Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Reading Recommendations for Real Men

Holiday recommendations for real men--the bowl games will be bullshit, the NBA's a joke, the AFC playoffs will provide the only true contests(and were' only talking one or two good games at that, and "Lost" won't be on until February. Y'all might as well read by the firelight, damn it. Expand your mind and lay off the Playstation 3. So, here it goes:
First is "300" a massive graphic novel by Sin City's author, the godlike Frank Miller. This is his take on the bravery and sacrifice of the 300 Spartans under King Leonidas at Thermopalye. 300 men (all bi-sexuals--they were Spartans, after all, replete with the letter "Lambda" on their shields), held off a Persian army of thousands for three days in a mountain pass. Ironically, these faggots likely saved the very Western culture that the right wing preacher types say gays threaten now! The artwork is vivid, often lurid. 180 degrees from the grays and shadows of Sin City. Miller isn't going for historical accuracy; it's a punch in the solar plexus splash of blood, pagentry, nudity, sizzling sex (no gay sex so don't trip; lots of big brown breasts and booties), bronze swords and sweaty brawn. It will be a movie in 2007, shot in the Sin City green-screen style. For you crunchy granola espresso shop brothas and whiteboys, Padron Gabriel Garcia Marquez is back with Memories of My Melancholy Whores. Out in paperback November 15; sultry, poetic--don't let your woman dissuade you from the book based on the title. Hey, the title's just the cherry on top, so to speak. Basically, young dude goes to the ho-house to practice before he gets married. He's a virgin and wants a virgin as his rented companion. The girl turns out to be exhausted, bored and sad all the time, and they spend their trysts sleeping and lounging...hey, I made it sound boring but it's funny as hell and anything but ennui-producing.
Finally, my mentor, my idol, Mr. Tom Harris, is back after that crappy Hannibal (the movie was a million times better--you gotta love eating Ray Liotta's brains with shallots, and all that crap with the pigs, plus I've loved Julianne Moore since Boogie Nights). Hannibal Rising, also coming out on film in 2007, expands on chapters in Hannibal and elucidates on the childhood of our favorite meat-eating shrink. Harrowing indeed--his parents were Latvian royalty who were savaged first by Stalin's secret police, then by invading Germans who came as "liberators" in 1941. The family is destroyed during the last horrific death struggle between the Nazi and the Soviet armies in 1944. Young Hannibal survives the carnage and witnesses the death of his baby sister at the hands of starving Russian soldiers. Catch my drift? Made quite an impression on young Hanny. Eventually he's in Baltimore, starting his psychiarty practice after Hopkins Med School, bottle of hot sauce and steak knife in hand. Bravo Tom! Thriller readers and fellow thriller authors will love this triumphant return!
So bruhs, fellas, esais, colleagues, dudes--enjoy the fruit of amazing minds. Hey, where do you think the ideas for all that horsecrap on Playstation comes from? Amazing how brains expand with just a little education; a teen thug at a gamer store melted in wonderment when I schooled him how HALO, along with numerous other games, plus films, TV shows, etc. from the past 30 years all sprung from one of the most important sci fi novels of all time, Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers (no, not the awful, campy movie version). This was a complex, visceral story and there are complex, visceral stories still to tell, y'all...
Check out my story in ThugLit, volume 10, link to the right or clink the title.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A rare sports post...

Tony La Russa will defend Mark McGwire until the end: To him, Big Mac is a Hall of Famer. "I've believed in him from day one. I still believe in him," the St. Louis Cardinals manager said Tuesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
McGwire is appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time, and an AP survey of 125 baseball writers who are eligible to vote, about 20 percent of the total, showed that only one in four who gave an opinion planned to vote for McGwire. La Russa's either deranged from a World Series win that no one gives a crap about, or back on the sauce. If this steroid-popping dickhead gets in the HOF, then baseball is (1) FOS, and (2) racist. You heard me. Big Mac got big by juicing--you can use whatever euphemism you want. Andro? Oh that's just a supplement. Yes, he and Sammy saved baseball that season, and maybe he'll be protected (like Giambi) for that, but should he? At least he took the Fifth, unlike Rafi Palmeiro, who straight up lied, and Sammy, who pretended not to habla English. He's a scumbag, and if he's shown any largesse, then so should the poster villian for all dipshit wimpy white sportwriters, Big Barry. Just a thought.

Monday, November 27, 2006

RIP, Bebe Moore Campell

"If this is a fair world, Bebe Moore Campbell will be remembered as the most important African-American novelist of this century...[h]er writing is clean and clear; her emotions run hot, but her most important characteristic is uncompromising intelligence coupled with a perfectionist's eye for detail." —The Washington Post Book World

Chixilub has claimed another giant, another thunder-stepping regal creature gone as the meteor destroyed the dinosaurs. And yet the lower creatures scurry and multiply. (see post below on William Diehl). No, this ain't a fair world. Bebe Moore Campbell (1950-2006).

