Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me! My Dream Concert

All right, my birthday's in a few minutes, and I don't work on my birthday. So, no blogging. Yeah, I know ... woe be to us all. Anyway, in honor of the tray-triple-tray, I've decided to bring to you one of many versions of My Dream Concert: The Roots, Rage against the Machine, Fela, the Wailers (with Peter and Bunny, of course), and Jimi Hendrix' Band of Gypsys. Man, that would be cool as shit.

The Roots

Rage Against The Machine


The Wailers

Band of Gypsys


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Parenting Advice Required

All right, I'm new to the whole toddler park scene. Poohbutt didn't start tottling until well into the winter, and I was totally unaware of one of our local mall's play area. However, last month, when the Unions were in from St. Paul (oops, sorry, Minneapolis) and Pooh actually played with (as opposed to around) little Norma Rae, I knew she was ready. Besides, my girl's going into day care soon and I wanted to acclimate her to other kids (as well as gear myself up for cutting one of the many of Daddy's apron strings). So, we've been hitting the toddler play areas ever since.

Just yesterday I was marveling at how the older kids just really don't seem to notice the li'lunz playing around them. They can be going at break-neck speeds and magically veer around them. The toddlers must be on their radar, but the big kids just act like they don't exist. However, today was different.

I took Pooh to said mall's play area. It was a crap day out, but I still wanted the girl to get her play on. She was tooling around just fine with the play cars and plastic, hollowed-out log with the other tykes until Jeffrey, the Towheaded Terror, came along.

This little Osama bin Lad, roughly aged five, came in with his mother, grandmother, and two siblings and immediately reeked havoc and mayhem on what was originally a pleasant afternoon diversion.

First, he clamped down on Pooh's little shoulders. She tried to wriggle free, but he wouldn't let go. I wanted to jump in, but I figured she's going to have to get used to this kind of thing in daycare. So, I let it go. Then he shoved her down to the ground. I retracted my Poppa Bear claws and let it go ... seething a little.

My daughter stoically got back up and smartly moved away towards me. She veered away and decided to play by herself. That was when Jeffrey chased after her, clasped her shoulders again and shoved her down. Then the little [deleted] sat down on my daughter. I thought I was going to kill Jeffrey. Instead, I calmly snapped, "Hey, kid!"

His grandmother waddled over, screaming, "Jeffrey!"

She snatched the boy up and immediately apologized to me.

"I'm sorry," she apologized. "He doesn't mean anything by it."

I gave her a slow nod, thinking (in my very un-PC fashion), "Somebody needs to punch Jeffrey in his fucking mouth."

I looked over at the only other father in the play area, who gave me a questioning look, wondering if Jeffrey and/or I were going to be a problem.

The next 10 minutes made it painfully clear who it was going to be ... Jeffrey.

"Jeffrey!" "Jeffrey!" "Jeffrey!" the grandmother continuously screamed as Jeffrey pushed down other kids, tugged at them, tried to pull his older sister's shirt off, tried to pull another kid's pants down. All the other parents looked at the Hun rampaging through our plastic village, wondering when the hell his mother or grandmother was going to A) take him out of the play area and/or B) light his little ass up.

I was hoping Jamal, who was also five, was going to save the day and punch Jeffrey's lights out (I know, I know, I'm bad ... I need help). However, Jamal's mother had the right idea and left with her boy. Other parents were starting to get the hint.

Finally, Jeffrey frantically ran past Pooh and planted a shoulder into her, knocking her down.


I'd had it. I inhaled deeply, staring hot fire at the grandmother ...

"Really, I'm so sorry."

and scooped up Poohbutt and left.

We went upstairs to exit the mall. I looked down at the play area, and all the other parents were gone. Only Jeffrey and his family remained, playing gleefully alone, I guess, until more kids came along to terrorize.

Now, I've been wondering ... Should I have said something? I mean, I know parents can get all crazy if you even suggest that their children are acting badly, that they may actually be bad parents, and may actually rear up and punch you in your fucking mouth. But damn, Jeffrey ran 12 kids and their parents out of the play area. I didn't want to get all ethnic on the fam, but, booooyyyyy, I really could have.

So, is there some kind of etiquette or protocol for situations like this? Or do you just do what I did and cower your kids away from the terror?

Just curious.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Poohbutt Crushes Crush

It was only a year into my relationship with my wife, 1996, when I developed my first crush. It wasn't as though I just woke up one day, said, "Hey, I think I'll have a crush today," went to a bar, and latched on to the first female I saw. No, I didn't plan it. I never wanted it to happen. But I couldn't resist.

I was sitting with my boy, Dabalou, sneak-peeking the Jack Nicholson/Stephen Dorff/Michael Caine mediocrity, Blood and Wine, when it happened. There it was--in dewy, morning light and a kinky maid's uniform--"Dat Azz!" Instantly, I gasped, my voice going higher than a heliumized castrato, "Who's dat?!"

Yep. Jennifer Lopez caught my heart. At the time, it was fun to go all Tiger Beat in my mid-twenties. I hadn't had a genuine, bona fide crush since Lisa Lisa. Oh, sure, there have been starlets I'd found attractive over the years--Angela Bassett, Nia Long, anyone in the Prince entourage minus Rosie Gaines--but to have an out-and-out, full-blown pre-pubescent crush again. Now, that was fun. I suffered through Money Train and Anaconda and actually enjoyed Selena. I may have even looked for her in old episodes of In Living Color. It was Tootie all over again. I think my skin even broke out.

But, ultimately, I was no longer 13. I was going on 30. And, as J. hit new lows with Poof Daddy, I had to give up my crush on the woman. However, I did retain the concept of the crush. It was just that these silly, virtual-adolescent crushes matured just as my real ones had: physical perfection diminished in importance and was taken over by intellectual excellence (or in the case of Mrs. Unknown Writer, both). That's right: I started developing The Nerd Crush.

My First Official Nerd Crush: Soledad O'Brien

Look, as a nerd, I know I'm wired wrong. No, it's not like you can hear my lustily slavering, "Look at the CV on that one." I can objectify women with the best of them (after all, there is Serena). It's just that I love me a smart woman. I find nothing more attractive than a woman expounding, pontificating, teaching me something. So, a beautiful woman with a Tweety Bird brain loses her sex appeal while a cute woman with a huge frontal lobe becomes a goddess. A 130+ IQ to me is like some D-cups to a 12-year-old.

So I celebrate the Nerd Crush because it reaffirms my circus geek status. Besides, what harm is there in it? It's not like I'll ever meet any of these people. I mean, playing she-loves-me-she-loves-me-not over a co-worker can only lead to disaster. The closest I've ever come to meeting a "crush" was running into Paul Wolfowitz, whom I'd still like to crush between two Mack trucks. But that all changed yesterday, when Nerd Crush 2004, Liz Marlantes, suddenly entered my life.

For those who don't know (and last night my wife was like, "Who?"), Liz Marlantes was for a time with ABC News. I first saw her on The McLaughlin Group, talking about the presidential campaign. My Nerdiness fell for this bronzed cutie with the boxer's nose instantly as I watched her struggle, trying to marry the worlds of journalism and the shout-box, infotainment, claptrap that McLaughlin. The old man had to actually shush Buchanan a few times just so the woman could speak. Afterwards, I found out that the Christian Science Monitor reporter had majored in American history and literature at Harvard and got a Masters in English Lit. from Oxford (the perfect combination of a young Dolly Parton's breasts and J Lo's ass to a geek like me!).

Oh yeah, I fell hard. But, you know, crushes are ephemeral beasts. I hadn't seen her in a few years, and out of sight, out of mind, and all that.

That is until Ms. Marlantes appeared at my local toddler park with her own little boy in tow. Of course, being a toddler park, Pooh was with me. And she was having none of it. While Daddy was standing at the head of the slide, going through the slow process of recognition (Hey, look, a hot mom ... no, wait ... isn't that? ... Holy shit, that's Liz Marlantes! No way! ... Boy, I used to have a crush on her...), my fiercely determined daughter was steadily toddling towards the top of the slide, with "Who's that heifer?" burning in her little eyes.

I wonder where she's been. I haven't seen her in years.

I didn't even notice the bile rising in my little Poohbutt's gut.

I should say something ... like ... Hey, didn't you used to be Liz Marlantes? ... Yeah, that's almost clever...

My girl reached the top of the slide, dead set against her father introducing himself to this strange woman. None of the other women--none of the nannies, none of the well-kept housewives, none of the power career women--ever even deign to turn up their noses at her miscreant father. What if this cow did?

