Friday, February 29, 2008


You know, you can go years without mentioning Billy Ocean twice in the same day. It's only fitting that it's on a Friday. Because it's impossible to mention Billy Ocean twice on, say, a Tuesday. Above is revolutionary Gil Scott-Heron. Today, during Vinylly Friday, we spun some Charles Lloyd, Bob Marley, Jel, Hendrix (in honor of the late Buddy Miles), McCartney, Roland Kirk, Steely Dan, War--dayum, it was a good day. George brought from home some Gil Scott-Heron...a hits piece. If you're not familiar with Gil Scott-Heron, maybe "the revolution will not be televised" will ring a bell. It's only fitting that Black History Month would be one day longer this year and that day would be a Friday and that Friday we'd be listening to Gil Scott-Heron (pictured above). Gil went through a few looks.
I'm really a big fan of the hair-all-over look. If I could do it, believe me, I would without hesitation. Of course, it's hard to play sports with hair like that. I mean, you can be fit, slick and fast as hell, but that kinda hair will always make you look like you've never played a sport in your life. Duke looks like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. Now, in the above photo he's still a revolutionary, a poet, an activist. But then Arista happened and he turned into Lionel Richie.

This was the record that George brought in. I first thought, "Man, what Lionel record is this?" and then it dawned on me that it was no Lionel record, but rather the great Gil Scott-Heron. This is Lionel Richie.
That stare is piercing. Ferocious. Haunting. Arresting. Man, that's four fantastic adjectives, folks. I don't want you ever to complain that I'm falling off or I've lost my touch. At this point in the story, I made reference to both Lionel Richie and the great Billy Ocean (c'mon, "Carribean Queen" was ill and you know it). Here's Billy. Maybe you're noticing a disturbing pattern of pastels and indigos. I know, it pains me too.

I'm particularly fond of the technique: "Uh, Billy, just snap your fingers in your left hand when I count to three." This era was to Soul music as New Jack Swing was to Hip Hop. We're lucky we survived. Anyway, so I was preparing this post and I searched "Billy Ocean" for some visuals for you all and along with "Billy playing in the ocean," it brought back the new Billy Ocean--dreads and all.
Is it possible that not even dreads can cure a corny grin? Pretty sad that that's the best I can muster up on the 29th day of Black History Month, but that's all I got.
From baseball, Spank Steinbrenner (the mouth son of a old man who also can't manage to keep his mouth shut--hence the constant drooling) apparently denounces Red Sox Nation this week. Now, let's get this straight, he doesn't hate it and he doesn't loathe it's members. Dude's questioning its existence like Santa Clause. He says, "'Red Sox Nation?' What a bunch of sh*t that is. That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans. Go anywhere in America and you won't see Red Sox hats and jackets, you'll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We're going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order." It's only a territorial pissing to Spank. So remember, Oriole fans, this is a Yankee country. Remember, Dodger fans, this is a Yankee country. Remember, Cub fans, this is a Yankee country. Remember, Cardinal fans, this is a Yankee country. Remember, Tiger fans, this is a Yankee country.
I guess, if that's true, it's no wonder that we blow wars like the Yanks blow championships. All Hank wants to do is sell another hat. And he probably doesn't believe in Kiss Army either.
This day in Internalized Anger News, my lovely wife and I decided to go have mexican tonight at some local joint. The dinner was great until about eight kids and 12 parents came in and sat down at a series of merged tables right next to us. I'm a quiet guy publicly and I enjoy soft dining atmospheres. This place went from a volume level of about 2 to and 8 or 9 immediately. The piercing sounds of a bratty eight year old yelling at each one of his soccer buddies was enough to send me into a clinching moment of anger because the parents were sitting clear at the other end of the table deliberately ignoring their kids and the poor restaurant behavior. My lovely wife sees my agitation and is always quick to recognize it. I think she believes it's important to challenge these instances of rising internalized anger with logic and sensible thought. That way I can arm myself with different processes to diffuse any anger so that I don't brux all night (grind your teeth, homie). She begins talking to me about the situation and I listen, we converse, but the whole time I'm thinking, "Why don't those parents do anything? They're causing all sorts of havoc in this restaurant and the parents don't care." I, in my passive aggressive way, begin leering at the kids to suggest that if their parents aren't going to watch them, I'm going to do everything I can to harmlessly creep them out. It didn't work.
We're walking out and my lovely wife, knowing that I wasn't coping well, said sarcastically, "We'll walk out that way so you can glare at all the parents." I said, "Great!"
(It's worth mentioning that I just put Black Moon's Enta Da Stage on the record player and I'm enjoying it immensely.)
We walk out and, sure enough, I glare at each of the parents and almost make some comment like, "Hey, homie. You're kid is a prick." But, alas, I didn't. I never do. But, because I never do, my lovely wife contends that such anger is not helpful, but is rather hurtful to my everyday activities. I can see that.
Additionally (and this is where she always looses me), she says that I get upset because I set my expectations of others too high. Now, I can understand part of this logic except for the key element and that is that it's my fault that I get upset because I simply hold others to an unachieveable level of expectation. Like I expect people to not drive like idiots. And I expect parents to show a reasonable level of control over their kids. And I expect to be helped when I walk into a retail environment. And I expect that if I have a dispute with a line on my phone bill that the phone company will rectify the situation by reimbursing me what I am due. And, if someone drives like an asshole, my expectations were too high. And if someone's kid dents my car with a baseball after being told to play further away from my yard, my expectations for the parents were simply too high. Or if I'm paying a company enough to yield 40 points of margin to afford all those morons who walk around the sales floor acting like they're helping someone and I never get helped, my expectations for the company are too high. Or if the phone company tells me there's nothing they can do about reimbursing me for erraneous charges on my phone bill, I should say, "You know that's okay because it's clear to me that my expectations were set too high for you to achieve. I will instead lower my expectations so that you can adequately service me and I will not be able to say it's 'poor service' because I will lift all expectations." Better yet, I'll get busted doing 90 down the highway and when I get pulled over, I'll say, "Sir, 70 miles per hour is simply too high of an expectation for me. I will ask that you please not write me that ticket and, instead, lower your expectations and allow me to drive at a speed that I think is agreeable." My lovely wife hates it when I go into this sort of monologue, but then again, I'm not totally responsive to that type of assessment. She still suggests that I need to see a therapist. Maybe so. She also suggests that I'm not really an ideal candidate for therapy. Maybe her expectations are a little high.
That new Erykah Badu record is tight as hell. I'm not normally a fan of her because, well, I'm not a big fan of R&B records, but that thing is ill. In fact, there's a bunch of good releases either out now or coming out. April will bring us the new Black Keys (it's awesome), Portishead, the Sword, Gnarls Barkley, Atmosphere. I guess "losses well into the double digits" is finally starting to mean something to the labels and their P&L's.
Tucker chewed up a pair of New Balances (574's to be exact). He's on borrowed time. I'm taking out an ad in the paper today.
Everything's shaping up for my lovely wife's first time skiing next week in Taos. It's my birthday weekend. I'd say my wife taking up the mountain with me is a pretty decent gift. Also, I'll be able to drink carbonated drinks again (beer included)--lifting the self-imposed regulation on carbonated drinks from back at the beginning of November. Going into an endless ramble. My apologies. Enjoy your weekend. Go listen to some Buddy Miles.


