put a pin in this conversation, I may revisit this subject often and continuously.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ashton Kutcher Music

Yes, this is directly a play on the title of Rick Ross' song Aston Martin Music.

Allow me first to apologize... A couple of different "car trouble moments," one of them conspiring towards me meeting my maker but deftly avoided, have had me in position to listen to something other than Sean Price in my own car on the way to and from wherever I should so happen to be headed.
That said, I am noticing a pattern (which has likely been in play on “urban” radio for years, but damned if I would know it)… Every third song must include one (or any combination) of either Trey Songz, Drake, Nikki Minaj and/or Rick Ross. Lil Wayne used to employ one of these spots, but a stretch in the pokey downgraded him to once in 5 songs.
The constant, here, though is that I STILL feel like we’re being punk’d.

[Phlip note – see, when have I EVER gotten to my point that fast?]

I can’t find it in myself to believe a damned word that ANY of these motherfuckers utters. Ross taught us that he was a liar once and instead of copping to it, lied harder. Drake… Ugh, never damned mind... I just won't be sold that a dude with an acting career on a teen soap opera drama as the "next big thing" in rap, or that he is NEAR what he pretends to be. Motherfucker goes home and has hot buttered scones with warm Earl Grey tea and wouldn't dream of getting NEAR a groupie, that "I like my chicks in twos" and moscato talk is for the cameras...
And Nikki? If I am to believe her, her mannerisms and her vocal inflections, she is a fucking retard.
I cannot help but concede that she actually CAN rhyme her ass off – whether or not she is actually writing her own work. No shots, but we all know what we know about female rappers and their often dependence on their male counterparts for assistance with things that don’t involve sucking dack and making babies. Hell, sometimes even only the “making babies” part of even that.

[Phlip note – shots fucking fired, sue me]

A part of me dies on the inside whenever I hear this shit, I SERIOUSLY find myself thinking “damn, are you serious?” when hearing this nonsense. There was a time where I knew that there were people who were making better music than this shit, but nowadays I am convinced that they just don’t damned exist.
No, not when an otherwise talented pedophile R. Kelly can put on a performance of an otherwise annoyingly dumb song of his own. Then I wind up having to delete half of the active females I have as friends on Facebook who can only use the performance as a statement that he is better than Trey Songz – again, not that such a thing isn’t obvious. Also, that ain’t saying much either.

So here I find myself, all the while, PRAYING that one day the music stops abruptly and someone yells “you’ve been punked!” and this nightmare comes to an end.

I’m not holding my breath.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Leaders vs. Followers

People, we have been trained by a vague understanding of what exactly defines a leader vs. a follower...

In the shower, I got to thinking, and a couple of metaphors came to mind…

[Phlip note – “in the shower/car/office/torture chamber" is how a great many of these might find themselves beginning]

Why is it that we allow ourselves to let our heroes and their sidekicks define what we think of as a leader versus a follower?

Stay with me here…

As anyone who knows me knows, I am MADLY a basketball fanatic and while I can concede that the combination of Cheese Eyes’ on-court contribution and off-court influence combine to make him the best player we have yet seen, I am STILL of the opinion that he was as much a co-leader of that team than he could have EVER been the hands-down leader.

Stick a pin in that, it will come up later in the post.

Okay, with that said, I am sure that some of you are thinking “well what in the blue hell is he talking about?
Think about it like this. Who would you rather have on your team; one dude who is head and shoulders above EVERYONE you might put in front of him – paired with 4 who know PRECISELY their roles and 500% willing to play them – or do you want 5 (or 3 out of 5) dudes who ALL feel as if they are (or can be) top motherfucking dog and have that fact cause the division that will make you second-at-best?

Think about that long and hard [pause…] before continuing on here…

There, you ready?

Thank you!
Sometimes, our leadership is not what is to be taken to mean that we are the driver, so much as the navigator. Necessity to be ‘da man’ is not paramount when our eyes are fixed on the prize. Yes, Jordan has 6 rings and Kobe has (as of this writing) 5… If not for Scottie Maurice Pippen and Derek Lamar Fisher, respectively; none of us who happen to be rational thinkers can imagine ANY of these eleven titles to be, honestly.

[Phlip note – I am not ignoring the contributions of ANYONE on either team, but that is not where I am going in this]


That dude in the office that comes in 10 minutes early, looks about the company intranet site and bookmarks shit for what you think is nothing and you think is wasting his time – but ALWAYS has the RIGHT answer – yeah, that dude? Is he a follower, is he a sheep, or is he making his job easier for the greater good of anyone who can hear him speak when he bothers?
Do these elements make that dude a leader or a follower?
With the facts being as they are, his motions that leave him prepared for the day and perhaps come off as a bit of a kiss-ass even if he speaks to no one in general show that he concedes to his established leadership while still operating as a team player.

Does this fall into our established norms as to what a leader OR a follower are?
hell no!

Does the simple fact that he is not in a position of authority – normally reserved for the douche-canoe in the room – make him a “follower,” as understood?
FUCK no!

That is the second (after the kiss-ass, naturally) that management will call on for help after the one who announced their prowess and failed in a hailstorm of excuses and cover-ups.

