Monday, June 30, 2008

National Black Republican's Association

This:



Ain't too far from this:



Damn...they really did reference George Wallace in that ad...

just.

wow.

the best part is the shot of innocent black kids as regards "school choice"...something about that kind of made me mad.

What I find most galling about black Republicans is their inability to understand why the majority of blacks (or, you know, minorities period) won't vote Republican. So let me help them out:

IT'S THE RACISM, STUPID.

Look, I find a lot of your talking points appealing:

I am a huge fan of economic free will and empowerment and marginally regulated markets. I am a huge fan of small government (someone should tell Bush that's a Republican platform). I am a huge fan of states rights (as long as those rights expand freedoms in the Constitution rather than limit them). I think the black community needs training programs more than welfare, small business loans more than community centers. When we strengthen the ability of our families to take care of themselves...we strengthen the community at large.

But, my dear Republican friends, when I watch your leaders speak...especially to their "base"...and when see the Southern Strategy still in use today...I can't ride with you.

I'd prefer to get the things I like about your platform adopted, though slowly, by liberals...then pretend I don't know what word you're thinking when I look in your eyes and hear you speak.

Republicans...if you want more black votes, purge your party of its racist heart.

Goal!

Few things are as exciting as a live soccer match.

One of the ways I spend my downtime, since I have no life is watching matches online.

As you probably know, Spain just won the EuroCup for the first time in decades. If you've never attended a football game in on foreign soil it's like nothing you've ever seen. In lieu of that, I think the best way to enjoy the sport if you're watching at home, is to watch in the native language of one of the teams.

(It's not like there's any real value to play by play.)

It's like night and day.

Here's 2008's winning goal by Fernando Torres. Check the difference in announcer energy:

In English:



In Spanish: (1:30 mark is the start)



See the difference?

Here's one of my faves from the 2006 World Cup...Germany stand up!: (1:45)



---

ps - gotta show some love to America's finest, Mr. Marv Albert:



He made the old Bulls vs. Knicks games I gew up watching unforgettable.

A Solar History Lesson

So like... the first time I heard the phrase "Space is the place" it was at the end of Blur's 1999 release Bugman from their album 13. Good song, great ending.

Well...it seems everything new is old.

Space Is The Place is also the name of Jazz artists Sun Ra's 1974 docu/feature seemingly about blacks moving to another planet to escape racism.



Check the plotline from wiki:

Sun Ra, who has been reported lost since his European tour in June 1969, lands on a new planet in outerspace with his crew "The Arkestra" and decides to settle African Americans on this planet. The medium of transportation he had chosen is music. He travels back in time and returns to the Chicago jazz club where he used to play piano with the name "Sonny Ray" in 1943. There he confronts The Overseer (Ray Johnson), a pimp-overlord, and they agree on a duel at cards for the fate of the Black race.

(Another great scene)


Hilarious?

Poignant?

Both?

How come no one did sound mixing on any movie involving black people from 1962 to 1979?

Why did Blur lead me to believe they originated this phrase Space Is The Place?

Why was Diallo, a huge Blur fan, complicit in this deception?


Lil Wayne calls it "recycling"

---

(
h/t the home girl ReM from Amsterdam for sending me the link)

ps - in BLUR's defense. They remain one of the coolest bands in English rock history. Talented blokes the lot of them:

Happy Birthday to Us

Happy Monday, people.

Diallo and I are both Cancers so we wanna send a big birthday shout to all those like us celebrating birthdays.


Least scary looking crab on the internet

Today is national "Be Nice To A Cancer Day"...so send some love to those born in the summer time.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Flashback - Nas with Q-Tip

"Yeah, son!"
It's me and Bashir's Birthday Weekend. And this video comes to mind.

Nas - The World is Yours (Q-Tip Remix) -

How many hilarious forms of early '90s technology can you spot in the first fifteen seconds of this video?

And while we're at it, let's take a look at what is possibly the WORST Hype Williams video of all time.

R. Kelly - Gotham City (Remix) -

That video may single-handedly squash all the enthusiasm out there for The Dark Knight.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Len Bias: 22 Years Later

Been meaning to post about this all week. But it was 22 years ago this week that Len Bias died.




It was such a big deal at the time. Especially to us young folks at the time.


He's been gone for as many years as he lived. And that's so much lost potential.
Not to be a downer, but be safe out there, kids.

This Thing Grew On Me

Saw these guys at Coachella....

M G M T



can't hate on it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Let's part before we lose love's trace - Stevie Wonder

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

(Remember, kids: vote Obama!)

A Union Divided

I think my union is wrong.

The Screen Actor's Guild is considering a strike, much like the writers did. I am about as pro-union as they come, but one has to look at the terrain.

Here's why I think we should not strike:

1. The vast majority of SAG members don't make their living from acting. So a strike really hurts those people like young Harrison Ford (who didn't get his break 'til he was 30ish)...people who've waited for years for a break, then FINALLY get one...then the show is cancelled cuz of a strike. This town doesn't give a lot of breaks.

2. The vast majority of SAG members haven't done ANY acting in years. Think about that...how can you authorize a strike when you haven't booked a job in eons? What right do you have to stop someone else from working?

Also, I think SAG has to ask its members before it can strike...and I have a sneaking suspicion the membership will vote "no". Such an act would DRAMATICALLY weaken SAG's hand...so they need to get a deal done before such a vote, or risk obliteration and humiliation. You just DON'T wanna go into the producers with a "no" vote hanging around your neck.

3. The economy sucks. We need all the jobs we can get. I don't have a problem with a strike. I have a problem with a strike RIGHT NOW. It's just bad times in America economically. Obviously, it's a slippery slope telling people to wait 'til times are good to get what they need, but in just this instance with just this industry...I think it's okay. Pick your battles.

4. It's gonna hurt me personally. Diallo and I have stuff in the works that would come to a screeching halt. We've bust our asses for it for years, doing small stage shows and cheap shorts. We now have the chance to do some larger scale stuff and we're eager to bring that to fruition. It's not fair to use us as a litmus...but I can only speak for myself.

