Friday, June 29, 2012

"Wrappers" and "Rappers"

   The first time I saw a wrapper (a real wrapper) was in a department store in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was during the Christmas Season and a nice lady was wrapping gifts purchased at the store for 10 cents apiece. I must have been around six years old.

   Even then, it seemed like a great idea. For a mere 10 cents it saved the buyer from having to lug the gift home and spend all that time wrapping and tying a bow. Wrapping was much less complicated back in the 50s.

   When I was a kid in elementary school, maybe in the 3rd or 4th grade, I had a teacher who would remind us as we were leaving for the day, "Don't forget your wraps". When I realized that she was reminding us to take our coats and jackets, it made sense. Kind of a classy way to say, "Stay warm".

   Fast forward to the late 90s...

   Now we have "Rappers".

   It took me a while to 'wrap' my head around just what a Rapper was. As I understand it, Rappers are inner-city kids of various ages without any real talent, who try to talk in time with the music. In so doing, they occasionally rhyme a word or two. When I say "music" I am using the term in it's loosest possible context.

   For some reason, Rapping has grown enormously popular with these same inner-city kids. The ethnic heritage of these kids are predominately African-American but there are some participants who are of other ethnicities as well.

   An entire sub-culture has grown around Rapping. These are identified as "East Coast" and West Coast" camps. They do not get along. There have been shootings and killings between the two groups. Notably Tupak Shakur and Big-E-Small. Apparently one group thinks the other can't talk and rhyme in time to the "music" as well as they do. For some reason this makes them angry and they take it out on each other. This is more for "Street Cred" and impressing their "Big Assed Ho's" than anything else. (Here, and I thought a hoe was a garden implement!)

   The inner-city types have settled on Rapping since they really have no inherent talent to speak of. If I wanted to, I could become a Rapper. All I would need do is scribble out a few verses of very bad poetry and shout it out loud and fast in time to some gawd-awful music while I make spastic hand gestures to an audience. I would intersperse this with words such as "Yo" and "Word" and even an occasional "Wassuuupp?"

   I'm thinking that anyone could do this in a few minutes if they put their mind to it - and didn't mind looking and sounding like a retard being electrocuted.

   Inner-city kids of all ages need Rapping to make them feel better about themselves and their environment, especially given what little in the way of natural talent and resources they have to work with. This is the same theory that the California Education System used when they started issuing their students the "Feel Good" grades back in the late 70s. It's similar to patting a retarded person (or Developmentally Challenged - if it makes you feel better) on the head and saying, "Oh, well Bless Your Heart!".

   In my opinion, the terms "Rap Artist" and "Rap Music" are oxymoronic (for you Rappers: an oxymoron are two or more words in a phrase which are fundamentally in opposition to one another as in... well, Rap Music).

   As The GEEZER I find that Rapping is, at best, highly irritating (could you tell?).
   I was watching "America's Got Talent" the other night. There were several Rappers auditioning (there goes the 'Talent' part). One of the Rappers was a 70 year old grandmother (who did a pretty fair job). Another Rapper was backstage complaining to his friend, "She be dissin' (disrespecting) my art! I've given my life to Rap!". Really? OMG! Your LIFE? well, Bless Your Heart!

Note: I sincerely hope that if you are a Rapper you won't be offended by my opinions stated herein.

(I really hope I don't get a cap busted in my ass!)



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Well, I Imagine...

   I love my wife.

   We've been married for over 35 years. She's a very moral person - sometimes to a fault.

   As I've stated previously, I enjoy joking around and on occasion, I tell a little "white lie". You know, the kind that does no harm to anyone but often is meant to preserve some one's feelings or to make an amusing comment.

   Whenever I do this, she'll just comment: "You shouldn't lie".

   This would often hurt my feelings but I've grown accustomed to it and adapted.

   I now preface my "comments" with the phrase, "I imagine...". This relieves me from the moral dilemma of knowingly telling a lie and satisfies my wife's strict moral code (I imagine).

