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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sam Rockwell as Batman, Justin Long as Robin in "Robin's Big Date"

I read over at the Slash Film blog that there was a new Batman film being made with Rockwell and Long, plus Josh Hamilton as Superman, Leslie Bibb as Wonder Woman, and John Hodgeman as The Penguin. Sounds like a joke, right? Well, apparently, that's the point. It's the cast that has been announced for the film "Robin's Big Speed Date". Sounds like another joke, right? Sounds silly and stupid, right? THEN I saw the short film that this is all based on:

Well, sir...I laughed my ass off! This new film is apparently going to be a series of short films just like this, strung together and shot by different directors. Whenever this happens, I will be all over it. You've gotta love people doing fun and funny stuff like this.

Boy Scouts of America Introduce Video Game Merit Badge

The times, they are a'changin'.

The Boy Scouts have introduced a Belt Loop and an Academic Pin award for, of all things, video games. I'm sure this will come in handy when you're trapped in the woods with no food, water or shelter...

Talk about an "easy 'A'"! What young boy, teenager (or man-boy, such as myself), couldn't get this badge in their sleep! As a former Cub Scout (I STILL remember the pledge!), I can say that this is a long way away from the Balsawood Derbies we used to have.

To get your Belt Loop, you have to complete the following:

  1. Explain why it is important to have a rating system for video games. Check your video games to be sure they are right for your age.
  2. With an adult, create a schedule for you to do things that includes your chores, homework, and video gaming. Do your best to follow this schedule.
  3. Learn to play a new video game that is approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher.

And for the big prize, the Academic Pin, you have to do five of the following:

  1. With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
  2. Compare two game systems (for example, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and so on). Explain some of the differences between the two. List good reasons to purchase or use a game system.
  3. Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
  4. Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
  5. List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
  6. Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
  7. Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
  8. Choose a game you might like to purchase. Compare the price for this game at three different stores. Decide which store has the best deal. In your decision, be sure to consider things like the store return policy and manufacturer’s warranty.
  9. With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.

Again, I don't know any young man that doesn't already know how to do ANY of these things.  At the very least, they try to incorporate school work, some consumer purchasing skills, and some social interaction. I guess this is okay...until Nintendo releases a Boy Scouts video game for the Wii...

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New C-Notes!

Wow, this kinda has a double meaning. Yes, I have been doing some retoolin' here and there on the blog. You see the fancy new look. I put up that headline pic a month or two ago. And I've added "comedy" as a tag-- junk like that. But also, the Federal Reserved unveiled a new $100 bill. However, you Rockefellers out won't see them in wild until next February.

These new bills are equipped with new anti-counterfitting technology, including new 3D security ribbons (Jesus, why is every goddamn thing in 3D these days?!). And did you ever notice that our money is looking more and more like currency you see in futuristic films?

Yes, I actually saw The Adventures of Pluto Nash. And if you haven't seen Idiocracy, shame on you; it's one of the best documentaries about America EVER.

Jon Stewart Preaches WITH a Choir

Ya gotta love that Johnny "Beef Stew"...!

Bernie Goldberg appeared on the O'Reilly Factor to answer to Mr. Stewart telling Fox News (and Goldberg himself, for the second time in a few months) to go fuck themselves. Well, the ever-douchey Goldberg wasn't about to let this "funny man" drop his "f-bombs" and get away with something like that! So predictably enough, O'Reilly gave Goldberg a platform to spew a prepared monologue to get back at Stewart for calling him out-- first owning the fact that he does, in fact, tend to generalize Dems and Liberals.

You see, many on the right-- in an attempt to kiss up to the teabaggers of the Tea Party Movement-- have been struck with amnesia. They are condemning criticism of the movement's motives, both perceived and implied, while at the same time completely ignoring the fact that most of them have made a living from lambasting others that do not see things the "Right" way. So Stewart called them out for it, like he always does; and Fox HATES this. So Goldberg, who has said some of the dumbest things a so-called educated person could say, "fires back". After owning his tendency to make idiotic statements (my words, not his), he then goes about trashing Stewart for his lack of edginess and relevance in the area of social commentary. And, as many Daily Show fans know...that's all Mr. Stewart (and his writers) needed to hear:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bernie Goldberg Fires Back
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Holy Sh*t: NEW Dave Chapelle Standup!!

