Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I've always thought myself to be a fan of violence, however, in time, I've found that the by distinguishing the difference between the two, I've now found myself more drawn to fighting. Violence has no point or purpose. There are no random acts of fighting. Only violence. Fighting happens for a reason. You pitch high and inside on the league's best hitter--there's gonna be a fight. There's territorial fights. There's political fights. There's fundamental fights. Some fights turn into wars. I don't know if I'm a fan of wars, but definitely fights.
Physical fights? Yeah, I like physical fights. I don't so much like arguments. They're too commonplace. People always like to talk. And even some talk alot of ish. But there's something about when grown men are talking, then arguing, then all of the sudden they come to fisticuffs. That's awesome. I think that a good fight is needed in all office spaces just to get the blood running. Yeah, I know most would disagree, but wouldn't you secretly like to see some cat just get beat down right there in the cubicle?
Violence, however, just bums me out. It's like, "Damn, kids exhibit such violence these days. Whatta bummer." Like those kids on YouTube videoing themselves beating each other up--that's just violence. They're acting violent. They're not fighting. The difference is fighting is not glamorized. It's not so theatric. I can tell you this, most kids don't want to get in fights. They might be troubled kids, but if done correctly, they don't want a fight. They might have violence in them, but they don't wanna fight.
I only bring it up because, well, I'm not really prone to violence or fighting. I'm a pretty relaxed guy and, despite having the tendency to show emotional votility, I don't ever start swinging because, well, I'm 30 years old. But to be honest, I've never been that type of cat. I've fantasized about doing it one day.
I guess this is kinda like a therapy session. It's one that my insurance doesn't need to cover because, well, it's just me and The Root Down. If it's true that I struggle with internalized anger issues, maybe this will help me clear my head and stop grinding my teeth at night.
The other day, I thought to myself, "It's been way too long since I've seen a good fight." The exhilaration that I feel from simply witnessing a fight is very difficult to explain. It's much like a bee sting or a adrenaline shot. It's like dark coffee. Or a good funk record. It just knocks the cobwebs loose and gets the heart pumping. Notice, however, I said "seen" a good fight.
Fighting is not something I would like to see family or friends involved with. I don't roll with a lot of fighters. I know that hurts my street cred and, likewise, hurts the street cred of anyone I hang out with, but c'mon, who are we kidding. We don't go fighting. Sometimes, I think about how bad ass it would be to roll with a dude like Begbie from Trainspotting. Maybe just for one night.
Alright, so tonight we learned there's a difference between violence and fighting. I like fighting, but I won't throw a punch. And if I talk trash, my friends won't have my back. Therapy session over. I'm taking my magnesium.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Well, the movie was bad ass. It's a complicated tale that bares warning to the lure of greed and its impact on the human spirit as well as a classic good versus evil spin presented in a haunting manner by a jaw-dropping performance by Daniel Day-Lewis. Yes, his performance is that good.
At the end of the movie, the theater that was about three-quarters full rose to their feet--some began chattering excitedly, others offered a joyous chuckle. The folks behind me complained.
"Only four people died?! Only four people died!"
Apparently, the title of the movie was a little too heady for the Yellow. I decided to sit back while the credits rolled because I was particularly interested where the movie was shot. As I'm sitting there in the now-empty theater, I'm approached by this figure out of the darkness. He's walking directly toward me just a row in front of me. This fumbling idiot voice pours out.
"Was this movie good?"
I sit there ignoring him at first.
"Was it good?"
I nod. He leans in closer.
"This is that movie with Dennis Lewis, right?"
"Daniel Day-Lewis, yes."
"Oh, that's right."
He stands there for a moment or two longer during which time I positively identify this moron as the one, the only...Dr. Goldstick the "Optometrist." He was alone. Looking alone. Very alone. Part of me wanted to pity him with his medium cola and popcorn for one. But I didn't. I just sat there and ignored him in my perfect pair of glasses that took him two attempts at my prescription strength meanwhile suggesting that I had an astigmatism as well as eyes that were in a severe state of degredation and soon I would be blind if I continued to alternate between my glasses and contacts. I wanted to tell him, "Hey, Goldstick, still not blind!"
As we made our way home, I stopped off to get gas. As I was in paying, a kid was walking away from the counter and, laughing, said to the guy at the register, "Drinking beer and chasing women--that's what I do!" He must've been fifteen years old.
