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And I wasn’t there.  I can safely say that was the first time in my life that I organized an event, and couldn’t attend it. And I’ve been organizing things for a long time. Even “play dates” back in the day, but back then it wasn’t play dates. It was just “go outside and play.”

Tha.Speakeasy is a spoken word event that I started with a friend back in late 2005. The whole idea is a sort of marriage of the arts: spoken word, visual arts & music. At Octane, he already has a bunch of artwork up, so really I just need to find poets and musicians. It’s a really laid-back fun atmosphere. Good times for all.

I just wanted to say I appreciate everyone who was there. I wish I could’ve been there, but on Thursday talking still hurt too much and I’m pretty sure I was contagious. I’ve been taking the antibiotics for a few days now, so my strep should be self-contained. And I think I sound more like a woman again, instead of a chain-smoking angry man.

The next one is coming up pretty soon, March 11th. The other date proposed, March 25th, I’ll be out-of-state that week. The week following is Spring Break, and the 18th is when Morgantown Poets has our poetry reading at the MAC.  So please, by all means, if you can make it on the 11th, come bring some poems and a friend. And hey, if you were there this month and have something to add, please post a comment. Oh, and did I tell you I made a Facebook fan page for Tha.Speakeasy?  Become a fan. I’ll keep you updated on the next event & what musicians will be playing. 🙂

Since I wasn’t able to be there this month, I’m posting some excerpts from what my friends Kathryn and Ted sent to me afterward.

Ted opened and read maybe 10 poems as there were not too many lined up after him. The bartender read one….her very first….and a good one at that. Bob (owner) read one that was inspired by a movie. Ezra guessed the movie and got a free drink. Eric read some of own and some by a favorite author. I ended with the one that is in my FB status now. Great night it was.
Take care,
Kathryn

Hope you’re not in too much pain and hope you’ll be feeling better very soon. Kathryn and (her husband) were playing very smooth jazz. It was really good for Tha.Speakeasy atmosphere. Everything went all right. They played a while. Then I got up and did several poems (I also mentioned how awesome you are for organizing it, everyone clapped and toasted you), then one of the bartender girls got up and did a poem, she had the line/theme of “beautiful disaster,” which had a lot of truth to it, another poet, Eric Cummings, I ran into at the Blue Moose on my way there showed up and did several pieces, and Kathryn closed it out with a really interesting piece that mentioned “Facebook status update” and had a theme of love, a very creative, deep, insightful and cutting-edge piece from Kathryn. I guess it was all over about 8 p.m. or so. I saw Thomas there, but didn’t get to talk with him. Figure he was there for the comedy. He didn’t do any poetry. OK, I’d better sign off. It’s 3:30 a.m. Again, hope you can feel better soon.

ted

Again, thanks for everyone who attended, and for those who didn’t, March 11th is right around the corner. You should come.

Take it easy

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Freedom–The Myth?

Hackers the Movie

You could sit at home, and do like absolutely nothing, and your name goes through like 17 computers a day. 1984? Yeah right, man. That’s a typo. Orwell is here now. He’s livin’ large. We have no names, man. No names. We are nameless! –Cereal Killer in Hackers

I’ve had these thoughts about the U.S. for a while. Looking back through history, it’s stained rusted red with the blood of fallen soldiers, innocents caught in the cross-fire and it’s all in the name of what? Is it really freedom anymore? If the country is freed with our iron fist and then we have to stay to implement freedom in our image, is that really free?

I was browsing the Googlenets today, and I wrote about the CNN Poll taken that states that 86 % of Americans believe the government is broken.  Of course, I definitely take into consideration that the majority of those who felt that way were well-off (gotta hate those increase in taxes) and mostly rural areas (which from my personal experience isn’t always the most kind to darker skins). However, this lack of confidence in the government didn’t start with Obama. And I doubt it’ll end there either.

The Center for Public Integrity issued a report about how screwed the G.W. administration was, which I don’t think really surprises anyone, except maybe the extent of issues. And I’m sure if I wanted to go I could keep going, looking further and further back into our government’s history seeing where think tanks issued No Confidence reports on one issue or another. I don’t think Obama realized the stronger the light was shown on the capitol the more the shadows would be seen. Even Obama supporters feel vague twinges of discomfort every time there’s something about the War continuing and Gitmo not being closed. So, Alex Jones tried to documented his current observations of the White House and then tried to distribute the movie on a Google site.

Alex Jones is a sometimes described as a whistle-blower in one breath and a fanatic in the next. His missions seems to be to cause controversy and shine a spotlight on what he perceives as wrongs. Click to view a video of Jones being interviewed about this.

Again, the idea of freedom. Why shouldn’t he be allowed to criticize the president? Part of the process of being an elected official is having your (in)actions scrutinized by your constituents. Race shouldn’t have been an issue here.

Google is acting as a gatekeeper? Are you comfortable with that? Owning your internets, feeding your broadband, in your emails, trying to sneak into your social networking–right now failing but they’ll find the combination that will attract the audience that they’re looking for. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but the biggest issues that people seem to have with the Google products are in terms of privacy. Too many people being able to access your info and you not having enough options to stop it. We’re a culture of voyeurs and exhibitionists, but only for who we select.

