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            Wednesday, April 30, 2008

            Coming Soon To UPN/WB/CW: The Rebb'n Wright Comedy Hour!

            When my 北京体彩网官方网站girl The Black Snob roasted Rebb'n Wright's appearance at the National Press Club in an AB.com Guest Post the other day, I withheld judgement since I hadn't seen the whole thing in it's entirety. I finally got around to watching the whole spectable today, and all I gotta say is when does this guy's UPN/WB/CW/WhateverIt'sCalledNow show come out? If you haven't watched this coonfest, have a look at what this old ass bama did Monday.

            In Part One, he discusses his patriotism, Farrakhan, and his relationship with Obama. Watch this idiot actually throw up the Que sign around the 2:10 mark.

            The subsequent parts are just as bad. Peep Part Two.

            And mercifully, the final installment, Part Three.

            Wright continually upstages the poor young lady asking questions. He puffs out his chest. He pumps his fist. He points at folks in the audience. He preens, he prances, he bojangles. He answers questions like he's Dennis Green[1] or something.

            This is the ultimate example of C.Y.I.N. and it's ain't pretty.

            After his very reasonable interview with PBS' Bill Moyers, Wright's public actions have taken a nosedive. He gave Barry no excuse not to throw him in the path of a speeding Metrobus.

            This was so over the top, part of me wonders if this whole thing wasn't some sorta well-orchestrated act. Wright acted such a damn fool that Obama had to completely distance himself. Was this some sorta plan to present Wright as so far out there that Obama could finally cut the cord without any reasonable person questioning him further? Who knows?

            Some say this public denunciation of Wright and Farrakhan could jeopardize Obama's support with black voters? I call that B.S. Seriously, do you think black folks will flock to Hillary Clinton and Old Man McCain in droves? Most black folks know enough about "playing the game" to see what's going on here. He had to cut bait, and he did.

            One thing I'm rather sure of is that this is a longterm win for Obama. Folks who weren't gonna vote for him still won't. Folks who would have still will. But by burying the hatchet so publicly, I think he takes this issue off the table come the Fall. Seriously, the Old Man presented himself as the Ultimate Debit To The Black Race. Obama tactfully, yet decisively kicked him to the curb. What more can really be said about this?

            Question: Assuming you've watched the above spectacle in it's entirety, what is your impression of Rebb'n Wright now? Is it possible this whole thing was a setup? Does this finally put this issue of guilt by association to rest for once and for all? Would Rebb'n Wright's UPN/WB/CW show be better than Flavor Flav's?

            [1] An old black NFL coach, just in case you're not a sports fan.

            Barry is Baaaaallin'!!!

            [1] For the record, I'm 5-11 1/2. Not Dikembe Mutombo, but not Mini-Me either.

            Tuesday, April 29, 2008

            Matters Of The Heart. Literally.

            [1] I'll resume these tomorrow of course.

            [2] This has been an AB.com Public Service Announcement, sponsored by Gregory Abbott's Greatest Hits, now on iTunes, CD, and 8-Track.

            This Would Be Scary If The Kid Weren't So Darned Funny

            [1] Is it just me, or does this sorta stuff always happen in Florida!?!?

            * Props to Phil from GVille.tv for passing this along.

            Monday, April 28, 2008

            , goes in on the Jeremiah Wright Redemption Tour 08'. As usual, show our guest some love in the comments.]

            I checked out Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Hallelujah strut in Amen Corner of the NAACP convention. He's been making the rounds after an interview with Bill Moyers followed by at a press conference today and another speech to the press club today. And as fascinating as I found the guy, I didn't think he helped his ace Barack Obama at all. Mostly because Wright, who's not running for president, was himself in full, unrepentant, proud, defiant, resilient, brilliant and glib, charging that his critics were misguided, miseducated and misinformed.

            He was practically basking in the glow of making the white folk uncomfortable.

            As I was born a black person, nothing Wright has said is new to me. He doesn't sound any different from the Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu books I read as a child, given to me by my mother. It didn't sound any different from the Malcolm X speeches I studied. And not any different from the speeches of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. if you weren't solo worshiping the end of the "I Have A Dream" speech.

