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I remember the first time I ever saw Michael Jackson. I was 4 years old and I saw the video for Billie Jean on the television. I was amazed. Sure, I was 4 and the “magic” sidewalk that lit up when he stepped on it probably made my little brain explode but still… I remember being completely enamored. People take this for granted but, at that time, there weren’t very many people on television who looked like me. In fact, as I later learned, Billie Jean was the first video of a Black artist to ever be played on MTV. I remember trying to sing along, as only a 4-year old can, and thinking that he was the coolest thing I had ever seen. After the video went off I started throwing a little mini tantrum because I wanted the video to keep playing.  Inexplicably, the complexities of music video rotations were beyond my comprehension and I fully expected the video to play in an infinite loop.  In an effort to settle me down, my cousin gave me the Thriller album cover and I remember staring at it for the next hour. (Probably expecting it to come to life like the magic sidewalk…)

Sure, I know you might be scoffing at my Stephen Glass-like memory. But it’s the honest to blog truth. While there is no question that Michael was beloved the world over, his status in the black community (particularly in the early days) was almost mythical. He was just a poor black kid from Gary, Indiana who went on to become the biggest star on the planet. His greatness gave a lot of people something to aspire to.

While I grew up listening to his music, it wasn’t until later in high school and college that I became a die hard J5 fan. In college I had a radio show and during each show I would a large portion to “old school” classics. Aretha, Marvin, Bill Withers, The Jackson 5, etc…  Michael Jackson was one soulful little boy.  His voice on Who’s Loving You is so raw and emotional that you almost forget that it’s a 11-year old singing the song.  Even at such a young age, his talent was undeniable.

I always felt that the real tragedy of the Michael Jackson story is the fact that fame basically ruined his life.  Sure it’s easy to talk about what a freak he was (believe me I’m guilty of it too).  But can you even begin to imagine what it must have been like to grow up Michael Jackson?  How alienated and alone he must have felt.  So without bringing up the well publicized tragedies that followed him later in life, I’ll just say that he’ll be missed.

Michael Jackson was without question one of the greatest entertainers who ever lived.  He changed the face of music and his legacy will survive long after his death.


24 subplots

24 has undoubtedly jumped the shark.  In fact I’m pretty sure it started to go down hill after around season 3.  However, due to an unrealistic hope that the show will some day suck less, I continue to watch.

What never ceases to amuse me about 24 is the subplots.  That’s right, you know what I’m talking about:

  • Kim and her martial arts boyfriend
  • Wayne Palmer having an affair with that congressman’s wife (played, for some reason, by Gina Torres)
  • Frodo’s life partner and his junkie sister

And let’s not forget this season:

  • Dubaku’s relationship with a waitress despite the warnings of her over-protective, slightly crazy, sister
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Why do I love the subplot?  Because it’s pure cheesy goodness.  They crack me up every time.  You know that despite how far fetched or seemingly random, they will eventually intersect with the main plot in the strangest of ways.  Take Sean Astin’s (Lynn McGill) subplot.  His dope fiend sister manages to hook up with a bad guy who’s sole purpose is to steal her brother’s CTU access card.  Then the uber bad guys get their hands on the stolen key and a bunch of people die a painful death from toxic gas.  This subplot, of course, gives way to perhaps the most hilariously absurd 24 line of all time:

So, we’re all going to die because you were embarrassed?


So what’s in store for the waitress and her meddling sister?  I can only imagine an unnecessary scene where Dubaku tortures her and mercilessly drags her from her wheel chair.  But what is the link? Maybe she is only a waitress part time and the rest of the time she moonlights as a food taster for the President and Dubaku will use  her to serve poisoned hash browns to the Commander in Chief!  Or…maybe he’s just lonely.  Ruthless dictators need love too.

And while I’m on the subject, is it me or does 24 seem way too torture happy this season?  I mean damn.  Last week Jack seemed awfully anxious to hold an infant baby at gun point.

Jack: Madam president, he’s lying!  Let me do what’s necessary and he WILL tell me who let the dogs out!

