Sunday, December 26, 2021

The difference an Omicron makes...

Ramblings Post #400
Life comes at you fast. We always think we have time. But things happen when we aren't looking. And we have to adjust, figure out a new plan, and move forward because time doesn't stop. So do what you gotta. And don't forget to have some pie. Sweet Potato. Because it's good, and the world it makes the world right.

Let me say this...medical clinics need a one diagnosis or less lane.

Anyway, the day after Christmas this year myself and forty other hearty souls, properly socially distant of course, gathered in an urgent care facility in hopes of being seen. I was about number seventeen or eighteen in line, but only because I had arrived an hour before they opened. I was grateful that they were open, offering same day PCR testing, and hadn't already booked up online...because they weren't taking online appointments. Such are the holidays in the days of Covid.

I haven't done a crowd of any kind since my running partner's birthday drop in last summer when we all had gotten vaxxed up and thought that the 'Rona was on the way out. It was a fun evening, live jazz on the deck, folks having a good time, dancing, cards, food on the grill, etc., but I've had a couple of scares since then so I've become a bit of a homebody. Okay, that last part is an understatement. I leave my house to get groceries and pick up food to go. That's it. But as luck or fate would have a week ago some old partners of mine came into town for the Celebration Bowl and I broke with routine and went by their hotel to see them. My plan had been to drop through, say hey, revel in some old memories and then excuse myself and take it to the house. I ended up in Downtown Atlanta because their hotel was in Buckhead and they would still be lost on a side street if I hadn't served as street guide. My fault really, should have stuck to the plan, but I hadn't been social in a minute, so there I was.

In any case, my plan had been to ride down to the folks on Christmas Eve, spend the day and then ride back on Sunday. I had my bag half packed, the few gifts (most of which I picked up from my brother) ready to load into the car and went to sleep with visions of highway driving in my head.

I awoke with a cough and sneezing. 

Now, I never did develop the fever or lose my sense of taste, but better safe than sorry and my parents are old, so I called and updated them and realized I needed to get tested.

Let me back up a bit though. My last test before this one was at the beginning of the month. I'd felt a tingle and started coughing so I decided I needed to know. I decided this after ELEVEN in the morning and jumped online to see what I could get. Well, the drug store around the corner had an opening. A bunch of openings. Really, they could have just had a button that said "I'm on the way." I chose the time slot at ONE to give myself time to clean up the house first. I drove over, got in the drive thru line, gave the attendant my name and check in code, she sent out the kit in drive thru slide, I did the swab, dropped it in the box. Leaving the house, test and drive back took all of twenty-five minutes, but only because there were two cars in front of me in line.

The experience has changed.

To start, I went online but the drugstore had no slots for Christmas Eve. Or the day after Christmas. Or the week after Christmas. I expanded the search and the nearest branch with slots was on the other side of the city. On the next Thursday. At 5pm. And by the time I clicked refresh they were gone. My brother searched his neighborhood for the at home test kits, which were in the stores last week but have disappeared with the surge. I checked another drugstore chain, and then looked to see what the county was offering. I finally found this clinic, open on Christmas Day where I decided my Christmas present to my mother would be easing her mind about my status. They opened at 8:30am, but I didn't get there until almost 10am. I figured it was Christmas, what other idiots would be out here like this? As it turns out, quite a few.

The nurse was kind enough to give me the skinny on the proper time for arrival, so we return to the beginning of our tale, with me in a parking lot with a growing crowd trying to get a test to set my mother's concerns to rest. I got there an hour before they opened. I was checked in fifteen minutes after they opened. They didn't test me until almost noon. Same test as before, the ID confirmation and actual swab and what not took less than three minutes. But they had actual patients with actual issues not related to Covid, so there was a bit of a wait. And I sat there and waited. Because that's what you do.

I tested negative by the way.

But damn. Now watch the scalpers do the at home tests the same way they've done the PS5s, which I still can't get.

Barkeep. The good bourbon, your boy is gonna live. Well, at least so far.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Your honor, we find the defendant....

This is a political post. 

I had this dream.

The Wisconsin Bar Association held a press conference and declared a mistrial in the Rittenhouse ....well, thing. Action, let's call it an action. I dreamed that the Bar Association as a whole had looked at the whole...action...and decided the obvious display of bias on the part of what is supposed to be it's referee was just too egregious and just decided to rescind his license effective immediately. Pretend he died they'd say. And if the world could just hold up, they take a month, let everybody settle down and then start over.

I mean, although I'm certain more than few in the region see the circumstances of what happened that night differently than I do, I would hope they would at least be affronted with how blatant this thing is getting.

But that's not going to happen.

It's almost like it's not understood that it was this type of action - one where the law is applied as one person sees fit in front of everyone, damn what you other people think - that sparked the demonstration that got us to the night that got us here. It's like a total lack of self-awareness. It's why now the National Guard is on alert for verdict. A few years of civil rights demonstrations, followed by a tone deaf incident leading to another demonstration and then another incident and we've...well, some folks... still haven't gotten the idea that maybe justice really needs to be blind. Or at least hold the cane, bump into stuff and pretend, real, real hard.

I'm going to be honest, I didn't think they'd get a conviction there. Just the demographic make-up of the region. Even without the prosecution bringing up Call of Duty, or rulings that suddenly Apple zoom is suspect or not being allowed to call the people the defendant shot 'victims.' The judge finds no issue with the defense calling protesters to rioters or looters, but go figure. People have looked at the judges past conduct and claimed that this is about par for the course with him. But someone should tell him THIS isn't the usual course, this is Augusta's older cousin. All the little personal quirks should have been left at the clubhouse.

I do find it odd that trying to get a murder conviction against a minor who crossed state lines, with a illegally acquired weapon, who then purposely went to an area where it was possible he might have to use that weapon, after publicly stating he wanted to do just that, would be a hard sell. I mean there are photographs and video. And even with the admittedly less than great witnesses, we would normally get there. As someone in the legal profession, the judges restrictions on Rittenhouse's previous statements, considering what we theoretically all learned in law school regarding state of mind, are a bit hard to swallow. But even if all of that were...even keel... I still just didn't see a conviction there. It's just that part of the country. I've read people swear that this clearly self defense. How I don't know, but they swear. These are probably the same people who don't see what Aaron Rodgers did wrong, but as I said, its that part of the country.  

What I didn't think was that the situation would look like this. Because although I'm aware the court has in essence followed the law in the usual manner, it feels like the judge has done everything but straightened the defendant's tie, patted him on the head and told him to show us all that pretty smile, because they won't let the bad 'prosecutor men' hurt him. And the idea that it even feels this way is wrong. 

I'm hoping for the best. Either way the verdict is not going to be liked. But the version I'm hoping for involves the incident/rights demonstration cycle at least getting a break. For a couple of weeks at least. 


Thursday, November 4, 2021

Five minutes watching... Dune

I don't watch a lot of movies because, well, at this point I just don't. A lot of movies and television of late have become more niche oriented and just plain horrible, and I'm trying to be productive, and also write this thing (second draft) and moreover I have a ton of video games I bought on sale I still want to play so there. So, I watch a movie or a little TV when I get a chance. Go figure. 

