Thursday, August 31, 2006


Seriously, these guys kill. TV on the Radio just released their, uh, second full length record Return to Cookie Mountain on Interscope. Beautiful stuff. I'm on my third listen right now and it's absolutely righteous. Their first record Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes is a tyrant--so beautiful, so dark, so viciously arresting. Everything's in the right place. The new record is no different. It's still a little early so it's hard to pin it up against their debut full length, but it's damned good.

Seek them out. Listen to them. You don't even have to thank me. Just do the right thing and enjoy the sound of TV on the Radio.



Being the first counts for something. But make no mistake about it, that's not why it's on this list. I'm not giving out vanguard awards. But the first time I heard this record, it was a tape that my brother somehow smuggled onto the property. I still don't know the origin of that cassette. I was 8 years old. I remember it beginning in silence and then Rev Run's deafening voice starts out of the darkness:

"Now Peter Piper picked peppers but Run rocked rhymes,
Humpty Dumpty fell down that's his hard time,
Jack B. Nimble what nimble and he was quick,
But Jam Master cut faster Jack's on Jay's..."

And then the chimes of Bob James' "Take Me to Mardi Gras" thunder in and Rev continues:

"Now Little Bo Peep cold lost her sheep,
And Rip Van Winkle fell the hell asleep,
And Alice chillin somewhere in Wonderland,
Jack's servin Jill a bucket in his hand.
And Jam Master Jay's making out our sound,
The turntables might wobble but they don't fall down."

The first time you heard that, you stopped in your tracks. And if you were one of those kids who got the record, fast forwarded so you could hear "Walk This Way" again, you missed the impact of "Peter Piper" altogether. I've still yet to hear a nastier, meaner opening to an album, here 20 years later.

As a kid, it was difficult to listen to Run DMC and not feel some sort of fear and excitement. It was like you were sneaking to the back of the corner store to do something you weren't supposed to. And while the feeling of danger and impact of those first listens has lessened, the album itself sounds no less supreme.

Essentially, it's a rock record. The beats were hard, the riffs were deep and the delivery of Rev Run and DMC were shouted, not spoken--altogether creating an assault of sound and rhythm that was more aggressive than most records of the era. Rock included.

From "It's Tricky" to "Hit and Run" leading off the flipside and, yes, even "Walk This Way" in all of its overexposure, Raising Hell set the mark so very high for early hip hop and cut the standard by which all rap records for the next ten years would be measured.

Album Highlights:
"You Be Illin'"
"Peter Piper"
"Walk This Way"
"Hit and Run"
"It's Tricky"
"My Adidas"


I just heard W. Bush say in an interview with Brian Williams of MSNBC, "The key for me is to keep expectations low." And I'm not taking that out of context.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


As if watching four former rock stars pose as if they're still important and people really care, we have to watch a slew of kids from the suburbs who watched too much MTV pose like rock stars. Geez, when does this crap stop?!

Yeah, I feel bad for former Metallica bassist Jason looking for a freakin lead singer on CBS. I mean, you'd think if the dude really wanted a singer, he could just go, "I'm Jason Newstead. Who wants to sing for me?" But, of course not, he joins ex-Guns and Roses somethingist Gilby Clarke and everyone's favorite 80s metal leftover Tommy Lee sitting there auditioning for their little band called Supernova (for those not remembering what a supernova is: a "supernova" is a stellar explosion that produces an extremely bright object made of plasma that declines to invisibility over weeks or months). Dave Navarro, who I kinda like, plays again the master of ceremonies with his cute quips and wonderful mastery of the rockstar language. The result is a celebration of all of rock's overused stage tricks and a downright dastardly display of awesome mediocrity. It's your neighborhood karaoke bar, but there's a few stars in the house tonight.

Okay, my meatballs are warm and sitting right next to me with a fork in them. It's time to type.

Meet Lukas (the "k" instead of "c" gives him that striking edge--if letters were weapons, the "k" would be compatible to the throwing star, however the "c" would be as harmful as Nerf).

Oh yeah, the jacket with Converse-looking shoes. It's the rockstar class. Dude, you're not a rockstar yet, you can't pull off that look until you played the Whiskey. He's got that "my future's so bright I gotta wear shades" look in his eyes. And that super-sweet hairdo. This kid is a tool. He needs back to the school he dropped out of, take off that makeup and come to terms with himself. Last night, he did the worst cover of Nirvana's "Lithium." I never liked the song in the first place and after he butchered it last night, I've decided I've never liked Nirvana. That's how bad it was. He almost made me stop listening to music altogether. And he acts like the "crazed rocker"--unpredictable, jumping and hopping about. You're a loser. Hopefully next week, people finally have the nerve to tell you that. There's a Sonic parking lot looking for their bad-news kid to lean against his Camaro and smoke cigarettes.

Oh yeah, let's not forget that Lukas has a little notch shaved out of his eyebrow much like another once-famous poser, Vanilla Ice. Yuck! Make it stop.

But we can't yet. We haven't yet met the Icelander, Magni.

He's got the charm of a foreigner. He shaves his head--just like me! Okay, maybe a couple of points, but I subtract all points because you know this kid shaves his head just so it'll fully expose that gnarly artery that runs up the side of his head. This is Magni "getting intense." He's the crazy guy among the bunch. He likes to run around naked, party and get others to join him. He better watch it--John Bonham liked to do the same thing. Okay, I don't know about run around naked. Actually a rather fearful thought. He looks like Moby. He looks like Rob Halford. And he looks like that stupid intense dude from Live (you know, "Lightning Crashes" then our career does too). Not all too coincidently last night, Magni was chosen to sing "I Alone." Everyone loved it. Apparently, I alone wanted him to shut up and go away. Not necessarily Iceland, but away.

