Friday, September 26, 2014

What Does It Really Matter?


Want to know something really scary? I don’t give a damn about women. I don’t give a damn about kids. And I don’t give a damn about men. And neither do you. None of us give two shits about any of these things because if we did, none of us would ever watch another NFL game. We are all mindless sheep akin to the thousands of Romans that would pour into the Colosseum back in the early years of the ADs to watch men slaughter one another for their amusement. Just like those simple-minded boobs, we have a bloodlust that MUST BE FILLED! And it must be filled at ANY AND ALL COST!

I don’t need a scientific report to tell me that men, weighing as much as 350 pounds, running at 4.3-4.5 40 yard-dash speeds, crashing into one another is REALLY FUCKING DANGEROUS!  And if it (football) didn’t exist already and someone thought of this shit today, we’d ask them if they lost their damn mind. “So let me get this straight? You want giant ass freaks of men to ram head first into one another over and over for 3 hours? And all for the sake of entertainment you say? Are you fucking crazy? That's a horrible idea! A, no one would do it and B, no one would watch it!” It’s no surprise that these men playing a violent sport are committing violent acts off the field. There isn’t a doctor alive that wouldn’t say repeated head trauma doesn’t have a drastic effect on a person’s behavior. Roger Goodell knows this. The NFL knows this. The players know this. You know this. I know this. But no one gives a shit. They’re going to keep playing and we’re going to keep watching.


You’d think the NFL would have started taking domestic violence serious after one of the countless arrest for domestic violence since Goodell's taken over as commissioner. Or maybe after last season when a player shot the mother of his child seven times then killed himself in front of the coach and GM of his team. Or maybe after they saw a player dragging his unconscious fiancee out of an elevator like a sack of potatoes. But oh no! Those things weren’t enough. It wasn’t until TMZ showed us what we had all ALREADY KNEW happened, did you, or the NFL, start to act like they give a damn about domestic violence.

Folks, reading about domestic violence is one thing. A picture is one thing too, but SEEING it happen is a WHOLE other can of worms. I'll explain. According to some music critics and historians, Ike Turner invented rock-n-roll as we know it, but no one remembers him for that. Did you know the book that the 1993 bio-pic What’s Love Got To Do With It was based on the 1986 book I, Tina? As in, what Ike had done to Tina was known for at least seven years prior to the release of the film. Before 1993, Ike Turner still enjoyed a relatively lucrative career in music via touring and booking shows, but that all stopped once the movie hit (Pardon the Pun) theaters.

After June 9th, 1993, Ike Turner was about as untouchable as a Big Mac from Chernobyl. Overnight he was instantly vilified and became the international poster boy for woman abusers. I mean, his name pretty much became a verb to describe hitting a woman. For years, Turner claimed that the abuse was vastly overplayed in the film, but the damage was done. We didn’t even see Ike hit Tina for real. We saw Laurence Fishburne pretend to hit Angela Bassett but just the visual portrayal of domestic violence was enough to cook Ike Turner. (Somewhere Chris Brown is thanking God his run in with Rihanna wasn’t caught on tape.)

The point is Ike Turner hit women. We knew that and we didn't need a movie to figure it out. Just like we knew James Brown, Sam Cooke, Jimi Hendrix, and countless other soul singers, hit women. In both Jimi Hendrix and James Brown’s bio-pic from this year, domestic abuse is only shown once, because they know the damage it can cause. For whatever reason, SEEING it somehow makes it "real" I guess?

How bad is domestic violence though? This is the first time I can remember the "big bad NFL" bending to the will of public opinion. But only so much did it bend. I’m not an idiot and I don’t think for one second that the NFL didn’t see that video before TMZ released it. Because by all accounts, my Black ass could’ve called that casino and could have gotten a copy of the elevator tape. I’m not here to say Rice or Peterson or anyone else with domestic violence charges shouldn’t ever play again. This is a country of second chances, but for the league to act like they care and for YOU to act like you care is just silly to me. (When Anheuser-Busch came out with a statement saying they were “disappointed” in the leagues handling of domestic violence I literally laughed. Anheuser-Busch and its “product” has had a hand in more ass-whoopings than Everlast boxing gloves! A beer company getting “upset” over domestic violence is like Smith and Wesson getting "upset" over war.)

