Monday, June 30, 2008

Fuck Bernie Kosar.

Fuck Bernie Kosar.

Coach and Bukner find themselves sitting in the stands at the Orlando Predators versus the Cleveland Gladiators wildcard game in the Arena League Football Playoffs. The game is already started, and the beers have been flowing for a while.

(Coach)--Look at those assholes run around. I can't believe we don't see any ball control offense in this mutt of a game.
(Bukner)--I know coach, it makes me sad to think a fat boy like me has no use in this league.
(Coach)--We didn't have much use for you in the other league, anyways.
(Bukner)--I did, however, win the National Championship with Coach Saban....
(Coach)--NITELITE!!!!! I told you to stop bringing that up. That was a SPLIT National Championship, if I remember correctly, so you fukers only won HALF a National Championship....
(Bukner)--Whoa, did you see that??
(Coach)--I'm sorry, I didn't mean to spill that beer on you, you know I'd never waste alcohol...
(Bukner)--No, that kid, the one that just caught the touchdown.
(Coach)--Another touchdown? Don't these players ever take breaks? TV timeouts? Anything?
(Bukner)--Yeah, that's when the cheerleaders run out on the field.
(Coach)--Oh, I thought that was how first down worked in the AFL....
(Bukner)--That kid who caught the ball, he looked good. Really good. Almost too good to be here.
(Coach)--I think we are too good to be here. How did we get here anyways? Everything is sorta a blur after 3 O'clock thursday afternoon. What time is it now? Like five in the morning Sunday?
(Bukner)--No, it's six in the evening Monday.
(Coach)--Goddamn it, football season is probably right around the corner, isn't it? What month is it, May?
(Bukner)--Almost July.
(Coach)--GODDAMN FOOTBALL!!!! NITELITE!!!!! Still, I how did we get here? I thought we were in Oaklahoma celebrating the expiring of my 20 year ban from Oaklahoma and Missouri.
(Bukner)--First you got the DUI thursday afternoon. Then we got bailed out just in time to make the fishing trip with Bob Knight. Then you guys got to drinking and berating pedestrians as we drove around trying to find an all nudie strip club in Columbus, OH, and then you heard that Bernie Kosar owned an AFL team and was in the playoffs so I got in touch with Supa Chocolate, one of my Myspace Honnies, to meet us up here.
(Coach)--How do you remember that with all the pot your smokin?
(Bukner)--Think of how smart I would have been. If I didn't smoke pot, and hadn't been a defensive lineman. Don't forget the press conference earlier today where you were supposed to be congradulating high school varsity athletes with 4.0 GPA's and you stopped at the fat kid and said you were done. That even hurt my feelings a little bit.
(Coach)--You've got to remember, Bukner, when I talk about minorities, fat people, pot smokers, or lazy assholes, your the exception to the rule. You are a good driver, after all.
(Bukner)--What would you do if I stopped driving you around? WHOA! Did you see that?
(Coach)--I know, I know, I lit this blunt in here. No one's here. It's fucking Arena League Football. It's like Women's Basketball crossed with racquetball.
(Bukner)--No, The Kid, he just caught another touchdown. That's two just since you stopped being blacked out.
(Coach)--Why are we here again? This game just makes me angry. What about the great defensive stands? What about field goals, punting, and rushing plays? Oh my god it's like watching a porno of Designing Women. See, the other team already scored another touchdown. What's the point?
(Bukner)--Now watch #12 of the Cleveland team. That's the kid I've been talking about. Remember how I am registered as a Sports Agent?
(Coach)--Didn't we pull that scam to get into the Espy's a couple years ago?
(Bukner)--Yeah. And then I had to headlock Drew Rosenhaus and I think I kicked Kate Blanchette in the head.
(Coach)--I sure wish Vince Lombardi's widow was still around....She needs a good kick to the head.....FUCK! FUCK FUCK FUCK! GOD DAMN I HATE BERNIE KOSAR! Now I remember why we are here! Fuck! Where is he at?? That motherfucker lost to fucking goddamn Doug Flutie the fucking football throwing midget back in 1984. Do you know how much money I lost on that game? Do you know how much I was destined to be the next head coach of Miami---even after the Sugar Bowl incident--if it wasn't for that chocking bastard. I wanna tear him apart. You know I was banned from the Hurricane practice facillities all the way until April of the next year after Bernie Kosar pulled his NFL Draft hyjinks and somehow thought he came out on top going to The Browns. That was when I knew Fate was real.
(Bukner)--I think that's him, the old guy with the headphones on down by the hometeam endzone.
{Bukner restraining Coach}
(Coach)--Let go of me goddamn it! I wanna sock that son of a bitch in the mouth like I did Vince Lombardi's widow at the 1972 Sugar Bowl.
(Bukner)--I will buy you an entire case of beer as soon as I can talk to The Kid. As soon as I get to talk to him then you can kick the living shit out of Bernie Kosar. I'll bail you out again for the second time in a week if I need to. But first let me talk to The Kid. I'm working on a plan. What I'm thinking is now that I have discovered some undiscovered talent, we can both get back into the NFL. Have you ever seen the movie "Kingpin". Just like that.
(Coach)--You know the only movie I watch is "The Longest Yard". With Burt Reynolds as the star, not that pussy Adam Sandler. I think he is jewish, for god's sake. Everyone knows Jews don't play football.....
(Bukner)--See, what had you messed up in the NFL was the ban from Missouri--what, with the St. Louis Rams and all--but now its the best league FOR you to coach in again....
(Coach)--I don't know. Is Art Shell still alive?
(Bukner)--Either he is, or they pretend that he is, like propping him up and doing ventrilliquism, like "Weekend at Bernies".
(Bukner)--Coach, settle down, that security guard is looking at us kinda funny. I'm going to sneak down near the bench and see if I can talk to The Kid in between possessions.
(Coach)--NITELITE!!! What's The Kid's name?
(Bukner)--something Hymes.
(Coach)--Lets call him.....Minnesota.
(Coach)--It's better than Indiana.
(Bukner)--You better not let Bob hear you say that?
(Coach)--Where is he?
(Bukner)--We lost him after he tried to chase down that kid on the bike. I don't know what happened. I've been checking ESPN off and on to try and figure it out....
(Coach)--Well hurry up and do your thing, I'm sick of waiting.
(Bukner)--Just drink the rest of the beers and get some more if I'm not back before they stop selling them at the beginnning of the 4th quarter.

