Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Festivus

Today is Festivus. Make sure and air your grievances. Then the feats of strength. Then gather around the pole and celebrate this wonderful holiday. Serenity NOW!!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Creator of the Web Starts Blogging

Tim Berners-Lee has started a blog. For those of you not familiar with him, he is the reason you are on the Web. Story via AP on Yahoo here. Welcome to the blogisphere Tim, this blogging thing is what you envisioned from the start for the World Wide Web and now you have it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Real War On Christmas

Apparently the extreme portion of the Christian Right has their panties in a wad about the use of "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". I can see their point, Christmas' original use being the celebration of Christ's birth. But, I think they are really mad over the Hallmarkization of Christmas and not the change in slogans. It's really the fact that no one, except themselves, is celebrating the birth and instead celebrating the gifts and blinky lights. From this piece you can tell I am no Christian. I am glad that I don't have to hear the annoying bells of the Salvation Army in front of the retailers I choose to shop at for Festivus. Yes, I celebrate Festivus. Now, I celebrate Festivus in peace without all those bells going off in my head. I can take Tylenol off the list for shopping.

I am glad that the retailers have choosen a broader slogan that appeals to all religions and non-religious shoppers. Religion has only one place, in the beholders hearts. Not retailers, ad campaigns, and certainly not in government. I don't vote on what religion a candidate worships, I vote for who is going to do the best for the majority of the people in the broadest sense, without intruding on peoples personal liberties and freedoms. I don't shop where religion is advertised in name or slogan. I shop where I get the best deals.

I am glad this war is being fought. I say while we are fighting this war we include pre-emptive strikes on Easter, Valentines Day and any other Hallmark holiday that only boosts the retailers numbers and empties the pockets of consumers. I don't need any holiday to buy my family presents, just ask them. I buy for my family when I want, what I want and when I feel like doing something nice for those who love me.

So, to the Christian Right, name your real war, the loss of meaning behind what you believe and not the retailers changing a slogan. Why should others who believe different then you be forced to swallow your swords? Happy Holidays is a neutral slogan appealing to all, including the Christians. So whats your problem?

My Article In GoTriad On Tre

Jeri Rowe called me Monday with an offer to do a piece in GoTriad. You can pick up the paper or read it here online. A lot of the piece is original, but we combined it with part of my blog piece here. This is truly the N&R's marriage to blogging personified, part original, part blog piece, posted online as well as in the static paper. Thanks for the opportunity Jeri, this piece means a lot to me.

Side note: I did not make it to the Saturday show at Ziggy's, but was able to attend a really packed show at the Blind Tiger on Tuesday. A great turn out, for a great cause, by a great community, to hear great music.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bankruptcy Hits Home Literally

My pops has been a hard working man for a long time. He was a one time police officer in Paramus, NJ. He got into computers before there was computers as an industry. Most recently he worked for Volvo. Volvo, the whole reason I am in Greensboro. I was 17 years old and living in Bergen County, NJ. Bergen County is one of the most expensive places to live in America. The big family decision, take a transfer to Greensboro with Volvo or take a management position at UPS in NJ? He choose Greensboro.

Dad worked for Volvo for a very long time. About two and a half years ago, they forced him out. Why? They'll give you a list of excuses, I'll tell you it was his age and the salary he was making. More and more companies are firing or laying off older employees and replacing them with a couple of college grads who make half as much. The corporate idea, twice the work for the same money. Volvo blatantly committed age discrimination, in my eyes, and they will get away with it because Corporate America is golden in the government's eyes. Yeah, he can get a lawyer and try to prove it, but unless Volvo documented this, it is almost impossible to prove.

You ask what do I mean by, "Corporate America is golden in the government's eyes". This past year our representatives passed a bill that kills the citizen and helps the corporations. What bill? The bankruptcy bill. Under the old laws, you go bankrupt and you start fresh. Your bills get wiped clean. Under the new law, you still pay back your bills, but still get the mark on your credit record. There is an in depth examination of the bill here at KOS. I'll give you a few interesting tips from the story. Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy are reformed, Chapter 11 bankruptcy needed no reform. Yeah, 7 and 13 are for consumers like you and me. Guess what 11 is for? Yeah businesses. That means that you and I can't get into financial trouble when we can't pay our 21% interest rates or when someone in our families gets really sick. I does mean that the credit card devils at MBNA(link is from and tells the lobbying story of MBNA) and Citigroup will get their money and that when the airlines decide not to pay pensions to their employees the government will bail them out again. How many times can we bail out the companies that rape us before we realize our asses are sore?

Here's an interesting paragraph from the article:
The details of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 reveal it to be a bill crafted as a Republican paean to , the largest single contributor to the Republican party. Far from being either an effort to stem "Bankruptcy Abuse" or an effort at "Consumer Protection", the bill is in fact an attempt to rewrite bankruptcy laws to reduce the ability of those laws to protect consumers from predatory lending practices on the part of MBNA members, and to stiffen the capabilities of those corporations to collect from consumers already suffering from extreme financial hardships.

