Friday, August 31, 2012

We Reached For The Stars

“You know why people don’t like Liberals? Because they lose. If Liberals are so fucking smart, how come they lose so goddamn always?

You’re gonna tell [students] that America is so star-spangled-awesome that we’re the only ones in the world who have freedom? Canada has freedom; Japan has freedom. The U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, Belgium – has freedom.

207 sovereign states in the world, like, 180 of ‘em have freedom.

Just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there’s some things you should know. One of them is: there’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that ‘we’re the greatest country in the world’. We’re 7th in literacy; 27th in math; 22nd in science; 49th in life expectancy; 178th in infant mortality; 3rd in median household income; #4 in labor force & #4 in exports. We lead the world in only three categories – number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending—where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies.

Now none of this is the fault of a 20 year old college student, but you are without a doubt a member of the worst [period] generation [period] ever [period]; so when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about! Yosemite?

It sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws, for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people.

We sacrificed. We cared about our neighbors. We put our money where our mouths were and we never beat our chest.

We built great, big things; made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy.

We reached for the stars.

Acted like men.

We aspired to intelligence, we didn’t belittle it; it didn’t make us feel inferior.

We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn’t scare so easy.

We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed… by great men; men who were revered. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.”

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thoughts on Chris Cooley's Release

Anyone following me on Twitter, or anyone who has talked football with me the past year, knows I’ve been waiting impatiently for the day that the Redskins released Chris Cooley. Truth be told, I’ve wanted his release since Fred Davis emerged during his first injury and showed that in-game, he’s among some of the very best at the position.

That’s not a knock to Cooley, who I believe can still play. This isn’t someone trolling to rip one of the most popular players in the league. I’m a Chris Cooley fan, and I’m sad to see him go. I wish him all the luck in his future with another team (so long as it’s not in the NFC East) or in broadcasting or whatever it is he pursues. However, I’m a Redskins fan long before I’m a fan of any player. No player is bigger than the team in my eyes and heart. So realistically, Cooley had to go.

I knew it during Shanahan’s first year here, when we were playing the Texans, and Chris Cooley dropped a wide open touchdown in the endzone that he was just waiting for. The ball didn’t come in too fast. Cooley made difficult catches his entire career, and one of the easiest touchdown catches he’d ever have, came right off of his hands. The very next play was identical, except to Fred Davis, who caught the football and gave us 6 points.

That scenario was Chris Cooley’s career in a nutshell… a talented football player who just wasn’t as good at the present as his younger counterpart.

I would have loved to have seen Cooley remain productive for the Redskins and offer an attack along with Fred Davis. But battling injuries, becoming more prone to fumbling, not shedding as many tackles, and dropping passes he should have caught ultimately spelled the end of Cooley in Washington. For his career with the Redskins, Cooley registered 428 receptions (a franchise record for the position) for 4703 yards and 33 touchdowns.

It’s not difficult to figure out why Cooley was a fan favorite here. He was a fratboy, playing the role of the asshole on campus, but being dependable and always reliable for good-natured fun. He interacted with fans. He was everything you want a professional athlete to be off-the-field, and on-the-field, he was a Pro Bowl player. But his talents have faded, and his production has dropped. And while I believe, as he believes, that he can still play… I just haven’t seen enough of “still” here in Washington, and apparently coaches haven’t either.

So Hail to a Redskin. Cooley will always be a part of this community, this franchise, even if he laces up cleats with another team. In the end, he’ll be a Clinton Portis. Home is where the heart is, and home for Chris Cooley is Washington.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Le Pew

I was talking to someone today about Pepé Le Pew—centered around the idea expressed by Dave Chappelle—being inappropriate and a completely horrible example for children. A lot of cartoons expressed some very inappropriate content, but Le Pew’s stands out.

The perverse skunk constantly chased what he couldn’t have, resorted to tactics which would land most men in court and/or prison, and while ultimately failing, refused to accept loss and continued dangerously in his pursuit of the poontang.

Pepé once tried to take the pussy [cat] from another cat. He resorted to painting his stripe black so he looked less like a skunk, but still got beat up by the male cat. Le Pew determined it was in his best interests to sneak in and paint a white stripe down the male cat’s back to make him look like a skunk. When he encountered the female cat, she was running from the skunked-out male cat and Le Pew rescued her. He eventually got splashed in a puddle and the female cat figured out the truth about Pepé and the male cat.