            I've been inoculated from such blushing surprise. A black man? Complaining about America? I think I got the vapors! But for individuals who never take a stroll in black America, Rev. Jeremiah Wright's "Fuck You" Tour is not going to set well with those looking for apologies and pleasant, grinning pretensions.

            Now I don't think Wright ever had anything to apologize for. It was his opinion. He is not a public figure. And most people outside of Chicago wouldn't even know he existed if he had not been the pastor who Baptized the Great Hope Mongerer and his daughters. But this "anti-charm" offensive (or regular charm offensive if you are a like-minded black person), only stoked the fires that Wright was always this colorful in his preaching and Obama's claim that he'd never heard Wright's more incendiary words is false.

            I always thought that was a major flub when Obama claimed he never heard Wright speak this way (which evolved some when he gave his "race" speech). I don't even think Bill Clinton could have squared that circle and he professionally lies to people on a daily basis. Of course Clinton, covered in the friendly pall of whiteness could have Rev. Wright's love child and still get a pass. Obama is daily being taunted by the press and the opposition to throw black America, and all its complexities and inconveniences, under the bus.

            Soon he'll be apologizing for everything from Body Count's/Ice T's "Cop Killa" record to Barry Bonds to Nat Turner's Rebellion. Forced to deny all of us in his bid for the White House, the same community he worked so hard to become a part of.

            This is your cross to bear when you run as the post-racial candidate. Especially when no one else is post-racial. Sounds like everyone else is just old fashioned racial, arguing for Obama to pull a King Solomon and split the half-black baby.

            Question: So how should Obama handle the fall out of Wright's "I'm Grown and I Say What the Hell I Want To Say" victory lap? And how many denials does Obama have to do here before he heads into "Peter" territory? When do you cross the post-racial Rubicon, where you can't go back to tidy up all these fuzzy edges and clear the nuanced gray haze that no one likes in a black or white world?

            [1] is little more than a call for black folks to be more accountable for their own actions, and less dependent on the government. You'd think the right wing would be all for this.

            [2] Slavery and MLK were the only things I learned about black folks in 12 years of public schooling. Period.

            Sunday, April 27, 2008

            Obama vs Hillary: WWE Smackdown

            The video game...

            The "real life" SmackDown...

            Saturday, April 26, 2008

            Vocoder Anthology: The Motion Picture

            Looks like someone read the epic Vocoder Anthology post and decided to cast T-Pain and Akon on their own straight-to-DVD movie. Here's the trailer.

            Bonus: R-Kelly's Hairbraider

            Double Bonus: Let Me Smell Your Johnson. It's only lightly vocodered, but it is sufficiently ignant. I so wish this wasn't a real song. Cop them headphones first.

            Friday, April 25, 2008

            $6 Cereal?!?!? It's The Economy, Stupid!!!


            The Wizards didn't even offer any el-cheapo playoff tickets this season. They didn't seem to miss my presence last night though, throttling King James and the Cleveland Travelliers (1-3 step) by an astounding 36 points.

            Movie tickets are now universally $10 and up. Thank God for Netflix.

            Yeah, some of this stuff is trivial, but still. It seems like everything just costs more nowadays, and sometimes for no really good reason.

            Sure, gas prices are a hot button issue, and in some parts of DC, a regular gallon is already over $4. And we all know 北京体彩网官方网站 foreclosures are exploding and dropping 北京体彩网官方网站 values across the board. But what about the other, day-to-day stuff that's quietly been inflated too? Huh? What about THAT economy?

            John McCain doesn't give a sh*t about the economy because he left his old broke first wife (who'd stuck by him through 5 1/2 years of captivity) and hooked up with a beer magnate (while still married). Dude doesn't even have a remote understanding or concern about the economic struggles of regular folks, despite this populist Rust Best Tour 08' he's been on lately. McCain's idea of economic stimulus is marrying a rich white woman. If only there were more of those to go around.

            The Dems are no better. Hillary Clinton gets caked up by writing books about her philandering husband. Her philandering husband gets caked up writing books about being a philandering husband. And if I hear Barack Obama say the phrase "lessen our dependence on foreign sources of oil" one more time, I might seriously consider voting for Alan Keyes.

            Note to all candidates: Get a clue. It's the economy, stupid!

            Do something about it before I o.d. on these generic "Corn Puffs", already.

