Archive for the Society Category

Batkid Should Be A Character Other Kids Play

Posted in Ethics/Morals, Print, Society with tags , , on April 9, 2014 by Lupa

It's B-B-B-Batkid bitches, get down on yo knees!

The one they call Batkid is back.

Miles Scott, a 5 year old former cancer patient and Make A Wish recipient, once again donned his cape to throw the first pitch for the San Francisco Giant’s home opener.

In a previous post I was critical of the event.  I felt it was unnecessarily exclusive to Miles, overly elaborate and the cost to taxpayers, which was later revealed to $105,000, should be billed to Make A Wish.

I was absolutely positive we had not seen the last of Miles playing Batkid.  That was one of those stories everyone felt restored their faith in humanity, as nauseatingly overused an expression that is. Something that captivates the public in such a way is bound to resurface somehow.

That first pitch should have been thrown out by a child that actually was currently ill so he/she could experience something Like Miles got to experience that day.  The only reason Miles was brought back was self serving.  It’ll make headlines and everyone can relive that warm, fuzzy feeling they they originally had.  That’s selfish, not selfless.

If Make A Wish wants to do the right thing, they will establish Batkid as a character other kids play and any time Batkid is “needed” a different kid should get to be called up.  End of story.  There’s no reason Miles should have a monopoly on being Batkid and keep doing all those extraordinary things that could be devoted to the endless amount of more deserving kids.  He had his wish already and he is currently healthy with no debilitating illness.

Another part of me is hoping they just keep using Miles, but that’s the side of me that laughed when I saw his pitch.  I mean, I know he’s 5 so obviously he’s not going to make it to the plate, but failure is funny.  Hell I probably would hit the dirt like half the ceremonial first pitches that are thrown.

Evil Lupa, the one that laughs at children, would love to see him in 20 years still playing Batkid at 25.  Lets set him up for life as this character and make him wear the same size costume.  Why try and make it as inclusive as possible so other kids can have a little of the magic Miles got?  We are a society that values the individual.  Lets exalt him to make ourselves feel good because that’s more important than being as inclusive as possible to the group of ill children.  Being inclusive would dilute the feeling we had when he originally captured our hearts and that would be bad.  Fulfilling the wishes of kids that are going to die soon is totally all about us.

 

 

What Do Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly & Glenn Beck Have In Common and Why? Lady Gaga Because…

Posted in Hollywood, Music, NY/NJ, Politics, Print, Society with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2014 by Lupa

 

 

Poke Her Face

Poke Her Face

A number of well known conservative men have an affection for Lady Gaga. How do I know?  Let’s skip the appetizer and head to dessert, shall we?

On Don Imus’ website is a listing of guests who have provided them with a list of their 5 favorite songs of all time.

Can’t say I’m a fan of the I-Man, but his indelible radio legacy is undisputed.  In any event, assuming this information is accurate, the selections of the individuals are fascinating and ultimately very telling. You can tell a lot by what a person listens to.

Music preference is the number one medium or artform from which some derive their entire identification.  You aren’t what you eat, you’re what you listen to.  Punks, hip hop heads, ravers, jazz heads etc are all collectives based on music preference elevated to a lifestyle.Lady Gaga

I thought it interesting then when going through the list that I saw a song by Lady Gaga among the selections of Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.

What is a person who is perhaps the gay community’s favorite artist and advocate doing on the list of the all time favorite songs by some stuffy, older conservative guys?  For context, lets look at these individuals self described 5 favorite songs. (Links source to the Imus lists)

 Donald Trump 

For someone like the Donald, it’s hard to know if he ever does anything sincerely, unless sincerity is what is needed for self aggrandizement.  If this is an honest list I think the most noteworthy thing is that all the songs attempt to express an emotion.  For someone who seems robotic and alien, it puts a human touch on Trump.  You’d think he’d listen to John Cage experimental music or to white noise, but to him it would sound like the Beatles.

Bill O'Reilly

Bill will get you the O, with apparently less

Bill O’Reilly

Bill in contrast to Donald we can say with confidence is a terrestrial human being.  Most of his choices are feel good and upbeat, with the exception of the Elvis song, though it’s not like Kentucky Rain is Seasons In The Sun.  I’m thinking he arrived at this by figuring out what he bumps on his ear buds after hitting the sack drunk on a Saturday while his producer – I mean wife – sleeps next to him.

Beck

Guess what I’m gonna do with this finger?

Glenn Beck

Not that I particularly enjoy his picks, but Beck clearly is the biggest music fan of the bunch.  His list is entirely contemporary which might indicate he believes music is getting better as time goes by and that possibly if he were asked in ten years what his favorite tracks are they could be all different.  I think the exclusion of a single song from his youth indicates a bit of fraud however.  Even Trump included a song from the 60’s, which I guess is the farthest back he’s comfortable with being nostalgic, probably because he was still a relative peon then.

What does it all mean?

It certainly is a tad ironic Lady Gaga would show up on these guys’ lists. It’s almost like if Ted Nugent showed up on Rachel Maddow’s list.  I think they genuinely like the songs, but I believe there is a psychological explanation.

The brain can connect the senses with a memory that coincides with when the song was heard.  This can produce vivid memories and intense feelings associated with the song.  It’s why whenever I hear Girls, Girls, Girls by Motley Crue I’m transported in my mind to a random strip club.  I believe all these men use Lady Gaga in the same way, to conjure up a pleasant memory.

