Saturday, January 31, 2009

The AfroSquad in Super Bowl City: Part 2

(Continued from Part 1 of Adventures in a Super Bowl City.)

When we last left our hero, he was wandering the soggy streets of Tampa, absorbing the enthusiastic insanity of the 2009 Super Bowl.

Scene 1: A Friday. The tide has changed. What was once a benign tourist movement has become an invasion. Although the influx of Steeler Faithful outnumbers the Cardinal Crew by nearly 100 to 1, both parties have taken over our hero's city, leaving him to be a pawn in the great game of advertising promotions and drunken revelers.

Our hero yearns to have his city back.

Setting: The mythical land of Bow Wow Wonderland. Similar to Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land (three part refresher: One, Two, and Three), our hero is lost, with only his wits to guide him.

"Mighty strange," our hero says as he enters the bacchanalian complex.

Our hero is approached by four carnival giants, who together speak with one mind, each only saying one word of a sentence. Our hero is forced to put the giants in the correct order to find his way.

"Go to the BootyVille," they instruct our hero.

Scene 2: BootyVille. An area within Bow Wow Wonderland, BootyVille's inhabitants are stuck in a rhythmic trance. They are unable to stop their movements, gyrating, twisting, and turning until the break of dawn. There are also many worshippers in BootyVille, all of whom are also in a trance, unable to stop staring at the inhabitants, transfixed by their hypnotic moneymakers.

The dancing inhabitants speak in a vibrating rhythmic cadence. They tell our hero that he must visit the Highizzle Chiefizzle of Bow Wow Wonderlandizzle, Snoopizzle D-O-Double Gizzle. Only the High Chief knows how our hero can make his city safe and stop the invading hordes.

Scene 3: The Temple of the High Chief. The High Chief is not unlike The Who's Tommy, with his ability to sing insightful life lessons in front of the thousands who flock to hear his words. The High Chief knows of the ways of the street, the ways of the ladies, and the sweet science of hydroponics.

Our hero asks the High Chief how he can reclaim his city. The High Chief responds by singing three important lines.

First, "It ain't no fun if the homies can't have none."

Second, "baby boy looks just like you".

Third, "the princess was starin, while holdin a drank / Reflected from her eyes was gold tank
She waved her hands like, 'Hello! Hi!' / Then gave another gesture like, 'Come here, guy!'

Enlightened, our hero finds his way out of Bow Wow Wonderland, knowing what he has to do to save his beloved city. But he does not have much time.

Check out the exciting conclusion in Part 3 of Adventures in a Super Bowl City!

Friday, January 30, 2009

The AfroSquad in Super Bowl City Part 1

Setting: A dark and rainy Thursday night in Tampa, Florida, host city of the Super Bowl. The city was decorated for the event and the partiers had already arrived.

Scene 1: Our hero, along with several friends, meets NFL Hall of Famer and television personality Michael Irvin at a Florida Championship Wrestling event.

Being the affable fellow that he is, Mr. Irvin responds to their fanaticism with a Coke and smile, minus the coke.

Scene 2: Our hero leaves the FCW arena and decides to walk the historical Channelside District looking for celebrities and Super Bowl-related set-ups.

He discovers a giant illuminated football, the guardian of the ESPN studio area. Here our hero must pass a rigorous test that only he can ask himself, while he himself is the only one who knows the answers.

After deciphering his self-created riddle, our hero passes through the threshold of the illuminated guardian, valiantly claiming the ESPN area as his own domain and marking his territory with photo opportunities.

Prior to leaving the ESPN domain, our hero attempts to intercept the transmission of ESPN's flagship broadcast with his own visage.

To paraphrase the words of the great DJ Khaled, our hero "is taking over, one city at a time".

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 as our hero travels to the Land of Bow Wow Wonderland, Home of the High Chief.

Click here for Part 2 of Adventures in a Super Bowl City.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

George Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Funk in the White House

Funkateer, Prophet, and you knew it was going to happen eventually.

George Clinton was right. The funk has finally taken over. The White House has changed. We left The Man holding his sore butt out on the curb and we partied the night the away.

Hey, uh, we didn't get our forty acres and a mule / But we did get you.

Way back B.O. (Before the New Pres, you know who), the Real Clinton sang about foregoing the 40 acres and mule and going straight for the Chocolate City. It was no dream. Banishment for the establishment, you know what I am saying?