They (The NFL) don’t really care because YOU don’t really care. And no, Roger Goodell isn’t quitting his job. He is a dumb-ass that couldn't get a job to pay him $44K a year, much less one paying him $44M a year. You don’t quit a job like that! You retire or you get fired. FUCK PUBLIC PRESSURE when the public doesn’t really give a shit. That’s why he gave half-ass answers and empty statements during last week’s presser. That’s why he’s laying low. Because he knows all he has to do is ride the wave and wait for the calm.

Goodell could've given a press conference where he said,

“Fuck Native Americans! Go Redskins! Fuck Black people too, because the New York Giants are now the New York Niggers! Fuck player safety! We’re adding Wednesday night games to go with the already dangerous and sloppily played Thursday night games you never asked for. Get money! And one more thing, yeah I saw the Rice elevator video and I laugh every time I see it! What are you going to do about it? See all you suckers on Sunday and make sure you buy a pink Ray Rice jersey to support titty cancer or the support of the stop of titty cancer or whatever that shit supports! Fuck you! Go NFL! Roger out bitches!”

He could have then dropped the mic, pulled down his pants, pissed on the reporters and we all would STILL watch the NFL. Hell I know Black fans of the Giants that would proudly buy and WEAR, New York Nigger team gear! Funny thing is, if we could just all stop watching for one Sunday, just ONE, the message those empty seats, and empty ratings, would send could change everything. But we can’t. We need our medicine. 



This is the YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, binge-watch five seasons of a show in one weekend, “I need it now” age. We’ll forget about this. Just like we forgot Russia shot down a fucking commercial plane. Just like we forgot cops killed two unarmed Black men this summer. The NFL can do whatever it wants. Say whatever it wants. And we’ll still watch. That’s why Goodell isn’t going anywhere. Because he knows you, me, we, US, aren’t going anywhere. So why the hell would he?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Some Like It Hot! 2nd Annual NFL Head Coach Hotseat Power Ranking

Carroll has turned the Seahawks into a budding juggernaut.
Another year, another dollar! The 2014 NFL season is almost upon us. Last year, I had the bright idea of writing an article previewing the season in an unconventional way. You can go anywhere to be told who’s going to be the breakout star or surprise team. Why would you want that? That’s boring... to me anyway. But who wouldn't want to know where their favorite team's head coach was sitting while riding the wacky NFL coaching carousel. No bullshit, Al Qaeda leaders have better job security than NFL head coaches.

This post is actually a huge moment for me because it’s the first time I’ve done a second edition of a previous article. So if you were around for last season’s post, I'd like to say thanks for sticking with me. Anyway, let’s see who’s in the hottest hotseat in 2014, but first, here’s a list of the “fallen” from last season. Cue, Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You."

Jim Schwartz, Lions
Mike Munchak, Titans
Gary Kubiak, Texans
Mike Shanahan, Racists, Redskins
Leslie Frazier, Vikings
Greg Schiano, Buccaneers
Rob Chudzinski, Browns (DUDE WAS A FIRST YEAR COACH IN THE NEUTRAL ZONE! Damn Cleveland! Doesn’t matter the sport, even your first year coaches aren’t safe! Mike Brown is somewhere nodding right now.)

Dead Man Walking (Norv Turner Award)

(Named After the Coach that survived the most seasons as a Dead Man Walking.)
Coaches here already have their pink slips under their office chairs, even if they don’t know it. These guys could literally be fired by the time I finish typing this. Only an improbable Super Bowl victory saves their jobs. 

Joe Philbin -  Miami Dolphins

After two bad Dolphins' seasons, including all the drama from last season, I’m as shocked as any that Philbin survived 2013. My only guess to why he got to keep his gig is Dolphins management figured he deserved a “do-over" after the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito fiasco. But if you ask me there's no way he should get a pass for all of the "in house drama" that took place down in South Beach. NFL head coaches are total control freaks in the locker room. I don't blame Bill Belichick for not knowing what Aaron Hernadez was doing off the field because coaches don't control that part of their players' lives. When it comes to everything on the field and in that locker room, head coaches are Alpha and Omega. If the Dolphins miss the playoffs this season Philbin will be calling LeBron James to ask, "Who did you get to move your stuff from Miami? Why? I'm ahhh. I'm asking for a friend."


