Friday, June 30, 2006


Okay, a while back I promised a post of my brother's debut on the Price is Right and, well, if you remember, I came through on that promise, but the results were a little disappointing. I mean, you could see him, but if you've never met my brother before, I could've easily been lying because you couldn't really make him out. Go back in time with me to the following shakeface:

This is my brother's friend, Jeremiah. And that nametag is, yes, the very trademarked nametag from the Price is Right. Obviously, Jeremiah was excited. And who wouldn't be? Well, I finally got the tape of this show today from my brother with some good literature. Now, look at the photo below and try to spot my brother.

He's in there. I spotted him with relative ease and upon recognizing him, I laughed my tail off. He explained, "Everyone was jumping up and down, waiving their hands and I thought if I just stood there that I would be easier to spot." Jeremiah's just to the right of the girl in black's head. My brother is the clueless-looking fella to the immediate left of the same girl. It's almost like he was Bobstruck. Like he couldn't believe he was actually there...again.

Freakin rad. You knows it.
And, wouldn't you know it, the camera just loves Bro Bro. Because the next contestant making her way down to Contestants' Row was this girl. I thought she was going to kill someone (maybe herself) on her way down to Contestants' Row.

And then there, again, is my brother representin' HARD up in that studio. Still no stage time yet, but I'm sure he's working on ways of rigging the selection process to get up there and climb up to the top of the Plinko board.

Dis is how we do it.


Well, my beloved Sox lost tonight to another streaking team: the Florida Marlins. The winning streak ends at 12. Good ol' #13. Whaddya gon' do?

Jackson assures me it'll be alright.

Tell me this dog ain't the illinest dog you've ever seen. I need to post an update on his pursuit of carbonated drink history with his appearance on a Jones Soda label, but there's no update. Although I can tell you, or expose some of you, for giving Jackson less than a "10" rating. Dude's average score was 8.75. Look at the above photo and tell me, again, how you could score him less than 10. How do you sleep at night? You know who I'm talking to.

So there was some drama outside my house tonight. Once again, I was about five minutes too late. We were out back watering the flowers and I hear a commotion on the street out front. It sounds like a car slamming on its breaks and then speeding up again. I perk up my keen ears to hear what's going on. I hear some yelling in the distance. I wait a few minutes and then, like any concerned neighbor, grab my keys, slip into my blue Crocs and hit the road in Boggs.

I drive down the block to see a crowd of people standing at the corner with a collective look like a bomb just went off. According to some cowboy with a really high voice (just worth mentioning), he said, "Yeah, there were two cars chasing each other this way, running into each other and all. Then, the woman in the front spun around right here and the pick up rammed into her like three times. Then she sped off down der and he ran up on the curb and drove through their yard, almost hit the stop sign and took off. Man, it was crazy."

I was surprised that he thought it was so "crazy" being that he probably grew up in a trailer park, but, alright, good for him. He saw something new. Not sure who let this riff raff into the neighborhood. Perhaps, they weren't from around here. Perhaps this guy was a fugitive from Ardmore, OK who shot and killed his wife's boyfriend and then abducted his wife and drove west on I-40 toward the Yellow just yesterday. Yeah, it's true. I saw it on the news. I'm on it all John Walsh...b'lee dat, ese. The fugitive was driving a silver Ford F150. Of course, a pick up in the Yellow is not quite a three-toed-sloth rarity.

Uh, my lovely wife wanted me to post the following pic to prove that not only can you actually grow something in the Yellow admist a horrible drought (of course, we did get some good rain last week), but that she can actually grow something. She plants seeds, but I swear they're actually pebbles. But, here it is, Exhibit A:

Pretty nice, indeed. I can't hate. The girl always pulls through. This is just one of many beautiful blossoms right now. Amazing that when water falls from the heavens that things actually turn green. I must look into this phenomenon.

Going to Palo Duro tomorrow night for some good ol' fashion camping with my lovely wife and handsome dog. Should be a good time. I'm taking a can of kraut because, well, no burgers really happy until you throw the stinkies on top.

For anyone travelling this weekend: drive safe, get plenty of fluids and look out for speeding Ford F150s with Oklahoma tags.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Somehow, the Sox always make it alright. Well, they can't cure my sleeping issues, but they can make the hours awake more tolerable sometimes. "Over the" Schill pitched a gem tonight giving up only a two run homer and that's it. Coco Crisp came up big tonight (for all you lame-brainers: Coco Crisp is the replacement for the centerfielder we no longer speak of). He laid down a clutch bunt and then stole second, advanced on sacrifice bunt to third and then scored on a sac fly (all you muddahs that say we don't play small ball in Boston, recognize). Then, with a man on first a fly ball to center which, if not caught would've easily been a double and certain tied ball game was snagged out of the air by a soaring Coco (something the centerfielder we no longer speak of couldn't do).

And how about that defense?! A few years back we were the worst defense in the league and now, we've gone 16 games without an error (thanks Youkilis...shaddup Rory) which is an AL record and tied with the major league record for consecutive games for a team without an error.

Speaking of streaks, in case you didn't catch it, that's 12 in a row. Bro Bro, the flag is hanging in the Boom Boom Tomb proudly from here on in.

And in other Boston sports' news, Allen Iverson might be coming to the Celtics. Believe it when I see it, but I gotta be honest (because, you know, I keep it real), I'm intriqued by the possibility.

And Rampage, former protege of Busta Rhymes and Flipmode Squad member, upstaged big bad Busta with a freaking mixtape called Have You Seen? I'm telling you right now, Busta's Big Bang is big butt. The Rampage piece through Sure Shot is hot to death. Find it and buy it.

That's it for now. Going to bed early hoping to get enough sleep tonight. Sometimes you gotta trick sleep in order to actually get it.


Been up since five...again.

Can't sleep. I'm starting to become concerned, but maybe I just need to make it to the weekend. Had a horrible day yesterday yet I did everything I could to make it better. I was productive. I worked fast. I worked hard. Yet, despite double-timing, it seemed like I kept slipping deeper and deeper into my work. It's like I wasn't getting anywhere. I suppose I need to take a vacation, but then my fear is coming back to two, three days of neglected work. I just can't stand the thought of it. I mean, it actually makes me sick at my stomach.

Not sure, but I think I have workaholism developing.

What's funny (or really not) is when I'm going out of town, I work as hard as I can to get ahead so that when I get back, I'm then on schedule, but when you're working ahead from ten days behind, you never actually make it in the black. You just come close to getting ahead, but then the vacation just puts you back at where you were before. It's an incredible sensation when you feel like you're moving three times as fast as the world around you, yet you can never keep up.

I'm not trying to make this a public issue, but as The Root Down has become my stage for ranting and moaning, I'm just gonna get if off my chest. No, I'm not suicidal. I don't even really feel depressed. I'm just, uh, obsessed? Pre-occupied? If I didn't have my lovely wife, I swear I'd probably be completely lost sometimes. She schedules my vacations, my outings, keeps me on top of important dates. It's one of her many strengths and one of many reasons were a perfect fit.

Saw a lady this morning on YouTube who is deathly afraid of pickles and I couldn't help but think, "Wussy."

I know how to have a good time. I genuinely believe that. I know when it's time to relax, kick back. A good time to do that is when the Sox are beating Pedro's Mets 10-2 going into the last frame. I think people like having me around because I know how to put things aside, chill and bring the tempo down long enough to enjoy it. Normally, though, I'd travel at the speed of sound except I gotta be able to hear the music.

I gotta get my sleep schedule back in check soon. I know that has something to do with it. I shouldn't be able to get up at five in the morning and type pages and pages of material on The Root Down. You know, some would consider the relationship I have with you readers to be "unhealthy." It's not like I don't sleep. I just wake up at weird hours with the energy to jog a mile or two. I have dreams. Most of the time they're never anything disturbing just, you know, dreams. I don't stir too often in the middle of the night.

I'm never sick. In fact, I pride myself on my Wyrickian immune system that can obliterate any virus, bacteria or any "itis" with the precision of a fleet of highly-trained warplanes. I get plenty of exercise. I never find myself completely lacking of energy. I get plenty of fluids. I love baseball and absolutely adore my lovely wife. Seems like, at least, I have a pretty good control here.

I'm not asking for anyone to be concerned. I just gotta get some things off my chest, you know?

My lovely wife knows of my headaches and she does pretty well to get me to talk through it. It's just that it's early, she's asleep and I'm awake in front of the computer. We gotta rad weekend planned which includes camping down in the canyon on Saturday night. Should be a good relaxing time for me. Get me away from this blog crap for a while. Let me clear my head. I'm sure that's all I need is some time away. Happy Thursday everyone.

Clay's gettin' down for Thursday.
Word 'em up, holmes.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006



Here's some numbers for you: Right now the Sox are 3 outs away from beating the Mets in the first of a three game series, 8-4. It marks the 20th anniversary of the 1986 series in which Bill Buckner, who was playing first missed a routine ground ball in game 6. If the Sox do, in fact, win tonight, it'll make their tenth straight victory and put the Sox 3.5 games ahead of the Spankees. It also would put the Sox in a tie for the best home record in baseball at 24-10. Not too shabby.
In other Sox news, Papi hit an RBI single against the shift to beat the Phillies in 12 innings. You don't want Papi figuring out the shift of the entire league is seriously screwed. Also, on a rather serious note, Peter Gammons, unquestionably the greatest baseball commentator in the history of baseball and Hall of Famer, suffered from an aneurysm and is hospitalized in Boston. Our prayers are with him. He's every other Sox fan.
Meanwhile, we'll have to endure John "I Am Not A" Kruk on "Baseball Tonight"--the best program on television.
That's all. Be gone. Go Sox.
Manham, Angry Tim and Rory, I have extra Sox hats whenever you're ready. Shouldn't be long now.


