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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sometimes You Think You Know

On Feb 15th Utica recorded the first homicide of 09'. Like all murders it was a tragic, senseless, 100% preventable act. An undelible blemish on an otherwise exemplary crime rate track-record for the City of Utica.

We do not live in Maybary. Utica is no stranger to violence, but in recent years the typical street violence associated with drug dealing and other forms of organized crime had been on a steady decline.
Senseless violence, however, is a different story. It really doesn't matter how a particular set of circumstances lead to a murder. It is the act, itself that defines the circumstance.
The fact that violence is the first option for some of us is alarming.
This murder is an abberation. It is an anomoly.
Murder, thank God, is an abberation- an anomoly.
Rich, poor, black white. It does not matter.
In this case, the case of 17 yr old Joshua Smith, we are at a loss. We can isolate contributing factors. We can use statistics and say one group of people is more prone to violence than the other.
Someone always undoubtedly bucks the odds and at the end of the day it is always about loss, waste and regret.
This case is no different. The two main suspects, Harold Jones and Anthony Ruffin were not typical neighborhood thugs. The two teenage cousins spent a lot of time together, most of it, by all appearances innocent.
What goes on in the minds of young people has been a baffling question for adults since the dawn of man. As grown-ups we all reach a point where the void from childhood to adulthood can be a mazelike chasm as confusing as income taxes but through it all we learn to trust, to have faith in the good advice we, as adults, may have shared.
We trust and hope they will not get involved with 'bad things' and they will always do the right thing.
Then something happens. They become teenagers armed with the confidence your good advice gave them. Now they want to see for themselves what all the hubbub is about. Some go a little farther than others revealing issues that may have lied dormant until now. The innocence is withering away.
Who can forget the 13yr old kid in Vernon who killed his father with a shotgun.
No one on the outside ever saw it coming. Only later was it divulged the child may have suffered from some severe mental disorders. But even his dad thought...he was safe.
This case is no different.
We know these kids.
16 yr old Anthony 'Man - Man' Ruffin was an avid basketball player who spent most his time working on his jumper and schooling everyone on his ( and my)block, Linwood Pl.. He has a loving mother and father. A tighknit family with an eye on responsibilty.
There were solid examples for him to follow and not follow. He went to school regularly evan had a curfew.
His cousin and alleged accomplice Harold 'Nick' Jones was also an avid ballplayer and was quickly developing into a man sprouting nearly two inches in little over a year. His development was also validated by his newly acquired squeaky-deep voice. He has allegedly had a few recent brushes with the law and I know of at least one awkward and potentially explosive situation regarding his behavior,but none of these things equalled murder.
Not even close.
According to both of them it was an accident. I am inclined to believe them.
Remember, I saw them everyday.
I choose to give them the benefit of the doubt because the alternative is to hard to accept. I can't get my mind around it. I choose to believe them because I cannot imagine these boys that I have known all these years killing anyone on purpose. I can't imagine these guys walking around playing the dozens with murderous intentions fooling everyone. Most career criminals, prone to violence, work their way up to murder. We would have at least labeled them 'bad kids'.
They weren't had to be an accident.
In the meantime we look for answers. We wonder: How did they get a gun? A 'perfect storm' of negative moments punctuated by gunfire.
Utica is a battle scarred city losing the fight against a stagnant economy. Violence should be a bit further down the list when one counts all the problems that plague segments of our community.
But it isn't, rightfully so.
But that does not comfort the family of Joshua Thompson. The fact it does not happen everyday does not make it any easier to accept.
I offer no solution.
But I will readily admit, I was raised in violent times, more violent than now.
The cup is still half-full.
We can each help fill it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Octo-Mom + Phelps= Stimulating.