Back to the Jordan/Pippen situation…
it is now 2010… Jordan has been out of the league for 12 years (I will not recognize the Washington Wizards Debacle), and in the current league we find a whole generation who would do best to fashion themselves after him. In my mind, however, the most valuable players on EACH of those teams is the dude who concedes that his role is to play his role and uses that to play it to the abso-fucking-lute HEIGHT of value available.
Did the late-80s/90s Bulls have a clearcut leader?
HELL yes!
Can we use the finished product as an example of what “co-leadership in the face of precedent” means?
FUCK yes!

Current-league comparisons…
Those as-described Bulls had what they had.

Look at what we have now, and look at what it has netted on the in-between. By “in-between,” I will only be bothered to look at the current league/season situation.

L.A. Lakers…
Kobe is Jordan, Pau Gasol is Pippen…
Yes, I know that Gasol is – and even in this writer’s opinion – the league MVP if records and current trends continue, but still….
Derek Fisher is STILL Derek Fisher, and now Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom CAN NOT be ignored in their roles.
Does playing your role to the fullest extent of your ability make you a “follower”?
Or does it make you just as much a leader as the dude whose name is on the marquee EVERY night? Do you bitch about shared attention – in overt or covert action – or do you show your leadership by sharing it for the greater good?

Miami Heat…
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are playing the same games as they did before they were teammates… Since this leads the team(s) to (have) WATCHED them play, the “co-leaders” approach becomes a competition and not a cooperation. Sorry, folks... Batman and Superman would not have made a good team.

[Phlip note – word to the Spirit of Truth]

The end results of this comparison are proof-in-the-pudding… The team that was expected to run tables is disappointing and hanging dangerously close to .500 ball, while the most underrated 2-time champions are continuing the behavior that made them 2-time champions completely under the radar.

Using my long-drawn sports metaphor, is it deniable how valuable it is to use one’s understanding of role played in the grand scheme of leadership? Properly playing your role does not a follower one make. Instead, it makes a smart winner with mind on the greater good.

Drop the “alpha dog/queen bitch” mentality, folks, it gets you nowhere.

and this does not apply only to sporting, this is some life shit... Robin was just as much a hero as Batman, and that has just as much to do with his willingness to concede to leadership, as opposed to assuming that he was worthy of it himself and spoiling the greater good.

Sport and art imitate real life, and that is why there is so much ad revenue in them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If I could be like 'Nique... wait, what?

There seems to be very few questions on who some players in the NBA are compared to most times…
Kobe is compared to Mike, whether Cheese Eyes himself or any of his minions will admit to the validity of it.

[Phlip note – we can leave it to the nice folks of to explain their argument for the validity of comparison]

Carmelo Anthony has a lot of George Gervin in him, in the sheer number of ways he can find (and make) his shot.

Kevin Durant is Larry Bird; not a freak athlete like his peers, but more than makes due with effort and the use of the skillset he does have.

I could go on and on, but I would rather get to the point.

LeBaron James…

[Phlip note – yes, I know it feels like I am picking on the guy… well I am]

I am inclined to compare him to Dominique Wilkins more than I am the first person that people try to compare him to; Magic Johnson.
Perhaps it has a great deal to do with the fact that I am a Lakers fan since my Granddaddy was and Magic is a legend in Lakers lore, so I do not have it in me to rate lesser beings on the level with such.

Bust the facts…

Lebaron James:
  • 6’8”
  • 250lbs
  • 27.8PPG
  • 7.0RPG
  • 7.0APG
  • 2003-04 Rookie of the Year
  • 1 x NBA Scoring Champion
  • 6 x All-Star, 2 x All-Star MVP
  • 2 x NBA MVP
  • Named after the worst car that Chrysler ever made.

Dominique Wilkins:
  • 6’8”
  • 230lbs
  • 24.8PPG
  • 7.6RPG
  • 2.5APG
  • 1 x NBA Scoring Champion
  • 9 x All-Star
  • 2 x NBA Slam Dunk Champion
  • Euroleague and Greek Cup Champions (MVP of both, 1996)
  • Named after fake diamond product sold on QVC

Disparity MIGHT be noted on their weights – never even minding that LeBaron’s is rumored to be more than his listed 250. Personally, I don’t buy that shit when considering his knees are not already fucked with the way he plays.
Understand that Dominique came up in a league where anyone 6’8” and 230 might as soon play power forward and would surely find himself guarding centers sometimes… But he didn’t. With that said, a 6’8” and 230 pound dude, when counted in 1982 math is equal enough to a 6’8” and 250 pound one in 2010 money.

Several parallels can be drawn to between their careers beyond just physical size. Both were prolific scorers when going to the hoop and used their physical gifts – both at their times unheard of to the league – to make someone a poster on any given night.

[Phlip note – in fact, the earliest “in my poster” that I STILL remember is a 3-footer that my older sister had on her wall if Dominique defining what we would come to know as the definition of “embarrassed” to a defending player]

Spotty jump-shooting, questionable defensive habits erased by simply bullying the shit out of the opposing player, or simply being able to jump higher than normal human beings to erase those flaws. Each was/is overrated to the point where their shortcomings were/are overshadowed by their physical gifts.
Both players are/were reluctant passers. The edge falls to LeBaron in that while he has NEVER learned to play without the ball, he will at least enter a play with the possibility of making a play for someone else, and a +4.5 assist average will easily speak to that. Where LeBaron passes as a means to getting his name on SportsCenter, ‘Nique DIDN’T pass en route to becoming the highlights that made a not-yet-born LeBaron WANT to be on SportsCenter.