Just the fact this entire ordeal was even portrayed on a cartoon aimed at children is ridiculous to me. Nevermind that most children don’t quite understand it yet, but it becomes more apparent with age exactly what Pepé did…

Chased the pussy by any means necessary…

I just wanted to share the memory.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Portis To Announce Retirement Thursday

Portis To Announce Retirement Thursday: "On his very first carry as a member of the Washington Redskins in 2004, Clinton Portis took the ball 64 yards to the house for a touchdown.

It was the first of many highlight moments for Portis in his six-years in Washington, which will officially end Thursday when the two-time Pro Bowl selection will announce his retirement in a ceremony at Redskins Park.

Portis, whose 6,824 rushing yards rank second all-time in Redskins history, went to Twitter Tuesday to show his gratitude towards the Redskins and his fans."

Godspeed to Clinton Portis, who deserves an appropriate sendoff. Portis was a fan-favorite, very involved in the entire DMV community, and one of the very few players in Redskins history who actually feels like he belongs to the organization.

Shad Khan, Roger Goodell announce Jaguars' London deal -

Shad Khan, Roger Goodell announce Jaguars' London deal - "The Jacksonville Jaguars officially will become a temporary tenant of Wembely Stadium on Tuesday.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will announce at a 2 p.m. ET press conference that the Jaguars will play one home game a season in London for four years, beginning in 2013.

In an email to season ticket holders Tuesday, Khan said the decision was based around his desire to turn the Jaguars into one of the NFL's "signature franchises.""

Maurice Jones-Drew open to trade from Jacksonville Jaguars -

Maurice Jones-Drew open to trade from Jacksonville Jaguars - "The comments by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan on Tuesday sparked a visceral reaction from a disgruntled Maurice Jones-Drew. The running back even told one person close to him that if the owner really isn't concerned with him, then he should trade him to someone who will be.

If Jones-Drew is expendable, his camp believes that gives them permission to seek a trade. But the running back's trade value isn't clear, because the new team would have to offer him a new contract, as well."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rape vs. Abortion

I’ve accepted I’ll probably ruffle some feathers. It’s only natural when discussing politics. I don’t discuss politics here on Don’t Laugh, People because I truly don’t even have beliefs when it comes to politics. My beliefs are for the betterment of humanity, not just myself and loved ones; not just fellow Americans; not just allies. I want humanity as a whole to fulfill their purpose of becoming a dominant species, not a species composed of dominant groups imprisoning and enslaving less fortunate peoples.

But my focus is on something at home, and not to do with anyone abroad. The topic of abortion in the United States.

Congressman Todd Akin’s controversial comments over the weekend sparked backlash and debate. I don’t agree with Todd Akin’s comments in any way, shape, or form.

I don’t support abortion, especially when consenting adults have sex. There are consequences to your actions, and pregnancy is possible with or without birth control, and we all know that. I also believe that if children have sex and get pregnant, they must deal with their decisions, as unfair as it is. But while I don’t support abortion, I do support educating everyone, especially women, to the options provided for them.

When [most] Republicans wish to do away with abortion—even for rape victims—it’s not to make them have children. However, there are no plans to fund educating people, especially women, to the options they do have.

The ideal solution would be for victims of sexual assault to report right away that they were raped. This would allow for her to take the ‘Morning After’ pillwhich is not 100% effectiveto prevent fertilization, get herself checked out to make sure she’s not severely injured, offer her the proper counseling to overcome the trauma, and hopefully capture a sexual predator and keep him off of the streets.

But this isn’t an ideal world, and the ideal solution is dependent upon educating women. However, even an educated woman can be susceptible to the trauma of the rape, and being victimized. No woman wants to feel weak, especially not after a sexual assault. This won’t change even with knowing she could go see someone, because there’s not always the will to speak about and relive the assault. Trust is at its lowest point after an assault, and the insecurity will keep most women from seeking the help that they actually know will provide comfort.

So that’s why I say leave abortion to a woman’s choice. I don’t agree with it, I don’t have to. But I don’t have to live the life of these women. A pregnancy takes 9 months away from a woman, and her family. If she’s underage, it can be hugely devastating. If she’s single and was raped and won’t tell anyone, her co-workers and family will form opinions. Forcing women to carry a child that she doesn’t want, or was forced into her, can lead to further trauma, insecurity, and deeper depression. A woman in that mental state may be more likely to try and abort the child herself, and we know from history already, that option could be far more costly.

