What’s happening in Kenosha has me infuriated.

Tamir Rice Kyle Rittenhouse credit to Ryan J Downey

Before I get to these relevant issues, I want to make something clear. Even though I recently did those video projects and promoted the new Ospreyshire track, it doesn’t mean that I have been ignoring what’s going on. Being able to do videography gave me joy even with the hard work involved, but that euphoria has wavered before crashing when more things happened.

I’m sure you all know about Jacob Blake from Kenosha, Wisconsin by now. He’s a Black man who became another victim of racially-coded policing as he got shot 7 times behind his back in front of his kids in his car. Thankfully, he’s still alive, but he’s paralyzed for the waist down and could possibly be wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. Yes, I heard about the story about how there was allegedly a knife on the driver’s side floor, but he was unarmed on his person, and I have suspicion of that knife being planted evidence. The cop who shot him is on administrative leave and the others with him didn’t have their body cameras on. The only reason people know this is because of that cell phone video. Recently, Blake’s dad found out that his son was handcuffed to a hospital bed when he visited him. ARE YOU SERIOUS? I’m sorry, but America has no right calling other countries out for human rights violations when devilry like this happens. What kind of a psychopath would handcuff a PARALYZED MAN to a hospital bed? It’s not like actual murderers get treated better than this. Yes, I’m being sarcastic and the next paragraph proves my point.

Protests erupted in that Southern Wisconsin city to the surprise of no one. However, there was a so-called militia that walked around armed to the teeth. One such member was the 17 year old Kyle Rittenhouse from Antioch, IL. This thug shoots three protestors and killed two of them. There was video of him walking around right by Kenosha PD, and nobody does anything to him! He didn’t get arrested until after the fact and he’s now being charged with 1st degree murder among other crimes. I’m glad they pressed charges, but I’m not celebrating until there’s a conviction. If Rittenhouse is convicted he’ll be in jail for life without parole. So let me get this straight…someone gets paralyzed for breaking up a fight, but a double murder suspect is arrested while unscathed? This destroys the credibility of Kenosha PD and I’m glad people are seeing the stark contrast in treatment. As one can see the meme above, it also shows that if you’re Black with a toy gun, you get riddled with bullets no questions asked. But someone with a real gun can kill people and is treated so much more humanely. Rittenhouse is a hardcore blue lives matter supporter and was radicalized online, so that explained a lot about his actions. Do you think an armed Black or Arab teen would get the same treatment in that case by gunning down people?

I do have an interesting perspective on this situation because I have actually been to both Kenosha and Antioch before. I don’t know any of the people involved in this case, but I do have familiarity with those areas. The thing is I used to live not far from both places during my teenage years. Lake County, Illinois is the northeastern-most county in the state and it’s also the 2nd wealthiest (DuPage is #1 in the Land of Lincoln). When my family lived there, it was because of my dad’s job as a pastor and we lived in a parsonage in one of the suburbs. My family would’ve never been able to afford to live in most of the towns in any other situation. We were middle-class from an annual income standpoint, but we were one of the poorest families in where we lived. Not all of Lake County is like this, but I’ve visited towns with more McMansions, Benzes and North Face jackets than I would be accustomed to. Antioch is a majority white (88.79% according to their last census) town that would be considered upper-middle class. It’s also not far from Kenosha, since it’s right on the IL/WI border. Some of you that actually read my books would know that one of my characters Rozenn Padgett from Hollandus Landing is from that town, but I digress. So many people I’ve met from the more affluent parts of the county have come off as fake, entitled, and racist to me with dog whistles and more overt reasons. There have been times where I’d shop in some of the stores and I’d be followed around even though I was going to buy something. During my high school years, I would hear stories of teens doing hard drugs and drinking, but never got punished since their parents were school board members, cops, lawyers, city council members, etc. Kenosha on the other hand is a more diverse place. It was closer to get to than Chicago during those times, and parts of it felt like a mini-Milwaukee. I didn’t have too many issues over in that city, but some people treated me worse than others. It’s just a shame that this tragedy just ripped apart that city.

I’ve been so angry at what’s going on in the 4th largest city in Wisconsin, let alone this country. You’d think that after what happened to George Floyd or Breonna Taylor, that people would have more sense when it comes to race relations, but to say we have a long way to go is an understatement. I’m trying to be as civil as I can in this post because I have so much internalized rage from hearing these stories that I don’t bust a blood vessel or anything like that. Is justice too much to ask?

Covidiocy On Parade: Coughing on Cops While Claiming to Have the Rona In Chi-Town


People in my home state can be so stupid.

