Tuesday, March 31, 2009


In a close or not-so close study of hip hop's history, there's few breaks that have made such a deep and long-lasting contribution to the music. "Funky Drummer" which was originally recorded in 1969 and released in 1970, has since become the beat that the entire history of hip hop bobs its head to. The question isn't who has sampled "Funky Drummer"'s 3:00+ drum solo, but who hasn't. In fact, it's influence was so far reaching and the beat was so perfect in every way that it's been sampled outside of hip hop by the likes of Nine Inch Nails, New Order, Depeche Mode, Sinead O'Connor, George Michael and the freaking Fine Young Cannibals. Hell, drivelous new age recording artist Enigma used the "Funky Drummer" in a recording. But that would be long after everyone in hip hop exploited the drum break. The list of artists who have sampled "Funky Drummer" irresistable drum break is a who's who of hip hop and the resulting recordings represent some of the very finest in hip hop. De La Soul, Eric B and Rakim, Public Enemy, Dr. Dre, Digable Planets, Chubb Rock, Big Daddy Kane, Above the Law, Biz Markie, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Ice T, Kid Sensation, Gangstarr, Mobb Deep, Geto Boys, Pharcyde, Stetsasonic, Run DMC, Ultramagnetic...it goes on and on and on. When people say that James Brown is the "most sampled artist in hip hop history," it's because of this break. Press play.

My mother did her dissertation a few years back regarding a recurring series of notes or a phrasing that was derived from chants in traditional and even contemporary organ compositions. The study (which I'll paraphrase) really dives into the many instances that this phrasing appears in compositions and explores how it is woven into the music. To think that something could be so perfect that its reused in countless recordings is something that I marvel at. That's the foundation of this "Funky Drummer" project. When "Funky Drummer" was recorded long before the inception of hip hop, Clyde Stubblefield would have no idea that it would become essentially the backbone to a new genre, a new movement near two decades later. The rolls and the fills that make up the drum break are so unassuming and raw. It's a natural flow of kicks and snares that does not sound forced, but rather sounds seemlingly like any other drum break in funk's early history. But more than any other drum break, the sheer length of the break made it so accessible from the perspective of a DJ. It was uncut and longer. Unlike other drum breaks where you might only be provided with a single bar or four bars at the most, "Funky Drummer" was just short of eight bars and, within the seven minute composition, there's far more sample-able material.
So, for a November release, I'll be working on a 40th Anniversary mix of the "Funky Drummer" which will include some of my favorite uses of the drum break. I was making a list the other night and it was almost hard to stop. That, in itself is a testimony to the greatness of the composition. It'll be 40 years old on November 20th. And, yes, I'm a dork.
In full disclosure, there's already a few mixes out there like this (and probably better, admittedly), the best of which is Edan's mixtape from a couple of years back. Definitely worth pursuing. Think, still, there's enough variance between his selections and mine. But Edan's hella-nice and I would never profess to be anywhere in the same realm as that dude. Man, when is he gonna releases something new?

Alright, it's Tuesday. Softball action starts today with the Bruise Bros. of Westminister Pres. They wanna give me shortstop, but I've agreed to play catcher if they need me to. You gotta pay your dues. You don't just walk into positions on the softball field. It's a blood-in, blood-out arrangement. Especially in church league.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


What I woke up to this morning. A storm that can only be described through adjectives "biblical" or "apocalyptic" landed on the Yellow yesterday. It snowed from about 2AM on Friday morning to about midnight that night--a good 22 hours. I forgot how difficult it was for me to stay in the house all day. I couldn't do it. I got up at "Bat Time" (5:30) and actually went to work with about three inches already on the ground. I get to work to find out that the office is closed less due to the weather at the time, but rather the weather that was to come. About two hours of work in, a director comes by and says, "If you plan on getting out of here, I'd do it now. It's getting thick out there."

I finished up a few emails and took him up on his precautionary comment and went to the store. C'mon, I needed entertainment. Seemed like a fine time to head by my local entertainment retailer and spend some dough. I rented W. and bought Beck's Sea Change and Madlib's King of the Wigflip on vinyl and headed home. Upon arriving, I found my lovely wife and two beagles cuddled up in bed where I expected them. Watched a little "90210"--the old episodes, the dope ones. C'mon, old "90210" was ill. Made some low sodium soup and watched W. Decent movie. Amazing how Oliver Stone doesn't hold any punches. No question on where he stands...ever.