Nadya gets death threats.
Phelps gets dumped by Kellog's.
If you have ever toked the loco weed on a consistent basis there is a 90% chance you have had a POP-TART or a late night bowl of cereal made by who? Kellog's. I would even go out on a limb and assume at least 12-20% of their business is the result of some good chronic.
I know. You're probably sayin to yourself : "You are right Dave, I used to eat cereal after getting stoned all the time"
But you did not do it after winning gold medals...lucky you.
We are so full of shit.
What is up with the bullshit puritanical values we are trying to force down each other's throats?
Crack sells, people buy pussy, drink, watch porn, smoke pot, and on occasion, kill each other. Some even participate in gay sex.
Not just here in Utica New York, but all over the world.
So why do we, in our media, pretend that each one of us do not have anything to do with one of those aforementioned behaviors (feel free to add your own).
We are living in a prelapsarian world perhaps?
Bring back the days of Caligula, when slavery was just a job and grooming was a science.
We are comical in a tragic way.
Blago's hair. Kilmer for Guv.
Spitzer, I trippin?
The effin Governator?- Jesse Ventura?
We jumped the shark years ago (Ronald Reagan).
Are we still at war?
How long have we been at war?
How long will we...?
Shit is crazier than its ever been.
Brace yourselves.
2009 is still young.
But this is more about our newspapers and the editors that pick front pages.
It is about what is important- to us.
I can see it now, the frontpage conference:
"Chris Brown and Rihanna Grammy Brawl...we got art with a few qoutes or two G.I.'s die in Mosul car bomb and economic stimulus" after a two second pause he will undoubtedly pick CB and Rihanna.
I do not blame them.
At least in the sixties they had to report the news. Confused people in the suburbs kept asking why people are burning up the city.
"Hell, we can see the smoke from here"
Back to the War.
It has been what, seven years?
That long?
If people just stay at home and accept the war, murder and billions down the drain then it will continue. I just do not want to hear any more of the two faced, bullshit moral lectures we are soo good at delivering whenever some guy is caught with his dick in the cookie jar or face in a bong.
We can't all be the best. There has to be a reward to being the best. We all know what those rewards are.
It is called anything you want baybay...anything you want.
We have a seemingly hard time accepting a bong toke from one our finest young people.
Yet we somehow accept the backdrop of war and the scenario with same person shooting someone.
It has been Grandfathered into our psyches. The idea.
Our indifference to it. Our arrogance about it. Our haughty, wasteful lifestyles will be our undoing if we do not change.
Electric Cars, Hydrogen Cells, thermal heat for homes.
Hardly revolutionary, but practical and sustainable.
It has nothing to do with political partisanship and everything to do with hypocrisy.
I am as guilty as anyone else. I leave the same carbon vapor trail that you and your kids produce.
But I imagine a different world.
Do you too?
I sit idly by as my chosen representatives vote us out of the future.
Do you too?
I sit silently.
I do.
Stifling a cough.
You too?
Waiting for someone, something to save us from ourselves.
We need a new economy.
A new infrastructure.
We always start here...then we sell it to the world.
And Start all over again.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New Word

It is etched in stone.
The next performance of PG-13 is scheduled for March 7th at Thornberry's.
In the meantime I am going to try and find something good to do.
For starters I will be doing a live on-air interview with David Horowitz (the guy pictured above) the controversial conservative pundit.
I just recieved word it will not be this week, but stay will happen.
Horowitz is one of the most enigmatic political pundits in contemporary America.
His new Book 'One Party Classroom' hits the shelves on March 10th and is guaranteed to piss-off and alienate at least a million new readers.
He, unlike many of his peers, is not an easy target.,
Horowitz's well thought and decidedly conservative stance is a result of his refusal to be a hypocrite.
Horowitz was raised in a household that embraced communism during the McCarthy era during the fifties.
In the sixties he went on to earn multiple degrees from U.C. Berkeley where he got his feet wet in the protest movement.
His activism also garnered him a reputation, he became on outspoken member of the counter-culture movement.
But why reject the trappings of a good education and loyal following by living a life of sacrifice to the 'state' ala communism?
No, Horowitz was/is a smart guy and knew he was going to make money...something capitalists do.
Make money and lose money (Madoff).
But he has, like I wrote earlier, pissed a few people off along the way.
I really do not know the intimate details of his politics (on purpose). I know he has been labeled a Jewish nationalist by appointment , he has never said this to me. I also know he has been called racist by , white, black , muslim and hispanics.
I will not be influenced by anything I have read about him because I know in the proper context, anything can be made to 'make sense' or be grounds for commital.
Ironically, in a world psycho-social way, he has lot in common with Farrakhan his alternate universe doppelganger.
Not really, but they both serve as the watchdogs for their people( Jews, Blacks respectively). They both will offer their unflinching opinion without apology to anyone who will listen and/or be offended.
Their views are often at odds but they still seem...the same.
I think it has something to do with the ability to make people think through extreme anger.
It does not matter.
Horowitz is relevant.
His opinion matters, a lot of people agree with his thoughts, ideas and theories.
Important people.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

All Good

The show was a blast.
Thanks to Mike, Sal, Bud, Gary, Aaron and everyone that came out.
We had a great time.
There were a lot o' people.
I was drinkin Cabernet.
The end of the show would have left you speechless.
Alex Jager, performance artist, warped the paradigm...singlehandedly almost. He had two of 'The Real Burnouts' with him.
Alas I am watching the superbowl while writing this so I will keep it brief.
Suffice it to say.
PG-13 lives.
Next show March 7 09'.
Check us out on myspace.
Oh yeah, I also promise to start posting video.
Stay tuned