No. Nothing was going to stand in Poohbutt's way.

I can see she hits the gym, Oblivious Dad thought to himself.

"Goo gaehh issimbakhhh!" Pooh said, sitting at the top of the slide.

(Author's Note: I later discovered that this is BabySpeak for "Enough.")

Then ... relying on the only effective weapon an 18-month-old toddler has in her arsenal, Poohbutt opened her pretty, little mouth and vomited all over herself and the slide.

Daddy here, obviously no Boy Scout, came totally unprepared and had to clean the mess up with his own T-shirt--stealthily never taking it off so folks wouldn't notice.

I then scooped my girl up and scurried out of the park, never once introducing myself to Nerd Crush 2004.

Poohbutt happily sucked her thumb in her car seat all the way home until she fell asleep, a beatific smile resting on that little face all the way home.


Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Like Jungle Fever Meets Fatal Attraction

You know that's how the producers of Obsessed pitched this bad boy. I gotta tell ya, even with my boy Stringer, sorry, Idris Elba, this movie looks like a total crapfest. Of course, yours truly once again proves that he has absolutely no ... fucking ... CLUE! about the American public's taste. You got it, even with critics blasting Obsessed to and for shit (here's an interesting review by Prairie Miller, examining race, class, and sexism), this Beyoncé vehicle has, of course, topped the box office this week.

Of course, being the fine, upstanding, pseudo-intellectual I am, I'll take a pass on Obsessed. However, I do want the film's producers to know if, at any time, they want to reunite Mizz Beyoncé and Ali Larter to, say, remake one of those '70s--or even '80s--women's prisons flicks, I am there!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Things That Work!

If you're in a hurry to get from Point A to Point B, prudently ignore all red lights and stop signs that impede your progress--you know, all of them.

If you're short of cash, go through your parents' and/or co-workers' belongings until you find the required amount.

If you can no longer tolerate working with someone, carefully plant drugs in their desk, locker, automobile, etc., and instantly notify either your employer or the authorities. The resulting embarrassment and possible criminal prosecution will force this person to terminate their own employment--if your employer has not already done so for them.

If you meet someone at a party, bar, or club you're interested in but are afraid they will not accept your sexual advances, carefully place a dose of Rohypnol ("roofie") into their drink. No doubt, they will soon be going home with you.

If you are tired of arguing with your partner over such triflings as the tardiness of your dinner, kindly go upside their head a few times or until your partner is no longer "needin' it." Not only will dinner be served in a prompt and timely manner, but your partner will more likely become more accommodating in the sexual arena as well.

Similarly, if you find yourself with an impertinent child, we have found that a riding crop to the hindquarters is not only good for horses. Your child will climb to new heights of obedience with only a few, well-placed thwacks.

We here at Tome have decided that it is utterly futile to argue with the Right over the effectiveness of the Bush administration's "enhanced interrogation techniques." And since their effectiveness seems to be the only thing we should even be considering with the EITs, we have decided to utilize the effectiveness argument in other aspects of our own lives (see above). Also, knowing that the CIA got the idea for waterboarding from the Khmer "Killing Fields" Rouge, we've looked into other highly effective techniques that our United States government may want to consider when next interrogating a terror suspect.

The Rack

The rack enjoyed centuries of popularity in Europe from the Tower of London to the Spanish auto da fe. Stretching the victim across its wooden frame, interrogators can then fasten the suspect's legs to one roller while chaining the wrists at the other end of the device. While interrogating the suspect, the interrogator can ratchet up the chain's tension, causing what some have called "excruciating pain." However, one must be careful. During interrogation, some suspects have been known to have their muscles and joints dislocated and separated. Cartilage, ligaments, and bones have also been known to snap. As with the other methods we find most effective, we strongly suggest a physician be present during one's interrogations.


During World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army was known for shoving bamboo splints underneath a suspect's fingernails.

Electric Shock

During the 1960s and 1970s, Brazil's military junta was known for attaching electrical wires to a suspect's genitalia and delivering shocks during interrogations.


While rape has always been considered an effective weapon in war, we are certain that the CIA can modify this technique to serve their purposes during interrogation. The raping of entire villages and towns was reported frequently during the Bosnian conflict. However, in the Congo, rebels have been noted to not only rape entire villages but have the villages' family members rape each other. As noted by Liz Cheney, if a physician is present while these techniques are being utilized, it will not be considered rape.

We feel that the Right is correct in stating that techniques such as waterboarding are, indeed, effective. However, we also feel that, if our forces only criterion for any technique's being utilized is its effectiveness, our CIA should consider employing our own suggestions above as well as any other techniques they may find scanning the annals of interrogation methods. We are most certain that other beacons of security such as the Taliban, the Pakistani ISI, the Saudis, or the Syrians have a lot to teach us about "enhanced interrogation techniques." We should not quibble over other, frivolous matters. It is only our safety that is of concern in this "torture memo" debate. Therefore, use these methods, use any methods you find effective. They will not only keep us Americans safe, but it will make us all proud to be American.

You Barbaric Fuckers.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Original Gun Clappers: Shays' Rebellion and the Second Amendment

Eric Kelly. Paul Sciullo III. Stephen Mayhle. Those were the names that reverberated throughout the Pittsburgh area Easter weekend. Everywhere we went, their names rang out. Round-the-clock news coverage, flags at half-staff, even gas stations memorialized these three names. Eric Kelly, Paul Sciullo III, and Stephen Mayhle were the three police officers killed by an NRA fanatic with an automatic weapon, Richard Poplawski. Now, I'll admit that I've often had an ... ambivalent relationship with the cops, but I'd hardly wish death on any of them. And these men died so needlessly--due to the insanity of one man and the failure of the dispatcher to tell these officers that their target collected firearms.

Ed Rendell. Wayne LaPierre. This past Sunday these two men were rehashing the same, old, tired debate on gun control on Face the Nation. The Pennsylvania governor and executive vice-president of the National Rifle Association regurgitated the cud that constitutes our nation's gun control debate--as though their arguments were actually new--as though those three officers had not just died needlessly--as though none of it really matters.

And I don't know if it really does matter. The NRA has our nation's politicians on lock. There's no telling how many of our pols are actually on their payroll, but those who aren't run in fear, knowing the NRA will target them in the next election cycle. They continue to have the power to reduce the gun "debate" to nothing more than these meaningless forums. They have been so powerful that their very interpretation of the Second Amendment holds sway over American politics (even that bleeding-heart liberal who's going to take away all their guns, Obama, believes the way they do).

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

This "well regulated Militia," they contend, is an individual's right to bear arms. There's hardly a person on the public stage who disagrees with them. More importantly, in their decision to repeal DC's gun ban, the Supreme Court made it clear that they will uphold the NRA's interpretation.

Now, I can't put this all on the NRA. It's how we Americans imagine our own history: Thomas Paine writes Common Sense; some dudes dump tea into a harbor; we sign the Declaration of Independence and form a nation; we fight a little war with the Brits; win; and we all (except those pesky, little slaves) live happily ever after.

So, we celebrate 1776 as the year of our birth. We somehow gloss over the fact that the Revolutionary War lasted seven years. We never really talk about the colonists who remained loyal to the British, how we retaliated against them, or how they fled back to Britain or off to Canada during and after the war. We don't talk about the four years after the War when our fledgling nation was hardly a nation at all--operating under a loose Articles of Confederation whose nebulous powers couldn't even determine whether America was one nation, a confederation of 13 nations, or simply 13 nations out for themselves. Most importantly, we never talk about the three rebellions America faced in its first years of existence--especially the one that finally forced our leaders to get their act together and finally forge the country we have today: Shays' Rebellion.

In August 1786, unpaid War veterans and disgruntled farmers tired of being thrown into debtors' prison formed armed units in central and western Massachusetts to forcibly halt property confiscations. In confrontations across the state, sometimes these groups faced off against local militia; and sometimes they actually were the local militia, forcing Massachusetts' rich to run scared.

On January 25, 1787, Daniel Shays, a Revolutionary War veteran, led a group to take the weapons from the Springfield armory. The governor sent two militias to meet Shays' forces. One general, Shepard, whose forces were unpaid, underfed, and inadequately armed, requested permission to use the armory's weapons. However, Secretary of War Henry Knox said that Shepard's request required Congressional approval and Congress was out of session. Therefore, Knox denied Shepard's militia the right to bear arms, being necessary to the security of a free State, Massachusetts (see where I'm going with this?).

