03/4/14

A Penalty Box

Luckily, I have an operative on the ground.

bugsy moran

Alias: Bugsy Moran.
Education: Elementary, Middle, and High Schools; rigorous 12 week correspondence course in drawing; Driver’s ed; BDP’s You Must Learn; and going to a lot of Russian type places.
Fluencies: English, Russian, 90s era R&B slang, and MLB rulebook.
Expertise: Snideness; disdain; condescension; karate; knows which hand to use for balls and which hand to use for strikes (that didn’t sound right); and the ability to blend into any college Sunday School class without being seen. Like literally seems as though he’s not ever there. Brilliant.

This Ukrainian offensive by Russia seems like overcompensation, right? Some residual hockey stick envy.

We beat them in Group Play.

They get bounced in the quarters.

No medal in Sochi.

russian hockey

So let’s pick a fight with Ukraine.

These geo-ethnic controversies are frustrating. A product of contrived borders and old regimes. The Ukraine recently ousted its pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovych, only to have Russia threaten some military response, including occupation of the largely Russian speaking Crimea region of the Ukraine.

Many have proposed that Europe exercise leverage over the Russian elite by freezing so many of their financial assets as are invested there. Apparently even Russians don’t trust Russia with their wealth and have moved it out of the country in significant amounts. Europe could pressure point Russia’s affluent class to sway it’s political one into pulling back from its border with Ukraine and the Crimea region.

But, that would mean Europe would have to be willing to shudder that extra and robust economic activity. Russians are betting they won’t. I was trying to explain to my son the other day that sometimes we can’t be courageous in life because of dependency. Fossil fuels. Tobacco. Slavery. We can’t change course because the institution or the infrastructure is too big and important to us. It creates too much revenue or jobs or security or normalcy.

Everyone agrees this is a bad look for Russia and devastating for the Ukrainian people. The G8 has plenty of methods in sanction.

The question is how badly do we really want them out?

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Haralduz7.

Today’s blong here:

Crimea River

02/17/14

Advice and Consent

I’m especially thankful for Presidents this year and their constitutional, if not limited, authority in nomination. My wife took this on our recent trip to observe it first hand.

capitol

Yeah, I know. That’s not the White House.

But, trust me on this one, Happy Presidents Day to me.

Performed by theipoetlaureate.  Music produced by nomold.

Today’s blong here:

The Least Powerful King

02/14/14

Will You?

As always, this is dedicated to all the men who have some difficulty planning Valentine’s Day. Wait, that’s redundant. To all the men.

Happy Valentine’s Day to my beautiful and gracious wife.

vday

Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by juiceboxjackson.

Today’s blong here:

Be Mine

01/29/14

Yeah, We Had One

snow day 2014

A snow day.

Don’t forget to download Year Three for free.

Performed by theipoetlaureate (d/b/a sintax.the.terrific).  Music produced by re:flex the architect.

Today’s blong here:

Snow Day

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:

01/9/14

Manopoly

Janet Yellen broke it.

Up until her confirmation this week, the Federal Reserve System was chaired by a long line of these guys:

pennybags

But, our obsession with demographic firsts is pretty stale. Numbers don’t really care.

You go, girl.

yellen now

Performed by the ipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch.

Homemaker Equity

01/7/14

To Me

I was born on this day many years ago. And, so, in a sense, was news rap. I think this calls for a vintage Swatch.

birthday

12/31/13

2013 Year in Review

What did you expect from a year that ended in the number 13? Tasteful pop star performances and privacy on your cellular calls? 8, 20, 14, 17, 39 and 7 in the Mega Millions lottery? (If so, that’s a really, really specific set of expectations.)

I mean, it was never going to go well. It was numerologically cursed from the jump. And, true to form, it was a real stinker. For the president (NSA, Obamacare). For privacy (Eric Snowden, Facebook). For the Middle East (Syria, Egypt, Iran). For southern reality tv show stars (Paula Dean, Duck Dynasty). For victims (Sandy Hook, Trayvon Martin, Boston Marathoners, Colorado, Amanda Berry et al.). For truth telling (Manti Teo, twerking, Lance Armstrong). For pop stars. Actually, they had another really great year. (Cyrus, Macklemore, and Pope Francis)

For me. (Blonging was down 50% and my cats ran away)

All unlucky.

But, the weird part about a year in review is how we like to try and puzzle together all of these unrelated stories into some coherent tale, Magnolia style. What was 2013 about?

But for those individuals, who comprise our news, the news story is their 2013. It’s not part of some bigger 12 month tapestry. George Zimmerman does’t know Ariel Castro. (Although we sure would have preferred he’d profiled him instead.) The “news” they lived was their life.

So, Michelle Knight won’t remember 2013 as the Year of the Big Hoax. “Silly Jimmy Kimmel!”

And, Eric Snowden won’t be making a slideshow of his Instagram Greatest Hits.

And, I’m doubting that Pope Francis is Obama’s Person of the Year.

They lived it.

And, so no matter what Time or CNN or MTV or Carson Daly or Twitter tells you, your 2013 wasn’t about Miley Cyrus or Mayor Rob Ford or rainbow looms or government shutdowns or even Mandela.

2013 was about your life. Your accomplishments. Your failures. Your accolade. Your scandal. And maybe that makes 2013 better or worse than were you to vicariously adopt the lives of complete strangers. But, at least it’s yours.

This year kids thought it was funny to try and “knockout” complete strangers. Here’s to a rash of unsuspecting assaults of affection in the new year.

Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by fab da eclectic.

The year’s last blong here:

Knockout 2013

12/29/13

AVAILABLE NOW: YEAR THREE Album Release

The entire song anthology from this site’s third year of operation is now officially available here.

year three cover final

At 42 songs it’s notably shorter than it’s predecessors but no less news rappy. It includes smash hit blongs about deer antler spray, beef with an entire State, a lost cat, and a song about the Boston Marathon bombing called, “Pronation.” Get it? As in patriotic and the incline of your foot as you run. How do I keep coming up this stuff? Name me someone else who is doing this kind of work. Anyone.

To make it up to you for any perceived slight in length, the whole thing is downloadable for FREE. And, if that’s not enough, I’m also making available, for the first time ever, YEAR ONE and YEAR TWO for FREE, as well.

That’s 201 songs for nothing.

TWO. OH. ONE.

There are entire music careers with less inventory. I’m giving you a double Benjamin for nothing, in the twilight of mine.

All I’m asking is that you tell someone about rap news. Just one.

Now bandcamp will allow you to compensate me, however, as you see fit. And, if handsomely so, I will not decline. But, even a token payment is appreciated. Or nothing at all.

Thanks to the devoted followers of news rap. My press junkies. I’m tremendously blessed.