08/21/17

Two Minutes of Fame

I live directly in the Path of Totality (Greenville, SC), which I’m pretty sure is an Alice in Chains album. We’ve been a recently growing and popular destination for industry and the arts and cyclists and beards. Now even major galactic bodies are coming to see what all the buzz is about. So, I’d like to be the first to welcome the moon’s shadow to GVegas. We’ll probably start a religious-themed pub for you called “My Coffee Black” or a walking trail in your wake unironically named the “Bike Path of Totality.”

So, today is really great and all. I’m super into celestial events. In fact, I’m specifically hoping to either burn in my retinas or be taken up in a UFO hiding in the moon’s umbra. But if you think about it, an eclipse is mostly a failed cosmic coup. It’s literally the story of a dead, useless thing trying to supplant the shine of one of the most wildly powerful, life-giving live things. And, not surprsiingly, it fails miserably. It has no combustion or luminescence of its own. And, then right at totality, the moon must come to this horrible realization that it’s become literally invisible to the world without any independent source of light. All it has to show for is the sad and utter darkness of its own shadow. And, then, again, the light prevails. It’s like the moon’s two minutes of fame. Or shame.

Sounds about right.

So Happy Eclipse Day!

Oh and I’d like to welcome Beatowski to the song blogging experience. I plan to bless his free instrumentals mercilessly with rap news.

Performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by Beatowski.

04/29/15

Deep Impact

So the government has announced a special operations exercise called Jade Helm 15. It will run from July 15 through September 15 of this year in various southwestern states, including Texas, New Mexico, and California. It will ostensibly involve tactical maneuvering of military personnel in civilian settings, like neighborhoods and homes.

jade helm

In this same basic footprint, Walmarts have been mysteriously closing various stores for “plumbing” concerns. That’s some systemic dysentery. I’m sort of an expert on Walmart bathrooms and may be partially responsible. I could have seen this coming. It’s not good. But, the deep web has speculated that the stores are being converted for processing centers when martial law is eventually declared.

I personally suspect Obama is trying to monopolize their always low prices. Just like him.

[Street Legal: In wartime or “states of insurrection,” the United States Government or the Governor’s of the respective states can declare martial law and substitute military tribunals for civil ones. Like when ODB bumrushed Shawn Colvin on stage at the Grammy’s. Or Yeezy did T-Swift. Street legal, son.]

So, guess what’s supposed to happen September 15? A 2.5 mile meteor is going to hit the continental United States! Coincidence? That’s called dot connecting folks.

Orrrrrrrrrrrrr there anticipating an attack by ISIS on Texas.

I’m pretty excited either way and making sausage cheese dip in anticipation.

We love a good apocalypse and front row seat to our own demise. There is this strange affection for extinction level events. In movies and real life. Like we want to be paranoid of government takeover under the guise of Jade Helm but we mostly can’t wait.

Pulling up a chair.

Written and performed by sintax.the.terrific. Produced by Dalama Jones.

Today’s blong here:

Keep Shuffling

04/28/15

City Lights

I grew up 20 minutes south of Baltimore. We used to chill at its Inner Harbor. The Constellation is docked there. I took some lady friends to a place called City Lights. Paddle boats. And the Aquarium.

I haven’t been there in 17 years, immediately after our wedding and honeymoon. We had a Ford Explorer full of personal belongings and music equipment. Two large speaker cabinets and amplifier/mixer head. A Dr. Boss sampler.

We improvidently parked deep in the city and the car was broken into and, ironically, the only thing stolen were are wedding photos. We scoured the nearby housing project for them only to find the empty boxes.

Two decades later its all broken out in riot. Baltimore and my life. We both need an inner harbor.

Written and performed by sintax.the.terrific. Produced by Dalama Jones.

Today’s blong here:

Inner Harbor

04/17/14

Freedom Trail Reprise

I’ll plagiarize myself from a year ago. I can’t say it any differently:

If you’ve ever been to Boston you’ve probably been forced to walk, likely by a mom or wife, some portion of the “Freedom Trail” against your will. You have to wonder why one must abandon so much self determination to walk a trail named “freedom” but, anyway. The Freedom Trail is, of course, a walking tour of Boston’s historic sites, where I’m proud to say I had a pair of Stan Smith’s re-cobbled only a few years ago. I also had a bracelet smithed out of a soup spoon.

Liberty is a type of collusion. An agreement among everyone to respect the rule of law in service of freedom. It’s completely voluntary.

