The EsoTERRYc Chronicles (Cont.)

Poetry. Stories. Plays for the Screen and Stage. Sports and Social CommenTERRY. Blogging and Mind-Jogging Jargon. Novel Concepts. Non Stop, Punk as fuck Hip Hop. Wordplay. All Day.
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We need a changing of the guard. I can bring it about, given the opportunity. For real though. #anarchy #attentionrappers #achtungbaby #ghostwriter #forhire #alien #alternative #coolerthanapolarbearstoenail #toomanyrappersnotenoughpoets #toomanymcsnotenoughmics #whothefuckpassedyouthemic?!? #whowillsaveyoursoul #areyougonnagomyway #inquirewithin

There’s Something About Larry

Doug McDermott could be the next Larry Bird. He could be the next Adam Morrison. Going out on a limb, I’m surprising myself by jumping on the bandwagon of the former.

Our current scope of the NBA requires us, no, forces us to compare among generations of players. Everyone is the next so and so. Players who will never have the chance to compete against each other are going one on one in our opinionated imaginations. Phil Jackson is the greatest coach of all-time, not Red Aeurbach. Russell is better than Wilt. And as hard as Kobe and LeBron may try, no one will ever be as good as Mike. The comparisons and predictions are inevitable right, so what’s one more?

There’s no way in holy hell that Dougie McBuckets will have the immediate impact that Larry Legend had. No way, no how. He can’t possibly average double-digit rebounds the way Bird did, what with Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol (and Taj Gibson) pulling down the bulk of the boards for the foreseeable future. He won’t even sniff double-digit minutes with Thibs, let alone double-digit points the way Legend did from the jump, especially if Derrick Rose comes back as Derrick Rose.

He will do those things over time though. Bulls fans have probably not convinced themselves of this the way I have, but they’re certainly seeing McDermott as a legitimate scoring option fresh out of Creighton. I’m taking it to Bird status not because it’s probable but because it’s possible.

There’s just something about McDermott’s game that’s got me predicting (and salivating at) big things. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s that smooth, lethal three-point shot. Maybe it’s his ability to create his own offense. Maybe it’s his acumen on the other side of the ball, his approach to the whole game. Maybe it’s that coach’s-son-been-around-the-game-his-whole-life mentality. Maybe I’m just on the same page as Bulls brass who traded up in this summer’s draft to ensure their acquisition of this potentially once in a generation player. Time will tell, but I’ve got a feeling. And when I’ve got a feeling, there’s only one prescription and that’s more cowbell. And more Bulls championships.

Now, is it October 29th yet? Bring on Melo and that joke of a team they call the Knicks…

America’s Suicidal Tendencies (The Life and Times and Death of Brian Luczak) or You Have Everything To Live For

America is letting itself die.

Robin Williams’ recent suicide and the subsequent conversations about drugs and alcohol certainly bring up some personal memories of and opinions on all of the above. That dude pictured above (the one that be steady vampin’ on my neck) is Brian, who was one of the coolest people I have ever had the privilege of calling a friend. He killed himself 10 years ago. (Holy shit, it’s been 10 years) My life has been different ever since. My views on mental health and illness, personal wellness, our shot-clocked time here on earth, all have been influenced by the life and times and death of Brian Luczak.

And then there’s my dad, who didn’t kill himself in the “traditional” sense of the term, but he certainly let himself die over the course of time. My relationship(s) with my family has never been the same since. And it’ll be 16 years this winter since he officially gave up the ghost.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. The song remains the same. Nothing is permanent. The only thing that stays the same is change. And so the story goes…

I’ve had acquaintances and former friends kill themselves. I’ve had close friends’ parents kill themselves. Depression is all around, and few people A) acknowledge it as something that needs attention and B) get proper help for those who need it and then of course C) challenge their government to provide help for those in need before it’s too late and they’ve let their depression spiral out of control, resulting in another life taken too soon.

Anyway, in the weeks and months immediately following Brian’s death, I used to visit the facade of his old apartment on Chicago’s Gold Coast to drink coffee and smoke cigarettes and analyze the shit out of everything as I’ve become known to do. I would drive or ride my bike to his gravesite at Resurrection Cemetary to hangout, smoke some weed, write, listen to music, and ponder the time we had together. It’s weird how people come and then they go. And we’re just left to figure it out until we ourselves step into the light.

And what is there to figure out anyway? Death is part of life. We’re all going to die. The sooner we acknowledge that very inevitability, the sooner we have the ability to bring about the necessary change to enjoy a decent living. And the sooner we acknowledge the deep rooted, psychological tendencies that make up our population’s psyche, the sooner we’ll enjoy actual progress.

I’m just trying to wrap my head around the daunting task of getting everyone to not want to die. Robin Williams, my friends and family, Walt Whitman, Kurt Cobain, America, whoever…

Connecting Imaginary Dots

Amidst all the nonsense happening around our melting pot of a country, Kendrick Lamar’s ‘good kid m.A.A.D. city’ will forever encapsulate the 21st century young black experience while expressing a cautionary tale to past and future generations of Americans in a country that is suffering from an identity crisis, a midlife crisis, and amnesia all at the same time.