Just listened to this. It's unfortunately too short, but as always...HYSTERICAL!!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Pastor C.L. Bryant Addresses a Tea Party Rally

Pastor C.L. Bryant Addresses a Tea Party Rally

Last Friday, I ended up getting involved in a political debate via Facebook, with an old high school friend of mine and a few others. My friend, like many other Americans, are horrified by the direction this country is moving in. Among other things, she sympathizes with the Tea Party movement and their cries for lesser government and tax revolution. Now, anyone that's familiar with my writing on the subject of the Tea Party movement knows that I do not look fondly on them. In fact, I think their a joke-- I have said it time and time again. I find their rhetoric to be vapid and lacking validity in the context of important issues, and they've also allowed their movement to be co-opted by two very toxic entities: GOP leaders, and racists/conspiracy theorists. I've watched these people do nothing but scream and yell soundbites and talking points, and not really have the information to back it up, other than what they've seen on Fox News. I can relate to the passion, and I appreciate SOME of their concerns, but for the most part, I am not a fan.

Our debate inevitably led to race. Now, like I said, I went to high school with this woman; we were pretty good friends. I was one of only a few Black folks that attended this middle/upper class, suburban, predominately White high school, located in the south central region of New Jersey (40 minutes from Philadelphia). I don't think, in those years, we ever discussed race; to most people, it's not that important...and those are the kind of people that I like. Suffice it to say, I had dealt with others that used the word "nigger", and other slurs, quite frequently. But it was a case-by-case basis with which I dealt with that issue at all. Like I said, with the people that I liked to spend time with, it never really came up.  But recently, we've been kind of wading in the murky, filthy sewer of racism in America, as there seem to be stories about race every other day in the news lately.  There have been a lot of stories about teabaggers at rallies holding ignorant signs, shouting epithets (that are now being dismissed as imaginary, by the GOP and others-- more on that later).  Hell, someone even sent me a story this morning about a cookbook misprint that called from "ground black people", instead of "black pepper" (most definitely a typo...and a funny one at that). For the last 3 years, the submerged racial tensions in our nation are bubbling up. There are Whites who admitted that they were "not ready" to have a Black president. Others came right out and said that they wouldn't vote for a "nigger". Not at all shocking, if you're familiar with the history of America.I remember watching footage of Civil Rights protests when I was school...and watching White folks say some of the most insane, hateful things I had heard at the time...and then you see videos on You Tube that almost look and sound THE EXACT SAME WAY. What else are people supposed to think?

I have made no apologies, and will make not apologies, about my opinion that racists, extremists, and conspiracy goons (birthers) have flocked to the Tea Party in search of political relevance and legitimacy. The denials that have been made from party insiders and the GOP are flat-out lies.  Of COURSE NOT all of those White folks (who overwhelmingly make up the party) are racist-- I think that goes without saying...but it often needs to be said, because some folks have a hard time with this criticism. To say that it does not exist is down-right stupid. This is where my old friend and I had some issue-- with the fact that this racism exists. And not just for Black folks, mind you...Arabs/Middle Easterners, "illegal immigrants" (which generally means Mexicans), and other xenophobic names and phrases are used to amplify what can easily be perceived by most people to be pro-White, anti-Brown/Black rhetoric.

This morning, I found a link that she had sent me. Accompanying the link was one question: "is he a racist?" The clip showed a video of a man named Pastor C.L. Bryant speaking at a Tea Party rally in Pittsburg, PA on tax day (April 15th, 2010). Yes, he was Black. That was the point, after all, to show me that there was a Black person at one of these things-- and addressing the crowd, no less(!). I have heard of this "strange" phenomena of Black folks having been spotted at these events. But, much like UFOs and Big Foot, there's been very little (if any) photographic evidence of this occurring. But this video confirms it...a Black guy was spotted at a Tea Party Rally.

Smart-ass comments aside, I watched the clip. And you know what? It was generic enough to change the context of video-- in other words, there was nothing that has been said here that hasn't been said about a host of other issues before. I'm sure some people were moved by it-- good for them. The whole idea of our constitution being under attack, politicians and run-away government were the same things being said while Bush/Cheney were in office. The only difference? If you said that back then, you were considered a traitor and unpatriotic. And back then, it was MORE TRUE than it is today. Not to say that we don't have dirt bags in our government...but come on. This is the thing that pisses me off the most about this movement. After everything that was said and done from 2000-2008 by the previous administration, and NONE OF THESE PEOPLE had anything to say?! I always ask-- where the F*CK was all the outrage then!? I am STILL angry about the things that were done to this country...and only NOW, 1.5 years into this new administration-- NOW, people are "seeing the light"?!

