2.28.2011

Minor Life Failures- Off-Target Passes

This, like most technofails here in the future, is potentially one of the most awkward failures one can experience. Most of us have been here, you're jamming away with your thumbs deep in the throes of some textversation with a friend. Suddenly, you're reminded of somebody you know of the opposite sex. Maybe you're just letting them know you're thinking about them, maybe you want to remind them that they're sexy, maybe it's 3am and you're making a booty call (is it still a booty call if it's a text? We have to come up with a new term...let's see...I hate "sexting"..."booty text"? Na, sounds like something that costs extra at a tat shop. "Fingerbang"? Damn...taken... "Meat tweet?" "Pillow text?" ...ah, fuck it...I'll settle it officially in the next volume of "High Definitions".) but for whatever reason, you shoot them a text...

Or so you think. 5 minutes later, you get a very confused text back from a person you didn't know you texted in the first place and definitely damn sure didn't mean to send that one to...you, friend, have just thrown an off-target pass. Even worse is when the message received by the wrong person happened to be about...that person. Many is the relationship that met its end when Boyfriend texted Side Girl that he had a great time with her last night and that Girlfriend had nothing on Side Girl...and sent it to Girlfriend. Other than having your relationship dissolve over Facebook, (it happens...hey, people start them there) it's one of the most avoidable, and therefore most hilarious mistakes one can make here in the future. Bad things can happen with misfired passes...just ask Brett Favre (like that 2-for-1 joke there?).

Furthermore, depending on the intensity and percieved seriousness of the text, the response to it could be anything from amused bewilderment to unexpected aquiescence. (There's no more awkward moment than accidentally sending your boy a text that says "Come see me tonight and wear something sexy" intended for a lady friend and getting one back that says "Cool, see you at 8"...well, maybe the moment where he does show up at your crib 8 sharp in his best man-gerie would be a bit more awkward, but let's hope it doesn't go that far.) You tried to be sweet in a text message and ended up...well, with exactly what you wanted, I guess. It's really a concern.

Now for some solutions. The first is to just go with it...once you get the "???" response, just make it all seem like a big joke. While effective, this solution also runs the risk of also being taken at face value, increasing the chances of scenarios like the one from last paragraph. (Seriously, at some point in the text exchange, tell your homie that boy shorts are not for boys. You may be glad you did.) The second involves double checking everything you just wrote before you hit "send". Once you do that, you ain't getting your text back...so make sure your text is aimed at the right person. However, since nobody including the author does that, the third is to...well, get an app. A lot of them have tools to prevent situations like this...so, like, get one and shit. Hope that helps!

2.25.2011

TBX (Conclusion)- Black and Blue

*fittedwearer's note: I'm almost sorry to see this end...I had such a good time writing part 1, part 2, and part 3... Oh well...enjoy the last of TBX!

After the nap you decided to take when you finally had enough television from a black perspective, you awake on your couch somewhat groggily, pick up your iPhone, and check the time. Wow, that nap was a bit longer than expected...it's almost 10:30! You also see that you have a couple missed calls from your homeboy you didn't know you had, Damon, about an hour ago. You wonder what he called for and return his call. He answers and in the background you can hear bass-heavy music, the occasional laugh, and general revelry.

Of course, whatever's going on makes it so you can't hear a damn thing he's saying (black folk are notorious for not knowing phones don't work as well in loud environments...instead of temporarily leaving a noisy area so the conversation can be heard,they will opt to challenge the ambient volume with their own voice...a battle that is usually lost, but valiantly fought) but your black instincts deduce by the background noise, time of call and excited tone of the snippets of Damon's voice you do hear indicate there is a good time to be had down at Local Hood Bar, usually a hole in the wall joint that's better to get a stab wound than a drink in, but as you found out this morning, it's not just Friday, but the first of the month...everybody who's anybody in the whole hood will be down there spending money they don't have to party up til 3am. That means one thing...drunk ass bitches. Yeeeeah. You get dressed and head for MLK Boulevard, where Local Hood Bar is.

After a short walk through the hood, you arrive at Local Hood Bar. You've never been in a hood bar before, but you expect it can't be that different from the polished chrome, $10 beer, ten 56" flatscreens and sleek backless barstool-having bars that you're likely used to, right? Your black instincts chuckle to themselves as you head into reality...but not before being stopped and thoroughly search-caressed by a bouncer out front.

As he does his best impression of a TSA agent, you notice local drug kingpin Gutta Slim (you identify him by his "Gutta Slim, Dope Boy" chain) and his convoy of adoring hoes walk in the front door unsearched, the butt of his handgun clearly visible in the back of his waistband. For a second you worry, but your black instincts reassure you that he's a drug dealer...he's off the clock right now, so he wants as little non-narcotic trouble as possible, the gun is a defensive weapon only. You decide the threat level is yellow at best, and after being found to be clean, you enter Local Hood Bar.

You step in and immediately notice that it's a bit different from the bars you might see in a better area. The dim, cramped area is teeming with life far beyond its capacity (listed by the fire marshal on the wall at 47, despite there being easily 200 people in there) There is a small dance floor inexplicably placed right by the entrance, so anybody coming in the bar must first navigate through a sea of jerking, popping, locking, dipping bodies to get to the bar area.

As you are doing so, you notice that the music hits you a bit differently...you feel your head nodding rhythmically to the bassy beat. It's...your black instincts! You finally realize that you're supposed to nod on beats 1 and 3 and not 2 and 4 (or 1 and 4 or 2.5 and 4.5 or....whetever y'all be doing...dancing whitefolk crack me up lol...) This is kind of fun...

You proudly bop your head, effortlessly staying on tempo and feel the rest of your body begin to move to match the motions. You have rhythm! It's not the innate ability to spin and leap and moonwalk and slide on one's head usually advertised in the blackness package, just a sense of rhythm...hmm, interesting.

Just as you've figured out the 2-step (the only required dance in a black man's repertoire) a chick with red and pink hair and a chinese shop gold name necklace that introduces her as "Kyonna" smiles at you, turns around, and begins to rub her rotund buttocks directly in your crotch area. You think you've hit the jackpot, but your black instincts tell you this is not necessarily a sexual situation and any insinuation that it is could result in a loud, embarrassing confrontation. In fact, they go on to tell you that even expressing arousal in this scenario would be a faux pas. (It doesn't make sense to me either.)

She rubs her ass on you to the music in a progressively more aggressive manner. As a matter of fact, she has become so consumed by the music she doesn't realize you've lost all equilibrium and are just trying to stay on your feet. Just as you feel yourself start to tip over backwards, you feel a body press against your shoulders to hold you up...it's your boy Damon, who is now back-to-back with you forming a buttress to keep this vertical lapdance from going horizontal. After the song is over, Kyonna walks away without fanfare to go press her buttcheeks against some other dude. You and Damon take your leave from the dance floor and choose a table by the bar.

You sit and discuss recent events, you tell him about your day at work, and eventually you slip into a coversation about the same sex, drugs, and entertainment friends of all colors discuss. Damon says the first one is on him, and comes back with 2 shot glasses of Triple Negro Black, a Hennessy variant that appears to be all the bar serves besides jug wine and local lagers. You wonder why the beverage is called that...it's almost like a mediocre writer was slightly exaggerating the experience of being black for comic effect while somewhat drawing from real life. Damon reminds you you're in a bar with an unfinished drink, and he's waiting for you...no time to ponder about that now...down the hatch.

A couple drinks later, Damon excuses himself to the bathroom and you can see Gutta Slim at his table. He seems to shake hands with a lot of people he doesn't know...your black instincts tell you he may not be off the clock after all, but you ignore this...he's probably just a friendly guy. He's surrounded by giggly, flirtatious females, clearly having a good time.

You wonder why it is that his work and status are so glorified and worthy of respect in this community, when you, a hardworking everyday dude, are shunned, mocked, and regarded as "boring" by many black females. You wonder if the image of blacks in the media has something to do with it. As you ponder this, he produces a thick wad of bills and hands it to one of his ladyfriends, who disappears under the table as a smile spreads across Gutta Slim's face and he shakes another hand. Okay, it's definitely the BET thing some, but maybe it's the money too...green is multiracial.

Other guys, seeing this cause and effect, produce monies from their own persons and start throwing it around in hopes of achieving similar results. Sure, it was 3 hours profit for Gutta Slim and a month's paycheck for most dudes, but dammit if they don't give it a shot. The pigeons in the bar start peck up the thrown bread and respond positively to the throwers.

Just as you start to wonder if that really is the only way to get a girl to notice you, the only white girl in the bar, an attractive brunette slides into Damon's seat, introduces herself as Nicole, and begins to coo drunkenly. Damon starts back from the bathroom, but sees you talking to Nicole at the table. He gives you a thumbs-up from across the bar and busies himself with some hoodrat while you continue talking to Nicole.

She touches your arm and says she's always wanted to be with a black guy...she's heard "stuff and things" about them. Your black instincts tell you exactly what kind of "stuff and things" she's talking about. You think on how you fit into this theory...while nobody has ever complained, you have a feeling she's looking for a 3-knee effect, which is unrealistic to expect from somebody with any paintjob. Hey, whatever...like you said (to yourself, I guess) you've never had any concerns in that department...you continue to entertain her overt advances as she continues to slam down drink after drink. Well, this is it...looks like you'll be exploring race relations tonight...

