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It's A WinterSpring Thing: Atlanta Episode 4, Convenience Store Wars, Roxanne Roxanne, The Curious Case of Michael Bennett, Music On My Mind, King James, Fultz Back

It's A WinterSpring Thing: Atlanta Episode 4, Convenience Store Wars, Roxanne Roxanne, The Curious Case of Michael Bennett, Music On My Mind, King James, Fultz Back

“It’s Spring Again…

Everybody Knows It’s Spring Again…

To the Girls and Boys and People Above…

This is the Time to Fall in Love…”

We began last week in The Wudder in Winter.

We begin this week in The Wudder in Spring.

In the Northeast, there’s been about a foot or so of snow in between.

There’s ducks on the pond, but Mother Nature isn’t quite ready to play ball.

But here’s a healthy dose of assorted new stuff to absorb, as we undergo a seasonal thaw.

 

Atlanta
Season Two, Robbin’ Season
Episode Four, “Helen”
Six-Word Summation: The Stunt Turned to Red Oktoberfest

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Most Memorable Scene: The ping-pong battles.

Most Memorable Line: "She just wants to spend more time with you, and that's what girls do when they like you, they just wanna twist their life up with yours, that way it's harder to disconnect"-Christina’s boyfriend to Earn

Best Darius Moment:  Not Applicable.

Viral Allusion: When a Prank Becomes a Punch.
I was sorta "throwing it out there" as a category option before this season started, but now it may be the most reliable box that gets checked each ep.
In this one, Van’s alley incident with the Monster costumed thief, popping up out of the dumpster, a la this high-school-hi-jinx attempt gone hilariously wrong.

Best Cameo: The Wolfgang Masked Pickpocketer. 
Who better maximized ten combined seconds of screen time than this guy? He played a role in the beginning, middle, and end. Setting tone, escalating tension and then delivering a climax. I suppose I could’ve picked Van’s friend Christina, since she was a bigger player, but let’s be real: she kinda sucked. It’s difficult to parse the history of Van and Christina’s relationship, despite the way they set it up friendly, then turn to a level of only-those-you-know-and-love-can-truly-hurt-you dispute at the table later, while (perhaps ironically, or maybe incidentally) Kendrick Lamar’s “LOVE.” plays softly in the background. Between this, plus “Value” and “Juneteenth” last season, Van seems to pick friends as well as Earn makes decisions.

Episode MVP: Van.
Could it be anyone else?
This is the most Van-centric episode since Season One’s “Value”.
Not only do we follow her whenever she and Earn split up while in Helen, this episode gives Berlin-born actress and dual German/U.S. citizen Zazie Beetz the chance to flex her German heritage a bit. It’s interesting to see the way she is transformed in the camera’s eye by some Bavarian garb and Deutsch dialogue.

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Shades of Get Out on the opening drive and Gothic imagery, but most calls to mind Season One’s “Juneteenth”. Van again takes Earn deep into a strange scene and asks him to navigate it with her. While Van has an entry point, she’s almost on the outside looking in as much as Earn is. She makes a telling remark to the German-speaking bartender, about their relationship: "We can be can be really good together, but only when we have to. And I'm beginning to realize, maybe we don't have to." When this occurred last season, particularly in “Juneteenth”, it intensified their bond. In “Helen”, it highlights their distance.


Best Use of Music: “Malaika” by Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba.

What an achingly beautiful piece of music. No wonder it’s one of the most beloved Swahili songs of all-time since South Africa’s Makeba first made it famous globally in the mid-sixties.
And yeah, I had to Google that last part despite passing familiarity with Makeba via Nina (Simone) and the movie Sarafina!. But this song will now be with me from here on out. The lyrical translation varies, plus is interpreted differently by its performer. The gist centers around a poor young man who wishes to marry “my angel” (malaika) but is unable to pay the dowry, a similar thematic motif to Scotts/Irish folk ballad “Peggy-O”.  

There’s probably a few layers left to peel in terms of how this applies to Van, her “Value”, or their “good but only when they have to be” chemistry.

Notable Callback From A Prior Episode: Van references the date night that devolved into a strip-club visit and silent limo ride home in “Money Bag Shawty” after Earn tosses away his loot on Onyx dancers and an ill-advised race with Michael Vick.

