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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I just don't...well i do

The role model is officially dead.

For me, it started with Earl Campbell.

Not many of you, sans Kelso, will even remember or know who Earl Campbell is/was.

"Skoal Baby"

We wonder.

We wonder what happened to sports in America.

What happened to the role model?

The Answer:

I am going into a different font because I WANT TO SAVE a thousand word preface to my point...instead I will expertly manipulate the malleable gratify me now sensibility of the American Appetite.


Back to reality.

I was an asshole in school- I questioned everything.

I am the proud owner of a sub 3.0 grade point average.

I am proud because I never heard the term -" Dude quit Jewin me"- until I went to St. Mary's

I am proud because my credit sucks ( at least on the grid).

I am proud because I never expected much more from people who are good at what they do.

What the fuck do they owe us?

We have not even delved into the steroids and the experimental stages of it's effectiveness.

I wonder how many world records ?

Should I mention Clemens?

Oh yeah fairlane touched on that one.

Spin is magic.

Like Imus.

Who cares?


Monday, December 24, 2007

Busy Busy Life

So I am getting ready for Christmas. My editor/colleague tells me I have to have all copy in by Monday 24th.

I have not written a thing. The good part is I can't get fired.

The Bad part? Actually I am not sure there is a bad part.

This presents an opportunity for me to grow as a freelance journalist and writer. I am going to submit pure 100% unadulterated fluff.

I am going to write opinionated, unsubstantiated advertorials for issues that no one in this area of the country supports.

An example?

Why gay marriage is good.

That should go over well.

I live in fanatical netherworld of Patriotic fervor barely contained by high taxes and a bad economy. I guess the subpar living conditions provide just enough of a distraction for people to go home after work instead of joining a militia.

That is what irks me.

Underlying all the Patriotism is a naivete a complete gullability.

People trust the Government.

The modern American man has forgotten why we had all these checks and balances built in to our government in the first place. Our founding fathers simply created a structure that would require magical conspiratorial powers to pull off any bullshit on the American People.

Just like the evolution of the urban rat sometimes you have to build a better trap . Which leads us to our current State Of The Union.

The Government we trust so much would love to wish you a Merry Christmas.

May you create a debt so large you work every day of your life to recreate this experience once a YEAR.

May your property value tumble and your mortgage foreclose. We will be there to help you pick up the pieces. Especially at this time of year.

My you prepare for neverending war; our economy is a violent hedgefund.

Most of all, tell your kids to tune in........

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tesla Was a Bad Dude

About five months ago my old editor asked me to write an article on Nikola Tesla.

Nikola who?

I wrote the article and it will go down in history as a miniscule part of popular culture. The issue my article was featured in was recently on The hit television show 'The Office'. The paper was part of the set for the famous episode about the Utica Branch of Dundler Mifflin.

Prior to the request to write it I had heard of the fellatio metal band Tesla but I did not know they were named after a Scientist/Inventor.

I saw The Prestige, that is where my knowledge of the man began and ended.

I began to gather as much information as I could on the man.

I am still gathering.

What amazed me the most was his humility. During his time he enjoyed a little popularity but never got the proper recognition for his accomplishments and didn't want it.

A thin, bespectacled man, six foot four inches tall, stood on a platform over a huge water tank. In his hand he held a little box. There were levers on the box , knobs, a dial or two.

The year was 1898.

The place was Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The man was Nikola Tesla.

As Tesla toyed with the levers and knobs a boat in the tank began to move. It must be witchcraft there were no wires, no strings. People could not believe their eyes; amid the open mouthed gasps there were many sceptics; most thought it was a hoax or some other form of trickery. He simply baffled the audience.

On that night Nikola Tesla succesfully demonstrated the first remote control device. The demonstration was a groundbreaking achievement.

The events that prevented this technological present from being unwrapped have retarded the development of human kind for the last one hundred years. But maybe the early introduction of the couch potato would have retarded our development more. Who knows?

What is known points to a mentality of greed, an emerging corporate 'credo' that put the bottom line- profits, market share- in front of progress or wellbeing.

We have leveraged our lives and the health of the planet for a faulty concept.

For inefficient energy.

All the issues we are up in arms about mean nothing if we cannot breath well enough to fight each other.

Back to Tesla.

He was born in Croatia in 1856. By the time he died, in 1943, he held over two hundred patents. If I wasn't such a nosy guy I wouldn't know anything about this man. When it came to great inventors/scientists my history book at school was all about Edison hmmmmmmmmm.

Tesla was a romantic , a visionary. An imaginative genius who spent his entire life defending his creative brilliance with one invention after the other.

The remote control device attracted little corporate interest. At the time people could not dream up a practical application for such a device. People could not even wrap their minds around the idea of remote control. He was simply ahead of his time.

Tesla's miraculous accomplishments and the astonishing results of his experiments challenged society to change, evolve before it was ready. Many of his earliest discoveries, which included the dynamo electric machine and the fuel-less engine were resisted by the status quo.

In many cases there were public campaigns financed by powerful, and in most cases competetive business interests. Their main goal was to minimize or, in some cases, demonize Tesla's work, which would, if applied, impact their bottom line.

Industrial powerhouses such as General Electric, Westinghouse and J.P. Morgan Chase needed to maintain a share of the markets they each virtually controlled. The industrial revolution and the phenomenal financial growth it fostered was dependant on innovation; the rush to improve methods was a part of doing business.

How methods improved was largely a political decision. Clout and influence made the difference between a good discovery being used or shelved for the sake of immediate profits.

Who needs to build a better mousetrap when the one we have is selling like hotcakes?

Tesla would be used by the industrial powerhouses throughout his career to perfect or create alternatives to the current state of the art, always giving his client an edge where they needed it. The niche he filled would serve him well financially but he would sacrifice the credit for his discoveries. He would ultimately live a life of obscurity.

Obviously he shared a bit of the spotlight with his contemporaries but he was regarded as the Mad Scientist- the fanatic. His radical ideas on world peace and free energy immediately cast him in a negative light.


Tesla was an excellent student who breezed through school daydreaming. Those close to him would later attest to Tesla's profound sensitivity to any stimuli and his ability to visualize objects in three dimensions. He could literally walk around his daydreams.

Many instructors confused his theoretical daydreaming with the typical- they were wrong. Many of his inventions that resulted in patents were based on his 'motion picture daydreams'. He admitted that he could observe moving parts, potential problems and all variables without actually doing the experiment.

Often times when Tesla built something it worked the first time.

Tesla was always looking for patterns and order in a chaotic world. He counted things for no apparent reason. He could tell the number of ceiling tiles, chairs , tablecloths and napkins in his favorite restaurant. Those distractions were a by product of his genius.

Tall, nattily dressed under a flowing lab coat, his hair slicked back and speaking with a signature slavic accent, he was the archetypical mad scientist.

Early in life Tesla earned a stellar reputation among the scientific community in Europe. His methods were well known. As soon as he left school he found work on a number of projects.

Armed with his vivid imagination and keen understanding of physical principles he made the first alternating current generator.

The discovery didn't mean much at the time. Thomas Edison's D.C. generators were already being put to use. For a short period in the 1880's Tesla worked with his future nemesis Thomas Edison.Edison realized the talented tesla could help him perfect some of his more frustrating projects.

The tumultous relationship was doomed from the start. They may have had a common goal in the lab but their styles conflicted.

Tesla chose to sit and visualize the experiment while Edison toiled away, recording results that Tesla would predict. Simply put Tesla's aptitude was the result of sheer genius, while Edison's success depended upon his determination and reliance on trial and error.

Tesla redesigned a generator for Edison. It was a problem that Edison himself could not solve. Tesla was never paid properly. Was it jealousy? Maybe a language or cultural misunderstanding? Tesla was tossed out of Edison's lab like used equipment.

Next Post: Bad Dude: The War of the Currents

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Excerpt Part 2

I first entered Judge Dune’s courtroom via invitation from The States Attorney. The warrant was a sealed indictment.

Blissfully naïve, I honestly did not know what it was about. In the world of drug conspiracies I was a smalltime player.

At twenty-three my career included a bust for marijuana cultivation in my teens, and a Learyesque understanding of hallucinogens. I always fell back on selling weed as a means of smoking for free but that was about it. I knew about crack money but I also knew about crack drama. I stayed away from corner hustling.

It took me a while to establish some good connections, Illinois was still relatively new to my California blood but I made the adjustment and found myself with a prosperous clique.

The indictment surprised me; it was the result of a regional investigation involving the Cook County Sheriffs Department. I knew it was them because they had been pulling me over for the last few weeks.

They connected the dots from a petty bust in Chicago. I was initially charged with a gun and drugs separately; the Night Court Judge thankfully threw both cases out and I forgot about it. But I never forgot the night I caught that case.

* * *

It was business as usual I was behind the wheel of my pride and joy, a black 91’ Volkswagon Jetta GLI My low profile tires and aluminum rims not only got me pussy but pissed off all the player hating gangbangers that thought it was a Mercedes. I was delivering a quarter ounce of ready rocks back to the suburbs. I would routinely profit $75.00 TO $100.00 per day to make this simple drive into the city. I also got high for free, incentive for a secret smoker.