5. It would further imperil a town still reeling from the last strike. Big studios used the last strike to cut costs. Lots of writers lost deals and the overall money people were paid for initial stuff went down. Less writers equal less shows equal less work for actors. And actors have less jobs to choose from that pay a decent wage. Nothing to be done about that, but to see this further deteriorate is not something I'm looking forward to.

6. Your collective power isn't what you think. This is a finer point. We know the strike is about increased minimums...but since most actors aren't working, what the hell does it matter? If you're a working actor, even if the current rates were unchanged, trust me you get great health insurance and make VERY good money. I know, I've done it. I've made thousands of dollars for a walk on role that took four minutes to shoot. If you're an actor looking for a break, you'd do it for free. If you're an actor who makes TONS of money, you negotiate on your own name anyways so it doesn't matter what the minimums are. To pretend we're a collective downtrodden is bogus. Every actor is in a wildly different situation.

Someone in the comment section of Defamer puts this whole thing best:

I have less sympathy for this strike than I did the WGA strike. First, the WGA consists of working writers - you're kicked out if you go too long between gigs - which meant a strike had an immediate effect on them, and which thus gave gravitas to their complaints. Also, most of their income came from writing work, meaning they were making real sacrifices. In contrast, SAG consists of waiters at the Griddle Cafe who wouldn't have an acting job in the near future no matter what - it's no skin off their nose if the studios shut down

Yup... SAG rode hard for the Writer's Guild...but there's an unspoken mood in the air that support for a SAG strike is low. It's hypocritical as all, but a stone reality.


"You'll get my back too...right?"

SO...

...we DO need a raise and some other fixes. And our union is worth fighting for.

But I don't believe we need to strike ... then again, it ain't up to me.

---

now... any sane person would argue that since the current mood is SO AGAINST another strike, SAG has leverage. Any logical person would say that SAG needs to threaten this strike to get more than they would had the writer's never done so, using past devestation to paint a picture of future harm worth avoiding...

The producers aren't a collection of logical people. They're very rich men who care more about bottom line than quality. And they have no problem not working for another year...just to make a point.

Last Night's BET Awards

Bashir, Craig, and yours truly attended last night's BET Awards.



And as is evidenced on the Drudge Report this morning, the name on everybody's lips was Barack.

As I exited the Shrine at the end of the show, all the T-shirt sellers were pushing Tee's with Barack's face on the front.

Barack has beaten 2Pac and Biggie in the T-shirt caucus. This man is big news.

Monday, June 23, 2008

RIP - George Carlin

In his time, he was at the forefront of The New Comedy. And like Pryor, he will be sorely missed. You did your thing, George. Now go make God blush.


Well. At least we still have Dane Cook.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

BBC's Top 25 Hip Hop Albums of All-Time

Well, that's not quite right. It's DJ Tim Westwood's Top 25 Hip Hop albums of all time.

But if you know about the UK and the power of the BBC, you know who Tim Westwood is and why his opinion matters.

Now before you skewer his list to death, realize the Brits got albums at different times than us and at different points in their culture timeline than we did.

Americans, for example cite Nevermind as the best Nirvana album. Brits always cite In Utero. Different strokes for different sides of the Atlantic.

With that said, here's his list. Have at it.

23. Raekwon - Only Built for Cuban Linx (Loud)
22. Big Daddy Kane – It's a Big Daddy Thing (Warner)
21. Black Moon – Enta Da Stage (Nervous)
20. T.I. – King (Atlantic)
19. The Game – The Documentary (Aftermath)
18. N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton (Ruthless)
17. Peter Rock & CL Smooth - Mecca and the Soul Brother (Elektra)
16. Busta Rhymes – Extinction Level Event (Elektra)
15. Eric B & Rakim - Paid in Full (4th & B’Way)
14. DMX - Then There Was X (Def Jam)
13. Wu Tang Clan - Enter the 36 Chambers (Loud)
12. A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory/Midnight Marauders (Jive)
11. Public Enemy - Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back (Def Jam)
10. Diplomats - Diplomatic Immunity (Roc-A-Fella)
9. Kanye West - The College Dropout (Roc-A-Fella)
8. Snoop Dogg – Doggystyle (Death Row)
7. Dr.Dre - The Chronic (Interscope)
6. Puff Daddy - No Way Out (Bad Boy)
5. Nas - Illmatic (Columbia)
4. Eminem - Marshall Mathers LP (Aftermath)
3. 50 Cent - Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (Shady/Aftermath)
2 = Jay-Z - Blueprint (Roc-A-Fella)
2 = Jay-Z – The Black Album (Roc-A-Fella)
1 = Notorious B.I.G. – Ready To Die (Bad Boy)
1 = Tupac – All Eyez On Me/Don Kulmanti: The 7 Day Theory (Death Row)

Diplomats made the list?! Now that's gully...!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Flashback Friday - Stop The Violence

So...

There's a culture of violence in the inner-city that crested in the early 90's. It was reflected in the music. Then some conscientious types decided to do these "mega-rap songs", sort of We Are The World-esque coming together songs to denounce the violence.

First on the East coast:

"Self-Destruction"



(A few observations: (1) How sweet would it be to actually OWN a BDP jacket?!? (2) Clearly PE were too big to show up on shoot day. (3) I'm gonna bring back the fur lined full length leather coat...and (4) even back then how did Just Ice get a verse?)

Then they did it on the West coast:

"We're All In The Same Gang"



I was having lunch with a friend from LA yesterday, again asserting my desire to do a TV series based on the wild, crazy, violent times in South Central from like 87 - 92... which made her shudder....

(Why is it everyone actually from LA who lived through that doesn't wanna relive it weekly on television? Was it so bad it isn't even worth turning into an HBO show? Anyway...)

...and we were laughing about Self-Destruction because apparently no one gave Easy E the memo that the song was supposed to be positive...AND they let him have the last verse:

To Wit:

"...And if you can't hang in the streets, then get the hell out

I'm not tryin to tell ya what to do

You have your own freedom of choice who to listen to

You knew good from bad, fair from foul, right from wrong

Now your mother's singing that sad song

(My baby ain't never hurt nobody!)

But he still got smoked at Bébé's party
...


"What? Why is everyone looking at me like that?"

Every Time Rappers Beef, An Angel...