Bukner sneaks down past all the empty seats to stand just behind "Minnesota" Hymes as the Gladiator offense watched the Predator offense throw hail mary after hail mary. It was still the 3rd quarter, and they were ahead. Coach almost vomited in his seat, both from alcohol and the absurdity of it all.

(Bukner)--Psst. Psst. Hey. You. #12. HYMES!
{finally Hymes turns around}
(Bukner)--Do you wanna play REAL football? I mean, in the NFL?
(Hymes)--Who are you, mister? I don't need to get caught up in nothing shady.
(Bukner)--I'm a sports agent.
(Hymes)--Oh, that's okay, I thought you were with those Italian guys trying to get us to throw the game.
(Bukner)--Me and Coach can get you into the NFL.
(Hymes)--Coach who?
(Bukner)--That's not important right now. Do you remember the 1972 Sugar Bowl?
(Bukner)--Forget it, you'll know soon enough....Anyways, if you're interested, come to the Travel Lodge down by the highway. When you get to it turn left. You'll pass a Super-8, a Motel 7, and the 666 Lounge. The very next apartment complex is where you turn right, then two quick lefts back to back. Then stop. Turn off your lights. Turn them back on three times. Then turn them back off. A girl named Supa Chocolate will come down to your car and just tell her you need to know where Coach and Bukner are at. I'm Bukner.
(Hymes)--I'll try and remember all that, but I am still in the middle of a playoff game here.
(Bukner)--Forget this garbage. You'll be playing on a full-sized field with full-sized players soon enough. {Bukner looks back to see Coach in the middle of a heap of security guards and batons}Plus I think we are about to have to go....