One more place where their careers share a dubious similarity is in the playoffs. Personally, I am more inclined to place Dominique’s losses on his generally one-dimensional game being more easily exposed by competition. Having to play in the eastern conference during the reigns of Detroit’s Bad Boys, Bird’s Celtic teams and of course the Cheese Eyes-led Bulls regime(s) is an ugly fucking proposition. They showed, making the post season in all of his years in Atlanta, only twice seeding in the bottom half the standings – twice even first – but never even made the NBA finals.

LeBaron, coming from a more terrible beginnings with the team – joining via draft (and during Carlos Boozer’s screwjob) and not via trade – would not make the playoffs until his third season. From there, he would always be in the top of the conference, having had the league’s best record two of them and surprising the world, carrying the team to the NBA Finals before being swept. That feat would be the similarity to ‘Nique’s 47-in-a-loss in Boston in 1988. From there, it would be big showings, blowouts and sideline dancing during the regular season, followed by unceremonious exits from the playoffs just short of all expectations, followed by excuses.

Now to the “end,” which would be the downswing of ‘Nique’s career – in which his most oft-compared rival was racking up rings, taking adventures to avoid being kicked out of ball for gambling and then coming back to get more rings – while Nique gets nothing. Really not his fault, considering how horribly run an organization the Hawks were. Hell, they traded the team’s best and most popular player ever in the middle of a 36-16 season to the Clippers (if that ain’t a slap in the face). He would turn up the heat for a non-contender for the balance of the season, stopping by to light their asses on fire to the tune of 36 and 10 on the way through town.
Following the season, he signed in Boston but split town when he saw that rebuilding was coming, instead choosing to go to Europe and monster on their leagues, winning two championships and MVP awards, with one attempted return to the NBA and one final hoorah before retiring. Yes, it was as much a hall of fame career as one could expect from someone who, for all his actions, came from his career with not a lot of hardware.

LeBaron’s story is fresher in our collective memories, so I can probably skip it… Dragging a team from the depths of hell to the league elite, only to fail on the biggest stage – twice with no excuse and appearing to have quit – then escaping, via a TERRIBLY carried out process to what should have been greener pastures, only to have found trouble in paradise way earlier than most thought possible.
To his credit, his story is still being written, but damned if it ain’t starting to look like something we’ve seen before. Luckily, we also know the means to fixing the shit, but to his criticism, he seems totally oblivious to his own culpability in this mess. I know that he did not single-handedly bring this Miami Heat fiasco to be, and was acting within his rights to change teams, considering that he too was stuck with a bad organization… The fact remains that he is the FACE of the team, damning what anyone says about it being “Wade’s team.” Dwyane Wade’s name is not on a sneaker. The wins will be credited to the dude with the biggest highlights on ESPN every morning, and so shall the losses.

If he wins, there is no question as to whether his name is welcomed in the Parthenon of the greats.

If he doesn’t, then EVERYTHING worth questioning (and a bunch of shit that isn’t, but will be anyway), then he joins the ranks of Mitch Richmond and Dominique, who were forced to sit and watch their peers win the big shit that matters. His Cleveland Cavaliers were to the Lakers and Spurs as ‘Nique’s Hawks were to the Celtics, Lakers and Bulls.
And while that is a career that can and has netted people entrance into the hall of fame, it has to feel REAL empty to have not led one to the promised land.

For now, the similarities are more to those who have ALMOST done it than it is to those who have.
And we all know that close only counts in horseshoes, hand-grenades and shit-fights.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"You me, and Wii... What's it gonna be, baby?"

The more I hear about some peoples’ relationshits, the better and better I feel about my own… As a great many of the two of you may have been informed via text message – or notice from wall postings on FaceBook – I was given my Christmas present early this year when The Katie bought me a PlayStation 3 two weeks ago. The first night I got it, a Monday, my brother and I hooked it to the Vizio, set up PSN accounts and profiles and all that goodness, but I did not play the damned thing until Wednesday after work…
I took notice, though, some mention of the short-sighted of the world questioning the wisdom of her decision to give it to me. The question was of the gift in general, not of the time frame of the giving of it. I would go on to hear stories that were always of one of two extremes…

  • Male: man, it got to the point where I only play after she goes to bed or I am home alone, she complains about me playing any time I LOOK at it.

  • Female: I don’t know WHY she gave you that thing, you gonna ignore her now and she’ll wind up hating it!

Infrequent were comments that would look at the middle ground of these things, where maybe, just perhaps, we might find ourselves actually playing video games together, or at least during shared times right there with one another.
F’rinstance… I work 8-5 Monday thru Friday on one job and 6-9:15 as needed on the other… Katie works 7-5:30 with 3 days off a week, but has class 3 nights a week until like 930. Often, our time spent actually sitting and talking is done over dinner, then video games or a football/basketball game is on (and yes, we can watch those together too). Being that Bruiser has a thing for making whomever has situated themselves on my couch into his own personal fetch partner (so don't be surprised if you ever come to my house and he comes up and puts a stuffed animal in your lap, then looks at you until you throw it), the fact that we’re BOTH on the couch during these times, they more often than not become a family moment with a relentlessly happy dog wagging his tail away the whole time…
All while the PS3 is still going, regardless of which of us is playing.

