Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Meet My Links - Machine Gun Funk

By now, y'all know that "General Haberdashery" = "recommended reading". Two weeks ago, I pimped the degenerates at Fire Joe Morgan. Last week, it was Low Resolution, which is run by singular lowlife, Joe Reid. Today, I continue the theme of gently mocking my former co-writers with a look at my brothers in funk.

Machine Gun Funk

Synopsis: "Machine Gun Funk is equal parts irreverent and brash...passionate and unpretentious. The eclectic voices heard on MGF focus on music through skewed and slightly cracked glasses. (Their) opinions are loud and (their) biases are even louder. The absurd is mockingly celebrated, while the status quo has to withstand the scrutiny of MGF's unique point of view. No genre is safe. No artist is immune. And, the music industry is officially on notice." –from the MGF Mission Statement. It's not plagiarism since I wrote the damn thing.

Positives: Featuring affirmatively action-packed writing and a distinct collection of voices unlike any others at Inside Pulse (read: minorities, militant), MGF is where you'll find some of the best music writing around, including three Music Writer of the Year Award Winners amongst those that have passed thru their hallowed halls. You'll have to check the archives to read "That Guy's" work, though. Jeff Fernandez invented a new day to bring the weekly ridiculousness. Mathan Erhardt covers the unreleased, the overlooked and the occasional stream of consciousness column. Meanwhile, Married Mike Eagle lectures like a young curmudgeon…but with a heart of gold.

Negatives: MGF apparently replaced me with "Bambi Weavil", thinking no one would notice as the number of poor-selling West Coast CD reviews on the site shrinks to nothing. Wither the new Dogg Pound album, MGFers? Elsewhere, the unwritten "quality over quantity" approach to posting is frustrating for those of us with real jobs, yet without a real work ethic. C'mon, y'all…give me some midday material to get through my nine hours! Finally, and most frustrating, MGF has proven to be a difficult read for trailer-park harpies who've become inexplicably intoxicated off of their own imagined internet celebrity.

One Sentence Summary: The loquacious spirit of That Bootleg Guy should keep MGF writing at a just-below-(three-time)-award-winning level for at least another 11 months.

Next Week: East Coast Bias (Think of me as Tupac and ECB as Biggie…)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

TBG Reviews Dreamgirls

But, first the trailers…

Hairspray - Memo to the movie industry: when a two-minute movie trailer consists entirely of a voiceover reading off the names of every known and unknown commodity in said movie…without any scenes from the movie…it should lose its "trailer" status. It's like someone said, "Hey, I found this on imdb. Start from the top." Anyways, it's got John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah and Amanda Bynes. At this writing, it's still not known which man (Travolta or Latifah) will break gender to play that-ain't-no-woman, "Edna Turnblad". How divine!

Daddy's Little Girls - An addendum to my "Black Movies" post: You know it's a Black Movie if the possessive tense of "Tyler Perry" appears in the title. That brutha owns more Black enterprise than the ancestors of those who owned his…um, I mean "David Stern". Yeah, he owns more Blacks than David Stern. There, that's less offensive, no? Here, a down-on-his-luck mechanic finds love outside his socio-economic bracket and fights to keep his three daughters from his trashy ex-wife. What I most remember is the trailer voiceover guy using his "serious" tone to read the name "Oscar winner Lou Gossett, Jr." alongside (in the same tone) WB n' UPN mainstays "Tracie Ellis Ross" and "Terri J. Vaughn". Two of these things do not belong.

Because I Said So - Trailer opens with a succession of flat booties in ostensibly "sexy teen!" underwear, then pans to Diane Keaton, 102, in her high-top granny draws. The other perfect twentysomething girls in the dressing room start panty-mocking, blissfully unaware that all of their asses appear to be…just like Old Mother Keaton's. I can't be the only to have noticed this. This flick's about finding love and a mother letting go, then possibly finding love herself. Alternate movie title: "Lifetime, Television for Women: The Movie".

Music & Lyrics - Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant star in a formula film that Barrymore has perfected: relatively normal girl meets quirky boy. Damn it, Drew, quit giving hope to awkward teens! Let those kids suffer in silence on their Saturday nights with either their Dungeons or their Dragons. Grant's the washed-up pop star, Barrymore's the perky gal who, ten years ago, would've ended up with Bill Paxton or Bill Pullman if we could turn the casting machine back to 1997.


It was "date night" for Mr. & Mrs. Bootleg last Thursday. I opted for Dreamgirls, which was actually my first musical since Stephen Bochco's Cop Rock left the air. Unless you've been living under a rock and don't read Jet, Essence or Ebony magazines, you probably know that this is the cinematic adaptation of the successful Broadway musical.

The cast is a who's who of assimilated Negroes, including Jaime Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy and former American Idol hopeful Jennifer Hudson.

Entertainingly elementary, Dreamgirls is not unlike really good porn as concepts like "plot" and "character development" take a back seat to the real action sequences. Hudson has no business being discussed as an Oscar candidate (her acting range here is limited to "pout" and "pissed"), but damn she can blow.

Murphy is also being touted for his performance and it's better than I thought it would be. He's really just lampooning himself, but he chews up the scenery with a desperate zest and personality that's lacking from Jaime Foxx and Beyonce. Those two display zero chemistry in roles that call for them to display, well, zero chemistry and they have trouble pulling that off.

The second act drags and the climactic comeuppance for Foxx's incorrigible Curtis Taylor character is inexplicably convenient, but the music is strong and, often spectacular, so I'll look the other way on the negatives.

This time…

Monday, January 29, 2007

Black Snake Moan, The Prequel

Don't believe what anyone else tells you, kids. The worst part about getting older…the single sh*ttiest aspect of aging…is watching your heroes get old. Back in 1985, none of us thought that Decepticon Soundwave – easily the best bad guy amongst Megatron's minions – would be rendered obsolete with the advent of the CD.

One summer later, my Oakland A's would sign journeyman pitcher Dave Stewart and start him on a nationally televised Monday Night game against Red Sox phenom, Roger Clemens. Stew won that night, en route to a 9-5 season in Oakland. In the next four years, from 1987 to 1990, he'd win 20 games each season, along with a World Series ring and a pair of postseason MVP awards.

Dave Stewart is my all-time favorite pitcher and he's on the short list of reasons why I remain planet Earth's last Black baseball fan.

He's been retired since 1995. Stewart has bounced around from a spectacularly catastrophic run as assistant GM with the Blue Jays to successful pitching coach for one season in San Diego to sports agent to Pros vs. Joes "celebrity".

Now, it seems that Dave Stewart is determined to sully my mind's dirt n' grass flashbacks of the Oakland native toeing the rubber and winning game after game for baseball's marquee team.

The above video is from Dave Stewart's latest gig as a retroactive locker room gossip.

