Saturday, June 30, 2007


Well, I gotta say, if the Spanks want to spend $28 million for Roger Clemens and his 1-3 record and 5.32 ERA, it's gonna make it really easy for the Sox. Here, we see Roger behind the controls of a team going down. Notice the calm expression on his face. That's because, win or lose, dude's gonna get paid. Way I see it, he's still a Red Sock. I mean, this is an ambush that not even I could've predicted. Dude's a col' snake. Spanks are in third place in the division and 11 games back entering play today. Not saying it's impossible, but when their knight in shining armor rolls over and pees himself, we'll put it this way, I'm sleeping really well these days. Roger that!

I see my boy Diddy's gotta new group he's working on. It will be crap. It will be garbage. It will sell 300,000 units first week and proving, once again, that if you release nothing, they'll buy anything. The releases are starting to come from the industry, but it appears to be too much too late. I mean, there's a UGK record still coming somewhere, a new Kanye, a new 50 Cent just in time for when everyone's dropping $60 on Halo and Madden releases. And there's rumors that Eminem will have project coming--right in time for when everyone's getting iPods for Christmas. That's some fantastic planning there. Let's release projects when no one has any cash left to spend. Well, a releases that's actually out and rocks the balls off a bull is the new White Stripes record. Icky Thump is quite possibly the most solid White Stripes record to date as, from beginning to end, it absolutely rips, shreds, pillages and demolishes. It's as thick and as mean as any of their past releases and, while not centered around three or so clear singles, it relies more on sound song writing, blistering instrumental work and furious vocal treatment from the great Jack White. Every outing, I like these two more and more. Pick it up. The album's a blast. There, now you have a record to buy.

On the music tip, Rock the Bells and Paid Dues are in deep competition for tour of the summer. I'm riding the fence on which one I'll choose to go to. Rock the Bells features Wu Tang Clan headlining with UGK, Nas, Talib Kweli, David Banner, Pharoahe Monch, Immortal Technique, Jedi Mind Tricks among others. Paid Dues features Slug of Atmosphere, Murs, Living Legends, Sage Francis, Brother Ali, Cage, Mr. Lif, Blueprint, Hangar 18 and more. Both super dope lineups. Still riding the fence. Anyone want to roll, it's gonna be Paid Dues in Santa Fe on August 9th and Rock the Bells in Dallas on August 7th.

I'd like for you to meet Randy Wyrick. We're not related, but I thought you might find this yearbook photo from 1973 as supergangsta as I did. Unlike some of the less-than-fantastic moments achieved by Wyricks and chronicled on The Root Down, it appears that Randy accomplish a rather quiet, crime-free life. I'm trying to figure out whether or not this is the Randy Wyrick that reports for a Vail newspaper.

I don't know if you've been following this, but people are losing limbs and even dying on amusement park rides. A girl lost both of her feet on the Superman ride at a Six Flags somewhere. I'm not sure if everyone's familiar with the Superman concept so let me educate. You start on the ground, strapped into a seat and then you launch up to some 20 stories into the air at an accelerated speed of nearly 55 m.p.h. The exhiliration of starting at a sitted position to flying at 55 m.p.h. straight into the sky is unmatched. So imagine, if you will, taking this flight with a cord wrapped around both feet and anchored to the ground. Yeah, ripped her feet right off her body. That's an insanely chilling story. For those about to eat, I apologize.

The great Kris Fleetwood (not as in "mac" but as in "mack") purchased his Gangsta! Gangsta! yellow tee and requested a hoodie. Well, in response to popular demand (or the demand of one), I'm releasing to the public an exclusive Gangsta! Gangsta! Number One in the Hood Hoodie. I don't get to pick the colors aside from ash and white so that's all you get. But at $30, this bargain goes far beyond the dope design (c'mon, you know you like it). It's both fashionable and functionable. Do the right thing and cop yours today. By wearing the gun image, you're not condoning gun violence, but rather endorsing clean designs and accomplished journalism. Haha, whatever. Design on the back is the standard "Betta Recognize" text. $30 folks! That's the price of just one tank of gas. Dirty cheapy.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Pulled from the We Came From Beyond comp from LA's greatest DJ Mike Nardone, "Even Shadows Have Shadows" showcases quite possibly better than any other track in the Eyedea catalog, this man's ability on the microphone and the boards. Yes, Eyedea produced this banger as well. Beginning with a low monotone and climaxing with a blast of lyricism, Eyedea's understanding of dramatics and delivery drive this track to its place at #303.