Blazing Hot


The Coaches here are probably done after this season. Miss the playoffs and it’s over. Make the playoffs and it still may be over. They at least last through the season, but they’d need 10 plus victories and at least one playoff win to get another year.

Jason Garrett - Dallas Cowboys

Face of a winner.

Jason Garrett is like "Jason" in that he won't go away no matter how much death and destruction he causes. He's made the “Blazing Hot” list in back-to-back years and that's NOT a good thing by the way. I predicted that the 2013 Cowboys would have a shot to make the playoffs, blow it and somehow go 8-8. They smell even worst than that this season. Losing Sean Lee doesn’t help and Romo may or may not be 100%. Truth be told, Romo is the only reason the Cowboys are as good as they have been. It’s hard to see Jerry Jones giving Garrett another year if Dallas doesn’t make the playoffs in 2014. He should be our "Dead Man Walking" but then again it is Dallas and God knows what the hell they’re doing down there.

Dennis Allen - Oakland Raiders

Do you remember anything positive or negative about the 2013 Oakland Raiders? Nope me either. You could've told me that the NFL instituted relegation during the 2013 season and the Raiders played in the CFL. That's how out of touched the Raiders felt last season. (Relegation is used in English soccer leagues. It's a policy where the worst team each year moves down to a lower league.) I don’t see any scenario (Outside of Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and Alex Smith murdering one another in a three-way cage match to the death.) where the immortal Matt Schaub leads the Raiders into the playoffs. Which means I don’t see Allen in Oakland much longer.



Rex Ryan - New York Jets

Ryan pulled a Norv Turner in that he kept a job he had no business keeping. Coming off that feat alone I had to move him down a level… or up… I’m still not sure how movement on this scale works. The Jets added a few nice pieces, most notable dogkiller, QB Michael Vick. Unless Geno Smith turns into a beast, which I DON’T see happening, I can already see the QB controversy in New York. Did Rex not learn from the whole Tim Tebow thing?! Rex's just really into overrated, overhyped super polarizing quarterbacks I guess. It’s been fun but it’s over if you miss the playoffs Rex.

 Hot & Heating Up

Coaches here are in some trouble. Expectations are high so they must win but if they loss too badly they could be out.

Mike Smith - Atlanta Falcons

Mike Smith how the hell did you survive going 4-12?!?! With a healthy Matt Ryan no less?! A drop off that bad can normally be directly attributed to an injury to your star QB. Falcon management must've felt Smith was owed a pass because of the Julio Jones injury and for getting Atlanta back on track after the Bobby Petrino/Michael Vick mess. Injuries aside, the Falcons are perennial under performers and Smith's leash is as short as it's ever been. A revamped D, and a healthy Julio should equal a bounce back year for Atlanta. But all bets are off on Smith keeping his job if the Falcons have another season like 2013.

Ron Rivera - Carolina Panthers

Rivera is as intense on the sideline as he was on the field.

Ron Rivera, a lame duck coach on the verge of looking through the classifieds for a high school coaching job, successfully reshaped himself into Riverboat Ron, a risk takin' SOB that doesn't take shit! Riverboat Ron led the Panthers into the playoffs, kept his job, played himself off the "Blazing List" and moved up, or down still not sure, to the H&H list. Good, no GREAT job Riverboat Ron! That being said, I don’t see the Panthers going anywhere in 2014. I'm factoring in a much tougher schedule and that little part where the Saints and Falcons have both improved. I don’t think Ron’s in as bad as shape as he was coming into last season, he’s not out of the woods by any means.


