Monday, January 31, 2005

Quote of the Day..

The Pistons are planning on going to the White House, something that championship teams usually do, meet the President. When asked what he would say to Bush, Rasheed Wallace said: "I don't have shit to say to him. I didn't vote for him. It's just something we have to do." Priceless.

Do you think I can get away with Murder? Tribute to my Republican Friend.

If anyone has read this site for more than 5 minutes certain things become clear. 1) That I love Hip Hop 2)That I love women 3)I probably drink too much 4)Did I mention that I love women? and 5)I have a certain distaste for republicans(especially of the African American persuasion) All that being said, one of my best friends in the world is a republican who couldn't name a Hip Hop artist if you held a gun to his head.

The History of my friendship with Randy

I met Randy when I was 11 years old when my family moved into a new neighborhood. Coming from a racially diverse area to a 99% white area can be a culture shock to many. But I guess I was a pretty open minded kid, because the next thing I know I am friends with Randy and I am performing skateboard tricks off of a skateboard ramp that we had made. When you are kids, the friendship is so pure. No politics, no real issues of race, No Bush, No Kerry, just adolescent mischief. As time passed on you get older and break off into certain groups in Junior High and High School. Friendships tend to fade, we would simply give each other a head nod in the Hallways when we passed each other. After High School, I would see Randy only a couple of times, once when he was in a work release program for a drug conviction, and once in a store buying groceries. Fast Forward to Spring of 2000, at the time I was living with my then girlfriend, looking for new and innovative ways to kill myself because I was so miserable with that relationship. I had heard that Randy was in a punk band, and that he would be performing at a spot that I was familiar with. I arrived there, and after his band performed we caught up on old times and regained our childhood friendship.

Things that have surfaced about Randy

Since that faithful 2000 spring day, I have learned a few disturbing things about Randy. Granted, he is a productive part of society and he is a great father to his son. BUT, what I have come to realize is that Randy is a right-wing republican. Not your run of the mill republican, but a Rush Limbaugh listening, Michael Savage loving, FOX News on a loop watching, George Bush ass kissing, John Kerry hating, conservative propaganda promoting republican. The bright side is that he is misinformed(due to Fox News) and I'm so aggressive with my politics that the issue doesn't come up as much as you would think. The bad thing is that I feel that I have signed a contract with the devil. I mean, I loathe most republicans but since we are good friends with a extensive history, our friendship trumps any political ideology. If it was a "new" friend who turned out to pray at the alter of Limbaugh I could simply say "Fuck off", but its hard to say that when you have known someone for 20 years.

There have been times that I have thought about committing a hate crime on Randy.(OK, not actually "Murder" but two hands clinched tightly around his neck) Here are some examples of times that I considered committing homicide.

*Faux News-We were having a discussion about politics and he said, "John Kerry is a douchebag!". I asked him why he thought that and he said, "because he is." Even though such a profound answer should be expected from a Fox News viewer, I still wanted to smack the shit out of him.

*Faux News Part 2- Around election time, Randy said to me "John Kerry is a flip-flopper, he can't win." I asked him, "How is John Kerry a flip flopper??" His brilliant response was, "He just is.." Fox News really educates their viewers don't they? I pointed out to Randy that George W. Bush has contradicted himself concerning Winning The War On Terror, Timelines For Dictators, 527s, Campaign Finance, Involvement in the Palestinian Conflict, Saddam/al Qaeda Link, Iraq Funding, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Creation of the 9/11 Commission, Gay Marriage, Nation Building. What was that about "flip-flopping" again?

*Bars-Since 2000 I have been to every shit kicking, heavy medal, country and western, "achey-breaky" heart style bar there is when I go out drinking with Randy. It's OK, as long as there is alcohol there I can blend in with anybody. BUT, whenever I bring him to any spot that has more black folks than white folks he looks uncomfortable. I mean, he looks like he is trying to maintain a smile while getting anally raped. His discomfort makes me want to punch him in the throat.

*Motherfucker, I am not your bodyguard-Randy has gotten into some verbal altercations primarily because he thinks I will have his back. I had to tell him, "Since you started it, if homeboy starts whipping your ass I'm going to let him finish."

*Stop trying to hook me up!- Randy is now married and is trying to live vicariously through me. Last month, without my knowledge, he told a waitress of a pool hall that we go to that I liked her. Apparently, he got her number and handed it to me as we left. I was like, "whats this for?" Then he informed me of what he had done. I was furious, because A) I didn't like that chick. B)Even if I did, would she really want to talk to a guy who didn't have the balls to approach her himself? C)Every time I see that chick from now on its going to be awkward, especially if she thought I was going to call her. **Update** We went and played pool the other night and that same waitress was serving us. Randy made a comment about how she should cut her hair, and as a attempt to send me a message without addressing me she said, "Well, my boyfriend would hate that. My boyfriend would kill me".(Stressing the word boyfriend) I giggled, and I should of kept this to myself but I asked, "Did I ever call you?" She said no, then I said, "That means that I wasn't interested, Jackass." Damn, I'm a asshole.

*Welfare- We were at a Rage against the Machine Concert a few years back and somehow he started talking about Welfare as we stood outside so he could smoke. He said, "I realized that I wanted to be a republican when I was struggling financially and I stood in line with a woman that had a shitload of food stamps. She didn't need them, she is taking my hard earned money!!" Like a boxer, who has their opponent on the ropes, positioning themselves for the knockout blow I said.."When in the Fuck did Welfare become a democratic issue? I am pretty sure that there is a shitload of republicans on Welfare. Did you know that Rush Limbaugh once needed public assistance? What do you think about that?? Randy, I find it funny that you are so concerned with that old woman "stealing from you", but what about a white collar criminal that steals millions of dollars. He is sealing from you too, where in the fuck is your outrage over that??!!" He puffed on his cigarette and shook his head. Then I shouted out, "If your name isn't Nostradamus or Ms. Cleo, how in the fuck do you know if that lady needed those food stamps or not!!"

That's just to name a few things. I know that I have spent a considerable time dumping on Randy, but just look at this post as a sort of crime prevention. Now that I have vented some of my frustration about my right-wing friend, there won't be any homicides that I'm involved in. Which is a good thing, because prison doesn't suit me, shit I've seen "Oz"! If it doesn't involve Croutons and Ranch Dressing, I'm not tossing anyone's "salad". I'll prefer getting "shanked" with a sharp object.

But I will thank Randy for a few things.
1)That people with totally different ideologies can have a good friendship.
2)When we were friends during High School, some of the black kids gave me shit and said that I was a sell-out because we were cool. I never wavered, and figuratively spit in the face of my detractors. Through that experience I learned to never turn your back on a friend, and FUCK what people think.
3)I learned to never eat any meat that you cook. That burger that you tried to serve me at your cookout was still Moo-ing!!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

My Crew Rolls Deep!!! The Greatest Hip Hop Groups of All Time..