I do believe in preserving a life, and I do believe that an unborn child should have the right to live. They didn’t ask to come out of a rapist’s testicles, or to be born unto an unwilling mother. But I don’t believe in limiting the rights of people, especially victims of serious physical, psychological, and emotional trauma. And I don’t believe in exposing anyone, especially women, to physical, psychological, and emotional trauma when she is judged for being pregnant and literally can’t tell people she was raped.

This is not an ideal world, and ideal solutions don’t exist because of that. If they did, we would live in Utopia and nobody would ever disagree when the ideal solution is proposed. If you can’t educate women and ensure that they would do the ideal thing of reporting right away that they were sexually assaulted, then you can’t propose a system where they lose their only known option for taking care of the situation.

It’s all dependent on showing there’s a solution, and removing abortion completely, isn’t a solution. It just creates more problems than we currently have. As I said, I don’t support abortion. But I don’t support the terrorism you impose by taking abortion away without solutions to the problems I’ve listed above.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Love of Humanity.

"I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an Emperor, that's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone, if possible. Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another; human beings are like that. We want to live by each others' happiness, not by each others' misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world, there's room for everyone and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful...

But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness, hard and unkind. 

We think too much.. and feel too little. 

More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood, for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me I say, 'Do not despair.' The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass and dictators die; and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel; who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don't hate; only the unloved hate, the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers! Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written, 'the kingdom of God is within man.' Not one man nor a group of men, but in all men, in you! You the people have the power! The power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power! Let us all unite! 

Let us fight for a new world! A decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie! They do not fulfill their promise; they never will. Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people! Now, let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason! A world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness.

Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!"

- Charlie Chaplin


"May love ever possess you, may peace come into your life."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why Can Robert Griffin III Take the Redskins to the Playoffs?

Before I get started, obviously, I’m a Washington Redskins fan. There shouldn’t be any doubt about that. I’m not writing making guarantees—I can easily turn any of the points I will write about into negatives for why RGIII can’t take the Redskins to the playoffs—this is almost all strictly hypothetical. But everything in sport is hypothetical and uncertain. Week 15 last season, the New York Giants shouldn’t have even been in the playoffs. But they snuck their way in and bowled through everyone on their way to the franchise’s 4th Super Bowl win.

Robert Griffin III brings potential at its maximum levels to the table, and these are the things he can use to help propel the Redskins into their first playoff berth of the Mike Shanahan era, and the first since Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs final season with the team in 2007-08.

You’re looking at quite possibly the most athletic quarterback in the league, if not in the league’s history. That also means you could be looking at one of the most gifted players in league history as well. RG3 brings a very unique set of ability in with him, from his cannon of a right arm, to his [what he claims are] Olympic-speed-capable legs. And with those two things alone, Griffin can force defenses to do things they don’t want to do… he can revolutionize the sport of American football.

Griffin’s speed and footwork are exactly what Mike Shanahan is looking for in a quarterback. It’s what every coach wants in a quarterback—someone who can avoid pressure, and if he has to, outrun it—and Griffin can do exactly that. Griffin’s speed allows Shanahan to utilize his entire playbook again, bring back all the wrinkles he had before going with the immobility of guys like a demotivated Donovan McNabb or the incapable Rex Grossman. The speed of craftier QB’s like Montana, Young, Elway, Plummer, Cutler, Schaub… that’s the staple of this offense as it allows the QB to utilize stretch plays, bootlegs, play action, and the threat of taking off. Griffin is, without a doubt, the fastest of that group. While that’s no guarantee he’ll be any better than any of those guys, in this system and with this ability he has a chance to stake his claim.

Now you throw in the big arm. Defensive backs will stay honest because of Griffin’s speed. Nobody wants to let him take off, so corners and safeties will have their heads on a swivel watching the kid to make sure he doesn’t take off and use his sprinter’s speed to maim them. When a corner bites up against Griffin on a [naked] bootleg, he’s got the arm strength to make virtually any throw and leave very few DB’s with the chance to close the gap and break up the pass.

As I mentioned, the playbook is open again. Shanahan can go back 20 years and find plays he loved to utilize then, or he can grab a couple of those “slower” plays he used the past two seasons (especially last year) for his change of pace. Having that much at their disposal will allow Shanahan and RG3 to really keep defenses on their heels.

Another thing that is aided by the playbook being open, is that the stretch is now a part of the offense again, meaning the zone blocking scheme this offensive line was built for returns in full effect, allowing the linemen to play their game and not just sit and get abused while trying to protect an immobile quarterback. That alone should boost production in both the run and ground game, and it’s a direct relation to Griffin’s mobility.

