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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Are We Living In The Age of TMI???

*"Automatic push-button remote control, Synthetic Genetics, Command your Soul!"

This entry was written AFTER some questionable photos of the gross and gory kind arrived in my email. IT was that proverbial FINAL straw!

"Automatic push-button remote control, Synthetic Genetics, Command your Soul!
Automatic push-button remote control, Synthetic Genetics, Command your Soul!"

Have we become a society of useless information hoarders and dispensers? Perhaps the answer is already apparent when you consider the speed and frequency in which we are now able to send, process and dissect data. It’s just a little daunting, overwhelming, unnecessary, and, at times, just plain monotonous. Gone are those good ole days where we were able to be reserved, to retain a bit of privacy and maintain some personal mystery.

The Enigmatic Age of Gentle Finesse and Quiet Mystique has died a quick and senseless death.


I miss those days. I grieve those days. I yearn for the return of those lost and glorious days once more.


Nowadays people can and often will tell you the most personal, primal, private and mundane isht about themselves… and there are others on the opposite side of a screen who will not only process it, but eat it up… with glee! I just don’t get it. Don’t the rest of us have lives to live anymore? If not, just what in hell happened to them? Why has recording and reciting our existence become so imperative? It reeks of desperation to me. Why must our every deed be broadcasted to a world audience? Why in this world should anyone be so interested in where we are, what we’re doing, and who we’re doing it with, 24/7? Why should anyone really give a damn about what you had for dinner, where and with whom?

This tediously useless, deeply trivial isht is one of the reasons why to this very day, I refuse to join Twitter and so rarely visit Facebook, much less update my page and my status on that site. Truthfully, I can’t understand why anyone would care.


When did so many of us become such attention whores?


No. I’m not talking about celebrities and how they roll. With celebs, maybe others ‘follow’ them to get a sense, that, no matter our stations in life, we’re all here sharing the same planet where even the famous do normal, regular, mundane things, and yes, they can be just as dull, boring and uninteresting as the rest of us. Indeed. In today’s hyper-informative world, celebs often prove themselves to be very insecure people, quick to piss off, get angry, get into feuds, fights, differences of opinions, act a fool, and this becomes mindless brain-candy for the scrutinizing public. That’s all just sad to me. Some of these privileged people really reveal themselves to be all too human: flawed, foul and yes, fucked up. And although, I have to wonder: who gives a damn … apparently millions of people do!

No. Celebrities, in general, must drink the same flavor Kool-Aid, and they believe it makes them all-important and immortal. When sycophants, groupies and others blow enough smoke up your stank ass, continually tell you, yes(!), give you gobs of free stuff in swag bags, and pay you obscene green to go some place just to be photographed and be seen, you might just develop a tendency to think your feces don’t stink.

But here, I’m actually speaking of people, just regular, ordinary people (pipe in John Legend), living pedestrian little lives, in their own prosaic little burbs. Do they also want fame so much they are willing to whore out their images, their personal business, exploit their families and their very lives in the quest of becoming demi-stars? Are they so badly wanting to feel a part of something Larger than themselves, to the point where they don't bother setting personal limitations anymore? I wonder. Why is it that they suddenly think everything they do, feel, say or think must be recorded, reported on and validated by a mess of strangers?

Don’t get it twisted. I’m not completely against the concept of social media; after all blogging is a part of it. I actually see the need and the purpose for some forms of it, especially when one wants to pimp a product, sell something, plan an event gathering, or make an announcement to a large amount of people, often social media is an excellent way to reach a target market. I’m not against the concept of like minds meeting and I’ve actually made some good friends and met a few fascinating people I would not have known otherwise if we’d not become acquainted online. So, from that perspective social media can be a very useful and fulfilling thing, both professionally and personally.

But somewhere along the way, it all went awry... and it has gone from the sublime to the truly ridic. Now, you’ve got people who set up web pages, Facebook, My Space and Twitter pages devoted solely to their pets. Their pets, who talk, carry on conversations, tweet photos, and who flash quasi-literate, demi-charming personalities all their own. Please! No need for vicious emails or PETA protests lodged against me. I’ve nothing but love for our four-legged friends and this is not a slam against any creature within the...uh-ruh... critter community. But pets? Pets with personal web pages? WTF?

Ummm… note to the reasonably sane people: if most folks don’t know you, don't know who you are, or give a good damn about you, what makes you think your PET would be any more popular or interesting? And if by chance they are deemed more popular or interesting than you, well, how sad would that be?

