Season 4 of “The Wire” and The Rest of The Best Things…Ever

just seeing those shirts makes me all verklempt

I first heard about “The Wire”—the best television show in the history of history—in the summer of 2003. I was at a family reunion and overheard my cousins Chad and Michael—both cops—raving about this new HBO show set in Baltimore. Since cop taste is kind of strange (trust me), I didn’t pay them much attention, but the show seemed intriguing enough to store in the back of my mental Rolodex.

Several months later, my closest friend (the one referenced in this post) starting bugging me about the show, except his words were less “hey, this is a great show. you should watch it some time” than “you’re a dumbass if you don’t watch this f*cking show”. I finally relented, caught up with back episodes (Seasons 1 and 2 had already aired, so I had to either watch them OnDemand or rent them from Blockbuster. I honestly don’t remember which), and fell in love.

Without going into much detail (or giving away any spoilers), “The Wire” was a show so comprehensive, so panoramic, so unique, and so compelling that “The Wire” diehards don’t have favorite lines, favorite scenes, and favorite seasons, we have “favorite instances of Bodie spitting“, “favorite arrangements of the show’s theme song“, and “favorite names for heroin” (my personal favorite? “WMD”)

Ok. I just lied. Season 4 of ‘The Wire” was undoubtedly, unquestionably, and undisputedly (is this a word?) my favorite (and the favorite of most Wire watchers). Not only is it the best single season of any American, British, Spanish, French, Canadian, or Aboriginal television show ever aired, it just might be the single best thing that’s ever happened on Earth. Season 4 of “The Wire” is better than sliced bread, the pyramids, Kenya Moore, the entire South American continent, the Vatican, the theory of relativity, the Old Testament, Bet Uncut, Chick-fil-A, every sport except American football and NBA basketball, you, me between the ages of 26 to 28, the entire Spring season, Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, missionary sex, drunk missionary sex, warm socks in the winter, black women with French accents, your mom’s fried chicken, my dad’s steak marinade, and the cotton gin. God rested on the 7th day because he needed some time to catch up with season 4 of “The Wire”. If I were single and season 4 of “The Wire” were a woman, I would literally drink her bathwater…after she just ran a marathon…while on her period. (I know)

Anyway, with all the time we spend talking about things we hate, guilty pleasures, overrated shit, underrated shit, and just plain ol shit, I figured I’d devote today to The Best Things…Ever, and here’s a few more.

The Best Five Song Stretch on Any Hip-Hop Album…Ever? All Falls Down“, “Spaceship“, “Jesus Walks“, “Never Let Me Down“, and “Get ‘Em High” from Kanye West’s “The College Dropout”

While I don’t believe “The College Dropout” was a top 15 hip-hop album as a whole (Why? Well, the album fades a bit in the second half. The 8 minutes of Ye speak at the end of the album doesn’t help either), you will not find another stretch of great songs back to back to back t0 back to back on any hip-hop album, ever.

The Best White Stand-Up Comedian…Ever? Louis C.K.

If you’ve never heard of him, goggle him, trust me when I tell you he’s better than anyone you’d list here instead of him—and that includes George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Sam Kinison, Dennis Miller, Richard Jeni, Dana Carvey, Jerry Seinfeld, and Rodney Dangerfield—and watch his show.

The Best Unexplained Phenomenona…Ever? The Squirting Female Orgasm

I’ve been trying to think of another entity on the planet perfectly analogous to the squirt, and I keep coming back to the same thing: The Devil.

Seriously, think about it: Like the Devil, some people deny the squirt even exists. Like the Devil, some people have claimed to have seen it, but were fooled (she just peed on you, dog). Like the Devil, men will run to and give praise to God once they see definite proof of its existance. And, like the Devil, it can influence a man to do some really freaky shit. 

The Best Thing To Do If You’re in Pittsburgh and It’s Past 3am on The Weekend and You Just Left The Club But You Don’t Want To Go Home Yet…Ever? Go to the Eat ‘N Park all night breakfast buffet in Squirrel Hill

So what if the fruit is 27 days old, the eggs taste like they’re from chipmunks instead of chickens, and the bacon is softer than Brett Farve’s dick, Eat ‘N Park’s the place for smiles, sobering up, recounting the night, shaking your head at scantily clad 17 year olds out waaaaaay past their bedtime, and, well, pretending to be starving when you just want an excuse to extend the night with your crew.

