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.
We wonder what happened to sports in America.
What happened to the role model?
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.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
The role model is officially dead.
Monday, December 24, 2007
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.
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
About five months ago my old editor asked me to write an article on Nikola Tesla.
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
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.