People of all types, strata, ages and ilk have fallen into the annoying habit of broadcasting waaaay too much of themselves, about their lives, their mates, their kids, their fams, their vacations, their pets and their shopping purchases, until it’s become more than a tad or a tidbit over-indulgent… and the result of this is the complete and utter oversaturation of the self.

Could the frequency or the infrequency of their bowel movements be too far behind?


And please don’t get me started on the subject of cell phones.

Granted, I’m tres old skool. How is this for a concept? I actually use my phone to make occasional calls. That's it. That's all.

Wi-i-i-i-i-i-i-ild right?


I don’t play games on it. I don’t text. I don’t take or send pics with it. I wouldn't become totally null and void, be rendered completely destroyed, left catatonic in some fetal position nor would I be unable to cope with life, should it get lost or misplaced. I don’t depend upon my phone, like a dog with a bone, Linus with his security blanket or some itchy, jittering junkie needing his fix.

But apparently, I’m nearly alone in this practice and only using a phone to make calls, when necessary, makes me somewhat archaic. Fine. I’m good. I can live with this reality. Better that, than to overuse your phone to the point where you disturb and offend others in your idle time.

Just the other day a friend of mine thought it necessary to email me and a small tribe of other people pictures from a recent emergency room visit, along with (click) shots on a stretcher, (click) headshots vogueing a sick and forlorn expression, (click) close-ups including a snotty nose, chapped lips and all … I’m like WTF?

Question: Could you not have waited until you were back home, safe and sound to share that information? Could you not have waited until you had easy access to some freaking Kleenex and some damn Clapstick?

I’m just asking… what up wid dat?


Another person who I’ve known for a minute, felt it necessary to email this pic of a very gory–looking blood-raw and wounded arm shortly after surgery. Innnnn-tense! I damn near threw up! I just didn’t understand the purpose of sending me that madness. Call me crazy, but I’m just not a big fan of Large Gaping Wounds... in extreme close-up!!! Aiight? Personally, I don’t find that kind of thing vaguely entertaining in the least! Isn’t there such a concept as OVER-SHARING?

I mean, shouldn’t such graphic visuals come with a pre-warning or something?

It was then that I‘d finally had enough! It was necessary to let him know I was not so fascinated, nor amused. I’ve had to cuss out a few, and yes, I've gone OFF on people who think that their lives are so-o-o-o-o damned remarkable that their every activity becomes the stuff fit for some Oscar-worthy documentary.


Have we become a society of useless information feeders? Methinks the answer is already: “yes.”

To that concept, I say this: Stop this madness!

Is there a smartphone app out there that tells folks to: GET OVER YOURSELF!?

Maybe there should be!

Hey, how about a new app called Reality Check that straight-up tells you: Put Me Down, Damn it! You’re Boring! Read a book! No! Not a Kindle version! A real BOOK! Yo! Go Outside and Breathe Some Fresh Air Without Me As Your Crutch, Your Companion and Your Adoring Mirror! Seriously. Think of Some Thing or Someone... Other Than Yourself! Trust Me! You Really Ain’t All That!

I await the day when people embrace the concept of owning a certain mystique again. I long for a time, when they leave, not a picture of their wounds and how gross they can be... or of a meal and how they discarded it… but instead, what they do leave behind is left to the IMAGINATION. This is what truly makes people interesting: the good sense to know when to remain enigmatic.


"Automatic push-button remote control, Synthetic Genetics, Command your Soul!
Automatic push-button remote control, Synthetic Genetics, Command your Soul!
Automatic push-button remote control, Synthetic Genetics, Command your Soul!
Automatic push-button remote control, Synthetic Genetics, Command your Soul!"

Ya smell me?

I’m just sayin’.


* from Mean Machines by The Last Poets

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Ironic Irony of Icons Inexplicably Taking Their Leave Almost Simultaneously...

Has Anyone But Me Noticed That In Less Than a Month’s Time, Several Icons Have Taken Their Final Bow?

Maybe I’m living too long on this planet, although I seriously doubt it. Maybe all we baby-boomers are just beginning to realize our own mortality. Maybe. Maybe not. All I know is that during the month of April alone so many of the faces, personalities, talents and teachers who I came to know in childhood and who would remain so alive inside my conscience have suddenly vacated this building we call Life.