They say men are only as faithful as their options, and these guys have a lot of options.  For one they are filthy rich and two they are famous and work in entertainment.  Those two qualities ensure these men’s options will be as prolific as spheres in a ball pit – worldwide day or night; a gold digger can smell money on other planets.

My theory is that Lady Gaga is the favorite artist of these men’s side pieces, aka goomars aka mistresses and as a result they associate Lady Gaga with being knee deep in a 23 year old that without the money and fame would feel awkward shaking hands with them.  Every time they hear these Lady Gaga songs, in their mind they are laying pipe in an exclusive neighborhood when under normal circumstances they would be on Tinder with their college photo talking about their great personality.  Or chilling with wifey, assuming they’d still be married.  Keep in mind the subjects we’re dealing with.

Of course that’s just conjecture as I’m not a mind reader (and I don’t need another day in court).  Occam’s Razor would tell us that removing all assumptions we should take them at their word though that is technically assuming they were being forthright about their favorite songs.  I don’t trust a razor I can’t shave with anyway.

In all fairness these guys distort the truth to millions to the tune (wink) of millions every day for self enrichment and involuntary notoriety interpreted as sanctimony to some, verity to others.  What’s a little marital infidelity in comparison?

While there was no lack of interesting tidbits from Imus’ page, here are a select few:

Chris Christie picked 5 Bruce Springsteen songs.  Ultra fan boy CC couldn’t bring himself to even consider another artist having better songs than Bruce.  I never understood the phenomenon of  getting intensely attached to one group and seeing them play over and over again.  In fairness, he could have done a lot worse.  A lot.  This essentially reveals however that Christie is loyal to what he wants to be, not necessarily what he should be.  I mean, he didn’t even throw in a Southside Johnny song.  Nope.  Every New Year’s Eve Christie cries himself to sleep playing Glory Days.

Cesar MilanDavid Patterson, Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace all had Empire State of Mind by Jay Z and Alicia Keys.  Andrea Tantaros, Jeanine Pirro and Mike Tyson also listed Jay Z songs.

Hulk Hogan picked three songs by his daughter Brooke.  Yeah OK Hulkster.

One of former Governor Mike Huckabee’s favorite songs is Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix.  Mike buddy, you DO understand it’s about drugs right?

 

You Can’t Say That! (Part 1)

Posted in At The Races, Ethics/Morals, General, Print, Race, Society, You Can't Say That! with tags , , , , on March 29, 2014 by Lupa

Shhhh

In today’s knee jerk politically correct society, one where context is considered superfluous, certain words have been thrown in the linguistic equivalent of incarceration.  The words are referred to by the letter they start with, part of the process of debasing them like a prisoner’s inmate number.  They also have to sit in the corner and think long and hard about what they’ve done.

Does one have true freedom of speech if one feels external pressure from society to never say these words, regardless of semantics?  To me it’s a rhetorical question.  One of the unique, irrevocable features of humans is the freedom to choose the words to express him or herself.  Even in prison one can still choose to communicate, or not communicate, in any manner one chooses.  The placement of some words in an area where the effect of their use is predetermined regardless of the user’s nuance undermines every individual’s right to autonomous self expression.

There is no word that is too vile to ever utter or write because that excludes the possibility of the discussion of why.  If every word is inherently unnatural, the man made high fructose syrup of human communication (as opposed to laughter, the sugar which is found everywhere and in everything), then these words don’t simply exist, they became.  Knowing how something became is commonly known as… oh yeah right, history, something kind of important I guess.  The following is my thoughts on some of these words.

Gay/Faggot/Fag

As is commonly known the word gay is accepted appropriate vernacular to refer to homosexuality, particularly male homosexuality.  As your grandparents and drunk uncles on Christmas will tell you though, gay once referenced happiness.  How or why the transition occurred, I don’t know.

In addition to the “legitimate” use of the word gay there exists a second definition considered a slur, which is gay referencing things/people which lack appeal or things/people which act in a variety of disapproving ways including but not limited to underhandedness, lamness and a lack of fortitude.

In my opinion the word gay can be used in the negative respect for numerous reasons.  First and most direct to the point, it has already made a nonsensical evolution from happy to homosexual.  That’s what is commonly referred to as a precedent.  This precedent aside, I use it to make comparisons in a simultaneously literal and satirical sense.  Allow me to explain.

I have no issue at all with homosexuality.  I consider it a valid, healthy lifestyle and am appreciative of the discrimination gays face.  I believe they should be able to marry and do anything else that a heterosexual person can do.

That said however, the sight of male homosexual acts, even relatively benign ones, makes me uncomfortable.  It’s visceral.  Seeing two men kissing provokes an uneasiness in me.  I would consider it an act of torture if I were forced to watch gay porn, no exaggeration.  Torture.  I can assure you I would throw up.  If this makes me defective in some way, well that quality will have some company along with my other deficiencies.

Consequently when I use the word gay negatively, I am meaning something is so far from what I would accept or enjoy as to be absurd.  It makes reference to something I reject by way of its association with gay acts, not the abstract gay existence; the act of sodomy not two men falling in love.