Okay, I'm a sensitive guy. And I don't quite mind saying so. Sometimes I get choked up in movies. Sometimes I'm so happy I actually do cry. Sometimes my palms get sweaty whenever I really get pissed off or embarrassed. Sometimes I get scared. I believe in goodness, kindness and the Golden Rule. I used to write poetry. Really bad poetry. Society would tell me I'm a wuss. And that's fine with me. It's how I was raised and it's how I live.


Sportscenter is my haven. It's a cry-free zone. It's the manliest of manly programs. It's a crazed, superfast, action-crammed hour of television where three and four games go by in a matter of seconds, the statistics presented will make your head spin and the announcer's enthusiastic enunciations could bring anyone out of a slumber on mute. Even the commercials are a high-energy barrage of beer, Gatorade and Chevys. It's a show that's based on heroism--making the play and winning the game. So, when you're watching Sportscenter, you really become completely enveloped in the energy.

There's the rare chance that one day you'll be enjoying Sportscenter and they'll dive into a "human interest" piece which tells a story based on sports, but is so much larger than sports. And, somewhere between when the story begins and the story ends, there's a tragedy. And, in case you need levels of tragedy, it's a tragedy so excruciating and crushing that, well, it never fails in making me cry like a baby.

For instance, how about the two opposing college football players that collided head-to-head on the last play of the game, leaving one player paralyzed and how the player that escaped paralysis befriended the injured player and stayed by his side the rest of his life until his untimely death from a blood clot. He travels cross-country without his wife and kids to visit his grave every year on the anniversary of that game. Sure, I save you on most of the emotion, but it's only because I don't want to double over in a sob right now. Crap, I feel a tear coming on. I really gotta switch to a lighter coffee.

Well, the other day I'm watching and it's always weird whenever they go into one of these stories because the show slows way down and it becomes very somber and serious and the introduction of the story almost warns you that you better get the Kleenex out. Watch for the signs. I'll discuss those at another time. But it's like it goes from Sportscenter to like 48 Hours. Like it drags down to this very deliberately slow, storytelling mode because they want the audience to really feel the story. And cry.

So, I'm watching this story of a high school senior on the wrestling squad and his little brother. One night they're stirred by the sound of yelling downstairs and they go downstairs to find their mother and father fighting and the father has their mother cornered. They go upstairs and find to empty shotguns and come down and fend him away from their mother. Later that night after everyone has gone to bed, they hear two gunshots. The two sons dash downstairs to find both their mother and father dead. Their father shot their mother just before turning the gun on himself. They buried both of the parents before they even graduated high school.

Turns out, their father was secretly bipolar and had lost touch that night. The older brother, despite the huge loss in his family (or of his family), he goes to the state wrestling competition with one goal: win the championship. He loses the first match, wins the next two, then loses the fourth. He would come in eighth in state. At his graduation ceremony, they read a letter that he had written to his parents.

Later days.

I freaking lost it. I just felt like taking the rest of the day off. It was crippling. I left the house to Gump back to work and I'm like wiping off my nose as I lock the door. How unfair! They already know I'm a sensitive guy. Then they rip my heart out and slap me with it. It was brutal.

But it's a testament to how good that show is. And the second your wife/significant other passes off Sportscenter as just another man-show, have her watch one of these segments and she'll never speak in ill-will about ESPN or Sportscenter again. She'll freaking swear by that show. She'll let you watch the re-runs until three o'clock in the morning. She'll let you paint the bathroom astroturf green. She'll let you name the dog Manny.

Crap, gotta go wake up the Mrs. Not a word about that last paragraph. Have a great day folks and take time to cry. It's like a good bath.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Tonight, we honor MTV. We honor MTV for proving, once again, that they have as little to do with hip hop as Nova and PBS. Now, some might think I'm just taking up an easy target here. Some might think I'm completely out of line. Please, let me explain. Growing up, MTV was my window to the outside world. Through "MTV's Yo! MTV Raps," I first heard Gangstarr, Rakim, Tribe Called Quest, De La, Public Enemy, EPMD, blah blah blah.

After a seven year run on MTV, "Yo!" was pulled in 1995. Actually, more accurately, it was pushed. Artists like Green Day, Alanis, Weezer, Presidents of the United States and (ugh) Dave Matthews took over MTV and left very little room for quality hip hop. Of course, someone else might say that hip hop pulled itself from MTV. The top hip hop video the year that "Yo!" was yanked was Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise." Coincidence?

It's like Dre and Ed were the parentals and as soon as they were out, it was a free-for-all. Any sort of garbage could make it on MTV. Herein began the jiggy movement and, even more atrocious, the dark Bizkit days. Hip hop returned back in full to BET and, since has made returns on the various spin-off networks, but has never reclaimed the presence it once had on MTV.

Instead they substituted with a slew of hip hop/R&B collabs (Ashanti and J-Lo, I'm talking about you here), a fresh crop of hip pop artists like Master P, Nelly, Ja Rule, Will Smith, Puffy, Lil Jon and so on. And, just last year, they with were almost single-handedly responsible for the boom of "reggaeton" which is a putrid hybrid of cultures, none of which is really hip hop. And to say it was "force-fed" would be putting it lightly.

On the real (and that's the only way I'll give it to ya), MTV has become a bedpan for the discharge from hip hop's heyday ever since Yo! got pulled. It's like a freakin' wasteland. It has become centered on hip hop parody rather than promotion. And when they're not directly pimping the artists, they're pimping the entire culture through despicable programs such as "Yo Momma" and "Wild-N-Out."

First, you have "Yo Momma" which stars uber-hip hop icon (sarcasm, folks) Wilmer from, eh, does it matter?

The girls love me because I'm hip hop.

Here's one of those kids from Hollywood who thinks he can jump right into the culture complete with rap hands, that ultra-cool street slang ("Aw dawg, you killed it!" "You gotsta bring it, yo." "Yo, yo, yo, what's your rebuttal, my man?") and that stupid looking beanie he's always wearing. And to add to it, the show is horrible. Kids trying to snap, telling mama jokes, acting like everything is so freakin funny--I've yet to laugh out loud at anything said on this show because it's simply not funny. Yesterday, I dropped in just in time to see some white girl in a skirt poppin' mama jokes and then bustin a b-girl pose with pouting lips and I'm thinking, "Is this girl smokin' crack?!" The prelims are held on a some street corner, dark alleyway or public park to give it that completely improvisational feel--like this is what hip hop is about, just going off the head. Like we don't need no stage! Thems is fo suckas! And then the finals are held at a studio that's fashioned to look like a really rough part of town with (ooh!) chainlink fencing and (real rough!) graffiti on the wall. This whole show is a freakin' pose, but this is the level that MTV has fallen to. I mean, where in your town do people get together to tell mama jokes?! Nowhere. That's right. This is MTV's derranged and blurred adaptation of the hip hop culture. Here's an idea, why don't you substitute the 30 minutes (or 5-hour marathon on Saturdays) with actual artist profiles on dudes no one has ever heard of. Why don't you put heads onto some old ish like Jeru, Pete Rock, Pharcyde, Black Sheep, Nice and Smooth? That'd be a serious improvement on top of letting amateur comedians use your network as an open mic to exhibit their idiotic and juvenile jokery. Geez, talk about losing touch with the music.

And, if that's not bad enough, you have "Wild-N-Out" hosted by hip hop vet, Nick Cannon. Maybe you forgot his "hip hop" hit "Gigolo" with After showing off his incredible acting talents in Drumline, Garfield: The Movie, Love Don't Cost a Thing, alongside Richard Gere in Shall We Dance and (my personal favorite) Roll Bounce, he takes his dynamic personality and laugh-til-it-hurts sense of humor to cable television. "Wild-N-Out" is a show that puts two teams of rejected humorists and Nick Cannon against each other in a, uh, comedic obstacle course of sorts. The "DJ" calls out a competition and then the two teams battle it out doing impersonations, "freestyle rapping" or simply cracking jokes. What's worse is they sometimes drag bonofied hip hop artists into this crap as a guest spot so that Nick Can't can build some sort of cred with the audience like who else can pull guests like this?! It's horrible. It's like "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" except it takes five times as many people on stage to make it only a quarter as funny. And, sorry, folks "Whose Line Is It" isn't even funny. I can hear Nick Can't pitching to the execs right now: "Think of it as an urban Drew Carrey." Nick, your show is as intriguing watching a television in the "off" position. Stop playin' cute and forfeit your slot for "Yo!" re-runs--30 minutes at a time.

Nothin' funny 'bout this watch, ese. Peace.

Puffy's getting a dance group, oops, I mean hip hop group together. His first band, aptly titled "Da Band" just threw punches for a whole season. Yeah, I watched it. Can't hate on a little violence. Rev Run's in his bathtub getting philosophical. Xzibit's turning some kid's Pinto into a Pinto with nice rims. Jamie Kennedy (not funny) is starring in his own reality (not really) show about a has-been actor making a last ditch run at a rapper. Yet another kid from the burbs wants to be made into a rapper...or a breakdancer...or a DJ. Never thought that VH1 would top MTV as the network dedicating more airtime to hip hop programming, but they officially have. I mean, VH1 used to be all Michael Bolton and Dave Matthews videos. And we didn't need a VH2 to get that airtime.

I'm not suggesting to anyone to not watch MTV. In fact, in 30 minutes, I'll be settling down for a little Real World/Road Rules Challenge. B'lee dat.

Next time, though, MTV tries to sell you more of their processed and packaged "urban" programming, turn it off, walk away, put on Black Moon's Enta Da Stage and blast it like you got it yesterday (maybe some of you did) and leave it on repeat until your woofers fall out of the cabinet.

MTV, you gets the gas face.

Man, first song I hear this morning is Geto Boys "My Mind's Playin' Tricks on Me" on's "Old School" channel. It's gonna be a good day.

This year, Halloween fell on a weekend. Me and Geto Boys is trick or treatin'.

I'm out of coffee this morning. Must go to the store to get more bean when they open. Eyes very heavy. Why can't I sleep? Why?

Sunday, June 25, 2006


...who obviously believes violence is sometimes the best way to maintain driving safety. Remember, your Monday could be worse than it actually is. You could be recovering from this backhand. Wait, this ain't even a backhand. It's a backfist.