This…this is not happening. Dave Stewart, who signed his baseball card for me before a game and, a few years later, threw me a ball during batting practice is…whoring himself out to a dot-com domain. And, worse, he's breaking all kinds of "guy code" here.

Every night on the road for athletes has to be better than Groundhog Day meets Bachelor Party, people. And, now, Dave Stewart has become the guy who clicks his camera phone in the direction of your lap dance and thinks it's cool.

This is not happening.

But, since it obviously is, you might as well watch the video and try'n guess which former teammate actually owns the "anaconda" that inspired this soliloquy.

I call Luis Polonia.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Meet My Links - Low Resolution

See those links on the right? They come with my highest recommendation, kids. Last week, I explained why Fire Joe Morgan makes the cut. And, as if they were rewarding the praise heaped upon them, FJM dropped a delicious dissection of a nonsensical column from infamous Philly blowhard, Bulbous Bill Conlin a few days ago.

This week's link needs no introduction from any of you who've been reading me for more than a minute.

Low Resolution

Synopsis: An entertainment and pop culture blog nonpareil, Low Resolution is helmed by entertainingly insufferable Buffalonian, Joe Reid. Quick hit movie and TV reviews for those of you who don't have half a minute to read an entire blog entry and expanded posts that, day-to-day, could cover the U.S. Open, Reese Witherspoon's wardrobe, Award Show predictions, Sabres hockey or why he'll be "deep in the cold, cold ground before he recognizes Missourah".

Positives: As we're smack-dab in the middle of the movie awards season, Low Resolution is updated about every eight minutes, give or take a day or so. Crazy amounts of comprehensive entertainment insight that's accessible enough to idiots like me…even when he's talking indie films that no one wants to see! Joe's writing style is sarcastic, self-effacing hilarity that all of Bill Simmons' fans think Bill Simmons does.

Negatives: As stated above, Joe is from Buffalo, which means that Low Res. is susceptible to extended snow and/or extreme cold-related down time for 48 out of the 52 weeks in our Lord's calendar year. Meanwhile, his incessant Tom Cruise bashing is thinly-veiled envy for America's wee acting icon. Most annoyingly, Joe has been known to occasionally break into "Buffalo English". As accurately outlined here, the "flattening and nasalization" of his writing leads to the mispronunciation of toddler-ready words like "mom" and "apple". And, while you and I would grab a Whopper at Burger King, Joe would get one at "Burger King's". Oh, and their fire hydrants are yellow.

One Sentence Summary: Far and away, Joe's the single most talented writer I worked with during my four-year 411/IP run and I don't backhandedly praise just anybody!

Next Week: Machine Gun Funk (a/k/a The TBG Shoot Interview…)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The 10 Worst Songs on my iPod

This past Christmas, Mrs. Bootleg upgraded my iPod from Nano to Supernova. I'll never use up the room for 7,500 songs, but I'm currently well past 700 and always in search of something to add to the mix.

It's no secret that my musical tastes don't tend to stray too far from what most of you know as "the rap music". In fact, just last week, while wearing those ubiquitous earbuds in the office, I was stopped by one of my myriad of managers who enthusiastically asked, "What'cha listening to?"

Now, for the record, let me just say that I love the middle-aged white man.

He signs my paychecks, he broadcasts my favorite sporting events and he fathers the girls that I hope my son will one day wed.

So, forgive me for generalizing, but it's just that most of them react to rap with either dismissive condescension or righteous indignation. And, at 9:15 in the morning, I get enough of both for my work-related activities.

I told my manager "Lenny Kravitz" and he seemed to approve.

In actuality, I was listening to a song off of Snoop's almost universally unlistenable No Limit Records debut, Da Game Was To Be Sold… I've got a soft spot for entertainingly awful audio. I'm talking about the music that's so bad, it's capable of doubling back to decent.

It might be because it unlocks a latent memory of a time that's long gone by (like, say, my 20s). Maybe the beat superseded the ridiculous lyrics or vice versa. Regardless, while I fully acknowledge that several of these songs suck in their own weak-ass way, they'll always have a home in my iPod.

Unless, I ever need to actually make room for more music.

Here are the ten "worst" songs currently in rotation on Aaron's iPod:

10.) Must Be The Money - Deion Sanders: That Nick'a Guy and I tore this album apart for Inside Pulse, but that doesn't change the fact that we were still the only two who bought this sonic abomination. "Prime Time" dives into this with such an insufferable bravado that all I can do is marvel at anyone with the balls to put out something this bad. Y'know how rap has gotten so materialistically empty? This was the blueprint!

9.) Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto - Snoop Dogg: Off of the little known (or sold) Death Row Records Christmas album, this one makes nice use of an Isaac Hayes sample and clocks in at nearly six minutes. Snoop's only on it for a verse or two, but the festive references to "passin' out spliffs" just says "Xmas" to me. Throw in a Nate Dogg hook and a couple of timeless nods to wanting a Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo? I'm sold.

8.) No Panties - Trina feat. Tweet: Don't be fooled by the deceptive title. The song explicitly states that no panties are coming off and your love is gonna cost. Missy Elliott wrote (and, if I remember correctly, also produced) this vacuous, vampy track and even made sure that her lesbian co-conspirator Tweet had the hook. I'm pretty sure I keep this one around solely because Mrs. Bootleg abhors explicit chick rappers.

7.) Rollin' - Limp Bizkit feat. DMX, Redman & Method Man: I have no problem admitting that I purchased a Fred Durst album although, I honestly can't remember the circumstances. This was the remix to the single that blew up in 2000 (I think), but features an absolute parody of what DMX once was (bark! bark! bark!) and the beginning of the end for the relevance of Red & Meth. Hey, it's a good workout song.

6.) My Band - D12: I'd argue that there probably hasn't been a more divisive song all century than this one. Lyrically, it's actually pretty clever, but the formulaic Eminem "first single" production and intentionally off-key hook can make anyone's ears bleed. It was also strategically self-effacing as it was released during that whole "Eminem said the N-word" dust up, which we all swept under the rug and agreed never ever happened.

5.) Jump Around - House of Pain: 15 years later, I still love that opening instrumental before the lyrics begin. I'm only including it here because, like everything else in rap from back then, it's been overplayed to the point of abject saturation. Funny thing is that this was a pretty significant song in a historical context. It was one of the first to be singled out for its violence towards women ("if your girl steps up, I'm smackin' tha ho") before Snoop Doggy Dogg perfected the practice a few months later.

4.) Keep Their Heads Ringin' - Dr. Dre: "Ring-ding-dong…ring-a-ding-ding-ding-dong"…To this day, I can't explain how this song was the west coast anthem for the summer of 1995. That would be my last year in Long Beach, before I moved down the coast to San Diego. And, despite not knowing Mrs. Bootleg at the time, most of the, umm…"things I got into" back then would still probably be grounds for divorce. Let's just call it a "good workout song" and move on.