The following Hip Hop groups are ones that I consider to be the Greatest of all time. If you agree or disagree definitely chime in and let your feelings known. The criteria of "group" would be any musical act that had more than one person doing the rhyming. If the standard was a act with simply more than one person then Eric B and Rakim, and Gangstar would be on my list as well. As you see I have a 10a and 10b because I am a cheating bastard. Here we go..

1.Public Enemy-This is my favorite rap group of all time. This is a group who I consider the most important group in Hip Hop History. This summary is going to seem like a love letter to Chuck D, so I'm sorry. I was familiar with P.E when they came out with "Yo Bumrush the Show" but they caught my full attention with "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back". Chuck D formed a crew with DJ Terminator X (born Norman Lee Rogers, August 25, 1966) and Professor Griff (born Richard Griffin) as the choreographer of the group's backup dancers, the Security of the First World, whom performed homages to old Stax and Motown dancers with their martial moves and fake Uzis. He also asked his old friend William Drayton (born March 16, 1959) to join as a fellow rapper. We all know him as Flava Flav. Sonically beautiful beats, and rugged rhyme flow by Chuck D made for some classic Hip Hop material. Chuck made his black listeners proud to be black and taught you lessons that you wouldn't get in your local High School. He taught his non black listeners about the black community and black history. Chuck knew that schools were just teaching us about Martin Luther King and George Washington Carver, both great men, but there is more to black history than that! Chuck sparked a interest in social issues and the plight of black folks that has stayed with me until today. The reason I love this group so much is because to have a message in your music is so damn courageous. Courageous because there was a danger that people wouldn't want to be preached to and not buy it. Courageous because some of the things that came out of his mouth.(Elvis ain't shit, Fuck John Wayne, a song about kidnapping the mayor of Arizona because they didn't recognize MLK holiday) In a day where we are bombarded with ignorant horseshit like Lil John, incompetent lyricism from Nelly, and scores of other uninspiring drivel, I long for the Day were a artist puts out something creative and innovative. Long Live P.E

2.Run DMC-The main reason that I still wear Shell Toe Adidas is because of these gentleman. If I didn't love Public Enemy so much they would be Number one. Trend setters that laid the groundwork for Hip Hop's future. All three members of Run-D.M.C. were natives of the middle-class New York borough Hollis, Queens. Run (born Joseph Simmons, November 14, 1964),DMC (born Darryl McDaniels May 31, 1964), and Jam Master Jay (born Jason Mizell January 21, 1965). They broke through the public consciousness with hard core beats over heavy medal riffs, rugged rhyme flows, and a combat outfit consisting of Shell Toe Adidas, Leather jackets, Jeans, and Fedora as head gear. "It's Like That", "Sucker M.C.'s", "Hard Times", "Rock Box", "Beats to the Rhyme", their vast array of hits is basically unmatched by anyone. First artist to go platinum, first rap act to be played on MTV, first rap group to make the cover of Rolling Stone, they definitely paved the way for anyone today that calls themselves a rapper.

3.De la Soul-Debuting in 1989 with the release of "3 Feet High and Rising", they were a group that I loved from the second I heard "Potholes in my lawn." The trio -- Posdnuos (born Kelvin Mercer, August 17, 1969), Trugoy the Dove (born David Jude Jolicoeur, September 21, 1968), and Pasemaster Mase (born Vincent Mason, March 27, 1970) where definitely one of the innovators of alternative Hip Hop. They brought funky samples, abstract rhyme styles, and constant innovation to their music. They are also legendary for other reasons outside of their amazing artistry. De La Soul had sampled the Turtles' "You Showed Me" and layered it with a French lesson on a track on 3 Feet High called "Transmitting Live From Mars," without getting the permission of the '60s pop group. The Turtles won the case, and it drastically changed the way samples were approached by Hip Hop, being that they all had to be legally cleared by the original artist. I will always love these cats, primarily because they were a fresh alternative from the "gangsta Rap" that bombarded Hip Hop in the late 80's-early 90's. They have always stayed true to themselves, letting their audience know that selling out isn't a option. They continue to push the boundaries of creativity and hundreds of years from now when they look back on what Real Hip Hop is, De La Soul will be in the first chapter of their research.

4.A Tribe Called Quest-It was track practice in the spring of 1990, and I asked one of my teammates with a car if he could take me to the record store. He obliged, and what I purchased was A Tribe Called Quests first single "I Left My Wallet In El Segundo". Without question the most intelligent, artistic rap group during the 1990s, A Tribe Called Quest abandoned the macho posturing rap music had been constructed upon, and focused instead on abstract philosophy and message tracks. Sidenote* I hooked up with some beautiful women at Tribe shows. If I ever meet Q-Tip, I have to thank him** A Tribe Called Quest was formed in 1988, though both Q-Tip (b. Jonathan Davis) and Phife (b. Malik Taylor) had grown up together in Queens. Q-Tip met DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad while at high school. "People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm", "The Low End Theory", "Midnight Marauders"(Where Phife totally came into his own) are classic Hip Hop that can't be denied. My favorite tracks are "Award Tour", "Sucka Nigga", "Can I kick it", along with various others that would take too long to name. After "Midnight Marauders" they lost focus, and soon after Q-Tip went solo. Apparently they are back together and plan to release a album sometime soon. Lets just hope that they can recapture the magic they once had.

5.Boogie Down Productions- Coming out of the South Bronx by KRS-One and DJ Scott La Rock, BDP were a major force in the evolution of hip-hop, and one of the first groups to fully embrace social and political commentary in their rhymes. "Criminal Minded" was played so much in my house, I would bet you money that my mother can recite some of those rhymes. Revolutionary, in your face reality, consciousness, and hardcore beats made a perfect recipe for this legendary group. That album detailed depictions of urban struggle -- drugs, violence, promiscuity, hip-hop turf wars -- it was sometimes harsh but also celebratory. After the death of Scot LaRock, KRS One regrouped and recruited his younger brother Kenny Parker, D-Nice, and Ms. Melodie. On By All Means Necessary, Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop, Edutainment, Live Hardcore Worldwide, and Sex and Violence BDP always pushed the envelope of when it came to pure Hip Hop and consciousness.