Yet another slamming Tame One track with Tame professing his love the drug game. This has got to be one of the slamminest tracks to come out in the last five years. Over a bed of snares and high-hats, Tame One and Yak Ballz (I'm fairly sure that's Yak), absolutely kill it with their spit fire assault of lyrics.


This reworking of "Brothaz" from Mr. Lif's Mo-Mega is a rare exception to my rule that every remix sucks (more on principle than on actual fact). 9th Wonder's tracks just ooze so much soul and this remix takes the best of Lif's politics with his grandiose flag-waving and 9th Wonder's marvelling production capabilities. Dude, why in the hell did Little Brother split?!


Back when Rawkus was on the verge of col' blowing up, Pharoahe Monch's "Simon Says" was at the helm of that movement into the mainstream. With that menacing Godzilla sample and Monch's "Ya'll know the name!", this song would get any concert hall hype as hell. It's not completely uncommon that you'll still hear a DJ put it on. Unfortunately, an uncleared sample would not only lead to this track's disappearance, it would also lead to the disappearance of the album Internal Affairs, Pharoahe Monch (until eight years later with his new record) and, to a larger level, Rawkus Records. Classic track.

Hip hop supergroup Def Squad (featuring Redman, Erick Sermon and Keith Murray) didn't have a long run, but their debut El Nino featuring the track "Check 'N Me Out" was one of those quinessential party records and this track and its heavy bouncing bassline under, arguably, one of Keith Murray's greater verses was easily the standout. On a larger level regarding Def Squad, it could very well be the last time you see three established artists form a supergroup in hip hop. The group is dead. It can't happen again.

From the 2005 breakthrough album A Healthy Distrust, "Sea Lion" finds Sage in a common moment of reflection where he asks as much "what has become of me?" as "what am I going to do with myself?" For an artist, so often confused and misinterpreted, "Sea Lion" gives us a rare glimpse into the mind of one of this generation's more compelling artists with lines like: "Get in the bus. Hop in the van / Jump in the water. Crawl to the land / Build another castle out of sand. Break it down and then get into the saddle again / I'm going city to city. I'm already lost. Tell the boss who is new in town / I'll ride this horse 'til it it bucks me off and i'm forced to shoot it down / I'll take him out for some gasoline. Trade this cow for some magic beans / Gonna make mom proud of the deals that I made, 'cause I'm just a modern day Johnny Appleseed."
Featuring the talents of Shapeshifters' Life Rexall and Darkleaf's St. Mark 9:23, "Lightpost 2 Lightpost" is a twisted and funky three and a half minute that combines the almost cryptic verses of St. Mark and Duke's favorite 2Mex over the clanging of cowbells and hubcaps dissolving into Rexall's beautiful scratching over the track. Dope, dope, dope.
A perfect example of when artists come together and it actually makes sense. Both Del and El-P have been intergalactic zone coasting for years before meeting up on this track from Del's ahead-of-its-time masterpiece, Both Sides of the Brain. "Offspring" as a term was meant to describe someone who is viewed with great disdain. While it never really caught on in the populus, it's not to discount Del and El-P's biting lyricism over the definitive El-P "Vital Nerve"-ish beat. Ill.
Long before Redman was everyone's favorite living room rapper, he was a super-ill emcee. And "Tonight's Da Night" might not be his biggest hit, but the blending of the Mary Jane Girls' "All Night Long" over Isaac Hayes makes for one smooth-ass track and Redman, as poised and as hungry as he's ever been in his career, brings the fire to the verses. Make sure you cop Whut? Thee Album. 1992, young bucks.
Lesser-known Push Button Objects (Edgar Farinas--who has already appeared on the list) put the track down and Del and Lif killed the verses on this often-overlooked banger. Again, this is a perfect pairing with the vocal styling and delivery of Lif and Del--Del as the common denominator, as he often is (the Kevin Bacon of hip hop). Left, right, up, down, 360 degrees of dope.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Checked the news last night before I went to bed and saw the story come across that wrestling great Chris Benoit was shot and killed along with his wife and son at their home in Tennessee. It made me remember watching Chris as a member of the Four Horsemen just blaze through the entire WWE. Danny, Sarah and I would sit and watch this dude kick the ass of countless wrestlers without mercy every Monday night. Sarah used to comment about how the dude was scary looking because he was missing most of the teeth in his grill, but dude would just go off. When he was tagged into the ring, the fight was over and that's all there was to it. It might not be pretty and it might not be quick, but make no mistake, Chris was gonna col' end it. It was a previous life for me as I haven't watched wrestling in ages, but the death of Chris Benoit took me back, no doubt.