3.) Air Force Ones - Nelly & The St. Lunatics: Wait, I can explain this one. We'd recently bought a CD burner for our computer. One of my co-workers heard about this and asked if I'd burn a copy of her Nelly album. I asked no questions and burned one for myself, too, because I'd just started reviewing albums for 411mania and needed material. Hey, I'm didn't say it was a good explanation. It also wasn't a good review.

2.) Snoop Bounce (Roc n' Roll Remix) - Snoop Dogg & Rage Against the Machine: This one's from the never-released Doggumentary EP and can only be found on 2001's Greatest Hits album. The rock-based production sounds like stock music from any generic catalog, but it's light years better than the original off of Snoop's terrible Doggfather album. In the summer that this was supposed to drop, Puff Daddy remixed the All About The Benjamins single into his own rock n' roll cut and rode the ghost of Biggie and back fat of Lil' Kim into the hearts of America.

1.) Hoochie Mama - 2 Live Crew: OK, so I uploaded the soundtrack from the movie Friday and removed all the superfluous cuts but this one. I finally deleted it today, but for the last several months, whenever I'd have the iPod on "shuffle", this song would always come up. I'd tell myself I'm going to get rid of it, but never did, until now. For all those Dirty South acts who'll gleefully coon for a dollar, I hope all of them are giving residuals to Uncle Luke for opening the door.

Thank you, Luther Campbell.

Thank you.

TBG on DVD: Transformers – The Movie 20th Anniversary Special Edition

And, so begins the blitz of marketing for the July 4th release of the new live-action Transformers movie.

Growing up on the syndicated Transformers cartoon of the mid-80s, I was naively blind to the fact the show was nothing more than a 30-minute commercial for the toy line. A few years ago, I received the first season on DVD and barely made it through a few episodes before the extreme cheesiness of bad dialogue and comically awful plots overwhelmed my Transformers memories.

Still, the 1986 movie remains an interesting enough niche piece of pop culture, that it's maintained a home in my movie collection from clamshell VHS to bare-bones rushed DVD to this…a double-disc five-star treatment for a movie that didn't even gross six million dollars during its original theatrical run.

Both the wide and full-screen adaptations are included here and the "re-mastering" treatment is obvious as the colors are back to their original '80s garishness. Lots of purples and oranges that I really don't remember wearing back then, but whatever.

And, let's be honest…the film's only entertaining sequence is in the first 20 minutes. The planet-eating menace Unicron is established, a bunch of Autobots get gunned downed as all those laser beams that miss their targets on the TV show actually can kill here and a handful of icons from the syndicated series die a few gruesome deaths.

By the time the sissified Starscream is blasted to ashes, all the central characters to the original series are gone and we're left with a new generation of toys to push for the remainder of the movie. And, it's a movie that's full of plot holes and incredulous twists, even grading on the "it's just a cartoon" sliding scale of acceptance.

Anyways (spoiler alert) the good guys win and the bad guys are vanquished.

The fun on this DVD is in the assload of extras.

For those of you who normally shy away from the "commentary" tracks, find time to give these a listen. There's one here that includes director Nelson Shin which is off the charts of unintentional comedy. Try to imagine an addled Asian grandfather who spits out the obvious ("Look! He's changing to a truck!") in English so bad it's actually subtitled when he appears in other features on this DVD.

There's another commentary track done by "fans" in what is the very definition of "guilty pleasure". Three or four hardcore TF fans (each with their own TF website, natch) provide a near-infinite amount of insight into the movie and some of its more infamous urban myths. But, the sound of grown men meticulously detailing each scene with a child's enthusiasm is more than a little…unsettling.

The rest of the extras range from "passable" to "pedestrian". There are about a half-dozen trailers of varying length and picture quality and a sneak peak at the 2007 TF movie. All you need to know is that Michael Bay tells us he's re-made this movie in the style of 1998's Armageddon.

I look forward to the shitty single from the shitty soundtrack of, what I fear, will be a shitty movie.

The only other extras of note are some original commercials for the toy line (in terrible quality) from both America and Japan, as well as a "never before seen" Japanese episode that ties the series to the movie. There's no dialogue, though, and most of it's cobbled together from old episodes.

This one's for the most hardcore fans only, kids. Maybe worth adding to the Netflix queue if you only want to catch the commentaries, but save your $20 if you already have the movie, as the extras aren't that special.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Playoff Pickery - AFC/NFC Championship Weekend

I fancy myself as something of a "stats guy", so the following celebratory post must be prefaced with the usual warnings about "small sample size", "standard deviation" and other things that don't matter when you go 3-1 against the spread and the money line last week.

Thanks to my new best friends at, the money I laid across three of the four games all came up winners and I didn't play the one game that I missed. (Screw me once, Drew Brees, shame on you…)

Indianapolis won outright in a field goal fest over Baltimore. I probably should've seen that coming vs. the Ravens defense and the fact that Steve McNair is 92 years old. Still, I figured Indy would keep it close enough for gamblers to ride the road 'dog.

New Orleans had much more trouble than they should've had versus Philadelphia. Did the league catch up to what was one of the most explosive offenses in the league through Thanksgiving? The Saints only hope is to play an even more offensively inept squad this weekend.

It's been a week and I'm still in awe of anyone who thought the Bears were 8 ½ points better than, well…anyone. The fact that Seattle, who might not be one of the top 15 teams in the league, took Chicago to overtime can't bode well for The Superfans this Sunday.

Next to the Raiders winning the Super Bowl when Aaron was 11 years old, no football game has ever brought me more joy than New England's "upset" over San Diego. Imagine living in a town where the influence of the local sports team is everywhere. TV, radio, newspaper, car flags, jerseys…and, now imagine that everyone's "lifelong infatuation" began about four months ago.

As a bonus, LaDanian Tomlinson gets exposed as petulant loser full of sour grapes (makes the best whine!) and the team opts to bring back head coach Marty Schottenheimer and his 5-12 5-13 playoff record. Thank you, New England. Thank you.

As always, the following predictions are for entertainment purposes only (home team in CAPS):

Outright: 7-1
Vs. the Spread: 4-4

New England Patriots (+3) vs. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

As I see it, with my Raiders finishing up the year at 2-14, I had to sell some of my soul for the Chargers to collapse so spectacularly. Under any normal circumstance, I'd never root for Tom Brady or Bill Belichick in any game, but there I was, cheering the effeminate Foxboro favorite and his homeless-clothed coach. Unfortunately, for all of us, it won't end here. While Brady won't outplay Peyton, the Pats will hang around all game, keep it close and win it on an Adam Vinatieri field goal missed field goal.