Minnesota Hymes

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fate is a Harsh Mistress

Fate is a Harsh Mistress

For almost a year Daniel has been my musical guru, and Sunday I texted him to find out if he had mixed his entire program as he had told me intended to do. That night I rambled around with Joe-Joe trying to find someone, anywhere, that would allow us to listen to the regular radio so that we could hear the program, and our best option turned out to be Rob Nitty's house, which wasn't even really an option considering Rob was too insane to change the radio station, and his two children to afraid of him to try and do it for us. So we spent a good portion of the night hanging with Rob's two kids until the beer ran out. I talked to Daniel later that night and he told me he had only mixed the first half hour or so, so I felt good I didn't miss too much.

Daniel is by far my most trusted friend when it comes to musical taste, and for the last few weeks he had been completely consumed with learning the new mixing software he recently got for his laptop. In fact, I began to take it somewhat personally when Daniel didn't come around our house for over a week.

The 6 Year Anniversary of my meeting of Solara Lynn came and went Wednesday and I didn't realize I had missed the marking of that date--I am so sentimental I keep track of dates and anniversaries of relationships that have long been dead. I usually try and send my ex's an email or text message on their birthday's and important (and sometimes inconsequential) holidays, and this was one I wouldn't have missed on purpose. I felt guilty when I woke up the next day and realized I had missed it completely. I checked my cellphone and realized I had been doing some underground guerilla marketing as the historic hour came and went.

I felt better later that night when Daniel came over for the first time in weeks, and he previewed for me some of what he had in store for his upcoming show. No matter how many times it happens, I am never disappointed in the new music Daniel introduces to me. Our room-mate Emil was moving the next morning back to Florida, so we start having an impromptu going away party for him and unexpectedly Jwig, who owes me $65 and all I have is his paycheck to show for it, pops in with his friend Whitney, who I immediately fall for--she is pretty, sweet, and seems to like me too. I get her number before they leave and Jwig promises to come back the next day and help me to cash his check.

Unexplicably, as is almost always the case, I am elated the rest of the night with the prospect of the new and exciting possibilities with this female. My hopes were even more reinforced the next day when she texts me to tell me she has added me on her Myspace page.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Black Earth, Red Star

Black Earth, Red Star

Late last week I was considering different guerilla marketing techniques that I could employ in addition to the Money Graffiti, which has itself been highly successful. Remembering that Jeff Wall delivered newspapers, the next time I saw him I asked if I could ride with him one night and graffiti the inside corner of each one before he delivered them. Jeff Wall thought that was a good idea, but suggested that I make little inserts with the website address and maybe a short description so that people knew if they would be interested in what I was offering. So I went with him that evening back to his house and printed out about ten pages of printed out addresses in 16 point font and cut them into about ten from each page. I rode the three hours with him delivering the papers and then eagerly, after waking up much later than usual the next day, checked my traffic and saw that I had not had an increase in traffic whatsoever--not even one hit, to be exact.

I did, however, have about 50 of the mini-fliers left over and decided, after a day of putting one or two randomly on different bulletin boards around town, to seed books at The Library that closely followed in theme or substance my own work. I walked aimlessly around for about fifteen minutes before I remembered how to find specific sections (I usually peruse the library by just walking in random directions and waiting for something to jump out at me), and on my way to the literary fiction and non-fiction part of The Library the book "Black Earth, Red Star", seemed to gravitate me toward itself, and I knew my operation should begin there.

Following seeding most of the books in the section related to Revolutionary and Communist Russia in the history section I then proceeded to my favorite writer of this era, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and got through about half of the volumes written by or about him in his section before running out of fliers.