Then there's this kid.

Yeah, the rocker girl--Dilana. She's almost a parody of herself doing an impersonation of someone else. She's from Houston, but she has this wicked accent I can't figure out. Colorful George Clinton hairdo, tatts all the way up her arm and lower back (like all the rockstars) and piercings all over her face yet, hold up, you think you got her figured out, don't you? Wait, she has the voice of absolute angel--an angel who likes stipping paint without using her hands. She'll work delicately through portions of a song, but then "cuts loose" and jumps around and acts crazy. Blah, blah, blab, she's perfectly normal, but likes to play dress-up and look scary. She did turned the lights out last night with Tracy Bonham's "Mother, Mother." It was hot, but she kept doing all these little gestures. Like when she said the word "tobacco," she pulled her fingers to her mouth as if she was smoking. That's enough cheese to melt it down and serve queso to safely fifty people. Then she kept glaring into the camera during all the right moments, again, looking "intense" and "frightening." She likes to jump off of speakers and play charades. Maybe fun on a boring Saturday night, but if I had to sit through this girl's performance night after night, I'd probably jump of a much taller stack of speakers--spread eagle making sure my face hits the ground first.

Um, who else can I pick on? Uh, how about this guy in memoriam because, unfortunately, but appropriately, he was asked to leave tonight. Meet Ryan (and no kidding on this last name) Star. That's right, Ryan Star. Cute.

I was thinking this is the guy I could see myself most getting along with until I saw the above picture where, like all of these kids, he's posing--here on top of a piano surrounded by fog. Shoot me now! We all found after "November Rain" that everyone likes the sensitive rocker who can sit down at the piano and rock out. Last night, the fans decided that Star need to use Coldplay's "Clocks" as his arrow that he'd shoot directly into our collective hearts. Too bad it wasn't treated with a tranquilizer. I didn't think Chris Martin was that great of a singer until I heard Ryan attempt to sing his music. He even did the Bono-esque freedom jumps with his arms out to his side like he was flying. Ryan, I'm glad you're gone. I just wish they decided to eliminate everyone last night and do television a favor and cancel early. It'd probably be the best move that ol' Newsstand, I mean, Newstead could make at this point. Just go into hiding with Lars in Scandinavia or wherever.
Crowd surfing, fist pumps, the rock stance where you stand with your feet straight out to your side about eight inches out from your shoulder width, creepy looks into the camera, tongue waggin', reaching the mic out into the crowd so they can help you with the chorus--it's all there. This show is lame, lame, lame. I'll hold no punches if you dare to ask me about this show. I don't like it. I'm no rock professional, but I know C-B-S doesn't spell "rock."
W-O-L-F-M-O-T-H-E-R does.
Kids need to get a clue.


Although old news, the Ramsey "killer" turned out to be just one big liar. Remember, you heard it here first. Just a dude looking for a free plane ticket from Thailand to Denver. Hope he spends a long time in jail because the dude really needs help, but you can't convince me he's a killer.

Chuck's heading to the gridiron. Turns out that the shirts have been such a success between the foul poles that we're going to attempt to take him to a new sport and see what he can do in 8-man flag football. Good thing it's not tackle or Chuck would chopping heads. Here's the treatment for the shirts.

Watched RockStar Supernova last night. I'll be preparing a post for that. Man, whatta weird phenomenon. I don't get it. I'll try and talk myself through it on another post.

The Yellow's very own KAMR news team was featured on in what can only be described as a laughable and shamefully accurate article. Check out the link:

This is our number one news team. Kinda in the same way that the Yellow's Wonderland which is really only a parking lot carnival that ended up staying claims in the advertisement to be "Texas' Greatest Amusement Park." Yeah, I suppose that's true until you go to Arlington, Houston or San Antonio. But who really thinks of those other amusement parks anyway. Maybe there's some terms I'm misunderstanding. Maybe those down south are considered "theme parks" and not "amusement parks" so maybe Wonderland is, in fact, the greatest. But that might be by default because they're also the only.

Justin's album is getting some pretty incredible early reviews. You're not ready. Trust me.

I still suck at bowling. I didn't even break 100 this weekend. I hate that game. But I still go. I suppose it's more for the beer and friends. No, it can't be the beer because it's overpriced light beer. It must just be the belonging. I also hate bowling alleys. I don't like the people who inhabit them. Talk about one of the weirdest sampling of humans, holy cow! I'll make a note to revisit that in a later post. I might need to go back to do a little research.

Alright, it's time to shower, ugh, and get ready for work. Happy Wednesday to all.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I blame him for many things. I don't think all of it is justified--it's just easier to blame him than to come up with anything more intelligent and sound. But I do, at my deepest core, believe a few things about Mr. W. I'm not interested at opening up a discussion (or argument as the case usually is) about politics. I just want to get it off my chest.

I don't think George is a good leader.

I think he seriously dropped the ball on the Katrina rescue effort. I'm not convinced it's a race issue, but it is a George issue.

I don't feel safe with George at the helm in a world as volitale as ours. I simply don't.

I blame 85% of the gas price hike on George--exactly 85%. I did the math.

I don't consider him a politician. I consider him a businessman doing a pretty ugly impersonation of a politician.

I don't like the way he talks. It's childish, but it really gets on my nerves. I mute the TV sometimes when I see him talking.