Meanwhile, according to Jay Winik in his marvelous history, The Great Upheaval, Shays' rebellion also inspired other little dust-ups from Maine to Georgia. The 13 states were caught with their pants down. Many states didn't even have militias to defend themselves and had to beg rich patrons to supply defenses for them. And, when rebels would flee across state lines, these militias didn't know if they even had the authority to pursue the varmints.

Fortunately, those dust-ups didn't amount to much, and Shays' rebellion itself was finally quashed by March, 1878. The rebellion showed the nation's leaders that there were serious, potentially fatal flaws in the Articles of Confederation. The country had no institutional means with which to protect itself. In response, the Constitutional Convention convened in May of that year, the Constitution was drafted, and the Second Amendment was added to address what happened in Massachusetts and across the nation.

In other words, despite the public discourse on the matter we have today, the Second Amendment is not some vague or misworded amendment about an individual's right granted by the Constitution at all. It's a very specific amendment meant to address a very specific problem the nation faced at the time: it did not want to repeat the problem General Shepard and Secretary Knox faced when a state's militia was left defenseless.

The Second Amendment says that a state's militia has the right to defend itself and, therefore, does not need Congress' approval to do so. It says absolutely nothing about an individual's right. If you don't believe me, look at it again. However, if you want to address whether or not an individual has a right to bear arms, my non-Constitutional lawyer ass would guess that you need to look at the Tenth Amendment:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

In other words, since the Constitution does not expressly rule on the issue, it is up to each, individual state and municipality to decide what its gun laws are. Though our "strict constructionist" judges like Scalia proclaim to only apply the Constitution as it was originally written, we can see here that they are more "activist" on this issue. The amendment refers only to "militia" and no where does it say a thing about the "individual." These conservative judges simply fail to acknowledge the context in which the Second Amendment was written. The actually history simply fails to fit their ideology, and they choose to ignore it. As does the NRA.

Therefore, despite the intentions of our forefathers and their own rhetoric about "states' rights," it was all too easy for the Roberts Court to strip all local governments of their right to determine their own gun policies. And the NRA is hellbent and determined to make sure our local and national governments never regain that right. Both will fight for this imagined individual right to own a gun--whether it be single-loading like Cheney's musket or fully-automatic like the gun Richard Poplawski used to slaughter Eric Kelly, Paul Sciullo III, and Stephen Mayhle. As long as the Court remains similarly constituted and as long as the NRA holds onto the power its already got, none of this nonsense is going to change.


Well ... Not Exactly Earth Day-Appropriate But What the Hey!

All right, I was looking for Eric Burdon and War's "Mother Earth," but I found this instead. God, I love these guys.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

R.I.P., J.G.

All right, I just found out about this, and I'm at work so I can't do much justice to the event. However, the great J.G. Ballard died this morning of prostate cancer. I'll admit, I haven't read much of the man's oeuvre, but his collection of short stories, War Fever, was such a huge influence on me, one critic actually made Ballard comparisons to my first novel, Sunshine Patriots. (All right, another critic compared me to Heinlein, which forced me to actually read some of the man's work before I went on tour, but the Ballard thing holds up--minus the obvious lack of comparable talent on my part.)

I owe the man a debt of gratitude and a much better obituary. However, I will say, J.G. Ballard is an author whose words actually mattered.

Definitely check him out if you haven't already.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Consolation Prize

Sure, I'm broke as hell. And the doctor's hit me with hundreds of dollars of bills--to tell me I'm fine. Yeah, Uncle Sam's bitch nephews, Maryland and DC, have smacked me around with a couple of tax bills. And yep, two different computer experts have told me that my laptop is kaput and that I have to buy a new one.

But hell, at least my 'Guins have taken two straight from the Philadelphia Flyers and lead their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series 2 games to none.

So no, Noam, we prols do not revel in our sports in some bizarre, crypto-fascist fantasy of simulated warfare. We do it because of shit weeks like this one.

The John Madden Video of the Day

You will be missed.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Oh, Shit"

Two words have not been uttered that have had a more profound effect on my life since the Missus and I uttered, "I do." That's right, little Poohbutt, on Saturday, April 11, 2009, at 1:27pm, uttered "Oh, shit," in her grandmother's bedroom just seven days shy of her 18-month birthday. My wife had dropped something, and said, "Oh, no." Poohbutt responded, "Oh, shit."

Now, if you haven't guessed, I'm a pretty profane motherfather. Ever since I was seven, when the older Deebee boys moved into our building, cursing up a storm, I've been exhaling profanity like it was CO2. The prudes would always say, "Profanity is the sign of a limited vocabulary." Your young rebel would reply, "Oh yeah, what's antidisestablishmentarianism?" When answered with the customary blank stare, I'd then smugly add, "That's what I thought. Now, go fuck yourself."

However, I don't want Pooh growing up with a potty mouth. So, I've been working on cleaning up my own palette for about two years now. I've made fairly decent progress, but "Oh, shit" shows me that I need to seriously step up my game.

Now, I know a lot of parents out there don't care to curb their tongues around their children. Hell, some folks take delight in cursing out their little ones. But that ain't me. My parents didn't curse around me. I don't want to curse around my own children.

See, it's all wrapped up in my Bill Campbell's Bullshit Theories on Parenting, or "B-ToPs," as it's known in the industry. Like jokes, I've got tons of 'em. I should write a book. But this post specifically addresses my B-ToP on Boundaries.

I'm not a total naif. I know children are going to push boundaries. It's an integral part of a child's development. They push them to test their parents' love and as a mode of self-definition. So, yes, Poohbutt, as adorable as she can be, will be pushing my boundaries and my buttons. Hell, she's already started. So, in the future, I know that my baby girl will curse, try smoking and drinking, may experiment with drugs, and--Oh God, say it ain't so--have sex.

My B-ToP on Boundaries dictates that my job, as a parent, is to accept this inevitability, but I ain't supposed to make it easy for the girl. Because the more I readily accept her misconduct, the more outrageous her future actions will be in order to get a reaction out of me (LoR=LoL, or Lack of Reaction=Lack of Love, see).

So, Pops here has a two-pronged approach to the Boundaries issue. As I said, I can't make it easy for the kid. Boundaries must be respected. Attacks must be repulsed. So, punishment is key.

I got the switch once, and I know that ain't gonna happen to Pooh. I mean, it's an effective weapon, but the switch is a weapon. I understand why my grandmother used it on my behind. She came up in a time and place where a black child's insubordination could realistically result in death. I don't think Pooh needs to really worry about that. So, the switch is definitely part of the Campbell Clan's past.

While I'm not necessarily against corporal punishment, I'm not necessarily for it, either. I can't really see myself whippin' a kid's ass, but you never know. The last time I got the belt was when I was 12. I ran off and fell asleep in a neighboring town's arcade (I had Pacman Fever bad). I woke up to find po-po shaking their heads ruefully at me. They drove me home, where I was greeted with the entire neighborhood's searching the night for poor, little, old me. Seriously, every street and wooded area was strobing with flashlights, as frantic parents hoped to and dreaded to find me. Oh yeah, my ass got lit up that night. Some of you may think a child never deserves to get whipped, but I definitely think I did that night. Hell, I'm sure there were a lot of parents who would've lined up to do the honors.

However, I think I'm more into severe grounding. For example, when I was 14, at the beginning of summer vacation, I was supposed to spend the night over a friend's house. While we were out playing tennis, some of my "cool"er friends strolled by with some girlies, asking me to join them. I deferred, but, later that night, I feigned illness, and told my friend I was just going to walk home. You all know where I went. Hell, girlies were involved.

After the folks found out, I wasn't allowed out of the house the entire month of June! One helluva summer vacation, eh? But, you know what? I don't think I've sold a friend out since.

So, Part I of B-ToP on Boundaries does include a little shock and awe. It accepts insubordination but it don't put up with that mess. It believes that children must learn the consequences of their actions. This may be a race thing, I admit. While my grandmother's day is long gone, black children are still treated more harshly than whites by the authorities. Therefore, our children must learn to respect our authority. When they get a bit older, we can then pump them full of "Fuck the Man." But let's get them out of puberty first.

Part II of B-ToP on Boundaries does admittedly have a class bias to it. In acknowledging boundary pushing, we must limit our children's exposure to as many of the wide varieties available to them. In the Mayberry suburbs of Pittsburgh where I grew up, ther ejust wasn't that much trouble to get into. I could've, maybe, gotten drunk and TP'd a neighbor's yard. Meanwhile, I have friends who grew up in places where their teenage trouble-making could've gotten them into drugs, gangs, jails, and coffins. Part II simply says, "Don't live in those fucking neighborhoods!"