Although it’s never been my intent to turn my blog into an obituary column, there are some things, some people and some exits that I can not simply ignore. Such is the power, the presence, the influence and effect these figures have played in my life, and often times, in many of our lives.

First there was Gil Noble, who passed at age 80.


Chances are, if you’re not from the NYC area, or haven’t lived here in the last 40 years, you may have never heard of him. Should that be the case, I’ll feel sad for you, because Gil Noble was The Truth.

More than just a journalist, Gil Noble embodied a one man master class in Black History and thus, in a Larger Sense, American History. He was all those things we’d ever want a teacher to be: Inspired and inspiring. Articulate and attractive. Sturdy and serious. He possessed a sharp wit, and a spirit full of gravitas. Whether the subject of the day dealt with the metaphysics of Jazz or with Negro-leagues in baseball, basketball or sports history in general, Gil would lay it all down in a way we could understand and empathize. He brought you to the forefront. No need to imagine, because Gil Noble had a way of taking you there. No matter if his show was based upon community-related issues or political races, educational matters or vital lessons our schools and classrooms never taught us, he was known to truly tell it LIKE IT IS. And he enlightened us just as much as he instructed us.

It’s too bad that his program was only shown throughout the tri-state (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) area, because if it had been nationally syndicated, his reach would have been at least as extensive, and his effect just as seismic as that of Mike Wallace. Gil‘s iconic show, “Like It Is,” would appear every Sunday at noon to feed us knowledge, give us a sense of strength, pride and purpose, or to simply remind us that, no matter our personal struggles, we were not alone. “Like It Is” premiered at a time of cultural awakening. Its debut, back in 1968, coincided with the height of the Black Awareness/Black Power movement. Its marathon run ended just last year, after Mr. Noble suffered a debilitating stroke. That's well over 40 years of journalistic excellence! This is a television landmark equally and every bit impressive as 60 Minutes or Meet The Press. Gil Noble was a maverick. His exposés on slavery in the American south, African relief efforts, and drug addiction in the inner city were disturbing and yet necessary viewing. His documentaries on the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela are now legendary. His extensive interviews with Adam Clayton Powell, Fannie Lou Hamer, Sarah Vaughn, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Lena Horne are all now classics. The archives from those years are many and so rich with essential historical content that Mr. Noble wanted them maintained and made available for future generations. Having been a student of his, I truly hope his final wish is granted.

Thank you, Gil Noble, for having the courage and the conviction to tell our stories. Thank you for shedding a light upon so many of our unsung heroes. Thank you for the years of lessons and for the grace and wisdom in which you presented them. And most of all: THANK YOU FOR LOVING US SO MUCH!

Peace out, Gil Noble. Because of you, my sense of history is a bit sharper and my nature has been all the more inquisitive.

* * * * *

And speaking of sharp and inquisitive, this month, the world of journalism also lost Mike Wallace…


This cat was Epic. He too was one of those stoic figures that seemed to always be around, and he almost made us believe that he would always be, regardless of that grand equalizer called Time.

His career was as varied and long as it was long-ranging and prolific, and through the decades his reputation would become harder and more dogmatic. 60 Minutes gave us the essential Mike Wallace. He was or could be a bit of a journalistic bully. He was tough, tenacious, and, if you were guilty or hiding something from him, even terrifying in his approach. But you knew one thing for certain: Mike Wallace was going to get to the truth of the story, or unmask a liar, or tear down some high-minded celeb in his own inimitable Perry Mason-style of interviewing. He was blunt, and at times he was merciless. He could embarrass, belittle or bedazzle. The man was a beast at probing, investigating, biting down and not ceasing until he drew blood or something tangible that resembled the truth.

He lived a long life, and passed at 93. He was definitely one of a kind. He didn’t suffer fools gladly. People like him, who command our attention, always leave behind such lasting impressions.

* * * * * *

Leaving a lasting impression… that’s something any self-respecting vampire might do, right?

Well, we can no longer ask that question of Jonathan Frid…


Okay. I admit it. I was a huge fan of this supernatural stuff. From the moment I first tuned in, “Dark Shadows” had me hooked. Each week day, I’d dash home from school like a li'l madman just to watch this gothic phenom unfold. There was nothing else on TV quite like it. It featured ghosts and vampires, witches, warlocks and werewolves. Oh my! It was… or could be very, verrrrry, vurrrrrr scurry. When you’re too young to recognize tongue-in-cheek references or too naïve to spot grand camp when it’s played out before your eyes, you can just sit back and let this ghoulish world enchant and enrapture you in its utter wickedness. Jonathan Frid projected a kind of edgy hypnotic presence full of grace and subtle danger. As the vampire, Barnabas Collins, his mesmerizing portrayal could leave you spellbound. He was dramatic, menancing, at times sympathetic, and yet just creepy enough to keep you fascinated and have you anxiously tuning in for the next day’s feast of blood, drama and mayhem.

