Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Humorous (at least to me) view of the Economic Crisis

I am one final exam away from completing my MBA and I am more than willing to admit that I do not know exactly how our economy works.  I have some idea, but there are still certain aspects of it that confound me (I am going to continue to research these areas because I am not satisfied being an ignorant, American Idol-watching, deep fried Snickers bar-eating idiot, but that’s not for this post). However, listening to any media outlet or reading Rolling Stone will let you know that the economy is in a tailspin and we are all 30 days away from being destitute poor people.  My personal favorite way of reporting the Dow Jones Average is when a reporter acts dismayed that the market has hit “a five year low”, you know how often this happens? Every 5 years! (think about it) It’s not that historic when you think about how long the market has existed.   Anyway, if the economy is really in as bad shape as Oliver Miller on the first day of training camp, I have the following questions (feel free to post answers):

How did the iPhone just become the most popular phone in America?

The iPhone retails for a minimum of $200 (the better one is $300) and it just passed Motorola’s Razr, which retails for under $20 and is free with many plans, as the most used cell phone in America.  How is this possible?  Are people not buying food and medication so they can have the new Ludacris album automatically downloaded to their mobile device?  I would really like this explained to me.  Also, I spend a lot of time wondering why people that I am 100% sure are doing NOTHING with their lives need iPhones and Blackberrys? Why do these people need to be notified (with some kind of custom ringtone) every time one of their buddies forwards them a “funny” email, isn’t it interrupting their time watching people get voted off islands and debating the BCS system?

5 of my friends bought houses and one got engaged this year, how is this possible?

Lyle Mead, Sarah Davids, Mike Face, Charlie Stevens, Mary-Anne (cousin) and I all bought houses in the last year and my friend Milo Nicks got engaged with a rock that would make Beyonce happy.  I find it hard to believe somehow all of us are beating the market because we are so smart and cunning, especially because none of us can adequately explain how we are able to make these moves during this downturn.  

Also, Milo is planning a fall 2010 wedding, with a “Lunar Landing” theme.  They are painting the walls of the reception hall black, having gray “moon dust” floors, the DJ has been instructed to play a lot of Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Kool Keith and Lil’ Wayne (“we are not the same I am a martian”), and Milo is wearing an astronaut suit instead of a tuxedo.  Also, as soon as somebody gets drunk and falls on the dance floor, the DJ is going to cut off the music and announce “Houston, we have a problem.” 

Why do I still see people decked out in all kind of designer gear?

I continually see unattractive people in high-end designer clothing, which is being wasted because they are still unattractive and Jimmy Choo shoes, a Louie scarf or Fendi bag can NOT change this.  

When it come to dressing, either you have it or you don’t and no amount of money can make a difference. I challenge anyone reading this to spend $5,000 on an outfit from the Short Hills Mall and I will out-dress them with a $175 gift card to the Burlington Coat Factory.  

Doesn’t it seem like rappers are still rich?

Apparently they are immune to the economic downturn, bootleg mixtapes, internet leaks, decreasing album sales across the industry, being forced to play smaller venues and the insane amounts they spend on collaborations (I’m pretty sure Jamie Foxx doesn’t sing on a Plies record for less than a hundred grand).  Good for them.  

How are these stores closing?

I got an email today warning that the following stores are closing in January and that you should not buy gift cards because they will be worthless.  

Lane Bryant: Every available piece of research states that the United States has an obesity epidemic, so the stock of a plus-size retailer should be through the roof.  There must be a real problem with their supply-chain management if they are having trouble selling clothes to overweight women when 2/3 of our population has been deemed “obese.”  The only way this makes sense is if the population is becoming so ‘effin fat that they no longer need sensible, casual clothing, but khaki’s with elastic waist bands and giant tent-dresses...if that’s the case buy stock in Wal-Mart.  

Pacific Sunwear (Pac Sun): Isn’t all that day-glow, surfer, 80’s stuff supposed to be hot with the hipsters that wear tight jeans and Vans?  Guess not.