I don't like to shower. Ever since I was a kid, I hated to bathe. Sometimes I still dread having to shower before going to work. Don't get me wrong, I do it, but sometimes I only do it because it's kinda hard as a working married man not to. I think it's because I don't like being hot and in order to bathe correctly, you have to be hot. I'd rather be cold and dirty than hot and clean...wait a sec, we were talking about George, uh, have a good Wednesday.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Some guys drove by and yelled, "Get a job!" Remember?

Well, today on the way home from my grandmother's house, I see a woman with her two kids wrapping tape around a sign, adhering it to street light. I think, "Here's my chance to get a little retribution." I mean, I'd have a problem if someone did to my mother and, yeah, she had her kids with her, but I wanted to know what it felt like to yell something from a passing car. I wanted to know the power you feel from such an experience.

I tell my lovely wife of my wishes and she states the obvious, "C'mon, she has her kids with her." Of course, that would suggest that if she didn't have her kids with her, I might be granted the opportunity by my lovely wife. I said playfully, "I don't care! I'll yell at them too! If they're old enough to talk back..."

And then my lovely wife says, "...they're old enough to sell crack."

Funniest thing my lovely wife has said in quite some time. She's much funnier when she's tired. That or she's much funnier when I'm tired. Maybe they're both true.

Either way, I thought it needed to be said. In the end, we took the high road and just drove by without incident. More on the fatigue later. There's a story behind that as well. Have a good weekend, folks. Now, go buy Wolfmother and threaten a friend into buying it as well. We need to get 'em over 250,000.




Mention the letters "KMD" to most anyone and you're bound to be mistaken for either KMFDM (the German metalectroid group once linked to the Trench Coat Mafia) or KLF (as in "KLF is gonna rock you"--I'm holding back vomit as I speak). KMD, however, is ZevLove X (later MF Doom), Onyx the Birthstone Kid and DJ Subroc. And Mr. Hood is one of hip hop's very few dusty artifacts that articulately represents the evolution of the artform to a platform for voicing the frustrations and, at times, rediculousness of race relations of the early 90s. KMD's approach was much more subtle then the Public Enemys and XClans of the world--often lacing message with enough sugar to help that medicine go down. The result of this formula is Mr. Hood.

Mr. Hood centers around the metaphorical title character--an straight, uptight, white man getting a lesson in black culture as he travels through everyday life in the ghetto on an almost Bulworthian fantasy. The production of the record is a perfect snapshot of the beautifully crafted early nineties hip hop--breakbeats cut and spliced into a neverending loop partnered with carefully selected samples intricately constructed into the song. The production alone on Mr. Hood is primarily responsible for the unique charm of the record--echoing the sound of Prince Paul on 3 Feet High and Rising and Dante Ross on One for All.

Onyx and Zev do their damn thing coming as tasty as any of the era's emcees. The dueling verses never grow dull and, when complete, it only leaves you craving three times the portion. Their mastery of both verse and chorus serve as proof to not only Zev and Onyx's clout as emcees, but as a further evidence of the accelerated understanding and later perfection of what an emcee is from the earlier, more primitive years of hip hop.

A&R'd by Prime Minister Pete Nice and MC Serch of 3rd Bass, debuted on 3rd Bass' sensation "Gas Face." Pete and Serch would later lend to Mr. Hood as executive producers. Elektra would later give KMD the boot before they could release their less-humorous and more-militant Black Bastards--the cover art being the largest concern of the project. It would be one of many key hip hop artists that Elektra would liquidate in the nineties--along with Del, Leaders of the New School, Brand Nubian and Souls of Mischief.

Additionally, I must mention this albums holds significant personal value to me. Long-since deleted (but soon to be reissued through Traffic [you guys rock]), I spotted the spine of this CD in a clearance rack when I was working in the stores with my current outfit. KMD only rang a bell because of "Gas Face" and since it would only cost me about $.50, I chunked out the change and bought the damned thing. What would hit me as I popped it in my car would leave me in awe for months afterwards. It would quickly become one of the most prized piece of music in my entire collection--even in the scratched, worn, abused state I purchased it in. Still to this day, some seven years later, I marvel at how incredible Mr. Hood is. It's brilliance is not to be understated. Wait until it's reissued (in September, I think) and then do not hesitate to purchase this album--you'll thank me for it.

Album Highlights:
"Who Me?"
"Nitty Gritty"
"Hard Wit No Hoe"

Friday, August 25, 2006


Once again, you're at work. Maybe you are returning from your trip to the coffee machine or perhaps you went over to accounting to yap for a few moments and you figure people might start wondering where you are so you dart back to your desk. Either way, in the hallway, you approach him. He gets closer and you prepare your greeting for him. You have a few options, but you decide to ask, "How you doin'?"

Good choice.

However, this is the guy who never listens to those short passing questions in the hallway and just replies blankly with, "Not much."

Now, this ain't a backbreaker. It's actually such an easy question to answer that most people just come back with the standard "fine" because you're not intended to think about it too much. Just say something, but make sure you actually answer the right question.

The other instance of this that you'll find in many office settings is this:

j3: "What's up, Bobby?"

Bobby: "Good."

Crap! That's not what I asked. I'm clearly asking for a verb or maybe even a noun, but you can't answer that question with an adjective! I'm not asking for a cure for cancer or a stock report, I'm just asking, "What are you up to?" If you don't think you're fit to answer than just mumble, pick your panties out of your butt and keep on walking.

So remember, the standard answer to "How you doin'?" or "How's it goin'?" is the word "Fine," which, not all too coincidently also means "end." You're done answering with one word. You can also hit 'em back with the following: slendid, fantastic, crappy, horrible or good.

And a proper answer to, "What's up?" is "Nothin." You can venture outside of that with really what's up, but remember, the key is to keep it short or else you'll be that other guy.