Face it, a lot of the aforementioned criminal activity mostly happens in certain neighborhoods. While drugs are universal, gangs, lethal violence, and teenage pregnancy rarely happen out of certain locales. I'm not saying that you cannot raise decent human beings out of those neighborhoods. If I believed that, a lot of the work that I've done in my adult life would be hypocritical. It's just that raising children in those environments are incredibly challenging. Why do it if you can afford not to? Right now, I am fortunate enough to be able to afford not raising my daughter in such a neighborhood. So, I choose not to. Why have your kids ducking bullets if they don't have to?

A friend of mine once told me that, when she was a child, her mother took one look at her friends, didn't like what she saw, and moved her out of there as soon as was humanly possible. My friend told me that none of those childhood friends of hers survived high school without at least one pregnancy. That's what Part II is all about. Limit those boundaries 'cause sure as "Oh, shit," your kids will find them.

Now, I don't want you sitting there thinking that B-ToPs are meant to be totally draconian--though they may sometimes be. After all, being an abusive parent is just as bad as being a nonexistent one. An abused child can often be out of control, and the legendary "preacher's daughter" can turn out to be a little freak. B-ToP recommends a constant negotiation when it comes to said boundaries. Initially, set them fools real high and gradually lower them as your child grows and matures. This lowering will promote personally responsibility while reinforcing the correlation between consequences and actions. See what I'm saying--Bullshit.

So yeah, Poohbutt's about to turn 18 months, and her "Oh, shit," was her own declaration that she is, indeed, ready for Daddy's B-ToPs. As said father, I must now diminish, as much as possible, the uberquixotic Bill Campbell Bullshit Theory on Parenting: Parental Hypocrisy ("I got it from you, Dad!"). I must now work even harder to elevate my own language from the gutter to the choir. I must create a hip-hop-less Poohbutt Playlist on my iPod and shuttle my forbidden love of rap into the closet. And I must pray and pray and pray.

Oh, shit.

Wish me luck.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Michael Steele: "Nobody's Bitch"

For the longest, Michael Steele was all hip-hop and one-armed midgets. He was everywhere. You couldn't get out of bed without tripping over a Michael Steele quote. But then the Rush controversy happened and Steele followed it up by rightfully calling abortion a "choice."

I suddenly couldn't think of the last time I'd heard from the GOP leader. My Black Paranoia kicked in. Surely, he couldn't be among all those angry white folk for this long, claiming to be their leader, and something not have happened to the boy. I'll be honest. I was getting a little worried.

Using my Tome press credentials, it still took awhile to find the Republican leader. It took even longer to convince him to grant this interview. I had to come with some booty--a Boppy pillow, a box of finger cots, some Ho-Hos, and a whole lot of grape Kool Aid.

I got off the train at Farrugut North and went up the escalators to K St., where Steele's new offices were. I was greeted by the strangest sight. A long line of white people--and only white people--that stretched for blocks and blocks. My first inclination was to write it off, thinking Wayne Brady must've been in town, but, with the demise of print journalism, this blogger suddenly found himself a journalist and needed to investigate.

The line had grown to over three blocks long. There were some women, but the crowd was overwhelmingly male. It was a jubilant crowd, with lots of loud drinking and crude joking. They refused to tell me why they were all there, but they were more than happy to tell me where they were from: Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, Hoover Institute, Manhattan Institute, American Civil Rights Institute, Focus on the Family, NRA, National Right to Life, Operation Rescue National...

It quickly became obvious that this was a Republican line and that we both seemed to be heading to the same source: Michael Steele. As I moved farther up the line, the faces became more familiar, the mood even more jovial: Gary Bauer, Dick Armey, Newt Gingrich, Eric Cantor, Michele Bachmann.

When I finally reached Steele's office, I found myself surrounded by Republican royalty: Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Ann Coulter, John McCain, Laura Ingraham, Megan McCain, Sarah Palin, John Boehner, and Sean Hannity. The GOP was supposedly in disarray and everybody at each other's throats. But drinks flowed like blood and hugs and kisses, like automatic gunfire.

My Black Paranoia kicked in again. All these happy, conservative white folks together could not be good. I wanted to get the fuck outta Dodge, but I had a job to do. I was a journalist--I heard on NPR this morning. Besides, it was Michael Steele making all these white people so happy. The brother must've been doing something right.

I announced myself to the receptionist and was about to sit down when Steele's office door was thrown open. Rush Limbaugh emerged, sweaty and smiling, with only a towel covering his genitalia. He pumped his meat fists in the air. "It's good to be the king!"

Everyone cheered and slapped his back in congratulations. Someone gave him a Cuba. Suddenly, the room reeked of Rush sex and cigars. I wanted to vomit.

"Chairman Steele will see you now," the receptionist informed me.

For those who don't know, Michael Steele is a very imposing man. Well over six feet and 200 pounds, Steele has an athlete's frame and keeps it extremely fit. In other words, if you met Michael Steele in a dark alley, you'd definitely be giving up the wallet. However, now seeing the GOP chairman in rouge, cherry-red lipstick, a pink tube top, stilettos, and denim mini-skirt, I was suddenly wondering who was giving up what to whom exactly.

"The Boppy please," he groaned.

I handed him the large, padded donut pillow. He placed it on his seat behind the desk and sat down with a wince.

"Did you bring the cots?" he asked.

I handed him a box of what I thought were called finger condoms. "You turning a lot of pages around here?" I chuckled, uncomfortably.

"No, we use them for condoms," he informed.

"But they have neither a receptical tip nor lubricant."

"They fit, OK?" Steele whined. "We're talkin' Republicans here, ain't we?"

"Yeah, but--"

"Why do you think we become Republicans in the first place?!"

"What would I know? I used to be an anarchist."

"The Ho-Hos and grape Kool-Aid please."

I handed over the rest of "the booty," and he immediately began chomping and guzzling down my offerings. Amongst the chews, though, I could hear sobs, and, before I knew it, Michael Steele, former Lt. Gov. of Maryland and current chairman of the National Republican Party, was weeping.

I knew the interview was over at that point. I could never report this, what they had done to this man. I never really agreed with Steele on any issue, never really liked him all that much, but I never wished this on the man. I mean, Steele was from DC. Petworth. I'm not sure, but I heard it used to be rough. Now, these Republicans had this big, bad brother hopping around in Daisy Dukes?!

There were so many questions to ask, but I couldn't bring myself to ask even one. Steele downed another glass of the grape Kool-Aid, burped, and looked me intently in the eye. He saw the pain on my face. I saw the pain on his. We shared a moment. I was just about to say something. He raised a massive hand to stop me.

"No, you're right," he anticipated, gravely. "I should've never backed-down from Rush Limbaugh."


Friday, April 10, 2009

Eric Holder to the Ted Stevens Prosecution Team

Due to diligent reporting and unnamed sources, we at Tome have uncovered the video of Attorney General Eric Holder's first meeting with the Ted Stevens prosecution team, whose misconduct forced the AG to drop the charges against Alaska's former senator and a federal judge to hire a special prosecutor to delve into the team's own ethics violation.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Poor Chuck D.

With America's premier black writer, Richard Wright, now being honored by the U.S. Postal Service, what do you think Chuck D.'s now saying, with most of his heroes appearing on stamps?

Other Black Folks with Their Own Stamps:

Louis Armstrong
Benjamin Banneker
Ida B. Wells (Barnett)
Jim Beckwourth
Mary McLeod Bethune
Eubie Blake
Ralph Bunche
George Washington Carver
Roberto Clemente
Nat King Cole
Bessie Coleman
John Coltrane
Dr. Allison Davis
Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable
Frederick Douglass
Charles R. Drew
W.E.B. DuBois
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Duke Ellington
Erroll Garner
W.C. Handy
Coleman Hawkins
Matthew Henson
Bille Holiday
James P. Johnson
James Weldon Johnson
Robert Johnson
Scott Joplin
Percy Lavon Julian
Ernest E. Just
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Joe Louis
Jan E. Matzeliger
Clyde McPhatter
Charles Mingus
Thelonious Monk
Jelly Roll Morton
Jesse Owens
Charlie Parker
Bill Pickett
Salem Poor
'MA' Rainey
A. Philip Randolph
Otis Redding
Jackie Robinson
Jimmy Rushing
Bessie Smith
Henry O. Tanner
Sojourner Truth
Harriet Tubman
Booker T. Washington
Dinah Washington
Ethel Waters
Muddy Waters
Howlin' Wolf
Carter G. Woodson
Whitney Moore Young

Shit, next thing you know, we'll have us a Black President.

The Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Video of the Day

Fiercely determined, highly-educated, and possessing the cutest, grandmotherly smile on the planet, this Liberian president (the first female elected head of an African state) is total Nerd Crush material.

On Monday, Stanley Crouch ("Spearchucker," to his friends) wrote a horribly-titled piece on her in The Daily News. You can hear her featured on NPR's Tell Me More. And Harper-Collins has just released her memoir, This Child Will Be Great. But, before you check out that out, please watch my stirring tribute to this great woman:


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Dumbest Shit I Done Heard Today

This morning, I was informed by NPR's Morning Edition that actor, Kal Penn, has left the TV series, House, to go work for Obama's White House. It's no Jimmy Stewart or Ted Williams flying combat missions or Pat Tillman losing his life in Afghanistan, but I had to give Penn his propers for giving up the dough for public service. Penn gave the station a pretty cool interview talking about how he'd volunteered for the Obama campaign last year and how he's always been interesting in politics. Apparently, one of his grandfathers worked and jailed with Gandhi during India's independence movement. That was when I heard [this blog post's title].

The NPR reporter then said something to the effect that "Gandhi inspired Martin Luther King, Jr., who in turn inspired President Obama. With Penn's working in the Obama White House, the circle is complete."

My wife and I were aghast. I turned to her, and said, "Now, that's got to be [this blog post's title]."

But now that I've had a full day to digest the comparison, I'm starting to think that maybe that NPR reporter wasn't as crazy as I thought she was. Just look at the record:

Crowning Achievements

Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi's non-violent, nationalist movement leads India to independence from the British Crown in 1947, inspiring millions to this day to work for peace and social change.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

King helps to spearhead a non-violent civil rights movement that leads to groundbreaking US legislation, furthering the cause for racial equality in America, inspiring millions to this day to work for peace and social change.

Barack Obama

Obama runs an unprecedented presidential campaign and becomes the first African-American President of the United States, inspiring millions to ... well, that's for history to decide.

Kal Penn

Penn co-stars in cult classic, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, inspiring the renascence of the "stoner film," a sequel, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, and CBS to hire Neil Patrick Harris (nee Doogie Howser) as a co-star in the comedy series, How I Met Your Mother.

See, I definitely owe NPR an apology.


Eat A Armey Award: Hamid Karzai

Dear Hamid Karzai,

Look, I realize that you did not expressly ask for this job. Rummy and His Pentagon Playas heard your Northern Alliance warlord swing and liked the cut of your jib. I blame those bastards for a lot of crap but not this one. I mean, look atcha. You one sharp, mother. Who can resist that hat? That dome piece alone bought you four years of unscrutinized rule in my book.

Unfortunately for you, Hami, those four years have long been up, and people are starting to look. I know you didn't initially ask to be president of this Afghanistan shit storm, but you accepted the post and even ran for re-election. And now that we're looking, we see why.

You are one corrupt sumbitch. Now, with any drug economy comes corruption. Lord knows we have that here in America. That same Lord knows that America carries a lot of blame in Afghanistan's opium resurgence. The Taliban ruled the country with an iron fist and crushed opium production. Uncle Sam has ruled with their thumbs up their asses, and now poppy's got a brand new bag in your land. And I've heard that there have been times when you've wanted to get rid of an uber-corrupt bastard or two only to be overruled by the Bush Babees here in Washington.

So, I get it, you're a ruler over a divided land racked with poverty and violence and a wandering, objectiveless, endless war that's only gotten you more death, more poverty, and now a bustling drug trade that won't stop and will never get enough. If out of frustration or a need to do a little dirt and get paid doing it, I don't know if I'd mind your corrupt ass but so much. Even if you were just a petty, poppy potentate with your head stuck in a mound of coca, screaming, "Come and meet my little friend!" there'd be only so many shits I could possibly give. Except that ...

Except that I pay for this shit! In treasure and blood! And there's way too much shit I'm tired of paying for in the region. I'm tired of my tax dollars paying to support Egypt's and Saudi Arabia's dictatorships. I'm sick of our military pissing around and dying in your country and Iraq with apparetnly no other goal than occupation. I'm really tired of seeing all those Palestinian children dying with each Israeli incursion, screeching, "Your tax dollars at work!"

Now look, Hami, I don't blame you for most of this crap. Just like I don't blame you for how your brother's always rushing his customers out of his restaurant in B-more. (I mean, the food's good, and the food's expensive. Let a brother relax a bit while he gets his chomp on. If I wanted to be in and out in 40 minutes, I'd go to Burger King.) But I do blame your pilfering ass for the legalized marital rape you tried pulling last week.

Yeah, yeah, I know you've pulled back on instituting the law since the global outrage came tumbling around your ears. But talk about one of these most disgusting, barbaric ploys to get re-elected in the history of "democracy"!

What the fuck were you thinking?! Legalized rape?! And this repugnant law of yours has also "set the legal age for Shia girls to marry at nine, automatically stripped divorced mothers of custody as soon as girls turned two, and boys seven, and legalized 'family-style' polygamy, allowing husbands to wed their wives’ sisters and cousins."

Now, I know politicians do some disgusting shit while in power. But this one would make Attila the Hun blanch. You sick fuck! What won't you do to stay in power? I mean, I never expected "American-style" democracy to instantly take hold in Afghanistan. Hell, it took us some 750 years to get it right our damned selves. But I wasn't expecting our American tax dollars and our American women's and men's lives to be wasted on some cannibal who advocates marital rape and the pimping of nine-year-old girls.

It's time for you to go!

But in the meantime, I'd like for you to sit down to a steady diet of Armeys, boy. Don't worry. We'll make it all legal. No one wants to disrespect your hallowed office, now do we? So, we'll have us a little ceremony, invite guests, a Vermont preacher, enjoy a nice banquet (hell, your brother can even cater), and then you, my man, need to gits to munchin'!

Former Eat A Armey Award winners:

Sarah Palin and The Pips
Edward M. Liddy
Michelle Malkin


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

White People Problems

Another one you might like.

I'll be back later with my latest Eat A Armey

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bow Down for the Bend-Over

With all the fanfare surrounding our President's European tour, with the entire mini-continent all on Obama's Balzac, it's no surprise that America's conservatives are off their collective nut with rage. They've decided that they hate The Big Brother, that his every action makes the bile rise in their throats. Therefore, they are basically automatically outraged by the man's every action--and every action of his wife.

Earlier this week, the First Lady got into trouble for putting her hand on Queen Elizabeth's shoulder. Outrage ensued--followed quickly by controversy. "Violations of protocol!" Yadda yadda. Some were so red-faced, you'd think Michelle kissed Liz's head with a bottle and stole her purse. Eventually, Bob Costas, John Madden, and a telestrator were brought in to analyze the tape. Apparently, the Queen put her arm around the First Lady first, prompting our Lady to put her hand on their Lady's shoulder in what experts are now calling a "reciprocation of affection."

Having finally overcome that controversial obstacle, the White House has stumbled into another with the President's bowing before Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. Screed Queen, Michelle Malkin says the whole thing is "embarrassing" and (ironically, in light of the last administration) complains, "It's like the 'American Hillbillies go to Europe.' He is throwing American power and prestige out with both hands as fast as he can." Defender of the Faith, Gary Bauer, of course, sees a Muslim conspiracy in that nefarious bow. As though the Saudis will now dictate US foreign policy in the region. As though they haven't been doing just that the past eight years.

As Costas, Madden, and the telestrator are once again employed to examine whether or not this was indeed a bow and etiquette experts like Gloria Starr calculate the exact ratio of degree-of-bow to loss-of-American-power, I'll be the first to admit that I actually don't give a shit about any of it. I'll also admit that I didn't care when W. actually held Crown Prince Abdullah's hand during their romantic stroll in Crawford back in '05. Now, don't get me wrong, I made jokes. How couldn't I? Just look at them. But I actually didn't care.

I think whether the President bows, holds hands, kisses, cuddles, or spoons another leader matters about as much as the Pirates' World Series plans. However, for the past 60+ years our country has bent over backwards to please the House of Saud to the point of utterly fucking ourselves, and that's what we seriously have to look into.

FDR started the contortions in 1943, making Saudi Arabia (a neutral country) eligible for Lend-Lease assistance. Saudi security was considered vital to US interests, and that's been our position ever since. The House of Saud could do whatever it wanted (oppress their women, torture its dissidents, spread virulent anti-American Islam worldwide, whatever); as long as they pumped the cheap crude, we'd cover their asses.

