29 November 2007

Sean Taylor

I'm still pretty stunned about the death of yet another young Black man to pointless, stupid violence.

I'm a Redskins fan, and for the last few weeks my biggest concern was the fact that we've been playing so badly that we were going to miss the playoffs yet again. I was disgusted with The Great Joe Gibbs, I was disgusted with the play calling, I was disgusted with the poor execution I was seeing by a group of men that I was so loyal to. I was so disgusted with the Redskins that I refused to even watch their recent game against the Buccaneers. Then, Monday morning, suddenly everything took a back seat.

I was on the Internet at google.com checking headlines when "Redskin's Sean Taylor shot in home" popped up. I whispered, "Damn." and clicked on the story. "Okay, a leg wound. He should be okay," I foolishly thought. I followed the story all day online. All I kept hearing was "He's in a coma and in critical condition." I actually thought to myself on Monday night - He'll be fine. He'll be upgraded to serious in the morning and by Saturday there will be pictures of him smiling with doctors and nurses and signing autographs for sick kids in the children's ward. I assumed he'd miss the rest of the season and come back next pre-season as the Redskins Golden-Boy with smashing tackles and crazy interceptions." Yeah, he'll be fine.

Then Tuesday morning I turned on the radio next to the bed and they were talking about him in the past tense. "He was a talented player..." "He had this kind of spirit..." "He was well liked by..." And I thought, "Damn, why are they talking about him like he's dead. That's pretty thoughtless." With a knot forming in my stomach I went into the guest room and turned on the TV and there it was on channel 5, "Sean Taylor, 1983 - 2007" You could have knocked me over with a feather. I called to my wife, "Sean Taylor died!"

Just then my 3 year old son walked in, coincidentally wearing a Redskins jersey over his pajamas, and asked in a sleepy voice as he sat down next me, "Why did he die?"

What could I say?

I looked at him, then the TV, and then him again and I put my arm around him and said, "Because a very bad person hurt him. And that's why he died." My son looked satisfied with my answer. I don't believe he fully grasps the concept of death and dying, and I guess at this point that is kind of a good thing - maybe.

I'm just stunned.

The police are saying that right now his shooting looks random, but I believe that like I believe George Bush is a good president. I think that is a police ploy to capture the shooter. I don't believe this was a random crime. I'm confident that the person [or persons] that did this knew that was Sean Taylor's home, I'm confident they knew he was home, and I'm confident that he was a target for whatever reason. I think if someone just wanted to steal something, they wouldn't break into a bedroom and start shooting - they would avoid contact and flee. Or if they were startled they would run and just start shooting blindly during their excape. I'm sure that Sean's killer knew him and knew he was home. I truly hope that they bring him to justice!

I was so pissed off over the 'Skins not making the playoffs this year that I had vowed not to watch another single game. Now I can hardly give a damn. I feel for those guys. I feel for the whole organization. Football is just a game, a sport - life is REAL. Life is joy and strength and faith and happiness and pain and sorrow. Life is real and life is what is important. I'm ashamed that I had forgotten that on Sunday afternoons.


19 November 2007

Nation's Capital or Murder Capital?

A few nights ago in Washington DC, a young man named Timothy Spicer was getting into his car at a metro station when he was car jacked.
It wasn't enough that some thug wanted to steal his car, but they shot him three times and left him to die, which unfortunately he did a short time later. Then this same ruthless animal took his car, drove it for a few hours and then abandoned it in south-east DC. This savage hoodlum, KILLED a man, KILLED a father in cold blood for what? For a joyride? To get to his girlfriend's of his mama's house a little faster than a cab or a bus? Actually, it doesn't really matter. No reason is justifiable.
Of course, now almost everyone in DC is asking, "What can police chief Cathy Lanier do to solve the high murder rates in the district? What can police chief Cathy Lanier do to stop the violence in the streets?"
My question is, "What is DC going to do to stop the violence and the murders?"
I always hear around DC what is the POLICE CHIEF going to do? And, I'm always amazed. There is NO magic solution that the police chief is hiding or holding onto that is going to make these knuckleheads, hoodlums, thugs and monsters stop robbing, raping and killing innocent people. The police chief just can't reach into his or her [now "HER", but not too long ago "HIS"] pocket and pull out a substance that will make these people go away or at least stop being criminals.
All a police chief can really do is strategically move and allocate manpower to try and put band-aids on gunshot wounds [no pun intended] around the city. A chief can also try to maintain a system of post crime investigation that truly hunts and fully prosecutes criminals.
But, neither of these are REALLY and TRULY going to stop the vast majority of murders and violent crimes. Sure, they'll stop a few, but the bulk of crimes will continue. I think in DC there are probably over 1000 city blocks of varying sizes. Considering that you would need between 1 and 7 officers on foot patrol, shifts a day, almost 24 hours a day, for weeks, months and years to really make a big dent in the DC murder rate and frankly, DC doesn't have the manpower or the budget for such foolishness. Then when it comes to post crime follow up, the DC police constantly run into the 50 people standing over the body that "didn't see nuffin'. " It is truly a lose-lose situation for those who think the police chief is the savior.
It all comes down to simply one thing - if person A wants to kill person B for any reason... drugs, money, love, hate, whatever - there is a good chance that person B is going to be in the morgue in a very short time. DC is a city with tough, though useless, gun laws and getting a gun is not hard to do if you know the right people or can hop across the border into northern Virginia or central Maryland. Person A can get the equipment they need to slaughter person B and the police chief and police department can do little to stop it.
There are really only a few ways to stop the violence and murder in DC, some are legal - though not politically desirable and still others are illegal and unfavorable and yet highly effective.
-I think one solution to the crime rate would to be a massive overhauling of the public education system. The schools have to truly teach the children and teach them well. The teachers have to be talented and highly motivated [and yes, highly paid and highly recruited] and they must be supported by the parents! The parents are vital to children that become strong learners. It is only through solid learning that the young people can grow up to have options in their lives. With a school system that is just barely making it, kids just get pushed through and when they come out at 18 or 19, they are not prepared to find truly gainful employment. And these young people become very susceptible to the call of the violent and hungry streets. YOUNG PEOPLE MUST BE EDUCATED!
-The district of Columbia must also, constantly, seek to bring new business and industry to within its city limits. Young people must have job opportunities that will allow them to have comfortable and productive lives. I'm not knocking fast-food jobs, but before young people are drawn into the street life, they must be given professional and intellectual options to bring out the best in them, without that opportunity they will see no self-worth and will feel that being a thug or a "baby mama" is all they are good for. YOUNG PEOPLE MUST BE EMPLOYED!
-Lastly, law enforcement has to GET THE GUNS. I have no proof of what I am about to say, but in a city where civilian ownership of a firearm is illegal, I am willing to bet that there are easily 10,000 illegal guns inside the city limits. The gun violence is too high and there have been too many shootings and murders in the last 15 years to believe that there are less than 10,000 guns. Now, this is where it gets tricky. You can't just say, "Okay, everybody turn in your guns." That might get you a few hundred, and those will be 50 year old relics from law abiding citizens that didn't know what to do with Grandpa's old pistol from WWII. Police need to get out on the streets and do something akin to random spot-checks. YES, I KNOW that violates the 4th Amendment, and there is part of the problem. It's illegal. But when I was a kid in Baltimore, my buddies and I seemed to always be getting stopped by the cops and frisked. They'd mumble something like, "Oh, a lady was mugged up the street and she said a Black kid did it." While we never knew when this was true and when it wasn't, typically in my neighborhood - if someone robbed someone - it was a Black kid. Yeah, that is sad, but it is true and I'd be lying or bullsh*tting if I claimed otherwise. But, a big deterrent to gun violence would be the danger of being caught at random in a police search and facing stiff jail time. The bonus would be dozens of guns coming off the streets almost every day. While this is very unsavory to think about - it would work. Then as Black people, we have to decide whether we want our young Black men to have hurt feelings or to have bullet wounds.
All this ranting and it still seems like a lose-lose to me. I hope I'm wrong.