Snow was still coming down. Snowing sideways. A phenomenon that meteorologists have termed a "blizzard"--a storm with often heavy snowfall and high winds. Check on both. The temperature was such, though, that the roads were relatively clear still. So, because of that, I made another trip to the store to pick up more entertainment. This time, I bought a book (yeah, can you believe that?), a Frommers guide to NYC for our August trip, Mystic River, a Hank Mobley CD and a Donald Byrd CD. Now, I was ready to be snowed in. Headed back to the house. Still snowing. (now flipping over to side D of Sea Change)

Worked a bit on the Black Moon mix. Black Moon's Enta da Stage I hold in quite high regard. There's few hip hop records from the early 90s that still sound as good. I can think of about fifteen records. Now, that's a lot of records, but as a percentage of the flood that hit market back in, say, 1991-1993, it's hardly that much. I read a quote the other day about Enta da Stage that hit me: "Though the album's success is largely attributable to Buckshot's performance, one cannot ignore the phenomenal production from the Beatminerz. They took the already dark sound of Low End Theory and one-upped it, filtering out almost all treble and using spare, hardcore drum samples. The compositions of Mr. Walt and Evil Dee are also cleverly structured, propelling Buckshot's raps directly into the listener's psyche. The crackle of scratched vinyl pervades the album, contributing to the feel of warmth and timelessness. Thanks to the Beatminerz, there is something inviting about Enta da Stage, despite its confrontational lyrics." Mr. Walt and Dee's attention to the production of the album, the feel of the album. These days, it's all punchlines. No one gives a good damn about production anymore. Except for my man (puts on the Madlib record again).

This new MF Doom record is a beast. I got Clint blowing up the phone quoting his favorite lyrics. Speaking of, check out this clip of Mos Def in the studio geeking out on old Doom lyrics. "How you gon' sell crack and talk about it? That's the point of selling crack is that it's a secret," speaking of Doom's darker days on the street. Good material here, folks.

Ill material from "Beef Rap." Sometimes you dull out to his skills when you listen to it so often. "He wears a mask just to cover the raw flesh / A rather ugly brother with flows that's gorgeous / Drop dead joints hit the whips like bird shit / They need it like a hole in they head or a third tit / Her bra smell, his card say: aw hell / Barred from all bars and kicked out the Carvel' / Keep a cooker where the jar fell / And keep a cheap hooker that's off the hook like Ma Bell / Top bleeding, maybe fella took the loaded rod gears / Stop feeding babies colored sugar-coated lard squares / The odd pairs swears and God fears / Even when it's rotten, we've gotten through the hard years / I wrote this note around New Year's / Off a couple a shots and a few beers, but who cares? / Enough about me, it's about the beats / Not about the streets and who food he about ta eat / A rhymin cannibal who's dressed to kill, it's cynical / Whether is it animal, vegetable, or mineral / It's a miracle how he get so lyrical / And proceed to move the crowd like a old Negro spiritual." That's incredible.

Yeah, back to the storm. Sorry, I could listen to Mos quote Doom all day. Found out the other day that Doom voted for McCain. You'll never figure that dude out. One last Doom feature and then we're back to snow.

Side B of Madlib. You know, forethought would've suggested that getting the snow shovel out of the shed prior to receiving 11 inches of snow would've been a good idea so I could hit the driveway this morning. So, here's a photo that I took about a week ago of my two boys in the yard.

Ah, warm sun and a nice cozy bed of grass. It ain't all green yet, but it's on it's way back. It's been the warmest winter and spring that I can remember. It ain't even been close to winter down here. Until this happened:Tucker was certainly the more adventurous of the two (or just stupid). Dude barked to go outside so he could ingest frozen turds in the back yard. This is how beagles search for frozen feces. I don't get him sometimes. Love him to death, but don't take any kisses from him until we get this little problem figured out.Overall, they're saying that we got somewhere between 6.9 and 11 inches. You're left guessing when you have 50 MPH wind gusts. Hard to get the totals. Either way, it's enough to give the yard a boost on the meltdown. My mother's celebrating her 60th today in Lubbock. I-27 is said to be open. Getting out of the driveway might be the trickiest part. About to start working on that.

A few Root Down lowriders are left, but the dog-sized tee is gone.
The family's rooting for Mizzou. Screw OU and the Griffin boys. Holla.

Monday, March 23, 2009


For those cats who keep it magnetic...

TDKing, homie. Maxellent. Then, for the "reel" heads, there's this beauty. Reel dope, kids. Reel dope.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


So, my lovely wife and I are at the dog park yesterday letting the boys run off some of that brutal and tireless beagle steam. Some moron with a pair of pit bulls (both on heavy chains) walks in and I'm thinking that it's an appropriate time to leave.*

*really, dog owners in the Yellow are dumbasses. it's a full dog park and a dude is going to walk in with his pit bulls on haulin'-a-30-foot-boat chain and act like there's nothing wrong with it. people are just dumb. if you wanna hit up the dog park, maybe you should've thought about that before raising pits.

