Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Man...what the hell is going on?

I was searching for something to watch on television the other day and flipped to the cable guide. As the endless channels of drivel slowly scrolled by, the "Playas Guide to...." caught my eye. Out of a morbid sense of curiosity I flipped to MTV or VH1. Hell, I can't tell which is which anymore, except I think VH1 actually plays music videos........ Anyway, this show called the "Playas Guide", basically critiques movies, songs, television shows, or actual events that influence "Pop Culture", On this particular day, being that the 20th anniversary of a famous Brian DePalma film had rolled around, they were critiquing Scarface. The panel of sophisticates included none other than, Scarface, Ice Cube, Raekwon (Of the Wu Tang Clan fame), and a few other rappers whose faces blend into the myriad of typecast studio machismo. What was most disturbing was the fact that all of these people talked about this movie as if it was a great inspiration for everyday life.

While the movie was cool at the time, (seeing as I was 11 and should not have snuck and watched HBO), in retrospect the movie was quite cheesy. No doubt Al Pacino is a phenomenal actor and actually did a good job at carrying off a Cuban(hispanic) accent, but the whole premise of the movie was not to motivate the underdog....HELLO!!

Basically the story was of a guy who came over during the Mariel Boat Lift of the early 1980's. Approximately 130,000 Cubans migrated to the United States in a single summer. About 10% of these were either mentally ill, or had criminal records. Enter Tony Montana. A young hustler from Cuba who joins the Miami drug trade and rises from two-bit hustler to major drug kingpin. In the end, he completely alienates himself from his mother, kills his boss, his best friend, causes the death of his sister, drives his wife away, and is finally killed by Columbian Drug Lords.....Inspirational, huh? Don't get me wrong, I would probably watch it when it came on, but I would not join the aforementioned million-dollar idiots in singing praises to this movie as if it were something to live by.

What was unbelievable was how they talked about how Nas and Jay-Z were the rappers who copied Scarface' persona the most in their videos. They also paid homage to Scarface of "Geto Boyz" fame as the one who most copied his style because he chose to copy his moniker. I thought the movie was scary and fun to watch at the time, comical and cheesy in retrospect, and pitiful to think that people actually think about this movie as being spiritually uplifting. Just my opinion though.

P.S. If all you have in this world is "your balls and your word", perhaps you ought to go to church more often, or tell a family member you love them.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Pimp Juice anyone?

I really can't believe that this is going to hit the markets. While I do admire the business savvy of today's stars, I think that we have become to complacent with the moral relativism of our society. Pimp is a bad term, no matter what the connotation. And, the idea of our youth, more importantly, my kids walking around with cans of "Pimp Juice" makes me shudder. Look at the can.....

The font inscription is reminiscent of those oh-so-unforgettable, but yet we would love to forget 1970's.
Too bad that kids nowadays look at the word "pimp", and they think of something "cool", "hip", or "stylish". I think it is really pathetic when you think about who a real pimp is, and what a real pimp does.

pimp ( P ) Pronunciation Key (pimp)
One who finds customers for a prostitute; a procurer.

intr.v. pimped, pimp·ing, pimps
To serve as a procurer of prostitutes.

I needn't waste your time in telling you how degrading this type of behavior is to me. I can anticipate how many kids between the ages of 16 and 21 will think that this is fashionable. It is really horrible to think about. Pimp and pimping has become so entrenched in "pop" culture that we still talk about things being "fly" or "pimp" when we think they are nice or fascinating or beautiful. Now it is not unlikely for two males to greet one another by saying, "Wassup pimp". "Not much playa"......damn that sounds ignorant. Now the dregs of society have been propelled from the greasy slime at the bottom of the barrel up to the top of the entertainment world. First through deeds on the streets, then in songs and videos, and now in a drink. I am afraid to say what my father is known for saying. "What in the hell will they come up with next?"

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

A very, very, very bad Daddy......

Second child caught in apparent murder-suicide dies
Police: Father intentionally drove SUV into truck
Tuesday, September 16, 2003 Posted: 6:36 PM EDT (2236 GMT)

You can view the article in its entirety here.