I gotta get outta here. It's Monday. I'm hopped up on magnesium now. Results are inconclusive as of now. Still the baddest bruxer you ever knew. Don't forget it.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
My lovely wife has told me that Saturdays are the day for sleeping in. Apparently everyone in the house believes this to be true except for me. I've slept really light this week. I've begun grinding my teeth again in my sleep. It's crazy. I'll wake up with sores in my mouth and have a faint memory of my wife talking to me in the middle of the night, massaging my jaw. It's a horrible thing (it's actually called bruxism). You go to sleep tired (because you didn't sleep the night before either) and you wake up four or five hours later wake up with your jaws, teeth and head hurting.
My lovely wife stayed up late trying to diagnose me, solve me. She's like that because, well, she's a clinical psychologist. They offered many solutions: take calcium before going to bed, lavender oil rubbed onto your neck and jaw, 2000 mg of magnesium before bed, hot bath before bed, counseling, drink less alcohol, where a mouth guard (yeah, like a running back), cognitive-behavioral therapy. All sound like good solutions, however, I'm not much for evening baths, rubbing oil on my beautiful exterior will only cause me to break out, I'm not drinking alcohol, I've worn the mouth guard and they suck and I've never been a good candidate for counseling. That'd leave magnesium and calcium. I'm not even good at taking pills because, well, I never do. It's not a stance I take, I just never need them. I guess I'll try it. Magnesium doesn't sound like something you should be taking, though. Whatever.
The causes of bruxism are even odder. Bruxers (there's a name for people like me...I guess "bruxer" is better than "insensitive prick"--like I normally get) could develop the grinding by changes in sleep patterns, aggressive personality type, early Huntington's or Parkinson's disease, stress (one that remains a top suspect) or, my personal favorite, internalized anger. My lovely wife, as sweet as she is, has suggested that I might not even realize that I have anger issues because I exert that energy in a subconcious state. It got me thinking: am I like a hulk-like character? Could this be an effect of the growth hormones I've been taking? Is this like roid rage? I just love the thought that I have internalized anger. It's like I'm carrying a little devil child or something. Or a possession of some sort. Kiddingly, I asked my lovely wife if she's scared to sleep with me--afraid that I might go off in the middle of night when my anger is externalized. She wasn't. Us bruxers are high-strung individuals. But to think, as high-energy as I am, that I could be internalizing something or anything is beyond me.
Random note: Dale and Sarah, it looks like SXSW ain't happening this year. Again. Sucks, but there's just too much snow in Colorado to spend a weekend trapped in a crowded bar watching a 30-minute set from 2Mex. Not that I don't want to see you all too and check out the new pad, but it'll have to be another time. I know you're disappointed. I can sense it internally.
So I found out a slight defect to Da Pocket Prophet the other day (Zune). I was just about to walk out for lunch and had set it in my lap while I typed an email. I stood up and Da Prophet fell about two to three feet to the ground. I look down and, would you believe, the LCD cracked. It still played, but now I couldn't negotiate my way around. It just looked like my Zune hit a bird going about 150 miles an hour. I present Exhibit A. This came only a few days after snapping the screen on my phone. It's probably the internalized anger. Found a replacement part (with tools) on Ebay for only $60. Small price to pay to enjoy 1989 all over again. Oh, and if I haven't mentioned, I am on 1989 now. I blew through 1988. I keep finding a few things from 1988 that I need, but I felt comfortable taking the step into 1989. I think I've mentioned this somewhere.
(listening to LL Cool J's "I'm the Type of Guy")
Last night, I had the opportunity to participate in a unique cultural exchange, if you will. Now, for my readers and those new to The Root Down. I'm white. Not pasty, but definably white. I come from a German heritage. I'm not confused about my ethnicity. No matter how much Sly Stone and EPMD I listen to, I will never get blacker. And nor would I want to. I am who I am. That being said, I have also realized that not all white people are created or educated equally. I discovered this last night at the Rodney Carrington show. For those not in the know, Rodney Carrington is one in a long line of country comedians (see also Ron White, Larry the Cable Guy, Jeff Foxworthy). He's been doing it for a long time and he's sold a lot of records. His biggest schtick is the songs he has written about, uh, anatomy. Yeah, I know it sounds juvenile, but when you find your niche, exploit it. So we have a country comedian that sings songs about his and others' anatomy. What sort of audience do you think an act like this attracts? Well, if you said "predominantly uneducated white trash that spent their entire mortgage on Busch and Carrington tickets," you'd be right. Look, I don't mean to bag on them, but when I was in line to use the restroom, I saw about twenty guys go in, piss and walk out with not one of them washing their hands. I, however, turned the faucet on for the first time of the evening. If that doesn't make your skin absolutely crawl, you must not wash your hands after finishing your business either. I don't mean to bag on them, but I don't think I've ever seen so many lethally intoxicated humans still able to march up about fifty stairs to retrieve two more Bud Lights for themself and their date. I don't mean to bag on them, but they laughed at, essentially, the same joke about infidelity for over two hours. When you live with acute mental retardation, I suppose it only takes one joke with fifty different deliveries. In that way, Rodney's a damn genius.