Final Score: Patriots 24, Colts 23

New Orleans Saints (+2) vs. CHICAGO BEARS

For the record, I wouldn't touch this game with Mrs. Bootleg's bank account. If it's unseasonably warm (what is that in Chicago, 22…23?) I can see more scoring. If it's snow, I can see no scoring. The season-long erosion of Rex Grossman will finally be washed away in one of those 4 INT or 3 fumble games. Meanwhile, will everyone please stop telling me that Drew Brees played at Purdue and should be used to cold, bad weather games? His last six years have been spent in San Diego and in a dome. Drew will struggle, too, but not enough to lose.

Final Score: Saints 17, Bears 16

Meet My Links - Fire Joe Morgan

Just a few inches to the right of where you're reading this, you'll find a handful of links that I humbly recommend. Continuing an unfunny running joke from my Friday Music News Bootleg days, all of the links fall under the "General Haberdashery" heading.

All I remember is that I stole that line from an old episode of King of the Hill. And, considering the source material, it's hard to believe that I ever thought it was funny enough to use as a non sequitur title in the first place.

Anyways, I wanted to write a few words to assure you that these links are worth your time. Just a quick synopsis, with both positives and negatives, in an attempt to make your internet experience a little more enjoyable.

And, yes, I can appreciate the irony of that last sentence, while all of you are here visiting TBG.

Fire Joe Morgan

Synopsis: A rabid media watchdog that's gained quite a large following and a good deal of mainstream pub, FJM critiques the abundance of bad sports journalism that's out there with an emphasis on baseball. They save their most tasty disdain for the work of ESPN baseball analyst, Joe Morgan.

Positives: FJM pulls no punches in taking writers and broadcasters to task for perpetuating clichéd subject matter like "intangibles", "intensity", "grit" and "gumption" (all those "Heart of David Eckstein" stories were easy pickings during last year's World Series). Their assertions are backed up with stats, while their "know-it-all" approach is what can be best described as "enjoyably obnoxious". FJM also has no shame in re-printing previously published material in its entirety, some of which is hidden behind "pay/premium" walls like ESPN Insider.

Negatives: FJM leans heavily on non-traditional baseball stats like VORP, WARP and other sabermetric magic. So, if you're not into Baseball Prospectus or Bill James, a lot will be lost on you. I've recommended this site to other baseball fans, but if you believe that Darin Erstad's squinty, taciturn style equates to "talent", you won't enjoy FJM. Updates can be erratic during the baseball season and nonexistent in the off-season (but, the archives are abundant with goodness).

One Sentence Summary: Who doesn't like a site that supports an increase in African-American unemployment?

Next Week: Low Resolution (Uh oh, Joe!)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The 20 Rules of Black Movies (or "How Leonardo DiCaprio & Claire Danes Became Stars")

A couple of years ago, I wrote "the 9 Rules of Black Movies". Well, if ever a lazy list column needed to be revisited, it's now. I've added eleven new rules, which means 55% original material! I've also re-written a few others.

So, won't you join me on a trip to the Black movies?

#1: The hottest, most desirable women in the movie have to be light-skinned sistas, Latinas or of mixed heritage. (Originally began as "The Rap Video Ho Corollary".)

#2: Black audiences love exaggerated scatological humor like gastrointestinal problems and bowel movements. See anything ever made by The Wayans Bros. for exhibits A thru Poop.

#3: There must be one ostracized brutha who has left his strong Black woman…for a white girl. The Black women in the audience must immediately end their simultaneous cell phone conversations and yell empty threats whenever this character is on screen. For example, "That n*gga ain't shit!", "Ain't no n*gga play me like that!" and "How you finna do her like that!?"

#4: Someone must be cast for the sole purpose of screaming all of their dialogue at the top of their lungs. And, when Mo'Nique and Anthony Anderson are in the same movie…cover your ears.

#5: Black Movies must be released with an awful soundtrack. And every one of them must include no less than six songs by a generic R&B girl group with a name like Blaq2Front or Soultré.

#6: If there are any white characters, they have to "prove themselves" to their Black peers. In the last five years, this has meant banging a drum or cutting hair.

#7: There must be a reference to a famous African-American that everyone in the Black community is tired of being associated with. Current favorites include Rodney King, O.J. Simpson, Mike Tyson and Michael Jackson.

#8: The clothing, car, hair or accessory style is anywhere from 1-2 years out of style from the day of the Black movie's release date. The most egregious examples include Tupac's hair in Juice, Ice Cube's dashiki in Higher Learning or the entirety of Kid n' Play in House Party 1 thru 15.

#9: It must have a part for Tamala Jones.

#10: It's not officially a Black movie until it's banned in at least one urban theater.

#11: Paula Jai Parker must be cast as a hooker.

#12: Only a white teacher who has nothing in common with her students can reach the kids that society and good hygiene have left behind. The students will, of course, resist her at first, then grudgingly accept her ofay ways.

#13: One of the students in the above mentioned example will be killed, jailed or killed in jail during the third act.

#14: If the movie is a "gritty urban drama", it must liberally steal from The Godfather, Scarface and/or Carlito's Way.

#15: Any movie with Cedric The Entertainer will, ironically, not be entertaining.

#16: Five words…"Guaranteed Jet Magazine cover

#17: At least one person in the cast has appeared as a series regular on The WB, UPN or "the new" CW.

#18: Black people must see Black movies during their first weekend of release and be prepared to discuss every scene in sketchy, inaccurate detail after church on Sunday or during work on Monday.

#19: Someone in the office must circulate a "reminder e-mail" on Friday afternoon to "make sure you see (random Black movie)". This will be sent out to the same African-American inter-office mailing list that regularly receives those ultra-religious emails from the God-fearing sista-girl secretary who genuinely believes that Jesus wants her to "forward this prayer to 10 friends".

#20: When yet another Black movie underperforms at the box office, there must be one ubiquitous Black conspiracy theorist who stirs the sh*t by suggesting that the studios and theaters want Black movies to fail. 10 years ago, there were genuinely people (in more than one city) claiming that they'd wanted tickets to Set It Off, paid for tickets to Set It Off, saw Set It Off, but afterwards, noticed that their tickets were for William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet remake.

And, that's how Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes became stars.

I Hate Meeces To Pieces

So, I came across a CD with a few old columns from the 411 days. A good chunk of them mention my wife during her days as Mrs. Pregnant Bootleg. So, with our son turning three in a few weeks, what better time to remember my wife's first night home from the hospital?

Originally from the February 20, 2004 Friday Music News Bootleg...

Last Saturday, Mrs. Bootleg was discharged from the hospital. It was her first day outdoors in two weeks so, of course, she spent most of it inside Stately Cameron Manor. In the evening, we drove down to the hospital to visit Baby Cameron in the ICU, grabbed dinner and came back home.