            Question: What's the most ludicrous example of "everyday inflation" you've personally observed?

            [1] Oh, I guess I'm the only guy with one, huh?

            [2] Yeah, I rounded up for dramatic effect. But that Kashi is some good stuff.

            Thursday, April 24, 2008

            Let The G.O.P. Games Begin

            Hillary's Fuzzy Math

            [1] Yeah, I know I run that Jay-Z quote into the ground, but it's so necessary. And appropriate.

            [2] They had me going with that whole "best political team" slogan, but I know a bunch of hustlers when I see em'.

            Rudy Sellin' Booty? Say It Ain't So, Coz!

            that Al Jolson can't even bear watching, all in one year, which is quite a coup if you think about it.

            Perry's a pretty polarizing character. Some folks applaud his most "positive" portrayals of blacks, and his insistence on employing black actors and actresses whom Hollywood doesn't usually give a fair shake. Others think his chittlin' circuit plays, movies, and TV show are low level pandering that would be protested if produced and directed by a white man.

            I'm guessing both camps will have some fuel to add to the fire when Perry's next movie drops.

            Little Rudy from "The Cosby Show" all grown up and playing a hooker? Yes indeed, thanks to Tyler Perry.

            Keshia Knight Pulliam will star as an imprisoned prostitute in "Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail." Derek Luke also stars in the Lionsgate comedy, which is set to begin filming in Atlanta next month for a tentative early 2009 release.

            Writer-director Perry returns to the front of the camera as the irrepressible matriarch Madea, whose penchant for trouble-making lands her behind bars. She comes to the rescue of Candy (Pulliam), a fellow inmate preyed upon by a large woman. Luke will play an attorney who has a past with Candy.
            Damn, Rudy as a hooker? What Would Cosby Think?

            I've recently supported many of Perry's better efforts, but I think I'll be taking a rain check/barbershop matinee for this one.

            Question: What is your initial impression of Madea Goes To Jail? What is your overall impression of Tyler Perry?

            Bonus: video from the stage version of Madea Goes To Jail. Man, this one has UPN written all over it.

            Wednesday, April 23, 2008

            Another Hot G.O.P. Mess

            [1] Because let's be honest. Obama could have outspent her 55-1 and still lost. PA's demographics just dont' favor a black candidate any more than South Carolina's favor a white candidate with diarrhea of the mouth. It is what it is.

            [2] Yes, I'm puttin' ya'll on blast. You can't possibly try and defend this nonsense, can you?

            Tuesday, April 22, 2008

            Spare The Rod... Or Beat The Child Into Submission?!?

            We all know the first part of the bible verse, Proverbs 13:24.

            "He who spares the rod hates his son,..."

            But do we pay any attention to the other half?

            "...but he who loves him is careful to discipline him."

            My son just passed that magical age of 20 months, which for all intents and purposes means he's in the throes of early onset Terrible Twos. Everything in the house is fair game to get chewed on, thrown under the couch, or doused with apple juice. Remote controls mysteriously go missing for days on end. Food is tossed. Food is intentionally regurgitated. Food reappears in mysterious places. And of course, as first time parents, we eat all this up and happily snap pictures to embarrass him with someday.

            That said, there are those (increasingly more frequent) times when the young fella's natural enthusiasm and wonderment with his growing awareness of the world grates on your next-to-last nerve. He climbs on things he shouldn't. He doesn't fall asleep when he should. He pretends not to hear you, even when you've called him for the umpteenth time. And this is when we as parents are faced with a common dilemma: To Spank, Or Not To Spank.

            That is the question, and I'll freely admit I don't always have the answers.

            Old-school parents will tell you you've gotta pull out a switch every now and then to keep order in the house. That's how my parents, and most of the other parents in the Southern neighborhood I grew up in did it, at least. Generally, Mom was the day-to-day, multipurpose disciplinarian. She'd bark out orders, dole out punishments, and occasionally fry some legs if the situation warranted. But when things were really severe, she called in the Big Gun, aka: Daddy. After a long day at work, the last thing my Pops wanted was to have to lay hands on some unruly kids. Thankfully, this only happened a handful of times, but I remember them so well today that my butt still stings. The combination of both parents (as well as grandparents) and their contrasting styles of ass-whoppin' worked. My two brothers and I, by all accounts, turned out just fine.

