Remarks on Losers and Criminals...

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     I rarely get to discuss this sort of thing, and when I do, it excites me so much that the other person ends up resolving to put a shock collar on me if they ever entreat on a conversation of a similar nature, so here it is, for us all: my favorite Pimp C line of all time, but more importantly, favorite rap line of all time, is bolded below. I'm trill working the wheel, a pimp not a simp/ Keep the dope fiends higher than the Goodyear Blimp/We eat so many shrimp, I got iodine poisoning/Fuck, n*****s make me sick with all that pinchin' and bargaining      Pimp C, the producer and other rapping half of UGK (Underground Kingz), along with Bun B, possessed an odd wisdom: his tales of having sex...

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The Former Quarterback’s Club...

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     On December 9th, 2011, the New People’s bank at the Norton Commons (a shopping center with stores like Maurice’s popular enough two years ago to bless Wise and Norton Virginia with their presence, a couple of gift shops, a Radio Shack, and a Burke’s outlet) was robbed by the father of two guys I used to ride the bus with. He walked in wearing a blue surgical mask, a black hoodie, black pants, and sunglasses, and pointed a gun at the cashier, who then proceeded to put a large sum of money in his duffel bag. He then escaped on a red bicycle. They found that bike in the neighborhood where I used to go to church and where my stepfather grew up and where his father had a sporting goods store...

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Purgatory and Commonwealth

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How many Virginia Tech students does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3. 1 to screw the thing in and 2 to mention how much better they did it than UVA. You can replace Virginia Tech with NC State, UVA with North Carolina, Auburn and Alabama, so on and so forth. There are games with understandable, friendly rivalry, the sort of games where you understand that at the end of the day, the game is won or lost and you fall asleep in the same bed. The name usually reflects these. The Commonwealth Cup between Virginia Tech and UVA is this sort of game; all hard feelings aside, a loss destroys two to three days, tops. Some games take on an apocalyptic name; any game called Farmageddon is, despite the meaninglessness of it...

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Stage Review: Elephant’s Graveyard...

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People dislike people and love animals. No woman ever hoards kids unless she’s cooking them or running a Dickensian orphanage so she can scam an insurance company. Women who hoard cats are numerous, however. George Brant, whose play The Elephant’s Graveyard was the winner of the Keene Prize for Literature, plays on this quirk to deliver a stirring critique of the death penalty. The Shafer Alliance Laboratory Theater troupe at VCU recently did a production of this show, directed by Joshua Chenard, and the effect is still reverberating. The play revolves around a true event. In 1916, the Sparks Circus stumbled into a no-name town in East Tennessee south of Kingsport and Johnson City called Erwin with Red, a drifter looking for a job, in tow. When the Sparks Circus hit the Main Street...

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Music Review: Ashes and Fire...

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    You can only stay so young for so long. To assume that you’re always going to be young and in your best shape, your best years, is the number one myth that we manage to convince ourselves isn’t. Everybody gets old. This is the issue with music criticism: somebody makes an album, typically while they’re young, and at the slightest evidence of change, you’ve lost a good portion of your fan base. Conor Oberst might be sleeping on dollars to my quarters, but even as a person who’s never jived much to the rustic histrionics of Bright Eyes, I can tell you “Lua” is a hell of a better song than say, “Man Called Truth.” Some people just don’t age gracefully. And then someday those we thought would never grow up start...

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