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I am the author and administration of News Unlimited, a news and information web log. In my daily life, I am a journalist by trade. I have been in the news business for nearly a decade in a few different states, and markets. I find news to be interesting, and there's always something that keeps America talking. Many people don't realize it, but there is a need for news. It helps keeps us updated, informed and intellegent.

Happy birthday Hip-Hop

This Summer marks 40 years since America first heard the words “Hip-Hop” (which continued with, hippie to the hippie, to the hip-hip-hop and you don’t stop rockin’) spoken by Wonder Mike of the Sugarhill Gang in their Rapper’s Delight track, the first commercially successful rap song. BUT THAT WAS NOT THE START OF HIP-HOP AT ALL.

Hip-hop is a movement or culture that started in New York City that combined elements of style, art, dancing, singing rhythmic cadence and the extended mixed sounds of a song’s percussion and base solo instrumental, all combined that has an influence upon hundreds of millions of people in the world today, and it all started on August 11, 1973.

On that day, Clive Campbell, known around the neighborhood as DJ Kool Herc threw a back to school party his sister organized at their home at a high-rise apartment at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue. There, Herc figured to get the party cooking and having people out on the dance floor, he’d just extend the best part of the songs that we all listened to; the break. Using two turntables playing the same record, Herc extended a few of his favorite soul and funk records and created a new art and type of party sound for the people.

His sound spread like wildfire across the borough. At that point, everyone wanted to attend a DJ Kool Herc party in the South Bronx. Being a DJ or a record manipulator became conductive to a new musical art. Everyone wanted to move the crowd and make them dance. And naturally when people started dancing to those break beats they were known as breakdancers or b-boy (break boy), another huge element of early hip-hop.

But just as any movement has its founder, there are also other key figures who would change the game that Kool Herc started. Others like Grandmaster Flash, who added a science to creating those break beats. Flash popularized DJing to what we see commonly today. Another key player, Afrika Bambaataa also expanded on what Herc started with a wealth of musical inventory to mix and technological advances. DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa started hip hop. The dancing, the art, the culture and of course the rapping soon followed.

These days its only natural to think hip-hop and rap going hand-in-hand. But speaking over musical tunes has been around just as long as music itself. But the early innovators of rap used a style that was was seen with radio DJs like Frank Crocker, then continued with disco’s DJ Hollywood. Lyricist like Lovebug Starski, Grandmaster Caz and Melle Mel added their form of voice over to the DJs and created rap music.

It was growing everywhere around uptown New York City in the mid 1970s. The only way you could have a good party was to have a DJ and an emcee on the mic. All of this years before a disco producer who heard the new musical wave and decided to essentially pick three guys at random who could “rap” and then record them in a studio to record Rapper’s Delight. From the parties, to the streets, to the hood, out in the city and to the radio…hip-hop was born, rap was bred.

Lyrics and terms written and coined by others, were now widely known in 1979 when one of the years biggest top songs hit the airways. People called in to request to hear that “hip-hop” song (as those were the first two words on the track), or “I want to hear that rap(ping to the beat) song (from the second verse in the track).”

Rapper’s Delight could have easily been a one-hit wonder. But someone quite literally said, “AND YOU DON’T STOP…”

And the beat goes on with Part 2…coming soon.

Moon Landing: 50 years since, between and beyond

It started off as one small step for man, continued to one giant leap for mankind. Having humans on the moon will soon find ourselves in a fearless flight for future exploration.

Today marks 50 years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin step foot outside of the command module and onto the lunar surface. Even though it’s been 50 years since, it remains one of the most crowning technological achievements of mankind.

The Apollo 11 landing was the first of six crewed moon landings of the America’s Apollo program in that eras Space Race, the last coming in December 1972. No other man from any country has landed on the moon since.

Many have since wondered why have we not returned to the moon, or have gone beyond the moon, when will we ever go back to the moon and even if we ever really landed on the moon. All good questions, but don’t seem to be universally known and accepted by the general public. There are several real factors in determining a viable trip there and beyond. Factors that stretch the limits of our science and technology.

For starters, regarding the question on if we’ve ever actually landed on the moon, there’s undeniable proof that can been seen and measured from items left there from the Apollo missions. As far as why we haven’t gone back and when will we go back are a little more ambiguous. Naturally a big part of that reasoning is financial. At one point in the late 1960s NASA’s budget was just under five percent of our national budget. These days it not have half of one percent.

