Friday, January 18, 2013

Were Those Little Central American guys onto Something?

It’s been almost a month since the latest, overhyped incarnation of “The End of the World”, and I was jolted into reality by a few, seemingly unrelated, influences that got me thinking as to whether our diminutive proto-neighbors to the south may have been worth their carving tools. 

For those of you unaware of the Mayan calendar, I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version; beginning many, many centuries ago, some dudes in what is now Mexico and Guatemala carved some sort of, allegedly, future predicting calendars detailing the condition of man on huge blocks of stone.  These calendars, according to scientists, have been generally accurate, and have been attributed to predicting natural disasters, world wars, epoch shifts, and all of the rest.  Of course we, excepting academics, have pretty much ignored these calendars up until the entry for 12/22/2012 came up:  Because it didn’t. 

For some reason, it seems the Mayans just stopped carving on 12/21/2012. There was no big fanfare or explanation as to why they stopped, that was just it.  Is it supposed to be the end of the world, or, as some have joked, did they just “run out of rock?”  Well, what the coterie of scientists, Mayan, shamans, and translators have discerned is that this magical date just four days before the mythical (?) birth of Christ indicates, is that they simply could not envision what happened in 2013 and beyond, because of the dawn of some sort of new consciousness of man; an era so different that it would take humans closer to the era to be able to visualize it, and describe it using the symbols they used for the preceding years of the calendar. Now onto the dual influences that got me thinking about this.

Sylvester Stallone is still acting.  This is remarkable in and of itself, as I think that Cit Bolon Turn and his assistant Ahau Chamahez were still carving away when The Lords of Flatbush came out; you see, according to Wikipedia, Mr. Stallone is now 66 years old, and it is not just that he is acting, it is what he is acting and how.  Sylvester still sees himself as an action hero, and in the trailer for Bullet to the Head, he fights, runs, shoots, and competes in a duel-to-the-death, if you will, with axes, against a man who is obviously some sort of a martial artist and at least 30 years younger.  Mr. Stallone has also achieved the up-until-recently impossible task of having a better body in Bullet to the Head then he did in Rocky, which came out in 1976.  He is harder, and more muscular with less body fat and more prominent abs; and as a kid, I remember hearing stories about what a workout finatic “Rocky” was.

I would not exactly say that Stallone looks “better” now, as he has a swollen, cro-magnonesque skull that would look natural on a bobbing-head doll, and an almost ghastly non-human palor to his skin as though it is not really skin anymore, but some sort of chemically produced epidermis, from DuPont or Dow Chemicals, but he does look “fitter” and that much would be hard to deny. 

Take a look at films that featured an old John Wayne, Clark Gable or Cary Grant and you will see for yourself what handsome men look like when they age organically; and Stallone was never really what your average person would call “handsome.”

The second influence that led me to my pondering the Mayan calendar was a recent piece on 60 minutes in which neurologists took a woman who was rendered a quadraplegic by a rare disease called, spinocerebellar degeneration and hooked her up to an artificial limb which she could control, solely via the power of her mind.  That I used “hooked-up” here is not a throwaway; she littleraly had a hole drilled in her skull in the area that would control digital manipulation, and was connected to the robot arm through a wire.  Within a week of training, a woman who could not even shrug her own shoulders, could move the prosthesis in and out, left and right and up and down.  She eventually learned to flex her wrist back and forth, rotate it, and pick up and move objects. Certainly a wonderful step for medicine and one that will bring hope to millions of people who have lost the use of limbs everywhere; but I could not help but to think of the shadow side of this technology. 