Also in memoriam, pitching great Rod Beck died Sunday. While he didn't do the bulk of his work as a major leaguer with the Red Sox, it would be the with the Red Sox that he would enjoy his last glimpse of glory falling out to the minors shortly afterwards before a brief stint with the Padres. Rod, sadly, had a pretty lengthy bout with substance abuse, he disappeared until showing up in headlines on Sunday after being discovered dead in his truck with no explanation. Sad stuff.

I've been out for a bit and I hate coming back with two deaths, but I'll get to more posting later. Went to Memphis this weekend for the Stax Revue which was just crazy dope. Maybe I'll find some time to expand on that. In the meantime, make sure you cop the limited run of the MF Doom album MM Food being released by Rhymesayers. It's packaged in scratch-n-sniff foil that smells like chocolate and includes a bonus DVD (which I'm watching right now and it's super-bonkers), a copy of the Food Drive Tour poster and a MM Food sticker. That's how you do limited editions. Thanks Rhymesayers for setting it straight.

Alright, I haven't shaved in ages so gots to hit that before I shuffle to work. Be good kiddies. Steve, got the email with the candy image. Much thanks. I'll get it up before too long.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


The term "vacation" is always tricky with a Wyrick simply because we never technically vacate. We're always there...ready to strike. We can go into action at the drop of a hat. And so you'll see. So when we speak of a, say, "vacation to California," it could be considered more a "trip to California." Unfortunately, no one ever explained this to my lovely wife. Case in point, I began typing this morning at 3:00am because I couldn't sleep. In fact, sleep is sometimes only a luxury.
My brother finished seminary at Fuller Theological in Pasadena just recently and, if you've been keeping score at home, it would be my job (I actually prefer the more fancy "duty") to get my brother safely back to Texas where he'll begin his next chapter in Midland.
Son, that's where oil comes from.
It all starts on my plane ride out there. Besides leaving at the very crack of dawn (seriously, I should've told my lovely wife about my reluctance to "vacation"), I absolutely hate airplanes. It's not airports I despise, it's airplanes. In fact, it's not airplanes, it's air travel. I like airports. I kinda like the security process. Only because I've become a sort of champion of the whole process, but getting my big ass crunched into a large silver missle surrounded by gabbing grandmas and screaming children while I hurl from one restroom to another is not really my idea of fun. And usually I can find some sort of redeeming value in the experience and call it "blogging," but I don't enjoy it. I don't enjoy typing about it. It's an irritation. One that I endure by sometimes doubling up on peanuts and soda or "taking the window seat" so I can at least enjoy the view while I'm up there. However, this trip would bless me with two powertalkers straddling the aisle reminiscing over high school. And talking about their jobs. And their spouses. And their cars. And how much they love downtown Phoenix. And their buddy that got serviced to Iraq. And what makes American a better airline. And how there's still the culture in Albuquerque, but it's all on Central. Even in my sleep, I could hear them. In my dream, the guy was a goat and the lady was a circus clown. I kid you not.
I'm a huge fan of "electronic devices"--you know, the kind that are banned at lift off and landing. I'm just asking that, at the very least, airlines be fair and ban talking for the lift off and landing. In fact, the whole flight would be even better.
Once arriving in Cali, Broham came and picked us up in Burbank and we got a warm welcoming to Cali courtesy of In-N-Out. Yes, the burgers truly are as good as people say they are. And they're cheap--really cheap. We then went to Pasadena where my brother has called home for the last three years or so. Went by the Rose Bowl. Here we are in Old Town. You know, I don't wear the tourist hat very well.
Here's a huge Jackie Robinson sculpture. I'm a huge fan of sculptures, but this seems too big to be just his head. It was well done, but I can't imagine how dumb a sculpture of my head would look at the same size. Of course, why would anyone make a sculpture of my head so huge? Man, I need this coffee to kick in quick. I'm already starting to slow and I'm still four hours from work.