I knew I was in for a challenge when Rodney came out mockingly dancing to Will Smith's "Get Jiggy Wit It" and, as the music shuts off, Rodney's first words are, "I like that African music--makes me horny." Then, the place went up in a roar of laughter. During the course of his act, he knocked on rappers, blacks (not necessarily one in the same, in case you didn't know), gays, Muslims and, well, what kinda country comedian would you be if you didn't find creative ways to smear marriage and fidelity? He was really in his wheelhouse. I don't think he had one joke that didn't result in a riotous uproar of laughter.
I was asked afterwards if I enjoyed the show because, by someone's observations, I just sat there the whole time "with my arms crossed and didn't laugh once." I explained that I was typically "stoic" during comedy shows, but the truth is that I didn't really find him funny. Part was that I was offended, but moreso that I just didn't find him that funny. I wasn't trying to purposefully bum people out, in fact, I kinda turned my shoulders away from the people I was sitting with so I didn't have to share my displeasure with anyone. I was actually shocked when I was called out on it. The cat was out of the bag--I can't enjoy a comedian.
Afterwards, we were in line to meet the great Rodney Carrington and some dude came from backstage asking for Anderson Merchandisers first (that'd be Wal-Mart for those scoring at home). The irony is that, while we've sold probably close to 75,000 Rodney Carrington albums over the year, Wal-Mart has sold a whopping zero. That's because, well, they don't believe in the first amendment. They won't carry Rodney because he cusses and sings about his unit. But, despite protesting against comedians like Rodney by not carrying his product, Anderson gets to get in first into the meet-and-greet. How awesome. We heckled from around the wall yelling things like, "We support the first amendment," and, "We're pro-smut."
Whatever. Rodney was actually very polite. I was somewhat regretful for so quickly drawing direct attachments between him and his moron fans. We posed for a picture and I showed my gratitude. He was equally grateful.
Tux has finally gotten the hang of the potty training. It's about damn time. He got it right before being sent off to Obedience Class. We'll see how it turns out. I wish there was a session that covered "Resisting the Lure of Licking a Smelly Ass." That'd be really helpful. I'll make to write that in the "additional comments" field of our survey at the end of the eight-week run.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Lucky for me, my love for jazz is often awakened because, well, I'm blessed with such a dope family of musicians. My aunt and uncle are both accomplished jazz heads. My uncle somewhat reluctantly, at times--referring to his style of composition as "death jazz." Because musicians rarely walk alone, an already vast family musicians is always followed by friends of a family of musicians. Sometimes reunions, weddings or weekend jams can turn into entire symphonies of kazooists, bassists, saxaphonists, pianists, drummers and an accordion for good measure.
I guess Mingus was my first love. When I was a kid, my aunt gave me a copy of Mingus' Epitaph on double-cassette. It was a super-heady symphonic composition and noisy as hell. I couldn't make any sense of the recording. I was only ten years old. The music confused me, pissed me off. I was thinking, "Man, if this is jazz. I'll take my Run DMC." My aunt really never made much of it. It was one of her students, Edward, that said something that would stick for me for the rest of my life. One day, Edward noticed the Mingus double-cassette I owned and, giving me a way too much cool-credit, asked, "Man, you like Mingus?!"
"Nah, not really. My aunt gave it to me."
"Eh, you will one day."
At the time, I really didn't know what the hell he was talking about. I couldn't listen to it at all. Not only that, but no one my age listened to jazz.
I'd find that, whaddya know, Edward was right.