Marvin Lewis - Cincinnati Bengals

Only Bill Belichick has been with his team longer than Marvin Lewis has been with the Bengals. That's surprising considering one guy is a three time Super Bowl champion and the other guy is well, Marvin Fucking Lewis! Three straight trips to the playoffs means there's a lot more pressure on him than there use to be. Cincinnati is rich with talent on both sides of the ball and the return of Pro Bowl D-Lineman Geno Atkins means the Bengals should be a lot better going into the playoffs. I say "going into the playoffs" because anything less is a total and complete failure. Given how much money they committed to Andy “I haven’t proven I can win a playoff game but thanks for the money anyway” Dalton, Cincy has lofty goals not for their future, but for right now.


Toasty

The coaches here aren’t in any real trouble but all bets are off if they lose 10 plus. Coaches here are relatively safe if they win 7 or more games.

Gus Bradley - Jacksonville Jaguars

Damn son! Shit was all good just a week ago! Neutral list to Toasty in one year. That took some doing cause outside Cleveland, you get at least two seasons before you start feeling the heat. The Jags sucked harder than a hooker on Valentine's Day in 2013. Most of it could be blamed on their horrid QB situation that Bradley inherited. Now that he’s got his own QB in Blake Bortles (Who I think is going to be pretty good by the way.) there aren't going to be many excuses left. Given the success of rookie QBs the last few years, I don't think people in Jacksonville see a Super Bowl coming in 2014, but no way they should be 4-12 again.

Doug Marrone - Buffalo Bills

The Bills weren't great and like Bradley, its only Marrone’s second year but he doesn’t feel safe at all to me. QB EJ Manuel had to deal with a few injuries so it’s not all Marrone’s fault they were bad in 2013. Buffalo have the longest playoff drought in the NFL so expectations are never that high. But I’m sure they’d like to go to the playoffs sometime in my kid’s lifetime. Last year he was on the Neutral list but I could see Buffalo moving on if he’s really bad this second season. A few coaches from the Neutral list got the ax and it wouldn't be a shock if Marrone were one of those guys in 2014.

Neutral  

These coaches are just safe. They could lose 10 plus and still come back, but they definitely see more heat in the next season if they do that. Most of these coaches either just got the job or are in year two of the job. The ones that have a year of service start to move up or down after this season. But for this season, they could win or lose and they still return. (NOTE: Names in bold are coaches in their 1st with a team.)

Chip Kelly has brought happy times to Philly.

Chip Kelly - Philadelphia Eagles

From an offensive X’s and O’s standpoint, Kelly very well could be the best coach in the NFL. Philly’s dynamic offensive scheme helped turn Nick Foles into a Pro Bowler and in turn, me into a back-to-back Fantasy Football Champion! Thanks Chip! Expectations are rightfully very high in Philly. Especially seeing how shaky the Giants, Cowboys and Washington all look. I see the Eagles at least winning the NFC East, but I’m sure Kelly and the Eagles are aiming much higher than a division title.


Bruce Arians - Arizona Cardinals

People forget that this guy was almost a back-to-back Coach of the Year! Arians won in 2012 during “ChuckStrong” and could have won it last season as well. He got 10 wins in the NFL’s toughest division and somehow made the corpse of Carson Palmer look like a real NFL QB again. That alone should have gotten the guy at least co-COY. The NFC West looks to be a just as tough in 2014, with the 49ers and Seahawks being Super Bowl favorites so I could see the Cards winning fewer games. Either way, winning or losing season, Arians is one of the safest in the Neutral zone.


Andy Reid - Kansas City Chiefs

The 2013 Chiefs surprised all with their 11-5 season but not me. A bad division, new good coach replacing an old horrible coach, and a soft schedule meant everything was in place for Reid to have success in year one. You'll notice as their opponents got better down the stretch, the Chiefs got worse. Alex Smith is "serviceable" but he's not winning you a Super Bowl. If Reid couldn't win it all in Philly when Donovan McNabb was at the peak of his powers, no way he's winning it with a WAYYY less talented noodle armed Alex Smith. 2014 doesn’t look like it's going to be as nice as 2013 in Kansas City. However, even if they lose, Reid won’t feel much heat... yet.