Quibbles-n-Bits: As I mentioned in real-time watching to my man Claw on Facebook, “Earn's decision making is growing increasingly painful this season, despite or likely more accurately because, I see him do so many wrong things that I might've also done in the same scenario, at that same stage of life.
I’m sure some women may more clearly see flaws in Van’s approach as well, because they’re certainly there too, but the male ego and misguided set of ethos that’s guiding Earn’s too-smart-to-be-so-stupid moves, can be hard to sit thru.
That’s not a criticism in the show’s approach or its quality. Atlanta isn't aiming to make you feel good at the expense of depicting its reality. It's still far and away the best thing currently on TV. It’s just at times a tough thing to see.

Wudder Weight: 8.5 out of 10

 

The Five Spot Presents "Convenience Store Wars"

In a never-ending quest to keep your content fresh, here's a ranking of convenience stores from worst to best:

#5 7-11

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Wrong 7-11, B.

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And if you go to 7-11 when you have other convenience store options within a half mile driving distance, or a five-minute-walk, you’re doing it wrong, my G.

We told you an old 7-11 tale of woe on The Wudder before.

But that’s not why we’re putting Sev on blast.

In terms of its selection and in particular food options, it’s an easy dead last.

The best thing about 7-11 while I was a Cali resident was you could buy beer or wine up until 2. Well, at most stores anyway. The refrigerated doors lock at 11 on the corner of 11th & Pico in Santa Monica, due to the neighborhood tweakers, many from the hourly motel on 14th. 

But we’re gonna imagine other stores would sell beer and wine if you could in New Jersey. Unless sticking to the basics (scratch-offs, cigs, soda), save yourself the agita. Find something that’s healthier, or tastes better, than a Taquito or Slurpee if you’re hungry or thirsty.

Regional Concentration: Any/Everywhere, USA
Number of Locations: 64,319
Gas Available: No
Free ATM Service: Hell Nah.
The only worse ATMs then the ones in most Sev’s are found inside of a liquor store in a bad neighborhood, a casino or a strip club.
Bathrooms: Not Unless You Know Someone Working There or How to Beg
Fresh Food Options: 0
Beverage Selection: 7
Candy Selection: 5
Value: 5
Cleanliness/General Vibe: 2
Overall: 3.8


#4 Cumberland Farms

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I haven’t been in Cumberland Farms too often recently. Mostly because during my brief mid-90’s time living in Boston, I didn’t see many. I mostly saw Dunkin’ Donuts or Store-24, which is somehow like an even worse, Boston area version of Sev. Massholes are also way too passionate about Dunkin’ Donuts everywhere they go, as evidenced by a few camping out over a three-day weekend for this Wilshire Boulevard Grand Opening in 2014.

Let's re-focus. There was a Cumberland Farms around me growing up. But not like the newfangled, cleaner, sleeker Cumberland Farms now seen in the New England area. Saw a few while up in Maine to visit my sister, brother-in-law and nephews. And yes, I know, that's a visit I need to get around to making again soon, in case this is being read by one of you. 

Those stores are a step up from the ones I saw growing up. They must have raised their game in recent years. While their frozen drink list can’t boast anything as name-brand iconic as a Slurpee, they do have their own, which don’t look like they’re seeping Promethean ooze out of the nozzles. They've got far more coffee options. Their touch-screen menu is just "okay", but unlike Sev, at least it exists.

Regional Concentration: New England
Number of Locations: 726
Gas Available: Yes
Free ATM Service: Fees for any non-Citizens Bank customer.
Bathrooms: Yes
Fresh Food Options: 3
Beverage Selection: 7
Candy Selection: 6
Value: 6
Cleanliness/General Vibe: 6
Overall: 5.6

 

 

#3 Wawa

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Do you hear that? It’s the sound of many people, all around the Greater Delaware Valley in Philly, Delaware and South Jersey area, tightening their jaws.

Some might be ready to object, protest or even fight.

And believe me, I hate to do this, but right is right.

Wawa always was a full-tier above all the convenience store comp growing up.

I’ve met more than one person with a Wawa tattoo during my life.

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But over the past 15 years, their only innovation was adding gas-pumps.

The competition they once lapped, has passed the once-a-source-of-regional-pride-now-embarrassingly-complacent Wawa now.

