Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ode to Slick Rick

Shane Stay
c 2009

“...So make music in my basement, don’t cut her off till I find a good replacement.”

Slick Rick, you’re so cool, why do girls treat you so cruel?

When I look at rap today I feel like an old man, longing for the days of the late 80s, when rap was emerging as a major cultural force in the United States. Heavy D was mysteriously loved by the ladies, The Fat Boys were rapping about donuts (literally), Kwame was prancing around in poke-a-dot pajamas, Erick and Parrish were makin’ dollars, Eazy E kept activator suppliers in the profit, Run DMC had taken over the charts, Special Ed made a very ephemeral leap into stardom, Big Daddy Kane was half-steppin’ his way to the bank and Tupac was a teenage dancer with Digital Underground waiting to launch his personal career to new heights.

Today, in 2009, I don't know what’s going on. Apparently, Bobby Brown still thinks he can sing, Fifty Cent raps, acts, produces, gets shot, sells water (sells WATER!), gets shot some more while claiming more money than some oil producing nations, and Lil Wayne looks like a Lil Maniac. What's wrong with him? Also, white rappers are more and more acceptable. This is plain wrong.
I long for the days when white rappers were veeery suspect. Some may argue Eminem is an exception to the norm. Can we keep it at that? Can we let him be the only one? Please. While I'm at it, I don't think Asians should be rapping either. There's just something wrong with someone named Wang trying to rap about his “dilly-dang.” I don't wanna hear it; cook your rice noodles and shut the f!@# up.

I long for the days of Slick Rick, looking no less than a gay French pirate with his beret, eye patch, cardigan sweater, Bally shoes, gold teeth, gold necklace, gold rings, gold bracelet, and no doubt gold condoms, personally engraved with the title “MC Ricky D” on it so the ladies wouldn’t forget where they’d been. The Ruler was such a hit that he was (a) known as “The Ruler” and (b) could wine and dine any girl with style, all the while looking like a gay French pirate. Who else could pull that off? Should Tom Cruise decide to wear a beret, eye patch and adorn himself with gold jewelry, his once devout Scientologists would pull an apostasy and say, “Woo, that’s even too much for us, man; leave you’re membership at the door,” yet Slick Rick made that look cool and acceptable, for him anyway.

The government has been desperately trying to deport Mr. Rick back to England, where he had citizenship before moving to the States. Are the tax dollars of the United States really going to good use when agents are trying to deport a washed up rapper with a pirate patch? Let’s chase domestic terrorists, not Ricky Waters smoking weed from a New York loft. Maybe they just don't want him to make a come back, as so many of us who are stricken with nostalgia would like to see. It might be hard though, as government agents even went after Rick on a cruise ship. Yes, a cruise ship! When he was doing his song “A Children’s Story,” and said, “Hurry up, run!” he wasn’t kidding, as the band probably picked up their gear and tried to keep up. Maybe the only safe place for Rick is in a car, anticipating his fate, but let’s hope it’s not with a bag of angel dust and a revolver. And if you care as I do, I urge you to write your Congressmen and ask them to call off the government dogs that want to bring so much ill-will to Mr. Rick. Leave him be, and let him work on his next album.

In the meantime, “...You got Rick sittin’ right here, waiting for you, my dear. Wonderin’ if you’re eeever, gonna show-you-oh...La la la la.”

Friday, February 6, 2009

NFL Gun Culture

Shane Stay
c 2009

The rise of gun ownership by NFL players is at an all time high, as players are more paranoid than ever from cases of crime against them for there lucrative success. This lucrative success comes with a price: thugs that never possessed the athletic talent make up for their shortcomings with gun savvy plots to steal from famous athletes. The benefits to these thugs come in the form of attaining wealth that would ordinarily take months to acquire from managing pouty street whores, and the ability to boast they “Ganked a famous motherfucker’s shit.” This goes a long way in the world of Thugdome. Take it from Egg Head III, a common street thug with high hopes for himself, “Yeah, if you can punk some local bitch that think he all that for a couple bills that’s one thang, but if you can take the jewelry out the motherfuckin’ house of some bubalicious linebacker motherfucker with some high-end edu-ma-cation from Florida State, then you high rollin’!”