6.EPMD- This group is near and dear to my heart because I have recollections of late summer 1988. My cousins came down to visit from New York and since my birthday is August 31st they gave me two tapes for my birthday. One was Big Daddy Kane's "Long Live the Kane", and the other was EPMD's "Strickly business." Those two recordings assured that I would be a lifelong MC. EPMD standing for "Erick and Parrish making Dollars" always uses the word Business somewhere in their title, they hit their listeners with hardcore beats and unapologetic rhymes. Even though their subject matter consisted of simply dissing "suck MC's" and their sexual exploits, I couldn't get enough of this duo from Brentwood Long Island. Hip-Hop classics including "It's My Thing," "You Gots to Chill," "Get the Bozack," "Strictly Business," "Rampage", and the Posse cut "Headbanger" will always be major parts of my listening collection. EPMD were also responsible for the careers of K-Solo, Das EFX, and Redman.

7.The Roots- The Roots first entered my life when I was driving with my friend Calvin and Buddy to their College homecoming at St. Augustine in North Carolina. We were freestyling the whole way when Buddy asks from the backseat if I would put a tape in that he suggested. I obliged, and that tape was The Roots single "Distortion of Static" and immediately I was hooked. The Roots, one of the only groups to have live band backing them up, have continued to represent the real Hip Hop from their first release. This isn't a very popular opinion, but I personally think that Malik B(member of the group that left the band) was actually better than Black Thought. I know, Blasphemy!! Black Thought is definitely a underrated MC, continuing to show the masses that he is nice on the mic. Also, in a age where a decent live Hip Hop show is basically extinct, The Roots continue to give their fans a awesome performance each and every time. Thank you Buddy for introducing me to this amazing group.(R.I.P good friend)

8.Outkast- When I first heard OutKast I was actually in Atlanta, probably chasing a piece of out of state ass. I remember thinking that their sound fit the vibe of the A.T.L so well, I was digging them from the first time that I heard it. I would of never thought that they would become the national phenomenon that they are today, but they deserve every accolade that they get. The group, consisting of Andre Benjamin (Dre) and Antwan Patton (Big Boi), wows their listeners with gritty country fried southern soul, fluid raps, and a creativity that is almost unparalleled. They were both dressed in athletic wear early on, but I guess when Erykah got a hold of Dre he changed his style up. "Elevators", "Bombs over Bagdad", "Players Ball", and countless other hits are proof that Outkast is a force to be reckoned with.

9.N.W.A- The first time I heard N.W.A was while I was playing basketball with some neighborhood friends. My boy Kenny walked up with his Walkman and told me to listen to something. As I heard it, it was the most misogynistic, violent, vile shit I have ever heard...and I LOVED IT!! When I got a copy of "Straight Outta Compton", I listened to it in total privacy, and when I wasn't listening to it I was hiding it in discreet places like a husband hides porn from his wife. Even though detractors can dismiss their sound as simply "negative" if you listen closely between the hedonism of criminal life, and the violence that the crew celebrated, there was a social commentary that came out of their music. Ice Cube, Easy E, DJ Yella, Dre. Dre, and MC Ren were unapologetic about who they were and their views on the police. Their song "Fuck tha Police" resulted in the FBI sending a warning letter to Ruthless and its parent company, Priority, suggesting that the group should watch their step. After the departure of Ice Cube in 1990 because of financial disagreements, the group stopped being groundbreaking and began to become caricatures of themselves. N.W.A, like them or not, were influential to "gangsta rap" and scores of groups who thrived to be like them.

10a.Brand Nubian- Brand Nubian formed in 1989 in the New York suburb of New Rochelle. Grand Puba (born Maxwell Dixon) was previously with a group called Masters of Ceremony, and then was joined by Sadat X (born Derek Murphy, originally dubbed Derek X), Lord Jamar (born Lorenzo DeChalus), and DJ Alamo (Murphy's cousin). The group signed with Elektra and released their debut album, All for One, in 1990. I still hear Puba in my head, "I swing a beat and hit a note like my name was David Ruffin/Quick to toast a MC just like a English muffin", classic. With their songs about their faith in Islam, uplifting, and social consciousness were mixed with dope beats and innovative flows. The group took a serious blow when Puba, a band member who did the lion share of the rapping and was their chief producer, left the group in late 1991 to go solo. DJ Alamo left also, electing to work with Puba. Puba dropped a solo album that had mixed reviews, but the remaining members of Brand Nubian released "In God We Trust" in 1993. From that album came the classic "Punks Jump up to Get Beat Down". They have drifted apart, Sadat releasing a solo album, Puba still releasing material, Lord Jamar venturing into acting(HBO's "Oz"), them coming back together..To me, they are definitely on of my favorites.

10b.Ultramagnetic- I used to date this really freaky girl named Carla. Ok, how do I put this??..she was sexually inventive. Some of the shit she wanted to do would make me blush, and I am a certified heathen. For some reason, she put on a Ultramagnetic tape while were in a compromising position. The sounds that I heard, Kool Keith, Ced Gee, and DJ Moe Love made me totally forget what i was doing and who I was with. Jeep heavy beats, funky-heavy tracks and obscure lyrical references is all you need to know about this amazing group. They are one of the first groups to use the sampler as a instrument, one of the first to use live instrumentation, and the first to feature a former psychiatric patient(Kool Keith) on the microphone. "Something Else" and "Space Groove" are a couple of my personal favorite and are suggesting listening material.

*Honorable Mention*

Beatnuts- Not the most lyrical guys to ever live, but their fantastic beats and love for Hip Hop make them one of my favorites.

Blackstar- Might Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Awesome one two punch, and their work is amazing and innovative. The only reason they aren't on the list is lack of material.

Eric b and Rakim- Again, not on the list because the "more than one guy rapping" thing, but they are awesome. Rakim is one of my favorite rappers of all time so it was hard to keep them off.

Leaders of the New School- Another great group of their time. Milo, Dinco D, Charlie Brown, and Busta. They only had one good album.

Black Moon-A group who I was very fond of when they came out, but as the years have passed they have become less and less effective. But I will bump "Who Got The Props" now and then.

Salt & Pepper-They paved the way for many females after them, but they aren't on the list because most of their early material they didn't write.

Das Efx- A very trendy group that was big in the early 90's, but after a couple albums slowly faded away. I love them, but I heard some new stuff of theirs and they have the same "riggidy-raw" style" Come one guys.

Gangstarr-The on;y reason they aren't on my list is because the criteria that I set about more than one person rapping. They are awesome, premiere is my favorite producer, and Guru is the shit. Sorry guys..

The Fugees- Their first album was horrible, and I was duped into buying it because I heard a few songs that were remixed.(Were not on the album) "The Score" was dope, but lets be honest, Lauryn was the main attraction there. I give them much respect, but they didn't come close to cracking my Top Ten.

WU Tang- I know that many of you are cursing my good name because I didn't have these gentlemen on my list. They were dope, and they were creative, along with a bunch of other praising adjectives. They just never did anything for me, I can't explain it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Lordy-Lordy, Women I love over 40!