...until the cops bust in! (Of course, your black instincts should have detected imminent police activity and gotten a headstart on getting the fuck out of there, but you haven't had them long and they need to be broken in more.) Barflies scatter like cockroaches as the blue suits fill the already too full room. Out of the corner of your eye, you see Gutta Slim toss an object in your general direction, which lands mere feet away.

He and his entourage escape through some back door, and the cops begin to detain, beat and interrogate the remaining patrons. You freeze in shock. 2 officers make their way over to your table and look at you and Nicole. One asks Nicole if she's okay to drive. She responds by throwing up all over the table, then answering yes. They wish her a safe trip home as she staggers toward the door and turn their attention on you.

Immediately, they ask you to turn, face the wall, and put your hands behind your head. Unsure what you've done, you ask him. He simply points at the item Gutta Slim threw on his way out, a plastic bag filled with powder marked "Dat Shit", smiles, and repeats his request.

You begin to explain that the first time you saw that bag was when it was flying through the air toward you, but are cut off by the other officer saying you fit the description of the suspect. You ask for it. He then takes out a sheet of paper and reads the description: African-American male between 5'6" and 6'5" weighing over 100lbs wearing a dark shirt, jeans and boots. You noticed that that "description" fit everybody with a dick at the bar as of 5 minutes ago, and begin to explain this...

...before you wake up in a holding cell with your head feeling like a billy club hit it. Around you are other people you saw in the bar that night of wildly varying skin tones, facial features, height and stature...but all wearing an outfit that fit the description. Along with all your friends from the bar, there's another cellmate you don't recognize. He's all of 6'8", 400lb, and he announces his name as Horny Ass Melvin.

He has been in jail the past 20 years, got out last week, and got homesick. He goes on to explain that everyone is lucky he observes days of rest, because anyone he sees from the cell at the real jail when they transport everyone on Monday is gonna be his new sweetheart, since they were the first person he met when he came back home, then with no further comment, goes to sleep. A deep chill creeps down your spine, but eventually you manage to drift off (with your back against the wall).

You wake up, wondering since yesterday saw you hassled, harassed, embarrassed, pandered to, insulted, patronized, parodied, trivialized, dehumanized, framed, accused, assaulted, kidnapped, held prisoner and almost anally raped, just what the fuck could make today any worse...and notice you are no longer a black man.

No, you have reverted to whatever you were before, with a hell of a headache as a souvenir. The cops notice they arrested nobody that looked like you last night, figure it for some kind of clerical error, and set you free. Maybe you learned something, Maybe you didn't. Maybe you just laughed at the couple of stereotypes that were true. Either way, you had the Experience...and that's something that sticks with you. Now, white people...does that answer your question?

2.24.2011

PSA: Name, Address, Gender, Facebook Password, Social Security Number...

If anybody ever needed proof that Facebook is now a legitimate part of twentyleven life (and that my Facebook Interpersonal Studies are an almost totally legitimate field of study...*scoff* and they laughed at me when I said somebody's Facebook account can tell you more about somebody's real life account than you ever can learn by asking) here it is...apparently, some police department in Oklahoma has a new method of background checking potential applicants...asking for their Facebook password. Yes, it is that serious...and I think that's fucked up. Now, you might wonder..."AJ, with all the shit-talking you do about cops in general, what makes you care about their online presence and liberties now?"

Here's your answer...I don't, really. Well, more accurately, at all. Sure, they have a right to expose their stupidity at their own risk online like everybody else (otherwise the world would have never gotten shit like this YouTube video from a local rapper turned cop named "Young Reek", which is both a rap name and a description of his lyrical abilities. Anyway, he one point sued the city in a police brutality case and now patrols the same district he claims to have been pork battered in. Now that's gangsta...or...something) but my concern isn't for the cops...it's for the concept. You know where this is going. Employers will see this, think it's actually a pretty good idea, and before you know it, folk like you and me will be giving out our Facebook passwords every time we take a part-time job. Hell, they might start that program at the job you have now...even piss testing started out somewhere.

I've always been a big supporter of people watching what they say in public and e-public if they don't want the wrong eyes and ears on it (it's just good Facebook Ettiquette) and I can even understand them wanting to see my profile as the public can see it...after all, anybody with Google, my name and 5 minutes (or this link) can find and see it. That only makes sense...I guess if you have a default picture of you snorting coke off a stripper's nipple, it says a lot about the kind of person you are and employers are interested in that. Fine...but why the fuck do you need my password? Are you really going to read all my private messages? Do you really care who I've been poked by? What does that have to do with my job? I wouldn't even tell my girlfriend my Facebook password and she doesn't exist...what the fuck would make my boss think he can have it?

Okay, let's say you don't have a Facebook account (lol) and you don't see anything wrong with this...cool...but you do have an email address, right? Would you consent to any-random-ass-body reading all your personal communications, business conversations and penis enlargement/foreign lottery/next day home equity loan spam? I don't fuckin' think so. You have a cell phone, right? How eager would you be to let your boss poke through your call log, texts, and all those nasty pics? I'm betting you wouldn't fork over your iPhone with a smile and a "yes, sir".

Oh, you don't get down with the future all like that? Goshdarned kids and their newfangled internets and hand phones...I get it...but you do have a home, right? What if you were applying for a job and they went "fine...but before we have to come to your house and see your living space...I'll be honest though, if we don't like your decor, you don't have a chance...and God help you if your rug isn't vaccumed." You'd tell them they were out their rabid-ass mind because what you do off the clock and out of the public eye is your fucking business, right? (Well, you might paraphrase, but whatever...) Right...I hope.

It's not even that there ain't ways around it...there are plenty. You could start a new decoy account (make sure and put a picture up and add friends to not make it stupid obvious), lie and say you forgot your password (and the password redelivery email address) long ago, or even deny knowledge of the network altogether (which might be the toughest sell of all) ...but it's the principle. In real life, there are certain things that are in the public domain and certain things marked "private". The internet isn't so clear about this, and has mostly undefined rules on what everybody can and can't see...but I think we can all agree anything that needs a password isn't exactly for everybody, or anybody, to see but the holder of it. Just sayin'...

*drops mic, updates Facebook status on the way off stage*

2.23.2011

Formsprung- Season 2

What's good umf'ers? Yes, it is Wednesday already, and that means it's time for a bunch of random ass questions from random ass people! Let's spring some form, shall we?


any good stories about you v-day boo? not necessarily from v-day of course
hmm...no, not really that I can retell on a family website like umf...besides, I asked her and that's what she said to say, so I have to respect her wishes...well, until spring, anyway...lol...

what species of facebooker are you?
Heh...I'm not the studied, I'm the studier...you obviously read my Guide to Facebook Species, you know that haha...

People really steal lunches at your job?
Hell yeah...otherwise this note on our floor's refrigerator woul have never been necessary...

Can you text without looking?
Well, let's see...

"I'm not perfect, btu I think I'm prettydman good for the first generation of mobile touch typists and I usually go baxk and correct the typos...hey, it keeps my black ass out of a fountain..."

hmm, not bad...answer your question?

how much money is in your pocket right now?
$35, 3 coupons for free Whoppers anywhere in the US that never expire, and a token...which is actually pretty good for this point in my pay cycle lol

who at work do you write about?
Whoever's postworthy for the day...read the work posts and find out :p Thing is, you would never know if you don't work here, and that's exactly the way I want it...hilarious stories get told, but no names get named on umf (unless you ask for it) ...you think I'm tryna get my broke ass sued?

omg lmfao "Patrice" isn't that weird Cecile chick that used to work here is she?
heh...can't answer that directly for obvious reasons, but really...you know the answer to that hahaha


Why don't you tell us which boss that was?
lol...well like I said, I'm VERY careful to not name names around here, but there are a couple posts featuring some of my encounters with him, in which he's referred to as "Mr. Reddock"...I have a feeling those who the knowledge would matter to would be able to tell who it was...

I don't see too many black bloggers. Are there not very many around, or am I just not seeing them? It's not that I go around looking for bloggers with a high melanin count, but I got to thinking, "Hey, AJ is the only black blogger I've run across - well,
Your observation is right...for whatever reason, we just ain't too well represented in the e-soapbox world. Most of my readers aren't even black. There are times when I do this and kinda feel like the only black guy... I'm still trying to figure it out myself lol...either way, I'm proud to be an ambassador between offline black people and bored white folk with too much time on their hands...

I'm kinda new here but I luv your blog! I read everything of yours since my bestie told me about u.m.f. last month. One question thou your fiction sounds a lot like your real life stories...how much "poetic license" do you take with the real stuff?
haha...always saw this question popping up...at least my fiction sounds realistic (or my real stories sound made up) ...aight, I feel it's important to draw a line between my real life adventures and misadventures and my made-up bullshit...so I tagged the posts seperately. ("adventures and misadventures" and "made-up bullshit" respectively.)

So, if anybody's ever been curious, in real life I did use a girl to cut in line at a sandwich giveaway, I did drink Olde English in an alley outside a strip club with crackheads (looooong story...stayed off crack tho), I did meet a girl named Purple I never wish to meet again...but I never delivered a bullying speech at a fictional San Diego middle school named after my site, I never met Jerry Jones at a cheesesteak shop, and I never got a surprise invite to a governor's debate...except here on umf. Hope that clears everything up :)




That was fun haha...thanks to y'all, Wednesday is now my 4th favorite day of the week (hmm...guess it was before too...oh well, you know what I meant). Well, that's a wrap for this episode of "Formsprung", but if you wanna ask something for next week, get at the question box >over there> or if you wanna see my infamous Formspring profile picture...


any question you want...go 'head, fire away...fuckit, I'll answer...