Anyway, the Pastor really didn't say much. It seemed more like a pep rally, to get the crowd riled up. Nothing wrong with that. But I am yet to see the substance. Every time I hear an argument from these people-- which is rare because they're usually always screaming and yelling something-- I find that their logic is easily debated, not by ideology...but facts. I find it obnoxious that they continue to whine about left-wing smears, but have no problems yelling nasty, stupid things to and about people they disagree with. Now, I am no better-- I will admit that. I have made some sharp and mean-spirited comments about these people. But none of my comments were out-of-hand. Everything I've said about these people is the result of hearing what they had to say first. It's not about "they started it". It's about simple, basic logic. If you had the audacity to say things out loud, for people to hear...if you have the balls to hold up incendiary signs in public, in front of cameras, for people to could you not expect people to react? And when people react to them with stinging criticism, 'baggers bitch and moan about how the "lamestream media" and "left-wingers" won't listen to them or take them seriously. It's not difficult to see why.

When teabaggers make proclamations about who they think "real Americans" are, they do no speak for everyone. They THINK they do, but they do not. Believe me, I really want to be able to take them seriously. I LOVE the idea of a 4th political party in this country. Hell, I'd like MORE options. But I'm just not buying what they are selling.

I am looking forward to the time, maybe 2-3 years from now, when the Tea Party presents an articulate, reasoned platform that its candidates can universally run on. I look forward to intelligent debate. I look forward to ALL AMERICANS exercising their democratic rights. Until then, anyone can send me videos of Black folks speaking at these rallies all you want to PROVE to me that they are not racists. The thing is, I already know that MOST of them are not. Look, I bust my ass like everyone else. I work hard for the money I make, and have always been annoyed by the people that DON'T work and seem to be getting along more easily than I EVER have. I HATE that, to be honest. I don't want to have to be responsible for any person who does not have the desire to work, or buy homes OR have kids they cannot afford. These things, however, are not exclusive to one ethnic group/race. ALL RACES in this country have people that don't want to do a goddamn thing-- that know how to game the system to get by with doing practically nothing (much like the rich). Being in the middle of rich and poor SUCKS. And in the middle of crappy economy, it's WORSE. But in the last decade, the only true welfare recipients, the REAL Socialists, have been the wealthy 1-3%. Why are we ALL COLLECTIVELY not going after them?! Why doesn't all this energy get shifted towards the Wall Street douche bags that are the REAL enemies of our system?!And not just them-- the POLITICIANS that work for them!! I'm looking at YOU, GOP!!!!!!!! (And a few of you Democrats as well...)

You know what I want, more than anything? I want all this racist/racial crap to end. I'm pretty tired of it. Believe it or not, I don't care too much about the racism that's out there, because it does not affect me in my every day life. It's the hypocrisy and the denial that annoys me to NO END. And I believe that once that albatross is removed from Americas' neck, MAYBE we can get to the business of doing what's right for our nation.
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Teabagger Racism: Myth or Reality?

Teabagger Racism: Myth or Reality? | Photo 02

I feel as if I have been writing a lot about race lately. I'd actually rather be writing more about movies and music and other fun things, but there has been quite a lot of racist-crap being strewn about over the last...well, over the last 2 years in the country. Things have been building to a bit a fever pitch over the last few weeks, and one of the questions that has been posited by members of the media: Are Tea Party Protesters Racist?

Yes they are. You know why? Because racists, much like the Neo-Conservatives and the Evangelicals did with the Republican Party, have co-opted this movement from the bottom up. They are bottom-feeders, essentially-- clinging onto this movement and making the most noise they can, and flooding out those who may very well have legitimate concerns about American politics. It doesn't matter that "not all Tea Party members" are racists. No one in the movement is doing anything to quell or simply get rid of the conspiracy nuts, the emotionally stunted, or intellectually challenged. Add to that, there is a "safety zone" when expressing racist views and surrounding yourself with a bunch of people that look just like you; especially when those people are too spineless or self-centered or naive to do something about it. Hence...teabaggers are racists.

But don't take my word for it. The Southern Poverty Law Center cites the Tea Party movement as the key cause to strengthening the white supremacy movement in America. This goes hand in hand with the rise in militia groups, and even the proclamation of April as "Confederate History Month". These are predominately White males who feel as if the nation is escaping them-- the rise in Afrocentrism, sexism, gayism, and anti-stupidism is so frightening to them, that they feel as if they need to make a greater push to "get back" what they believe they have lost. Seems as if they only thing lost here is sanity.

