Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lines, Flatlines, Deadlines, and Baseball Memories

I am not a deadline sort of guy. I don't like 'em. Way too final. You know what I don't understand? How did flatline come to mean death, and deadline is used for everything else? If you flatline aren't you pretty much dead? Shouldn't that be called the deadline? After all, it's a line, and you are dead.

Speaking of dead, how soon do you think it will be until I have to write the Pirates' Eulogy for the the Eliminated? I'm saying before mid-August. I'll have to round up the pallbearers, Undertakers, and Kanes.

Do you think the Pirates could have landed Rod Beck, Darren Lewis, and Royce Clayton from the Giants for Barry Bonds in 1992? And do you think they could have gotten Gregg Jefferies and Pete Schourek from the Mets for Bobby Bonilla in 1991?

When I heard Gregg Jefferies used to swing a bat in a pool as part of his training, I wanted to do that so bad. All my mother would let me use in our pool was a wiffle ball bat. WTF, Mom? How was I supposed to be the second coming of Darryl Strawberry with a wiffle ball bat? Well, I guess all I really needed to do to be the next Darryl would be snort some blow, drink myself into a stupor, get cancer, and get picked up by the cops a few times. I guess Mom was right, I really didn't need to be swinging a bat in the pool.

But anyways, because I am not a famous baseball player (thanks, mom!), I've decided to go to the crossroads. I am going to make a deal with the devil. Are there deadlines when dealing with the devil? Is it like baseball, where you have to negotiate before midnight on a certain night? Do some souls come with a no-trade clause? Can I just throw in a soul to be named later? I hope the devil looks more like Elizabeth Hurley than Martin Brodeur.

See, I brought it back to deals, deadlines, and the fact that the Pirates traded everyone with big league experience on their team for the Lake Panasoffkee Township Little League All-Stars. Rumor has it the Pirates front office thinks there might be a number one starter in the bunch. Maybe even a future fourth outfielder.

This from the same team that has signed two guys from an Indian game show, a Lithuanian, and a Australian. Andy Van Slyke is probably rolling in his grave.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

MTV Exploiting the Economy ... As Usual

Contrary to popular belief, MTV and MTV2 do play music videos. Sandwiched between 56 different types of teen-targeted reality shows is AMTV, a varying block of music videos airing anytime between 2AM and 8AM EST. AMTV is MTV the way MTV used to be and the way it should be, straight up "music television". None of that "16 and Pregnant" crap.

Lately, AMTV has been part of my TV rotation during breakfast. Depending on my mood, I'll flip from SportsCenter to AMTV to the morning local news and then, of course, back to SportsCenter. Since I've become a semi-frequent viewer of AMTV, I've seen some of the worst videos and songs I've ever seen. I'm not a fan of much new rock (especially the wannabe punk-influenced or emo-influenced unimaginative garbage); definitely not a fan of the pseudo R&B, auto-tune dance ballad stuff; and the art of lyricism has all but disappeared from mainstream hip-hop. I'm not sure if this makes me old and out of touch, but it is what it is.

The other day, however, a funny thing happened. I saw the following videos in a row:

Street Sweeper Social Club - 100 Little Curses

Jadakiss - Who's Real

K'Naan - T.I.A.

What surprises me is that all three of these videos and songs have social messages. Street Sweeper Social Club is frequently openly critical of America and especially the capitalist philosophy. Although the weakest of the group, Jadakiss is definitely sending a social message when the decries against "fake" people. And K'Naan is a Somalia rapper with a globalist view who has expressed sympathy towards the plight of Somali pirates.

According to their songs, all three of these of groups are fed up with the current social-economic situation (in order of frustration: SSSC, K'Naan, and Jadakiss). The same situation and economic conditions that helped MTV (Viacom) grow to the mega-billion dollar machine it is now. Of course, I really doubt MTV agrees with the opinions and views expressed in all its videos, but it is going to be difficult for them to shut down an opposition they are now feeding. When videos were all about flash and bling and big cars, it was easy for MTV to attach programming on cribs, pimping rides, and the good life. But what about when times change?