Even though I come off as a sex starved Pervert on my blog, I do have a extreme respect for women. I felt that women over 40 aren't given the respect they deserve. So I have a diverse short list of Women over 40 who I either respect tremendously, or want to get to know "biblically".

Sade(46)-Her real name is Helen Folasade Adu and I have had a crush on her since I first saw the video for Smooth Operator. I was eleven years old, and when I saw her caramel complexion along with her smooth sultry voice I knew I would be a lifelong fan of her music and her beauty. I remember talking to my father back in 85' about how beautiful I thought she was, and he was pleased to hear that, apparently because he questioned my sexuality to that point.(What the fuck?) I also respect her because she doesn't put out a album for the sake of putting one out. It seems that she puts time and effort into her craft. Now she is 46 and fine as ever. Sade is the type of woman that I would slap my mother for..Just kidding mom, you're lucky I love you!

Sheila E(47)-- Real name Sheila Escovedo, she is another musician that I have had a eternal lust for. Come to think about it, I want to sleep with everyone ever involved with Prince. Wendy, Lisa, a dancer he had named Kat, Sheila, Apolonia..Sorry, my mind wanders.. Sheila has been a gifted musician her entire life, but became well known playing with Prince. I have even seen her perform live and the woman has definitely mastered the drums.(There is a joke somewhere in there, something about holding a hard object in her hand, but I won't go there)

Jody Watley(45)- Talented, beautiful, and a all around M.I.L.F.(even though I don't know if she has any children.) I spent a considerable part of my adolescence wishing I could be with her, and watching her videos with the lust of a man 3 times my age. I once broke up with a girl because of Jody Watley. Let me explain.. Mariah Carey had said that her duet with O.D.B was the first time that a R&B singer had used a rapper in a song.The girl I was with at the time agreed and I totally lost it. I said at the time "Jody Watley used Rakim in her song "Friends" in 1989, Fuck Mariah!!" A argument ensued, and that was that. Some other interesting trivia concerning Jody, her sister is a porn star. Check out her "filmography".( Some other interesting trivia, the only time I ever purchased a Playboy magazine in my life was when she was featured in it.

Susan Sarandon(56)- 56 years young and she still looks incredible. A gifted actress who has been on top of her theatrical game for years. My personal reason for liking her is that she voices her opinion and doesn't care who disapproves. Lifelong Liberal, who will make political statements at award shows, or go on a conservative talk show and battle it out using her great political mind, never wavering. When conservatives talk about "liberal Hollywood" Sarandon's name is usually the one they bring up. But personally that is a badge of honor, when those bastards mention you it just means that you are a force to be reckoned with.

Lisa Lisa- Her Real name is Lisa Velez. Ok, ok, she is only (38), but it's my list dammit! Plus, when else will I be able to wax poetic about this singer that I have had a crush on for two decades? The memory that I have of her music is hanging with this neighborhood girl who was a big fan of hers, and as I bopped my head to the music while my hand was exploring unspecified body parts of hers. Damn, I've always been a perv. Watching Lisa Lisa's video made me come to the conclusion, early on, that I am a breast man. I know brothers are "supposed" to like the booty, and I am a definite fan, but those lovely mounds of flesh just speak my language.

Pam Grier(55)-The queen of blacksploitation flicks, she has been a sex symbol since the early 70's. Say what you will about blacksploitation flicks, but it had to be good for young sisters everywhere to see Pam Grier kicking Butt on the Big screen. She still looks amazing, and her career got a sort of ressurrection with the flick "Jakie Brown'. I have to admit, that she is the main reason that I would want my lover to come in the bedroom with a afro, long hooker boots, and a gun on her hip. Talk about sexy..

Janeane Garofalo(41)- Like Sarandon, a outspoken liberal who is also a target for the right. She is a comedian, and a very talented actress.(So talented in fact, I feel that Kevin Smith should of given her the main role in "Dogma".) I always hear conservative entertainers claim that it is risky for them to be vocal in Hollywood. It is actually the opposite. When garofalo came out against the War in Iraq, you had people organizing boycotts of her films, and there were/and still are websites dedicated to "outing" anti-war actors. Complete bullshit. Garofalo has sacrificed her career in the name of Free speech and she will always get the utmost respect from me. Rock on Janeane!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Hey Condi, your black ass is incompetent!

The past few weeks I have been hearing this very weird argument coming out of the pie-hole of conservatives. They see that Democrats are highly critical of Condi Rice, and they try to say it is because of racism. No, it is because her black ass is incompetent. I talked to one black conservative that told me that I should be happy because there is a African American in the Bush administration. Then, being the asshole that I am, replied in my best slave voice.."Massa, I sho iz happy dat U let one uv us in yo big ole' White House!!" Who cares that she is the same complexion as me if she doesn't have the best interests of African Americans at heart. Seeing her at her confirmation hearing made me nauseous, because piss poor job performance was being rewarded and I am afraid that she will put us all at risk. Below are examples of her incompetence(, for all you people who actually want to step up and endorse this House Negro in the White House.

Pre-9/11 Intelligence

*CLAIM: "I don't think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile." – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 5/16/02
*FACT: On August 6, 2001, the President personally "received a one-and-a-half page briefing advising him that Osama bin Laden was capable of a major strike against the US, and that the plot could include the hijacking of an American airplane." In July 2001, the Administration was also told that terrorists had explored using airplanes as missiles. [Source: NBC, 9/10/02; LA Times, 9/27/01]

*CLAIM: In May 2002, Rice held a press conference to defend the Administration from new revelations that the President had been explicitly warned about an al Qaeda threat to airlines in August 2001. She "suggested that Bush had requested the briefing because of his keen concern about elevated terrorist threat levels that summer." [Source: Washington Post, 3/25/04]
*FACT: According to the CIA, the briefing "was not requested by President Bush." As commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste disclosed, "the CIA informed the panel that the author of the briefing does not recall such a request from Bush and that the idea to compile the briefing came from within the CIA." [Source: Washington Post, 3/25/04]

*CLAIM: "In June and July when the threat spikes were so high…we were at battle stations." – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
*FACT: "Documents indicate that before Sept. 11, Ashcroft did not give terrorism top billing in his strategic plans for the Justice Department, which includes the FBI. A draft of Ashcroft's 'Strategic Plan' from Aug. 9, 2001, does not put fighting terrorism as one of the department's seven goals, ranking it as a sub-goal beneath gun violence and drugs. By contrast, in April 2000, Ashcroft's predecessor, Janet Reno, called terrorism 'the most challenging threat in the criminal justice area.'" Meanwhile, the Bush Administration decided to terminate "a highly classified program to monitor Al Qaeda suspects in the United States." [Source: Washington Post, 3/22/04; Newsweek, 3/21/04]