So I watched Dune. All two hours and thirty-five minutes of it.

It was....ummm, er.

Boy am I jaded.

Maybe it's because I first experienced Dune more than thirty years ago and unlike a quite few books I still own, I've never gone back to it. It was one of those things you were supposed to experience as a nerd in the eighties, so I did. A whole bunch of it didn't make sense to me back then, because I was young, and because it went in a wholly different direction of the big 'Stars' types (you know, Wars & Trek), I used to read everything back then so it got lost in the shuffle. Later on I would grow to appreciate the type of world-building that Herbert did here, but at the point in my life I indulged I wasn't there yet. Now comfortably aged, but not immune to nerd pressure, I tuned into my HBOMax and gave it a look.

I know a story as dense as Dune is hard to bring to the big screen. it's got a lot of backstory, side plots and intrigue wrapped in little pieces of lore that a veteran sci-fi reader gobbles up like candy. So the reality is you have to cut out a lot of what makes the story the story to get it down to your standard movie run time. And even though this went long, the director still put too blunt a blade to this thing. Trying to be inviting to someone new to the story without throwing too much exposition at them early was a great idea, but handled badly, and so they've unfortunately crafted a film where most viewers are are going to miss pieces without repeated viewings (which again given the length of the film probably is unlikely) or doing some homework. As it is I suggest you at least go read the Wikipedia entry for the story so you'll understand why a bunch of stuff is happening.
so, SPOILERS from here on out. 

The film suffers from three things really: Long slow 'Lawrence of Arabia' type establishing shots coupled with long pregnant moments before something happens, the set decorator's complete lack of imagination and the missing pieces of the story. Well, four things really, but let's tackle these three first.

Dune is supposed be this epic tale of an Empire, while most of this part of the tale takes place on the desert world of Araakis, sole source of the, spice. To convey the grand scope, we're 'treated' to several large stately set pieces and ceremonies early in the film to let you know the Empire is big, space ships the size of small towns rising and all that, then sweeping shots of backgrounds and open space when they reach Araakis. This is where I think the film could have benefited from a widescreen format. I saw it at home, maybe in the theater it's aspect ratio is better. But most of these shots are either the city (framed badly and unimpressive CGI) or the sparsely populated (read: empty) shots of the desert. We get shot after shot of this. It just does not work, and at times with it's very less than convincing CGI makes it look like it was shot for television. I know establishment shots are needed, but I'm of the opinion they could have removed or cut down some of these less than grand ones and added in more story, did a bit more fleshing out or adding in some other subplot.    

Which bleeds really into the second issue with really most sci-fi films, in that all the set decorators seem to think everyone who ever owned a spaceship is a minimalist. The outfits and costumes worn by the characters were nice, but the sets were barren, empty spaces bereft of decoration. Big blocks of empty space. Just nothing. Empty. That it sparsely populated doesn't help, but empty just feels wrong. Oddly, the last time I saw someone consider the a sci-fi story as an actual place was The Fifth Element, where the spaces looked lived in. By like people. This does not do that.

And finally, the missing pieces of the story. Again, as I've alluded to earlier, it would have helped had it been made clearer that Duke Leto knew that the Emperor granting him reign over Araakis was a trap, but one that he could not refuse. Or some of the interplay between secondary characters that hopefully will show up in "Part 2" since that's confirmed now. Having Hawat show up aiding the Harkonnen makes no sense because we missed a whole subplot where he suspects Paul's mother of betraying Leto. There are a lot of things going on in this story that had to be cut to make time for ...long shots.

Which brings us the fourth problem.

So, um, Dune was a white savior story? Huh.

Now, I saw the first version, back with Sting, on something ages ago. HBO, Cinemax, something, but I remember that the native Fremen in that film were just a bunch of dudes from central casting. And I didn't really get that deep into the book, so I didn't make a connection at that point either. To be honest, this didn't even crystalize for me until the last five or ten minutes of the film, during the fight scene. I should have gotten it earlier during Paul's visions, but nope. You know, I don't even think that effect was intentional, more along the lines of semi-awareness woke-type thinking of "wouldn't it be a bit silly if we cast a 'Nordic' look for people of the desert?" But then that gets us here, which is equally problematic. But then, the book is from the 60's, written by a guy mostly likely raised on Tarzan movies. Go figure.

Which presents a major issue for the second part. Because while the white savior aspect was hard to spot in the first movie, that aspect will be front and center in the second. Paul the chosen one, and all those brown people. Wow. Didn't we just have this issue with GoT a few years ago? Apparently we've learned nothing.

Barkeep. Just a coke and some chips. Thanks.

Thursday, September 30, 2021



Breathless moon
that makes me wonder
if the wanderings of my mind
are worth all the tribulations
that possess my soul
She is beauty
a dream from which I hope
to never awaken
that fills the bounty of life
with it's vital purpose
and yet I hesitated

~ Me, 2006

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Seems like I've heard this one before...

Ramblings Post #399
First, let's be clear. I do NOT have an OnlyFans account. I mean, as a customer, not as a creator. Not either one. Seriously, I'm barely suitable to show my face in public. The idea of taking off my shirt and preserving those images for posterity (or the internet - same thing) might get deported from the planet. Yes, I've lost some weight, I think, but for me to get camera fine would involve an act of God and plastic surgery. I've said it before and I'll say it again, my biggest asset is a lovely personality. I'm a delight!

I could never bring myself to give OnlyFans any money. Don't get me wrong the women seemed...interesting. And a number of them supposedly were surprisingly relatable. I understand that one of the features was that the women would actually interact with followers regularly, and that it wasn't just a show on the internet. And for those people who performed, it provided a safe environment in which to work since it was all virtual. Which actually says a lot more about the state of society than I'm gonna comment on this post. Oh, I've given money to worse endeavors, I assure you. But something about it just didn't sit right with me.

And now the good folks there have banned (or are going to ban) content not safe for work, and go back to what they were doing before. Um...

Let me explain. While my only involvement with OnlyFans was to occasionally ignore the young woman who would follow me on twitter so she entice me to open my wallet on her behalf, I did have an account with another site called Tumblr (which I've admitted here before and I'm sorry). That actually wasn't a half-bad hangout, a interesting mix of photo collages, art, creations, gaming stuff, stories, and just whatever someone wanted to put on there. It was free form, and could be almost magazine like if done right. There was a little eye candy too, but what got me started was the vast array of imagery, some of which I have used on this very blog. And the eye candy.

Anyway, when I say I've heard this one before, well, the creative and eclectic Tumblr already mapped out this future. A few years ago, the then very popular Tumblr was purchased for $1.1 billion dollars. It was going to be a multi-media powerhouse to rival Facebook that had grown organically, so the future was bright. And to protect that future post the sale the site pretty much banished the adult content, all that eye candy, behind multiple-multiple impediments. Essentially they just hid them away and put a lock on the door. Well, within the first 90 days about 30% of their user-base packed up shop and headed for other parts of the internet. Whoosh. I'm not saying the two events were connected, but hey. So you think there would be a lesson there. I would, but apparently not. 

