Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rapper Paul Wall versus The Man



Last week, blogger Rafi Kam of the blog Oh Word wrote an awesome piece on rapper Ice Cube's classic hit "It Was a Good Day". To summarize, Rafi Kam said that although most people now take the song out of context, Ice Cube's classic isn't "really about some kick-ass day. The day singled out was remarkable because for once none of the usual bullshit associated with the terror of life in the hood reared its ugly head. No hassle from carjackers or police, no one killed, the narrator can’t believe he didn’t even have to shoot at somebody."

In other words, for one day in his life, Ice Cube didn't have to put up with The Man.

Saturday night, another hip-hop star, Texas rapper Paul Wall, battled The Man in a more modern forum, the online world of Twitter. Once again, Ice Cube's lyrics played a central role.

Below is the actual exchange between Paul Wall (aka @paulwallbaby) and The Man (aka @TheManInc) that occurred approximately 2AM, Aug 23rd, 2009.

@paulwallbaby: Dodgers won, Astros won, i landed in iraq safely.... today was a good day

@TheManInc: @paulwallbaby I mess up your good day and I don't roll right past you. I look in your direction as you run the intersection.

@paulwallbaby: @TheManInc no barkin from the dog. no smog

@TheManInc: @paulwallbaby I break up your fly dreams and flash the high beams. I look for the murder n close before 2AM so u can't get the fat burger.

@paulwallbaby:
@TheManInc i gotta go cause i got me a drop top

@TheManInc:
@paulwallbaby I stop you from going on the court and causing trouble and I especially prevent you from getting a triple double.

@paulwallbaby: @TheManInc what about getting a beep from kim

@TheManInc: @paulwallbaby I swoop in n get girls when u try to hook it up for l8r n I don't let u pick up girls u've been trying 2 get w since 12th grd

After this illustrious battle of wits and one-liners, Paul Wall decided to follow The Man's twitter feed to monitor any further broadcasts by The Man. Smart move.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Visit to Autozone Ballpark in Memphis, TN



For the first time in over three years, I was finally able to escape the hideous clutches of The Man and take a vacation. Well, to be honest, I didn't really "take" a vacation. That would be a lot like "taking" a dump. To be perfectly correct, I went on vacation.

Anyway, I went to Memphis. Why Memphis? Because I am big music fan and Memphis has one of America's biggest live music scenes. It is also the birthplace of rock 'n' roll.

As part of my expedition I took in a ballgame at Memphis's Autozone Park, home of the Memphis Redbirds, triple-A team to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The first thing I noticed about Autozone Park was the location. Whereas most of the games I have attended throughout Florida have been located out in fields, suburbs, or generally open areas, Autozone Park was in the middle of downtown Memphis. This made for a really nice backdrop. That's not something you get that much of in Florida, land of highways, strip malls, and urban sprawl.

(Interesting side note: A few hours before the game I had a great discussion with the head of security at AutoZone Park. Among the things he said was that the ballpark was one of the centerpieces for the Memphis urban revival movement of the early 1990s. Apparently, much of downtown Memphis was in bad shape before things like the ballpark and the FedEx Forum were built. The head of security also told me that although he wouldn't have paid much for the land back then, the ballpark is now regarded as one of the best in the country.)

Anyway, as for the game itself, it was pretty good. Although the Redbirds had nine guys I never heard of, pitching for the visiting Omaha Royals on a rehab assignment was Kansas City Royals starter Gil Meche. If you remember my Pedro sighting a few weeks ago, that makes the second major league pitcher I have seen get work in down at the minor league level. I guess I tend to have a knack for seeing rehab starts lately.

Like Pedro, Gil Meche did not impress me at all. Although he didn't allow any hits, he walked 5 in the 3.2 innings I saw him pitch. Then for whatever reason in the bottom of the 4th, Meche came out of the game. Whether he was hurt or hit a pitch count, I am not sure.

After Meche's departure, the Omaha Royals paraded a series of probably-never-will-be's out to the pitcher's mound. This collection of mediocre moundsmen allowed the Redbirds to strike early and often, scoring a bunch of runs and defeating the Royals quite soundly.