One of these days I'll actually get some of these pressed up. For those who recognize the hands, you've done your homework. For those who don't know, you better "jump on it" and stay in school.

I saw a guy driving a Toyota Trecel with a large Superman logo on the back window and I couldn't help but think to myself, "Why?" I certainly hope it's not that he thinks he's Superman because, one, I don't think Clark Kent would advertise it like that and, two, I think Clark Kent was the mass transit type--not a Toyota man. I'll do the research. Either way, it takes balls to throw up a Superman symbol on your car. You better be able to back it up in a fight.

Monday, February 25, 2008



There's a distinct difference between recognizing crap and picking it up. Some people think that simply acknowledging the crap happened suffices. Unless you have a genie that sweeps down and grabs a turd from the grass and then makes it disappear when you say, "Oh, look at Franklin crapping," I'd suggest you bring a plastic bag and get to egg hunting. No one likes to do it, but no one likes going home from the dog park with a layer of dung attached to your treads. At least attempt to pick it up. If it's too runny, just smear it around a bit. Mixed with a little dirt and grass, it's harmless.


Let's get something straight here, if your dog goes round on one of my dogs, your boy might catch a bad one. There's only one dog that either of my dogs like getting humped by and that's, of course, his brother. Jackson likes Tucker's work. Tucker likes Jackson's. If you ain't family, there's no mounting the hind quarters. And, owners, there's playing and then there's unwanted sex act. Know the difference before you walk into a dog park.


This one's relatively easy yet why in the hell is it never observed. Here's the deal: dogs go where people are and, if you stand around the entrance then your dogs will stand around the entrance. And, before you know it, there's two football fields of room yet everyone's crowding the entrance and then someone gets in a fight, then everyone goes home bummed out. Move around, encourage your dog to run the perimeter. Give me some space so I don't have to knee a dog in the chin just trying to get in.


Look, it's not that Tucker doesn't appreciate the recognition, but he's already a little tired of the Uno comments. Don't bum rush him saying, "Mommy, it's Uno!" Truth be known, Tucker told me that he resents Uno because he has submitted to the oppression of his owner in the interest of recognition and fame. His win at Westminister is a victory for Uno and only Uno, but is a staggering loss that has set the entire breed back 200 years. I then heard him utter the word, "Sellout." Jackson, on the other hand, is only partially beagle (the markings being the obvious attribute). For that reason, he doesn't carry the resent that Tucker does, however, he'll eat your children. Please ask before you allow your child to run up on Jackson.


If, by chance, dogs become involved in a scuffle, you are only allowed to spank your own dog. Owners will have the tendency to play referee of the kingdom and might overhandle all dogs involved, but if you lay a hand on my dog, you'll probably catch a beatdown. Or at least a stern talking to. You may pick up your dog, spank, beat, yell at, but leave mine alone. I'll take care of mine.


Let me clear up any confusion here: humping (if not for procreation) is a display of dominance. For that reason, it could be very easily interpreted by the simple mind of a dog as a threat or challenge. Again, my dogs don't typically mind getting humped by their brother (totally sick), but your big ass lab cannot hump Tucker. He'll snap. Please don't try to play me as the party pooper either because I don't like my dog getting rubbed on. If you can't take your dog off of Tucker, then I'll do it for you.


What's up with standing by while dogs rumble? I see it all the time. There will be a fifteen dog melee (because everyone's crowding the entrance) and all the owners will stand around for ten seconds before anyone does anything. Step in, pull your dog out and repremand it. The notion that fighting is just their way of getting to know each other and their bounds is played. I certainly hope they're not raising their kids the same way. I don't let my dogs fight. Sorry.