If this team makes the playoffs, it will be, in large part, due to the physical ability Griffin provides this team. The entire team will be responsibleand I’m not glorifying Griffin as being more important than anyone outside of that fact that he plays at the most important position on the teambut his ability to move and throw accurately at every depth pass will be a major reason for this team’s [possible] success.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Michael vs LeBron: The Best Basketball Player Ever?

This familiar debate seems to have picked up once again in light of LeBron winning his first title and his third Olympic medal. He is the best, most versatile basketball player on the planet today, there is no disputing that. This assertion should probably wait until after he retires, but since some are already proclaiming him the King, let's discuss it: Is LeBron James already the best basketball player ever?

But before we even delve into that discussion, let's talk about the player who by acclamation is the greatest basketball player of all time.

Michael Jeffrey Jordan.

The name alone speaks volumes. When we talk Jordan, we're talking the brightest star and the biggest name in the history of the sport. But is Jordan the out and out best basketball player ever?

What made Jordan so amazing to us? His legendary will to win. Any perceived slight fueled his fire, a flame already fanned by his intense drive to be the very best. Bone fractures and flu-like symptoms be damned, he was going to be the best no matter the cost.

But what puts Jordan into the debate over the best basketball player ever is what stemmed from that otherworldly drive: his virtually unrivaled scoring ability and remarkable defensive prowess. Wilt owns virtually every scoring record imaginable, yet is tied with Jordan(actually, Wilt is marginally under Jordan) for the highest career points per game average in NBA history. In addition, Jordan led the league in scoring 10 times to Wilt's 7. Granted, Wilt's scoring only dipped to a point where Jordan could tie/surpass him because coach Alex Hannum asked him to tailor back his scoring and focus on defense. But facts are facts. Every star player is asked to do more than just score and Jordan was able to average 30 a game for his career just as Wilt did, and led the league in scoring more times than Wilt did.

Defensively, Jordan's achievements say it all. One Defensive Player of the Year award. Guards typically do not win the Defensive Player of the year award, which is what truly makes his award impressive(the only guard to win the award more than once is Sidney Moncrief who won it twice). Jordan thrice led the league in steals and is the all time leader in blocks for a guard. And although he shares it with Kobe, the Glove and KG, Jordan holds the record for the most All-Defensive First Team selections at 9. These accomplishments are proof enough that Jordan is one of the greatest perimeter defenders the game has ever seen. 

So if we talk scoring and defense, Jordan is top 2 all time as a scorer(MJ vs Wilt for the number 1 spot) and is arguably top 3 all time as a perimeter defender(behind the Glove and Sidney Moncrief). That alone makes him one of the best players of all time. But if we're discussing the out and out BEST basketball player ever, we have to include rebounding, passing and all-around versatility as a defender. And if we're honest, Jordan isn't a top 5 rebounder among guards, his assist numbers are negligible for an all time great guard and defense isn't limited to just the perimeter.

All that said and the aforementioned things considered, let's discuss LeBron. To properly understand the freakishly gifted athlete that is LeBron James, you'd have to imagine Jordan's speed, quickness, agility and jumping ability on a player with the size and strength of Karl Malone. Much in the same way Jordan's agility and quickness made it impossible for defenders to stay in front of him, LeBron's speed and strength render staying in front of him pointless. Players like a Michael Jordan or a LeBron James will score at will, and both will score efficiently and dominantly.

Statistically, that statement holds up. LeBron is third on the all time list for points per game behind Michael and Wilt. What makes that particular statistic incredible is the fact that LeBron is a pass first player. A player who would prefer to pass the ball (and he passes a little TOO often for my liking) rather than shoot it holds the third highest points per game average of all time. So although you have to give the edge as a scorer to Michael, you have to take into account that LeBron is a point forward.

When we discuss defense, you're going to have to nitpick a little to give an edge to either player. Though he may never actually win it so long as Dwight Howard is in the league, LeBron is a perennial DPOY candidate because of his ability to guard all five positions effectively. When people say Magic was capable of playing all five positions, they mean from an offensive standpoint. But LeBron can very literally play all five positions on both ends of the court. Now, Jordan was a much more tenacious perimeter defender, but the fact is that LeBron does more as a defender than Jordan ever did or ever could have done. But, again, Jordan locked down the perimeter in a way LeBron never has. So although it could go either way, I'd have to call it even until I can look at LeBron's career in retrospect.