Of course I expect MTV to exploit the down economy. Socially conscious videos have been around since Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five came out with "The Message". But as more people grow aware of what is going on around them, more artists are going to make music expressing these thoughts. Slowly the music will be more educated and the viewers will want to see videos that make sense and represent their reality, not the corporate-driven image of fake success. It is the old mantra that art represents life. To quote veteran socially conscious rapper Paris "labels never made the culture - you got it twisted".

Cultural programming is easy when the culture is fat, dumb, and sedated. But what happens when they wake up?

(Images found on

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Shoulda Been Dead On A Thursday Morning Bangin My Head

Greetings. The Great Jordi is back. In some parts I am known as Agent J, but that is neither here nor there. Well, it is actually there, as it is in some places, which have to be there, because they are certainly not here, unless you were there, in which they would be here. And if they were here, then I must stop talking to you because I am not ready and it is impolite to have guests over when you are not ready. So therefore, ipso facto, e pluribus unum, because I am not ready they are not here so they must be there. So there.

Now I am completely off course on what I wanted to talk about. But because I have a steady first mate, I will bring myself back on course in a moment.

Anyway, did you know there was a Science Fiction writer named Jerome Walton?

Do you remember that movie Fire in the Sky? All about being abducted. By space men. Speaking of, I watched Phinneas and Ferb tonight and they were in space, pretending to be astronauts. Seriously, if you are not watching Phinneas and Ferb you are selling yourself short and doing yourself a disservice. While the rest of the Saloon is watching cooking shows, I am watching cartoons.

And that's just the way it is. Some things will never change.

By the way, the following teams were declared winners last night by outscoring their opponents before the close of the 9th inning:

Pirates, Yankees, Rockies, A's, Marlins, Nationals, Mariners, and Blue Jays, Braves, Rangers, Angels, Astros, White Sox, and Dodgers, and Cubs.

If your favorite team was not listed on this list, they probably either didn't play, or lost.

Peace out.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ron Simmons is a WWE Hall of Famer

(Originally posted on

Last weekend marked a momentous occasion for one of Bobby Bowden's first great players.  Ron Simmons, who played for FSU from 1977 to 1980, was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

(Question: Why does this article say he was inducted back in 2008? I am confused. Is there a difference between enshrined and inducted?)

Being a bit too young to remember Simmons in a Nole uniform, most of my memories of him center around his pro wrestling career, where he won several titles in the WWF and WCW. I even got his autograph when WWF Smackdown came to Tallahassee in 1999.

That wrestling event surprisingly pulled even the toughest Seminole heartstrings. When Simmons, then known as Farooq, and his tag team partner, Bradshaw, came down the aisle, the Civic Center crowd went absolutely nuts, breaking out in the Seminole Chant. You could even see that Simmons, normally a tough guy in the ring, was a little emotional about his "homecoming". He wasted no time when he got in the ring, jumping on the turnbuckles and leading the crowd in their chanting and chopping.

As for Simmons and Bradshaw's opponents, the Mean Street Posse, well, they didn't stand a chance. Simmons and Bradshaw beat them in about 2 minutes, with Simmons dealing the final knock-out via a fitting chop to his opponent's head. Victorious, Simmons walked back up the ramp to the sound of more chanting and the sight of more tomahawk chopping.

So congrats to Ron Simmons on becoming the latest Seminole in the College Football Hall of Fame.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Counterprogramming on the night of the ESPYs

I have never been a big fan of award shows. I don't watch the Oscars, the Tonys, the Emmys, the BET Awards, the CMT Awards, or any other WTF Awards show out there. Instead of being about the fans and the entertainment, award shows end up being industry love-fests where celebrities drool all over each other. And few, if any, of these awards shows are worse than ESPN's ESPY awards.

Way back in day, I used to be excited about the ESPYs. I not only watched, but even taped the first ever ESPY award show. An award show that celebrates the best in sports over the last year? Sign me up. Then it began to pander to celebrities - actors and actresses and the like. No thanks.