It's pretty simple: if your dog has anger or aggression issues, the dog park might not be the best place for you. Rotts, pits and heelers and should probably not be at the dog park. If you need someone to tell you that, you probably shouldn't even own one of these breeds. The dog park is reserved for dogs who can control themselves around others--animal or human. I saw this cat out there with two pits one day and, to his credit, he didn't even take them off the leash, but what's the point? Don't be dumb. I know you want to play too, but sorry, it's what you get for owning aggressive dogs. That's why I buy beagles. That and I don't have to worry about lawsuits.


I've seen countless morons bring new puppies out there. I realize that you're excited about your new puppy and you want everyone to see your new dog so they can say things like, "Oh, look at the cute puppy!" or "That's the cutest puppy I've ever seen." Sorry, though, the dog park is not the place for this. If Jackson goes up on his hind legs like Silver and then tramples you're little furry spawn, it's not my fault. It clearly reads on the sign that no dog under six months is permitted. Take it to your neighbor's place, but the dog park is for grown-ups.


Look, we nice and all, but don't cross us. We roll deep.


And I'm convinced that the film industry's title for clinger of the, uh, last decade is Mr. Seacrest here. I'm watching the red carpet festivities last night (put a skirt on me and call me Helen Hunt) and young Ryan is hanging to the far side of the carpet (think "off-Broadway") while loose assortments of celebrities are walking by and he finds Jessica Alba, who is pregnant. He asks her about the Academy Awards, her future plans, her recent marriage and then the biggie:

"Do you plan to breast feed?"

Someone should've reminded him to ask Jessica for her weight too. This dude makes Regis Philbin look as smooth as satin.

Alright, I'm gonna give you a peep at the new and improved The Root Down logo. We might go through a redesign to make a few enchancements to the design, but you'll get the idea. I'd say this is about 75% done. It'll be available in black and black only.
Yeah, you know my skills. Few things to note for future updates: I'll tackle the harsh truths of the dog park and what can be done to protect these fragile environments from ruin (because I'm a pimp) and I just turned over into 1990. I'm way ahead of schedule and loving it, b'lee dat. It's Monday, in case you needed a reminder. Go punch yourself in the face.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Well, we're about 10 full years into hip hop's history and I finally topped 1,000 songs. The 1000th song to be loaded was a 1989 song from UK artist Overlord X called "Kick Bag." It's been an educational journey to this point, to say the very least. Knowing what I already know of 1990 hip hop, this is a major turning point. Not that 1988 and 1989 weren't nice, but this next year is when the releases come rampant and nearly everything's dope. It's going to be a serious headrush. To resist moving right into 1990 is a serious test of patience and personal control.

It's interesting some of the things I've learned along my way. Names like Steady B and Just-Ice are now household. I parade the Dismasters everywhere I go swearing they're the illest I've ever heard. Silly me: I thought "I Got a Man" was Positive K's first record. I knew the drum break from "Funky President" was instrumental, but damn, everyone looped those drums. MC Lyte was actually doper than I originally thought. Mellow Man Ace was actually not so corny. Tone Loc's Loc'd After Dark is ill, b'lee dat. Run DMC's career really did end in the 1990's. Now I know why no one knows who the hell Rev Run is. Stetsasonic, I hate to say it, was a bit overrated. 3rd Bass, however, was extremely underrated. I've always held this as truth, but it's no more evident to me as it is now. Willie D is dope. Scarface is dope. Bushwick had no business going solo--ever. The Dust Brothers were fantastic hip hop producers--mainly on the strength of Loc'd After Dark, Stone Cold Rhymin' and Paul's Boutique. Cymande was one of the freshest funk bands ever and heads will sleep on them eternally. Treacherous Three were dope. Kool Moe Dee was not-so dope. In fact, after about three songs of Kool Moe Dee in succession, he's hardly listenable. Heavy D was nice, but got played on that early New Jack Swing ish. New Jack Swing is the devil's music. It's horrible. Hip hop was lucky to survive it. Stezo's Crazy Noise is classic. Nice & Smooth were dope before Ain't a Damn Thing Changed. Dennis Coffey and Bob James are the creepy uncles of hip hop. People slept hard (and still do) on the first Gangstarr record. As fanatical and, sometimes, forgiving as people are with Gangstarr, I'm not sure how that record gets so overlooked. Big Daddy Kane's It's a Big Daddy Thing is so fresh it makes me want to just stunt and do B-boy poses all day.

Hip hop needs to bring the dancers back. And I ain't talking about Superman, you stupid cornball.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Last week at work, we had what is referred to as an All Associate Meeting in which all of the associates in the office get together in the breakroom and have a meeting. The usual course of the meeting is spent with anniversaries, announcements, promotions, new associate recognition, etc. Rarely does it stray from that format.

Until this week...

This week, we were joined by a representative from the Yellow Police Department who was going to talk to us about personal safety. I started thinking, "Well, it's more fun than the 'how to check your smoke alarm' lesson." The officer stands up, queues up the laptop to his presentation, tries his hand at some "personal safety humor," and then just dives right in.

We start with a lesson for the ladies in which he explains of how walking with a purse to the outside is a perfect opportunity for people to drive by and snag it from you from their car. Says Mr. Officer, "Ladies, if you're walking with that purse on the traffic side, and trust me--I've seen it happen, they're driving by and someone from the back seat will reach out of a moving vehicle and will snag that purse right off your arm. I know, it's seems crazy, but they're doing it. And if you decide not to let go, they're gonna be taking you for a not so pleasant ride, believe me."