2.18.2011

TBX- In the Media

*fittedwearer's note: in case you haven't been here the past couple Fridays, you might wanna check out part 1: "In the Hood" and part 2: "On the Job"...don't worry, I'll put out a box set or something later...lol...anyways...

You exit your office building and go out into the bustling center of whatever city you're imagining your Experience is taking place in. After the (most of a) day you had at work, you just want to get the hell home, flop down and watch some TV. The train stop is only 2 blocks away and you figure you'll just make that trip and be on your way in less than 3 minutes.

Unfortunately, Cause Criers, folk who are paid to stand in the middle of sidewalks, hold clipboards and bother people who are obviously on their way somewhere, have other ideas. (It has nothing to do with being black, but you do work downtown...)

You try to get to the station as quickly as possible, but 5 steps away from your building, one pops out of an alley in a suit and asks if you have 5 minutes to discuss a petition for laws against texting and walking. You wish you had his number so you could send him a message saying "fuck you" as you walk away, but don't have time for that...you politely tell him no and keep it moving. You walk a little further and another Cause Crier materializes wearing a Greenpeace t-shirt and cargo shorts. Before he can even start his verbal commercial, you cut him off, somewhat tersely explain you're late for an appointment with your couch and keep heading for the train station.

Just then, yet another Crier, an attractive white girl across the street, sees this scene and immediately decides to run across the street directly towards you, clipboard at the ready, intent on determining your interest level in sponsoring starving former "American Idol" winners out on the street...and is hit by a taxi. She cartwheels like a rag doll through the air twice, skids lightly on the ground like a stone skipping across water and comes to rest against a hot dog cart on your side of the street. She's a little dinged up, but appears to be alive.

The taxi driver keeps going (what did you expect?) but since the accident involved an attractive white girl, a news truck pulls up before the light even changes again to cover the breaking news. A field reporter leaps from the back of the truck with his camera crew and before you know it, there are 2 cameras and a microphone in your face.

The reporter asks for your eyewitness account, and since you had a firsthand view of the event, you give a coherent, accurate, and descriptive account of the accident. (During your recount, in the background, an ambulance comes and scoops the battered girl up to take her to the hospital, which you notice downtown is every 5 blocks but there's only one for the entire section of the city you call home.) The reporter listens and thanks you for your time.

Just as you turn to finally head to the train station, you notice that the news crew is doing another eyewitness interview. Your black instincts notice they picked the scruffiest, least presentable black guy on the street to interview and suspect testimony isn't all the news is interested in. Your suspicions are soon confirmed as you overhear his retelling.

"AW MAN THAT SHIT WAS CRAZY! HABIB COME FLYIN' ROUND THAT CORNER LIKE HUNNIT MILES A HOUR, SMACK RIGHT INTO THAT WHITE GIRL! BITCH WENT FLYIN', I WAS LIKE DAAAAAAAYUM, SHE GOT KNOCKED THE FUCK OUT! CAT JUST KEPT ON GOING THOUGH, THAT WAS SOME OLE WILD SHIT! OH YEAH, I'M STILL ON TV AIN'T I! SHOUT OUT TO THE WHOLE 36TH STREET CREW, ALL MY DAWGS, ALL MY DEAD HOMIES, ALL MY BROTHAS HOLDIN' IT DOWN UP IN THE PEN..."

The guy continues with his monologue, and you can hear the reporter remark to one of his crew members that they're definitely going with that one. You shake your head and just go for the train. In the concourse leading to the stop, there's a newspaper shop where you can buy a pair of headphones...don't want to make the same mistake you made this morning. You get your headphones, board the train, and ride back home. School just let out, so the kids from P.S. 666 are back for their afternoon performance...luckily you have headphones this time, so it's just kind of like watching a nature show on mute.

Eventually, you get back to your stop, get off, go back through the Hood, and arrive home.

You sit on your couch and decide to see what's on the tube. Oh, cool, BET. You've never had the urge to watch this channel before, but hell...you're black today and in need of entertainment, so why not? You don't know what to expect from the one channel on basic cable that purports to be targeted at African-Americans...but pretty soon the nature of the network makes itself clear.

After a couple hours watching it, all you've seen is glorification of fast money and self-destructive behavior, gratuitous brown ass, Nicki Minaj, "blackened" versions of rehashed MTV reality shows, edited low-budget crime movies, Nicki Minaj, reruns of poorly written "black" sitcoms, opportunities to dial "16969" to get a text message from some video hoe or other, Nicki Minaj, and more McDonald's chicken sandwich commercials featuring people who look like like Hollywood thinks your kind should look like and seem happier than necessary to be eating them.

For a second, you wonder...is this really all black people are entertained by? Your black instincts use your right hand to slap you...of course not...the station is just owned and run by white people who think so. Wow, that's pretty racist...but you never noticed that before because you weren't black until today. That's about all you can take of that...it's about 6:00...time for the news.

You decide to see what's going on in the world...the lead story? A 19 year old student of Local Elite University was injured today in a hit-and-run accident involving a cab in Center City today. Hey, it's that thing you saw! They spend the first 5 minutes on it, first showing a helicopter shot of the scene, then replaying Loud Ghetto Eyewitness' account of events, then comments from her friends and family about how she's a smart, beautiful girl who is full of life. Both anchors end the segment with their sincerest wishes for her speedy recovery.

The rest of the news is less emotional. They read off stories of murders and robberies in your neighborhood like they're Ben Stein as Ferris Bueller's teacher reading the roll call. "3 men were gunned down after a dispute over a card game.", "An old man was found duct-taped in his bad neighborhood home late last night, the motive seems to be burglary.", "A little girl was struck and killed by a stray bullet in a shootout involving police.", "A 20 year old student of Local Community College was pinned underneath a bus today...she was rushed to the hospital, where she later died. Sucks for her." They seem to have a lot less emotion about these news items for some reason...your black instincts have a hunch why.

They then talk about how inner city schools and their kids are failing and that the solution is to give parents a choice in schools so that they can send their kids to a better public school for a shot at a real education. You can't help but notice the real problem...that there's a difference between public schools at all, seeing as we all pay the same taxes to help teach the same children...so why can't P.S. 666 be just as good as Friendly Hills Public School in the suburbs? Why is it that the schools in certain areas are substandard and accepted that way? Are they really surprised the kids are stupid?

It's not metaphysical...if you give one person a 6 foot ladder and one person a 9 foot ladder and tell them both to scale a 10 foot wall, guess who's gonna climb faster?

Just as you begin to wonder what kind of strange program is being run with these programs, there's a commercial break. The first one is for gambling addiction...it shows a black man running out of money in a casino, going to the ATM and finding it of no use, then scrounging his car for loose change, coming up with some, and proudly strolling back into the casino for one more go. He explains he doesn't have a gambling problem, he has a money problem. The second shows a black family sitting at the table enjoying dinner while the phone rings and the parents consciously ignore it until it stops. The message behind the commercial? Ignoring your bills doesn't make them go away. Your black instincts say damn...what are we the only people that can be broke or something? In casting calls for commercials, is "poor" shorthand for "black"?

As you ponder that, a 3rd commercial comes on...it's Popeye's fried chicken! The curly-topped, maternal spokeswoman with the thick southern drawl shucks and jives as she tells the viewer about her bonafide, down home, mass-produced chicken that's prepared just for you with her mother's recipe, honey! (I know you've seen those, but I mad none of these commercials up) Hmm, so that's where your boss got that idea from...for the first time, you see from a black perspective that you can't really blame him or anybody else for assuming any of the things they do since that's really all they show of us on TV.

The sad part is there's not much you can do about it...well, besides turn the damn thing off. That's exactly what you decide to do, but your show isn't over yet...you still have one more Experience in front of you...

Complete your black experience with TBX IV: Black and Blue

2.17.2011

Won't someone think of the children?

Today in local news, a big weed bust involving $90,000 in bud, $10,000 in cash and a family of four. (Well, actually, the lead story in the paper was about SEPTA, our local transit system, fuckin' up...but it must be a slow news day, that's about as much news as "Sun Rises", "Studies Show Many Americans Hate their Jobs", and "Children Who Read More are Smarter, Retain Knowledge and Get Better Grades"...oh, and I only made 2 of those headlines up.) The story goes that early yesterday, a random traffic stop ended in Mom getting busted with 13 pounds of weed (aka enough to keep me constantly inspired into umf posts and random Facebook updates for the rest of the year) and the cash in her car. This obviously resulted in her getting carted off to jail.

However, the story doesn't end here...this post isn't nearly long enough yet. Mom apparently used her one phone call to phone home and tell Dad to get rid of the 7 pound backup stash back at the house without anybody noticing before the cops came to toss the house, find it, report that they found nothing and sell it on the streets. So...let's see...you've got about 10 minutes before the cops come, 7 pounds of marijuana, and a high likelihood of getting pulled over if you try to drive away from the house with it...oh, wait, we have 2 kids, don't we? Somewhere in Mom's head, a 20 watt lightbulb buzzed to life.