RIP, Bill Diehl

First Bill Styron, now Bill Diehl (1924-2006). The mighty are falling like T-rexs after Chixilub; unfortunately I don't think the mammalians scurrying in the rubble will evolve into anything worthwhile. Yes, Diehl is best known for his "attorney Martin Vail" recurring character, principally in Primal Fear, which made a star out of Edward Norton (and showcased Laura Linney) when adapted for film, and presaged the Catholic priest scandals. Richard Gere was so-so.

For me, my hero worship began as a callow college sophomore out on a date with a stiff yet strangely intriguing Japanese chick (don't hate--I was experimenting with other races but came back "home" later hahahaha). We went to see Sharkey's Machine with Burt Reynolds Ward--one of the better crime flicks of the 1980s. [Note to younger fanboys & girls (like my nieces-in-law), this movie is so old that the pivotal scene is shot atop the A-T-L's Peachtree Plaza and rotating Westin or Marriott; at that time it was the only real skyscraper in Atlanta. The jazzy soundtrack included the Crusader's Street Life, featuring Randy Crawford's vocals].
I rushed to the library (the public library) and checked out the novel on which the film was based, Diehl's first effort. He was almost 50 when he wrote Sharkey's Machine, and thus is a role model for all of us who yearned to write, yet endured a lifetime of prologue before making the dream a reality.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

New Story in Thug Lit Magazine

OK...just kidding--this isn't an illo for the story (would be nice for me and Gary's The Darker Mask, however!). One of the best hardcore noir anthology publications out there is Todd Robertson's Thug Lit (no, not Teri Woods, Relentless Aaron, blah blah blah). These are real crime stories written by real crime/mystery/detective authors of all races and backgrounds. Well-crafted ugliness. Yes, Donald Goines and Iceberg Slim fit that genre, and of course we have Chester Himes. It never ceases to amaze me when these ghetto soap opera writers sit on author panels and have the temerity to claim Himes, Goines and Slim as their progenitors! They might as well claim The French Connection, Reed Farrel Coleman, George Pelecanos, Walter Mosley, Ernest Tidyman (author of Shaft), or David Simon, creator of The Wire.

Sorry for the digression, fanboys & girls. Upon exiting Casino Royale [see post below] with my wife we saw a fellow writer and his baby-mama leaving the local Chik-fil-a. He spotted us and wanted a sit-down at the Border's cafe. He was giddy as some Charlotte from Sex in the City type bestowed a five-book "thug fiction" deal on him. He asked me who Edward P. Jones was, as his mother had recommended All Aunt Hagar's Children. He thought Jones was published by Triple Crown. I relished the chance to evangelize, and did so. I may have a convert. Boy will "Charlotte" and Mr. Charlie be angry with me!

The story's in the upcoming Volume 10 and titled, "The Aesop of the Bronx," under my Dominican/Puerto Rican/Cubano/Chicano/Colombian/Salvatrucha pen name "Cristobal Camaras." I know, not terribly imaginative, but I don't speak terribly imaginative Spanish. It did fool some folks until somebody said "Isn't camaras Spanish for 'chambers?'" Check the links to the right next week...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Last word on "Kramer" and "Borat"

First of all, I have seen some bizarre posts and reverse-dipsy-doodles by the racial Quislings, right wing fanatics and trivial fools who are showcased on that African American "conservative" carnival Booker Rising (brought to you by the dubious University of Illinois "grad" Missy Shay), but y'all really should check out the inapt and crazy stuff they say about Sacha Baron Cohen's "Borat"and of course Michael Richards' rant.

That said, I've been following Sacha Baron Cohen since I saw the original Ali G movie (a Brit film-comedy where he becomes a member of Parliament). Funny as Hell...though not as hilarious as the Ali G interviews on HBO. And for you who feel he's not a "family" type--he was the voice of "King Julien, Lord of the Lemurs" in Disney Pixar's Madagascar. I thought he carried that movie, more so than Jada Pinkett Smith (my favorite down low lesbian) as a hippo.
My big concern about "Borat" is that now it's in worldwide release, it confirms the lovely image set by our retarded President and frightening Vice President that we are indeed a nation of rednecks, morons and arrogant boors. And it's no accident that the people who got played the worst and showed their true racist and sexist colors were "Red State" clowns who know nothing of the universe beyond the Wal mart or the McDonald's in the strip mall eight traffic lights down the street.

As for Richards, it is telling that our patron saints of self-aggrandizing pimpdom--Jesse and Rev. Al--have decided to hear him out when it looked like they could get some extra inkand hype. Funny they didn't tell him to just apologize to the brothas and call it a day. Comedian Paul Mooney surmised that Richards was lucky the dudes were "bourgies" (and they were part of a yuppie mixed group who did NOT heckle Richards). The lesson was valuable however because it gave some idiots some pause--especially those who've made a career on talk radio or Fox News heh heh heh, by proclaiming the hell of "political correctness." If you are going to insult black people, insult the ones blithely spreading AIDS; shooting each other over iPods or high school beefs; accusing their peers in school as acting white merely because they want to study and make their lives better; folks who could better spend $400 on educational materials for their kids or a high yield savings account but would rather wait in line for Playstation 3; folks who think dessing like whores or convicts is cool; folks think high art is reading books like Mama I'm in Love with a Gangsta, etc. etc. Feel free to call them niggers. I won't mind...