His stories from the Beat also included many about carjackings. Each scenario would begin differently, but would end with the same horrific conclusion, say it with me: GUN TO THE HEAD. And it was always said in that manner. Take for instance, "One day a woman and her two daughters were walking to their car in the Kohl's parking lot. Now, this is a Sunday afternoon, folks, around 2 o'clock. They get to their car, woman sits down with a daughter in the front and one in the back. Next thing you know, a guy slips into the back seat...gun to the head." Yep, it happens that quick says Mr. Officer.

"Another time, this woman is in her car in the drive-thru at McDonald's. She pays, takes her bag of food, puts it in her lap and because she's hungry, she begins eating french fries. Next think you know, there's a guy sitting next to her...gun to the head."

"This one lady was waiting at a stop light one day. Just minding her business. She starts to change the station on her stereo and next thing you know, a guy opens up her driver's side door...gun to the head."

Each time he told a gun-to-the-head scenario, he'd put a finger pistol up to his head for effect. The first time, it had quite an impression--even getting a few gasps from the audience. But by the fifth time, it almost turned comical. I started thinking, "Damn, you can almost write your own gun-to-the-head situation."

For instance: "One day, I was at the dentists office, you know, just getting a check up. Minding my own business, you know? And I drift off and start thinking about the ethnicity of the Counting Crows' lead singer...gun to the head." I mean, if you listened to this cat, you'd think we were living in the Wild West. Looney said it best: "If you were a frightened woman before, you're never even leaving the house now."

We then started talking about our options for self-defense. Here comes the good part (yeah, homie, it gets better). As the officer describes, self-defense can be as simple as yelling and screaming. Sometimes, that's enough to scare off a would-be assailant. Or perhaps, you want to take your defense to the next level and that would be some sort of chemical agent--pepper spray being the most popular. You still with me? Because now the real fun begins.

The next level of self-defense is a blunt object--the preferred being a baseball bat. As Mr. Officer describes, "If I meet you with my baseball bat, I'm swinging for the fences, okay?" There's a level above that (my personal favorite), and that's the taser. The taser, I would find, is available in a "civilian model." It gives the same 50,000 volts of power, however, the civilian model shoots that charge for ten full seconds. As Mr. Officer says, "That's double the time that an officer's taser will sustain that charge. That five free seconds." He also goes onto warn that, "First, if you can purchase them, so can criminals," and, "I've seen guys get up from a blast from a taser. It's rare, but I've seen it happen. So don't think that just because you're carrying a taser that you're bulletproof."

He explains of the last level of self-defense as one that you might have to do some self-analysis and see if you're a real man. That, of course, is lethal force. Explains the officer, "This isn't for everyone and I would encourage you to ask yourself if this is right for you. I would do a little soul searching and see if you have what it takes to take the life of another human being."

Remember, I'm still at work. I mean, when I put on my shoes in the morning and begin my trek to work, the last thing I expect to be confronted with is whether or not I have what it takes to take the life of another human being. At this point, what started simply as a "ladies, hold your purse close" speech has now turned into a speech about killing people--all in about 20 minutes--and cats are just listening like it's no big deal!

Says the officer, "I know if someone breaks in my house at two in the afternoon, they're probably after my television, but if it's two in the morning, they're after either my wife, my kids or me. In that case, I will be using lethal force. If they die, well, that's too bad."

Afterwards, it was apparent that Angry Tim got the signals crossed, "So we can kill people?!"

Thursday, February 14, 2008


You know, I'm forever battling retail anxieties. I don't even know if that's a proper diagnosis. But I can tell you this, I don't spend a lot of time shopping because, well, I'm not really that good at it. Being that I'm not that good at shopping, if you put me in specific retailers, I shut down. In the same way that I've come to terms with the fact that I suffer from internalized anger which led me to a life as a bruxer (do your research, kid), I've realized that my aggravation with the retailers below is rooted in a deeper, more intense sadness that is almost suffocating. I like going into retailers that vibrant, exciting, helpful (or they can't be helpful--absent), reactive. In these places, not only do I feel comfortable giving them my money, but I actually feel good about it. But in the seven retailers below, I feel deep sadness when giving them my money. My lovely wife has encouraged me to put their stock value next to them in order to illustrate that, while I might completely detest the retailer, including the stock value might help make a fair case for the retailer. The thought being that the higher the stock value, the healthier the company and while they might be sadnessmongers, other people value the company. Fair enough.

7 LOVES TRAVEL CENTERS (not publicly traded)

Truck stops, by their very nature, attempt to fulfill the needs of all. And, while they do so rather well, they are emotional vaccuums. One such truck stop (or the more affirmative "travel center")in this area is the deceptively-named Loves. There's a definitive transient feel to this place--the feeling that in the dark corner, you'll get shanked or, worse, kidnapped and taken for a ride (maybe I'm the only one that thinks it would be better to shanked and killed). Otherwise, there's nothing weird about a place that sells wooden sculptures of bald eagles, plush pink bears, sleeves of beef jerky, DVD's and CD's for $2.99 and then, when it's all said and done, you can take a shower and still smell like fried chicken. As much as I hate them, they're a freaking trap. You'll always end up in one saying, "Damn, I probably do need new wipers." Loves represents the very darkest side of impulsive purchasing and, like all binging, you'll feel completely unfulfilled and deeply saddened miles down the road.