Back to my experience at the park, however. Since I am not a big Redbirds fan, I spent most of the middle innings exploring. In summary, I don't think I have ever been to a more family-friendly ballpark in my life. AutoZone Park had so much for the kids to do it was amazing. The ballpark could almost be considered its own amusement park, even without considering the baseball game in progress. There was a swing set, jungle gym, and other city park-like props, as well as a batting cage, basketball hoop, and pitching/speed gun challenge. One of the other nice features was the concourse platform that circled the stadium, allowing for the ability to take pictures of the game, the stadium, and the surrounding city at every angle.

To sum up my experience, I had a great time. Memphis is not only a fantastic city for live music, good beer, and outstanding bbq, but also is one hell of a place to catch a ballgame. So if you are ever in Memphis and swing through AutoZone Park, tell 'em Jordi sent ya.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Journey to Memphis and the Crossroads Part 2: The National CivilRights Museum



Welcome to Part 2 of the extensive recap of my trip to Memphis. As I did in Part 1, I am again going to use my twitter updates as the basis for the post.

If you missed Part 1, click here.

Day 2:

at national civil wrights museum in #memphis. 4:22 PM Aug 3rd

Although I initially didn't realize the National Civil Right Museum was in Memphis, it became an absolute must that I visit. And I was very impressed. What could have been a black eye and a major scar on the city's history had been transformed into very well constructed museum.

seeing black kids at nat civil rights museum having no clue who jim crow is is both good and bad. glad they are learning it as history. 4:24 PM Aug 3rd

I was very impressed to see numerous groups of teachers and students at the National Civil Rights Museum. We have made so much progress in the last fifty years, as evident by children who have no idea who Jim Crow is. They have every right to be disgusted and appalled when they are told who "he" was.

Although it might take longer, integration is much better than forcing a homeland. #memphis 4:48 PM Aug 3rd

I'll admit, this statement is more than a little controversial. At least I meant it that way. But I look at the situation in places like Israel and I look at the US, and I am glad the African-American community pushed for integration, instead of using the tragedy of slavery to establish their own "homeland".

reconstruction in the south very similiar to efforts in iraq. #politics 4:51 PM Aug 3rd

It's funny how we lose historical perspective so quickly. There are many that argue that military forces should just be used for war fighting. But they forget that the military helped to rebuild the society in the Southern US after the Civil War. Until they were prematurely pulled out.

Ida wells - similiar to bloggers in iran, egypt, cuba, syria etc #civilrights 4:53 PM Aug 3rd

Ida Wells was an African-American journalist in the beginning of the 20th Century. She often wrote about the oppression blacks faced during the era of Jim Crow. As I am reading a book about bloggers in currently oppressive countries, I naturally made the comparison to Wells.

the bus @ the civil rights museum told me to get up and i did. as if i needed further evidence of rosa parks inner strength #civilrights 5:13 PM Aug 3rd

One of the exhibits in the Civil Rights Museum was a bus similar to the one ridden by Rosa Parks. When visitors board the museum bus, they are told to sit near a statue of Parks. Then a voice on the bus commands you to move and repeats the command several times, each time louder and louder. I got up.

sit in songs = early socially conscious hiphop #hiphop #civilrights 5:18 PM Aug 3rd

Again, I was comparing the methods of expression of the past with those of today.

bumper sticker in nat civil rights museum says jfk, rfk = commies. same statement used v obama today. 5:27 PM Aug 3rd

Of course, some things never change. I guess in America, progressive voices are always linked to communism.

sad when civil rights becomes a national security issue. in the u.s. or anywhere. 5:29 PM Aug 3rd


This was in response to exhibits that discussed the involvement of National Guard units in ensuring racial equality and equal access to educational facilities. Had the National Guard not gotten involved, the US may have seen increased regional violence.

"violence is outmoded as a solution to the problems of men" - james farmer. agreed 5:37 PM Aug 3rd


I liked this statement.

not sure if i agree w nat civil rights museum calling mob pic "a redneck mob". rednecks were striking wv coal workers. 5:43 PM Aug 3rd

I found this odd. I don't think the museum should have used the term "redneck" to describe white people in a picture unless those people are actually wearing red bandannas. Otherwise "redneck" is a derogatory slang term.