Teams of neurologists in the case of Jan Scheuermann, as well as designer steroids, growth hormones and surgeries, in the case of Stallone cost money; a lot of money, and one thing these new technologies will conspire to produce is what is rapidly becoming a two tiered society.  As little as 10 years ago, we all, on some cosmic plane existed on a level playing field; the Hollywood starlet through diet, medicine and exercise may have lived a longer than the Dinka tribesman, but she may not have as well.  Until recently, we were all born, went though life stages, got old, if we were lucky enough, and died.  Most of us still do, and for the immediate future, most of us still will.  We are now on a precipice of very expensive genetic level medicine, which invalidates this level playing field, and will have a few people born in the end-zone, and a whole lot of us dragging a 100-lb. led ball, fifty miles to the stadium! Paradoxically, it’s only going to get “better”, or “worse” every year.

Are we now on the threshold of a Morlock and Eloi society in which the rich become a whole different race of quasi-humans that are richer, smarter, taller, more “attractive” healthier, and just generally “better” than the rest of us?  I would say that it looks inevitable, and I would not count on them going to great lengths to share their advances in medicine, technology, and genetic manipulation; as Gore Vidal, so intuitively once said, “It is not enough that I succeed, others must fail.”

Could it be that the Mayans, so many centuries ago, could not visualize the era we are now in, because it was the end of totally organic humanity.  Are we now doomed, or blessed depending upon who is giving the account of a humanity personally and permanently enhanced by machines, medicine, and drugs that we not only use, but that become part of our actual physicality, and is this a good thing.  I don’t know for sure, but 12/21/2012 seems right around the end of one epoch and the beginning of another, and the move to inorganic humanity seems just a matter of time.  So the world did not end at the end of December, but it does seem to be changing irreparably, and overnight.  At least there won’t be a matter of “running out of rock” next time; nonopixels take up a lot less space.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Drinks with Proles

Charles Murray, the author of The Bell Curve recently released another controversial book titled Coming Apart: the State of White America, 1960-2010, in which he theorizes, that the widening chasm between upper-middle/upper class, and lower/working class whites is one of the most threatening factors facing the survival of "America" as we know it today.
The Bell Curve argued that intellect is largely conferred through genetics, and is, therefore largely inflexible, and that raw intellect is an operative factor in all facets of daily life. The controversial portion of The Bell Curve was that Murray argued that IQ is a layer cake largely determined by one's race, he used three races for purposes of simplicity, and the recipe leads to a cake that has black on the bottom, white in the middle, yellow on top. He argued that this pattern repeats itself across nation boundaries, political affiliations, sex, and income, and that as the IQ scores of the races do not change, we must except these differences and establish policies in education, employment, and the like with them in mind.

One of the main focuses of Murray's new book is that birds of an (IQ) feather, tend to flock together, and thus, your latte-sipping, Heidegger-reading, Ivy-League graduate, starting-nonprofit-in-their-spare-time type whites, tend to enjoy the company of each other, rather than that of your NASCAR fans, blue-collar factory workers, or whites who's wheels spin when they are stock-still at a stoplight. I have observed this to be mostly true, and a young man named Christian Lander has made a small fortune writing about the youthful, kinder, gentler subset of the type of upper-class whites to whom Murray is referring.

So anyway, I go to a melting-pot hip-hop nightclub on Saturday night, the type where every race of man is represented, and every woman, most between 20 and 28, looks as though she aspires to hang upside down off a pole for a living. I was possibly the oldest guy in the club, yet being almost impossibly dashing and dangerous, I got my fair share of attention from the ladies. At the end of the night, the patrons moseyed their way out to Central Avenue to try to convince another to continue their conversations in a "vertical" fashion. A woman comes up to me and says "you are the most handsome man here tonight, you HAVE to take my number."
She told me that she was "in her 30's" and was concerned about me being younger; I wasn't.
STATS: "Blanche" was about 20 lbs. overweight, but not totally unshapely, I would say 5'5 with heels that pushed her to about 5'10, and flowers tattooed above her left breast. She was Caucasian, with a sort of racially ambiguous look, and a mop of hair, that was just kinky-curly enough to suggest some overser - mammy activity in the family, a few generations back. She then told me that she was from Louisiana, and gave me her last name which was Cajun sounding. That pretty much covered it. She had nice skin and really beautiful green eyes, and the back view was a month-and-a-half in the gym from being pretty darn good.