It was midsummer on the West Side of Chicago, life was simple I did not have a care in the world. My crack laced blunt was sizzling in the sun, I had my sunroof open, Brand Nubian blasting- are those fuckin cops? Mid shift between second and third gear, crack soaked blunt cocked out the corner of my mouth, I made eye contact with one of two undercovers sitting in a maroon Caprice Classic. The glare of the sun made me squint, it easily could have been mistaken as a screwface.

If they made a right turn they would be headed down Kedzie in the opposite direction out of my life; they didn’t and, as miraculous as the Red Sea parting, there was no traffic behind me… shit.

Time stood still as he gunned his engine and headed north on Kedzie right on my ass. I maintained a steady thirty mile an hour clip wary of the ‘law’. I heard his engine gun behind me like a wannabe warming up for a NASCAR race. He attempted to pass me on the right but his anemic engine would not respond and the slowly approaching parked cars forced him back into traffic behind me I was a little freaked out(high) and in retrospect I probably should have slowed down even more and let him pass me on the right but I maintained my speed and he did not make it.

Pulling me over would have to do.

“Stay in the vehicle and put your fucking hands up”. His pronunciation was immaculate. When it came to cops pulling me over, I always cooperated. Flashbacks of impromptu ass whuppins from the tactical squad in Cali played through my mind. I also knew civil rights marches for slain victims always happened after the injustice, I always made a point of limiting the possibility of mistakes on behalf of the cops. After all, they were at war with us.

They approached from both sides of the car, holsters unclipped, hands on their weapons. “You know your taillight is out” he said, telling more than asking. They did not have to tell me to keep my hands visible, my fingers tightly gripped the steering wheel. I responded with an even voice that hid my unraveling nerves.


“No what”? he said condescendingly “You didn’t know or no”?

I responded with a safe “I don’t ……No”

Flashlights danced in and out of my view as they looked over the interior of my car. “I see baggies”!!! the young, armed, wannabe NASCAR driver I made eye contact with yelled. I tried not to glare at him.

They lost interest in my taillight real fast, they made me exit the car, searched me and began to search my car. He reached under my seat and pulled out my cassette tape case. His face frowned up while he toyed with the zipper. The pistol he was holding made opening it difficult, it gave me hope; for one fleeting moment that he may accidentally shoot himself or, I hoped, he might give up.

“a pistol, fully loaded….cocked. I found a pistol”!!! He was yelling.

The excited wannabe NASCAR driver probably salivated before pulling me over; by his behavior this was probably his first fruitful search. He yelled even louder “its automatic, man look at this shit…. cocked, loaded” as he aimed it at a fictional target.

A quarter ounce (7.0 grams) of ready rock and a 380 automatic were recovered along with a thousand glacine bags I used to bag up every once in a while.

Two grams of crack and a pistol were entered into evidence.

The young guy insisted on driving my car back to the station. I objected, he reasoned, “buddy we can tow it if you want”. That really meant “ Buddy we can leave it here and let the hood fuck it up”

I agreed on letting him drive and he managed to grind and lurch his way to the Harrison street station to book me.

* * *

The whole ride to the station I endured the sound of my gears grinding from NASCAR’S ambitiously ironic effort to keep up with his partner. I realized right there that his inability to pass me had more to do with his driving and less to do with the anemic engine of the cop car that was now zipping in and out of traffic .

All the while, the painful pleas from my gearbox where accompanied by a whiny, albeit perfectly inunciated, lecture from the NASCAR drivers partner.


“I have a daughter on this shit” He held up my crack I did not respond, there was no reason to. The irony of his white man’s rage about crack temporarily floored me.

He kept going.

“People that sell this shit should be hung up by their balls.” He reminded me of my dad when he was drinking . My father would start with a simple statement, an intro into the subject that caused him grief. He would build momentum detailing his disgust; he would increase the volume, pound his fist on a table. By the time it was over there was usually a healthy display of rage and something was broken or bruised.

The memory of my father, the grinding gears and the pussy-mouthed lecture together almost brought me to the brink, telling him to “shut the fuck up” would have provided the type of relief that can only be compared to a good shit. I thought about telling him but I ended up asking him politely, diplomatically. I almost sounded British “sir, would you please shut the fuck up”.

He was to shocked to answer. Perhaps it was my excellent oratory skill that threw him off.

I melted down into my seat aware of my mistake, ignoring him, the brand new pain from my cuffs and listening to my gears.
We arrived at the station without incident, I was immediately led into lock-up.

It was in lock –up I was reminded of the rhythm in life, the importance of remembering a face.

The ability to recall plays a crucial role in everyone’s life ; I am gifted in that area. License plate numbers, phone numbers, combinations that sequentially match , I am always looking for symmetry. One of my girlfriends phone number was 792-4623 I used to call her Illuminati, she never knew why.

The other officer in lock-up was plainclothes. The tall brother looked at me thinking, he didn’t utter a word but his face said:“they got another one too”.

“What you get him for “? The tall detective brother asked.
He had a wide, cherubic face and sandy brown hair sort of like Malcolm X. Completing his look, he sported an absurd high-top fade his friends would laugh at and would surely lead to a lot embarrassment ten years later.
“Guns n’ drugs” pussy mouth bragged suddenly shifting his perfect speech to accommodate his black colleague.. Broadening his chest, pussy mouth asked,
“How bout you””
The other officer replied “Gun, you know it’s still a misdemeanor till the end of the year, he’ll be out in two hours”
“This guy “ pussy mouth was visibly proud of his accomplishment, he paused yanking me over to give his colleague better view. “This guy speeding up Kedzie like a bat outta hell…had a fully loaded auto….. cocked and ready when we pulled him” He put the emphasis in the cocked so it came out sounding rather funny. His exaggeration almost made me laugh out loud.

I started to smile.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

An Excerpt

How to Stay Out of Jail After 25
Chapter 1

The heavy clank of the cell door awoke me. I almost jumped up, aware that today was the day. After five months I was going free.

I survived.

One of my cellmates, a three inch mouse, sitting up on his haunches, looked at me with indifference while dutifully eating a chocolate chip. It was the third day in a row the mouse had the nerve to stare me down. He had obviously seen worse characters.

Shorty Mouthshot, my human cellmate, reminded me, practically yelling “today is the day, Dread”. He paused, smiling, watching me, then repeated louder ‘TODAY IS THE DAY’
The drab cell came to life with his booming voice. The sound of his proclamation ricocheted off the pockmarked walls. The mouse? He had heard enough and decided to dart, leaving a small remnant of his sweet snack.

The whole jail experience was new to me, when I first got there I was scared. I heard so many horror stories, watched so many prison flicks, my imagination ran wild. I envisioned the unsavory wrath of ‘booty bandits’ looking at life terms forcing their way into my life, stealing my highly coveted virginity. Images of the classic macho- rural rape flick, Deliverance, played through my mind like a grainy VHS tape. Except these guys were not apt to say squeal.

There was also very real possibility of someone testing their latest shank on me. A deranged sociopath; one of those guys they build jails for, attacking me in a bloodthirsty frenzy for some petty indiscretion.

I also feared the ever present gangs extorting what meager possessions I could call my own while the guards, barely earning their pay, stood idly by.All these fears lived and breathed inside my head. They had conversations, my fears told me I was going to die. As it turned out, Cook County Jail was a mans world and so far, I proved I was a man.

The First Day

I was scared, tired, angry and embarrassed. No one got caught jumping a turnstile, at least no one with a felony warrant and two hundred dollars in their pocket.

‘You coulda’ paid…… all that money you got’ the Chicago transit cop reminded me. I spied a healthy green booger starting to ,make its way down his left nostril. With each breath he took it retreated back in. The stubble on his chin was slightly speckled with the dry, greenish remnants of a previous ‘snotfall’. I always found it difficult to respect people like this.

He was not aware -nor did he care- that I was late to work and the best sections in the club I worked at where awarded to those who showed up on time. I was used to taking shortcuts and this was no different. Besides who wanted to get ready for work in a ‘smiling’ business with a boss bitching about late comers.

“Can’t you guys just let me pay”? I asked while tracking the progress of his booger.
The clear slime was blended with a sickening emerald goo that surely carried some deadly affliction, at least that’s what it looked like.
‘Nope, but we’ll get you out as soon as possible’ he cheerfully replied. He sounded like he looked; a polite customer service rep with questionable hygiene and a nose full of snot..

“But I’ll be late for work man…just cut me a break” I pleaded.

His tone changed back to the role he played best, arresting officer “Buddy…… it’ll only be a couple of hours” he looked back at me from the front seat of the squad car. I had been tracking his booger’s progress through the rearview mirror. I could see it clearly dangling, it was not going to make it back this time. “Besides, you can call your boss when we get to the station”

The laborious thought that I may possibly go free was stillborn, dead on arrival. I had a bench warrant and I knew beyond any doubt that I was going to sit for a minute……..months.

I was fucked.

I listened to the guttural slurp of breath that was impeded by his upper respiratory infection and liberal amount of snot as he stifled a cough.

As I descended into a state of depressed shock, I watched one last time as the transit cop thankfully wiped his sleeve across his nose.