So with my normal Sunday night routine of unwinding to baseball destroyed thanks to the ESPYs, I embarked on a channel surfing journey to find something interesting to watch. Admittedly, I am not an avid TV watcher and I don't have any routine shows, so I was embarking into the vast programming unknown. Fortunately, I only had to travel less than a dozen channels before I landed on CNBC's Marijuana Inc, an exposé on the pseudo-legal marijuana business in Northern California.

Now I am not going to push my opinion either way, nor admit or deny any prior usage, but I have always been interested in the weed business. Back in my college days, I used to play Dope Wars non-stop. Perhaps you remember that. Perhaps not.

Anyway, CNBC's broadcast went behind the scenes in Northern California's Mendocino County, a place where selling weed is a booming business and millions in marijuana money is brought into the local economy each year. Thanks to a tangled web of federal, state, and local laws, growers are allowed to grow, buyers are allowed to buy, and smokers are allowed to smoke. CNBC talked to cafe owners who sell out of storage areas, entrepreneurs who want to turn parts of Oakland into the second coming of Amsterdam, housewives who attend classes on how not to get caught selling, and the poor DEA and local authorities who are trying to restore order in this Mecca of Mary Jane.

After Marijuana, Inc ended, what to watch then was a no-brainer. The next show on CNBC was a similar expose on the porn industry entitled Porn: The Business of Pleasure. You can't tell me the folks at CNBC didn't know what they were doing, broadcasting two hours of content on two topics my demographic (18-35, male, single, and bored) love as much as sports. You are correct, CNBC, in lieu of sports, weed and women work just fine.

Although there were the expected images of bikini clad women throughout the broadcast, the porn business expose was not all about the T&A. Did you know the porn industry is worth over 13 billion dollars? Did you also know that adult DVD sales have dropped between 30 and 50% in the last few years? That's what this show covered, the money, the people, and the technology behind the business of horizontal body banging.

All in all, it was an enjoyable night of television entertainment. I did find it interesting, however, that the host of the weed documentary was casually dressed in jeans and a polo shirt, and the host of the porn special was gussied up in knee-high boots and heavy make-up. And I also had a chuckle every time they mentioned women in executive positions of the porn industry being "on top". I'm not sure if those things were worth noticing, or if they were a big deal to anyone else. Maybe I was thinking too much.

Maybe I should have relaxed, rolled one up, popped in a movie, and conducted my own research.

The Private Premiere of Who Shot Mamba?

As they do for many major motion pictures, the who's who of the entertainment industry were in Orlando last night to see the grand premiere of the Internet-famous movie Who Shot Mamba?. It was a red carpet affair featuring famous actors, funnymen, former reporters, current bloggers, and more beautiful women than you could shake a stick at. Even the paparazzi were in full force, with media outlets from around the world doing media things and sending media messages. The Central Florida premiere of Who Shot Mamba? was not just an occasion, it was an event.

Ok, maybe not quite ...

To tell you the truth, the famous actor? Me (for my role as a time-traveler in the latest Afro-Squad movie). The funnyman? Me (if you think the Afro-Squad is funny or you like heckling pro wrestlers). The former reporter? Me. The current blogger? Me, again. The beautiful women? The famous alexiskn and her friends (definitely not a lie there).

Ok, so maybe the world-premiere private screening of Who Shot Mamba? was more private and exclusive than planned. Maybe the entire viewing audience could have fit in the booth at the local McDonalds. But regardless of the turn-out, and no matter the size of the gate, the showing, which took place in an independent film house, was definitely a success. The venue was clean, the movie looked and sounded great, and those in attendance were definitely engrossed.

As for the movie itself, it did live up to expectations (What do you expect? I am mentioned in the credits.). Despite waiting nearly three years to find out the mystery behind who killed everyone's favorite charismatic snake, I was impressed. Who Shot Mamba? has a good story, good performances, and enough subtle inside references to the NBA blogosphere to make a sports blogger remember the good times, before the dark specter of tabloid sensationalism and voyeurism seized the sports blogosphere by its collective thoat.