Casino Royale

Casino Royal is based on the first Ian Fleming novel, written in longhand at Fleming's retreat near Port Antonio, Jamaica "Goldeneye" (which was the title of one of the cheesier Pierce Brosnan Bond films). I was up there once when I was 9 years old. We ate roadside jerk pork and roast corn and I was shitting all night! That started with ackee, callaloo and Milo for breakfast, when I was brought up on Lucky Charms and Nestle's Quick. My travels in Daddy's homeworld is the stuff of another post...
Casino became a campy parody starring Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven and Woody Allen. Orson Wells played "Le Chiffre" and of course Ursula, famous from Dr. No was was "Vesper Lynd." Other than the Academy Award and Grammy-winning soundtrack by Burt Bacharach ("Casino Royale," "The Look of Love," "What the World Needs Now") it was good only to showcase a young Woody Allen's writing and acting talents, and as fodder for Mike Meyers (along with the serious Bond flicks and James Coburn's "Flint" films) in creating Austin Powers.
I found this version thrilling and intelligent. Short on plot but great dialogue, incredible screen tension--and yes, I am a believer for Daniel Craig. OK, I referred to him as an albino ape with a buzz cut, but I never doubted his new take on Bond, or the adaptability of those steely blue eyes. Icy one second, then knowing, sagacious, then loving. He nabbed the role when Clive Owen, fresh off Closer decided to bail. He would have played both a cruel and smarmy Bond, based on his breakout in Closer. But Craig clinched it based on his acting in the multi-character, multi-plot (you know I love that stuff) "Layer Cake." I did appreciate casting Jeffrey Wright as "Felix Leiter."
Now, the original novel didn't have much of a plot, thus nor did Woody's version. Le Chiffre ("The Cypher") was embezzling from the Russians and "SPECTRE" in the original; he's doing so from terrorists in this one. In the past, the game was Baccarat. Now's it's no limit Texas Hold'em (whatever happened to five card stud poker? Jesus).
I highly recommend this film. Mads Mikkelson is a truly frightening-looking Le Chiffre. What he does to Bond's scrotum is truly inspiring--worse than anything contrived by Dr. No, Goldfinger, Blofeld, et al. Hell wid lasers, sharks, pirhana, Jaws-teeth, metal derby. Nuff said. Eva Green is sexy and sharp. Judi Dench is mean mom to Bond and never disappointing.
Nevertheless, no one will take Sean Connery's place. Roger Moore sucked (except for Live and Let Die, which was a blaxploitation movie and should be remade with Daniel Craig and the cast of The Wire hahahaha). Timothy Dalton was underrated. The scripts sucked but he had a great edge. Pierce Brosnan--please. I'm so glad that cracker's gone.
So, see you at Apocalypto. It may redeem Mel --partially-- in my eyes, after his drunken Nazi rant and that trainwreck and paen to fanaticism The Passion of the Christ.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Recommendation for Holiday Vacation Reading

My alternate recommendation is Freshwater Road, by actress Denise Nicholas (yes, she of "Room 222," "In the Heat of the Night (TV version)," "Uptown Saturday Night," and even "Blacula" hahaha). She is as beautiful in person as she is on screen; at age 60 she is even more radiant. Yeah, her eyes really are green--I thought it was an optical illusion.

The novel won a Hurston/Wright Award for fiction earlier this month. Originally published by Agate Books, it is a lyrical yet often vivid meditation on African American "Freedom Riders" in the south in the early 1960s. I say meditation because it doesn't neatly fit in historical fiction genre; rather, it's an account of inner spiritual conflicts surrounding the major characters and events in their lives, much like Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. On the historical tip, however, I am happy that someone finally illustrated the contribution of black Freedom Riders coming "home," rather than the usual tale of idealistic young white kids rolling down to rescue poor helpless negroes from the Klan. Read this rather than sit in line to buy your kids a Playstation 3.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Happy Feet Blues

Yay...Happy Feet! I wanna see it, Mommie! Iwant a Mumbles plush doll!
Penguins. Wasn't it lions a couple of years ago? Then meerkats? What will it be next year--loveable squid? Check out the trailer and official website.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today, so you are about to hear me channel Oscar the Grouch on crack. Here it comes...

WTF?! I repeat, WTF?! I started tripping when I realized they'd appropriated Stevie's "I Wish" and Grand Master Flash & the Furious Five's iconic, seminal, "The Message."