Sixteen hours rolled by, and the next night around nightfall, I called "Blanche" and she quickly invited me to her daughter's/best friend's combination birthday party, which was happening as we spoke. I went. It was kind of sweet that someone I had known since 1:47 am yesterday would invite me.

Now, to tell you a little bit about "Truth"; I am certainly not a patrician, in terms of income, but in terms of interests, I tend to shade that way. I like film noir movies, drive a VW, and live alone downtown. I hang out at coffee shops where I can read The Atlantic for free, and vote independent, generally for 3rd party candidates. I listen to language tapes as a hobby, and read self help books for personal improvement. Blanche....didn't.

She lived about 15 minutes away from me in a suburb that was probably solidly middle class about 20 years ago, until the solidly middle class people got to see their new neighbors and moved further away still. She greeted me at the door, and led me through a sitting living room with three people on the couch, and 5 others splayed out upon various chairs and ottomans. I was led through the kitchen to the dining room, and finally to the living room, and introduced to a bunch of other people whom I could not have named 5 minutes later with a gun to my head. Her 16-year old daughter sat on a black leather couch in the living room, wearing a slut-prom type, black dress, hooker heels and just a shad too much makeup. I was transfixed watching her play some video game with what I discerned to be a cartooney Tony Montana getting run over repeatedly, trying to drive a Ferrari on a Miami Beach boulevard.

I was just a little ashamed at my first reaction which was, "My god, every adult here is so...fat!" Just then Blanche offered to make me feel comfortable by taking me into the sitting room to "hang out with the adults.

We went through the kitchen again, and on the table was a veritable feast, of MSG, steroid-aflicted beef hamburger and pig parts hot-dogs, white bread, A large plastic trey of cupcakes with the "Costco" label displayed prominently, and, to garnish the burgers, iceberg lettuce, and extremely GMO-looking, too-big-to-be-legitimately-farm-grown, slices of tomato. The kicker was when I asked for something to drink and she said, "I have kool-aid!" cheerfully. "Do you want purple or blue?" It's probably a prole party when your host refers to your fruit beverage by it's color rather than its ersatz fruit.

I dusted off an ottoman and the mid-twenties, mixed-race, African-American gentleman sitting next to me offered me a drink of Patron after taking a swig himself: There were no shot glasses.
He then continued to pass the bottle around to the other seven people in the room. It was a bit, endearing I must say, but I probabably wouldn't drink behind seven members of my nuclear family.
The Blunt came counter-clockwise, and although Truth hasn't fired up in at least 10 years, it smelled like the kind of $25 a quarter skunkweed, that gave one a headache and a buzz at the same time. I had to pass upon that as well, opting for a sanitarily sealed, bottle of Coors light from the upright freezer on the floor next to the couch.

Other than my patron buddy and I, there were; a 24-year old chubby white kid with his belt sinched up just below his buttcheeks, the kind of sneakers kids beat each other up for, and his face framed by a beard that was just about 1/4" thick. He introduced himself as "Hi-Tech" and he was the only party-goer who's name I remembered outside of "Blanche" herself. He had an slightly more rotund buddy who looked like he could have been Hispanic, Gypsy, Mulatto, Arab, or South Asian, with a round face, and the same syle in pant-wear as his homie. "Mundo" had a sad, world weary, totally un hip-hop, look, and appeared to be about 30 - 33. He didn't say much, but checked his phone roughly every 30 seconds. Continuing clockwise were Blanche's best friend, a pretty, yet unnecassarily rotund white woman in I would have estimated in her late 20's. I had met her last night too, and felt terrible about forgetting her name for the second time now. She snuggled uncomfortably with her boyfriend, a man who looked a little younger, chain-smoked, and seemed to shop at the same haberdashery as the other three gentlemen, with a baseball cap that appeared to large for his head, a red t-shirt to his knees, and sneakers that seemed to have some sort of "glitter" finish.