And speaking of funding. There’s a couple very important elements that have to be factored. Not the least of which is how you would have to break the law of gravity. Gravity could easily be one of the most underappreciated forces in the universe. Quite literally, it surrounds us, it penetrates us and it holds our world together. Without careful planning, construction and design, everything on Earth is meant to go down and stay on the ground. It’s a force that keeps it there. It’ll only take a greater, expensive and technical force to defeat gravity to travel several thousands of miles away. And it’s those thousands of miles that present another hurdle.

To leave Earth’s atmosphere would take a vessel approximately 50 miles. Could be done in a couple minutes with proper propellant. But after that 50 miles, that vessel would have to go about another 239,950 miles to get to the moon. That would be like taking a flight from the United States to China 25 times in a row. It’s not Mars, but it’s definitely not close.

But we did do it though, six times. But was it not important enough to keep doing it? Well, sorta…it was as important enough. There was a purpose to launching into space and getting humans on the moon. On the surface it’s probably something more loftier like to explore the outer reaches of our solar system, or to make humans an interplanetary species, to seek out new life and civilization, or just to boldly go where no man has gone before. But in actuality the main reason was political, and to beat Russia.

Modern warfare began with the nuclear program after America used the bombs in Japan. Since then it was a race to outdo the other with Russia; a race that we were winning. The nuclear race led to innovations of delivery systems of those bombs. In 1957, the Russians successfully launched Sputnik, a rocket propelled satellite into space. It was then Americans realized not only were they hopelessly embarrassed by the technological advances of Russia, but now they had the ability to delivery a nuclear-tipped rocket to the mainland U.S. in just minutes. They had to be one-upped. In comes the Space Race.

Russians launched a satellite in space, the U.S. launches a satellite in space. Russians launch a person in space, U.S. launches a person into space. Russians completes a spacewalk, the U.S. completes a spacewalk. Back and forth it went for years, each time the Americans coming in second. But in this Cold War era, the U.S. could not come in second to Russia in anything. A moon landing would be the homerun we’d need to take the lead for good.

In just 11 years after the United States launched our first rocket into space, and the creation of NASA,  and after 13 near perfect test space missions, the U.S. was able to make it to the moon with a crew on board. But going just once wasn’t good enough to secure America’s dominance of victory in making it to the moon. U.S. astronauts would go to the moon six times in three years. The U.S. had won the space race, and the future to the cosmos was ours.

Then reality sat in. The reality as in, if you’ve won a race, there’s no need to run any longer. Kennedy, who didn’t care about space as much as caring about beating Russians, was dead. Further moon exploration wasn’t accomplishing anything significant. And NASA’s free-flow of funding from the national budget was cut drastically after the Apollo program was done. Grant it, there was still missions to be completed, space explorations to be done, we do have an International Space Station, and a previous shuttle program, but nothing as daunting as a moon landing. Without the motivation, and the money, going  to the moon was not a priority to the United States government.

But who really needs government. Government money that is. Today, we have a new Space Race. The Billionaire Space Race. Private companies are now throwing their hat into space exploration, along with the government to accomplish further moon exploration. Some people like to think Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos mavericks. Fortunately for them, we have our own “maverick” in the White House. President Trump is set on going back to the moon as well. He set a timeline, which has now been moved up to about five years from now. NASA’s Artemis program (the twin sister to Apollo) will be the next mission to the moon.

But as it stands, we await to see what the future will bring us. For now though, we celebrate the accomplishment that man made 50 years ago. Traveling a 1000 times further than our current International Space Station, to succeed in a feat that several other countries have tried and failed, or just cannot fathom a path to success. Just remember, the United States did it 50 years ago, with technology less than the equivalent of the device you are reading this article. Think about that. That’s what makes it such an achievement.

 

 

It’s just racism

It is actually pretty simple. Without getting overly anecdotal, and to put in very simple words, what President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday was racist.

I’m pretty comfortable in saying most of America has not experienced racism, as to the effect of it being directed at oneself. Racism is where someone is discriminated upon by someone of another race because that person thinks thinks their race is superior. It’s that racism that was directed toward four congresswomen by our president of the United States of America.

If you haven’t seen or heard, the specific tweet which inferred the congresswomen said in full, “So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how…”

I could make a list of everything that’s wrong with that tweet, but I guarantee racist would be at the top of it. In so many words, the president said “go back from (where) you came” which would tell someone that they are not wanted in a free country in which they live. And from the long history of decades, centuries where American’s have heard that same phrase, it was because someone of another race thought they were superior enough to say they belong in this country more so than them.