12 October 2007

The Noose

It saddens me to see that the "noose" has suddenly made a resurgence as a tool of hate and fear in this country. In the Black community, those of us who give a damn about our history have always held the noose at a mental "arm's length." It was not something we talked about, nor was it something we went to great lengths to NOT talk about - it was just a quiet symbol of a time we had hoped was gone forever.
But deep down I'm sure that most of us knew that it would take many years and several generations for this kind of hate and stupidity to fade out of our culture. And this is still the case. Fools are still trying to keep the images of lynched black men and black women and black children at the forefront of our minds and like the hey-days of the klan and the night riders, they perform this cowardice with stealth and darkness and anonymity. They are like the dirtiest of roaches - they stir in the filth, thrive in the garbage, spread disease and hide from the light.
It seems as though the nooses that sparked the troubles of the Jena Six have reminded a wave of narrow-minded imbeciles from one end of this country to the other that the noose is still a powerful symbol of racial hatred. There was an incident outside of the Black Student Union at the University of Maryland where a rope resembling a noose was left in a tree; then a noose was found inside the locker of a New York police officer; a noose was found in a partially completed store in South Elgin Illinois; a noose was found outside of a Manhattan post office; some clown in Punta Gorda has decided to hang bunches of nooses all around the outside of his house.
I think most of these noose hangers are closet racists. I think deep down they are taking the time to shake things up and give into their darker racist desires. But on the flip side, I think some of these people are stupid jerks that know nothing of the true hatred and dark history of this deftly twisted rope. To some of them, the noose is just some artsy tid-bit that gets people riled up, and to me these people are just as dangerous because of their sheer ignorance to history and their vulnerability to repeat it.
The Noose is an interesting fabrication. My Dad taught me how to tie a modified noose with fishing line as a kid to secure my fishing hooks to the fishing rigs when we spent time on the Chesapeake. It was then that I learned that tying a noose is not an easy or quick process. You HAVE to WANT to tie a noose. It's not like a typical knot where you get two pieces of string and go over and under and over again with a pull. A Noose is a precise and methodical creation with lots if twists and loops and for someone to take the time to create one, they truly want... WANT... WANT... to use it. Whether that use is catching fish or taking an innocent life in 45 seconds of pain and terror - the noose is efficient, effective, unbeatable and will always be with us - I only wonder how long it will take for people to stop using it as a symbol of hate, fear and days of terror.

27 September 2007

The deception we see...

I was driving the other day and not really paying attention to anything other than the road when this commercial caught my ear. Basically, it was talking about a Air Force surveillance aircraft that picked up an enemy target and sent an electronic signal to an Army ground unit who relayed instructions to a Navy fighter to take the target out. Then it finished with some snazzy catchphrase like, "Netcentric Warfare brought to you by Northrop Grumman."

I had been hearing this radio ad and others like it quite a bit over the last year. Then I got to thinking about the fact that I had been seeing a lot of television and newspaper ads for military contractors over the last few years. On the subway, on the sides of buses, in magazines, basically everywhere I go I see ads for the big military contractors. I don't seem to remember a lot of commercials for these types of companies until the last couple of years. I just don't think that these companies could have marketed themselves or their products so aggressively unless we as Americans hadn't gotten so conditioned to war, warfare and the images associated with both.

Certainly many of us had heard of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Grumman and these big companies, but they were back-burner companies when it came to the workings of most of our daily lives - we knew they existed, but they weren't household names until NBC Nightly News and CNN brought their products into our living rooms.

Then I got to thinking about it and I found myself asking the question: "Is the deception we SEE, the truth we DON'T?"

Honestly I don't know if that question is sheer genius or the definition of stupidity, but none the less it made me look deeper at this awful war that an unfit President and a Congress that is so busy trying to keep their jobs that they don't want to do their jobs - has gotten us into.

First, everyone in the White House was bent out of shape over Iraq's ignoring certain UN resolutions, and then Bush excited over Weapons of Mass Destruction, and then suddenly Bush told us that WE had to liberate the people of Iraq, and I think now we are, uh, let me see... fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here. I'm sure there have been some other reasons for this war, but they'll come to me later.

However, I think my eyes are opened a little wider now. Surely we all know that Bush and Cheney and their supporters want access to that precious middle eastern oil, but I think even more than that, Bush wants to make his economic base, his economic supporters even wealthier by financing the military manufacturing industry of this nation.

It is no secret that WAR is great for a country's economy, at least for corporate side of the economy. Employment in related fields go up, raw materials are needed and gobbled up, technology goes through the roof - Industry Fat Cats laugh their way right to the bank! In the last six years, Northrop Grumman stock values have gone up nearly 100%; Lockheed Martin stocks have gone up over 150%; and United Technologies [the parent company of Pratt and Whitney who manufacture most of the military aircraft engines] has seen its stock rise by over 200% in the same period! The people behind our President - the people that funded his campaign for the White House, the people that he publicly called "his base" must now be repaid and thanked properly and what better way to do that than to give them a war, a war that has pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into non-competed military contracts; a war that has built up massive numbers of tanks and jets and bombs, guns and bullets, and SOMEBODY has to make them! And then we have the support contracts from companies like Blackwater and the infamous Haliburton [who has since taken all of their tax generating income to the country of Dubai!!!] who are making billions of dollars with each passing year of our war in Iraq! There are actually more US contractors in Iraq than there are US soldiers and Marines!!! Somebody is GETTIN' PAID!!!

So, we not only went to war for a Presidential vendetta, and not only did we go so that powerful people behind the scenes in our country can take a large stake in the global oil reserves - but, we went to war because our political leaders wanted to make the rich in this nation richer, they wanted to fund the mighty American war industry and they wanted George Bush to go out of the White House as the most generous president to corporate interests EVER - and they were willing to fuel it and finance this with the blood of our brave men and women.