Two others rounded out my companions, next to Mr. Patron were "Maria" a pretty Mexican-American girl I would say was about thirty and her friend "Giggly" a sweet, bubly chuberic-looking 200 lb. Mexican-American girl who seemed to be the only talker in the group. Maria was about 4'11 but one would not have noticed it as she wore the highest, must uncomfortable-looking pair of shoes I had ever seen, and pushed her ample breasts up to right under her chin.
Most of the conversation involved "Whatshername?" talking in hushed tones to her boyfriend, Maria, and Giggly chirping about various times they had been "fuuuuuuucked up", and on what type type of liquor, and Patron and Hi-Tek razzing each other with liberal use of "the N-word" flying back and forth. I attempted to strike up a conversation with Mundo, inquiring about the all-star game. He pulled it up expertly on his smart-phone and robotically read off the nightly stat line for most of the competitors. I couldn't tell whom he wanted to win. He still looked sad.
The Patron and the joint kept criss-crossing, and I kept deferring my opportunity whereas a few of the others probably started wondering if I was "some sort of narc." I've was accused of that a few times in my younger days. Maybe it is not partaking much, maybe I just look like one. Note to Self: must ask at next gathering of young, counterculture types.
After about a half hour, Hi-Tek grabbed one of the birthday party balloons and hit a perfect smash at Mr. Patron's head . Balloons don't move too fast, and his buddy, aided by the 6 feet between them, was able to react and deflect it. He then proceeded to loudly let the room know what a great feat of athleticism it was, for a few minutes, and stroked his own ponytail approvingly. This gave Mr. Patron a brilliant idea:

"Yo, let's play a game," he said. "We'll hit the balloon around to each other and whoever lets it hit the floor gots to take a shot!" He said. I was terrified: Not of losing but of drinking from a bottle of backwash-Patron which was now about 1/3 full. Somebody else pulled out a bottle of unopened vodka, which no-one else seemed to be interested in. This motivated Hi-Tek say, "yo, I don't drink no vodka unless it's mixed with sump'm." I then happily volunteered to play, if I could take shots of vodka instead of Patron. "I just don't like tequila," I explained lamely in my most non-narc voice," it gives me hangovers like fuck the next day."

I must admit, I had no idea how much fun "Balloon Patron" would turn out to be. The guys, mostly attempted a series of "no look smashes" trying to psyche each other out, whereas the girls simply did their best to keep it in play, defensively, there were a few quasi-diving digs, and a few slowballs with the attempt to graze it lightly it off another competitory's foot, to get it to fall, harmlessly to the floor.

Truth must admit, he was the first to be subjected with a drink, as a hot-shot from Mr. Patron caused me to try to get fancy and hit a spinner just out of Hi-Tek's reach, with my left hand. the show went well-wide, and I was the last to touch the balloon. I tried to reason that it was his responsibility to reach out for it, but to no avail. Hi-Tek then said "shit, give me that Paton, I WANT to take a shot anyway."

The game continued, drinking and smashing, as what sounded like "Rick Ross' greatest hits" reverberated off every wall in the room, in the background. We had two interruptions, Blanche's daughter came running in at one point laughing hysterically trying to avoid being mugged in the face with a black, Costco cupcake. This lead all of the women to engage in a five-minute cupcake-mugging orgy which stopped the game just as I was beginning to perfect my techniques. Giggle then sat back down on the couch and said something incomprehensible, which she explained by adding, "oh, never mind, I think I'm just horny." The second interruption occurred when, Whatsername's boyfriend, responded to a good serve from Maria, by intentionally popping the balloon with his cigarette. In the third period, the game evolved to two balloons, then three, and we finally had six in the air at one time. As Mr. Patron said "man this shit too confusin' with too many balloons," and we went back to two.