The whole reason I write this today is because my pops is in bankruptcy court as I write. At his age, with the changing technologies, outsourcing of our jobs, and the fact that he is sick with TypeII diabetes and heart problems (sans health insurance to afford his medication), it is near impossible for him to find work. My mom owns a travel agency, which after 9/11 isn't doing what they had hoped for, and definitely isn't bring in enough income to cover the bills. Without his income they are dead in the water. He drained his 401k slowly to make ends meet for the last couple of years, that nest egg hatched and flew away with his security for his future. My pops, the immortal man that once was, is now beaten down by creditors and what I think is depression from the whole situation. He is a broken man. His family is doing what it can to help, but no one is in a position to really help. If anyone can help him(words of encouragement, work, etc...) please contact me at and I will pass along info for him. He has the biggest heart on this planet and now he needs to find someone with an equally big heart to repair the damage that has been done.

By the way, my arch nemesis Rep. James Sensenbrenner(R-WI)(Patriot Act, Real ID Act) is behind this law as well. Here is the original legislation from the house.

Interesting Note: While performing my spell check, I had originally put Citicorp and was corrected by my spell check to Citigroup. Now if you don't think big brother is watching...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Tre Styles Visitation and Celebration Events

As I have been trying to cope with the tragic passing of my friend Tre, I have taken a few days off from writing about the events I attended for him. I will fill you in.

Two days ago I attended the visitation service at Forbis and Dick Funeral Home(Guilford Chapel). I can not even begin to count how many people were there. I did run into a bunch of friends who were also grieving this loss themselves. The cool thing, if there could be anything cool about this, was that people of all ages, races, styles of life gathered to remember a person who touched their lives in some way. Tre saw no color, Tre saw no suit or some goth, Tre saw other human beings, and that was evident at this visitation. The hardest thing for me this evening was meeting Tre's mom and dad. I could only get out that I was sorry for their loss. Thinking the whole time as a parent what it must feel like to be them. I can't even begin to imagine what it is like to be in their shoes. Losing a son at 23 years old. My dad once said to me, "When a child dies before his parents, it is just unnatural. It is only right for a parent to die first." I still believe he is right.
Seeing Tre's bandmates and being around my own from the past was hard as well. When you are in a band you are in a family, and this Greensboro scene is a family. Seeing the head of that family cry was what threw me over the edge, Burley Hayes, owner of The Somewhere Else Tavern, he is this families papa. We all played our first show at Burley's place. He is the center of the music scene here in the Triad and has been for a very long time. Thank you Burley for what you do.

Speaking of Burley, he open the doors of the Somewhere Else Tavern last night(December 8th, also the anniversary of John Lennon's death and Dimebag Darrell just one year ago) for a celebration of Tre's life. Again there was a wonderful mix of human beings, no boundaries of color, race, or lifestyle. I sat and shared stories and drank a few beers, and cried a few tears. We listened to Tre's albums on the big PA system and remembered his brilliant talent that we all loved and he loved to share with us. Burley did not take any money at the door, he just wanted people to have a place to go and hang out and remember a wonderful human being.

I saw a long time friend cry for the first time yesterday. I wasn't sure he was able to shed tears, moments like this make us all human. I gave him a hug and consoled my friend, trying to keep it together myself. I think what makes us all a badass is the ability to cry and show emotions. Lack of this ability just shows you can not express yourself, and expressing yourself makes you a badass in it's own little way.

Next stop, Ziggy's on Saturday night. My old band The Five L's and a tribute show that Tre was originally supposed to play on. His crew will hold it down at 8:30 and there will be a special tribute song during the L's set. Be sure and show your love for Tre and attend this show.

After the Ziggy's show there will be a benefit show at The Blind Tiger, right here in Greensboro, on Tuesday night. The show starts at 8pm and goes til whenever. There will be nine bands on the bill and all the money from this show will go to the family of Tre Styles.

One more time, you will be missed but not forgotten Tre. Much luv my brother.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Visitation and Gathering Of Friends For Tre Styles

The N&R obituaries has the visitation time for Tre Styles at 6 to 8 pm, tomorrow(Wed the 6th) at Forbis and Dick Funeral Home Guilford Chapel. The paper also says that there will be a gathering of friends at Burley's Somewhere Else Tavern after the services to continue celebrate Tre's life.

You are already missed my brother, but not forgotten. Rap on homie.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Artist Who Played Converge South Murdered

Update: (12/5/05)Cara Michele at Choosen Fast has let me know more info on the media coverage of Tre's death at this post on her site. She also let me know that my comments have not been working and that problem is now corrected.

Yesterday morning around 7:30 am, local rapper, Tre Stylez was murdered in cold blood for reasons unknown. From the people I have talked to, there was no argument, no fight before hand, just one friend shot in the neck at point blank range. For those who knew Tre, he always showed the most luv and respect of anyone in the place. He never harbored any bad blood that I could see. He just loved what he did and loved who he was doing it for. He was an up and coming talent here in Greensboro and his absence will leave a big void in the local music scene. Tre was one of the artists that performed at Converge South this past October at Lyndon Street Artworks. I was not there for his performance, but was told he rocked the house as he usually does. Tre's murder happened at a house party, I had gone with Tre and his crew a few times to house parties in the area, over the years. I don't have too many details at this time, but as soon as I have them, I will let you all know. The police have the two murderers in custody, and I can only hope they go away for a very long time.

Tre Styles was supposed to perform at Ziggy's in Winston-Salem next Sat, opening for my old band The Five L's. I have been assured there will be a special tribute to Tre that evening. Please attend this show and show your love back to a man who stood for the good things in the Hip-Hop community. Until then, many tears for you my brother, I loved what you did and loved what you stood for.

A side note: No local TV or papers have covered this murder. I guess this kind of story doesn't sell papers or TV ads. I'm just saying.
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