I ended up crashing in bed, while the wife jumped on the computer and began to upload dozens of baby pictures from the kid's first week on earth. Around 2:00 AM, she comes running into the bedroom to inform me that our cat had brought yet another mouse into the house.

This wasn't the first rodent he had invited home, so I fetched my mouse-hunting gloves and went downstairs. After 15 minutes of back-and-forth, triple threat action between mouse vs. cat vs. Aaron, I snagged the mouse by his tail. On my way to the front door, the lil' bastard shanked me with his razor-sharp teeth. That's right…he bit me.

Mrs. Bootleg, who is swimming in postpartum hormones, demanded that I go to Urgent Care and get a tetanus shot, immediately. I held off until the sun came up, but at 8:00 AM, there I was, amongst a phalanx of phlegm-filled kids and their unshaven mothers in the waiting room.

I filled out the necessary forms and squeezed out my last remaining drops of manhood when I filled in "bit by a mouse" in the space marked "What's your emergency?" Then, as if to punish me for wasting Doctor's valuable time, I was led back to a small little patient room and made to wait nearly two hours before I received my shot.

Oh, and I discovered a new regulation on California's books. It seems that whenever you receive medical care for an animal bite, you have to fill out and submit an Animal Attack Report. Imagine my pride, as I answered questions like:

Animal: mouse
Animal's Weight (approx): less than 1 pound
Location Where Attack Took Place: My Living Room

That form is now on file with the state of California's Department of Animal Control, while I wonder if a neutered bitch such as myself can still be a positive male role model for my son.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mariah Carey is Soft n' Moist

For the most part, Mariah Carey has eluded the long sardonic arm of The Goodness. When she went ka-ka-cuckoo on TRL in late 2002, The Bootleg had yet to be born. Although, truth be told, everyone was piling on Mariah back then as this was in the aftermath of Glitter, which AFI recently ranked behind "everything associated with Alicia Silverstone after Clueless."

Well, the five-octave tart is in the middle of a career renaissance and, at 36, has even regained her status as a multi-racial sex symbol, regaining the throne alongside…umm, I s'pose Halle Berry? Although, Black folk turned on the erstwhile Mrs. David Justice when she birthed a buffalo and pretended to have sex with Billy Bob Thornton in Monster's Ball, while white folk started hating when she won an Oscar for said performance and turned her acceptance speech into Black History Month.

Anyways, in a recent interview, Carey revealed some steamy details about her bedroom, using words like "protection", "lubrication" and "larynx".

And, yes, it's not what you think, but you have to admit my "jerk the audience around" ability is not dissimilar to M. Night Shyamalan's and you viewers have made him a millionaire.

So, in the interview, Carey claims that she sleeps in a waterproof steam room that lubricates her larynx and protects her voluminous voice. Further, her bedding is entirely terrycloth toweling that absorbs surplus moisture. All other essential fixtures are either waterproof or stashed behind glass.

"I'll have 20 humidifiers around the bed", Mariah mused, "Basically, it's like sleeping in a steam room. The ceiling is pitched so the water can't fall on my head, and it drips down to my side."

The moisture misses the head and drips down the side? It's like she's sleeping in my toilet at 2:00 AM or something. Still, even if we afford her points for being one of the few women who wants the wet spot in bed, this remains insane.

Why not just move to Florida like The Golden Girls and Tiger Woods? You get year-round humidity, along with no state income tax and beautiful beaches where future Cuban pitching prospects wash ashore like ethnic shellfish.

Hell, even hurricane season is no longer a negative. As Katrina taught us, the rich and the whites can always rebuild and recoup before the poor and the Blacks.

And, we all know which team Mariah's on.

This week.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Oakland Raiders Interview Ultimate Warrior for Coaching Job

Raiders owner Al Davis promised that he would move quickly to name a new head coach after firing ashy Black statue, Art Shell, for a second time. On Friday, the team interviewed former WWF Champion and two-time Intercontinental Champion, The Ultimate Warrior (pictured, on right, with pudgy "little Warrior").

Warrior, 62, spent last season under the alias "Rob Ryan" and served as the Raiders' defensive coordinator. Under his veiny, bicep-tassled watch, the Raiders finished 3rd in team defense in 2006. Warrior Rob already has the locker room in his corner, many of whom remember him from his face painted peak in the late '80s/early '90s.

"I remember when Warrior defended the Intercontinental belt against Sika on Saturday Night's Main Event", gushed Raiders DE Warren Sapp. "Warrior had just won it and I can still remember thinking 'who'd this n*gga beat to get a title shot'? I mean, Sika lost to everybody!
Hillbilly Jim, Sam Houston, that real dark brutha with the jheri curl and the pet bird. Like I said, he lost to everybody. He ain't deserve that match. That was some shady sh*t, right there."

Not every Oakland Raider seems ready to embrace Warrior, however.

"Actually, I was rooting for Sika in that match", quipped third-string quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo.

While the hiring of The Ultimate Warrior would be just the type of Big Splash the Raiders need to turn the incessant tide of negativity, it's unclear just who can vouch for the guy's leadership skills. A source tells TBG that Warrior listed Animal from The Legion of Doom as the only personal reference on his résumé.

"Although, in The Ultimate Warrior's defense, everyone else that he captained on his
1990 Survivor Series team is dead", the source added.

In recent years, Warrior Rob has supplemen-ted his coaching income with nonsensical public speaking appearances and sporadic guest spots on C-Span2 (The Deuce…of Democracy!). Warrior did not speak to reporters as he exited the Raiders' Alameda offices, but he did offer up one unsolicited comment:

"F*ck you. That's what happened to my face. F*ck you happened."

If hired, it remains to be seen if Warrior will continue to cut and color his hair in the same short, sassy way that he did in 1992, when he returned to the WWF at the en
d of Wrestlemania VIII.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Playoff Pickery - Divisional Weekend

Last week, I went 4-0 picking the winners outright, while posting a pathetic 1-3 versus the spread. If this were baseball, a stat like that would get me 1,000 words in a Jayson Stark column.

I called a "shootout" in the Chiefs/Colts game and Indy wins going away.

I correctly singled out Tony Romo as the reason Seattle wouldn't beat Dallas and still couldn't get a cover.

I took the Eagles when everyone was calling the Giants, but put too many points on the table.

I had the Patriots covering versus the Jets and New England saved me from a 4-0/0-4 embarrassment.

My point is that the following predictions are for entertainment purposes only (home team in CAPS):

Outright: 4-0
Vs. the Spread: 1-3

Indianapolis Colts (+4) vs. BALTIMORE RAVENS

Everyone knows that when an African-American fan watches a game between two teams, without any vested interest in the outcome, he must root for the team with the Black quarterback. If there are two Black quarterbacks, the rule is "don't root for Aaron Brooks". I'm torn here, though, because Peyton Manning has all the light-skinned tendencies of the brutha trying too hard to pass. And, never has a poor racial analogy been so intrinsically linked with the actual issues faced by a white quarterback in a playoff game.