Thursday, August 24, 2006




Black Sheep's A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, in many ways for a legion of thirtysomethings, is the admittance of a life once lived--a kid in junior high copping an attitude, bustin' a sag. It never ceases to amaze me how many people I come across, when this record is mentioned, exclaim, "Yeah, I love Black Sheep!" or "I had that on tape a long time ago." That was me. I ran that tape front to back, start to finish countless times--finally replaced it with the much more convenient compact disc as I grew taller. In fact, the album's only sold 300,000 on CD, but a whopping 550,000 on cassette--almost 65% coming on a near-extinct format. Really, it's because kiddies had to bump it in their older brother's car and, back in 1991, the only CD player in a car sat in your lap and had to be held real steady. But still the numbers indicate a boom of popularity and the inevitable pop fallout--now the name hits you like that kid back in high school that accidently wet his pants in algebra.

Nonetheless, Wolf is quite frankly still as good as hip hop gets. It represents the very best of the genre to this day--an product that stood the test of time and still stands tall against your favorite hip hop album.

The lead single "Flavor of the Month" about the obvious traffic jam of hip pop acts in the early 90s, but it was the remix of "The Choice is Yours" that launched the duo into the mainstream. And, while the two singles confirmed Black Sheep's position amongst hip hop's elite, the remaining 20 cuts on Wolf exhibit Mista Lawnge's tasty production prowess and Dres' unique abilities as an emcee. Endlessly irreverant and sometimes just downright obscene, Black Sheep is hip hop's answer to Andrew Dice Clay--often teetering between crude misogynistics and 40-swiggin' jokery. The result, however, is an achievement in both the critical and popular sense--an almost impossible feat in hip hop.

We got 145,000 copies to go to get Wolf to platinum--tell all your friends.

Album Highlights:
"Pass the 40"
"Similak Child"
"The Choice is Yours"
"Flavor of the Month"
"Gimme the Finga"
"Try Counting Sheep"

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Alright, let's hit it with an update. Sorry I've been a little distant.

Management asked me to lay low after confessing my love for Justin Timberlake so I went into hiding until it cooled off a little. I'm back now. The vans have stopped driving by the house slowly. I didn't know it was such a danger.

As you might have seen, I'm entering a period of a baseball-free life after the Sox absolutely blew their chance to overtake the Bankees in the standings. Whaddya gon' do? The dudes couldn't pinch off a win if the Yankees missed their flight--they'd still find a way to lose. Key injuries have killed us down the stretch. It's like trying to fight a war with a paper clip and a rubberband (which can be lethal if used correctly--but only once).

The Yellow's now entering our, uh, let's say fifth straight day of rain, however, it might be more. I just lost count. Don't believe me? Check this out:

Here firemen rescue a motorist out of about a current of about eight inches of rain. It's no Katrina, but it's as close as Yellowians will ever be. This town averages about 18 inches of rain a year. What they fail to tell you is that it all comes in two weeks.

I was in a local gas station and I heard a man say, "They say we've received four inches in the last five days, but at an intersection in my neighborhood it's goin' over the hood of my car! I think we've got a lot more than four inches, man!"

I suppose he never learned the concept of gravity. In fact, I'm sure there's alot of things this guy never learned.

Roderick! Whaddup, man! Pleasure to meet you. I'll try not to disappoint this year with my list. In the meantime, pick up the J-Dilla record The Shining. It's hot to death.

Area rapper Newox came to town this weekend (that'd be Danny, the original City Fence). As always good to see him. This trip he was showing off his new Hummer. It's like a freakin' 747 on wheels--the thing barely fit in our driveway. Pretty chill visit from Danny--just hung out and enjoyed the company. Went to see the new Will Farrell movie. Decent flick, however, I was more in the mood for Descent which I went to see solo because Danny said he can't handle scary movies in the theater and you know my lovely wife ain't goin nowhere near that movie. Descent rocked, though.

Kevin Federline made his debut on the Teen's Choice Awards, in case you didn't know. Yeah, the Teen's Choice Award is the perfect way to gain the respect of the hip hop community. I mean, it's no Source Awards, but things get gully at Teen's Choice. Real rappers do Teen's Choice. Dude looks like a cracked out Brian Austin Green (BAG, for short). Sounds like a cracked out Brian Austin Green, too. Between him and Paris Hilton's new record, it's no surprise why the music industry's in such turmoil.

And what's up with this John Mark Karr fella?! Dude's straight lyin. When he first came out, I was already calling his bluff. Who calls a freakin press conference to confess to a murder?! I like how all the officials in Taiwan were acting like they caught the big fish. To see all those cops and investigators walking him around like they trapped him, killed him and gut him had me rolling. First off, he came to you all. Secondly, he's lying. He's a man with an obsession so deep rooted that even he believes his fiction. This is just a campaign to convince others. My lovely wife and I were discussing it and she said he could probably take a lie detector test and pass because he's so derranged. Confessing to an adoration for Justin Timberlake--now that's news. Faking a confession of killing JonBenet Ramsey, that's just a free trip to Boulder, CO. Hope it was worth it.

Just another frail, pasty, uber-creepy freakazoid. Dude needs to eat a hamburger and go back into hiding. By the looks of this photo, I'd pick him as a Elton John fan. Rocket man!