Marc Trestman - Chicago Bears
Mike Pettine – Cleveland Browns
Jim Caldwell – Detroit Lions
Bill O’Brien – Houston Texans
Chuck Pagano – Indianapolis Colts
Mike Zimmer - Minnesota Vikings
Mike McCoy - San Diego Chargers
Jeff Fisher – St. Louis Rams
Lovie Smith – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ken Whisenhunt – Tennessee Titans
Jay Gruden – Washington Racists Redskins

Unmovable

Nothing to say because the coaches here aren’t going anywhere. They’ve got Super Bowl appearances and/or Super Bowl wins. They'd have to lose 10 plus for a few years before they feel an ounce of heat. These guys basically quit/retire to lose their jobs.

After leading the Broncos to the Super Bowl, John Fox upgraded to unmovable.

John Harbaugh – Baltimore Ravens
John Fox- Denver Broncos
Mike McCarthy – Green Bay Packers
Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh Steelers
Sean Payton – New Orleans Saints
Tom Coughlin – New York Giants
Jim Harbaugh – San Francisco 49ers
Peter Carroll – Seattle Seahawks

God Mode (Nick Saban Award)

(Named After The Coach With Greatest Job Security in the history of football.)
This slot is saved for the one guy that could lose every year for a decade and still not move. When this guy retires, the team is going to try to talk him into staying longer. This guy is NEVER EVER feeling heat. He has statues outside of the stadium, fans name they’re babies after him and water towers in his hometown have his name painted across them. He doesn’t lose the job until he quits the job and if he wants to come back, you fire the guy that replaced him on the spot if it means he coaches your team again.


Bill Belichick – New England Patriots

Sunday, July 27, 2014

All the Colors of the Rainbow




A few weeks back I was talking to a male friend about women, as men tend to do, and broached the topic of Nicki Minaj. Something along the lines of "Do you think she's hot?" This friend was of the “Caucasian persuasion” so I was expecting him to say “no” in regards to liking her. Ms. Minaj isn't everyone’s cup of tea and honestly, I’m not too keen on her myself. But it was the few words after his presupposed “no” that puzzled me. “I’m just not into Black chicks.”

"Just not into Black chicks?" I’ve heard White men say that to me all my life and it’s always been so crazy to me because beautiful is beautiful regardless of the color. I had to know more. “Oh you mean you don’t date Black women”, I said. “No. I’m just not into them" he retorted. “What you don’t find Black women attractive?” “Not really”, he said. To which I was even more abashed. “Are you gay”, I ask. “Of course not,” he declared with certainty. “But you’re telling me you have never found a single Black woman attractive. Like EVER?” He was quite. After an awkward moment, I spoke. “Racist.”

My friend clearly isn’t a racist, because he’s my friend but after rattling off a few names, like Haley Berry, Naomi Campbell, Megan Good, Tyra Banks, and even a young Pam Grier, I still got no. I named a few other women of color like Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Lopez, and Frida Pinto. Each of which he acknowledged was beautiful. At this point something was clear. If he could find these women of color “beautiful" but not the Black women then my friend had some underlying issues with Black people he hadn't worked through.

Not to sound like that "kind of guy", but I’ve dated a lot of women. I’m no Hugh Hefner but for a regular dude with no real money to speak of, I’ve done pretty well with the fairer sex over my 27 years. I’m confident, (Which is like 80% of “it”. Whatever “it” is anyway.) I look half decent. I’m straightforward and honest. (Which is like 10% of the remaining 20%. Women REALLY respect and appreciate honesty. Another 5% is listening. Not HEARING. But LISTENING. If you don't know the difference, then you're already a lost cause.) I’m charming and I do other “things” pretty well. Or so I’ve been told. (That other "thing" is that last 5%.)

I’ve never seen color in regards to women. I just see pretty or not pretty. That’s my “type”. Pretty. Looks aren’t the end all be all because as I’ve gotten older I’ve become more of a “sapiosexual.” (And ladies, if you don’t know what it means without using Google, we wouldn’t work.) I'll admit that most of the girls I've dated haven't been Black. And no, it's not because I can't "handle" a "real soul sista". You see my mother is one of ten kids. Which means I have a LARGE family. Which means I have a lot of cousins. Growing up I went to school with a lot of really pretty Black girls. And I was always told the same thing about those pretty Black girls. “Leave that girl alone! Boy them yo folks!” As in a lot of those pretty Black girls were my cousins.