In this regard it lacks any hateful qualities to make it a full fledged slur.  I’m not saying it belongs in most areas of the public sphere, however it has it’s place and that place has a right to exist as my intent is not to denigrate gays, but the gay acts.  Faggot on the other hand is an entirely different story, depending on who you ask.

I acknowledge faggot/fag is deeply offensive to many and it’s casual use is anathema to them, however it’s utterance in the negative light is not necessarily a blanket determiner of bigotry.  In a very simple way faggot is a derogatory slang reference to a man who commits homosexual acts, but like “gay”, not necessarily a bigoted, hateful exposition of the homosexual lifestyle.

What any individual attempting to use these words in their disputed or disavowed definitions needs to keep in mind is that regardless of one’s intent, these words set many people off.  An individual will meet deserved scorn in society for attempting to use these words in that way without a substantial amount of discretion.  In other words, what you say for whatever reason with your friends is in a private cache of words and discourse, similar to how you really feel about your boss.  In a public arena or among strangers your personal nomenclature doesn’t apply anymore than any random word you assign a new meaning to.  Keep this usage for those you know will understand the context of your meaning, straight or gay, don’t assume or face the consequences.

 Nigger/Nigga

In contrast to the above words, nigger does not refer to a set of actions, it is a direct insult to the inherent nature of a person.  It is entirely existential.  It strikes a person’s constitution, not their actions or decisions.

There are no uncontroversial uses of nigger or nigga and many believe there is no real distinction between the two words.  Without parsing this subject, I’ll paraphrase 2Pac and say niggers are black people with ropes around their neck hanging from trees while niggas are blacks with gold ropes around their neck hanging out in clubs.  Pronouncing niggER is seen as having universal connection to its original racist intent, while niggA is commonly seen as the co-opted version of the word with the potential for positive or neutral connotations.

No person of any race can refer to another as a niggER in a positive light, as that word in that pronunciation has no accepted positive inferences.

The usage of nigger by any individual in a non hateful way is limited to academic discussion and well designed/executed satire.  The purpose of satire is criticism, whether that is good-natured or not depends on the implementation.  Every word considered to be at the extreme of bad taste has an application in academic discussion and in ironic use.  You are either discussing why it is what it is or using it’s influence to affect a different point.  Let me make clear this is definitely not fodder for a public display of using nigger ironically or academically by anyone.

Nigga has a more convoluted existence.  To some groups, primarily blacks, but to lesser extents other minorities and to a further lesser extent whites, nigga is not only acceptable, but indispensable.  I once tasked a teenager I knew to go the rest of our discussion without saying nigga and the concerted effort necessary was easily apparent.  Just like some people can not speak without saying words such as “like” or “you know” nigga as filler material is as much stuck to some.

In order to use nigga in the public sphere in a non-ironic acceptable way (to the extent it can be and to those who will accept) is first to be either black, mixed with black or generally all other ethnic minorities to a lesser extent.  Other than that, there really isn’t any other limitations to being confused as being racist other than saying something else racist in tangent e.g. “I hate black niggas, they never work” or “Gay niggas should die.”  I’ve never seen a white person say nigga with no irony and it be completely accepted, if only because I didn’t accept it.

In my opinion the word nigga today is more related to ghettos and the social/economic retardation there than to African American vernacular.  Educated blacks, older blacks and middle/upper class blacks use it in nowhere near the same frequency as most segments of ghetto populations.  Neil Degrasse Tyson is from the Bronx, but it’s hard to see him greet his friends with a “my nigga!”

Part of it’s popularity stems from entertainment depicting a predominantly narrow, unflattering segment of the black experience.  Perhaps hip hop embraced it as they did in part due to the Blaxploitation movies of the 70’s they grew up watching.  It didn’t introduce the word to them, but it provided a glamorous reference point.  Whereas the real pimps and gangsters of the neighborhood were using it much like others, these characters have the benefit of being characters, living however their writers imagined them, not bound by reality.

These characters functioned as essentially realistic superheroes for these kids, people able to overcome the ghetto through subversive methods, get filthy rich at the same time yet remain in the ghetto and be an integral part of it, all in a conspicuous flashy manner and ending happily or gloriously.  The rapper archetype is a natural progression, though the rapper unlike the pimp before him had the benefit of being in a legitimate industry and having a product that eventually became as mainstream as any other commodity.  They also reaped the benefits of newer media, allowing them to travel further faster than a locomotive.

My final thought on this is I encourage everyone to see 12 Years a Slave to get a loud and clear depiction of nigger/nigga’s intended vulgarity.  “My nigga” meant MY nigga.  Ownership.  Property.  It’s use in subjugating the slaves and denying them humanity was instrumental.  They weren’t people, they were niggers; subhuman forms of life that need a word created for them because they are an abomination in a perfect white world.  Rather poignant stuff.

Check back soon as I continue this dissection of society’s most taboo words such as bitch, retard and tranny.

De Blasio De Dunce & Wise Wilhelm

Posted in Current Events, General, NY/NJ, Politics, Print, Society with tags , on March 22, 2014 by Lupa
New Yorkers keep electing guys from Massachusetts and wonder why this happens...

New Yorkers keep electing guys from Massachusetts and wonder why this happens…

Bill de Blasio has been mayor for 80 days, which is technically 115,200 New York minutes.