Yup, you guessed it...the big idea was to stuff the 9 and 10 year old children's backpacks with 3.5 pounds each and sent them on their way...who's gonna suspect there's any weed in a SpongeBob backpack? (Well, as long as it's worn by a child...if you see a grown man wearing any sort of cartoon or comic attire, it's a good bet he sparks up from time to time...) Its probably not the first time these kids have done this, they've probably had a while little family system in place for a while...but this day, she made one slight miscalculation...the cops had been watching the house for some time. After hearing of her arrest, they were placed on alert for anyone leaving the house with a package...like small folk with bags for example. The kids got about a block down the street before they were herded up against the wall and frisked down like they were about to board an airplane. Busted.

Now, before I type what I'm about to type, I want to make wine-glass-in-a-dishwashing-detegent-commercial clear that despite my extracurricular activities, I do not endorse what these parents did or anything like it. There's no defending that. Getting your kids caught up in whatever adult matters you're going through is a fucked up thing to do. Turning your kids into drug mules, using your children as weapons against your spouse in a divorce, making them tell Aunt Stella she could use more crotch deodorant at Thanksgiving so no adult has to have the awkward conversation...legal through the law of the land or otherwise, it's all wrong. Kids are kids and should be left to kid shit until they get old enough to wish they were left to kid shit again. That was some piss-poor parenting and that's the bottom line...there's no joke after it (not even a parenthesized side joke). They don't deserve nor will they receive any pardons for their actions around here.

Here's my thing though...this would have never happened if the powers that be (trippin' hard) would do the smart thing and just legalize the stuff. Surprisingly. I wrote a whole post about why that's a good idea (and you can read it here, since I don't believe in recycling material on weekdays...lol) but situations like this always make me think about that. Why was this even necessary at all? Lives lost, freedom suspended, families destroyed, police manpower wasted...over something that is in its first hundred-something years of prohibition after being used by pretty much every civilzation in human history. Everybody that wants something can and will make a way to get it...and as it stands, for some folk that means stuffing your child's Justin Bieber thermos with a couple ounces of weed. It's sad really...it's all so avoidable, but it happens every day. It could be Rite-Aid's business or Walgreen's or CVS's or any other store...but because we refuse to change (back) with the times, it's the business of criminals.

I know this story is a stretch to jump behind for the cause because of its nature, but hey, I like a challenge. My problem is that people see the scandal of the story, the smoke...and yet are blind to the flames, the one emitting from the lighter of every smoker in Philly. Those flames keep the black market warm and toasty, no matter if the material to be burnt arrive in a Yu-Gi-Oh backpack, a duffle bag, or an unmarked van driven by an off-duty officer in the dead of night. People will buy what they want from whoever makes it available, and if they have to go under the table for it, they will...but who would risk that if they could walk down to Eckerd?

Tonight on the news, there will probably be a bunch of smiling cops standing around a table with a big pile of weed and most of the cash they found stacked around it right before they circlejerk about how they're cleaning up the streets and all that shit...all while willfully oblivious that the lost shipment is one drop in the Delaware River. So while I hope the parents get what they deserve and wish the 2 kids involved the best, I can't help but wonder how many lives will go up in smoke before somebody puts out the real fire...the one stoking the black market. Whatever though, I'm just a rambling stoner...

2.16.2011

Formsprung- Season 2

Another Wednesday...you know what it is, umf'ers! Let's see what y'all are curious about this week...

How much of the tbx posts is your personal "x"?
It was supposed to be kind of general, since I was asked what it's like to be black and not what it's like to be AJ, but I guess I couldn't help letting my own life seep in...I'd say way more than half came from my personal experience.

Your boss doesn't really talk to you that way does he?
lol...okay, not ALL that, I would have teed off on him long ago, but the narrative was rooted firmly in truth, I'll say that.

why don't you stop being stubborn and make a damn twitter?
because I hate #thesethings...

Are you happy you're black?
Yes, quite lol

lol how many of those stupid inventions you got?
a few haha...besides being a fairly decent writer, internet comedian, the world's leading expert in Facebook Interpersonal Studies , and a camera phone ninja (among many other things), I'm a thoretical inventor...lol...

Why don't you get rid of that old ass phone?
lol leave my G1 alone...considering a month is a year in cell phone years, my phone is only middle aged...when they get a better phone with an actual keyboard and not that full touchscreen bullshit nobody with man fingers can use, I'll upgrade...but hell, it works for now. You obviously read umf, and it comes from this "old ass phone" :p

Weren't you supposed to change that FB name of yours back weeks ago?
Yeah...but there are still people with dumb ass names like "Badside Trigga Iamnotahumanbein" (seriously, FB search it), I gotta keep reminding folk that nobody calls you that. I'll keep it up for as long as it takes...

You watch "Bad Girls Club"?
lol no...I watched 2 episodes on Tuesday as a V-Day gift to the lady of the night...I really don't care for reality TV, there's very little real about it and it's gonna get somebody killed one day...

whats the gayest thing u ever did lol
What? I don't do that funny shit, now...

but I have to have an answer...

*sigh* I guess this counts...I have some skin struggles (I think because I still act like a teenager I still get some of the acne) and my sis, sweet girl that she is, gave me a bottle of some pink-grapefruit scented cleansing foaming facial girl shit to help me out with that. (Hey, it works, fuck you...) One day in the shower, I couldn't immediately find it and almost, ALMOST asked myself aloud "now where the hell is my pink grapefruit facial scrub?" until I realized how...unseemly...that would have sounded and swallowed the sentence, saving my masculinity...lol...

That was...revealing. Y'all always find a way to make me tell the entire internet something I wouldn't even tell my spouse. (In this case, because she might call me a prissy little bitch or something...lol...) Well, that's all I got for today, but if you want to put me on the spot next week, hit the question box >over there>, or if clicking links makes you feel like a man:

2.15.2011

Random Thoughts 49- "This order was fucked up by..."

So yesterday I was with my lady friend waiting for our romantic V-Day dinner of chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks and watching some dumb shit on TV. (I think it was "Bad Girls Club"...I'm not reality TV's biggest fan, but if watching unstable bitches yell and fight hoodratatiously while eating chicken fingers is an adequate substitute for spending 3 hours in some stuffy, crowded restaurant with all the drones and paying double normal price for the privelege, I'll go with BGC every day and twice on Valentine's Day.) I simply lay there on her bed and appreciated that I had a valentine that was happy with takeout and reality TV for the night.

Just then, her phone rang...but she had lost it under the mass of blankets that cover her bed. By the time she picked it up, it stopped ringing. She frowned at the phone, then saw that the caller had left a message...it was Delivery Guy, who had left a message telling her he was standing outside with the food. (Yes, left a message. I never saw that before either. I guess if Papa John's can send people texts, the delivery guy can leave a message...well, neither can do it to me, I got apps for that, but still...) She pulled herself away from her show and flounced down the stairs to retrieve our food. I played with Facebook and watched some 'tarded bitch yell at some other 'tarded bitch about some 'tarded dispute until she came back. (It's actually kind of morbidly entertaining until you realize that for every chick on these shows, there are hundreds if not thousands aspiring to be like them. Maybe that's why there are few good women left...everyone wants to be a Bad Girl.)

She reappeared with the food and a smile and set it on the bed for us to unwrap, and it's then that I took a look at the bag and examined it. (It's a sickness of mine...I read EVERYTHING...posters, signs, packages, t-shirts...you name it, I've scanned it and smirked at it.) I looked over the reciept and saw they had gotten the order right...this time. That's when I peeped what was on the bottom of the bag...a company name, a personal name and what looked like an employee number. It was a stamp, and under the info it read "inspected and approved". This probably only meant one thing...the makers of this paper bag, which somebody is just going to throw away or use to dump dutch guts in after rolling up, saw fit to identify the actual person whose hands had crafted it (I guess so they can recognize exceptional workers at the yearly Bagmakers' Convention or something). Such an insignificant item with such a personal touch.

Then, as often happens, my wheels started turning. If they hold the makers of the paper bags to a high enough standard that their name has to be on every item they produce so that it can be traced back to the very schmuck who folded it, why not the items in it? I mean, I'm not gonna eat the damn bag...I don't give a fuck who made that...but they really should start labeling the food with the name of the person who prepared/cooked it. Just a sticker or something on the wrapper would work. How many times have you ordered some food from somewhere and some asshole managed to fuck it all up? I know you went to yourself "Damn, I wonder what McGenius managed to leave the bacon off my Chicken BLT so I could go back and give him a swift kick in the nu--um, some pointers on accuracy in foodservice?"

Evenually she got sick of being ignored for minutes at a time in favor of my branching thought process (but probably should get used to that if she's gonna stick around past winter) and brought me out of my head and back to earth, but the idea stuck with me. I think it would solve a lot...if your burger is underdone, you know whose fault it is. If you asked for extra sauce on your wings and they still don't even coat the whole wing in it, you know what dickhead is responsible. If you specifically ask for ketchup on the side, open your food, and lo and behold your fries have been soggy with tomato paste ever since they came out of the oven, you know exactly who to blame.

Hell, it doesn't even have to just be with food...I'd like to know who made a lot of things. I would have liked to have known the exact person who wrote the instructions for my microwave stand (plenty of assembly required) so I could find him and insert foot A into ass B. Hell, it could even work with people...maybe some kind of sticker on certain folk could let me know exactly who or what made them the fucked up human being they are today...but really, I'll settle for the food. Will they ever do it though...I wonder...