It wasn't a pretty relationship, but no junky/dealer relationship ever is. But, during the Cold War, this despicable deal made some sort of realpolitik sense. But the canoodling really needed to stop after September 11.

It's not just that 11 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi or even that Osama himself is Saudi. It's that, for decades, while we Americans have made that country rich by consuming their oil, while we've bolstered and equipped their military with aid they never needed in the first place, while we looked the other way when it came to their abysmal human rights record, and while we went to war to save their oil and asses, the Saudis have been funding the very terrorists who aimed to kill us while spending billions to indoctrinate Muslim children around the world to replace the terrorists who died that day.

It would seem that anybody who did all that to contribute to and actively encourage your own destruction would be classified an enemy. But Bush twisted the Saudis into dance partners.

But not only did the main funders and mentors of al Qaeda become our "biggest allies" in W.'s ack-basswards "War on Terror," but Pakistan (the country that formed and funded the Taliban) became our second biggest allies. How our worst enemies somehow morphed into our greatest allies is still beyond me. It's as though, after Pearl Harbor, FDR joined us to the Axis and we went on to invade Spain and Argentina.

Has such a powerful country ever been so utterly fucked over by a smaller nation only to bend over and ask for more? Back in the day, we nuked Japan. Rome plowed Carthage under with salt. But now our allies whisper sweet-nothings in our politicians' ears while their underlings blow the living shit out of our soldiers.

Now, Lord knows, I don't want us to nuke Saudi Arabia, and the salt thing seems a little too ... well, Biblical. I don't even want us to invade the peninsula. I just want to know why W. never called these "allies" of ours to task. Why did W. insist on calling them "friends"?

While these cons are screaming about Obama's bow, why have they never answered why Boy George was always so eager to bend over for the Saudis? Our thankfully former president not only never caught bin Laden, but he never made the Saudis pay in any way for their involvement with 9/11 or the global network of Islamic terror. There were no breaking of ties, no economic sanctions. We never curbed our "addiction to oil" or even tried to switch dealers.

I'm thinking Malkin, Bauer, and their brood would better utilize their time if they stopped speculating if Obama gave Abdullah a 25-, 40-, or 90-degree bow and actually get to the bottom of the mystery that was W.'s diplomatic policy towards the Saudis. Perhaps, they can even start speculating on whether or not our relationship with that country is even worth continuing.

Now, look, I understand what it's like to hate, hate, HATE! one of our presidents. I spent the last eight years filled with rage everytime I saw that Connecticut Texan on the boob tube. I hated his goofy smile, his chuckle. I even hated the way he walked--like something powerfully uncomfortable was lodged up his rectum--you know, Cheney's forearm. But, more importantly, I hated Bush's supposed "War on Terror," his lying to get us into Iraq, I hated his constant calling for tax cuts despite growing deficits, and I hated his utterly contempt for governance itself, which I believe led to levees breaking, bridges collapsing, poisoned children's toys, and collapsed banks.

So, in the grand scheme of things, how important is Obama's Bow, really? What really matters here is the Bush Bend-Over our country's been experiencing for over seven years now and whether or not Obama's simply going to "assume the position" or actually go in a different, "bold" direction and somehow extricate us from these "Wars" of ours and possibly from the region altogether.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Jabba the Rush

Here, I thought you might like this.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Kings of Rock

Though they won't perform without Jam Master Jay, Run-DMC will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tomorrow. I guess they were right, after all.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Those 100 Movies You're Supposed to See Before You Die

Well, since I did My Favorite Lefty Films (below), I figured I'd do the Yahoo Movies to See Before You Die, which inspired the former list. They claim that they selected these movies for their "historical importance" and "cultural impact" as well as picking "the most thrilling, most dramatic, scariest, and funniest movies of all time." So, please don't hate on me for their selections. I'm just telling you whether I saw the movie or not and what I thought. What a way to spend a hazy, lazy April Fools Day, eh?

(Author's Note: To get the full effect of my laziness, please listen to Xavier Cugat while perusing this list. A good mambo never killed anyone--though a bad merengue can call for hip surgery.)

12 Angry Men (1957)

You know, when my wife and I first saw this, we said, "Oh, if only jury deliberations were actually like this." Funny thing was, when I was actually called on a jury (for a drug trial, no less), it was like 12 Angry Men. There are several reasons I love director Sidney Lumet. This flick's one of them.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

There are several reasons I love director Stanley Kubrick. I still can't figure out if this is one of them. I do like this film, but I don't know if it's because I'm supposed to like it or if I actually find it good. I'll always love the HAL part of the movie. The beginning with the monkeys still gives me flashbacks to when I was a bookkeeper at a collection agency.

The 400 Blows (1959)

I've always been meaning to see this Truffaut classic. But, since I saw Louis Malle's Elevator to the Gallows and loved it, I'll be one of those pretentious haters, and say, "Well, it's no Elevator to the Gallows."

8 ½ (1963)

After suffering through La Dolce Vita, I was so pissed off that Fellini's considered a "master," I have refused to see anything else of his. Yall can tell me what this one's like.

The African Queen (1952)

Who? Nefertiti? Ann Nzinga? Nope, sorry, missed this one. I like Hepburn and Bogart. I'm sure I'll actually see this one before I die. See, the list works.

Alien (1979)

I still find Sigourney Weaver in her underwear is one of the most horrifying scenes in cinematic history. You may not remember, but her ass was so flat in this movie, she was actually showing plumber's crack in this scene. Other than that, I love Alien. Apparently so does Hollywood, since 90% of all SF movies since (no matter the topic) breaks down to become Alien in the end.

All About Eve (1950)

Growing up, I never did quite understand the whole Bette Davis thing. But watching this, you definitely get it. Damn, they could really be vicious back in the day. It still amazes me how clever so many of these old-timey movies were. We could use some of that today.

Annie Hall (1977)

No shame in my game (though a lot in his), I am an unabashed Woody Allen addict. This, of course, is my favorite Woody. I can watch Annie Hall all day long.

Apocalypse Now (1979)

When my mom was doing the whole single-parent-full-time-worker-night-school-student thing, she used to take me to some of her college courses at Pitt. Her Movie Appreciation course was my favorite. As a 10-year-old, I saw a whole bunch of movies I wouldn't have been allowed to see otherwise. This is one of them. As a genuine reflection of the war experience, Apocalypse Now strikes me as a pure piece of pretentious bullshit, but as a pure piece of pretentious bullshit, Apocalypse Now is a masterpiece.

The Battle of Algiers (1967)

See My Favorite Lefty Films below.

The Bicycle Thief (1948)

Yeah, this bad boy is a masterpiece. Yeah, it helped break the oppressive Hays Code. But, seriously, this movie still holds up. Especially in these trying economic times, one can relate to a father struggling to provide for his family.

Blade Runner (1982)

With this and Alien Ridley Scott was the man. I took my wife to see the director's cut at one of those movie theater/pub joints, and, at the last moment when you get that all-important clue that tells you for sure that Deckard's a Replicant, the waiter gave me my bill. Bastard.

Blazing Saddles (1974)

I could go on and on about Blazing Saddles. Ask my wife, I can pretty much quote the entire movie verbatim. I might even be able to write the script for you and hardly miss a line. This is my favorite comedy of all time. I'm an absolute nut over this. White guys have Caddy Shack. I've got this. "They said you was hung." "And they was right."

Blow Up (1966)

I think I tried to watch this once in high school.

Blue Velvet (1986)

I think I actually liked this movie in high school. I pretty much hate David Lynch with every fiber of my being. So, I doubt if I'll ever revisit this one to see what I saw in it.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

I love the Serge Gainsbourg/Brigitte Bardo song. I love the Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway movie. How could you hate on either one? And damn do they get lit up in the end. That is straight-up gangsta. Oh yeah, right. I guess that makes sense.

Breathless (1960)

Didn't Richard Gere try to rip this movie off in the '80s? I think I saw the rip-off.

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Since I can't whistle for shit, I've always been hostile against this movie. I've always been meaning to see this one, but the closest I've ever gotten was A Bridge Too Far.

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

I fell madly in love with The Philadelphia Story (one of my favorite comedies) and immediately went out and rented Bringing Up Baby. I still like this one, but I was really disappointed. Just a case of bad timing, I guess.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

OK, what the hell was up with "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head"? I mean, I love B.J. Thomas as much as the next guy, but, damn, that song sticks out like a sore thumb. The shoot-out in The Wild Bunch is a hell of a lot better, but I still like this one. Redford's a stiff as always, but Paul Newman was the man.