I grab the dogs, put them on their leashes and we're making our way to the gate and I see this cat from work who, to be perfectly honest, grades my nerves like a cheese grader. I don't have any problem saying that. Actually, I didn't see him until I was standing right next to him and he says, "Jeff, what's up bro?" and he extends not a hand to shake, but the stupid fist to "bump." Okay, let's get something really clear. Doing the fist bump should only be used at times of congratulation or celebration. It's not how you greet someone. You hit a homerun, fist bump. You knock down a three to take game into overtime, fist bump (chest bump also appropriate). You answer an impossible answer in Trivial Pursuit to win the game, fist bump if you feel comfortable. I'm walking out of the dog park with my beagles in tow, probably not a fist bump-worthy moment. I'm not sixteen, dude. I don't do fist bumps with grown men as a greeting. In fact, I didn't even do it when I was sixteen. Handshakes will suffice. And, let's be real, handshakes are probably a stretch if I'm giving you ever social signal that I don't like you short of just telling you that.

My lovely wife said she's never seen me be so cold to someone. Had he led off with something other than a fist bump, that might have gone a little different. Setting the record straight right now, don't fist bump me anywhere else but on the ball field/court. It's played and juvenile. The ball field works because that's also the only place that you can pull off slapping another guy on the tail end without an ounce of awkwardness.

And now, for an update from the guy from my office that moved up to Seattle and has since been almost forceful in his love for Seattle. I think he loves Seattle more than anyone person in his life. It's like some weird love affair. His Facebook page is literally littered with odes to Seattle, but lately, it seems to be taking a slight turn. When we last left him, he was "enjoying the beautiful weather in Seattle" and ate two "pot cookies" and rode down the beach. I think he was still workless, but Seattle's a hella-cheap place to live so, whatever. Checked his Facebook this morning and noticed a slightly more solemn attitude.

______ is gonna go play in the rain :) I love Seattle!

______ wants it warm up!!

______ encourages everyone to wear orange today [as a protest to the Catholic Church] [hey I didn't say he was a "close" friend]

______ is tired...so tired...

______ might ride down to Lake Union if it clears up a bit...

______ wants the sun to come out, damnit!!

______ wishes everyone a happy equinox!! Be sure and thank the sun today for another season without a supernova :) [uh, yeah...okay...don't typically speak to the sun]

______ is chillin after a good night of drinkin...wishing my friends from back home would come up and visit me! [awwwwwww...after the "misses his friends back home but ain't never going back" comment, good luck on this one]

______ had such an interesting day...I met a very interesting Greek woman and spent some time reflecting over the state of humanity...[warning signs, while it makes no mention of how much time is "some time," I imagine it was possibly hours--more than I typically spend on the same subject]

______ thinks this song makes him sad...oh, memories... [post of the Dave Matthews song "Stay or Leave"--a song containing the verse that sings, "Wake up naked drinking coffee, making plans to change the world while the world is changing us." hmm.]

______ needs some sunshine.

Lessened are the cool little :)'s and over-the-top exuberance here only about 45 days since arriving in Seattle. I'll keep you posted.

Doom in 2 days. Holla.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Courtesy of Sarahtopia.Blogspot, here's just a few of the photos from the trip. Firstly, yes, that's my new hat. It's hella warm. I bought that sucka for only 12 bucks off some weird woman who told Dale he was "beautiful" in a hat he tried on. So overwhelmed I guess from her compliment, Dale bought the freaking thing. She didn't tell me I was beautiful, but she didn't need to. I know I am. Gonna have to pack it up until next season though. Winter just really didn't come to Texas this year. Here's Dale modelling his new hat and, I agree, from one man to another, he looks does look beautiful in it. We were also modelling two new harmonicas as played "C Jam" for about half an hour in a break between domino hands.
The great thing for Dale and I about a harmonica after spending years of our lives playing bass, is they're mad portable. You don't need a hatchback. Just a back pocket. I wish, though, they had harmonicas with more of a bass register. That'd be the one I'd tote. Danny was having a difficult night at the table. We'll blame it on the slight concussion leading to an imbalance that threw off his domino vision and ability to count past four.
March Madness is off to a blinding start. Yes, I correctly picked Western Kentucky with 9 points. Yes, I'm that good. Still in last place, though. I really thought Radford had a chance.
Celtics get Kage back tonight against the Spurs in San Antone. The aforementioned Danny will be in the house watching it live. Jealous. Guarantee my seat here at the house will be more comfortable, cheaper and a better view.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