At lorainne hotel right where dr king was shot. eerie. 6:07 PM Aug 3rd



The museum is built into the Lorainne Hotel allowing visitors to look out the window of the room Dr. King stayed in. Visitors can see the window across the street where the killer made his lethal shot.

As much as my trip was about entertainment - seeing live music, exploring the origins of the blues, etc - it was also extremely educational. It is hard to believe that 50 years ago the US still had institutional racism in the guise of "separate but equal". Being raised in predominantly racially neutral regions (Long Island, NY and Central Florida) I had never seen the scars of segregation. The experience and realization that these events occured such a short time ago was definitely eye-opening.

Beyond anything else, my trip to the National Civil Rights Museum made me realize that although we have progressed greatly as a society towards a more equal America - as seen in the pictures of President Obama in the museum gift shop - there is no doubt we still have far to go.

Part 3 coming tomorrow.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Journey to Memphis and the Crossroads Part 1: Beale St and theRock 'n' Soul Museum



Wow. Quite a few days have past since I last posted. Seven, if you are counting at home. Seven days in which my voice was not heard, my thoughts not spelled out, and my words not expressed on the screen for all to read. Seven long days. The longest break I have taken since the start of this blog.

As I mentioned/hinted in my last post, I was traveling to Memphis and the surrounding Mississippi Delta. It was my personal hajj, a trip that I have always wanted to take. A trip through the roots of a majority of African-American music in the 20th Century. A trip through the history of the blues, rock'n'roll, soul, and even country music.

Although I didn't post on here at all, I did utilize my capabilities on twitter to the utmost. Twitter became my travel log, a way to jot down my thoughts and reactions to everything I saw and experienced. Whereas I may have physically traveled alone, network-wise I brought all of my twitter followers along for the ride.

Of course, as with any big trip or major event I am going to spend time recapping. This time however, I am going to use my "tweets" as the base of my post and add in the details that 140 words couldn't capture.

(By the way, in case you don't follow me on Twitter it's @JordiScrubbings.)

Day 1:

At a place where they do airplaning. unfortunately my airplane is not 47 stories high. they dont know what they are missing. 12:22 PM Aug 2nd

For those not familiar with writer/blogger/actor/director/etc Brian Spaeth's work, this is a reference to his book "Prelude to a Super Airplane" and its 47-story super airliner.

I think I just saw Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson at the airplane place. I almost flipped out when I saw her. 12:25 PM Aug 2nd

I think this is self-explanatory, except that I kinda goofed up the punchline. As @ScalpEmOfficial pointed out, it would have been better had I just said "flipped", not "flipped out".

If you see a guy in a fro chillin on Beale St taking in some blues, say hi. We'll eat drink and be bluesy. 4:49 PM Aug 2nd

Written merely hours after I landed, unfortunately no one took me up on this. It also doesn't help that I went sans afro 99% of my trip.

I hereby declare Beale St and associated area to be my Mecca. #vacation 6:16 PM Aug 2nd


Yup, I was on the ground for mere hours before I fell in love with Memphis. It had everything I ever wanted - beer, live music, bar-b-que, and sweet tea. A few more single women would have been nice, but such is life.

To avoid my own erin andrews situation, i am leaving my hotel curtain wide open. Do your worst peeper people. 9:13 PM Aug 2nd

Of course, everyone knows what happened to ESPN reporter Erin Andrews. I figured if the same person was to take pictures of me getting ready in the morning, it wouldn't be anything anyone hasn't seen already. Market saturation, yo.

At BB king's in memphis. Eatin catfish, listen to little wing. Life is good. #blues #vacation 9:51 PM Aug 2nd

This was dinner and my first experience of seeing music at the legendary BB King's Blues Bar. As far as food and music go, this was probably the best place on Beale St. Other places were better music venues, others had better food, but BB King's was the best of both worlds.

Did I mention I am drinking a memphis microbrew? yes, life is good indeed. #vacation 9:57 PM Aug 2nd

What can I say? I'm a fan of local beer. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name. It wasn't the best beer I've ever had, but not the worst either.

