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Kids Today…

February 3, 2015

 

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“When children are doing nothing, they are doing mischief.” – Henry Fielding

Before I start let me say this…I like children for very specific reasons.  You can show them cool stuff that’s new to them.  A lot of them haven’t been totally ruined yet so you can give them some positive ideas.  Finally if you hit a three point shot on the first try they’ll think you’re Lebron James…for a day.  Hold on now guys, this is where things fall apart.  When I was a student teachers seemed to have infinite rule over classrooms.  The thought of going to the principals office was terrifying because once it got that far I knew parents would be called and I would be dropped into a world of shit.  In the years between then and now a lot of laws have been passed.  All of them were meant to make children more safe, but there is another effect.  Everyday I interact with children who refuse to listen, but they all know exactly where the boundaries are that I’m not allowed to cross.  To a degree I can accept this, it’s natural for children to test boundaries.  The issue is there really isn’t a lot that I can do.  Here’s a great example: I’m not allowed to put my hands on children.  This sounds great if you envision me as angry or upset, but here is where it get’s tricky.  There’s a fight at recess, one student is very angry  and the other is really just scared.  I pull them apart…the scared student is glad I’m there, the angry student is doing everything he can to keep the fight going. I send the scared student on yet remain with the angry.  He tries to pull away…I’m not allowed to “pull” on students.  So do I let him go knowing that he’s going to go after the other student or do I break the rules and maintain my grip?  Keep in mind that because of the negative impact suspensions can have on a schools numbers I’ve broken up about 20 fights this year and none of the children have been suspended, or had a meeting with parents, or really faced any discipline.  If a student is out of class for 59 minutes that counts as a form of suspension.  It also requires someone else to be with the student.  Perhaps I was naïve, but I always thought there would be a consequence for my actions.  I knew there would be at home and frankly I never wanted things to go that far. Now…not so much.  Actually that’s not true.  There are no consequences for a number of things that kids will do…until someone has to call the school police.  So they go from taking little to no action to school police.  Suspension used to be automatic if you were in a fight and I really think it had a positive effect.  Consider, when you get suspended your parents have to get involved.  They have to rearrange things because you won’t be in school and aside from whatever you did the disruption to their work, routine, etc. really pisses parents off.  If you have shitty parents you may be about  to have a bad time…if you have average parents you learn about the chain of consequences.  Parents don’t always have someone to watch you, they can’t afford to miss work and they can’t leave you alone at home.  That thing you did had an effect…one it doesn’t any longer.  I also consider that for parents raised in such a world the fact that their child isn’t being suspended may lead them to think nothing serious has happened.  So everyday I go to work with children who know everything I’m not allowed to do and the realization that they probably won’t face consequences for their actions.  More than this bothering me, I wonder what type of children these circumstances will produce?

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Top 9: Only the Good Die Young

August 10, 2013

“There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.”

George Santayana (1863 – 1952)

Today’s lists are the top 9 people from movies or televisions who’s death messed you up. (Why Nine…Cause I picked nine, that’s why just enjoy the list until you make a better one.)

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9) James Evans Sr. – Damn, damn, damn. You may forget this one but James dying was a big thing back in the day.  If you’re too young then check Wikipedia and learn something.

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8) Sonny Corleone – He was going to run things.  How could he get killed like that? Now Michael has to take over…and he was the clean one.

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7) Cochise  – Lauryn Hill said it.  “Seen Cooley High, cried when Cochise died.

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6) Eddard Stark – When he died all your pretty notions about the hero winning were smashed up against the rocks. Yeah, the Red Wedding was terrible, but Ned started it all.

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5) Optimus Prime – I was just a boy and this was the scene that let me know…the hero does not always win, Hell, he may not survive the first 20 minutes.

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4) Uncle Ben – I mean how could I not…he’s the top of the comics list of people who actually stay dead.  His death had impact with you and the characters.  I once dated a woman and I showed her the Spiderman movies….she shed tears and was mad cause I didn’t let her know Uncle Ben would die.  Plus we all learned a lesson, with great power….

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3)  Carlito – He said that he’d fucked up.  He knew what would happen.  You wanted him to win though…and fuck Benny Blanco from the Bronx.

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2) Johnny Cade – If you can trip over your friend and wake them up in the middle of the night by saying “We’re running away” and their response is to run with you without a word…that is a friend.  We’re doing this for Johnny man!