You just can't direct moves like this.




In the early 90s, XClan emerged within a small legion of pro-Black, Afrocentric and sometimes militant rap artists. Included in this movement were your Poor Righteous Teachers, Brand Nubian, the Native Tongue collective, Queen Latifah, Paris and the group that overshadowed all others, Public Enemy.

Xodus, the Clan's sophomore effort is a confrontive and uncompromising explosion of funk, knowledge and breakbeats. Professor X, like Flavor Flav, is the hype man of sorts and shotcaller to Brother J's insistant and deliberate delivery. And Brother J, like on To the East Blackwards, is a monsterous emcee with an assaulting flow reminiscent of a minister. His diction and delivery commanded attention and was as convincing as any emcee out at the time--including the Chucks, Cubes and KRS's.

Sadly, XClan peaked right before the end of the RBG movement in popular urban music. Had this album been pushed back even a few months, it might not have been released by Polygram, if at all. The only real avenue for nationwide exposure (radio, video or otherwise) play was BET which is where I came across their video for "Fire and Earth" which had such an impact even though their theology and politics were much heavier than Public Enemy. Over the last seven years, there's been a rumbling of more Afrocentric hip hop even though the airwaves have been dominated with skinny white rappers (or singular "rapper" as the case may be) and your typical gun-toting, coke-dealing gangsterisms. There's even been a few XClan side projects, but with Professor X now deceased, it's safe to say that XClan will never fully return to form.

I read the other day that they're actually doing a tour with Jurassic 5. Sad but true, XClan will be the opening act.

It's a rare album so, if you find it, buy it. Or else I will. I've got three copies and wouldn't mind owning three more. Here's a hint: check the bargain bins first because I've never paid more than $1.50 for it. And I believe both are in deep, deep Fontana catalog--that dark corner that's rarely ever worked.

Betta recognize...sissy!

"Cosmic Ark"
"Fire and Earth"
"Holy Rum Swig"
"Ooh Baby"
"Funk Liberation"


So, my lovely wife goes to her Saturday morning gig and Jackson and I have the whole house to ourselves. Perfect Saturday situation: get up, drink my coffee, eat breakfast, answer some email, go for our jog, rehydrate and then watch the Sox beat the crap out of the Phils on FOX at noon. Well, all of those happened as plan except for the last one. We got Chisox versus Astros. I heard it was a fantastic game, but I don't really care because, remember, the truth of baseball is nothing matters except for the Sawx going for their eighth win in a row. But because I'm in Yellow, Tejas we get the 'Stros. Or, as I call them, triple-A ball.

So, I'm on a search for something else to fill that TV spot until my lovely wife gets home.

I go by FX and, like always, it's a Bruce Willis movie er something. ESPN was playing fishing. ESPN2 was playing the racecars. Saturday morning is when ESPN and sister networks go completely to ish. So I end up on Spike TV. Nothing against the network, but I don't really think I meet the target market. You know, the meatheaded man's man: drink a lot of beer, read Maxim, probably have a tattoo and drive a customized automobile, shave your head like Vin Diesel and say things like "tight" and "clean." Not really my gig. And you can always tell what you should or shouldn't be watching by the advertising. More on that later.

Here's the quick setup. The show is called "Ultimate Fighter." Some ten or twelve trained fighters are packed in a house like Real World or, more appropriately, Making the Band and the dudes are competing for a UFC six-digit contract. UFC is "ultimate fighting" which is a cruel and sometimes crippling collision of many and any schools of martial arts and fighting. You have dudes that are straight street fighters, freestylers, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, traditional wrestlers, karate and so on. And they all come together in the "octagon." I've watched it before so this is nothing new to me, but I just want to make sure all of you are clear. So, you have one 30-minute show that really develops the relationships building in the house and, more importantly, the cancerous animosity that begins to grow between certain housemates. The 30-minute show to follow is when two fighters from two different teams are selected to beat themselves into submission at the end of the show. The first fifteen minutes are the preparation, the last fifteen minutes are the battle. Winner stays and loser goes home. And that's the basic setup.

So during the first run of this weekly show, you get a fight every other week, but during this mega-marathon, you get a fight every hour. Gotta love cable television. This is like the discount racks of cable television. This show was being sold separately and advertising was probably going for like $50,000 a spot, but now, they're sold as a set on a Saturday and the spots are probably closer to only $3,000 each--the basic principle of cable television and syndication. And the marathon was leading up to the grand finale--the live title fight where the winner walks away with a UFC contract.

So, with the Sawx not televised and the lovely wife still a good two hours from home, I settle in for a few episodes. I start to pick my favorites. I become enveloped. Captured. It tooke me back to when New0x, Leroy and I would watch Gracie put chokeholds on cats and Tank Abbott come out throwing haymakers with the intent to kill. Good times. That was long before you could find it on cable television. We used to find them on little VHS tapes--some of them hand-labeled.

Two hours later, in walks my wife. I try and pull it off like, "Yeah, I just turned over to it and decided to watch a little of it," but I already knew dudes' names. When they were dancing around the octagon, I'm muttering, "Rory, knock his trash-talking block off! C'mon, Mike, annihilate that dude!" I couldn't hide my enthusiasm. And, just as planned by the network, I sit there and watch episode to episode, hardly flinching except to escape to the Boom Boom Tomb to check the Sox situation (Schill was pitching an absolute gem).

Well, next thing you know, my lovely wife falls down on the couch and begins watching it. She starts asking questions about who's fighting who, how it works, what's a legal move and what's not. And I field her questions in amazement. I'm think my lovely wife's into this. It was a magical moment. The girl that would always tease me for the crap I'm watch on television is sitting her watching the most violent, testosterone-driven programming on television. Keep in mind, Spike TV is probably the most male-oriented network on cable except, maybe, all the "adult" channels.

About five episodes in (or two and half hours), we arrive at, yet another, commerical break and one of the show's sponsors is some sort of energy drink. When their commercial opens, there's a young woman wearing almost nothing and she's drinking this can of fluid and then she begins flailing around like a stripper--straddling the chair, tossing her hair this way and that, doing these wild leg kicks--and my lovely wife comments, "I hate this commercial."

I said, "I don't think you're the target market." I mean, usually, you can tell by the commercials whether or not you should be watching something. In this case, maybe it's because she's a female. Or if you're watching Divorce Court or C.O.P.S. and you see all the commercials for cheap insurance, mobile homes, pick-up truck accessories, pre-approved credit--maybe I shouldn't be watching that. Maybe I'm not the target market. Maybe because I have a steady job, drive an import automobile and am not involved in any litigation with a major drug company that I shouldn't be wasting my time and brain cells watching this. The suggestions are sometimes very subtle, but watch the commercials because it will tell you if you're too smart or too dumb to watch something. Regardless, though, I will usually watch it anyway. Which is the case with the "Ultimate Fighter."

I can tell she's becoming involved in all the storylines. There's the young deaf wrestler from Ohio who would tip cows as training. The guy who has a child back home battling cancer and carries a picture of his son with words "never quit" scribbled across the top. The trash-talking, hard-hitting Brit. The little-Muslim-fighter-that-could but his back was about to fall apart on him. I said his back problems might be the result of the Muslim prayer ritual. It looks to be alot of work on the back. In short, she was hooked.

My personal favorite fighter was a kid named Ed "Short Fuse" Herman.

Passed up by Team Ortiz (as in Tito Ortiz) when the teams were selected, Ed promised Tito that he'd live to regret passing on him. Herman eliminated two of Tito's fighters on the way to the finals which pinned Herman against Kendall Grove who hails from Maui. Kendall spent his time away from the show preparing for the title fight along side Tito Ortiz while Ed went back to teach martial arts at Team Quest back home. A true underdog fighter. Like Balboa in Rocky IV, Ed spent his time training by himself--building that heart of a champion on his own. When he would return to Vegas, he was a lean, mean fighter ready to knock Grove's block off. He's also part Danny Laruso, too--a young, scrapper with a less-than-ideal home life. His best friend died fishing in Alaska (which I learned is apparently one of the most dangerous careers in the world--who knew?). Herman's a loaner with the heart of a lion. He's not the popular kid. He's the fighter from the wrong side of the tracks and, if you cross him, be prepared for a beating. You'd be praying that he'd choke you out just to make the beating shorter.

Well, Ed came into the octagon last night looking better than ever. The crowd booed at his arrival--Kendall as the true crowd favorite. The battle was of epic-proportions. It went the distance with both sides trading off failed chokeholds and arm locks. Kendall got a few flying knees in (which is easily my most favorite move where the dude begins running, takes flight and puts knee right in the face of his opponent--like whoa!), but Ed would counter with hard strikes and body shots. It went the entire three rounds--sometimes with a fighter barely hanging onto consciousness. It was straight brutal.

It came down to the judges and, in the end, Kendall would win even though, I feel Ed had that locked down. In the end, Ed was also awarded a six-digit contract as well, so I suppose he won in the end even though he lost the final fight.

Man, but the real winner was me. How cool that my lovely wife would endure that much ultimate fighting? I mean, seriously, the girl's a champ. Even I almost couldn't do it. I've got the raddest lovely wife in the entire world.

Speaking of Team Ortiz, the Sox won on Papi's 10th inning homerun to centerfield. Dude, there's no greater clutch hitter in all of baseball. Amazing.

Friday, June 23, 2006


So, bro bro out in LA called to my attention a new form of footwear that was making waves out in Cali called the "Croc." He swore by 'em, in fact. Usually he was bragging about the comfort, but then also made some impressive claims about the versatility of the shoe. I went online and checked it out.

A couple of weeks later, we're talking again and he starts talking about his Crocs again and I say, "Let me frank, please. I don't see a lot of guys wearing Crocs." He tried his hardest to put me at ease saying that lots of guys wear them out in LA. Now that might be all good, but I'm in the Yellow and most guys wear boots around here and you might catch one up the not-so-sunny side if you get caught wearing women's shoes. My wife also ensured that they make them for men as well. I wasn't so easily sold. Especially when I heard they were about thirty bones. I figured that I was better off with just my good ol' sandals and was going to leave it at that.