Final Score: Ravens 28, Colts 27

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Interesting. Drew Brees and the Saints could very easily follow the path of my fantasy football team: racking up big numbers in empty regular season games, before struggling to score in the games that mean more. Have I told y'all who was my fantasy quarterback this year? It was Drew Brees. And, after weeks of 400+ yards, 4 TD performances, he crapped the bed in my playoffs when I needed him most. I'll never let this go.

Final Score: Saints 31, Eagles 7

Seattle Seahawks (+8.5) vs. CHICAGO BEARS

Eight and a half points?! F*** it, I'm laying real money down on this one. Seriously. Bears' QB Rex Grossman can't find the end zone and head coach Lovie Smith seems perfectly OK to equate "losing" with "loyalty". Meanwhile, the Seahawks have the ro-momentum (HAW!) from last week's win over Dallas. I'm not saying the Bears will lose this game (they won't). I'm just saying the Bears might not even score 8.5 points, much less cover the spread. This one's free money, kids. Bet early, bet often.

Final Score: Bears 16, Seahawks 13

New England Patriots (+5) vs. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

I have no idea why even the seasoned gamblers are having such a hard time with this one. Chargers RB LaDanian Tomlinson is the best player on either team, but would you rather have the last four weeks of Tom Brady or Phillip Rivers? More importantly, in a must win game, would you rather have Bill Belichick (12-2 in the playoffs) or Marty Schottenheimer (5-12 in the playoffs) at the helm? The Chargers' secondary can be beaten and Brady will pick them apart. LT will become a non-factor after an early Pats lead forces Rivers to win it with his arm and my long local nightmare will be over. Thank you, New England. Thank you.

Final Score: Patriots 37, Chargers 17

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

TBG Reviews: Hustle & Flow

And, yes, I am the last Black man to see the critically-acclaimed story of a pimp who aspires to be a rapper. With a full time job and 15 minutes of fatherhood every night, I'm lucky to see any movie during its initial theatric run, but it's the so-called "Black" movies that I miss the most.

I mean, was Soul Plane really as bad as they all said?

Anyways, we'll keep this one short since Hustle & Flow was so 2005.

Positives: Terrific performances by just about everyone involved…and, damn it, I mean everyone. Terrence Howard got the Oscar nod, but Anthony Anderson and DJ Qualls are terrific in smaller roles, while Taryn Manning and Taraji P. Henson are phenomenal as a pair of hoes with heart.

Negatives: The music is terrible and the entire film is based around it. Watching everyone stand around slack-jawed while Howard's "Djay" is spitting garbage as if he's cobbling together a classic is awkward and embarrassing. The accomplished Elise Neal plays a poorly-written supportive wife, while Paula Jai Parker plays a L-O-U-D Black woman for the 100th time. And, the last 30 minutes nearly ruin the film.

Overall: Watchable, but somewhat disappointing, given all the hype. Howard's character is hardly sympathetic, so it's hard to connect with his struggle. If you like that Dirty South sound, you'll like this one more than I did. If you abhor Hip Hop, the strong performances still might not be enough to win you over.

The Future Mrs. Scary Murphy?

For those of us who properly lament the current state of the musical landscape, let's not forget that 10 years ago, The Spice Girls' were at the height of their commercial majesty. Although, when one considers that 1997 was mostly a mishmash of Ma$e singles and a million Mariah Carey remixes, it's easy to see how a talentless faction of estrogen could succeed in a year when faux entertainment gang wars were all the rage.

Anyways, former Spice Girl Melanie Brown is five months pregnant and, according to reports, she's under 24-hour police protection.

Y'see, the erstwhile Scary Spice was romantically linked to 1980's comedic icon, Eddie Murphy over the summer. However, their six-month relationship ended a few weeks ago, with Murphy denying that he's anybody's babydaddy.

So, how do the cops come into play?

According to British tabloid, The Sun, Brown has allegedly endured "harassment from Eddie Murphy fans standing outside her rented home in Los Angeles."

"Eddie Murphy fans"? I know those words, but that sign sentence makes no sense. I mean, it's been cinematically confirmed that Eddie's caucus of Caucasian supporters all abandoned him right around the three-and-a-half-hour mark of Harlem Nights. And, that was with 60 minutes still to go. Meanwhile, the minorities stuck around until Eddie stuck his mound into Eartha's Kitty in 1992's Boomerang.

And, yes, we know it was just a movie, but even the imaginary exploration of Eartha's "underground railroad"… ugh, let's just move on.

The point is that Eddie Murphy's rabid "fanbase" was at least three crossover Negroes ago. And, by the time that Dave Chappelle had replaced Chris Rock who had replaced Martin Lawrence (don't act like you didn't like him back in 1994), there wasn't anyone left for Eddie, save for the precious few who Remember the Time (when we fell in love).

So, keep your light-skinned chin up, Mel B. A few hurtful words from a small unemployable herd shouldn't get you down. Just fight the urge to leave your leftovers out for Arsenio Hall when he comes to heckle or you'll never get rid of him.

Just ask Eddie…he'll tell you some tales about…

Whoops…sorry, Scary.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

How I Lost the Trailer Trash Vote

Last Sunday, I willingly violated 'guy code' for the sake of TBG material.

I posted a link to a letter I wrote to the sports section of our local, right-wing rag, The San Diego Union-Tribune. The newspaper ran the letter (which, if it's not still up, was a few words on the self-professed sports moralists here in San Diego who have no problem with a 'roided up Shawne Merriman on their team).

Anyways, the paper ran a
rebuttal letter by some broad who actually calls me out by name. I know that this is only interesting to me. I also know that no one should ever send out mass e-mails "bragging" that "Bill Simmons put me in his mailbag", etc.

But, it's Sunday. And, I need TBG material.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

TBG Reviews: MTV 2's $2 Bill Concert Series, Featuring The Game

For those of you who might not know, the "$2 Bill" is a 30-minute commercial disguised as a concert. And, a quick pan of tonight's audience surely enrages the entirety of the ultra-conservative red states as it appears all of East L.A. is in attendance.

And, look…they've brought their gang signs!

There are some 18s up front. Who'd they kill to get such good seats?

Uh oh! Better not sit 'em too close to the homies from Mara Salvatrucha!

0:01 - Game is out and gingerly takes the stage in a black Dickies ensemble. He fits right in with the crowd, as any minute I half-expect Michelle Pfeiffer to teach everyone a lesson in life and a perpetually perspiring L.V. to sing the hook to the theme song.

Game urges the audience to "make some noise", which remains forever entrenched in the encyclopedia of on-stage music concert clichés. You'll find it in the "M" volume right after "make money, money, money…make money, money!" (You'll have to look that one up on your own, non-rap fans.)