Collusions, however, are easily broken. In fact, there is extraordinarily high incentive to do so. Our susceptibility to violence, therefore, is evidence of how well and complete the collusion of our liberty is working. We’re easy pickings. When an assailant from within or without violates the contract — the agreement not to fall into anarchy — they exact from us a cost. A toll for being so free, so open, so liberated. Our martyrs, whether at a marathon or in an elementary school or on a skyscraper, are a kind of penance paid to democracy and inalienable rights. Like a soldier or revolutionary, when we are murdered exercising our freedoms, even ones as routine as a road race, it is literally a kind of patriotic act. Every mundane act of our lives is a declaration that we would be free in spite of the ongoing danger to do so.

Pronation. It’s not just the roll of your foot when you run. It’s what we are when we run. Pro-Nation.

And, they’ll run again this weekend. A marathon and a freedom trail.

boston-marathon-map

Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by juiceboxjackson.

Today’s blong here:

Pronation

01/27/14

Where I’m From

It’s sort of a joke among friends that I claim everywhere as my hometown.

So, I’m originally from Detroit. Well, actually I was born at the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor. But, we lived in Pontiac. For four whole years. So, I’m really from Pontiac. But, I claim all three. And, I’ve seen 8 mile. And, I’m 1/16 Dodge Charger. On my mom’s side. So, all of Michigan. But, I’m pretty clearly Motor City.

But, I’m also from D.C. Actually, Northern Virginia. Or more specifically Burke, VA, in Fairfax County. But, I worked downtown two summers and went on a lot of field trips to see the triceratops on the mall. And, I vote fairly regularly. So, I’m pretty Georgetown. But, my grandparents retired to Harrisonburg, and I’ve been to the Luray Caverns. So, all of VA, basically.

I lived 8 weeks between the East Village and the Upper West Side. Plus, I saw Do the Right Thing. And, I love falafel. So, I’m NYC for sure. But, technically all white people are from NYC.

And, I’m from Charlotte.

And, Charleston.

My parents retired to Knoxville. Err, maybe not Tennessee.

But, my dad was born and raised in Alabama. So, Roll Tide. Or, I guess War Eagle. Or whatever.

And, my grandmother was born and raised in Greenville, SC. Where I live now. And, I eat boiled peanuts and cheer for something called a “gamecock.” So I’m basically deep south native.

When really pressed, I confess that I’m from the “Baltimore/Washington Metro area.” People know that place, right? Plus, it sounds way hip hop.

This gets the biggest eye roll from my wife and a quick, “You’re not from Baltimore or Washington.”

And, she’s right.

I’m from Columbia.

Maryland.

My last year of elementary school. Middle School. High School. First girlfriend. First Kiss. Learned to drive. Wore some rayon shirts. Played some ball. Made some friends. Wrote my first rap.

Columbia was part of the “New Town” movement of the seventies. It’s a planned community that prioritizes neighborhood autonomy and socio-economic integration through graduated housing and preservation of green space. And boredom. That’s not true. Columbia was amazing. In the belief of its founder, Jim Rouse, private developers “could plan and build an environment that nurtured the growth of people.” Pretty ambitious.

And, its neighborhoods sort of spoked around this hub called the Town Center, which featured a . . . get ready for it . . . mall.

But, don’t laugh. Malls were super cool in the eighties and all my best memories are from this one. It had giant glass pyramids coming out of the roof and a Spencers and Britches Great Outdoors and this hobby store upstairs that had one book of baseball cards that I checked every. single. week.

Unfortunately, this same mall was featured prominently this past weekend in national news when three individuals were fatally shot there. And, for better or worse this might be the last time my “hometown” makes any kind of significant news to cover here. And, so I’ve pretty unsympathetically bootstrapped my entire life’s story with it.

My deepest condolences to the families. I’ve tread the gun control issue before and won’t again. But, we clearly have a problem, whether or not it’s one that can ever be sensibly fixed.

Just like all hometowns, Columbia had its good and bad. In some ways it accomplished the diversity it promised and in other ways it was just more of the same.

But, Columbia reminds that for all our good intentions and smart design, you can’t demand community. Or good will. Or real understanding. You can’t make people like each other. Or promise never to shoot.

There are some things you just can’t plan.

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by Dalama Jones.

Today’s blong here:

12/22/13

In Orca News

In the words of Calhoun Tubbs, “Wrote a song about it. Like to hear it? Hear it goes!” At exactly one, I am the world’s leading expert on Sea World Orca raps. No one has dedicated more of their life’s work to the rapping of Orca related topics than me. To the extent such dedication has been recognized by the academies of science, it has. I have been honored with every possible award and accolade ever given for the rapping of Orca songs. 100% of them. I am known, in Orca, as, “meeeeeaaaaawwwwwwwwwuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa the terrific.”