After conceding on the Fear project, I've decided to shift my focus to one of two different projects. I have lined up material and readied a concept for Black Moon's Enta da Stage which is a bonafied classic as well as the undisputable masterpiece Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest. Both are extremely similiar in their heavy reliance on the elements of jazz and funk. Hell, if you listen to them today, they're more jazz than anything new that's coming out today. In the history of jazz, these two records have to be mentioned. Between the two, they probably singlehandedly (between the two? doublehandedly?) slowed the extinction of those old jazz recordings. Who in the world would know Ronnie Laws' "Tidal Wave" if it weren't for Black Moon? Or "Oblighetto" by Brother Jack McDuff? You play those for any jazz head, they'll fall asleep. You play them in front of a handful of hip hop heads, you're likely to incite a riot. That's because of these two albums. Donald Byrd, Cannonball Adderly, John Klemmer, Grover Washington, Lee Dorsey, Lafayette Afro Rock Band, Ahmad Jamal, Lonnie Smith, Art Blakey, James Brown, Grant Green, New Birth, Weather Report, Freddie Hubbard, Paul Humphrey...they're all in there. In the same way that Del's I Wish My Brother George Was Here was, for all intents and purposes, was a funk record, so these are jazz records. Betta recognize, homie.

Looking to start with Black Moon though. Often overlooked and even more often underappreciated.

The tournament begins today. Today is why March is the greatest month of the year. There's no competing with it. 16 games on the board for today. This would be the perfect day to skip work. In celebration of the start of the tournament, how about a little lesson in dunking. This clip is why I have always advised against the two-handed slam. It's a lesson in momentum (which is the ratio between weight and velocity, I believe--Dale?), inertia and, ultimately, gravity. It's the brutal reality of the two-handed dunk. Also, the brutal reality of why white dudes should just stick to the layup.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


After busting a throw-up on Okayplayer (the definitive music spot and a super spot for diggers' input and advice) inquiring as to the origins of one of the baddest records on Fear of a Black Planet, "War at 33 1/3", I got nuttin'. I mean, dude's couldn't even name the drums on that track. One guy said, "I think the cymbals/hi-hats are Donald Byrd," while another cat added, "the problem is the Bomb Squad's technique required so many damn samples for just one song, thats its almost impossible without liner notes." There's probably 10-15 samples playing at the same time and not one head can name one. If you're ready for your head to explode, click the following. And, this is just the instrumental...imagine it with Chuck D on top of it. Just don't make 'em like they used to. Never will.

After the thread ended with 130+ views and nothing conclusive, I determined that, without properly breaking down one of the greatest records on the greatest hip hop record ever recorded, I conceded and wrote Owen an email simply stating, "The Fear project has been permenantly suspended. I will never attempt to replicate the greatness of the Bomb Squad. Fear is the perfect record and nothing I can do would ever make it better. The Bomb Squad is greatness. I'm sorry for ever thinking I could do it." Chomp on this trailer for Copyright Criminals. Ain't seen it, but the trailer looks mad ill.

Don't wait on the Fear mix. It ain't happening. I got some other treats for you instead. I love you.


In honor of Michael Jackson's nose challenged this last week to endure fifty sold out shows in London (yep, fifty), I'm looking for a printer that'll do a limited run of the above Jacksons tee. Yep, the whole gang is there and look at Michael's beautiful nose when it, well, uh...when it existed. And that glorious afro. Dude was holding it down in a hard way, no doubt. I'm shopping it out to any printer that'll give me a run of fiddy shirts all on white in varying sizes...front only.
Gold's Gym turns into a prison yard after 9PM. I mean, it gets mad hood during that last hour. There'll be one dude on a machine and then ten other dudes around him talking. Like only 10% of the people there during that hour are committed to fitness. The other 90% are just mad dogging each other. Not only that, I've simply had it with all the dudes checking themselves out in the mirror. There was a dude last night that was walking back in forth in front of the mirror bobbing his head to his music and flexing to himself. Dude looked to be my age and I just kept thinking, "where did this guy go wrong coming up that he finds it necessary to stare at his stupid tribal art tattoo in a long mirror at the gym for minutes at a time?" I like working out with the old men. That are just stick to the raquetball courts.
Considering taking up handball.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I'm regretting to inform the 16 year old grocery sacker who, out of adoration for the fanciest chops this side of the Mississippi said, "Love the chops, dude. I was just admiring them," that I finally knocked 'em down to a sportier and speedier model. Not before, however, we logged them and submitted them for the USA Beard Team's consideration (Jacko) in the Sideburns Division. They were getting to the length that they could be braided which is pretty thick. I fluffed them in the sunlight the other day and my lovely wife claimed that "all kinds of stuff flew out of them." I was betting it just to be a little West Texas dust, but you never know what mite might have been nesting in there.
So we shaved them down and shaped them into a sharp blade design--a look I'm not really fond of. It's a little more "boyband" that I usually wear them, but we'll see. Not that I have ever likened my burns to that of pansy Jason Priestly, but in my semi-weekly search for images of Jason Priestly to use in an upcoming collage I'm working on to honor his acting career, I came across this look which, minus the moronic looking goatee (which I would contend that almost all goatee's a slightly moronic--c'mon, it's like a "mini-beard"). Anyhow, this is the blade look. Mine are better, though. Jason, you're just played, son.
Mondays are freaking awesome. At least the coffee's good this morning.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


