Ice-T and Honey Nut Cheerios

Can rap lyrics be admitted in court as evidence?

Ice-T Honey Nut CheeriosRecently, I bought a box of Honey Nut Cheerios; don’t judge. On the back is Coach Ice-T with the animated Coach Buzz Bee. “In honor of American Heart Month, Cheerios is making it easier and more fun to have a change of heart this February.”

From Business Wire: “‘This stuff doesn’t have to be hard,’ said Ice-T. ‘It can be as simple as a bowl of Cheerios and a walk around the block. That’s why I wanted to join Buzz to share some different ways to start to get your heart pumping regularly, and help make diet and exercise a happy part of your day.'”

It AMUSED me. I’m taken by the way that the rapper has been able to reinvent himself. I’ll admit my knowledge of his music is limited to some songs on the Just Say Yes compilation albums: Somebody Gotta Do It (Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy!), Hunted Child, Girl Tried to Kill Me, and with the band Body Count, the song Body Count.

Also, some verses of the title song of Quincy Jones’ Back on the Block album from 1989. It starts:
Ice-T, let me kick my credentials
A young player, bred in South Central
L.A., home of the body bag
You wanna die, wear the wrong color rag
I used to walk in stores and yell: “Lay down!”
You flinch an inch – AK spray down
But I was lucky cause I never caught the hard time
I was blessed with the skill to bust a dope rhyme

Big-time Sidebar

In December 2020 the highest court in Maryland “ruled that rap lyrics may be admitted in court as evidence of a defendant’s guilt. This blatantly racist decision is a travesty that sets a dangerous precedent.”

This is a position quite opposite of the appeal in New Jersey v. Skinner (2014). Per here: “Skinner’s rap lyrics were admitted at his trial for attempted murder and related charges. The defendant wrote the lyrics years before the shooting occurred. After hearing the lyrics, along with the other evidence against the defendant, the jury convicted him.

“An appellate court ruled that the lyrics were highly prejudicial and should not have been admitted; the State of New Jersey then appealed, but the state supreme court agreed that the verses never should have come into evidence…

“It seems that rap is being viewed as an especially telling form of expression, unlike the murder ballads of everyone from Dolly Parton to the Grateful Dead. For example, imagine the decidedly non-rapper Paul McCartney on trial for mayhem, being forced to listen to ‘Helter Skelter’ with the jury. Not likely—is that because he’s merely a singer, not a rapper?

“This distinction resonated with the New Jersey high court in the Skinner case, as the judge authoring the opinion quipped, ‘One would not presume that Bob Marley, who wrote the well-known song ‘I Shot the Sheriff,’ actually shot a sheriff….'”

Meanwhile, in 2021, New York lawmakers introduced a bill to limit rap lyrics as evidence in criminal trials.


Ice-T became an actor, appearing as a cop for the last 22 seasons of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. He’s a pitchman for everything from CarShield, which gets mixed reviews online, to Tide detergent.

So I think this is fine. The great American reinvention. It’s like Lady Gaga going from wearing meat dresses to dueting with Tony Bennett.

TV: controversy over a Cheerios ad?

She was adamantly against mixed-race marriage. “What about the children?” she proclaimed. They’ll never fit in, they’ll be scorned by both blacks and whites, and be outcasts in society.

My fascination over a cereal ad – no, actually, THE Cheerios ad featuring an interracial couple and their child – is that all the hate it has engendered doesn’t surprise me at all. The argument from opponents – besides the scatological responses so bad that General Mills had shut off the comments on the YouTube video – is that “they are throwing” miscegenation “in our faces”, whereas the cereal producer’s claim is that they’re showing the diversity of the population. There has been a clear uptick in the number of mixed-race marriages in the US this century.

Of course, you KNOW what the real problem is for some people with that ad? It suggests that black people and white people were – hold onto your hats – having SEX! When you first see the ad, one could assume that the girl might be adopted, but seeing the dad pretty much eliminates that option. The long-standing taboo about interracial sex in the United States is still very strong, from white male slave masters and black female slaves to the young black Emmett Till getting killed for looking at a white woman too long.

This reminds me of a situation about 35 years when my girlfriend at the time, who was white, went apartment hunting for us, and she found a nice place. But the surprised look on the landlord’s face when I showed up to sign the lease was priceless. Rather like the look on the faces of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy when Katharine Houghton brought home Sidney Poitier in the movie Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner.

About 25 years ago, I was having some general philosophical conversation about marriage with this secretary in an office in which I was working as an intern. Very nice woman, and particularly to me. But she was adamantly against mixed-race marriage. “What about the children?” she proclaimed. They’ll never fit in, they’ll be scorned by both blacks and whites, and be outcasts in society.

Obviously, I have a vested interest in trying to make sure the Daughter lives in a better world than that. Her preschool was ethnically diverse; her elementary school is somewhat less so, but we hope for the best. Our church is predominantly white, but with increased diversity, including, most recently, an influx of Asian Indians.

You just keep trying to make a decent world for your child, which is pretty much irrespective of race.

BTW, Chuck Miller knows the woman in the Cheerios ad.
Of course, I remember Jean Stapleton in All in the Family, who died recently. THE most disturbing episode of that series is referenced here.

C is for Cereal

I was rather sad to read that the sale of breakfast cereals were declining in the United States, the reason being that it “takes too much time”!

