Metrics

As a newbie blogger, it is often challenging to locate metrics (performance data) on whether I am reaching folks. Sure, page views and unique readers don’t lie, but a personal reaction (from a Texan) could be the more valuable tool:

Fortunately, when I get in a funk like this I usually stumble across something that renews my faith in this country and her people. Today’s inspiration may be found here.

Calling out America’s First Sergeant

My realtor really screwed me.

The year was 2009 and I was stationed in Bahrain. I needed an apartment to live in and bad. One dusty afternoon found me and her tromping around Manama looking at one great place after another. The challenge? They were all out of my price range. She thought she could bargain her way down in price. No dice. The market was tight and they were all too thick for my wallet.

Late in the afternoon, we pulled up to a long, slender apartment at the edge of Juffair. It was perfect: in my price range, clean, fairly close to base. The one issue: the Grand Mosque was a left-fielder’s throw to the bedroom window. A one-hopper.

“Is it noisy living so close to the Grand Mosque?” I asked my realtor.

She laughed. “Oh no, sir. No noisy. The windows are quiet-proof.”

I was not sure what the term quiet-proof meant, but I rented the place and moved in soon after. The first night, at oh dark early, I was awakened by the muzzein’s call to prayer. I laid in bed like a city boy trying to shake a dawn rooster.

I was a flyer, so thankfully I deployed to Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar soon after. And I traveled back and forth between Bahrain and Al Udeid every several months. I had learned, by this time, to make a practice of going to bed early, to rise with the early birds. The wee hours of the morning also meant that every Achmed in the phone book was not clogging my apartment’s wireless. As far as the phone book goes, you ever seen that thing? Half of it was Achmeds or Mohammeds. Or both. Achmed Mohammed or Mohammed Achmed. I still got my copy if you don’t believe me. . .

So, in May of 2010, at oh dark early, I was riding around the blogosphere and I encountered this guy. America’s First Sergeant. A Marine Corps E-8. He had this to say about one LT:

Take for example the sad tale of Lieutenant Navel Lint. This Navy O-3 was a fireball of scholarly and gentlemanly pursuits with a job to do. Unfortunately Lt Navel Lint failed to follow proper procedure. . .

. . .He’s a Navy O-3! He shouldn’t be treated like a recruit! Having skipped proper procedure, tact, or any common sense, Lt Navel Lint continued to go with blustering and bullying Lance Corporals in an attempt to have his way. . .

But that was not the worst of it. America’s First Sergeant mouthed off about Navy LTs in general:

Navy O-3s do not apologize for their behavior after all, no matter how despicable.

It was 0400 in the morning and I was steamed. Some jarhead was rattling his mouth about Navy O-3s. I shrugged it off, left his site, and continued my bloggy travels.

Later in the week, around lunch time, I needed some postcards. Off to the NEX I went. I found what I wanted quickly and swung by the DVD section to see whether anything new had come in. I had the whole store practically memorized.

I traipsed down one row and the next and stumbled across a Marine staring intently at a DVD. The title surprised me: Gilmore Girls, Season Two. If he had been looking to kick back to Season One, sure I coulda forgiven him, but Season Two? He was that elusive, slippery type: a male Gilmore lifer. Still, Marines were a mysterious bunch and I didn’t give it a second thought.

He turned and I happened to see his rank. E-8. 3 up, 3 down, with a lil’ diamond ring. E-8, same rank as that America’s First Sergeant guy. Wait. Just wait. Was it possible? I looked again and about dropped my teeth. I don’t wear dentures so my chompers stayed in, but indeed, America’s First Sergeant was standing in my kill zone. I was five feet away from unloading on him about his rant on Navy LTs.

But I didn’t. See, I was not entirely sure it was him. I bought my postcards and made a hasty retreat. Later in the day, I passed a desk of young Marines out near the gym: corporals, privates, and all in between.

“Hey Lance Corporal, does your First Sergeant have a blog?” I asked one of them.

“Yes, sir. He’s America’s First Sergeant,” he trumpeted proudly. “Wanna buy some stuff for our fundraiser?”

Groaning, I scanned their table. FAST Marine T-shirts and USMC coins. What was I going to do with Marine swag? Still, it was a fundraiser and I surrendered. Those misfits sold me a shirt and a coin for nearly twenty bucks.