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1) Omar – if you don’t like the Wire then fuck you.  You don’t know what you’re missing.  I’ve never been homophobic…but Omar is the only Gay dude on television that I ever rooted for.  I was glad when I heard him whistling the “Farmer in the Dell”.  I didn’t expect his death the way it happened nor did I see his killer coming.

The Dark Knight Vs. The Übermensch

July 16, 2013

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“You’re beginning to get the idea, Clark. This…is the end…for both of us. We could have changed the world. Now look at us… I’ve become a political liability and you… You’re a joke. I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you.”Batman

So I saw Man of Steel this weekend and I’ve been watching The Dark Knight Returns and other animated features that include Batman.  Before I even get into my conclusion I’ll give an example.

1) Something threatens humanity and Superman goes to deal with it.  People are relieved that he’s there to deal with it for them.

2) Something is corrupting and killing humanity and Batman goes to deal with it.  People are upset and point out that that “guy” should not be allowed to do that.

Batman is the greatest superhero ever created.  I personally loved the mutants of the Marvel universe, but I don’t think anyone can refrain from acknowledging Batman.  Wolverine was the savage offshoot of humanity, Superman was the benevolent god, but Batman was the mirror in our faces.  He was the man who’s will would not break in the pursuit of his goal.  Something that prompted others to hate him.  He works in the darkness and uses fear, but he uses it to scare those who would hurt people.  Superman was holding back, Batman was giving it his all…and winning.  This isn’t just an opinion of fictional characters.  This is a comment on humanity and good writing.  Batman was partially great because of his villains gallery. He didn’t require some amazingly strong adversary, just someone who wanted to hurt other people.   He was a man and he was going to stop those who gave others a reason to fear.  As a man he pushed himself further in pursuit of his goal.  Even the scariest villain he faced was also just a man…a man who embodies pure chaos, but still just a man. Quentin Tarantino wrote this about Superman: “Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red “S”, that’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume. That’s the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He’s weak… he’s unsure of himself… he’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race.”   You can agree or disagree with this, but my point is that Batman provides a worse critique.  He’s not all powerful.  He has no special power.  He just does what other people won’t and is hated for it.  In a city that terrifies it’s residents and causes the people who should uphold the law to give up, a lot of people hate Batman.  On the other end of the spectrum Lex Luthor hates Superman (among other reasons) because he thinks Superman holds humans back from reaching their potential.  He’s also a dick but that one sentiment I can admire.  Meanwhile Batman is the embodiment of the evolution Luthor seeks and people hate him for it.  It’s a lot like life.  People will defend a celebrity just because they are a celebrity, yet they will tear down a “regular person” for doing the same thing a celebrity does.  A unique person is seen as weird, a celebrity is a trendsetter.  Never has the phenomenon of hating been better exemplified.    Superman is doing what he does because he has the power to do it.  Batman does it because he was a victim and someone should fight back.  Both of these hero’s win yet only one is truly embraced.  It makes more sense that we would reject the alien…yet we admire the alien because of his power and shun the man because he’s a mirror.  Batman is the silent judgment of every person who gives into their fear so they hate him.  The ultimate lesson in this whole mythos is that the most effective and terrifying thing is just a regular person who is driven, however, this same person will probably be hated by everyone except those he has saved and those who can’t rely on anyone else (Jim Gordon).  Superman is held as the symbol of truth, justice and the American way.  The pinnacle to which we can never reach is the one we admire.  The pinnacle that we can is dismissed and hated.  How human.

Revisit

April 24, 2013

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“Genuine beginnings begin within us, even when they are brought to our attention by external opportunities.”
William Throsby Bridges

So I started again. I picked the book up and started laying down new tracks. Seeing folks perform and hearing kids repeating crappy songs just brought me to a breaking point. Not to mention that I’ve been rhyming since 1995 and I don’t have an album to show for it. Mind you I could put on a show, but I want people to walk away with something. I got tired of not being the thing that I am. In a way alot of things have come down to the same feeling. Not being what I already am. The benefit of this is that I know what I am. Now it’s just a matter of doing the things that make up who I am. Drinking copious amounts of beer is on the list, but it’s probably not as high as people would think….probably. Now isn’t a good time to go into the joy of Scotch Ale is it? Anyway, J-Soul hit me up with some fire (can you say that nowadays?) and I’ve been writing for the past few days. Good sign that I’ve been developing ideas beyond my initial thoughts. All the best things I ever wrote started as one idea and then grew into something else. I must say it feels damn good to get back to something I enjoy.