I finally saw Blackfish.

It largely substantiated the hype. In response to the damning documentary, Sea World has mounted a public relations campaign. I think the movie posed two main questions. First, a moral one. Is it right for us to keep a sophisticated mammal with epic scale emotional and environmental need in what amounts to a wash sink? Notwithstanding the cultural and scientific benefits, the answer seems pretty clearly “no.” The second question is a logistical one. To the extent they remain in captivity, is it permissible for trained handlers to swim with them? I think this question is a closer call than the movie implies. The real indictment of Sea World is a transparency one. Trainers were not given relevant information about the behavioral history of the animals. As a result, they likely were not able to make informed decisions about the attendant risk of their regular proximity to them, rightly justifying substantial bitterness. But, the movie represents an incident rate that suggests that the risk of attack might be an acceptable one so long as trainers are made fully aware and necessary precautions are taken to minimize impact to audiences.

The science is already in. How we treat animals says a lot about us. Apparently, we’re jerkfaces.

seaworld

In other documentary news, my wife and I just saw A Band Called Death, about the rediscovery of an all-black seventies punk band from Detroit called “Totally Alive.” Just kidding. They were called Death.

death

A must see. And, it gives me hope that someone’s going to “coming looking” for my blong material one day too. Until then, more Orca raps all around.

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch.

Today’s blong here:

No Room

09/1/13

64

That’s how old Diana Nyad is now, as she makes her 5th attempt to swim the 103 miles from Cuba to Florida. She’s nearly there. I expressed my infatuation with her last year, here.

I had so much fun at the turn of the millennium that I vowed, with the aid of bio-engineering and blood doping, to make it to 2100. (For a second, right at midnight, I thought that the entire power and technology grid had gone down, as forecasted, and prematurely yelled, “This is the greatest millennium ever!” As it happened, my father-in-law had cut the lights. Funny guy.)

In 2100, I’ll be 125. I believe 123 is the modern record. So, with advances in technology and cheating this is totally realistic.

Diana’s repeated attempts remind us to keep moving. To the end, there are new things to do and accomplish. Change your diet. Take a class. Move to a new country. Adopt a child. Become a pantomime. (Can you imagine waking every morning in a fake tug-of-war?)

I’m not even a third of my projected, albeit genetically modified, life expectancy. The fact that by 2100 I’ll only be legally 6% actual human (83% android, like Darth Vader, and 11% bovine), doesn’t mean I won’t be “alive” and expectant.

I love an opportunity to recycle my favorite blongs. So, here’s to Diana. Again.

diana nyad crying

Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch.

Today’s retread blong here:

Surf and Turf

02/1/13

Coming Out

I don’t know why I’ve chosen to do it now and in this way. I apologize, in advance, to so many of you who won’t understand.

I know it will catch many by surprise, considering the image I project in my music life. Others may have long suspected. Regardless, I am aware that your view of me will be forever changed.

My parents and wife know and maybe a few confidantes along the way. Otherwise, I’ve been pretty private about it.

There’s nothing unique about my story, really. I’ve known since very young. 7 or 8. Suffered pretty relentless teasing about it. Kids laughed at the way I dressed and my extra-curriculur interests. Suggested I wasn’t a real boy/man. Heard an occasional “fag” or “queer.” Definitely caught some grief on the ball field and basketball court. As the campaign goes, though, things certainly have “gotten better.” And, many of those same attributes, which were the subject of shame in my youth, have become the qualities employers and friends have affirmatively sought in my adulthood. I’m more independent and self-assured and thoughtful for the experience of it, even if some memories will never be resolved.

Now, well into my thirties, I still have reservations about sharing the truth with others, afraid of what they might assume by association. And, then there is the matter of the kids. What do you tell them? What kind of messages are they receiving from others, at school and in the news? Would you allow them to follow their own hearts?

But, for me, in the face of the present and public outcry, to continue silently and anonymously seems a sort of lie and abdication. As a member of that community with some audience, I think I have a kind of duty to render an opinion, whether anyone asked or not. I really don’t have a lot to gain from this announcement. It just seems right.

The sashes and the knee high socks. An occasional “overnight” with the boys. “Pitching a tent,” so to speak.

You’ve probably guessed by now.

I’m a Boy Scout.

And, not just any Totin-Chip-Card carrying Scout, either. An Eagle Scout. Order of the Arrow, service project, bolo-tie, and all.

Long before the present controversy over whether the Boy Scouts of America should count open homosexuals among its ranks, I’ve had my reservations about the direction of scouting and my fidelity to it. The world is a different place. I’m a different person.