Piercing Pagoda: I find it hard to believe that the market for cheap jewelry and watching little kids go into mass hysterics while their parents force them to get their ears pierced in the middle of the mall has totally collapsed.  

Sharper Image: Who would have thought a store dedicated to selling useless crap would ever go out of business?  Also, I doubt they made much money from people passing out in message chairs and then pretending to be interested in buying one if the salesperson came by.

Wilson Leather: This store suffered because they put all their eggs in one basket: Leather Jackets.  They should have diversified into leather pants, leather hats/helmets (red baron style) and other assorted items. 

KB Toys: I don’t know much about the action figure market, but Lyle Mead is an expert and every time I mention that I saw something cool in a KB Toys he gives me that half-smirk, patronizing smile I give to people when they tell me they got a “cool” pair of sneakers at a Foot Locker in the mall.  

The Gap:  I guess the market is already saturated with non-descript sweaters, over priced polo shirts and numerous types of khakis and chinos that all look the same. 

NOTE:  This is a JOKE, I realize the economy is actually in a bad condition, I’m not a slobbering imbecile. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Over and Under Rated 4


Donating Your Body to Science
The idea of giving your body to “science” after you die, when you presumably have no more use for your limbs, organs and other biological matter, sounds good in theory, however, in practice it does not make much sense. If you donate your body to “science” you should understand that “science” is a business and only diseases and disorders that have been discovered to be profitable to treat or cure are researched. This means that your remains will most likely be used to find a cure for erectile dysfunction or male pattern baldness (I’m going to acknowledge I “borrowed” this from the movie “Idocracy”, but it does seem as if we dedicate an inordinate amount of time and money to finding a remedy for these two disorders).

Also, because our healthcare system is predicated on the idea of finding “treatments” and not cures for diseases, so that people are kept alive and paying large pharmaceutical companies for drugs throughout their entire lifespan, either out of their own pocket or by being forced to keep jobs with “benefits” that results in working Americans having a questionable degree of freedom (Quitting job = unable to attain necessary medications = death). As a side note, the new administrations’ “Health Care Reform” will be powerless to remedy this situation; however that is clearly the topic of another post. Your body will probably be used to find an increasingly expensive “treatment” for something that has already been cured: Obesity (under 500 lbs.) = Stop Eating, Morbid Obesity (Over 500 lbs.) = Kill Yourself, STD’s = Some level of discretion when choosing sexual partners and/or condoms if discretion is impossible, Not to mention the myriad conditions that have been proven to be improved with some combination of diet and exercise.

If I felt my body was going to be used to cure unpreventable brain tumors or congenital birth defects, I would have no problem donating mine. However, the idea of a lifetime alcoholic that lived his life in a drunken stupor getting my liver, a shop teacher that refused to wear safety goggles getting my eyes or some fat bastard that couldn’t stop eating cake icing out of the tube getting my kidneys makes me think I’d rather take it with me.

Fantasy Football
I know two things about fantasy football...You’re first pick has to be a running back and you have to be a complete ‘effin clown to play fantasy football. I am not disparaging anybody’s past time (we need something to take our minds off stupid tasks like learning, thinking and developing our own opinions) but, rather the way this activity is viewed in our society. Guys that play fantasy football are cool, have jobs and get chicks, while guys that play Dungeons & Dragons are relegated to working at Radio Shack and living in their parents’ basement. And when you really think about it, they are the same activity. Is there really a significant difference between these two statements?

“I can’t believe how bad the Ravens defense played, but at least Tomlinson had a big day for me!”


“That broad sword attack was rough, luckily I had a chain mail and a level 4 club to fend off the onslaught!”

NOTE: This is a joke, don’t take it personal.