By high school, I had begun finding players that I liked. By college, I was full blown. Over time, I would be able to name players out of an ensemble of some ten or fifteen players. I started calling certain records "the Abbey Road of jazz." I despised Charlie Parker just to piss off the greying purists. I named percussionists like Tony Williams and Max Roach to raise eyebrows in conversations. I laughed at pretentious assholes who evoke that silly beatnik idiocy--talking about the genius of Cecil Taylor. I listened to jazz because I was different not because I aspired to be. There's a difference.
All that said and done, here are my top ten jazz records. They're probably not all considered the popular favorites although I know a couple certainly might meet the requirements. It's funny. I actually went and read reviews of the titles I selected for this post and found some rather scathing remarks by a few reputable critics regarding some of the recordings contained herein. That's many's frustrations with jazz--sometimes the most listenable recordings are absolute critical failures while other albums that can hardly qualify as music are reverred as "classic."
I just know that these ten records are my favorite. You don't like 'em, get your own damn blog and write about records that no one cares about.
Jimmy Smith's Root Down (***) What can I say, it's where I took my name. This incredible Jimmy Smith recording finds one the illest Hammond player in jazz/rhythm and blues history scorching the set with the slammin' title track as well as an insane version of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together." It captures Jimmy Smith as he's nears anominity until, of course, the Beasties would cleverly sample "Root Down" for their song by the same name off of Ill Communication. Says the jazz guide, "Unpromising as it might look, this is actually a terrific Smith date, and a rare example of Smith's idiom in successful transition." Dude's got an obsession with the word "idiom."
Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters (****) Head Hunters was my first in many regards. It was my first funk record. It was my first Hancock record. It was the first time I would learn about long-play funk tracks--three of the four songs topping almost ten minutes in duration. It would mark the first time I'd rewind a track because I heard a LL Cool J sample ("Watermelon Man"). Head Hunters is a paramount record. Anyone wanting to get into funk, I would start here. James Brown next. Says the jazz guide, "Miles legetimized a view of black musical history that made room for Sly Stone and James Brown, as well as Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. Head Hunters--and yes, it is two words at this stage (Editor's Note: "Man, whatta prick.") --was a direct result, an infectiously funky and thoroughly joyous record."
Thad Jones's Fabulous Thad Jones (***) Hailing from the Basie School of Jazz, Thad Jones is one of those cats that heads just don't acknowledge enough. He really hit stride at the same time that some dude named Miles started packing concert halls and playing the blues. Thad's natural abilities save many of his recordings from every sounding forced. He's like the Billy Gibbon's of jazz--just pick up that horn and do yo thing, homie. This recording features, among others, the great Mingus, Max Roach and brother Hank Jones. Says the jazz guide, "The sessions for Mingus's and Roach's Debut Label are very good indeed."
Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come (****) Only really cocky muddahs name an album The Shape of ________ to Come. I mean, you gotta have cohones the size of Dallas to name a record that. Luckily for us, Ornette did have cohones (musically) the size of Dallas and, coincidentally, he hailed from Fort Worth. I would never suggest that an Ornette Coleman record is for anyone looking to get into jazz because, let's face it, he falls closer to the pretentious end of the spectrum than tradition. What you have with The Shape, is a trailblazing record that, over the course of one listen, pushes and bends the boundaries of jazz probably more than they ever had been up to 1960 by one single recording. Says the jazz guide, "Difficult--perhaps impossible--to reconstruct the impact of these records had [Ornette's first eight records--the first of which is The Shape] when they first appeared or the frustration that some of the players understandably evinced in trying to get to grips with Coleman's ideas. Bassist Jimmy Garrison is said to have lost his temper on the stand one night, baffled by playing off-notes rather than chords, increasingly convinced that the whole thing was a scam."
Charles Mingus's Mingus at Carnegie Hall (***) One of my very favorite live jazz records, Mingus's Carnegie performance is not perfect, but it represents, to a certain extent, and older but still fiery Mingus passing the torch to a score of young players (including the prominently featured Gillespie student, Jon Faddis). Charles, as band leader, is much like a circus master--yelling at players or simply just hollering--sometimes singing joyfully as he grunts through basslines. Here, with a standard C blues and "Perdido" playing host to, essentially, a series of solos, Mingus and friends absolutely tear Carnegie down. Highlighted by the soloing of Rahsaan Roland Kirk who's solos are so bad they're just rude. They're just indignant. Says the jazz guide, "To be frank, there are better Mingus albums and even the more chaotic live appearances delivered more compelling music than anything here." Geez. Thanks, asshole.