Tuesday Morning is a classic case of a retailer trying to create an impression or a facade to deceive you into thinking, "Ah, now this is a place that's like Dollar General, but feels like Pier One." Look, Tuesday Morning is a closeout retailer and they carry only garbage that is given to them at a fraction of the original price. What that means is you're getting the crap that no one else wants and, while cheap, no one else wanted it. It's a freaking garage sale. The sadness lies in the fact that you can walk the aisles and hear the haunting moans of product developers who failed to make it with their melon-scented foot oils, their make-up kits, their BBQ basting sauce, their compilation of reggae. It's like walking through a museum of retail failure and there's hardly any one shopping. Which means that what failed the first time around is also failing the second time around. The local store doesn't even play music in the store. It's the hum of electricity and the sound of your feet shuffling. It's incredibly depressing. And, in the back, there's pallets of plush product. I can't help but think, "Why do we still make plush products for anyone older than three years old?"

5 BIG LOTS ($18.00)
Big Lots is like Wal-Mart Jr. They carry a little of everything, but specialize in absolutely nothing--except pissing me off. The second I walk in, I'm almost knocked over by the smell of plastic and cellophane. A headache sets in. I'll make this as short as I can because that headache quickly upgrades toward unbearable depression. Big Lots specializes, also, in closeout product, but also just takes old food and drink product so they can offer a well-rounded inventory of both slow-moving, unpopular product from Fisher Price and Igloo as well as expired consumables from Nabisco. Like Wal-Mart, you can even make larger purchases from Big Lots like furniture (which smells like cardboard, oddly) or patio furniture (which looks like it would fall apart in a light breeze). And, when you go to the front counter to check out, look at the sadness in the eyes of the associate. They look heavy with misfortune--like they did everything they could to avoid working in a place like Big Lots, but just ended up there. Don't let that $18.00 stock value fool you--it's high because they cut corners by paying their associates with packages of three-year old Oreos.

The kingpin of cheap goods and now, I found out this morning, Valentine's candy with metal in it. Good work. Dollar General prove that if you make anything a dollar, it'll feel like a steal. Five year-old Hershey bars for two for a dollar?! Deal! Toilet paper that will shred your backside for a dollar?! Deal! A screwdriver with a faulty handle for a dollar?! Deal! Valentines' candy with metal in it so my kid will never get a girlfriend and live a life of social isolation?! Deal! The only thing that this sadness seller doesn't sell for a dollar is their stock. Unlike Big Lots, Dollar General's stock is so healthy because they save money on rent and their storefront. It represents the very worst of retail--low ceilings, the smell of dust, scuffed floors, poor product placement and presentation. If you want to see a better collection of crap that doesn't work for even cheaper, go garage sale shopping.

3 KB TOYS (not publicly traded)
I can personally testify to this one because, well, I used to work there a long, long time ago. I scammed a job as a Nintendo expert and didn't even own a Nintendo--I was a Sega man. Hey, I had to lie because it got me out of fast food. I held my own anyway so it don't mean nuttin'. The thing that bothered me about KB was that I felt so sorry for the forty year-old dudes who were selling toys to kiddies and, even worse, picking up their messes. I mean, yeah, it's a job, but kids suck at retail. They don't suck overall, but man let me tell you, at retail, kids are like little lucifers running around. One time, we had a kid take a dump back by board games. I know what you're thinking, kids are that way because the parents don't know what the hell their doing. You're right. Let me tell you, though, it's a sadness so deep and real that when I was working there, more than half the people that worked there swore they'd never have kids and it took a good five years in an office job to reverse that thinking. Don't be fooled, ese, all those toys can't wash away the sadness that is KB Toys.

2 FYE ($4.45)
FYE sparks a sadness of a different kind. If you want to experience the sadness of working in today's music industry, go to FYE. It's a pretty good representation of it. Half empty (not half full) fixtures, endcaps with only two or three CD's on it, a flood of clearance product that no one wanted then and doesn't want now, lip gloss, hats, belt buckles--everything but good music. And no one knows a damn thing. You better hope you don't need help because none of those cats know a thing about music. In fact, they only ask you if you need help because they're bored out of their mind and it helps pass the time to hear themselves speak.

"Do you need help finding something, sir?"

"Yeah, actually I do."

"Damn, man. I'm sorry, uh, I can't help you."
It's the very poorest representation of what record stores should be and if you shop at FYE and they're your source for new music, your view of the music industry must certainly be one of pity or even frustration. There's better music cheaper almost everywhere but in the mall.

1 WAL-MART ($49.97)
Shouldn't be any surprise here. Yep, Wal-Mart is the saddest retailer on earth. It's like if you inversed all the happiness of Disney World, you'd have Wal-Mart. It takes consumerism to a suffocating degree of depression. I have to tell you that the day before Valentine's Day, I found myself in Wal-Mart (I know, it surprised me as well) and to see those poor cats standing at the jewelry counter looking to buy that perfect engagement ring at Wal-Mart just filled me with such confusion and sadness. And, as I ventured back to the grocery side of the store, watching the Valentine's aisle get col' torn up by fat white trash was enough to put me at the edge. It's like everywhere I turn in that store, I just get overwhelmed and feel like either punching a dude out at the juice aisle or crawling under a fixture and crying myself into a deep sleep. It's even worse that no one has any respect for the retailer because even the most devout Wal-Mart shoppers will still trash the place. I was walking toward the front of the store and found that someone had left a frozen (now thawed) bag of chicken breasts on the endcap. And, at the register, I guess someone had second thoughts about buying a single rose and they just left it wedged between boxes of donuts on the Krispy Kreme display. This place brings the worst out of people. Or, one could say, it brings out the very worst people. Walking through the parking lot is like trekking through a war-torn third world country crawling with angry Nascar fans. I hate that place. With a unrivaled passion, I hate that place. From the second I get there, I'm scanning the skies for Falcor to come rescue me from the Swamp of Sadness.