You don't need the bullet when you got the ballot / Are you up for the downstroke, CC?

The Real Clinton spoke of a day when the Greatest of All Time, Cassius Clay Muhammad Ali, would be in the White House and Miss Aretha Franklin would be the First Lady. Thirty-three years later (the lifetime of Christ, by the way), Ali was at the Capitol and Miss Aretha sang for the First Lady. It all makes sense. This is the way it was destined to be. Too bad Richard Pryor left for brighter pastures. You know he was smiling down on us.

And when they come to march on ya / Tell 'em to make sure they got their James Brown pass

Three-quarters of a score plus one year ago, the Real Clinton again dropped a bomb on The Man. Along with Cube, Dre, Kam, Yo-Yo, the Chilis, Flav and Chuck D, G.C. had us hoping for a new color at the lead domicile. The hope of the Funk was still burning in hearts of the true Funkateers. New generations were marching to the beat, one million strong rising to the street. But like Gil Scott said, "things were better, things were changing, but things were not together".

Picture this, paint a picture picture perfect, paint a perfect picture, paint a picture.

Then it all came together. The stars aligned, a smidge more than half the people rose as one, and the Funk beamed through the interplanetary cosmos down to Washington, DC and tore the roof off the sucka. It rode in on an Atomic Dog, came full blast through the Bop Gun, and forced The Man to bow down to the movement. Even Sir Nose knows what's up now. You see him dancin', doing the Aqua Boogie. It's cool.

Although this week represented a huge step, we still have miles to go. We have not yet achieved collective Funkentelechy. The Zone of Zero Funkativity is still prominent in many parts of our worldly habitation. But we are moving in the right direction and if we keep going The Man won't be anything more than nothing.

Long live the Funk.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is Cheerleading a Dwarf Tossing Loophole?

Last weekend, prior to watching a college basketball game, I watched a cheerleading squad put on an impressive display of balance and acrobatics. Besides the flips, leaps, and dance moves, the cheer squad's choreographed performance included multiple occurrences of people-tossing, where young women were thrown about and thankfully caught by their fellow cheerleaders.

Although most fans cheered the cheerleaders and gave them a round of applause upon completion of their performance, I did not. I was too horrified. Horrified that the thousands in attendance would blatantly allow these young men and women to make a mockery of the Florida legal system.

Way back in the ancient days of 1989, the State of Florida banned dwarf tossing. Despite the legal pursuit of Dave the Dwarf, this law is still in effect. Yet apparently rules enacted for the safety of our nation's vertically challenged population do not apply to those engaged in cheerleading activities.

According to Wikipedia, a dwarf is defined as "a person with an adult height of less than 4 feet 10 inches". The average high school or college cheerleader is barely taller. Yet they are tossed, thrown, and heaved like rag dolls during legally sanctioned cheerleading performances. I find this preposterous.

According to, the rules of dwarf tossing are as follows: "you pick up your selected midget (who will likely be adorning some kind of safety helmet and vest), take a three step run-up and throw the little bugger as far as you possibly can". How is this different from cheerleading?

If anything, dwarf tossing is actually safer than cheerleading. In dwarf tossing contests, dwarves often wear "special padded clothing or Velcro costumes" and "are thrown onto mattresses or at Velcro-coated walls", according to Wikipedia. Cheerleaders, on the other hand, are thrown dozens of feet in the air without padding and with only their teammates to prevent serious, or perhaps even fatal, injury.

(For example, compare the awkward cheerleading falls seen here, here, or here with the dwarf tossing exploits seen here, here, or here. Which is more dangerous? Hint: not the dwarf tossing.)

What if a dwarf dressed him or herself in cheerleading outfit? What if he or she did a cheer before being picked up and tossed on to a padded mat or heaved into a padded wall? Would that still be against the law? If it is legal for the cheerleading team I watched and other cheerleading teams nationwide to endanger the lives of young women by tossing them high into the air with minimal safety precautions, shouldn't the throwing of a similar-sized dwarf be of similar legality? Aren't those who applaud cheerleaders but denounce dwarf tossing blatant hypocrites?

There are only two options available to us that would alleviate this perplexing conundrum. Either we legalize dwarf tossing or we ban cheerleading. It's one or the other. There is no middle ground.