As far as rebounding goes, the edge easily goes to LeBron. Because of his size and versatility, LeBron is a triple double threat each and every single night out on the court. Jordan was good on the boards as a guard, but LeBron is simply just good on the boards. And while no one but Pete Maravich could rival Magic's vision as a passer, LeBron is easily Michael's superior as a facilitator.

Given that basketball is a team sport, you have to consider each and every facet of team play. Jordan excelled in two areas, whereas LeBron excels in them all. Jordan is a better scorer by the numbers and you can argue that Jordan is a better defender, but LeBron is nearly just as good a scorer, nearly just as good of a defender, a better passer and he is better on the boards. Michael epitomized the will to win in a way no one has since Bill Russell, but LeBron epitomizes the spirit of this team sport in a way that no one has since Bill Russell. Both players carry the torch as the best player of their respective eras. As of right now, I believe they're about on the same tier.. BUT.. I will give the edge to LeBron because where Jordan was better, it was marginally.. but where LeBron is better, it's significantly.

But which of the two is the best player of all time?

I'll say....



But who is a better overall player between the two?

Final verdict: LeBron James > Michael Jordan.

(I'll be back to talk about my pick for the best basketball player EVER in another post.. lol)

"May love ever possess you.. may peace come into your life." 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Top 5 Free Agent Signings in Redskins History

The shortcomings of free agent signings by the Washington Redskins have been well-documented. NFL Network even devoted the #1 worst free agent signing of all-time to "Anyone by the Redskins." However, the Redskins have had some players ink the dotted line that have proven to be worth the monetary value. My top 5?

5. Terry Allen, RB

Terry Allen came to Washington from Minnesota, with reconstructed knees. Most wouldn't expect much from him, however Allen would make the last few seasons at RFK Stadium somewhat enjoyable. Allen would rush for 4008 yards and 37 TDs for the Redskins, including a career-high 1353 rushing yards and 21 rushing TDs (2nd in team history) in the final season at RFK. Allen would eventually lose his starting spot to Stephen Davis, but he definitely played his butt off.

4. Larry Centers, FB

If Larry Centers was playing in the NFL today, he would be the Wes Welker of tailbacks. Centers was a superb receiver out of the backfield, logging a 101-catch season with the Arizona Cardinals. For some bizarre reason, the Cardinals got rid of Centers, and the Redskins pounced at the opportunity to sign him. The signing reaped immediate rewards. Centers, despite playing only 2 seasons in Landover, logged 150 catches in his Skins tenure, and it was his TD catch in Week 16 against the 49ers that clinched the 1999 NFC East Title. 2000 was another solid Centers season, but differences with the new Schottenheimer regime resulted in Centers moving on. He would eventually win a Super Bowl with the Patriots.

3. Henry Ellard, WR

An all-time great WR, signing in Washington, in his 30s. Sounds like the Redskins we came to know & love in the Cerrato era, but Henry Ellard had plenty left in the tank. In 1994, his first season in Washington, Ellard would catch 74 passes for 1397 yds and 6 TDs and a nifty backflip TD celebration. Ellard would have three 1000-yd seasons, while averaging 18.2 yards per reception! 

2. Ken Harvey, LB

Thank you again, Arizona Cardinals. You dump a stud, and we get to experience quality play from them. And what quality it was: 4 consecutive Pro Bowl seasons, and an outside LB presence that would rival Wilbur Marshall and Monte Coleman. Harvey would finish his Redskins career with 41.5 sacks, 13 forced fumbles, and 326 tackles. Harvey also earned a spot in the Redskins Ring of Fame. You could say he's the best LB we signed, but there's a guy at #1 who's been as close as perfect a free agent signing that the Redskins have signed....

1. London Fletcher, LB

London Fletcher is to this generation what Darrell Green is to my generation: the one player who gives it his all every play. A man blessed with superb conditioning & durability, and a man that is a great influence on & off the field. Fletcher came to the Redskins in 2007 to reunite with his former Bills coach (and newly-signed Redskins defensive coordinator) Gregg Williams, and London impressed from Day 1. He has yet to miss a game (let alone many plays), has led the team in tackles every season, and finally earned the respect from his peers to appear in the Pro Bowl. He has adapted to the defenses of Williams, Blache, and Jim Haslett, and continues to be a fan favorite. There's a reason the Redskins put Robert Griffin III's locker next to Fletcher's.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Habit vs. Hobby

There used to be a time when writing felt like a hobby opposed to a habit. I still feel like that sometimes—occasionally I get in the mood to write in bursts and get a lot done—but it’s mainly a chore for me now. I try and try to figure out why it’s not the same for me; the only answer I’ve ever got for myself is that I’m bored with it. But I’m not. I still want to write. If I’m honest, I noticed the change when I decided I want to learn more about writing.