Tumblr did all things....
As much as THE OWNERS don't want to admit it, for investor purposes, adult content pretty much MADE OnlyFans. While the platform was originally was designed to showcase musical and other artists with small but devoted followings, it was barely on my radar prior to the shift to more ...interesting content and I stays on the internet. I mean with Tumblr the draw of the adult stuff wasn't as clear, but here the brand has become attractive women saying "come check out my OnlyFans!" Which is kind of definitive. And as I've said over and over again, IP is not a fungible as people think it is. You would expect change of something like this to be gradual, not a hard and fast turn.  

Just last year OnlyFans handled some $2 billion in revenue on sales $12.5 billion through this portal, something most sites not named Amazon would kill for. Quite a bit of that was the adult stuff. So what is going on here? Why the hard turn? Well, to be honest this is greed. The company is trying to get "valuation" which is investor talk for "even more money" but like by the end of the quarter. Yes, it grew organically, but now the owners are done with that. And just like with Tumblr this cleaning up the site is part of the getting valuation process, because investment groups hate porn. (I started laughing as soon as wrote that.) Now that they've got a "BRAND" they're hoping to convert the platform back to the musical artists and other influencers. *giggles*

Just so we're clear, how did that cleaning up the adult stuff work out for Tumblr and its deal? Well, let's see, they ended up being sold again not too long after in 2019 for ...checks notes... $3 million doll ...checks notes, million? THREE Million?  


But it could work this time, what do I know?

Barkeep, it's me. I used to come in here all the time. I'm the guy that orders the bourbon when the vodka is free. Remember? Yeah, I'm that guy! 

Monday, August 16, 2021

Never fight a land war in Asia...

This is a political post.

This morning, as I sometimes do, I took a peek at Reddit. Sometimes it's something funny, gets my day going with a chuckle or laugh. They have some neat architecture stuff, gaming, movie stuff and writing prompts to flex my creativity. Everything really. It replaced Facebook for me. But this morning it was...not good.  

This morning I watched video of people desperate to escape Afghanistan running alongside and then clinging to the exterior of a plane DURING takeoff. 

The end of the video isn't from a movie...
This is a shitshow.

This whole "action" was a shitshow at the start. It was a shitshow under every President who presided over it (...including my man Barry!), it's a shitshow now and because of how we're leaving it will be a shitshow in the future. I think the United States should very much think about getting out of the Nation Building business. Democracy R Us might need to close up shop. We had twenty years, most of a generation, and we wasted it. Instead of  developing infrastructure, or building up small local industries to help alleviate poverty, a mass education system or building up political parties we simply set the stage for the sequel to our ignominious Vietnam exit. The country we "liberated" didn't last 14 whole days without us standing there propping it up. And now the women and children we filled with hope will pay the price.  

And a good part of this is the current administration's fault - I mean, who didn't see this coming and why didn't we try to mitigate it. People have been screaming about getting the translators who worked with the troops out of the country for months. Yet we sat around looking at each other like we were sure some "other" agency would handle it, or if we waited long enough the problem would just go away. I see pictures of Taliban fighters holding US weapons now, because apparently the idea to take our toys with us never even occurred to anyone. There will be explanations in the future, reasonable explanations and reasons why X or Y didn't occur or fell out of the timetable. Some we'll be okay with, others we will not. But here every mistake here isn't a dollar value, but an actual human life that might be over, or worse just beginning the dark days ahead. One does not cling to the outside of a jet hoping to be carried away if one does not believe whatever you're leaving will be worse.    

By the way, the folks over at Ya'Queda are busy trying to pretend that Cheato's "historic peace summit" with the Taliban just last administration, and his invitation to them to come to Camp David, are merely figments of our imagination. Even now some conservatives look at the Taliban's plan to ban gay marriage, abortions and vaccinations and wonder if they were on the wrong side all along. That's just disturbing. Last year the GOP were screaming that Biden would have us at war forever, while Cheato would end it and bring our troops home. Well, the Dems actually followed through on the past administration's plans. And this is where we end up. *Sigh*

If this is where we're going, and it looks like it is, then we need to start expediting the process for getting those out who want to leave... yesterday. We may have gone in with the best of intentions, but like most things of late it turned into a ideological farce covering up a cash grab. And we are responsible. But then cleaning up messes caused by Republicans *cough* Bush *cough* is what the Democrats do best. 

The plane is supposed to hold 102. They squeezed in 800.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Bar Chatter

Bar Chatter #39
When it's not enough to make a post, but deserves to go out to the world... it's just Bar Chatter.  

I play NBA2K. I took the Magic to the Championship in my second year, don't front. But I also play that other mode. That mode that almost nobody plays but is so interesting to me. That other is Franchise mode, where you have to run a franchise - hire a head coach, figure out the practice focus, set the rotations, decide the pace and style of play, deal with injuries, scout future players and, interestingly enough, manage the SALARY CAP.

I said that to say....HOW IN THE HELL DID THE Lakers DO THIS?

They got Bron Bron and Anthony Davis, somehow snookered a trade that got them the services of Russell Westbrook and now can somehow still get an admittedly older Carmelo Anthony?  I mean, I realize Carmelo is at this point chasing a ring and probably only give you 15 to 20 good minutes a night, but he still putting up double figures. Somebody call the commissioner because something is screwy in Hollywood. Even if it was mathematically possible, and this shouldn't be, the Lakers might be in salary cap hell until 2055 behind this. 

This ain't right ya'll. You couldn't do this with a cheat code and you damn sure shouldn't be able to do this in real life.  

It's like he selling Monorails, I swear...

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Black Art - Stuff I like

Ramblings Post #398
I like art. I would love to be able to take art trips, to travel to someplace and spend a day or two in a museum or gallery just gazing upon the art, consumed by it. There is something deep inside that moves someone to create. I like to think I'm affected by it, although my daily word count might have a different opinion. To see nothing and envision something there. I recently found out that some people just can't imagine - they literally can't see it in their head. Their imaginations don't work like that. So maybe I'm lucky. And that means I should share

This is the artist and some of her work. She goes by the pseudonym Hudayouthinkiam, because although her work his nature and animals, her most striking work focuses on women and their sexuality. But she doesn't paint faces, so the question is who do YOU think I am?  

Sometimes it's the detail that the artist is able to capture, if not highlight. Note the individual hairs, the small scars. It's like a photo, but richer and deeper. This piece by Babajide B Olatunji is in my opinion fantastic. The artist's work capturing the Tribal Markings really makes it more than just a story or idea you've heard of that happened or happened in Africa.

But sometimes detail isn't what you want. You want a vibe, a feeling, a concept. Art by Alyah is bright, fresh and colorful. In these times where we've started to regret those nice neutral colors that we painted the living room, her paintings give a bright splash of possibility. 

I want the future to bright and colorful, but also to be a study into who I am and where I've come from at the core of me. I like to think I'm more than just a black boy from South Carolina. 

Barkeep. There is a bottle down there with some moonshine in it. I know, I put it there.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Oh, you serious serious?

Ramblings Post #396
I am firm believer in having to suffer the consequences of your actions. And while I understand that the universe is random, there is just something spiritually irritating when you see someone doing something you know is wrong, they know is wrong, everyone can see that it's wrong and they still come up aces. Especially when you've played by the rules and find yourself less than rewarded. As someone said, how do we convince the next generation to work hard, when all they see are rich criminals and broke college graduates?