*CLAIM: "The fact of the matter is [that] the administration focused on this before 9/11." – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
FACT: President Bush and Vice President Cheney's counterterrorism task force, which was created in May, never convened one single meeting. The President himself admitted that "I didn't feel the sense of urgency" about terrorism before 9/11. [Source: Washington Post, 1/20/02; Bob Woodward's "Bush at War"]

*CLAIM: "Our [pre-9/11 NSPD] plan called for military options to attack al Qaeda and Taliban leadership, ground forces and other targets -- taking the fight to the enemy where he lived." – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
*FACT: 9/11 Commissioner Gorelick: "There is nothing in the NSPD that came out that we could find that had an invasion plan, a military plan." Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage: "Right." Gorelick: "Is it true, as Dr. Rice said, 'Our plan called for military options to attack Al Qaida and Taliban leadership'?" Armitage: "No, I think that was amended after the horror of 9/11." [Source: 9/11 Commission testimony, 3/24/04]

Condi Rice on Pre-9/11 Counterterrorism Funding

*CLAIM: "The president increased counterterrorism funding several-fold" before 9/11. – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/24/04
*FACT: According to internal government documents, the first full Bush budget for FY2003 "did not endorse F.B.I. requests for $58 million for 149 new counterterrorism field agents, 200 intelligence analysts and 54 additional translators" and "proposed a $65 million cut for the program that gives state and local counterterrorism grants." Newsweek noted the Administration "vetoed a request to divert $800 million from missile defense into counterterrorism." [Source: New York Times, 2/28/04; Newsweek, 5/27/02]

Richard Clarke's Concerns

*CLAIM: "Richard Clarke had plenty of opportunities to tell us in the administration that he thought the war on terrorism was moving in the wrong direction and he chose not to." – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
*FACT: Clarke sent a memo to Rice principals on 1/24/01 marked "urgent" asking for a Cabinet-level meeting to deal with an impending al Qaeda attack. The White House acknowledges this, but says "principals did not need to have a formal meeting to discuss the threat." No meeting occurred until one week before 9/11. [Source: CBS 60 Minutes, 3/24/04; White House Press Release, 3/21/04

*CLAIM: "No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration." – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
*FACT: "On January 25th, 2001, Clarke forwarded his December 2000 strategy paper and a copy of his 1998 Delenda plan to the new national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice." – 9/11 Commission staff report, 3/24/04
Response to 9/11

*CLAIM: "The president launched an aggressive response after 9/11." – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
*FACT: "In the early days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Bush White House cut by nearly two-thirds an emergency request for counterterrorism funds by the FBI, an internal administration budget document shows. The papers show that Ashcroft ranked counterterrorism efforts as a lower priority than his predecessor did, and that he resisted FBI requests for more counterterrorism funding before and immediately after the attacks." [Source: Washington Post, 3/22/04]

9/11 and Iraq Invasion Plans

*CLAIM: "Not a single National Security Council principal at that meeting recommended to the president going after Iraq. The president thought about it. The next day he told me Iraq is to the side." – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
*FACT: According to the Washington Post, "six days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush signed a 2-and-a-half-page document marked 'TOP SECRET'" that "directed the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq." This is corroborated by a CBS News, which reported on 9/4/02 that five hours after the 9/11 attacks, "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq." [Source: Washington Post, 1/12/03. CBS News, 9/4/02]

Iraq and WMD

*CLAIM: "It's not as if anybody believes that Saddam Hussein was without weapons of mass destruction." – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/18/04
*FACT: The Bush Administration's top weapons inspector David Kay "resigned his post in January, saying he did not believe banned stockpiles existed before the invasion" and has urged the Bush Administration to "come clean" about misleading America about the WMD threat. [Source: Chicago Tribune, 3/24/04; UK Guardian, 3/3/04]

9/11-al Qaeda-Iraq Link

*CLAIM: "The president returned to the White House and called me in and said, I've learned from George Tenet that there is no evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11." – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
*FACT: If this is true, then why did the President and Vice President repeatedly claim Saddam Hussein was directly connected to 9/11? President Bush sent a letter to Congress on 3/19/03 saying that the Iraq war was permitted specifically under legislation that authorized force against "nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11." Similarly, Vice President Cheney said on 9/14/03 that "It is not surprising that people make that connection" between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks, and said "we don't know" if there is a connection. [Source: BBC, 9/14/03]

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Fight Club

(HumanityCritic pacing in front of fellow bloggers)

HC: The first Rule of fight club, you don't talk about Fight Club. Second rule of Fight Club, YOU DON'T TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB!! Ok, Maybe just this once.. Now that I am older, I have the maturity to turn the other cheek and avoid confrontations that I would of previously engaged in. Here are a few altercations of all types that have occurred during my 31 years of life.

Naps, finger paints, and a good kick in the nuts(1979): Kindergarten was the first time that I learned that if you don't nip a problem in the bud, it will plague you forever. There was this kid who made my life hell, I think his name was Tyrone. He would take my crayons, constantly nudge me, and slap the shit out of me whenever he could. This went on for a while, and I would do nothing about it and constantly cry. I was definitely not a tough kid, and the thought of defending myself seemed impossible. I don't know what happened, but Tyrone came over to slap me and I kicked him square in the nuts. He hunched over, crying loudly, looking at me like he saw a ghost. After that, he never touched me again. Lesson: Good or bad, Violence can solve some problems

Pee wee football blues(1984): I was a stocky kid, so when I played football they always had me playing offensive or defensive line. I forgot how the argument started, but I got into it with this kid named Tony who was like twice my size. In full pads it was a all out war. It became evident, rather quickly, that Tony was beating the black off of me. I could handle getting beat, but in front of a entire team was downright embarrassing. He kept throwing me down by the face mask repeatedly, but I kept getting up and charging him. It was a definite defeat. Lesson: I learned that I never give up.

MC Lyte, "the wop", and beatdowns(1989); I was 15 and I went to this teen club that was in my city at the time. I arrived with my friend Chip, and we were having a good time. I saw this girl who looked like MC Lyte, and I just had to talk to her. I never had a razor Sharpe game, but what I lacked in "smoothness" I made up for in confidence and a inability to be embarrassed. She was digging what I was saying, and we started to dance. Damn she was hot, and I was grinding so hard that I thought I was going to have a "happy accident" on myself. What I didn't know was that she had a boyfriend who was there, and he didn't appreciate the fact that i was simulating a sex act with his girlfriend. He pulls me off her and informs me that he is her boyfriend. He swings for me but misses to the point that he falls to the ground, so I kick him in the face. All of a sudden, 5 of his boys surround me. I felt like I was Bruce Lee in one of his fight scenes, but this wasn't fiction and my black ass didn't know Karate..I got a few licks in, but they pretty much beat my ass. It was a nightmare. Lesson: Good or bad, I can take a ass whipping..