Wawa’s most vocal supporters now sound like Skins or Cowboy Fans, touting past glories and tradition, while their favorite organization rests on its laurels.

The touch-screen was once innovating but now perfunctory, somehow with less options.

The soft pretzels are still good.

The rolls on their sandwiches don’t seem as fresh as once before.

The non-sandwich options haven’t kept up with the times.

All around, the place that prided itself on "we do it just a little bit better", should rededicate itself to that jettisoned-ad-campaign-slogan and level of commitment.

Regional Concentration: Pennsylvania/New Jersey
Number of Locations: 726
Free ATM: YES.
Gas Available: Yes, mostly near major arteries, less so in busy city or beach town locations.
Bathrooms: In the gas station “Super Wawa”, yes. Regular Wawa, nah.
Fresh Food Options: 6
Beverage Selection: 6
Candy Selection: 6
Value: 6
Cleanliness/General Vibe: 5
Overall: 5.8

 

#2 Sheetz

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Out of all the options, Sheetz might be the biggest surprise in ranking.

When I was attending college in a weird little town called Westminster, Maryland, Sheetz was one of the few post-bar options open. So we might cop a shmuffin to scarf down after drinking at the nearby watering holes around Main Street.

But it certainly wasn’t the kind of food experience you’d compare to hitting Lorenzo's or Jim’s on South Street in Philly after a show. Not even Wawa down the shore after last call. It was just sorta there, like the Subway window by the Shell station, albeit better than Subway, which resides somewhere between hospital and prison food.

But I digress. Point is that over this decade, while Wawa got self-satisfied, Sheetz kept trending upward.

They got in the gas-pumping aspect of the convenience store war games.

But they then used that expansion to make their stores bigger, with much more selection, and leaned on finding ways to improve what was already their greatest strength (Made-to-Order fresh food items via touch-screens).

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Making my way across the country in Summer 2016, plus recently stopping in Sheetz on a 2017 24-hour whirlwind drive from Jersey to Southwestern Ohio and back, the experience felt like a different world than the one frequented in Westminster after getting lit on L.I.T.’s at Maggie’s down the street.

The level of menu options, specificity, and ability for customization is unmatched.

While I wouldn’t want pizza, a burger, or a salad from a place like this, I’m glad someone who would can get it. They can also have it ready by the time they get done pumping gas, if they put the order in via their app before walking inside.

If calories are something you calculate, Sheetz’ app has calorie-counting functionality to help you do that, measuring all the way down to the condiment requests.

The actual cuisine isn’t at the level of our #1, or maybe even our #3, but it’s the one place where you can get everybody’s situation handled when traveling with a full car of people with different wants while getting out to get gas, use the bathroom, eat for the first time in awhile or if need be grab booze, not just beer and wine, in states where that kind of thing is allowed.

The brand isn’t sexy, nor are most of the outpost towns where their 500+ stores are located, but that level of commitment to customer satisfaction deserves to be rewarded. Which is why Sheetz gets elevated from also-ran to runner-up status.

Regional Concentration: Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio
Number of Locations: 510
Free ATM: Fee for any non-PNC bank member.
Gas Available: Yes.  
Bathrooms: Yes.
Fresh Food Options: 8 (10 for selection, 6 for taste)
Beverage Selection: 6
Candy Selection: 6
Value: 6
Cleanliness/General Vibe: 6
Overall: 6.4

 

#1 ROYAL FARMS

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This place, born in Baltimore, used to be a cool little regional secret.

In my early twenties living in Baltimore City, back when my metabolism could handle consuming fried chicken after an evening at Charles Village Pub (CVP!) on Saint Paul Street, the fact that catty-corner from there I could get a fresh box at any hour felt like a revelation.

Being more diet-conscience nowadays, fried chicken, like pizza, has had to be one of those things I’ve jettisoned. But I'll say this to anyone unconcerned with such things: the fried chicken at this place is THE BOMB.

Crushes KFC, Church’s, even probably Popeye’s. Though Popeye’s biscuits remain the standard, and if you want Cajun or Spicy, Popeye’s is probably still your jam.

In addition to that, Royal Farms has the pumps, the largest lots, in most cases now outside patio seating, the friendliest employees of the flock, a dining area inside the store, have someone unobtrusive cleaning up the place round the clock, plus some of the more random aisle snack and candy items, which you won’t find at any other convenience store chain, but has everything you would too.