I'm not finished with this one yet...


11 September 2007

Could this change the world???

Every so often, I come across something that just blows me away. Today is one of those times.
There is a man who has made a discovery that could very well change the world, provided he is not a fraud. His discovery could change the world as we know it unless the powerful people who are undoubtedly lining up against him as I type this bury him. Our world could change FOR THE BETTER, provided, armies of lobbyists are stopped in their tracks THIS VERY MOMENT before they can start poisoning the minds of our fragile congressional representatives.
This article was taken from yahoo.com:
Radio Frequencies Help Burn Salt Water
By David Templeton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

ERIE, Pa. - An Erie cancer researcher has found a way to burn salt water, a novel invention that is being touted by one chemist as the "most remarkable" water science discovery in a century.
John Kanzius happened upon the discovery accidentally when he tried to desalinate seawater with a radio-frequency generator he developed to treat cancer. He discovered that as long as the salt water was exposed to the radio frequencies, it would burn.

The discovery has scientists excited by the prospect of using salt water, the most abundant resource on earth, as a fuel.
Rustum Roy, a Penn State University chemist, has held demonstrations at his State College lab to confirm his own observations.
The radio frequencies act to weaken the bonds between the elements that make up salt water, releasing the hydrogen, Roy said. Once ignited, the hydrogen will burn as long as it is exposed to the frequencies, he said.
The discovery is "the most remarkable in water science in 100 years," Roy said.
"This is the most abundant element in the world. It is everywhere," Roy said. "Seeing it burn gives me the chills."
Roy will meet this week with officials from the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense to try to obtain research funding.
The scientists want to find out whether the energy output from the burning hydrogen — which reached a heat of more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit — would be enough to power a car or other heavy machinery.
"We will get our ideas together and check this out and see where it leads," Roy said. "The potential is huge."

Information from:
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Now, I must admit that I haven't researched this thing too much, but over the next few days I'm going to use the link on this blog (to the right) to E-Mail my representatives on The Hill to aid the research of this discovery. Provided it is legit, this could end global warming, cut greenhouse gases down to next to nothing, wipe air pollution off of the map and give our children, grand children and dozens of more generations a world with clean clear air, clean water and endless fuel.

07 September 2007

That queezy feeling...

You know that feeling you get just before a first date?

You know how you've met this person and you're all excited over whether or not this person could be THE ONE?

They look good, they've got a great smile, they say the right things, they've got that twinkle in their eyes that makes you wonder... "Are they as special as I think they are?"

In the hours leading up to the Big Date, you have butterflies in your stomach, your chest is kinda' tight, your thoughts and mind are all over the place, you can't think of much else. You just want to get to the date and see what's what?

That's how I feel right now.

Me and 500,000 REDSKIN fans all across this country!!!

We are queezy with anticipation as the first kickoff of our new season approaches. Is Jason Campbell going to be something special? Is Clinton Portis going to rush for 1600 yards? Is the defense going be number one against the run? Are we gonna' crush some teams this year? Is Joe Gibbs FINALLY gonna' live up to the hype? Are glory days going to be upon us again?

Lord knows I want the answer to be "YES" to all of these. But sadly I'm a realistic pessimist. The answer to most of these is going to be "NO" and the worst part is, I'm still going to be there for all 16 weeks. I bleed burgundy and gold. And for the last decade or so - I've been bleeding a lot.

I'm still lost in the glory days of the past... Theismann throwing touchdowns, Riggins blowing across the goal line, Green intercepting balls and jetting into the endzone, Mann pressing opposing quarterbacks out of the pocket, Marshall crushing opposing running backs, Manley bruising his way through the line, Williams and Rypien leading us to The Promised Land, Big Tre' shuttin' defenses down... it's all still with me.

Every year for the last ten years I find myself threatening to become a Colts fan 'next season' because I get tired of the same old "Skin's collapse." I get tired of the stupid holding penalty; the dumb interception, the foolish fumble; the damned delay of game penalty - all of the avoidable stuff that puts one in the right hand column. Every year.

And yet, I'm here again - hours before kickoff and the butterflies are in my stomach. I'm still burgundy and gold and ready to bleed - again. As usual, I'll be ready on Sunday with a some Heineken, hot dogs, Fritos and band-aids.

Lets do it!

My prediction: Skins 17 - Dolphins 13

23 August 2007

Like Mike...