You should watch this in its entirety:



Piggy backing on Jen's post, by the end it almost seems like Soulja Boy knows he's in the 15 minutes of fame realm and knows that he's not penning classics...but still ( justly) feels he was wrongly attacked.

It's very intriguing.

This will all probably lead to some inter-generational hip hop forum on TV that will be very boring to watch and will end with people coming together.

WHATEVER.

What about just keeping the beef going until one of you is disgraced? That's how it was in the old days?

LL killed Kool Moe D.

Ice Cube killed the high top fade ("I leave that to the brothers with the funny haircuts").

KRS killed Roxanne Shante. ("she's only good for steady fu*king")

Everyone killed MC Hammer. ("KFC? Proper!")

Jay Z and Nas...made up. Just cuz Biggie and Pac died. Hip hop thrives on a certain level of animosity, but nowadays people are scared of repercussions...so they attack weak targets (Al Sharpton) or people on their own damn payroll (50 Cent attacking Young Buck).

Just once, on some nastalgia shit, I want a rapper to come out with an album called: "Lil' Wayne Is Retarded".

But that's why the rap is so weak nowadays, no competition among combatants. Just fictionalized beefs or easy beefs or, no beefs at all. Even De La Soul and Tribe had beefs...hey, now that I remember, the Native Tongues crew had one of the worst internal beef fall outs in hip hop history.

Ahhh...the good old days.



It's What's for dinner.

Barack Is Starting To Irk Me...

I see a pattern developing.

First he spends Father's Day telling black men to get their shit together. With such headlines as: "Barack Tells Black Fathers To Act Like Men".

Ummm....first off, no offense, Senator but my father IS a man. And the fathers of most of my friends were hard-working brothers who put up with shit from every angle, and struggled with hypertension and high blood pressure, and still bust their ass every day so their kids could have three squares and a roof. I know in your speech you made distinctions and caveats; of course you weren't talking about all black men: but why not just say that men of all races who are bad dads need to do better? Why single us out? There are no bad white fathers? Bad black fathers are all of a sudden the scourge of humanity?

I'm pretty sure bad fathers of all races do lasting damage to the collective psyche of their offspring. Further, it was one thing for you to challenge the black community on homophobia...but to paint with such a broad brush...or, worse, to operate without the savvy to know the media is gonna say: "Obama to Black Men: Grow the Fuc*k Up"...dude? DUDE!

Seriously. Not cool.

I didn't blog about it at the time, but I was pretty pissed off.

I feared I saw a pattern developing.

I feared our guy just uses us as his whipping boy whenever he wants to score some points with "Hillary Voters".

That fear is slowly crystallizing with your first official campaign video:



Image after image of Barack surrounded, not by multi-cultural people...but by JUST WHITE PEOPLE.

W T F ?

In the video he makes a point of "moving people from welfare to work" as one of his success. Now, as someone who eats, drinks and breathes politics all day I know code when I see it: Basically he's saying "vote for me, I'm more like you than you think and I'll encourage black people to get their shit together."

Barack, we have our shit together. Thanks. If we didn't, particularly the black political machine in the 1/3rd black Chicago... you'd still be a law school teacher.

I know those are the votes you have to get. And I won't appear on Fox News calling you too white.

BUT STOP ATTACKING US TO PROVE TO WHITE PEOPLE THAT YOU'RE NOT PARTISAN.

...especially since you know we won't attack you back. Not for now at least.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Juneteenth? And I would know you from...?

Happy Juneteenth!

Um....

What's Juneteenth?

Okay seriously. This is NOT a holiday widely celebrated in Chicago. Not when I was growing up. It wasn't 'til you got to college and all these black kids at your dinner table started bringing it up (or making jokes about it, let's be real) that some of us midwest kids had to slip off to the library (damn...the world before Google. sucked.) and read about it.

It's a celebration of our Emancipation.


This picture pretty much explains it.

Thing is I still don't know much about it...except it has something to do with Texas. And while I may have read about it once or...fifty times, I still don't feel one with the holiday. Oh, but I do remember hearing that there's some BBQ involved somehow? (Maybe?)

Okay, ummm...someone help me out. I mean help US out.

Who can succinctly explain Juneteenth...without looking at Wikipedia?

And did you celebrate this growing up?

And how?

And how come some of the wildest stuff that involves race seems to happen in Texas? (James Byrd dragging death, No Child Left Behind, Black-Face parties at A&M, Dallas-Carter being unfairly portrayed in Friday Night Lights) Scott, Jen...defend your state.


Raise up.

Matty Drudge Makes Me Laugh

I love The Drudge Report.

Say what you will about how right wing he is, dude is completely entertaining. He knows how to push buttons...and only a damn fool would utilize his site as their sole source of news.

(by the by, there's ample evidence the vast majority of our news organizations utilize Drudge for breaking stories...so yeah, that's why we're in trouble.)

I never read it until Diallo turned me in its direction. Now, it's how I start my day.

I especially like the pictures he puts up. Look at this one of Cindy McCain that ran with the headline "Cindy Unleashed".



Just harrowing. Cruella DeVille meets Elvira.

L O L.

And next week...he'll grab a pose of Obama or Michelle or Gore or someone I like looking crazy. But today...we get to laugh at Cindy.

Matt Drudge. Evil? Probably. Entertaining? Every single day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Before We Begin

So...not to let the cat out of the bag, but Diallo and I are working on bringing some new material to a platform near you (TV, Web, PSP...who knows)...Obviously, readers of this blog will be the first to see the new stuff and we can't wait to know what you think.

Looking back, people often ask me what my favorite video is from The Message. Good question:

I think our best video is Poor Man's Hogwarts in that it manages to be both funny as hell, has strong production values and has, well, a message.

And I think the funniest might be Black Cinema Review because it has more jokes per square inch than any other sketch...you really have to watch it a few times to hear all the little jokes crammed in there. (the best joke IMHO is the poster for Soul Plane featuring Ms. Ceile, Guinan and Levar as Kunta Kinte with Giordi LaForge's visor).

Clearly the most popular vid was Condi Rice Raps...hell it hasn't even aged that badly.

And I think our most clever video was American Apparel's Next Top Model, just cuz no one else thought to do it first.