Falcor's col' rockin' it.

Monday, February 11, 2008


That guy from the Bose infomercials won Album of the Year?

Look, I'm as much a fan of Herbie Hancock (if not more) as the next jazz head, but an Album of the Year Grammy?!

Whatever, here's the quick wrap.

WINNERS:Amy Winehouse hauled it in last night despite being snuffed for Album of the Year. I really thought she was going to win it, but I guess they didn't want to lose that refined, snobby Grammy viewer so they handed it to Herbie (see also Genius Loves Company from Ray Charles et al, Falling into You by Celine Dion, Two Against Nature by Steely Dan). I've already read some of the comments regarding Amy's performance and, honestly, I thought she did fine. Yeah, a little crackhead-ish, but she did her thing. The Daptones killed it. Kanye nailed his performance going from both the high-energy "Stronger" to a near acapella version of "Hey Mama." Relatively absent after his mother's death, it would be a fitting and emotional tribute to her and, when accepting the award for Best Rap Album, he silenced the orchestra after being rushed during a sentimental moment where he was thanking his deceased mother. "It would be in good taste to the music." Vince Gill got in a nice cheapshot after being presented his award by Ringo Starr: "I just got an award from a Beatle. Ever had that happen yet, Kanye?" Kanye laughed, but you know it pissed him off. Foo Fighters probably put in the best performance of the night in their typical excitable fashion. I don't like their music at all, but I really enjoy their performances. Dave is just fun to watch. Oh, and Jason Bateman is a comedic genius. The world of music lovers won because U2 didn't win anything this year. George Gershwin won with the performance of "Rhapsody in Blue" by Hancock and Lang Lang. Awesome.

LOSERS:The losers started parading in on the red carpet--anyone who had to speak to E!'s Guiliana was a loser. I don't know why I was even watching it the red carpet processions. It's so juvenile, but it was even worse with the E! reporters bouncing around. Usually smart and sharp celebrities and musicians instantly turn into indolent morons when being interviewed by E! reporters. Poor Seal gave such a poor interview and wasn't up for any awards--he should've just stayed at home. Tina Turner caked on the make-up and gave a rather forgettable performance. I throw that performance in with the Sly Stone trainwreck of a couple years back. Country music altogether lost last night because, once again, they show very little weight in awards shows with such theatrics. Not even the genre's strongest star Carrie Underwood could muster an interesting performance. Nas lost for wearing his "Ni__er" shirt for the evening's festivities. He just turned his album name into nothing but a cornball gimmick. Prince looked like Morris Day and Morris Day looked like Prince--neither did either any good. John Paul Jones came up a loser because he played backseat to the Foo Fighters as that guy that directed the orchestra. He's only the greatest bass player in rock history. He's a good sport, but Guiliana didn't even know who he was as she asked him to hand over his microphone after her red carpet interview with the Foos. Will.I.Am lost for his stupid tribute to the Grammys. For a dude as talented as he is, he's falling off hard. First that horrible solo record and, now, a laughable medley tribute to the Grammys--say it with me--sellout.

Meanwhile, the Celtics improved to 16-0 against the Western Conference with a win against the San Antonio Spurs without Kevin Garnett.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


Gear for the new legion of backpackers
Who needs it? Really, who needs it? It's a tired-ass scene. No one has any context anymore. A&R's have no sense of history and labels are only interested in numbers. Good or bad--it doesn't matter. Name artist with classic catalogs are marginalized for a one-week pop explosion meanwhile, there no support for records like Reasonable Doubt, Illmatic and Ready to Die at retail. They only want to represent and support the new style and could care less about anything older than five years (which is when all the good ish was droppin). Maybe you've heard me complain about last year where the industry decided to, basically, abandon artist development and rather hang their hat on a stupid, juvenile dance move that, believe or not, is up for a Grammy! Am I losing my freaking mind?! Homecoming dance song of the year is up for (what is supposed to be-) the ultimate award for artistic achievement in music? Is this the de-evolution of the artform? Is it, in fact, dead?

Here we are, on the eve of the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, and I can't help but think to myself that, yes, hip hop will die in the same way that the industry that birthed it, fed it, trained it, popularized it will: without honor, dignity and artistry. It will die tired and desperate artform. As the roots of the tree die so does the fruit on the branches. I'm ready for it to happen, are you?

I'm ready because I've found comfort in the digital realm. I've (re)discovered a love for older, more primative forms of the music, y'know, when it was good. When that bomb drops and the artform is obliterated, I'll be camped out with my abbreviated collection of vinyl, Da Pocket Prophet, my stack of Def Jux 12"s, Main Source's Breaking Atoms, Low End Theory, Public Enemy's first three records, Cymande, Sly and Family Stone reissues and New Birth. Call me if you need reinforcements.