My wife said, "Target's got the knock-offs if you don't want to spend that much." Nah, I wouldn't have that. I mean, there's too much margin for error on knock-off product. Something breaks, I develop a severe back problem, someone calls me out on my fakies--there's a number of bad things that can come from going cheap. I figured that, sure, I'm a cheapie, but not so cheap that I can't front another ten bucks for the real thing.

Then, one day, I'm not sure what got into me, but I built up enough strength to, yes, actually go to the mall. With my lovely wife by my side in support, we walk to the men's shoes section of Dillards and I approach the youngin in the section and ask, "Where are your Crocs at?" He pointed at a display about 20 feet away. There was not but one person by the rack and I'm thinking, "I'm gonna be the only one wearing these things around here." Despite such, I played interested and slipped a few pairs on. Okay, yes, they were comfortable. And, I've always worn ugly shoes so the notion of putting on unsightly or, at the very least unconventional, footwear was not such a stretch for me. I'm a married man--besides my lovely wife, who am I out to impress?

There were a number of colors, but black would work for me. It goes with everything and it was the least offensive of hues that I had to choose from. And, in case someone sees them from a distance, they'll still look like a fairly normal shoe with no social consequences. So black it was. When I go to the counter, the young kid runnin' the show was saying things like, "These are really popular," and "I just love these." I'm thinking, "I still have yet to see one dude wearing these in this town," but nonetheless, I walk out of there with my Crocs in hand. We get to the car and, immediately, I take off my shoes and socks and slip my feet into them.

Pretty comfy indeed, but I needed more convincing of the additional benefits. Well, would you believe that in about a week of wearing these things, I actually become attached. They're the easiest shoe you'll ever wear. Angry Tim swears they're the ugliest shoe he's ever seen in his life and his lovely wife says the same. But, well, he's Angry Tim and they're from the nawth.

So, I'm giving these a real test drive. I wore them on my Forrest Gump walk to work in the mornings. I wore them in the garden (that's right, I garden on occasion like a real gangsta). To the movies. To dinner. Even to church one day and not one person looked twice. These things rock.

Well, one day, after doing yardwork in them, I left them on the front porch because they had some mud on them. I left them out overnight. Turns out, in the middle of the night, either a breeze or that damned dog down the block came over and swept one of them off the porch. Why do I accuse the dog? Well, when I opened the door I saw that stupid dog in the middle of my lawn chewing on one half of the pair. I shoo'ed him away leaving my lone black Croc. I never found the second.

I managed to do without them for a few weeks, but then I finally broke. I needed more.

I go online and find a pair on Ebay for $25 with free shipping (because, they weigh just over a half a pound). And I passed on the black this time around. I went for electric blue this time. Yeah, because when I get ill, it's only electric blue and nothing else. Kinda like DMC's yellow and green Adidas'.

I wear them to work the other day and I got more comments on my blue Crocs so I found it necessary to post the benefits of wearing Crocs so I don't have to field any more questions about them.

  • Because of the foam composite that makes up the Croc, they're light in weight. In fact, they're almost undetectable once you have them on.
  • The ankle strap can be flipped up from the back on the heel to the across the top of the feet. Seen above in the "run" position, it makes it handy when you're 100 miles and runnin' from a po-po.
  • The holes on the top and around the base of the shoe keep your feet fully aired out and prevent any uncomfortable sweating.
  • And, in the case that you still find a way to sweat in this shoe, they're anti-fungus so you don't have to worry about the even-more-uncomfortable stinkiness.
  • Even though they're essentially a foam shoe, they're as durable as leather. You can't destroy them.
  • It's a sandal with the support of a shoe. It's a shoe without the pesky laces.
  • Being that they are not made of a cloth or leather, cleaning them is easy. Hose them off or, if you're like me, just wear them in the shower and they'll be spic and span in less than a few minutes. Yes, I've worn them in the shower. And I will again. I don't care. You don't know me.

Man, Brand Nubian's In God We Trust keeping the party moving right now. Great album. They were greatly under-appreciated.


There's always that topical joke guy.

This guy's never managed to make anyone laugh and, while that sucks for him, what's worse is that his attempts at humor are so freaking punishing that you want to do him a favor and sew his mouth shut for him. For him, he'd be more funny if he was delivering the joke in sign language.

While I'm no humor kingpin by any means, I can tell you this. The "topical joke" absolutely screams, "Hey, I can use email!" That's exactly where he got that joke. And it's always ripped out of the headlines.

"Okay, Bobby, go ahead and tell me today's President Bush joke. Then tell me your Ben Roethlisberger joke, yeah. Yeah, also give me your side-splitting illegal immigration joke. And then your joke about gay marriage. Oh, don't forget your Paris Hilton jokes because, man, those are awesome."

Not only are they usually flat, old recycled jokes just with new names, but alot of times the teller risks really offending some people because, well, you're dealing with hot-button issues and people might really take offense. So, in the end, not only are you the annoying guy who thinks he's funny, but you're the prick that pissed off half of the party guests with your completely off-color remarks.

And his humorous venture is simply a schooling in recitation. It's nothing more than that. You read, you recite, you repeat. It takes very little energy and effort. Sometimes, I hear a friend tell one of these jokes and I cringe like, "Dude, what are you doing?!" Like, maybe, I should step in and stop him, but the jokes usually only take ten seconds to tell so before you can stop him, he's already committed social suicide. Then watch the people actually flock away from him like he just bassed and sent fumes flying. It's a phenomenon that is rather incredible to watch, but you don't want to see it happen to yo boy.

Ol' Rodney could tell a joke, man. Your buddy can't.
Warn him of the difference.

Here's some simple guidelines. If you're the unfortunate party guest to get blindsided by this fella, here's what to do.

1) Listen attentively, but not too attentively. Eye contact, absolutely. Maybe even a headnod, but don't go overboard. It'll send of the wrong signal and he'll follow you around all night filling your ears with his stupidity.

2) When funny guy arrives at the punchline, laugh only from your neck up. Don't go deep in your diaphragm for it. Just chuckle and say, "Oh, that's nice," turn between 90 and 180 degrees either to the left or right and walk away (creating the flocking away effect).

3) You might, during the course of the event, hear him telling yet another group of guests the same joke. Your best bet, if you hear him going for it again (these guys are a little thick-headed) is to divert your attention as quick as possible somewhere else because the pain you feel hearing that "illegal immigration" joke again will turn into aggression and it might mean you'll do something that will get you arrested.

4) Lastly and more importantly, make sure you never tell that joke to anyone. Even if you're trying to tell the story of the guy who told the joke. Don't do it. It's your job to make sure that joke is run into the ground and never told again. These are very dangerous to handle and the ramifications of having one in your possession can be, not only embarassing, but straight up crippling.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Just a quick lesson for you all. Hip hop is centered around four core elements. Not coincidently, they're called the "Four Elements." These are the DJ (wax, baby. spinning records), the MC (the shot caller), the graf artist (tagging walls, throwing up huge burners) and the B-Boy, or the break-boy. The break boy got his name from when the break or breakbeat in the record would come in, he would take to the floor and begin dancing. Here's the introduction of breakdancing. Next thing you know, "Electric Boogaloo" blew up and every kid (including my brother) was trying to bust a headspin just before breaking their neck and suing Alfonso Ribeiro.

But this is when it took off. Soon later, a sect, a group, a collection of dancers would begin adopting (mostly creating) a style of dance that would be called "hip hop." It was a trend that was forever captured the movie Save the Last Dance. It starred Julia Stiles getting down with all the kids from the poor neighborhoods as the lone cracka in what is portrayed as a purely black sport (except the token white kid on the far left who looks like he's about to bust out a "Oh, hell yeah!"). How touching. Here's Julia dancing her white tail off.

Look at her shoes, first off. Those ain't no breakin' shoes. Where are the fat laces? Shell-toes? Nah, she's hitting the floor in ballet shoes. Okay, I know she plays a ballerina in the movie so it probably works for the story's sake, but what is tragic about this movie is that it makes it look like the dance known to the mainstream as "hip hop" is an extension of traditional dance movements. Ballet, if you will. Man, I'd be interested as to what Crazy Legs has to say about that. Secondly, everyone's checking her out like, "Oh, this is the next level, man! Her moves are so hot!" Dude, people would be clownin' her at a battle. It's like taking Karate into a martial arts tournament. Karate is like dancing. It really holds very little value as an attack-driven martial art. Karate is like training wheels to real fighting. Lastly, I've never been at a getdown that has goofy helium balloons all around like we're eight years old and little Bobby just turned nine. Whoever did this movie had to have done Dirty Dancing.

For those who need clarification and have thought that "hip hop" really is a dance style. It's called "breaking." This is doing it right:

"Hip hop" is not a style of dance. If you hear a dancer say, "I like many styles of dancing. I'd say I'm most influenced by the urban, hip hop style of dance," smack them. You're a B-Boy/B-Girl or a ballerina. I hate to be absolute because, well, I certainly didn't write the rules, but we gotta set the record street. Because your dancing might have edge or, better, a street edge does not mean you have the right to even mutter the words "hip hop." Just keep it out of your mouth. Say you do "aggressive, street-influenced dance moves," but be careful how loosely you toss around "hip hop." Just because you bust a few rap hands like the gals below who are, in fact, billed as a "hip hop dance group" does not and, I repeat, DOES NOT make you hip hop. Check out these gals:

That is not hip hop. That is seven, eight girls looking like morons trying to act like Julia Stiles and bridge the cultural gap with hardcore street dance moves. Look, dancing will not solve racial issues. Dancing like this might even fuel racial issues. Just stop. It's a mockery of all B-Boys/B-Girls who get gully with their styles. Popular culture would like for you to believe that this is, in fact, a direct extension of the hip hop culture. They'd want you to believe that "hip hop dance" does, indeed, exist. And sometimes even it's captured on the silver screen. But if you don't see a kid in velour and a Kangol doing this:

...then recognize. There is no such thing as "hip hop" as a dance style. It's called "breaking." If someone tries to convince you otherwise, ask them to name just one Schoolly D record and watch them shut up. You don't have to claim ownership over hip hop, but act like ya' know and keep it real. Because if you left up to white kids from the suburbs, hip hop started when Eminem did it and to dance "hip hop style" is to throw up rap hands and pout your lips like a tough kid from a rough neighborhood and then do high kicks.