I even still have love for our star-wipe happy, choked out with a rope, grimy sleeper hit Kimbo: This Week In Internet Fights. Damn that thing has legs, with no promotion. (Even though someone on a comment section opined that my paunch-heavy impersonation looks like "Kimbo Slice after about 50 steak dinners". Gotta love the insults.)

But my FAVORITE video is still Fantasia reading from her book. It's a mixture of good writing and great improv from the inimitable Nefetari Spencer. It's a strong and consistent performance.

And...it's a just a tour de force of WRONG.

Some Positivity

So I was gonna post a rant here about how I love black people but that we can be some of the most unhelpful folk on the planet sometimes especially as regards customer service. It was gonna be a good one too with examples and dialogue.

(Just got off the phone with my Health Insurance Company...are living in the stone ages or what?)

But I decided to be positive...so I'm posting two of the most positive black songs ever made.

1. The Black National Anthem - "Lift Every Voice"

If you went to a predominantly black school between 1979 - 1986 (like I did) you sang this song about once a year. You would gather in the auditorium and sing this before assemblies. The 80's were subversive as hell, now that I think about it. We used to do black versions of everything...on the public dime.




2. Stevie Wonder - "Happy Birthday." I have a love/hate relationship with this song. I love it because after you sang the Lift Every Voice song during the assembly, if it was MLK day, they'd play this song. So bittersweet.

I hate this song because every time a black ADULT has a damn birthday party after the traditional "happy birthday" song everyone (usually led by some woman who's name is probably...like...Yolanda or Ayanna) breaks into this song. They always start at the chorus...and nobody knows how long to go...or when to end. It's purgatory.



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Straight to DVD Rip-Offs

I love the Roger Corman-esque world of Straight-to-DVD ripoffs.

With these movies (whose budgets would make your high school prom's look like Titanic's), you get exactly what you expect.

Same theme, nearly the same title.

So in other words, if you want more Transformers, how about TRANSMORPHERS:



Instead of I Am Legend, you get I AM OMEGA:



And if you want to rip off two different films (The Lost World: Jurassic Park 2 and King Kong), but you only have the budget to do half a movie...well:


UPDATE: Turns out the same company did all of these. It's literally their business plan. Their website is a head trip.

A New Racial Slur!

Gawker is looking for a new racial slur for white people.

I love when hip, trendy East Coast blogs tackle race. Always fun. Always funny.

So go vote...and be a part of history.

(I cast my ballot for "Cylons".)

High School Theatre

If you did theatre (not spelled "theater") in high school. Then this is the funniest thing you will see all week.


High School Tony Awards Honor Nation's Biggest Drama Club Nerds

I. Can't. Wait.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

To all the fathers. Including Big Russ, who may be having a difficult time today.



Really missed having Russert around today.

I also want to wish John Thomas Riddle a Happy Father's Day as well. Sculptor, painter, jazz fan.



And best Father ("and husband" - Mom) that I could have ever had. Love ya, Pop.


Let's give Dads their day today.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Award Shows

Remember looking forward to them? That sense of not knowing what would happen, or what you'd see?

If you've forgotten, take a look at the clip below.

(Really?! A boat?!)

Waay more interesting than what we have today.

And if nothing else, watch Bert Convy's awe-inspiring performance at the 2:25 mark.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Not Guilty

Breaking news...UPDATED


Also, Tim Russert has passed.

Crazy news day. Reactions in the comments section, please.

Flashback Friday - Craig's Choice!



uh, yeah, I changed my mind...shout out to Anthony Demby and Diallo Riddle for talking some sense into me...

Flashback Friday - Diallo's Choice!

Wiki-Snark

I use Wikipedia everyday. And for the most part, it's amazing you go to one site to learn everything about autosomal chromosome pairs and Katt Williams.

HOWEVER, every now and then, you come across something that begs for more rigorous editing, like the sentence below:

"The first song that Blackstreet released was "Baby Be Mine" which was off the "CB4" (also known as the greatest achievement in human cinematography) soundtrack which starred Chris Rock."

Why? WHY?!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Practice Your Angry Letter Writing


Message reader Pochovilla sent us a link to the following great post by Plunderbund. Apparently some company is selling "Obama as a Monkey" plush dolls.

Read the link, all the juicy details are there. Especially the good stuff showing CLEARLY how it's some ultra-conservative dude funding the whole shebang.

I know were all busy being important, but do take time out of your day to send them a letter if you, like me, are offended by black people being called monkeys.

You know...cuz it's fu*king 2008 and all.

What Youtube does best... (p. 2)

When I was in college we called this the "funky racial reversion."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lil Wayne versus Al Sharpton

Wow. Some of this Lil Wayne album is just coming into focus.

The reason the song Don't Get It is ten minutes long is because most of the song (the last 7 1/2 minutes) is a super extended rant on everything. Not rapped. Just spoken into the mic.

It's all worth a listen, but this post is about what happens at the 7 minute mark.



Listen to it. Am I getting old? I think Wayne is totally out of line here. He goes on a long rant why he doesn't respect Al Sharpton, calling Al out like he's just another rapper.

And that makes up the last 3 minutes of the song. "You're just another Don King. With a perm." "That's why I don't respect you..." "Fuck Al Sharpton."

I'm assuming Al has said something about Wayne. But this is just not necessary. And say what you will about Reverend Al (I'm not here to defend everything he has said in his life), but the guy has worked for the dispossessed FAR more than Wayne and half the rappers out there.

Am I wrong?

What YouTube Does Best...

Homemade videos that are silly, but brighten your day.

The Art Of The Smack Down (Vol. 2)

I always liked Dane Cook.

I thought his stand-up was fun and inventive, especially the stuff he did on his first Comedy Central special (one of the best ALIENS jokes ever) and the stuff on the show Shorties Watching Shorties...(a rehash of Dr. Katz if you know your comedy history)


See more at DaneCook.com

I had no idea that a growing chorus of people hated his guts until I read it on Bill Simmons blog and then started seeing it else where. The guy is just demonized online. I know his movies are garbage but so are those of a lot of good stand up comics.

Yet the hatred for Dane transcends all reason.