The Roundhouse lost their first game of the season bringing our record to a still respectable 3-1. Never fear, folks, we're playing well. Just came up a little short. David managed to knock the catcher off his feet in our second game. It's funny because we always take it lightly until David knocks some fella of his block and then the game takes a wicked turn. All the sudden, you're watching your back hoping someone ain't about to send you flying. I was playing first that game and, trust me, after that incident at home, I was thinking someone was gonna make an example out of me. Of course, I'm still a pretty big dude and would like to think that if you try and knock me over, it's gonna take a full-on tackle. David claimed that he all over the plate and had no option. The ump claimed David threw an elbow at him. I claim it was the most gangsta thing I've seen David do in a long time. Leave it to David. A more appropriate move toward the plate would have been a flying kick to the catchers chin. I've been working on the move and will most likely introduce it during the next game. I'm here to save the game like a memory card.

#9 coming on the j3 Top 20 Hip Hop Albums of All Time coming this evening.

Looks like I'm going to do the backstroke to work this morning. Wish me luck.

Monday, August 21, 2006


When the goin' gets tough, when your team drops five straight games to the Bankees, when you sense there's no saving the season, it's best to just turn it off and find a new hobby. I did it last year fairly successfully and I'm doing it again this year. I got too much on my mind to occupy any of it with baseball. Here's the original post from last September with some slight modifications.

I'm on the NO SOX DIET.

What does this involve, you might ask. Well, let me give you the lowdown:



NO TELEVISED GAMES (this including the middle of September series against Spanks)


I'm essentially locking baseball in the cupboard until AFTER the regular season is complete.

"Aw, j3, you're not going to support your beloved Sox?"
"And you consider yourself a true fan?"
"You're a coward."
"It's just a game."

Yeah, that's fine. I'll catch some flack, but you know what, don't question my loyalty to the Sox. It's because I'm a true fan that I'm taking precautions. Because I know how much it stings. I know how frustrating it is. I would contend that the people who say I'm not a true fan because I feel such anxiety are not true fans. They don't know nothing about this. I just decided I'm going to try something new this year.

Now, I'm soliciting the support of my loved ones, friends, Spankee fans, Sox fans, an Oriole fan, co-workers and so on.



Until October 3rd, you can just assume that I don't even know what baseball is.
The diet begins today. Sox are down six and a half games to the Spanks with 37 games to go.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Ron Artest, while serving out his community service time for his actions in a 2004 NBA brawl in which he jumped in the stands and beat the crap out of multiple fans like Hulk Hogan in a superbrawl, articulated his thoughts and regrets to a group of young children at a youth center.

"Someone started trouble and I ended it."


Alright, Scarface. Let's remember we're talking to youngins. When I was growing up, only one person had license to say that and that was a parental. Artest continues, "I would always encourage you to protect yourself but in certain situations, if you can avoid them, avoid them."

I like how avoiding trouble is the exception here. If you can avoid it, then avoid it. Otherwise, assault is your best option.

"Mommy, guess what I learned today?" I guess I shouldn't have poked fun at Artest and his cello. This is what happens to those kids in orchestra from grade school. Look at my brother and I.

Artest, as if climbing into the stands to beat the snot out of some fan didn't make you gangsta already, defending it to the kiddies during your community service solidifies your status.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


"Where we goin', Thunder?"

What you see is exactly what $42,000,000 dollars looks like.

An unprecedented five game series begins on Friday between the Banks and the Sox in Fenway. Sox are down by two games. It's do or die for the Sox. They blow this series and you can kiss their playoff chances goodbye, I'm afraid. Our backs are against the wall, I gotta few beers in the fridge and, like Loverboy, I'm working for the weekend. We win three of five and we're down a game. We win four outta five and we're up a game. And if we sweep 'em, we're up by three, A-Rod receives a new orifice courtesy of ol' Steiners and Jeter can start looking for a nice fall vacation spot to blow his $20,000,000 on. Personally, I'd hire some private investigators to find out where his career has been hiding during game time.



Yeah, in the spirit of giving it to you on the real, I'm going ahead and making my appreciation for Justin Timberlake public before the new record hits. You will hear me playing it. And, after enough spins, you will hear me singing along. I just don't want it catching some people off guard. That new record's gonna be fire, b'lee dat.

Okay, I'm not just going to stop there. I liked the freaking first record. I mean, c'mon, "Rock Your Body," "Cry Me a River," "Like I Love You," the dude is an unstoppable hit machine. In fact, let's not stop there: I liked N'Sync. I liked them better than the Backstreet Boys. No contest! And, yes, I liked Justin most of all. Not in a Brokeback sense, just in a "Yeah, that's my boy, right there," sense.

Go ahead and hate. I just rather not have those skeletons in my closet because I know, before too long, they're gonna get out.

Don't front, folks. And fellas, watch yourself before you start namecallin'.

Lots of updates coming to The Root Down so act like ya know.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

1,500 MILES LATER...

Wow, I guess my estimates were a little off. I figured, with Texas being the second largest state in the union only to Alaska (which can't be travelled from one end to the other), that when you got out of Texas, the states just flew by. I thought it would only take about 10 hours to travel to the Bronx. Crap was I wrong.

I departed at 1pm on Friday from the Yellow for Jeff City, MO. I arrived at 2:45am. The biggest problem was Oklahoma. The biggest problem is always Oklahoma. Purchased in the Louisiana Purchase from France for roughly $1,200,000 (whatta rip off) as a percentage of the total $15,000,000 which included Louisiana, the Dakotas, Kansas and Nebraska amongst other territories, Oklahoma still has the road system of 1803. It's like the little state that could but didn't because Texas did it first and better. The little stepchild of the union. And if you're not poking your way across the back highways (which will slow you down to an astounding 25 mph in some towns), you're having to pay for access to their crappy highways through the toll system. Unacceptable. At least the people were nice. Toll booth employees included.