Casablanca (1942)

I think it's actually illegal to say anything disparaging about this movie. So yeah, I loved it. I betcha Sam was still wondering what the hell he was doing in that part of Africa and was probably sweatin' his ass off wondering if the Nazis were going to off his black ass. If you ask me, he should've cold-cocked both Rick and Laszlo and gotten on that plane with Ilsa. Hmm ... I smell sequel!

Chinatown (1974)

Yeah, I like Chinatown--just not as much as I'm told I'm supposed to. If it had ended differently--like if that girl had ended up being Faye Dunaway's third cousin-twice removed--I bet folks would've remembered this one as the snooze fest it sometimes is.

Citizen Kane (1941)

What kind of asshole would I be if I didn't say this was THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL-TIME?!!! Well, it's no Plan 9 from Outer Space, but I guess Orson Welles deserves his props for this one. Though I think it would've been more believable if Rosebud would've turned out to have been a hooker who gave him the clap during the Spanish-American War than what it had actually turned out to have been.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

I will always be indebted to this movie for introducing me to Ziyi Zhang. Our love still grows stronger by the day.

Die Hard (1988)

When thinking about this movie, I try to always block out the ridiculous sequels. I also try to block out the fact that people have been outrunning explosions ever since this movie was released. But yeah, this was fun. I'm sure Alan Rickman will probably go down as one of the best movie villains for this bad boy--oh yeah, and that Robin Hood joint he did with Kevin Costner. Ha!

Do the Right Thing (1989)

See Lefty Films again.

Double Indemnity (1944)

By their very nature, film noir flicks are misogynist. I'm not going to say that's what makes them entertaining, but you gotta wonder. Since Fred McMurray's the star of this one, you've got to constantly fight humming the theme to My Three Sons, but it's worth it. This is a gem.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Lefty Films, yall.

Duck Soup (1933)

I approach Groucho and his brothers like I do their distant cousin, Karl: I hope I'll understand them when I get older.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Even as a 12-year-old, there was something about E.T. that really pissed me off. I've refused to see it ever since, and I wouldn't be caught dead with some Reese's Pieces!

Enter the Dragon (1973)

Come on, people. Is there a black man alive raised on Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater who does not love, adore, indeed, worship Enter the Dragon? I really and truly believe that Brutha Bruce is the reason Black Muslims started calling themselves "Asiatic".

The Exorcist (1973)

Aw, Linda Blair had me at "Your mother sucks cocks in Hell." What a darling.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)

Is there a Gen Xer alive who does not love this movie? Besides, everybody who was nobody in the '80s was in this one with Uncle Martin thrown in for good measure.

The French Connection (1971)

This movie's like those mixed tapes we used to make: totally diminished by constant copying. This was the first movie that had the gritty city landscape, the cop of dubious morality, the hair-raising car chase. All of these things have been copied so often they're ingrained in our cultural cerebellum. When you finally see The French Connection you wonder what the big deal was. But it's still entertaining enough.

The Godfather (1972)

The Bomb!

The Godfather, Part II

The Bomb! Part II

Quick Question: Is there a single movie where John Cazale (Fredo) doesn't get punked?

Goldfinger (1964)

I don't care who you put in the role, I can't stand Bond. My Dad tried patriotism once: "But, son, James Bond was conceived in Jamaica." And I was like, "So was I. What's your point?" I give them props for getting Octopussy past the censors, but Quantum of Solace sounds like it was pulled straight out the thesaurus.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1968)

I've always wondered how Sergio Leone broke it to Eli Wallach that he was neither "The Good" nor "The Bad." I hope he didn't tell him he was born to play this role.

Goodfellas (1990)

I've never quite understood the big deal behind this one. And this movie paved the way for Casino, and I can never forgive it for that.

The Graduate (1967)

Hey, weren't Ann Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman the same age in this movie? Wasn't Ann Bancroft hot as hell? And isn't "Plastics" still funny as all get-out?

Grand Illusion (1938)

I know I'm gonna get my Movie Pass revoked, but I haven't seen Grand Illusion, yet. Sorry.

Groundhog Day (1993)

I know you're not going to believe this, but I've never actually seen Groundhog Day all the way through. Unfortunately (and this isn't meant to be a joke), when I do catch it, I always catch the same scenes over and over again.

A Hard Day's Night (1964)

Remember what Public Enemy says about Elvis and John Wayne in "Fight the Power"? I pretty much feel the same way about the Beatles.

In the Mood For Love (2001)


It Happened One Night (1934)

Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert are hysterical. I wonder, if they remade this movie today, what Colbert would have to flash in order to get the car to stop. I mean, she had a mighty nice calf, but I just don't think it would cut it nowadays.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

"Yeah, I hate It's a Wonderful Life. I hate Jimmy Stewart. I hate Donna Reed. I hate apple pie, puppy dogs, the American flag, God, and my own mother!"

Anyone who would dare say this deserves to be burned at the stake!

Jaws (1975)

Even with decades of copy cats, Jaws is still a great-ass movie.

King Kong (1933)

The story of my people. Stolen from Africa, enslaved, forced to entertain whitey and make him money, and as soon as you fall for the white woman, the police shoot your unarmed, monkey ass in New York City. Ain't that about a bitch?!

The Lady Eve (1941)

Haven't seen this one.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

I just want to thank T.E. Lawrence for leaving us with a legacy of colonialist bullshit and the war we're still fighting to this day. Way to go, hoss! Also, you gotta love my Mexican brother, Anthony Quinn. Here, he plays an Arab. He's also played Native American, Greek, and Ethiopian. Here's to Old School Racial Ambiguity! You know Vin Diesel's still jealous.

The Lord of the Rings (2001,2002,2003)

Honestly, I only liked the second one (though I do give Peter Jackson props for avoiding the apocalyptic race war that was in the books). However, someone who shall remain nameless was in love with this git for all three movies.

M (1931)

This movie started my love affair with Peter Lorre. Even the subtitle-averse would love this one.

M*A*S*H (1970)

One of my mom's Movie Appreciation flicks. This movie marked the first time I saw a nude woman on film. What up, Sally Kellerman? Other than that, I was confused because it was nothing like the TV show at all. This is probably one of the only Altman films I actually like.

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Bogart, Greenstreet, Lorre directed by Huston based on Hammett. Is there anything about this movie that ain't cool?

The Matrix (1999)

I was only but so impressed when it was fresh, and I doubt this bad boy ages well.

Modern Times (1936)

You know, I was just typing how I hadn't seen this one. But now I realize that I have. I guess I need to see it again, though. I'll get back to you. In the meantime, go watch The Great Dictator.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

I've been terrified of bunnies ever since.

National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)

Yeah, I've never quite understood the big deal behind this one. I'll take your suggestions.

Network (1976)

This is another Lefty Film. My favorite, in fact.

Nosferatu (1922)

It's on The List. My wife can tell you, the only thing longer than our Netflix Queue is The List.

On the Waterfront (1954)

Kazan was a rat-fink bastard! Aside from that and that old-timey rape/"love" scene, this is a really good movie.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Graduation summer I was over a friend's house, getting ready to go out. While we waited for more of our friends to get to the house, we started killing time by watching Cuckoo's. We had been pumped to go out. But as the movie wore on and more and more people arrived and then sat down, we all found we couldn't pull ourselves from the movie. As the movie went on, we found ourselves more and more depressed. By the time the damned thing ended, we felt more like shooting ourselves in the head than flying all around town in search of a good time. The resulting depression was worth it, though.

Paths of Glory (1958)

You guessed it, Lefty Film.

Princess Mononoke (1999)

Another one I have no clue about. I guess I'm a flag-waving troglodyte if ever there was one. Crank up the Lee Greenwood!!!

Psycho (1960)

Being a Slasher Film Baby, how terrifying could I have ever found Psycho? I respect it, though.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Back during the Pulp Fiction furor, a white friend of mine asked me one night, while drinking, if I thought Quentin Tarantino were a racist. I thanked him because I'd thought I'd been going crazy because the racial aspects of the film were driving me crazy and yet nobody, at the time, had mentioned it. Other white people started eavesdropping and soon joined the conversation and, before I knew it, I was "Little Big Horned" by a bunch of angry white people calling me a "racist." It was a pretty crappy night, but it sparked my first foray into cultural criticism with a piece called "Art and Pulp Fiction" (I wish it were still on the internet, but I couldn't find it). At the time, I did like this movie but I hated the fact that Q-Dog took every opportunity to demean black men in his movie (from "Dead nigger storage" to Ving Rhames' being cuckolded and sodomized by white guys--only to be saved by the White Messiah, Bruce Willis). Nowadays, though, I just wish Tarantino would go away. I find his stuff pretty boring.