Word eventually got out about the chicken, and things began to grow and spread from there. Eventually, Royal Farms had enough clout to buy naming rights to the downtown Baltimore Arena. Next, they were looking to expand a little further up 95.

They recently put one on the White Horse Pike (Magnolia) in South Jersey.

I’ve brought three friends so far who'd never visited one in Maryland.

They all became quick converts.

I’ve also been there at late hours on a weekend night solo, on my way home from working. They’ve got the bar crowd descending upon it like crackheads used to do at The Carter in New Jack City.

It was enough to make me feel slightly nostalgic, for a time when I was young enough to bring a cute young lady with me after a night out, eat fried chicken without getting legit fat, plus still have energy left when we got back to the shack.

But this is no sentimental, stuck-in-the-past vote for Royal Farms.

This place has only gotten better.

While still smallest in terms of company size and number of stores on this list, they’ve been able to grow in profile, expanding to new locales not compromising their brand.

Regional Concentration: Maryland
Number of Locations: 178
Free ATM: DAMN RIGHT. Anything Wawa can do; Royal Farms can do better.
Gas Available: Yes.  
Bathrooms: Yes.
Fresh Food Options: 9.5 (9 for overall quality/selection, 10 for the chicken or chicken sandwiches)
Beverage Selection: 7
Candy Selection: 9
Value: 8
Cleanliness/General Vibe: 8.5
Overall: 8.25

 

This Week in “King Stay the King” News…

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LeBron James is finishing up his fifteenth season.

He became the league’s best player around 2007.

He is still the league’s best player somehow in 2018, in the midst of a season where he will play in all of his team’s 82 scheduled regular season contests, while averaging over 27 points, 8 to 9 rebounds, and 9 assists per game.

KANG’s Cavaliers as a team haven’t had a great year by their standards.

They’ll be a third-seed in the East at best, with a chance of finishing lower.

But consider that Cleveland’s GM (David Griffin) was jettisoned following a contract dispute with owner Dan Gilbert.

The man Gilbert replaced Griffin with, 34-year-old neophyte Kobe Altman, made a trade a week after being hired sending the team’s 2nd-best player (Kyrie “Flat Earth” Irving) to rival Boston for: 14 games of miniature-shoot-first PG Isiaah Thomas, 53 games of underachieving role playing small forward Jae Crowder.

It was then considered a boon when he was able to unload the above two for Larry Nance Jr. (an energetic undersized backup center whose father played for Cleveland in the 80’s) plus backup combo-guard Jordan Clarkson (who last week stated his belief dinosaurs existed as pets for giant humans in the prehistoric age).

LeBron’s third-best-turned-second-best player, stretch-forward Kevin Love, missed 20 games with a broken hand mid-season before returning this week.

Prior to that, Love had been publicly grappling with depression and anxiety, in a way that reportedly alienating the fiery Thomas, along with aging reserve shooting guard Dwayne Wade, who have since been sent away.

So, come playoff time, who’s your pick to win the East?

If you have half a brain, I’d suggest you go with LeBEAST.

Watch what he did last week to the #1-seeded Toronto Raptors, hoping-against-hope that for their Kyle Lowry/DeMar DeRozen core, this may finally be the year.

Or the power of that in-traffic dunk over the weekend that sent Kevin Love off the bench into chest-bumping the stanchion.

Despite him being America's most well-known athlete worldwide, I'm still not sure we fully appreciate what we're watching, 15 years into a career that offensively seems to be aging like fine wine, as he makes another strong MVP case.

You may recall we said the following back on 4/11/2017:

Despite endless noise surrounding each, I hereby refuse to believe any of the following three things can or will happen, until they do:
1) Bill O’Reilly getting fired from FoxNews for sexual harassment.
2) Donald Trump impeached by a majority Republican congress.
3) A LeBron James-led team failing to reach the NBA Finals in this decade.

Much to our surprise, the first box got checked only a week or two later.

On #3, LeBron again ran thru the East like a blitzkrieg, in the postseason of 2017.

I’d imagine it’ll be more difficult, but will still get done, in the Spring of 2018.

And #2, despite everything that's happened, appears to only be a pipe dream.

