If you've ever taken a creative writing class, you might've had to draw a diagram of the structure of a piece of writing. I'm not sure that a two-dimensional picture would be sufficient for this:
If you've ever taken a creative writing class, you might've had to draw a diagram of the structure of a piece of writing. I'm not sure that a two-dimensional picture would be sufficient for this:
We've definitely had our knickers in a pleasant twist about Locke at times, but after last night's Lost, we realize now that we really/actually/distinctly love Terry O'Quinn as a vessel for everything that the Lost writers want to put into it/him. He's not a vessel as in, "ooh yeah, lil' ho, take it," he's a vessel as in, "that frickin' handmade ancient urn is AWESOME." The medium is the message, maybe? Fuck, maybe they should've called the character McLuhan instead. Or Marshall, just for the sake of subtlety. Then they would've had to find a different name for Locke's "Jeremy Bentham" identity, and I don't know enough about semiotics/semantics/linguistics to think of a perfect swap-out. "Noam Chomsky," maybe? No, that's awful. Fuck, shit ... shows you how much I know.
As nature embraces change and young men prepare their sexual-experience-acquisition schemes, we at Pop Cesspool choose an autumnal mood. This is the season of the nerd. To wit: Uriah Heep, "The Wizard," which seems to be about a real wizard, not your mountain-dwelling stoner uncle, or, for that matter, your dungeonmaster ... still, though, nerdfactor: high:
The rapper Drake is about as concrete as they get: He has shit and he wants shit, including money, nice things, and your pussy. He describes what he wants and what he'll do with it. Sometimes he talks about his superiority. Other times he talks about obstacles to acquiring the things he wants. But generally his rhymes dwell on shit that is possible to acquire in the physical realm.
Except, y'know, this line from "Best I Ever Had":
"A past life," as in "reincarnation?" Damn, that's some metaphysical graffiti right there. My initial reaction was, "he thinks like this when he gets high," but I realized that it's possible he just wrote that shit off the cuff, without concern for the dissonance it creates. So I'm gonna save his bacon right now. Here's how Drake should play it, if anybody asks about his spirituality: "Yo, I talk about that past life shit not because I'm into Hindu or whatever, but because I want money and your pussy in that past life, too."
... I start to hear Enigma's "Sadness, Pt. 1" in my head.
That is, various chunks of this hot mess, such as this silly nugget:
... should be read aloud, and reverently, to this colossally unsexy '90s bullshit:
HE GOTS AWESUM BONERZ UNDERNEATH THA DESK.
Tha Mrs. generally thinks Locke is a walking disaster and a lil' bitch, but the Sensitive Male inside of me has often vibed with the bald guy's constant questing and questioning. Yeah, sure, he's been a tragedy-magnet. And his old-man toughness has always been offset by flashes of saggy-chested vulnerability. But as an occasional member of the "Why The Fuck Am I Here" Club (and, well, the "Why Are People Always Fucking With Me" Club), I respect Locke's willingness to keep his mind open, even if blind faith has frequently been his motivation. But after last night, I think Locke the Klutzy Searcher is dead for good. He still has a few questions, sure. Just enough to avoid coming off as a total godhead. But now that he's got plenty of answers, I see where this has been going: It's neither his faith that is being rewarded, nor his questing. It's his patience. If the show's growing "inevitability" theme is to be taken seriously, Locke didn't need any faith at all. Nor did he have to ask any questions. He just needed to improve his coping style.
It's not as depressing as you might think. Except, y'know, he had to die first.
That Brazilian wackiness:
Yonlu, "The Boy And The Tiger" (mp3)
We have made the choice not to skimp on the Jada:
Jadakiss Feat. Lil Wayne, "Magic City (Part 2)" (via Mediafire)
If I knew anything about English soccer clubs, this post would have wittily accurate analogies between NFL teams and Her Majesty's Thug Factories. Instead, I'll have to speak in broad terms: The Philadelphia Eagles are like one of those Brit teams that never wins the league title or the FA cup or any of that, but they're consistently in the first division nonetheless. Maybe they whup an Arsenal or a Man U sometimes, but they always spit some weak game when True Glory is doing a salacious booty dance in front of them. On Sunday, Jesus in Red claimed True Glory, and he's tappin' that ass right now.*
* If this post sounds like some shitty dialogue from "The Spirit," it's totally unintentional.