Preservation. It's not just for our forests anymore.


And now, without further adieu, I present to you my masterpiece: RAKIM.

And, while we're at it, I will also present to you the Boom Boom Tomb. This is sister to the yet-fully-realized Boom Boom Room which is to take shape someday in another house, another life. For now, we have the bomb shelter known affectionately as The Tomb (made possible by the graciousness and understanding of my lovely wife). Here's me updating The Root Down for all you kiddies.

And, yes, we have security on our house. And, no, you wouldn't recognize 90% of those albums behind me so it would be of no benefit.


YOWSERS! That's some strong coffee this morning. Seriously packing a punch.

Okay, it's 5:00am. I'm up. And the sick thing is I've already had breakfast, checked all my sites and already became bored. It's 5 o'clock in the morning and I'm already bored. But I refuse to go to work this early so, as the my backup to work, The Root Down is getting a nice news update. I'll just go until the coffee's gone.

Last week, I detected a lump in Jax's neck. I alerted my lovely wife to it and we decided it was best to get him to a vet as soon as we could. Turns out that the lump is a swollen lymphnode. I love the word "node" as a sidenote.

Jackson did surprisingly well with the vet. It's kinda like taking your old ride in for an inspection. You know it has to be done, but you don't want someone else to look at your car and say, "Geez, this thing shouldn't even be on the road." Well, as seemingly healthy as our dog is, we haven't taken him to a vet. I mean, we've taken him for some routine procedures at PetSmart (nail clipping, toothbrushing, anal glands emptied--you know, just the standard package). I was afraid we were gonna get the "How come you didn't come earlier!? This dog is dying a cruel death. Please have a seat here. I'm gonna make a few phone calls." And then, I'm walking out of there in cuffs. Well, that wasn't the case. The vet said he was as healthy as could be. The lymph node wasn't a reason to worry right now, however, if it gets bigger we would need to bring him back in. I asked about his "ungodly" breath and the vet checked out his teeth and said they were quite healthy for a three year old--even the back teeth. Must be that chicken-flavored toothpaste. Man, dogs get all the good products.

I ate a bacon-flavored treat one day and it was the most awful thing I've ever eaten. I'll retract that statement about dogs getting all the good products. It's not true.

So, Jackson's fine. And you know he's fine because he got me up at 4:15 this morning because he was thirsty. Punk. But we'll keep an eye on the node. It actually appears this morning to be smaller.

Speaking of Jackson, thanks to all who voted on his Jones Soda picture. He received a whopping 29 votes with an average of 8.41. Now, I'd like to really thank those who voted for Jackson with an appropriate score of 10. However, with the average being 8.41, that would mean that, obviously, not everyone was playing as a team here. I take anything less than 10 as a direct slam on Jackson and it will be taken quite seriously. We'll see if ol' boy can land a label. I guess it's in their hands now. I'm sure it's quite unlikely.

Heat laid it on the Mavs last night to win their first championship. Can't really blame Nowitzki the Wookie. Dude straight got down last night, but Heat played like, well, what they are. A team of aging allstars with nothing to lose and not a single championship to their name. I'm speaking of Mourning, Payton and, my boy, (I never turned on you, don't forget that!) former Celtic Antoine Walker. Walker was killin' it last night. Amazing performance and clutch. Sorry, Mavs. Sorry, Nowitzki. Every wookie has his day. Here was yours. Draft day, 1998.

And here's a still from his True Hollywood Stories episode when he experienced his fallout with the bottle. And with reigning MVP and former Mavs teammate Steve Nash.

Let's just get one more sports note out of the way. Sox maintain a one-game lead on the Yankees. Granted, it's not spectacular, but the Yanks bullpen has been proven completely unreliable. Yes, even ol' Mo. And Paplebon continues to mow down hitters for the Sox. Still have some issues in middle relief, but I'm trusting the front office will fix those before the trade deadline.

On a sad note, in a Vibe Magazine readers' poll, Bone Thugs N Harmony was voted the best rap group ever. Even more surprisingly, it was a landslide with Bone receiving 81.5% of the votes (approximately 495,000 votes). Wu Tang came in second with 9.6% of the votes and NWA received 2.3% of the votes. Man, at least Wu Tang came in second, but geez, with only 9.6% up against Bone's 82%, I don't know if it even matters. De La Soul came in 6th. Outkast 8th. Run DMC (yeah, the Kings of Rock) came in 9th with .2% of the votes. Public Enemy received even less votes with only 541. Tribe Called Quest received 180 votes. Black Moon, EPMD and the Beasties didn't even crack 100 votes. Shameful. Think I'm gonna be sick.

I finished a painting of Rakim that I'll be hanging in the Boom Boom Tomb hopefully tonight. At that point, I'll throw an image of it up here on The Root Down. If you don't know who Rakim is, I'm sorry. But you really have no one else to blame, but yourself. Recognize.

And lastly, I present to you a picture of MF Doom when he was Zev Luv X of KMD fame. And, yes, KMD freaking kicked major ass. Seek out their material. Even if it's the very comprehensive greatest hits package that was put out by Nature Sounds a few years back. Todd, do you have my copy of KMD's hits? Anyway, here's MF Doom before he was Doom.

It's drier than a muddah here in the Yellow. Apparently the new big story here in town is the lake levels are so low that "treasures" are being exposed at the lakes' bottoms. Like sunken boats, cars and other crap. Hopefully, it doesn't get so low we start finding bodies, but with this weather of late (or lack thereof), we might be closer than we'd want to be. One upside they've been reporting is the fishing is fantastic. Yeah, because those poor guys ain't got nowhere to go. Now would be a good time to start drinking bottled water heavily because I'm not about to take my chances with the tap with lake levels so low. That's when you get the sea monkeys in your glass singing "It's a Small World." You don't want that. And yes, I do normally drink tap. And I still have my teeth. And, yes ladies, I'm taken.

Time for a refill.

Just saw Fox News' headline for the Heat winning the championship reads "Flame On." Interesting choice of words there.

Already starting to plan the Second Somewhat Annual j3 Ski Extravaganza for next March/April. Also planning on making my triumphant return to SXSW in Austin so, needless to say, I'll need some vacation hours for that. Hopefully, I can get my lovely wife out on the slopes this next year. I'd consider it a wash if I can't accomplish that. 2007 is going to be the year she learns.

Well, that's it for now. Have a good Wednesday everyone. I'm gonna let Earth Wind and Fire send me off to work this morning. Wolfmother has experienced their third straight week of increased scans at Soundscan which, of course, means they sold out.

But I still love them. And you should too. Buy their self-titled record at any neighborhood Hastings.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


In a conversation yesterday, someone said that they'd visit The Root Down more often if the posts weren't so long. Apparently, it's a little too "wordy."

So here is my obligatory "short" post to prove that it can be done.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Because of you, I've finally been put back in contact with the video that introduced me to Company Flow--possibly the most deeply impactful hip hop groups for me since maybe only De La Soul back in the late 80s.

The video is for "End to End Burners." I saw it one day back in 1999 on "Rap City" (yeah, I'm an old "Rap City" head) never to see again since. It was a transitional period for me musically. I was somewhere between my second hard hip hop phase and college rock. Altogether, I was confused. I was looking for a music to define me, to represent me. Something I could associate with. I searched for the track everywhere because it had such an impact on me. In the hunt, I happened along a little album called Funcrusher Plus, which, in turn, has since become one of my top ten hip hop records of all time, as you'll see later. The Run DMC cut in the middle, the noisy, chaotic almost Bomb Squad-esque production, Mr. Len scratching the record. Good Lord, what a incredible song. And the song is best listened to with the video. The graf spilling across the entire subway station, the b-boys on the train, the fast cuts, the security guard pop'n'lockin', the Bobbito cameo and the now-defunct Company Flow in all their glory. So now, without further adieu, I present to you the video, uncut and unedited, for "End to End Burners."

Act like you know.

So turn it up, sit back and enjoy.

And buy Funcrusher Plus if you ever see it. If you can't find it and want it, ask me. I have five copies of it. It's one of two records that I buy if I see it. It's habitual. I cannot see a copy of Funcrusher Plus and not buy it. Not because it's worth serious money, but because it's worth serious memories. And one day I'll start handing out those copies. Maybe save one for Thaddeus.


Alright, as the week is drawing to an end, I present to you the Most Gangsta Move of the Week. This week, it's the tale of two weathermen (or "stand up comics with a green screen" as I call 'em). Two local guys. One's the head "meteorologist" who gets the 5pm, 6pm and 10pm news. The other is the young whipper-snapper--works the early 6am shift and then the morning updates (in the rare case that anything interesting happens in the mid-morning hours in the morning).

Here's how it all went down: Monday, Mr. Bill Turner (the big guy--not just physically) comes on, to draw his segment to a close, he gives us our seven-day forecast.