Wanting to be known only as “David,” this NFL linebacker reflects on the state of mind he and fellow players fall into when leaving the stadium. “I could be at a red light and BOW! Some guy’s got a gun pointed at my head! Just like that and I didn’t see it comin’! But that’s where me and my teammates are one up on ‘that guy.’ I mean, just like in football, we’re thinking one step ahead and that kind of situation will be prevented.” He went on to comment, “I mean, Michael Vick has given a lot of gun carrying football players a bad image. I don’t use my gun to kill dogs. No. I train my dogs to kill people with guns. And sure, training a dog to kill is not all peaches and ice cream, but that’s different.”

Players have been overheard discussing plans for getting home.

“When I hit Fourth Street I’m-a do a bootleg around the 7-11 establishment and then swirl around the usually crowded parking lot at the Blockbuster for a weak-side view.”

“Any thugs that might be anticipating this ground movement through the pack of cars will hesitate when viewing our sweep around maneuver.”


“Right. At which point I will lateral a visual to David, by means of eye contact and a head thrust, to give the okay to pursue Main Avenue, on route to the club.”

At this point in the dialogue a counselor that had been hired by the team for his expertise in sports psychology, with a minor in the study of Chinese paranoia in the 2nd Century BC, spoke up.

"I think you’re tactical movements are quite sound, however it strikes me that you are avoiding the ‘thugs’ on the streets only to encounter an entire hive of them in the very clubs where they spend most of their time. Possibly, you should think about eliminating the club life from your things-to-do list and retire to a private community, invest your energy in the stock market and increase the value of your earnings. And may I add, this ‘private community’ probably should not be Miami, which ranks among the top three cities for crime in the United States annually, in all categories ranging from petty theft, armed assault, high gang activity, drug contraband to rape and murder.”

“You do realize we ain’t even safe in our own private community neighborhoods, be it Miami or the far distant confines of Miami Beach, possibly even Biscayne Bay.”

“Yes I do and I would not ordinarily recommend this but may I suggest you barricade your home with sand bags, mount submachine guns at every available window and riddle your front lawn with landmines.”

Though the psychologist spoke with evident merit the players felt he was not based in reality as they fastened their bulletproof vests, cocked their guns and mounted into their black, window tinted Hummers, adorned with five TVs, hydraulics and gold plated hub caps. He was later fired.

Reporters flocked around the players as they approached their vehicles. “We’re just normal people. We never asked for all this attention,” said a player as the side door to his Hummer was opened and inside were four members of his crew mixing a new song on the mixer board in the sound system installed next to the Jacuzzi, which one can walk past to enter the Hookah Lounge, adorned with scantily dressed Caribbean women fresh off the lot of a music video. “We’re average people, just like the ordinary guy at work, wearing a hard hat, except our hard hat is a helmet and the salary of our lowest paid player is higher than the Gross Domestic Product of Ghana, East Timor, Suriname or any number of Third World countries.”

The high sense of paranoia felt by players is only compounded when marijuana is added to the picture – and if NFL players are known for anything less than hard hits or lavish lifestyles it would be for hitting the shit out of some reefer – at which point, red lights, gas stations and grocery stores are viewed as war zones. Jittery eyed cornerbacks scan over their landscape as a squirrel might from the inside of a hollow tree after a storm resides.

No place is without the element of danger as one player recalls standing in line at a Kroger grocery store when his gun inexplicably went off and shot his own foot. “I was just standin’ there with a case of Red Bull in one hand and a bottle of E & J Brandy in the other until BAM! Off went my gun into my own foot! I was like ‘Oh damn, I done shot my footsy!’ At which point my inside linebacker assumed it was an attack on our lives. He immediately pulled out his Russian made, handheld machine gun and ‘Ga-ga-ga-ga!’ It went off. ‘Nooo!’ I screamed. ‘It’s my foot motherfucker, my foot!’ All his rounds went flyin’! Luckily, no one was hurt but aisle three felt the blunt of his Eastern European hand rage and I’m sure the Campbell soup company will want to be reimbursed.”

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Writers Are Better

Shane Stay
c 2009

Writers are better than musicians because the book lasts longer than the tape, CD or record. I love the fact that Voyager 1 is carrying a gold record. Only an advanced life form can play the information on it. For the tape, CD or record one needs electric sources to play them. Voyager 1 also has the written word, which brings me to my point: the written word lasts ages, dare I say forever.

