Hello Dan’l Webster

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Cabins shaded by Dawn Redwoods
Leafy roadways shadowed by Elms
From countries of foreign tongues
To airplanes where we slept
Forest City unfolded in front of us
The land of Finger Lakes, alluvial flood plains and gorges

It was there among the conifer forests
I found a stillness
A wet earthy smell
Wrapping its arms around me

I trotted across invisible boundaries
Set arbitrarily by those who wished
To instill safety into my existence
But safety offered no reward
Eyes could only see so far
And the unknown lay in front of me
Like a dark curtain closed across a stage
And I wanted the show to begin

Amphibious wonders
Crawling across the bright green moss
Hiding under the fern fronds
Fragile as newborn babies
Just born from the cool waters
Of the ponds and puddles

I collected them with care
And in my gently closed fists
They congregated and awaited inspection
My very own Dan’l Webster and Mr. Toad

Crossing back into the asylum that had been created
I am detected
By the gate keeper
Who had noticed my disappearance and alerted the guard
Ushered inside
I accepted my punishment
It was an acceptable risk
That I had taken on
And now I would pay the piper

For punishment is fleeting
But what my eyes had seen
My nose smelled
Hands held
And the unknown lands my feet had touched
Were memories I would keep
And fondly remember
For the rest of my long life

From Treasure to Trash

misslizgooden

Sometimes I wonder what will become of my things after I’m gone. Not that I have anything of value, but they are valuable to me. Will my milk glass collection end up donated and dusty on the shelves of some thrift store? Will my children each keep a piece as a memento? Will my husband be glad to finally rid our home of it?

Will my family sit around in a circle sifting through my memory box telling “mom stories” as they come across every birthday, Mother’s Day, and Christmas card they’ve ever made me? Will they find the love notes they tucked in my purse years ago that I’ve saved all this time? Will all of it be tossed in the trash bin or perhaps framed and hung on the wall?

Will they sort through my boxes of jewelry, too cheap to even be considered “costume” and disregard the…

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Professor Five Footer – Hip-Hop 101

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*DOWNLOAD* A Tribe Called Quest Mixtape! – ONCE Electric Relaxation Sounds

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The year was 1992. I was a sophomore in high school. The only exposure to hip-hop that I had up until that point in my life was 3rd Bass and Whodini. I was not aware that it could morph. That it could teach a lesson. I had no idea hip-hop wasn’t about a sound but about a movement that incorporated art among others things to tell a story. And I for sure had never heard hip-hop that spun social issues into carefully crafted sonic landscape think pieces.

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But that morning in school my friend showed up with a “dubbed” copy of an album called “The Low End Theory” by a group called A Tribe Called Quest. It was a blank labeled Maxwell cassette tape that contained some of the most serious flows and beats that I had ever heard. It was a jazz infused trip that took me on a trip through Queens, NY. It took a few days but I finally got him to loosen his grip on the tape long enough for me to make my own dub of the dub. I carefully wrote the track listing on both sides of the album. At the time little could have made me part ways with Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’. But this was no contest. Shortly afterwards I caught their performance of “Scenario” on the Arsenio Hall Show.

A Tribe Called Quest – Live on the Arsenio Hall Show

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While the album introduced me to the formidable and unwavering talent of Q-Tip,  the flows I was truly loving was coming from Phife Dawg. The Five Foot Assassin, as he called himself. He might have been height challenged…but his flows….. I waited for them! The highlight of the album was the classic banger “Buggin’ Out”. Track #2 on the album. Made me a believer in everything Quest. And while Q-Tip was awesome, Dawg quickly became my favorite.

A Tribe Called Quest – Buggin’ out

Flash forward 24 years later and I can safely say that both The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders are still my top go-to albums. I count them as immense influences on me musically. They laid the groundwork for artists like Kendrick Lamar who might not have existed had ATCQ not shown the hip-hop world that Jazz was cool.

A Tribe Called Quest – Electric Relaxation

This morning I woke up to find out that at the age of 45, Phife Dawg passed away. Way too soon. Leaving a legacy behind that makes his absence seem surreal. I have spent all day listening to my favorite albums, remembering those days in high school when we met and the way he changed my entire life. He made me a better person who could see the world with a little better vision because I attended Professor Phife Dawg’s hip-hop 101 class. He helped a white kid living in the suburbs understand, even if just slightly, the trials and tribulations of being a black man from Queens. RIP Phife Dawg. Write some new verses so that when we get to Heaven we have some fresh stuff to jam to. Thanks for everything.

Now go download the amazing ONCE mixtape!! Link at the top.

The Lessons of the Loch

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I remember no one from that summer
25 years ago
Beneath the tilt-a-whirls
And green monsters

It was as if I had become Walden
Musing quietly to myself
Among the Clydesdales and bathroom disinfectant

It was a season for the books
The hot days of crop tops
And acid washed fabrics
Hip Hop Looney Tunes
And pagers

I was learning to be brave
To live alone for a little while
Before running back to the comfort of home
Where Mother washed my clothes
And Dad made me mow the lawn

I remember no one from that summer
25 years ago
Flying with the wolves
And escaping the ruins of Pompeii

It is as if I had been devoid
Of co-workers
And bosses
The faces aren’t blank
Because there are no bodies to attach to them
My spatial memory had failed
And the orientation of my plain
Remained unaltered and crisp

I was given responsibility
Over small children
The newly minted
Keeper of the convivial bunch
I moved about on my own
With an air of importance
I was a part of a moving puzzle
Entrusted to do my job with limited supervision

I remember no one from that summer
25 years ago
Hanging above the Rhine
And eating in beer halls

My paycheck was not monetary
It was freedom
The job was not monotonous
It was an indulgence in life
I scrubbed the thrones
And picked up Budweiser droppings
Not with disdain
But with an air of repletion

I remember no one from that summer
25 years ago

“Mad Max: Fury Road” Is a Modern Masterpiece

Matt's Media Reviews

The following is a little more than I normally write…  I have been working on this for a few months now and it is finally complete.  Enjoy!

TL;DR Mad Max: Fury Road isn’t MEDIOCRE

“Mad Max: Fury Road” isn’t good, great, or even fantastic. “Mad Max: Fury Road” (I will refer to it as MMFR from now on) is a modern masterpiece.  Never before have I seen a film so brash, crazy, and overall unapologetic in all my life.  I am a big fan of the originals, and all though this may sound like heresy, I believe MMFR transcends its predecessors.  Sure, the originals were fantastic and simple stories helmed terrifically.  However, when it comes to lasting impact, story, and cinematography they cannot hold a candle to the latest entry.  MMFR isn’t just the greatest action movie ever made, but one of the most unique, fresh, and gorgeous films to…

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Why We Need Sad Puppies

Mick On Everything

Mad Mike Williamson brilliantly took down true fans already, and pointed out the absurdity of claiming that he isn’t one. His argument, though, is essentially to point out that he has been part of the in crowd at cons for a long time, and had a damn lot of fun doing it.

Not to knock it (or Mike, if you’ve never heard of him Freehold is the jumping off point), but Mike’s post still excludes a lot of us. We have bona fides too, even if con attendance isn’t one of them.

Consider: I was born in 1980. Star Wars was a major part of my childhood. We had toys, lunch boxes, Christmas Specials (that we try to forget), and of course the movies. Everybody my age was a Star Wars fan. In the ‘80s, it was axiomatic.

We grew up with other scifi in our media too. I…

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