Hi, I'm Big Bill Turner. I get the good shifts. Primetime, baby!
His forecast, like most weeks here in the Yellow, is "hot and dry" and then he gives some sort of Smokey the Bear warning about grass fires. On a personal level, he depresses me. I know our weather here in the Yellow is horrible and we never get rain, but please just lie to me. Tell me it's gonna rain tigers and wilderbeasts. Tell me there's a high chance of tornados. Tell me a huge tsunami's gonna wipe out the entire city. Because, "Folks, it's gonna be super hot this week and dry as a bone. Enjoy your week," just doesn't work for me. Especially because I'm Forrest Gumpin' it and walking to work everyday. I don't care if the cat fabricates a cold front in June that drops our temperature to 40 degrees--I'm buying it. Because "hot and dry" just doesn't work for me. Somedays it makes me want to just stay in bed and suck my thumb.
Well, Big Bill didn't help me out this week. His forecast was just seven suns and a variance of maybe three or four degrees high or low. It was either 98 degrees or 102 degrees. No chance of rain. No chance of a hurricane. No chance of a single drop of rain.
Now, I know the seven day forecast is tricky. Especially in West Texas. The weather can sneak up on you, slap you across the face and leave you wondering why the ground's wet. It's no joke. A huge cyclone could rip your house off Earth like a dying weed faster than you could say, "Bill, what's it gonna be like tonight?" But looking at this forecast, it's like Bill didn't even try. It's like he just said, "What are the chances that it won't be hot and dry this week? Screw it, make it "hot and dry" so I can come in late and go home early."
Well, that's well good. That's my forecast at 10:15pm on Monday night. I curl over in bed and get my standard eight hours of sleep. I rise at 6am to my boy Matt Hines. Same channel just eight hours later. I move to the edge of the bed while he wraps up his forecast with, as usual, the seven day forecast. I grab my glasses because the words I'm hearing come out of Matt's mouth leave me shocked and baffled. By the way, this is our buddy Matt.

Hi, I'm Matt Hines. I drink a lot coffee. I hate my shifts.

You would've thought Matt was forecasting the weather for a city a thousand miles away. Every daily high was about five to seven degrees less and there were little clouds on his seven-day forecast graphics. Some of them even had little lightning bolts coming out of the bottom of them. I say to myself, "Matt, you dawg!" Duke went up against the boss and delivered a completely conflicting forecast not buy nine hours later than Big Bill's forecast. It was like he walked in that morning, watched the tapes of the evening broadcast (because, you know, dude needs to hit the hay early), saw Bill's forecast and said, "Moron." Then he went through, changed the entire forecast, put it on the air and sat back and smiled proudly saying, "Looks like we'll have a chance of rain this week," with the confident swagger of a Tony Montana and then just col' left the studio like, "My job is done here."

He went against the big man--the chief meteorologist without any concern of how it would confuse the viewers. We were forced to choose. Do you take your umbrella on Tuesday or are you going with Bill's forecast? At the time, I wasn't even really caring about who was wrong and who was right. I thought, if Matt has the cohones to completely alter the forecast to a more favorable forecast, I'm going with him. Forget that 10pm newscast, the truth is spoken at 6am.

Well, it turns out. We never cracked 100 degrees this week, but we came close on Wednesday at 99. There was a chance of rain for the last three days and some really good area rain and golfball-sized hail for the eastern panhandle. In fact, Pampa (pronounced /PAM-puh/) reported multiple power lines down as a result of 80 mph headwinds with approaching storms.

Matt was right-er. In the Yellow, there's no right or wrong when it comes to weather. It's all about how confidently you present your forecast. Not to discount Doppler Dave and his wonderful staff or even Big Bill Turner, but Matt Hines' move that morning was straight gangsta! And, for that reason, good ol' Matt Hines is awarded the coveted Most Gangsta Move of the Week award and I'm starting a petition to get this cat moved up to 6pm. I'm not sure if he used that schooling to draw up that forecast or if he just tuned into the Weather Channel (I know of a few weathermen who do locally--yeah, I've been keeping score), but the kid almost nailed it.

You gangsta, Matt. Keep rockin'.

For those who are just joining The Root Down, welcome.

For those who are making your evening trip, don't be shocked. Same slammin' site, but with a new name. I really loved The j3 Spectacular, but it was a little longwinded (like that's ever been my concern) and it didn't match up with the URL which is (tell your posse). So in the interest of keeping the marketing message consistant and, plus, it's just an ill name anyway and, more importantly, The j3 Spectacular was a little self-glorifying and over the top. The Root Down it is.

And hopefully the black is a welcome color to the blue. Just a healthy change. Plus, Chuck looks a lot better on black.

Sunday brunch with my Grandmama. Have a wonderful Sunday and, papas, have a happy Fathers' Day. Do dogs count as children? If so, I'm taking tomorrow off. I'm gonna sit on the couch, drink beer and watch the Sox beat the snot out of the Braves (Buffalo Bills of MLB).


When working in a music store in college, I noticed the peculiar resemblance between U2's Bono and country crooner Mark Chesnutt. It dawned on me this morning that I have yet to shed any light on this on the Spectacular, so without any further adeiu, here is our boy, Mark Chesnutt. A Texas boy. When people tell him, "Hey, you kinda look like Bono!" he replies, "Cool, thanks!"

And this is the Bono we all adore. Pale-faced European and magnet for controversy. He's played to millions and has a good set of pipes. Grammys in dozens and sings with a guitarist called "the Edge."

When people tell him, "Hey, you kinda look like Mark Chesnutt," he replies, "Who?"

Sox and Braves on FOX @ noon today. Get me chores done early. Happy weekend to all.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Tonight, the Chuckheads went into battle. Por que? For the title that rightfully belonged to us. We're 12-0 heading into tonight's tournament. This is for all the marbles. I ain't going out like no Cobra Khan. I'm straight up Miyagi in dis muddah. We came to wreck.

With a first round bye (which I actually count as a win making us 13-0 coming into tonight), we wandered into the dust bowl that was Southeast Softball Complex at 7:00. 45 MPH wind gusts awaited us as some area storms blew north. I show up in my contacts and, as I sip my customary pre-game beer, I'm thinking to myself that there is no way in hell I can play in my contacts. I call my lovely wife who is now about a mile from the ballpark and ask her to please go get my glasses. She happily obliged. The game before us concluded with good ol' Dwaynes Quik Auto getting shown to the door by some team I've never seen. I still don't know who they were. We took Dwayne's dugout to face, uh, let's just call them the red team.

I'll make this game short so we can get to the next one. The "next one" insues that, yes, we won the first game bringing us to 14-0 (or 13-0 without the bye that were owed from our outstanding season performance). It wasn't too close from what I remember. I played right which no hitter could accurately punch it to tonight with the killer mouth-full-of-dirt wind. Victorious as we were, we knew that more awaited us. The championship game and this is never a gimme. To be honest with myself and the guys who might be reading this, I thought this was the end. I mean, I've been playing with some of these guys for a while now and it nevers ends on the up. We're always walking away going, "Hey, c'mon fellas, it was a good season. We got nothing to be ashamed about." You know the speech your grandpa used to give you growing up.

Trey (who's last name I'll never know and if I know, I'll never remember) mentions before the game to someone that "these guys are gonna fight." Apparently he played this team, we'll call them Roto Rooter, in his Friday night league and they're notorious for playing dirty.


Now, one thing my grandfather always taught me was sportsmanship. I never get heated about anything. In fact, I'd probably be considered less of a man because the last thing I want is to EVER dodge a punch because I'm slower than syrup and if you want to hit me, you'll connect it. Being that I'm not so good at violence, I know I'm already at a disadvantage, but we got some big boys on my team. Maybe if worse comes to worse, they'll get my back because I punch like a Sally. There. You happy? I said it. Now please leave me alone.

Roto Rooter, as we'll call them, shut is down in the top of the first (yeah, that means we're the visiting team) and then hang a quick three runs on us in the bottom of the inning. No biggie, but we can't get down to these guys. Take it run to run, out to out. Or, like I always say to myself, "Put it in play and hussle like hell's on your heels."

It's back and forth for a while. The wind is still whipping us like a your daddy's leather belt and it's starting to take it's toll in exhaustion. Simply standing it and keeping from falling over takes effort. It just beats you like a dog. Like any softball game, errors are made on both sides. Playable balls roll to the fence. It's a part of the game. It's not a slight on anyone--it's like trying to catch a volleyball with a pair of tweezers sometime.

All the while, these dudes are, indeed, playing dirty. They'll push you, hold you, trip you, knee you in the groin, block the basepath. But, as ambassadors for Chuck, willing or reluctantly, you take the high road and let it slide. We're here to kick some ass and go home. At one point, Looney got gunned down at home and the third baseman runs all the way down the line, gets in Looney's face and yells, "That's what you get, homeboy!" Now, I don't know what happened, but I knew what was boiling was a super explosively emotional situation. Looney, like a true sport, tucks his head and walks to the bench. I speak to the ump briefly saying, "Number 22 is getting kinda mouthy. Can you please keep an eye on him? I just don't things to get out of hand." He obliges and I thank him. Well, that's all good until people in the stands, who have been drinking all night, start talking. I know, for a fact, they were giving David an earful as the third base coach.

Just need to make a note about something that happened to me on the field. I'm at second base and the field ump looks at my shirt and says, "Is that (expletive) Chuck Norris?!" I laughed my whole way across home plate.

Regardless, time expires. Roto Rooter, as we'll call them, has last at bat and they're down 14-26 to the Chuckheads. How we hung those 26 runs would take weeks to detail. We'll put it this way, it was a battle simply of epic proportions. In the process Angry Tim maybe tore his hammie (suck it up, holmes) rounding second so he's riding the bench like a bronco. Big Bad Brad joins me in the outfield: a superb coaching move, if I may say. Sampras to third. Okay, we need three outs to seal the deal.

Well, one thing leads to another and the runs start to tally. A 12-run lead shrinks to eight. Then to five. And the long-lived rule of softball starts coming into play and that is "No lead is safe." You gotta play every out like you're down by two because, without fail, things will get interesting. Well, with a man on first, a hard grounder to Manham (he's also known as "Mayhem" or "Mahan" on the day he was born) pulls it out what dirt was left on the field after three hours of sustained winds and underhands it to Holcomb at second. We've got two outs. Now, if memory serves correctly, they were now down by four runs. There's another grounder to Manham (it all happened so quick I'm not even sure if it was him--might have been Sampras) and it's fired to Steve at first who with the runner sliding into first (another something my grandfather always told me not to ever do) and it looked like we got him from my vantage point. The ump comes up with his hands ready to make the call.