I left not long after, but I think my Drinks with Proles helped me to realize that Mr. Murray is right, and wrong at the same time. I truly had fun playing Balloon Patron, and the felt like nice people. If bored I could hang out with those folks again, but probably wouldn't go out of my way, and even then probably not long enough to where they would stop wondering if I were a narc. I feel that he has something in saying that there is a difference between the different classes of Americans, and these misunderstandings are going to drive a permanent wedge between Americans, if they have not done so already.

I don't think Proles, in large part, have any great interest in doing Patrician stuff either, at one point in the night, I asked Mundo, in the midst of our all-star game conversation if he thought that Jeremy Lin's play was an aberration, only I did not use that term. I got the feeling he did not know who Jeremy Lin was, or care.

Blanche offered to walk me outside and gave me a perfunctory hug-n-kiss with genuine warmth in her eyes and said "You're going to call me right?" I said "Sure", meaning "Honey, probably not," as I dis-embraced to get into my car. Blanche wasn't an unattractive woman, but at this point if I was going to have sex with a prole she'd have to be really, really sexy, sexier than a woman that I was going to sleep with that I had something in common with, and she wasn't all that.

I guess, even in purely physical affairs, class distinction matters.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Truth's Immigration Policy

OK, so once again Truth is perusing the daily news the other day, and I come across yet another article about dying Midwest towns that are giving away free homes and property to any warm body that ones to relocate to Wheretheheckarewe, Kan. A little more perusing, and I come across the daily masturbation from the knuckle dragging "Republican" de jour, who wants to shut down the borders and police them with the ATF, Delta Force, and the two white guys from S.W.A.T. I have to wonder, "are these two viewpoints compatible"?

This got me to brainstorming today's exemplary post; the title of which I shall call, "Truth's Immigration Policy."

Let's face it folks, we've become lazy and soft. Your great-grand-daddy might have ridden across the frozen Minnesota tundra in a covered wagon, and tamed a 40 acre plot of land without metal tools, but you take a week off from work when you stub your toe on the curb. You are fat, whiny, you watch TV four hours a day, and you have not done real work since daddy gave you 50 cents to mow the lawn in middle school.

One of my best friends is an organic farmer. She farms 3 acres and sells a variety of vegetables and flowers at farmer's markets and local restaurants. Her employees are a motley crew of Mexican and Central American immigrants and her two sons, with an odd Navajo Indian thrown in. Her farm is 15 minutes from the best university in New Mexico, and she occasionally gets the odd 19 year old hobbyist to work at the farm; that is an 18-20 year old white kid from the New Mexico Tech who wants to "get closer to the land" and "work with his hands." I once asked her how long the hobbyists last and she replied, "usually until about lunch."

The upshot is, farm work is tough, physical, painful work, and American citizens, cutting across racial, sexual and class lines, simply don't want to do it, nor do they want to do other servile jobs that allow our oligarchs to get rich, and handsomely remand the rest of us to comfortable servitude. "You have to understand, 'Truth'", she once told me with her passion rising to an apex, "a lot of our kids have never even had callouses on their hands before!"

Let's face it, Lovers of Truth, like my friend, we need immigrants in this country, both the "ready to re-make the world" type who want to come over and establish their bright, shiny American Dream, and the type who just want to send a few bucks back to Tegucigalpa, and have a few beers on Friday night. the Not So Harmless Bureaucrats from the state of Alabama found this out in no uncertain terms. In addition to this, Americans, in their new found softness, tend to leave cold, snowy areas for warm temperate ones. When the workers do this, the companies they work for are not long to follow (unless of course, they've already moved to a warm, temperate area such as Juarez or Beijing). So this leaves rural Kansas, urban Detroit, and in-between Ohio to rust and die. All the while, we have 48,000,000 people in Los Angeles hanging out in a Home Depot parking lot, offering to change your lightbulb for four dollars.

