Mosquitoes, Balls, and Humanity

August 19, 2011

Nimrod: great-grandson of Noah, a frequent symbol of power and evil, pitted against Abraham, first person to experience the ass-blistering annoyance that is, the mosquito. In Islamic legend, Allah sends mosquitoes to punish Nimrod. What happens, is one of these tiny bastards flies into homeboy’s ear and starts buzzing on a trillion. I mean this bug gets it in. Nimrod gets so aggravated by the buzzing he orders one of his guards to strike him on the head with his rod. That’s what she said. She being Allah, peace and blessings be upon his name. Unfortunately, as the guard keeps increasing the strength of his swats, Nimrod’s head gets cracked open, and as he dies, the mosquito is freed and enters the world to pursue a life twattery. Since that fateful day, mankind has been in constant battle against these wingèd foes.

Starting with the erratically swinging hand, which adapted into the fly swatter, and then bug spray with the development of poison, we have now come to a breakthrough in the fight against mosquitoes.

According to Reuters, Researchers from Imperial College London have genetically modified male mosquitoes, rendering them completely incapable of producing sperm. What they’re doing, in a nutshell, is injecting normal mosquito eggs with a protein that hinders the development of testes and makes sperm production impossible when the insects reach adulthood. The protein effectively silences a gene called ZPG, or as I like to call it zippage. Anyway, this gene is critical to developing healthy sperm cells. It is not however, critical to the male mosquitoes’ competitiveness when it comes to mating, nor is it a turn off to their female counterparts; the females are completely unaware of their lovers’ sackless state. Because the eunuch bugs have the façade of bulging balls, female mosquitoes will still mate with them, and then reproduce unfertilized eggs.

For right now the study is just a theory, but a rather promising one. Flaminia Catteruccia led the study in Imperial’s life sciences department while also maintaining her side job as a third rate bowl of pasta. She said “In the fight against disease, many hope that the ability to genetically control the mosquito vector will one day be a key part of our armory.” And they have reason to hope, if this experiment were enacted on a mass scale, it would drastically cut the mosquito population. This is awesome for many reasons. Less mosquitoes means less bumps on all of your sweet and salty skin, less waving your hands around in the air like a jackass, and perhaps most importantly: less Malaria.

This is good. It’s long been the consensus among experts that, “Malaria blows.” Its symptoms are debilitating, including fever, shivering, joint pain, vomiting, anemia, hemoglobinuria, retinal damage, and convulsions. It’s like Jersey Shore without the brain damage. Every two to three days depending upon your infection, victims suffer from acute coldness, followed by rigor, and then fever and sweating for four to six hours: an orgy of pain.
America, Canada, and nearly all of Western Europe are Malaria-free. Globally though, the disease infects 225 million people annually, and according to the World Health Organization, kills upwards of 800,000 people. Ninety percent of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, primarily amongst children. In fact, a child dies of Malaria in Africa every 45 seconds.

Right now it’s just a study, but if actualized it means that human lives will be saved, and the quality of life in developing countries will increase if only slightly. To be sure, the human life is a precious thing with infinite potential, and saving one is a beautiful act. I respect that, but I do not allow it to limit the scope of my perspective.

When looking at the deaths that will be prevented by this research it is comforting because we think of the individual victims, and to a certain degree in our developed nation we feel guilt over our relatively gluttonous lifestyles compared to the citizens of Africa who live in extreme poverty. But you must look past the quality of human life and look at the sheer quantity of human life as it stands today. The World Health Organization did say that 800,000 people die annually from Malaria, but it is also true that the current world population is 6, 983, 272, 305 as of this writing, and a couple hundred thousand more as I read it to you all now. Now compare that to the roughly one quadrillion mosquitoes on Earth. If they were the size of humans we’d most certainly be saying Get. The Fuck. Out of Here.