Finally got into Missouri around midnight. The humidity was so thick that I had to run my wipers when it wasn't even raining. Now that's some thick air. Passed through Lebanon (Missouri, that is). Talk about a community on the fringe of society (and reality, for that matter). I stopped in a convenience store and it seemed like everyone was scowling and, even more peculiarly, limping. Not sure what was going on there, but I didn't want to end up with a bum leg so I bolted.

Saturday, we travelled from Jeff City to Sedalia for the reunion. Here are a few highlights. First my lovely cousins and my even lovelier Grandma (sorry, cousins).

Oh yeah, no party's complete without you know what! The road had worn me out and it took me about five attempts to produce this beauty.

That night, we went even further down the road to Warrensburg (passing up a chance to stay a night in a town called "Knob Noster"). We ordered in pizza, chowed and then I supervised my cousins to the tattoo parlor. The Nardis all jumped right in, but the solo Nordby and myself didn't get tatted. Carrie claimed, "I want to know my artist." I just don't like needles.

Here's a pic of my Angela and Giovanna, their father Tony (in the back), yours truly stuntin' hard and my father Boyce (Magnum P.I.).

At 9 am the next morning, I made the long haul back home. Kansas was a much prettier drive than Oklahoma. At least it was greener. When you're from the Yellow, green counts for something. Met with Kris and his girlfriend Heather in Wichita. Quite a treat, indeed. We talked hip hop and Heather just listened politely.

I figure I did 1,500 miles in about 36 hours total which means even when I was asleep, I was travelling about 41.5 mph. That's pretty fast for a hotel room.

Crap, I gotta get. Going back to Lubbock this morning on business and we're leaving in under an hour. People, be easy. We'll catch up later.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Missouri, that is.

Big ol' family reunion this weekend up in Missouri (mizz-ur-ee as opposed to mizz-ur-uh, which I've also heard). Yeah, the wife's not taking this train so I'm riding solo. She gets upset with me when I drive for long periods of time, especially by myself, but it's the CW McCall in me. Once I hit that open road with the sun behind me and nothing but dead armadillos and asphalt in front of me, I might drive all the way to Canada. But why would I want to do that?

Speaking of, what happened to America? Like overnight we went from Ernie to Elmo. I heard the lines at Newark were near six football fields long. I suppose that means we're back on heightened alert. Not to make light of the whole situation because this is really serious, but this is why I drive. I hate airports now. I mean, man, whatta bummer. By the time you sit down on the plane, you're really wondering if you, in fact, do have a bomb. You might even question your nationality. Whatever, politics is not something I'm very good at so I'll just shut up. I just know I hate airports.

Chuckheads put to two up in the win column tonight. Happy about that. Kool Aid came in like a man tonight. Dude was alive. Suppose he snorted Hawaiian Punch tonight. Whatever it was, dude scored from first on a ground out in the infield with no error. Amazing. He loves the game.

First win came against our lowly friends from last semester, Scott's Flowers. Second game came against a competitor, Circuit City we'll say. Dude's got served. They got a nasty Roundhouse that'll make them walk sideways for weeks. I don't really like beating dudes like that, but once the wheels get turning, you ain't about to shut 'em off. They were good sports about it and afterwards drank our beer--we offered, of course, because we're good sports. Chuck would have it no other way. It'll be a tougher league no doubt. We spend our downtime sizing up our competition. Ain't no walk in the proverbial park like last semester.

Alright. Everyone have a fantastic weekend. I'm out until Sunday evening. Til' then, I'm somewhere between the Yellow and Jefferson City, MO. Mizz-ur-ee, that is.


So, thanks to one of our wonderful distributors, my wife and I received two tickets to the Ron White concert last night here in the Yellow. I've seen him before at our sales convention a couple years back. Good stuff. Great entertainer.

Wait a sec, uh, wrong Ron White. Although he's still kinda funny.

Let's get this out the clear: I wouldn't, by any means, consider myself a fan. I mean, I like comedy. I like to laugh, but Ron's good-ol'-boy-scotch-and-cigar brand doesn't really fit me. Furthermore, this dude's fan base is only one development stage ahead of an embryo. You give them beer and you have a crowd that will laugh at anything. They'd laugh at this guy if he was talking about famine, war and death (no offense, Ron). I mean, c'mon, this the same audience that bought 13 million Jeff Foxworthy records (offense intended, Jeff).