There you have it. I have time to spend doing something I enjoy. I have time to do it whether my other half is home with me or WILL BE home with me. I can take solace in knowing that she knows that I am home and safe, even if she cannot be right there with me. However, when she does arrive, she is a willing participant and not left to lay in wait for her turn with me.

On the other hand, people have copped to having envy issues when it comes to these things in that their own "she" may feel that he is paying more attention to “that damned game” than he is to her, whether or not this is ACTUALLY the case. We all know that perception is a large percentage of each individual’s version of the truth.

Out of curiosity, I presented my thoughts to The Book of Face, asking…

“Why do some women (not mine, for the record) get so bent out of shape when their Significant other plays video games? This one isn’t a ‘question of the day’”

As ever, one of my respondents was former coworker, Tiffany, with…
"It's ok if they handling their business, but some dudes let the video games come before paying bills (they buy new games/systems and haven't even paid the rent or bought a crumb of food for the house), spending time with the kids or his woman, sex, basic hygene, eating, sleeping....pretty much everything. I've even known some to miss work over a tournament or standing in line to buy the newest system. smdh."

Then friend of a friend, A.M. Hatter, with…
"While I generally view it as a waste of time, I wouldn't get bent out of shape if he didn't play all the time. My cousin's now ex-husband, for instance, actually moved her out of the way when she straddled him to keep playing the game. That moment was when she decided to divorce."

[Phlip note – DAMN!!!]

Next was another former coworker, Portia, with…
"I agree as long as it doesn't consume ur time & u can prioritize...I actually LOVE playing video games but since I prefer older men most of them don't play,so its really not been an issue for me..the other reason cld be cuz the female does feel left out."

[Phlip note – how old is “older”? I mean, I’m 31 and I play video games, as do cats I know within 5 or so years older than I am… Furthermore, what the hell does it matter? Most of these games ain’t for kids anymore anyway.]

Now don’t get me wrong, here… I like video games just fine, as in fine enough to give an hour or two of my spare time to them, but not so much that I am not working, paying bills and eating. As a fat dude, earning my food budget, and then applying it to what matters, and not recreation, takes precedence over Madden 2011.
Just the same, my interest in my woman has taken continued precedence over video games in general, otherwise I might have HAD a PS3 by now, and I would play more of the ones that I DO have since becoming involved with her. Example would be served by explaining that the most of any game I have played since meeting her would be my completing of Lego Batman late last year, then randomly throwing in old installments of the Need For Speed franchise, playing for a few minutes and then not touching the old PS2 for weeks at a time.

The Corollary to that would be the dude who wakes up playing COD or some such, goes to work (or not!), then comes home and immediately picks it back up. During all of this, his girlfriend/wife is posting passive-aggressive Tweets and FaceBook statuses about him as if no one he knows can see her page.
Or the one whose wife is a fucking nag, and every time he sets foot outside the house, he is thought to be inserting himself inside of a vagina that does not belong to her. When he comes back home, he has to argue about it, whether or not he actually wants to or has done anything. Instead of facing a daily heated discussion, he fires up the old Xbox and wails away on third-world minorities while she remains quiet.
“well shit, if I’m at home, at least she knows that I ain’t out fuckin nobody else,” he thinks to himself – and he would be correct in thinking so, given what he has been told about her issues with him and video games.
To address what he has been presented with, he would be right, except for now the issue will become that he was home all night – therefore not with some other broad – but he was not paying her enough attention. In other words, it was a good thing he did play Fight Night until the wee hours, because he wasn’t fuckin’ anything anyway.

Which leads me back to the very beginning of this post… I am damned glad that I managed to allow other people to have these problems so I wouldn’t have to. Katie plays the game just as much as I do – so much that even my brother commented on her mounting trophy collection, lol – so quite naturally we have an understanding that we now have something in the house that we both can enjoy. It is also worth noting that we have enough imagination as it relates to one another to spend a major amount of available time with one another OUTSIDE of the house as well…
But there again, that is more a testament to the inherent value of an involved couple actually LIKING one another, as opposed to just being together for convenience. I find it rather messed up, though, for people to assign me their own failures in relationships at the very MENTION of being into video games. It is that same approach of peoples' rushing to define everyone based upon their own shortcomings that has served as the cause for me to come up with a new and creative way of telling someone to eat a dick every few days on twitter.

That said, if I ever get straddled or otherwise suggested that it is “naptime” (use your adult imaginations for that one), then I have no qualms with powering down and doing the more important instead.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Guilty Pleasures"... a conversation

Thought of this one in the shower a few days back, then forgot to post it for 2 days at least… Just thought to do it from the phone just now.
Curiosity fully piqued, I figured that I would ask the people…

“Question of the day… What is/are your guilty pleasure/pleasures?”

Yeah, this one should be EXTRA fun, provided the people actually play along.

First respondent was former coworker/longtime friend-of-a-friend Lynette, with…

The next response was from the homie/forum member Mel, with…
"The Twilight Series and Vampire Diaries."