Flash forward more than a year. I have never worn that shirt. It is locked away somewhere. So is the coin.

My challenge to America’s First Sergeant
You say: Navy O-3s do not apologize for their behavior after all, no matter how despicable. I say: On behalf of Navy O-3s, I apologize.

But you have to come here to accept my apology like a man. And in doing so, I will give away my FAST T-shirt to a future leatherneck. Any young high schooler or aspiring future Marine, I need for you to comment below. Parents, friends, acquaintances, milkmen, you can comment on behalf of your future steely-eyed killers. I will send, postage included, the T-shirt your way.

Of course, America’s First Sergeant has got to come around first. Perhaps he will also explain the Gilmore Girls thing. A nervous blogosphere awaits. . .

Update: the e-Gauntlet has been caught! Update II: Thank you Bookworm RoomTheo,
Milpundit, Kitchen Dispatch, Way Up North, and Susan Katz Keating for the links. Update III: We have a winner for the shirt! Standby for pictures. . . A big thank you to America’s First Sergeant. . .Not only a gruesome killer, but a good sport. Update IV: Get yer own FAST t-shirt here!

Bye-Bye Walter Reed

It is the end of an era at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. After 102 years of service, they are shuttering their doors. Here is BLACKFIVE on the subject.

Back in 2007 and 2008, my Navy division and I volunteered at the Center. We all worked different shifts in our Navy jobs, so my Chief and I looked for an outlet to spend time together as a group. We settled on visiting Walter Reed and talking to the guys in rehabilitation. After hearing that the Warrior Transition Unit needed entertainment items, we collected donations of books, televisions, and Xboxes.

When one of our First Class Petty Officers discovered that the Physical Therapy Unit wanted a Wii and a flatscreen, we struggled with ways to get one. Wiis were new at the time and finding a donated one presented a challenge. AnySoldier.com came through in a big way by ponying up for the gear. They are a worthwhile and responsive charity.

Above is the picture of our XO donating the flatscreen to the Navy LT in charge of Physical Therapy. (Yes Army guys, we found the one Navy guy to give the donation to!) I am one of the goofy guys in the back. . .

Cowboys & Aliens

Pre: So Saturday is the big day, time to see Cowboys & Aliens. James Bond plays one of them, either an Alien or a Cowboy, I am not sure which. I have always thought 007 (Daniel Craig) has a face like a ham sandwich. That observation helped answer another pressing question I have. Does Rachel Weisz keep kosher? Answer: No, considering who she is married to.

Also, the aliens in this movie had better be legal ones. If the cowboys encounter the other type, it could have a slight Minutemen-Arizony feel to it. And I don’t think that is the vibe the producers are looking for.

Post: Excellent. Westerns were the cement slab upon which Hollywood was built. We got away from them in the ’70s when they started turning weird. Or perhaps folks got burnt and done stopped buying tickets to ‘em. Either way, the genre’s been measured, pined, thrown in the ground, soiled over, and daisied.

Barring Lonesome Dove, Quigley Down Under, and Pale Rider, I can’t remember any good ones since then. I still ain’t forgiven Clint for the aptly titled Unforgiven. One or two other ones I have since forgotten, something 3 o’clock to Somewhere. Nothing special. Deadman was not bad. Am I missing any others? Tombstone, maybe?

Cowboys & Aliens is both a Western and an alien film. My guess is that you knew that. I won’t ruin the plot, go see it. It is pretty basic, cowboys (and some surprise friends): good. Aliens: bad.

The critics who live in ivory tower penthouses didn’t much like it, but screw ‘em. We got horses to whip, carbines to load, knives to throw. We got us a western boys (and gals)! Let’s ride. . .

Green Berets

I am in line at gate security at Charleston Airport. Around me are a fair number of military folks, but I am not in uniform. But I do have a) military tactical sunglasses (the only ones I can’t break) b) military backpack c) a high-and-tight d) steely eyes*.

The TSA agent looks at me and we have the following conversation:
TSA: You military?
Me: Yes.
TSA: Army? Navy?
Me: Navy.
TSA: I am retired Army. And my Dad was Navy
Me: (Big aw shucks smile) Army? We will forgive you for that one.
TSA: (Clenched jaw) Green Beret, Special Forces.
Me: (Smaller smile): Oh, okay. (Looking at his rank, a two-bar TSA guy. Not sure what that means.)
(Strained silence)
Another TSA: Sir, we are going to have to put your bag through again.
Me: (Absolutely no smile) Roger.
(Waiting) (Waiting) (Waiting)
Another TSA: Okay, you are good.
Me: Thanks. (Swinging over to the Green Beret) Have a good day, sir (No aw shucks smile.) (I can be joint.)
Green Beret: You too. (Jaw still clenched.)