Let me just make it easier. Here's the Dummies' Guide to the Fan's Guide to Attending a Ron White Concert. There are really only seven important things to remember to do.
  1. Grow up in a small town with no political, cultural and/or ethnical diversity. Once you've done this, you're basically just a Nascar jacket and a domestic violence arrest from being a fan (and those are the easiest to acquire once you've reached this point). It doesn't really have to be a small town, but it makes your small-minded underdevelopment much more intense.
  2. Get your drink on long before you arrive. Like anything, it'll be hard for you to have a good time if you're not drunk. Be careful walking to your seat though. If you lead on too heavily that you've been binging, they might not serve you anymore. Bring more cash than your used to spending on beer because it ain't gonna be too cheap and you don't want to be sitting there without a drink in your hand at anytime or your evening will become one long bummer that you'll complain about all night. And buy enough ahead of time so that you can keep your trips to the bar area to a minimum and make sure you don't get caught short. There'll be plenty of heavy drinkers like you and, man, once that well runs dry, you're party's going to turn into a quick walking hangover.
  3. During the opening act, get your laugh warmed up. Test it out. See what inflection works for you. You'll have three level of laughs: the "snicker," the "belly" and the "whoop." The snicker is your "filler" laugh that you use when it's not funny, but since you're at a comedy show, you can't not laugh at any one point. It doesn't take much energy and works well for a pity laugh. The "belly" is the mid-level laugh that you'll use when it's genuinely funny, but by no means the funniest thing you've ever heard. You'll use this alot. It's the most natural of the laughs. Sometimes you'll find, that with your heavy smoking and drinking, this is also sometimes accessorized with a horrible cough. Beware: a tearful coughing fit could bum you out for the rest of the evening. The "whoop" is the quick reaction laugh that normally can only be achieved by a short punchline. Use this sparingly or you'll be catching a snooze by halfway through Ron's act. Make sure, to exaggerate the "whoop," you compliment it with a series of seemingly uncontrollable body motions: flailing in your seat, kicking your legs out so they kick the seat in front of your where a man and his wife are simply trying to enjoy the show, but can't do so because you're a pea-headed moron or the conventional knee-slap, but do it until either your hand is the color of raw meat or your knee is inoperable. Again, this is usually handled during the opening act.
  4. When Ron comes out, you need to be at full attention and, despite what popular thinking and the comedian himself would suggest, interactive. You know the jokes because, c'mon, you're a superfan. You need to speak yo clout. Let everyone around you know that you know the jokes, you own the albums. Be alert though, those old punchlines can sneak up on you--especially because you've been drinking, but when you hear material from an old routine, yell a key word from the joke. Perhaps even yell the actual punchline. I'll tell you this, comedians love it when you beat them to their own punchline. Remember, everyone around you not only came to see Ron, but they paid their hard-earned cash (well, some of it was "hard-earned") to enjoy you enjoying Ron. If he has a catch-phrase, which all comedians do, yell it. For instance, during a quiet point, just belt out "Tater salad!" It'll be the link between you and Ron and then Ron will go through a quick inner-talk, "Yes, this audience knows me. They're familiar with my material. I might just do an encore." Of course, your interaction can just be a simple, "You rock, Ron!" Show your appreciation and, more importantly, bring the show to a screaming halt to do so.
  5. In your immediate area, help others complete the punchlines. Especially the man in front of you with his wife who are just trying to enjoy the show. They might need help. Maybe not, but you have to make some assumptions. Helping others complete the punchlines means either, one, serving it up before it ever arrives or, two, repeating it after it's been delivered for added emphasis. Sometimes it's nice to serve it up before it ever arrives because it almost makes it seem that you, too, are a funny person. It makes you seem witty that you can link a joke to a punchline. Maybe you'll find a sweet lady to go home with because of your humorous qualities. Everyone around you, and I mean everyone, will appreciate your help throughout the program. Sometimes even we're too dumb to get trailer park humor.
  6. The Ron White show is a perfect venue for you to take a position on social issues. Through Ron White's act, you can put in what I call the "whoos" and "boos" to show your support or your protest. For instance, when he's talking about alcohol, the war or the death penalty, give him a "whoo." When he's talking about fidelity, cancer and homosexuality, give him a "boo." And make sure it's loud because you don't want anyone confusing the two. Remember, you have the brain of a child and noisemaking is sometimes an easier method of articulating your perspective. Again, this is your chance to take a stand without anyone thinking less of you. It's rather anonymous when you're a face in a crowd of thousands. Harder to actually talk about the death penalty and talk facts while you're changing some guy's oil or rounding up cattle.
  7. Lastly, when you're exiting the venue after a rousing applaud (yes, complete with standing ovation), repeat selections from the program to all your friends. It's your way of showing them that you were paying attention and it highlights your favorite parts of the program. Act like they weren't sitting right next to you through the entire program. And laugh hysterically like it's the first time you heard it...again.

My beloved Sox are on a horrible skid right now. Sucks. We've dropped to three games behind the Bankees. Nothing's working for us at this point. I might just ignore it for a while. Maybe it'll just go away.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006



Like the kid who just keep showing up until someone gave him his chance, Ice Cube's younger cousin Delvon had a hand in Cube's Amerikkka's Most Wanted as an honorary member of Cube's Da Lench Mob and also co-wrote the majority of Cube's protege Yo-Yo's debut Make Way For The Motherlode in 1990-91. In 1991, his debut I Wish My Brother George Was Here had everyone rockin' on their heels. Not only was the production unrivaled in terms of Left Coast hip hop except for maybe Cypress Hill's first with its seamless use of trunk-rattlin' funk, intrictate beat programming and synth-heavy composition.

And Del, as an emcee managed to completely disassemble the stigma attached with West Coast emcees as the gang-bangin', drug slangin' criminal-turned-poet. Del's drawl was more reminiscent of the chilled flows of his East Coast counterparts--injecting moments of wit and humor to intentionally distance himself as a "18-year dweller of the meadow." His purposeful aversion leads him to raps about "Dark Skin Girls", "The Wacky World of Rapid Transit", his homie sleepin' on his couch and the "Sunny Meadowz."

Elektra would drop Del after his second record which would make him the first in a long line of rap acts discarded by Elektra that would go on to ultimately hold some level of prestige in the rap game (Brand Nubian, Leaders of the New School, KMD (MF Doom), Pete Rock & CL Smooth). Shame on you, Elektra.

Album Highlights:
"Pissin' On Your Steps"
"Dr. Bombay"
"Same Ol' Thing"
"The Wacky World of Rapid Transit"

Monday, August 07, 2006


Aight. So I've been out at an industry event in Orlando. Good time, but lots of meetings. While out there, like any industry event, there's entertainment provided by the attending labels. Sometimes it's up-and-comers (Lupe Fiasco, Scissor Sisters, Paulo (something or other), Corrinne Bailey Rae, Young Hot Rod), established artists (Jurassic Five, 50 Cent, Young Buck, Chuck D) or coming-backs (Grand Funk Railroad, Kool and the Gang (who rocked the house like a wreckin ball). Well, I'm not sure how you choose to categorize the following (although, I know where I'd slot him), but I had the distinct pleasure of attending an evening reception hosted by Absolut. Providing the song and dance that evening was someone who I had no idea I'd ever have the chance to meet. The one, the only Jordan Knight of New Kids on the Block (or later NKOTB).