Back to writers vs. musicians. Beyonce has the image of being better than most every other human and animal on the planet. (Thankfully the recipients of Voyager 1 will not know this.) Do I think it is fair that she’s better than a komodo dragon or rhinoceros? No, but I’m here to say she is not better than writers! No, she is not. We are better and here is why:

In ten thousand years, when our civilization has since disappeared, from one catastrophe or another, future archaeologists, or visitors from another planet, dimension, what have you, will be rummaging through our artifacts and when they come across a Beyonce CD they will know that the CD is of a higher intelligence; the CD itself, not necessarily the information on it, though I’m sure Beyonce is very bright. (I actually like some Beyonce songs and if it seems like I’m picking on her it is only because I can’t go anywhere without hearing her name, combined with that name: Beyonce! It’s fun to say! Especially during intellectual dinner conversation, people will look at you oddly, “Well, according to Beyonce, global warming is not just limited to first world, industrial nations but also contagious to the developing world.”)

These futuristic archaeologists will need electricity and a stereo and an electric outlet to play a CD, all of which is dependent on an electric generator. I’m not convinced reconstructing the Hoover Dam is worth it for a Beyonce CD. Not to mention, man has been around for some one million years and only in our contemporary time have we been able to create self-sustaining electricity. This raises another issue: has electricity only now been used by man? Hmm? Man has been around a long time and if we are led to believe this is true by mainstream thought, then I’m joining a new team. The team of John Anthony West, Erik von Doniken and all the other “quacks” that espouse craziness on Coast to Coast AM. (I do not think they are “quacks” and I’m sure their parents love them.) I however, give credence to the notion that ancient Egyptians, and I mean ancient Egyptians farther back than three thousand BC, were using electricity (to my eyes their hieroglyphs have lamps and electric sockets and electric currents) and this is based off the idea that Egypt is much older than mainstream science is willing to accept. The Sphinx is thought to be older than the 10,000 BC era, based off of water erosion lines on its back and Beyonce thinks she is better than the Sphinx? I think that is pretty arrogant.
You’re probably wondering what the hell my point is? And I’ll be honest with you: I am too.

What I think I was trying to say is that Beyonce thinks she is better than ancient Egypt. That and whether or not man has used electricity in the ancient past is negating the fact that CDs must be played with electricity. Without it you’ve got only a CD in your hand, assuming future archaeologists have hands. Or maybe they have morphed into lizard like hands. Hopefully not dog paws because then the shovel would become superfluous and what kind of archaeological site would it be without the shovel? (Heinrich Schliemann would not want to hear such a thing!) Or, they might have hands as we know them, but they hold everything with tongs. These are just variables we cannot determine at this time, and I do not intend to prove this theorem of determining what futuristic archaeologists will have to hold things with; it does not strike me as auspicious research for a Nobel Prize. And when I wake up every morning I think only one thing: how can I win the Nobel Prize?

What is everlasting is the written word, in a book or chiseled into stone. The latter of which I intend to utilize so that my words will be immortalized in time, with one problem: publishing companies do not like this idea. But I will copy my best writings to stone like the great pyramids, just more proof that Atlantis preceded them; the pyramids that is, not my writing; though I would like to take credit for the existence of Atlantis. I know what you are thinking: why do the pyramids point to the existence of Atlantis? Oh come on man! The pyramids?! We still haven’t figured out how they put them together and they were built at the dawn of human civilization!

Doesn’t this strike you as odd? The dawn of human civilization and there was no preceding civilization to help create such a masterpiece?! Atlantis, or some other lost civilization under a different name, is real! Get used to it!

With that said, where is Beyonce now? That’s what I thought. You are famous honey, but we writers will be better than you any day, now or ten thousand years future.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gambler Fool
Shane Stay
c 2008

When the average gambler goes to a casino it is reasonable to assume they are seasoned in the art of cards or table games. When I go it is fair to say that I look like a blindfolded student learning Japanese trigonometry. I’ve been told the rules of Black Jack plenty of times. Yet, “doubling down” requires the green light from my friend and still there are some times when it is “illegal” to double down and the same friend “doesn’t have time” to explain it as we are three hands down the line and I’m “giving him bad luck.”

I’ve been told that I will kill other players’ hands in Black Jack. They often get very mad at my presence. These are the same “experts” who are “risking it all” on a five dollar table. Yeah, I’m really interfering with their children’s college fund.