The 8-Hour Work Day
Most of my friends work standard 9-5 jobs (I work significantly more hours including weekends and holidays, and I spend a lot of time trying to figure out why), and they all openly admit to actually “working” far less than 8 hours per day. They spend the remainder of the “work day” updating social networking sites (if they are not blocked), sending emails to friends, taking care of personal business, gossiping with co-workers or online shopping. It is unclear to me why we still are required to work 8 hours a day (minimum) when the overwhelming majority of our tasks have been made faster and easier with the use of computers and related emerging technologies.

This 8-Hour day may exist because some fear what would happen if people were given too much free time to engage in interests outside of work and the pursuit of money. The average man or woman that is kept occupied by countless games of Solitaire, updating their Blackberry contacts and otherwise pretending to work is in no position to become fully actualized as a human being.
We should end this anachronism now, have everybody report to work at 9am (a reasonable hour), get your tasks done and get the ‘eff out of there, so you can get home and watch sports/reality television, download ringtones and eat food that is slowly killing you.


Hanging Out with Real Drinkers
I don’t mean people that have a few cocktails and call it a night, I mean people that get in fights with police officers, vomit on bouncers and otherwise mop up the floor of the bar with their face (either through unprovoked falls or being beaten up). They will not always be the best friends because they will often be unable to remember the bar you were supposed to meet them at (even though they are in that bar), lose your cell phone and usually place you in great physical danger just from associating with them (they tend to really piss people off). However, all of this should be overlooked because they will provide you with an abundance of laughs and timeless stories to tell to future generations.

Drinks with Silly Names
Any Tom, Dick and Harry can walk into a bar and order a Rum & Coke, Screwdriver or Bud Light, bottle. Drinks like the Harvey Wall Banger, Red Headed Slut, White Russian, Mud Slide and Thug Passion are seldom ordered, but provide a refreshing alternative to standard drinks.

The Arsenio Hall Show
This was better than Leno or Letterman. The host was the coolest man alive, he routinely had guests like NWA and Public Enemy, that didn’t appear anywhere else on network TV (Shout to YO! MTV Raps on cable) and every episode felt like a party. When I was a pre-teen I looked forward to watching this show on Fridays (it was on every night, but because I had to get up really early for school I could only watch on Fridays) with about ten times the intensity I currently have for new episodes of The Office. I would tune in just to see what he called “The Dog Pound” and everything after that was a bonus. This show should be made available online or on DVD ASAP.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Phrases I Hate 2

“I like _______, but it has to be good_________”

It doesn’t matter if you are talking about country music, strip clubs or thai food, somebody will drop this gem of infinite wisdom every time something polarizing is being discussed.  It is completely insane because NOBODY likes “Bad ________” whatever “__________” is.  Even though there may be varying degrees of “___________” the people that like that version of “____________”, don’t think it’s “bad __________.”  

Example: I really enjoy buffets, they are by far my favorite kind of meal.  However, I never say “Let’s go to a really bad buffet, the worst we can possibly find.  I’d like to eat at a buffet with only three entree choices and two of them contain salmonella poisoning.  Also, if the waitstaff could be rude, the rest rooms filthy and somebody could vomit on my table as they walk out, it would be great!” 

“Alternative Music”

Alternative to what?  If a band like Greenday or Coldplay is constantly on the radio, on iPod commercials and winning armfuls of Grammy Awards, what exactly are they the alternative to?  

I understand that in the 80’s “Hair Bands” ruled the charts and college/art rock bands like U2 and REM were an “alternative” to mainstream rock.  “Hair Metal” has been dead fro 20 years and these “alternative” bands have ruled the charts, airwaves and sales figures for two decades.  Referring to a band like Radiohead as “alternative” is a antiquated as calling their albums “LP’s” or the thing you listen to them on a “Hi-Fi.” 

“I just bought a new jacket and saved $50”

No, you didn’t.  You would have saved money by NOT buying the jacket.  You spent money by buying the jacket. End of story.

“__________(athlete) really brought legitimacy to that position”

By the very nature of American sport, if that position is deemed important enough to have a spot on a professional team and the ownership of the team pays the player real money to play that position, it is already legitimate.  

