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Monthly Archives: July 2007


Like plenty of people, today I’m mourning a passing. The n-word is dead, as per NAACP mandate. Nigger is now officially out of the lexicon. Whoops. Forget I said that. I shouldn’t, because since I’m not a minority, I’m not allowed to be racist (only minorities can be racist…..thanks Carlos Mencia). But is the n-word dead?

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N-word, you’ve gotta be crazy! Like a lot of guys, I enjoy watching Sportscenter, on ESPN. As some may have noticed, they’ve employed the talents of T.I. for their ‘Who’s Next’ promotion. T.I. wrote a Sportscenter version of ‘Big Shit Poppin,’ especially for mass consumption. But let’s see how the song really goes. Here’s the opening verse.

<< Do it (3x) what u waiting for
Do it (3x) what u waiting for
Do it (3x) what u waiting for
Now Lemme hear you say
Big shit poppin, and lil shit stoppin (3x)
Ball on these niggas being broke is not an option>>

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Apparently T.I. didn’t get an invitation to the funeral. Still, it illuminates that the n-word is alive and kicking.

Personally, I think the whole idea is ridiculous. Next thing you know, people won’t even be allowed to say n-word to describe the n-word. N-word, are you kidding me? Is there a point when things have veered away from sanity and reality, and into the realm of sketch comedy? This latest public spectacle is getting eerily close. What’s next? Hispanics will put beaner to rest? But then how will Carlos Mencia feed his family?

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I may be a little jaded and cynical, but I think this sort of pomp and pageantry simply fosters ill will. It’s espeically striking when you consider who uses nigga, nigger and n-word the most: blacks of all stripes. So if ni**er is defunct, let’s see if we can push the envelope. I propose (and have actually been doing it for a while) using the phrase ‘n-word’ rather than nigg**. Why? To see how long until there are calls to ban the n-word……which would lead to the logical progression of morphing ‘n-word’ into n. From there the only plan of action would be to ban the letter N.

That’s the day I can’t wait for: when the NAACP is holding a funeral for The Letter N. The problem is that the n-word isn’t dead. Do you think Russell Simmons, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre and every other hip hop icon of the last quarter century is going to go back and dub ‘n-word’ in every time ‘nigger’ is said? And do you think rappers will stop? N-word please!


I spent Independence Day last week up in my old stomping grounds, Boston.  I went up with a friend from college to visit some other friends from Boston University.  Nothing major planned, just some good times with good friends.  It was a good time, although the fireworks on the 4th were dampened by rain.  But all in all, the trip has gotten me thinking about things.

For one, I don’t do hard drugs.  It’s a decision I made when I was young, only a 6th grader.  My parents had been divorced for a few years, and I was spending the day with my father in the city.  He took me over to his friend Bruce’s apartment, near the East River.  Well, you can tell Bruce never had children, because when pops and I went up to his apartment, he pulled out a vial of cocaine.  In front of me.  Smooth Bruce, smooth.  I can remember my father turning to him and saying, “Not in front of the boy.”  So my ever responsible father gave me a wrist rocket, to go play with up on the roof of Bruce’s apartment.  Smart guy.

Well, it was from there on out that I decided not to do stuff like that.  These were two regular buffoons, and I could already see that at the age of 12.  And to this day, I’ve never gotten into any hard drugs, which is exactly what made this past trip up to Beantown so odd.  All my friends up there were blowing coke.  That I don’t mind.  I’ve got plenty of friends whose substance of choice happens to be alcohol back in New York, so it’s just another fix to me.  That’s what got me thinking, tho.  The underlying thread between both my friends in Boston and New York was they appeared happiest getting wasted.

Now I’m far from an angel.  Although I probably shouldn’ broadcast this on the internet, I smoke pot.  Too much, some would say, although that’s a subjective statement.  I also come from two alcoholic parents, and have a knack for blacking out.  So I tend to stay away from the booze, lest we have a repeat of this scene.

