Category Archives: Tomato’s Choice

True Detective Season 2 Episode 1: 10 Thoughts

True Detective's real hero: Colin Farrell's 'stache.

True Detective’s real hero: Colin Farrell’s ‘stache.

Noted New Jersey nihilist, uh former journalist, Lloyd Nelson suggested I write about the second season of HBO’s True Detective for shits, giggles and page views. Told me, I would have to pay him for his next good idea. Alas, I am waiting for the hedge fund millions to roll in, not to mention Good Idea Numero Dos, before I fork over any bit coin.

In the weeks leading up to its premiere, the True Detective Season Two Kinda Sucks narrative became all the rage among critical types. Stories circled about creator Nic Pizzolato’s insufferable auteur act, this season’s lack of compelling characters and its predilection for flyover shots of L.A. instead of anything plot-related. This critical piling on served as a stark contrast to the critical love fest that showered Season One.

It’s too early to brand the show DOA. I mean, Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle from the first season is not coming to save it with his unique brand of nihilism but Colin Farrell’s Ray Velcoro, he of the impressive ‘stache and bolo tie collection, will find me and break my face if I write this season off too soon. Ah, yes. Living in fear of crooked police. That’s not anything we’ve heard about in 2015.

Here’s 10 thoughts from True Detective Season 2 Episode 1 ranging from the inane to the profound (uh, maybe not). Here’s a good time to stop reading if you haven’t watched the episode because spoilers will rear their heads.

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Dear South Carolina: Remove the Confederate Flag ASAP

Photo credit: Charleston Post and Courier.

Photo credit: Charleston Post and Courier.

As pieces of cloth go the Confederate flag is a reprehensible piece of seditious shit, a treasonous, blood-soaked embodiment of fear, ignorance and hate and an example of man’s most brutish tendencies winning over his shared humanity. Those who argue for the flag’s tradition, heritage and rebel spirit 150 years after the South lost the Civil War are, in essence, vouching for the enslavement, murder and torture that occurred in the flag’s name. This includes the cowards who call themselves leaders in the state of South Carolina.

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Middle America Hates My Household

The lower Manhattan skyline, as seen from the Staten Island ferry, is much more beautiful than my front door. Photo cred: Me.

The lower Manhattan skyline, as seen from the Staten Island ferry, is much more beautiful than my front door. Photo cred: Me.

Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 is a periodic series chronicling my experiences and observations as a New Yorker. Post No. 57 titled “Middle America Hates My Household” riffs on a thought I had the other day while watching my landlord show me to open our new door lock.

Middle America hates my household, is terrified of it, wants to bomb and shame its inhabitants. OK, I admit maybe not my literal address in Queens, but rather people who look like the men, women and children who reside in our narrow slice of a two-story brick rowhouse, worship the same old gods as them and obsessively watch and critique RuPaul’s Drag Race like them.

This epiphany struck me last week while watching my landlord’s step-by-step tutorial on how to open our new front door lock. Just press in on the door as you turn the key, Mohammad repeated, loudly, as if reciting winning lotto numbers. I stared at the crown of his bald brown head, gray and black hairs cloaking the sides, as he pressed on the door. The wooden door opened and I saw his door in front of me, a square piece of cloth with Arabic written on it hanging in the door’s center. Truth is, I kind of hated Mohammad at that instant too. Not because he was Muslim, but because he believed me incapable of opening his new lock – the one he purchased after the old lock stopped turning and locked me inside the house. I nodded when he asked me if I understood his teachings, walked through the open front door and inserted my keys into the inside door to the left of his – the one to the upstairs where my gay dance choreographer roommate and I reside.

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“The Blacker The Berry” and Baltimore

Kendrick Lamar's message in "The Blacker The Berry" continues to speak volumes as Baltimore reacts to Freddie Gray's death.

Kendrick Lamar’s message in “The Blacker The Berry” continues to speak volumes as Baltimore reacts to Freddie Gray’s death.

The defining pop culture statement about Baltimore’s reaction to Freddie Gray’s April 19 death in police custody – in a year that will be defined by such repeated and senseless acts of institutional racism – came almost two months before this heinous tour made “Charm City” its latest stop.

Kendrick Lamar’s single “The Blacker The Berry” presented a narrator awake to how little those in power cared about his life as a black man, and the frustration and anger inherent in such a realization. The narrator of “The Blacker The Berry” and Baltimore are marching hand in hand this week, it occurred to me as I watched and read reports of peaceful protests and riots occurring in the wake of the 25-year-old Gray’s death.