So to combat the chance of developing a crush on a relative, I started to eye the girls in the class that didn’t have the same skin color as me. Girls that didn't have black hair and brown eyes like most Black girls tend to have. These instincts formed as a boy shaped how I see women as a man. That view, and my mother always encouraging me to love whomever I loved, skin color be damned, meant I didn't date a lot of Shaquittas or Shonadas. More like a lot of Beckys and Emilys.


Confession time. While most of the women I’ve dated haven’t been Black, I think Black women are the most beautiful group of women. Not the "average" girls but the women at that otherworldly level of beautiful. I'm saying if you took the best of the best from each race, in my opinion, Black women or women of or with some African descent are at the top of the food chain. And it's really not that close. I'm talking like Usain Bolt running the 100M dash in the Special Olympics not close. (Have you ever seen a baby mixed with Black and, NAME ANYTHING ELSE, and it not be cute?) In short, at every point in the history of the world, I feel like the most beautiful woman has more than likely NOT been a White woman. Beautiful Black women are REALLY beautiful. You've never seen a White woman described as "exotic" or "forbidden fruit."

I’m guessing the reason most men don’t date outside their race is because they believe a lot of the stereotypes about each race of women. As someone who’s dated White (all kinds Russian, American, British, Polish, etc), Black, Asian, Mexican, Colombian, Persian, etc, let me tell you which stereotypes are true…on average... and in my experience of course. (Note: I’m only comparing Black, White, and Latina women.)

- White women are the freakiest. If there’s a group of 10 White women, 8 are freaks.  If there are 10 Latina women, 6 are freaks. A group of 10 Black women, 3 are freaks but boy oh boy those 3! Those 3 are like 8 White girls!

- Black women don’t do oral sex, but the ones that do are usually the best at it. It's the lips.

- Latina women have the worst tempers. Black women are a close second.

- White women are the most loyal. White women that date Black men anyway. If you’re dating a White woman, as a Black man, in my experience, they’ll run through a brick wall for you. They'll go without if it means helping you. And you’d pretty much have to throw them off a bridge to get them to break up with you.

- Black women talk the most shit. Anything they could say in an effort to get you to smack them or at least REALLY want to, they’ll say it. It’s nothing for a Black woman to say the cruelest shit imaginable when they’re pissed off. Their words cut the deepest when they want to. Your mom, kids (if you have kids with other woman), super embarrassing stories, your special needs sibling. Nothing's off limits.

- Black women age the best. Latina and White about the same. (Asians the worst.)

- White women typically don’t have butts. Black women have the most.

- Latina women “double-dip” the most. (Double-Dip: Combination of having BOTH big boobs and big butt.)

I know what you're thinking. Which race is the best at sex? No one race is better at sex than the other. AGAIN, in my experience anyway. Quality of sex for women is more of a "per person" kind of thing. 

Let’s say women are like all the different elements of nature. Beaches, forests, swamps, mountains ranges, canyons, deserts, and so and so forth. The Grand Canyon is beautiful. The Redwood National Park is beautiful. The Rocky Mountains are beautiful. The Florida Everglades are beautiful. The Sierra Desert is beautiful. Laguna Beach is beautiful. Different forms of nature, but all beautiful and you can like one over the other. To each his own, but to claim you "love" nature and you "understand" it’s beauty but not be able to at least find the beauty in mountains ranges just doesn’t seem right. Maybe you don't "love" nature after all.

In this same analogy, let’s say Black women are mountains, and I only say that because I think the most impressive thing in nature is a mountain and because I said Black women are most beautiful. Let's say White women are beaches. Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos is the most beautiful beach in the world but I'm still more awestruck at Mt. Everest. For all their beauty, and while I admire them more, that doesn’t mean I wanna go climb a mountain every weekend. Sometimes... I'd rather lay out on a beach.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Twisted Confessions and Atramentous Musings of A "Broke" Writer (The Gatekeepers)






I'm honestly not sure why I continue to write this. I mean when I write about sports or movies and surprisingly racism, tons of people read my blog. Judging by the numbers from this "riveting and long running series" I'd say the only people who actually read these things are me, myself only to make corrections to my atrocious grammar, and my mother because she's supports anything I do and because well, she's my mother and she supports anything I do. Thanks for reading this mom because I know you are.