As eager he is to tell you about his “tale of two cities” he is less enthusiastic about telling you the tale of two mayors and two standards.

This isn’t because he literally became a different person.  Some might not be aware Bill de Blasio was born Warren Wilhelm Jr.  I have no issue with his name change reflecting his mother’s last name and what he was called growing up, however it can not be overlooked his legal name change coincided with his initial run for NYC office, and he couldn’t make up his mind after the first time he changed his name.

Wilhelm sounds Naziesque, and just sounding Nazi related is no good in New York.  That had to go.  Regardless of his motives, as I haven’t mastered mind reading yet (fingers crossed), the figurative imagery is undeniable; this is a person that is willing to become someone else for political expediency.

Yeah he whipped ass in the general election, though he barely made it out of the primary.  The fact he could ultimately crush up his competition is only indicative of how weak the field was.  Not to mention only 24% of registered voters actually voted, down from when 93% of registered voters voted for mayor in 1953, and 57% in 1993 when Giuliani first got elected.  That wasn’t de Blasio though anyway, that was Wilhelm the real brains behind the operation.

De Blasio is just the proxy in which Wilhelm comes through.  Wilhelm is the pragmatic one, he knows what he has to do to get something he wants.  He also knows now that he has power – for lack of a way of saying it I enjoy more – nobody can say shit to him.  He’s our Daddy now.

De Blasio meanwhile is the supposed populist ideologue with a black, former lesbian wife who will mend the divisions which create the two cities.  He’s the public relations veneer.  To whatever extent de Blasio’s success is, Wilhelm will have engineered it.  Like opposite sides of a coin de Blasio is the face and Wilhelm the foundation.  He’s the one who knew his made for TV son Dante would ingratiate him to a city which prides diversity.  He’s also the one whose level of scruples includes exploiting, I mean utilizing, his teenage son for his own professional gain.

Consider his tale of two cities refrain, a dish rich in irony and actually first served up by Chef Fernando Ferrer in 2001.  The economic and social disparity which exists aside, regular citizen Wilhelm could never speed and run through stop signs with impunity, let alone an officially sanctioned NYPD speed racer like Mayor de Blasio does.  Did I mention this speed adventure was preceded by the unveiling of Vision Zero, a campaign to reduce traffic fatalities, two days earlier?  Puppet Master Wilhelm knows that having the job is different then when you are trying to get it.  After all there might be two cities, but there’s still only one mayor.

Of course de Blasio, the facade, will purport to believe he is not superior or exceptional to the average citizen.

He is so committed to his propaganda, er beliefs, he included shoveling snow on his official mayor’s schedule, including the cameo by NYC’s favorite well coiffed and afroed teenager.  While the snow shoveling was planned I doubt the asinine act of shoveling with sneakers was intentional, though he managed to have the inadvertent audacity to dole out snow shoveling advice.  His zeal for fronting overcame his common sense.  People like a hot plate of BS that tastes good, but when the ingredients of the dish become apparent, people want a refund.  

De Blasio’s tendency to bait and switch or act hypocritically is a well stocked bar.  He brought Police Commissioner Bill Bratton back even though he is an architect of stop and frisk, a practice de Blasio constantly railed against and made a centerpiece of his campaign.  Perhaps my favorite flavor of his proprietary duplicity is the increase of jaywalking tickets by almost 800% while having no problem jaywalking with his city paid security team.

This guy is a piece of work, or maybe not.  His rule is the product of being the last person standing amongst a field of cripples.  The honeymoon period of “anyone else but Bloomberg” is over.  Like the day after a one night stand fueled by inebriation, New Yorkers are cracking their eyes open at 9A and finally getting a good glimpse of what they went to bed with.  And it’s a lot different than the guy buying us drinks while trying to get in our pants.

Who Is A Native New Yorker?

Posted in Bill de Blasio, General, NY/NJ, Print, Society with tags on March 20, 2014 by Lupa

NYC

The native New Yorker is one of the definitive archetypes of our time, emulated ad nauseam to a possibly unprecedented extent.  Perhaps no identification is as self aggrandizing and loaded.  To proclaim one’s status as a native New Yorker is to align oneself with the classic depiction of New York as a labyrinth of concrete and brick where there is no tolerance for nonsense and one can endure harm at any point.  Oh, and the universe moves time differently, hence the term “New York minute”, which means you think faster than you can actually think and pack more into your time than anyone else.

What exactly is a native New Yorker?  It’s not as easy to define as one may think.

New York City in the classic sense is Manhattan, “the city.”  Every other borough is considered a suburb of Manhattan, regardless of how urban the environment may be.  All the outer boroughs are on a distinctly lower level of status; at some point if you had anything going for you or big ambitions, you moved to Manhattan.  The “City That Never Sleeps” is not Queens.

Today the idea of Manhattan being the extent of NYC is outdated, as it should be I believe, possibly due to the success (or infamy) outer borough natives had in the city and their impact on NYC.  The outer boroughs came up – though without confusion – they still have a lower status than Manhattan.

For all intents and purposes outer borough people generally were always native New Yorkers, it’s just the recognition of those places on a level approaching equal to Manhattan was lacking, and it still is (minus the recent emergence of Brooklyn as being superior to Manhattan to some).  However, are all the natives of the outer boroughs native New Yorkers?  It’s hard to say.