The Auburn University Library has always been a pseudo-divine center of my activities and life in Auburn. I have many times ran into friends past and yet to be, retreated into it's artificially air controlled confines for a mind clearing read of F.Scott Fitzgerald or Hemingway when things were at the most confused before, with, and since Solara. In this way, even more singularly than Auburn itself, it has been a pinwheel of The Path I have chosen for quite some time.

"Generation Kill" by Evan Wright

"Generation Kill" by Evan Wright
for The Corner News
by Michael Bernard

In arguably the best first-hand account written of the Conflict in Iraq to date, Evan Wright's "Generation Kill" is set to be released as a miniseries by HBO on July 13, and the book has already become a classic in the genre of war reporting. The book was originally published as a three-part installment in Fall of 2003 by Rolling Stone Magazine, and these original articles won the a National Magazine Award for Excellence in Reporting in 2004.

Wright joins the First Reconnaissance Marines during the initial invasion Iraq in March, 2003, and witnesses their retooled role as the "spearhead of awe" in the taking of Iraq's Fertile Crescent. The Marines, despite being highly trained special forces warriors, are in effect reduced to humvee-jockeying rabbits running ahead of the main invasion force provoking ambushes by the embedded Iraqi and foreign insurgent forces. Wright follows two months of the daily lives of a small squad composed of members of Bravo Company, who, despite their varying backgrounds and interests, perfectly embody the spirit of what Wright, on page 17, describes as our generation's perfect storm of influences that have caused us to become just detached and disillusioned with the realities of our modern world enough to become Generation Kill.

During the vagaries of the "fog of combat", instances of violence and tragedy take place involving innocent civilians, and one highly-ranked commander repeatedly, in pure blood lust, tries to murder his own men and civilians during the rush of combat. Through the clear eyes of Wright we can see that the realities of war have not changed, that despite our technology, best intentions, and excesses of heroism and sacrifice, conflict of nations mainly entails the pain and suffering of people far removed from the decisions that ultimately determine their fate.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Panorama of the Tennessee River Valley

Panorama of the Tennessee River Valley

For our senior year English Project we were instructed to make a home video interpreting our hometown, al la "Our Town". My group partners were Erik Alexander, Daniel Colon, Walton Bradford and JT Nelson. Aside from JT, all of us had played football together, but still had different perspectives on Scottsboro. My greatest interest in the project was that I was going to be allowed to do the musical composition, and my mind began earnestly working on putting together what sound clips I could think of wanting absolutely, whether it fit the footage we ended up making or not. One Saturday morning we all met up and drove around in Walton's SUV, and aside from a few serendipitous clips of the five of us goofing off, we got a lot of the typical high-light spots in the area. The crowning achievement was that one of us happened to know that the house on the bluff at the top of Sand Mountain, just as you reach Section, was for sale and we could get a really good panoramic shot of Scottsboro from the back porch. The shot came together perfectly, and I remember the realtor and a client showed up just as we were leaving. Walton and I talked on our trip up and down the mountain and I told him how I wanted someday for my family to be something like his--deeply intertwined in the lifeblood of the community. Walton also provided for the project a home video with several montages from the 1940's and 1950' of Scottsboro, and with that tape, the one we had recorded, and my expansive CD collection, I went to work that night and through Sunday trying to put together a cohesive collage of images and music. I came up with an ingenious procedure--remember, this is 1997, and our ability to digitally enhance or manipulate video like what in the present-day is considered rudimentary was far beyond my reach. So I used a system of two VCR's and our family's camcorder to splice in the right sounds, video, and music all at the same time. By the time Sunday Evening wore into the wee hours I felt good about what I had put together. The video started with "Thus Spoke Zarathrusta", otherwise known as the Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, as the panographic view of the river valley and the town of Scottsboro faded into focus. Then, during the classic video's I used "Mr. Eliminator" by Dick Dale and The Del-Tones (famous for the opening song "Misirlou" on Pulp Fiction), and then with trailing shots of the river from water level I used "Blue Danube", and as it wound down and I pieced a couple of the shots of Erik, Walton and Daniel goofing off I used "Far Behind", by Candlebox and then as the exiting credits rolled out I used the music from The Innocent Mission song "Bright as Yellow", which was from the Empire Records soundtrack which I believe I had borrowed from either Daniel or Erik. We received an "A" for our project (which was due the next day, in true procrastinator style), and almost won the competition pitting all the video's against one another.