Now, of these nearly 7 billion human beings, the United Nations estimates that 850 million are malnourished or starving, and that 1.1 billion do not have access to safe drinking water. It is simultaneously true that more than a billion humans are considered overweight worldwide. Nimrod feasted on grapes as he over saw slaves building the Tower of Babel, so I’m sure he would approve. OH WAIT. HE CAN’T, BECAUSE HE’S DEAD. As we sit here in this bar, sure it is comfortable and we are all managing to be alive, but only at the cost of another person’s misery.

Look at our species as mere digits, symbols of consumption. As our population stands today, we are approaching a point of no return when it comes to resource availability. There are many statistics used to illustrate this fact, but I’ll share my favorite, “if China and India were to consume as much resources per capita as the United States or Japan in 2030, together they would require a full planet Earth to meet their needs.” We are buzzing, and biting, and the Earth is about to say Get. The fuck. Out. Of. Here.
The Earth is in a state of overpopulation and this must be cured if the human species is to continue in the long term. Which means population control. It’s not cold. It’s not inhumane. The entire goal in mind when considering the decrease in humans is the preservation of humans. It’s not as if anyone is suggesting something like using a powerful insecticide to spray on the hippies and gypsies. Nor something more realistic and less fun, like a birth license one earns through an IQ test, as the alleged World’s Smartest Man Christopher Langan has suggested. I recognize that a more sensitive, long-term approach must be taken. The clearest path to take it seems is education for women and economic empowerment. With the knowledge of birth control, family planning, and the ability to join the work force in non-domestic roles, women tend to have fewer children. This effect would take generations to cut our population, but it would be long lasting and allow for a greater equality and quality of life. It is easy to laud ourselves as powerful beings and face our problems like Nimrod, swinging a stick in ignorant rage. But what I’m suggesting instead is to recognize that we are the mosquito. And we need to figure out what to do before the planet stabs us in the junk.

Hoes on My Dick Cuz I’m Not Homophobic

May 2, 2011

BasedPREZ
“I’m Gay,” (pause) will be the title of Bay area rapper Lil B’s upcoming album, reports the Huffington Post. He is in fact not homosexual. As he puts it, “I’m very gay, but I love women. I’m not attracted to men in any way. I’ve never been attracted to a man in my life. But yes I am gay, I’m so happy. I’m a gay, heterosexual male.” So cool, it’s a play on words, a reference to the all but defunct original meaning that conjures images of elegant fops skipping through a field of wildflowers. Really, rap’s built on wordplay like this, so you could figure that it was only a matter of time until this pun found its way into the culture. What’s that you say? The hip-hop community is far too homophobic to accept such a title, regardless of its no-homo intent? You caught me there; I haven’t given you the full story. You see, Lil B, better known as BASEDGOD by his fans, chose this title in spite of potential backlash. He’s adding his name to the list of high-profile rappers stepping out against gay and lesbian oppression, saying, “I got major love for the gay and lesbian community, and I just want to push less separation.” Unfortunately for our Based Lord and Savior, he doesn’t have much clout compared to pro-gay rappers like Kanye West, and has been receiving a lot of criticism. More specifically, death threats.

Both on Twitter and MySpace, he’s received such threats as “I’m gonna bash your head in,” “you faggot,” and “I’m gonna kill you.” Definitely not positive reactions. And while it’s arguable that the medium of conveyance is less than intimidating, we should take a second to look at Lil B’s rise to fame. Truly, the man is more a master of publicity than lyrics. In the past 7 years the 23 year old created 155 MySpace accounts so he could upload all of his songs. His fan base is almost entirely self-made, and volatile to say the least. They take his BASED GOD alias serious, chanting lyrics like “Hoes on my dick cuz I look like Jesus,” with a haunting zeal. It’s even become common for fans to offer up their loved ones as a sacrifice to Lil B. Just this Saturday I read through his tweets: one follower, Mr. Barnes tweeted “gonna see LilBTheBasedGod at bamboozle today, he better fuck my bitch!!!” Only two hours before that, a second follower ayyitswill tweeted, “you can fukk up my credit and my bitch based god.” Flattering.