Well damn.

I really had tried to stay out of the Sha'Carri Richardson discussion. I had feelings on both sides: first that it's a dumb, archaic rule that makes no sense at all given the circumstances or the world we currently live in OR the reason for the prohibition. But on the other hand, she definitely knew the rule, knew the consequences, and instead of perhaps getting drunk like so many others of us would have done in the same situation, she decided to light one up. Ultimately was a decision that she made that she knew she would have to live with. And all the arguments I've heard one way or another (some so nonsensical it hurts), they all seem to forget that while the professional and legal landscape for us civilians is shifting, the same rules don't necessarily apply to elite athletes. Just like we can run down to the store or lay out by a pool unbothered, it ain't the same for them. A burger and fries is cool for you and I, but may be off limits to them as it may wreck some optimal balance for peak performance. We different. Recognize how it is for us ain't always how it is for them. So while I didn't necessarily agree with it, I was okay with the short suspension. But then I was okay with that when I thought it meant that while she couldn't compete for the hundred yard dash she'd at least get hers at the relay.

Now they done gone and left her off the team.

Well damn.

Some of it, I imagine, comes down to space. You only have so many slots and if god forbid someone can't compete you don't want to end up short because one of your teammates is still under suspension. I'm going to call it a strategic decision. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. I'm trying to not fault people just doing their jobs here. Still...., this decision just feels wrong. It's like being down by ten in a football game, and going for the kick first inside two minutes, inside the twenty. It can be justified theoretically. After all, you need the points anyway, now or later shouldn't make a difference. But it just feels wrong. This feels wrong.

Especially in light of the banning of the swim cap the black women used. Or the decision that the two African women's testosterone was too high to compete fairly. I'm not saying, but I shole does look...funny.

For Ms. Richardson however, there will be another chance in three years, god willing. I don't think this was fair, and between now and then it needs to be addressed. And I'll need someone to explain to me who cannabis is a performance enhancing drug in this situation.

Barkeep. Just nice Chablis. I have no idea why, but this just sort of calls for it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

You should try the chicken. We're out, but you should try it.

Ramblings Post #395
I've always been the one to try the local shops around wherever it is I reside. Because sometimes it's that little spot off the beaten path, where they cook with a touch of love and creativity, or in some cases are just very happy to be there that the true gems are found. A little cafe with four booths and eight stools. A place that puts the cheese on after they put the toppings on. That one joint where the box is so heavy you've got to carry it with both hands lest your goodies spill out.

So I tried this "new" spot. First, it's a wing spot with no wings. The girl complaining as she left said that, but I didn't know what she meant until I was inside. Then the cashier even gets snippy me, not even looking up from his phone and tells me there is a worldwide shortage and nobody can get wings anywhere. I decide not to explain that my regular fish spot I went to the week before had them. And that this other spot with the great fries also had them. It's all they sell. But it might be that his supplier lied to them and I don't want to get into it.

Wait, let me back up.

I've started eating out more lately after a long period where, due to that silly pandemic thing, I cooked almost every night. No seriously, my freezer was stuffed and I tried out a whole bunch of things I normally would not have. I made different cheesy baked pastas, made what I'm going to call Chinese inspired dishes, switched up my seasonings and flavorings, fried different kids of fish, experimented briefly with different rices (um, no), mixed up my veggies, made fresh hamburgers by mixing meats (really, that should only be done by a butcher) and tried a thing or two I finally ate because I was the one that made it. That along with lots (read 'too much') of cookies and cakes, ice cream and the rest.

But finally, I just got tired of washing the pots. Because while you can throw out paper plates, there are no paper pots that I know of. If you know of some, please holla at me. I eat a lot less now because I don't want to clean. So, not to starve out of laziness, I started seeing what around me was still open and where I go dip in, get something and dip out. Masked up of course.

If you want to know how bad the pandemic is, consider that in Atlanta, the Waffle Houses now close. As close the doors and don't serve after a certain hour. Waffle Houses stay open during hurricanes. I weep.

But anyway the other week I found this spot, the name of which I'm not going to mention, on social media. The write up indicates one of the things that is different about the spot is that it hosts a small urban museum.  Which is a neat idea.

It's not too far from me, so after I've finished up my ranching duties I roll over that way and check it out. First, the music is loud. Like we're in the club loud. In a restaurant, and it's still daylight outside. There are no tables or chairs, duh, pandemic, but the art is still there. Only, the art didn't agree with me. What was billed as art proves the old adage 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder.' Okay, admittedly I grew up in the country, but my version of the "urban experience" is usually slightly cleaner. And would involve a lot less police tape. But it's really more down to personal preference and experience. And the artist was trying to make a statement. I guess. So there was that. Then we get to the aforementioned lack of wings in a wing spot. Then the cashier acting as though I was bothering him by showing up to get some food.  

Seriously, the wings thing bothers me. I could almost understand if we lived in say.... Chicago or maybe Butte, Montana. Because in Georgia, where I reside there are multiple chicken processing plants within reasonable driving distance. Multiple. The very idea that yard bird is not available around here borders on absolute lunacy. This is where the truck would stop first!

How is a wing spot out of WINGS?

So, they really didn't have any wings. But they did have chicken fingers. And I was trail busting hungry. So I got the fingers and a coney.

Okay, there really was only one good place to get a chili dog in Atlanta. Well, Marietta really. I used to go by every so often and get two with onions and fries. The chili wasn't too watery, the bun was warm with the seeds on it, the fries were crisp. It was all Chicago up in there, and swear that old guy behind the counter was always there. He must have slept in the walk-in freezer. Well, there was a spot in Sandy Springs but the sum of the parts didn't really make the whole. They tried valiantly, but it just wasn't it.  Sigh. Anyway, I would go up to Book Nook on a slow Saturday and spend a hour or so, then stop by the hot dog spot and enjoy my new finds. Memories.

You know what, I'm gonna let that coney go and just going to say the wing sauce was pretty good. I normally have to get my wings plain and sauce them at home - seriously. For the curious, Buffalo flavor is NOT medium. It has more butter. Their sauce, on the chicken fingers was pretty good. Tangy with just a taste of fire. I actually saved them and made a sandwich for lunch the next day.

So, bottom line? I still gotta try the wings. So I don't know.    

Barkeep. A Stella and book. Something bouncy. Do have anything with Calvin and Hobbs?

Monday, June 21, 2021

Plugged In

Ramblings Post #394
I love music. Music sets the vibe. The right song can soothe the soul. The right song can set a party off. The right song can make a quiet, intimate evening head in the right direction, if you know what I mean. The right song can move a crowd and change an empire. The right song can bring THAT memory and suddenly you're transported to the time and place. And the wrong song can sit in your ear for hours, circling and distracting, muddling your thoughts to no end, because you know it's in there...somewhere, you just need to remember it. Music has power.

So, I few weeks ago I guess, I stumbled across a video snippet of a UK rap group that took me by surprise a bit. It was good. I'm talking way better than a lot of the stuff I hear on radio. And me being me, I took a trip through ye olde internet and found the group and watched the whole video. It was very very good. So I good i actually paid for the song with iTunes.