Funny, funny stuff.


life imitates art


A while back I saw the absolutely hysterical scrabble xkcd:

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My honest to blog scrabble game on facebook:

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My very dear, often hilarious, high school chum’s response:

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get it, an O

What are the chances?  I couldn’t make this stuff up folks.  Too funny…

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Top Chef is total bullshit.  I’m really tempted to boycott the show.  For real this time.  Andrew getting sent home because he didn’t “follow the rules” is completely f’ed up.  I thought it was beyond unfair when Antonia or Lisa didn’t get sent home when they decided they were above beer and polish sausage and instead made sea bass and chorizo in the improv challenge.  But yet they send Andrew home b/c he didn’t use a whole grain?  Unbelievable.

I just can not stand Lisa.  She is a self-righteous whiny baby who would knock an old lady down the stairs to win.  I mean what a fucking hypocrite!  She wantonly ignores the rules of the challenge and declares “I don’t cook with beer” and then has the audacity to call Andrew out.  And why the hell is Spike still there?  Ok, he can make a squash soup but is that really the makings of a Top Chef.  And you know what? I like Dale.  Sure, he gets far too upset over losing but at least he has talent.  Richard is obviously going to win though.  And he should.  He’s experimental but not as bizarre as Marcel or as annoying  as Hung.

I’m telling you, pull this crap again Top Chef and we’re through!  I mean it this time.transporter 3 dvdrip

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I went to Trader Joe’s for the first time ever on Sunday.  I know, I know, it’s shocking that I’d never been.  For years I’ve read their catalog which, for some reason, I always received in the mail. I found it amusing and in passing I’d always referred to the newsprint circular as “…like J. Peterman for food”.

Upon first entering I was completely overwhelmed.  Though I’m certain that had to do with the fact that I went at the worst possible time (Sunday early evening) at the worst location (9th Street). But I was really impressed by the selection.  I liked the prepared meals and salads and the fact that you could get vegetables and meats prepackaged in smaller portions.  But the thing I really liked was the prices.  At the checkout I was surprised that my two large, very stuffed bags of food only amounted to ~$60.  Comparable shopping experiences at Whole Foods and Bristol Farms routinely cost upwards of $150!

I haven’t tasted everything just yet but so far so good.  I will definitely go back but next time I’ll be armed with a shopping list and a sense of purpose.australia onlinepaul blart mall cop divxwatch star trek in divx

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download transporter 3 divx Yesterday I went to Guitar Solo on Townsend to have the action taken down on my guitar. Guitar Solo has almost legendary status in the city because it is known for it’s acoustic guitar selection and even better Tech. I had stopped in before but never had anything done until yesterday. I must say I was not disappointed. The Guitar Tech, Dave, was a really great guy. He took it in the back and basically decided that he could take down the action but that there would still be issues because of the way that my guitar was constructed. Part of the conversation went like this:

Me: So what you’re saying is I should get a new guitar
Dave: Well…

Before you think he’s a shyster who’s just trying to separate a fool from his money I should set you straight. blueridge BR43 guitar He’s right. My guitar is, to put it mildly, a piece of crap. I only bought it because it was a good starter and I always intended to upgrade to something better.

He explained that he might not be able to give me perfect results but that he would see what he could do. It was obvious that he had a real respect for the craft because he spent a lot of time in the back trying to make it as nice as possible. When he could have just taken my money and phoned it in. It seemed that he really cared whether or not I was happy with the end result. While he was at it I asked him to change the strings and pins. The pins, by the way, were nice wooden ones that he gave me a more than 50% discount on.

To my credit, I resisted the urge to buy any of the many guitars that I tried out while waiting for the Guitar Tech to finish. I really liked the Blueridge BR43 and the Wechter 5713. The Wechter was a small parlor guitar but it had a really nice sound and the back and sides was a gorgeous matte rosewood.

I’d highly recommend Guitar Solo. When small shops are getting crushed by mega chains like Guitar Center, it’s nice to see a local business that cares about quality and service. Oh, and the whole thing only ran me about $50 and that’s including the strings and australia in divx

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no, no I can’t see


Listening to music on the walk to work today I made a decision. And I’ve made up my mind so don’t try to convince me otherwise. I am officially boycotting any song that contains the lyrics “Can’t you see push dvdrip dragonball evolution movie

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“. It has to be the most hackneyed non-original rhyming phrase of all time. I demand more, people.