Have these white folks ever listened to the words to either? I guess I'm sounding like some sort of dreadlocked, Birkenstock-wearing, red-green-an' black leather medalion pimping activist, but come on--a fat little penquin chick rapping to The Message? Well, here are the lyrics that you likely won't hear in Antarctica:

Broken glass everywhere/People pissin' on the stairs, you know they just don't care I can't take the smell, can't take the noise/ Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice/ Rats in the front room, roaches in the back/ Junkies in the alley with a baseball bat/ I tried to get away but I couldn't get far 'cuz a man with a tow truck repossessed my car

Don't push me 'cuz I'm close to the edge/ I'm trying not to lose my head Uh huh ha ha ha It's like a jungle sometimes/ It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under

Now, the crowning irony, the Dennis Miller/Bill Maher goof, the pop culture f-up for me is the theme song to the movie--"Somebody to Love," by Queen. This is touted as a "family" film, and no doubt many Red State fag/dyke-bashers and anti gay marriage mavens will load the kiddies in to the SUV and head for the movieplex, and sing along. OK, the original version of this song was penned and sung by the legendary Freddie Mercury of Queen. The band's name should tip you off, and anyone over 30 knows that Freddie died of AIDS and is one of the patron saints of queers world-wide. When he was crooning "can anybody find meeeeee...somebody to love," who do you think he was pining for? hahaha. I can't wait to see all of these suburban mommies explain THAT to lil' Bobby and lil' Suzy. I'm sure Elijah Wood and Hugh Jackman are bi-fans...oops...I mean, big fans of Freddie Mercury.

What is it about our pandering, least common denominator society? Makes you want to drop neutron bomb and start all over again. Lord, NBC's laying off veteran reporters and journalists, yet developing more schlock like "Deal or No Deal" and stuff to compete with "Dancing with The Stars." Insipid soap operas like "Grey's Anatomy" are lauded as fine drama, yet all one needs to do is watch one episode of this season's "The Wire" on HBO to understand exactly what TV drama should be all about.

Publishing, you ask? Surely that's the bulwark, the last citadel of taste? Well, at a cocktail party in Baltimore recently, I was signing books etc, and when a lady from a local bookclub asked me if there was a book I could recommend for her group. They were finishing up their Halloween selections, e.g. Brandon Massey, LA Banks and the like, and wanted something for the Holidays. I said how about Pulitzer winner Edward P. Jones' latest, All Aunt Hagar's Children ? She pursed her lips as if I'd wedged a lemon between them. She said she and many of the members "are Christians." Wow, what the hell does that have to do with anything? I moderated a panel for Ed Jones and he didn't seem like a Satanist to me. Clearly this woman--a dentist, not some chickenhead--had no clue. And then she proceeds to ask me about books from Triple Crown publisher Teri Woods, she of "thug/street lit" fame, or any erotica, and I mean stuff nastier than even Zane could conjure. And she was a Christian, recall.

My unifying point is perhaps the filmmakers, publishers, TV producers, music companies aren't dumming us down or filling us full of pop culture dross as with "Happy Feet." Perhaps we're already retarded, and indeed they are spooning the Pablum into our fat mouths, as that's all we want, and that's all we can handle.

So enjoy "Happy Feet." Enjoy Savion Glover whoring himself out to Warner Bros. for his digital dancing, when he could've held out to also play the voice of Mumbles. Enjoy Robin Williams as the king adelias penguin with a sickening "Jose Jimenez-Tony Montana" accent. Enjoy four otherwise smart and funny Hispanic comedians (Carlos Azuirqui from Reno 911 among them) Uncle Tom themselves in utterly stereotypical vato loco behavior. Well, at least it isn't Snoop, Queen Latifah, etc. playing "urban" emperor penquins. I'm sure that was in the first draft of the script.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Screaming Black Dolphins

Please comment--racist and not funny? Racist and funny as hell? No big deal (like Bobby Knight hitting a moronic player) and not funny? No big deal and funny as hell?

Clip is from "Family Guy." You may need a YouTube sign-in.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Auction of Steve McQueen Memorabilia

Damn...tear my heart out and stomp it bloody!!! Wish I had few mil to toss around on this stuff--$2.9 Million raised yesterday in the auction. I'll shoot the next clown who tells me that Daniel Craig is the new Steve McQueen. There'll only be one. Check out Papillion and my all time fav, The Sand Pebbles, and tell me this guy wasn't a better actor than any of these so called stars we've got today. Lesser known dudes like Christian Bale and Jeffrey Wright or somebody like Matt Damon, and the old masters like DeNiro, might come close...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Latest Short Story

See my latest short story in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (November) "Bag Bride," featuring the debut of my new gumshoe Herman "Munster" Padilla and his septegenarian retired playa sidekick, Jerome "Sportin'" Daniels. Can't excerpt it here but click on the story title for the link for the basics on how to subscribe to AHMM...

I hope to roll out Munster and Daniels in the planned novel "Bahama Mama," which is set on the billionaires'/super-models'/shady Cuban businessmens' paradise of Harbour Island, off Eleuthera in the Bahamas. If you love bonefishing, blood, racial politics, Cuban cigars, rum, reggae and mayhem...stay tuned for "Bahama Mama."

FYI on The Darker Mask, if you've seen the deal announcement in Publishers Weekly last month, you're comfortable that yes--we are moving right along. We'll have details on the artists very soon. As a tease: Gary and I stopped dead on our own stories as we were floored by the drafts turned in so far by LA Banks, Peter Spiegelman, Tananarive Due, Steve Barnes and, of course Walter Mosley. More to come, fanboys and girls.

Friday, November 10, 2006

More wieners than the Amish butcher's

Fanboys and girls, I have a real treat. I'd been raised in the tradition of REAL black Republicans like Ed Brooke and Bill Coleman. Statesmen. So who are these weevils-- or my favorite term now: "humonculi?" Lexington...oops...Mike Steele, Lynn Swan, Blackwell. God help Condi too. McWhorter and Sowell, to Williams, Shelby Steele, et al...