This phrase has been used ad nauseam about the New York Jets’ acquisition of Brett Farve.  Playing the most important position, in the most popular sport in the biggest city was already legit before Brett Farve got there, in fact it was legit before Joe Namath beat the Colts (and way before he kissed Suzy Kolber).  The only positions in sport that need “Legitimacy” is that of Shawn Kemp kids.  

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hip-Hop's Most Embarrassing Moments of 2008

I am the biggest Hip-Hop fan in my circle of friends, this is largely because my circle of friends consists mainly of caucasians in their late 20’s and early 30’s, not exactly Hip-Hop’s key demographic.  Playing this position amongst my friends and family means that I am the one they look to for answers as to why Cam’ron would not report the whereabouts of a serial killer and whether or not Detox is ever coming out.  Normally, I enjoy this role and take pride in knowing what’s happening in the industry, turning people onto new MC’s and posting reviews of shows and albums (coming soon!) on this blog, however, every once in a while rappers do and/or say things that are so asinine it makes it hard for me to justify their behavior to my less Hip-Hop aware acquaintances.  

2008 has been a solid year for today’s most relevant form of popular music: Jay-Z sold out The Garden five times, TI and Ludacris squashed their beef and Nas released an album that was lyrically and sonically compelling regardless of the title. However, several things happened that not only were hard for me to explain to my people, but actually made me embarrassed to call myself a Hip-Hop head.  The following moments fall into this category:

Rick Ross’ Past: I was never sold on Rick Ross as a rapper-his drug dealer persona has already been done better by several more talented MC’s, his lyrics are embarrassingly simple and his “hits” rely heavily on production and hooks as opposed to anything resembling substance.  However, in the summer of 2008 information surfaced that “The Biggest Boss That You’ve Seen Thus Far” and the guy that knows the Real Noreaga spent his late teens and early-20’s as a Corrections Officer in the Florida Prison System. This information was disturbing on several fronts, first, he clearly fabricated his entire drug-dealing past (the fact that we live in a society where someone claims to have sold drugs instead of having a career in law enforcement because the narcotics trade is more respected is a topic that deserves extensive study).  Secondly, he continued to lie about his pre-rap career to his fans and supporters for several months and only broke down and admitted to his previous vocation after photographs and a Dade County Corrections Department badge were produced.  Finally, how stupid is he and his management team to think they could get away with a stunt like this in 2008?  Vanilla Ice got exposed as a motocross racer and not a stick-up kid in 1990 and that was before websites, blogs and 24-hour entertainment reporting were dedicated to making celebrities look like buffoons, fooling the public on this level in this day and age is impossible, no matter how much “Hustlin’” the artist and label are willing to do.

Young Buck Crying: To signal the official ousting of Young Buck from G-Unit, 50 Cent “leaked” a recorded conversation of him and Buck having a conversation in which Cashville’s finest broke down into tears and sobbed “I’m wrong!” dozens of times.  50’s decision to tape and later distribute this conversation shows a man of questionable character, but Young Buck’s antics are completely unforgivable.  The man responsible for “Straight Outta Ca$hville” and stabbing a man with a dinner fork at an awards show should not be breaking down into tears over financial stress.  

Labels could not figure out a way to market the following MC’s:

Joe Budden: Joey Jumpoff got dropped from Def Jam and became a free agent, only to release mixtapes directly online with little or no promotion (the equivalent of a former Oscar Winner making straight-to-DVD horror movies). Budden is a BEAST lyrically and makes some of the most personal and introspective music in Hip-Hop, the fact that a label can not find a way to make him a bigger star than Flo-Rida is mind-boggling.  

Joel Ortiz: The sickest MC to come from the east coast in years (probably since Joe Budden debuted) can not catch a break.  He released The Brick: Bodega Chronicles in the spring of 2007 to rave reviews and respectable sales, then signed with Dre’s Aftermath label and it seemed as if he was going to be the next 50 Cent.  A year later, he has left Aftermath and not signed to another label even though he is possibly the year’s most consistent freestyle/mixtape artist, offering even more evidence of RA The Rugged Man’s claim “Every record company in the world sucks d**k.”