Chapter 2

I was already on home confinement, a sweet deal awarded to a few, mostly connected, people. I had a class X felony, armed violence, which was basically possession of a firearm and narcotics.

According to the law, there was no probation. You either won the case or you owed the state a six year minimum. It was definitely designed to squeeze a plea bargain from the legions of drug dealers and criminals that kick back in court everyday. Home confinement, in special cases, counted as incarceration.
The overcrowded jails made home confinement a fitting alternative for a working man who may have stumbled onto the wrong side of the law. In Cook County 1992 there were a lot of working men stumbling around.

The judge assigned to my case was an observant man he took note of how defendants dressed. He watched how one behaved in his courtroom well before they ever got in front of him.

Lucky for me I paid attention. I watched him grimace and shift in his seat as he detected a lie. I watched him look at the bailiff in silent communication as he lifted his glass of clear liquid. He would take a healthy sip, smack his lips and exhale with gusto. His mood would worsen with each case. As the tension mounted so did the harshness of his final judgment.

I recalled his disgust in anyone approaching his bench from lock-up. He literally and figuratively, looked down on everyone that came before him.

Was it pity? Disgust?

There was something about the Department of Corrections uniforms that he loathed. His visible sneer and generally cold disposition would typically lead to numerous continuations and judgments against the already incarcerated defendant. He mixed in an occasional “I told you so” or “I would cut you a break but…” In his numerous speeches and lamentations. Sometimes, not very often, he would manage to laugh.

He kicked you while you were down, he piled it on and rarely issued a continuance less than a month. If you were trying to prove your innocence from behind bars and could not make bail, you were shit out of luck, it might take a while.

Amongst inmates he was legendary. “You got judge Dune”? The look they gave said it all, even the ‘jailhouse lawyers’, guys who thought they understood the legal process would shrug. “I can’t help you with him”.

His continuances were referred to as “A Buck Rogers”- the fictional hero who woke up five hundred years in the future- the phrase was almost always accompanied with “ther’ll be hovercrafts when you finally get back to court” the complimentary laughter from the captive peanut gallery would follow soon after.

Many guys, mostly in for petty theft or possession cases, simply fought their smalltime cases from behind bars. When the outcome was finally resolved they ended up getting time served and released immediately. That had to be the worst; a county year or more for stealing deodorant or possession of a ten dollar rock.

Many of the newly released would brag, ‘jailhouse lawyer style’, about how they played the judge. The blissfully ignorant world they lived in suited them just fine. Upon release they would be issued a jail card. The card carrying members of the stumbling bumbling crowd. They would be back soon enough.

There were many who approached the bench with two, three, even four open cases pending. When it came to crime these types were ‘all in’, go for broke enemies of decency and order. Every waking hour was spent committing or covering up a crime.

Most of the time it was drugs. Even when it was robbery or some other violent offense , drugs where behind it.

The defendant or, in some instances, defendants would come in off the street posse in tow. Sometimes they would laugh it up, savoring their temporary freedom while guys, already in jail, got incredibly long continuances or pleaded out on shaky cases. They knew how it worked . I overheard the perceived victories all the time.

“They didn’t find my shit” one guy bragged.
“All they got was a gun" said another.
“He stupid to take that deal” another future convict added.

The case would be called and Judge Dune, impatient with the whole process, would roll his eyes waiting for the continuance request. He wore his disgust like a badge. His surly disposition could easily be confused with indigestion or some other type of physical discomfort. He basically looked pissed off.

The Judge knew it would be a moral ‘stare down’; if the defendants were able to remain free while fighting their case and avoid racking up any additional charges, Dune would do all he could to get them out of his courtroom. He would entice them with a great deal and plead them out.

Dune did not waste his time trying to pressure these guys, some of them liked jail, or pretended to, these institutionalized victims of Stockholm Syndrome found a fitting survival tactic to make life bearable.

The lobby outside the court bustled with defendants, their friends, family and a dazzling assortment of Public Defenders.

Fat, short, tall, male, female, they came in all shapes and sizes. A bizarre reflection of the assorted people they represented. Some were experienced others were rookies. Some were stylishly dressed; obviously trust fund kids slumming in the public sector, waiting for something better to come along. Some really wanted to help, putting their time in for legal aid. Idealistic recent grads from law school. They were uncorrupted, not yet jaded by the bitter reality of a biased justice system- a biased system. Most , it seemed, could care less. It was anything but a law career it was thankless job for any guy or gal who simply passed the bar.

After being broken in most public defenders were simply trying to clear cases. The romantic ideals they came into the job with were replaced by cynicism and frustration. With straining arms and aching backs they were less interested in guilt or innocence than the judge or prosecutor. They were like mailmen- their work was never done- there would always be a backlog.

On the moral and ethical scale many could easily be compared to a car salesman trying to close a deal. When actually they were just trying to lighten their already heavy load.

I would listen intently- earhustle- as they dispensed advice. “Delshaun they’ll drop the gun charge in exchange for a guilty plea on the drugs” The brave façade of the defendant was temporarily replaced with wide eyed anticipation as they ignorantly weighed their limited options.
”Should I take it”

“Of course” was the usual response.

Sometimes they would lay out a doom and gloom scenario “You know if you don’t take it and the charges stick it is going to be additional time during sentencing” The P.D.’s could sense the naiveté of their client and would manipulate a plea to get the case off their roles. I could almost hear them thinking : take the fucking deal you stupid bastard.

Laying it on thick, they would sometimes add “ I’ll get a continuance and go into a 4-12 conference with the judge and district attorney. When you come back we’ll plead out to whatever deal they give us…….O.K.?”

I had overheard that canned suggestion dozens of times. I had also observed their relief when their client accepted.


The on going theme of customer service was apparent in their tone. Cook County Jail “Over a Million served”.

Many people on bail would, at some point, get in trouble doing something else; once again it was a case of making bail. If you came in front of the Judge from lock-up he lost all respect and you were done. Buck Rogers in the twenty fifth century. Most of the braggarts who talked a good game early on, eventually pleaded out after catching additional; charges. They would be led into court defeated, shuffling their feet, head down in front of Judge Dune in ‘county browns’.

The Judge locked up people based on their lifestyle if you were unlucky enough to get in front of him you were doing something wrong. Everyone got a chance; if you continued your ways and caught on another charge you would end up in front of him again.

He remembered names, faces. The A.D.A. always dutifully reminded him of the charges.

“Your honor Nyrelle Carter”

There was one particular assistant district attorney, portly with a white boy afro and Lennon glasses- spectacles. The specs gave him the misleading appearance of a liberal humanitarian. Someone who would be in Greenpeace, Sierra Club or Earthfirst. Someone who would understand, cut you a break.

He would always hold the paper up at arms length looking over the rims of his glasses, pause and clear his throat. He reminded me of The Sherriff of Nottingham orating the King’s proclamation in a Robin Hood movie. All that was missing was the herald horns.
He always had a never ending gargantuan caseload. The list of current charges, including criminal history, was stapled together in chronological order for each defendant he was prosecuting.

The Judge could make a quick assessment of what he was dealing with by the size of the file. Many guys that came in front of him were career criminals. They had charges going back decades, some had open cases in different courtrooms.

Sorting out the mess was sometimes difficult and if the defendant was out on bail any type of incarceration could be postponed by the confusion that can result from separate cases.

“Mr. Carter is currently in front of Judge Parnell on an unrelated gun charge”

Judge Dune would request a conference to discuss consolidating the cases. “ Mr, Carter do you have any charges we don’t know about”?

“No your Honor” Without investing one iota of belief in them he still extended the benefit of the doubt. If they were lying the paper would catch up to them soon enough and the judge would surely give them a special treat. He would look down over the rim of his reading glasses, his smirk firmly in place, to make eye contact; one last chance to tell the truth.

“Do you object to us requesting a transfer and taking care of this in this courtroom.”

“No, but I got to go before Judge Parnell next week”

There is no way to know what he will tell Judge Parnell. No matter what, he just bought three more months. The guilty as sin, defendant would then saunter out of court shedding the humble disposition he temporarily wore so well in front of The Judge

In The Cook County Courthouse and Jail at 26th and California you could get to know people. Despite the large size of the complex, people became familiar. I fought my case for two years and I have a photographic memory. I knew everyone there.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

No Slappz = Feeble

This is part two of the epic battle with teenage wunderkind-No Slappz

No Slappz says-Yep. But, more accurately, an assault on its misleading nature and the unfortunate goal it aims for.

Sorry No Slappz the goal was to garner a response and give an uncensored account of the atrocities committed by everyday people, like you. But I am also glad you admit you are on the attack which debunks my sociopath hypotheses.

No Slappz says-Why the lengthy explanation? It’s okay to say “I’m busy. I’ll respond in a day or two.” As to my post versus your post, well, your post was an indictment of the white community of today based on crimes that occurred in the distant past that were committed by people long dead. Thus, your intention is to encourage blacks to increase their animosity towards whites today based on events that have no connection or relevance to life in the present.

The explanation I offered was approximately twenty words. The question should be :Why the lengthy replies on my posts? Why harass complete strangers? I am sure your therapist has already touched on those subjects. In fact I am positive this serves as some sort of preventive therapy for you.