Timberlands and Fatigues

March 25, 2013

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“The past is strapped to our backs.  We do not have to see it; we can always feel it.” 

~Mignon McLaughlin

So having copped this truck I’ve noticed a change in my mood.  I feel like the winter of 95 again.  It’s possibly just happenstance that I picked up some Gore-Tex Timberlands not long ago.  It’s due to my job that I wear hoodies more often. I blame a spotify conversation for making the play list above.  That winter I felt like the world was kind of dark and I was trying to protect a candle.  The music was rough but insightful, the weather was cold and I already realized my circle of friends was a lot smaller than those who would claim to be in it.  It stands out in my mind because despite being a good time for several things I was about to be exposed to so much more.  It was like the path that lead me to my halcyon days. It was when I drank cheap liquor because I needed the most bang for my buck (after paying on old lush to cop for me).  Cyphers were something I sought out at each and every turn.  I spent more money than I’d like to recall buying headphones (big joints) and I was quick to start walking instead of waiting for a bus.  My high school career was almost over and graduating was never in question.  I had no real stress.  Looking back I see other things…like how despite wearing camoflauge I only blended into the other one million teenagers in the city who were wearing it.  I recall that was the last stretch of time that I had a barber…instead of guys I knew who would give me a cut after I cut my locs.  A good backpack was one of the most important parts of my wardrobe. I just starting to develop portions of my Zen like state of mind.  I was a Garcia Y Vega snob.  I carried a balisong and didn’t really consider that it was illegal.  The Ravens were not a part of life in Baltimore so I didn’t really watch football (I wanted a home team to root for).  I felt like spending more than the time it took to get dressed in the house was a waste and I had not one bit of facial hair.  I don’t need to relive it, but I will always remember how the winter of 95 felt.

Quickening

March 3, 2013

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“Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.”George Carlin

So I went to a J-Dilla tribute on friday.  Lot’s people I know in the crowd and onstage. As the performances went on I started to have this feeling.  It’s an old one.  Mind you I was somewhat sloshed so I’m sure I told 2 or 3 people, “It hits you different”.  One of those profound statements that you speak without reference and instantly let people know you’ve been drinking.  I meant it however.  I’m not sure how it is for people who’ve never been onstage or never performed.  When I hear the music it hits me different.  I start thinking that I should be up there.  I should be the one with the microphone. I start freestyling to myself (hopefully quiet enough that I’m not noticeable to everyone).  It’s a weird feeling.  Like knowing a girl you want to kiss wants to kiss you.  Sometimes I feel like the beat is taunting me and daring me to do something.  That feeling is probably one of the more consuming ones I’ve ever had.  When it’s over there’s no drain just more energy.  As if I could just keep going and my words have their own life.  They leave my throat and then do something independent of myself…I just get to influence their initial direction.  It’s times like these when I feel like I need a band living next door so I could just run over and demand they start playing.  Perhaps you feel something similar.  Hell there were people in the crowd I probably should have been talking to…but it hits you different.  When it does other things just fade in the background.

Half-Day Closing

February 26, 2013

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“My Grandmother is over eighty and still doesn’t need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle.”

Henny Youngman (1906 – 1998)
When I was a young man watching Cheers I never thought I would be a guy that really enjoyed a bar.  At least not as much as I do.  I’ve come to despise clubs.  Since most of the music doesn’t appeal it always seems too loud.  Since most of the people are there to be set-dressing it’s not much fun.  The drinks are expensive enough that I just want to bring a flask and I usually end up off to the side talking to someone knowing that they may unintentionally think I’m flirting if I say let’s get out of here…when really I just want to leave and go somewhere else.  I’d rather sit and have properly price drinks while talking (about something or nothing) loudly.  Is that so much to ask?  To be amongst those who would declare my words bullshit or point out that I’ve coined a new phrase that’s worthy for use.  I know that my nature is feast or famine…so I enjoy when the drinks keep coming and the conversation flows.  Honestly, if someone offered me a good salary to show up at bars 5 nights a week and talk to people I’d probably work until I died.  I have yet to pen my ultimate drinking song…but it’s coming.  I’m not alone in my preference to going somewhere to enjoy myself…but I’ll drink plenty of you under the table.  I cite this as further proof that I should have been a cowboy.  Riding into town to find the saloon.  Now I just wish you could play cards and throw knives in bars.  That would complete my fantasy…that and finally becoming good at the guitar.  Anyway…coming to a bar near you…me.