At the memphis rock n soul museum. hard to believe sharecropping and rural blues n country was only 80 yrs ago. seems like 100s 2:52 PM Aug 3rd

The next day I began my trip through the many Memphis museums and tourist attractions. First on the docket was the Rock 'n' Soul Museum, located alongside the FedEx Forum, home of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. Looking back, the Rock 'n' Soul Museum was the best place to start as it provided an overview of all the museums that would follow.

minnie pearl had hat w tag left on. trailblazer for hip hop style #music #country #hiphop 2:57 PM Aug 3rd

It is funny how we think that the styles of today are new and never before seen. There was a picture of country performer Minnie Pearl rocking the same style that Jay-Z and other hip-hop people rock today.

sputnik monroe- pro wrestling @ rock n soul museum. a place in segregation history. amazing #prowrestling #memphis 3:04 PM Aug 3rd

Of course, I couldn't let a museum mention of pro wrestling go unannounced. Apparently, Sputnik Monroe was one of the first wrestlers followed and admired by both white and black people.

i wonder if robert johnson would have gotten sued for violating copyright laws if he recorded today. #blues 3:08 PM Aug 3rd

Although Robert Johnson is the known as one of the fathers of the blues, there is no doubt he borrowed heavily from the songs performed throughout the Mississippi Delta region. With current copyright and sampling laws restricting a lot of creativity today, I think the era of Robert Johnson-esque innovation is over.

juke = wicked. yes, putting juke on someone is wicked 3:16 PM Aug 3rd

I did not know that the word "juke" used in jukeboxes and juke joints came from a word that meant "evil". It was obviously a way to associate African American culture with negativity and maliciousness (as seen in so many other terms and definitions). My point here, however, was that when used in sports context, i.e. shaking a defender in basketball or football with a juke, the term is also wicked, albeit in a less nefarious way.




1957 studio equipment. no dail dial goes to 11. 3:18 PM Aug 3rd

A Spinal Tap reference.

the era bb king started in seems so long ago. jeez. and he is still here. thank goodness. 3:27 PM Aug 3rd

I knew BB King was old, but for some reason seeing his early pictures in a museum put his career in a different perspective for me. The man has had at least a 50 year career. 50 years of performing. He was around before Elvis Presley made it big. And BB King is still touring and still going strong. Unbelievable.

wow all i knew about ike turner was that he hit tina. one action scarred great musical contributions 3:31 PM Aug 3rd

Of all the things I learned in Memphis, one of the most surprising was Ike Turner's role in the development of rock 'n' roll. Even though Turner played piano on "Rocket 88", widely regarded as the first ever rock song, he is known unfortunately far more for his domestic dispute with Tina Turner.

why did chuck d call elvis racist? did he do something in later career. i am confused. #hiphop #music 3:41 PM Aug 3rd

My final tweet for Part 1 is a perfect example of why I am glad I decided to "bring along my followers". As to be expected, a large part of Memphis's music history is due to Elvis Presley. Like Eminem 50 years later, Elvis brought the influences of African American music to white audiences. However, instead of being celebrated, he is today seen as a racist. My tweet here references perhaps the biggest cultural mention of Elvis's opinion - Chuck D of Public Enemy's line "Elvis was a hero to most/ But he never meant shit to me you see/ Straight up racist that sucker was/ Simple and plain".

After I posted this line, writer/blogger Mike Tillery of The Starting Five saw my tweet and responded with:

Mizzzzo: @JordiScrubbings research Elvis' quote about what Black people could do for him and nothing more.

After a bit of research, I found that Elvis is accused of saying "The only thing Negroes can do for me is buy my records and shine my shoes." This statement is however disputed by music historian Peter Guralnick in his 2007 NY Times editorial and snopes.com.

Regardless of what Elvis said or didn't say, the bottom line is that without Twitter and the response I received from one of my "followers", I probably would not have looked up the topic and either stayed confused or waited long into the future for it to come up again. This was the first of many times my Twitter people enriched my travels.

Part 2 tomorrow.