I always try to give props to my current city, The City of Angels.And I’ll always give props to my hometown…(sound the trumpets)…Brooklyn, NY. Not sure if you know this but we go hard.
Anyhoo, my current city has a gaping flaw that somehow is allowed to exist.Hopefully this blog will be the beginning of the patching up process.My complaint is not about flaky people or smog or traffic, although the traffic is soul sucking.
QSN:Being in LA traffic is like being attacked by Dementors.If you’re not careful, you’ll lose the will to live. You have to pop some chocolate and think happy thoughts. And in my case, curse yourself for driving a stick shift.
3rd paragraph and my complaint is still in the bag. Okay fine, I’ll go in.Many bars in this God forsaken city don’t have Ginger Ale on tap. Strike one for not carrying my favorite effervescent drink; strike two and three for mixing Coke and Sprite and calling it Ginger Ale.Let me give my New York readers a few seconds to catch their breath. Yes, you heard me correctly (that’s if you’re hearing my voice while you read.Otherwise you read correctly
The fakakta bars in Los Angeles mix Coke and Sprite and call it Ginger Ale.It’s called “Ginger Ale” not “Ginger Colored Ale.” People order Ginger ale for its taste and medicinal qualities. These qualities are derived directly from the GINGER. If it was just a color issue you could just drop a few drops of food coloring into club soda. “This Ginger Ale sure is bland.But clearly it’s Ginger Ale because it’s an Amber color…” I don’t drink so if I’m in a bar the only thing I have to look forward to is the game Funky Monkey and a refreshing glass of Ginger Ale.
It’s also hard to find Ginger Ale in convenience stores in Los Angeles.And don’t even get me started on how hard it is to get duck sauce at a Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles.And please, to my Asian readers, don’t tell me duck sauce doesn’t exist and is just a concoction made for the American palette….So?They placate us with it in New York and all along the eastern seaboard.Why not hook a brother up here in Los Angeles?
I recently went to a friend’s house that had a pretty snazzy security system. If the front door was opened a voice would say “The Front Door.” If the patio was door was opened the voice would say “Patio Door.” I’m not sure I would want this system. It gives you just enough information to scare the be-jesus out of you. Okay it’s 3 am you’re in bed and your front door opens. Now what? If you’re anything like me you’re now ½ awake and in a state of paralysis. You’re somewhat awake, scared out of your skull and yet you can’t move a finger. In your head you’re bringing a wave of fury but in reality you’re hyperventilating on your back.
I would rather the system tell me more information about my intruder. “Front door, skinny druggie…grab a golf club.”…”Back door, neighborhood punks…grab a bat and call their moms”…”3 Ex-cons, lock your bedroom door and pray.”
Or maybe the voice should be a message to the would-be robber. “AK-47 locked and loaded.”…”Pit Bull coming to nosh in T minus 5 seconds”…”This house will self-destruct in T minus 30 seconds, giving the pit bull 25 seconds to lock on your neck before you are blown to shreds…”
Of course, I’m not sure I need such a system in my one bedroom apartment. For my purposes a string of rattling cans would work better. It would startle the robber and maybe startle me past my sleep paralysis.* If the robber trips on the cans, that would be a plus.
So my trusty ’08 Saturn Ion was parked and minding its own business on a quite street in Mar Vista, CA when some one decided to tag its windshield with permanent marker.Who does that?I wish I caught the person in the act. Not only to stop them but to seriously ask why.No other car on the block was tagged…some kind of car initiation?Is this the car version of my car being “jumped” in? Although I suppose that act would be way more severe than graffiti writing.
The real comedy is that it happened 4 days ago and I’m still driving around with this guy’s tag on my car.It’s like my car has been turned into a subway train, pretty good for a tagger who lives in a place without a viable subway system. He’s getting play all over Los Angeles and Orange counties.Maybe that’s how he decided.Maybe he checked my odometer and said “This fool be driving!”Or maybe he checked then rubbed his chin like a villain dreaming of world domination…”They’ll know my tag all over the world…or at least everywhere this Saturn goes in the next week….I’ll live forever!…ha ha ha ha”
I’ve been meaning to see if I can get it off but life is what happens while you’re planning a graffiti removal.If I knew I was going to be a mobile ad campaign I would have signed up for something cheesy that pays like a “Watch Monk” Banner or maybe an ad for a Thai/Swedish message parlor.
And what if I can’t get it off?Then this random tagger and I will be linked for the next few years.I’ll show up to premieres with graffiti on my car and paparazzi will think I’m starting a new trend of taking economical cars and turning them into mobile hip-hop galleries. Or maybe they’ll think I’m starting a trend of driving myself to premieres in my “before money” car.