2.14.2011

Cupid's Advocate (the Argument for Valentine's Day)

Happy Valentine's umf! I would ask all of y'all to be my valentine, but I don't wanna come off to (or onto) my male readers in an odd way. Usually I would mark today with a poem (like I did last year...it's still there if you wanna show some love and check it out) or some shit, but instead I'm gonna do something a little different. Today is one of the most polarizing holidays in the popular consciousness...either you love to love this day of love or hate this date. The lovers like it because...well, you're a smart person, I'll let you finish that. Ain't exactly an unsolved mystery.

The members of the anti-Valentine camp usually bring up similar gripes, the favorite being the fact that it's a made up holiday (but ain't they all? They all got made up at some point...or did Easter, Thanksgiving and Presidents Day always exist? I'm thinking Labor Day didn't exist at least until slavery was over...I'm off topic tho) and that it's commercial (what the hell isn't here in the future?). Point is, we all feel a way about V-Day. Well, except me...I'm mostly neutral. I celebrate it when I have occasion and don't when I don't...hell, it's a chick holiday anyway...but since piling on the holiday seems to be hot right now, I'm gonna go the opposite way...you know, just because. Let's see what I can squeeze out of this...hmm, what is there to like about today?

1) Scorned folk are hilarious. I understand why some people might not have a heart on for today, but there is no reason to wake up at 7 in the morning to post a Facebook status complaining about all your co-workers getting bouquets but you. (Especially since it was the former co-worker of mine known around here as "Patrice", who gets no love any other time of year. Seriously, she stole my damn picture...what's lovable about that?) It's fine to object to the day's festivities, just don't be more bitter than chocolate anthrax when you do it or I'll laugh at you.

2) Just because you woke up alone doesn't mean you have to go to bed that way. The streets are filled with lonely folk observing the holiday from the outside with their noses pressed against the glass like a stalker at a party they're not invited to and people that got dumped sometime this weekend to save their partner from having to buy a gift (it's an old trick...they'll be back together by the end of the week...that's why you have to strike today!). You know what these people are? They're vulnerable. You're lonely, they're lonely...if you play your cards right, you can be lonely together.

3) Easy post material. Well, that's just for me, I guess...but hell, you get to read it :p

4) It's a celebration of love. Artificial, manufactured, commercial...true, it can be all those things...but it's a celebration of love. In this violent, crazy, fucked up world where you can get strangled, shot in front of your infant child, or beaten to death in the streets in front of police (no matter if they say they were there or not) and half the city of Philadelphia, is a little forced love the worst thing in the world? I'm not gonna get all sensitive and mushy here...but damn.

5) It reminds us what a sucker really is. People like to say love is for suckers. I say "love is for suckers IF". Love is for suckers IF you spent a whole paycheck wining and dining some chick who won't even admit she knows you tomorrow just for an outside shot at seeing her nipples later that night. Love is for suckers IF you buy into the idea that a Zales necklace is the only way to show it. Love is for suckers IF you think somebody that gives you the moon in exchange for one night will give you the sun to go with it when it comes back up. Love is for suckers IF you want the full-time commitment but will settle for a one day appointment. Love is for suckers...but only IF you suck at love.

6) It's optional. People always act like just because today is February the 14th that means it has to be Valentine's Day in your world. No it doesn't. You're free to completely ignore it if you have no stake in it...well, unless you're so desperate for attention that you ruin everybody else's fun by bitching all day. We all know how attractive that is. It's like the designated driver for a night out accidententionally knocking over their friend's drinks because they're mad they'll be dry tonight (and now that I worded it that way, the parallels are closer than I thought). Next time, just stay home and we'll call a cab or something.

7) Because I have a valentine this year. Guess that's my personal biz too, but fuckit...it's my list... I'll freely admit this holiday goes down easier that way, but hey...it's a built in advantage of the Winter Boo. Got a problem with it, shoulda listened when I told you... (You should probably start planning that exit strategy should you need it though...deadline before auto-renewal is St. Pat's...lol...)

Well, there it is y'all...a few reasons to like V-Day...or at least a few reasons I do this year. Hopefully, even if you don't have any reasons to, this post just became one of them. Of course, that's probably wishful thinking...but hey, today's National Wishful Thinking Appreciation Day. Don't judge me. Anyway, remember...while spreading the love to others is important, no matter what happens today, don't forget who your original valentine is...after all, you literally will always have your own heart. Aight, my sappy rating is skyrocketing, I'm gonna end this before I want to punch myself in my red-sweatered stomach. Enjoy your day, umf'ers!

2.11.2011

TBX- On the Job

There you are on the train, free Metro paper in hand, towards your place of employment. There are 2 empty seats in the same general area, one next to another hood resident you might find somewhat threatening if you weren't black (but your black instincts tell you is just some guy in Timberlands) and the other across the aisle near a pack of loud little street urchins on their way to P.S. 666, the local public inner-city high school. Unfortunately you forgot your headphones, so blocking them out isn't an option...you take your seat next to Timbs and wait for your stop. The high schoolers yell and cuss rambunctiously, reciting rap lyrics and detailing their sexual experiences (true story). One kid forgot his headphones too, but doesn't let that stop him from blasting top 40 urban radio hits out the back of his phone.

It's then that you take a look at the car around you. You see a slice of the city's population. Besides the school kids and your seat partner, the majority of the others present are white. As the kids carry on making early morning asses of themsleves, some of the whitefolk begin to whisper and gesture subtly in their direction. Your black instincts can't help but wonder if on some level they wonder if you have something to do with it...or worse, discussing bets on when you're going to join in. Even though you have nothing to do with the situation, you can't help but feel mortified. These little fucktards are making you look bad in front of the neighbors...you wish you could say something, but your black instincts tell you such an action would result in a conspicuous confrontation which you lack the hood experience points to handle safely and effectively.

However, one of the white folks on the car don't have black instincts. Having had enough, he rises from his seat next to his friend and calmly asks them to quiet down so his head doesn't fold in on itself from sonic pressure brought on by long-term exposure to Nicki Minaj. The kids just stare at him blankly, but you kinda wish they would shut the fuck up too, and think he makes a good point...until he's struck in the back of the head midsentence with a huggie juice bottle stuffed with Donut Stick wrappers, the remains of some kid's breakfast. The thrower's girlfriend then speaks up.

"Shut the fuck up with that bullshit white man don't nobody wanna hear that who the fuck is you you ain't my pop my pop is black and you ain't nothin but a bitch ass blah blah blah..."

She continues with her tirade, spewing complex blends of profanities, epithets and good ole bad English as fast as she can draw breath to do it. The man realizes that any further action on his part may land him in jail, so he cuts his losses and goes back to his seat. The kids cheer on the young smartmouth, who feeds on it like a forest fire and just keeps screaming. You look around at the other horrified passengers and shake your head...that's when you overhear someone nearby remark that that's exactly what to expect out of "those people". You find yourself offended, but more than that with a deep sadness that another negative stereotype of your people has reinforced for all to see. Luckily, the train pulls up to your stop in Center City and it's off to work before any further embarrassment.

You slide into your desk, put your paper down, and check your email. That's when your boss, a middle aged white guy who mostly knows black people from watching BET with his 13 year old son, walks up the hall. You don't particularly like him, but you deal because you're paid to. You can hear his approach because he greets each of his (mostly white) employees.

"Hey, big guy...what's new?"

"How's it going, Charlie?"

"Good morning, Beth...say, you're looking good today!"

Then he strolls on over to you at your desk.

"Yo, what's good, dawg? You chillin'?"

Your black instincts can't help but notice your greeting was a bit different. He spoke to everyone else in his path in a professional manner and then went all Malibu's Most Wanted on you. It ain't the first time this has happened to someone that works at your job...you just never noticed before because you weren't black. It's a minor irritant though...you shake it off, mumble a greeting back, and attempt to move on with your day...but your boss hasn't finished his business there with you.

"Check this out, my brother...we're getting together a pickup basketball team around the office. It's so gangster. We could really use somebody like you...I know you probably have a wicked jump shot."

You can't stop yourself from giving him a fucked up look for half a second. Not only have you never mentioned basketball at any point during your employ (and damn sure wouldn't say it or anything else unwork-related to him if you did), you haven't ever been on a serious basketball team, only play at the park a few times a year and in fact, lettered in some other sport in high school. Your black instinct tell you something's wrong here, but you ignore it and explain why you're not the best guy for the job. He scoffs.

"Don't try to play me, my brother...I know you people know your way around a basketball..."

Your black instincts flare up...now wait just a damn minute. You cock your eyebrow. He immediately sees his error in judgement and scrambles to correct it.

"Duh...I...not like that, not "you people"...I meant...um...people from this city...and...I just thought..."

You increase the intensity of your stoneface 35% and stay the course. He's now in full despration mode.

"D...um...hey, here's an idea. How about I treat the whole department to lunch and we hang out in the conference room? Yeah...that should be fun...what do you say, bromie?"

You accept his reparation invitation with an eyeroll and he nervously shuffles away. You now begin your mundane job duties, which I don't even care enough as a writer to describe. After a while, it's lunchtime. Your boss comes into the office with a huge bag of KFC and assorted sides. He puts the bag on the receptionist's desk and begins to make a speech. Your black instincts tell you this is probably gonna be bad (and whatever color instincts you naturally have probably agree).