Next respondent asked to remain anonymous, and came with…
“You know what? If it is truly a pleasure then I am not guilty about it. I correct people on the most minor of things.
I wait for people to show an opinion on something, then disagree vehemently even if I do so while claiming to have no real opinion.
If anyone is enjoying anything that I happen not to, I must tell them how stupid they are for it, even if I simply don't understand said item.
I could keep going…”

[Phlip note – DAMN!!!]

Next would be the homie Joe, with…
"Oh boy... Well I might as well be 110% honest.... Pr0ns, Lady Gaga, Vocal Trance, buying cars I don't need and can't afford, 80's pop music, Kelly Clarkson, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand redheads."

Next was best friend, Roger, with…
"I dont have any. I dont feel guilty about anything i enjoy."

Next was my mother, with...
"I carly and Spongebob"

As for me?
Sheeit, I don’t know where to begin.

  • No song is safe in my clutches… When a song comes on the radio, I WILL change the words to it in varying levels of inappropriateness and hilarity, depending on my mood.

    To this ends, Afion Crockett's "Douche It!" caused Katie to ask "damn, was he in the car with us?"

  • I have developed a special skill for knowing when I am under someone’s skin and will set about the task of making them HATE me once I have decided that bridge should be burned.

  • It sometimes seems like I LIVE to give overly self-involved people the opposite of what they seek by simply not granting them the attention they seek, despite obvious advances.

  • Pr0ns

  • A habit of random and very disruptive noisemaking whenever a situation becomes too silent, even if it is a loud fart.

  • I am notorious for feeding nosy people just enough to keep them asking questions while stopping well short of telling them ANYTHING that they're actually seeking.

  • I curse too motherfucking much.

  • “What has been seen cannot be unseen,” in which most off times – time of year be damned – will see me walking around my house in nothing more than my drawz, but often nothing at all… You should probably call before coming over.

There is also a list of things that I can’t even think of right off the top of my head to put in this list. I’m sure of it. All of them WOULD count as “guilty pleasures” for most if not for the fact that, like Roger, if I were so put off by them that I felt guilty about them, then they would probably not be described as pleasures.
I just found it a bit interesting to see what people would share of their own.
Thanks, all!

Making a case against the necessity of literacy...

[preemptive Phlip note - I know the title of this blog is made ironic by its very location and medium... I got a chuckle out of it]

Not that 31 is “old,” but I know I had more time to read when I was younger… Strange thing, that, seeing as how up to about 25 years old, I easily doubled the number of hours “worked” (counting being in class from 8am-1:40pm, then working 8-10 hours a day 5 days a week and 4-5 hours two others – overtime is a BEAST) compared to right now. Another thing I had more time and money for at the time was music, so much that the two hobbies’ time spent would more often than not intersect. No worries about many other things, considering the internets still sucked at the time as it were. All we HAD was music, Playstation and books.
I moved into my house last August and closed on it in October (see previous blog for details on how that worked out), but I had not moved all my stuff in until damn near April of this year. Even now, one year and almost 2 weeks after closing on the house, I am still unpacking stuff being stored in a spare bedroom as they come necessary to exit that room. Clearing one bin out, full of old Source/XXL/Vibe magazines, I came to one that was packed to the gills with books. Novels, non-fiction, reference and a couple of other things.
As I cleared that box, to move the items contained to the file cabinet/bookshelves I noticed a strange set of occurrences…

I could continue, but I am not sitting in that room right now to remember what else I pulled from that damned bin…
What I noticed, though, is that there was once a time where even the most IGNORANT of rappers (or musicians in general) could show you that they’d picked up a book at some point in their lives and comprehended what it was they’d read. If you could play me 5 songs in rotation on urban radio that would even SUGGEST this, let alone prove it as fact, I would--… you know what? Never mind, it won’t fucking happen.

Anyway, I was thinking about it just the same. Even “dumb” hip hop (or ‘rap’ as today’s self-righteous internets douchebag would call it) had some value, even if it only came under the guise of a dude who had been sent the Donald Goines collection while doing a summer in the county.

[Phlip note – as entertaining as those books were, anyone with an 11-th grade education should be able to finish one in 2 hours tops]

Nowadays, though? No dice! As has been discussed at long length on sites that are NOT The Musings of a Madman…, today’s “dumb” rappers are cashing in on being legitimately dumb. When pressed for WHY they continue to make bad music, as if not even trying, their response is usually something in the neighborhood of “sheeit, n**ga, I’m getting’ MONEY! I don’t need to worry about that lyrical shit!”

[Phlip note – I shit you not, Waka Flocka and OJ Da Juiceman, possessors of two of the worst rap names ever shat out, each said something JUST like that!]

So where does that leave us? Where there was once a time where musicians would read a book, then sit down with a beat tape and a pen/pad and write a musical adaptation of what they’d just read…
Fuck, makes me wish I could rap when I was in school, I would have aced EVERY book report I was ever forced to write. Example? Nas’ “Black Girl Lost,” which was one of the aforementioned Goines novels. Again, not being at home right now keeps me from cross-referencing my book collection to my music library, but I’m sure the both of you get it…

What does it all mean, though?
Actually, it means that - as I discussed 2 weeks ago – that expectations have been effectively lowered. We have a climate where formerly successful rappers are succumbing to the Tax Man (Method Man) and a complete void of thought of who NOT to insert their penis and the fallout by way of predatory child support laws in some states (Hi Nas!). On the other hand, people like Gucci Mane can drive a Hummer on the wrong side of the highway with no license or insurance, run from the cops, and eventually get put down with pepper spray, but still be on television talking about it within the week, after seeing a judge who HAD to have called his past into question.
Elementary school dropouts go on to make more in a year making BAD music than I have made in the 15+ I have been working, a great much of that while in school.