So this covidiot by the name of Anthony Ponzi collides into another car in Chicago and he has the nerve to assault the cops as well as coughing in their faces while claiming to have Coronavirus. He didn’t have it (allegedly) and was able to live to tell about it despite the global state of this pandemic. It’s amazing how he’s able to do all that to CPD officers and not get beaten or shot. How could this be?

Oh, if you’ve read my news stories and commentaries, you know EXACTLY why someone like Ponzi was treated with kids gloves. So you can cough at cops during a time of pandemic, and you get to be taken alive. However, in this same city, you can walk away from a cop and get shot sixteen times.

I definitely agree with Phil with Ponzi being punished harder like how people can be charged with fake weapons or even yelling “fire!” in a movie theater. That’s just nasty and especially unacceptable in this current climate with the disease. That’s saying nothing about he was throwing hands to the cops in general. If you think justice is handled equally, then you’re delusional. I’m glad he got arrested, but he got off way too soft.

Ospreyshire Origins: Jo Anderson and The Reaper

Lyrics:

I would never meet my captor’s grandson, but I can only thank him from the beyond as he put my name on the record
Shame on this country for not realizing my brainpower and physical endurance
Robert, Cyrus, you know it’s true
The reaper wouldn’t exist without me
I guess people like me are used to doing all the heavy lifting
1834 saw the birth of this new tool
However, the McCormick’s names were on it
Cyrus II, you did what you could to make things right
I may have been a slave, but I was still an inventor


I’m from the smaller cities and from suburbs, so I don’t have an appreciation for agriculture as much as I should. This has certainly have been changing doing all this research for Dear Innovare. This also goes into my portfolio of “things you didn’t know were invented by African-Americans” that I only knew about fairly recently. Jo Anderson was a slave who invented the reaper which was used to get crops easier and faster. Unfortunately, he could patent because…oh you all should know the reason why after checking out some of my previous installments of Ospreyshire Origins.

File:Robert Hall McCormick.jpg
File:Cyrus McCormick engraving.png

This is Robert and his son Cyrus McCormick respectively. These slavers stole Jo Anderson’s idea and took it as their own for the McCormick business. Even though they are originally from Virginia, they eventually moved to Chicago. What I didn’t realize until recently, they were one of the most powerful families in the Windy City. Have you ever heard of the McCormick Place in Chicago? The same place with the Chicago Auto Show, major conventions, and is the largest convention center in the entire North American continent? Yeah, it’s named after this family! Just think about that when you think about that foundation. I’m glad Cyrus II eventually credited Jo, but the real inventor of the reaper deserved far better.

The image of Jo Anderson is from Mysterious Chicago Tours.

The image of Robert McCormick is from Wikipedia.

The Image of Cyrus McCormick is from Wikipedia.

Ospreyshire Origins: Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone

Lyrics:
Madame CJ Walker, you weren’t the first lady of that honor
You were a former client of her
From Metropolis, Illinois to St. Louis, then to the Second City was the first beauty expert of her time
Hair, face, hands
All became better with Malone’s expertise for those with melanin
She built a college just for cosmetology
Despite $14 million in her prime, you stole those formulas
Women of all colors benefited from the Poro Brand
CJ…or is it Sarah?
You’d be nothing without Annie
She lost her business, but she won’t be lost in history anymore

No woman can be attractive
Without a beautiful complexion and an innovative mind


That’s right, everyone. Madame CJ Walker was NOT the first African-American female millionaire!

The first was none other than Annie Malone hailing from the tiny Southern Illinois town of Metropolis. She was an entrepreneur who started her own beauty and personal care business with the Poro company. Malone made so many products for different uses and she eventually opened her own cosmetology which also made her the first black owner and founder of a beauty school in America. She was charitable, opened a community center for the youth, and helped out her neighborhoods when she lived in Chicago. Unfortunately, Walker literally stole Poro formulas and made her own business, became rich, and more popular than Malone which is so tragic. I doubt they’re going to talk about that in that upcoming CJ Walker movie with Octavia Spencer.

Annie, even though I could care less about the beauty industry (the fact I have a Y chromosome is certainly the biggest reason why), but I respect you for doing for self and for giving back to the community. You deserved so much better.

I would like to give major props to Kreb for introducing me to this beauty pioneer on one of his blog posts. Dude, you’re great and I learned a ton from this post and others from you.

Fun fact about her birthplace: Metropolis is the only town of that namesake in America and it became the “official” hometown of the Superman character. There’s a museum of Superman in that town and the real life Metropolis, IL was even featured in a comic issue where Supes actually has to save it from danger. Also, this would make me second only to Sufjan Stevens who namedropped that town in a song. Hahaha!