I don’t hide my naivety. I am eager to ask questions of the dealers and even take advice from complete strangers sitting next to me. Often they are large, robust black men with multiple gold teeth shining from their mouth and they might say things like, “Yeah, if the dealer’s showin’ a six and you have a fifteen you might not wanna hit.” Through a flurry of many small cards, the first of which being a six, the dealer gets Black Jack. “Well, you usually all-ight with fifteen.”

Each Black Jack table I walk away from I am certain those I’ve left behind are gossiping and giggling at me. They’re echoing such comments I’ve made like, “I didn’t know the dealer has to stop their hand after seventeen.”

I understand that the roulette table gives me the simple option of two colors: red and black. This makes me happy. What makes me unhappy are the many numbers, the double zeros, people putting their chips on two spaces at once, the green spaces – what in the world are those for?! (I haven’t yet been risky enough to find out. That would mean sacrificing a dollar.)

The dealer looks at me crazy when I put a single one dollar chip on red and a single one dollar chip on black. What they don’t know is that I haven’t mathematically prepared ahead of time – as many scour over how-to gambling manuals – and I am experimenting with the structured, tactical strategy of trial and error on the move, so to speak. Choosing red or black I sometimes win and for some reason the dealer always has to hastily remind me to leave my chips on the table until the glass weight thing – which is a tool used by the dealer to control his or her little universe – is lifted up and off the table.

The professional, savvy gambler loathes my presence in his arena of dreams. To him, I’m as annoying or amusing as a dishwasher giving stock option advice to a CEO. They glare at me with disdain and pity. These are the type of guys who have been taught that speaking little gets you farther in life. They seem puzzled by my presence.

Some things I’ll be overheard saying are:
“When do I give you my money, to start playing with chips?
I have a hundred dollar bill – can I get one dollar chips for that?
What in the world is three card poker and why are you sitting here all by yourself?
I think I’m going to put my dollar chip on black.
What’s the three for on that chip – are there three dollar chips?!
Are all you waitresses Double D’s?
I’ve proudly lost seven hundred dollars in twenty minutes at this table!
How many times can I double down?
Can I triple or quadruple down?
If I show a Black Jack can I double, triple or quadruple down at that point? Why not?
Sodas are free, right?
What would Descartes do with this hand?
Hey, I just found out there are three dollar chips!”

If you see me at a casino please don’t pity me. Rather, I encourage you to envy me. It is I who has put aside the robust macho façade that most male gamblers carry cumbersomely on their shoulders as they sit at a table dictating the result they are sure they can control with others like them at the table.

Envy me because I embrace a more feminine attitude towards gambling. I’m there to have fun. I’d like to make some money. When I win I’ll screech in delight and clap my hands in front of my chest. When I lose I’ll ask superfluous questions about what I did wrong and what I could have done better. If there’s a friend with me I consult their advice before every move with a neurotic whisper.

If I’m alone I might try the same thing with the dealer, or I’ll look my best to appear as though I’ve done this before. Choosing the latter concerns me, because I look all the same as the stoic male “experts” with the macho façade that I notice to be so different from me in the first place. In this character I’ll squint my eyes, push my lower lip up and say, “Hey, what the fuck. You win some, you lose some.” When I get up from the table to try my luck elsewhere I assume a more bowl-legged strut, keeping my back firm and straight, and my gaze straight ahead. My pace is stiff and robotic, letting everyone know I’m no one to befool. All the gamblers and dealers pass by my peripheral. I pay them no mind. I am destined on greatness with a calm coolness in my brow that only Steve McQueen can exude. Then one of the dealers spots me and whispers to their manager, “Psgh, isn’t that the clueless idiot that tried to bet his socks and underwear last week?”

The manager acknowledges that to be correct as I stub the toe of my new tennis shoe into the freshly vacuumed, Velcro-like carpet and stumble into the large fifty-year-old woman in front of me, bracing my fall with her long, experienced, cushiony breasts. She lets out a screech. I let out a screech. My hands are still attached to her heaving breasts as though I were rock climbing for the first time. We make awkward eye contact. I release my hands. I silently offer her a one dollar chip. She declines. I shrug. She shrugs. I nod my way out of her site and walk away, but not before I fastidiously scan the room over with my nervous, jittery eyes, certain that someone witnessed my folly. It appears clear, so I think. Fastening my shoulders into position, as though I’d fallen off a horse, I attempt to regain the stiff, robotic stride of manliness that I hitherto mustered into fruition. Now I’m walking back the same direction I had come from, trying to get my bearings and hoping to look as though I know what I’m doing.