Anyway, I write these pieces for three reasons. One, to give all the people that say my job is so "glamorous" a look behind the "proverbial" velvet rope. (Frankly it isn't that glamorous. Well I got to meet Cuba Gooding Jr. and Turtle from Entourage yesterday as of the original posting so this doesn't suck all the time) Two, to give advice to friends looking to get into the business and/or give advice to friends already in the business. And three, and mostly, to get my thoughts out because God forbid I'm stuck alone with them.

A couple of months back I got a chance to be in a writer's room and it was easily the greatest job I've ever had. It took all of three seconds on my first day there to confirm that this, writing for film/TV, is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Monday through Friday for about three months, I got to sit in an office, watch six guys  talk shit, tell jokes in funny voices and laugh my ass off. Really? This was work? I was hooked.
Group photo of the writer's room as drawn by Jordan.

One of my weekly tasks as the writer's PA included picking up and mailing out our writer's room payroll. It came sealed in a large manila envelope and was filled with all the checks. The checks were separated by writers and everyone else. Each group of checks had an expense sheet paper clipped to it that detailed, down to the last cent I might add, what each group was making. Since it was my job, it wasn't like I had to snoop to figure out what these guys made. (Now I won't reveal the exact figures because I feel like giving you that much detail would be kind of unprofessional and there's really no need to know the number but I will say this... it was big.)

Myself and the writer's assistant made practically nothing. Seriously for the amount of hours we were putting in we really weren't getting paid enough, but then again we were getting paid to sit in a room for 12 hours and watch six guys dick around so it's still not bad work if you can get it. But what the six writers made combined was so massive, I became physically ill after I saw it for the first time. I'm not joking. That's not a lie. That's not a typo. I literally became physically ill. I had to sit in my car for a good 20 minutes. 10 just staring at the number to make sure I wasn't hallucinating and the other 10 to compose myself for the 45 minute drive in rush hour traffic from Burbank back to Hollywood. Needless to say, the rest of that day kind of sucked.

Eventually I got over it, continued my work and it was no big deal, but after seeing how much writers really made I've lost all patience for the "grind". (The grind is a term to describe the process of working in the film/TV business.) I've always been told that this is a business that takes a lot of hardwork, a little bit of luck and even more time. I've only been in a LA a year and some change, almost two in fact and here have been people that have been out here for five, ten, fifteen years before they get a break. Anytime I say "I should be doing this or that", people look at me, laugh and say "Paris, you're doing just fine. For someone that's been out here only a year, you're actually doing quite well." You couldn't tell me that but apparently I'm "doing just fine" so I guess I shouldn't start panicking... yet. But seeing those checks left me with the patience of a child waiting for dessert after peeking into the oven at nearly baked cookies. I mean I can hardly contain myself anymore.

How do I get there? What do I do? What do I need? I've always said, the only shortcut to success is nepotism. Since my uncles and aunts last names are Lay and not Bay, in this business you need to be with a "gatekeeper". You have to be in a union or with an agent. Getting in the union is the ultimate "Catch 22." It's like wanting to start a chicken farm. You go to a farmer and say, "I want to start a chicken farm. I need a chicken. Give me a chicken!" The farmer declares, "You don't need an chicken. You need an egg." "Ok. I need an egg. Where do I get an egg?" He replies, "A chicken of course." To get into the union you have to work a certain amount days and hours on an union show but to work on an union show, YOU NEED TO BE IN THE FUCKING UNION! I think I'll pass on this particular circle jerk thank you.

The other gatekeepers are agents and you can't do shit in this town without one. Agents, in theory, don't get paid until you get paid. So in a way they're agreeing to working for free. Having an agent tells people something about you. It's like the agent saying, "I believe in this person so much I'm welling to work for them for free for a bit because I know it's going to lead to a bunch of money one day." It validates you. And anyone looking to do business with you knows you're serious. (An agent doesn't mean you have talent because there are TONS of shitty people that have agents.)