Poppa Cesspool keeps a tidy vegetable garden in anticipation of the apocalypse. When the horsemen hit, I wanna know how to grow my own food. Anyway, a battalion of aphids had invaded my heirloom tomatoes in recent days, but on this triumphant Friday, the pests had fallen prey to a methodical column of tiny black ants. I could see the warriors triumphantly carrying away the soft green bodies of their victims. Delicious. In honor of the victory, I remind you of the greatest buggy thing in online history:
This week's City Paper cover story made me recall this verbal exchange from the life of yours truly:
SCENE: It is 1999 in a crappy rental house in Arlington. A man (POPPA CESSPOOL) and a woman (THA MRS.) are tidying up a bedroom. The hip-hop song "The 4th Chamber" by Genius/GZA plays in the background.
[Making a cameo in the Genius/GZA song, the RZA raps these verses: "A hit was sent from the president to rage your residence/Because you had secret evidence and documents/on how they raped the continents/And it's the prominent dominant, Islamic, Asiatic black Hebrew/The year two thousand and two, the battle's filled with the Wu/Six million devils just died from the bubonic flu."]
POPPA CESSPOOL: I'm the prominent, dominant, Islamic, Asiatic black Hebrew.
THA MRS.: Uh, you're actually none of those things.
Is there a more succinct hip-hop sentiment than "All my detractors/Better be silent"? Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey, juju superstar of Nigeria:
Personally, I would've gone with the Caviezel edition of Jesus, but I guess I'm a purist.
If you watched a lot of Channel 11 and Channel 9 when you were a kid -- that's WPIX-TV and WOR-TV to all you uncultured heathens who studied way too much -- then you know about Crazy Eddie. You may have googled him; I never did. A few months ago, when I got into a discussion about "the most obnoxious New Yorkers of the 1980s," his name came up pretty quickly after we dispensed with the usual suspects (Trump-Sharpton-Koch-Stern-Sliwa-Steinbrenner-etc.). Still, I didn't bother to do any research. So, y'know, thank you New York Times Magazine and your story about the tightness of the Syrian Jews in Brooklyn:
For many years, the most famous SY in the world was Eddie Antar, known professionally as Crazy Eddie. In the ’70s, he revolutionized the home electronics business and created an empire.
Nobody did retail theater better than Crazy Eddie. His souk-smart salesmen — many of them relatives and friends from the enclave — choreographed the shopping experience, waltzing the zboon (SY slang for “customer”) in well-rehearsed steps toward the be’aah, the sale. His ads (“His prices are insane!”) were commercial performance art. And when he was caught defrauding his investors for almost $100 million dollars and subsequently fled to Israel, Eddie provided an international drama that ended in extradition and prison.
The Crazy Eddie case became a cause célèbre, shattering longstanding community rules of silence and decorum. Eddie’s J-Dub wife, Diane, caught him in flagrante delicto with his mistress, who also happened to be a J-Dub named Diane, on the last day of December 1983 — a confrontation remembered among old-timers as the New Year’s Eve massacre. The massacre was a real bean-spiller, and it was followed by the testimony of Eddie’s first cousin (and partner and C.F.O.) Sam E. Antar on how the illegal schemes had been carried out. This gave the United States Attorney prosecuting the case, Michael Chertoff, (now the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security), more than enough to work with. Eddie went away for six years.
Unlike the late Toussie, however, Eddie Antar was not expelled from the community. In fact, both Sam and Eddie live in the enclave today. Sam has a simple explanation. “They don’t usually take back rats,” he told me. “But everybody in our community knew that Eddie was setting me up to take the fall, especially after he skipped out to Israel leaving me holding the bag. I had worked for the Antar family my whole life. But because of the betrayal factor, I haven’t been ostracized. There was no edict against me.” As for Eddie, he is still considered mi’shelanu, “one of us.” “He did his time,” Sam said. “He paid the price. That’s the way people see it.”