0:02 - And, we're right into "Westside Story", from his debut Documentary album:

"Crips, Bloods, Eses, Asians, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, White Boys, Jamaicans, Latin Kings, Disciples, Vice Lords, Haitians…all these muthafuckas been patiently waitin…!"

Those "strikethroughs" are what we the viewers hear as "bleeps". Anyone remember when these guys used to make "radio" versions of their hits? Snoop Dogg's "smokin' Indo" line from "Gin n' Juice" became "smokin', smokin'". Now, they just let the seven-second delay do their dirty work. Lazy azz nickas.

And, listen to this…they actually kept 50 Cent's original hook for the song! 50 is Game's archenemy for those of you who've already forgotten their "feud" that's lasted almost two years now. Game seems to be having trouble keeping up with the beat here. We're barely one song into this thing and Game is already sweating like a fourth period Patrick Ewing.

Hip Hop-crysy: Game raps "I don't do button up shirts…", but he's got one on here.

References to "C-Walking" and "The Devil" are slipped past the censor, even though they're pretty common gang references these days. Hell, C-Walking briefly gained acclaim as a dance craze in clubs out in Cali. But, then the real Crips took exception and you know how protective of their intellectual property they are.

In fact, they spell "exception" with an "AK", which isn't just a tired gun reference; it's really how they spell it.

0:05 - Next up is "California Vacation" off of Game's new album. And, in the surprise of the night, west coast rapper Xzibit was able to clear his busy calendar for a cameo here! Didn't X drop an album just three months ago? Can we all assume that his self-serving concert will be shuttled over to MTV-Ocho as part of their I Ain't Got No Change for a Dollar series? And, did someone at least pimp his bus pass?

0:08 - X finishes his verse in time for Game to jump into the second single from Doctor's Advocate, "Let's Ride".

As is often the case with these shows, the fans go crazy for the material that they've heard a million times and memorized ("Do 'Freebird'!") and don't know how to react to the relatively new stuff. In the case of this concert, everyone in the audience nods their heads politely and repositions their respective pistols around their torsos.

Perhaps sensing the fans' fatigue after watching someone else do something for 15 minutes, a handful of scantily-clad dancers almost instantly appear onstage to liven things up.

Dancers…at a gangsta rap concert. Somewhere, Tupac Shakur is rolling over in his grave. Or maybe his mom and Suge Knight just keep forgetting to place 'Pac 'face up' after they've exhumed his music for the umpteenth time.

(And save your hate mail, I know that St. Tupac was cremated, but that joke wouldn't have made sense. It's called "creative license", kids.)

0:13 - The pacing was apparently intentional as "Hate It or Love It" is up next. It's a hot little cut (and easily one of the two biggest hits) off his first album and it worked because 50 Cent carried an equal amount of the lyrical load. Not only is 50 not here, but the censors even bleep out his name when Game politely states that he'll rap 50's part.

It's a good thing that this isn't an hour-long affair, because Game is breathing heavier than an emphysemic asthmatic. He gives himself a breather by holding out the mic towards the crowd when 50's verses come on, so that they can perform what they paid to see. It's the same for his performance of "How We Do", as the forced audience participation and machine-gun lyrical censoring ruins this one for those of us at home. I hope he heard my boos.

0:21 - What the…? A commercial? Whoever heard of intermission in a 30-minute musical performance? Well, on the plus side, one of the spots was for Game's Hurricane shoe line. In LA, you can buy two pairs for $89 in most malls. Do Bloods and Crips shop at Payless?

0:25 - We're back for the big finish, as Game calls out his gang affiliation by name, without any MTV editing. I guess we now know which set Viacom claims. Remember, guys, the red rag goes on the right side. Anyways, it's time for "It's Okay (One Blood)", which is, admittedly, a great single.

The audience wakes up, while Junior Reid (who lends the sample and is on the hook) is in traditional Jamaican rags attire and slinging a surplus supply of those faux leather African medallions, which were the swap meet treat back in 1989, into the crowd.

0:29 - Inexplicably, the show finishes with the closing credits rolling over Nas, who's all but anonymous on the West Coast, anyway. He was there for "Hate the Game" off of Game's new album, but the track runs almost 10 minutes and is cut (by about 10 minutes) for time purposes.

Taking my obvious bias into account, this was a fun little show for fans of The Game, so take the two seconds to hunt it down on YouTube. Oh, and Xzibit needs a ride home, so if anyone's going that way…

Friday, January 5, 2007

The TBG User's Guide

First off, I wanted to thank everyone for reading. I wasn't sure I could get up for the blogging thang, but I've gotten some encouraging words from several of you (including a few who've been with me since the 411 days) and that's helped motivate me to neglect all my husband and father duties just to provide you with new content!

For your ease of reading, I've gone back and categorized all my previous posts. So, if you're not a sports fan, just scroll until you find a "music" post, click on "music" and you've magically filtered out everything but my endless Lil' Kim jokes and Heather Mills mockery. If you want to laugh at me while I laugh at my life, find "random goodness", and so on.

Have a great weekend…

Playoff Pickery - Wildcard Weekend

In the fall of 2002, one of my co-workers turned me on to an online gambling site. I honestly don't remember the name of it now, but that's not too surprising since I only placed two bets with them.

During Week #4 of the '02 season, the Denver Broncos traveled to Baltimore to play the Ravens. Baltimore was coming off a bye week, but had only scored seven combined points in their first two games. The Broncos, on the other hand, had scored 23, 24 and 28 points in their first three games and sported a 3-0 record versus the winless Ravens.

The Broncos were 3 ½ point favorites in what seemed like the very definition of "free money". Even better, the over/under was 31.

I laid $50 on the Broncos to cover and another $50 on the under, thinking that a 20-7 or 17-13 final score was all but written.

So, it goes without saying that the Ravens put up 34 points by themselves and beat the Broncos by 11, thus killing both of my bets in just four interminable hours on ABC.

My point is that the following predictions are for entertainment purposes only (home team in CAPS):

Kansas City Chiefs (+7) vs. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

The Chiefs are everyone's upset pick this week based solely on Indy's inability to stop the run. It'll be a shootout, to be sure, and I could see Kansas City winning outright, but a late Adam Vinatieri field goal staves off the inevitable, insufferable Bill Simmons 10,000-word celebratory told-you-so tirade for another week.

Final Score: Colts 35, Chiefs 34

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-2.5) vs. Dallas Cowboys

I'll concede that the Cowboys aren't as bad as they've looked the last few weeks. I'll also concede that the Seahawks are a flawed, beatable team with fans who are still crying about last year's Super Bowl officiating. Still, Cowboys QB Tony Romo is playing his first playoff game in one of the toughest places in the league to win.

