Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor Day: No Work=Music

It's now Labor Day and I have an extra day off to blog. YAY!

On a serious note, please be praying for New Orleans. Hopefully, all the evacuation and precaution doesn't equal Gustav being as devastating as Katrina. I was watching CNN Friday night and one of the commentators said that the levees are only about 20% to where they need to be... I also hope that the Republicans and the RNC don't have to deal with such a disaster during their convention.

Moving on to lighter business, College football started this weekend and the NFL starts next weekend. I started to do a serious in-depth comprehensive breakdown of both, but I don't get paid to do it so I'll just stick to predictions. The two best teams in college football are USC and Florida. I would like to see them both play in the BCS title game so I'm gonna pick Tim Tebow, the first three Heisman winner, and the USC Trojans, with NFL talent up and down their roster. A team like Oklahoma, Missouri, or Ohio State (whom the BCS seems to love) could stop that matchup because Florida will most likely not go undefeated and one of those teams, in weaker conferences has a better opportunity. USC ain't losing though, watch what they do to Ohio State next week. They are incredible.


Likewise are the New England Patriots. My roommate will tell you that the second the Pats got my man Randy Moss, I said they weren’t going to lose a game... I was almost right and this year I think I will be totally right. Actually, I’m lying—I have no idea what they will do. That defense got really old really fast last year, and aside from being a little healthier the only thing that happened was getting older. That said I hope they do it, but I don’t think they will. They’ll get that Superbowl though. Why? Because they are Incredible too.


Speaking of incredible Mickey Factz has a song called, guess what? Incredible. The beat is hot especially during the chorus and already the likes of Skyzoo, Cory Gunz, Tyga, Travis McCoy (of Gym Class Heroes), and a few others have already hit this beat which will probably get a lot of play. As far as Mr. Factz goes, I’ll say he’s pretty good. I found this track about 5 weeks ago and have been on a quest to find more and more of his music.

A few other people to check out are Wale, Charles Hamilton and Grafh. I have listened to Grafh for a while and I can say without a doubt the man is really nice lyrically. He has more of a hard, raw style, but is still prolific with the words. I’m not going to link any of his music, ‘cause Grafh is a little more explicit than most (but if you want to find him you know who he is now).

Wale and Charles Hamilton are listening byproducts of listening to Mickey Factz and the people he says know that he is incredible. Charles Hamilton’s style is nice and I really like that he’s a Sega nerd. He will drop all kinds of references to the 16 bit Genesis a lot, and if you visit his blog you’ll see what makes him tick.

Wale’s “The Mixtape About Nothing” is kinda hot, I’m not gonna lie. It’s also kinda big so if you download it have a few minutes to download the .zip file and unpack it. I’m feeling kinda lazy so I won’t critique it either… just know it has my stamp of approval, whatever that’s worth.


In completely unrelated music, go get Coldplay's new album. Chris Martin is a genius, he has the rare talent of putting together good sounds in a way that a black man can enjoy "white" music LOL. Really though go buy "Viva La Vida", it's good. Since they are mainstream artists I'm gonna say go buy it, in fact I may drop something in the Kernel about buying music... hmm


Happy Labor Day, pray for New Orleans, and tell a friend!


Salute

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ending the week on a high note!

First week of school for me, but I had no classes... kinda nice to run around all rogue like. I am actually looking forward to this upcoming year and getting to meet the other half of campus I don't know.

As far as music goes it's been an ok week so all I got is The Dream-Put On Remix. He isn't the most talented, but he hustles hard, keeps it real and has a knack for making hot music, kinda like Jeezy.




The reason I like the Dreams, Jeezy's, Ludacris' and people of that ilk is because they work hard and make it because of their hard work. And that work ethic, combined with some luck has brought them to the top to some extent. It seems like every other week I hear somebody dissin Jay-Z from the outside and from within his circles. Some of it is justified and other disses seem to be like hmm stfu. Ive got 4 examples for you of the varying spectrum. You have Game who is dissing Jay just cause. You had Dame Dash and Jay feuding, which apparently is squashed, you have Joe Budden dissing Jay, and then you have Teairra Marie mad at Jay.