He paid the price. But his customers didn't. Antar wasn't in those TV commercials, though. It was a radio DJ, Jerry "Dr. Jerry" Carroll. Youtube:
1. American Idol: Jordin will bitchsmack Blake, for the same reason that Kelly topped Justin: Squealing girls vote for cute boys, but squealing girls ultimately go for girl power. I know a lot about girl power.
If you're looking for an ego-check, wash some windows. I spent a couple of hours on Saturday hosing, wiping and drying the two large ones in the front of my house. Despite my efforts, imperfection apparently was inevitable. Half a bottle of Windex and half a roll of paper towels later, they were noticeably cleaner, and they appeared to be largely streak-free in the noon sun. On Sunday morning, however, when the angle of the early sun was most acute, I could see a tiny swirl here and there. Such moments are enough to make a Buddhist out of anybody.
Apologies if you already know what I'm sayin' here. Wikipedia sez this is some previously netz-hyped schitt, but I can't live my life to avoid the preemptive strikes of others. My world might be infinitesimal, but its gravity is maximum, biatch. Anyway, on the new Sean Price album
"Jesus Price Superstar," "Jesus Price Supastar," there's an absolutely-batshit sample of a profane preacherdude speechifying intensely about Jesus. My Most Excellent Philly Cuz identifies it as The Spirit Of Truth:
Well, then you can't be Tracy Morgan, then. The Cesspool is still undecided about whether Morgan's drinking-and-driving habit denigrates the overall Zen-koan-like importance of the question, "Have you ever broke a Puerto Rican dude's arm for sweatpants money?" Previous ruminations and entries here, here (with video clip) and here.
As you probably can tell, we've been thinking about the sweatpants-money question a lot around here lately. The obvious, reality-based answer is, "No, we have never broken a Puerto Rican dude's arm for sweatpants money." But we're the metaphorical type, probably because of our Catholic upbringing, in which the average kid is taught that he's probably breaking all 10 of the Ten Commandments at any given time, even when he's like, seven. "Adultery," for instance, is painted in broad strokes:
CESSPOOL: Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has been one week since my last confession.
PRIEST: (recites perfunctory preambles and opening statements) Go ahead.
CESSPOOL: Father, I committed adultery.
PRIEST: (snickering silently) Tell me about it.
CESSPOOL: I saw the cover of a dirty magazine.
PRIEST: Did you open the magazine?
CESSPOOL: No, I just saw the cover.
PRIEST: Very well. If you looked away, you did not sin. Do you have anything else to confess?
CESSPOOL: No, except that I found a nickel on the ground, and I kept it without offering it to the poor.
PRIEST: That's fine. Just put an extra nickel in the collection basket sometime. (recites closing prayers) Say one Our Father and two Hail Marys.
CESSPOOL: Thank you, father.
So I've been asking myself a lot lately, "Have you ever broke a Puerto Rican dude's arm for sweatpants money?" And the answer is, on all levels, "no." Have I coveted another man's sweatpants money? Most certainly. A cool pair of sweatpants is a wonderful thing. And for a time in the '80s, nothing was cooler than owning a cool pair of sweatpants. (And then the summer came along, and it was like, "ditch those sweatpants and get some Jams, nerd.") But on a deeper, more metaphorical level, I have definitely bullied others into coughing up material goods or positional superiority:
"Buy me a beer, motherfucker."
"I'm sitting on that end of the couch, and nobody else gets the remote."
"Please tell me that you're not going to eat that last slice of pizza."
"Nuh-uh, 'ho. I'm making this left turn, and you and your BMW will just have to wait."