Yes, Obama did it. Actually, it's not Obama-- it's the people that voted for him. That 60% of voters in the country that has long gotten over silly racial issues. Then there's that 40%. It's probably safe to say that not everyone in that 40% is a toothless, barefoot racist. I'd say it's about maybe half; that's just an estimate. I'm not counting those that didn't vote at all. Whatever the number, I think it's rather shocking to many White folks-- not racists, but regular, normal folks who haven't a racist bone in their body, who hate being clumped in with their ignorant brethren.

Many of these 'baggers believe that Obama is giving us-- and by "us" I mean Black folks-- special treatment, particularly when it comes to health care, and cutting our taxes. Wow, who'd have thought that being Black offered such great perks! No more taxes! Well, wait...then maybe I didn't get the right form, because my taxes are generally high. As for my tax return, I just got what 95% of Americans got. Where's my special "Black Tax"? No one talks about any of this stuff at the "meetings"!

Sarah Palin has even come to the defense of the 'baggers, telling them not to worry about what the "lamestream" media is saying about them-- all that talk of racism and vandalism, it's just crazy! Coming from one of the queens of crazy herself, that is.

Look at Google images, go on YouTube, check ANY news site (except Fox News, of course), and you will see it all on display. These people are proud of who they are, what they represent, and what they believe. After giving it some thought, I don't feel bad about clumping all the 'baggers together in one, big, amorphous bigoted ball. There's always one or two of you that comes out and says "I'm not a racist!!! Anyone who doesn't like Obama is always called a racist!!!" Well, no...only the ones that hold up signs that say things like  "Go Back To Kenya". That's the kind of thing that you can, and will, ONLY find at a Tea Party Rally. And it looks as if you don't care-- as long as people show up. So be it.


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Tax Day: "The Other 95%" Say Thanks President Obama!

Tax Day: "The Other 95%" Say Thanks President Obama!
It's finally arrived. The day that every teabagger has been dreading all year. Well, dreading and anticipating, 'cause they get to make dumb signs and wear stupid costumes, and protest the relief of their tax burden. It's true-- most Americans, 95% of us, received a tax cut this year.

Citizens for Tax Justice reports that 95% of Americans are receiving a tax credit between $400-$800. The White House Council of Economic Advisers reports $200 billion dollars in tax cuts to middle and lower income Americans. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reports that Middle-class Americans are paying the lowest federal taxes in history.

Unfortunately, the GOP-Bullsh*t Machine has convinced the most under and uneducated of our countrymen that taxes have actually gone up under Obama. And I'd believe that, because anyone making over $250,000 will be paying higher taxes-- that's the GOP's real constituency, the wealthy 3% of Americans who will have to pay a little more than they have been used to paying under Bush/Cheney.

Even with the recent revelation, reported by Ken Vogel of Politico, that the GOP has been working to highjack the teabagger movement for its own purposes, they still seem to be falling for the propaganda and straw man hype. Looks like Aldous Huxley was right:

"...there seems to be some kind of movement towards this ultimate revolution, this method of control, by which the people can be made to enjoy a state of affairs which, by any decent standards, they ought not to enjoy." -- Aldous Huxley, 1962

It's a shame, how there are some of the 95% of us that will fight so hard for their "masters". For the rest of you, don't spend all of that refund in one place! We all know what's been happening since 2007...

For some fun facts, and Facebook companionship, check out The Other 95%.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Watch AVATAR in 3D...on your iPod/iPhone?!

I discovered this story on Mail Online-- a patent filed by Apple, which has become known as iSpecs, that will enable users to view movies and other applications in 3D using specials lenses embedded in the glasses. The glasses will also be fit with an accelerometer, headphones (of course), and a microphone. And you can see by the diagram, there's even a little spot open for the camera.

Yeah, I'm not sure what I make of this, either. I mean, yeah-- this could potentially be a really cool thing, particularly when it comes to Augmented Reality experiences. And sure, why not watch some 3D movies or television shows as well. Maybe there will be some kind of trigger or interface or API or app that will enable the iPhone to capture 3D video and photos. Maybe those videos and photos can be burned to a disc or watched via Bluetooth to a 3D television or BluRay player. Maybe this will truly usher in a new generation of entertainment and interaction. Manipulating information like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Or video chat that looks and sounds like that person is actually in front of you!