Lesson learned. Some airports are blacker** than others. And I had just stumbled into a den of operators. Come strong and bring it at Charleston Airport if you come through here. Or better yet, don’t say anything at all.

*On further reading, this did not quite work. Imagine a wink when reading the word steely. A little nod. . .
**On second further reading, blacker means black operations black.

Petty Officer or Colonel? Part Deux

Dearest Reader,

I have a confession. Remember this story? Where a Petty Officer Third Class gets mistaken for a Colonel? I have a little update to it. Several great, naval minds around Blogland picked it up.

And one of the readers on this site commented:

My friend who was a Master Sergeant in the Air Force says that there is no way this really happened. (Still a funny story, of course.)

Well, the story “really” did happen, despite the Master Sergeant seeking to salvage face. But that is not my confession. Here it goes (bye-bye reputation, we were friends once, us): not only did the above story happen, I myself once committed the same mistake!

I was an Ensign then, on an Individual Augmentation. During IAs, Sailors wear all manner of uniform. I have run across five different kinds of camouflage, not counting the SpecWar types who mix and match garb like frenzied shoppers at a Tijuana yard sale. Presenting five genres of camo: Army ACUs, DCUs, Woodlands, and both Marine digis (for the Corrppssemen.)

So there I was, tromping through some forgotten airport around sunset. Me and the other Ensign rolled up on a cluster of Navy guys. I greeted them cheerily, nodding at a Sailor lurking in the back. I looked at his collar and low and behold, in the nearly dim light, I spotted me some frowning eagles. What kind of operation were they running out here, parading the Captain around like the beef at a Dining Out?

I was uncovered, but managed to engage my verbal drive apparatus. “Sir, how are you?” I asked.

“Yeah I’m okay, Sir,” the sleepy Third Class Petty Officer replied.

“Good to hear.”

I calmed down (thinking to myself: Bro, you were once a Third Class yourself, keep it together.) Then, I hopped into the van and embraced the obscurity of the night. I peered over at my fellow O, but he remained mute. Smart man, that Ensign.

Maintain OPSEC as per OPNAVINST 3432.1. . .

Cuff Links

A great American, except for the glasses.

Did I not just write about the barber shop? Here’s Texas on the subject. More Lone Stars.

Take two: Did I not just write about this region and by a naval officer, no less. Time for me to hide my playbook, I’m getting my calls jumped.

Norwegian lessons, and not the language, sadly. Dessverre nei.

I wonder if poor Glenn’s readership is dwindling. Think I’ll throw him a bone. He’s earned it.

J. F. Kerry gives JGs a bad name and those guys need all the help they can get. And now this clown. (Kerry gives JGs a bad name. Is that not the title of a Bon Jovi song?)

You doth protest too much.

Docile 79

As usual, Southwest Asia is in turmoil.  But today’s climate is mild compared to other months. For example, November 1979. From my notes of Steve Coll’s book on the docile region:

  • November 4, 1979: Iranian students storm the US embassy. 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days.
  • November 21, 1979: Pakistani students burn the US embassy in Islamabad to the ground. Two Americans are killed.
  • Late November 1979: Pre-deployment of Russian troops prior to the December invasion of Afghanistan.

Still, Iran’s governement views us as the Great Satan and have been positioning themselves as the noble Islamic hope. Worldwide, they have strong appeal in Shia communities and distrust from many Sunni ones.

As for the Islamic hope part, Iran conveniently “ignores” China’s treatment of their native Muslim population, the Uyghurs. The Iranians have no qualms about purchasing Chinese military equipment. Several Uyghur folks worked for me down at Guantanamo and their story is indeed a sad one. There are up to 20 million of them living in China alone.

Iran also acquired gear from Russia, again ignoring Russian crackdown in Chechnya. Not that I blame the Bear and her response, I’m still angry about Beslan too.

I’ve spent years working the region, have more than a 1000 flight hours flying the Arabian (not Persian) Gulf, and a lifetime of growing up in Los Angeles with Persian (not Iranian) friends. In L.A., a stretch of Westwood boulevard is even called “Little Tehran.”