Or does it? Red Hot Chili Peppers "Scar Tissue" video (via YouTube). I love the fact that Frusciante is a total wraith; somehow his fried-junkie posture isn't annoying at all. And his solo is surehandedly weepy-tuff. In the pantheon of excellent song-ending alt-rock guitar solos, it's right up there with the blippy one that closes out "Settle Down" by Zwan. The question: Was that Sweeney, Corrigan or Pajo? I'm thinking Pajo. I looked all over for a video of their "holy crap, they sounded great" performance on "Saturday Night Live," but the YouTube kids seem to be punking out, and Google Video is like, "huh?"
Sidelined with viral bronchitis, I've become a creature of TV, because everything else is like "thrum thrum thrum" in combination with the expectorant, decongestant and margaritas (2 parts green mix, 1.5 parts Sauza Hornitos, 1 part Cointreau). TV is more like, "whee-ah, whoo-wee, wah!" (Name the specific episode of the specific television show I'm quoting, because you are a nerd like me.)
Given a choice between "thrum thrum thrum" and "whee-ah, whoo-wee, wah," I'd hope that you'd make the wise choice. But my wisdom might not be yours.
Anyway, so it's "Project Runway," season 2, episode 3, and they're like, "you gotta do this for ... Barbie." I couldn't believe my ears. I'm like, "There's a Nicene Barbie?" Y'know, in the same sense as the Nicene Creed. That would be incredibly heavy, and yet almost punk rock (or alt-metal?) in its ridiculousness. But, alas, it's My Scene Barbie.
You got down with the conkglaive. Now I suggest this: If the conclavers with pope-like qualities are known as "papabili," and if they gathered to make rebellious hayseed music, would it be known as papabilly? One could argue that psychobilly and cowpunk have needed a new relative for some time now. Perhaps the Whisky Rebellion could rethink its flow, and get a gig at the new papa's inauguration ball.
Every time I hear the word "conclave," I think "conk glaive," as in:
"the hair-straightening technique used by African-Americans and mentioned prominently in The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as well as the use of the word to denote the hairdo achieved by using the technique"
"the ornate five-bladed, starfish-like weapon used by the hero in the fantasy film Krull"
And thus I think of militant hairpieces that can be removed and used like ninja throwing stars. If everyone in the conclave had a conkglaive, maybe we'd have a new pope a lot sooner.
Of course Pope John Paul II is one of the most beloved men in the world, and Catholics everywhere are showin' out for their main man. But I ask this question: Does the holiest of holy men really need a global outpouring of prayers at this point? I mean, God has to be like, "Yo, we have a suite all set up for you, son. When you get here, just call the front desk if you need anything."
Adm. James B. Stockdale is best known for his "Who am I? Why am I here?" comment when he was running for vice president with H. Ross Perot. I honor Stockdale daily by asking the same question immediately after I get to work. The general range of responses:
1. I am lucid and ready to perform my duties, but, strangely, I don't recall the commute.
2. I don't want to be here.
3. What the hell is going on?
Note that these are "responses" and not "answers," because it is essentially a rhetorical question with meditative overtones. I'm often surprised by the benefits of actually asking it: You must focus now, grasshopper, because Cubeland is fraught with danger.
In any case, let it be noted that for the pro-Syria demonstration today in Beirut, organizers shuttled men and women into separate sides of the square. They could've warmed up with an impromptu performance of the "Grease" soundtrack.
If you now feel as though you have been trapped for 30 seconds in a "Naked Gun" or Mel Brooks film, I apologize.
Still Plans to Perform Full DJ Set at After-Mass VIP Party
(Note: Original blog-post head changed from "Headline of the Day" to "He Was Born to MC" to make the joke, uh, funnier.)
Spotted and heard Singing Asian Jesus Man today after boarding the Green Line at Shaw/Howard U. at approximately 10:30 a.m. His performance spurred two women to riff loudly on the power of testifyin'. As per his usual tactics, S.A.J.M. exited the car at the Convention Center stop.