Yeah, dude was a pimp. It was a little weird, though. Because half of the crowd was cheering and singing along and the other half was just staring and laughing. I kinda fell in between, really. I mean, the dude's an entertainer, but hearing him do "The Right Stuff" was very Vegas and a little creepy. I have to believe it brings him incredible sadness to do that song and it takes everything in his body to hide the tears when he performs it. But, like a freaking vet, he went right into it. At the end of the song, I raised my arms in the air and belted out a boisterous "whooooo!" that I know someone has a photo of. I need to find that photo and have it destroyed. One photo, however, that I'm proud of I seized and am going to throw it up for your pleasure.

Check this piece:

I didn't really know what to do with my hands. I was thinking about throwing the rap hands up, but figured I was lucky enough to even get the chance so played it cool. I certainly didn't want to appear like I was making a mockery of him. I know he must get it all the time. That fella on the right, who most didn't recognize as he meandered helplessly through the crowd, is Jordan's handsome brother Jonathan. In case you need a point of reference, peep it.

Yeah, rollin' wit the big boys, that's right. I found it rather peculiar, however, that Jordan was rather leary of taking pictures with dudes. I mean, he had no problem with obliging a female with a picture, but when I walked up it was almost like he uttered the words, "Make it fast, dude." I imagine because he knew it was eventually going to end up on a blog surrounded by jokery. I decided to not additionally push him for an autograph and just left with what I got figuring it'd look excellent on The Root Down. And, boy, does it!

Lupe had to cancel because of an automotive accident. Jurassic rocked it like everyone knew they would. I was front and center for the whole performance surrounded by industry folks, drunk off their collective tails, attempting to head bob. It was kinda weird. I talked with Chali after the performance and we spoke of X-Clan, who they're touring with right now--just quickly professing our love for Professor X and Brother J. All were very nice and professional, as expected.

Corrinne Bailey Rae was remarkable. Such an incredible voice and her backing band was on point. Grand Funk Railroad was really old. That's all I can recall about that. Scissor Sisters played the awards dinner and, with their very flamboyant, very gay lead singer, managed to split the audience in two. I really enjoyed their performance, but admitting it to your co-workers was like walking right out of the closet. Here's a sampling:

"Man, the Scissor Sisters rocked."

"You really think so, huh?"

"Yeah, I mean, it was tight."

"Tight, huh?"

"Yeah. Tight. You don't think so?"

"Well, yeah, if you're into that sorta thing. I'm gonna go watch Sportscenter."

Dude, Kool and the Gang were a ferocious funk monster. They rocked it so freaking hard, I had to pinch myself a couple of times. That horn section was so loud I almost wet my drawers. When they went into "Jungle Boogie," I almost couldn't contain it. Don't front on Kool and the Gang, fool.

Aight, back to catching up. Enjoy your Tuesday.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Okay, I'm home.

I'm tired.


And not really for typing, but before I forget about it, I have to log a celebrity sighting at the Houston Airport. We arrive from Orlando and making our way to our next gate for the Yellow. We're waiting on the platform for the train-thang that'll take us to another terminal and I spotted him, frantically diggin' through his carry-on baggage and dialing on this cellular telephone. I was star-struck. I panic and begin whispering among my party so they could stand in awe with me (and also recognize that I spotted him first). Unfortunately for me, no one was too hip to him and no one recognized him as a celebrity. But, honest to God, it was him. I have no picture to prove it, but I would ask myself, "Would j3 really make this up?"

So who was it, you ask?

None other than the great Theo Von from Road Rules.

I know what you're thinking: he's not really a celebrity. He's just a reality television star. Well, if he's had more TV time than me that makes him a celebrity. Theo's doing stand-up now. Good luck to him. I've been pulling for him on the Fresh Meat competition on MTV, however, the season has not yet completed. I should've just walked to him and asked him who won. Another missed chance. He bolted for an open door on the opposite train and I lost him.

Oh well. Take my word for it.

I come home to find my beloved Sox down two games to the Bankees. It was bound to happen. Some key injuries have hit us hard of late. Here's to a better week for them.

More about my time in Orlando with the guarantee of an actual celebrity photo with, count 'em, two celebrities. And, yes, it's way awesome. Laters, folks.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Despite not making, really, any moves at all before the trade deadline, the Sox managed to hold off a pesky Indian squad and stay up in the AL East by one game. After taking 6-5 lead in the fourth, Fat Ass Wells was left in by Francona (Grady Little II) and, to the very next hitter, gave up a three-run homer vaulting the Indians ahead, 6-8. Kyle Snyder was outstanding in relief of Wells by not allowing the Indians to get out any further and it set up what, well, anyone would expect these days in Boston--a game-ending Papi homerun. Number nine-hitter Alex Cora singles to lead of the bottom of the ninth. Youks walks. Loretta flies out and Papi takes a 2-0 pitch into the Boston night. Game over.

Big win for the Sox on the day of the trade deadline. I mean, things were starting to come undone. You had Trot go out with a wrist strain. Just last night, Varitek twisted his knee. Wells come back only to get shelled. And the Yankees are hard on our trail. But with our backs against the wall, Papi comes through.

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Go Sawx.