Stories like this utterly disgust me. This guy is worse than Susan Smith, if such an analogy is even possible. Apparently this guy was going through a divorce with his wife of 10 years, and things were not going his way. In an apparent suicide note he laments about not getting a job, and makes the bizarre statement that if he is not there to raise his kids, then "nobody would". I cannot imagine a person being cruel enough to hurt a child. Any child, let alone your own flesh and blood. Apparently he drowned his two year old daughter and attempted to drown his 4 year old son. Then the genius takes the other two kids in his SUV and pulls out in front of a tractor trailer that is hauling cars. Un-be-liev-a-ble. He is dead, his 8 year old died at the hospital, and the other child is still in critical condition. So in just a few hours he killed himself, two children, left the remaining two in critical condition. The mother had allowed him to pick up the kids on Friday, and he was supposed to bring them back on Sunday. I am sure that the mother is probably blaming herself, but how could anyone know that such a heinous act was about to be committed.

On a side note, this loser had the nerve to leave a suicide not detailing his wishes that he and the kids be cremated, and all of their ashes mixed up together. Yeah right. I think the nearest landfill would be the best place to leave his sorry carcass. I think those poor babies should be buried together. I can only imagine how much fear that the two year old, and the eight year old had before they died. What the hell was he thinking. I read the article in its entirety, and the part that was most sobering for me was hearing about the clothing that the children in the pond had on. It kind of gave you a picture of their cuteness and their innocence. Reading sad commentary like this will bring almost anyone to tears. Here is the excerpt from the CNN article.

"The boy was identified as 4-year-old Regal Randall. He was wearing red shorts and a yellow-and-blue pullover shirt. He was in critical condition at a hospital, according to police.

Police later found the body of Regal's 2-year-old sister, Yana, who was wearing a one-piece jumper."

Sad isn't it. Here is an excerpt from the loser's suicide note.

"Dearest family and friends, 'Why?' must be the question on your minds, the following are the reasons, I made too many mistakes, I would not allow those beautiful children to grow up in the manner in which you had raised them, I didn't get the latest job...,"

This guy is well on his way. And I hope the Devil bitch slaps him when he gets there.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Two years and counting...

Today is September 11th, 2003. Most of us realize that this is the second anniversary of those horrific attacks that killed approximately 3,000 American citizens in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania. Since that time, American Forces have swept across the Middle East, toppling tyrannical regimes and attempting to bring peace and order to the region. "The War on Terror". That seems to be the catch phrase that everyone uses to describe what many believe is protection against radical islamic extremists. However, we are not winning the war, not on terror at least. Yes, we did beat the Taliban, we crushed Saddam's best troops, and we have begun to round up lunatic after lunatic. However, we are still terrified. So much so that we question the sincerity of our government's efforts. We are terrified about money, terrified about how thin our Army is being stretched. We fear that today there could be an attack by Al-Qaeda that could commemorate the attacks on September 11th. We are terrified of "them", of "each other", and of the "unknown". People have likened George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Ashcroft to Hitler (Personally I think this comparison of 3,000 Americans dying to 6 MILLION Jews dying is an insult to their memory). We worry about the Patriot Act, we eye Homeland Security warily and wonder if "Big Brother" is watching.

Through all of this terror, we have forgotten one thing. This is the United States of America....the revolution never stops. If we don't like what our government is doing, we have the gumption, the gall, and the "right" to question it. We think we can spread Western ideals throughout the rest of the world. Such radical concepts as equality, freedom, and justice. I know....you have to be thinking. "Get off the soapbox and put the apple pie down." But I mean it.

I do wonder about Weapons of Mass Destruction...where are they? I do wonder about Osama Bin Laden. Where is he? I do wonder about our Armed Forces. How many more will have to die? I do wonder about what the war effort is costing us. 87 billion more? I do wonder how long we will have to be in Iraq and Afghanistan. How much longer? But, I have promised myself that I will no longer live in terror. That completely negates the aims of the terrorist. Much more so than simply occupying territory.