For the last few days I have had the song "Bright as Yellow" stuck in my head, along with "Waiting for the Sun" by The Doors, and "Black Magic Woman" by Santana. Understandably, an eclectic mix, and I can only explain "Black Magic Woman" from the amount of Guitar Hero I have been absorbing both while awake mildly drunk and while passed out massively drunk. The next day after the multi-venue Vargas Sponsored Guitar Hero Exhibition I realized that I had a Doors song I did not immediately recognize stuck in my head, so I asked Isabella the next time I saw her if there was a Doors song on Guitar Hero, which she said there wasn't, and I was stuck trying to remember what song I might have ingrained in my mind since I had no Door's CD's to refer to. Isa said that she didn't believe that there was a single Doors song in her cd changer in her car. I hadn't been able to narrow it down, assuming that it was either the first few bars of "Spanish Caravan" or "When the Music's Over" that had somehow, in some strange twist of chemical abuse, been isolated and repeated for hours on end in my waking and sleeping mind. Then, three days ago, with the mystery deepening since I am often times enlightened by the dreams and/or music that continued to reoccur in my life at particular times, I sat down to check out YouTube and play every Doors song I could find--and the very first one that came up in my search was "Waiting For The Sun", which was one of my favorites for years, and I immediately realized that had been the song, even more so than the Santana or Innocent Mission song's, that had been racking my brain.

Music is amazing in the way that it can bring us back to a moment in time or places and people that we remember fondly, and the discovery of new music highlights the present moment with something our heart and mind can grasp later to re experience the same thing again.

Last week, after spending most of my paycheck getting a Money order so that I can bail Dinky's computer out of the tow-shop and then buying a few other things, I was walking through the local General Store I happened across a sign that promised CD's for 99 Cents and had a picture of the Nine Inch Nail's CD "Pretty Hate Machine", which I knew was worth at least 99 Cents. So I go to the rack and of course none of the good CD's were left, but I stumbled across the first Gangsta Boo CD "Both Worlds *69" and the Project Pat CD Mista Don't Play (Everythangs Workin). I knew the Project Pat CD was awesome, as it had basically been the theme CD for 2001-2002 for the Party Haven Crew and Dexter Phillips's and I's numerous random road trips. I bought the Gangsta Boo CD because there was one song by her that I randomly downloaded years ago and had become a perpetual classic in my rotation, but I had never known the name. For 99 Cents, I was excitedly willing to give "Both Worlds.." a try. As soon as I got back to the house I put in the Gangsta Boo CD, and while I was happy to hear it sounded just like every other 3*6 Mafia/Project Pat/Hypnotize Camp Posse album, it did not have the song I wanted. So, as I listened to my favorites from the Project Pat CD I researched the only lyric from the song that I could remember and determined that the song I wanted was called "Who We Be", and used an online service to download it for free. The screw-style rap music of 3*6 always immediately brings me back to those years running with Dexter, Ronnie "T-Bird" Langston, Vodski and Boo around the environs of Scottsboro, Section and Skyline, creating havoc and adventure everywhere we went. The folks up here in the Northeast don't get it quite like we do, so I listen to the CD's and "Who We Be" when no one else is around, or I'm too drunk to care. Our other major rap-group/label that we liked back then was No Limit, and the 504 Boyz CD "Goodfellas-Ball Till You Fall", along with "Mista Don't Play" and the Bush album "Razorblade Suitcase" are the only albums I have purchased more than 4 times each. It amazes me how many people mistake the rapper Krazy from 504 with Tupac. My most favorite song in all of rap, aside from Gangsta Party by Tupac and Snoop Dogg, is song number 20 on "Goodfellas...", the last on the album, "Souljas". Every time I listen to it it reminds me of the Party Haven Crew, and the fact that I am more than fairly confident T-Bird still has "Goodfellas--Ball Till You Fall" in his CD book.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Hello-I'm Special: How Individuality Became The New Conformity" by Hal Niedzviecki