What is typical in the Bronx and Brooklyn is less common in Queens and somewhat rare in Staten Island.  Queens is kind of like if you combined Brooklyn with Jersey, and Staten Island is interchangeable with Jersey.  I’ve heard Staten Island described as being “more Jersey than Jersey.”   Can a person raised in the suburban parts of these boroughs really relate to those from the aforementioned brick and concrete jungles?  Moreover, do the natives of these areas have more in common with people from New Jersey than with classic NYC?

One can argue a person from the direct NY metropolitan areas in New Jersey has a greater connection to Manhattan and thus can also be considered NYC natives possibly more so than anyone from Staten Island.  Let’s remember, Staten Island as a whole lacks a number of elements present in every other borough and in these parts of Jersey: a direct bridge or tunnel to Manhattan and train service to Manhattan.  Let’s also remember that these parts of NJ are just as geographically close as the outer boroughs (and closer than Staten Island).  Staten Island is unquestionably more isolated from Manhattan than these places in NJ.

I hate to rail on Staten Island (or not) as I know a number of people from there, but it also lacks any appeal that exists in the other boroughs.  Manhattan is Manhattan, Brooklyn is now battling Manhattan for relevancy and has the Barclay’s Center and Coney Island.  Queens has the Mets and US Open.  The Bronx, the Yankees.  There is literally no attraction that would bring the average person to Staten Island.  You only go there to see people you know, people you didn’t meet there because people don’t go there.  The Ferry is free for a reason.

Having included Jersey in the conversation, I would be remiss to not comment on places in New York state geographically close to NYC but not a part of it i.e. Westchester and Long Island.  In my mind none of those people can really claim to be native New Yorkers.  At the very least you have to actually be from a place in NYC.   I will acknowledge some of those areas feel just like NYC, like Yonkers, but then again so does Jersey City.  Someone from Montauk or Scarsdale is not fooling anyone.

It then presents the question, what does it mean to be “from” a place?

For me, a person who has spent a substantial part of their formative lives (childhood/adolescence) can claim nativity to that place.  Also, I think a person can have spent so much time in NYC and become a quasi native New Yorker.  For example, DJ Premier is from Houston, but he spent so much time in Brooklyn and absorbed so much of its influence it’s hard not to think of him as a native New Yorker.  Having full fledged New Yorkers co sign you helps also.

Extended further, does this mean a transplant old enough to have experienced the old, grittier NYC and spent a considerable amount of time there is just as much a New Yorker as natives who grew up post Guiliani?  Again hard to say.  What NYC is about isn’t exclusively related to the stereotypical qualities of traditional NYC.  Just because a neighborhood is safe, doesn’t mean it’s not New York City.

The End… for now.

(The Cartel does not believe in necessarily having concluding paragraphs which tidily summarize all the preceding ones.)

Curtis Sliwa On Loving EDM, NYC Clubs of the 70’s and Raving in 80’s London

Posted in Curtis Sliwa, Interview, Interviews, Law & Order, Legends of NYC, Music, NY/NJ, Print, Radio, Society with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2014 by Lupa
You heard it here first...

You heard it here first…

Curtis Sliwa, former night manager of a Bronx McDonald’s turned founder of the crime patrol group The Guardian Angels, longtime conservative radio host and victim of a botched Gambino crime family hit allegedly on the orders of John Gotti Jr, has decided to come out of the closet to the Lupa Cartel as a full fledged member of… dance culture????

In an exclusive interview Curtis recounts his love of music, specifically dance music, which endures to this day.  Directly following the interview is a playlist made by Curtis with some of his favorite tracks.

Curtis’ detractors will no doubt be inclined to view these surprising, hard to believe admissions as some sort of scheme to stay relevant and believe it to be a figment of what many say is Curtis’ wild imagination (like Curtis has ever made something up).   To that I can confidently call BS and I offer this as evidence pointing to his early progressive nature.

As recounted by former Sopranos actor Carl Capotorto (Little Paulie), whom Curtis managed when he worked at the McDonald’s in the Fordham section of the Bronx, Curtis officiated what was possibly New York’s first gay marriage ceremony in the Soundview projects including his account of Curtis’ rather animated disco dancing during the reception.  In 2014 it’s questionable if you can do a gay marriage ceremony in a Bronx project without some issue.  In 1977 I imagine it very well could have gotten someone killed.

Curtis at the party following the gay wedding he officiated in the BX

Curtis at the party following the gay wedding he officiated in the BX.  Either Curtis just stepped out of a sauna or he was bustin moves on the floor.  For the record, Bronx projects don’t have saunas,  unless you count lack of AC.

Keeping that third party account in mind, it should compel any cynic to take the following at face value: Curtis was a dance machine before it had acceptance in Canarsie, the heavily guido neighborhood in Brooklyn he grew up in.  I’m not talking about Snookie, Paulie D, Jersey Shore guido either.  I’m talking O.G., original guido; a time when a man simply dancing could be interpreted as a homosexual act, or in their parlance being “half a fag.”

Lupa:  What kind of music did you grow up listening to?