I ran faster than I did all night to celebrate with the boys. That's it! Game over! We're the champions! Undefeated!

Wait, hold up. Roto Rooter, as we'll call them, disputed the call saying that Steve wasn't on the bag. We all clear back waiting for the final ruling. Both umps come back with call. Both ruled the runner out at first.

Alright, let's drink some beer, right? Not yet. We're getting in line to congratulate our opponents. Now, Matt's in front of me and as we're about half-way through the line, I hear Matt say, "You need to stop talking (expletive noun)," and, without hesitation, I hear a voice from the other side say, "What, you (expletive adjective) (expletive noun)?!" Matt whips around (dude, I didn't know you had it in you) and I immediately put myself in the best place possible for a pansy like me: between Matt and ol' boy. I push Matt to the dugout only to be passed by about four dudes from the stands unloading onto the field and running to what sounded like a melee behind me. I was thinking, "It's gonna get ugly. We need to just get the hell outta here."

Well, I'm gathering my stuff and the yelling continues. Now, it's in the dugout. There's some shoving, a lot of words I'll choose out of decency to not repeat and everyone's getting wrapped up in it.

To put it short, it got a little hairy there for a second. And to think that my mother was upset that I didn't tell her sooner about the tournament so she could up and witness this. She'd tell me I need to take up a new hobby like stamp collecting or bird watching (of course, with my luck and history, I'd suck at bird watching--see earlier post right here on the Spectaculah). Not the kinda place you'd like to have your mother at after dark.

Let me tell you, they deliver the trophy over to us and this thing cuts the sky. Amazing. I think we'll pass it around like the Stanley Cup. I'll put it on my mantle for a week. My lovely wife we'll understand.

David insisted that we all walk out together to ensure we all made it out of there alive. So we did. With beer, trophy and soggy ballcaps in tow, we made our way out of there. I saw some guys waiting out in the parking lot as we left. I'm praying everyone made it home last night. If not, I'm sure I would've heard about it by now.

It's been a good season, folks. We change uniforms, make some key additions to the team, we play like true sports. It's all in how you look at it. If you're out there to have fun firstly and not take yourself too seriously, good things will come. And even if that one good thing is you got out and played some ball, that's enough in the grand scheme of things. I like winning like everyone else, but speaking as a Sox fan, losing builds character and if your head's in the right place, you can do no wrong. But let me tell you:

Winning (expletive adverb) rocks.

I'm proud of our team. So much, I'll go ahead and run through the names real quick: Flip, David, Steve, York, Manham, Holcomb, Looney, Trey, Big Bad Brad, Simpson, James, Matt (are you trying to get me shanked?!), Lance, Harley, Angry Tim, and of course, our beloved Kool Aid. Hopefully I didn't miss anyone.

Also, I really need to thank the supporting wives/girlfriends/significant others and that guy that always shows up with Looney and drinks too much beer. We didn't draw very big crowds like the other teams, but I'll be damned if, with Chrissy, we weren't the loudest.

Man, this is bordering on a Jerry Maguire moment. Wolfmother's about to come on Jimmy Kimmell. Must make sure to catch that performance. Best way to cap off the evening.

Oh, I suppose I'll do a few people a favor. If you ever have some brown stinkies clog up that toilet of yours. Or perhaps, you used one too many sheets of the paper and it's mess of brownies and paper, don't call Roto Rooter. Do it yourself. I like to be resourceful so I'm posting a quick breakdown of how to loosen the cruel stool and flush 'er down. See below, but don't call the Rooters. They're mean and don't deserve your hard-earned and heavy-taxed cashola. Especially the third baseman.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I present to you, my lil' hardcore right-wing buddy, Bill O'Reilly. You know him. Perhaps, you emphatically hate him. Maybe you love him. Maybe you just agree with him from time to time. Or maybe, even still, you have no clue who he is but you just enjoy this picture of him.

I'm not here to make up your mind for you, but I am here to say this: Big Bad Bill has it out for hip hop. And thanks to this fear-peddler, parents across the nation are holding hip hop as a whole responsible for the deliquence in children. He's had some historically laughable discussions on rap and hip hop. One such included him going after Pepsi because of the endorsement deal they offered Luda. "I'm calling for all Americans to say, 'Hey, Pepsi, I'm not drinking your stuff. You want to hang around with Ludacris, you do that, I'm not hanging around with you.'" And then later returning with "because of pressure by Factor viewers, Pepsi-Cola late today capitulated. Ludacris has been fired." The point that O'Reilly attempted to make (and apparently succeeded) is that Pepsi was "awarding" Ludacris and his music by offering him huge endorsement deals when his music portrays less-than-awardable values. Luda got back on record, however, on "Number One Spot" calling out O'Reilly on sexual harrassment charges he was hit with after revealing his fantasies to a female employee at Fox News (not his wife). The lyric reads:

"I'm never goin nowhere so don't try me /
my music sticks in fans' veins like an IV /
flows poison like ivy, oh they grimy /
already offers on my sixth album from labels tryin to sign me /
respected highly, hi, Mr. O'Reilly! Hope all is well, kiss the plantiff and the wifey."

He also targeted the Muppets (yes, that's right) for pairing up with Snoop Dogg for a Christmas special.

Later he blasted Cam'ron as a guest on his program in what is still, to me, the most compelling and equally entertaining segment I've ever seen on the Factor. Oh, the hilarity. Here's our boy Cam'ron. As stated above his name, he's what they call a "rapper."

Joining Cam'ron was Damon Dash, rap mogul and entrepreneurism extraordinaire. What transpired was Bill flying off into his typical anti-rap monologue while Cam and Dash waited rather impatiently to interject and then Damon going into his "I'm a businessman and I think that's a positive image for children" speech and Cam'ron having fun with it all and later using the platform to pitch his upcoming projects, in true rap fashion. Below is just a brief sampling of the transcript from this program.

DASH: We don't promote entrepreneurship? We don't promote positive and ownership of your company? I'm making it cool to be smart. I'm making it cool to be a businessman.
O'REILLY: All right. Look, but it's not about business.
DASH: It's not about business for you because you feel like it might give you better ratings to portray something negative with the image of hip-hop.
O'REILLY: It is negative. It is negative.
DASH: It's not negative to be a businessman.
O'REILLY: Sure it is. It's negative to make money, Mr. Dash, if you hurt children.
DASH: How do you hurt children by promoting to be an entrepreneur and a CEO and to do right...
O'REILLY: Hold it! Hold it! You're looking at a principal...
CAM'RON: Why don't you want to let him talk? You mad. You mad.
O'REILLY: You won't let me finish.
CAM'RON: Where did you start covering up the fear, right?
O'REILLY: No, wrong.
CAM'RON: I'm going to get at you in a minute.
O'REILLY: You go ahead. You get at me.
CAM'RON: I'm going to get at you in a minute.
O'REILLY: Listen, you guys, you're looking at a guy who teaches inner-city kids and who is telling you face to face that he has problems with kids based upon the rap music, and you're rationalizing it all up and down.
DASH: I thought you were going to mediate
DASH: No, what you're doing is you're giving opinions. That's not being an objective mediator now, Bill.
O'REILLY: No, I can give my opinion. It's my program.
DASH: Well, now it's your program.
O'REILLY: Yes, it's my program.
DASH: Bill. Come on, Bill.
O'REILLY: We’ll have The Dash Factor some other time.
DASH: Let's stand back. I have The Dash Factor.
O'REILLY: No, I've got a question for Cam'ron based on what you just said.
DASH: Don't yell. Come on. Let's keep this civil.
O'REILLY: This is civil. Come on.

Bill O'Reilly is responsible for the inaccurate portrayal of rappers and the industry as a whole. If you believe his absolute and, at times, even slightly bigotted opinions of the hip hop culture, you'd believe every rapper's a thug and every rap album is the most obscene and harmful enemy facing today's society.

In the same way that O'Reilly sells fear to the masses in exchange for ratings (like Oprah, but that's another subject altogether), so too rappers sell an image or a "fantasy" if you will to sell records. Like Dash mentioned in another portion of the interview, Arnold in Terminator is much of the same thing. It's an exaggeration of reality and it falls on the parents to be able to help the children distinguish what's right and what's wrong--what's real and what's clearly fake. O'Reilly not only chooses to make false generalizations about rap and hip hop, but he also fails to put any responsibility on the parents/guardians.

He's just mad because he's not getting any endorsement deals. But turning that frustration into claims on the industry that have very little merit, generally speaking, is not only unfair to his audience, but it's irresponsible.

Bill, don't speak on something you have no knowledge of. You're a bright man that has much to offer. I've seen you speak intelligently on many subjects, but you'll always get clowned when it comes to hip hop. You have no credentials in the subject and have no business speaking on such.



Hailing from the Gangstarr camp, Jeru made a deep scarring mark on hip hop with his breakthrough, debut offering The Sun Rises in the East. A tyrannical blend of boom bap and straight-no-chaser lyricism, Jeru's spit on this record alone put his name in the history books. With the foundation provided entirely by DJ Premier, track for track, there's very little competition. From the banging "You Can't Stop the Prophet" to the fuzz-laced "Statik" to the always head-nodding classic "Come Clean," the bumps of this record are the heartbeat of the city and Jeru's verses leave scathing burns.

As years went on, Jeru disappeared into the independent scene and never returned to form. But like many records on this list, Sun Rises chronicles a place in time--when hip hop was on the come-up and it seemed that anyone that grabbed a mic was the dopest mutha ever to spit. Sounds, techniques and methods were still being discovered. Every emcee was a character in a film. Everyone had a unique sound. And every record was, at the very least, worth listening to more than once.

This one is worth more than listening to a few times, it's worth owning multiple copies of. One for the turntable, one for the car and one to loan away.