Jonathan Frid was immortal. Or so his character would lead us to believe. No one had ever successfully driven a stake through the heart of Barnabas Collins, and so he was doomed to live forever. Ironically, the actor who played him died, on Friday the 13th, at the age of 87.

Johnny Depp who takes over the role of Barnabas Collins…

… in Tim Burton’s upcoming film based on the Dark Shadows series said it best:

“Jonathan Frid was the reason I used to run home from school to watch ‘Dark Shadows,’” Depp said in a statement. “When I had the honor to finally meet him, as he so generously passed the torch of Barnabas to me, he was as elegant and magical as I had always imagined.


My deepest condolences to his family and friends. The world has lost a true original.”

Peace-out BC! Maybe we’ll see you again… in the less-creepy after-life.

* * * * *

Finally, there’s Dick Clark…


I can’t honestly remember a time when I didn’t know of Dick Clark’s existence. Can you? He was the man, the dude, the grand poobah of the popular music scene. Some referred to him as "The World's Oldest Teenager" but he was more like America's Number One DJ. He was there all throughout our kidhood, teen years, young adulthood and beyond. We all knew him. American Bandstand bridged both the generational gap, and, more importantly, it help to smooth the lines of this country’s racial divide. Dick Clark knew instinctively that music was something that united us and he showed us that we’d more in common than the sum of our differences. On Saturdays afternoons, whether black, white, brown, yellow or red, we invited him into our homes. Along with his eternally young exterior, he brought new music into our living-rooms, playrooms and bedrooms. He came equipped w/ a stack of albums under his arms. And he was never short on variety: whether it was rock and roll, r& b, soul, folk, pop, disco, new wave, punk, and dance music. He introduced us to so many future icons and legends that along the way he became one himself.

If this had been his only claim to fame, that alone would have been enough. But he also entertained by bringing in game shows “The 10,000 Pyramid” which later became the “$25,000 Pyramid.” He made us chuckle with Bloopers and Practical Jokes. He gave us another forum in which to reward and celebrate our musical icons with the American Music Awards… and then he would help us all to bring in the dawning of another year with Dick Clark New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.”

Now he’s gone. And New Year’s Eve in Times Square will never be quite the same.

He lived to be 82 years old. I think he did the most with his time here. He was very successful, wealthy, well-liked, and yes, iconic. We’ll not see his like again.

And so, we bid goodbye to these men; figures, prototypes, icons who stood tall and loomed large through the passage of time… at least so, in my mind.

Each of them, in their own distinctive way, helped to engage us, entertain, define or educate us in ways that ensure they will never be forgotten.

One Love.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Inside This Friday Night's Hotness

I’ve danced till dawn
And parts beyond where
Neon streets cease
To paint anyone pink
Or blue or pretty anymore.

I’ve paid my dues to the gods
And the laws of Friday nights.
I’ve danced myself, hot, loud
And flawed under the lights,
Now, once again, I come…
Stumbling, staggering
Back to you. I come
Seeking shelter, seeking
Warmth, seeking refuge
From this damned
Sauna of a world
Which shoots race movies upon
My skin.

Tell me you GET it! Tell me
You do understand this
Need in me to
Sometimes win! Tell me
You hold the keys to
The heart of me… and
That you know my secrets
When I’m lost and vulnerable
And on the verge of


Show me there’s
Inside this
Who still gives
A damn about
What happens to me!

You see, your face,
Your presence is
My solitude’s serum…
Cure me!
Feed me your
Enduring sustenance!
Come… take my hand and
Dialogue with me! Engage
Me in soft talk,
And romantic soliloquy…
Drown me in
Wet kisses… and
Cradle me in heartbeats!

Step to me with
Understanding arms
And empathetic eyes
Come inside these sheets and
Take this precarious
Ride with me!

Come… lets set our tongues
Free to paint
Goose-bump stories
Across these pages of our skin
Come… and let us make brand
New Happy Endings…
All poetry and movement and
Big toe quiverings!