You also consider my post to be an indictment on the white community. You fail to make the mental leap required to keep this all in perspective. I admit , it is an indictment. An indictment on the people that did it and anyone who may condone it. As far as encouraging blacks; you give me way to much credit (THANKS, BY THE WAY).

The people that converged on Jena Louisiana were encouraged. Not all of them were black.

Your naivete is shocking. I cannot believe you think one post on lynching is going to sway the black populace into hurting you or anyone else. I guess in your paranoid world it could be considered the straw that broke the camels back.

No Slappz says-A couple of points. Blogs are for publicly expressing thoughts any way the blogger desires. As for my background, it goes like this. I have an undergraduate degree in engineering and I worked my way through college as an engineer. After college I studied finance and went to Wall Street.

Who cares. You are in cyber space (dial-up no less). Besides, it goes like this, anyone can sweep floors.


I am a thirteen yr old girl and you are a congressman.

No Slappz says-You show that even your ad hominem attacks are lacking. So far you have shown that you cannot respond to the real issues I’ve raised, but to mask your inability, you take the standard route of attacking the person. That says a lot about your journalistic skills.

Your response is the stuff editors eat up. That shows how much you know about Journalism; but I am sure while you were working your way through junior college you took a class.
You demonstrate exactly what you criticize- consistently.

You are the one that admittedly attacked me , thus, I am defending. Not attacking.

No Slappz says- You wrote:Pastime? You mean like fans in the stands, box scores in the newspapers, celebrations when the home-team won? There was no Roman Coliseum in which blacks were lynched. The practice was illegal. Lynching was a crime. If it weren’t, there would have been a public forum for spontaneous hangings and other abuses. But obviously few lynchers were prosecuted.

Absolutely, you should check out a great book called No Sanctuary. It is a historical account of Lynching through photographs, press clippings, post cards and first hand accounts. There is a picture of a little girl with a pixie cut, in her Sunday best, standing, posing in front of a charred corpse, face twisted into a final grimace with a huge crowd of smiling folks, all in their Sunday best. I wonder where she is now. The photo, I think, was from 1929.

There are also hundreds of newspaper articles many giving colorful, enthusiastic, descriptions of the festive environment and horrific activities.

Despite lynching being a horrific act there was never legislation passed specifically to stop it. You can also read old clippings from Newspapers announcing an upcoming Negro Bar-B-Que. These events were well promoted and well attended. All this information is available online. Yale and Harvard have excellent sites. BTW there is no such word as lynchers. By coining the term you almost give away the frequency of lynchings- "there are actually lynchers hard at work as we speak".

No Slappz says-Lynching happened. No one denies it. It is part of the past and there is no desire among whites to repeat it.

The smartest most insightful thing you have written during our entire discourse. I am glad you speak for all white people.

No Slappz-No defense was presented. But by offering this statement you hope you can fool readers by giving the appearance of responding to statements purportedly made in defense of lynching. Nice try.

I tried to fool people when I was selling business opportunities. Once again, you give me way to much credit. But lets really break this down. Do you think people are that easily fooled? That they are swayed by emotion and shocking descriptions. We Americans are desensitized. You should try limiting your responses to only include how you felt and no one else. You cannot speak for anyone else. That strange feeling in your gut is a conscience not me trying to fool you.

No Slappz says“It always fascinates me when people are driven to dredge up the past for the purpose of maintaining divisions in the present.”The meaning of my statement is miles away from the false impression you created with your deceptive omission.

You never expounded on that meaning but like I said the whole study of history requires, what you call, dredging up the past. I guess if the subject of study makes your stomach turn you call it dredging. I am starting to realize you simply do not like to feel things. My post made you feel something. And now – you are driven 'to correct' the feeling.

It has been proven that conversations around the difficult subject of race and racism are beneficial for all involved. That conversation has to be honest and will sometimes be difficult. Why are you so afraid?

No one is going to attack you.

No Slappz says"Furthermore, it's utterly irresponsible to include unverifiable claims published in newspapers a century ago. Perhaps the excerpt from the Vicksburg newspaper article is true. Perhaps it is an extraordinary exaggeration. Fabrications do happen. Bizarre and unreal beliefs overcome reality every day. OJ Simpson was acquitted of a double homicide, even though he slashed the throats of his ex-wife and Ron Goldman. That was only 13 years ago. Not a century ago." To clarify. Newspaper accounts of spontaneous events are frequently erroneous. Moreover, even when the truth is on display, people will believe, or at least pretend to believe, pure nonsense. As I mentioned, OJ Simpson murdered his ex-wife and Ron Goldman, but many blacks refuse to acknowledge this obvious fact, even though the events occurred only 13 years ago and his guilt was confirmed by the facts at the time.

In that case Washington crossing the Potomac is an unverifiable claim .It is utterly laughable that you introduce O.J. Simpson as an example for your stance. You probably believe everything you see on T.V. No one, including you, knows what happened but Ron Goldman, Nicole, and O.J.

The T.V. trial of the century.

From what you write it seems you should have worked your way through law school. You are a bonafide expert on trial law and murder.

No Slappz says- “But what value or advantage is there in attempts to produce contemporary guilt over actions no living person committed?”At least in this attempt at deception you punctuated my sentence in a manner that informs readers you left off the second half. When you want to use someone’s statements against him, use the entire sentence if you can. But you should at least use the entire thought. Clearly it is easy to falsify or mislead with some quick and deceptive editing.You responded to the modified question I did not ask with:"There is no value; if you are guilty, do some soul searching."Notwithstanding the fact that you answered your own question rather than mine, you answered your own question with a non-sequitur. However, as for white guilt about lynchings, there is no documentation of it anywhere. But, if you believe successive generations of people should bear guilt for crimes they did not commit, what is your view of guilt among contemporaries and crime committed in the present? Is there any sense of guilt among blacks for OJ Simpson’s double homicide?

I agree there hasn’t even been an acknowledgement on the issue of slavery . Black folks are still waiting for the same treatment the Japanese got after internment.

An acknowledgement.

I do not care about white guilt about lynching. Most white people are good. Most people are good. You are the best example of the worst elements in the(human) white community. Smarmy, arrogant, cowardly, standoffish, misleading and deceptive.

No Slappz says First, I am well aware of the difficulties of convicting some racist murderers in the South as late as the mid-1960s. However, the Constitution guarantees many rights to defendants.
Despite the safeguards, federal prosecutors found ways to subject de la Beckwith to double and triple jeopardy, in violation of his rights. The federal prosecutors nailed him, finally. This episode was used to make a point. That point is this: the government was not willing to let him get away. Even though decades had passed, the government was not going to let him escape punishment. As I noted, “In other words, the pendulum has swung the other way.” That’s how the government went overboard.

You sound a bit disappointed they got de la Beckwith. I do not care about Constitutional guarantees, historically, they do not always apply to me.
BTW citizens putting pressure on the Government was the driving force behind de la Beckwiths conviction, besides the corruption was so profound during the first trials they had to step in.

No Slappz saysYou went well beyond documentation and the establishment of a “proper perspective”. You created an emotional climate that is aimed at stimulating anger today over crimes from the past. Meanwhile, a “notion” is an “idea or belief.” Thus, I think you agree with the idea or belief that all of today’s black issues are linked to slavery and lynchings.

I put the info out there. You were stimulated, you got angry, above all you have gotten emotional. Outraged that some uppity black man could dare bring this up- on his own blog! Which you stated earlier is a forum to post anything you choose.

As far as the long term affect of lynching; could be compared to the practice of decapitation and posting which was a practice used to keep slaves from running away or revolting. They would cut their heads off and put them on a post; for miles lifeless heads would line the road. If you were thinking of running away the posting was a good deterrent.

I honestly believe there is no such thing as Black issues- white guys made that up.

No Slappz saysAgain, your insight is nonexistent. What threat exists from crimes committed a century ago? They are no more threatening than nazi atrocities or the atrocities committed during the Spanish Inquisition. As for hate-crime statistics, well, I’ve seen them as long as they’ve been available. I gather it will surprise you to learn that blacks commit hate crimes at a higher rate than other racial groups. Moreover, white hate crimes are less violent and rarely involve murder.

Insight exist no matter what . Some people are simply limited. On the one hand you say bringing this up is dangerous on the other hand you say these events in the past are no more threatening than some of the worst atrocities in human history. Wow.

As for hate crime stats you need to look at the FBI statistics the overwhelming majority of hate crimes for 2007 involved white on black. You probably already knew that- so you were careful with your language: Blacks commit hate crimes at a higher rate. O.K. we are roughly twelve percent of the population and we have 20% of hate crimes. Whites over 50%. Like I said stats can be manipulated. I am a little disappointed you would put yourself out there like that. A waste of words.

For the whole world to see.

No Slappz saysBy your response you have demonstrated a poor grasp of grammar, usage and composition. There are lots of other examples, but you raised this one.The subject of my sentence is “contemporary problems.” It is followed by the restrictive phrase, “in the black community.” My sentence states that the contemporary problems are self-inflicted problems. Adding the restrictive phrase identifying the black community merely clarifies where the wounded reside. The sentence passes the grammar test.