Papoose: This guys’ life is almost a Shakespearean tragedy-two years ago he was signed to a major, had backing from Busta Rhymes and Kay Slay and was undoubtedly “Next.”  Now he is married to an inmate serving time for a shooting (Remy Ma), has no project on the foreseeable horizon and releases music sporadically at best. 

Saigon: After debuting at an MTV battle almost a decade ago (2001) and signing with Just Blaze, Saigon made the tragic “mistake” of playing himself (in the actor sense, not the Hip-Hop sense) on one of the most popular shows on TV.  Today, instead of being one of the key figures to bring New York back,  he is viewed as “That rap guy on Entourage.” 

Crooked I: The best rapper from LA that doesn’t have a personality disorder, absurd body art and an unhealthy obsession with Dr. Dre has been crushing mixtapes for years, but has yet to release an album.  Maybe labels are shook of his former association with Death Row, but this guy deserves a shot at national exposure. 

David Banner: He seems like a nice enough guy and he raises a lot of money for good causes (Katrina victims, education, housing, etc.), but his musical output is embarrassing.  He will literally do whatever is hot at the moment to have a hit and for some reason people accept this.  In 2003 when crunk ruled the charts he forgot his up-lifting messages and partnered with Lil’ Flip to release the misogynistic “Like a Pimp.” In 2005 he jacked The Ying-Yang twins whole style to release “Play” and this year he jumped on the ringtone/teeny bopper/disposable trend of by partnering with Chris Brown and one-hit-wonder Young Joc to record the barely listenable “Get Like Me.” He is like Snoop Dogg since 1998 if Snoop was a heavy-set southerner with zero chance of acceptance by a mainstream audience.   

50 Cent’s Reality Show: It is unbelievable that the man that became rich (instead of dying) by being a middle finger to the music industry(debuting with a song about robbing established rappers at gun point, operating outside the industry by releasing  a series of heavily bootlegged mixtapes that made him famous before signing a contract, beef’s with the biggest stars in the game and signing with Shady/Aftermath) can now have a Survivor-like reality show.  His peers are no longer rappers, but reality show fools like Puff Daddy, Paris Hilton and the cast of The Real World/Road Rules Challenge...way to go! 

“It Ain’t Trickin’ If You Got It” : YES IT IS!   This phrase has been uttered by everyone from T-Pain to TI and could not be more bullsh*t.  Just because you have money does not mean you  can not be taken advantage of by a woman.  If you buy a women a car, house or jewelry and she’s playing you, you are a bigger fool than the working dude that buys a random girl a couple of drinks with the hopes of taking her home.  

The Musical Based on the Life of Jim Jones: I don’t understand how the following events will be stretched into a 2-hour stage play: Born in Harlem, Met Cam’Ron, Bought some tight jeans and T-Shirts with skulls on them, made “We Fly High,”... The End.  This guy’s life story would be done more justice as a Twitter Message (140 characters or less) than a stage production.  

Busta Rhyme’s “Arab Money” : Even if you are willing to overlook the fact that the track sounds exactly like Ron Browz’ “Pop Champagne,” this song is offensive to Arabs, people with money, Hip-Hop fans in general and the other three members of Leaders of the New School. 

Young Jeezy and Nas “My President is Black” : In the spring Jeezy appeared with Usher on Saturday Night Live and he made the unfortunate mistake of being photographed with Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain. He then spend the rest of the year apologizing to the Hip-Hop community that was outraged one of it’s own would even entertain the idea of not supporting Barack Obama.  This 6-month long apology culminated in this collaboration with Nas (whose verse is acceptable) that supported Obama, luxury cars and drug dealing all in one massive package of ignorance. 