Here DB1 from Hot Chicks With Douchebags explains why he hates Dane so much. Published in its entirety because it's such a great smack down:

By now, pretty much everyone knows Dane Cook is a huge douche.

But how many people have explained exactly why is Dane Cook a huge bag of douche?

That is the question.

Here is a media concocted pseudo-comedian with less talent than a stuttering Screech and whiter teeth than Tony Robbins bursting onto the scene in one giant toxic swirl of unfunny. Then, in no time, amplifying from 0 to 60 up the multimedia stratus of accomplishment in a blazing hail of lame frat jokes and physical hand gestures.

Headlining tour. HBO special. Late night appearances. Each media outlet carefully built to feed off the others, package together, and launch "Dane Cook" into the mass consciousness as the next "comedy superstar."

We were told we liked him. We were told other people liked him. Which meant we must like him, too. Because they liked him. And they are we.

Only unlike the organic and legit accomplishment of, say, the talented Steve Carrell, who actually earned his place at the top by being funny, Cook's force-fed limelight down all of our collective throats has caused the collective regurgitating response. The clarion call to focus all this noise around something, anything real: A begging we are all making of his sorry, generic ass: DO SOMETHING REAL.

Say something authentic. Express a genuine emotion. Have an opinion. Offer a joke that actually might piss someone off.

Because simply being unfunny isn't enough of an offense by Cook. If simply being "unfunny "meant you were a douche, mid 1990s Robin Williams would've grown a rubber bag out of his ass and cleansed women's private hoohoos from here to Bangledesh.

Which, come to think of it, may have actually happened.

No, what makes Dane Cook a huge douche is his carefully softened "injury free" safe ride of genericism. His media constructed "regular guy" persona. His genericized jokes of pure pablum, meant to vaguely invoke nostalgic memories of your drunk college best friend while carefully designed to offend absolutely no one.

Cook is the sackless tamper-proof Hollywood creation of genericized un-humor sold as pseudo-humor and operating as placebo effect. An opinion-free puddle of blandified "good looks" carefully designed and set up to sell across multiple medium platforms. Dane Cook isn't a human being, he's a focus tested brand. A career built soft-drink. Selling out every ounce of originality in the hope of suckling from the mass processed cookie cutter rewards offered by the 24/7 media age.

I'm not saying every comedian has to take on the edge of genius that the late, great Bill Hicks and brilliant Mitch Hedberg brought on stage with them. Jerry Seinfeld isn't exactly cutting edge, but no one's calling Jerry Seinfeld a huge douche.

Because Seinfeld was who he was.

Dane Cook wouldn't know what he was if you asked him to look for it. The self has no place when the image transcends all, and the rewards justify the vacuity.

Dane Cook is a focus tested girl scout cookie. A packaged "best friend drinking buddy" for guys, "sweet former boyfriend who listens and cares" for girls. He has one and only one role in his theater of the self -- ingratiate all, offend none. The "superfinger" his carefully constructed "naughty" bit to extend just to the margins of PG-13 ratings. Just enough to earn his "cred," before Cook runs off to above-the-title the next Jessica Simpson uncomedy.

For that, and those stupid-ass hairdos, you, Dane Cook, are elevated into the pantheon of celebridouche.

Now get off the stage, assface.

Good Young Talent

A frequent visitor to our blog told me about some young Democrats that should be on our radar. I wanted to bring them to your attention.

Visit their pages and send them some support.

I've done absolutely no work vetting these people so if one of them is corrupt, my bad. Still and all, keep them on your radar. As was told to me "the children of hip hop are moving into the halls of legislatures". And that is truly amazing.


Bakari Sellers, a great young dem and member of the South Carolina legislature who was elected at the age of 22, an age when most of us were just starting to realize that our college loan payments were about to begin but decided to avoid getting a real job none-the-less.


Cyreena Boston, running for the Oregan House at only 28 and of who it has been said she's "a talented intelligent woman who cares deeply about the people of Oregon. She has the ability to reach out to almost any group of people and show them that she understands their interests and cares about them." Not too shabby.

(quick aside, everyone I know who's been tells me Portland is a great city. Should I go? The only think I know about Portland is that's where Nike cuts the checks for the Malaysian kids who sew the shoes.)


Don Calloway, is running for the Missouri State House and at 28 is exactly the breath of fresh air that perpetual battleground state needs. Recently endorsed by Congressman William Lacy Clay (again, not too shabby) Calloway is from St. Louis and since he's from the Midwest, he must be a good person.

(yes, that's my logic and it applies to everyone except R. Kelly)

If you live in SC, MO or OR shoot them an email of support...actually just do it anyway. Cuz these young people are gonna be powerful and it's best to get on their good side right now.

---

ps - I have it on good authority that one of them reads this blog. Can you guess which?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Boldest Show on TV

One of the few I watch almost daily.

Colbert.

Who said on last night's show...

"The Confederate Flag is just an expression of Southern Pride...just like the Swastika is another way of saying 'Oktoberfest!'"

Ballsy comedy. And totally true. Just glad a white Southerner (Stephen) said it.

(You gotta go to ComedyCentral.com to watch the whole segment. Its called "If At First You Don't Secede").

Of Nas and Men

Remember when Jay Z said of Nas' first four albums:

two of them shits was doo
One was - NAHHH, the other was "Illmatic"
That's a one hot album every ten year average
And that's so - LAAAAAAAME!

Was he lying?

I'm pretty sure he wasn't. And the one that was brilliant was from 1994...FOURTEEN years ago.

In fact, I know we all like to believe Nas was on the forefront of underground realness and blah blah blah...

OOCHE WALLY!!!



This song was Nas' response to the more superficial stuff that was selling. It was a tragically "blinged out" resolution to a previously ruckus street fight.

And you know what...it worked. It was a club banger. And it was his first high radio rotation in a while. But it begged some unfortunate questions...like....

Maybe, just maybe, Nas is the Penny Hardaway of Hip Hop. A few brilliant years followed by a decade of...how can I say this..."potential without result."


Kelis and I have a love like no other.

I'm just skeptical. Especially when an artist generates more hype over the names of his records (Nigger, Hip Hop Is Dead) than from the content there in. In fact, maybe that was the point.

Should we really be excited for his latest full length effort?