Next on the tourism parade, we did what everyone in Cali does (in the same way that all Texas boys learn how to rope cattle before they learn how to pee standing upright) and that's go to the beach. We headed down to the Santa Monica pier which, to a guy who spends every waking hour looking over the horizon filled with nothingness, this is pretty intriguing. The ocean is much like the Yellow. It's both nothingness really from the perspective of a beach except one's land and the other is water.
The only difference is that people don't celebrate the High Plains by walking around shamelessly in Speedos like the man below--even though, make no mistake, the sun's just as good in Texas. Wearing such an outfit, though, in Texas (especially inland) might find you shipped out. Of course, you never know, it could make you a legend.

My brother, later, sent his photos of the man and I was startled by how close my brother came to this man. I mean, dude was daring serious injury by getting so close to this animal. Todd's a dedicated photographer though--a pro. He loves the work. I wonder what homegrown's carrying in that bag of his. I certainly hope the contents include both sunblock and a comb for those shoulders.

Like I should talk.

After eating on the pier, my brother and I decided to take in some of the entertainment including the arcade in which I drove a taxi and Todd rode a donkey. We found out later that the weight limit for the rides was 70 pounds. I'm going public now confessing that, "Yes, we broke the taxi and the donkey."

Also along the pier was Zoltar (or a Zoltar since apparently these things grow on trees in Nevada). You might remember Zoltar from the movie Big. He grants some kid a wish and he becomes Tom Hanks. Kind of a bizarre storyline, but whatever. I told my lovely wife I wasn't going to spend any money on this stupid machine, but then she goes to my brother who enabled her dream of blowing money on Zoltar and his wisdom. Thanks, bro.
The stupid machine spits out a freaking raffle ticket! In her raffle ticket (for a raffle that doesn't exist), it explains that a "dark haired person who is trying to harm you will disappear from your life and you will be extremely happy." Thanks, Zoltar. I love how it says underneath the forture "Play Again!" like once wasn't enough to realize that you've been had.Has that ever worked? Has anyone blown more than one dollar on Zoltar? I wonder if someone's looked at their raffle ticket and said, "Zoltar, once again, you amaze me. Tell me more!" Well, I'm no sucka. I just rather taunt him with money through the glass.

This is the "I like to read and take long walks along the pier" photo. My lovely wife is totally feeling my steez here. Especially with my panties hanging out the back end.

And you really have to get in the water. I ended up getting hosed. Really, that's not pee. Really.

And, it's worth remarking that kids are no longer making sand castles. They're making sand lowriders. This is uncut right here.

Someone said to me the other day that, "Sounds like you were too busy. Did you get a shakeface in while you were out there?" Of course we did. But, when you're crunched for time, you don't always get to find a safe place to bust off a shake. My brother and I had to do it at PF Chang's. No longer will PF Chang's be recognized as a fine dining establishment.

Especially after Todd's righteous shake. This dude is a man amongst mere boys in the world of shakefaces. I'm surprised we didn't get kicked out of that place after he dropped this one on 'em.
Let's go back to our boy in the Speedo. Unless you know him, there's really only two reactions that you can offer up to a man in Speedo that shouldn't be in a Speedo. And, if you look closely in the pictures below, you'll see examples of both. Firstly, if a man is in front of you in a Speedo (and even more true if dude is bending over to snag a stray nickel from the ground), the less obvious and more respectful reaction is to simply gaze up into the sky. Just avoid the dude altogether. Best to have a good idea of what path you're going to take before looking up so you don't have to look back down to check your path for obstructions. Find your path around the Speedo, quickly examine it for dangers (including the Speedo), turn your chin upward and walk the line (literally). I'm guessing this man didn't plot his path before looking upward and is going to come dangerously close to a collision with Speedo.
The less-appropriate action (but, unfortunately more common in this world of intolerance) is the just stop in front of the Speedo and stare. The woman in the blue below is showing how this is best executed. Just turn your head toward the Speedo and stare at it. Even salute it if you feel compelled like it was a flag.

My brother and I actually prefer the least obvious approach and that is to fire off photos while the man's not looking and then post them online later. Hey, it's not like we put his face on here. And I'm sure no one would recognize this man if they knew him.
That next morning, I would be joined by my brother in finally meeting the man, the legend, Dr. Ralph Watkins. We'd talk hip hop, the industry, KRS One, PE, digital business, and so on. Dude was super nice and it was definitely worth the time. In fact, I wish I could've spent all day there at Starbucks talking to him. He was certainly doing some schooling that morning. Rare that I get to meet such intriguing people. Sent him off a big box of music as thanks for his time.
Paid a visit to Amoeba Records down in Hollywood. And when I say "paid," I mean with an arm and a leg. C'mon, it's not often you get to shop from such an assortment of vinyl. I had to do it. I had no choice. My lovely wife knew the damage to expect and forgave me in advance. Forgave isn't really the word. She permitted the expense. Good thing. Because they're going to shut off our cable in a month.