Later I was in line at a shoe-repair place behind an angry, somewhat well-dressed middle-aged woman wearing an elaborate black satin eye patch and glasses. She paid and left. Later, while it was my turn at the register, she stormed back in and demanded that the Armenian dude who runs the place give her $12 in change. "I paid you 40," she hollered. "Shh," he said, with a tone that solidly suggested that he intended to pay her in full. "Don't shush me," she snapped, "I could see if it was 12 cents, but 12 dollars?" The dude, clearly flustered but nonetheless treating her gently, pulled $2 from the register and put it on the counter. "I SAID 12 DOLLARS, I gave you 40 and the bill was 28," she retorted. "I made mistake, here," he said, adding a 10-spot to the pile.
Where's Singing Asian Jesus Man when you need him?
Actually, I was hoping that the Armenian guy was gonna bust her in the other eye.
The NYT mag's cover story about Bush and "certainty" relates back to a prior team-effort Cesspool joint about the religious-wacko factor. I got one thing to say about this blessed-by-God-to-lead business: Pedophile priests are ordained by God, too, but they still make big, oogy mistakes. Maybe similar logic has led Pat Robertson to lowball his assessments of the commander-in-chief lately:
I just said, I think God's blessing him, and I think it's one of those things that, even if he stumbles and messes up and he's had his share of goofs and gaffes I just think God's blessing is on him. And you remember, I think the Chinese used to say, you know, it's the blessing of heaven on the emperor. And I think the blessing of heaven is on Bush. It's just the way it is.
All of this reminds me of those pregame prayers we used to say when I played football for a dinky Catholic high school. This thought always entered my heathen head: So, like, if we're the Jesus-approved unit, then why the hell aren't we kicking ass and performing flawlessly every game? And if we're playing another Catholic high school, and we lose, does it mean that God WANTS us to lose? If so, maybe there is glory in losing? Or are we being ridiculously and/or sinfully proud to assume that God would even care about us winning? The logical extension of my pregame thoughts: If God has a hand in the competition, then indeed it IS possible to underperform in the name of the Lord. If you're devout and/or clueless, the trick to maintaining sanity is to ignore the possibility that somebody else who can WIN THE GAME or DO THE JOB might have the Big Guy's blessing, too. It makes no sense for football teams (and sanctimonious party operatives ... and religious big shots) to be honest about the hard data before assuming God might be on their side. This is mortal combat, and the blessed aren't supposed to be wrong.
But if that be religion, leave me out. Such reflection will very quickly turn a young man into an agnostic, with atheism beckoning on a horizon nearby.
I wonder if Karl Rove ever thinks about Bush as a potentially Lord-honoring loser. Nah, in his mind, doubt can be eliminated with shrewd, Lord-approved tactics. One last question: If Kerry wins, will Bush pray harder for the future of the country, or take a break from his personal relationship with Jesus?
At this point I've had my fill of presidential-election coverage, but the WaPost's story about Bush vis-à-vis religion is a break from the norm. I'm sure it's blogged everywhere today, but I feel obligated to stir it into the Cesspool. Alan Cooperman makes the case, slowly, that Bush isn't a true-blue evangelical. It's a worthwhile point, and it seems to be well supported. But the story doesn't mention anything about the evangelicals that have found a home in the Bush administration. Isn't that really where the movement rears its head? Granted, that truth has been well-documented already, but Cooperman might've done well to point it out. I don't see the name "Ashcroft" in there, anywhere.
I know that the neo-Kabbalah phenomenon has been covered incessantly, but I offer this one observation: Has there ever been a movement that attracted a more concentrated collection of crackpot celebrities? That's some sticky-icky spiritual flypaper. Check the names listed in that Village Voice article: Sandra Bernhard, Barbra Streisand, Roseanne, Demi Moore and Britney Spears. Bernhard might be the most sane person on the list. That's sayin' something. Some would argue that Scientology is the all-time champ, but maybe it's a guy/girl thing: The men (and some women) like the success-ladder L. Ron bullcrap, whereas the women (and some men) prefer the softly symbolic and New Age-y red-string routine. Why don't we call 'em "Dickanetics" and "Kavaggah"?