So to those who hosted, thank you. I had a great time. To those who missed out, don't miss out again. And to those who are curious as to when they can see Who Shot Mamba?, don't worry, from what I hear the answer is soon, very soon.

(By the way, the rumor that I punched a member of the paparazzi, destroyed his camera, and spit in his face is unequivocally false. I did not destroy his camera.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

The 12 Days of Social Media

Those who know me know I am all over the Internet. I blog, I tweet, I'm on facebook, myspace, youtube, google profiles, and any other site I can stick my afro on. Ruling the Interwebs has become a part-time job, without a doubt.

Oddly enough, some friends had no clue how extensive my reach is. After I told them about my efforts, a comrade-in-words dropped probably the funniest reply I have ever read.

12 Twitters tweeting
11 Tumblrs reblogging
10 Fanpages humming
9 status updates
8 blogger profiles
7 crazy aliases
6 Myspace templates
5 niche blogs!
4 email accounts
3 Friendsters friending
2.0 obsession
and a guy who spreads himself way too thinnnnnn

I couldn't have said it any better myself.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Hack the Fifth Diaries: Tough to be a baby

Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been pooping myself.

I guess I have been derelict in duties of informing you of my life. To be honest, there hasn't been much life to talk about. I mean, seriously, look at me. I'm a baby.

But I do know a few things about what's been going on here at the Saloon. First of all, Wolter still hates me. He calls me "Hack the fifth son of Satan". I guess I am kinda to blame. A few weeks ago, ol' Chaim convinced Wolter to at least try holding me, for just a second. At first, Wolter gave me the evil eye and splashed holy water on me. But then when I didn't burn, he decided to take a chance and hold me.

I puked on him.

Then there are the interns. I don't know what's up with these guys. One of them is barely older than I am, one is a philosophical nut, and then there is Adam Blank, who put me in the dishwasher a few nights ago. I wish my motor skills were fully developed, I would have called the cops on him.

Again, I have to apologize. I tend to exaggerate a bit. Life in the Saloon is not as bad as I sometimes make it out to be. I get to drink free beer, eat as many chicken wings and fried pickles as I can, and most of the time the guys put me in front of the t.v. and I watch sports all day. Then I get a diaper change, get burped, and go to bed. Not a bad life.

But let me tell you, I have seen some strange things on the t.v. lately. Stuff that would make a grown-up poop.

First of all, remind me to never get involved with a crazy chick. The guys were telling me stories of Artuoro Gatti and Steve McNair. They said they were real men. Real warriors. Unfortunately, they were both killed by crazy chicks. Although I've never met a woman, I'll admit I am a little scared to now.

Not all of the bartenders are bad people either. I know I might talk about their bad habits and all, but the other day Brant Brown tried to teach me about the world outside the saloon. He told me all about the world's worst people. I was so scared I swore in my baby talk that I would never ever leave. Brant just smiled and said "good boy".

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Review of Jenni Muldaur, Spinal Tap, Street Sweeper Social Club, Leela James, and Wu-Tang Clan

I've been on a music tear lately, picking up an album or two a week. Here are my latest:

Jenni Muldaur - "Dearest Darlin'"

Although my soul and R&B collection isn't the most extensive, there is just something about the voice of old school or neo-soul female R&B singers that just fits. I think it is genre where the ladies lead the way. Jenni Muldaur is one of those women who hit the mark with me. She has an awesome old school voice, as showcases it perfectly throughout "Dearest Darlin'".

"Dearest Darlin'" is a collection of soul and R&B covers mostly from the 50s and 60s. Muldaur covers some of the biggest names in the genre, from Bo Diddley to James Brown, as well as some rare antiques such as a 1934 field holler recorded by Alan Lomax. With the extensive range of content, Muldaur raises the bar quite high, but still nails it. I was really impressed.

Spinal Tap - "Back From The Dead"

The greatest band in the history of music history has returned. "Back From The Dead" is not only a collection of songs from the Spinal Tap movie, but also a few new songs, as well as a few "re-mixes", including a funky rendition of the classic "Sex Farm".