After over four years...dude's back.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Coltrane whooped quite a bit of tail in his career. In fact, he put the freaking beatdown on a number of heads. Bought a Coltrane record last night at the store. That's the only reason I mention.
You know, I love Saturday mornings. Not having any hard deadline at 8AM and nothing but a tall pot of coffee. I have snow on the ground this morning. Almost poetic that two weeks ago, I was in getting ready to ski Taos in the very worst condition I've ever seen it and, now, they have 20 inches of fresh snow. They say that skiing is a sport that, when done correctly, is only about 30% exertion and 70% natural motion and gravity. That's assuming that conditions are suitable. Skiing in the southern United States is 70% good timing. I lifted a couple of photos from Sarahtopia (ill) where Sarah posted some images from the trip. Here we were at Eske's where I enjoyed a beautiful Reuben which sat a juicy split sausage atop a mound of the gnarliest sauerkraut you've ever tasted on a bun laced with dark seeded mustard which explains the resulting photo. Reubens can have that effect.
Then, after a couple of ales, Danny and I were happy to recreate the cover of Who's Next on Eske's western wall.
No public urination was committed in the creation of this photo. I promise you.

I'm coughing up brown crud this morning that can eat through plastic. Doctor visit? Maybe.

Madoff should have his greedy little hands cut off. Let's keep it Islamic.

The headline reads this morning, "Rapping reaches new heights" as rapping flight attendant offers "free entertainment as you buckle up your seatbelts." He raps the pre-flight instructions. One passenger just said, "I've never experienced a rapping flight attendant before. And I don't like rap, but that was pretty good." I'm going to go run my head into a concrete wall now.

An old colleague of mine moved to Seattle recently from the Yellow and I noticed everytime he's on Facebook, dude insists on telling us how incredibly happy he is now. Like he's just rubbing it in your face how awesome Seattle is and now not awesome the Texas Panhandle is. I'll give you a sampling from the day he first moved up there. From the top:

_____ has made it into Seattle and is trying to get settled in.
_____ is on the job hunt.
_____ is sleepy.
_____ is really happy he moved to Seattle.
_____ had a fun hike today on Mr. [assuming he means "Mt."--if not, that's a good joke] Rainier :)
_____ needs some mo' hikin'. [uh, okay...on Mr. Rainier?]
_____ wants his friends from A-town to move up here to Seattle :) [like it's that easy]
_____ is enjoying a cool, slightly moist day in beautiful Seattle.
_____ knows the Universe is taking care of me :)
_____ hopes that Cali legalizes weed :) God bless the West Coast :D [hmm. okay.]
_____ made a little bit of money at the casino last night :)
_____ needs to get some sh*t done today...
_____ be movin' into a new place tomorrow :)
_____ is trying to adjust.
_____ feels strangely serene...
_____ is smokin' and enjoying this fine neighborhood.
_____ is gonna go chill down by the canal.
_____ finally got a desk for his computer!
_____ can't sleep when there is so much to do here!! [yea!]
_____ is applying everywhere but can't seem to find a job!! AHH!!
_____ loves Seattle and is happier than he has been in a long time. [less exuberant "yea"]
_____ is happy to have Seattle's police cheief as the new Drug Czar.
_____ misses his friends back home but ain't never going back. [how awesome of you]
_____ is enjoying the beautiful weather in Seattle.
_____ just ate two enormous pot cookies. [hope you find a job soon]
_____ rode his bike down to the beach today :)

Something tells me this monumentous elation soon will dissolve into brutal reality of trying to pay rent in Seattle (which boasts a cost of living 31% higher than the national average) with no steady income. Good luck to him, but I'd spend less time on Facebook and more time in the classifieds. It ain't my life though.

Man, this Coltrane is going down good.

Michael Jackson announces that he'll be doing 50 shows in London and reports are that they sold out. How in the hell is he going to do 50 shows without his nose falling off?