But speaking of predictions that we are very happy to be wrong about, like Nick Foles Winning a Super Bowl or a Child Molesting Racist losing a Special Election in Alabama, The Wudder would be remiss if it didn’t take a moment to clap for a Louisiana court putting the Cowardly Bastard Ron Gasser in jail for potentially the rest of his life, for the murder of former USC Trojan star Joe McKnight.

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Thanks to a Louisiana jury, for showing that despite America's gun and race problems, justice can still sometimes be served.

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Roxanne Roxanne premiered on NetFlix over the weekend.

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After making the rounds on the festival circuit at Sundance and internationally, Netflix commissioned this little movie that could, based upon the real-life journey of a young girl turned trailblazing Queens-bred female MC Roxanne Shante, who in the early eighties battle-raps her way out of the famed Queensbridge housing projects, overcoming family dysfunction, domestic abuse, record industry politics and teenage pregnancy along the way.

Since the first viewing Saturday night, I’ve seen a lot of chatter on the interwebs amongst my rap-nerd friends who felt dissatisfied with the end product. Many seemed like their expectations for this film fell more in line with a documentary of legendary producer Marley Marl’s “Juice Crew”, a TVOne Unsung, or the kind of paint-by-numbers format that we’ve become accustomed with music biopics.

This is not that. And Roxanne Shante is not Ray Charles, NWA, or Johnny Cash.

Her legacy as an artist looms larger than her actual music catalog, for a variety of reasons that this film does its job displaying.

This is a sweet little slice of life flick, from some of the producers who brought you prestige, authentic inner-city indie-film fare like DOPE and Fruitvale Station.

The story at the center of it is a fairly simple, but still amazing one, told cleanly with a teenage girl at its center as the heart of the story, and how she’s affected by the family, friends and foes with whom she interacts, and vice versa.

You do not have to actually know anything about rap music to appreciate this movie. This became evident after watching it a second-time Sunday night with my mother, after a family dinner. She might’ve been even more enthusiastic about the movie than I was despite not knowing any of these people prior to viewing.

For an early adolescent Juice Crew enthusiast, bubble-writing Biz Markie’s name in marker on the side-sole of my sneakers and tagging “Big Daddy Kane is God” on Trapper Keepers or middle-school lockers, the film fully worked because I wasn’t hung up on whether we got to see its depiction of Kangol Kid from U.T.F.O. or Kool G. Rap & Polo.

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The movie looks great, with its attention to detail in wardrobe style and the cinematography capturing the backdrop of its time and place.

Early 80’s New York City is lovingly recreated, from the slang and accents, down to friendly clowning of a guy in Guardian Angel gear at a bodega.

While one could quibble whether the actor playing Biz Markie looked like him and captured his goofy charm, or whether (slight spoiler) a young kid portraying Nas was necessary at all, all the principal actors did their thing thoroughly.

Newcomer Chanté Adams, is a revelation in the brace-faced lead role, as a precociously principled teenager forced to grow up way too fast.

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Mahershala Ali exudes Lothario menace as an older, hard-living charmer and enterprising illegal businessman who takes her heart and innocence in a number of gut-wrenching ways.

Nia Long deserves Best Supporting Actress Oscar consideration for her nuanced portrayal of Shante’s mother, struggling to raise four girls in what her world forces her to see as a cold, cruel place filled with disappointment, particularly when it comes to dealing with men.

Wu-Tang Clan mastermind, and film-scorer/actor/writer/director The RZA, does a great job handling the score.

I’m imagining the licensing on some of the music from back then, mostly with Cold Chillin’ Records, wasn’t feasible to get, but unlike the Andre 3000 Benjamin starring Jimi Hendrix pic By Your Side, it doesn’t hinder the film.

A classic hip-hop drum beat pounding, via table, door, newspaper stand, beatbox, DJ set-up or drum machine, provides the percussive heartbeat to the proceedings.

While some song specifics get skipped, or chronological details get fast-forwarded thru, the spirt and the energy of the era, music and its protagonist, remain infectious.

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Wudder Weight: Four Mics outta Five.

 

 

The Curiously Suspect Case Against Michael Bennett

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Last week we spoke about adding Michael Bennett, to an already ferociously fortified Super Bowl Champion Eagle defensive line.