Another great reason to actually buy Spinal Tap instead of downloading their greatness is the included DVD. The DVD is absolutely awesome. Over an hour of the band talking about each song on the DVD. Hilarious.

Street Sweeper Social Club - self-titled

I like far-out riffs of ex-Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello. I like the political rhymes of Boots Riley of The Coup. So naturally I like this album. Although this definitely a solid buy, I do have a few comments:

1) It would have been amazing to have a few Zach De La Rocha cameos.

2) Boots Riley's voice sounds more fitting to funk or rap backbeats.

3) This album is another 1+1 does not equal 2 venture (see Blackout! 2). Close, but not quite. Morello fits perfectly and there are some great anthems, but I think Boots holds back a bit and doesn't get as descriptive as he does on The Coup albums.

Leela James - "Let's Do It Again"

(Ok, Leela James's new album came out in March, but I just bought it, so it's new to me.)

Back in 2005, I used to play Leela James's first album, "Change is Gonna Come", all the time. It was funky, soulful, and one of the best albums of that year. Then Leela James disappeared. I heard absolutely nothing about her.

Four years later, Ms. James finally released her second album, "Let's Do It Again". Like Jenni Muldaur, Leela James does an album full of soul and R&B covers. I don't want to say I am not impressed, because this is a very good album, but I expected more. Where are the new songs? Where is the new material that would spring Ms. James into the mainstream?

Wu-Tang Clan - "Wu-Tang Chamber Music"

This album should have probably been called "The RZA Presents ...". Although listed as a Wu-Tang album, it's really not. First of all, it doesn't have Method Man, the GZA, or Masta Killa on it (three of my favorite MCs, by the way). Second, it is more of an EP than a full-length album. There are few too many short philosophical narratives interspersed between the songs. Although interesting, these short RZA bytes take a bit away from the flow of the album.

Despite its shortfalls, "Chamber Music" is great. In making the album RZA recorded live music to blend with the beats and give the album a very "live" sound. This new Wu sound works best with Wu veterans Inspectah Deck and Ghostface, as they tear up their verses on each of the songs they are on. Guest stars Sean Price, Sadat X, Masta Ace, Havoc, and others also work well. Overall, there is not a bad song on the album, it is just too short. Hopefully Chamber Music is an appetizer, a precursor for a new full-length Wu-Tang album.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Did Michael Jackson Know About 9/11 Before It Happened? And Did Corey Feldman Do Nothing About It?

Amidst the hoopla about Michael Jackson (he died, you know), a little tidbit of information almost got swept through the cracks. I say almost because if it wasn't for a friend mentioning it, I wouldn't have known. But this is so earth-shattering I don't think I may ever see the world the same again.

According to the People Magazine website, Michael Jackson and longtime friend Corey Feldman hadn't talked to each other since September 10th, 2001. Nearly eight years ago. For whatever reason, their friendship ended the day before the heinous terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Could the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 have had anything to do with the end of Jackson and Feldman's friendship?

I think so.

Remember "The Goonies", the 1985 classic movie starring Feldman, Sean Austin, etc? In "The Goonies" several of the characters have a conversation in which Michael Jackson's name is mentioned. So too are hints about 9/11!

The clues are buried in this scene:

Chunk: Listen, okay? You guys'll never believe me. There was two cop cars, okay? And they were chasing this four-wheel deal, this real neat ORV, and there were bullets flying all over the place. It was the most amazing thing I ever saw!

Mikey: More amazing than the time Michael Jackson come over to your house to use the bathroom.

Brandon Walsh: More amazing than the time you saved those old people from that nursing home fire, right?

Mouth: Yeah, and I bet it was even more amazing than the time you ate your weight in Godfather's pizza, right?

Chunk: Okay, Brand. Michael Jackson didn't come over to my house to use the bathroom. He was about to. But his sister did.

First, there is the reference to two vehicles - two planes. Then there is the talk of a building fire. Then they talk about the Godfather, an surefire reference to New York. In the middle of it all is Michael Jackson.