All of LA was a buzz with the news of Paris Hilton. I have to say, I got into it when they're were trying to get her out of the house and that reporter almost got run over. LA's a funny town because they got crazy copter cams out there and if anything happens, you'll get a full account from about 700 feet up.

Todd graduated. Being a Wyrick, you gotta wait a long time before your name is called. We're waiting in suspended anticipation for three hours before Todd's named is called and for some stupid reason, the dude reading names called him "David Todd Wyrick"--reversing his first and middle name--leaving the entire family in confusion and I think my mother got pretty heated about it.
Afterwards, we went to Roscoe's for fried chicken and waffles. I opted out of the fried chicken and waffles and, instead went for the "Big Mama's Plate" which was basically just biscuits, sausage, cheese and eggs smothered in gravy. I drenched the eggs in Tabasco and killed it. Good stuff. This place was pretty popular with the stars apparently. On the wall were such stars like Mike Tyson, James Brown, Eddie Murphy and Ludacris. Also on the wall was Eddie Griffin.

Sunday would pack day after we would get all the family on the plane. The truck was in our possession and Todd's community were all ready to chip in and help get that thing loaded. The first load went relatively smoothly. I mean, there's always challenges, but I didn't crack my shin open, my back felt pretty good and I was well hydrated. Todd, being a personable guy, was having difficulty getting out of there because so many people were coming by to say their farewell. Patient as I was trying to be, I could tell that the hardest thing to pack was going to be Todd himself. It would be close to 9:30pm before we would actually hit the road. The truck was hanging pretty low as evidence of the mudflaps basically dragging on the road. So we pulled into a parking lot just in the neighborhood and I took off the bottom of the mudflaps. Now we were ready to go. The truck felt really heavy, but nonetheless, we had to get going. It was already late and we had set a goal of making it to the Cali/'Zona border and then crashing for the night.

Once we entered the highway, our problems were fairly obvious. The truck because rocking and swaying wildly once we crept over 35 miles per hour. That's a problem. In fact, for those wondering, that's a weight distribution problem. We were too top heavy. We immediately exit.

We pull into a parking lot in a business district and talk about our plans. I suggest that we only work on the back five feet of the truck. Knowing this is when usually stuff is just crammed loosely into the truck and without strategy, I was fairly certain that by repacking the back five feet, we could probably solve the rocking and be on our merrily way. We open up the back and begin reworking the cargo--just me, my brother and my father--under the dim lighting of a Pasadena office supply parking lot. And is there no wind in Cali? Geez, it was starting to get really warm--even with the sun down. Now 10:15, we close the hatch with everything fitting in the back except Travis the jade plant that weighed close to 75 pounds. Given his size and the fact that he was among the living cargo, we brought him into the front seat with us where we'd let him ride. He was so big that he basically took up the space in between and about a third of the two seats up front. But we needed him up there for his own health.

We exit the parking lot and make our way back to the highway. Todd's telling me that it feels better already and it looks like we had taken care of the situation. We hit the highway and, around 50 miles per hour, same thing--the truck begins rocking away. This time, it feels as if we exceed 60 miles per hour, we could be in serious danger of tilting this truck. And we knew we could drive 1,100 miles home to Texas at 50 miles per hour. So we needed a plan.

The only plan we could come up with was to unload the whole truck that took three hours to pack in the first place and separate heavy items from light items and repack it with heavy stuff on the bottom, light stuff on top. This time, we were doing it in the roomy, spacious and better-lit parking lot of the Arcadia Mall. As we're placing heavy stuff on the ground to the left of the truck and the light stuff on the right, it becomes clear and obvious what our problem is. There is no light stuff. Everything was heavy. It was less a weight distribution as much as simply a weight issue. Of course, we weren't at a point where we could just start trashing stuff or leaving stuff in the parking lot. It was all going to have to make the truck. We began slowly and more strategically loading the truck again.