And I can’t help but feel that we missed a chance with a Green Revolution more pastel than camo green. If Iran heads up OPEC (with a senior commander of Iran’s revolutionary guards), standby for change.

So much for smart, nuanced politics. Just ask poor Neda. This time, unlike docile 79, we even had the students. . .

Charleston, California

My plane floats down onto the Charleston runway, light and feathery. Aviators rate their landings and I make a note to tell our captain when I disembark. The man seated next to me gets up, breathing with a rasp. I had sirred him earlier, except he was not a sir. He had given me a little puff of attitude. Like he was doing me a favor by chatting.

As for the sirs, I can’t help myself. I do it to many when in civilian clothes. The janitor who takes out my office garbage gets a sir. But he earned his. He had glanced once at my khaki and called me Lieutenant with great pride. I could tell it was not his first time addressing someone by rank. He was Filipino and probably once part of the Flipino mafia of storekeepers and CSs, or whatever they called CSs back in the day.

He had pulled the Lieutenant out in long slablyes. Looo-tennnnn-annnnt, as if dragging a bunt down the third base line. Like that jerk Brett Butler used to do when he played for San Francisco. Before he joined the Dodgers and became one of my favorite players.

What I shoulda told the man seated next to me on the plane: addressing someone by sir is more respectful than addressing them by rank, despite what some idiot politician thinks. Addressing by rank acknowledges the playing field, but it also makes note that both of us are players. As for sir and ma’am, it is deferential, ask any enlisted Sailor. I chose to call the janitor sir. It gladdened us both.

I pass the cockpit and holler inside. “Great job, guys,” I say.

“Thanks,” two voices reply. I wonder if the pilots know I am referring to the landing, but it doesn’t matter now, does it?

I get my bag at baggage claim and wait as the rental-car lady rattles on over the phone. It gives me time to plan my tactics. I am tall, like six-four tall, and the little compact the government lets me rent isn’t big enough. I’ve traveled ten times in the last year and at half of the places, I’d dropped my stats (height) and my job (Navy) and they had upgraded me. But the lady is having none it. She hardly makes eye contact. I still call her dear and accept the lousy compact without argument. No way she was getting one of my extra special ma’ams.

Outside, I walk through the fick Carolina night. Fick like only Charleston is.  I drive to my hotel. There, I update my blog for hours, wondering where I am going to get the 28K in new hits to meet the 50,000 goal I had set for my first month. If not 50K, what am I going to do with the article I had written for newbie bloggers: 50 Ways to Getcho’ 50K?

In the morning, my back is sore from the flight and the powdered eggs have no taste. I am in uniform and happy, as I had finally gotten my ribbons mounted with thin ones. I guess I’ll have to throw out the greasy rack I was using before, the one with crooked devices, the E hanging off my pistol ribbon like anyone on the Titanic.

I finish my eggs and read the paper. I don’t give it much thought. For one, I am a blogger and bloggers slew the newspapers, right? The whole damn industry is laid tits up, they just don’t know it yet. . .

Work is work and I drive to it and taste my second real blast of military politics. This blog is no place to vent, but I am a Lieutenant, what do I care about politics? I wonder what kind of Commander I will make, whether I will make Lieutenant Commander. My first foray into command politic had been a bloody affair. An affair not for a blog post. . .

After a day of working on Navy equipment issues, I step outside and gasp. This city has air that you wear and it always fits. Around your neck, behind your ears, sliding between your toes.

I leave the workday behind me and cruise across the base in my piece of junk. I sit either the right distance from the steering wheel or the correct distance to the pedals. But not both. Some Korean engineer is laughing heartily at me. It’s mutual, I laugh heartily at me too.

I pull into a Quiznos and once again Charleston embraces me in its heat. S’nothing like California. Somewhere, someone forgot to add weather to Cali. Whenever I step outside in that place, it’s the same: room temperature.

I catch my refection staring at me in the window. My hair is well within regs, but at two inches, is shaggy for me. A barber shop looms and I look forward, not to the haircut, but to the conversation. I can speak to anyone, anywhere.  But only if it has purpose. Like a taxi driver or a barber. Don’t ask me, it just seems to work out that way.