Hell, maybe there will come a time when you will actually take those glasses off, and see the most realistic 3D you've....always seen. Except there won't be any aliens or restaurant information hovering in front of you.

Now, I'm sure that this will only come in handy in the home, or if you're on a plane or a bus, or even a commuter train maybe-- like Amtrak or Metro North, NOT the subway! Aw man, I KNOW some loser will try to use this thing on the subway. If you see ANYONE using this thing on the subway, you have my permission to mug them...'cause they'll deserve it.

Definitely interesting. This is a "wait-and-see" kinda thing, so...let us speculate away, then get disappointed when they finally release it. I'm guessing next year.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

John and Oprah, Sittin' in a Tree...

The legendary Kitty Kelley is back with a new book. This time, she takes on Oprah Winfrey. If this book is anything like her other books, it will be a salacious account of Miss O's rise to fame and prominence; there are bound to be some juicy details to behold. One of the stories that's been making the rounds lately is her brief relationship with composer and former Entertainment Tonight host John Tesh.

Okay, I have to be honest. I really don't care about this story all that much. It was just an excuse for me to play the following clip of Mr. Tesh's live performance of one of his most popular songs called Roundball Rock, also known as the NBA Sports theme:

I love the phantom dribbling to the drum beat right before he dashes up to his keyboard. Tesh is hard core. Speaking of "Tesh" and "hardcore", here he is from way back in the day on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien", performing Black Sabbath's "The Wizard" with Dweezil and Ahmet Zappa:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Apple Drops the Bomb on Adobe/Flash Developers

For the last several months, I have been training myself on the iPhone SDK for the purpose of designing apps. I made the decision to broaden my horizons when confronted with a simple truth: I like money. I've been using Flash for years (since version 3), and had been frustrated as the programming language has changed not once, not twice but THREE different times. Every time I had learned how to do something, they altered the syntax so that almost everything I had busted my ass to learn was rendered useless. So then came the time for me to make a decision about how I was going to spend my energy to progress my career and, most importantly, MAKE MORE MONEY.

I am familiar and semi-comfortable with AS3, and I could stand to sharpen my skills so that I could write some really complicated programs and games. But financially, I would basically be using my skills ONLY if someone hired me to do so. I could make games and then...put them online. For free. And not any money at all. OR...I could learn how to build iPhone apps, and put them up on the iTunes store...and CHARGE .99 cents per app...and actually MAKE money from what I made! MY OWN MONEY, without having to depend on finding a "real" job or "real" client; my client would be "the marketplace"! So that settled it for me. I have been spending the last 4 months learning the iPhone SDK and have nearly completed my first app. It's simple, but it's fun. And hopefully will sell-- hey, if I only make $50 off of it, so be it(!).

When I started learning the SDK, Adobe announced that they would be adding an iPhone app packaging component to their latest version of Flash. This was a confusing development. Here I was, busting my hump  to learn a COMPLETELY new language and set of tools...when I could just wait for a few months and use the same program I had been using for YEARS. Should I even bother learning the SDK now? Or just wait and use Flash? This was also confusing because Apple has been denouncing as an acceptable medium for their mobile products. I didn't know how all of this was going to work, but I was anxious to see. I was also a bit annoyed, because here I was learning a whole new language and a whole new, everyone and their mother would be making iPhone apps, and flooding the iTunes store with 1000s of new apps based on Flash games. Even though Adobe had made it clear that not all iPhone functionality would be made available (use of camera, Bluetooth, and access to music/photo libraries to name a few), it would still flood the market and widen them competition. Similar to what happened when digital video became the "next thing". Industry professionals were HORRIFIED that now "anyone with a camera and a computer could make a movie!" We all know how that turned out, don't we?

But now, it seems as if Apple has halted the dreams of potential Flash/iPhone developers. As of Friday, following their announcement of the new iPhone OS, they have effectively banned all apps that utilize any other programming languages or compilers that do not use iPhone-native languages, such as Java, Object C, C++, or Cocoa/Cocoa Touch.

Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

This is a grand kick in the balls for all of the Flash developers that were looking forward to today's releasing of CS5. But if I can be honest...I am kind of glad. After I've worked so hard to learn Apple's SDK, to have all of that time and energy usurped would have been annoying.