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last weekend. Extremely hilarious movie. I love it that smart, funny women are making waves on the big screen. Tina Fey is my hero. The only weak spot in the movie was Romany Malco

who played Oscar the doorman. While I loved him in The 40 Year Old Virgin I really didn’t like him in this role. Tho to be fair, it’s hard to tell whether it was his acting or the writing. When Oscar says: “If you listen to DMX, the baby comes out goin ‘Ennngghhh!”… Sheesh. “Honest to blog” that is unbelievably bad dialog. But overall I really liked it. Amy Poehler was a riot and I loved seeing her and Fey together  on screen wall e

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The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

Over the past two years, I have steadily watched this campaign unfold.  From the fiercely competitive primaries to the even trickier presidential race, I’ve seen Obama navigate his way through uncharted waters with an impressive amount of grace and ease.  He triumphed while never forgetting that this election was about more than selfish ambition or breaking racial barriers.  He was one who always gave the impression that at his core, he truly wanted to make the world, not just his country, a better place.  And, while the fact that Obama is Black is undeniably noteworthy, it is in no way what makes him remarkable.

Here is a man who, against insurmountable odds, has managed to remain true to his beliefs without resorting to the negativity so common in recent campaigns.  He showed an incredible strength of character when he could have easily chosen the low road.  However, I am not naive.  I realize that to go from someone who couldn’t even get into the 2000 DNC to the first African-American President of the united states requires an unimaginable amount of political savvy. But what set Obama apart from the rest was his ability to stay on message while still appearing to come from a place of honesty and truth.  We have had many a charismatic politician, but he somehow managed to transcend all who had come before.  His intelligence and the eloquence in which he spoke was all the more impressive when coupled with the fact that his meager beginnings would have made his story impossible under any other circumstances.

Barack Obama is an American first and an African-American second.  Rather than making race an issue and attempting to be the first Black President, he simply stayed on course and proved that he deserved to be President for no reason other than the fact that he was the best man for the job.  He gives me hope because he is living proof that with hard work and determination anything is impossible.  We must also not lose sight of the fact that his victory shows how far we’ve come as a nation.  Despite what you feel about personal responsibility vs. systemic injustices, Obama is a testament to the fact that any battle can be won if only we persevere.

And on this day, I am so very proud.  Proud of our country for seeing past the things that divide and instead looking forward towards the things that unite.  Proud of our youth for not succumbing to apathy and showing the world that they have a voice that deserves to be heard.  But most importantly, I am proud of Barack Obama.  With an unfaltering love of his family and an unwavering pride in his country, he showed us all that we can truly have change if we never let go of our hope.

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On Christmas day I went to see The Great Debaters. I had a vague idea of what the movie was about but I didn’t realize that so much of it would focus on James Farmer, Jr. I really, really wanted to like the movie (I did), but the ridiculously trite dialog and (sorry, Denzel*) inexperienced directing made it impossible.

One of the great regrets of my life is that I didn’t spend more time with Dr. Farmer when I had the chance. While I was an undergrad at Mary Washington College (now University of Mary Washington) I had the great honor of taking his Civil Rights class. He was 77 years old at the time but the man had a memory that was truly astounding. He was able to recount epic moments in Civil Rights history as though they had happened days ago, instead of decades. He told stories of the abject hatred he faced when he attended his first sit-ins. And of the unimaginable struggles he had to endure as one of the Freedom Riders. To be able to hear first hand accounts from someone who played such an integral part in the shaping of American history was a privilege that I will always treasure.

So even though I didn’t completely like the after-school-special-hollywoodization of Farmer’s tenure at Wiley college, I did respect the sentiment. If nothing else, it served to remind us of the sacrifices of those that have come before. SNCC, CORE, SCLC, Farmer, King, Wilkins…and so many more.

Dr. Farmer was one of the most remarkable human beings I have ever known. And with every success that I achieve I honor him and those who have paved the way.

*Note to Denzel: While I respect you and think you are one of the world's greatest actors, come on dude, even you have to admit that there were WAY too many arc shots at the end. I got dizzy for goodness sake. Oh, and you totally deserved the Oscar for Training Day, you were awesome.


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