I invite you to go to the blog Booker Rising (and poor Booker T. Washington has gotten his name and ideas appropriated and twisted for too damn long; sounds like I need to do a book on it). Please go to this blog and heap the appropriate opprobrium on these slags.

Now, they will say I am a traitor to my creed of NO ORTHODOXY. Wrong. I aim my poison at the Barnum and Bailey clowns on the other side--the Michael Eric Dysons and the Maxine Watters and the entire hip-hop (especially the A-T-L and other Southern rappers). But the lavatory that is Booker Rising embodies something more evil, insidious and well...God, I'm about to vomit...

It is the mask of rational analysis, of banal debate, hiding a wickedness, smarmy and self-loathing pot of roiling ugliness. You have to stand back and ask yourself what is the analog of the conditions that breed the anti-social behavior we see glorified in aspects of black culture, breeding the sickness we see in Book Rising? No, it's not the usual bufoonish, inane theories offered by the ghettocrats out there, like too much prep school or being around too many white folks, or membership in Jack and Jill or hating hip hop.

[n.b. Hal Ford, Jr. lost to GOP and the small-headedness of some Tennessee bammas for reasons such as his white girlfriend, his lack of a country accent and yes, the fact that he went to prep school and UPenn (well...the UPenn thing would bother me). Despite his slick and ill-advised attempt to show himself a Blue Dog over guns n' queers, he is a liberal.]

So what turns these folks into big fat sausages? Sometimes it's ego and entitlement. "I didn't get my props at the Image Wards," or "I was ignored by the Dyson-Maxine Watters crowd." Hey, better then to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven! In other words, as a right wing spook, my voice will be heard.

Often it's whoring, as when these scumbag preachers take "faith-based" cash from Uncle Sam, or the promise of access and accolades. In this instance the linebetween trick and ho has become blurred. In politics, these clowns in Maryland who supported Steele because the white Democrats just wouldn't suck their wieners is pretty much the most-cited reason given for jumping ship. As with the trick-ho syllogism, the like between idiot and shrewd power-broker isn't blurred, it's hair-thin. And trust me, a lot of these folks are pretty dim bulbs as far as their own records of public service go.

In short, support for the Steeles, Blackwells and Swanns out there among blacks, despite polls citing dubious numbers, had nothing to do with policy or issues, justa as Booker Rising hides behind so-called analysis and news.

Accordingly fans, all I can do is shake my head and tut and say my, my, my. It seems there are more wieners among our ranks that I thought. My Amish pal at the Dutch Market, Mr. Abner Beiler, would be envious of all that pork and beef. Thing is, his has no filler, not tail and hair, no tasteless cereal.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fewer Lawyers, More Authors...

Now I know the nation is in good hands. Too many lawyers in Congress? Can a duck pull a truck? Hook 'im up! So what's the antidote? Bankers? Shoe salesmen?

How about doctors? Hell no. Bill Frist is a doctor, and he is one of the biggest tools in politics (even my dad, who was a black conservative and an M.D., registered as a Democrat once Frist went buckwild on the Terri Schiavo nonsense, and decided to use the Bill of Rights as a Kleenex at Bush & Cheney's behest). Who's the second biggest tool? Howard Dean. What does he do for a living? He's a doctor. Nuff said.

No, the only hope for the nation lay with us. AUTHORS! Represent, ya'll! Now, I don't mean dumbass memoir-scrivenors and clowns publishing bios of John C. Calhoun that were ghost-written by staffers. Unh-unh. Democrat Jim Webb, who ousted the second biggest retard in the GOP, George Allen, from office, is an author. That's how he's paid the bills since he left public life as Navy Secretary, back when he was a Republican and Reagan golden boy. He's penned three novels, as well monographs on naval history and aviation. Check it out. Allen's campaign even tried to paint him with his prose from one of his cheesier Top Gun type books, were the hot shot carrier pilot character (based on him, of course), is boning a Navy nurse and some foreign chick. Hell if people judge me by some the crap I've written I'd be wearing a goalie mask in an isolation cell in the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital in Jessup...

Born Fighting is by far his most controversial work of non-fiction, wherein he chronicles the groupwho can bets be described as the white trash backbone of America: the Scotch-Irish. Not the Irish as in JFK and Gangs of New York. These were people who were Protestant, largely from northern Ireland and lowland Scotland, and intermingled there-between before coming to America. They make up the bulk of Webb's hillbilly ancestors from Southeastern Virginia to Indiana and Illinois and eastern Ohio, and along the whole Applachian chain from West Virginia to northeastern Georgia. When you think of a blue collar white dude who's NOT a Pole, Irish-Catholic or looks and talks like Tony Soprano, well--he just may be Scotch-Irish. Not necessarily redneck, and Webb goes to great pains to make the distinction. He also highlights famous Scotch-Irish who've shaped America, including two Presidents who literally changed the course of the nation's life and development: Andrew Jackson and Ronald Reagan (Webb's old boss).