I have to admit that I'm pretty stunned at the outcry for Michael Vick to be allowed to return to the NFL after he does the jail time that is coming his way.
This morning I discovered that NBA player Stephon Marbury felt that dog fighting was a sport and Vick is a man that is hurting and being brought down.
The NAACP was on the morning news standing firm behind Michael Vick being allowed to resume his gainful employment with the NFL after he pays his debt to society. R.L. White of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP said that Vick was getting more attention than he would have if he had killed a person. White then said something foolish like, we should all join hands with Vick and embrace the fact that he is only human.
Then, Jason Whitlock of FOX Sports, who I usually kinda' like, wrote the most ridiculous piece of non-sense that I have seen all year crying foul against anything negative that should befall the precious Mr. Vick. In his article he said that "As a society, we should aid in Vick's rehabilitation and welcome a new Vick back into the community without a permanent loss of his career in football." He goes on to say that Vick, deserves the opportunity to re-enter society and earn an honest living..."
One of my co-workers stood tall for Mike Vick, proclaiming that she'd heard about a lot of guys in Baltimore dog fighting and she felt that it was a "legitimate sport like dog-racing" and she felt that the justice system was just trying to bring another Black man down.
God, if I write one more quote from these bleeding heart imbeciles - I am going to drop dead right here on my keyboard.
This whole - "Cry For Mike" campaign that so many people are participating in is nothing short of astonishing. I wish this kind of outcry occurred for the hundreds of Black people that are shot, stabbed and killed by other Blacks every day. I wish groups like the NAACP re-established their value in our community by standing taller and stronger for the law abiding Black people and took less of a presence for Blacks who are LEGITIMATELY convicted of and confessed to criminal activity. (please note the word "legitimate" in the previous sentence, I am ALWAYS for the defense of innocent Blacks that are falsely accused and railroaded into our jails)
This whole Vick thing comes down into three parts in my book:
1. The criminal act of dog fighting
2. The media blitz surrounding Vick
3. The post prison life for Vick
Here's my two cents...
#1. This dog fighting thing. It's some of the most vile and savage stuff I've ever seen. I'm disheartened that so many people in the Black Community have either embraced it or dismissed it. With all the Vick hype in recent months, everybody is racing to show as much as they can of this spectacle and I've tried to watch it to grasp just what MIGHT be sport like about it, and sadly I didn't have the stomach for it. It is animalistic, sub-human and barbaric... two dogs - raised and trained to kill, are in a pit and forced to bite and claw each other to death. They sink their fangs into each others throats and rip and tear - trying to pull enough skin, muscle and arteries off of one enough to break the other dogs spirit and continue ripping into it to bring about death or submission. Then for the losers who aren't fortunate enough to die, the thugs that own them take them to the side and find sadistic ways to kill them.
Why fools think this is a REAL SPORT is beyond me. They need to stop making excuses for the criminal and inhumane behavior of thugs and hoodlums. They need to stop trying to coddle that element in society that makes padlocks, lo-jacks, burglar alarms, mace, steering wheel locks and guns for home protection necessary! At some point, we - especially as Black people need to acknowledge crimes as CRIMES. Everything illegal does not warrant a wave of sympathy and excuses. SOMETIMES - SOME PEOPLE have no regard for the law and SOMETIMES things are actually CRIMES!
#2 This media blitz. Okay, I'm tired of seeing Vick - I really am. But he brought this mess on himself! He is a public figure... dare I say a 'celebrity' in many people's eyes. When you are a high profile figure, in this country, in this day and age - everything you do, even the slightest bit negative, is going to be captured on a camera, on a phone, on the Internet - somewhere! You are going to be scrutinized, whether it is fair or unfair, it is going to be publicized. So, Vick should have known that if he was involved in something illegal - regardless of whether it was dog fighting, gun running, drug smuggling, DWI, DUI, gambling, handgun violations, weed smoking, dice, or peeing in public - it would be the lead story on ESPN and FOX news! I'm actually starting to wonder what the hell Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan are doing this week?
#3 Post prison. My buddies think I'm being hard on Mike Vick when I say that he should be banned for life from the NFL. My reasoning for this has nothing to do specifically with the dogs or the color of his skin. It has, however, everything to do with the National Football League. It is a PRIVILEGE to play in the NFL, it is not a RIGHT. It is a PRIVILEGE to put on an NFL team uniform and take the field on the grandest stage in the world, it is not a right. It is a PRIVILEGE to have the opportunity to earn millions of dollars a year playing the greatest game in the world, it is not a right. And, it is a PRIVILEGE to live the dreams of millions and millions of boys and men across the globe by being a professional football player, it is not a right. Vick knew this and he took it for granted and he broke the rules and now he should not be allowed to participate in the game again. He had the opportunity - the once in a lifetime opportunity and he squandered it - thus it is called a ONCE IN A LIFETIME opportunity. Bleeding hearts like White and Whitlock are begging for Vick to be given a chance to earn a living when he gets out - NEWSFLASH - Mike Vick already has more money in the bank than 90% of Americans will ever see in a lifetime - earning a living is the LEAST of his worries, so again - GIVE ME A BREAK! And just because he may not be allowed to play football again, nobody said he couldn't be a plumber, or an electrician, or a dentist, or an airline pilot. There are only about 96 NFL quarterbacks in the world, so there ARE other jobs out their for him. Besides, after he gets out of jail, I'm confident that Vick a.k.a. Ron Mexico will find plenty of other shenanigans to get into!
For those people that are crying about the justice system trying to pull down another Black man, please, please, please, please, please give me a break. Michael Vick did not just wake up a few months ago wearing Black skin. Unless they have been living under a rock, or they've been in the Republican party for more than 10 years - 95% of Blacks over the age of 18 knows that the justice system in this country is far from perfect when it comes to Black people. Let's be honest here. Vick, assuming he has a modest amount of sense, knows that he as a Black man, and not just ANY Black man, but a Black MULTI-MILLIONAIRE is not going to be untouchable when it comes to the law. He knew this. So for all these people acting like the US justice system just suddenly became unfair and unbalanced in the case of this guy, get over yourselves, its the same game it always has been and Vick knew the rules and the risks!
Let me share a little something with anybody that is not a Black man living in 21st century America. I respect police officers for the most part - but when it comes to the justice system as a whole, I am ALWAYS on guard. With the exception of mornings when I take the trash out, I am never without legal identification a.k.a. MY LICENSE. Because I am always aware that as a Black man, if I am ever pulled over, or detained, or question by law enforcement - there is a reasonable chance, that in this day and age - I could be blamed, charged or even incarcerated for any given amount of time for virtually any crime that has occurred within 50 miles and 48 hours of my present location. And, this is simply because "I fit the description" - Black Male, 25 - 45 years old, 5' 8" to 6'1" - it sounds crazy. Yeah - it sounds insane, but it is true. If you don't believe me, ask around. I'm never slippin'. I am always able to prove who I am. I'm always inbounds. And frankly, Mike Vick was slippin'. He went out-of-bounds. He thought he was above a justice system that thrives on Black men. He thought he was above the laws of human decency. He thought he was above the rules of the largest sports organization in the world. He wasn't - and now he has to face the music.
Mike Vick was living the dream. The dream that so many boys and men have. He was an NFL Quarterback. He was a professional athlete. The world was his oyster, and he threw it all away for some foolish, thuggish, criminal, barbaric ignorance. I have no sympathy for him.

18 August 2007

Et tu E-Z-Bake?

I wasn't too surprised when I heard, a few weeks ago, that Sesame Street toys made in China were being recalled. Leading this particular recall were Big Bird and Elmo toys. I always thought that Big Bird was pretty clean cut, but Elmo's a different story. I always KNEW that there was something sinister about him.

All that red fur and googly eyes, and that little voice. I knew HE was a bad dude, I knew HE was just the kind of toy to try to harm our kids. Him and his CRAYONS and his little goldfish... pleeeease.

But the Easy Bake oven recall came out of left field.

Well, actually none of this should surprise me and a big part of me is happy its happening. These incredible recalls; fish, dog food, cat food, toothpaste, toys this week, toys last week, toys the week before last, toys next week - its shameful. Shameful and disgusting. But NOT shameful and disgusting because of anything the Chinese have done. No, it's shameful that WE have so much of our economy, our products, and our welfare resting squarely in another country's hands!!!

I came to a scary conclusion a few years ago... one morning I was lying in the floor playing with a bunch of toy trucks with my son and I happened to notice that the one I had was made in China. For no particular reason I checked another one and it to was made in China. A third was made in Taiwan, two more in China, two more in Taiwan. I got so caught up in this reality check that I ended up spending the better part of an hour trying to find anything in my home, toys or otherwise, that was made in the good old U.S. of A. When all was said and done I'd have to say that less than 10% of the things I checked were made in this country.

Even in my wildest imagination I thought that maybe 30 or 40 percent might be made in America. But I was way off base. This is the fact that I'm so shamed and bothered by. The politicians of this country have so much against China. Its the classic case of smile in your face and stab you in the back, yet while China and the US are smiling at each other - we are importing hundreds of billions of dollars in materials and goods from them each and every year. Yet deep down we don't trust them. And while trust is a big issue, there is an even bigger problem that has me scratching my head.