Jim Jones Claiming he Invented “Swagger”:  The Dipset Capo is only a few thousand years late on this one. “Swagger” has been around since the beginning of time (well, maybe not the very beginning since Adam got fooled by Eve, and being a sucker-for-love-ass-trick shows a complete lack of swagger, but right after that).  Here is an abridged list of the thousands of guys that had swagger before Jim Jones: Julius Ceasar, Alexander The Great, Leonardo Da Vinci, Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Jim Morrison, everybody in Wu-Tang Clan and Jay-Z. 

Soulja Boy Shouting Out Slave Owners:  There is nothing left to be said about the level of buffoonery in this statement, so I won’t. 

Honorable Mentions: Plies’ “Please Excuse My Hands,” Vibe calling Plies the future of Hip-Hop, Lil’ Kim’s continued dealings with bad plastic surgeons, Rapper’s kids on MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16,” the poorly handled promotional campaign for the solid “Murs for President,” Prodigy going to jail, T-Pain’s entire existence.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Phrases I Hate

I normally go out of my way not to come off like “The Mad Blogger,” however, the following phrases make me physically ‘effin angry and I feel the need to explain why.

“Joe Six-Pack,” “Joe Public” or “Joe The Plumber”

The way our aristocratic politicians refer to the general public should enrage us, however nobody but me seems bothered in the least. When a politician or anybody else addresses the masses in the dumbed-down, lowest-common denominator demeanor used extensively throughout the last presidential election they are basically telling you that they think you are an idiot and incapable of comprehending world issues on the appropriate scale. Now, I understand why this is done: most people are not that bright and need to be spoon-fed concepts in order not to get frustrated and change the channel back to football or American Idol, but why have we grown to accept this and when did we stop trying to get better?

I am not exceptionally bright (I have amassed several degrees because I am the academic equivalent of Wayne Chrebet-a little talent and a lot of work has allowed me to out-perform what most would expect), however, I take classes, read outside of those classes, listen to challenging and progressive music, try to engage in intelligent conversation and produce this blog in an effort to make myself better. I am not content being the stereotypical binge eating and drinking, reality-television watching, fantasy football playing, top-40 radio listening, bad credit having, USA Today reading American that has made so many poor lifestyle choices that I now require a daily regimen of prescription drugs that I can not afford. The problem is that instead of being offended when people in power refer to “Joe Six-Pack” and rebelling against the idea that we are all fat, stupid, pill-popping buffoons, we accept it as a term of endearment. There is NOTHING endearing about what these people think of us!

The fact that we have all given up on being better tomorrow then we are today is evident all around us: I grew up in a town with the right demographics for hundreds of hair/nail salons, but not one major bookstore, I work across the street (Literally 30 yds.) from one of the largest libraries in New Jersey and the overwhelming majority of my co-workers have never even been inside the building much less checked out books and we continue to support the most asinine music/movies/television, while anything with intelligence or substance is ignored (if the media conglomerates that control the entertainment industry even allow it to reach the general public).

By no means do I think I’m perfect, I enjoy a good night out as much as anybody else, occasionally I like the escapism of a slapstick movie and I probably have as much “stupid” party music in my iPod as anybody else. But, I occasionally take a break from watching the Jets and listening to 50 Cent to read a book, take a class or discuss the state of the world with my peers.

“This project is your baby.”

Of all the things you can hear from your boss, this has got to be the worst. Creating a baby requires an awe inspiring chain of events, both biological and (hopefully) emotional. Developing a new way for salesmen to track travel expenses or putting the client database on a new server is nothing like creating a new human life. The fact that anyone in any position of power could ever compare a work project to something as significant as childbirth means they are a complete imbecile and you should not have to answer to them anymore.

“I can’t make fun of my job” or “I love my company” or any variation of these statements

Having any kind of allegiance to the company you work for beyond doing what is in your job description is ridiculous. As an employee you are an investment that is worth EXACTLY your salary, nothing more, nothing less.