I found the book enlightening without being smarmy about one's own tribe. Indeed the title says it all. These people came from leather-tough, fighting stock, and Webb does parse that strange rivalry between the Scotch-Irish and the Irish Catholics. Other than Jews and us colored folk, no other group has been the subject of more study and dissection (and needless glorification). The Scotch Irish never wrapped themselves in the mystique and romance that the Irish have. Nor did the former ever belabor the group's trials. (Now, a bigot would say that's because Catholics feed off drama, pagentry and neo-pagan myth, hahaha). They just came here an put their noses down, no fanfare and started working, like a dusty ol' pickup truck. The book is a good primer for those of us still trying to figure white folks out.

This one, The Emperor's General, is for Tom Clancy fans who can't stand all the whiteboys know best, spooktalk (no, not ebonics--intelligence community lingo), etc. It posits that General Douglas MacArthur basically sold out the war effort in his own zeal for personal godhood. He decides to protect the Emperor from war crimes in the days following Japan's surrender, and goes about a complex dance of alliances and double-crosses that basically allows the same nationalists and big businessmen who fomented war to regain control and set the machinery in motion for the economic goliath that Japan became in later years. The protagonist is a fictional aide of MacArthur's who's versed in Asian cultures, lanuage and traditions. He wants to see Japan become a true democracy, unlike Germany which was then being propped up merely as a bulwark against Stalin--even if it meant putting ex-Nazis back in charge. Lots of intrigue, Japanese tea house sex, ritual suicide, etc. A great train/plane/beach read for dudes. Sorry girls...

So rejoice that an author's in the US Senate. Hell, I may try it. As for skeletons (or bloating corpses) in my closet? Sheeee-it...of course I'm screwed up, damaged goods. I'm a author!!! No retort for that in a debate or in some attack ad. So what committee should I want to serve on?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What do these three Tools have in common?

Quickly now...
Give up? Come on! Think!!!

They are scapegoats, Golden Calves, countermeasure flotsam, distractions. Listen fanboys and girls--Brittany Spears without this buffoon K-Fed is the same person she was with him: a manufactured marketing humonculus, who at her core really is no more than a redneck slut. Whitney? As Katt Williams (hire Mickey Sherman, Esq. Katt!) said, Whitney done smoked her kneecaps off long before that nigga Bobby came along! She was--and remains--a crackhead and vicious, vindictive dyke.

And yet somehow, because the media machine smells cash, they will be given a pass, which is, ironically, why these women hooked up with these two bums in the first place--character flaws and expediency. Wow...and we buy right into it.

Punt Rumsfeld, our fellow Princeton Tiger? More irony, as perhaps Karl Rove's taking a page from the Soddom & Gommorah Hollywood-Music Industry he tried to set up as a foil for so long? But it won't work here. No one's giving Bush a pass. Like Brittany and Whitney, the cupidity for a tool like Rummy is an indicia of the disease, not a symptom that can be alleviated by surgery. The Bush White House is a dysfunctional cult, and will be for the next two years with or without Rummy.

Colin Powell, my brotha--do you feel vindicated now?

The denouement here? Unlike Bobby, who can be shut up by Clive Davis' money/muscle, or Federline, who will whore to anyone, Rummy's going to demand a lot of cushion and pay-off to keep his mouth shut and not take Condi, Wolfowitz and the other jerks down with him. In addition to making that call about raising oil prices, Uncle Dick Cheney's going to have bring in a lot of chits to keep Rummy in diamonds and pearls for the rest of his life...

Oh well, I can always get him wasted at Princeton Reunions and ask him what really happened.

Election Soap opera...

It sucks to be Kevin Federline, Karl Rove & Donald Rumsfeld today, eh? But here's the rub--watch for gas prices to rise about $1.00 over the next several months. Heating oil too. Cheney's made that phone call, y'all...

Hal Ford, Jr.--"almost" does count here, playa. God bless you!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

RIP, Willian Styron

In 1967 a cracker from Newport News, Virginia who could only gain admission to college by way of World War Two's affirmative action-like officer training programs, penned and published a fictionalized account of Nat Turner's 1831 Southampton slave revolt. The Southampton Revolt was a spate of violence which argubaly did more to shape America than 9-11, or certainly more than the contemporaneous 1967 riots fulminating in cities across the nation. Even though I was a tiny fella when this book came out, I can summon a dim , filmy memory of my uncle relating to my mother the bluster of Panthers and other activists over a white man chronicling their icon, and the lament that no "revolutionary" black writers were stepping to the plate. Well, in 1967 we were already starting to surrender our unique contributions to human art--Jazz and Blues (so unique that Jazz and Blues classics were blasted out of the solar system with Voyager, Galileo and Explorer spacecraft in the hopes that alien cultures will discover them and think us worthy). Was't it only a matter of time that the sand of commercialization and indifference would bury our blazed literary trails?