"Attention everyone...just wanted you guys to know I appreciate what you do around here. You're the soul of this company...and what better way to show you I care than with some authentic soul food? Everybody dig in!"

You can smell the tasty little birds and for some reason they smell even more delicious than usual today...you didn't eat breakfast, other than whatever little snack you bought this morning, so you're starving...but your black instincts tell you that being too quick to the chicken is an open invitation for your boss to make some stupid ass joke. You decide to hang back and watch your co-workers bumrush the food. They all get plates before you and eagerly tear into them.

Eventually you get to the food and see that all the good pieces had been taken. You see your boss laughing it up with one of your co-workers while eating the big piece of chicken. Well, at least he can't make jokes with his mouth full of poultry...you find a couple pieces, scoop up some sides and go back to your desk to eat. Your boss, however, wants to chat with you...so he comes over to your desk yet again.

"Hey, I'm sorry about this morning...I was cold trippin'. I thought a little grub might smooth things over. I thought about you when I picked the menu...how you liking that? Just like momma used to make, am I right, my brother?"

You recall your mother can't even cook...she was too busy working 2 jobs and going to school as a single parent of 3 trying to make a living wage while sucking on the government's teat as little as possible. You were willing to ignore the chicken thing, but this shit is too much. You finally explain to him that while lunch is okay (and not authentic in the least), he really could cut back on the assumptions and also he can talk to you just like everyone else because we speak English too. This seems to confuse him.

"Don't be like that, my brother! We don't have to have beef. We have got to stop all this black on black hate!"

Before you can interrupt him, he continues.

"We go way back, dawg. I ride for you in these corporate streets, and now you don't bang with me? I thought we were cool, why do you want me to cry, homie? I feel you though, you still feel some type of way from this morning. I'll let you do you, come back and check on you later, all right? We cool, my brother?"

Your black instincts urge you to punch him in the face and make at least one part of him black, but you know you could get fired, go to jail AND get a record...and your black instincts know your black ass ain't ever getting a legit job again once you get into the system. You think better of it, tell him it's cool and shake his hand (the normal way). He attempts a series of exotic hand tricks during the shake, but eventually you just let your hand go limp until he's finished. He then takes his leave.

"Ail right, man...stay black..."

Your black insticts bristle. They can be restrained no longer. They tell you that you've taken all you can take from that asshole and the word after the next word he speaks to you will be "ouch". You look at the clock. It's 2:30 and you don't get off til 5...but you can't leave. If you leave, somebody will notice and you may get fired. However, your black instincts tell you that if you stick around and he comes back to your desk with some ole jive-talkin bullshit, you're gonna deck the shit out of him with a keyboard and you WILL be fired.

You play the odds, sneak out a back stairwell, and head for the next part of your black experience...maybe you'll make it all the way through this one...

Continue with TBX Part III: In the Media

2.10.2011

Patently Imaginary: the Convo Inbox

The concept of voicemail has been around for a while now. It was kind of an obvious idea...from the dawn of the telephone until that point, I assume dinosaurs and people roamed the earth, forced to stay up all hours of the night, answering each and every call (there was no caller ID either) and also writing down (by hand! ...can you imagine?!) a short message summarizing what the caller wanted if the desired party was absent: "Mom called, is picking up dinner on the way home", "Uncle Tabitha called, has been arrested for solicitation, needs bail money", "Phone company called, says if overdue balance is not paid within the week our service will be suspended, but we will still receive bills and notices via bricks thrown through living room window"...you know, that type of thing.

Another common complaint about early dumbphones is that once you answered, you were on the hook for however long the person on the other end wanted to hear their own voice or you breathing. Long, awkward, pointless "conversations" resulted...the only recourse, hanging up, was considered a serious faux pas and an act of war in certain contexts (Well...it could be a signal breakup or something if you had the right props and some acting chops.) Worst of all, phones of the day had an inherent design flaw...they required the owner be present to receive a call and the resulting message. If one was sleeping, not near their telephone (yeah, once upon a time they had something called a "landline" that had to stay in one spot...those were dark days...) doing noisy housework, fucking, or otherwise unavailable, the call would not be heard and there was no record of said attempt at communication.

However, things changed when some years later, some guy who I don't feel like Googling invented the answering machine. People were free to accept and return calls as they saw fit, telemarketers saw their reign of terror end and began their descent into the fringes of society, and a lost art called "call screening" became popular. (For those who don't remember, that's when you let a call go to voicemail, listened to the first few seconds, and only then picked up, depending how much you wanted to talk to the caller.) It was a great leap forward for people who have better shit to do than listen to every word every person would ever have them hear, but I don't think the idea has reached the limit of its usefulness.

I think the concept has applications in real life...we've all been trapped into unwanted verbal interactions. Whether it's a co-worker telling a long, uninteresting story about something his cat did with an egg salad sandwich for the 4th time, the random mafucka in the streets who feels it's just fine to sidle on up to you and tell their life story, or an unwelcome ex who you see in a public area 3 years after you break up and feels the need to "catch up", (Why do these people always want to catch up? If I wanted you to catch up, I wouldn't have run away so fast!) there have been times in your life where you just didn't want to talk. Much like the telephone, the only recourse is to terminate the conversation...but the way to do that is pretty harsh too, turning one's back midsentence and walking into the distance, leaving a shocked, hurt speaker who will just have to talk someone else's ears clean off the side of their head...so what can we do about it?

That's where my new invention, the Convo Inbox, comes in. It's still in the thoretical stages, but it's a device that works through a bunch of pseudoscientific intelligent-sounding bullshit (that I'm just going to skip for now but can explain later if somebody's going to pay me) to provide the voice messaging system of the future. The module (pocket size, transparent, and stuck with adhesive on a wall near the scene of a conversation) mutes the voice of the speaker and projects a holographic image of the user, who will nod and smile at appropriate points, freeing the user to go away and do more entertaining things like watch paint dry, do your taxes manually (green visor, adding machine the size of a cannonball and all) or take a scenic tour of an oatmeal farm.

The earpiece (sold seperately, batteries not included) has 2 settings, to broadcast the message into your ear as it is being recorded or to silently record it so you can halfway listen to it and delete it later. When the person is finally done talking, the message is saved for later listening...or to just let sit in your Inbox, like me. Call screening can also be achieved...if while you are walking away, you determine the conversation is actually worth your time, simply return to the scene and actually have it (but again, like the phone, you probably know whether you missed something in the first few seconds). I'm not 100% on the design, the workings, or...really anything else but the idea...but hell, that's what these posts are about lol...I think the world would be a better place...

2.09.2011

Formsprung- Season 2

What's goin' on, umf'ers? I know I got kinda heavy around here yesterday, but on a lighter note, here's your weekly Q and A session, "Formsprung" (on the right day, even)...with your host, me! Yaaaaay! Aight, I'll chill...let's cut the shit and get to the questions, shall we?

Great post about that sad incident in Philadelphia. I wonder would you have helped if you were there?
If I was wearing my GL supersuit, I wouldn't have had a choice lol...

Seriously, I doubt I would have rushed headlong into the fray, but letting the authorities know that death is in somebody's near future isn't too much to ask of me, especially when it's happening in front of a building full of them.

you really like "Cheaters" huh?
I mean...the post is called "I *heart* Cheaters"...lol...

you gonna go with a fabio haircut when you grow it out?
Uh...I think I'm gonna go with something a little less...terrible...hahaha...

whatever happened to doing stand up. Are you still going to do that?
lol...I am, just been too broke to cover my open mic expenses (which is why all the post types that I have to pay for like ETCAM, Swilla, and such have slowed way down). I'm in a little better financial position now, so I should do it soon actually.

What do you think about gambling?
I've been known to bet on a football game or 2 (not this past year lol) and have been to Atlantic City, but I'm not a huge gambler. I refuse to be that guy who loses his money, his shirt, and his firstborn child in a casino. I think people should be free to use their monies in a manner of their choosing, but they say a fool and his money are soon parted....

What's your problem with the police?

I could write multiple posts detailing that...oh, wait, I did...

Why don't you write a book?
Because I can't stay on topic lol...don't you read umf? Let's see the topics of the past 7 posting days ..social commentary, the Super Bowl commercials (and a few Cowboys references), life as a black person, last week's version of "Formsprung", a letter to my fellow blacks about our history month, and eye stickers...when you figure a way to weave that into a book, let me know lol...

wow wtf is a "chocolit qutey"?
Fuck if I know...just another dumb ass Facebook pseudonym (aka MySpacebook name) I think...funny part is she's not exactly...uh.."qute".

Who or what is a Purple? I keep seeing that word around here. What's the story?
*sigh* She was the costar of one of the weirdest days of my life and somebody I never want to see again (but is immortalized on umf for folk to remind me about for all time).