So now I'm at that stage. Trying to get a gatekeeper. I'm working on a few projects that I really believe in and I've been sending emails and I feel really close but nothing so far. I'll close this with a Facebook status I posted a few weeks back because it fits and I'm lazy and don't feel like coming up with something "poignant" right now.

"This "shit" isn't for the weak of heart or mind. The business of film, especially the creative side here in California, is overcrowded, unrealistic, hypercompetitive and about as "stable" as a nine month old taking their first steps on ice. But the pot at the end of this rainbow is unlike anything I've seen. This business is filled with countless stories of people that finally broke through when it all seemed over.

It's that fact alone that makes me get up everyday and say, "Why not me?" When I lay down tonight I'm going to do what I always do. Thank God for my health, for my family's health. For feeding me and my kids. For job opportunities for my friends and I. And when I wake up I'm gonna think the same thing I did the day before, "Why not me?" "



Friday, July 11, 2014

You Can ALWAYS Go Home


The King Returns


LeBron James is going home. Today he announced his return to the Cleveland Cavilers via a beautifully penned open letter on SI.com. My first feeling, oddly enough, was total shock. Friends had been asking me what I thought he’d do and my gut always said he's going back to Cleveland, but just reading the news was still a bit surprising. Not only does this change the entire landscape of the NBA, but it "rights" one of the greatest "wrongs" in sports. The Decision.

Four years ago when James left, I was one of the few people that didn’t get upset. It was, at the time, the right move. The only problem I had was how he did it. I looked at it like this; doctors, lawyers, contractors, accountants all leave one job to go to another job with better opportunities. Hell, the fry cook from McDonalds goes to Burger King because they pay him fifty cent more! The NBA should be even more mobile than it is.

These guys have 5 to 10 years, 15 if you’re REALLY great, to accomplish the ultimate goal in their profession. If I were a really great NBA player my goal would be to maximize my chances of winning a NBA championship every year. Because no matter how good your season is, only one team goes home truly happy every year. You, me, and everyone else not a professional (keyword PROFESSIONAL as in get paid to do it because it's a job) athlete, has a much longer window to do their given trade. Imagine if you only could do your job for 10 years. What if Steven Spielberg could only have made movies for 10 years? If you had such a small time in a career field, wouldn’t you do everything you could to be in the best possible position to have success?

LeBron did all he could do in Miami. Four years, four straight Finals, and two titles. Miami was a city that more than willingly accepted/welcomed him, but in Cleveland LeBron is beloved. Miami and its fans never really appreciated LeBron or his greatness. Like game six of the 2013 NBA Finals. Half the stadium walks out when the Heat looked like they were down for the count. They, Heat “fans”, quit on the team. They quit on LeBron. If that was game six in Cleveland, they would NEVER do that. This season, in game five when the Spurs were gutting Miami, again the fans dipped. Cleveland never does that. They stay and they cheer a two-time champion that took them to four straight finals. Cleveland would understand that yes they lost, but you stay and give them thanks. That you cheer for a team that gave you such joy.
 
Irving and James will be just two of the four number
one draft picks on the same team that drafted them.
Bennett & Wiggins are the other number one draft picks of the Cavs.
James is a better player, a better man than he was when he left Cleveland. He said as much himself in the letter. I'd even say Cleveland is better because he left. They got THREE number one draft picks because of his exit. And two other lottery picks. I don’t think the Cavs win the title next season. Not sure they can get that far with their current roster. Now if Cleveland is able to land Kevin Love and pair him with James and Kyrie Irving, then yes, they become INSTANT title favorites.


In life you don’t get too many second chances. I mean you just don’t. Once you screw something up, it usually stays that way. But when you're given the chance to do it over. To do it right. When you do, you take advantage of that chance. This is a great day in sports history. Not just for Cleveland but for us all. Sometimes sports is about something more. Something more than money. More than titles even. Sometimes it's about what makes you happy. Sometimes it’s about what’s right. “I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one,” James said. “And I take that very serious.” he continued. Outside of Miami, (And even they can't be too upset about this) how can you hate that? How can you be mad at that? How can you be mad at a guy trying to make it right? This is proof that no matter what you do and no matter how you leave, you can always go home.