The picture of Annie Malone is from The Freeman Institute.

Double Neat! I was nominated twice for the Real Blog Award!

Here I go again with these delayed award posts! Sorry about that. Recently I was nominated by two different bloggers for the Real Neat Blog Award. They are AK from Everything Is Bad For You and Red Metal at Extra Life. Thank you so much, guys!

real-neat-blogger-award.jpg

Here are the rules:

1. Display the logo
2. Thank the bloggers for the award.
3. Answer the questions from the one who nominated you.
4. Nominate 7 to 10 bloggers.
5. Ask them 7 questions.

Here we go now, and I’ll start with AK’s questions first.

1) Is there a game, book, or other work that you’d like to experience but that you can’t because it’s untranslated, not ported, or otherwise inaccessible?

Good question. It would be cool to play Dance Dance Revolution Club Version for Dreamcast.

2) What’s one work that really affected you or stuck with you in the last year, and why do you think it did?

Since discovering Ousmane Sebene, his debut feature film Black Girl really affected me. As someone with a film background, I was angry not knowing about this director. This work was incredible as it had great metaphors about neo-colonization and some of the most realistic displays of racism with various dog whistles from the French people against the Senegalese main character and the story was so believable and still relevant despite being made in the 60s.

3) If you could revive one series of works that’s been abandoned or dropped by its creators for any reason, what series would it be and why?

Despite the stream of remakes going on over the past few years, I would actually like to see a remake of Shinesman. I know the manga went farther and the satire could still work especially with the glut of superhero media even if Shinesman parodies Power Rangers/Super Sentai. If that got dubbed, then need to get the original English VA cast for it if they can still pull off the voices.

4) When it comes to music, do you prefer songs with vocals and lyrics or instrumental pieces, or do you have a preference at all? If you prefer one type over the other, why do you think that is?

I don’t have a preference at all, actually.

5) When was the last time you bought a magazine, newspaper, or other form of print media?

This was months ago and I bout a book from Dr. Amos Wilson. I’m glad to discover his work on anti-racism and black psychology last year. I’m also not counting e-books, by the way.

6) Is there a holiday you don’t get to celebrate/take off because of family or work reasons but that you wish you could?

Depends on my schedule with work. I know I get Christmas and Easter off which is guaranteed. I’d say Juneteenth would be excellent having that off on so many levels.

7) If you had to create a new holiday, when would it be and what would it involve?

I would make a commemorative holiday for Black Wall Street. This will be a federal holiday where schools and businesses will close to honor those that were affected by that horrific attack. Next year will be the 100 year anniversary. NEVER FORGET!
Now for Red Metal’s questions:

1. What is your favorite variety of meat? Or if you don’t eat meat what is your favorite meat substitute?

Seitan. News flash, I’m a vegetarian! Most of you didn’t know that fact about me.

2. If you could permanently remove one installment from a series you like (which would erase its existence from everyone’s memory), which one would you choose?

I do like Ghost In The Shell. As much as I was disappointed in the GITS sequel and some of the Arise prequels, but at least they offer decent elements to the overall story. If there was one thing I could erase from that series, then (to the surprise of no one) I would erase that live-action remake. Shame on the directors and shaming on the casting agents who thought it was a good idea to let Black Widow play the Major. #Whitewashing

3. If you lost a bet, would you rather read the worst book, play the worst game, listen to the worst album, or watch the worst film that you know of?

I’d say reading the worst book because I’d likely forget about it the most out of those options.

4. If you won a bet, what kind of punishment would be in store for your friend?

MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! If this was a good friend of mine, I would be a bit soft by making them do 100 pushups and then a mile run. Side note: I did 100 pushups a day all throughout December. If this was a frenemy, I would have them be a part of a pro wrestling match against “Big Wavy” Roy Johnson. Here’s a sample of what would happen. #PounceParty

5. What is your favorite month of the year?

October. I’m biased since I was born that month.

6. What is a piece of obscure trivia you like to mention during social gatherings?

I’m full of obscure trivia. Hahaha! I think the ones I mention somewhat frequently are smart apartments in Kenya that use iPads to control the AC, kitchen stoves, ovens, lights, etc. It’s great mentioning facts that destroy stereotypes about Africa.

7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose? In this hypothetical situation, assume your choice would grant you complete fluency in the area’s official language.

Speaking of Africa, one place I would like to live would be Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. I have a bit of fluency in Lingala, but being fully fluent in that and the other Congolese languages would be sweet. I saw very fascinating things in pictures and video, it’s quite modern, and there’s lots of things to do in the country.