You can’t fight against the machine. You can get active, and you can fight the power all you want, but your rage will fall on deaf ears until we reach a tipping and breaking and boiling point together. You will find yourself preaching to a choir of tiresome cliches that are as old as time. The system has been reinforced and tested and challenged, and with each obstacle overcome, it has gotten stronger and more careless and in many instances more aggressive. Optimism is dying and being replaced with oppression. Pressure-filled situations have subdued any thoughts of a revolution inside the American mindstate. And idealism has been institutionalized under the guise of insanity. Go figure. I’m just trying to listen to records, because I dig music. I am a golden god. And believe it or not, so are you. Fuck what you heard.

Which brings us to the idea elaborated on and presented by Kendrick Lamar throughout ‘good kid m.A.A.d city’: this country is as hypocritical as it is challenging, as opportunistic as it is science-fiction futuristic. One challenge presents itself in the form of finding ways to stand up for what you believe to be right in order to form a utopian society, even though that stance will most definitely be met with hostility and prejudice. Kendrick’s words are bigger than the industry he dominates. They are bigger than the beats they accompany. I’ve been listening to rap and hip hop for a long time. Many records have encompassed the same themes, but K. Dot’s masterpiece catapults them to the next level.

Opening with erroneous religious syntax and tales of teenage lust, followed by a demand to not be a buzzkill, and on and on, the record is one of vast and obvious substance. If you’re oblivious to the content though, the time has come to look beyond any preconceived notions of what hip hop is and realize the importance of the words being spoken. Realize the message.

The climax of the timeless record comes at about the 5:00 mark of track 8, the half-title track if you will, where Kendrick sets forth on delivering a manifesto in many ways on what his makeup has done for his life as a rapper, an artist, an influence, and then an angel (on angeldust, no less).

Anonymous erased the anonymity of the cop who shot and killed Mike Brown. It is up to us as Americans to put the pieces together and absolve the anomaly.

How long will we allow history to repeat itself? How many more good kids have to get wasted before we stand up and allow positive change to permeate permanently through our American fabric…

Being a writer grants you access to certain privileges the rest of the commonfolk can’t quite make themselves privy to. It allows you to follow multiple passions and write about them as a presumed expert on the subject. It allows you to passionately care about philosophy or science or literature and write about subjects for others to become passionate and/or aware of. Your daily subject of choice can range across the board, for the pen will always be mightier than the sword, and you can take that to the bank, put it in your pipe and smoke it, et al. The written word allows you to express opinions on what you care about while unapologetically announcing to the world your views and opinions in an intellectually stimulating way.

The written word allows you to care about world religion or Teddy Roosevelt and The Rough Riders or Jay-Z and Beyoncé or Orange is the New Black or the faulty American political infrastructure or Albert Pujols and Yasiel Puig. The written word allows you to shed whatever light you’d like on the Yasiel Bey/Mos Def/Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam situation(s). It allows you to (not) care about a college education while still accentuating your inner intellectual. It allows you to meander through the marriage (in)equalities that separate us even in the most uniting of experiences. It allows us to write about linguistic phenomena, such as the slash’s comeback into the art of conversation.

Hell, if you’re so inclined you can even write about those two white folks who created the app to help other white people steer clear of “sketchy” neighborhoods. I’m sure my good people have a thing or two to say about that, no?

And I’m just tryin’ to put it on ya,
Because I love you like Garfield does lasagna…

I told y’all that if I ever took my talents to the sound waves that I would go HAM, so basically…BAM!

You better start taking chances before they’re all gone.
Me, 2014

Focusing some energy on my lifelong love of music with my Stretch: The Truth alias. Blending hip hop, spoken word, and maybe some stand-up comedy, this fusion project inspires a little creative thinking and progressive action. I’d like to incorporate a marching band somehow, as well…

While I waited briefly for my espresso at the local California coffee shop (spoiler: it’s a Starbucks), I took inventory of the customer base, my current company: a U.S. Naval officer who I’m too intimidated by to buy coffee and breakfast for (an admirable Admiral, if you will), a mom with her baby who I’m tempted to pay it forward to by prepaying for her order, an Oxnard police officer who I wouldn’t mind befriending, a twenty-something with an American flag hat who just appreciatively received a free drink, a sixty-something Riverpark developer in a nice little tucked in polo, a few businessmen and women running late for their 9am shift, a Whole Foods Market team member who works across the street, a good mix of classes, races, and faces. A good mix of “normalcy.”

I started the car and inserted Jack White’s album ‘Blunderbuss,’ whose timing perfectly lasted the duration of my new trip to work. Oh wait. Backtrack. I didn’t mention that the new route replaces Chicago’s crappy Eisenhower Expy from Austin Blvd. to Canal Street with LA’s 101 from Oxnard to Santa Barbara along the Pacific Ocean. Upgrade. Not too shabby. “Upgrade your brain matter, for one day it may matter.”

Revelations and epiphanies aside, the drive along the coast of America’s western world is something not to be taken lightly or for granted when soaking up the sun, a la songstress Sheryl Crow. Sacrifices come along with such change though, something they may or may not tell you when you’re preparing for a life change such as a move across the country. Ultimately, change is good. We are meant to explore the world we’ve been given with open minds, eyes, and arms while appreciating the vast universe in which we live. “Tell you one lesson I’ve learned: if you wanna reach something in life, you ain’t gonna get it unless you give a little bit of sacrifice.” What are YOU doing for YOURself? It was a good first day at a new gig. It’s been a good start at a new life. The people here are happy to be alive. I need that. Adjustments. I throw Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Good Kid M.A.A.D. City’ and Arcade Fire’s ‘The Suburbs’ into the CD player and hope for more perfect timing…