Note: Most of what I buy through iTunes is what I call Work Jazz, because it provides lively background music without words to sing along too, something I tend to do without even realizing it, so to trick my brain with sound its got to be all horns, strings and drums. Lively, but it allows me to concentrate.

In any case, I popped on YouTube to look up something else, probably game related I don't really remember, and in my suggestions were some reaction videos to that particular song's video. Now I've been very bored on occasion, and watched some reaction videos. There are couple of young fellas I watched a couple of times who announce that they like to get into that old stuff, then will play something I used to listen to when it first came out, for instance, House of Pain's Jump Around. Not to hate on them, but damnit, why you trying to make me feel old with that. I mean, it's not an old song. It came out when? ....Don't make me knock this whole thing over. 

In any case, I clicked on one because I was curious, and I wanted to see what other people thought. And down the rabbit hole I went. 

I have watched maybe twenty five or thirty since I started, and they follow a general pattern. The reviewer is hype, click subscribe, join the family, and now they've been sent a link or request to look at this, or they've heard it's hot and want to see for themselves. The beat comes up first while the screen is all black, and the person generally stops video to ask what the sample is. (It's the Fugees, which sampled it from Enya I think). The video starts with the producer looking smug and it cuts to the artists in studio and then it happens. Most of the time one of two things happen: The reviewer stops the video and asks the camera "is this a joke?" or they pause it and look at the screen for a few seconds puzzled.

Because the group is Pete & Bas. And Pete is wearing a pork-pie hat and Bas has a suit on. Oh, and they're both white. And Pete is 70. Bas is 74.

Probably should have mentioned that earlier.

Honestly, Pete looks like the guy who runs an independent garage, the kind that will put a new transmission in for $500 if you don't ask where the transmission came from. And Bas looks a no-nonsense version of Batman's butler Alfred. Basically couple of old villains from a Guy Ritchie gangster movie. Yes, Bas has on three Rolex watches and gold chains. Pete looks like he keeps a kneecapper under the bar. But if you've never seen them before,  there is a moment of pause. A lot of people thought this was a parody group and it was a comedy riff of some sort.

Then the reviewer starts the video again, going back a bit of course, and the song starts. The beat is infectious, and before you know you're bobbing your head. And Pete starts, his raspy voice fits his rapper's braggadocio perfectly, as this pensioner tries to pick up a girl at the bar. Reviewers suddenly shouting, "Wait, they got bars" is the a regular comment. Most people agree that Pete can go, as he bellies up the mike and lets loose. Every now and then a review will pause the video and immediately declare "He didn't write this," as though that's a disqualifying act. A number of rappers don't write their own stuff. Big names too. And I understand that these guys do write there own stuff, but that their grandchildren help them with the slang. I'm not getting into that.

Then Bas comes on and his voice is like butter. And he explains that a woman is after him, and tells her what time to come through. This usually raises some eyebrows and howls of appreciation. And because now that I've heard the song about 50 times, i know that they're not even getting started. Some reviewers try to translate the UK slang, other stop and go back multiple times perplexed at how well the lyrics and cadence go together. Quite a few bars cause people to pause and go back and appreciate the wordplay. One or two reviewers even got up and started dancing.

Then, when they switch off, Bas takes off his jacket. Some reviewers, already into it, start getting really excited.

Watching them is kinda funny. They don't bop around like regular rappers, they look stiff and a little bit off. But then, they are in their 70s and their bodies don't work quite the way a younger mans' would. And although from the ease in which they apper to do it, they haven't been rapping since the 80s. I understand that they only having picked it up in the last four years or so. According to Bas in an interview they shot after making this, if he wasn't doing this he figures he'd be sitting around waiting to die. So I applaud them for getting out of their comfort zone and having a little fun.

The duo apparently have albums. And a number of videos. One of the vids has Pete golfing with hand grenades and Bas in a gilly suit.  Another could have been a scene from a Guy Ritchie film. They have following. They're damned good rappers, better than a lot I've heard.

And by the way, when Bas takes the jacket off...he really does go in.

The hardest song of 2021 so far is by two grandfathers. Damn. 

Barkeep. Some of that good good from the back. Why does everyone note when Fumez the engineer spills his drink?

Monday, May 31, 2021

A Venture Out

Ramblings Post #393
I'm going to have to go back and actually finish Red Dead Redemption 2. I just realized I did the same thing with GTA V the first time. At some point I just stopped playing. Work, other things came up and then I picked the controller back up one day and was like...okay what am I doing here? I think I may have gotten more into PC gaming - strategy and the like as of late - but there is still some much more game in there I know it. Does that put it on my backlog list though?

I got my oil changed for the first time in a year a few months ago. It was then I realized that the travel and going out thing wasn't really sourced from the lockdowns and stay at, "suggestions." (Because every other person I knew rolled out at some point. Except me apparently) I had gotten my oil changed last March right before the pandemic first came out, and in the interim I had put less than 1500 miles on my car. In twelve months. I was when I got the notice that I only had a few more payments left and that I had owned it for the full 60 months did I realize the weight of the issue. 

I bought the car with 15K on it. I have not yet reached 62K. 

I don't go nowhere. 

I used to roam the streets of Atlanta. A dive bar here, a odd eatery there. Sometimes just to see what they had. I'd drive halfway across the city for a bookstore or an odd computer part. I've driven to parties in Stockbridge and north of Kennesaw, quite possibly in the same night. 

Now I look at what's in my fridge and say "eh, I'll go to the grocery store tomorrow." 

Life comes at you....well, I think it's got to come at me now because I given my choice me and Netflix doesn't sound that bad at all.

Barkeep. Apparently I'm not driving anywhere. Everclear and two cubes of ice. And a cot in your back room. 


Monday, May 10, 2021

A Visit Home

Ramblings Post #392
Life changes tend to sneak up on you. A lot of times we make small shifts over time and before we know it our new normal isn't what we think it is. I made deliberate efforts to stay home and safe last year. And I filled my laptop and TV with distractions and other entertainment. But as this starts to wind down....we hope.... the changes which before were a chore now feel comfortable. Maybe a little too comfortable. Changing back may mean giving up these Oreos and the spot on the couch shole is comfy. Hopefully what comes next is a getting it together montage before the big, well, something or other. I hope the music is thrilling.

Home isn't a place, it's a feeling. And despite being put out by the travel in the past, I have long missed the feeling of being in the presence of my folks. Sometimes aggravating, sometimes a little overbearing, but always with love, my folks. So now that I'm properly vaxxed up, and they have been for a few months now, I loaded up the Pacer and for Mother's Day weekend got on the road to see my Mom.

Now my mother is a practical woman. Last year when before I even broached the subject of coming down despite the pandemic she quickly headed me off at the pass. She said the phone worked - both ways - and wasn't no need to risk our health with all that riding up and down the road. They weren't planning on going anywhere so we should just wait it out. And during the Great Homestay of 2020 I did speak to my people frequently, sometimes two or three times a week, way more than I did usually. So it wasn't like I was out of touch. But the phone is different than actually seeing someone in person. 