I mentioned to Owen yesterday that I'm seriously considering unmixing Fear of a Black Planet and that, additionally, I should be committed to a padded cell. What I've done so far in my ventures has felt like, uh, I don't know...homework. Fear would be like a Masters thesis. It represents one of the most intensive sampling masterpieces in the history of recorded music. I know that I've often romanticized about this record on The Root Down, but I do it not because I like hearing myself type (?). I do it because it's warranted and deserved. If one was to listen to Fear in the way that prefer (through headphones--always), you'll hear the beauty in this record. At times, it's a brutal assault of grunts, shouts, screams--a horrific collage simply composed out of sounds. It's layering of sample on top of sample on top of sample is like a messy puree of James Brown, Parliament, Sly and Family Stone, MLK and Malcolm X. But altogether, it's one of the very tightest hip hop records you'll ever hear in your lifetime. It shreds, slices and demolishes every record in its path. When Fear came out in March of 1990 (man, twenty years next year!), the only thing that was remotely close to that sound was PE's prior recording It Takes a Nation of Millions and even it couldn't even hold a match to the intensity of Fear as a recording. The trick with unmixing Fear and then putting it back together again is adding to the integrity of the recording and not distracting from it. When a recording, in my eyes, is perfect in every way possible, you gotta be really careful if you're going to make changes or additions to it. So that's the challenge I'll be taking on. I'm starting to dig through what I got and see what I'm short in samples. Just pulled Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" this morning for the mix. Yeah, this is gonna be dope.

I'm talking about the record Fear of a Black Planet, not this post on the Tube. The guilt of the white man. Geez, dude's played.

Think I might go for a walk in the frozen tundra that is the Yellow dreaming of places like Seattle where the weather is nice and I don't have a job to worry about.

Friday, March 13, 2009


My nephew's the best. Parker J came up for my birthday last weekend and, like a bad uncle, I'm just getting around to throwing up these pictures. Dude rocks hard the Root Down bongo tee. Of course, no Root Down kiddie shirt is complete with out the small smear of saliva near the collar.
Duke's got the "cute" gene. Whatta heartbreaker. And he's awfully opinionated too. Just like his father. And, well, like his uncle for that matter. Here, he let's me know what he thinks of my new sideburns. I know, little man, my lovely wife hates them also.

Uh oh! I'm gonna have to fire off the "socks with sandals" alert on Parker. Maybe he's European. Only kids who don't dress themselves can pull off that look. God bless'm.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


So, we got Direct TV last week and, along the way, I ended up meeting a host of idiots who now have my freaking number. Direct TV's good--better than cable which is really the only reason we picked it up. I though, though, that technology had advanced past the dish that casts a shadow that a family of six can picnic under. It's like a freaking golf umbrella. Nonetheless, we got it and it came with a free three months of these "premium" movie channels which, I'm finding, is really no more than a few Emmy-nominated shows packaged in between about 22 hours of a movie rotation that you could only find at the worst movie store in the country. It's like the movies that you would find on the bottom shelf at the back of a truck stop an hour out of Omaha with a sign that reads FREE WEEK RENTAL WITH PURCHASE OF A MEDIUM FOUNTAIN DRINK. Last night, during prime time, it was something like What About Bob?, Die Hard 2 and Point Break. People pay money for this crap?

So among their killer lineup of sequels, throwaways and "Taxi Cab Confessions," they're championing the recent thriller, The Ruins. Let me tell you something, when you're laying on the couch at 2AM on a work night wondering what happened to your sleep schedule almost sobbing in your own anguish, there's only one last thing that'll push you over the edge (aside from someone running in and punching you in the nose) and that is this stupid movie. I'll spoil the whole thing for you so you don't have to invest the time. I'll do it in one sentence. Stupid tourists in Mexico visit ancient Mayan ruins and then get eaten alive by vines. It took 90 minutes for director Carter Smith do to what I did in fifteen words. This movie was absolutely excrutiating. I started thinking while I was mindlessly watching the stupidity: whoever wrote this sure fooled a ton of people on the way up. I mean, if I pitched a movie about "killer vines," my lovely wife would probably leave me...with nothing. So I get up this morning after falling back asleep in my bed and I look up this movie to find out who wrote this garbage and it's an adult (yeah, I couldn't believe it either--in fact, the dude's 43 years old) named Scott Smith who also penned the hella-dope A Simple Plan. See A Simple Plan. I promise you it's ill.

Scott Smith wrote a story about killer vines and managed to find hundreds of people to help him make the movie, but found a studio that would fund it and then got a nationwide opening and, despite probably horrible reviews, he got it into HBO's rotation. Of course, we're finding that HBO's rotation also still has To Wong Foo in it.