As you see, my father pulled the Civic behind the fan to provide more direct light into the back. This pack was easily the hardest I've ever been a part of. It was just brutal. I think Todd and I both were at the point of breakdown when the following photo was taken--shortly after the truck was fully loaded.
That was until my father tried to start the car and it wouldn't turn over. Yeah, dead battery. Now 2:15am. We jumped the car and got things on the road. Now, the rocking only occurred at speeds in excess of 75 miles per hour and only when we hit imperfections in the road. It felt safe enough. And "safe enough" worked at this hour in the morning. Our plan was to make it to the Cali/'Zona border originally, then it was to make it to Palm Springs and, now, it was just make it about twenty miles down the road so we could avoid the heavy traffic in the morning. We crashed at Redlands. If you look at a map of LA, it looks like we traveled about a third of an inch.

I woke up in the morning at the Good Nite Inn. I walked down to the continental breakfast which was really just cereal and coffee. I had the coffee. On my way back to the room, I saw drops of blood on the ground.

And, near the top of the staircase, the drops of blood increased. They were everywhere. I decided to follow the trail of blood to its origin.

I went back down the staircase and began the short hike to the origin which was a broken window right next door to my father's room. Now, as evidence of the police tape, it appears that someone got to the scene of the crime before I did, but don't get it twisted, they can beat me to the crime scene, buy they won't beat me to a conviction.

Ah, the places you'll settle for in the middle of the night after repacking a moving truck one and a third times after the 10 o'clock news.
That next day, we began our trek across the badlands of Arizona. I'm not sure why in the hell anyone would retire here. In fact, I'm not sure why anyone would even visit this state. It's a horrible horrible place. And it's hot. But the speed limit's 80 miles per hour so there's some redeeming value to Arizona. Of course, we wouldn't be going that fast because, like Paul Wall, we drive slow. Here's what Arizona looks like.

Travis the jade plant was hanging in there, however, he was struck with dehydration. We kept him cool by giving him some water and singing him "Me and Julio Down by the Graveyard." Todd also busted out a serious wild card off his iPod--Don Ho singing "Lady in Red." It might have been the worst thing I've ever heard. Of course, it might have also been the best.

You know, the desert does horrible things to the mind. I mean, when it gets really hot, you can actually hear your brain sizzling in your head. It's like it's being sauteed in your brain fluid. Delerium sets in. Hallucinations are common. Next thing you know, you're cooling off in a truck stop with a plush white tiger on your head. It happens to the best of us.

There was some relief from the Arizona heat in Tucson as we approached a line of storms. Man, what are chances? We stopped off at Cracker Barrell and shoved home enough food to feed fifty it seemed. It's really the only way to do Cracker Barrell. My lovely wife was monitoring the satellite at home because she's a badass and can read radars with the best of them. Meanwhile, Todd and I located the end of a rainbow. There was no leprechaun, but there was gas station with a man named Ron who gave pops a free cup of coffee. Turned out the coffee was really just hot brown water. Peep the full bellies.

Clearly, the following stretch of the trip would mark the weirder link. I mean, there's a long haul of highway between Tucson and Las Cruces that I'm convinced is the most accurate simulation of hell on earth. It started outside of Tuscon around Texas Canyon where the road conditions, the moisture on the road the canyon crosswind was so menacing that, on several occassions, we were almost tossed off the road by our tilting vehicle. We knew we needed to find a place to bed down fast because it simply wasn't going to get any better after the sun went down. We stopped in one town (the name of which really doesn't matter) and couldn't find a comfy bed on the main drag so opted to go further down the road.

Before continuing, we stopped at the Circle K to grab seeds and soda. It seemed I happened along a young girl who hasn't seen a human in a while. She was very clingy--gazing longly with a stupid grin. I was left alone in the store after my dad exited while she was ringing up my goods. She looked at me and said creepily, "I like your frame." I'm still unsure of whether she was talking about my glasses' frames or my physical frame. Nonetheless, I thanked her because I figured, whether she likes my glasses or shoulders, she likes something she sees.

I woke up in the middle of nowhere, but at least it was flat land--looking a little more like the our native land. I went down and got more bad continental breakfast offerings then headed back up to put on deoderant was offered a choice between "Walker, Texas Ranger" and "Golden Girls." I enjoyed both. Shortly after, we were back on the road.