And, so this is a dicey subject for me. To condemn Boy Scouts is to betray a part of me and my family and my heritage. But, to affirm it, without some qualification, would be to also betray an important part of what I’ve come to believe about liberty and personal consciousness and freedom before God. And, so I would try to avoid doing either.

I’m proud to be a Boy Scout and of the Eagle Scout rank, in particular. I’m probably not what you’d call a “Scout’s Scout.” I have sensitive hands and I generally prefer Aldo boots to hiking ones. My father-in-law and Uncle-in-law, both also Eagle Scouts, won’t let me roast a marshmallow. But, I worked hard in scouting and was asked, as a result, to really face some of the limits of who I was as a person, even at a young age. To this day, I think there are very few opportunities as a young person to develop that kind of perspective. It’s a “boy lead” structure that puts real responsibility on young men. Almost any that I have, responsibility that is, I would credit so much of it to my time in scouting.

But, more importantly, Boy Scouts is an organization built on things like principle and honor and standards and values, particularly those in service and self-sacrifice. And, I can lend my support to almost any group that does.

But, some of those values aren’t modern. Belief in God. Gender segregation. Rejection of homosexuality. And, with all three, I would probably express some departure, in form and practice, if not in substance.

But to point that out doesn’t make you some grand philosopher king. I can’t think of anything easier to confess, or to accuse, than that Boy Scouts isn’t perfect. Welcome to the human race.

Even still, I would say that the scouting virtues of kindness and friendliness and courteousness and the duty to “help other people at all times” would be self-condemning in this instance. It’s like the church and military. Those they would seek to exclude are already participating. I remember them clearly myself. It’s just a question of whether they would be permitted to do so with some dignity and without the fear of shame.

As with religion, however, these are matters largely of personal conviction. So, solutions that permit some autonomy to handle these issues at the local level seem best suited, to me. But, more critically, because scouting is an organization that esteems so highly the ideals of conviction and personal conscious, I would hope that it would always err on the side of allowing individual scouts to find their own way.

None of the tease “confession” in my open was hyperbolic. A little melodramatic, maybe, but not exaggerated. Of course, I would be embarrassed to equate some of the discomfort one might have experienced by association with scouting, now or then, to the deeply scarring and life threatening experiences that gay and lesbian youth have suffered. That psychology and consequence is deep.

Yet, there is this strange parallelism in our country where the mainstreaming of LGBT identification has come at the hour of scouting’s increasing marginalization. The tables have, in a sense, been turned. To associate yourself as a Boy Scout is to side increasingly with the less popular view.

I have sorrow in my heart for the controversy. He is not now, and I don’t expect my son ever will be, a scout. I always assumed he would. That is, of course, as much about the many other choices vying for the attention of kids today as it is some intentional choice not to. But, all the same, there is some hole.

I’m a Boy Scout. And, here’s to Boy Scout’s being as trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent as they can find it in their oath and law and motto and slogan to be.

boy-scout-back-cover399

Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by juiceboxjackson.

Today’s blong here:

On My Honor

11/1/12

The Rule of Two

We were warned.

There are always two. Apprentice and Master.

We thought George Lucas was the Master. The genius who brought us the greatest Sci-Fi universe ever conceived. But, in the immortal words of Ben Kenobi, “There is another.” And, so apparently George was only a kind of Lord Vader to Disney’s Emperor. Which makes sense because Lucas’ hair has plainly been horribly disfigured in a lava accident.

(And no doppleganger jokes.)

If you haven’t heard, Disney bought Lucasfilm and by extension the entire Star Wars franchise — for $1000.

Sorry. Strike that. 4.05 billion dollars. (I always round to the nearest .05 billion.)

And, in case you’ve forgotten, Disney “is not a moon. It’s a space station.”

So, plan on Vader helmets with mouse ears for the foreseeable future. And, if you don’t think a Blu-Ray version of Little Mermaid isn’t being released with a Jabba cameo you’re naive. He loves the ladies with the seashell-bras!

I’m sort of conflicted, though. As so many who were raised on the classic installations, this sort of piling on is a kind of heresy. The volume of Star Wars movies and spin-offs is going to make the Bond franchise look like a Lifetime three-part mini series.

But the Anakin in me is sort of mischievously excited. Light sabers and wookies and jedis every two years??!

Welcome to the Disney World Dark Side.


(teenormous.com)

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Matt Pelishek.
(No joke I just have these kind of beats lying around. Crazy right? Providence and joys of song blogging.)

Today’s blong here:

The Empire

[Correction: I’m aware that the production company was originally “Twentieth Century Fox.” You can’t be too careful with Star Wars nerds. I would have never heard the end of that one.]