When juxtaposed with the threats on his life, this sincere obsession with Lil B and his actions is not so funny. Interestingly though, there are no articles criticizing those who have threatened him, merely objective blog pieces explaining the situation. There has been no outcry against these menacing attacks for their unfortunate rooting in homophobia. Sadly, I hesitate to claim any surprise. Hip-hop has always been a culture where hyper masculinity, misogyny and homophobia thrive. During the 80s and 90s, known as the golden age, rappers now cited as legends and inspiration by modern greats Jay-Z, Nas, and Lupe Fiasco, established this tone. In his song “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy,” Big Daddy Kane raps, “The Big Daddy law is anti-faggot! That means no homosexuality, what’s in my pants will make you see reality!” So gays are bad, but we should all be thinking about your penis because you’re so not gay? Okay, I think I get it. Lemme try again. Biggie Smalls once rapped “but smalls don’t get down like that,” in reference to a man’s pleading for his genitals, which were presumably as charismatic as his personality. But in a different song he says, “You look so good huh, I suck on your daddy’s dick.” Again contradictory. Clearly, he’s using the image of giving this girl’s father fellatio because of how thankful he is for her presence, but that doesn’t negate the fact that he uses gay images to get this point across. On the low, this willingness to commandeer homosexuality for the sake of creativity while simultaneously denouncing gay men has been alive and well in hip-hop for decades. Lil B would have some leeway, if only he had not broken one of the holy hip-hop rules: thou shalt not flagrantly adorn the qualities of an ass-bandit without the mandatory qualification of understood hatred, i.e. no homo.

Lil B doesn’t share this long held hatred, saying, “I got major love for the gay and lesbian community, and I just want to push less separation and that’s why I’m doing it. I hope GLAAD sees that I’m taking initial steps to break barriers.” So he’s been abandoned by many fans and dissed by many a rapper: Mysonne, TD, and Freddie Gibbs to name a few, all because he doesn’t affix a simple no homo to his work. That’s been an irritatingly popular phrase for a while now, hasn’t it? No homo, as in “I got money out the ass, no homo, but I’m rich,” from Lil Wayne, or “those are nice pants Brad, no homo,” or one of my personal favorites from Harlem rapper Cam’ron, “suck a dick, no homo.” What’s ironic about the use of this term is that in its effort to silence any implications of the rapper’s tendencies to touch the tip, it forces that image upon the listener. This trend started in the early 2000s, and marks an easily overlooked shift in the nature of hip-hop homophobia. Instead of assuming one’s masculinity, the hip-hop community has inadvertently revealed insecurity over its masculine image. The thugs doth no homo too much, methinks. True confidence has no need for boasting, as Nas puts it, “I never brag, how real I keep it, cause it’s the best secret.” Similarly, if you truly love that wet, as commentors on popular hip-hop blog NahRight call vaginas, then why the need to fend off homo-accusations? Perhaps all the years of crotch grabbing and pouring champagne on bitches has become tiresome. Maybe the occasional murmurs of popular rappers being in the closet are true. I’d argue that with homosexuality gaining public acceptance at large, hip-hop is just moving along with the times. Either way, the shift shows that the hip-hop community’s staunch homophobia is weakening, and Lil B’s situation is proof of that.

This may seem like an idiotic assertion to consider death threats akin to social progress, but hey lil mama lemme whisper in your ear. The threats are just that, threats. Words with no action. Although this only occurred a week or so ago, and I don’t want to jinx the man’s health, the fact that Lil B remains physically unscathed proves the hollow nature of many hip-hop-homophobes. If he had put this album out in the 80s or 90s rap scene, he, well he wouldn’t have put this album out. So instead of attacking homophobic rappers and fans, maybe we should all just smile and nod like a knowing parent whose late blooming child cries “I’m never gonna hit puberty!” The momentum has shifted, and social progress has reached a point where you won’t be shunned for supporting the LGBT community. Lil B may be a horrendous rapper, he may have a song titled “Justin Bieber,” and people just might have thought he had a legitimate mental handicap at first But the young man is making a difference. And for that, I commend him, and join in saying, “I’m gay.”