Did you hear about the dumb cunt who died after her back alley butt implant surgery? What's your take?
Yeesh...that kind of language is unnecessary (it's one of my least favorite words I spent a whole post asking mafuckas not to use around here) but I'll let it slide this time. Anyway, yeah I heard about that stupid...that...and I think she got what she deserved just like those other chicks who did the same thing in some motel room in Jersey. If she had watched the educational show "1000 Ways to Die", she would have known that could happen. Pays to be drunk with the clicker...

why is orange hair so popular around where you live?
haha you must be one of my friends on Facebook...yeah, I've seen 2 girls with flaming orange hair in the past week or so (and taken pics, which premium members of team umf got to see...don't worry, it's free and has a 2-second signup...click here for details) and I want know what's up too. Maybe they're Flyers fans, who the hell knows lol

I read your black experience post and felt like a brother for a minute. If I read them all, do I count as black?
hahaha no...but you will have a better understanding of...The Experience...which is its own reward.

haha y'all are crazy, but you're my type of crazy and I love it. Thanks to everybody who participated in another great week of this nonsense. Aight, if you'll excuse me, I have a routine to work up...but if you want to put in on this shit for next week, hit the blue question box >overthere> or if you just can't live without a link:


2.08.2011

Who's on trial here?

Exhibit A (the story)

In case you hadn't heard, yesterday here in Philly a pregnant woman was beaten to death in the streets. That happens about once a week around here, usually it wouldn't even make the front of the paper...but what made this different is that she was with her boyfriend and attacked by her ex-boyfriend and 3 or 4 of his best friends at 2 in the afternoon outside of traffic court in front of dozens of bystanders. Yeah, I know, right? However, the uproar about this is that her life could have been preserved if actions had been taken by certain persons. Obviously the attackers are guilty, but there are more fingers to be pointed here.

The story goes that she was in court, but making a quick trip to the car with her current boo to get some more money to get their car out of impound when Ex and Crew showed up and...yeah. It's pretty fucked up even for Philly, and the story has polarized the citizens of the city and since this is twentyleven and news travels instantly (you probably read this on your Google homepage or something before I even heard about it) the country. It seems to touch a number of issues and a lot of judgements are being thrown around. So, in this terribly tragic event, I gotta ask the question...who's on trial here?

Is it the bystanders? They seem to be taking the most abuse, with people claiming they were outraged that nobody had taken action during the attack. While it's a nice sentiment, I really wish those people would shut the fuck up because they're full of shit. (They even had the required news eyewitness interviews in which people there at the time lamented the downfall of civilization because nobody there intervened...uh, you were there too.) When people say "somebody" should have did something, they really mean "somebody else" should do something. If there's anything I hate, it's posturing...attending funerals of people you didn't like in real life, fake greetings around the office from people who will whisper about you when you're out of earshot, fake concern for your sickness from people who may wished you death earlier in the week...and this is it.

I mean, it ain't like this is the first time this has ever happened. Hey outraged Philadelphians...remember when that one guy got randomly beat with a hammer by that nutjob on the train and everybody was appalled that nobody helped and said "this will never happen again"? Remember that? Same city...similar situation...so either the exact set of people that formed unhelpful passengers on that train car are also the exact set of people that formed the unhelpful bystanders in this situation or people just like to talk the right-sounding shit. I lean toward the latter...and really, I don't blame them. I wouldn't expect anybody I don't know (and few people I do) to risk their life to save me from whatever peril may befall me...and nobody else really should either. I won't let them completely off the hook, I mean somebody could have called the cops or hell, went into the court, aka a building full of cops and calmly mentioned that somebody was losing their life outside...but to demonize the average person for staying in their lane is laughable. Let's move on.

Is it the boyfriend? I mean, they say he was with her around the time she got jumped by her ex and his henchmen (what kind of friends do you have that you can just hit them up and go "Yo, if you're not doing anything later we should go tune up my baby moms outside of traffic court...we can pick up some Burger King on me afterwards...what's up?) ...so what happened? Did he hide in a bush until it was over? Did he flee screaming with his hands flailing over his head when he saw the group approaching? Was he...part of it? Well, that's the funny thing here...nobody seems to know. All the reports mention boyfriend being WITH the victim at the time, but none mention anything after that. It's not clear what his role in this situation was...but he wasn't either confirmed defending his pregnant girlfriend or found severely beaten instead of her trying to fend off her assailants...so I suspect it was some ole bitch shit. I won't charge him with this yet, but I'm definitely keeping him around as a person of interest. Hmm...next suspect.

How about the police? Let's evaluate the scenario. Advanced security system including 2 cameras (that apparently nobody on site watches footage from...Toys R' Us has live surveillance but a city traffic court doesn't...hmm...) pointed directly at the action...check. Incident right outside of traffic court within 75 feet of innumerable cops (somebody can get beat to death outside of a courthouse and no cops are around, but let me go to the same courthouse and throw a candy wrapper down near the door and see how many blue suits appear) ...check. Having your entire job description be "protect and serve" yet consistently doing neither...check. Hmm...I think we may have our guilty party. (You knew I was gonna find some way to blame the cops...lol...)

I find it next to impossible to believe that NO police officers saw or heard this event happening (it's not like beating somebody to death is a quick, stealthy process...I'd imagine there was a 2 minute period with a lot of commotion) on a main street in front of a city building packed so full to the brim with cops it would make my bacon senses tingle if I walked past it...at 2 in the fucking afternoon. I don't believe it, and if it's true and that's what they try and claim, it's a severe failure of our police...and if I were the cops, I wouldn't even tell people that. That's just me though.

Whoever deserves blame for this young woman's death, really it's sad that this type of thing can happen, and in a perfect world it wouldn't...but we don't live there, we live in Philly (or wherever else you're reading this at). It can, does and did. It's always fucked up when it does, and this can cause feelings of anger and confusion at the state our society is in. Judgements are made during times like this...but before we render a verdict, we should always ask...who's on trial here?

2.07.2011

Everything but the Score: a recap of SB XLV (a post that really has little to do with football)

Last night's NFL championship game, Super Bowl XLV, was played in the billion-dollar home of my beloved football team, Cowboys Stadium. (For more info about my football sickness, uses of "we" and "our" and how fanhood in general works, click here.) Since my 'Boys didn't even sniff the playoffs, let alone the big game, from the bottom of the division...well, almost...managed to fight our way outta last place (suck on that, lolSkins...) it was a party at our place that we weren't invited to. It was a painful concept and for a while I said I wasn't gonna watch the game. However, after the epiphany that I was lying to myself like shit, I, as a responsible football fan and red-blooded American male, watched the Super Bowl last night.

Unlike most games of the past few years, the game was actually pretty good. If you care about the score, you know it already...since the game didn't involve the Cowboys, I didn't really give too much of a fuck who won (but am glad a non-NFC East team not named the Patriots, 49ers or Steelers came out on top...it's who I hope wins every year the 'Boys can't) and thus won't spend too much time talking about it, but came out with a few observations, very few football-related...so I turned them into this post...enjoy.

1) I shouldn't even be here today. I really think the day after the Super Bowl should be a holiday. It's become more than a football game, it's a legitmate social event. People that don't spare a single damn for football all year gather in front of TVs (or just near them at the snack/punch table) and tune in. Just about everyone with a TV or friends watched it and were likely partying long after the game was over. Football itself is one of America's greatest pastimes, as are made-up holidays...why not combine the 2? Call it "American Monday" or something. Shit, if Columbus' crooked, land theiving ass can get a holiday, why can't the Super Bowl?

2) Massive impact trauma is all the rage. People getting hit with shit moving at high velocity seemed to be a popular theme of these commercials. If it wasn't a poor white girl getting fucked up with a can of Pepsi Max by a jealous black girlfriend (a commercial I'll be surprised if I ever see on TV again...sista can't hit a white girl with a can of soda on TV twice...) with a throw that was better than most of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers' last night:



it was some guy getting decked in the nuts with a similar can:


or Roseanne taking some wood to the face (something I never thought I would enjoy seeing):



Clearly, part of the formula of a winning commercial is somebody suffering grievous bodily harm...if only the same theory could apply to the trailer for the like, 10th Fast and the Furious movie in some kind of sequence where the car that Vin and friend are driving blows up and the movie never happens. (Seriously, I was good on that franchise after the first one...once you make a Japanese racing movie starring Lil Bow Wow, you have exhausted your concept.)

3) They're trying too hard now. I mean yeah, some of the commercials are funny but you kinda forget what the hell they're advertising. Case in point, this odd commercial with Kenny G:


or this masterpiece, where they tell us of the deplorable condition of the citizens of some 3rd world country, before more or less laughing at them and telling us to buy...something...:



or (even though I loved this one) the one with Justin Beiber and Ozzy's corpse. I didn't know or care what was being sold, but Beiber got called a girl...thought that was pretty sweet.



4) Christina Aguilera does not know our National Anthem ...but she still has a great voice. To be sure, she fucked that song sideways, but truth be told I didn't catch it until they replayed it. Half of the people chastising her for not knowing it not only don't know it themselves if asked to sing it, but probably would make Fergie feel good about her singing while doing so (oh wait, can't use up my Fergie jokes...that's later).