Today, after catching a charge over the weekend for an alleged incident 14 months ago as a spectator at Super Bowl 51 in Houston, Bennett appeared at a Houston court with his lawyer Rusty Hardin to plead not guilty and post a bond.

Look, I wasn’t there, and neither were you.

I’ll be willing to admit my unpopular opinion is wrong should this case even go to trial, let alone prove this man guilty of anything.

But it seems eyebrow-archingly clear to me that Bennett, whose profile has grown exponentially since Super Bowl 51 as an outspoken critic of racial discrimination, who currently has a civil suit pending against a Vegas police department, and a Dave Ziren-assisted upcoming book (out 4/2) Things That Make White People Uncomfortable, is being made an example of here.

None of this passes the smell test. But that doesn't really matter to those making a very public display of it. The damage of the headline “Michael Bennett charged with felony assault of a handicapped elderly security guard” is done, and scandalous enough to make facts not matter.

If or when this weak case gets dismissed, that won't change the minds of many, particularly those who didn’t like Bennett to begin with for their own personal, political, or in some cases, prejudicial reasons.

This is raw meat for the Faux News set, coincidentally after a particularly bad PR week for this President, his revolving door of fired cabinet-men, the ever-escalating Russian connections in the multi-tiered Mueller investigation into potential money laundering and campaign collusion, as well as attempts to silence female trysts.

It’s been a fruitless free-agent offseason for the President’s friend and campaign donor, Houston Texans billionaire owner Bob McNair, following his infamously fractious statement that “we can’t have inmates running the prison” about the players at a league meeting this Fall.

Let’s look at a few flaws in the Houston Police Department’s official statements, which have already changed a few times since Friday, plus ask a few glaring questions about the incident that prosecutors don’t seem able to answer.

Q: How on earth did this happen in a capacity stadium, during literally the most photographed and viewed event of the year, THE SUPER BOWL, yet no camera managed to capture any video or even still-photo footage?

A: So far, the only person who has voiced a willingness to produce video from the time period in question, is Bennett’s own sister, who recorded her brother on a camera phone walking out onto the field following the game, to celebrate with their brother, then-Patriot tight end Martellus Bennett.

Marijuana illegal, but cigarettes cool? I might look pretty funny, but I ain’t no fool”-Andre Benjamin

Q: Why did the sole witness, a police officer, who claims to have seen the incident never attempted to speak to Bennett, let alone stop him, or ask for assistance from other officers to apprehend him?

A: The Houston PD’s party line that Bennett is “bigger and stronger” than the officer holds little weight, since police presence at the Super Bowl is deeper than a presidential inauguration, while police regularly arrest “bigger and stronger” suspects on a daily basis. It also doesn’t wash that HPD is claiming Bennett was not brought in for questioning that evening because “we couldn’t locate Mr. Bennett with all the chaos going on after the game”.

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Perhaps they should’ve turned on the NFL Network postgame show, or visited their on-field studio tent, where he could be found with his brother, long after most of the patrons inside the stadium had already filed out.

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Q: Why according to Art Acevedo, Houston police chief, didn’t Bennett, an NFL employee and brother of a Patriots player, have proper clearance and a credential from the league and the stadium to be allowed on the field?

A: Oh, Wait…Never mind.

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Q: Why did the allegedly injured party never file a complaint or have any record of a medical visit?

A: *shrug* We still haven't heard from that person, we're only hearing from a police officer saying he saw what happened. 

Q: Why did the Houston Police Department and District Attorney’s office wait 14 months to charge him? A gap of time that suspiciously includes Bennett having a very public complaint with the Vegas police over an alleged profiling incident, publicly kneeling during the anthem after the President’s dog-whistling commentary on Colin Kaepernick plus indefensible sympathizing with Neo-Nazi groups following the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, his signing with the Eagles in part due to his friendship with fellow activist safety Malcolm Jenkins, and the announced plans of the forthcoming Ziren book?

A: I’ve got my own opinion on the matter, but even if you don’t, it’s hard to buy the police department’s “we were attending to more important cases during that time” party line. They were on the case about Tom Brady's pilfered jersey within two days. Acevedo made a bizarre grandstanding show of this charge, calling Bennett “morally corrupt”, in the same week an unarmed teenager holding a cell phone was murdered in his backyard in Sacramento, and the police chief at Acevedo's former district in Austin described the serial bomber responsible for multiple fatal explosions aimed at black targets as “a troubled young man”.