Many people ask if there is a connection between all of the things that we are involved in. Palestine, Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan, Al-quaeda, Ansar al Islam, the Peshmerga, The Fedeyenne, Hamas, the PLO. I answer yes....yes there is a connection. The fact remains that the most violent and volatile place in the world is the Middle East. Until there is peace there, there will be no peace elsewhere.

When I think of terror, I think of the people jumping from the top floors of the World Trade Center in an attempt to escape the flames, the heat, and the smoke.

That is terror...terror in its truest form. However, the terror that most Americans now feel...save those that have family overseas....is the terror of our past, and our uncertainty about our futures. But, I do know that terror is alive and well. There are some places where September 11th is just another day, no different than any of the rest, simply because violence, death, and terror are commonplace.

I would hope that we will continue to remain strong in our resolve to be "above" the violent gestures of the radicals of the world. I would also hope that while we seek to protect ourselves and others from their twisted sense of justice, that we would also seek to not only have compassion for their souls, but to find what can be done to motivate change for peace.

Lastly, I just want everyone to do their part to fight terrorism. That is simply to no longer be terrified. If we can do that, then we will already have achieved victory. Have a great day everyone.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Bad Daddy...

Okay, the only reason that I am sharing this experience with you lucky viewers is the fact that I finally had the nerve to tell my wife about this. I often hear about people doing such ridiculous things as "forgetting to take their kids out of the car in the summertime, and coming out and finding them dead in the car seats later in the afternoon." I often scoff when I hear these reports and say, "How could you forget your child in the car?" Well, I had a similar situation, although I did not forget my child in the car, or anywhere else for that matter, but I thought that I had forgotten her.

My wife went out of town to visit a friend of hers from College. The boys were at their grandmother's house for the week, so it was just me and my daughter Alexandra(Alex) for a few days. Since we were running low on food, I decided to go grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. After I wandered aimlessly from shelf to shelf for about an hour, I figured I had what I needed and checked out. I left the store and wheeled my groceries and Alex out to the van in a shopping cart. I distinctly remember unloading the groceries into the van first, and then placing Alex into the carseat. I pushed the cart aside, jumped into the drivers seat and rode home. Easy enough, huh? Here comes the scary part.

I pulled into the driveay, and decided to take Alex in the house first So I could put her in her high chair. The plan was to do that so that I could get the groceries out and put them away without having to worry about her getting into something. I opened the side door of the van, and instead of seeing my ever-smiling and energetic one year old daughter, I saw an empty carseat. At this point, all logic and reason left me. I felt an alarming panic seize my entire being. I looked up front to the passenger seat, (I knew good and damn well Alex hadn't ridden up front.) and looked back at the carseat. No baby. Don't ask me why, but for some reason I shut the door, walked to the end of the driveway and then back to the van. I opened the door and looked into the car seat....still no baby. I said, "What the fuck?! At this point I tried to spur my brain to function and clapped my hand against my forehead...I started retracing my steps....got the groceries...checked out...loaded the groceries...pushed the car out of the way...Did I take the baby out of the cart? At this point, I assured myself that I had forgotten the baby somewhere. I imagined that at that moment Alex was sitting in Wal-Mart parking lot with a quizzical look on her face waiting for me to return. I said, "Awwww SHIT!!!" I jumped into the van and started it. After the engine roared to life, I threw the Sienna into reverse and stepped on the gas. The tires protested loudly as I roared backwards into our quiet suburban street. I hit the brakes and heard something tumbling in the rear of the van. Suddenly I heard my daughter call out in an uncertain voice. She used her universal baby word for, "Some parent or big person needs to come see about me." Well it translates into that, but the actual word is "NA-DAAAAH!"

I jumped out of the van and opened the rear door of the van. There sat Alex nibbling on the string to a pair of basketball shoes I had in the back. I grabbed her up in my arms and squeezed her tight and kissed her. "Oh thank God! Thank GOD!", I said.

Apparently I had not buckled her safety strap properly, and she had wriggled out of the restraints while I was driving. She slipped down onto the floor of the van, and crawled from the middle seat section all the way to the back.

I eventually got myself together and unloaded the van and put the groceries away. But I never put Alex down the whole time I worked.