            But like most other remnants of the past that we tend to over-romanticize, I don't know if this brand of discipline is best suited for today's climate and today's kids. What used to constitute normal discipline would probably warrant a visit from CPS nowadays. Whites are often criticized for such laissez-faire tactics as "timeouts". Many will argue that this approach leads to kids who don't respect parental authority, talk extra greasy to their Moms in the grocery store, and eventually go on to become serial killers. Then again, the "switches and stension' cords" model of black discipline ain't exactly perfect either, as evidenced by the 8,000 or so black people who die, primarily at the hands of other blacks each year. You could argue that this suppression of anger, as opposed to giving an explanation of what was done wrong and an appropriate punishment, is somewhere at the root of this violence.

            Before I was married and had my own kid, I pretty much agreed with the whole "spare the rod" bit. If it worked for me and my brothers, why would I do anything different with my own child? But like many other things that come with having your own family, I've since become really familiar with the phrase "never say never".

            My wife and I use various tactics to keep our child in line, including punishment by loss of privileges, raising our voices in instruction (not anger), and yes, even the much picked-on "timeouts", which surprise, actually do work. Do we sometimes have to call in the Big Gun and "fry some legs"? Yes, but this is always a last resort, and for that matter, hardly a regular occurrence.

            Only time will tell whether our method of discipline "works" by whatever terms you choose to define that word. But since we're talking, I figure I'll ask you guys.

            Question: What forms of discipline do you typically employ to keep your children in line? What sorts of things will you not do? Have you found that certain types of discipline do not work?

            Yet Another Reason To Hate Vocoders.

            , a hardcore female signed to Eazy-E's Ruthless Records. She was more or less a female version of Ice Cube, but some similar investigative reporting revealed that not only wasn't she a gangster, but she was a product of a suburban middle class upbringing a private schooling who simply cooked up a false background because she knew it could be profitable. Needless to say, her career was pretty much toast immediately. I'm sure she's got a degree to fall back on.

            That said, I wonder what the longterm effect on Akon's career will be. While he doesn't necessarily sing "thug anthems" (I has done songs with Gwen Stefani after all), his whole persona is built on a back story that has since been revealed to be mostly fabricated. Does this mean an immediate debit to his street cred? Will his career suffer? Does this mean the hopeful end of the Vocoder Revolution?

            Only time will tell, but I guess the fundamental issue here is why artists continue to make up stories to sell records. Wouldn't the people who like Akon (assuming these folks actually exist) like him just as much if he were just a regular guy with a weapons charge, not some imaginary Nicholas Cage? I don't have the answer, maybe you do.

            Question: Do you think Akon's fabricated bio will ruin his career? Why does a quasi-singer even need street cred in the first place?

            [1] I guess you'd call it singing. Not really sure.

            [2] Uhhh, shouldn't hip-hop publications like The Source and XXL be doing this sorta investigation? I know they're largely funded by these same act's record companies advertisements, but still.

            Monday, April 21, 2008

            AB.com Makes The Paper... Again!

            of last Wednesday's WP Express newspaper.

            How Do You Feel About Illegal Immigration?

            [1] Seriously, you should see the quality of work and materials used. Granite countertops, walk-in shower, two jacuzzi tubs, vessel sinks, the whole nine. Amazing.

            [2] They were a reference. We didn't know who would actually be doing the work until they showed up. And I am only guessing they were undocumented. They didn't tell, and for $10k, we didn't ask.

            Yep, The Apocolypse Is Near....

            Sunday, April 20, 2008

            Baracky: The Motion Picture

            Comin' Soon To A Barbershop Near You...(Or Not)

            Bonus: Dirt Off Your Shoulders 08' (Presidential Remix)

            Friday, April 18, 2008


            A vocoder (a portmanteau of vox/voc (voice) and encoder) is a speech analyzer and synthesizer. It was originally developed as a speech coder for telecommunications applications in the 1930s, the idea being to code speech for transmission. Its primary use in this fashion is for secure radio communication, where voice has to be digitized, encrypted and then transmitted on a narrow, voice-bandwidth channel. The vocoder has also been used extensively as an electronic musical instrument.