I could go on and on about the Patriot Act, how it was foolheartedly passed without any thorough reading. I could mention how your home isn’t really yours, your phone records, hell, even your library records do not belong to you.

How about the Philadelphia high school that is currently being investigated by the FBI for allegedly issuing 1800 lap tops to high school students and then spying on them at school and home? Could that happen with adults or are we too knowledgeable for things like that to occur?

When looked at as a whole, along with the myriad of other incidents that could be quoted here, that uneasy feeling surfaces again. What does this mean for the future? I’m not sure yet, but when you start looking at it all in context, it paints tomorrow with a bleak brush.

The Fall of the Celebrity

Good. I’m glad. It’s become a feeding frenzy on the famous, whether talented or talentless. It’s tiring and disheartening to watch We the People concentrate so much more on who’s bangin whom as opposed to why there’s credit card companies issuing cards with interest rates of over 70%.

What brought this to mind was Tiger Woods. Tiger, Tiger, Tiger, you sir are a fool. You started believing your own hype. You thought you were indestructible, invincible, maybe even godlike. But the quicker the American builds an idol, the more s/he wants to watch him fall.

Tiger Woods

Once Tiger and all of his indiscretions pranced across the screens, I kept hearing people discussing how good it was that he was losing contracts, being publicly mauled for his personal life.

I don’t agree. Yes, I think he obviously a horrible husband. You can’t have over a dozen affairs and still be seen as a “good man.” His game was weak with text messages like, quiet and secretively we will always be together. when was the last time you got laid [NY Post]. He picked woman he felt wouldn’t run in his social circles, which was smart. On the other hand, you’re going to pick reality t.v. stars? Porn stars, Tiger? These are women who will do anything to find their way on the small screen into some press. You didn’t think you dalliances into these foul tributaries would stay dammed up? C’mon now! So, yes, Tiger is a short-sighted cheater. A man ruled more by his prick then good sense and solid character. And he makes me wish he had a different last name.

That being said, do I feel his marital indiscretions should have anything to do with his livelihood? No, I don’t. Not in the slightest.

I’m not sure why there’s a moral barometer set when discussing people in the public eye. If the argument is that children look up to them, then I’d say maybe teach children that these people are  JUST people, and they can do bad things, and just because they’re on television or can golf your face off, doesn’t mean they are who you look up to.

You don’t have to be sober to be an excellent writer.

You don’t have to be drug-free to win an Oscar.

In short, you don’t have to play a clean fight to win. Is that fair? Maybe not. Is it life? Definitely.

Instead of being so concerned with what these bobble heads are doing in their personal life, watch the movie, listen to the song, enjoy their game, but don’t expect super humans beyond reproach. They’re only people, who have found their niche. They will screw, and screw up. If you feel personally betrayed because someone has been found as morally corrupt, and you just watch him/her on the tv with the rest of us, maybe it’s time to pull back and take a nice long breathe of reality.

They’re just entertainers.

Make A Goal And Rock It Out

I’ve been chasing thoughts about changing direction. What would make me happiest- despite how it may seem impractical, impossible or implausible. Through crazy snow, I wasn’t able to write about my thoughts like I wanted to. So, I’m going to take the time today.

Last week, a friend and I went to the WVU Festival of Ideas kickoff. Byron Pitts is the contributor to 60 Minutes and chief national correspondent for The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. He directed his speech mainly to the younger, first generation college students in the audience. But I think we can all pick up what he was laying down.

Byron Pitts

He spoke of his stutter and how he couldn’t read up to 12 years old. Young Pitts had the gall to decide he would be a journalist. Not only a journalist, but this man wanted to work at 60 Minutes. What?! Who?!

That would be like me saying I’m the next great mathematician & I can’t give a tip without using a calculator. (FYI, Math and I broke up in high school when he tried to have a threesome with me, numbers and letters.)

He asked the audience to show the hands of the folks who had faced struggles in their life. I glanced through the crowd. I wanted to meet those lucky few with their hands down. (How’s that working out for ya? Could you tell me about this charmed existence?) Pitts talked freely about struggles.

A doctor tried to diagnose him to being “mentally retarded.” One of his professors told him to just quit: telling he was unfit to attend Ohio-Wesleyan University. Then there were the other issues he was facing: trying to break into a predominantly white field, being poor from Baltimore etc…etc…list like these are never short.

He used self-determination and having a clear goal as a way to get to his goal of being on 60 Minutes. At 48, he has achieved that. But this is all discussed in his novel, “Step Out on Nothing.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t record his talk at the Festival of Ideas. However, here is a clip from him doing a reading at Harlem’s Hue-Man Bookstore:

He writes under the premise that people helped him along the way without having any real cause to do so:  a professor at the school, who took him under her wing, a roommate, who gave him words of the day to build up his vocab, etc…etc…because a list like this is never short.