Curtis: When I was a young little huckleberry naturally radio – the old style radio – was the only kind of music to listen to.  I listened to WWRL which is R&B on the AM dial, sampled WMCA which was breaking Top 40, WINS which is all news now would also break a little Top 40.  Never listened to WABC because it only played the Top 40, but I loved R&B and WWRL was the place to go.

Lupa:  And this was in the 60’s…

Curtis:  This was in the 60’s and naturally everything from Sinatra to Dean Martin, which I didn’t like, but it was part of the Italian culture growing up, and then all other songs in between from The Monkees to the Beatles to the Rolling Stones.  The Stones caught my attention and then eventually when it came to hard rock The Who and Led Zeppelin.  But it was really R&B that always held sway, so Sly Sylvester Stewart and the Family Stone was my all time favorite at the time but there were other groups.  I would listen to War, Tower of Power, groups that weren’t necessarily at the top of the charts, but when given the choice to watch Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and Don Cornelius’ Sooooooouuuuuullllll Train, it was Soul Train that I watched over and over and over again and I would dis and dismiss Dick Clark and American Bandstand.

Curtis as a teenage meeting the biggest Dick to ever occupy the Whitehouse.  This was after being selected Newpaper Boy of the Year for his part in rescuing a family from a burning building while on his route for the NY Daily News

Curtis as a teenager meeting the biggest Dick to ever occupy the Whitehouse. This was after being selected Newspaper Boy of the Year for his part in rescuing a family from a burning building while on his route for the NY Daily News.  Look at that jacket!

Lupa:  So when disco came along, the dance music of the 70’s, were you into that also?

Curtis:  I was totally into disco, but I didn’t just discard like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, which was my favorite rock/folk music group, cause I like that genre too.  But when given the choice I much preferred to go dancing late at night because that’s what the ladies liked and when you grew up in Canarsie, or you went to East New York or Brownsville or places like that most guys were gavones. They didn’t want to get up and dance.

There were three types of guys A. the sitters, the guys who would sit or stand and stand and glare, B. the guys who were waiting for the slow jams so they could grind on the dance floor and cop a feel.  That didn’t require any great skill level.  C. the guys who liked to step out and do the hustle.  So if you had any kind of fluid motion, if you could churn and turn a young lady on the dance floor, if you could twist and just bend, the ladies were queuing up to dance with you because all the gavones, all the Italian stallions, were sitting on the sidelines thinking that was totally unmacho.  And this was before Saturday Night Fever and John Travolta so I got into the dance mode very early in my growth period.

Lupa:  How accurate would you say Saturday Night Fever was in representing that time, place and culture?

Curtis:  Oh yeah, Saturday Night Fever was very, very accurate at sort of bringing together the street and the culture because Travolta wasn’t a hitter, he wasn’t a member of organized crime, he was a pretender, a poser as a tough guy.  You punch Travolta in the face and he would have had an immediate mental collapse because remember, it was all about his look.  It was all about him primping up like he was a peacock.  But his ability on the dance floor was what I would always seek to achieve but then again remember, there were other dance styles incorporated by blacks and Hispanics.  So you had the robot that blacks loved to do at the time, the Patty Duke, the bus stop, the hustle obviously which was more in line with what you saw in Saturday Night Fever, but then salsa and merengue.  So I dabbled in a little bit of everything.  Often times I just created my own dance steps.  I would go when I was a night manager at Mickey D’s in the Bronx and close at 2 in the morning and go to the late night red light clubs, the illegal clubs.

Whoever photoshops a picture of Curtis' head onto Travolta from Saturday Night Fever wins a special prize... free access to this website!

Whoever photoshops a picture of Curtis’ head onto Tony Manero wins a special prize… free access to this website!

Lupa:  What were the names of some of them?

Curtis:  There were no names!  They were illegal joints.  Sometimes they would move from place to place.  They didn’t have liquor licenses.  Everything was supposed to be closed by 2, they were open til 6, 7 in the morning.  It was an eclectic mix of people on the fringes of society.  Drug dealers, gangbangers, heterosexual couples who had already been at regular clubs.  A tremendous eclectic mix.

A lot of times they were frequented by these big bull dagger lesbian women with their… females who were – the best way to describe them at that time – is that they were young ladies who were intimidated by men, they had had bad experiences with men, but they loved music, they loved dancing, they were there with the bull daggers – clearly lesbians – but they hadn’t sort of lost the attraction to guys.  So I would be there to try to pick off what they called at the time “fag hags.”  These were young ladies intimidated by heterosexual men, probably because they had been battered, bruised and taken advantage of.  Because I could dance so well often times I would attract them out to the dance floor, have great conversations with them, until all of a sudden a woman would step in between wearing construction boots and telling me to mind my P’s and Q’s and I knew it was time to do the bird.

Lupa:  What about the mainstream clubs like Studio 54?

Curtis:  No, I would have never have been chosen because I smelled like a McDonald’s french fry and hamburgers at 2 in the morning.  I was low budget.  These were clubs where there was a lot of illegal activity going on, illegal drugs, it wasn’t part of my thing.  Guns.  All kinds of vices going on in the back rooms.  I was there to DANCE.  I mean, I was like a Whirling Dervish.  From the time that I got in there at 3 in the morning till the break of dawn at 6 in the morning, that’s all I was doing, dancing.  Not with guys.  Just looking for females to dance with and there were lots, cause again, a lot of women would show up, they would be good dancers, hardcore lesbians, but they would see I was the only one out there on the dance floor.  They didn’t mind doing the boogaloo, the bump, all kinds of dances they probably wouldn’t have normally engaged a heterosexual male in.

