Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dudes of Cancer: Monsieur February

Louis Farrakhan

Formerly known as Louis Eugene Walcott, Louis Farrakhan was a well-adjusted young man, graduating with honors from Boston English High School, where he played the violin and was a member of the track team. He attended the Winston-Salem Teachers College from 1951 to 1953, but dropped out to pursue a career in music and even performed professionally in Boston nightclubs.

Farrakhan is known for his advocacy for black interests and as the National Representative of the Nation of Islam. He joined the Nation in 1955. He emerged as the protégé of Malcolm X and one of its most prominent members. Under Farrakhan's leadership, the Nation established a clinic for AIDS patients in D.C., and promoted social reform in African American communities. Farrakhan was a driving force behind the Million Man March in 1995.

Perhaps Farrakhan is best known for his "passionate" views on Jews, whites and gays. According to the Anti-Defamation League, Farrakhan has said the following:

“Do you know some of these satanic Jews have taken over BET? …Everything that we built, they have. The mind of Satan now is running the record industry, movie industry and television.”

“These false Jews promote the filth of Hollywood that is seeding the American people and the people of the world and bringing you down in moral strength.”

“How can you be a Jew and promote homosexual marriage?”

“You are wicked deceivers of the American people. You have sucked their blood. You are not real Jews, those of you that are not real Jews. You are the synagogue of Satan, and you have wrapped your tentacles around the U.S. government, and you are deceiving and sending this nation to hell.”

“White people are potential humans…they haven’t evolved yet."

“God don't like men coming to men with lust in their hearts like you should go to a female. If you think that the kingdom of God is going to be filled up with that kind of degenerate crap, you're out of your damn mind.”

Farrakhan underwent prostate cancer surgery in 1999 after being diagnosed. He had major abdominal surgery in 2007 to correct damage caused by the radioactive seed that had been implanted into him. From what I can gather, he is doing well at 76 years old. He is the grandfather to Mustapha Farrakhan, a guard for the UVA basketball team, which stinks yet again this year.

Like the millions of other survivors, let us hope that Louis can remain healthy and cancer-free, and can continue providing us with his—if nothing other than provocative—passages.
Louis Farrakhan

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Redbox—the DVD rental kiosks located at many grocery and convenient stores—altered my perception of a movie’s value. Back in the day I would rent movies at Blockbuster for close to $5 and not think twice. With the Blockbuster Rewards program, I could rent a new release Monday-Wednesday and rent an old movie for free. I did that so often that I ran out of older movies I wanted to see.

I purchased the DVD of films that I really enjoyed, because if I watched them three times then I already reached the value of a one-time rental. On Black Friday I would splurge on $4-5 DVD sales because they were the same price as a rental. I own some that I’ve never even watched. Over the years I collected well over 200 DVDs.

After my transplant, JD and I walked to Blockbuster seemingly every day, except when we registered for a two-week Netflix free trial. We received our first batch of three movies, watched them all in one day, and then shipped them back for three more. Blockbuster provided our intermittent fix.

A couple years ago I discovered Redbox and was hooked—$1 movie rentals, with the more-than-occasional free promo code. You can check online for a specific kiosk’s movie inventory, and even reserve movies by credit card. Suddenly, the cost to watch a new movie fell from $5 to $1 (not including Netflix, where the cost varies based on the speed of your mail courier and how many movies you watch).

I loved Redbox and told everyone about it. I told them about, which used to provide free promo codes every Monday. I have one credit card and one debit card, and I used the promo code for each. Redboxes began popping up everywhere and I was overjoyed to be one of the early adopters.

During our second of five snows this winter, I drove to the Redbox inside Giant. I had reserved The Hurt Locker online, and was planning on renting several others. But, the machine was out of order. I then slipped and slid my way to 7-11 and it, too, wasn’t functioning.

Two weeks ago, during our fifth snow storm, when the wind gusts were up to 50 miles per hour and the snow punishing my face, I walked .2 miles to 7-11. Redbox: inoperable. I then walked .6 miles back the other way to a different 7-11. Redbox: inoperable. If it wasn’t for the Dr. Pepper Cherry and Snyder’s white chocolate-covered pretzels that I purchased, my trek back home would have been an angry one. I wrote a negative e-mail to Redbox informing them that the company is on a downhill trend, expecting free movies or maybe free chocolate-covered pretzels, but did not receive a response.

And then, Saturday night, I drove to a different 7-11. Redbox: you guessed it. It is times like that I nearly give up on my beloved Redbox. And then I rent five movies for $5.25 (after tax) at a different Redbox that actually works and I regain my adoration.

  1. Extract: very funny. Well done.
  2. The Goods: even funnier, but beyond stupid.
  3. The Soloist: good story, very good acting, a bit slow.
  4. Law Abiding Citizen: great action, gets confusing who is the good guy and who the bad guy.
  5. Observe and Report: Really, Seth Rogen?

Clean up your shit, Redbox.


Food for thought in which I’m probably dead wrong and definitely offensive: In The Soloist, Jamie Foxx plays a mentally ill homeless man. Unlike cancer, at least as far as I know, mental illnesses, such as bipolar and schizophrenia, don’t directly cause death. Do we call these mental illnesses simply because those afflicted don’t have normal brain function, behave like most people, or are unable to fit in society? Is it possible that instead of being diseased, those afflicted are actually gifted, with unique abilities most others don’t have? And we call them diseased because it’s easier to categorize them that way?

Leia Mais…

Monday, February 22, 2010

Arlington Update: Pedestrians

Millennium and I are fairly confident that one of us will be involved in an auto collision, but we’re positive one of us will drive over somebody. Students at UVA were bad about walking in front of cars, but Arlingtonians take it to a new level. They walk on the street instead of the sidewalk, they dart out in front of moving vehicles, and they move at snail speeds across the street at night and when it’s nearly impossible to see them. I need to turn down my Lil Wayne and take several shots of Mountain Dew Code Red in order to obtain the reaction time necessary not to murder humans.

Since I don't drive often, my money is on Millennium getting the first kill.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Arlington Update: Driving

“One of us will definitely be in a car collision by the end of this year,” I said to my roommate, Millennium.

Driving around Arlington is reckless. Other drivers cut me off, switch lanes, and create new lanes. Last week, after getting pounded with 30 inches of snow, I was driving on a four-lane road. The lane adjacent to mine was a layer of slush. Potholes and patches of ice were common, so I drove my little Chevy cautiously. The car behind me drove mere inches from my bumper, drifted in between the two lanes and came alongside me, forcing me to the edge of my lane before blowing past.

More experienced drivers seem used to this insanity. I saw a car turn left across traffic, and a car going in the opposite direction nearly creamed the first car. The second car didn’t even slow down—he must’ve known the automobiles would clear each other. On the other hand, if anything went slightly wrong then they would have collided, which may make the driver who got cut off even crazier.

Aside from some other countries such as India, where driving is literally putting your life on the line, New York City is the only location I’ve visited with more daring drivers. There, you can’t go more than one block without hearing a car horn. My dad told me about his uncle in Brooklyn who used to honk as he approached every intersection, regardless of the traffic light, stop sign, or right-of-way. “Uncle Sam wanted to make everyone aware of his arrival,” my dad said.


After the two snowstorms, the snow in my condo’s parking lot was simply pushed aside, rather than moved out. Snow mountains piled high, and there were limited open spaces. Instead of clearing out a space, I snagged a spot that somebody else clearly expended much effort shoveling. It was a handicap spot. I’m glad my tires were not slashed.

Leia Mais…