But I disagree with him. If someone has that much passion, that much cahones, that much inner strength to get from being that stutterer kid being made fun of to 60 Minutes, those people could see it. In his eyes, his work ethic and heard it in his stuttered speak that grew less pronounced as he grew older–but hasn’t disappeared. You can see when someone has that something extra.

I’m convinced that everyone has that little extra, that spark, that mad genius, the capacity to pursue a goal with conviction. Living an eco-friendly life, raising children, finding a new clean source of energy, painting, work at being the best damn bricklayer on your crew. Whatever it is, don’t talk about it, be about it.

It’s kind of like watching Man v Food. He looks at the goal of gorging himself with ridiculous amounts of food. He plans a way to do that and then he tries like hell to shove it all down his gullet. If he doesn’t succeed this time, there’s always the next one. Take small steps toward your ultimate goal.

2010 is the year to make it happen, because if not now, then when?

You gotta play to win…

West Virginia Public BroadcastingWest Virginia Public Broadcasting Win tickets to an encore showing of the opera Carmen in movie theaters this Wednesday at 6:30 pm. Email feedback@wvpubcast.org with “Carmen” in the subject line — (two tickets for Morgantown and one for Barboursville to give away.)

I’m just geeky enough to have them on my fb. Of course I had to enter, because

  • today I decided I was going to have a good week.
  • free stuff makes everything better
  • I like Carmen.

I won! On the other hand, this is happening on Wednesday and they’re mailing it to me…I hope this doesn’t turn into an epic fail. Then there’s this thought expressed by a well-meaning friend, whose day job is Ms. Optimism, “What if it’s express mailed and you’re not at home?” Huh-uh. That is a 2009 attitude. For the 20-10, u kant tel me nuttin.  For the slightly used year, you have no authority to verbalize these contrivances to my visage.

This says it all.

happy kitty

grammy logo

I felt like they tried too hard this year to make it interesting. I did appreciate them telling me how long it would be between performances. I don’t really want to hang around for the majority of the awards, they are predictable at best, boring at worse.  But there weren’t as many epic fails as I expected.

Lady Gaga and Elton John, not surprisingly a good combo, he was the Lady Gaga of his time in a sense, just with more talent and less balls.

I see Kanye’s invitation was lost in the mail. He should be in a dirt bar somewhere, drinking a lot and complaining how he should’ve when Best New Polka Artist award or something. Can’t be messing with the Henney like that Kanye. It makes you forget that millions are watching, and that you lean toward an ass tendency naturally.

Taylor Swift, she’s the little darling of the Grammys, isn’t she? Wins the bestalbum over all those superstars. What you can do after being 18? /19? and performing with her idol. I hope her next stop isn’t rehab. But maybe those country girls have more sense. We’ll see.

Beyonce, Beyonce, Beyonce. Why? I mean, mash-ups are pretty cool if done by someone who knows what they’re doing like Girl Talk or Danger Mouse. That was just a hot mess with bodyguards. You need to find someone on your time to be honest with you. No Beyonce, don’t do your Alanis Morisette impersonation  in the middle of your song, singing the wrong lyrics. Don’t do it.

Green Day’s street cred was already nonexistent, so their performance didn’t hurt anything. I find it interesting that no one I know has listened to them since Dookie, yet they win awards hand-over-fist.

Bon Jovi, I would’ve preferred a different song, but I guess that’s how America rolls. You sound just like ’94, even when you’re playing something new.

Dave Matthews always makes me smile, especially when he gets his funky grove on, and his crazy legs get to going. Fantastic.

Every time I’ve watched Pink in the past year, she’s been doing the circus/acrobat thing. I’m over it. And where did that water come from? Did the girls in purple pee on her?

Who was that chick in gold singing with Jeff Beck? Her hair was excellent. And that gold dress, I guess if you have to wear something skin-tight and gold, just keep the front view going.

Quentin Tarantino…what happens? I feel like you just put on some black face for the people. Remember that comedy sketch Dave Chappell did, When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong? Yeah, you need to watch that Mr. Tarantino. Watch and learn.

Kings of Leon kept it real, but in a good way. Hey, I’ve been drinking. Thank you. If I forgot your name, I’ll buy you a shot. That’s really real.

Drake you a bad mutha. Picture you rollin on Degrassi the Next Generation, shooting baskets from your wheelchair, teaching Spinner life lessons. Hoping you can get it up even with your spinal injury. Now you’re a big star, winning Grammys without contracts. Having big ballers like Lil’ Wayne and Eminem on your track. Do that kid. Do that.

So in essence, Grammys were alright. I’m just disappointed in mainstream music in general. The amount of creativity there seems to dwindle each year, and that was happening before people got pissed off and learned about Napster. If you make better music, people will buy it and support it.

-30-

My blogging debut

Hey everyone this is my first blog posted on here. I blogged for years on livejournal, but this will be more focused on weight loss, my fledging writing career, articles of interest and such.

This whole thing is a work in process, much like myself. I’ll be writing stuff on a daily basis I’m sure. Just wanted to get through this first post. Introductions can be so awkward, don’t you think?