So I gassed up Friday night after work and got on the road early Saturday morning, driving straight through. I don't usually like to do that because that was my father's habit when I was kid. Okay he had three fairly hyperactive children with him so maybe he had some purpose. But now when I take a road trip, and I drove more this past Mother's Day weekend than I drove pretty much the last nine months of 2020, I'll stop at a spot on the side of the road because I'm the driver and I can. Stretch my legs if you will. Or anyways, I used to do that, in the before times, in the long, long ago. No, this time once the car got rolling it didn't stop again until I rolled up in my parents driveway.

My parents looked older. I guess they've looked older every time I've seen them, it's just that it's becoming more noticeable. But they're alive and kicking so that's all that counts. My mother even cooked, something she swears she doesn't do very often anymore. And we ate, and talked about the past and remembered better times. I washed dishes, hung pictures and fixed computer issues. We caught up and just were together.

I also forgot that my mother's house contains THE harshest mirrors on the planet. There is no forgiveness in those babies. I mean swore I had been losing weight lately until I saw myself in her mirrors. I was feeling good, getting my steps up, then bam! The mirror in the bathroom I grew up in could even be considered cruel. Might have to go back to wheat bread and brown rice.

Since last year's lockdown, I had been three places other than a grocery store or a drive thru: My brothers house twice, to my old Running Partner's spot where we sat outside in the driveway and to Spanky's house. Other than that, and to get my vaccine shots I have been home. Luckily I was able to find a ranching gig that let me work from home so I can keep the lights on and the phone working. Going to see my parents felt good. And not just because of the hours in the car seeing the countryside for the first time in a while.

Life needs to get better.

Barkeep. Yes, I've been vaxxed up, now give me a tall cold beer. Yes, I have my card....

Saturday, April 24, 2021


I kinda hate to do these so close together, but they say it comes in threes.

I have much respect for Shock G.

Or Humpty Hump.
Or Mc Blowfish.
Or the other names he called himself. 

Honestly the album Sex Packets almost could have been on an 8-track, it was stuffed with goodies and flow and just played like what it was...a concept album. I must have jammed the crap out of it. Now, these were days before everything was gangsta, back when guys could just get super creative. And they did. The videos were half concert, half party. The guys wore silly outfits and did silly things. And Shock G was their leader. 

By the way, the reason we were all confused about if Shock G and Humpty Hump were the same person was because they did occasionally appear together. No shit (it's at minute 3:20). That and we didn't have twitter to leak the truth.

Now, Digital Underground wasn't considered a top tier group by most, but they were up there. And remember this is where the legendary Tupac got his start. With a bunch of guys who engineered songs like "Dowhatchalike", "The Humpty Dance" and "No Nose Job." And long before Drake they were the guys that sang with "Kiss You Back."

They weren't just a rap group, they were artists.

Damn, everybody is going too soon. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Deja Voo....all over again

This is a political post

How are we HERE again? 

I have avoided writing about the Chauvin Trial.

As someone said on Instagram the other day, I'm just not up for anymore black pain and suffering. It is becoming a carousel that we can't get off for some reason and the longer we take the more dangerous the pressure grows.

I did catch snippets of the closing arguments. When his defense attorney argued that the framing of the prosecutors "completely disregards" what happened before Floyd was pinned to the pavement it brought back an old memory. After the riots in Los Angeles following the Rodney King verdict long ago, one of the daytime talk show people had an episode where they went down into the neighborhood and white and black people together. And I remember distinctly a young white woman standing up and trying to justify the beating Mr. King took at the hands of the police. She pleaded with the crowd to understand that "we don't know what happened before the video started." And an older white woman stood up, as young girl stood there repeating we just don't know and put her hand on the girl's shoulder. Her words were profound. She simply told the young woman that "there is nothing he could have done to have deserved what happened to him."

There was nothing that George Floyd did that day, or any other day, that deserved a penalty of death. Period.

And for the record, his medical condition and previous drug use should be no defense. The eggshell plaintiff rule should be in full effect here. I'm still amazed that the defense attorney characterized Chauvin as feeling threatened by the crowd, despite all the testimony and video showing otherwise. I'm not sure if he was expecting cheers as casually killed a man by leaning on his neck ..with his hands in his pockets. Threatened? I'm really not sure what was going through his mind. And frankly I kinda don't want to know.

Now, even if you don't believe in defunding the police (still a dumb name for a good idea) as many of the jurors indicate they do not, the concept of watching a man in custody being killed in slow motion, casually as it was, should move something inside you. I hope. As the prosecution stated, "To be very clear, this case is called the State of Minnesota versus Derek Chauvin. It is not called the State of Minnesota versus the police." The idea of bad cops getting away with it, time and time again, only undercuts the idea of the police as the good guys in the eyes of the public. And will eventually begin to increase the real, not just perceived, danger that officers face out in the field. This nightmare scenario has to stop somewhere, so why not here? Believe it or not, if you think about it, this actually is a pro-police prosecution.

And considering that during this trial we have experienced the deaths of Daunte Wright at the hands of the police just a few miles from where this trial is taking place, and Adam Toledo's death while his hands were raised as instructed. Meanwhile, another part of the same state a man who rams two police cars, assaults an officer and led the police on a chase with an officer hanging onto the side of the truck is taken into custody. I can only wonder what the difference in circumstances was.

I'm hoping for the best. Maybe we've woken up that continually granting ultimate power on an individual basis to people usually not vetted for bias or other dangerous tendencies probably isn't a good idea. I mean, the evidence should be clear here. Because if not, then I think 2021 is coming for 2020's Most Turrible Year belt. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

'Cause that's how Rough Ryders Roll...

A young DMX looked like a the bad ass avatar in a video game that was never made. His frame thin but muscular, his style and demeanor one you couldn't hope to achieve. His voice that raspy sound that gave gravitas, and his face an expression that let you know without question he'd seen it all and done and it all and that he wasn't about to fuck around on the way to the final boss. 

An older DMX looked like your favorite uncle when you were a child. A little thicker but still with a aura of joy. Quick with a joke but working every day to make sure the spiritual was right too. This was the uncle that would spot you twenty and beer out the cooler when your mother wasn't looking, but would also show up when you were in trouble ready to handle business.  

In between we got classics. I spent to today jamming to It's Dark and Hell is Hot, the classic ...And Then There was X, and The Great Depression and singles from Grand Champ and Year of the Dog Again. I was stunned at how many of the songs I still knew the words too. (I was also surprised that at this age simply rapping like we used to I was out of breath, damn.) 

And then the social media deluge started. Of DMX being Earl Simmons. Father. Friend. Philosopher. And guy who while he struggled with his own demons didn't let it color his zest for life. 

His kind shall not pass this way again.

Because they don't even try to do it like this no more....

Friday, April 2, 2021

Political Misfortunes

This is a political post. 

Three months seems like a lifetime ago.

A few months ago it seemed like, at least in conservative terms, Matt Gaetz could do no wrong. He wanted the innocent, if you considered Roger Stone an innocent, to be pardoned. He stormed a closed door meeting on Capitol Hill to get the truth about impeachment inquiry against Cheato, though if you paid attention he mostly stayed in the back. He mocked mask wearing, blamed China and lived life unafraid of the virus. He defended teenage shooter in Wisconsin and blamed the January Sixth attack on Antifa disguised at patriots.