The bells above announce my arrival and I stare around the shop. Everyone is black and I like it. One guy teeters at my uniform and I boom out to the one open-seated barber. “You have an free chair?” The barber nods.

“Mmm, you look sharp,” a large woman with a tattoo running across her dark chest murmurs to me. “Navy.”

“Thanks,” I reply, clunking into the chair and turning to the barber. “Hey sir, high and tight, three on top, skin fade.”

“We can do that,” he says approvingly.

We chat, first about sports. His brother-in-law is an NFL tailback. “He always eats good, but if he slips up, he’ll pop one of them Smooth Moves to get it out.”

I nod. “This your own shop?”

“Yeah, me and them.” He throws his chin at a couple of busy barbers.

“How are taxes?”

He gives me a don’t get me started, Shipmate look. You know, rolled eyes, flared nostrils. “High.”

I want to tell him that the black community’s support for Obama is misplaced. That there are black businessmen, like Herman Cain, who are far more appropriate for him to back. Or Allen West, not that I know the barber’s politics. But I am in uniform and the man is running a pair of clippers two inches from my eyes.

He spends forty-five minutes on my hair. The main reason I know: one-and-a-half episodes of “I Hate Chris” blares in front of us.

He holds up a mirror and surprises me. A rake with my face grins back. He has manscaped my upper sideburns. I am a Sailor, not a golf course, I want to tell him, but I stay mute. I look again and like it, knowing it will keep the Charleston sweat off me.

He sprays and then lathers on four or five products. Pomades, gels, spritzes, and alcohols. “Twenty dollars,” he says and I wonder if I’m getting rolled the white-guy price. Still, it’s a great haircut. I give him 25.

I leave, buy dinner at Quiznos, and slip through the cooler Charleston night. It no longer embraces me in its sweaty clamp.

I pull into my hotel parking lot, my hair higher, tighter. In front of me an orange plate shines back from a truck’s license plate holder. It reads: EAT BEEF. I nod my manscaped head. Eat beef, I can do that.

Hot Links

Vampire facials? No thanks. (Do the ladies eat the two cucumber slices after they are done?)

FYI: the NFL plays CYA.

Articles like this drive me crazy.

Captain America beat Harold Potter handily this weekend. Did they not try to kill him once? That’s like killing off Scooby, only worse.

Women making men’s hearts patter: this one just made mine.

Montezuma’s Revenge in Egypt. Is that called Amenhotep‘s Revenge?

Questions on 21-gun salutes?

COTS: Not an Army rack. . .

Ways to increase our manufacturing base.

Looking into the Abyss, just not this one.

Uniform Mistakes

Knuckles go out to:                              

1. The female Seaman Recruit whose black underwear was clearly visible through her summer whites. In the split second that I spied it, I did not react quickly enough to tell her. Plus, we were in a large group. Plus, I was really embarrassed for her. Plus, I was embarrassed for me.

2. The Ensign who wore his garrison cap on backwards. I did run and tell him. I too, was an Ensign at the time. Ensigns: we got each other’s back. And not much else.

3. The male Seaman Apprentice who wore Service Dress Blue pants with a utility shirt to command quarters. It had that stylish, faddish New York thing about it. But if the Navy followed fads, we would all be rockin’ parachute pants and mohawks. Or was it skinny jeans? One reason I love the Navy: I am told what to wear and when to wear it. It certainly takes the guesswork out of the morning, now doesn’t it?

Officially Yours

Words, I am in love.

Of them, I have grabbed great big handfuls, strewn on these pages like pine needles for you, my reader, to rest.

I am not the Mellow Jihadi. The title comes from an unpublished novel I wrote, at various shore stations, deployments. The book is half set in Berkeley and half over there, the new over there, the Middle East. I don’t feel like writing another one, not yet. Hence, this blog.

One of the great honors of my life is to wear the uniform. Adventures have stalked me in my ten year career and I like sharing them. Every one told is true, to the best of my ability. Occasionally, I may write fiction, perhaps even post a poem. I will always denote it as such if not readily obvious.

I take my Navy job very seriously, these pages are the vehicle in which my relaxation rides. Disclaimer for my military readers: do not be uneasy with my easiness here. I am not in the brig as I write this, my back is not raw with the lash. I have excelled, mostly, at my job, through seven ranks, with the rare failure, occasional skeleton.