The Best Season of a College Football Player…Ever? Charlie Ward, Florida State University, 1993

***Also wins the title for “The Best College Football Quarterback…Ever” and “The Recipient of The Best Body-Slam of a Soft-Spoken, Pass-First, Christian Point Guard…Ever

The Best Male on Female Pick-Up Approach…Ever? The “Bait and Bounce”

Only to be done with someone you see on a semi-regular basis (you catch the same train to work, you frequent the same coffee shop, you belong to the same crocheting class, etc), the Bait and Bounce occurs when you see this person of interest, confidently walk up to them, introduce yourself, give them a sincere compliment—one implying you’ve noticed them before (ie: “I just wanted to tell you that you have the most endearing laugh. See, there it is again”), and walk away. Don’t even ask her name.

If she has even the slightest inkling of interest in you, the next time you see each other, she’ll probably do (smile) or say (introduce herself) something inviting, and you’re on your own from there.

***9:10am EDIT***

The Best Video Vixen…Ever? Esther Baxter

While others—Melissa Ford, Gloria Velez, Supahead, Vida Guerra—might have had bigger names, and others—Ki-Toy Johnson in the “I Like The Way You Move” video—might have had bigger “DAMN!” moments, Baxter has something none of the rest of these women do: 100 percent authenticity. No implants, no booty injections, no botox, just plain old-fashioned brickhousedness perfection.

The Best Crossover Dribble…Ever? Tim Hardaway, Golden State Warriors (Before the ACL Tear)

Tim Hardaway’s “UTEP Two Step”—a lightning fast right-to-left between the legs dribble, quickly followed by a lightning faster left-to-right crossover—was a violent deity, a Sun God sent from the sky to rid the Earth of misplaced pride, ankle ligaments, and Chris Mullin’s alcohol dependency. I’m not too ashamed to admit I think I may have had my first orgasm when watching him repeatedly completely decimate Byron Scott in a (1992?) Warriors vs Lakers game I’d pay at least $500 dollars for a copy of right now.

Runner ups: Allen Iverson (during his second year at Georgetown), Steve Francis (until whatever the hell happened to him…happened), and Ronald “Flip” Murray (Trust me)

***Also, special notice goes to incoming Duke freshman Kyrie Irving, who may do the impossible task of actually having me root for Duke this upcoming season. ***

Best Book That Actually Made Me Jealous I Didn’t Write It First…Ever?Killing Yourself To Live” by Chuck Klosterman

Anyway, that’s enough of my Best Things…Ever (although I might make a couple edits during the day and add a few)

VSB.com, what are some of yours? What people, places, and things do you consider to be The Best…Ever?

—The Champ

5 thoughts about Rape-aXe, the new female condom with teeth (yup. teeth.)

1. south africa has always been a bit ahead of the curve when thinking of unique ways to deter crime. for instance, as a response to a rash of increasingly violent carjackings that plagued that country in the late 90′s, the “blaster” –an anti-carjacking device that shot flames from underneath both front doors if you were being carjacked– was created in 1998 by a south african inventor who apparently decided to take full advantage the country’s lax flamethrower laws (apparently, it’s perfectly legal to own and carry flamethrowers there. yes, flamethrowers. as in “big ass weapons that spit flames at sh*t”. and you thought america’s gun laws sucked.)

while installing a device that shoots liquefied petroleum gas from your car to ward off potential carjackings is like sharpening your hand into a human meat shank to scare muggers, i understand the mindset that leads to someone inventing that. remember, south africa has only been free from apartheid for 16 years. this is also a country where whites still control roughly 90 percent of the wealth, despite only being approximately 9 percent of the population. when you combine this dynamic with rampant unemployment, lawlessness, and a general sense of sexual recklessness, you have a country that shows you what would happen if you put all of america’s fear-based racial issues on crack, smack, meth, and mushrooms. basically, it’s west baltimore with shanties.

anyway, this is exactly the type of socioeconomic climate that leads to a fear-based reactionary thinking where the impractical and short-sighted seems practical. problem with carjackings? duh, just make cars that burn carjackers alive! that’ll fix em. problem with rapes? duh, stupid! just invent Rape-aXe¹, a device that calls for women to insert a contraption with “jagged rows of teeth-like hooks” in their vaginas.

i won’t pretend to be able to grasp the level of emotional, spiritual, physical, mental, and sexual agony a violent rape has on a woman (or man) or the pressure of living in a place where rape is so prevalent (28% of men polled in a medical research study there last year admitted that they had raped a woman before. 28%!!! can you imaging being in a place where almost one out of every three guys is a rapist?), but there has to be a better solution than giving women portable p*ssy piranhas.