The Power of Nature

November 15, 2010

The general knowledge about surfing holds that the taller a wave, the harder it is to catch and ride, and the more nerve it takes for someone to risk that initial drop. Really that’s not entirely true. The power of the wave holds more signifcance, as anyone who been sucked off their board and up into the breaking curl will tell you. In 2000, Laird Hamilton dropped into a wave at Teahupo’o that’s renowned as one of, if not the gnarliest (oh yeah, gnarly) waves of all time. The shear force of this wall of water crashing into the reef is, to me, an awe inspiring example of nature’s power:

My Beautiful Dark Twisted First Review

November 13, 2010

MBDTF Cover
Not for nothing I’ve foreseen
I dreamed it
I can feel it slowly drifting away from me

Kanye West’s new album leaked yesterday and then I listened straight through it yesterday. Can’t lie, I beamed from ear to ear like a little kid the first time. I’m a big fan. A stan. (To mom and dad, that means a serious fan, it’s an allusion to a song by Eminem that tells the story of an obsessed fan; you’d probably hate the song haha.)

The album is great. Given this is a review after only one listen through, my opinions are bound to shift, particularly my favorite songs. Nevertheless, thus far the opening track stands out by a hair, if only for the beautiful and inspiring harmonization that precedes the drop into RZA’s simple yet moving beat. The piano line and drum beat are laced with a noice synthesizer that keeps your attention throughout Kanye’s verses. Not to say he doesn’t kill it, in fact he comes it hot :
“I fantasized bout this back in Chicago/
Mercy mercy me that me that Murcielago”

Next up is a refreshing Raekwon feature. Thank god Kanye didn’t decide Bugatti Biebs was a perfect fit for the 2nd track of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; Gorgeous. Kid Cudi however is made for this song’s chorus, drifting in and out of the songs guitar-riff driven beat, hypnotically leading to Kanye and the Chef’s verses, which happen to be some of the album’s best:
“I’m comin’ after who ever WHO HAS IT?/
You blowin up, that’s good fantastic”

Power was the first leaked track. My reaction 3 or four months ago when I first heard it was ecstatic bouncing in my dorm room. Accompanied by my friends Katie and Danny also beaming from the tracks infectious energy. The Dwele sample gives the album’s single a tribal vibe. And by that I mean you want to dance around a fire to this bitch! Even after several months of slow leaks, this track has not only retained my attention, but still gets me pumped and also lost in the album, incoherently vibing into the next track:
“Now this’d be a beautiful death/
Jumpin’ out the windo-oooow!/
Lettin’ everything gooo”

Interlude: I’ll go pee here. While this noice music plays for a hot minute.

Okay this is probably my favorite song thus far despite some legitimate criticisms I’ve read on Nahright for it being overproduced and a failed sequel to the superb “Flashing Lights” on Graduation. The drums alone, on All of the Lights, hook me. Rhianna’s personable voice delivers a convincing illustration of Kanye’s emotions for whomever (Amber Rose?) “If you want it you can get it for the rest of your life.” The horns and and singing (particularly by Alicia Keys and Elton John) were strong proponents of this anthem’s uplifting vibe. But then Fergie rapped. WTF Kanye? Bad choice. Alltogether though, dope ass song:
“Her mother, brother, granddaughter hate me in that order”

The intro to Monster is a great transition from All of the Lights, as the beats wouldn’t have run together naturally. Really though this is my least favorite song on the album. I usually agree with the vets on Nahright, but this posse cut was really unimpressive to me. To top it off Nicki Minaj had far and away the best verse, bringing more personality than all the other rappers, literally, she had 4 personalities:
“And if I’m fake I ain’t notice cuz my money ain’t”

Goddamn you Swizz Beats. Why do you have to be in this song? Wait…okay nah you can stay. The So Appalled beat is perhaps the album’s standout. Foreal y’all, I had that dope fiend nod. That dope fiend nod ya know, the one I saw on The Wire but not in real life. I guess it’s more easily comparable to the high ass surfer watching waves in the morning. Pusha T is preferred by most people on this track but for my money Hov takes the cake:
“Moral victories is for minor league coaches/
And Ye’ already told you we major you cockroaches!”
Plus MC Hammer made an announced diss based off his verse. Try and fade that. Ya’ can’t….
….Oh one more thing, “Everything I dream motherfuckers I’m watching it take shape, while to you I’m just a young rich nigga that lacks faith.” Yughh!