With a resume like that you could almost see him eyeing the White House, provided of course Cheato decided not to run again in which case he'd happily pick up his pom-poms and go back to cheering.

And then....well, things escalated quickly.

I remember seeing on twitter that he was thinking of resigning early to go join NewsMax or FOX and wondering why. Then the story broke in the New York Times and it turns out that he was under investigation from the Justice Department. Wait, an investigation that started during his buddy's Cheato's administration? This means it was something so serious even they couldn't overlook it. But who could have guessed it involves one of the conservatives favorite tools of accusation - sex with minors. If you listen them everybody not conservative is doing it while having pizza. Some even claim that's why there are child slaves at the secret base on the Moon. Oh, I'm sorry, that was silly of me, I meant the secret base on Mars. Now the whole things feels more like being accused of cheating by someone WHO IS cheating to try and throw you off their trail.

Special note for people who believe in "liberal" or "mainstream" media, after Cuomo got accused of lying and inappropriate behavior those mainstream outlets keep following the story day after day. And his own people want him gone and their not holding their tongues about it. By contrast, the GOPQ has been mostly silent, and FOX pretty much pretended the story didn't exist for two days. Well, they covered it for a minute as a breaking new story, but after Matt pretty much tried to get Tucker Carlson to vouch for him (or possibly be indicted as well) so I think I can see why they might be hands off for a minute. Also, someone remind Matt that even if  the extortion part of the story is true, that doesn't absolve you of the crime you were being extorted over. Just a quick reminder when you see him Tucker, thanks.

Of course since then things have only gotten worse. From the unprompted mention in the Tucker interview of "child prostitutes" (no such thing), to political allies having been indicted on charges related to sex trafficking (see Joel Greenburg), to the stories of him showing pictures of women he'd "been with" frat boy style on the floor of the House, to the "son" living with him which made me think this was going a whole other way. I did, really. And we're still in the first week of this scandal. 

Someone remind 2021 that it is not in competition with 2020.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

So, YOUR boy.... (as required by Internet Rule #478b)

Ramblings Post #391
My friend and I trade memes to pass this lockdown time. I mean, I haven't been vaccinated yet and there IS a 1 in 5 chance of having a serious medical aliment that follows you for the rest of your life if you get it, so I'm enjoying some me time. But anyway, we trade memes. Silly memes, sports memes (she hates the Cowboys) and political memes. But she's not as attuned to frivolities of the Internet like myself. But she does occasionally send the wicked curve-ball. I'm glad this isn't in her wind up.

I have absolutely no interest in viewing Lil Nas' new video for his new single MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name). Zero. Why don't you watch it before you judge you might retort? I would decline, for the preview images have already given rise to the idea that it is not for me. Note here, I didn't say bad, evil, demonic,  objectionable or not worthy of it's creation. I said that it is NOT FOR ME. There are a lot of things in this world that may be in essence good, or at least something we should reserve judgment for... like say, bananas or Adam Sandler films. But sometimes you just know something isn't for you, and subjecting yourself to it would problematic. So I'm going to say that this song, which I understand is along the lines of an open letter to himself about coming out as gay, is not for me.  

And no, I don't eat bananas because first there is just something wrong with the texture and second the taste of them is just weird (perhaps it's just me because I never really ate them because of the texture). And Adam Sandler is hit or miss, honestly.

Now I've watched and enjoyed other media focused on coming out stories, on gay men and women, on satanic worship, etc, so I don't think that this is bias thing. I thought South Park's gay couple of Satan and Saddam Hussien was funny, so the visuals for the video are not even a wholly new idea. And despite the 73,000 remixes of Old Town Road I was still in favor of  the young man getting his money. I mean Lil Nas X's rags to riches story of his come up is fantastic. The ASCAP money alone must have been staggering. And since then he's become a new millennia celeb, putting up top choice snark on Twitter and doing the rounds. 

This is his next project? This? 

I'm not sure what he's going for here. Is this a declaration of his identity? Because I'm fairly sure most of us already knew he was gay. An image change? I thought we already had enough "evil" rappers, but maybe he's got a spin on it we haven't seen. A record label indulgence for a successful artist? Wouldn't be the first or last time. But whatever this is he's definitely committed. Instead of just the video which could be waved away as a questionable artistic choice, as part of his promo he had commissioned 666 pairs of Nike Air Max 97 shoes in black and red, which feature a real drop of blood (hopefully his own, but I don't know), a pentagram attached, the number 666 emblazoned, and a bible verse about the devil, John 3:18. A collaboration with art collective MSCHF (which Nike has disavowed), the shoes were priced at $1,018 a pop and sold out in less than a minute. 

If you're gonna be a bear....
What I don't understand is that he is mildly upset, perhaps weary, of the outrage. He knew this was coming, after all he lives in a country that takes umbrage at people not saying bless you when someone sneezes. Lap dancing the devil in your music video is just a bit above that. Yes, we are an increasingly secular country, but when you push at the boundaries things don't always go as planned. I hope he calculated the duration properly - see Dixie Chicks. 

Like Issa Rae once said, I'm rooting for everybody black. This don't really have my blessings though, but then who am I to judge? I just hope he knows what he's doing, because while things have changed in the past few years, they ain't changed that much. 

Barkeep. Let me get a glass of that Cali Red from Snoop Dog. My people say that wine is the bomb.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Done Deal

Ramblings Post #390
Every year I always wonder what we do each weekend without football. It's like the season happening causes amnesia as to the things we do instead. I personally have been writing (well, mostly napping) and as my father says, ducking the virus. I had hoped to get more done, I've got a whole host of things I could be doing even just inside my house. But that couch, that keyboard keeps calling me. Napping. I'm mostly napping. 

First, it's good to have a quarterback. Finally.

Everyone knew this deal would get done, so I don't know what took so long. As last year proved in the NFL, it turns out that quarterback is not an interchangeable position. All across the league, due to injury, Covid, or just bad play coaches found out that you can't just put someone there who knows the playbook, like say defensive end, and get only marginal appreciable loss. An average end can still make stops. An average QB affects the whole offense. The Cowboys thought they had that covered with the Red Life Insurance policy, but when they filed their claim and had to actually play him, it became clear that the best laid plans sometimes turn to garbage. We're not even going to discuss the DiNucci incident.

Prior to his injury, Dak was on fire leading the league in passing so much that he still was at the top end a week later. And as a starting cornerback and linebacker...wait, checks notes,....Dak doesn't play defense. So it's NOT his fault the Cowboys defense couldn't stop a runaway toddler. But then offense always been the team focus, even back when Romo could get you 35, the defense would routinely allow 40. And the vaunted Cowboys teams of the long, long ago had top tier defensive talent. Really, go look at the records. So since the Prescott deal is structured to still give them some cap space, someone tell Stephen, not Jerry, that a decent cornerback, free safety, or outside linebacker wouldn't be the worst pickup from free agency. I'm just saying.

Yes, Dak worked them. I personally don't blame him. They've known he was the guy since the end of second year and they waited, so that's the Jones boys fault they didn't try him early. I'm not sure why they thought the price would go down after everyone else got their deal, and since he's now the only QB from his draft class still starting for the team that drafted him, there is a possibility he's something special. So with that squared away, and pocket full of cap room, (and a full off season because Texas is ugh) I'm hoping the 'boys finally can put all the pieces together, because I'm tired of the jokes.

