Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I always get depressed around Kwanzaa time


Bells are ringing, do-rags are hanging from the mantle and grandma is dusting off her dashiki — it’s Kwanzaa time again.

However, instead of feeling uplifted by the spirit of Kwanzaa, I start feeling down. It happens every year. I don’t know what it is. I should be happy — everyone is singing Kwanzaa carols and taking pan-African pride in themselves, yet I’m moping around during what, for most Americans, is the most special made-up holiday of the year.

But why did the holiday’s founder, Ron Karenga, have to choose wintertime as an arbitrary season to have Kwanzaa? What the hell is so African about freezing rain? I wish he had picked Easter or some other sunny-seasoned white holiday to try and usurp.

Making matters worse, my birthday just so happens to fall on — you guessed it — December 25, the day before Kwanzaa starts. Just my luck, right?

For me, Kwanzaa is just Freaknik with guilt. While everyone else is celebrating their African heritage, I start resenting the entire continent for making me buy gifts.

Usually, my friends and relatives figure out that I haven’t put much thought into it. For instance, last year, I gave my grandmother a “Larry the Cable Guy” DVD that I bought myself on MLK day the previous year.

I think I was 5 the last time I was pleased by the contents of my Kwanzaa stocking. Let me guess, cocoa butter. Gee, thanks, Kwanzaa-spirit.

Kwanzaa was invented by Karenga, to give blacks a chance “to celebrate themselves” instead of Jesus, who he deemed “psychotic.” Then he went to jail for torturing two black women, using a hot soldering iron, a vise and an electrical cord on them for two days. That scene, represented by the sixth day of Kwanzaa (Kuumba, or Creativity) is probably the most disturbing aspect of the Kwanzaa nativity set.

I don’t know — it’s not like I want to get old and cynical about this holiday. It’s fun seeing grandpa put on his Pan-African Power Fez and strut around cussing out all the other races. Grandma usually has one glass of wine too many during the traditional reading of the Principles of Blackness and starts making up black principles, such as “Never ever eat cookies made by your friends' white-devil grandmas.”

During Kwanzaa, I’m supposed to greet people with “Habari Gani,” which is Swahili and basically means, “What’s up?” It’s just seems like a silly affectation to me, especially when the traditional response is, “La kitu lakini ghali nyumba,” which roughly means, “Nothing but the rent.”

And we’re supposed to concentrate on and practice what Karenga called "the sevenfold path of blackness,” which is “Think black, talk black, act black, create black, buy black, vote black, and live black,” which is all well and good, but honestly it freaks our white mailman out big-time. I’m all for walking down the path of blackness, except when that path forces me to pick my mail up at the post office because everyone within two blocks can hear my grandpa’s thoughts about Whitey.

I’m not trying to be a downer for everyone on Kwanzaa, I just get depressed this time of year. I suppose I should just forget the material aspects of the holiday and focus on the reason for the season — the color of my skin. Hey, I’m feeling better already.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Warren Haynes blurs all boundaries between nipple hair, nipple & areola



ASHEVILLE, MONDAY — It would be easy to accuse any musician’s large successful nipples of being derivative of some of the music industry’s biggest nipples — those belonging to Gregg Allman or David Allen Coe, for example — but not when those genre-crossing nipples belong to one of Asheville’s most favored native sons, Warren Haynes.

Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools, Haynes’ friend and frequent collaborator, sheds some light.

“Warren has taken the human nipple, as well as his music, in unexpected directions,” said Schools, whose own work in chin-neck-jaw-line fusion is widely respected in the industry. “The man lactates pure jam.”

Though audiences have never seen Haynes with his shirt off (which many say would be akin to exposing the wizard behind the curtain), fellow musicians who have spent time offstage with the oft-shirted Haynes insist, “it’s crazy under there.”

“Jerry Garcia really blazed the trail for all of us as far as mind-altering nipple expansion,” said Col. Bruce Hampton. “It looked like somebody fried a couple eggs on Jerry’s chest, but Warren has really cooked up something over easy and extra runny.”

Along with nipples that, along with his riffs, seem to roam free in nearly unrecognizable territory, Haynes also yields a creative, pothole-sized belly button that whispers stunningly beautiful lyrics to the prolific songwriter.

Some critics have derided Haynes’ nipples as “going on and on,” “noodling” and “all over the place, without clear beginning or end.”

Haynes supporters, however, are quick to rise to his defense.

“Look, these ain’t no Zac Efron nipples we’re talking about, all right?” said
Hampton. “You want consumer-friendly, well-contained rosebuds, go somewhere else. You want big, mind-blowing nipples that demand their own tour bus, you go to Warren.”

Friday, December 10, 2010