Devil In a New Dress. The first time I heard this beat I just had to close my eyes and zone out. Shaking my head, not in disgust or judgement, but at the undeniable soul in this bitch. Supersayan-shouts to B!nk for this one. Kanye does his thing for two verses lettin out his impressions of a shiesty ho, noicely worded of course. And then the beat has a purposeful guitar sweep in to welcome the BAWSE. Rick Ross for the uneducated. And Rozay delivers with his characteristically rich imagery:
“Stretch limousine sippin rosé all alone/
double headed monster with a mind of its own/
cherry red charriot/
excess is just my character/
all black tux, nigga shoes lavender”
If you’ve never heard the undisputed King of the South weave wonders listen to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G8ujyzyMRw

Runaway is introduced with a single piano key, and then led by a very low drum line. Maybe because I’ve listened to 808s enough times to sincerely like it, and maybe because I’ve had a relationship similar to the one Kanye describes, this is surprisingly in my top songs:
“I don’t know what it is with females/
But I’m not to good at that shit/
See I could have me a good girl/
And still be addicted to them hood rats/
And I just blame everything on you/
At least ya know that’s what I’m good at”

“Noooooo mooore drugs for me
Pussy and religion is all I need”
That my friends is a great hook. This song is Kanye’s lust. The dirty sounding bass leads the Gay-Fish genius through a recounting of his flirting with drug use and the dirtiest of ho’s:
“Make the knees shake, make a priest faint uh/
Make a nun cum, make em’ cremate, uh”

Aight this next cut, Blame Game, has got to be a direct address to his his ex-girlfriend. If you’ve never heard of her…damn you’re slow as hell. Let this skinny kizza (cracker) school you for a minute. This is Amber Rose y’all: Amber Rose John Legend murks the hook with a cadence that lends to the painful nature of break-ups depicted in this song. Not diggin the voice effects on Kanye’s 2nd verse, but Chris Rock is hella funny on the end, always accented by a lady:
“Yeezy taught me”

After a serious downer Kanye’s turns the tone of his album around. Starting with a auto tuned single voice, which is then accompanied by some friends, and then a 80s drum line and yells in the background this tune quickly picked my mood up. A lot like All of the Lights, Lost in the World was a very encouraging track. Made me want to face any stressed I had and turn them into a positive. Ending in a boss perspective on the world. For me this is the end of Kanye’s album. No skips throughout these 12 songs. However there is one more song called Who Will Survive in America. It’s remniscent of the opening track of Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool, and is a reciting of a Gill Scott-Heron poem over an inspiring combination of the previous beat and Power.

Overall, this album feels like a stream of conscious ride through Kanye’s volatile mind. Much like this review, it has a very imperfect cohesion, and I was at least fascinated the whole time if not hopping around the room on the verge of whiplash bobbin my head like a muhfuckah. Definitely gonna get my money on the 22nd when it officially comes out. Thank you Google magic for your search powers!

Not that I like it much, but for the sake of those who do, here’s some scale: 9/10

A Thank You Letter To Sisqó

October 12, 2010

The Dragon

Dear Dragon,

Wassup dude? How you been? I see from your Wikipedia page that you recently got evicted from Celebrity Big Brother across the pond. Don’t stress that though, Britain’s been our bitch since Mel Gibson and the French cornered them by the sea. I remember George Washington’s famous exclamation as he dropped the guillotine on King George, “I DESERVE TO BE BLOWN FIRST!!!” Man, what a leader. But truly he doesn’t mean a lot in my life. Especially compared to you Dragon.