5) Somebody who makes commercials reads umf (or at least I like to think so). This Skechers spot featuring everybody's favorite whatever-she's-famous-for Kim Kardashian in those Skechers butt-improvement shoes called to mind the first time I saw that kind of shoe advertised in a commercial that I ended up writing a post about. In it, I wondered why the girl in the commercial for shoes that were supposed to make one's butt better had no butt to speak of (but just enough to rant about). It appears my post fell on the right ears...lo and behold comes this spot, starring the significantly more gluteal Kimmy K:



She's not my cup of tea (you can catch mono or worse from the wrong cup) but it's nice to see some improvement. One that a lot of people didn't see was the Wendy's commercial advertising their new chicken sandwich, the tastiness of which will apparently make you randomly slap people:



If you know me, you know my love/hate relationship with Wendy's. It's probably true, the sandwich is probably good enough to make you slap people...as anybody who has fallen in love with some Wendy's creation knows, they're going to wait until you have told all your friends how good it is and snatch it off the menu permanently. (Buffalo-dipped chicken sandwiches? Those spicy flatbreads they used to make? The cheddar mushroom melt? Spicy chicken nuggets, here then gone like a bad relationship?) ...then you'll want to slap the people that own Wendy's. A self-fulfilling prophecy if I've ever seen one.

6) The Doritos commercials have nescessitated a new man-law. Thou shalt eat only of thy own Dorito dust.




They ain't that good...not even with the munchies.

7) This commercial is awesome:


The whole thing was genius, especially how they used the local team from each show's location. Newman from Seinfeld as a Cowboys fan is priceless...although I do hate Moe from the Simpsons now for being an Eagles fan.


Oh, and about that halftime show...it suuuuuuucked. Hard. I lack the words to even describe it, so here's a video:


Did you see that? In between Fergie's series of yowling shrieks set loosely to a melody, (and managing to absolutely mutilate a classic song in the process...if the "Sweet Child" from the title was a real person and had a race, what Fergie did counts as genocide...Slash looked so disappointed, his top hat seemed to deflate slightly after each wild screech. I was just WAITING for the log from Roseanne's commercial to swoop down and demolish Mrs. London Bridge) hundreds of people around the stage doing their best imitation of a LiteBrite child's toy, the Peas' will.I.am and Apl De Ap in a helmet for window-lickers of tomorrow and a rainbow technicolor jumpsuit, respectively, and Usher appearing, lip-syncing and gyrating lackadasically before being apparently kidnapped by his barber so that he could finish his haircut (I hope...that's the only excuse I know of to look like Jermaine Jackson) I didn't like one bit of it.

I had a feeling that the night was gonna be a good, good night...but that all ended as soon as Fergie started "singing". I don't have anything particularly against them, but I had never heard the Black Eyed Peas perform live, and I wish that sentence still described me. The problem with these halftime shows is they're trying to please everyone. You have people who love pizza, you have people who love chocolate, and you have people who love apple pie...and that's cool, different strokes and all that...but what you don't do is put pepperoni and cheese on top of an apple pie, coat it in chocolate and serve it with marinara sauce in hopes that everybody will eat it. I understand it kinda has to be that way ever since Nipplegate, but how we live in a country where Fergie's singing can be on TV and Janet's titty can't...well, it confuses me a little.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my look back at the Super Bowl...aside from being surprised I didn't see Jerry Jones at least once (who knows, maybe my little talk with him in that cheesesteak shop stuck with him) that was pretty much everything I came away with after last night's game. The NFL season is officially over now (and my Cowboys are undefeated lol) so please take this opportunity to reaquaint yourself with friends, co-workers, and spouses you either forgot about or choose not to recognize during the season based on their team affiliation..lol... Happy New Year, NFL fans!

2.04.2011

TBX- In the Hood

*fittedwearer's note: I don't really do the whole racial thing...besides the fact that one layer of skin deep, all humans are pretty much the same, it's a genre of jokes that can get hacky and unfunny in a real hurry...just look at "The Cleveland Show" most weeks. However, yesterday during weekly Q and A session "Formsprung" I was asked what it was like to be black and I thought it was one of the funniest questions I've ever gotten (and that's really saying something) until I thought about it...maybe the black experience is something people are legitimately curious about. So, in place of a more traditional history month series (well, as traditional as a series of black history posts entitled "Baaaaad Mafuckas" can be) this is a new series I'm gonna test called TBX, short for...well, give it a guess, you're smart people. First up, the Hood...


You trudge through the snow on the way to your nondescript employment (somewhere between a McJob and middle management) almost breaking your neck on the ice multiple times and being more concerned about somebody seeing you fall than the resulting injury. Soon you hit MLK Boulevard...that's the downtown of most hoods, it's the shopping district/black center city. Its early, so there aren't too many people out yet...but some people are also on their way places.

Some glare at you for no reason. You become concerned that there is hosility towards you, but your new black instincts tell you it's nothing personal, they're just upset they live in the hood. Wouldn't you be if you had to live here past today? A few hoodrats dot the landscape, starting their strange and pointless promenade up and down the street doing nothing of benefit to them or anybody else. You, howvever, have a mission and a purpose...to get to the train stop and take your black ass to work.

Every 15 feet, somebody attempts to put something in/on your hand. The body oil man grabs your wrist so he can give you a sample of his wares, but you block his hand and snatch away just before he douses your hand in a fragrance designed to mimic popular colognes with 3x the strength. Those black instincts are really kicking in nicely.

A man in an odd garb bellows religion to ears deafened to his message (mostly because he's fucking annoying...it's not his words that are the problem, it's his volume and persistence) and hands out tracts. You take one and read the cover: "This could be the last thing you ever read...so do it or go to Hell!" You decide you would rather take the latter option than shove one more of those things in your pocket and toss it in a nearby trashcan, in and around which are hundreds of the same pamphlet. You shake your head and keep it moving.

You notice that the main street is plowed, but only from other hood residents driving over it so much...4 black grooves in the gray snow show the trail blazed both ways by determined drivers. MLK Boulevard is a mecca of depreciating items and low-quality consumerism.

As you stroll down the street, you look at some of the storefronts. There's a McDonalds, 3 check cashing places, 2 liquor stores, a laundromat, a Crown Fried Chicken, a Cricket/Metro PCS store, 3 corner stores, a Foot Locker, a FootAction, a Champs Sports several independent clothing and sneaker stores, and a few people setting up tables where you can buy any manner of factory variant apparel you would ever want (if you ever want a Guccy/Louie Vittan purse or Jordans that Mike has no idea ever existed, those are your guys). You pass by the 4th store with a Newport sign in the window and suddenly get an urge for menthol cigarettes.

You check your pockets and realize you only have a couple of dollars. Time to hit the ATM...but maybe you should save yourself a couple dollars and use your bank's ATM, right? Your black instincts chastise you for your foolishness...there are no banks in the hood, only check cashing places/pawn shops with ATMs that charge 3 bucks. (The people that plan and zone cities are no fools...certain things are certain ways for a reason.) You sigh, pick one of the 5 such establishments on the block, and enter.

Immediately you notice all the questionable financial advice plastered on the walls. "Cash your check here and we'll only take 10%!", "Out of cash? Get a payday loan! Interest rates start at a low weekly 50%!", "Can't wait for a refund? Get a W-2 loan today for only a third of the refund amount!" It's the first of whatever month it is, so you marvel as you watch the long line at the window grow with people eager to be fleeced. You'll ponder why these places are designed to make long-poor people poorer longer some other time...you just need to visit the ATM. You make your $23 withdrawal (can't forget that fee!) and walk back out.

After leaving the check cashing place, you go across the street to the Big Corner Store. In there, you can buy anything from loosies (which your black instincts tell you is one 50 cent cigarette) to lingerie. You came for a whole pack, since buying them 1 at a time at 50 cents woud cost $10 as opposed to the $6-7 they cost...and since you took out a $20, you decide to walk around and pick up a couple extra things.

As you browse the store, you get the distinct feeling of being watched...you look around and notice a nonblack worker at the store adjusting a nearby display while looking at you out the corner of their eye. It's a bit suspicious, you've never been watched carefully in a store before...but they're probably just doing their job. It's nothing. You grab a snack from the shelf and move on.

You pass the kids section and notice all the toys are guns and handcuffs. You wonder for a second why, with all the kids that will grow up to wear handcuffs against their will (mostly deserving it, but not deserving it more times than people should be comfortable with), one would want children to simulate the experience amongst themselves, but are startled by the same worker sweeping a section of floor that didn't need sweeping and looking at you out the corner of his eye...your black instincts tell you something's up, but you move on to the cooler section in the back.

You look inside and select a beverage, which should slide down and reveal an identical beverage behind it...but instead an upright mirror slides down. Your black instincts don't like this at all...you look around for the source of the setup when you see the same worker some distance away still sweeping, but peering intently into the mirror in front of you, watching your every move.

You wonder why all these black ops are necessary, then you take a look in the mirror and see your black self for the first time. Instantly, your black instincts fill in the blanks...he thinks you're going to steal something just because you're touching items and wearing brown skin at the same time. (Yes, they should have told you that about 5 minutes ago, but your black instincts are new and not as fast as they should be.) How unjust, how discriminatory...how commonplace. It happens every day, you just had no idea because you weren't black until today.

You consider getting pissed and hurling a can of Chunky Soup at his face, but then remember that's exactly what he wants so he can go home and tell his family about the crazy black person he saw today and they can all have a good laugh about those incorrigible Negroes. (It's a real concern for us, I experienced scenarios like that personally a couple of times...and posted about it, of course.)

You remember that being a minority means that you represent your whole people at all times to other folk, calmly walk to the register, pay for your items, make a point to smile and say "have a nice day" while thinking "fuck yourself hard" and leave for the train to work....your black experience is just beginning, and you can't be late... (Well, a little...you do run on CPT now, but not too late...lol...)