Baltimore, a once great American industrial city decimated by corporate outsourcing and the phony War On Drugs, now stands at attention, eyes open to the long festering injustice at its doorstep.

Below is an examination of Baltimore’s upheaval and unrest viewed through the prism of “The Blacker The Berry”. It’s worth noting that while Lamar’s narrator refers to himself as a hypocrite throughout the song I view this as a storytelling device the artist employs to provoke thought about the senselessness of black-on-black crime in the face of such an oppressive, corrupt and hateful society. This descriptor by no means disqualifies the narrator’s point of view.

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Why Tidal Will Fail

Alicia Keys attempting to brainwash people on Tidal while actually brainwashing herself.  Photo credit: Someone other than me.

Alicia Keys attempting to brainwash people on Tidal while actually brainwashing herself. Photo credit: Someone other than me.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Two Frenchmen adorned in glitzy robot costumes, a Canadian sporting a massive mouse head and a washed-up American sex goddess take the stage for a press conference announcing a new artist-owned, high-fidelity music streaming service. R&B star Alicia Keys manages to trump them all – Daft Punk, Deadmau5 and Madonna – in terms of sheer ridiculousness and unintentional humor while not wearing a disguise of any kind.

Oh, wait. This isn’t a joke. This actually happened last week.

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Ayn Rand Selfies Are The Best Selfies

Ayn Rand, ever the purveyor of selfish smiles.

Ayn Rand, ever the purveyor of selfish smiles.

Danish philosopher Kierkegaard and American mythologist Joseph Campbell share a home next to books on Lincoln, World Wars I and II and early Southern Baptist leaders on my dad’s sprawling wooden bookcase in south Louisiana. What I respect most about his eclectic collection is not that he has amassed hundreds of books on a wide variety of thought-provoking topics. What I respect most about the contents of his bookcase is he does not shy away from works that challenge his beliefs. For instance, when I moved to Portland he loaned me his copy of Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian. My dad is an ordained Southern Baptist minister. I would venture to guess few ordained Southern Baptist ministers are comfortable enough in their beliefs in Christ to own, much less read and contemplate, such a book.

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Things I Would Rather Do Than Go Outside

A heat wave is coming!

A heat wave is coming!

Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 is a periodic series chronicling my experiences and observations as a New Yorker. Post No. 51 titled “Things I Would Rather Do Than Go Outside” is fairly self-explanatory. :)

New York City is in the midst of a heat wave. AccuWeather predicts temps in the city will hit 12 degrees when the clock strikes noon. That may sound dreadful, and believe me it is, but it marks a 10-degree upswing since overnight. So yeah, NYC heat wave 2015!

Here’s a list off the top of my head of things I would rather do than go outside:

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Co-Ed Dressing Room Sparks Protestant Guilt

Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 is a periodic series chronicling my experiences and observations as a New Yorker. Today’s post No. 43 recaps my first time attending a sample sale.

Her flesh-colored bra and neon thong’s seeming indifference toward concealing her rounded, sun-baked T&A triggered the part of my lizard brain where lust and Protestant guilt intersect. And yet I wasn’t mad at the brunette stranger standing before me or myself, truth be told. We were not Adam and Eve in the garden. We were just two lost souls in a co-ed dressing room on a Friday afternoon searching for bargains at a sample sale.

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Bill Gates’s Cousin At The Spanish Harlem Popeyes

Inside this box is 1440 calories of everything great about America.

Inside this box is 1440 calories of everything great about America.

Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 is a periodic series chronicling my experiences and observations as a New Yorker. Today’s post No. 40 focuses on a case of mistaken identity at Popeyes in Spanish Harlem.

A pregnant, prolonged craving for biscuits – buttery, artery-clogging biscuits – motivated me to ride the subway two stops north earlier this week into the heart of Harlem to find Louisiana’s Kitchen. In the process of satisfying my Nickelback palate I became known as Bill Gates’s cousin at the Spanish Harlem Popeyes.

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Legends Of The Summer Homeless

The view from the cheap seats

This post is dedicated to my dad. Also: Thanks to Matt W. for editing.

On the midsummer night I witnessed Jay Z and Justin Timberlake electrify Yankee Stadium, more than 50,000 city residents slept on the streets, in the subways, or elsewhere without a home. I know this because in recent weeks and months media outlets like The New Yorker and The New York Times shined a light on the city’s shameful homeless record. I met one such man – a self-described Iraq vet suffering from PTSD – on my walk from the working-class Dominican community of Washington Heights to Yankee Stadium under a full moon on July 20. Ironically, four months after our brief encounter, I still think about the man – and what he represents – more so than I do the concert of the year.

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