For most of us this means we are worth more than our company issued computer, but less than the operating system that computer runs on. If you think I am wrong try this experiment: Call your boss and tell him/her you are not feeling well and need a few days to recover and you will get no response at all. Tell that same boss the computer system is down and will need a few days to recover and watch him/her loose their damn mind.

“I want to get an iPhone, but I don’t have AT&T”

Why do people treat their cell phone carrier like a member of the family? I currently use Verizon (I have used several over the past decade, mainly because I have moved several times and was unable to get service where I relocated), and I am pretty happy with the service-good reception, cool phones and rates that are, for the most part fair. However, this is strictly a business agreement, when a better product comes along Verizon will have no sentimental value that will not allow me to change companies in order to get a better or cheaper service.

Also, if your phone company was a family member it would be like the cousin you hate and purposely don’t invite to holidays. I would have no affection for a family member that lured me in with promises and then didn’t deliver once I signed a multi-year agreement, constantly changed rates and billing structures and dropped calls every time I drove on Route 3.

Lastly, I find the fact that all cell phones come with a customer service number pre-programed in the memory a little amusing. If you can call the phone company with your cell phone, obviously there is no problem and you don’t need to talk to the phone company.

Verbal Self-Defense Training

I work in an urban area, where apparently a lot of kids get beat up, which has caused a large number of especially enterprising ‘hood-dwellers to open Self-Defense schools in the area. Now, I am not entirely sold on the idea that young urban males should take classes to be more deadly, but the overabundance of martial arts schools in my neighborhood has planted the seeds of a new business concept in my brain: Verbal Self Defense Training.

How many times have you seen an otherwise intelligent, articulate person freeze like a deer in headlights as soon as someone makes fun of them? It is unbelievable how a comment like “I’m losing my hair, but at least I’m not bald like _________” can ruin someone’s day (or several days) if they are unable to neutralize the threat and come back with a similarly witty comment. While I plan this business to be highly profitable for myself (after Year 1 I will finalize the business plan and begin selling franchises), I also feel I will be doing a great service to society. Think about how many people will be able to stop taking anti-depressants and the drastic drop in school/workplace violence once people are trained to verbally defend themselves instead of getting sonned by everybody they know and letting those feelings of inadequacy fester in their psyches for years.

This idea is obviously in its infancy, but here are a few of the principles on which I will base my techniques:

Making fun of yourself is completely off limits: Some people argue that if you mock yourself and laugh with others you will get made fun of less. I say this is bullsh*t, you have to go hard! The cornerstone of my philosophy will be mercilessly harassing people with no holds barred and nothing sacred. Your target bursting into tears is just the start of the journey.

Anything about your target is fair game: Weight, Religion, Personal Hygiene, Height, Fashion Choices, Sexual Orientation, Learning Disabilities, Personality Disorders, Financial Status, Credit History, Hair (or lack thereof), Schools Attended, Career, Their Spouse and Kids, Prescription Medications Taken on a Regular Basis, Music/Movie/TV Preferences or a family history of diabetes are just the tip of the iceberg of ways to publicly humiliate a person.

Physical Self Defense is Important Too: The school will also have a branch dedicated toward strength & agility training as well as martial arts and gun safety because some of the stuff that will come out of your mouth will potentially get you beaten to a bloody pulp.

Sample “Come Backs” to Antagonizers:

If you’re antagonizer is overweight:

Student: What are you being for Halloween?
Fat Antagonizer: Paris Hilton
Student: Really? You should put some underwear over your face and use your large, bulbous head as J-Lo’s ass.

Student: You should go skydiving and use your XXXL North Face as a parachute.

Student: Who are you voting for?
Fat Antagonizer: Obama.
Student: Oh yeah? Well, now I’m gonna vote for McCain just to cancel out your fat-ass vote.

4) Only possible if Fat Antagonizer is crying:

Student: I’ll tell you what, don’t be so sad, I have a king-size bed, how about you come over and use my sheets to wipe those humongous tears from your fat eyes!