I'm complicated.

Did you like Hip Hop Is Dead?

Can you quote a Nas lyric from the last five years?

Be honest.

---

If you want a group that has NEVER changed their mission one iota, try these guys...



I'm not saying I liked every album (cuz I really didn't) but after all is said and done The Roots are probably the realist rappers in the game. Just album after album of trying to re-create their creativity and evolve their sound without changing their message one beat.

Wayne Releases The Carter III

Weezy is set to have a big opening day. You've already heard A Milli and Lollipop, but look for the Babyface song below to be added to urban radio in the coming week (if it isn't already getting spins in your city).



And you can use use the comment section to give your impressions of the Carter III, Wayne, or what we should be listening to instead.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Trend-Setter

Good lord...



Your boy sets trends without trying.

And could someone please send out the word...it's not called "dap." It's called a pound.

Under One Roof...and Miserable

Many of you have refused to watch Flavor Flav's new The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air inspired "comedy" Under One Roof.

For shame. Don't judge it before you watch it. So here's an episode to kick your day off right.

And...

...if you actually finish the episode you get a shiny new nickel.



(yes, the Lakers lost and I am feeling hateful...why do you ask?)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Missed Concepts: Bad Cartoon Edition

They almost speak for themselves.

If you were too broke to afford Ninja Turtles...
(Is that the guy from the B-52s singing the hook?)

Don't remember any volcanoes in the movie...
(Who the hell were all those extra characters???)

And then this...the source of all childhood confusion.
(THIS is not the show we wanted.)

Would love links to more super-bad cartoons. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

Clint Eastwood v. Spike Lee, Pts. 2 and 3

http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifH/t to Craig for catching Spike's response. His response is here.

Clint attacked Spike Lee today because Spike had the audacity to ask where the black soldiers of WWII were in Clint's movies.

Clint claimed he was trying to be historically accurate.

The same Clint Eastwood who directed in starred in The Outlaw Josey Wales.



The Outlaw Josey Wales:

a. Claims Pro-Union Jayhawkers slaughtered innocent pro-Confederate women and children (they did not)

b. Was written by Asa Carter, a KKK member and speech writer for segregationist George Wallace


The Outlaw Josey Wales is about a Confederate soldier who befriends the Indians to get revenge on the Union Army.

Asa Carter believed that whites and Indians should ban together to kill abolitionists and black people.

This is the movie Clint claims is his favorite of his films, though he claims now that at the time, he didn't know about the author's KKK past.


Clint also claims there will be no black people in his movie about Los Angeles during the Great Depression, saying the great influx of black people hadn't happened yet.

Ignoring the fact my family and thousands of other black people WERE, in fact, already here.

(My grandfather and Mom in the late '30s, Los Angeles)

I was a history major at school, and I take the role of blacks in history VERY seriously.

I had issues with SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.


Close to 10% of all the men killed during the Normandy Invasion were black, so how does Steven Spielberg justify not showing ONE black face on the beach???

When I hear that Spike Lee is giving voice to what a lot of us who know better have noticed, I say "right on!"

When Miracle of St. Anna, Spike's movie about World War II, comes out, I'll be the first person in line.



Stop writing blacks out of history. Go Spike!

SPIKE RESPONDS:

"First of all, the man is not my father and we're not on a plantation either," Spike Lee told ABCNEWS.com about Clint Eastwood. "He's a great director. He makes his films, I make my films. The thing about it though, I didn't personally attack him. And a comment like 'a guy like that should shut his face' -- come on Clint, come on. He sounds like an angry old man right there."

"If he wishes, I could assemble African-American men who fought at Iwo Jima and I'd like him to tell these guys that what they did was insignificant and they did not exist," he said. "I'm not making this up. I know history. I'm a student of history. And I know the history of Hollywood and its omission of the one million African-American men and women who contributed to World War II."

"Not everything was John Wayne, baby..."

Link is here.
At the end, Spike says he won't attack Clint anymore, saying he's gonna "take the Obama high road." Classic.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hot Day - Hot Song

It's unbelievably hot today in Los Angeles. SO, I am heading to the cooler clime of the beach.

Something about the summer brings out the disco/breaks/samples lover in me, so enjoy this classic Philly soul-style tune from 1976...

Cloud One's "Disco Juice"

Obama's Dancing Girls?



Ummmm...not sure if this helps but...wow. Crazy.

Don't Mess With The Sandler

Okay....confession.

I am/was a HUGE fan of Adam Sandler's albums and movies (until recently). There's a part of me that will always love a completely stupid movie that has zero subtlety and plays absolutely everything for laughs.

So, given that, what if a 12 year old boy wrote a movie whose jokes were geared for 12 year old boys?

(And I mean, it's not a John Hughes film where the jokes are written from a surprisingly authentic teen POV but can be appreciated by all ages. No, literally it's sweet spot is the Junior High School demographic.)

You'd get You Don't Mess With The Zohan.


This is the most subtle moment in the film.

Thing is....

I kind of...sort of...loved it.

Sandler is a guilty pleasure I'm not ashamed to embrace. And this is his first comedy since The Waterboy that I enjoyed.

Also he does a pretty damn good job of making jokes in the milieu of danger that surrounds the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The flick that actually does an evenhanded (though often heavy handed) job of tackling the middle east crisis. And making jokes that literally make fun of both sides without seeming mean.

Don't get me wrong: this movie is stupid as all hell.

But it thrives on a comedy suspension of disbelief, once you accept the rank stupidity of it...its pretty damn enjoyable.

Or if you're like me and have never really grown up, then yeah...you should check it out.

---

ps - oh and Emanuelle Chriqui is in it. Alot. Saying stuff. Doing stuff. Not doing stuff and just looking at the camera. Existing. Ummmm...yeah...she's in it.


I really gotta get to Morocco.

ps2 - this movie is SLOPPY as all get up. I mean, it's like they shot the film, then did audience testing and did the re-shoots with a different camera and crew...and a green screen. Half looks like flim, half looks like digital video. If you're a fan of decent cinematography, be prepared to cry.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I Can't Write for Sh*t (part 4)

But Jill Porter can.

She shoots the opening salvo in the Obama=Choice and the Supreme Court argument.