Here is what I think happened: On September 10, 2001, Michael Jackson told Corey Feldman to alert the authorities of a terrorist attack on New York City the next day. Of course, there was no way Jackson could make the call without drawing attention to himself. So he asked Feldman to call for him. Feldman unfortunately either didn't believe Jackson or didn't believe such late notice would be effective. So he didn't dial anyone. The rest, you can say, is history. The planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (if you believe that), thousands died, and Michael Jackson held Corey Feldman partly responsible.

I know you are asking two questions: how did Michael Jackson know the attacks were planned for 9/11/01 and why Corey Feldman? Why not any one of Michael Jackson's other friends?

The answer is simple. Michael Jackson had to have been playing with the numbers and saw that Corey Feldman was born on 7/16/1971. If you take the first two numbers of the year (19) and then add to it each of the other numbers individually you get 19+7+6+7+1=41. Now look at 9/11/2001. Add 20+9+11+01 and you again get 41. It had to be 9/11/01 and the only person who could have stopped it was Corey Feldman. It was destiny.

Unfortunately, destiny didn't happen. If only Corey Feldman had listened to Michael Jackson.

On a side note, and I am just speculating here, perhaps the weight, the guilt, and the pain of knowing his ex-best friend failed to save the world weighed on Michael Jackson's heart so much it eventually gave out. Another thing for which we can blame Corey Feldman.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Twitter and the Dying Blogosphere

Back in April I joined Twitter. Honestly, at the time I had no idea why. I planned on throwing a few links out there and not much else. But then a funny thing happened ... I figured out the power of Twitter.

I figured it out so well, I've even been talking about it on other sites.

For example, today I commented on Daniel Drezner's blog over at Foreign Drezner's post is about a post by fellow long-time blogger Laura McKenna in which she discusses the state of the blogosphere.

McKenna lists nine reasons the blogosphere is no longer in blossoming community mode. She claims it has become professionalized and niche-based. (By the way, this definitely applies to the sports blogosphere as well, especially since Deadspin changed it's format.)

Although he doesn't come out and agree with all of her points, Drezner does state that "professionalization, partisanship and specialization have hit the blogosphere pretty hard." He also states most niche bloggers are now professionals who add their valued insight to the discussion.

Because Drezner doesn't address the use of social media, I added to the discussion of linking and blogrolls by talking about the effect of Twitter on the blogosphere:

"As a blogger, I've found it easier to post interesting links on twitter immediately than to wrap up a bunch of links in a post. Since my twitter followers consist of my blog fans as well as many others, I have more reach there than if I just posted a link dump or included sites in a blogroll.

What this means however is that I push specific data instead of a whole web site reading experience. I am pushing other blogger's information instead of their communities. It is somewhat selfish, honestly. But communities have moved from web sites to social networking platforms.

The love isn't gone, it's just moved."

I think my opinion on Twitter either makes me a genius or a fool. I'm not sure which.

By the way, follow me on Twitter at JordiScrubbings.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Jimi Hendrix and a July 4th family tradition

When I was young and had no sense, I used to wake up on the 4th with contempt. For the first umpteen years of my life, my dad would begin Independence Day by playing the sounds of Jimi Hendrix wailing his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. It was like Dad's revenge for waking him up early on Christmas morning.

Unfortunately, when I was younger, for whatever unpatriotic, uncounterculture reason, I didn't really like the song. I think I said once it sounded like "a guitar and a bulldozer". But I don't think it bothered the Old Man, he kept on playing it anyway.

Somewhere along the way, my musical tastes started evolving. I went from Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg to George Clinton to James Brown to the blues and wouldn't you know, back to Jimi. By the time I was in my early 20s, I understood the significance of taking a national standard like the Star Spangled Banner and turning it inside-out in the name of counterculture. I could relate to Jimi's frustration at the establishment yet his belief that America was still the best country in the world.

So this year, like my dad, I'll crank Jimi Hendrix's "guitar and bulldozer" song, his amazing rendition of Francis Scott Key's "Star Spangled Banner" and crank it up for the neighbors to hear.

Happy Independence Day.