Yet I'm sure these folks quieted a bit when they digested passages like this:

[White men watching blacks forced to box are]...those so mean and reptillian in spirit, so worthless, so likewise despised in the scheme of things and saved from the final morass only by the hairline advantage of lighter skin. Not since the day years before when I was first sold and I felt such a rage, intolerable rage, rage...that was the culmination of all the raw buried anguish and frustration growing inside me...when I first understood that I was a slave and a slave forever. My heart...shrank inside was at this instant I that I knew beyond a doubt or danger that whatever gentle young girl now serenely plucking blossoms...or the mistress knitting in the coolness of a country parlor or the innocent lad seated contemplating the cobwebbed walls of an outhouse...the whole world of white flesh would someday founder and split apart upon my retribution, would perish at my design and at my hands. My stomach heaved and restrained the urge to vomit on the boards where I sat... [portions omitted from quote]

And that's why the man won the Pulitzer Prize. Ten years later he followed with Sophie's Choice, and what awed me wasn't so much the personalized, internalized view of the Holocaust, or the roiling tempest of dysfunction that was Nathan and Sophie's affair. Rather, it was how Styron weaved himself into the story, as "Stingo," the fish-out-of-water redneck wannabe writer who's moved to Brooklyn and Brooklyn is like another planet in another galaxy, full of wonderous alien Jews and Italians and Poles and sharp-dressing, silver-tongued colored folks, and outworldly rowhouses, bizarre general stores called "delicatessens," spired towers and a gothic-vaulted bridge...

I lament that we as black writers have allowed the legacy of our own literary giants to be ignored or trivialized, just as our artforms like Jazz or the Blues have been displaced by the newer, coarser, more ignorant brand of 21st Century hip-hop. Perhaps some of us can take lessons from this man--yes, an old white cracker--and reclaim this spirit. I don't think it's irony; I think Styron would consider it a nice, neat little arc, re-attaching us to 1967. Just as he did for the general American culture through Sophie's Choice, Styron didn't teach black people about our heritage. He reminded us.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kerry: "Oh Darn Darn Darn Darn, Lilly!"

Let's face it, "Herman" Kerry has the people skills and sense of humor of a cashew nut. Always did. Is Dubya a retard and a fool--hell yes. Ask Colin Powell (see my post of October 1, "Welcome Back, brotha Powell"), but this means he can relate and convivialize with the average moron. And isn't the average moron graduating from American high schools each year the gravaman (that's one of those pompous lawyer terms that old fart barristers like to toss around) of this "joke" ol' Munster choked on the other day?

I won't whine about a non-issue or misdirection in the "turn" and "prestige" (I bet Karl Rove saw The Prestige 10 times already--we evil magicians must stick together). No, the Dems brought this on themselves allowing this creep to speak in public. He's purely a behind-the-scenes pompous wonk (not an oxymoron in Washington, folks) and the DNC Senatorial group should have kept him in that role. Nor will I go into the whole farce of No Child Left Behind, teaching to tests and the conspiracy to keep poor and middle class kids from competing withMr. Bush's real constituency.

You have good ol' country music listening wholesome kids and adults who can't even point to Alaska on a map, not to mention Iraq. Some citizens don't even know Alaska's a state. Couple that with CNN-Army Times polls in 2004 indicating that the average soldier/sailor/airman/Marine still thought there were WMDs in Iraq, and that somehow Osama Bin Laden and Sadam Hussein (remember him?) were pals!!!

Forgeting the cautionary tale of NFL star Pat Tillman, how does a regime convince kids to volunteer for a bullshit war? Well there are three interelated approaches (and present each in red white and blue, to make Toby Keith proud):

1. Open-eyed patriotism and duty. You know all the facts. You know the history of the region, the current politics, the nuance of Islam, the language, the nature of the relationship between al Qaida and Saddam's Sunni-secular gang. God bless you. If I were younger, that would be me. Just so I could say I did something. Then again, I'd rather you just parachute into Pakistan where the real enemies lay safe...
2. Brainwashing. Doesn't take much. You brainwash kids who've been spoon-fed horseshit every time Mom and Dad turned on the TV to baby-sit. Same simpleton fear tactics you see in the current House, Senate and local gov. campaigns. Bereft of critical thinking skills, predilection for Hollywood-like symbolism, appeals to emotion, video-game-like resolution of problems, no history taught in schools in depth. No understanding of the region or its people and the job is done! Then of course, you hit them with this Friday Night Lights crap about "cutting and running." Hey, I see the amputees from Walter Reed every night I'm in downtown Silver Spring hitting Borders or waiting for my wife whilst she grazes in AnnTaylor Loft, and they look as if they move in their own orbits, distant a la Neptune, cold and solitary. Not pensively, mind you. Rather, like God hipped them to something none us can comprehend. Talked to a couple of them and they aren't bitter about losing a leg or a piece of skull. They are bitter about the bullshit sell-job they got...
3. Recruit kids with nothing else better to do. Many "heroes" sprung from these ranks. But these days, folks, what truly springs from this is the foundation for Mr. Munster's "joke." The military provides structure and something to do for kids who aren't going to be joining Skull & Bones at Yale anytime soon. Now, the right wing bloggers and GOP caroon figures who are railing aginst Kerry seem to evaporate when you bring up the pay-day loan problem on bases, or health care coverage (now that CHAMPUS is dead), or non-enforcement of the Soldiers and Sailors relief Act when it comes ot debt collection, or domestic violence, drugs and other deviant behavior, skinheads, street gangs, an utter lack of understanding of another culture, evangelicals amongst the ranks creating Christian jihadis in Kevlar. But, see # above, some of these kids wake up, get smart, even get an education beyond Grand Theft Auto-San Andreas. Might be too late, as when they get home and bask in the glow of the parade...their job has been moved to China...