Bad lunch, Bullies, and Bullshit..(1991): I was 17, and I dated this girl from a neighboring High School. It came to my attention quite quickly, that she was also adored by the bully of her High School, a dude name Mark. Whenever I would pick her up at her High School, Mark would be around her, being sure to hug her as soon as I showed up. When I would inquire about his behavior he would respond, "Come on man. We are buddies, stop acting like a bitch." Mark had to be like 250 pounds, and known to be a real badass. This routine went on for weeks, until I finally lost it. One day I went to pick her up with the intent to beat his ass. I arrived at her High School, and mark proceeded in hugging her. I walked up to him and hit him squarely in the mouth.*POW* As he laid on the ground I shouted, "Get your bitch ass up, motherfucker!!" He stayed on the ground, holding his mouth and started to cry..I was shocked. Lesson: Someone's size doesn't matter and someone's reputation might be bullshit..

Work with what you got(1992): When I was in college I would always hang out in the cafeteria and shoot the shit with my friends. There was this kid named Rick who always thought he was funny, and would try to joke people to the point of embarrassment. No one liked him, but I didn't mind him because he never attacked me personally. One weekend we were at this local college bar and Rick was there with a bunch of his friends. Rick, was a amateur boxer who was pretty good. He started joking me, and I made a comment about him being inbred. He joked some more, and I made a comment about his mother giving head to pay for his tuition. He was angered and wanted to step outside. As soon as we got outside, he hit me in the back of the head. We squared up, and it was immediately obvious that he had superior boxing skills, and was definitely using them. After eating about 8 jabs I realized that this guy wasn't hurting me, matter of fact he isn't strong at all. So I abandoned boxing and outright tackled him. Then, I began to choke the shit out of him until he almost passed out. Lesson: Utilize your strengths..

HumanityCritic-Gay Rights activist(1993): There was dude who was in my World Civ. Class who helped me a great deal because I would fall asleep in that boring ass class. The guys name was Ray, and he was a homosexual. I never really understand homophobia because if you are secure in your sexuality, then why do you give a fuck what anyone else does?? I know I love women, so why should I be hateful towards anyone because of their sexual preference? Anyway, I was going to meet ray in front of some building so I could get some notes from him. When I arrived, there were these guys throwing Ray's book bag around, calling him "faggot", and smacking him in his face. I told the guys to "Cut it out" but they said that I was gay because I defended him. I tried to get Ray's backpack back and one of the guys pushed me down. Because there were 5 of them I reached for my backpack, from it I pulled out a miniature bat I had gotten from our local semi-pro baseball team's game that I went to. I proceeded in beating a couple of those guys with the bat, until the bat definitely had blood on it.. Looking back, it has to be the most brutal shit I have ever done in my life. Lesson: I have the ability to go psycho..

Tribe Called Quest, beer, and my Big mouth(1994): After a great show, many people were hanging in the parking lot just wasting time. A dude walked past and I said, "What in the fuck are you looking at?" Looking back, he was definitely minding his business. He said, "what motherfucker??" I said, "You heard me asshole. What?". I thought that he would just step up and talk shit, so when he blasted me in the face lets just say I was shocked. *Goodnight* I was knocked-out cold for about 30 seconds. I was drunk, I started it, and I deserved it. When I snapped out of it, I had the ability to get back up, but I realized that it was all my fault so I stayed on the ground for a minute.. Lesson: Keep my fucking mouth shut..

Friday, January 14, 2005

Randy Moss.. Don't feed the Black Man!!

The past few months, watching the sports media, I have noticed one specific thing. That the media latches on a African American athlete and for a few weeks at a time labels him "Satan". It started with Kobe Bryant, we all know that many of his problems were self inflicted so a bit of media scrutiny was expected and deserved. I was just surprised at the level of scrutiny the media put upon Bryant, you would of thought they had found a dead body in his back yard or something. It was ridiculous. It got to the point that you actually have Nas thinking he is calling somebody out on his song "Coon Picnic". Listen, a lot of what Nas is saying in the song is relevant, and Nas is one of my favorites, but the song came out a year and a half after constant bashing. From both Black and White. Nas, your song is far from a news bulletin. By the way, didn't you once do a song with Ginuwine? The mere fact that I can't get the line "Yeah owe me back like you owe your rent" out of my mind makes me want to beat your ass. Before you criticize, think about THAT song..

Then you had the Ron Artest situation. I admit that what he did was wrong, he should of never gone on the stands. But the media coverage concerning it was downright embarrassing. There were commentators that called him a "animal", wanted him banished from the league forever, and ESPN went the extra mile and asked his High School and College coaches about his mental stability. To me it just looked like a guy who lost control after being hit with a cup of ice, give me a fucking break..

Recently, the "Crazy Negro of the moment" is Randy Moss. Moss has a history of misbehavior, and him walking off the field a couple of weeks ago was totally unacceptable. But the media coverage last week of his endzone dance where he mock mooned the crowd was sadly hysterical. Joe Buck, who was the announcer of that game for Fox Sports showed his outrage, and called the incident "disgusting. When I turned to ESPN, the studio analysts were acting like Moss had pulled his penis out in front of a bunch of nuns. Calling it "classless", saying that Moss should be suspended, and Michael Irvin said that Moss was a "bad Guy" and could never imagine being his teammate. Wait a minute? Michael Irvin?? Michael "Coke and Whores" Irving?? Michael "I singlehandedly brought down the Cowboys because I was a drug addict" Irvin?? You have got to be kidding me.. People in glass houses, right??

I know Moss is the furthest thing from a role model, but the hysteria is laughable. Moss' endzone celebration, in my opinion, is tame compared to when Brett Favre does the mock "throat slash" to mock the opposing team. Moss' endzone "moon" was a lot less dangerous than the helmet-to-helmet hit that Denver Broncos safety John Lynch put on Indianapolis Colts fullback Dallas Clark a couple of weeks back. Both of those things weren't covered half as much as Moss' endzone celebration.