Made it through El Paso and finally back into Texas. You could smell home from here. It smelled like the ass-end of a cow and mesquite trees. Yeah, we were close. Todd kept telling me of a customs stop somewhere along this highway and was unsure if he was correct in his assessment. Until we rounded a mountain and there it was, our friendly neighborhood customs station. While waiting to pass through (which we really just passed through--some tough custom agents), we saw a man on a bike with saddlebags on the front and rear in the middle of absolute nowhere racing big rigs. Incredible.

It only got weirder from there when we happened along a place named Chuy's in some small town about forty miles down the road. Now, along with being a reputable Mexican restaurant (not the Chuy's your thinking of where the President's daughter got busted drinking underage), it also claims to be home to the John Madden Haul of Fame. Yes, they spell it that way. You might ask, why, in Middle of Nowhere, Texas would there be a John Madden Haul of Fame? Well, we'll get to that. But first, take gander at the great Conway Twitty's tennis shorts in this glossy he signed for Chuy's. Gangsta! Gangsta!

Of course, what's Texas without Chuck.

And this dude who apparently was quite a tennis star. I would contend he was a better head of hair than a tennis player, but they gave him the cover for something. Does anyone know if this magazine is still in publication?

And my brother, who is a serious Cubs fan, was going to research if this man was actuall a Cub or a man dressed in a Cubs uniform standing on a large plot of land with a six-foot fence. If anyone knows who this cat is, please drop it in the comments section. I'm suspect myself.

On the back of the menu is the John Madden story. I found it very interesting that it starts with the line, "By the glory of GOD..." with God capitalized for emphasis. Apparently Madden's visit was an act of God.

And, it's only appropriate that I also include the mural on the wall that depicts Jesus himself on the hilltop blessing Chuys as, to the far left, John Madden's bus pulls up. This is great stuff folks.

And, as proof, here's one of the many pictures of John Madden visiting the restaurant. And, for John, there's only one way to rock the shirt and that's with one side out and the other tucked in. That's because Madden's a straight up crip. He's even got the lawman fooled.

Well, we'd make it safely back into Texas, but not with one last daring tip of the truck as I headed downhill on a turn on top of a rough road with a dangerous crosswind. It gave me a rock that I wouldn't soon forget. I honestly thought that it was going to be the end. My father, who was following shortly behind thought so too, calling to joke afterwards, "Anyone need a clean pair of briches up there?" That'd be the final straw for me--completely red-eyed and white-knuckled. I turned it over to Todd for the final haul. Remember that Bill Carlyle, Sr. supports our troops. Don't ever forget it. And don't you ever question that either. The dude's so hardcore about it, he's going to put it on the side of every truck he owns.
After I finally made it back into the Yellow at 11:30 that Tuesday night (some 1,400 miles later), my allergies adjusted back to my natural surroundings and I dumped about two pounds of snot onto my grandmother's dining room table. It always takes that adjustment to get right.

That's it, folks. More travels of j3 to come down as I make my way to Boston for Sox and Horrioles. Remember this: pack light, pick your accomodations wisely, Bill Carlyle, Sr. supports our troops and if you a gangsta like my brother and I, don't miss your exit.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Today, my lovely wife was out running errands and she saw an morbidly obese woman standing at an intersection with a sign that read, "Homeless, broke and hungry." Now, I'm not a moron and neither is my lovely wife, but I gotta imagine that someone in the Yellow today gave that woman money. Now, I'll give her homeless, although, I would doubt she'd been homeless for long. But let's just say this woman ain't gotta place to go to tonight thus, technically, qualifying her for "homeless" status. And, probably not such a stretch to say that she could also be broke. People got money issues these days. Living ain't cheap. But as an overweight limit, you might have a difficult time playing the "desperately hungry" role.

Now, please don't misinterpret this as coldheartedness. I'm just trying to illustrate something. If you're a bum, I wouldn't suggest deception or lying as means of getting basics needs met. I mean, if I was broke, I'd just say, "Dude, I ain't got a penny to my name and if I can get a nickel from every person I meet, I might slowing start getting my life back in order. A nickel will do. And if you just want to give me pennies, that will work as well. And thank you for support." Turn a dollar into ten, ten into a hundred, hundred into a grand and a grand into an empire. But when you're overweight and your sign reads, "Hungry," try again.
About an hour or so later, I'm walking out of my front door and I see two dudes who are oddly dressed alike (in UPS brown from head to toe) walking down the street and upon seeing me, they turn toward me and approach with, "Hey, man. We just ran out of gas down there. Do you wanna buy a new phone? It's brand new." Okay, let's play stupid and assume the phone (that still has the plastic protective film on it) is not stolen.