I know a lot of Flash developers are pissed. But there's still Android. I am sure Adobe will shift all of their attention to Google's phone, and give them a new opportunity for mobile development. But since so many developers use Macs and own iPhone, does that mean they will abandon it all for an Android device? Some will, out of spite. But I doubt most will...for the moment. I think it will take a while for that to happen. Google is even producing a tablet to compete with the iPad. But I think that by the time Google's pad comes around, Apple will have addressed most of the issues/concerns that people have with the first Gen version.

Apple is not going anywhere anytime soon. They pretty much dominate the market in this country, and have made a large impression on other parts of the world. App development, no matter what language you choose, is all about one thing: is it any good? Doesn't matter what device you use it on.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tiger and Earl Woods: The New Nike Ad

My father died on Saturday June 20th, 2009 (the day before Father's Day) at about 2:17am. I did not have a chance to see him, or say goodbye. And to this day, and for many others, it breaks my heart.

I've made a lot of mistakes in my life-- some minor, others monumental. The thing is that I always had my dad there to help talk me through them. My dad was not perfect; he made a great deal of mistakes as well. We have all made mistakes. We have all had lapses in judgement, no matter how big or small. These mistakes don't make us bad people-- often times they make us look and feel stupid.

My dad went out of his way to make sure that me and my brother did not make the same mistakes he made. Sometimes he was hard on us. It's only with time and perspective that I've come to appreciate what he was trying to do. I know about some of his mistakes; others, he kept to himself. And as father myself (I have a 4 year old daughter), it will be one of my missions in life to try to guide my little girl down the right stupid and idiotic and irresponsible mistakes aside. She won't be perfect. She may mess up. But if she learns from those mistakes, she will always be a better person for it.

Nike is one of the few corporate sponsors that has stood behind Tiger Woods during one of the greatest mistakes in his life. That's not to say that I support what he did-- I mean, the guy cheated on his wife with over 15 women(!). THAT is a monumental and moronic mistake, to say the least. Only time will tell whether or not he will learn anything from it. For their new ad, they decided to take on this issue in the most low-key and personal way they could. The ad is very simple; one shot, in black and white, zooming in slowly on Woods as he looks at the camera. He looks drained, tired, and somber-- so unlike other ads that feature a more playful and energetic person. The audio consists only of his dad's voice, who passed away in 2006. Earl's words are short:

Tiger, I am more prone to be inquisitive, to promote discussion. I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are. And did you learn anything.

I'm sure many people will find this ad repulsive, or even disrespectful, or stupid. It's Tiger Woods as victim. Why should we feel sorry for him after what he did? Boo-hoo for him. Why didn't they just dig up his father's corpse and prop it up next to him? I disagree.

Tiger returns to the Master's this week, after much speculation over whether or not he would return at all, or at least any time soon after this scandal. The show must go on, after all. He fell flat on his face, so it's time to get up and continue. But to do so, without acknowledging what has happened would be foolish. The question is: how do you do it?

For me, there have been times in the last few months that I wish my dad was still here. I wish I could just hear his voice-- even if it was to tell me how stupid or irresponsible I've behaved. I also know that with harsh words comes love and comfort. And I'm more than sure that Tiger has been thinking the same thing.

It's very personal. But so is Tiger's scandal. So many people were just chomping at the bit to hear Tiger make a statement about what he did and why he did it. And when he did not immediately comply, people seemed to be put off- regardless of how personal it was. What this ad does is address this issue in the most personal way possible for him. You want to know what he was thinking? He was probably thinking of his dad, and his voice, saying comforting things to him; his past mistakes aside.

Personally, I was moved by this ad. Maybe it's because it reminded me of my dad. I don't feel sorry for Woods and what he did...but I can empathize somewhat with his emotional state. At your greatest time of need, to not have that voice to guide you...well, it can break your heart all over again.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Confederate History Month

Confederate History Month

Some say that the South will rise again. Others think it will, as a turd in a toilet. But I digress. Look, I've visited the South and I loved it-- especially the food! The biscuits and gravy, the BAR-BQ-- my GOD is it delicious! And the people that I encountered were friendly and hospitable...not like it was the first time I visited.

Back in early 80s, when I was 8 years old, my family and I went on a road trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. One of the stops we made one the way down was this town somewhere in Georgia (I don't remember where exactly). My mom, dad, brother and I went for a swim in the hotel pool; it was packed. Within less than 5 minutes, it was empty; we were the only Black people there. Now, you could make a million jokes as to other reasons why that could have happened...but really, that was the reason. And I did not even think about it that way. It wasn't until years later, when I got into a fight with a kid a school because he called me a "black ape", and I had told my mother that I had never been around racism...and that's when she brought up the pool story.