I guess the homie Tony Grands™ was right when he told us that "Reading & Writing is for Dumb People©"?
Yeah, to hell with this pride, education, hard work until I’m 70 bullshit, effective this weekend, I am retiring effective this weekend, I will buy $10 worth of powerball tickets and do ALL I can to get myself signed under Gucci or someone like that. It’s not like I need to be able to rap or anything like that. I know that this would require me employing diction that would make me hate myself, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make in the name of getting my life back on track after all the time I wasted on actually behaving like an intelligent and decent respectable human being.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Double Parkin'

So, I am pulling into the lot on lunch just a few minutes ago… It is Monday so the lot is full of course. This will mean I have to park in the back. Once there, I notice a peculiarity…

Well, we all know I don’t like peculiarities, so I had to adjust where I had positioned my car as a result. I would hate for this guy's 'Vette to get all lonely in the corner of the parking lot.

Hey, at least I parked MINE in one space, a real space at that.

If I wake up one day afraid to be a dick to those who deserve it, I will be terribly disappointed in what I’d become.

New Technique...

Yeah, I been seeing those credit repair/"fix your credit thingies" in different flavors around town for a LONG time, and I actually gave a little thought to using one of them last year, the vagueness of them worried me out of blowing my cash.

Here’s the thing, though… Like a great many colored folks, I was once young/dumb and in such kinda loose with my credit. All I knew is that I was given some payment devices and I would go on to use them without thinking about who would pay them and when. I have learned the error of my way. I set about the task of fixing the problem and making proper decisions and building proper habits. It was also an effective deterrent that I was made deathly afraid of credit by my prior fuckups.
As a great many of the two of you know, this approach – with some luck and an assist from a credit card company that has since closed their doors – led to my repairing that magic number that too few understand properly well enough to score a deed to some property with my name on it 366 days ago.

So I was thinking… What if I established a phone number, printed up some of those signs and started putting them all over the place?
No, stick with me here. I could get the phone number established – probably with a pager company so as to minimize cost to me – and man it with a voicemail beckoning people to send a Money Order for $250.00 to a PO Box. They would provide a list of standard information that one would expect to need to cough up when repairing their credit. Once the money orders are received, they are cashed at the post office or Western Union, whichever they were drawn on, and the peoples’ personal information shredded and tossed into file 13.

Wait, what?

I never said WHOSE credit was being repaired, just that credit was being repaired!
A money order is as good as cash, but to avoid being caught or traced, it would be CASHED and not deposited, then the cash deposited or used to pay the necessary bills to sway that FICO score closer and closer to that magic-but-seemingly unattainable number 800.

Again, the vagueness is the key here. Never claiming WHOSE credit rating is being fixed is the key to being able to take these gifts from people. I would use them to further repair my own and then building a proper nest egg with which to retire somewhere in the neighborhood of 35-40 years old so I can travel the world and have adventures and shit.

You can’t prove to me that this is not what THEY are doing, now can you?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lowered expectations

I have been made to spend more time than I might fancy listening to things that I just can’t make myself like, damning any attempts to or against it as of late… For the past 5ish weeks, I been back at one of my old places of employment, this time on a part-time/seasonal basis, slinging negro clothing goods in varying levels of bad taste and egregious cost.
That is not what this post is about…

Anyway, I am working with, save for the manager of the store, people who are 5-12 years younger than me, so suffice it to say that our tastes in music greatly vary. Three times over the course of these weeks have I heard something played from the stack of CDs in the store that I would listen to at home with one being a J. Cole mixtape that I downloaded when I did get home. With that in mind, I brought in another one I’d found and brought it into the store and would never hear it again except for in my home or my car.

What, then, are we made to listen to?

Never mind, now, that 10 years ago, the mall officials themselves would not allow such things to be played out loud in the mall due to objectionable content, but apparently rules are relaxed now.
When the local radio station is not playing their normal 7 songs on repeat, they play a lineup of Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Waka Flocka Flame, Gucci Mane and whatever other ig’nant short bus rap they can come up with.
Being that this is not my number one vessel to the paying of my mortgage, I do not have it in me to complain about the nonsense that oozes from the speakers in the store in a customer-repelling volume. I do not behave as if I enjoy it either, mainly because I do not possess an internal mechanism that allows me to lie to myself.

What this does, though, is drive me to thoughts of back when in order to be ALLOWED to rap, you had to be ABLE to rap. That was up to and including being able to speak the motherfucking language. That time apparently ended sometime during the last decade – when precisely has somehow escaped me in my deluge of big boy bills.
Where this leaves us is in the presence of what the homie Tony Grands (I think) has dubbed “handi-rap” cats, those who, on the surface, are not very bright or articulate. There is no onus to exercise the need to be such, when considering their target demographic and understanding that they’re not supposed to last long anyway. That said, these songs need to be nothing more than loud, simple, profane and offensive. This works for an “urban” clothing store it seems, based solely on the overlap of the target market and it works in spades somehow.