8. What is the longest amount of time you’ve ever driven a car or other vehicle in one sitting?

It was en route to Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois. That’s a 4.5-5 hour drive despite being from the same state. I’m from the Northern part of the Land of Lincoln and Bushnell is a tiny farm town in West Central Illinois. The closest city to it is Macomb which is 20 minutes away and there’s nothing major besides Western Illinois University. Driving can be a bit easy once you get outside the Chicagoland area, but it can be tiresome seeing cornfields and farms for most of the scenery.

9. What is the most annoying fictional character you can think of?

I can think of several. Haha! I think a ton of the Disney Princesses are annoying to me with most of them being Mary Sues, spoiled brats, get helped by too many plot coupons/plot conveniences, and I can’t see how people can relate to them.

10. What is the most underrated fictional character you can think of?

Yugo Beppu from Yugo the Negotiator.  I like how he’s intelligent, culturally aware, and has an extraordinary level of toughness despite not being a violent person. However, there’s one superhero I want to check out called Mr. Terrific. I heard he is good in the comics and that his character was butchered in Arrow.

11. With the decade coming to a close, would you say this was a good period for films, comics, animation, music, literature, or video games?

It was good with the indie and international films I saw, more or less. It was the decade of mediocrity and a tremendous lack of originality in Hollywood with pointless sequels, prequels, adaptations, and of course…so. Many. Freaking. Useless. REMAKES!

Alright. Here are my 7 questions for my nominees.

1. If you’re favorite band’s lead singer quit, who would be a good replacement for them?
2. Who is a supporting character in a movie or TV series that should get their own spin-off? (this can be live-action or animated)
3. The world would be a better place to live in if…?
4. What was the biggest fact or story that really opened your eyes about reality?
5. Which language would you want to learn that isn’t an official tongue in your nation and which places would you visit that uses that language?
6. What is something that you wished never got ripped off or stolen?
7. If you can give great advice in just four words, what would they be?

Nominees:

Rodrovich
Al’s Manga Blog
Kreb
David Boone
Bill Ziegler
The Alchemist
Nesie’s Place

ZAP Records Spotlight: 2 Minute Minor

Here’s another example of some quality Chicago hardcore music. This is 2 Minute Minor. They are a sextet from the Windy City that also features members from October Bird of Death. They base their music on 80s hardcore and some Oi! music. Their debut EP “…A Goon’s Best Friend” is on ZAP’s Bandcamp. By the way, this album is free or pay-what-you-want. They also have another album coming out on May 11th.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/2minuteminorhardcore/about/?ref=page_internal

ZAP Records Spotlight: October Bird of Death

Here’s another post involving the ZAP Records family. This time, I’m talking about a band representing my home state of all things.

This is October Bird of Death. They are a hardcore band straight outta Chicago. This isn’t some scene kid stuff or fake machismo metalcore. October Bird of Death play no-frills, no-BS, good old-fashioned hardcore punk rock. These guys are a bit of a superband of sorts in the Chicago hardcore and punk scenes as they contain past and present members of Headnoise, The Blamed, and Ballydowse.

Their debut album “Death Made Its Offer” is free or pay-what-you-want on the ZAP Records Bandcamp page, and there’s even a version on CD and cassette, too.

Feel free to check them out at https://www.facebook.com/octoberbirdofdeath.

Also…I realized that October Bird of Death and my stage name Ospreyshire are both Illinoisan musicians signed to ZAP Records, have names that start with O, and both names reference birds. #HilariousInHindsight

Friendship Friday: Oceans & Oceans

My pick for this week’s Friendship Friday is Oceans & Oceans!

I’ve known them for years and they have an awesome live show. They are a humble bunch that make some fantastic genre-blending music. If you ever get the chance to see them play, then please go. You won’t be disappointed.

Check out their split with fellow Elginites Home Burial here (it’s free or pay-what-you-want) : https://oceansandoceans.bandcamp.com/releases

-Curtis

Friendship Friday: Gareth Sitz

This Friendship Friday will be about Gareth Sitz this week!

She’s a playwright, actress, and a poet. Gareth has done a lot of great things in the community with the arts and outreach activities. I recently bought her chapbook of poems which was a great read, and the Adultery poem is featured in this video that I took back in January. Gareth has helped me become a better poet, lyricist, and even helped me to share the stuff I’ve been writing for years.

Check out her theatre troupe Femmeprov: https://www.facebook.com/femmeprov/

-Curtis