Why in the world aren't we Americans making our own toothpaste? Why aren't we Americans growing and producing our own fish and fruits? Why aren't we making and painting our own toys for OUR kids? Why?

Have you read your orange juice bottle?
"made with oranges grown in China, Chile, Brazil..."

Have you looked inside of you sneakers?
"made in Taiwan..."

Have you looked on the bottom of your laptop or keyboard?
"Japan no doubt..."

Why aren't WE in America stepping up and making our own merchandise?

Let me be real for a moment, I know its all about money, everything is. American importers want to use the cheaper Chinese labor and China wants the business. I'm all for international trade and international commerce, and I understand that the United States needs to be a big part of that. But must we COMPLETELY sell ourselves? I honestly doubt that millions of little Chinese and Taiwanese boys and girls are crawling around on the floor playing with toy cars and toy trucks, and little airplanes and dolls made in America. I doubt it seriously.

Honestly, it's that same "let somebody else do it" mentality that is fueling so much of the immigration problem we have in this country. If I hear one more politician say, the illegal immigrant population does the jobs that American's are unwilling to do - I'll scream. The truthful statement is "Illegal Immigrants will do the jobs that Americans are unwilling to do for slave wages." When it comes to Asian manufacturing for American importing the statement is "Chinese will manufacture the goods that Americans are unwilling to do for slave wages." And, nobody should HAVE to do ANYTHING for a slave wage. It is this type of shameful financial treatment of lower tier employees that creates a multi-generational poverty among working class people.

It's disgusting. Multi-billion dollar companies refuse to shave a small portion off of their profit line by hiring the men and women, the mothers and fathers that will buy their products - to make their products. These importers want their toys, and snacks and products sold in Detroit, Washington DC, Boise, Tampa, Cleveland, Sacramento, Boston, Miami, Denver and all of these kinds of places, but they are not willing to hire the people that live in these cities to make these same products at a decent salary. And we're telling them, "It's okay."

"Sure, it's okay to not hire me, an American, to build a product that is intended for American stores and American citizens. I'm not upset. There's NOTHING you can do to create jobs for Americans that ARE willing to work, but can't find a job that pays enough to buy food and healthcare. It's okay. I know your profit is very important to you and I wouldn't want to interfere with your profit. So please, give me that Elmo with the lead painted eyes, the truck with those loose little magnets, and the Easy Bake oven that gives off those deadly fumes... my two-year-old will love them."


15 August 2007

Guns + Young + Poor Judgement = Safer Schools for all.

I found my jaw hanging wide open a few days ago when I read about a big push in Virginia to allow college kids with concealed weapons permits to carry handguns on campus.

Of course, the overwhelming justification the supporters of this bill are using is the tragic massacre that took place at Virginia Tech this past April.
I take nothing away from those effected by those terrible killings. It was an unthinkable crime that seemed to come from nowhere and I'm certain that many folks will never ever fully recover from such overwhelming violence. I think it shames the memories of all of the victims at Tech, for these people to call for even more handguns on our college campuses.
To me, it's as if the Gun Lobby, the Gun Nuts, the Wing-Nuts - whatever you want to call them, can't wait to push the NRA mindset of more guns, more guns, more guns into American hands. These people are saying "What if April 16th happens again?" "I have to arm my kid so I can rest easy knowing he's on campus." They are just waiting to buy Junior his first Glock, or Sig, or Smith and Wesson, and a cute little ankle holster.
To these people I want to say, "Open your eyes! You are making college campuses 10 times more dangerous WITH more guns than it is without the guns!"
So many people think that if you have a gun and a violent crime occurs, you can use sound judgement, safely and quickly draw your weapon, check your background, take careful aim, wait for the right moment, wait, breathe, wait some more, breathe again, double-check the target and the background, wait, aim, aim, breathe in deep, exhale slowly, aim, squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze - BANG! Check your target and do it all again. This, I promise, will be virtually impossible to do for 98% of all people. If you doubt me, ask My Man - GUNFIGHTER.
Simply put, college aged kids, need to focus on being students and professors need to focus on professing - not trying to be pseudo-cops. I'd be more scared KNOWING my kids were on a campus with a hundred [or more] hidden handguns all around them. If Virginia, and the other states considering similar bills were to pass these into laws, they would be lighting the fuse to an even more deadly explosion of violence. 19 to 21 year olds are the very last people that should be carrying weapons while trying to go to school, take classes, pass tests, do homework, think about jobs, and worry about mounting school loans. It's just too much, I think. And, the next mass shooting is just one failed exam, one breakup with a girlfriend, one overlimit credit card bill, one embarrassing professor away from happening when a stressed out sophomore declares that he has "had enough."
To parents and students that want guns on campus, so they will feel safer - please think twice. You are going to get someone - either YOUR kid, or someone innocent - KILLED. Let your student, study and if they want to carry a gun to make the world safer, send them to the local police academy or the local Marine recruiter, then at least they'll be properly trained. But don't get them killed or make them into a killer. Guns and shooting are serious business and should not be bought and used without sincere and mature consideration. And if after this consideration, you still want to be armed and on a college campus - stay out of school, because you're obviously not smart enough to handle it.

03 August 2007

Driving in DC

I’ve never been in combat. At least not “REAL” combat with folks shooting guns at me, with hand grenades going off and tanks and jets blowing up everything in sight. Naw – nothing like that.

But, you know what I have done, and lived to tell about it?

I’ve driven in Washington DC.

Yup. And for the most part – I’ve survived.

Now, Washington is a great city to drive in – provided you are the only car on the road. There is history, great architecture and impressive landscapes from one end of this city to the other. The streets, while bumpy and crappy for the most part, are arranged in a reasonable and very user friendly configuration in which one street will be going north and the very next one will be going south, the same typically applies to east and west. Most of the streets are identified on the signs with NW, SW, NE, or SE and if that doesn’t work and you can see the dome of the capital and the sun, then you can pretty much figure out what part of town you’re in. Like I said, it’s a great city to drive in if you are the only car on the road.

And that happens… never.

This morning I saw so much aggressive driving, so much crazy lane changing, so many middle fingers being thrown that I almost pulled over to wait until rush hour was over. It was incredible! Typically I take the DC metro [subway] into work, and despite all the gripes and complaints about the fares that metro charges – I’d pay $20 a day to avoid all the foolish crap that people do on the roads inside the beltway!

As I drove cautiously past Union Station, several minutes after seeing a massive SUV narrowly miss hitting an Audi sedan, I asked myself why do things seem so crazy here in DC. My conclusion was this:

The District of Columbia is made up of four major groups of drivers. You have the Hob-Nobbers, the people that live and work in the high profile parts of DC - Capital Hill, Georgetown, Arlington, etc. They are very focused on themselves and the assumed rightness of their mission. They are very oblivious of most other drivers because they are Senator’s aides, Government hotshots or up and coming executives at the hottest law firms and companies. They are ALWAYS headed somewhere more important than you or I and they MUST be able to get home or to the office. These people can usually be seen in their Volvo’s, Audi’s and Mercedes’ impatiently whipping in and out of lanes as they become bored with having us mere mortals around them.