2. for those who think i unnecessarily played the race card in the last few paragraphs, i just don’t think it’s coincidental that the inventors of both rape-aXe and the blaster happen to be south african whites. there’s a certain type of subconscious fear that allows a person to think of something so vile and dehumanizing as a response to vile and dehumanizing acts. and, a place like south africa is a perfect breeding ground for that level of latent terror.

3. out of all of the crimes you can commit, sexual assault is the only one with no possible justification. think about it: you can just about justify anything under the right circumstance (“yeah, judge. that army of five year olds would have killed my wife if i didn’t torture their leader for information“), but there’s nothing you can say to make non-consensual sex ok. it’s the world’s only unconditional wrong. i can’t think of any other deed that would qualify.

4. maybe i’m missing something here, but it seems like rape-aXe doesn’t actually stop the rape.

while it might stop a man from finishing, i haven’t seen or read any evidence that it would stop a man from entering. and, once a woman is entered against her will, it’s rape. plus, i’m no rape expert, but i don’t think most rapists do thorough cavity inspections to check for sharpness before they start raping.

i guess you can say that it would serve as a mental deterrent, but i can only see it deterring someone who got got by the vampire condom from doing it again. basically, he’d have to actually rape somebody to stop him from raping again…which sucks for the women serving as sacrificial deterrent lambs.

5. despite the fact that i think this condom with teeth idea is wrapped in a big-ass gang of wrong, i’ll admit that i’d like to be a fly on the wall of the holding cell where all the rapists with latex hyenas stuck to their d*cks are being held, especially since you can’t remove it or even pee without a doctors assistance.

i guess i’m a bit of a sadist afterall. hmmm, maybe i should move to south africa and invent something.

anyway, people of vsb.com, what are your thoughts about rape-aXe? do you think it’ll be a useful deterrent, or just another medieval invention by someone with african castration fantasies? also, would any of the vss’s actually wear one, and would any of the vsb’s advise a woman they care about to?

the carpet is yours

¹am i the only one who thinks “rape-aXe” definitely sounds like a new and intentionally douchy line of axe body spray? sh*t, i could even envision an ad where ben roethlisberger or kobe are standing in a bathroom stall while a voiceover says ” rape-aXe…where “no” means “no problem”

—the champ

10 things i learned while in NYC for “the modern day matchmaker live”

definitely didn’t meet on the train

1. i’m not a relationship “expert”

to be honest, i didn’t just learn this in new york city. although i’ve co-founded a relationship-centric website and have benefited personally and financially from this particular “expertise”, i’ve never considered myself to be a dating and relationship source.

sure, i’m aware that (some) people do appreciate my advice and insights, but i’m also aware that this appreciation stems more from my ability to write dispassionately, objectively, and wittily about a subject most can’t be dispassionate, objective, and witty about than any deep reservoir of relationship knowledge.

actually, this dispassionateness is exactly why i’m not an expert. as pleased as i am to be able to help cultivate positive relationship discussion, i’m much more interested in the reaction to my writing than the reaction to what i actually say.

i’m bringing this up because this lack of passion is made even more apparent when sitting on a panel next to people like demetria lucas and kenya stevens, women possessing infectiously palpable energy when sharing their thoughts about relationships. when they spoke, their heartfelt anecdotes and advice and made it seem like they believed they were spreading the gospel truth. when i spoke, it felt like i was speaking on a subject i researched and observed instead of something i’ve lived and felt (which is kind of, but not really true, but more on that later)

2. sister toldja is…a sweetheart

although i was very aware that the uber-angry, man-shanking view some have of her wasn’t true, i assumed she’d be somewhat laconic, sarcastic, droll, and occasionally acerbically funny. basically, i was expecting to meet a womanist daria morgendorffer. sh*t, i even read her blog entries in a voice that can be best described as “what janeane garofalo would sound like if she grew up in brownsville”.

to my surprise, sister t is actually much more, for lack of a better term, southern than i imagined her to be. bubbly, gregarious, and affable, she’s much more belle than bea arthur, and it was bit unexpected to find out that everyone’s favorite feminist is one of the girliest girls i’ve ever met.

3. apparently, new york city is the world’s biggest nightclub

between the 8 dollar toll just to get into harlem (a fact which made my friend remark “i hate this f*cking city” at least 246 times in a 24 hour span), the drunk-acting drivers, the practice of just throwing trash on the corner, the randomly out of place and lascivious white women, and the seemingly perpetual background music (in the 22 hours i was there, i can’t remember not hearing any music for longer than a 30 second span. it felt like i was on the world’s drippiest episode of  sesame street), new york city is exactly like every wamo night in pittsburgh. who knew?