Final Score: Seahawks 19, Cowboys 16

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-7) vs. New York Giants

True story: Earlier this year, my fantasy football team was undefeated and playing a team that was starting a then white-hot Donovan McNabb at QB. That just happened to be the week where McNabb went down for the season with an early injury and, without his automatic 30 points, my team just barely won. I played the same team in the opening round of the playoffs and promptly had my ass handed to me, in part, by the arm of Alex Smith. This is the year for the Great White Hope, Jeff Garcia. OK, well, it's at least your week.

Final Score: Eagles 28, Giants 17

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-8.5) vs. New York Jets

How bad is it to have the San Diego Chargers and their hypocritically ignorant fans in the playoffs? Their presence has forced me to root for New England in this game. Assuming the Colts beat the Chiefs, the Chargers would play the winner of this game. The Pats are much more likely to find a way to put the lethal injection in the Chargers season than anyone else next week. But, don't look ahead, guys! Pace yourself, take care of business and then do it again next week. Please?

Final Score: Patriots 27, Jets 7

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Tiki Barber – The Protected Negro

In the December 18th issue of Sports Illustrated, Karl Taro Greenfeld profiles New York Giants running back Tiki Barber. The article isn't your run-of-the-mill puff piece, as Greenfeld's excessive kowtowing practically deifies Barber with neon hyperbole.

For those of you who don't know, Tiki Barber announced his retirement, effective at the end of this season, and hopes to begin a second career as a member of the media once his football playing days are over.

Unique? Sure, when you consider that Barber wants to do more than join the dozens of screaming ex-NFL stars on pregame shows whose only qualifications are "Black" and "loud". In fact, Barber has his sights set on venues like Good Morning America, Dateline NBC and 20/20.

So, what's got my goat?

Well, the ostensibly objective article opens up with a pair of posed pictures of Barber from "Icon SMI", a sports media photo press agency who obviously have an "arrangement" with the soon-to-be erstwhile running back. It's never too early to get those head shots out, I suppose, and what better stepping stone than the most successful sports magazine in America?

Greenfeld opens with the usual jock-talk, recounting Barber's career stats, a quote from his head coach…you know the routine. But, the predictable prose is broken almost immediately:

"…and you could make the case that (Barber) is the most accomplished New York athlete of the 21st century."

No, you can't. Taking nothing away from Barber's 2004 and 2005 seasons when he led the league in yards from scrimmage, can you ever point to Tiki Barber and say that the Giants were his team? You can? Fine…"his" team went 58-54 since 2000, with three sub-.500 seasons mixed in. Barber, meanwhile, racked up impressive regular season stats, but in the playoffs, he's averaged 3.5 yards/carry with just one touchdown.

We'll just assume that Greenfeld has never heard of Derek Jeter and move on.

The SI article careens all over the place before it gets to the struggles of the team. Within about a dozen words of each other, Greenfeld writes about the well-publicized rants of Giants' DE Michael Strahan (he publicly ripped teammate Plaxico Buress and verbally assaulted a female ESPN reporter) and then does the same with Barber.

The difference is that Greenfeld immediately spins the Barber story (after a loss versus Jacksonville, Barber criticized the coaching staff and play calling) better than Tiki's own "people" could. Showing equal parts "apologist" and "publicist", Greenfeld gives Barber an out and inquires if Barber's ill-conceived quotes were meant to "draw the heat" from embattled quarterback Eli Manning.

Barber's response? "Yeah, that was part of it."

Sure, it was, Me-ki…sure, it was.

By now, you surely think I have some ax to grind and you'd be right. It's not with Tiki Barber (well, it kind of is), but instead with Greenfeld's "journalism".

After painting Barber in the best possible light, Greenfeld then goes into a description of Tiki Barber's head.:

"Barber's facial structure is so defined that you imagine you know what he will look like in a thousand years, long after the flesh has decomposed and he is only bone. His face is all sharp angles and perfect planes. His broad smile bares gleaming white, evenly arrayed teeth, an extra helping of perfection after the symmetry of his features."

"An extra helping of perfection"? Jesus, anyone know where these two are registered and does anyone wanna go in with me for a set of china for the happy couple?

It gets better:

"When asked who his hero is, (Barber) thinks for a while. He finally settles on Matt Lauer. 'No matter the situation, (Lauer) is professional, polished and intelligent."

Tiki Barber's "hero" is Matt Lauer from NBC? Is he kidding me? And, was Lauer's ass sliced open from the "sharp angle and perfect plane" of Tiki's lips? Could this guy get any more manufactured? Well, you bet he can, cuz it's time to play the (non-) race card!

"If you had to engineer an American television news personality in a laboratory, you might come up with someone like Tiki Barber: non-threatening, articulate, funny, intelligent, self-aware and hugely self-confident without seeming like an egomaniac. And, then there is his diction, which is ethnically and geographically neutral."

There might not be any more obviously backhanded praise for a Black guy than to drop the "he speaks so well" compliment. We're not all aspiring rap stars, y'know, but Greenfeld is so enamored with Tiki's literate tongue that he mentions it twice in the above consecutive sentences. Ah, hell, why not let Tiki make it three:

"We grew up in a white middle-class community and had a mom who emphasized education and lived that neutrality. She didn't speak that typical African-American diction."

Oh, how I would've paid cash money to hear Greenfeld ask Barber, "Can you give me an example of 'typical African-American diction'?" And, just to summarize for those of you scoring at home: "white middle-class + education = neutral". Way to tweak that "Q" rating, Tiki. Good to know that Wichita, Omaha and Boston will welcome you into their homes (but, only if you stay inside the TV…and, don't even think about moving into their neighborhood or the locals might have some 'African-American diction' for you. Well, just one word, really, but you know what it is. Or, do you?)

Finally, Barber ends with this equally enlightening quote:

"Quite honestly, I don't have the passion to (play) anymore. I'll sit in meetings and I'm bored, or my mind is drifting or I'll go out on Sunday on the football field and the blood isn't flowing like it used to."

Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Edgerrin James, Ray Lewis, Keyshawn Johnson, Daunte Culpepper, Joe Horn, , Jerry Porter, Warren Sapp and Kellen Winslow, Jr.

Those are just ten players, off the top of my head, who would be crucified if those words ever came out of their mouths. But, Tiki gets a pass.

I guess it's good to be neutral.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Without IP, How Will I Fill the Hours?

Probably writing letters to the editor of my local paper. Meanwhile, I'm almost done with my next letter to an editor in an informative medium:

Dear Advertisers,

I am disgusted with the way old people are depicted on television. (They) are not all vibrant, fun-loving sex maniacs. Many of (them) are bitter, resentful individuals who remember the good old days when entertainment was bland and inoffensive. The following is a list of words I never want to hear on television again. Number one: "Bra". Number two: "Horny". Number three: "Family Jewels".