Ron Carter's Blues Farm (***) As a bassist and hailing from a family filled with bass players, I was always surprised that bassist Ron Carter didn't come up more in conversations between players. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard my father, aunt or uncle speak of Ron Carter at all. Nonetheless, his craftsmanship as a piccolo bassist are strikingly tasty. Unlike many of his peers, he turns out the illest solo work on a bass--taking the instrument to much more conversational form--able to play solos with the movement and dexterity of a zoot trumpeter. As we hear on Blues Farm, when paired with the great Bob James, his talent is featured fully and uncensored. This session is just one cool recording--it's an incredibly easy listen that never pushes or urges. It just rolls. Says the jazz guide, "An attractive yet rather dated record." Prick.
Charles Mingus's Right Now: Live at the Jazz Workshop (***) While the Carnegie performance highlights Mingus as part of a larger ensemble, Right Now, illustrates his dynamic personality and musicianship as part of a quintet. The result is a delightfully raw performance which finds Charles audibly yelling at pianist Jane Getz when she falls off key. Regardless, his seering and scorching performance will leave listeners stunned. It's an intimate and furious session which serves a great representation of Mingus's most elemental contributions to the artform. Says the jazz guide, "Although not up to the passionate level of the Mingus-Dolphy Quintet, this underrrated unit holds it own."
Rahsaan Roland Kirk's Bright Moments (***) Rahsaan's forte was always experimentation and trickery. When you're a blind man who plays three saxaphones at once (often also playing a nose kazoo), "trickery" is a word that follows you. Here, on Bright Moments, Kirk is in prime form. As band leader, his humor and, sometimes, sarcasm takes center stage when he addresses the crowd both vocally or with instrument. The recording starts out with the band simulating a train leaving the station. Fitting because by the end of the record, this shit is interstellar. Says the jazz guide, "Bright Moments is a disconcertingly bland (and overlong, scarcely justifying two CDs-worth) and for the first time Kirk's multi-instrumentation began to seem a mere gimmick." Thanks, jerkoff.
Miles Davis's On the Corner (**) Miles, who spent most of his career in a state of musical transition, gave us this uber-funky session (which was just released in complete form--all six discs worth). Moving from more trumpet-led compositions to, here, rhythmically suffocating sessions, On the Corner is a headache for lovers of the balladeer Miles Davis. For the fans of Bitches Brew, Big Fun and The Jack Johnson Sessions, this is right up your alley. It's an often confused record and rightfully so. For a man who made his name by playing straight-forward blues numbers, On the Corner absolutely destroys such connotation. It's an explosion of wayward instrumentation and, for me, remains one of my very favorite Miles albums. Says the jazz guide, "The critics hated it. Mostly they were right. On the Corner is pretty unrelieved, chugging funk, and one has to dig a little bit for the experimental subtleties that lie Miles's most unpromising records. Where electronics gave him a sinister, underground sound at the apocalyptic Osaka concert documented on Agharta and Pangaea, here the sound is tinny and unfocused. The supporting cast is also questionable."
Jazz critics--whaddya gon' do? Oh, did I mention this Peterson cat's guilty as hell?
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Well, the Zune experiment continues to run ahead of schedule. I'm already loading 1989 onto it. Yeah, people like to catch me going back on my commitments, but the thing is that 1988 had some great records, however, simply not enough to keep me entertained for an entire year. I had to move onto the next year. Now, 1989 is when things get thick. These days in hip hop are just overflowing with good records so I would say my pace will slow down considerably. The second I loaded Paul's Boutique and 3 Feet High and Rising onto the Zune, I thought, "This is what I was waiting for. This is the Promised Land. This is 1989." Damn right it's the Golden Age.
Now kids are faking fights so they can post them on YouTube. Apparently, they're still eating Play-Doh as well. Kids, whaddya gon' do?
Speaking of kids, I think we finally had a breakthrough with Tucker and his potty training. It's about damn time. It's not like he can't hold it. The dude is the same size as Jackson yet he would want me to believe that his bladder is not even a comparment, but rather a tube--or a straw. Well, I've actually been a bit absent as his sensei. So what I do now is beat him within inches of his life when he pisses the floor and then do cartwheels out in the yard when he hits the lawn. It seems to be working. You have to show him that this is bad and this is good. Who would've thought? He'll be starting obedience training next week. It's the same training that Jackson went do which means he'll jump on furniture without an invite, dig holes throughout the backyard, empty entire trashcans of garbage across the kitchen floor and occassionally fart in your face. Ah, the wonders of beagle ownership.