            For musical applications, a source of musical sounds is used as the carrier, instead of extracting the fundamental frequency. For instance, one could use the sound of a synthesizer as the input to the filter bank, a technique that became popular in the 1970s.
            Okay, now that we've got the technical jibber jabber outta the way, let's talk music, decade by decade.


            History says The Alan Parsons Project, Giorgia Moroder, and Pink Floyd were the first cats to really mess with the vocoder. I don't really know any of these folks, but I guess I have to provide token representation, so here's "Mr. Roboto" by Styx.

            No, I still have no friggin' idea what this song is about. So let's fast forward to the familiar stuff.


            Herbie Hancock probably had the first breakout 'urban' hit of this genre with his Grammy-winning single "Rockit".

            It's a real shame that most people still associate Hancock with this single song, when his career as a jazz artist is far more accomplished than one hit. And speaking of one hits, how could we forget Rockwell's creepy "Somebody's Watchin' Me, featuring a still-black Michael Jackson on the hook?[2]

            While other bands like Dazz, Guy, and the Gap Band successfully used the machine to crank out 80's hits, perhaps no single artist exemplified vocoder fever more than Roger Troutman. With a plethora of hits like "Computer Love", "Slow And Easy", and "More Bounce To The Ounce", the frontman for Zapp elevated the artform to all new levels.


            With the exploding commercial popularity of hip hop music, interest in pure R&B began to wane during the 90's, and the vocoder appeared to be on it's last legs. With the exception of a few notable guest appearances by Troutman on West Coast gangsta rap songs, the 90's weren't too kind to the ole' voicebox.

            The seminal mid-90's hit "California Love" featured Troutman gettin' down with Dr. Dre and Tupac.[3]

            While this version of the song gave 80's babies a nice feel for vocoder magic, the slept-on "California Love: Part II" where Troutman really gets off is a far better representative example.

            Troutman enjoyed a brief career renaissance after the exposure, but sadly was violently gunned down in his 北京体彩网官方网站town of Dayton, Ohio. So overlooked are his contributions to the history of the talkbox that the wiki entry doesn't even mention his name. This must change.[4]


            With a second George Bush in office, and black music reaching creative all-time lows at the advent of the century, there was little to sing about. But a few years ago, a Senegalese ex-car thief named Akon dusted off the ole' voice box and quietly started pumping out hits like "Locked Up", "Belly Dancer", and "Lonely". While this young[5] man swore up and down he was singing in his own unaltered voice, anyone born before 1980 knew full and damn well he was stealing Troutman's old tricks.

            Sadly, while Troutman's voicebox was studly and masculine, Akon's came off as chipmunkish and comical. But this being America circa 2003, tweens who don't know any better thought Akon was cool and unique. Payola was exchanged, and in short time Akon became a chart topping household name. He even had his own Verizon commercial and toured with Gwen Stefani before an odd humping incident with an underaged Carribbean girl became a Youtube sensation.[6] Still, Akon had gained enough juice to unleash his secret moneymaking weapon: a marginally talented ex-rapper turner singer named T-Pain.

            The husky Floridian exemplifies the average (and we do mean very very average) guy on the street done good. By unapologetically embracing the voicebox, Teddy Pain has become a commercial success beyond Troutman's wildest dreams, with such ditties as "I'm Sprung", "Buy You a Drank", "Bartender", and my personal favorite, "I'm In Love With a Stripper".

            Seldom has mediocrity sounded so good.

            T-Pain has gone on to become a highly sought after collaborator and general debit

            [1] Admit it. You thought I was kidding about this post didn't you?

            [2] Wasn't Rockwell some famous person's nephew or somethin'?

            [3] I still hear this song somewhere or other at least once a week. But for the record, I don't consider it classic material. Not by a mile.

            [4] Anybody know how to update a wiki?

            [5] Some people say he's pulling a Dikembe Mutombo and is nearly 47 years old.

            [6] Come on, he HAD to know that girl was 15 at best.

            [7] Probably the most original video I've seen in ages.

            [8] I threw up in my mouth the first time I heard this.

            [9] See [8].

            [10] Doesn't this little girl look like Connie from King Of The Hill?

            Thursday, April 17, 2008

            "But Mama, 'Boy' Is A White Racist Word!"