Feeble defense. That still does not clarify your inappropriate choice of words. Perhaps you should consult The Elements of Style. You are certainly right; it does pass the grammar test- elementary grammar.

The whole thought is ridiculous.

You try to assign individual behaviors with a group of people. Drugs, murder are problems all communities face. There are plenty of white people here, in upstate New York killing people. In fact, the upstate cult hero Bucky Phillips, just killed two troopers last year. Do you think his race is important? Slappy I honestly wonder how you can make those mental leaps. You should know that regardless of race, people are the same; these divisions that you are so worried about are a fantasy. A fantasy the white and black people in the south used to believe in. Lynching was a real manifestation of that fantasy- one you clearly embrace.

No Slappz says-Once again, you hope to mislead. I mentioned the Holocaust and the subsequent rebound of Jews to provide an example of a much more recent human tragedy that its survivors have already overcome.

I wrote the post ; you introduced the Holocaust in response to what I wrote; it was the only historical event that could be compared. Unfortunately there are totally different variables involved in The Holocaust and the whole institution of slavery. The Holocaust was a six year killing spree. The victims of the Holocaust were mostly educated and in many cases rich, they were also able to pass as white if they needed to. Assimilation in a color conscious society is easier if you resemble the majority group.

No Slappz says-Hence, you have stated my point in clear terms. You believe the past controls the present, which means it also controls the future. Since we cannot change the past, we are, according to you, traveling into the future on a fixed path, to a destination we cannot change. You are predicting and expecting more disaster. Meanwhile, you are claiming that contemporary blacks suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder without having first suffered the Trauma. In other words, you believe in the mythology of victimization. As though trauma is passed along in one’s DNA.

What is your point? I wondered that the moment you first responded. Hence,(chuckle) you must explain.

No Slappz saysI I have a passing familiarity with his work and I do own a copy of The Souls of Black Folk which I read years and years ago. However, it is his theories on black criminality that are most interesting these days.

You own a copy but you only have a passing familiarity? Hmmmm.

No Slappz says Since you like the idea of using the past as the basis for contemporary action, you will find Du Bois’ summary statement on black crime of interest
You have created a fantasy world where I am using the past for contemporary action but while you are on the subject that is exactly why we each have a prefrontal cortex. You learned to walk by using the past. I am simply responding to you.

He says that black crime surged as blacks adjusted to freedom after the end of slavery. He concluded that blacks engaged in crime because they did not know how to act in a free society. He offered this conclusion decades after slavery had ended. If a prominent white sociologist issued a similar opinion about the causes of black social problems today, what would be the response?

The prominent white sociologist would be dragged out of his house in the middle of the night, his wide eyed children watching, his wife screaming as strangers on horses lasso him, set him on fire and threw him on the trash heap.

Isn't that right Slappy?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Letter to No Slappz

I have finished my freelance assignments early. Now I have a little time to address my new friend

No Slappz.

No Slappz with his crack research crew took it upon themselves to launch an internet salvo.
It was an attack on my post- As American As Apple Pie.

I was under deadline early because of Thanksgiving; I also had to keep Barry Max. I simply could not dedicate the proper time to respond accordingly. They took liberty with very assumptive language, belittling my post and turning it into an indictment on the black community.

Statistics are great. I use them when I see fit. The whole world of statistics is a science within itself. I do not want to get into the minutae of their attack.

Read As American As Apple Pie after you are done read the comments and see why the NAZI's did so well with propaganda.

It is o.k I have time today and I love a good fight. That trait is indicative of my violent black pathology.

I have absolutely no contempt for these aggressive wordsmiths. In fact, I am a little impressed at the level of dedication and preperation that goes into each post.

I meant, comment to my post.

I read their blog. One of them writes a paragraph and posts articles written by someone else. He claims he is an engineer but his profile says finance. He writes posts debunking the concept of 'Peak Oil'.

They are bored or obviously insane.

They are beyond reproach.

They are anonymous blowhards or soft.

They blow.

My post As American As Apple Pie really got under their skin.
I will stand by what I wrote sans the geopolitical references that they attempted to introduce into the conversation; they tried the same with dire statistics on (human)Black pathologies.
I will stick to the point that unnerved him/her.
Lynching was a White American pastime.

There is no defense.

In the interest of a good argument I will address some of his absurd statements.

No Slappz said: "It always fascinates me when people are driven to dredge up the past".

I do not see what is so fascinating? History is taught in school and Universities all over America. Is that called dredging up the past? Maybe that is why you use the plural -people- instead of referring to me specifically you are referring to the practice of studying history why does that fascinate you? I guess writing about one the overlooked subjects of American history could be considered dredging- I honestly limited the act of dredging to canals.

No Slappz says "Fabrications do happen. Bizarre and unreal beliefs overcome reality each day"?

I do not know what that means. I guess I could consult a witch doctor on the bizarre beliefs overcoming reality or take another toke. Or maybe just ask no slappz what the hell he meant.

No Slappz says -"But there is no doubt Blacks were lynched"

" I guess he read the post"

No Slappz says- " What value is there in in attempts to produce contemporary guilt...."

There is no value; if you are guilty, do some soul searching.

Attempt - successful

No Slappz says- "Meanwhile Federal prosecutors went overboard a few years ago to convict Martin de la Beckwith for some racist murders in like 1960"

de la Beckwith killed children- you may not know but it was little difficult to convict a white man for killing a black person in the 1960's unless it was Martin Luther King that is why he was tried several times. But while you are on the subject of overboard I think you should know Federal prosecutors do not work on boats.

No Slappz says: I think the subtext of your post is to give agreement to the notion that whatever problems beset the black community today, these problems can all be traced back to slavery or lynchings. Thus you support of Victimization Mythology.

I cannot' give agreement to a notion' whatever that is. But I can document a barbaric practice and put it in the proper perspective. I am convinced your childlike sensibilities were threatened by the sheer brutality of the acts I am also sure you have done a little research since I wrote the post. You also seem to be unaware of hate crime statistics .

Good for you.

No slappz says: But contemporary problems in the black community are self-generated, self inflicted.

Community-group of people
Self- individual
Do you see where I am going? Communities cannot act as individuals. I am sure there are people within, what you call the black community, who can perform a self-generated or self-inflicted act.
That was such a lame sentence - for the whole world to see.

I have time today; I just hope you respond.....beeeeoooch!!!

No Slappz says- "It might be worth noting that six million jews were exterminated"

I agree, it might be. If the post was on genocide or The Holocaust I would revisit the tragic events But I am more interested in your language.


Roaches are exterminated, termites are exterminated . The NAZI's used that term. Your emotional detachment is apparent in your choice of words.

I suggest you read a little WEB Du Bois

Friday, November 16, 2007

As American As Apple Pie

Black History is American History. The lack of historical acknowledgement or an accurate account of the Black American experience is a regular complaint of those dedicated to racial justice in America.

The continued subtle omission of Black/American accomplishments in history books help shape a contemporary mindset- an indoctrination.

O.K. back to omissions

A particularly grievous omission( historical disregard) hovers around the issue of lynching; this brutal bizarre form of mob 'justice' would occur continually from the end of the Civil War to the last celebrated lynching in 1951. The statistics are fuzzy- The Tuskeegee institute claims about 3,500 during that period- most of the lynching recorded were documented through press clipping and postcards , there were obviously a lot more.

My grandmother has shared first hand accounts of an American world gone mad.

Before we continue ask yourself.

If I was alive then would I do something?

(To stop it)?

The Klu Klux Klan started in 1865.....thats interesting.

Isn't that the same year the slaves were freed?

Mr. Pike( 1st Grandmaster) did not wait one Mystikal second to set the record straight.

No..... I uppity niggers!

The white supremacist mindset included a belief that Black people were less than human therefore inhumane acts could be committed.

The Klan would help define those methods.

The level of brutality was incomprehensible.

A lot of people will have difficulty reading this post.

Many won't even finish

Racism hits a nerve.

I always wonder why white people are so quick to say.

"This isn't about race"
"He played the race card"

We did not invent the race card.

Back to lynching.

Contrary to popular belief there was a lot of skilled slave labor. Slaves were used to build and maintain the infrastructure of the Southern United States.

But who cares.

They are not doing it now.

We all know the Civil War devestated the southern economy. All the, newly freed, skilled artisans who were once sources of income for their masters immediately became bonafide competitors.

There main competition was poor whites.

The frugal lifestyle of the former slave served as a catalyst for creativity and efficiency. It was easy for these survivors to create a comfortable modest lifestyle from very little.

Prosperity was right around the corner all the newly freed men needed was opportunity. The ingredients for success were there.

Guaranteed in The Constitution.

Many ex-slaves began to thrive as a result of hard work and of course, humility but the rapid success brought about jealousy from the Southern Gentleman- the once dominant Southern Planter did not enjoy the same profits he did before. It was an abomination for him to be stripped of his skilled cheap labor, but for the brutes to succesfully compete with him was unthinkable- like war with Iran

Still here?


I actually got hate mail for this article.