Now, by all rights, I should hate White folks. But I don't. It's a waste of time and energy to shove a bunch of issues onto an entire group of people because I had a bad experience with a few. Do a few bad apples really spoil the bunch? Or can you not blame the whole for the faults of a few? I had to grapple with that for most of my young adult life. I grew up with White people; went to school with them, ate dinner in their homes, played little league with them. And yes, I heard the word "nigger" thrown around in a derogatory way. Not all the time, and not by everyone, but it was there. It angered me back then. I didn't understand how or why I could be disrespected like that by people that I didn't know, and that didn't know me. Eventually, I came to realize-- in addition to studying the history of America, Europe, and Africa-- that I should not be making other people's problems my own. Unfortunately, there are a great many people left in America that are willing to do just that.

Recently, Virgina Governor Bob McDonnell named April "Confederate History Month", with the hopes that Confederate history "should not be forgotten, but instead studied, understood, and remembered" as its leaders "fought for their homes and their communities and Commonwealth in a time very different than ours today." And slaves-- he forgot to add slaves. They were fighting for their slaves. That's why there was a Civil War in this country, you save their slaves.

I actually agree-- I too believe that Confederate history should not be forgotten, and it should also be studied. I remember White kids in grade school asking me "There's a Black History Month, why isn't there a White History Month?" My answer was simple: "EVERY MONTH is White History Month." I honestly have no problem with setting aside times for cultural appreciation. It's a good opportunity for all Americans to enjoy different aspects of the people of our nation. But there's something about the word "Confederate" that always rubs people the wrong way. Think about it-- what comes to mind with that word? For me: nooses, white hoods, "Strange Fruit", slavery, plantations, spirituals, overseers, "mastah"...stuff like that.

I know there are some White people out there that feel that the democratic election of the first Black president of these United States of America (and not the Confederate States of America) is the end of all they know...or, more specifically what they want to know about the America they claim was once "theirs." Barack Obama inspires a lot of good in people...but it also conjures up a lot of bad feelings that, quite frankly, have been lying semi-dormant in this country for several decades. It's a complete and total illustration of the fact that this nation does not belong exclusively to Whites-- never has, and never will. Sure, Whites have been the predominate culture in this country, but only by the butt of the gun, the end of a rope, and a boot on the neck of others. But since there are laws to protect people from attacks, discrimination, and/or murder, the playing field is more leveled. We are all to be equally educated. We are all to be treated fairly under the Constitution. We all have the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. All things that sound theory. With the election of Barack Obama, those truths are now front and center-- in your face, and impossible to ignore. And many people just cannot handle that.

I've written a lot about race on this site, and others. I've been accused of being a racist, because I speak honestly and directly about race-- which includes criticism of Blacks AND Whites alike. It's a shame, really, that we cannot have a more direct and honest conversation about race without people getting crazy and defensive and angry. Some Blacks have to realize that not every White person is a racist. And some Whites have to get over this fetishized vision of an America that never was-- and realize that they are not God's one-and-only gift. As someone that grew up with White folks, I've never for a moment thought of myself as being inferior to them, or them as being superior to me or anyone else. It seems as is some of our countrymen(and women) need a bit more of an education in that respect.

As for Governor McConnell, I'm not really worried about him. I'm also not worried about the crazy teabaggers that like to throw bricks, make cowardly death threats, spit, or shout epithets. The nation by-and-large has moved on from this kind of thinking. Or, at least, it's trying to. Because as there are members of the Confederacy that fought for what they thought was important, the rest of America fought for AMERICA, and its ideals, and values. A true American patriot knows what's what. A Confederate mentality always seemed to be one based on ego, self-importance, and arrogance; all things antithetical to the American way.

A Confederate America is NOT the America that I know, or love, or want any part of. Remember it, yes. Commemorate it? Absolutely not. Just as Gov. McConnell feels that slavery was not that important, I can say that the Confederacy is worth about as much as used toilet paper.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Tanning Bed Tax is Anti-White Reverse Racism

You know, I've heard and read a lot of silly, stupid things in my 38 years of life on this planet called Earth...but I gotta tell ya, dear friends, THIS one is pure, unadulterated stupid. This is inbred-stupid.