To Wit:

The next president is likely to get at least one, if not more, appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court. And McCain has vowed to appoint another justice in the mold of Thomas/Scalia/Roberts/Alito.

DUH.

One thing that's happened to me the more I live is that I've become focused on big picture stuff more than details or short-lived problems.

- I don't watch post-debate analysis, I saw the damn thing and I don't care what people think nor need to be told how I should digest what I saw.

- I don't watch post-game analysis...same reason. All that matters is who won, not how. (though it's still fun to listen to Charles Barkley).

- I don't begrudge President Bush for the stuff he did that will reverse itself over time. I am more angry at him over his environmental tampering, terrorism growth plan and Supreme Court conservatising than any of his other flaws....these are the things that will linger for a generation.

So...you gotta get big picture in life. Focus on the war and not the battles.

I hope (and trust) that Clinton's supporters will eventually focus on the war.

Classic And Funny

Paul Mooney roasting Richard Pryor...(along with a very cool John Witherspoon and Tim Reid among others)



Part 2 (of 5, not gonna post them all tho).

Thursday, June 5, 2008

This Makes Me Bitter

Thanks to the homey E-Speegs for sending me this link.

Times like this I really MISS having our show/edit bay/cameras.



AARGH!!!!!

The possibilities are endless.

Stylized

Saw this on Bossip.



I liked it cuz it looked like it actually took some talent and imagination to create the visuals. And look who directed it...

...wow haven't seen that name in a LONG TIME.

he still got skills

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'm Back...What'd I Miss?

(Odds And Ends for the people from a guy who just got back from a long trip)

1. WE ALL DRINK THE SYRUP NOW

Little Wayne is currently running America.

I had my rental car programmed to all the urban stations in Chicago and I swear at several points during my trip he was on EVERY DAMN STATION.

He should be applauded. Not many people have a moment in time like he's having. And he's prolific as hell...he's currently the hardest working man in hip hop.


Mine. All Mine.

But I have one question: given the volume of material he has put out...

How in the hell does he remember the lyrics to his songs?

Seriously, I need someone to go see him in concert and tell me how he does this.

It's not like he's The Stones or Radiohead where he has years and years of each tune. No...dude literally has some songs he's only performed in the studio...once...in one take.

I think video of him messing up lyrics will be coming to YOUTUBE very soon. And I, for one, can't wait.

2. THREE COMPANIES I'M PISSED OFF AT

Avis Rent-a-car: Apparently even though the desk agent tells you if you don't fill the car up they'll charge you just for the gas not present, that really means they'll charge you for a full tank at about $12 a gallon. Yeah, let that sink in...I'm pretty sure they love springing this on people who are already late for their flight. And I'm sure they're going to hell for it.

AT&T: Apparently if your home phone is broken and they have to fix it it's $55 for the visit and $20 every fifteen minutes they work on it. Unless, of course you wanna hire an outside contractor to do the work that...well...F*CKING ONLY AT&T knows how to do. So you can make calls around...oh wait, your home phone is broken...so use your cell...oh wait, you have Cingular...er...AT&T..but guess what? Surprise!! You don't get cell reception at your house. So pay the money.


A logo so friendly it distracts you from boot aimed at your ass.

US Airways: Apparently when they bump you five times and make you fly away from your destination (a flight from Chicago to LA with a layover in Madrid? Really? You guys just gonna book that for me with a straight face? wow.)...don't complain.

And take the voucher they give you that's good for $200 or a free flight...as long as NOBODY ELSE IN AMERICA wants to fly at that time...then it's good for nothing.

And I hope you like shitty movies cuz guess what...you get 6 hours worth of FOOL'S GOLD.

Even if you don't wanna watch, you'll be dying inside cuz every time you look up, there's McConaughey mugging it up as he shirtlessly fights on an island with...

...wait for it...

Malcom Jamal Warner.



& Kevin Hart...



& Brian Hooks



I guess Stoney Jackson wasn't avail.



"We Promise To Get You There...Somehow."

(Also: Why was Wanda Sykes on my flight? This recession is a bitch.)

3. WHITE PEOPLE GET EMBARRASSED TOO!

Okay...so I always think it's kind of unfair and unwarranted that black people get embarrassed by other blacks who have nothing to do with them.

Some of you know exactly what I mean.

You're in line at target about to purchase some designer yet affordable trash liners. You're the only black person and you're surrounded by the courteous and friendly gentrifiers...and out of nowhere, here comes Tarleesha. She's loud and rude and you're pretty sure she hasn't yet paid for those flamin' hot Cheetos she's munching on as she swats at her poor kids and yells at them to stop crying and get in line. Instead of quietly making a purchase she's decided to grab a bottle of apple juice from a nearby display, of course she drops it spilling it everywhere and intones for the gathered as her kid reaches to try and be of assistance:

"Uh uh Nymaetria, don't touch that shit, that's these people job to clean that up."

It's not fair.

Tarleesha isn't even related to you and you CERTAINLY aren't responsible for her misbehavior, and yet...ugh...gut punch.

So imagine my SHOCK...when I saw that it happens to white people as well.

I was waiting for a flight and this brother was waiting next to me with his baby for his wife to emerge from the restroom...(are the women's bathrooms in airports the same house of horrors that the men's bathrooms are?)

....anyway this complete...(what's a good word...)...the only thing that comes to mind is YOKEL emerges from the Cinn-a-bon nearby. He's a case study in red-neckitude: balding mullet with extended rat's tail, Budweiser fanny pack and matching decaying visor, serial killer round sunglasses, "who farted" tank-top with gut hanging over cutoff Jordache blue jean shorts.

He approaches the black dude next to me.

"whut dat dere baby name?"

Yokel Joe then proceed to very loudly have small talk on a wide variety of topics as the black dude politely accomodated him and secretly wished his wife wasn't such a stickler for hygiene and just sat on the damn...

I looked around and EVERY. SINGLE. WHITE PERSON looked embarrassed. The other races of folk didn't care but for the white folks, For the love of God they just wanted the redneck to STFU and leave the black guy alone. But...we were all waiting for a flight, and had no where to go.

Finally, white people, we can share everything.