As we climbed the social totem pole under the watchful and protective eye of Federal Troops we began to develop a little self esteem. Started to walk upright, no longer bowing our heads as we walked by a white person. Some even made direct eye contact with a white person-before abolition that could get you killed.

Some former slaves even competed in international markets for tobacco and other crops during harvest charging top dollar for a superior crop.

This is surely where the notion of being uppity was invented.

The former Master snickering away as The French Merchant buys his ex-slave's bumper crop of Tobacco.

His face turning red.

Knuckles bone white.

Gripping the Lions Head on his cane... A gentleman

Many white southerners felt the The Federal Government had declared outright war on their sensibilities. There was a simmering effect.

It was not just the Klan.

There was determination to prevent the newly freed black men from ever being on equal ground with was the white man.

William J Northern Governor of Georgia from 1890-1894 conducted qa fact finding mission on the backroads of his state
He observed: I was amazed to find scores and hundred of men who believed the negro to be a brute, without reponsibility to God, and his slaughter nothing more than the killing of a dog.

Remember Black folks were no longer a private commodity the value of Black life cheapened considerably.

Lynching became the most popular means of controlling and intimidating Black people. To deter ant type of progress but it was mainly about white supremacy. It was terrorism American style.
It was a cultural phenomenon that persisted for generations undeterred by local, regional and even Federal law enforcement.

Lynching were not restricted to the south, they occured all over the United States.

Wherever they were it was an occasion.

There was a self righteous pride in these mobs. Photographs were taken, post cards made to commemorate what came to be known as The Negro Bar- B- Que.

Most of us conjur images of a man hanging from a tree.

Sorry- its worse.

The first recorded lynchings involved tying the victim to a tree, whipping them and then setting them on fire.

Pretty effective way to send a message to the uppity......

They would usually grab an innocent upstanding citizen to send a message

"We'll take their best nigger an burn im on the trash heap if they get to actin biggity"(quote in Without Sanctuary 00')

The power of the lynch mob was directly related to the excitement that could be generated. Many victims were dragged out of court after acquittal by a Judge and lynched. You could be lynched for just about anything.

Talk about race card.

There are documented lycnchings with absurd reasons like reckless eyeballing, unpopularity...unpopularity? and not selling land

Regardless the atmosphere was always carnival like . A man dressed as a clown in blackface
might be running around like a gleeful imp encouraging people on the sidelines to get involved.

People would sometimes rampage through streets severing digits, limbs or genitals off the victim as they made their way kicking, screaming and pleading for mercy

The burning coal oil would await them and the mob would erupt in a frenzy as the near dead but concious man/woman was lowered into the oil. Participants would come and clip a finger, toe somethiong as a souvenir before he was finally set afire and mercifully allowed to die.

An account of a lynching a by a reporter for the Vicksburg Evening Post decribes the 1904 execution of a husband and wife. When the two negroes were captured, they were tied to trees and while their funeral pyres were being prepared the were forced to suffer the most fiendish tortures. The blacks were forced to hold out thier hands while one finger at a time was chopped off . The fingers were distributed as souvenirs. The ears of the murderers were cut off. Holbert was beaten severely his skull was fractured and one of his eyes, knocked out with a stick, hung by a shred from the socket...The most excruciating form of punishment consisted in the use of a large corkscrew in the hands of some of the mob. The instrument was bored into the woman in the arms, legs ,and body and then pulled out, the spirals tearing out big pieces of raw, quivering flesh every time it was withdrawn.

A frenzied America there are a lot of frenzied atmospheres.

Suffice it to say the thin fabric of order was routinely torn in many otherwise law abiding communities. Entire towns would trade in their civility and replace it with demonic, unthinkable demonstrations of hatred.

Words like savage , brutal, sadistic, evil and abberant can be used to describe every report of a lynching. remember these were supposedly sane people. The postman, The Dentist.

They were all indoctrinated to believe it was o.k.

This is The America we fail to recall in The History Books.

This is the America that gave a race of people PTSD

An old black man shared some thoughts "Kill a mule, buy another, Kill a nigger hire another...They had to have a license to kill anything but a nigger".

At least now you have to have a badge.

Bridge the gap...if you can.

any funny looking heirlooms in your family?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Whistleblower Blues

How would you feel if you if you found out you were unwittingly involved in a treasonous plot?

You come to work everyday, do your assignments and stumble upon some unsavory information, files detailing the subversive actions you have been an integral part of.

You have found proof that your company, for whom you have faithfully worked, is engaged in clearly illegal acts on a grand scale against citizens of the United States with the full knowledge of Government officials.

What would you do?

Would you stand there frozen in shock and fear?

Would you tell anyone?

What if no one believed you?

The recent lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against AT&T is the result of someone who acted. Someone brave enough to step out of the herd and do the right thing. You may or may not have heard of this man but he is a true American hero.

Mark Klein

Klein was a peon in the vast corporate network of AT&T Network systems. A hired gun dispatched to a different central office every few months.

Central offices are essentially the same. There is a lot of cable. People, in and out, different equipment- highly classified. There is not a need for a fleet of people to man the operations . The systems are automated.

Mark Klein witnessed the installation of some very powerful surveillance equipment for The NSA and he also noted that a significant portion of the communications traffic was filtered through this equipment.

There were also plans to build similiar systems in other large urban areas throughout the United States.

There is a significant portion of techno jargon being ommitted from this post for simplicity I want it to be understood, in no uncertain terms, we are being listened to, lied to and when necessary- watched.

In a nutshell, they put in equipment that literally allows the government to access or monitor any digital correspondence from anyone, anywhere within the network, in real time.

I guess we can all rest easy that this technology is in the hands of our Federal Government, after all, when has the fatherland ever betrayed us?

What makes this so stinky is our own congress lacks the balls to protect it's constituents. Klein himself has testified and expressed frustration on behalf of our lethargic Congress.

They really don't give a fuck.

They feel it is o.k. to get snooped on; the overwhelming sentiment is : "If you are not doing anything than you have nothing to worry about".

The news media will not touch it. I wonder what multi-billion dollar lobby is employing spin demons to squash this story on every level possible? What bellitling piece of reporting did our national spin doc er' national news show on the subject.

I admit I gave half a shit when I first heard about the eavesdropping I did not understand the technology they were using . I have the benefit of experience when it come to communications. The whistleblower did it all for me.

He brought it home.

He put a bow on it.

He wrapped it all up for me.

Congress is doing the rest.

By doing nothing.

There has been very little coverage of this situation.

Big Surprise

Strange, surreal- this front page news.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Is It Too Much?

I recently attended a 9/11 truth meeting. I didn't go because I needed to validate what I already believe, I went because I was curious about who else would be there.

The small group that came out was an accurate reflection of the community I live in. Most of the people were hard working, professional, 30 something white adults. No asians or hispanics (I was the only A.A.).

The demographics really don't matter I think apathy is equally distributed among all classes and races.

The expert, I forgot his name, was armed with a power point laser and many facts.


Temperatures required to melt steel, eye witness accounts, and an incredible amount of interviews of people who were there when the towers fell.

I am going to be honest , I knew something was up when Oliver Stone did a movie on it.

JFK anyone?

He, the expert, even whipped out a U.C. Davis study on particulate matter spread throughout the boroughs and what type of explosive is likely to break down a substance to that fine state.

The clincher, for me , is/was Tower 7.

There she sat, all alone, no one paying attention to her.

She caught fire and fell.



Nary a bit of damage to her neighbors.


I am one of those guys who beleive in conspiracies; it goes with the territory when you live or have lived above or around the law.

By definition a conspiracy is a plot involving more than two people carried out unbeknownst to everyone else. I can PLAN to throw a surprise b-day party; it turns into a conspiracy when the recipient is on a pacemaker and surprises might kill him/her.

Evil also seems to be a necessary ingredient for the working definition.

O.K. back to the meeting.

When he finished his case it was time for question and answer. Most people nervously shifted in their seats throughout the presentation- a good indication he was hitting some nerves. But there were a few, arms crossed, furrows browed scratching their necks and ultimately voicing their displeasure that he would present these facts and make such assertions.

There was one particularly interesting exchange:

"so you are trying to say our government killed 3,000 people"?

"No, I'm not- what i am saying is the explanation we have been given does not add up with the physical evidence"

"You mean to tell me you think those buildings could have survived being hit with a jumbo jet"?

" Sir,there is no other evidence that a fire, especially on the upper floors, could ever topple a building in the manner the towers fell".

"What a nut job"

At this point a retired structural engineer spoke up in defense of the 'expert'. He argued in his favor clearly explaining the discrepencies to the uncomfortable member of the group.

It didn't sink in, in fact, he waved off the engineer, he gave him- 'the hand'!.

Regardless of the facts, despite the obvious eyewitness testimony this issue will forever be labeled as just another conspiracy.

It is sad that we live in an era where conspiracy is par for the course. It comes down to which is the worst.

I honestly think those buildings were wired for a controlled demolition when they were first attacked- as a failsafe, in the event something like that happened again and the towers became a threat. Our government will never be able find the words to explain why. People would want to know what else is wired.

Speculation, conjecture- requirements for the seasoned theorist.