You are the spark that ignited my fiery passion for hip hop and rap music. Very clearly in my mind it all began with, “Let me see that thooo-ooo-ooong!” Sure it’s a terrible song that helped pioneer raps apparent decline into hedonism, but your crooning appetite for dumps like a truck-truck-truck hooked me into what now accounts for roughly 70% of my iTunes library. I slowly progressed away from the neon thongs in your music video and raps lyrical slums, now inhabited by Soulja Boy, towards rappers of merit like Nas, Biggie, and Lupe Fiasco.

You made a big impression on me in fifth grade, and I want to thank you. I wish you the best, and am still waiting for the release of Last Dragon, which will complete my trilogy of Sisqó albums.

Sincerely,

Walker Parrish

A New Sting

September 28, 2010

This whole piece is in response to the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9Ihs241zeg. She’s a bomb speaker and it’d also help you better understand my reflection.

———————————————————————

Allow me to preface this entire reflection by saying I understand any prejudice I experience is minuscule compared to that of other races.

—————————————————————————————————-

Living as a white man in America, you would think that I face little prejudice in my life outside of a notorious penchant for crackers. FALSE. I was born and raised in a breezy beach town in North-East Florida’s coast, which makes it guilty by association of being a southern city. My childhood was defined by sweet tea and sand, swiftly moving to the standard awkward adolescence, and then returning full circle with somewhat of a combination was young adulthood; sweet tea and awkward sex. Whatever happened in between this gap (don’t ask me, I forget) led me to live in Chicago.

Now in the Mid-West I am confronted with a newfound defensiveness of my home. At first it is always a conversation piece of interest when people discover I’m a Southerner, given our somewhat sparse presence. Once people get comfortable around me though, Southern stereotypes readily become an at-hand joke. To be honest, I’d be a hypocrite to say it’s completely not okay, because I am a proponent of the humor in stereotypes. However, there’s a unique sting that comes alongside being associated with the focus of these jokes. And it’s a stingy sting that feels…stingy.

Ms. Adichie gives us an eloquent reasoning as to the destructive effects of having only one story to establish one’s concept of anything. So I think to myself, “Are these pretentious, rude, greedy, Yankee bastards merely guilty of limited exposure to my people’s diversity?” Frankly when I think of the South at this very moment, the things that come to mind are that we lost the war, and that show with the General Lee. Can’t remember the name; they did a movie starring Johnny Knoxville and I think the co-star was Stiffler from American Pie. Oh well, maybe it’s best that I don’t remember, perhaps I repressed it a month ago. But I digress. Truly the South is most famous for hospitality and rednecks, not top-tier education and shrewd business. Although it hurts my soul to admit it, it’s easy for my friends to view we Bible-Belt denizens as missing-tooth farmers with a son by our cousin, and the last remaining slave burning books with fossil fuel for fire in our backyard. All the while Charlie Daniels playing the fiddle.

But I hold no inappropriate infatuation for my lovely cousins, and the 13th Amendment forbids what my now dead grandfather yearned for. So where does that leave me? Well to know where I am, we should know where I’m from. Screw that joke in the intro, this will serve as a rhetorical device too! My high school is dubbed Stanton College Preparatory School, and has an optional IB (International Baccalaureate) program/diploma which I attended/received. My friends know this well, because I make them know, and they quickly respond with a mocking nose held high in the air. Really, it’s my attempt at proving them that the South is full of brilliant people just like any other part of America. Well, except for Canada, no one likes them. You might be thinking to yourself, “This guy can’t possibly think Canada is part of America.” Well you’re wrong, they’re our hat. BOOM! Extra Canada burn. Anyway, a majority of Northerners don’t know my school has been number one in the nation for many years before, and remains among the best. They don’t know of the talented painters whose work is hung in its hallways. But most of all they don’t know that they themselves have bought into an incomplete story. Yes the South is full of radical Baptists, racists (radical Baptists), avid hunters, and the occasional baby with two different colored eyes (inbred). But we are so much more.

THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN!

Hello world!

September 28, 2010

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