Then you have, The Tourists. These people come from all over the country to see the sights, and that’s where the problems start. They land at Reagan National Airport and pickup a minivan or SUV and head right into the city – AT RUSH HOUR! They have no clue as to where they are going and where ever the are, they are awestruck! They have to slow down to look at every damn thing in sight. Then they make an illegal turn at the next intersection so they go back and see it again. To these people I want to say, take some time to read your map, have a driver and a photographer that are two separate people and drive between 11AM and 2 PM and 8PM and 11PM ONLY!!! You can always spot these people, because they go 20 miles per hour and swerve a lot.

After The Tourists, you have The Residents. They know the lay of the land and they just want to get from point A to point C without getting stuck at point B. They don’t care about the Capital, the Mall, the Jefferson Memorial, Union Station or the Senate Office buildings – they just don’t feel like being bothered by all the other non-sense. These people tend to be aggressive to most of us because typically their cars are already beaten up because the DC streets are so rough and raggedy and I think they figure that if they hit a few of us other drivers, maybe we’ll spread the word to stay out of town! The Residents tend to drive way to fast and way too close to your bumper!

Finally you have The Commuters, like me. We don’t live in DC, we just work and play here. We like the Capital and the White House and the Smithsonian, but we don’t pay them much mind because we’ve see them a million times. We like our jobs, but we won’t kill to get to them, and we know pretty much how the city is laid out, but we won’t break our necks to get to where we’re going. We just come and we go. Our traffic screw up is an odd combination of all three - illegal turns, too much and too little speed, a touch of tail gating and a sprinkle of quick lane changing. But see – we HAVE to drive this way in order to survive those other three kinds of drivers!

It’s kill or be killed sometimes on the roads in DC, and like I said, “I’ve never been in combat…” but I’ve been REAL close!

23 July 2007

The N---- Mindset...

I used to post my thoughts several times a week. I didn't care what people thought about 'em, I thought 'em, I wrote 'em, I loved 'em. If something crossed my mind, I went like a mad man to my laptop.
Then I added a little counter to my blog and I was tickled that I got 10 or 12 hits a day. And after that I added this cool little global hit tracker code on my blog and I was blown away by folks reading my blog from all over the world. Then I REALLY started noticing these two counters... my daily hits went from a few, to a few dozen, to a few hundred everyday. I watched as my blog hits rocketed out of the hundreds and tens of thousands and flew past the 20, and 25 thousand hit mark and folks from all across Europe and Africa and Asia and the Middle East and The Americas started reading my stuff and I suddenly got full of myself. Don't get me wrong - I'm blessed and humbled by the readership on my blog, but I started to get worried about who might get offended, and who might not like what I say, and I started thinking harder and harder about what I should write and I started taking days and days to pick 'just the right subject'. Then I started feeling like I wasn't being true to myself and the things that caught my attention, I think I got kinda' big headed, like I had betrayed the guy that started this blog.
Then I happened past a great blog called "Write For Life" which is run by one of my favorite bloggers - MIZREPRESENT. And she had a quote from someone that read in effect, "it's better to write for yourself and have no audience, than it is to write for an audience and have no self." That has stayed with me, and here I am.
going for self...
Recently, the NAACP had a big funeral service for The N-word. I thought that was a nice thing to do, seeing that I personally hate the damn word! I always think that the NAACP needs to do more things to regain its position of promenance in the Black community, and I thought this was a decent start. Burying the N-Word. Now this is probably only going to stop a tiny handful of Black folks from using the word, and frankly, those of us that are enlightened and intelligent enough to know that the word is a filthy, self loathing, shameful, pathetic, flaming hot brand on the spirit of our race... we've already buried it years ago.
But then you'll still have far far too many young Blacks that aren't smart or strong enough to eliminate the word from their vocabulary and mindset.
I was completely disgusted at the "Racsim & The N Word" forum a few days after the 'funeral' when rapper Da'Brat decided to argue down Dr. Cornell West over her usage and the rap industry's acceptance, need and embracing of the N word. She declared that when Blacks use the word, its softened and warmed up by spelling it Nigga (with an A) and not Nigger (with an ER). Personally, I'm so sick and tired of that lame justification for not having the intelligence or internal fortitude to change your attitude and mindset. It's pathetic!
To be honest, burying the N-word was cute... but what we need to do as a race, especially with certain members of Our Race, is eliminate the N - Mentality. The N Mindset! That is where the Real harm lies - in those men and women who are ego driven and only think of themselves. Who don't care about their children, their parents, or their very own legacy. Those men and women, who care nothing of law and order, nothing about respect for others, older people, younger people - no one! Those thugs and hoodlums who live only to steal, shoot, rob and kill. That N-Mindset is what we have to eliminate in our communities. That is the REAL problem!
I really say this today because a few days ago I went back to my hometown of Baltimore for a wedding. My poor town has truly fallen into a violent, poorly managed, poorly educated, drug haven of a city. It makes me sad. Anyway... I found myself heading west down a large street and I could hear what sounded like a lawnmower in the distance. The only problem was that it was getting louder very quickly as I approached a green light at a fairly busy intersection. When I was about 30 feet from the intersection, this man... a Black guy in his 20's or 30's wearing the standard issued white tank-top... came flying through the intersection on this huge ATV causing several cars to slam on their brakes. First - he ran a red light, Second - ATV's are against the law on Baltimore streets, Third - the intersection was very busy, and Fourth - I don't think he even slowed down to try and avoid causing an accident. It is this kind of ignorant, thoughtless, thugish, primative, egotistic behavior that makes the N-Mindset far worse than the N-Word alone. We have to get rid of both and we have to do it now and we have to use any means at our disposal. These fools are destroying our heritage, our ancestors legacy, our children's future and our current integrity.
A child asked, What is a nigger?
Dr. Cornel West replied, "He's a human being who is scared and without dignity."
And I agree.

12 July 2007

Priviledged Executive?