Another gem from a Google search of my last name. This man's name is Robert and he failed to pay child support so they picked his cheap ass up.
Robert, don't have 'em if you can't pay for 'em. You're giving us a bad name, homie. I don't want to search my last name and then find a full page of mug shots. It just doesn't look good.
The wind chill has inched up to 1 degree. It's gonna be a cold walk to work.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I was floored when I got my grimies on this, one of two Betty Davis albums reissued by Light in the Attic last year. I ain't never heard any of her stuff and, by virtue of the sick heads at Light in the Attic, 2007 reintroduced Betty Davis to the world. Her abilities to use her vocals as an instrument are fantastically intriguing. She goes from cool, bluesy heartbreaker to absolutely explosive funkstress in the same song. Hell, sometimes she does it in the same lyric. They Say I'm Different reaches into a realm of funk largely unrecognized thanks to Betty's prowess. She's a beast.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Sometimes I do image searches of my last name to see what it pulls back. I know it's weird, but I'm pretty sure others do it too. I'm not sure why I do it. It's just funny how sometimes there's a slew of mugshots. I have to apologize to my fine readers for being a bit distant of late. I've had some difficulty getting back on schedule since the beginning of the year.
We'll be getting the rhythm back in a few weeks. I got all kinds of treats for you on the other side of month-end.
Don't be so freakin' demanding. You ain't my boss, homie.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Andy is a good friend of my brother. They met while at seminary out in Pasadena, Cali. He's a minister, a stand-up comedian and, now, an American Gladiator. Tonight, my lovely wife and I were sitting down after dinner to watch a little television. She snagged the remote away from me to keep me from searching and she began searching herself--starting with the major networks. Tonight, on NBC, the new heavyweight American Gladiators, was airing. My brother had told me that Andy was going to be on. And whaddya know, there's Andy. Andy was a substitute for an injured kid named Adam.
Let's rewind this real quick. My lovely wife and I met Andy briefly while out in Pasadena visiting my brother (actually, for the devoted Root Down Reader--this was the hell trip that my brother and I almost died on in the cab of a Penske truck). Andy was in the same housing unit as my brother. In fact, we also had dinner with him--beer butt chicken. He was a pleasurable fella. And ripped. Dude was just col' ripped. His name was Andy.
Andy, in his many ventures, found himself on American Gladiators--in front of millions of gazing eyes. This was a little bigger than when my brother was spotted in the crowd of The Price is Right. Just a little. See deeper in The Root Down for that recap.
Replacing the injured Adam, Andy started in the hole. He fought ferociously to gain on his competitor. Also met the great Hulk Hogan. But Andy wasn't having too much success out of the gate. His first competition was against some dude named "Titan" who looked European on the platform joust. Andy gave a good fight, however, was knocked into the water.
Next event was the "run-across-the-slippery-bridge-while-dudes-named-'Mayhem'-and-'Wolf'-chunk-big-balls-at-you" competition (pause). Andy tied his opponent in this contest. Then he lasted longer than his opponent yet failed to sink the gladiator in the "throw-balls-at-the-gladiator-to-try-to-launch-him-into-the-water." So, in the end, Andy went up against his opponent in the "Eliminator" in which, by virtue of his point lead, his opponent received a four-second headstart. Winner goes on. Loser goes home.
Would you believe that Andy smoked this kid like a pig on a stick. It happened when Andy hit the water and swam under the fire (I know, this just sounds stupid). Andy swam like a freakin tadpole. In the end, he was done and doing his interview after finishing the Eliminator by the time his opponent crawled across the finish line. Andy even paused and gave props to his opponent as he finished. Andy's a pimp. I'm a fan.
Turns out that Andy's Eliminator time was the best this season. From a replacement to a champion? We'll see. But he's still alive. And he met Hulk Hogan. Atta boy, Andy. Atta boy.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Yesterday, I'm playing Nintendo NES on the couch (wireless, baby) waiting on my lovely wife to arrive so we can go shop. Not my favorite pasttime, but 75% off at Old Navy was a little hard to pass up because I'm a cheapass and, normally, I can find something that fits my large frame at Old Navy and we needed to get my lovely wife a ski jacket because, yes, she's learning in March at Taos. Yada yada.