Remember all the other experiments and programs the government, our government, has been caught carrying out under our very noses.

Don't be afraid.

Just come to terms with the idea.

You could be a lab rat.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Why T.I.?

T.I., a multi-platinum rap artist, arrested for weapons possession; he was charged with a Federal crime.

Michael Vick, convicted for fighting pitbulls.

No argument, these are atrocious acts against The United States of America. I'm sure somewhere, in their lives, exists a nefarious web of deceit, a grievious threat to national security.

Not Likely.
I need to preface the remainder of this post with a simple message.
Mike Vick got screwed.
T.I. is going to get screwed.
I am not going to defend T.I. just yet. It wouldn't matter anyway. All the ingredients of a good, malicious Federal case are there.
Young Black and Rich- "check"
Young arrogant black and Rich- "check"
Probably sold drugs before- "check"
I think the recent murder of his close friend in Cincinatti may have raised a few eyebrows.
The Feds got involved.
I don't think the Feds were necessarily trying to vindicate the loss of life. Like any other crime they saw it as an opportunity to investigate further. To learn intimate details about a high profile person.
Black people are not the only ones to suffer from this phenomenon. But with us, the stakes get higher much faster and there is no patience on behalf of our legal system.
Just ask Mike Vick how his life was completely turned upside down- it started with a bong.
There is no doubt T.I. was thoroughly investigated, it may have been revealed he got a hard on from machine guns and other weapons of mass mayhem. He may have been overheard talking some crazy shit midway through a blunt. His boys sorrounding him- egging him on.
The Feds ,listened.
They learned.
They promptly set him up.
His bodyguard was caught attempting to purchase automatic weapons equipped with silencers.
The Feds gave his hired goon an option.
"Go through with the deal and we will cut you slack- these guns weren't for you were they"?
The bodyguard alledgedly took $12,000.00 in cash to purchase the weapons.
T.I. was present to pick up the weapons.
Hours later he was scheduled to perform at the BET music awards. He also went on to share the victory for best album with Common. But , of course, he wasn't there to recieve it.
Let's face it. Rappers are hard to defend. Plus, it is to early to tell exactly what went down.But I am the 'vanguard of the disenfranchised' I have to stand with T.I.. Until some bombshell information comes out and we discover the man planned a mass murder spree I am content to construct the real story for you all.

As I mentioned T.I was grieving the death of a close friend during a shootout. It is possible there was still a credible threat against someones, namely T.I.'s, safety. Bodyguards handling automatic weapons can be comforting for a fledgling Kingpin who has endured threats of all shapes and sizes since he came up.

What if he was preventing another Biggie Smalls BET Awards murder. Maybe he was clearly threatened during the awards festivities by some unknown rival.

Do these scenarios justify the acquisition of weapons of mass mayhem?

To answer that for him would be foolish.

Fuck it- He was clearly justified.

To understand would require a deeper than average understanding of the adversarial relationship ex-cons have with any form of law enforcement- even the 'good' ones.

Anyone who has any sense knows T.I was not going to pull a Scarface and wipeout a maruading army on his sprawling Estate.

He has bodyguards.

They need guns.

I'm going with the credible threat scenario and I am sticking to it.

Come to think of it- he just might not get screwed.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What I'm Into Sometimes

I attended a Landmark Forum seminar last night.

It was interesting.

I think the best word to describe it is intriguing.

Believe it or not, I am intrigued by a lot of things. Anything structured and phenomenally succesful like the Forum gets my attention. I am fortunate to be among many graduates that have learned how to use the technology of transformation(active thoughts).

People who have not attended the forum think the idea of 'technology' is ridiculous or mysterious at best. I have had very few conversations regarding my experience; it is on purpose, the more I start to explain, the more layered in bullshit my explanation becomes.

Using Landmark terminology, the language of transformation, really yields results- desired results. I learned a long time ago about visualization(eighth grade conquests) but I never conciously 'broke it down'.

These guys are on to something.

From what I have gathered Landmark was previously called Erhard System Training. It could be described as a more intense form of'positive brainwashing'(if that is possible) perfected by a mysteriously brilliant figure named Werner Erhard. Erhard was a succesful car salesman. I don't want to get into him. It would require more writing than I am prepared to do.

Simply put, he embodied all the qualities of a good lawyer or shuckster, depending on what side of the desk you were on or how you were positioned on it.

What compelled him to start this new exciting 'therapy' is beyond me. What is important to remember is the radical social changes that were occuring in the Bay Area during the sixties and early seventies. It was a destination for thousands , millions of people 'seeking'.

Seeking and not finding.

All the while, Erhard sought and found a small fortune in the car business. He also developed a keen understanding of human nature and the 'things' that move us as people. He met regularly with the brilliant minds of the time. Stanford Theoretical physicists, even renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. All them were regularly invited to his beautiful Mansion in San Francisco.

I have always assumed they were tripping on acid and discussing the absurd reality that has been chosen by most of us.

These masters of quantum understanding helped fortify something Erhard already knew. Without all the mathematical jargon Erhard was able to grasp some very important fundamentals to the technology he would later bring to the modern world.

He just had to work out the kinks.

With the help of some experts- perhaps colleagues of Dr Gottliebb himself - Erhard System Training mades its way from college campus parties to his central location somewhere in San Francisco.

In 1971 he held his first seminar.

There he would put the participants through a rigorous 48 hour cleansing. He believed people needed to be deconstructed before they could be useful to the new technology that he was offering them. Some of the words used to describe the experience are demeaning, humiliating, abusive , profane and authoritarian.

I would not have lasted. Simply put, I don't and never have taken shit, from anyone; I guess thats my story and I willfully stick to it.

Anyway he succesfully brought his version of self help to many people in The Bay Area and beyond. I rememebr mentioning EST to my mother that was her era; I am sure , as a hip adult in the seventies she had run across it. She had; after some prodding she explained "I ran across people who followed Jim Jones too... I decided to just sell Shacklee... it was easier" When it came to yelling, denying bathroom breaks and all those tactics that they infamously employed she was definitely-

"Already Always Listening"

In other words she didn't take shit either.

Black folks have a distinctly different approach to self help, that is an intrinsic quality to our story. We are not at a point where we have everything, yet, still feel that 'emptiness'. We are still 'locked' in the struggle. My mother thought many of the people who were in this introductory seminar had complaints about life that were trivial and they were simply spoiled adults who where coming to terms with not having things their way all the time. As my great-aunt Lou used to say.

"Tough Titty".

Landmark is definitely a much different version of EST. Werner Erhard sold the technology and left the country in 1991. Since then it has been modified and, like I said, provides some intriguing approaches to life that I like.

I am drawn to transforming the world around me; visualizing goals and achieving them. The forum provides a vehicle for great communicators to be better. Bad communicators to be understandable and good communicators to be great.

I like the whole idea of getting rid of right and wrong; being clear about motives and agendas. When I write my goals down now it is like a fraction. I have to break it down to the lowest common denominator and I am amazed at what I end up with - with what I really want.

If I don't get it

Tough Titty

Friday, October 5, 2007

My Original un-edited Review

I am posting this recent review because my editor chopped it up. I guess he needed space, nevertheless, I resent him replacing lukewarm with warm-over. He essentially took a lot of bite out of my original and I was left with that empty- embarassed feeling.
So without further ado enjoy!

Daily Show’s Rory Albanese Barely Finds Utica

On Septemeber 29th Rory Alabanese, writer and Emmy winning Co-Executive Producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart finally performed at Mohawk Valley Community College as part of the Community College’s 2007 Cultural Series.

The show, originally scheduled for Sept 15th, was cancelled due to Rory’s Emmy nomination. He barely made this one too. His late arrival ( hour and a half) from New York City came courtesy of bad directions. In his words “The time we wasted we could have been in Montreal”.

Too bad for us.

After all “its only Utica” and a big time Emmy winner scheduled to perform prior to his big time nomination had to channel all his comedic energy to make this decidedly insignificant show. To share the workload and kill time he brought along two writers from The Daily Show.

The two writers on the show who accompanied him, Adam Lowitt and Rich Blumquist, didn’t just come along for the ride they ‘performed’ as well. They also, according to Albanese, were responsible for the late arrival. Albanese quipped “ We got a Mapquest guy and a google guy; they both were wrong” People in the crowd -some with their arms crossed all night- had to muster up the effort to laugh. Maybe it was the timing; or even the long ride, whatever the reason, it wasn’t funny.

If they were good the presence of two extra performers could have been considered a bonus instead they waded through vague material that elicited a smattering of laughs at best. Attending the show gave many an opportunity to think about bills, upcoming essays, loved ones, favorite presidential candidate, prostate exams , you get the point.

To their defense, stand-up is not their forte’. Writing is. What they do for the Daily Show is very demanding and they must deliver on a Daily basis. That alone does not excuse the lukewarm performance. In fact I am being merciful.

The first performer was Adam Lowitt. Lowitt started his career as an intern on The Daily Show and seemed comfortable on stage. In fact, his stage presence rivaled Albanese. He provided some marginally funny personal stories and in the right situation he could have a living room full of family and friends laughing for hours. Instead he tested his latest material out on the crowd who responded with intermittent chuckles and merciful applause.