When this world leaves me
Distressed and downhearted
Roll call all the beauteous things you see…
Blow passionate solos upon
This instrument of me...
Let each breath perform
Love’s slyest song...
Let each gesture reflect
Love’s slow-in-between-the-
Thighs-dance... and let us
Hum a mellow waltz to Love’s
Black-lighted trance…

Let us taste
Love’s salt upon our lips…
Feel Love’s glow and its
Healing effect… Let us
Know Love’s primal pulse-beat…
Let us engage in Love’s
Succulent symmetry…and
Then let us
Unleash Love’s most
Perfect SCREAM!


Yes! Inside this
Friday night’s hotness
Do what you must to
Puff my ego erect
And leave me shining
And radiant inside
Some pool of sweat and DNA
Which defines me and
Reminds me vaguely of
Some travesty
Some trickery
Some voodoo
Hoodoo witchcraft
Sorcery... some fools
And Romantics still
Believe to be




© 2012 by L.M.Ross moaningmanblues All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Brief Freedom

For My Friend B.B.


Death is inevitable here, my friend. As sure as rape and theft and overcrowded subways, death, for some of us, is just a station stop away. If we’re lucky… if we’re Blessed, Life slows down a piece... and grants us a sweet reprieve. It is released inside this freedom of poetry.

My Highest, Most Greatest Good is a dueling dream. It is fueled by the urgent SCREAM heard from others expectations of me, versus, this unquenchable hunger, this insatiable thirst of my undying ambition. Quite simply: I am a slave to this shit.

In the frosted fields between the sheets of my sleep, I am haunted by this duality. It is always hiding, like a shy ghost, inside of my deepest self. Life, for me, has been this journey through streets of Sadness and Euphoria, with a brief but necessary escape inside the plains of poetry.

And I’ve known some poets... Real Poets... such Beautiful, Living, Breathing Poets; scribes so much Higher and Greater than me.

And after living their heroic little lives, they’ve died their invisible deaths.

This weekend someone else’s earthly suffering came to an end. This weekend, another poet friend of mine expired.

Today, once again, Life for me has become this brief excursion into the freedom of poetry.

I am reminded of how some vile thing or some monstrous entity always comes along to kill this poetry in us.

Death, it just keeps chasing us, stalking us, walking beside, and then, running after us.

Death by winter... in a cold-shouldered America. Death by failure’s sharp and jagged needle. Death by trigger-fingered cop. Death by a city’s speeding stopwatch. Death by some incorrect, mistaken identity. Death by some ignorant-assed vigilante. Death by merciless abject poverty. Death by a lonely man’s disease. Death by some obscene and unnatural cause will come for us, just as it came for him…

And we will grieve.

As blackly beautiful and brilliant as he was, his life should have never been cut so damned brief! I get it, though. I do. Between us there are few differences. We are bittersweet slaves to an Art, a Mistress, and to a World of thieves that will ultimately betray us! I get it!

Life, for me, is this brief and tragic hesitation. I fill in the gaps and gaping holes with broken prose and poetry.

His life was terse, composed of heavy heart and crying verse. His life, it should have been a song. Instead it proved to be... a broken stanza... an aborted passage.

Yo! Would someone please throw him a jazz funeral, damn it!


And send him home most righteously! Let those dark cherubic-faced men blow their horns through the streets for him!

Celebrate him! His life! His gift! Speak poems, say odes, sing hymns to his spirit! And then, being that we are such carelessly foolish humans, we’ll forget just what made his soul so rich and special, so unique, and beautiful.

It happens all the time. I’ve seen this shit happen to my own father; the way people just forget the Shine from his Star. I’ve come to expect nothing more, nothing less than this, for it is his plight, and my plight, and perhaps all of our plights.

My Highest Good is a dueling dream. It is fueled by the urgent scream of divergent expectations of me. It remains this unquenched, insatiable thirst of undying ambition. In the frosted fields of my sleep, I am haunted by this duality.

Life, for me, has mostly been this reed-thin freedom I find in poetry.

Life, for me, has mostly been this reed-thin freedom I find in poetry.

LIFE, for me, has mostly been this reed-thin freedom I find in poetry.

I wish you golden days and lyrical nights of radiant riffs and open mics and Gabriel blowing Cool Jazz on his horn... and from the neon-lit clouds on the hipper side of Heaven, I wish you Thunderous fingersnaps.

That's it. That's all.

Au revoir, Bonne nuit, Mon Ami.