4. saying “hey, dumbasses, don’t listen to me or anyone else on the panel” probably isn’t the best thing to do in a roomful of people who paid 25 dollars to hear you and everyone else on the panel speak.

i won’t go into too much detail, but lets just say that my (paraphrasing) “hey, the problem with us (black people) is that we spend too much time listening to relationship experts” comment went over about as well as a fart on a submarine.

5. new york city is obviously filled with a bunch of dumb ass dudes

i know this seems harsh, but how else can you explain that roughly 15 guys showed up to an event filled with roughly 300 tipsy women practically ovulating by ovary osmosis? seriously, that show was like a sam’s club for single black men. there hasn’t been that many single and sexy black women in one place since wilt chamberlain’s wake

to be fair, i understand why a guy might have been hesitant to attend. while a favorable female/male ratio is a good thing, 15 women to every man shifts the speed from “favorable” to “f*cking ludicrous” and completely changes the approaching/bagging dynamic. also, the brunson factor would have made things more difficult than usual.

to expound, as a straight man, i feel absolutely no shame in saying that paul brunson–the modern day matchmaker–is, well, mr. perfect. why does this matter? well, any guy trying to holler at a woman at one of his events will have to deal with the “wait. i wanted a pocket sized paul to take home, not your mundane ‘i could have saved money and just met your ass on the train’ ass” factor.

when you add this to the fact that i haven’t even mentioned that approximately 10 of the ninjanets most popular black male personalities (brunson, anslem from nakedwithsockson, jozen from untiligetmarried, slim jackson, streetztalk, and seattle washington from singleblackmale and threewaystotakeit to name a few) were in attendance, and each had a sizable fan base present, maybe the black men of new york city aren’t so stupid after all.

6. everything sounds smarter with a british accent

i’m not saying that lola adesioye’s accent tempted me to transcribe every word she said the entire night into my gphone, but lola adesioye’s accent tempted me to transcribe every word she said the entire night into my gphone.

7. liz is liz

***debating whether to say anything about liz not attending the show because she didnt want to wait in line…despite the fact that i left her a complimentary ticket and all she had to do was go to the box office and say her name. yeah, i probably shouldn’t say anything about that. i’m sure she’ll attend the next time her friend and business partner drives seven hours through the appalachian mountains to nyc to appear on a panel***

8. there’s a quote from the wire for every situation

i drove up to new york with my closest friend. he coaches basketball in europe and just happened to be in pittsburgh last week, and i convinced him to make the trip with me (i also had to convince my cousin to let us stay with her, no small feat since my man is 6’8′, and most people aren’t too keen on having anonymous giant n*ggas sleep on their couches).

if you’re a vsb regular you probably know how much of a wire diehard i am, but my man (who actually introduced me to the show) surpasses and sh*ts on my wire fandom. seriously, if you asked him to rank the three most influential men in his life, his answer would probably include some combination of his dad, God, and bodie broadus.

anyway, with us two in the car together for approximately 14 hours–the round trip distance between nyc and pittsburghof a 30 hour span, every situation turned into a scene from the wire.

stuck in traffic? quote bunny colvin’s “f*ck you? no, f*ck me!!” from season three.

problems with the onstar system? quote avon’s “little man stay f*cking up” from season one

waitress mixes up your order at IHOP? do your best marlo stanfield “my name is my name!!!”

i could continue, but i get the feeling that the 17 of you still reading this want me to move on.

9. i still get surprised when meeting “regular lurkers”

after the show, i got the chance to meet approximately 15-20 fans of vsb, all people who told me they read regularly but never comment. judging from our stats, only maybe 2 to 3 percent of the people who read participate in the conversations, but i still have a tendency to assume that the only people reading are the ones who comment regularly, and it still shocks me to actually see evidence of how popular we’re becoming.

10. i’m not built for this sh*t…not yet, at least

the “written vs spoken word” dynamic came up in private conversations with sister t, anslem, and nikki “coco” nokes at various points of the night. basically, we all discussed how awkward the shift from “online persona” to “in-person” can be for us and our readers, and how difficult it can be to construct your words when speaking so that they have the same impact they usually do when they’re read.

for some this is a non-issue. panama, for instance, has a bit of a stream of consciousness writing style that allows his messages and insights to be heard the same way they’re read. on the other hand, much of what i write is specifically written just to be read; the types of language and humor i insert in my entries would lose their meaning if heard aloud.

this “problem” isn’t unique. most people who consider themselves to be writers and/or introverts tend to be somewhat underwhelming public speakers. but, in this particular instance, to promote the brand and myself, i’ll have to continue to step out of the comfort zone of my controlled keypad environment. and, occasionally, i’ll feel as unenthused about it as i was thursday night.

hopefully i’ll get better at extemporaneous “shifting” in time, but for now if i’m addressing a large group of people (panels and podcasts included), i need prompts, a script, a timeline, and at least three rum and cokes before i can get completely comfortable.

with that being said, between the pre-show, the interview with sister t, the panel, and the afterparty, i actually did have a great time. i even got to witness a live matchmaking, ate an apple and three mcdonalds double cheeseburgers, somehow managed to actually remember the names of five of the vsb lurkers i met while drunk, and had two of my favorite writers tell me that i was one of their favorites.

not quite an entire wheel of cheese, but still pretty damn impressive.