The Game is pretty obvious no analysis necessary. Dame dash is interesting because they know each other and built that empire together, but like I said apparently they cool so that's not an issue because even the best of friends fight. Joe Budden and Teairra Marie are the interesting comparisions. Both "whine" about how they were done by Jay and how he hasn't reached out and helped them. Because I am a Budden fan I can say that man has been working and put out music that showcases his immense talent. Teairra Marie on the other hand I have no idea. It came totally out of left field. Personally, I dont think she is that good and there are others like her(Peedi Crack, Omillio Sparks, Foxy Brown, etc.) who suck and keep blaming Jay for their lack of success.

I know in my own life I am around a lot of people that "work hard", but leave very little evidence of what they do. Basically, they complain a lot, run their mouths, and are always "busy" but never have anything done. Not saying I am the model of success and/or getting things done, but I try. So I tend to root for people who's work can be seen through their efforts, energy and the quality in the result. I will say this till I die, Jeezy is the worst rapper ever, but you have to love him.

Moving on to the DNC which was pretty great....

I enjoyed the full line up of speakers, but I still need to go back and catch Wednesday, with Biden and Billy J. Clinton. Unfortunately, I was at the Kernel copy editing and falling asleep on the couch, so I missed their speeches, which I am sure were great.

Barack made a great speech to bring the convention to a close, and so far the criticisms I have seen from that of the Republicans, the Cornel West types, and Patrick Nally's is that missed/lacked something. Let me assure you, the acceptance speech for the presidency and the inauguration will be the two best speeches you've ever heard. In fact, since I'm like the 4th grade girls on South Park, lets rank Barack's big speeches to date from 5 to 1 (feel free to disagree):

5. The close of primary speech.

4. The speech on race.

3. The DNC nomination acceptance speech '08.

2. The '04 DNC Keynote speech.

1. The inauguration & acceptance speeches.

I had a hard time ranking these because the number 1 speeches haven't happened, but they will be so great. There will be so much that goes into these speeches I can't even imagine what that will do for America. I am going to say that this list is very flawed, because there are at least 3 speeches I can think of that belong on this list, but I don't think they are mainstream familiar speeches.

Finally, if you are reading this, and you are a UK student, pick up the Kernel. I am doing a lot more with the paper hopefully this year and I want to hear people's critique of the paper. I want i to be the best and the only way for that to happen is to get feedback. And those of you who are not in Lexington, don't fret... we have a great newly redesigned website at the Kernel webpage.

Salute

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Republicans do it... better?

Do they really? Probably not, but the GOP can stake a claim to Abraham Lincoln and that Emancipation Proclamation stuff, or whatever it was he was doing. They also lay claim to that guy MLK Jr. who did some stuff in the about civil rights. Heck, they probably understand the whole Barack Obama thing better than anybody else.

Here is a quote from Newt Gingrich former Republican Speaker of the House taken from obamapedia.org:

"Well, Abraham Lincoln served two years in the U.S. House, and seemed to do all right." (Meet The Press 12/17).

You can do a Google search on your own and find it many other places... it's a real quote from an interview with the late great Tim Russert.

There is so much fear in the Republican Party about Barack Obama it's almost palpable. They know that he is reaching people by speaking about tomorrow and what we leave for our children. They know that this "abstract" change is going to mean huge losses in their takeover of the world. They see the pie being re-distributed to take 99% of our country's wealth from just one percent of the population. Very scary for them folks

So far I have enjoyed the Democratic National Convention. Highlighted so far by Hillary's speech and orange pantsuit, this convention has had so much enthusiasm, power and most importantly unity. The surrogates have done a good job going after McCain and working to garner support for Barack Obama. All of the speakers and people who have been interviewed get the message, except for a few Hillary supporters that clearly cannot hear. Here is an excerpt from her magnificent speech:

"I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that young boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?"