So here's my plan, and keep in mind it's still a work in progress:

The President, in his honorable eminence, gets together with congress to create an edict. All persons of foreign birth and non-American citizenship must make his way to put his name on a roster at one of a few hastily arranged "roster stations" in metropolitan areas in all 50 states. Everyone has 2 years to come and and receive a number identifying himself. After two years, anyone who has not register is deported, additionally, anyone who has wanted for a violent crime or having otherwise made a nuisance of himself, also deported.

Once we've identified the compliant immigrants, areas that are short on workers, elementary school students, etc. "bid" upon them; that is, they ask the government how many they need, and they receive them, sight unseen by number only. You may get Mexicans men, Jamaican women, or Bulgarian transsexuals, you do not know until they show up. As these places are dying they receive housing in the empty and unused hosing being foreclosed upon, and they set up their lives. They live in the community for a period of 10 years, and and if they've done well, worked hard, adjusted properly and not been incarcerated, they are given citizenship, and are then free to move wherever they would like.

Granted it's a little simplistic at this point, but he U.S. immigration problem, foreclosed home problem and dying industrial town problem are now solved, and you see, I never even had to pick up a hoe.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Come on, liberals, you have to admit...

...Mitt's a good looking dude for 65*

(*No Homo)

So, SuperBowl LXVI is now over...

...or, as those who in the know refer to it, Hegelian Distract and Conquer Technique MDLXVI. A couple of quick observations before we get to today's lesson:

1) People made a great issue about Wes Welker not catching a wide open pass. It wasn't a great throw, and I think one thing than can be gleaned from the play is that the fact that he dropped the ball, and the fact the Brady didn't put it on target stem from the same issue...the guy is 5'8. This leads us to...

2) Danny Woodhead looks good when he plays, so i've read claims of "racism" in his not playing the whole game; guess what, he's 5'8 (if that) also. This leads us to...

3) Quarterbacks would rather throw the ball to long-armed 6'2 guys, than 5'8 guys, not to mentions have one as the last line of defense between he and a rampaging Terrell Suggs or Jared Allen. Don Wassal, get over it.

4) Eli Manning is really, really good, better than his brother, and I never thought I'd say that.

5) Bill Belechick is he best coach in football. He has taken a team with a sloe-footed QB, the aforementioned munchkins, two slow, washed-up wide receivers, a middle linebacker running five-flat 40s, and a guy with 70 lbs. of gut as his best player on defense to the superbowl; their 5th in a decade.

OK, now for the important stuff: I'll tell y'all a little something about "Truth", he loves his nightlife and has for 30 years now. On Friday night whether I am in Brooklyn or Muskogee, Okla., you can probably get even money odds on catching me in a bar, or club, or someplace where an alcoholic libation will be served. One thing that all of these untold nights on bar stools has taught me (one of many), is that there's a shark-jump period in a bar that tends to happen right about an hour before closing time.

It is at this point in time that the women go from horny and adventurous, to bored, the guys start getting drunk and growing beer muscles, the DJ starts playing old shit you don't want to hear, and/or the band gets too sloshed to perform a passable "Stairway to Heaven." In short, after an hour before closing time, you're not getting laid (I might, you won't), and either of us is more likely to get into a fight, or get a DWI, so you should have left earlier.

Well, RoadSoda denizens, I hate to sound morose, but I think the United States clock now reads 1:01 a.m.

If there is one quintessential event that says "America", it would have to be the Superbowl. To give you a hint, the text editor will not even allow me to write the word without a capital letter without prompting me to correct it with a finger-waving dotty red line. The Superbowl always seemed to say to the rest of the world, in my opinion; "look at all we have, and you suckers are still riding camels and wearing lederhosen!" The literally and metaphorically "bigger than life" athletes, the excess, the pyrotechnics, the million dollar commercials, the feminine-quality-enhanced cheerleaders, the 100,000 spectators, the two weeks of relentless hype; it almost used to make "Truth" want to tell "freedom-fry" jokes on a few occasions, but not this year.