I am a lover of excellence, as well as a purveyor of the ridiculous. I make no promises about my site, only that you will find something unique. It will always be PG rated. There are many other places to go for scantier stuff.

Must I drop names? I am a grad of Berkeley. I am not now, nor have I ever been a hippie. I am nearly 40 years old and have held almost the same number of jobs, 40, as my age (counting the military as one job.) I needed to pay my bills and it was not uncommon for me to ply two trades simultaneously.

Politically, I am a true American independent. Five national elections have worked their wiles on me and my stats are thus: I voted twice for Democrats for President, twice for Republicans, and once for a third party. Each day that passes pulls me more to the right. I do not recognize the America that the left wants to build.

As for being pulled, the Tea Party tugs my curiosity. Go ahead, call me a racist. Just try. Liberals, I am a Berkeley grad, I have played in your playground for years and have exchanged it for greener pastures. There is no trick from your playbook hidden to me. The whole freeze it, personalize it thing? Old stuff, that. Bottom line: no party owns me.

I am somewhat prolific in that I love to write and generate content. You can rest assured that I will be posting regularly. Counting my entries, I have well over two dozen spread out over two weeks.

When I read Henry Miller wrote 8000 words a day, I matched him. Then I stumbled across his work. Not my train, nor my track. I was lost, without a drummer in which to follow, until I heard Norman Mailer wrote 3000 daily. I could do that, I thought, and I did. But then the story of him stabbing his wife surfaced and I stopped my 3000 experiment. My last mentor, an obscure fellow named Jack London, pounded out 1K. Easily mimicked until I read of his odd political lean. Moral of the story: I march to my own literary drummer. I write a lot, live my life. I write a little and continue to live. This blog idea has tied me to my computer. I love it.

Piles of journals haunt me. I once threw out 17 pounds. They dwell now at the bottom of a Kentucky landfill. If you run across the buggers on your travels, please return ‘em. You will recognize my writing by its illegibility and its promise. Of course, there are many promises, many whispers. That which my writing promises, I will not say, may not know.

Someone is reading this thing. The Mellow Jihadi is a day older than two weeks and has had 21K page views. Instapundit linked me, so did Lex and Linkiest and a bunch of other great minds. Please comment, readers, as you are moved.

Thank you for reading. My tip jar is that you send me a link or pass a post on to a friend. As stated earlier, it is an honor to wear the uniform. ‘Tis an honor too, to have you appreciate the Mellow Jihadi. NavyOne, out. . .

Lynx

1. Thor sequel: s’gonna to be called Thive. Can’t wait for Thix.

2. Don’t believe this, not that I would ever try it. As hard as quitting smoking or drinking? Get outta heres. (Since I do neither, neither is hard. Some Sailor I am.)

3. This woman suddenly has friends? Call me coal-hearted, but where was the tough love? Intervention? I just see wasted talent. May she know peace. . .

4. With such feeted gifts, a woman could accomodate three babies.

5. Got snared in San Diego traffic yesterday going from 32nd Street Naval Base to Rosecrans along Harbor. Thanks, Spiderman.

6. Do us all a favor and go back to Arlen County. Leave us alone. You’ve done your bit. While you are at it, take your hairy dog too. . .

The Times They Are A-Changin’ (for the Worse)

Bob Dylan’s grandson has graced us with his virtuoso rapping. Link here, but save your ears. Your fearless blogger presents this little snippet:

I am the grandson of a man nothing less than legendary.
That is a lot of pressure, so I’m Barry Gordy. I am very Motown, b***h, I’m gonna get that crown. . .

And those are the most family friendly lines. Lots of posturing and 4 letter words dragged out into 8 letters. Of course, I could not listen past the 59 second mark, so perhaps it morphs into a gentle Lay Lady Lay segue.

Young Pablo Dylan (all of 15 years old) considers his grandfather the Jay-Z of his time. And Mr. Z thinks himself the Frank Sinatra of our time. So was Dylan (the Elder) the Frankie of his time?

Lil’ Dylan even rips off his grandfather’s cover art. But he titles it 10 minutes. What happened to our full 15 minutes? (Facepalm.) First he shortchanged us through not nurturing his budding talent and now we lose a full 5 minutes of his art. Where is the Greenwich Village of the rap world? Where young Dylan could have honed his chops and then given us the normal 15. Is YouTube the new Gerde’s Folk City?

Listen at your own peril. . .