   She knows that I don't mean any harm when I make these statements but calls me on them every time. Every time.

   I'll say something like, "It was so cold last night that a Polar Bear took refuge in our freezer just to stay warm...I imagine". Or something along those lines.

   I gotta tell you that it keeps me on my toes. I have to review my comments in my head before I let fly... I imagine.

   The Geezer has to watch what he says as he gets older. You never know - I might get struck down by a bolt of lightening at any minute... I imagine.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The "Wussification" of America

   When I was a kid in school I was bullied just like 99.9% of the population of America. I lived through it. It helped me to develop a "Thick Skin" as it was called back then. In other words, I was toughened up so that harsh words and criticism didn't bother me any more. I became immune to bullying.

   More and more often we see and hear incidents in our schools where a kid is suspended for bullying because the kid said an un-kind word to one of his classmates and made that person feel uncomfortable or somehow diminished.

   Don't get me wrong here, I'm not advocating full out harassment to the point where someone kills their own self because of the "Bullying".

   I'm talking about day to day routine where one kid picks on another. Where name-calling and teasing exist. Where a weaker or "Different" kid is singled out and targeted for hazing. We've all been there. Did it kill us? Do we think less of ourselves because of it? NO! We all grew up to become, for the most part, well adjusted members of society.

   These days, it seem as if any one looks sideways at someone else it's considered "Bullying" and the bully is singled out and punished.

   Heaven forbid that a child has to go through their school years and be subjected to the occasional sleight or harsh word from a classmate!

   No! We want our children sheltered from the harshness of the real world until they're out of school and ready to enter the workforce as a productive member of society.

   But what then?

   Imagine the newly minted worker on his or her first day of work when their boss criticizes them for not sweeping the floor well enough:

   "Wait, sir! I'm feeling singled out and threatened by your bullying tone. You can't possibly mean to be speaking to me in that manner. I'll have to report this. You will be punished."
   "Yeah, well you're fired. Go to the office and pick up your $11.43 paycheck and don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out!".

   Really? Is this what we're coming to? You bet it is.

   Bullying is a fact of life. It has been since the day when two hairy bipeds met up somewhere in Africa and one hit the other on the head with a rock. Bullying develops character and strengthens resolve. It helps us understand our place in the pecking order of our peers and gives us a perspective on life that, in the absence of bullying we would never have.

   Some of us are stronger than others mentally, emotionally and physically. Nothing we do will change that. But in our society it doesn't matter. I'll bet that Hulk Hogan can kick Bill Gates' ass, but who would you rather be? See?

   In my opinion the schools are leaning in the wrong direction on this. I'm not saying that bullying should be encouraged but that we should leave things be to sort themselves out. We should be watchful so that another tragedy can be averted but to totally eliminate the bullies from this period of formative development would be a disservice to our children. We'd be robbing them of a chance to gain personal and emotional insights into their lives.

   As I stated earlier, I was bullied in school. I was harassed by a guy in middle school (Junior High School) to the point that I absolutely hated to go to school. He'd hit me and grab me in a head lock in front of my friends then steal what little money I had on me, then walk away laughing.

   One day I'd had enough and without warning I physically attacked him off the school property with an old sweat sock full of wet sand and rocks. I swung it around my head and smacked him in the head and shoulders until he was bruised, bleeding and crying like a baby. All this in front of his buddies and others. He was bigger and tougher than me but I had the opportunity to end the torment and took it. He dropped out of school the next week and never came back.

   I felt bad about hurting him because basically I'm a kind and gentle soul. I told my Dad about it and all he said was, "Good for you. Don't worry about it".

   We owe it to the next generation to see that they have what they need to grow and prosper but to take away the opportunity for them to learn how to survive in the world, well... we're not doing them any favors in this case.

   The Geezer went on to become a Law Enforcement officer serving in Nevada. I worked in that capacity for fifteen years. Trust me - I've seen bullies.