I really find it entertaining now, in retrospect, how I was that kid at the shows--the backpacker--warning of the demise of hip hop. Groups of backpackers would stand in circles and talk about Jeru the Damaja's first two records and complain about Ludacris biting Redman. Kids fighting for cred amongst the group would talk about Style Wars. I'm gonna blaze a new trail for backpackers. I'm gonna call the new legion of heads and backpackery knapsack devolutionists.
We're gonna eventually have to break this thing down and then put it back together again. "Devolution" is the notion that, eventually, species will revert to a more primative origin and then evolve again. While, personally and religiously, I don't believe evolution-devolution-evolution makes much sense for humans or other species in the kingdom. But for art and music, it makes perfect sense. In fact, in this case, not only do I think it makes sense, I'd like to happen as soon as possible.
We'll denounce those kids at shows that dance like stoned hippies saying ish like, "Relax, man. It's hip hop!" We'll beatdown kids like that with copies of Eazy Duz It. We'll "bum rush the show" with stacks of X-Clan, Smif-n-Wessun, Pharcyde, EPMD, Camp Lo, Beanuts and Brand Nubian. We'll play "War at 33 1/3" in our lobby softly like elevator music. At retail, we'll refuse to stock any of the "priorities" like Buble, Groban, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones until distribution drops prices on any hip hop album over five years old (like those old Geto Boys records that are still 18.98--shame!) in the name of "artistic preservation"--something they know nothing about. We'll lobby automakers to replace the Eddie Bauer packages with Cross Colour packages that will be complete with red, black and green leather trim with a huge "X" embroidered on the seats. We'll demand that MTV air every episode of "Yo!" every weekend for an entire year. All contracts for debut artists who have held the top spot at Soundscan at any time during the past three years will be terminated immediately and their records will be deleted or cut out and sold for pennies to CVS. Every album on the j3 Top Twenty Best HIp Hop Records Ever will be reissued on 180-gram vinyl and sold for no more than $13.00 at all places where music is sold. All used copies of Will Smith's Big Willie Style will be replaced by new copies of He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper at the same price. Adidas will be politely requested to reissue the old shelltoes--not the new super-sport versions. There is no dancing at hip hop shows unless you first prove you can toprock. All sanctioned walls for graffiti will be turned back over to their owners and then they will be tagged illegally and heads are just gonna have to live with it. "Soul" sections in all music retail locations will be emptied and then stocked with the entire Stax catalog, all of Funkadelic's studio albums and their choice of three Marvin Gaye records. "New Jack Swing" as a term and subgenre will be erased from all packaging, publications and broadcasts and replaced, instead, with the term "pop R&B." Music appreciation classes will begin Robert Johnson and end with Black Moon's Enta Da Stage.
Drastic times call for drastic measures. If you need me, I'll be in my bunker waiting for the revolution. Angry Tim will keep me posted if I miss anything like the new Del record coming in March.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Celebrate Indecision 2008 with The Official Root Down Election Year Tee. Yeah, I know it's ill. It's amazing what walking to work through 5-degree windchills in the single greatest walking shoe ever (the Nike Waffle featured above) will bring you in a brainstorm. No one and I mean no one can touch my steez. This is the official design. You might see others out in the market ("Red State, Blue State: They're all the same to me.") and those are, indeed, knock-offs. Don't believe the hype. Leave your comments and I'll start planning production or I'll just throw them up on the CafePress link. Holla back.


The magnesium treatments didn't work. What am I gon' do? I mean, what do you do when vitamins don't work? Well, you accept that solving the problem is fairly unlikely and just learning to live with it is probably a better option. It sucks. Even with the magnesium, it had gotten so bad that I was waking up with tooth sand in my mouth. Yeah, that sucks.

Yesterday was the kinda day that can absolutely drive people to teeth grinding. I mean, it's either that or random acts of violence (yep, violence--not fighting) or drug use. I'll take teeth grinding.

Bobby Knight just col' left his job at Texas Tech leaving the reigns to his son. What the hell? My dishwasher wasn't draining. I snapped a contact in half in the morning leaving me without any contacts to wear. At work, I was without my counterpart leaving me very little time for actual thought or coping. Then, we took Tucker the Beagle to obedience class. I'll put it lightly, he pulled so damn hard on the freewalk that the leash almost ripped my pinky off after cutting off all circulation. Our instructor had once said that she will not tolerate spanking a dog in class and that all correction be done verbally.

So I took him around the corner and spanked him.

The dude was being so incredible distractive--barking at other dogs, sniffing the floor, lunging at treats put out in front of him, jumping on passerbys. And he's like one really big muscle. I've never seen such a seemingly feeble dog pack so much of a punch. And then our instructor informed us that beagles were originally bred for their hunting abilities but, secondly, to be able to tolerate incredible amounts of pain.

That might explain the ineffectiveness of spanking. Time to step up to a baseball bat.

I'm kidding folks. Please do not call local officials. That was a joke. Instead we went out and got a prong collar (I was calling it "prog" as in "progressive" as in Yes, Rush and Dream Theater). Yeah, he's gonna love that. Once he pulls, small prongs dig into his neck. It's not lethal. It seems slightly cruel. But it's permitted in dog training. And, well, I don't mind being the asshole. Tucker already detests me anyway.

So, at the end of a long day of frustrations (I did fix the dishwasher, however), my lovely wife and I are sitting down for some yogurt and I finally confess that, yes, maybe I do have some internalized anger issues. I told her I just need to go out and kick someone's ass...legally. That or the gym has a kickboxing class. Maybe I need a class for kicking boxes. I'd punch a punching bag, but I'd probably just end up hurting myself. We'll figure it out.

She suggested that I finally bite down and get a damn mouthguard for me to wear at night. We drove to Walgreens and discovered a small selection of mouthguards all which ran for $25 (It's just plastic right?). I start fussing about the cost and saying it's not worth it. But then I rationalize the purchase by evaluating the cost of a new set of teeth which is what I'm on the road to if I don't protect my teeth. We buy the mouthguard.