I don't know what it was, but I just didn't feel the "oomph" this year, before, during of after the festivities. I thought that maybe it was just "Truth's" unworthy opinion, so I asked a few others, "does it seem like we're a week...4 days... 2 days, an hour away from the Superbowl?" The unofficial pollees all seemed to agree with me that no, it did not, and that I was not alone. It sort of felt like the season was over following the two excellent conference championship games. I guess sort of ignored it until watching a few minutes of the pantomimed, embarrassing spectacle which occurred a week prior to the game, otherwise know as "The Pro Bowl" (or the who-gives-a-shit-I'm-here-for-a-vacation-and-not-to-get-hurt-and-fuck-up-my-next-contract Bowl),
and the feeling ramped up all week long through the cliched late night segments, the news reports which seemed just a little shorter and less urgent than I remembered, and press clips with embarrassing questions, but the players provided corporate answers. Then the game itself arrived.

The first half was low scoring, yet somehow the defense didn't seem particularly good, and everyone just seemed a little off. Then we were treated to the normal over-produced halftime show, which I will return to later, and to the second half of a tight, well-played game, which somehow still seemed anti-climactic.

I know that you're thinking by now, "so where's the brilliant allegory between my nation, and football", and I think there were two things, that only tangenitally concerned the game itself, the caused me to liken the LXVI to closing time at a bar: The first was the pregame trophy and MVP presentation in which the players seemed to react sort of like multimillionaire banker finding a $5 bill on the street; Eli Manning and the Giants seemed almost as though it was just another practice, the stadium emptied out early, and even the confetti did not appear as thick as it has in the past. The losers didn't even bother to speak to the press until the postgame news conference, they probably needed rehersal time to pretend they cared.

The second, was the halftime show itself.

The "closing-time" feeling dogged me for almost two weeks, but Madonna's halftime performance struck me between the eyes like a 2 by 4. It was, in essence a 53 year old woman, who looks younger on the outside, and will do anything to retain her appearance, dancing slowly and stiffly in comparison to a bunch of backups who are 30 years younger. They gladly accept the check from the old woman now, for the opportunity, but would stab her in the kidney in a second, to be where she is. Sure, Madonna looked great "for her age" and so does our homeland, but like the Pakistani-British rapper she contracted to perform with her, there are lots of other bit players all to happy to throw up the finger.

Madonna did a "capable" job of performing a group of 20 year-old hits everyone knew, but I didn't recognize her new stuff, and wasn't particularly impressed by...what she is doing lately, or what she will be doing in the future. In short, the halftime show, the Superbowl itself, and We, seemed to highlight entities that are over the hill, and will not ever regain their glory, like jazz, film noir, and the Ottoman Empire.

Maybe I'm reading to much into a silly football game, but life seems to work well in allegory if you keep your eyes open. Just think; 2,000 years ago in Rome there was a family of four looking to buy a new chariot going over the options, and a couple of competing vineyards trying to explain to the locals why their drinking their brand would make you sexier and more sought-after then that of the other guys. And the 40,000 Coliseum spectators at the Christians-vs-lions matches were eating it up.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Slavery is back?!?! Where do I sign up?

Sometimes, I fail to see the advantages given by our instant information access, 900 cable channel, microblog-for-everything-one-could-possibly-desire, Google / Wikipediadict world. Yesterday was one of those days I cherished the information superhighway making a detour through my living room.

Without the internet, I would not have been the last man to know that multimillionaire knee-grows are back in slavery again.

What, you hadn't heard?

Bryant Gumbel, on his sometimes-pretty-good SportsNews show, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel broke the news to me, and, hopefully a few other ignoramuses

In case you are later in getting the news then I am, and are reading this blog in 2014, I will set the scenario:

The National Basketball Association has mostly black players.

Said "NBA" is on strike.