I see the front of my lovely wife's CRV pass my view through the window and then I hear it...
I spring from the sofa and look out the window to see a red Civic pinned right into the side of my lovely wife's CRV--a CRV that's still about two weeks old. I fly out the front door and, under a pretty good assumption of what happened, I point at this kid hopping out of the Civic and say, "You were going to fast, bro." He stands there like someone smacked him with the dummy bat. I go over to check on my lovely wife. She's fine. Pretty low impact on her except for the shock of getting hit. She's a champ like that. When we were dating, I saw Danny wrestle her playfully to the ground and she hit her head hard--no, hawd. Girl col' walked it off. No, wait, I think she laid there for a few moments and then walked it off. Either way, my lovely wife's tough. She jumps out of planes.
My wife hops and immediately goes into business mode. I keep this kid (we'll call him "Johnny" because that's his name) talking because I'm afraid he's gonna try and book on us. Dude was just a little shifty. I check out the his Civic and the bumper's all broken and dented in. I check out the CRV and, what the hell, I look three times for the damage and then get down on my knees and look closely and see a small scuff and some paint scraped. This thing is a tank!
Okay so it wasn't that bad, but the Yellow Police Department needs record of the accident. I hop on the phone quickly and call the police. It's the right thing to do. Remember that: it's the right thing to do. Look, my lovely wife and I don't have anything to hide. I just don't want this kid to skate and then, two weeks down the road, he's trying to pin it on us.
I start talking to Johnny as we wait for Yellow's finest to show. I start with small talk:
What year is your Civic?
Are you in school?
Did you grow up around here?
All real questions that I don't really care of the answer. I'm just trying to keep him talking so he doesn't start going the "I-heard-if-no-one's-hurt-the-cops-don't-need-record-of-it" route. He kept talking, but I knew that I was going to have to find a new line of questions because Johnny wasn't really feeling my conversation (which is unusual). He asks, "How long do you think before the cops show up?" I tell him to hang tight.
I then start thinking my best course of action is to start dumbing the conversation down. Keep him engaged. Turns out, I gotta pretty good character sketch of our Johnny once I dumbed it down. Between my lovely wife and I, here are some of the facts about our boy Johnny.
Johnny's been in six wrecks in five years.
Johnny drove when he was 16 with an expired learner's permit as opposed to just going to get his license.
Johnny was involved in an accident in which he was hit and the other car fled.
Johnny chased this lady down and became irate and was written a ticket for disorderly conduct.
Johnny has family in Tyler and once he visited and his uncle was getting drunk shooting his shotgun.
Johnny's got a friend who has four DWI's and has been in five accidents.
Johnny's got a snake that he needed to get mice for.
Johnny's going to the community college and is majoring in "General Studies." Ha.
Johnny just turned 21.
Once, while in Tyler, Johnny hung out with some guys that would go on "Booze Cruises."
Johnny, as a youngblood, would hang out at the schoolground up the street and egg passing cars.
Johnny recently got in an argument with a "crazy black man" who was yelling at him from the side of the road. Johnny got out and confronted him.
Johnny just got his car out of the body shop. Among the repaired damages, a dent given to him by a friend who punched his car.
Johnny uses snuff now but he really wanted a cigarette while we conversed.
Johnny lives at home with his parents but he wants to buy a house with his best friend.
Johnny doesn't have a job.
Johnny once gave a ride to a "Mexican guy" who seemed nice and, two days later, appeared in the news because he stabbed a man to death. Johnny still insists that he "seemed cool."
Johnny thinks gas costs $2.00 a gallon. I corrected him.
Johnny is going to study "Western Hemisphere Literature" next semester. I should've told him that doesn't mean "western" as in "John Wayne." And the study of literature actually requires you to read.
Johnny has no respect for his father.
Johnny has spent time in the Youth Detention Center.
Johnny has also spent at least one night in jail.
At this point, given his quite colorful accounts, I thought we need to hold this kid here because he could have warrants, he might be a felon. My lovely wife, at this time, was inside mopping floors. Nice when the accident happens right in front of your house.