In closing, there is something weirdly refreshing about Moss. In a interview, when asked about if he thinks his coach is a right fit for the team, he said "I don't know if Mike Tice is right for the team, or wrong for the team." Something you don't get from a athlete, honesty. Like it or not, think he is a bad guy or not, I find it refreshing that a athlete doesn't say the same boring cliche things.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Dinner with Andre...and his pornstar Girlfriend

For the past month or so I have been getting these strange calls from a friend of mine named Andre. He was leaving these very cryptic messages like, "Dude, I have something to tell you. You're not going to believe it." Andre is a great guy with a good heart, but he, how can I put this?? He has a tendency to lie. For example, the first lie he told was when we were 16 and he said, "I'm serious, Rakim is my cousin!!." The second big lie he told me was when he said that he once dated Mary J. Blige. Another lie comes to mind, 1994 when he told me that he beat up his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend who was a Navy Seal.(Truth was that her ex wasn't a seal, but a rent-a-cop. Also, Andre didn't beat anyone up, the dude had a asthma attack..) The last big lie he told me was a few months ago when he said the girl he was dating had a friend who wanted to meet me. I asked him how she looked and he said, "Yo kid, She looks like Lauryn Hill!!" When I met her lets just say that the only resemblance to Lauryn Hill she had was that she was African American, that was about it..

But all in all Andre is a good guy, I just know to treat whatever he says with a grain of salt. Anyway, after receiving about 4 of his calls I decided to call him back. When I talked to him he told me that he was dating a porn star. As soon as I heard this I figured he was lying again, but for some reason I played along. "Really?? That's cool man!". He paused for a minute and said, "You don't believe me do you??" I chuckled and said, "Let me just say three names to put it in perspective..Rakim, Mary J. Blige, and Lauryn Hill!!" He swore he was serious and asked if I would join him and his new "girlfriend" for dinner. I obliged, thinking that when I got there he would make up some excuse like "she couldn't make it", or bring some random girl and claim that she did porn. I had no idea what I was getting into..

The restaurant was also a club, so when I got there I was welcomed to the sound of old school Hip Hop. It was obvious that I had either beaten them there, or he and his "girlfriend" were going to be a no-show. About a hour and 4 drinks later I have a serious buzz going. The DJ is playing Doug E Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, and other old school hits. At 31, even though I feel that I am old enough to be many of the club goer's, i don't know, extremely older brother, I go to the dance floor. It has been so long since I was on a dance floor that I kept on wanting to check my heart rate to see if I was OK. This young lady starts dancing in front of me, I kept on expecting her to call me "gramps". We're making eye contact, "she's cute" I thought as we danced to "Nobody Beats the Biz" by Biz Markie. She was actually mouthing the words to the song, which was surprising because she had to be at least 21. I said to her, "What do you know about old school??" She smirked and said, "I know my hip hop, don't worry about me!!" With the curiosity killing me I asked her, "If I may ask, How old are you??" The music was loud so she approached my right ear and said, "Twenty!" I played it off for a while, doing "The Wop" and other dated dances to music that I absolutely love, but some thoughts kept gnawing at me..**When I was 17 she was 6..When I was "humping" she was learning to read and shit.. When I was 21 she was in the 5th grade..** As I grabbed her hips and moved along to the beat I kept thinking that I should really get going before I corrupt this girl..

As soon as I was thinking that, Andre tapped me on the shoulder, "Critic, me and my old lady have a table, Come on". Finally, I would meet this "porn star". I knew I would be disappointed, it would probably be some girl who he was dating who actually wasn't a porn star, making him out to be a liar once again. We made our way through scores of people, cigarette and marijuana smoke, to the restaurant section of the building. When we reached our destination I was totally thrown for a loop. His girlfriend, was indeed a porn star!! How do I know this you ask?? Lets just say that I am familiar with her work..:)

She extends her hand and says, "It is so good to meet you, Andre talks about you all the time." We shook hands and we all sat down to eat. She was so beautiful in person, and her intellect was disarming, disarming to the point that I didn't get a chance to ask her any of the "guy shit" I wanted to ask her..(i.e How many people have you had sex with at one time?? Do you sleep with women outside of your work?? What made you want to start doing porn??Ever had any STDS from "work"?) I didn't ask any of that!! I'm so disappointed in myself.

Through the course of our dinner together, it was apparent that Andre really liked this chick. I mean, personally I couldn't do it. For one, doing her job she deals with guys who are hung like horses, I would feel a little(no pun intended) inadequate if she came home to average ass me. Another thing, I might have a slight problem going out with her and guys constantly running up in her face because of her career. Even though porn stars are constantly screened for STD's, the disease factor would definitely be an issue..But hey, thats just me, as long as he's happy that's all that matters..

As we all start to leave I realize a few things..1) The pornography that I own with her in it will be awkward to watch from now on. 2) I must be Andre's only friend because all I heard was, "Andre said you were the coolest guy..Andre said that yall go way back..Andre said.." Enough!! 3)That I have to stay out of the club or I might start go looking for delicious 20 yr olds..and 4) That Andre doesn't LIE about everything..

Leaving the club, the girl I danced with earlier slips me her number and tells me to call her. I look down at the number and her name is "Alicia", with heart shapes over both of the "i's". Which reminded me of gradeschool, which reminded me of my age, which reminded me that I shouldn't call her..A guy comes up to Andre's girlfriend in a beligerent manner and say's, "Don't you do porno?" Not wanting to embarrass Andre by seeing his reaction, I hopped in my carand drove off..

Sunday, January 09, 2005

House Negro of the Month..Armstrong Williams

There are many things that severely irritate me in this world. Things like Crunk Hip Hop, the existence of George Bush, girls who were once sexually promiscuous but now have found god but love to tell you how freaky they "were". Oh yeah, and Black Republicans. From time to time I will document many of these miserable bastards, so you will know who these people are when you see them. Like Chuck D said, "Every brother ain't a brother cause of color."

Full Disclosure: My personal feelings towards Armstrong Williams is that he is a Uncle Tom, and all around steaming pile of crap**

It has came out, through USA Today using the Freedom of Information Act to acquire the information, that Armstrong Williams was paid 240,000 dollars from the U.S Department of Education(Bush Administration) to promote the No Child Left Behind Act.

In exchange for payment, Williams was required to "regularly comment on the (initiative) during the course of his broadcasts" of his T.V show, "The Right Side", and to interview Education Secretary Rod Paige for TV and Radio advertisements that aired on his show in 2004. He was also "required" to encourage other black journalists to promote the law.

Williams, is a conservative pundit who has been a republican "yes massa House Negro" for years. He is famous for promoting Right Wing Ideologies and saying things that would inform black folks that he isn't in our corner.(To push his right wing agenda, in a round table discussion he claimed to never have seen racism first hand. Which is strange, especially since he comes from the deep south) I swear, when I hear him talk I keep expecting him to put on black face and break out in a Tapdance routine.

A newspaper quoted Williams as saying that while some might find the arrangement unethical, "I wanted to do it because its something I believe in". My question to Williams is, if it was something "that you believed in" why in the fuck did you need 240,000 dollars?? Jackass.

The mere fact that the White House thought that Armstrong Williams had any influence over African Americans just lets you know how delusional they are. I have to give it to Williams, that was definitely a easy 240K.