Much like the looks of guys, I can’t judge if a tag is good or bad.You be the judge.
I’ve purposely let some of the dust settle before addressing Michael Jackson’s passing.Well, the initial dust at least.Combine someone at the pinnacle of talent with someone also at the pinnacle of work ethic and you get Michael Jackson.I could watch rewind and watch one Michael Jackson spin over and over.As I’m sure he did that very move over and over until it was a spectacle unto itself.Most famous entertainers know they are lucky to have their fame and fortune.The best rapper knows there are at least a handful of rappers who, if given the right opportunity could take his spot.The same is true for writers, comedians, singers, athletes.But Michael Jackson has no peer.Being great and at the same time non-derivative and completely original is an amazing feat that can not be overstated. You can argue that Michael Jackson stood on the shoulders of Elvis, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, James Brown, Jackie Wilson.These men were all great in their own right.But Michael Jackson ascended to heights never before seen.It was Michael’s gift that made all his odd fashion and style appeal to us not the other way around.Michael Jackson’s kind of appeal that spans race, culture and age takes more than marketing and hype.It takes magic.It takes an ability to be so pure with your art that you touch people, captivate them and keep them entranced.
It goes beyond music, beyond dancing.MJ’s brand of greatness inspired hope. Just knowing that that kind of greatness existed in the world made people happy.Of course everything comes at a price.And to be that great for that long from such a young age definitely takes a toll.Huge notoriety is usually accompanied with equal depths of loneliness. Imagine having not one person who can truly empathize with you.Imagine being too famous to walk the street…in any country…even the non-industrialized ones.Imagine having scores of people alter their face to look like you.Imagine those same people altering their face again…to look like you.
Imagine even your funeral is a sellout and tickets go for thousands of dollars.You don’t have to be behind bars to be a prisoner.
As for his legacy, I’m not sure it’s for me or anyone else to say but the fact that there is even such a great debate speaks to his enormous impact. I can’t begin to psychoanalyze someone I never met but I will say I’ve known people who’ve let something silly as winning a comedy contest go to their head.A comic can go from saying hi to not saying hi overnight.Or how about the person who loses weight and is all of a sudden cocky and aloof.We suffer these people because we know the human condition can be kooky.Now imagine being the most famous entertainer on the planet and one of the richest.You don’t think you would do some things that might seem odd to the broke masses. We’re talking about a guy who from age 10 would have his clothes ripped off by people he never met if he walked alone in public.
We forgot that he was a person.Maybe he forgot too.He belonged to the public.He was ours to emulate, spy on, question, make fun off. I’m not saying he should be absolved of wrong doing.I’m saying you can’t fully judge a man until you moonwalk a mile in his penny loafers.I don’t have a comment on the child thing except to ask, who are the parents who would let their children spend a minute with an accused molester?Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and maybe I’m using my kid as bait.
Also lost in the discussion is the fact that he was a great singer, especially as a child.Don’t let the glove fool you.His singing voice and vocal arrangements were as captivating as his dance moves.You ever wonder how Michael Jackson came up with “cha-mon?” Even something as simple as saying “cha-mon” instead of “come on” is brilliant.
QSN:Even before Michael’s passing I had decided to start saying “Cha-Mon” instead of “Come-on.” Now that MJ is no longer with us I think it’s even more apropos.“50 dollars for this chair?! Cha-mon! You gotta be kidding me.
I think the real debate should be what decade of his work is the best.Most would say the 80’s.I say go Youtube Mike in the 70’s with his brothers as a child and a young adult.It’s mind bending. The 90’s gave us Heal the World, You are Not Alone. Remember the Time, the Free Willy Song. He even “Rocked My World” in this decade.
His legacy?Well…Name one other person who can encourage a whole Filipino prison population to do a choreographed group dance to his music*.We’re talking prison where even the slightest sign of weakness will be exploited within an inch of death. And scores of grown bad asses can lift the tough guy code for a few minutes to join in on a Michael Jackson video reenactment.I’m going to stab you with a makeshift knife I made out of cardboard…right after our Thriller rehearsal.
Just think, Bad, Dangerous, History I & II all came after Thriller.So after he made the most listened to album ever he followed it up with another 3 classics!It’s sad to see a true icon and public servant go but luckily for us he left us with such an expansive catalogue of music, and videos that even generations to come will know his greatness and flip out over his work.
*The famous Filipino inmates have now done other songs and artists. But like always, the other dances can’t come close to the Michael Jackson one.