So no, don't give John Kerry a break (I'm doing my Boris Karloff imitation from Frankenstein now, not the Munsters...Friend, gooooood). But don't buy into this explosion of outrage, either, or for godsakes dig these "Swift Boat" clowns up again! Look, on blogs, on Fox, on the radio, these douchebags (members of my party, see below) have need something to rally around. I could give a literary or historical illustration here but some graduates of Cali public schools might not get it...

Wayne Curry & other PG Co. folks for Steele?

Newsflash--Prince George's County, Maryland. Prominent black Democrats like former Prince Georges County Executive
Well, Curry and these gentlemen feel that somehow white Democrats have "redlined and ignored" this now 66% black bedroom county of D.C. Now, it used to be 66% white, and full of rednecks; the dudes (and chick) who conspired to kill Abe Lincoln were proud citizens of PG County (John Wilkes Booth's family hailed from Virginia and Harford County, Maryland).
Currently the lion's share of the poor and blue collar black folks being gentrified out of D.C. by developers are ending up in Bantustans all over the county. And their middle class counterparts seeking the suburban idyll are pushing as far south as Charles County, Maryland--the vestigal reminder of the state's general redneck past. Indeed, a development of toney 4k square foot homes was burned to the ground by a group of angry young white men not too long ago. The fellows hailed from a nieghborhood festooned with the Confederate Stars and Bars (usually on F-150 truck bumpers) and, interestingly, STEELE signs and stickers (along with Bob Ehrlich placards, of course) abound. I guess ol' Wayne put that out of his narrow mind.

I'm glad to see Curry & Crew join the ranks of the HBCU presidents like the clown who runs Hampton (on the promise that racist retard GOP Senator George Allen will pile cash on the school), and the mega-preachers taking that faith-based social program payola ("Church, the issue ta-day ain't adequate health care, afforable housin', this bait-an'-switch joke of a Medicare drug pro-grum, our young men gettin' kilt in Iraq. Nah church, lemme da choir say 'Gay Marriage!' A-men..." ). Why am I glad?

Well, fanboys and girls, this presents an interesting personal irony for your favorite author, that's why. It seems to confirm the very reason I registered as a Republican several years ago: these stalwart guardians of our struggle like Wayne Curry, or ghettocrats like Prof. Dyson (but I love me some Cornell West), or our so-called "moguls" like Diddy and Jay-Z or Russell Simmons simply sicken me with their duplicity. (Don't get me started on the rappers and athletes...)
Now, I ask you--what on earth does Wayne Curry and these other sycophants possibly think Steele is going to "give" them in return, as this indeed what it's all about, right? Free tickets to the Black Caucus fashion show? No-Child-Left-Behind vouchers for their grand-babies? Wha...wha...tell me? We are not the only ethnic group to "sell out" or elevate self-aggrandizement uber alles. Rather, we are the only ones who whore ourselves out so cheap, and for nothing tangible.
I think I need to ask my pal Glenn Ivey, Princeton Class of 83 and States Attorney for PG Co. and the county's last best hope for common sense s'up wid these folks. What they been smoking? Curry and fellow minstrels must have an awful axe to grind with white Democrats or their counterparts up in Baltimore (that little civil war has been waging for decades) to cut a deal with Satan's lapdog. Or maybe its plain ol' ego and self-delusion. Al Wynn, an incumbent Congressman from PG Co. (district now gerrymandered to include a tendril reaching into my safe Montgomery Co. community) almost got unseated in the Democratic primary by a no-name, Donna Edwards, based on his adherence to the some of the most pernicious aspects of Bush-ism (including the Bankruptcy Act amendments) while channeling Adam Clayton Powell in his campaign speeches. Someone explain our cupidity for self-delusion to me...PLEASE!
The right wing blowhard blogger and radio scum are now saying "why's Obama so special" (as if Mike Steele is the second coming of Benjamin D'israeli or Henry Clay). Hal Ford, Jr.'s taking redneck missles in Tennessee. Now, in the meantime Mr. Blackwell and Lynn Swann et al seem to dodge White House Minister of Truth Tony Snow's bizarre comments about the "race card." That's weird, given that people like Swann and Blackwell and even Steele are sounding like Democrats as of late, and have been down wif da angry brothas as they troll for votes in the hood.

Robin Harris, are you rolling in your grave that you can't skewer these n***gahs like Curry and Steele and God knows who else in an HBO special? Lawd, you died too young. Who else but you could set the world right, now that Chris Rock has been co-opted and is a celebrity tool, and Dave Chappelle is just plain crazy and Aaron MacGruder has revealed himself a douchebag. We need you Robin. We need Be-Be Kids to take a giant turd on these fools.

I'm done. I'm too pissed off now to say anything else...