Lupa:  In the 80’s came the rise of techno, house music, rave parties.  I understand you went to a rave in England?

Curtis:  I was over in England to bring the concept of the Guardian Angels to the West Indian Caribbean community of which most lived in council estates.  I was over in the Wandsworth section of South London, and I had gotten stabbed up while making a presentation to their youth by their youth supervisors all of whom were working what they call the dole.  20 hours of work as counselors, then they would get put on the dole and they were all working off the books at The Fridge which was a club in the south end of London, a notorious club, very rough.  After I got stabbed up and I was recovering from multiple wounds to my mouth I was still trying to develop the Guardian Angels and people said “if you want a lot of young people, you gotta to go to a rave.”

Lupa:  What year was this?

Curtis:  I’d say ’87, ’88, ’89 somewhere in that time period.  So I said “what’s a rave?”  They’d say it’s a collection of young people, they get together usually in warehouses or community rooms in council estates and they just play music nonstop.  There’ll be sweating and the atmosphere will be almost putrid because of all the body smells, but the music is great, the lights are dimmed and it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced over in the States.

So I walked in one time to what had originally been a factory of some type, I think spinning wool, all the machinery was down and off in the corner there were like hundreds of these people sweating. You could smell the body odor because they had obviously been out on the dance floor for hours but they were like in a trance.  They were like Whirling Dervishes.  I loved the pulsating sound of the music.  I loved the way they would segue way from song to song after long periods of time.  This isn’t like disco where you’d have a three minute song and then they would try and merge into a different song.  Some of these songs would go on for a half hour!   The beats would change but it would still pretty much be the same song.  Then it would have the urge to merge with another song and I fell in love with what was rave music.  There was nothing like it back in the States.  Nothing I could find on the radio, certainly nothing like this I could find in the underground.

Curtis and The Guardian Angels outside the Bronx McDonald's Curtis worked at in the 70's and started The Guardian Angels

Curtis and The Guardian Angels outside the Bronx McDonald’s where Curtis worked at in the 70’s and started The Guardian Angels

Lupa: Didn’t you have a responsibility to try and shut them down or call the cops?

Curtis:  Well actually I felt an identification with the ravers because they were ostracized, they were like nomads, Bedouins, they had to move from place to place.  They had to squat on property.  The bobbies, if they knew of their existence, would have put them out of existence but they were curmudgeons, crabby crumb cakes.  They were out of it.  So I really identified with all the rave people.

Now a lot of them they were in a drug induced psychosis.  Special K, ecstasy they were all emerging and they were taking drugs to enhance the experience.  To me it was like a natural mood elevator.  To this day when I need extra energy I’ll put on techno music, house music, rave music, play it over and over.  People here at WABC where I’m broadcasting once again will tell you about times where they would come in at 3, 4 in the morning when I was doing the morning show and they would be blasted off the foundations listening to this rave music coming from the office and that would be the way I would pump up before the show cause I had only had 2, 3 hours sleep.

Lupa:  Have you ever heard of PLUR?  Peace, love, unity, respect?  It’s like a rave mantra.

Curtis:  No, and in fact if you were to ask me the names of my favorite songs or the DJ’s who were actually responsible for putting together the music and the groups, I would be able to identify them by the sound of the songs but not by acronyms or terminology or groups that would get together.  I’m very much what you could call a free agent.  I love all this music and I think it surprises people, as I approach 60 years old, that I would be into techno, rave, dance music of this type that goes on and on and on till the break of dawn.  In fact, there have been periods where people have left me, come back two, three hours later and they say “are you still playing that same song?”  Cause all I would do is play it over and over again.  I would have it on rewound (sic) and that would be the only song cause I would like completely bug out to it.

Lupa:  What’s the final thing you’d like to say to anyone that had no idea you were into this kind of music?

Curtis:  Not only was I so into it and still am, but I remember this past summer when they were conducting the Electrical (sic) Daisy Carnival on Randall’s Island (*I had previously misinformed Curtis it was EDC when it was Electric Zoo) that was supposed to go three days but they had to cut it short, that when I was coming over the Triborough Bridge going from Manhattan, Harlem to Queens and I heard the music and I saw the lights pulsating down there on Randall’s Island and the bodies just moving in tandem.  I told the Guardian Angels “PULL OVER TO THE SIDE!  PULL OVER!  I NEED TO LISTEN TO THIS!”  I must have been there for a half hour just grooving.  And it was European DJ’s that were dominating, there’s no doubt. As much as I want America to be #1, second to none, when it comes to rave, house, techno, dance music, the Europeans dominate.

Curtis & Kuby

Below you will find a playlist Curtis made of some of his favorite techno, EDM, whatever you call it songs, with some commentary on each track. Make sure and listen to Curtis back on the air with acclaimed attorney Ron Kuby 12-3P Mon-Fri on 77 WABC in NYC and you can find the stream at WABC or the I Heart Radio app.  Besides having a great show with great chemistry, Ron also happens to be The Dude Jeff Lebowski’s legal counsel of choice!