"...one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all."
Powerful words.
Words - far too powerful for a country run by George Bush.
I've got this thing I do now when I see a picture of president Bush in the paper, or on TV - I look at him very hard and I try to catch the fear in his eyes. I know he's afraid. A lot of people know it. He's afraid that more and more people each day see his incompetence. He's afraid that everyday it becomes more apparent that he is in so far over his head that it borders on the insane.
For a man that claimed to bring integrity back to the White House along with family values, honor, truth and dignity - he has done nothing even close to that. He governs our nation with his fingers crossed behind his back, a wink when we're not looking and a smirk before he smiles. Oh yeah... and while he's doing all of this he's dissolving our civil liberties and personal privacy and somehow has the time to thumb his nose at the law and any form of accountability.
Now he's told two of his top aides to ignore congressional subpoenas to testify mere weeks after commuting the federally recommended prison time for fellow crook Scooter Libby. I think his rationale for that was, "Uh, I just didn't want Scooter in jail that long..."
The things this man does are absolutely stunning. And the poor, poor Dumocrats on Capital Hill are so weak, and so feable, and so easily pushed around. They can't do anything, I mean... after all they're just CONGRESS! America put the Democrats in control of the congress because FINALLY, we realized that 2000 was a scham and 2004 was a mistake, so THIS was our chance to get it right... to hold Bush accountable, to get this bottomless-pit of war over, to get our reputation back! And what have they done? Folded up and hid in the corner, only to come out when Bush needs someone slap and piss on. The Democrats on The Hill are useless.
I wish I could truly put in words how distraught I am over the crimes of George Bush. He and his crew of Merry Bandits has ruined our nation, its reputation and our neighbors impression of us around the world. Tony Blair's popularity dropped so low because of his blind loyalty to Bush that he had to quit his position. Pervez Musharraf is facing rebels and assassination attempts because he too has aligned himself with the Bush Crew. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, gives Bush public support albeit with a thin, nervous grin. And, frankly, Russia's Valdimir Putin looks like he wants to punch Bush right in the face every time he sees him.
I think the worst part of all of this is that there is nothing that can be done to punish Bush, to put him in check, to get him out of office, or to simply hold him to account on the things his administration has done. Our congress is inept and impotent and our Chief Executive is claiming... privilege.

29 June 2007

Blood in the water...

I did another post on Monday evening the 25th. I was very distraught when I wrote it and it was very heartfelt. To be honest, I'm still licking my emotional wounds over the subject.

On Monday evening I sat down to do some Accounting homework and I turned the TV to the USA network so I could have Monday Night Raw playing in the background. If you don't know, Monday Night Raw is one of the longest running and highest rated programs on cable television. It is the live weekly wrestling program of World Wrestling Entertainment [formerly The World Wrestling Federation]. On Monday evening, all that was known by most people was that one of the best wrestlers in the world, Chris Benoit and his family were found dead in their home. I automatically assumed it was carbon monoxide or a violent home invasion. I was devastated and I poured my heart into a long posting about the former world champion.

The next morning, I found out the dark and tragic truth of a double homicide and suicide.

I snatched my posting down Tuesday morning and spent the rest of the day sulking and cursing under my breath at a man that would do something so savage to his wife and child - the very people that a husband and father are charged with protecting.

I am a wrestling fan.

I don't tell many people that because so few people see wrestling as anything more than large men and women beating each other with steel chairs. Professional wrestling is so much more than that. Why people can go see Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, Nichole Kidman, Halle Berry and hundreds of others and suspend reality for two hours to enjoy them as fighter pilots, dirty cops, spies and secret agents and yet many of these people criticize Adam Copeland (Edge), Steve Williams (Steve Austin), Glenn Jacobs (Kane) and others who create a fantasy world where good takes on evil, and right takes on wrong inside a 20' X 20' ring?

I don't know.

But what has been driving me nuts all week, is this feeding frenzy that the media has been in over the evil deeds of Chris Benoit. It seems as though there were some prescription steroids found in the Benoit home. AUTOMATICALLY - the media [especially that narrow minded Nancy Grace] jumped on this ROID RAGE bandwagon!!! It pisses me off to no end, that the media is this country is so untalented and in such a rush "to bring it to us first" - no matter how incomplete and inaccurate IT is. They hear one word and latch on in a ferocious death grip, like piranhas fueled by fresh blood in the water. The media AUTOMATICALLY assumes that anything a pro-wrestler does is steroid fueled. And this story is extra juicy because you've got a high body count, domestic violence, a dead child and a muscled up pro-wrestler! Nice, neat, simple and bloody. The word "prescription" has all but disappeared in this story. All "steroids" do NOT cause ROID RAGE and the crime scene does not support a RAGE.

Heaven help this country if our reporters DARED to do some real work, some real INVESTIGATIONS, some real INSIGHT into what they report - instead of grabbing the first snippet of anything and running with it - maybe our media would just do some real homework.

I'm NOT defending Chris Benoit by any stretch of the imagination. I'm defending the hundreds of men and women that choose to earn their livings by being professional wrestlers. I'm defending those men and women that choose not to use steroids and who step inside that squared circle for our entertainment.

If anyone took the time to really look into this situation, they'd probably find that Chris Benoit was clean and free of steroids when he committed the darkest acts imaginable. Very few media sources are pointing out the fact that the WWE has an independently run "Wellness Program" to make sure its performers are drug and steroid free. Very few sources are also telling people that Benoit tested NEGATIVE for steroids in his last test 60 days ago.

I think the media should move beyond trying to smear ALL pro wrestlers with their broad claims of "they all do it," and they should stop trying to simplify Benoit's actions by neatly packaging them as a "Roid Raging Muscle-Head that snapped." I think there were some dark
demons in Chris Benoit's heart and mind. I think what he has done is the most unforgivable of acts. I am ashamed for crying when I heard that he had died. I am angered that an innocent woman and little boy are dead at the hands of the man trusted with their well being. I'm angry and confused.

Thanks for reading this. I'm humbled that you gave me several minutes of your valuable time.


17 June 2007


On this Father's Day, I wanted to re-post a special posting I did last September. It is still fresh with me and I wanted to share it again.

DOUGLAS MARTIN was a husband and a father of six daughters.

I knew Mr. Martin very indirectly - I may have actually spoken to him 2 or 3 times and I'd probably waved 'hello' to him the same number of times.

On September 14th 2006, he and three of his daughters were swimming near the 78th street pier in Ocean City. With hurricane Florence blowing strong in the Atlantic about the same time, the northeastern US seaboard had been plagued with strong, dangerous riptides. Mr. Martin and his girls got caught up in such a riptide. They were separated from each other and he swam to shore to make sure everyone was okay. When he got there, only his 17 year old daughter had made it back safely. Mr. Martin turned back to the sea and did what father's do - he went back for his children.

It turns out that his 13 year old daughter had been lucky and smart enough to let herself float on her back and get washed out to sea, where she was rescued by an off-duty beach patrol officer. Mr. Martin and his 15 year old, Amy, were found a short time later by the Coast Guard and taken to Atlantic General Hospital where he was pronouced dead on arrival and where she died an hour later.

Over the last few days I have thought about these events for hours and hours. Their deaths reinforce the fact that we have to give love to those around us every chance we get. What was an innocent moment of family fun - a quick swim before dinner - turned to devastating tragedy in only a few minutes. What was a happy family of eight, was in the blink of an eye changed to a grieving family of six. I'm sure that morning Mr. & Mrs. Martin had no idea that that would be their last morning waking up together.