"D. Original"
"You Can't Stop the Prophet"
"My Mind Spray"
"Mental Stamina"
"Come Clean"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Never will I profess to be great at ANY sport. I've always just been average at everything. Whether basketball, football, teatherball, raquetball, softball, skiing, croquet or swimming. Well, go ahead and add a new sport to that list: GOLF. A sport that normally I've left to the rich folks that drive nice cars and talk alot about football. Not really my scene, but I got thrusted into it by my own doing, really. The company golf tournament came around and this year, instead of driving the beer and beef jerkey cart around all day, I decided to jump in and play. Three fellas from one of our vendors adopted me for the day and, with my grandfather's 30+ year-old clubs in tow, I let loose on La Paloma here in the Yellow.

Well, I managed to do alright--good enough that when Rory came calling today for an opportunity to head out to the driving range, I jumped a the chance. Here I am in my driving range attire. Looking preppy. Hell, almost pretty.

That's as good as my "golf pose" gets. Yeah, the threads were a nice gift or "award," if you will, for winning the "WORST DRESSED GOLFER" at the golf tournament. Not a bad haul at all, I suppose. Guess I look a little better than I did in my saggy khakis, raggedy ol' shirt, black socks and fuzzy Kangol. I honestly don't know what golfers dress like, but I suppose this is it. Thanks to Becca and Chrissy for looking out for me. Now, I'm the best looking golfer out there. At least when it comes to attire. My swing still needs some work. Of course, I like to think that I was not the "WORST DRESSED GOLFER" but the "BEST DRESSED BUSBOY". Unfortunately for me, I was actually golfing and not bussing tables.

So we head out to the low-stakes par-3 course south of town so I could pound on some balls. I take only one club with me. Like a warrior going to battle armed with only a dull shank. Caught a few laughs there.

I saddle up on my spot along the row of golfers, put down my basket of balls and start going to town (pause). Up walks an older fella and I see him start watching me. Now, I'll go ahead and say this, I'm a sport, but I do it more for fun. And my golf game is more a study in monkey-see/monkey-do-do imitation. No more, no less. I watch and I try. I see his feet facing me under the brim of my hat and I'm thinking, "This cat's just standing there watchin' me."

And then I hear it.

"You guys are just working too hard," as he bends over and starts pulling his equipment out. "You swing too hard. Lighten up and take it easy. And don't be afraid to turn that upper body."


Dude just walked up and started giving me pointers. Now, I paid for balls not lessons and, secondly, when a dude shows up carrying one wood and a handful of tees and looking at stupid as I do, chances are I'm not taking this game all too seriously. And, no, believe it or not, I'm not trying to go pro at this point so, needless to say, this fella's free lesson is not really something I'm interested in. In fact, the only thing I'm interested in is watching him swallow a few balls and shutting up.

But he didn't. He just kept talking. I keep my head down--a practice that saved him from getting killed. Because the more this cat talked, the worse my drives became. After a while, I'm just swinging to get rid of them so I could get out of there without any more criticism. Rory's a sport. He listened to the dude, even though I know Rory wasn't really entertained by his tips, but he listened and even thanked him before we left.

Again, I'm not against tips, but really only when I ask. Unsolicited pointers only make more of a sport of it than I'm really interested in making it. So, for the par-3 pro, wherever you are, you get a shakeface compliments of our boy Mayhem.

Got jury duty tomorrow. Hopefully I get picked. I swear they're always profiling me incorrectly. Happy Wednesday to you and yours. If you haven't voted for your favorite dog yet, please see below.


Because he deserves it.

It's pretty simple. I need as many positive ratings as I can get for ol' boy. Just click on the link below and rate my boy high and we'll see if he can own a few bottles of Jones Cream Soda.

I also submitted the following of myself. Yeah, I kinda feel silly doing it, but the picture is simply too good to not at least try with. And, Mahan, sorry it doesn't properly give you credit as the photographer.

Peep the realness and vote--it's not only a privelege, it's an civil obligation.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Well, Papi delivered again. This time against the good ol' Texas Rangers. Yeah, I'm a Texas boy, but I've never owed any allegiance to their pathetic lil' ballclub--except in the Nolan days.

We're back in first, where we belong. The Yankees occupied the top spot for, uh, let's see...maybe about 36 hours.

Yeah, I'm a hater.

Hey, Ranger fans, here's what it feels like to win.

And, to celebrate the homerun that, well, I didn't get to celebrate because I was outside mowing the lawn when it all went down, I present to you the real reason I have this blog, just another incredible j3 shakeface.

This one completely owns.

Sunday, June 11, 2006



This is a bad, bad thing. Not only is it a bad thing because it attempts to sugarcoat the culture and pitch it to children who have no business listening to it, it also craps over 25 years of history with this utter bastardization. Let's not judge the book too closely by the cover, but there's dancing bunnies on the front (I suppose a much too literal take on the album's name which is equally tragic--Hippity Hop--like some Mother Goose-Mary Poppins storytime horsh-ish)...and there's carnival clowns.

So maybe you're saying, "j3, perhaps your mistaken. Maybe it's not really a take on hip hop. Maybe that's just the name of it, but the content is something completely different."

Well, please join me in reading through the description of this piece that was pulled directly from the (notice the very edgy "z" instead of "s" in the plural of "kid", this is like a freaking time machine). Here it is:

“It's Hip-Hop, Mom and Pop”

The Mayor of Mount Vernon, N.Y., is turning a 94-year old firehouse into a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame. . . Lauryn Hill recently collected an armful of awards for her hugely successful hip-hop album. . .

So what exactly is hip-hop and why is it so difficult to keep still and stop smiling while listening to it? Well, try this one on for size: Music For Little People's newest release, Hippity Hop. It's a duly danceable initiation to hip-hop, with familiar songs for younger audiences transformed rhythmically into this street-inspired sound. A sprinkling of seasoned artists mixed generously with talented West Coast teenagers will have Mom and Dad raiding the kids' CD collection.
My favorite cut is Cultural Heritage Choirs' poppin' version of "Cookie Jar." I can see Dad now, tooling to work, windows down, bellowing at the top of his lungs, "Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?" The Choir, along with Eric Bibb, also has a fun time reinventing "Funky Nursery Rhymes"; and Taj Mahal jumps all over "Everyday People," and a Bob Marley tune, "Three Little Birds," with Shinehead sharing vocals.

Maria Muldaur offers a brand new version of "Brand New Key"; and traditional songs from the slavery era, "Juba Dis and Juba Dat" and "Little Liza Jane," are given hip-hop life by Sheila E and the album's producer, Linda Tillery, respectively. Rounding out the album is Tillery’s take on "Mary’s Dancing Lamb."

So when the mayor of Mount Vernon looked at that old firehouse and said, "It looks like a building, but it's not. It's an idea," I guess what he meant was that hip-hop is an idea that's here to stay.

Keep in hippity-hop touch with me at Catch you on the flip side.

Let me know when you're done vomiting.

There's a number of things that are completely wrong here. I'm not sure why the writer can't keep still and stop smiling when listening to hip hop, but there is nothing about this that is "street-inspired". This is Romper Room. NWA would be "street-inspired." How about "Brenda's Gotta Baby" if you want "street-inspired"? Then the writer makes a "coastal" reference which is just so tremendously disturbing and, even worse, the writer suggests that the parents will be "raiding" the kid's CD collection because of this hunk of crap. Wow. That's a family with some serious problems.

Okay, read with me, the following sentence three times consecutively. Tell me this doesn't absolutely scream hip hop culture:

My favorite cut is Culture Heritage Choirs' poppin' version of "Cookie Jar." I can see Dad now, tooling to work, windows down, bellowing at the top of his lungs, "Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?"


And, uh, yeah, I guess hip hop is an "idea that's here to stay," being that it's now over 30 years old, but you would never be able to tell that from looking at this piece. This times hip hop so badly. It places it as a fad, a passing phase and, what's even worse, is it uses it as a sort of educational, clap-your-hands type of instrument for children. Why is it bad? Because it's not at all a realistic depiction of hip hop. And it paints a very misleading picture for children of the world that's on the outside of their picket fence. And, beyond that, hip hop is so drenched in culture and none of it is present here. No breakers, no graf writers. It's an absolute insult. And, sorry, Bob Marley is not hip hop. He was black and smoked incredible amounts of weed, but those two elements alone do not make him hip hop.

Thaddeus' first children's record will be De La Soul's Three Feet High and Rising. If you insist on giving your kid a hip hop record, make it this one. Sure, there's some stuff in there a youngin probably shouldn't listen to, but I'd rather my child have an understanding of the culture rather than learn a couple of stupid dance moves and end up getting his ass kicked in junior high because he's been living with his head under a pile of stones and think he has an understanding for a culture or a race because he listened to this crap growing up.

I'll leave you with a few comments (sounds mostly like parents) posted on Enjoy. I'll catch you on the flip side, G.

"Hippity Hop is the best childrens cd ever. It really touches my soul. I feel that all ages can get into this music. With songs like cookie jar, everyday people, funky nursery rhymes, brand new key and others this cd gives hip hop a new meaning. Try this cd and give it your own opinion. Don't take my word for it."

"I loved this CD and my infant son does as well. I think we will be listening to this CD well into his toddler years - it can be sung along to quite easily. I am a huge hip hop fan and I got this because I am finding that my collection is inappropriate for young kids. But this CD did not offend my hip hop sensibilities at all."

"This CD is simply and utterly awesome! My toddler has been bebopping to it for months and when she's old enough to understand the words, she'll also get inspiring messages from "Brand New Key." The girl's solo in the middle of that song is really nice and spreads the word about the world living together as one. "Cookie Jar" is too cute and too funny--an original and creative remake of that kid's song. I still crack up every time I hear it! But most importantly, I love that my daughter is getting a taste of different flavors of music and American culture. The musicians have taken some classics and fitted them with a new sound representative of African-American culture. I'm a white American living in France and so couldn't be more thrilled that my daughter is exposed to children's music from my country other than Barney, Seasame St., etc. I'm waiting for #2--hurry up!"

"...Parents need not be alarmed at the inclusion of rap, which adheres to its original definition (rhythm and poetry) and never offends. All in all, this should have the kids up dancing, digging, and doing their thing, hippity-hop-style..."