Next was Rich Blumquist. Blumquist started out bad and got worse. “Utica sounds like a prison; a super max where there are only two ways out” -the crowd anticipating something, anything funny waited- “In a pine box or a car”

Somewhere in the auditorium a cricket chirped.

Blumquist’s stage presence conjured images of Rainman or someone suffering from Asperger Syndrome. His inability to connect to the audience with jokes led to an impromptu and abrupt end to his- according to Lowitt- third disastrous try at stand-up.

Strike three.

At one point he segued into a joke with “this isn’t even a joke”. Almost everyone agreed. Many people were perplexed. To his credit I surmise his cerebral humor was probably funny on paper, just like The No Child Left Behind Act but, like our educators, he was unable to translate it.

The headliner, Rory Albanese started out admonishing the crowd “Give it up! Lets hear it Utica”!!! the crowd responded with premature applause. He continued alienating proud Uticans with “The Mohawk Valley huh? If that’s what you want to call it.”

One thing is true. On the ‘cool’ scale New York City has Utica beat, but these guys are not the reason , it is the art, the food, the diversity and the cab drivers who don’t speak English - not Rory Albanese. I am positive when the list of cool things to do in NYC is released they are nowhere on it.

He detailed their odyssey from New York City to Utica, which everyone knows, is right off the tollway. He knew they were lost when they got to gas station and the attendant with one arm and no teeth gave them directions “I though the people in Utica had teeth” he shared.

His obvious strength is in Improv. There was an uncharacteristically funny exchange between him and several audience members on the food choices in The Mohawk Valley. “Big Food….. just give me Big Food….. cut out the middleman and inject it directly into my heart” You had to be there, on second thought you didn’t; but it was all about timing and he did well, for five minutes at least.

A few more people yelled out some disturbing viewpoints on race. One brave or chemically imbalanced audience member yelled “The arabs have co-opted all the corner stores” It was during a particularly quiet stretch in his routine. There were no cricket chirps like Blumquist but nevertheless he struggled with the upstate mentality. “Gosh you people only laugh at racial jokes” he candidly observed. “ What is this a Klan rally”?

He got political. Fans of The Daily Show were definitely happy to hear him wax philosophical on solutions to the war in Iraq. “We need to drop X-Box’s, Playstation 3’s, by the thousands; give em’ generators because we destroyed their infrastructure. In a few years there will be no more suicide bombers the kids will rebel against their militant parents just like American kids rebel against their parents”

The rest of his performance sailed over the heads of most of the audience. He spoke of excess and the consumer mentality of American society.

After his performance all three sat for a question and answer segment that included a lot of questions about the real, newsworthy relevance of The Daily Show. They each reminded the crowd on separate occasions “ it is comedy, it is not in any way serious”.

The sad state of affairs in the world give them plenty of opportunities to highlight the shortcomings of our political leaders. They deserve kudos for doing just that, but stand-up requires a little bit more and on September 29th they didn’t bring their ‘A-game’. We can’t, in good conscience, let them off the hook.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

My Life Right Now

Freelancing is fun.

I am able to spend more time with my son and I get to set my own schedule.
I realize that unemployed people have the same perks. Nevertheless there are many differences that seperate me from my unemployed brethren.

I get paid for exactly how much I do.

Since I get paid by the article I keep word count at a minimum. So much for rep- I know I can write. I know when I am cookin because the local Gannett will always pick-up my subject matter two weeks later and slap on a two thousand word rebuttal or expound on the subject.

That is easily four of my articles.

Everyone knows what I am capable of so I don't give a fuck.

I actually, in a fit of naivete, applied to the same shitty paper. The publisher is a good catholic friend of my ex-boss. I won't even waste my time.

When I first started I began to realize the power and influence an editor can have over finished work. My old editor micromanaged my work adding her own words to change the tone of my articles. She obviously never bothered to study the elements of style. She would take all the wit and humor out my pieces replacing it with bland tasteless prose.

A good piece could have been excellent.

I know that sounds and is narcissistic, but hey, thats the nature of the beast- don't fuck with genius, let it develop, nurture it, then acknowledge it.

Or it may wake up and bite.

I remember one particular piece early on in my young career when she added approximately 200 hundred words out of two thousand and put her byline on it- I considered that a form of acknowledgement and was cocksure it would lead to some type of goldpot at the end of the rainbow scenario.


I never got paid, so I Freelance. Now she has some imitation Dave trying to jack me for info, all the time.

My advice?

Do what I did, teach yourself, that is where your value lies.

To her credit she challenged me to improve.
And I did
Beyond all expectations.

Oh yeah, back to why I like freelancing

The government cannot withhold any of the money coming to me for any reason.

I can skip an appointment and I won't run the risk of losing benefits(because I don't have any).

My son can be proud that his daddy is a writer(it sounds good) and can still kick his friend's daddy's ass.

I get to meet influential people on the premise of writing a story and create one along the way.

I go to lots of catered, free luncheons , press pass dangling with my borrowed camera in my front pocket.

I get a lot of close ups of accidents and always make it around the police tape at crime scenes, writing pad in hand, pen at the ready with a form of anticipatory adrenaline slowly coursing through my veins. Ooooh that feels good!

"What you doing here" They ask

I always act surprised and explain I am a freelance reporter, they usually share my excitement before they come to their senses and remove me.

Except for the firemen; I have not gotten close to a fire yet.

But now something is different, there is a shift occuring.

Lately I have been trying to push the envelope, shedding the Mr Nice Guy routine.

In Utica it pays to be nice; but I am starting to realize it pays better to be mean and just smile a lot.

I have been in contact with some pretty good businesses in the area and I thinking about getting back on the grid. Like I said I love freelance but I have a son and it ain't like I'm writing for Time Magazine.

The kid has needs and they are only going to grow.

I don't want to hear any talk about consumer mentality, materialism or any of the other hypocritical counter consumer culture shit we have been heaving all over cyberspace.

The shit sounds real good when the power is on and most of the bills are paid.

I want money and good ideas on getting a lot of it.

It is that simple.

My goals, as I write -right now- are shifting.

I can feel the mother of rants coming on

but I won't let her out,

can't let her out;

it won't change a thing.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

All Jokes Aside

My twenties were fun. In fact I would not change a thing.

I do regret dropping out of school but I had to live, I had to survive I did not see the options I can now clearly see.

I was young smart and employed. AT&T the global communications giant took full advantage of my cable running and installation skills. No one can untangle a jumbled mess of cable as fast or as good as I can.

I'll also dress it up(organize and label it) and punch it down. It's one of the things I can do. I clearly remember getting in a zone and when I would look up two-three hours had passed by.

My work on display.

I was proud of my work.

I put the date I completed, my name and number on all my work in case anyone had any questions. I knew how it was to trouble shoot a problem when everything wasn't labeled well. I took extra care to do just that.

Before I was laid off for the second time I was well trained in powerplant back-up, voice/data and long distance switch installation. The alien world of fiber optics was just that, an alien concept. I remember the fiber guys working the central office, the prima donnas would set up cones and caution tape wherever they worked.

"Get away from there that stuff is sensitive"

I became a Union steward I remember clearly informing all the newhires one-by-one about the two tier payment system the union sold us out on. Informing them to the fact we will never make as much as the guys who had been there for twenty years now and where planning their escapes through buy outs and retirement.

I was suddenly on the radar, docked for coming back a minute late after break, there was no time clocks and everyone came back a minute late ; some didn't come back at all, they stayed at the bar.

They knew how it worked.

The minutae of central office contracts, billable hours, what needs to be done by when even how much AT&T got paid per hour for our labor. We (new hires )were paid between $5.78 and $10.00 in 1991, we billed the central office Baby Bells $48.00. The company invited the loyal workers to join them in this prosperous era of telecommunications and make some real money before you retire. You just have to agree on this two tier contract; this new generation doesn't care about anything anyway. The job I was hired for, associate communications equipment installer started at 12.00 an hour before the new contract.

What a shame.

I vowed to never work for a large corporation again.

Jaded and still very young I decided to go back to college. I attended Columbia College in Chicago. it happened to be right up the street from a comedy club I walked by everyday.

All Jokes Aside.

Before I knew it, I was a waiter there. I thought waiters were lowly people and I considered my needing to work there an indication of my failure in life so far. My first night, in summer of 1992 I made $300.00 for four hours work.

I thought I stole something.

My naivete was amazing then. There were many self serving situations that I routinely passed up. I think I was rather aloof and simply unaware of all the hoity toity black glitterati around me.

Cedric the Entertainer was an accountant in St. Louis and he would come up to Chicago on short notice to host for the oft absent but very talented house M.C., George Wilborn.

Cedric was a classy guy it is not an accident he has reached the top of pop culture mountain.
Bernie Mac, Chris Rock, Tommy Davidson, Dave Chappelle( Who told jokes that sailed over and above the heads of our crowd), D.L. Hughley, Steve Harvey, and many more African American talents. The jokes where real and the truth in their humor could make anyone forget about there bills, the kids, the ex-wife whatever it was in life that ate away at piece of mind.

I grew to love my job again and that is why I would not change a thing.