I saw this post from SamuraiFrog about The Great American Cereal Book and immediately wrote: “OMG – this is a book for me. I LOVE cereal.” Believed I should write about it, but then thought, “Didn’t I just do that?” As it turns out, the post I was thinking about I wrote in 2006 (!) – time is so strange – when I described my peculiar and specific rules involving the mixing non-presweetened cereal. So I guess I can revisit it here.

Why I love cereal:
1. It was the first meal I could prepare myself.
2. As alluded to in the previous post, it is very educational. As an active reader of the box, it was where I learned that riboflavin and niacin were B vitamins.
3. I learned the difference between brand names and generic names. I realized that “raisin bran” was not trademarked, which allowed Kellogg’s and Post each to have an iteration. Whereas, round oat cereals not made by General Mills were called something other than Cheerios, such as Tastee-Os.
4. They would sell several brands, usually six or ten, in something called “Snack packs” or “Variety packs”, little boxes with perforations so you pour in the milk and could eat them right out of the box.
5. They were entertaining. From the coloring of my cereal milk to the “Snap, crackle, pop” of Rice Krispies.
6. The ads. Often featuring future icons such as Tony the Tiger (Frosted Flakes – “they’re great”) to the rodent of Trix (“silly rabbit, Trix are for kids”) to Captain Crunch, I loved these little videos designed to lure me to buy – or get my mom to buy – their products. (Now, I’m more jaded…) The ads were so engrained in the culture that the Kellogg’s rooster and theme (“the best to you each morning” for Corn Flakes were echoed in the Beatles’ song “Good Morning Good Morning.”

I was quite fond of the Post Crispy Critters ads; I can’t explain why except I loved the King Leonardo show; the cereal itself was not all that good. But no ad did I love more than this Rice Krispies ad, which is absolutely brilliant musically, the way the verses work together in the last 15 seconds.

Here are 10 Trippiest Cereal Ads, most of which I had not seen
Cereal commercials from the 1960s and 70s, all of which I remember

I’ve now discovered that some of the generic brands are just as good, but certainly not all. I have had Cheerios substitutes that tasted like cardboard.

I was rather sad to read that the sales of breakfast cereals were declining in the United States, the reason being that it “takes too much time”! This led to the development of breakfast bars; I tried 2 or 3, and hated them all. I also tend to dislike cereals with stuff in them – Cheerios with these dried out things they call strawberries, or Lucky Charms, with those so-called marshmallows. We actually have a box of Lucky Charms in the house right now; one of my wife’s students brought her a box when they discovered that the marshmallows weren’t halal.

Since SamauraiFrog listed his 20 favorite kinds of cereal of all time, I thought I would do the same. Please note that I don’t eat most of these now.

1. Sugar Smacks (Kellogg’s) – they changed the name eventually to Honey Smacks
2. Sugar Crisps (Post) – “can’t get enough of those Sugar Crisps, they keep me goin’ strong”
3. Alpha-Bits (Post) – I used to spell out words in my bowl
4. Shredded Wheat (Nabisco, now Post)- pour hot water on it and watch the biscuits sag
5. Total (General Mills) – loved the idea of a cereal that gave me ALL the vitamins
6. Froot Loops (Kellogg’s)
7. Honey Nut Cheerios (General Mills)
8. Wheaties (General Mills) – hey, it was the “Breakfast of Champions”!
9. Corn Flakes (Kellogg’s)
10. Rice Chex (Purina, now General Mills)
11. Trix (General Mills)
12. Cheerios (General Mills) – still eating these
13. Raisin Bran (either brand) – but generally better than the generics
14. Rice Krispies (Kellogg’s)
15. Corn Chex (Purina, now General Mills)
16. Spoon-Sized Shredded Wheat (Nabisco, now Post) – still eating these, too
17. Corn Pops (Kellogg’s)
18. Life (Quaker Oats)
19. Quisp (Quaker Oats)
20. Kix (General Mills)

Info about cereal and nutrition.

ABC Wednesday – Round 11

30-Day Challenge: Day 5 – Favorite Food

Do I HAVE a favorite food?

It’s much easier to pick the things I DON’T like.

Ah, a tough one. Certainly, I’ve stated my love of spinach lasagna. Partly, it came from the realization that I didn’t have to cook the noodles beforehand; no, you don’t need to buy those special noodles, you just need extra tomato sauce. But I don’t have it very often. Same goes for dishes with duck, or a beef steak.

I do know that I tend to like things mixed more than plain. Cheerios and shredded wheat is better than either component.
orange juice and cranberry juice
cottage cheese and apple sauce
sharp Cheddar cheese and a Ritz cracker

Thing is, I don’t like that many things over and over. I eat a lot of chicken, but it becomes tolerable only because it’s prepared in different ways.

Though I have gotten into ruts. If I have a bagel, it’ll always be cinnamon raisin, if it’s available. Likewise, strawberry ice cream, lamb saag (spinach) from the local Indian restaurant. My candy choice tends to be plain M&Ms, which I eat in color order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, brown); it’s part of the enjoyment.

Do I HAVE a favorite food? I suppose it’s spinach, a function of propaganda from daily doses of Popeye on television as a child.

It’s much easier to pick the things I DON’T like: things with peanut butter; things with the artificial banana flavor (I like bananas) or almost any fruit; anchovy; cauliflower; sauerkraut. Don’t drink coffee, beer, vermouth or Scotch, so I don’t like coffee ice cream, e.g.

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