Right wing jackass Doc Thompson, while filling in for Glenn Beck (shock) on his radio program, stated that the tax introduced by the new Health Care bill is racist towards White people. I am not making that up-- someone actually said that...and apparently meant it.

Now, I know some of you may be thinking "Who the hell is Doc Thompson?" According to his bio, found on the website of WRVA News Radio 1140, he is a 5-time Marconi Award winner, who has been fired from many radio stations (that's what's written there), and "dabbles in many styles with sarcasm and satire always present."

So, since the words "sarcasm and satire" are written in his bio, I guess we're supposed to say "Oh, well, see that? He's not SERIOUSLY saying that Obama has signed a bill with anti-White overtones-- it's sarcasm! It's satire! And did you actually listen to the audio? He's CLEARLY kidding!" Clearly. That's how Conservatives would defend comments like this. They would defend it as satire a la Sarah Palin/Rush Limbaugh...or support it as some kind of ambiguous truth. In his own defense, Thompson wrote the following on his blog:

The Tanning Tax! Wednesday 03-31-2010 8:48am ET The media world and internet was abuzz with my comments on Glenn Beck and it illustrates Liberal hypocrisy beautifully! - There are two main reasons my commentary on the tanning tax was so effective at stirring up the Liberals...

First the way I positioned it… “I know the pain of racism!” Liberals like to segregate for political gain and have promoted the idea that minorities have an exclusive on being the victim of discrimination.

It was also affective because… there is an element of truth to it. There is a double standard and I pointed it out with the very law they, at least partially, claimed was about leveling the racial playing field.

During all this they, of course, missed the bigger point. The satire on CLAIMS of racism… Like those leveled against the “Kill the Bill” rally.

But hey I was Ed Shultz’s (on MSNBC) “Psycho talk…” so 4 more people know who I am!

See? It's satire! 'cause everyone knows that racism in America is a Liberal myth, created to make so-called minorities the victim so they can get all the advantages of laws tailor-made for them! Affirmative Action, Civil Rights Legislation, Hate Crimes laws-- ALL created to put a select group of people on a pedestal, while slighting White folks...who are now feeling the brunt and pressures of discrimination in American society. And other loads of crap that these people love to believe.

When it comes to racial politics, no one has it over the Conservatives. The propagation of this fear of "the other", which  has fueled their discourse over the last several years, is really the only racial politicking going on here. It's the Southern Strategy-- it's Willie Horton. Now, it's true that there are some Liberals that will shout "racism" at the drop of a hat-- as unfortunate as that is, but it's true. But when Conservatives try to suggest that there is ABSOLUTELY NO RACISM on their side of things...well, that's just plain stupid and wrong. They are CLEARLY using it, as covertly as possible, to egg on Whites that feel as if their "country is changing", or that they're "losing America", or want things to return to what they "used to be".

Both sides of things are guilty of using race and prejudice to gain political points. Personally, I find it difficult to believe those that claim that these things do not exist, or they ONLY exist on the other side. Like the teabaggers, that always seem to be blind to all the racist sentiment that seems to follow their rallies and rhetoric. No one seems to want to acknowledge what is CLEARLY being said and discussed among certain people.

There is a segment of White America that is racist. Period. No one can suggest that hundreds of years of social conditioning in this country is just going to evaporate overnight. This is a country where, less than 200 years ago, the top form of entertainment was minstrel shows-- it was the American Idol of its day. This is a country where there were products sold, such as Nigger Hair tobacco, and Darkie toothpaste, and Sambo motor oil, among hundreds of other things; ALL popular brands. This country has moved on from those things, but that sentiment still exists-- it's the legacy that Whites want to ignore, and have tried desperately to hide or bury. These attitudes have been ingrained in our national consciousness, and are still expressed to this day. And I think it goes without saying that NOT ALL WHITES think this way...but to say that NONE OF THEM do...? No one says that the teabaggers are ALL racists...but it seems like a hell-of-a lot of them show up at the rallies. And when that fact is not acknowledged, well...why else would people stereotype teabaggers as racists? They're doing nothing to quell the perception.

It's funny how the complaint of a tax, supposedly a racist attack against White folks...who are looking to make themselves being used as an example of discrimination. Health concerns be damned, after all. Isn't it the Whites themselves with the inferiority complex, who get easily frustrated with their lack of pigmentation because they feel it makes them look sickly? It seems as if the racial whining can be heard from every hue.

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