Above & Beyond ft Richard Bedford – Sun & Moon 

Curtis:  This is so appropriate to house/techno music cause you could start when there was sun shining out and play this song till the moon was shining and then until the sun came out again.  Ohhhh, then it just gets into that nice little slow move and then just breaks wild again.

BT & Andrew Bayer – The Emergency

Curtis:  Emergency.  It’s my entire life, emergency, one big 9-1-1 call responding.  I love the flow of the music here because it has the urge to merge.  So if you’re on the dance floor this is where you get up tight, close and like really, really personal.

Ercola – Every Word

Curtis:  These… songs… are the bomb!  It’s OK when a guy sings it but when you hear that female voice vibrate through both your ears.  Then you start listening to the strains and pains in her voice and the anguish of the song.  You just melt, and you imagine she’s melting right into your arms.

Freemasons ft Wynter Gordon – Believer

Curtis:  One of my all time favorite techno/house songs because I fancy myself as a true believer and people who would be out on the dance floor after 4, 5 hours they’re true believers in the music cause it requires the flow to just pump through every vein and artery in your body.  When this song comes on, knock out the lights.

Kaskade – Angel On My Shoulder

Curtis:  Ohhhh, it’s like you’re just floating, from the subways to the streets, and the name of the song definitely attracted me.  Angel On My Shoulder.  Since I created the Guardian Angels it is so appropriate that music like this would be pulsating through my cerebellum and medulla when I would board that number 4 train, that mugger’s express.

Katy Perry – Waking Up In Vegas (Manhattan Clique Remix)

Curtis:  Katy Perry, Lady Gaga.  I go with the Gaga goo goo girl except when it comes to this song Waking Up In Las Vegas.  Anyone who has ever been to that town where the former mayor said “whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” knows why her pitch and rhythm fits this city like a finely tuned glove.

Kim Sozzi – Secret Love

Curtis:  Listen to how Kim Sozzi’s voice just jumps from octave to octave and it’s almost like you can imagine yourself chasing her out on the dance floor.  And this is live and local.  She’s a Long Island girl, so she’s got everything the 5 boroughs is comprised of.  She could have been on the BQE heading in to a club in Brooklyn or Queens to sing this very song.

Maniacalm ft LALA – Never Forget You

Curtis:  THIS.  IS.  THE.  BOMB!  This is dedicated to every girl that I had to be extricated from on the dance floor.  Either because, feet don’t fail me now, I gotta get outta here before her boyfriend gives me a beatdown and his friends gather round.  Or it was just getting too hot, too heavy and either the woman knew it was time to turn off the faucet or I’d recognize it was time to take a coooooooold shower.

Obama to Colorado: “Drop Dead”

Posted in Drugs, Ethics/Morals, Law & Order, Marijuana, Politics, Society with tags , , on November 21, 2013 by Lupa

Long, Ummm, Arm of The Law

As I type, the feds are raiding multiple medical marijuana businesses in Colorado.

The following is an op/ed I wrote for a marijuana related publication in Sept when the federal government released a memo saying they would essentially respect state laws.  They declined to publish it.  In my opinion, it is now rather prescient.

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“Memo Legislation”

The Department of Justice recently released a memo outlining how they plan to reconcile the conflict over federal (and supreme) law with the decisions by voters to legalize recreational marijuana here in CO and in WA.  I call it memo legislation, and like a 13 year old girl on Facebook I so wish there was a dislike button for it.

For one I didn’t know it was still 1998.  I bet someone printed a copy of that memo 100 times on a dot printer, tossed the sides like bread crusts and gave it to each individual by hand.  I would be surprised if Eric Holder doesn’t have a rolodex.  I bet they have it saved on a floppy disk too.  What wasn’t made public was President Obama’s memo directing the federal government to use the office technology of the Clinton administration; he saw the way Bubba is liked these days and can’t see why it’s for any other reason.  Or at least someone wrote that down and he read it, but I digress.

Let me be unambiguously clear and honest: this administration does not want to legalize marijuana, or for that matter take any actual concrete and accountable measures to reduce the assault on rights marijuana users face by the government.  I think we can say that the buck stops with him.  His reasoning is irrelevant, but perhaps you might want to hear it when you need to kill time in a federal clink.  Let me continue this line of forthrightness and say that its basis for protecting you against federal prosecution is nonexistent.  It would be like using a garbage bag for a bullet proof vest.  They might have bad aim, but it wasn’t the trash bag that stopped those bullets from hitting you.  As an English major would say: it’s a red herring.

At this point in time in the Obama administration if they had an intent to actually do something concrete, I don’t know like attempting to repeal the law, even suggesting it is bad or introducing their own constitutional amendment, they would have done it.  To me what is most striking is Obama’s callousness.  He can, as the President of the United States take some perfectly reasonable steps unilaterally if he wanted to. Rescheduling marijuana from a DEA schedule 1 substance (“no medicinal value”) would at least nationally ease any concerns of the medical marijuana community.  Point blank this causes people who already in ill health to suffer more.  I find it difficult to believe a future president would schedule marijuana back, but it is entirely possible a different administration sends an email, not a memo, that says they will enforce every law the U.S. has.  Which is exactly what I want them to do.

It’s a cold and calculated indifference.  He can make a difference.  He chooses not to.

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