Don't look away, Josh! I am you.

4. TV MARATHONS ARE GENIUS

So...I Love New York...Good show or Great show? I mean, after about 10 episodes in a row I realized that everyone watches it and talks about how ghetto and destructive it is to the black race...and yet. EVERYONE WATCHES IT!

So...Law & Order...Great show or The Greatest Show ever? You had stuff to do around 2pm, then they ran a LAO marathon...and now it's midnight and you have six episodes left.

How rich is Dick Wolf?


Put it this way...very.

5. BARACK IS "SCARY". MCCAIN WINS.

So...I've been wondering what the main right wing word-of-mouth attack will be. Be prepared to hear people say this:

"Barack? That guy scares me."

I first heard it from a banker friend in New York then later, thousands of miles away from a business looking type in Los Angeles. It's the new anti-BHO buzz word. It's not meant to evoke a real or physical threat, but one that suggests his economic policies are just shy of Communist.

It's brilliant actually. It divorces all the racial and party fear and reduces Barack to a guy who just doesn't know what he's doing and will make us all poorer. It simultaneously puts the Dem in a position of power over the worried investor and sounds "folksy" enough that your "average American" can pick up the jargon without seeming full of hate.

Even better, it evokes in the hearer the same sense of disgust they developed for the truly scary ineptitude of Bush without saying his name. Cuz, really, Bush was scary...and governed as such. Remembering the tragedy of trusting one so inexperienced and prone to error, the hearer conflates Bush with Barack.

Basically, it's what fiscal conservatives will seep into our national dialog to impugn a man who is by all accounts a pretty regular pro-Wall street lefty. (oxy-moron much?)

"Obama, dunno, he's kind of scary."

Look for it, then gimme props when you hear it.


Boo.

And The Winner Is...

Chi-Ali for the coveted title of "Artist Who Had the Hardest Time Rebounding from Childhood Fame in the Hip Hop Game".

For those who don't know, Chi is presently in jail on a 15 year bid for being responsible for the death of his ex-girl's brother. Chi shot him over $300 and some CDs.

To quote K. West: "Killing is some wack sh#t".

But for a minute, Chi was the 13 year old lord on a skateboard, strangling suckers with mic cords.

Those were the days...




Tuesday, June 3, 2008

End of the Road

Dedicated to the end of the long primary...




With the end of this phase upon us, I revisit the post I did on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, which was, of course, a game changer. Re-reading it, the mood back then was SO less cynical. Everything looked so simple.

And yet, especially in light of everyone charging Clinton has loss this due to sexism, some of these points seem more salient now than they did then.


Hillary's Noose (January 2008)

Was talking to a friend today and as a result of that conversation, I have decided that Hillary ran too soon.

Wait, you may say. Hillary? Isn't it Barack who ran too soon? Not in my opinion. Because the biggest noose around Hillary's neck is her last name.

Part of the reason her campaign has failed to ignite the public in the way Barack's has is due to the fact that many voters simply do not want the Bush-Clinton-Bush-(Clinton) chain to continue.

Whether this is fair or not (I personally don't think it's fair because its only those Bush links in the chain that bother me), this is a very important part to understanding why this PARTICULAR election year was a bad year for her to run. Imagine if the Republicans won in '08 and she ran in '12. By that time, Dems would be so hungry for a name with a winning reputation attached to it, her run would have been truly "inevitable."

Instead, she runs at a time when people want change. Well, isn't the first truly viable female candidate, by her very definition, change? Not when that candidate is a one-namer.

Hillary.

We already know what and who that character is. And whether you like her or not, few if any of us see her as simply "a woman." Is MLK just "a man," is Scooby Doo just "a dog," or the Empire State Building just "a state building?"

Imagine if Hillary had not been married to a former president. Imagine if she were just some super-high ranking woman in the Senate, from the state of New York, who served on the committees that she has.

That "woman" would be hard to beat. That woman would have as many passionate and devoted supporters as Barack any day of the week.

But we have gotten to know Hillary over the past two decades and I argue that we do not see her as a woman. We see her as Hillary. We see her as a Clinton. And instead of looking back like the Republican candidates, who mention Ronald Reagan at every turn, most Dems, and indeed most voters, want to look forward.

So maybe she ran too soon. Another six years in the Senate might have been okay, regardless of her age. Because I guarantee you, if the Republicans win 2008, Democrats will be scrambling to bring back the glory days of the Clinton years.

But for now, Hope reigns supreme.

--end--

Ouch. In light of that post, I dedicate the Wu to myself.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Reason Why Men Don't Like to Commit...

I think this article hits it on the head...

Men prefer being solo over a bad marriage

The LeBron Controversy Continues...

Bashir was one of the first cats on the web to catch it, but the controversy continues to grow.

Vogue cover starring LeBron James is called racially insensitive by some - first black man on Vogue cover EVER

"Researching A Part"

Now that's the new excuse for the 21st Century!

You're tempted to feel a little bad for Tatum O'Neal. She was arrested for attempting to buy crack cocaine around 8pm in New York last night, and seriously, who buys crack that early in the evening? That's what experts call a craven crack cravin'.

But I digress.

What is truly memorable here is her excuse...



"'When the police approached, she asked them, 'You know who I am, right?' " one source told The [New York] Post.

"Then she said, 'I'm researching a part - I'm doing this for a part' " as a junkie.'"

The Actor Excuse! "I was researching a part." It's brilliant.

Get caught speeding? Your researching your part as a race car driver. Get caught with a gun at the airport? Your researching for your part as a spy.

Mount a weak defense for said crimes and get some serious jail time? You don't have to serve...you were merely researching your part in the Shine bio-pic.

There's nothing you can't do and NOT claim you were simply doing your homework as an actor.

Thespians are officially above the law. Hoo-rah.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Dull Theft Auto

Maybe it's me, but I don't think the new Grand Theft Auto game is very fun.

In fact, it's a little dull. Granted, I can't seem to get "out of Brooklyn" (a testament to my poor driving skills), but the glory of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was that you didn't have to worry about beating levels to have great time.

It was simply - steal a car and go exploring.

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor


Not a total loss though. As the gamer-generated video above shows, the game's physics are truly poetry-in-motion.