I read what I write, and I know I’m solid with it. I know I’ve got a few pieces I did exceptionally well. But for the most part, I feel repetitive, and I feel like my scribe can use a cleaner look and approach.

I know all of the fundamentals to writing. I’m good with grammar, spelling, and basic punctuation. But I want a cleaner, more professional look. There are things they don’t teach you in English classes in elementary, middle, and high school. Things that you could pick up by reading a lot, but most authors don’t use these techniques the same way, so it’s not always easy to pick up a great way to utilize them.

Allow me to stop before I get back into ranting on the idiotic system of public schooling…

I’m going back to school in a month to become a teacher. I’ve got a ways to go, but that’s what I want to do. It’s the most stable, fundamental career I can chase that interests me. But my passion is writing. I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember. I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember. Poetry, lyrics, news, sports reporting, children’s stories, short stories, novels… the list goes on and on. I’ve slowed up on a lot of the former, and focused more on the latter recently, but that’s where the cleaner look & approach comes into play.

With poetry, you can almost be sloppy with everything and get away with it. With lyrics, it’s all about sound, and I’ve always been good with that. News requires sources and a lot of field work, and quite frankly I just don’t have that in me at the moment. Sports’ reporting works the same with news until game time—you have to be out there in the field—and I can handle the game time stuff just well. The field work? Not so much. Then we get into the stories and being creative with emphasis on grammar and that clean look and approach comes into play.

I know that writing is going to be a huge part of my life just based on my career alone. Teaching requires it. Teaching English places more emphasis on it. But I won’t be writing the stuff I particularly want to write. However, I’ll have time on the side to sit and write what I enjoy writing, and will have a career which allows me to critique myself the way I would like to. I’ll also, hopefully, have the connections I need to further it as a secondary career.

But I don’t want to write just as a career. It feels paradoxical to write because I’m forced to write. I don’t like deadlines and guidelines, because then I feel rushed and pressured. I want the freedom to write as though it’s a hobby again. That’s when I enjoyed writing. That’s why I know it’s not realistic to depend on writing, because all reliable writing jobs require deadlines and guidelines.

I’m not going anywhere in particular with this… I write for my blog like it’s a hobby. I’m having fun. I’m ranting. I’m telling you what’s on my mind. It’s easier to live in this world with a place to vent, and I figured I’d vent a little bit to help ease pressure and lift the weight from my own shoulders. After all, if I can’t live in my own home, what freedom do I have left in this world?

Sidebar: I know, I know… I am vocal about my dislike of the schooling system, particularly in the United States, yet I want to teach. I’m a hypocrite… of sorts. Long live my right to open a Dojo and TEACH!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Seal [1994]

One of the most criminally slept on and ignored albums of the 1990s, Seal's second self-titled album is a masterpiece in the genre of rhythm and blues. Though the album boasts Seal's biggest hit, "Kiss From A Rose," the album itself failed to garner much recognition because that particular single is first and best remembered as a song on the Batman Forever soundtrack. The album's other singles did little to pique listener interest and one of the most well crafted albums in recent history was swept under the rug.

Seal II is a seamless composition driven by poignant singing and poetic lyricism, all set to perfectly crafted instrumentation. Each song has its own feel and vibe, yet the lyrics and singing give the album a feel of wholeness and uniformity. The music varies with Seal's moods, each song's instrumentation remains soothing, patient and soft, yet all the while it is building toward a crescendo and crashing in time with the build of the lyrics toward choruses and conclusions. The instrumentation is also meticulously crafted to rise and fall in tune with the rise and fall in the tone of Seal's voice. The album is a perfect blend of musicianship and lyricism, a blend both made possible and complete through the vocals of a singer well in command of his voice. And that in particular is what separates Seal II from albums such as Voodoo: Seal can actually sing and enunciate with smooth calmness as well as with power and conviction.

Standout songs:

If you needed an album to start with when first gauging Seal's discography, this is the one to go with, as his debut album is more dance oriented and the follow up album is more pop-driven. That said, if you're a fan of rhythm and blues or classic soul, I highly recommend this album.

"May love ever possess you, may peace come into your life."