I know when I have heard that phrase, directed at me, in general, or someone like me, the first thought that pops in my head is racist “WHITES ONLY” signs made infamous in the Jim Crow era, where the mindset of America was to treat people of color as second class citizens. While that’s what I think of, some people think worse. Some people hear more hate speech after that, some people see attacks after that, and to some that “go back to where you came from” could have been the last thing they heard before they were murdered because of their race.

Who knows what other images of racism horrified Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib when they heard that from our commander in chief. All of whom, by the way, come from America and popular cities of New York, Minneapolis, Boston and Detroit respectively. So in another inept fallacy, the president has labeled their government (his government) a complete and total catastrophe, broken and corrupt.

So here we are later in the week where President Trump is disavowing a chant of “send her back” said by thousands of supporters at a recent campaign event in North Carolina. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the same disavowal of his own comments. So can we assume he knows better? Or at least he was told better?

But then again just moments after chant the president started telling his audience to “tell them to leave”. Lesson unlearned. And if not unlearned then disingenuous after the fact.

The chant has been blasted by both sides of the aisle. Even Republican leaders and some in Trump’s own White House have spoke out against the chant. And just to be clear, several of them have called on the president urging him to disavow, clarify and apologize for the comments in the original tweet. But, clearly we aren’t getting any of that. Which makes this attitude against the chant at his rally worthless, seemingly making him stand by his initial statement of “go back to where you came from”.

It’s blatant racism. And to be honest, to not speak out against it kind of makes you complicit.

 

Suzie-poo saving the world. Best. Thing. Ever.

Well at least in the past 30 years. But definitely the best part of Stranger Things 3.

Netflix series Stranger Things 3 was released just about a week ago to rave reviews by many. At the most climatic part in the season’s final episode we were introduced to a new character who gave us a magical moment that will likely never be rivaled for a very long time.

Dustin, one of the four main protagonist of the series, had returned from summer camp at the start of the season. Almost immediately he tells his buddies about the first and only thing on his mind from all summer, he new summer fling. The ultra-smart, uber-talented, hotter than Phoebe Cates, Suzie-poo.

When Dustin and team needed the answer to a mathematical equation that they were not able to recall, who knew that Suzie would have it right off the top of her head. But giving it away came at a price. We were then introduced to the Dustin-Suzie rendition of the theme song to the all-time 1980’s fantasy classic movie The NeverEnding Story.

Reluctant at first, as nearly the whole cast was listening as Dusty-bun sang a tune to his girlfriend over the radio airwaves. Lucas, Will, Nancy, Jonathan, Steve and Robin racing away from a monster. Hop and Joyce eagerly awaiting the number that only Suzie has at this point. The inopportune time showed on everyone’s face, but Dustin and Suzie had the time of their lives in this brief couple of minutes.

Just from the opening line…”Turn around, look at what you see-e-e-e…” takes you back to the adventures of Bastian, Artreyu, the Childlike Princess and Falkor. And then comes the joyous harmonization of Dustin and Suzie going line for line of the song with latter busting out to dance moves and striking a pose as if she was riding on the luck dragon herself.

In a show that’s chock-full of 80’s nostalgia from the start, particularly with this season flashing allusions of “New” Coke, fashion, shopping malls, movie references, Cold War struggles and technology. We also found several overt but familiar plot device we may have seen before in the likes of Goonies, Stand By Me, Aliens, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. But the obvious “jewel of the Nile” (see what I did there) has to be little Suzie saving the world after a “NeverEnding Story” duet.

As a child of the 80s, watching a show about children of the 80s, A NeverEnding Story was everything to me, as it was and should be to everyone from that era. It was every kid’s fantasy fleshed-out in a movie. The “real-life” backstory of Bastian were relatable and the travels of Artreyu were envied. And of course everyone wanted to ride Falkor.

Obviously the writers of Stranger Things knew of its importance which is the reason why it was thrown into the apex of the final episode. Some people actually found fault in it though. A playful song and dance isn’t ideal in the most critical of time.  I mean, who needs to hear kids professing their fondness for one another through a theme song of a movie when literally the fate of the world and mankind is at stake when time is of the essence. But that just enhances the experience. Aside from if Suzie really believed that she was saving the world, it really could have been the insprational tune that powered Joyce and Hop through their next few minutes to defeat Russians and monsters.

In either event, when Suzie finally proved to everyone that she was just more than a figment of Dustin’s imagination, it was right on time. It was the best scene, in the best episode in arguably one of Netflix’s best series. You may have to have been born somewhere between 1980 and 1990 to get the full appreciation of the scene, but if you didn’t like it, what will you like?