The commissioner of said NBA is a white man named David Stern (who has his paycheck signed by a coalition of the mostly white owners) and Gumbel does not like him.

Gumbel referred to Stern as " the NBA's infamously egocentric commissioner." This seems to be a statement that would be validated by a fair number of people. He then went to on to say; "His efforts were typical of a commissioner who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys."

So, the commissioner is a plantation owner and the players, by proxy, I guess, are his slaves. This disregarding the verifiable fact that a few of the slaves actually make more money than the man with the whip!

From what I can recall of my increasingly faulty memory, this is about the 4th time we have been returned to slavery this year. Multimillionaires striking seem to bethe first ones gaining access to the ship, as Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall declared himself a slave during the NFL strike this summer.

Now 'Truth' is not one to pass judgement on another, so let me elucidate my personal feelings on 'modern-day slavery': If it entails a multimillion dollar paycheck for something I used to do for free, beautiful groupies, luxury vehicles, and and fans, whom, despite knowing how much money I make line up to by me drinks; I say "Where the Hell is the WhiteBoi with the Damn Shackles, and Why is He Taking so Long?!"

Bryant Gumbel has made these sort of statements before, and he just strikes me as yet another example of the 60 plus year-old blackman who wouldn't be doing anyone outside of his immediate family a disservice if he would just hurry up and shake St. Peter's hand already. My Afro-American friends seem to universally pan me for my views, the general consensus goes something like this:

"But 'Truth', you need to lighten up on that, Bruva, you don't know where he came from!" 'Yes, buddies, on some level, I do: I am a light-skinned (although not nearly as light as Bryant) A-Am who was raised in a middle class family in a metropolitan area also.'

Now I don't know exactly from where Mr. Gumbel is coming; I was not hired to host the nightly sportscast in America's #2 media market for beaucoup dollars a month after my 22nd birthday -- I did not ridicule my younger brother for being 'too dark', and I did not leave my black wife for Becky Van Gordenheimer from Iowa, but otherwise, our backgrounds aren't that different.

For years, Bryant Gumbel was the easy, black commedian proxy for "light-skinned sellout", and there is little doubt in my mind that Bryant was wounded deeply by this. He wants to retain a little "verifiable blackness" with "his people" and signify to them that a Black Park Avenue Millionaire who spends most of his time with at the charitable soirees of his White Park Avenue Millionaires buddies is still a real Nigga, Yo!

Truth is not so dense that he does not understand that years of somewhat nasty black-community ridicule can undermine a man's sanity, but on some level, is there anything more comical than the stereotypical Malcolm Duke character that so many black men, young and old, rich and poor have allowed themselves to become? that is, they talk like Malcolm X, and fuck like David Duke.

No, Bry, I do not consider Mr. Stern an overseer of any sort, and I certainly don't consider anyone who wears an official "NBA" patch on their uniform a slave. I will defend the 1st amendment with my dying breath, but in fairness, if ESPN found fault enough with Hank III to terminate a business relationship over the immortal sin of comparing someone to Hitler, I would not protest much over Bryant's termination from HBO. But hey Bryant, on while you are cleaning our your desk, please don't trash the commissioner's business card, make your last surreptitious act scanning it on the HBO equipment and send it to my box. Tell Dave I have my sack and garden gloves ready.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Key to Successful Marriage

My best friend, an upper-middle class African-American lawyer called me up the other day with an interesting thesi

"'Truth', he says; I think I've discovered the key to a happy marriage."

This piqued my interest, as his marriage has featured infidelity, property destruction, and multiple calls to the police.

"Every woman is crazy", he continued, "and every man is selfish. The key is for both parties to realize it, and for a woman to make herself 10% less crazy, and for a man to become 10% less selfish."

He delayed to let the genius sink in.

"Once you have that, expecting anything else is just asking too much."

I pondered it for hours, put it through the paces, and looked critically at my relationship, his relationship and that of others...and I have to say, it works for me.