—the champ

5 signs that you just might have to marry her ass

yo, son: when you gonna stop d*ckin around and marry her ass?”

even though we all know a chick or three that would cut her closest homegirl’s throat if forced to choose between her and her man, the prevailing thought is that a woman’s girlfriends have an unparalleled influence on who she chooses to date.

in truth, a man’s best friend actually welds more power than any other third party.

noone, not his dad, his deacon, or his dealer has as much “she aint right for you, dog” veto power as a guy’s acebooncoon. even if they’re not exactly paragons of relationship health themselves, they’re usually ultra cynical genius-level bullshit detectors when it comes to who their homie happens to be dating because they knowknow you better than anyone else, and truly want you to be happy.

because of this, men need to pay extra close attention when their best friend asks em, “when you gonna stop dickin around and marry her ass?”, because any woman your best friend would actually say that about is definitely a keeper, even if you haven’t realized it.

anyway, although countless viewings of the obama calenders in our cubicles have given us an idea of what a keeper might look like, many of us wouldn’t recognize a. keeper even if she were giving us a lapdance while rocking twin “hi. i’m a. keeper” tassels on her chest.

this is even more pronounced with brothas who, educated or not, all could use a bit more help figuring out that there’s no real correlation between ring-worthiness and ass-to-waist ratio.

to help our vsb’s out, and as another example of our crime-fighting ideals, here’s four more signs that she’s probably a keeper…and you just might have to marry her ass: Continue reading

stan(d) up

****before i begin today, i wanted to give an early birthday shout-out to our very special liz burr, the boobs behind the vsb.com operation, who will be turning an unspecified age saturday the 6th. happy b-day lizzard****

glasses

you know, sometimes lost in my relentless smart-aleckness and sarcasm is the fact that there are a few things i’ve mentally and emotionally deemed snark and cynic-proof.

along side the ubiquitous rants, raves, roasts, and deez is an occasionally enthusiastic and unconditional fan ready and willing to spread the gospel of his favorite things, and, as break from my usually scheduled satirical programming, i’ve decided to share a few of these with you.

enjoy and sh*t

the nba

maybe the nfl is more popular, and maybe college hoops manufactures more synthetic enthusiasm and unpaid labor in the eyes of casual sports fans, but nothing else combines artistry, skillfulness, uber-athleticism, and planned improvisation like basketball at its highest level. i know its not for everyone, but, then again, f*ck ya’ll analog n*ggas.

breakfast food

i need you. i'm a mess without you. i miss you so damn much. i miss being with you, i miss being near you. i miss your laugh. i miss your scent; i miss your musk. when this all gets sorted out, i think you and me should get an apartment together
i need you. i’m a mess without you. i miss you so damn much. i miss being with you, i miss being near you. i miss your laugh. i miss your scent; i miss your musk. when this all gets sorted out, i think you and me should get an apartment together

women rocking glasses with angular frames

fetish (f?t’?sh, f?’t?sh)

  1. something, such as a material object or a nonsexual part of the body, that arouses sexual desire
  2. an abnormally obsessive preoccupation or attachment; a fixation.

yup. sounds about right

the rza

lets put it this way: when he calls himself “the world’s greatest mind, bob digital” i believe him

the wire

it probably wouldn’t be a stretch to call me a wire missionary. there is no limit, no boundary to my promotion of this show. at this point, i could wake up tomorrow morning and read that david simon is really nicolae carpathia, and i’d probably just shrug my shoulders and spend the next 17 minutes thinking of some obscure wire-related witticism to post as a facebook status message

chuck klosterman, bill simmons, malcolm gladwell, and bethlehem shoals

i’m so in awe of each of these writers that i’m literally afraid to attempt to articulate my stan-dom. i’d feel like ciara singing a solo tribute to mahalia jackson

the pittsburgh steelers

what? you think its an accident that i call myself “the champ”? bow down to the black and gold, b*tches, and kiss the rings…all six of them

people of vsb.com, i’m curious: who and what do you stan for?

—the champ