I notice on the box that the mouthguard "stops the annoying sound of grinding." That's when I thought that I may never stop bruxing. I mean, this won't stop the grinding, but it will stop that annoying sound. The sound is not my worry. I can't even hear the sound. I want something that stops the grinding. I guess I'll just have to live with it. Or commit an assault.

Last night, at about 12:30, I wake up to Tucker barking in the laundry room where we had him fenced in. Out of annoyance, my lovely wife hops up and closes the bedroom door. He continues to bark.

I doze off for a moment and then hear a boom on our bedroom door. Tucker has lept the fence and is now roaming the house with reckless abandon. I open the door and he scampers back to the laundry room in a panic. I follow him to find a pool of piss on the kitchen floor (awesome) and then look in the laundry room to find he's destroyed Jackson's old bed by ripping a hole in it and then pulling out the stuffing.

Yeah, my dog's awesome.

Robert Deniro is backing Obama. Good enough for me.

Monday, February 04, 2008


I called it. Richard seconded the motion. Julio blew smoke in Richard's face which really upset him.

While my score was not exact, one could say that by being one of the few to confidently pick the Giants to beat the Patriots--I was already unlikely to be victorious today. Well, in what was probably the best Super Bowl I've seen in my life, the Giants smothered the Pats by three points (not by six as predicted) and the undefeated season remains property of the Dolphins. I'm not a Patriots hater, I'm a Brady hater. I just hate that guy. I reminds me of the type of cat I hated in high school. He played quarterback for the varsity squad, got the best grades, was loved by every girl in school, had parents who fulfilled his every dream for him (and never spanked him), won everything (including math competitions) and he drove a new Blazer with really big wheels. I'm glad he lost.

Earlier in the week, Giants' wide receiver Plaxico Burress (who also made the game-winning catch) also made the prediction that the Giants would win 23-17 to which Tom Brady responded confidently, "We're only going to score 17 points? Does Plaxico play defense? I wish he said 45-42, or something like that." Nope, Tom, you're only gonna score two touchdowns. He said it and I said it.

Score one for the good guys.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


And the ever-hawdcore Richard Marx agrees: Giants will knock off the Pats, 23-17.

If you're a gambler, you needn't worry, I just did your job for you. You can thank me later. And Richard Marx is a gangsta. B'lee dat.

I can't sleep past 5 AM anymore. Not even on Saturday. It's a sickness. I went to bed at 9:30 last night. What is happening to me? I'm turning into an 80 year-old in the course of only three months. I don't get it.

Friday, February 01, 2008


If I really cared, I'd try to be more diplomatic about it, but I don't. I hate small dogs. I just really can't stand them. I don't even consider them dogs. Hell, I hardly even consider them animals. I know this might put me on the outside of a few social circles and might make me unpopular with a few dog lovers. I'm sorry. If it upsets you, I hate to be the one to tell you, but you don't own a dog--you own a rodent. I guess, I should least qualify what I'm talking about. Jack Russell's and up are safe. A Jack Russell is clearly and definably a dog. I'll admit, I'm a fan of dogs bigger than the Jack breed, but Jacks I can get with.

If, however, your dog can get his ass whooped by a rat, it ain't a dog. Dogs are hunters by nature and should be able to easily negotiate the life of vermin. Some are even capable of killing animals twice their size. Small dogs however, are susceptable to being killed under the foot of a human by accident. That's lame. The other day, I was in a Home Depot purchasing a new fan and I saw a woman who was clutching somewhat stealthily to a small hairball and I started thinking that if you can smuggle a dog into a Home Depot, it is not a dog. She kept whispering in its ear things like, "It's okay, baby," and, "Mama loves you." Was the dog in some sort of trauma? Was the Home Depot experience too much for this delicate animal? What's "okay"? Those are things I would say to my dog only it was just hit in the torso by a stray bullet and was bleeding to death. This woman's walking with her dog in Home Depot and nothing else. That ain't no dog.

My brother told me a story of one of his colleagues who went on an Alaskan cruise and his wife insisted they take their small dog with them. Despite him disagreeing with the decision, she brought the dog. One evening, while on the top deck, the woman put the small dog down on the deck it began scattering about. The two were talking as the dog wandered slightly out of their immediate view. Next thing you know, a huge eagle swoops down, snags the dog in its slicing talons and flies away with the dog in tow--never to be seen again. I don't mind saying it--that's funny. It stands as proof that dogs should at least exceed a specified size threshold. If you're dog can be towed away by an animal with wings (that's not a pterodactyl), I would wonder if I really own a dog.

I'm a dog guy. I love dogs and I wouldn't let anyone tell me that I don't, however, in this uninhibited, uncensored therapy session, I must say that I absolutely hate small dogs. I'm more a fan of dogs that I can pet without risking injury to the dog. I like when I'm at risk of injury when petting a dog. I like lap dogs that make your legs fall asleep. I like dogs that can walk and keep up. If walking your dog involves carrying the dog in your arms, that ain't no dog. I like dogs that couldn't possibly fit in a purse. I like dogs who have bowel movements that are the size of coke cans--not Cheeto crumbs.

This is a dog. This concludes my Friday therapy session. I feel much better. Thank you.

Celtics beat the Mavericks last night without KG. We're now 13-0 against the West. I wonder if Kool Aid will start believing the C's dominance soon.