In my mind, I've tried to imagine what Mr. Martin was thinking when he realized that two of his children were in mortal danger. Swimming out to them with water splashing around him, rip currents pulling like strong arms at his whole body, yelling and screaming his girls names. I'm positive that he had no thoughts of his own impending death, I'm positive that he had no idea that the 46 years of life that he had were about to end in a few minutes. I'm positive that his only thoughts were of a life without two of his girls and this is a life that he was swimming frantically to prevent. If they weren't coming back, then HE wasn't coming back.

I know there are millions of fathers who would risk and give their lives without a second of thought to protect their children. But to have actually encountered a man that would be called upon to make that exact sacrifice is humbling. To me, it defines the man. To me, it is the example of what a MAN does, and it is the best example of what a FATHER does.

Rest in peace, Douglas and Amy.


11 June 2007

My marriage is over...

You know, all good things must come to an end.

Over the last 8 years there were some really great moments that will stay with me forever. And then there were some downright dreadful times that I wish I could forget and yet I probably never will.

I was very loyal, I mean - loyal to a fault sometimes. My commitment made me miss some other things that I really wanted to be a part of of, but there I was week in and week out, month in and month out, year in and year out.

And in the end, all my wife could say was, "I'm sorry sweetie."

"I'm sorry sweetie."

I know she meant it from the bottom of her heart, but it didn't take away my disappointment. It didn't take away the hurt. It didn't make me feel like less of a fool.

I should have walked away three years ago, before my son was born. Then he too, wouldn't have had to see the sadness in his fathers eyes. I'm just not the same man I was three years ago. Now I'm bitter and jaded. I've been teased, taunted and strung along. I think the term I'm looking for is "played like a fiddle."

I was there through it all:
-The thing on the boat five years ago...
-That dreadful Columbus Day parade...
-That night, lost in the woods in knee deep snow...
-The trip to Italy...
-The new house by the woods...

And what do I get in return?

The worst series finale in television history!


Eight years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. The opening scene showed a much younger and much smaller Tony Soprano watching some ducks landing on his pool at the old house. He walked out to get a closer look and they flew away. He passed out. This was his first of many stress induced blackouts that drove him into the office of Dr. Jennifer Melfi.

My loyalty to the Sopranos over the last eight years is very much like a real marriage, you have to be faithful and supportive, you have to forsake all other shows [in the same time slot], you have to listen carefully and understand what is going on, but most of all you have to take the good with the bad. Unfortunately, the last three seasons have ranged from boring to awful to terrible. I think David Chase and the other writers and people behind the scenes have taken the loyalty of us Sopranos fans for granted. I think they just figured they could throw any mis-mash of storylines and artsy-fartsy perspective together and call it "an episode." Well, that's just what they did, and my stupid-self, I kept watching and hoping that something special was still yet to come. It never did.

As the last season pulled along slowly and painfully, I knew that time was running out for a stellar mind blowing ending. For whatever reason, Chase tried to develop the loathsome, boring son of Tony Soprano, (Anthony Jr.) in the last 7 episodes. This is something that should have been attempted six years ago while anybody still gave a damn. At this point, nobody cared about AJ. When he tried to kill himself a few weeks ago, I was hoping that he'd succeed just so we could get him out of the way, but even at that, he couldn't get the job done.

I was so burnt out heading into last night's series finale, I had said that only one thing would make me like the show, that would have been for Silvio Dante to be awake from his coma and listening to "Hungry Heart" by Bruce Springsteen when Tony walked in to visit him. Then I wanted Sil to say, "Hey Ton', you know, that Bruce Springsteen, he's got a really good band." This would have been classic because Steven Van Zandt, the actor who plays Silvio, plays guitar in Bruce's E Street Band. But, even that was too much to ask.

So, last night, my eight year marriage to Tony Soprano, Sil, Dr. Melfi, Chris, Paulie Walnuts, Uncle June, Bobby Bacala, Meadow, and The Bing came to a close with a sad little whimper, a whimper and a squish.

When it was done, I was sad. I felt stupid for sticking with a once great show for three years after its greatness left. I sat there in stunned silence. My wife knew I was crushed, so she patted me on my leg and said, "I'm sorry sweetie."

I was too.


07 June 2007

It's good to be rich and white, isn't it?

So, Paris Hilton spent exactly three days in lockup.
(RIGHT: Here she is walking out of the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, CA.)
Just when I was about to write a letter to the Washington Post begging them to stop giving us day by day "Paris Prison Updates" in its Express newspaper, I see that the smug little strumpet is on her way home.
The first thing out of my mouth was, "WTF?"
So, she has a mysterious 'illness' a 'rash' all over her body so she gets to go home and sit in her mega mansion with a little tracker bracelet on. Can you give me a freakin' break here?!?! This is complete and undeniable bullsh*t. This is simply a brazen example of being rich, white and privileged - nothing more.
When this whole jail thing came down, I was tickled to death. I despise Paris and all the other little rich white kids that stay drunk, high and hunted by crazed photographers. Most of these Paris', Lindsay's, Brittany's, and Nicole's float in and out of rehab and court so much that it's hard to keep track of who's in and who's out. FINALLY a judge had grown a 'set' and decided to put Paris' creepy looking behind in a jail cell. Then she panicked and fired her publicist, re-hired him, chickened out and then toughened up. And here we are four days later, and a wittle luttle wash has gotten the Hilton heiress a pass to go home.
Darn those nasty prison cells!
Let me clue those California dim-wits to something. The girl has HIVES! It is caused by being stressed out - IT WILL GO AWAY WHEN HER SENTENCE IS UP! Stress is what SHE IS SUPPOSED TO BE UNDER! Violating probation is a crime! It is punishable by jail time. Hence, Paris - YOU SHOULD BE IN JAIL THIS VERY MOMENT! Not sitting at home in a cashmere robe eating Japanese stuffed shrimp. To me THAT IS A CRIME and whoever let you out, should be in the cell next to you!
It truly kills me that wealth and race are the ultimate trump cards in this country. I see Paris Hilton's smug little emotionless smile in the newspapers almost every day. She looks as if she thinks she's better than everyone else and I'll be damned if some judge didn't decide that she was better than everyone else. I'm sure some of those women that were in jail with her had hives too, I'm sure that all of the mothers in lockup with her wanted to be home with their children, I'm sure that some of the women in detention with her did small stupid things and yet NONE of them got to ride home today. NONE of them got a pass. But I'm willing to bet that none of them had a multi-million dollar bank account.
This is bullcrap.
As I type this, I am reading on another link that another judge has called Paris back to court because of a nationwide outcry over her release. I hope she has to go back, but to me the real insult has already been dealt to us of all races and all incomes because we've been shown that money is power and money makes you above the law.