I keep making calls into the police department, politely requesting another officer be dispatched because, at this point, it's an hour and a half later. My lovely wife keeps coming out and non-verbally hinting that maybe we should just take the pictures, get all the info and be on our way. Her and I were starving. I non-verbally communicate back to her, "No way in hell." We continue to stand there on the sidewalk talking about stupid stuff. I'm losing all ability to speak, think, comprehend. Johnny's quite literally sucking the smart out of me. His conversation was a vacuum in which all my cool (what little I have left at 30 years old), my brains and my hipness were yanked from my being. I would challenge anyone to try and hold a conversation with a halfwit for an hour and a half. I call the police department again. They advise me to stay put because the "third-shifters" have just left and someone should arrive shortly.
"So, Johnny, who would be your Republican presidential candidate?"
Finally, a cruiser rounds the corner--now an hour and forty-five minutes later. The police officer hops out and begins assessing the scene. He says that he's not going to write Johnny a ticket, but rather just write up an incident report and then let everyone go on their way. What the?! Somehow, I knew loose-lip Johnny was going to blow it. Sure enough, he did.
Johnny asked to borrow my phone again which he had been using to communicate with his father. He says, "Yeah, the cop is here now. I'll be home in a second."
See, officers are aloud to call themselves "cops" but regular citizens are not really encouraged to call them "cops." It's kinda like the horrid "n-word." I thought I had found another word to say besides the "n-word." I need to check previous posts.
Johnny left with ticket for failure to control speed. Probably didn't hurt that the woman he hit used to work at the prison and now works at the youth detention center.
No telling what happens to guys like Johnny. I mean, he came and left with a handshake and an apology: "I'm sorry I inconvenienced you two." It was a fair enough ending to what was a more painful experience than it should have ever been. Johnny sped off to go get those mice. Probably no better or worse off. He left me deeply impacted (and subtracted). A sweet kid with a good arm for throwing eggs at passing motorists. A darling spirit with a horrible driving record and a disorderly conduct charge. Chances are pretty good that, in about ten months, he's going to meet someone else standing at the front of his dented Civic bumper. I can only hope they get to know the Johnny I met yesterday.
On a completely unrelated note, I was listening to Fear of a Black Planet up at work on Friday on vinyl and while I was introducing the second half of the record to my new cubemate Sergio, I mentioned that the second half of the record is like a thirty-minute sprint that doesn't stop. I flip the record over and, sure as shit, when you look at the arrangement of grooves in the record there is not one solitary break in the grooves. It's a full-on half-hour assault of sound. Incredible.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Saturday, January 05, 2008
This morning, my body was going on its second hour of overtime (could've been the problem) sleep which is pretty unusual being that I'm waking up now at 5:45 without an alarm. I was having a dream in which I was in line at some sort of stadium, some sporting event. It was a concession line and the crowd was pretty heavily packed at the edge of the counter. I ordered something--beer, food, a shirt--not sure. And while I was reaching in my back pocket, I look over to see the man next to me being, not only pick-pocketed, but cold mugged. This dude had his hands in his pockets taking everything he had while he stood there defenseless.
Wanting so desperately to be the "good samaritan" on an episode of Shocking Police Video, I step into action and shove this dude away and snagging the articles away from him and returning it to the victim--yeah, that's awesome. I managed to do all this without any real danger because it was a dream! That's the kinda heroic performance I like. Where it doesn't really take any bravery or physical strength at all. I'm thinking, "How nice to school someone like Pat Morita."
I go back to the counter and continue paying for my purchase. When, all of the sudden I look next to me and with his chest pressed against my shoulder and his chin in my ear, I see the mugger. He says to me in his booming voice, "Boy, I'm-a kick yo ass!" I stand there thinking, "Uh, no you're not." I look at him and tell him to get away from me.
"Nah, I'm gonna whoop you're ass, man."
The incredible feeling of Morita-like power had shrunk and I now was armed with the fighting skill and cohones of a three year-old boy. And like suddenly my "step off" attitude became a "please no!" attitude. I stand there thinking that if I ignore him, he'll walk away.
"I'm talking to you, homie. Look at me!"
I half-turn my head to look at him. I say, "Look, it wasn't right what you were doing to that man. I'm sorry. I made a bad decision. Let's just squash this here."
"Hell, nah. I'm gonna kick you're ass."
Okay, the peacemaker approach did very little. That's usually my forte. Now I'm screwed. I decide that my best move is to simply point my shoes in the opposite direction and begin walking and see what happens. I figured there had to be security somewhere (please). I take what I estimate is about fifteen steps and then...