Student: What’s your dress size, voting booth?

If your antagonizer is threatening violence and you need to threaten him back AND he happens to have a beard:

Student: I’ll beat that beard off you like that bouncer in Miami did to Trick Daddy! (Google Image this mug shot if you are not familiar)

Student: You’re gonna whip my A**? You’re gonna need a lot more back up than that poor man’s Chuck Norris on your face!

If you’re antagonizer is eating a taco salad:

There’s more meat in that taco salad than in your pants.

Granted, it is a rare occasion when someone will be simultaneously eating a taco salad and antagonizing you, but you are paying top dollar and will walk out of the class ready for anything.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Roots and Gym Class Heroes in NYC

I recently had the chance to check out Estelle, Gym Class Heroes and The Roots at Roseland Ballroom in NYC. I attended the show with my friends Amber, Lucy and Danny and I think it is safe to say, a great time was had by all.

Estelle: I don’t know much about this woman except that she is English and more than likely a one-hit wonder (I am not hating on this, because I have yet to have one hit, so she’s beating me there). We missed her portion of the show because we chose to go to an Applebees for “dinner.” This “dinner” cost over $200 and my friends were quick to blame higher prices in the city and NY state sales tax, I blame the fact that the only food consumed was a quesadilla and the rest of the “meal” came in shot glasses and thick glass goblets. Although we missed her performance I am fairly confident it consisted of a few songs that were ignored by the crowd, concluded with “American Boy” and a shout out to Kanye West and the date her album is dropping. I was not at all upset that I missed this.

Gym Class Heroes: I have mentioned how much I like them before, but I am going to make this statement, even though I’m not sure it’s a real word: they are the funnest band in America! They make fun party music, they seem to enjoy themselves and their mix of rap/rock/R&B is as infectious as Pamela Anderson. After a few songs from their early albums (of which I was unaware) they got into the hits from “As Cruel as School Children” and “The Quilt” and it was on. Travis McCoy reminds me of Will Smith if “Big Willy” was cool and not a sexually ambiguous scientologist (I really hope Eminem gets at him on “Relapse). Either way, the performance was sick and it ended with a tribute to the ‘80s and girls with a cover of “When Doves Cry” “Clothes Off!” and “Cookie Jar” (best song this year not involving Lil’ Wayne). Awesome.

The Roots: I have seen The Roots like five times and I have figured this much out: there are two versions of this band. There is the Hip-Hop version that tours with Lupe Fiasco, does “Unplugged” with Jay-Z and puts out songs like “Get Busy.” Then there is the Pop/Rock/College Radio version that performs at hippie festivals, gets love from Rolling Stone and collaborates with Nora Jones. This performance was clearly the latter: they covered “Sweet Child O’Mine,” did “The Seed 2.0” (which I love), played “rock” versions of most of their album cuts and performed their biggest crossover hit “You Got Me” with Estelle instead of Erekah Badu. This set-list made sense because they were not in a traditional hip-hop venue, Gym Class Heroes do not have a large hip-hop fan base and Continental Airlines Arena was hosting Power 105.1’s Power Jam the same night, which means 20,000 NY/NJ hip-hop heads were listening to T-Pain sing into his computer while The Roots tore down this stage (it is not a fair world).

The Roots broke from their own material to introduce Q-Tip, who performed a few songs with the band and his new single “Getting’ Up.” After a few more Roots songs Mos Def came out and thoroughly impressed the crowd by performing several of his classic verses. To end the night The Roots played the beat from “Men at Work” while Black Thought did a dead-on Kool G Rap (the guy Jay-Z mentions in “Encore”) impersonation. This was possibly the highlight of the show for rap fans like myself, however a large majority of the crowd stood around and looked confused as to why he was sweating profusely and feverishly rapping with a lisp.

The show was cool and Roseland Ballroom is a great venue, hopefully they will have more good shows in the near future.