You see movies like this and you realize that it's totally possible to make that remake of Children of the Corn. I'm starting pre-production next year. Be on the lookout.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Because we're about a month under the gun for getting your cash to the greed machine that is the IRS, I'm throwing the Mad Money Mix back up for your downloading pleasure. I originally posted it some two months ago and just in two months, the whole landscape has changed. We used to say, "Dude, this ain't 2003 anymore." Now we say, "Bro, this ain't January anymore." The layoffs are hitting feverish levels and bankruptcies are like a freakin' way of life! It changes everyday. You betta buckle in because this is gon' be one bumpy mess. Anyhow, I was listening to it just the other day on the way to work and I heard it in a way that I hadn't ever heard it when I was mixing it down. Interesting in how, within the hour and forty-five minutes of the mix, how dynamically different the messages are within. It's the Gucci Crew's almost lusting for money, the Geto Boys and their almost anthemic "I Ain't With Being Broke" where Willie D tackles the morality in his hustle. Dude's pissed because the prostitutes in his neighborhood are making more money than he is. Bushwick recounts getting brought into this life with nothing. Even the rats and roaches dine better. Scarface considers suicide or, maybe even homocide, as a result of his financial stresses. He wants to make an honest living, but ain't no one hiring kids from the ghetto so he contemplates illegal means. You have the somber moanings of Ray Davies and the Kinks as the taxman comes and sweeps up all of his luxuries. You have a young Biggie Smalls bustin' raps about getting his cash and rising to the top of the empire. You have Puff's "Benjamins" which is the arrival at the top of the empire. Swimming pools, condos, Bentleys. Funkadelic paying homage to the "Funky Dollar Bill," Jay-Z taking his pimp game to new levels, John Lee Hooker coming home from the war with not even a penny to his name and, as a result, a loneliness like he's never known becomes his reality, Rakim on the come-up as he's "thinkin' of a master plan" in the classic "Paid in Full," Showbiz and AG keeping the pockets fat, the Clipse and their boastful "Mr. Me Too," Al Pacino in Scarface depicting an immigrant's "American dream" where a fascination with money and power leads to his ultimate demise all crescendoing to Lil Wayne's classic (yeah, I said it) "A Milli" where Weezy raps of his financial exploits over a sparse, bass-laden backdrop. In the truest sense of his rap, dude pushed a million first week off of a song that didn't even a hook. Bruce Springsteen can't even push half a mill off of his newest masterpiece. That's when you know you got it.

So, for those late filers or those who simply passed the first time around, here's your chance to get your grimeys on something that's truly tax-deductable. Well, actually, there's no real tangible value to it so technically it's not deductable. I'll check with Clint, though, and see if there's a tax break for those who download. Click the cover art above to start saving! Let's see if the Bank of Obama can make good on his master plan.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

32 IS THE NEW 27

30 was the new 20 a couple years back, but life is hard these days. The economy sucks and there's nothing but bad news everywhere you turn. Looks like that gap closed a bit over the last couple of years.

This man and I share the same name (first and last). He's a plumber in Northern California with 6 years of experience and apparently goes by the nickname "Morphine." In his case, 32 might be the new 48.

Another year down. Not really unlike the last one, really. My mother even still put JEFF IS 31 on my birthday cake. Guess I'm turning back to the clock in her eyes too...or at least managing to pause Father Time like Zack Morris.

I was listening to Tribe's Low End Theory last night and caught myself thinking back to when I was in grade school with my Sony headphones (always under the ballcap so that it created a "noise-cancellation" effect and no outside noise could make it in--not even the constant wind of West Texas). Those moments of nostalgia are a blessing to me. It's like Uncle Rico or Andrew Dice Clay doing everything they can to relive their youth. I suppose it's how I keep in touch with that stupid kid in me that insists he knows everything and, one day, that red carpet's gonna be rolled out for me and it'll lead right into my mansion on the hill. That mansion on the hill is now a three-bedroom abode in the Texas Panhandle. I have neighbors I hate and my Porsche looks more like a Honda Civic, but lemme tell ya, it's paid off. You realize from the years between 14 and, say, 30 the differences between fantasy and reality. You ain't the greatest hitter in the history of the game. Your improv skills are weak and your fingers ain't as fast as the next cat. You ain't no rapper. You ain't as good. You ain't as dedicated. You ain't as smart. You ain't as creative. And you ain't as funny. Everyone of those realizations is another diversion of the path and the quicker you arrive at them, the less painful growing up is. I couldn't be happier with where I am today. I have a lovely wife that loves me and I adore her. I have a family that I'm incredibly proud of. I have a job that I still have zeal for and I have my health.