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The New York Mets have an International Week, where they celebrate different ethnicities at games during the week.  They used to have Irish Night, with a 7 p.m. game.  The year after this gem was taken, it was changed to Irish Day, with a day game.  It’s tougher to get blind drunk before noon.  Irregardless of the semantics of it, I know that liquor and I, while chummy, bring out the worst in each other.  Yet as I reflect on how people live their lives, alcohol and drugs are their path.

For many, life is a marathon.  For some of those marathoners, it’s a drinking binge, an endurance test to see how long you can stay standing, drink in hand.  This endurance test I’m losing, not that it’s the end of the world.  Yet to a certain point, it’s turning my back.  At this juncture of my life, there are two tracks: the responsible adult track, and the sophomoric adolescent track.  As people couple off, get married and have children, they begin the long, dull walk down the responsible adult track.  Then there’s the adolescent track.  While I’m not on the adult track, being single and childless, I’m struggling on the adolescent track.

While I clearly realize that I’m fighting a losing fight, life isn’t about getting blind drunk.  Nor is it about taking key hits in the bathroom stall of a bar.  Nor is it about ripping bonghits until your brain’s fried.  Yet when you look around, it appears people are racing towards blackout, towards oblivion.  Is that all there is?  If you’re not shacking up and having kids, are you resigned to spending your time getting wasted?  Perhaps I’m a fatalist, but that looks to be the prevailing trend.

So Boston was fun.  But it also showed me how cold and lonely the path can be.  Sadly, these days respect is earned not on thoughts and insight, but on how many shots you can down.   Maybe in other places, different things carry more worth and value, but not here in America.  It’s an alcohol and drug fueled funny car down a long highway.


It’s not often that I get to quote My Girl, Whitney Houston, but today I’m blessed.

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I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.

Never before have so truer word been spoken, especially today. But you know what? Where it’s important, we’re not leading the way. Stem cell research, which should be the most heavily invested R & D department of every medical, pharmaceutical, health care and biotech in America. Unfortunately, we’ve got a flock of shegulls on Capitol Hill that are mollifying less than a third of the polling public. This poll data has quite a few polls over the past few years on stem cell opinions (just scroll down about a third of the way).

I wish that were all. Not only do a solid majority of Americans support ALL types of stem cell research, including embryonic stem cell research. Embryonic stem cells givedoctors the potential to create the highest quality pluripotent cells. For those that don’t know too much about the stem cell debate, think of pluripotent cells as bags of fresh cement to a contractor….they can be turned into anything! With the current federal ban on stem cells line besides the 64 that were in circulation we’re left in quite a predicament. Just like any other organic material, even stem cells degrade over time, hence why we need new lines of stem cells.

The real tragedy here is all the potential going to waste. Yes, I used the word tragedy. Say a couple goes in to a gynecologist to have some eggs frozen, in case anything happens in the future. Unless they live in a state with a permissive policy towards stem cell research (basically, California, Wisconsin and New Jersey), those extra eggs are merely medical waste. Not to sound coarse, but those eggs could be placentalicious gold mines of medical research. In America, in 2007? Not a chance. Medical waste.

When you take a step back, tho, it gets worse. Considering Israeli authors wrote almost three times as many articles per capita than American authors from 2000-04, we’re not doing nearly enough on the research end. Hell, if we picked up our articles per million citizens to Swiss levels, that would be a 62% increase in articles published. More information and knowledge is never a bad thing. That is, unless you’re living in 21st century America. Sad that things have come to this, where all people can do about the most important technological breakthrough since gunpowder was fashioned into bullets, is complain about how individual states need to pick up the research burden themselves.

That the federal government is doing nothing to combat the strident beliefs of the hard right is nearly scandalous. Too bad real scandal these days is Lindsay Lohan flashing beaver.  Part of me hopes people will actually start talking about this, hopefully getting their states to pick up the slack where the feds are, quite frankly, shitting the bed.  But deep down, I know people don’t care enough to pick up the debate.  My god, I could ask 5 of my friends who Mitt Romney is, and 4 wouldn’t know.  21st century America, what a place.