I swear, though, that this whole thing is making me kind of stupid though. So much so that I have taken back the habit of typing my blogs in MS word instead of trusting my natural ability to do this myself. I get back in the car, then I go home, listening to music of people who should be allowed to actually make music, as opposed to those who are simply lucky enough to have gotten in on the rush exacerbated by the collective lowering of expectations. On my lunch break Monday, I spent the hour with Skillz’ album that releases today (don’t judge me, it has since earned my $10.00 or less on single-disc albums at FYE) and a line that stuck out, driving me to have written 5ish paragraphs and counting here.

“Yeah, I’m bad to the bone/I couldn’t write ‘pretty boy swag’ if I had Down’s Syndrome”

[Phlip note – no less than 15 of the two of you reading this now received a text containing that or saw it on Twitter the INSTANT I heard that line]

Wanna know the sad part about that?
I will – probably Saturday since Katie will be at work and I probably will not need to do anything to the yard – go and buy that album because it is one of an artist who seems to care just as much about the quality of his music as he does about his bottom line. Not to mention that his Twitter is often damned hilarious and sometimes includes links to free music and such.

But that ain’t the sad part.

The sad part is that I will be one of maybe 5-10k people (generous estimate, probably less honestly) who lay out the hard-earned $10.74 with sales tax for an album that deserves it, whereas some chicken eater named Juaquin Malphurs will have sold 55k in 3 weeks of an album that I wouldn’t piss on to put out a fire.

Wait, let me guess, this post makes me a “hater,” huh?

Back to the history lesson… Even southern rappers had to have a bit of a grasp on the language and an understanding of lyricism in ordered to be considered for a position as a successful hip hop act.
And please miss me with the bullshit “that ain’t hip hop, that’s rap” discussion, I put that argument to rest in April.
“But, but… what about Biz Markie?”
I will contend that rappers that were to be taken as comic relief will be given a pass of sorts, and Biz DEFINITELY falls under that distinction. Don’t forget that Big Daddy Kane wrote his rhymes anyway
I would ask, in rebuttal, what do we do when the whole of that 7 songs on the radio are rappers who would have been SIMILAR comic relief, right up to and including the silly ad-libs and Nikki Minaj’s allegedly surgically-enhanced ass and ‘tard mannerisms?

From there, we will take the Genesis of “Southern” hip hop as the introduction of Outkast and those who came on with them into the popular lexicon. While they definitely sounded different from what we’d been hearing, they could rap their asses off. Somewhere along the line, though, it seem that the accepted standard was that “Southern” rap, with regional differences in rates and style of speech blurred the lines. So much that people from other regions seem to assume that even normal people who live down here can’t even fucking read, based solely on what is heard on the radio and BET Hip Hop awards.

It used to be that the money spent by the market drove what was hot. Good shit sold and that, in the name of the classic vicious cycle, got us MORE good shit. These days, the market seems to be interested in the most dumbed-down product available, and then challenges the notion that one should even THINK of suggesting that people actually want something even decent.

Fuck it, I am off this soap box… This shit will never change. Suffice it to say that when I have come to hate a representative 90% of hip hop, I am dangerously close to simply having to concede that I am beginning to hate hip hop.
Damn this whole being old and crotchety thing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Photo Phun -- Why Phlip dislikes brown folks

Subtitle to this blog should be "just because you CAN doesn't mean that you SHOULD"

When I leave my house, I have a camera with me. Even if that camera is attached to the phone. If I am photographing you, it is not always a good thing. Hell, it is RARELY a good thing to be totally honest.

Yes, someone is SLEEPING in that mattress in the mall parking lot.

What's funny is that these beyond-means-living fuckers more often than not drive these automotive abominations home to their apartments (or their mama's house in some cases) and somehow this is OKAY to them.
Phlip hates brown people, neverminding that he happens to be black himself.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

First 2010-11 NBA Season post

Let’s talk basketball, peoples.
The season begins this coming Tuesday and I couldn't be a bit happier.

I do not claim to be some clairvoyant individual able to predict the future, but I do lay claims to being several things.
Among them…

  1. An asshole
  2. A Laker fan
  3. A connoisseur of all fine things related to titties and professional basketball, one of these things will be expounded upon in this post.
  4. Articulate enough to talk/write about it.

That said, what happens here are not necessarily predictions, rather just my opinion of how things will play out.

You know what? I am getting my boldest statement out of the way right at the outset…

The Los Angeles Clippers will make the playoffs this season.
There, I said it… Card-carrying lifelong Lakers fan just told the both of you that the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs will NOT leave the Staples Center this year. It felt weird typing it, but I really mean it. With a presumed-to-be-healthy Blake Griffin, no Elton Brand on board, Eric Gordon further finding his jump shot this summer and an already (though low-level) All-Star center in place, Baron Davis will not hoist as many stupid shots as he might have without other options installed – lest he have his leash cut.