Raging Bull (1980)

I often think that whenever people wax poetic about Goodfellas, I think they're just rhapsodizing about the glorious afterglow one receives after watching Raging Bull. But that's just me.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Oh yeah, this one's still fun.

Raise the Red Lantern (1992)

Hm, each night having to choose which of your three wives you're gonna get a li'l nooky from ... You know, one night in Paris, I spent the night with six Swedish nurses. Sounds great, doesn't it? Sounds like the night you've always dreamed of, eh? Well, I slept on the floor. And they slept in their bunk beds. Some things just always sound better than they turn out to be in real life.

Rashomon (1951)

There are few things better in this world than Toshiro Mifune being directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Rear Window (1954)

Ya know, I think Hitchcock is pretty cool, but I know Jimmy Stewart is God. I love all their movies together.

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

I love "Rebel without a Pause." I'm guessin' they ain't related. After watching Celluloid Closet, I've been meaning to watch this. I just haven't gotten around to it, yet.

Rocky (1976)

If you can overlook the constant desire to put the uppity nigra (Muhammad Ali) in his place and can try to forget all the reactionary, racist bullshit sequels that followed, you can really get into Rocky. Instead of basking in American triumphalism, this one is about a working class slob who wins just by showing up. I like that message. I would've liked it more if Apollo Creed just woulda whupped his ass and called it a day, but that was before Denzel and Will Smith. Sly wouldn't have a shot in hell nowadays. Where's Gerry Cooney when you need him?

Roman Holiday (1953)

Sorry. I got nothing here.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

I think that Steven Spielberg's probably the best action director of all-time. But anytime he deals with adult themes, I find his movies at best annoying and, oftentimes, infuriating. I mean, in Amistad, why the hell did that one Muslim slave become a Christian just because he liked the pictures in the Bible?! Anyway, Saving Private Ryan is a great example. Those battle scenes are absolutely amazing. But, when they start expounding on the "hell of war," you feel like ABC made a WWII after-school special. I mean, the plot was so fucking stupid, throughout the entire movie, the characters are complaining about how fucking stupid the plot is. They should've just cobbled a bunch of old Sgt. Rocks together and called it a day. It would've been cool to see Tom Hanks shoot down a Stuka.

Schindler's List (1993)

Personally, I've grown sick of Nazis, World WWII, and Holocaust films. I realize it was the last good war and that the Germans were pure evil, but enough is enough. I mean, more Nazis have died in Hollywood than in the African and European theaters combined. I liked Schindler's all right, and Spielberg got megaprops for the flick. But, when Roberto Benigni can win Oscars for making a slapstick Holocaust romp ("Zyklon B! The New Laughing Gas!"), how hard can it be?

The Searchers (1956)

If I had a dollar for every white film connoisseur who ever praised The Searchers, I could fucking bail out AIG (throw in Birth of a Nation and I'd rescue Detroit, too). Now, I'll give it to the Duke on this one. John Wayne comes dangerously close to acting in The Searchers. He plays a cowboy whose daughter (Natalie Wood) is kidnapped by a band of Indians and who's hellbent and determined to find his girl. As the movie progresses, you start to realize that his determination is actually racism; that he's obsessed with the idea that his precious, little white daughter has been turned out by the red man and that she's whiling away the time, sucking on his teepee; and that when he says "save" he actually means to blast his girl between the eyes. Now, the logical conclusion is that this obsessed racist is going to blow his daughter away for defiling the white race no matter what she says. The Hollywood conclusion goes something like this:

Duke: "Did you ...?"

Nat: "Ewww ... Daddy ... with them ... gross!"

Duke: "Aw shucks, pilgrimess, I guess I was bein' right silly."

Nat: "You sure were, Dad."

Hugs, smiles, fade to crap.

Seven Samurai (1954)

What I said about Rashomon times ... uh, seven.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

My wife loves this movie. So I love this movie (that's how I came to be able to quote Dirty Dancing verbatim -- yeah, I'm gonna pay for that one). But seriously, I like it. The Catholic in me always quibbles that this movie isn't about redemption at all, but hey, when was the last time I've been to mass?

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

I have never understood the big deal about this movie. But I haven't found Anthony Hopkins scary since he stopped his ventriloquist dummy to stop killing folks in Magic.

Singin' in the Rain (1952)

I think there may be about five or six musicals that I've ever liked. Singin' in the Rain is definitely one of them. I think it's all because of "Make 'em Laugh," I'm not sure, but I do find this one a lot of fun.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

You know, I've actually never seen Snow White. Does that make me racist?

Then I guess I shouldn't mention that there are only two "black" movies in this whole, damned list. Whatever happened to Affirmative Action?

Hey! This sudden realization calls for a P.E. moment:

Some Like It Hot (1959)

For years I avoided this movie, determined that it was going to suck. It's actually a lot of fun. Of course, Jack Lemmon was most definitely the man during this period. If you don't believe me, check out The Apartment.

The Sound of Music (1965)

I hate to admit it, but this is one of the other musicals that I like. If you're seriously questioning my masculinity by now, the others are Camelot and Damn Yankees (see, knighthood and baseball, I'm still a man).

Star Wars (1977)

I can't believe I spent some twenty years loving this franchise. It was when Lucas reissued those new, digitally-remastered "director's cuts" back in '97 that I realized that Star Wars actually sucked. It was a rough epiphany to digest. I went on a bender, abandoned my family, and went on a two-year bender. Only the love of a good woman made me realize that life was still worth living, it was OK to hate Star Wars, and that love was all that mattered. When the prequel trilogy came out, I felt secure in my newfound hatred.

Sunset Blvd. (1950)

I challenge each and every one of you to point out one thing wrong with this movie. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Someone must've been smoking crack on this choice. I'm no pacifist, but even I couldn't swallow the bullshit moral they tacked onto this piece of cow piss. I mean, "If a killer cyborg can learn the value of human life, why can't we humans?" I'm sorry, didn't the Schwartze spend the entire film mutilating people with high-powered automatic fire. Sure, he didn't kill them, but he permanently maimed them. Is that really what we want to teach the kiddies?

The Third Man (1949)

My second favorite stiffy, Joseph Cotten, in my second favorite Joseph Cotten movie. (God bless him, but the man never did try; in Gaslight he plays a Scotland Yard investigator who sounds like he's straight outta Peoria, Wales--and the man was actually from Virginia) A great tale of moral ambiguity in our post-WWII world. And wasn't Orson Welles cool as hell?

This is Spinal Tap (1984)

Lick me love pump, Stonehenge, "But this goes to 11." God, I love this movie, and I pretty much hate the music they parody. Go figure.

Titanic (1997)

I still find it hard to believe that I liked this movie. Of course, I saw it before the hype machine went off its nut. As I've said before, that makes all the difference.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Never saw it, never read it. Tell me, what did I miss?

Toy Story (1995)

I wonder why this one made the list. I mean, it was cute, and all, but it's no Fritz the Cat--at least not the version I saw.

The Usual Suspects (1995)

Yeah, this was dope, wasn't it?

Vertigo (1958)

"I'm not afraid of heights. I'm afraid of parents!"

Oh, wait, that Mel Brooks' High Anxiety. Well, you have Hitchcock and Stewart and that new camera technique Hitchcock invented for the flick. I'd rather watch Rope, but this is still cool. I'm sure they exist, but I can't think of a Jimmy Stewart clunker.

When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

Well, shit, I already told you I loved Annie Hall, wasn't this the sequel?

Wild Strawberries (1957)

Hey! I saw The Seventh Seal and I have a tattoo of Max von Sydow on my ass. What more do you want from me?

No, I haven't seen this one.

Wings of Desire (1988)

Yeah, I tried watching this movie once with a ... friend. I got a bit distracted. Did Peter Falk get the girl in the end?

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

"Can you feel a brand new day?!"

Yeah, I like both versions.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

Why don't I remember this movie? My boy, Dabalou, once told me he forgets movies he doesn't like. I've worked long and hard over the years to acquire this skill. I wonder if that's why I don't remember this one. Sometimes, just looking at Almodóvar pisses me off.

The World of Apu (1959)

I'ma plead troglodyte on this one. I don't even think I've ever heard of this one--though I'm pretty sure I've been told to check out Satyajit Ray movies before.