Q: Speaking of that ‘troubled young man’, what would a white man have to do to actually be labeled a terrorist?

A: No idea. Maybe put on some makeup like C. Thomas Howell in Soul Man?

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Q: Will the Eagles cut Bennett?

A: If this is all the Houston courts have got, they better not. Doing so would be an indefensibly cowardly move, particularly by a team who already proved thru Jenkins and Chris Long, that it could address social issues, while not being a “distraction” to team performance.

The Eagles are seen as a winning organization that allows players to express themselves, as opposed to a losing organization painting itself into a corner in a league of mostly black players, like Bob McNair’s Houston Texans.

The cameras once caught Riley Cooper on camera “expressing himself” in ignorant fashion as a patron on a football field four years ago. They not only didn’t cut him, they later gave him an extension. It would be a hypocritical, extremely bad look for the Birds to now turn their back on Bennett, without any documented evidence, simply because of a flimsy case or causes that don’t fit the NFL agenda.

Thankfully, it looks like Howie Roseman is sticking to his guns here:

 

Music On My Mind BDay Blitz

Now that we’ve gotten some of the messier stuff out of the way, it’s time to send out some music-related Very Happy Birthdays.

HBD to the Beastie Boys Check Your Head, a genre-bending masterpiece that turns 26 today. As the good folks at Albumism are taking votes in a reader’s poll asking for your favorite B-Boys album, feel free to revisit my tribute piece last year for its 25th Anniversary last year.

Speaking of Albumism anniversaries, this Spring will bring a Matt Koelling special on The Rolling Stones’ 1978 classic Some Girls. Over the weekend, a song that somehow didn’t make the cut of the original album track listing, was a favorite:

Happy Happy (3/23) to Madvillain’s debut album Madvillainy, a stoner-rap masterpiece collab between MF Doom (MC) & Mad Lib (producer).

A belated Happy Birthday to the legendary Chaka Khan, who turned 65 on Friday. When it comes to being able to vocally deliver: pitch, range, tone, control, across all genres (jazz, r&b, pop, gospel, blues) at a true-master level as a singer, there really “Ain’t Nobody” who can touch her.

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That argument might need to be made in more detail in a Wudder post to come.

For now, we encourage you to investigate for yourself, while we prepare our case.

Freestyle/R&B act Nu Shooz topped the dance charts this week in 1986, with “I Can’t Wait”, a song that still bangs just as hard todday, a fact recently reminded as it crushed an enthusiastic living room dance floor scene at the annual Olimipio St Patty’s Day Blowout last Saturday (shout out to loyal Wudder reader and shindig co-host Christine).

It also sounded fresh to death, while featured in the background of a crucial club scene in the previously mentioned Roxanne Roxanne film.

Last, but certainly, not least…today may not be Markelle Fultz' birthday.

But it feels like a celebration for every Sixer Fan who has waited with baited breath for the fateful day when the 19-year-old 2017 #1 overall draft pick to see the court.

Brett Brown just announced it as we type this, he will play for the first time since being put on IR in December. It’s been a crazy odyssey of swirling speculation since, while he apparently lost confidence and developed a mental block with his jump shot.

But that streak ends tonight, in a home game against Denver, as the Sixers aim to make it seven wins in a row, having just clinched a playoff slot (currently in the four slot, with a chance of moving up to three) and with an outside shot at 50 wins.

Post-Game Edit: WOW. That Really Couldn't Have Went Any Better.
Swapping out "Foles" for "Fultz" on the chant Philly Fans hi-jacked from the Vikings was an inspired touch, from a crowd that was great all night, showing the young kid so much love.

We’ve Waited For You Winterlong…Now You Seem To Be Where You Belong.

Speaking of long, this latest update has long since officially crossed into that territory, so we’ll save some of the hot takes on the Sixers’ postseason prospects, March Madness and our Final Four preview for later on this week, along with some other treats.

Thanks for reading...it's spring again, maybe soon it'll start feeling like it too.

Peace & Love,

Bambino

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Check the Wuddermark: Atlanta Episode 2 & 3 Re-Caps, Music On My Mind, Happy EmBiiDay, March Sadness, NFL Free Agency Pluckers & Suckers

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