"Hello-I'm Special: How Individuality Became The New Conformity" by Hal Niedzviecki
for The Corner News
by Michael Bernard

Taking examples from such wide ranging cultural phenomenon as backyard wrestling leagues to "American Idol", from YouTube and Myspace to smorgasbord religion and Rebellion-As-Commerce, "Hello-I'm Special: How Individuality Became The New Conformity" by Hal Niedzviecki picks up right where Tyler Durden's impassioned soliloquies in the movie "Fight Club" left off.

We were, indeed, raised to believe we could do anything and be anything we wanted, living out our dreams of fame and fortune. Reinforced by almost every angle of popular culture, our ideal of becoming a celebrity center of our own personally revolving universe is now as common a yardstick for members of the Digital Generation as bank statements and a house in The Hampton's might have been for our forbearers. While technology has increasingly sped up the cycle of creation (and destruction) of the Popular Culture Myth, the psychological and social ramifications of many of the trends we are in the midst of evolving have not been better analyzed or more clearly articulated. Niedzviecki delves into the subject matter both humorously and very thoroughly, never failing to entertain as he shines the light on the darker corners of the full-extension of our shared cultural mythos.

Niedzviecki is himself a life-long "rebel", whose middle-class and conservative parents fostered a strong individualist streak, and as he approached the age of 30, Niedzviecki found himself wondering what is left to rebel against once individualism has become the overwhelming cultural imperative. An astonishing panorama of the very near future can be seen, and the vision is likely to horrify and amuse in equal amounts. Niedzviecki is tremendously talented with a reputation as one of the wisest and funniest writers working in this often ignored but vitally important field of research. As Sun Lzu's "The Art of War" states--"Know Thyself", and this book has more to teach us about our selves than many of us are ready to accept.

Another "Hulk" of a movie for Marvel

Another ‘Hulk’ of a movie for Marvel
Michael Bernard
For The Corner News
published June 17, 2008

Photo by

With our ears and eyes just barely recovered from the excitement of “Iron Man,” Marvel Studios kicks off the summer tradition of highly-bloated, mega-mortgaged, super-million dollar budget blockbusters with “The Incredible Hulk,” not to be mistaken for the ill-received 2003 “The Hulk,” which was a failure none of us can be blamed for forgetting entirely.

This time around Edward Norton takes on the role as Bruce Banner, tortured scientist in pursuit of the cure for the radiation that has caused him to become an overly aggressive beast when properly motivated. The comic book movies are here to stay, with a long slate of forthcoming projects from Marvel Studios (not to mention DC Comic’s own Batman returning yet again in July), and it is easy to see why our long fascination with The Hulk continues.

After the ultimately disappointing results for the 2003 film, Marvel rebooted the franchise, and despite months of speculation that “The Incredible Hulk” would disappoint, the CGI-Fest is on with The Hulk battling a new nemesis, the Abomination, with pre-requisite explosions and a muddled love story in tow.

This time Liv Tyler, the daughter of General Ross (William Hurt), plays the object of The Hulk’s affections, and by the end of the movie I was left wondering if I was watching the video game being played by someone else as The Hulk and the Abomination culminate in their predictable final fight.

Sadly for me I have never been a big fan of video games, comic books, or superhero movies, but even so the movie does delight more than expected with the formulaic mix of laughs, thrills and intrigue.

If you enjoyed “Iron Man,” “Spider Man,” “X-Men,” “The Fantastic Four,” or any of “The Punisher” movies, then you will no doubt either be perfectly pleased with this movie or have the usual comic book fanboy laundry list of complaints about how the movie doesn’t word-for-word follow the comic books.