That being said, I will get on with the next, strikingly less-controversial opinions…

Rookie of the Year: Blake Griffin.
Why, you ask? (based on his college numbers, of course)
  • Field goal percentage? Got it!
  • Uncanny-for-his-size shooting range? Check!
  • Rebounding? Damn straight!
  • Post moves? Sheeeit, he may even steal some time at center.
  • looks kinda white, even if he is mixed-race Fresh non-thuggish face? Steve Nash was gifted an MVP that Kobe should have won once.
[Phlip note - you damn right I said it!]

6th man of the year…
wake me up when something matters!

Most improved player…
see above!

Defensive player of the year…
Dwight Howard, so long as he continues to make what happens to be questionable defensive habits highlight-worthy.
[Phlip note – I am STILL waiting on an “elite” big man defender who can PROPERLY mind the pick and roll. This is where I miss old-school basketball]

Scoring Champ…
Kevin Durant will repeat.

League MVP…
Kevin Durant
  • In the wake of their own maximum effectiveness, the Miami guys will cancel one another out of MVP-level performance, thusly making so that no one of them will be MVP-able in my opinion, even though they will win a ton of games. Split that bitch 2 ways and it will go to Wade and LeBaron The Megalomaniac.
  • Kobe Bryant, while effective enough to drive something we will discuss later, will not be league MVP this year.
  • No one else has done anything to warrant inclusion in the conversation yet.

“Hustlin’ Backwards” award…
Denver Nuggets

[Phlip note – this is one I will give to a team that used to be a contender, but due to their own buffoonery, be it self-created or otherwise, are not to be any more. For example, this would have gone to the New Orleans Hornets last year at the end of the season]

Why? 2 years ago, Denver was a 2-seed and a legitimate threat to LA in the west. This past year, they digressed to a 4-seed and lost in a barely-an-upset series to The Jazz. After an offseason of turmoil surrounding the extension/non-extension trade/non-trade of Carmelo Anthony, continued health concerns of their head coach and the “bully who can’t fight” aesthetic of their style in general, I see the Nuggets NOT getting any better. Everyone else worked on getting better, while they have added NOTHING. That said, this ends one of two ways for them…
  1. They KEEP Carmelo, but the lack of ANY other moves, combined with the circus that has commenced, will leave them distracted, they will be a 5 or 6 seed.
  2. They TRADE ‘Melo, getting not much more than draft picks and expiring contracts to begin their rebuild and miss the playoffs altogether.

Either way, this situation will NOT end pretty for Denver, compared to what they WERE 2 seasons ago and COULD have been last year.

  1. Miami
  2. Orlando
  3. Boston
  4. Chicago
  5. Milwaukee
  6. Atlanta
  7. Charlotte
  8. New York

I really do believe that this will be how it will be. The top 4 will be the top 4, but shuffle 2-4 as you please… The bottom 4 will likely be shuffled as well.

  1. LA Lakers
    [Phlip note – notice how you now NEED to differentiate which LA team you speak of when it is time to say who will make the playoffs?]
  2. Dallas
  3. Oklahoma City
  4. San Antonio
  5. Denver (see above “Hustlin’ Backwards for more on this)
  6. Portland
  7. Utah
  8. LA Clippers

To my knowledge, this will present the first time in the history of ever that one playoff series has been played entirely in a manner where the involved players will not be able to attend to their jumpoffs in another city.
As stated as well, the Nuggets are only in if Melo plays for them for the whole of the season. Without him, toss a coin with the Hornets, Rockets (if Yao doesn’t break) and move Portland to 5 with Utah at 6.

To not complicate things too much, both of those lists are barring catastrophic injuries or player arrests/suspensions.

Eastern Conference Finals will see the Celtics giving it one last go against the newly-minted champions-on-paper Heat. The combination of the Celtics’ swarming and VERY cohesive team defense combined with the exposing of Chris Bosh as NOT a max-contract player and the lack of a great center will be too much for the Heat. Boston in 7.
Western Conference Finals will be a shocker; San Antonio will play the “I ain’t dead yet, motherfucker” card. They will meet The Lakers, but Tiago Splitter will still be an NBA Rookie, even at like 37 years of age (<--joke) and Pau Gasol will show the changing of the guard as it relates to the “best Power Forward in the league (based on current play)” tag. Too mobile, too versatile and not soft anymore... Tim Duncan will have a great series, but not like the ones that made him a first-ballot hall of fame player.

NBA Finals will play out JUST like last years’ Lakers/Celtics. Shaq will be the non-issue he has been since leaving Miami. Hell, he was largely a non issue IN Miami, otherwise he might have been invited back! Coaching will be the deciding factor in this one, as it has been in past years. The Lakers should again be able to handle the Boston defense with shooting and their 14-foot frontline.
Again, this assumes health and clear arrest records.

Finals MVP?
Pau Gasol… Kobe will be too pissed over that fact to give a properly candid and funny post-game conference over this fact.
[Phlip note – and I am a Kobe FAN, I know he is a dick. He just happens to be a talented and successful enough dick to justify said dicketry]

It is easy for the legions of new fans the Heat now have to write my opinion off as that of a smug Laker fan, but I find their own newfound smugness to be based on nothing tangible until a game has been played.
As with anything of this nature, I am more than willing to eat my share of crow when/if I am proven wrong in my opinions. I happen to be more than pleased in the position that when you season crow properly then it tastes just like chicken.
And black people love us some chicken and basketball.

Game on!

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