We're the Dallas Cowboys damnit!    

It's on you Hoss

Barkeep. The good Bourbon. The Pappy. Because when you win, you celebrate.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Black Art - A Mood

Ramblings Post #389
I like art, in all it's forms. From the small pieces, the large pieces, the graffiti, the abstract, the classical, the experimental. Music, sculpture, paint, writing, landscaping, culinary (yes, they're art!) and all the rest. My life is my mind, my imagination, and art is the key to the forces that shape it, that help me to interpret the world around me. Everything in my life is shaped by, oddly, everything else in life. And one day I hope to affect the world around me.

By Dwayne Jones

Digital Artist. Yes, because it's the finished project, not what he started with. I like this for the colors. It brightens up a face so often clouded by the world around it, but still allows enough of it through for the resolute attitude to display.  


I like her eye. The work has a soft feature, that feels more like a vibrant cartoon, which allows the viewer to assume certain things. I think of this character as smart, funny, and health conscious. She feels like a vegetarian, not a vegan, who works out at home because she took a spin class and didn't feel like paying $65 to sit in a room and pretend to ride a bike...and get yelled at. In simpler terms, the artist while not getting into details, has created a story from an image. 

By Arinze Stanley - Machine Man #6

And now this guy. This is NOT an photo. This is a drawing, Charcoal and graphite on paper. This guy's talent is absolutely amazing. The level of detail. The way he is able to capture the tiniest nuance. I hope he charges a grip. When I first found him he was just getting hot, and now he's doing actual shows. And I hope to be able to give him full price for his ability one day. 

I want to spend a day with art. 

Barkeep. A tall water. Seriously. I really haven't hydrated today, and I know I should everyday, and so drinking at this point would be just bad. Why don't you think I'm serious? I forgot.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Black Art - A Scene

Ramblings Post #388
This pandemic has brought out the worst and best of us. But as I've said, I am an artist. I find stories and tales in the small moments and build them into epics that cause mental thunderstorms of creativity. And I've looked upon the great works and sniff in derision that 'I could do that'. (By the way, I'm wrong, I probably couldn't do that, but who are YOU to tell ME.) And I am weirdly searching for perfection in a world where I know that the real beauty is in the errors. But I will continue. I will produce. I will create. I will be who I dreamed. If there is nothing interesting on TV. 

Visual by Desiree Mattsson

I like this visual. It's staged by Desiree Mattsson for Vogue Arabia, which I guess is a thing. I'm not sure how magazines that focus on style work in countries or regions where the people I imagine are their focus are suppressed, but if it works for them, well hey. The look is cool in tone, with the highlights of jewelry that catch my eye. It is very nice work.  

by Naledi Tshegofatso Modupi

And there is this piece. Striking hard edges mixed with curves and shapes. It feels like I'm missing something but can still feel it. She describes her work as reductive or semi-abstract, a sort of getting down the essence of the person.

"85 To Africa" (2019)by Dr. Fahamu Pecou

This, right here. This I do want. Perhaps it is the duality of the image, the visuals of both things that are typically African and stereotypically from Atlanta that get me. Or maybe that I've lived in Atlanta for a long time and this just feels familiar. Like I might see (or since we're in a pandemic - have seen) it in a popup shop in Little Five Points. Either way, he's got immense talent and I may have to get one of his. 

"Now, back to writing my own piece of art," he lied. 

Barkeep, do you have any chocolate milk? I know it's a bar but I'm just vibing on some ice cold chocolate milk right now. And I already drank the last of it? Right...

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Black Art - A Vibe

Ramblings Post #387
This pandemic has brought out the best and worst of us. I've tackled projects I hadn't thought I would have time for, and woefully procrastinated on others as though I was doing something else. At heart, I'm an artist. I have two or three tools designed to make music, and the small pieces I've produced people have liked but are finally shelved. I'm still writing, short pieces when an idea moves me and slowly but surely through this second draft I'm working on. And years and years ago I used to draw. I one day hope to paint. I will one day have a art show, a concert, a re-enactment of a scene I wrote. I will, it's on my bucket list. 

By Elie.A.Arts

I like this piece. Simple but elegant. The crown upon her head, the eyes wide open and full of curiosity. This is one of his more stylized pieces, his work generally runs a less particular. Unless his model really had such inviting eyes. 

By Curtis Newkirk Jr.

The focus has a regal look, even as he is adorned simply. I like the feeling of it, the fruit giving the portrait a light feel, but does not detract from the intensity of the subjects gaze. 

Heritage III - By Jeff Manning

We should all have something by Jeff Manning on our wall. His pieces are just a wonderful mix of style and color. The models take on new aspects under his hand. If I can work out this year right I may give out his stuff for the holidays.

I'm putting visiting another art show on my list of things to do once the pandemic is over. But man that's getting to be a long list. 

Barkeep, and by that I mean me, make me a bourbon and coke. Wild Turkey if you got it, and I know you do.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Final Pitch Meeting...

This is a political post. 

Open on a cold but clear Washington DC morning. You can feel the excitement in the air, something was about to happen.

Then there, in the sky. It is a man, a single man hurtling to earth. All eyes turned skyward, enthralled by his daring. Who would be so bold, so daring as to interrupt the swearing in of Joe Biden? Less than five hundred feet from the earth his parachute opens, a grand American Flag with a soaring eagle superimposed upon it. Cut to outside the gates guarding the Capitol Building forlorn supporters of the outgoing President who had prayed for a miracle suddenly feel their hearts leap with joy. Cheering wildly. The shots from across the nation all channels, the entire internet, suddenly switch to a live feed from the capitol.

He lands firmly at the top of the steps leading to the dais. His golden mane is perfect, shirtless his perfectly sculpted pecs and eight pack abs glisten with sweat and dignity. He is the embodiment of all good and true in America, the living embodiment of the perfect man. He is so amazing. He storms, no, almost Fred Astaire like, he dances down the steps. You see the crowd is in shock so nobody moves. As he starts the dancing down, the women are swooning at his rampant masculinity, the men cowed by the same. You can see the fear on their faces. At the bottom of the steps a hapless Obama tries to intervene but he is easily disposed of, almost casually, knocked aside as though he were an errant piece of paper. The golden one pushes a frail, stammering Biden aside, lays his hand across the offered Bible and growls at the quivering Chief Justice John Roberts, who we show has wet his pants. And he says, get this, he says "Swear me back in, I'm not going anywhere!"

Outside the fence the crowd ejaculates in joy, grown real men weeping tears of happiness that the truth had finally been revealed. The soldiers look at each other and immediately realize their beaten, you can see it on their faces. And then....

What? No good? I think the Q-Anon crowd will eat it up. My audience will love it! This could work, I'm telling you...

That's how I pictured Cheato trying to convince the Network to renew his contract for the President gig. Him and Guli at one side of the table, him huffing and puffing his way through the scenario, Guli doing hyping him up and doing sound effects. He's the master of the deal, I mean, he just needs another season.

And with that, this cycle of President comes to a long overdue close.

The reunion show is scheduled for a Federal Pen near you!