First thought:
"I know gas prices must be really bad now if people are selling cell phones to buy gas. That's some expensive gas. Again, I'd consider just asking people for a nickel or so. Don't sell your phone for gas. That seems a little rash."

Second thought:
"Why don't you just use your phone and call someone for help? Maybe a pretty silly suggestion and I'm no survivalist, but if I had a phone, I might try it first."

Third thought:
"Being a walker, I'd probably spare myself the embarrassment of asking for gas money because I'm too stupid to put enough gas in the tank. Instead, I'd just walk to my destination. I mean, I walk three miles a day so what's a five-mile day? There's no need to go selling a phone, homie. Just walk."

Fourth thought:
"I can really afford such a nice phone for only $15?! Man, that thing is over $150 at the store up the block! You got yourself a deal, buddy!"

Fifth thought:
"Your carrier will just let you cancel your contract like that? Dude, I had to sign on for three years of service. Who do you use?"

Instead, I told the dude that I ain't got no use for another cell phone at which point he asked if I could just give him a couple of dollars for gas. At this point, I told the dude to get lost as he walked off mumbling over his shoulder. Again, I know they sold that stupid phone to someone today and to that idiot that bought the phone, congrats, you just gave hope to fifty more bums trying to sell a handful of sparkplugs to a blind lady.

I wish I had a sign on my chest that when a bum approached me, it would read, "I graduated from college," and maybe I wouldn't have to endure the silliness that comes with dudes trying to sell you stolen goods.

Track of the week: "Home of the Greats" by Black Milk off the bonus disc to Popular Demand. Thanks to Monster at Fat Beats for bringing the heat. Sorry, it's about four weeks late.


You know, I was waiting for that last boom to send off one of my favorite recurring columns on The Root Down. To properly send off "Popular Culture's Complete Misrepresentation of Hip Hop," I needed something that required very little explanation, something that people who knew would see the abomination immediately. I needed something, an image, a person, an occurance that took hip hop and just completely mocked and almost erased years of artistry and accomplishment in one low moment in history.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud (but really not) to say that I found what I was looking for. I found it on the long road through Arizona as we stopped off at a Love's Truck Stop. It's funny that a place that brings me such sadness would be called "Love's." Everytime I go in there, I go through a lesser but still intense Wal-Mart panic attack. It starts with the loss of feeling in my fingertips. Usually, I'm just waiting for that trucker to come out with his toiletry kit in one hand and bath towel in the other smelling like toothpaste and shampoo because this is when I typically start losing feeling below my knees. On any given trip to Love's, I'm quite near having to crawl back out to the car because it just freaks me out. And, as a germiphobe, truck stops in general can send me into a tailspin. Knowing this, it's difficult for me to be surprised or awestruck at Love's anymore. Until this week...

It was like the first time you saw Ronald McDonald rapping. It was like when I saw Wu-Wear on the clearance racks at TJ Maxx. It was like when I got my copy of the MC Stephen Hawking rap record. It was like watching Ja Rule win a Grammy. I'm going to give Russell and S. Carter the benefit of the doubt like a case of merchandise fell off a truck and ended up on the wall at this location only. I mean, they're so cheap that you gotta think something shady's going on. But gaze at the sadness in this photo. Either you'll laugh until you cry or cry until you curl into a fetal position cramping from dehydration. Rod, maybe you can explain this one for me.

So, in celebration (or in memory) of the great hip hop clothing lines, I'm taking the power back with the new design (available, as always, at We need to get hip hop out of the truck stops and back to the streets. The hip hop clothing game has gotten straight outta control and we gotta get it back from the powers that be (Wil, I'm looking to you, homie). And I'm introducing this design at the lowest price possible meaning I don't get but a penny from everyone sold. In fact, I'm going to reduce the prices storewide so now's the time to pick up your official The Root Down product. Wil, if you can get me shirts pressed for even cheaper, holla atcha boy. Here it is, folks, the GANGSTA! GANGSTA! design for all you real heads.

And, of course, on the back:

It's an Ice Cube morning. Predator on vinyl. You know my steez. I'm not sure if you can find a better way to start a day than with Ice Cube's Predator. I'll do some more research and get back to you.