Some think what he did is illegal, and many prominent democrats are trying to have a investigation to actually find out. I hope what he did is illegal, and that Armstrong Williams spends a considerable amount of time in jail. I hope they throw his black ass in a cell with a 300 pound klansman. Then he can tell me if racism exists, House Negro scum..

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Where's the Love? My short List of under-appreciated actors..

For anyone who knows me, you know that I am a big movie fanatic. Drama, comedies, Independent, you name it, I'll watch it. I almost love movies more than porn and Hip Hop.. Almost. There are many actors who I feel are overrated and receive praise that they don't deserve. The following list are actors who I feel, are underrated and should be recognized for their magnificent acting ability.

Don Cheadle-One of the most talented individuals on the list, and probably the most under-appreciated. People don't give this guy credit for being one America's best actors, and that is sad. He first caught my attention in the movie "Devil in a Blue Dress" as Denzel's right hand man named "Mouse", and ever since he has been blazing a trail in Hollywood. Standout performances in "Rosewood(1995) ", "Rebound: The Legend of Earl 'The Goat' Manigault(1996) (TV)", Boogie Nights (1997)The Rat Pack (1998) (TV),A Lesson Before Dying (1999) (TV), and Traffic (2000) to name a few. Hopefully, he will be a household name and people will understand his amazing talents.

Suggested viewing:
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
The United States of Leland (2003)
The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004)
A Lesson Before Dying (1999)
Boogie Nights (1997)
Rebound: The Legend of Earl 'The Goat' Manigault (1996)
Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Jeffrey Wright- The opening line on his biography pretty much sums it up: "Quite possibly the most underrated and underexposed actor of his caliber and generation." This guy is remarkable, he first captured my attention playing in "Basquiat" as the lead character, talented artist Jean Michael Basquiat. He was the only watchable thing in the 2000 version of "Shaft", playing the villain named 'Peoples Hernandez". His role as Martin Luther King in the movie "Boycott" and his supporting part in "Ali" were absolutely brilliant. Anyone who has HBO say him do his thing in "Angels in America". This guy has pure acting skill, and the mere fact that he isn't a household name is rather troubling.

Suggested viewing:
"Angels in America" (2003)
Boycott (2001) (TV)
Basquiat (1996)

Phillip Seymour Hoffman- He is defintely what you would call a character actor, so maybe it is his intent to be "under-appreciated", but his body of work is fiiled with great performances. Boogie Nights (1997), Flawless (1999), Magnolia (1999) ,The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Almost Famous (2000), Love Liza (2002), Punch-Drunk Love (2002), 25th Hour (2002) ,Cold Mountain (2003), Along Came Polly (2004). The guy holds his own whenever he is in front of a camera, and any guy who can steal scenes away from Robert De Niro gets my vote.

Suggestive viewing:
Boogie Nights(1997)
Almost Famous (2000)
25th Hour (2002)

Ryan Phillippe- This guy definitely has acting chops, but he is overshadowed by his more successful wife Reese Witherspoon. He first caught my attention in 1996 in a movie called "Whits Squall", as a teen who is sent off on a experimental program where he sent off to sea for a few months, and comes back with a new confidence. His breakout role came with "Cruel Intentions", that is when people really started to know who he was. He has great performances in 2001's "Gosford Park", and his role as a Hacker in "Antitrust". My favorite role of his is when he played a convict alongside Benecio Del Torro in "The Way of the Gun", one of my personal favorites. Definitely underrated, and it's a shame because I feel that he can act circles around his wife.

Suggested Viewing:
Gosford Park (2001)
Antitrust (2001)
The Way of the Gun (2000)

Angela Bassett- Let me start by saying that she is one of our finest black actors out there, male or female. The woman has a talent that can't be equaled, and I personally feel that she is underused when she is in certain movies and she is ignorantly not considered for other movies. I respect her because she has turned down roles based on her personal integrity(i.e "Monster's Ball") and you can't beat that. Plus, lets face it, she can act circles around Halle Berry. Memorable performances include Malcolm X (1992), What's Love Got to Do with It (1993), Waiting to Exhale (1995), How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998), The Rosa Parks Story (2002)

Suggested Viewing:
Malcolm X(1992)
Whats Love Got to Do with It (1993)

John Leguizamo- The first thing I saw him was 1991 "Hanging with the Homeboys", but I would of never thought from that performance that John Leguizamo would emerge as a legitimate actor. Many of you know him from his Broadway one man shows, which are absolutely brilliant.(Sidenote: To do a one man/woman show has to be the hardest thing in show-business, exposing yourself to the masses and still making it entertaining.) He has had good performances in Carlito's Way (1993) Romeo + Juliet (1996) King of the Jungle (2001) Moulin Rouge! (2001) Empire (2002), and Spun (2002). Definitely underrated, but definitely a respectable member of Hollywood.

Suggested viewing:
Carlito's Way (1993)
King of the Jungle(2001)
Empire (2002)

Paul Giamatti- Even though this guy has been around for a while and has appeared in some memorable flicks, he is definitely under-appreciated. He has built the majority of his career being a character actor, just beginning to come into his own over the past five years. You have probably seen him in movies such as "Singles", "Donnie Brasco", "Private Parts", "The Negotiator", "Big Mamma's House", "The Truman Show", and "Saving Private Ryan". But he has stand out performances playing a con man in "Confidence", animator Harvey Pekar in "American Splendor", and a newly divorced, failed writer in the recently released "Sideways". Amazing Talent.

Suggested viewing:
American Splendor(2003)
Confidence (2003)

John Turturro- First stand out role was in Spike Lee's 1989's "Do the Right Thing" playing "Pino", Sal the Pizza owners son. He showed his remarkable gift for acting back then, and he has continued to showcase his acting prowess ever since. In roles such as Barton Fink (1991) The Big Lebowski (1998) Rounders (1998) O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), he has made a case as to why he is acting force to be reckoned with. Amazing actor, with a range so wide he could virually play anything.

Suggested viewing:
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Barton Fink (1991)
Rounders (1998)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Brad Pitt- I know what you are all saying right now, "How in the fuck is Brad Pitt under-appreciated?" Well, Brad Pitt is definitely one of the most recognizable actors out there, but I think that people are so focused on his looks that they discredit his acting ability. The guy is a outstanding actor, his work speaks for itself-Thelma & Louise (1991), A River Runs Through It (1992), Kalifornia (1993), Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994),Se7en (1995), Twelve Monkeys (1995), Sleepers (1996), Seven Years in Tibet (1997), Fight Club (1999), Snatch. (2000). Come on, wake the fuck up everybody!!

Suggested viewing:
Kalifornia (1993)
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)
Se7en (1995)
Sleepers (1996)
Fight Club (1999)
Snatch. (2000).