I've discovered, though, that as the years go by, the ages between 30-40 is really just intended to throw your dreams and ambitions off course. It's like that weird middle ground. You just took your dose of reality, but you still have those fantasies that kinda dance around in your head when you're not thinking of anything else. You know you're too old to be "The Real World", but you still have that dream of standing up there at the podium shaking that Oscar in the air for the screenplay you wrote for the greatest zombie movie ever. You sit there asking yourself, is it okay if I listen to Mobb Deep? Is it okay if I still watch C.O.P.S.? Is it okay if I wear my sideburns thick and wooly? Is it okay if I still dream of playing harmonica in a blues band? Yes, it's okay. It's totally okay. It'll be the only thing when your hair completely disappears and you can't sing anything but the bass parts that'll keep you young.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not scared of growing old. I just never want to be told, "You can't do that anymore." Not that I want or need to do all the things I used to every hour, everyday. I just don't want to be told I can't. It's a stubbornness I'm learning to live with. When my grandfater died this last year, he died with the dream of one day owning some property in a remote area of Colorado where he'd build a cabin next to a stream and surround himself with old pianos. He'd fish and play piano all day while growing all of his foods in a garden down by the creek. That vision, I'm convinced, probably kept him going for a good five years as his health declined.

Never stop.

This year, I dealt with losing my first childhood friend to natural causes...if you consider cancer "natural." That's rough. We're passing away now. I suppose that when you realize that you can die from natural causes, it restructures a bit of your existence here on this earth. There's enough you can die from unnaturally that, to now worry about natural death, complicates things. Greatly. I don't dwell on it, but it does put things in perspective.

I know I'll get old, but I'm working on making it tolerable. Here's how I plan on doing it. Listen to your Funkadelic, your Sly and Family Stone and your De La Soul. Jog. Jogging is the rawest form of cardio and there's something fantastically contemplative that happens on jogs. Keep riding a bike. You don't have to do it daily, but always know how to do it. You'll be teaching a kid how to one day and, you never know, if there's a zombie infestation, it might mean your life. Let the grey hair come on in. There's nothing you can really do about it except give some company your hard-earned cash for a quick fix that only bandaids the true emotional turmoil with going grey. Deal with it. It's much easier. While there's no fountain of youth, never stop laughing. It keeps the blood flowing. Frisbee. Substitute honey for anything that you would add sugar to normally. Only three cups of coffee a day, but make them dark cups. If it doesn't slightly induce the unloading of your colon, it's not dark enough. Stop frowning. Start writing. If you already write, keep it up. It's what will be left behind when you're gone. Stop drinking light beers. Drink pale ales, but no your limits. You ain't in college anymore. Act like it. Never stop learning. Find your source for learning and latch onto it. Watch thunderstorms from the edge of town. Public Enemy's first three records. Sauerkraut. Mow the lawn shirtless. Play a pickup game of basketball. Walk the dogs. Keeping them young will keep you young. Heckle players at a professional baseball game. Just watch your language. Act as a model for kids and know they're always watching. Led Zeppelin. Jump off of something taller than you. Watch a zombie movie. Work your tail off. Eat less chocolate more slowly. If it's within six hours, drive it. Screw the flight. Respect your elders. Listen to them. Like it or not, if you do everything right you'll make be there one day. Vitamin C and plenty of water. Get outside. There's no replacement for fresh air. Who's Next. You're never too old to rock a ballcap, but don't wear it just to cover your balding head. Wear your bald head proudly. Wear your ballcap to prevent burning. Stop buying into the fear the networks sell you. That goes for Oprah too. Hip hoppa'ya don't stop! Take a brisk jog in the winter in wind shorts. Sing loudly. Always know your strongest b-boy pose. Paint, sketch or screen. Do all if you feel compelled. Always get enough sun to tan, but not to burn. There are bad rays. Eat bacon occassionally. Dance like James Brown. And don't fake the funk.

Happy birthday to me.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


You know, you give this kid a little bit of mesh and he's gonna rock it like no other beagle. Over the last couple of weeks, I'll be the first to point out that my boy's put on a little weight. Three to five pounds to be exact. It comes from limited access to the yard, a number of sleep-inducing antibiotics and a relatively unchanged diet (dude's gotta eat, y'know).
I seriously feel, though, where he's put on the pounds and lost his beautiful figure (don't worry, he's soon to be on the way back in a big way), he's more than made up for it in his fashion sense. It's really all he has to fall back on at this point. To keep him from irritating his gash, the doc gave him a body sleeve to rock. I tell you what, dude just holds it down.
Here, Tux models it as "Tucker the Tank." It's basically a muscle shirt. His stocky frame looks fantastic in it, I must say. This form-fitting mesh serves two purposes where it protects his laceration, but also excentuates his muscular frame. Again, he's more a retired Jose Canseco right now with a little bit of fatty steak and alcohol weight, but we'll get him back. So this is one look.

Then, when Tucker is feeling a little sexy and wants to get a little freaky, he shakes the mesh down around his cleavage (yeah, you better believe it, dude is col' packing right now) and shows off his "who-taught-you-to-dress-like-that?" side. He's an artist in that way. We liken it to Jennifer Beals in Flashdance.Stitches set to come out sometime this weekend. Who knows? He's gotta stop picking at it before we can do anything.