            Your WeedCarriers Can't Save You This Time, Carmelo.

            in what had to be the greatest display of poor sportsmanship this side of Tomjanovich/Washington.

            Yep, all that in just over a year.

            But since the guy can score nearly 30 points a night and sell sneakers, he keeps getting second chances the AverageBro would never receive if they'd racked up this Grand Theft Auto-type track record. And surprise, I don't blame Anthony for one bit of this.

            Nope, I blame the Denver Nuggets, his coaches, the NBA, Nike, the Denver Police, the City of Baltimore, and everybody else who gave the guy a free pass just because he has a nice mid-range jumper.

            They're called Enablers.

            And they need to stop enabling and start holding Anthony and his ilk responsible before somebody gets killed.

            But I'm not holdin' my breath.

            Question: Do you blame celebrities like Carmelo Anthony and T.I. for taking advantage of their fame when faced with adversity?

            Wednesday, April 16, 2008

            when his fool ass was already on probation. As he sat there, shifting uncomfortably in his seat[2], and looking emaciated[3], he'd also have to espouse the virtues of truthfulness by telling all about the person(s) he snitched on to get such a sweetheart deal in the first place. There would be no promo CD handouts, no autographs, and no photo ops. He would be shackled back up and lead back out to the squad car, as the impressionable kids looked on at this miserable scene and thought to themselves, "man, T.I. really f*cked up! I need to stay in school." But you and I know there's no way it goes down like that.

            This is good P.R. for Clifford Harris, and little more. A

            [1] The Vocoder Anthology, coming soon to AB.com

            [2] Catch my drift?

            [3] Well, moreso than he normally does.

            [4] And if you're shakin' your head at this whole story, but not doing anything to prevent the next T.I., then you oughta be ashamed as well. Do somethin' already!

            [5] What the heck does T.I. stand for anyway? Totally Ignant? Terrible Influence? Truly Illiterate?

            Tuesday, April 15, 2008

            C.Y.I.N. Case Study: Has Alicia Keys Lost Her Friggin' Mind?!?

            I've never been the biggest Alicia Keys fan. Not because I don't like her somewhat bland and overly-hyped music, but mainly because I just don't really mess with R&B like that much nowadays. Yeah, I'm cool with Dwele, and that recent Erykah Badu was a-ite, but overall, I spend more time on the AM dial, far removed from the thump and bump of the typical Hot/Power/Kiss genre of playlist-driven stations. When I do listen to music on the radio, I'm far more of an "urban contemporary" or "smooth jazz" guy.

            And besides, I'm just not feelin' those damn vocoders.[1]

            [Editor's Note: I'm also prolly still a little salty over that India.Arie/Grammy thing a few years back. And I know India's career has since fizzled and she's back to working the 3rd shift at Denny's, but still, she got straight robbed!]

            That said, while I generally find Keys to be relatively inoffensive Starbucks background music and little more, I wonder exactly what was she sippin' when she went all Dale Gribble[2] on us and gave these quotes during a recent interview with Blender Magazine.

            There’s another side to Alicia Keys: conspiracy theorist.

            The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter tells Blender magazine: "‘Gangsta rap’ was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. ‘Gangsta rap’ didn’t exist."

            Though she’s known for her romantic tunes, she told Blender that she wants to write more political songs. If black leaders such as the late Black Panther Huey Newton "had the outlets our musicians have today, it’d be global. I have to figure out a way to do it myself," she said.

            Keys, 27, said she’s read several Black Panther autobiographies and wears a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck "to symbolize strength, power and killing ’em dead," according to an interview in the magazine’s May issue, on newsstands Tuesday.

            Another of her theories: That the bi coastal feud between slain rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. was fueled "by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing."
            This whole thing reminds me of that old Chris Rock routine. Just put on your headphones and fast forward to the 40 second mark.

            "MLK was assassinated. Malcolm X was assassinated. Them two Negroes got shot!"

            Alicia Keys, please stick to your formulaic piano ballads and leave the Biggie and Pac conspiracy theories to the LA Times.

            Question: Is Alicia Keys making any sense?


            [1] Seriously, what the hell is ? She actually has talent. My "The Vocoder Is Ruining My Life" post is coming later this week. Stay tuned.

            [2] Only the best character from the best animated TV series evar, just in case you were wondering.