That is pretty clear right? Here's what I heard/saw:

Hey guys! It's me Hillary. I'm here rockin' the hell out of this orange pantsuit (take that Michelle). But on the real, I know y'all love me—but is the truth Barack is gonna be working for you guys just I would have if I didn’t underestimate him."

Somehow CNN found two Clinton supporters that missed what she said and what heard/saw.

One Clinton supporter whose name I missed said, "I need to be courted" and that her not supporting Barack was on "principles". What principles?! I guess that’s the principles of Nobama democrats (thanks Fatimah). She continued to say "I don't vote on the first date."

WOW! Keep your vote!

Then there Ann Price-Mills was the delegate from the great state of Washington in the city of Kent. She is actually really close to where I am from, very sad. I'm not furious that she said she hasn't connected with Barack Obama, because all that shows is laziness in finding information and an inability to let go of things. I am not a McCain fan by any means, but I can tell you what he stands for and why people like him and think he is worth voting for. She also said Hillary looked Presidential and said that democrats made a mistake. Well the people spoke and selected Barack to have the right to BE presidential not just look like it.

But no, that's not really why I am mad. Actually, I am mad because she said, on national television mind you, that she may not vote. Our adviser at the Kentucky Kernel said that using profanity is taking the easy way out, so I won't write what I think, but I will say Price-Mills needs to immediately have her delegate rights removed. How you can even introduce the idea of not voting? It’s absolutely shameful. How can you in good conscience represent a body of people and consider the idea of not invoking one of the most fundamental democratic rights?

I'll be watching the next few days eagerly and please believe I'll do the same for the RNC.

Salute

Monday, August 25, 2008

Today was a _ _ _ _ day

It wasn't good, it wasn't bad. It just was a day.

I did UK Fusion, which is this huge community service based event designed to get students involved. That was interesting. Then I did my first Kernel Edit Board Meeting. More interestingness. Neither bad by any means, just something new to add to my life experiences.

I did some of the welcome week stuff which was cool and got to see some familiar and new faces... thats always nice. BTW I am sincerely sticking to my commitment to be cool and sociable. I don't know how I am going to do it, but by golly I will.

Today I saw that Daddy Yankee (the guy that did that Rompe")endorsed John McCain. That was interesting...and not in a good way. It reaks tokenism among many other things that will influence an unaware audience into voting making a bad decision. Even if it is just one voter its bad enough. And as much as I think bigger picture, I also recognize the power of the individual, because that uninformed vote influences people in ways that can weave a web of ignorance and singular thought processes that can steal an election(wait...that's big picture). All that said, I would much rather have Young Jeezy's endorsement than Daddy Yankee's. Young said "y'all touch him we ridin'", that's real dedication even though I don't advocate "ridin'" on anybody LOL.

On a positive note, Michelle (Robinson) Obama gave a great speech that Republicans are trying to chop up and say lacked substance. Aside: I NEED to find a woman like that... I dont see it happening, but hey, here's hoping! Again they are using the out of touch perspective that asks for specifics, neglecting that the prevailing desire to make America better, while vague will take shape as we all have our say in this election. Lack of experience, and the theory of Barack being a blank slate have been thrown around, but I look at the two as fresh perspective and careful consideration of issues before making a decision.

A lot of companies hire cunning new thinkers to come up with fresh ideas and keep their business running, why can't politics be the same. Most of our country is a profit driven machine anyways, so why not? Because the fresh ideas include making health care less of a money maker and more of a problem solve.... geez why would we vote for that Obama guy?

Additionally, this whole blank slate thing is BS--although I will say the Obama campaign hasn't really framed this issue well. In representative politics, a politician cannot rush to judgment and make rash decisions. Look at Bush-Cheney's stance on Iraq. Essentially they ran in there and rode on Iraq, because one half of the country wanted to do so based on, I'll go with slanted, intelligence from our guys. That quick decision, among with many other unrepresentative decisions have Bush and Cheney enjoying some of the lowest approval ratings ever by a president and vice president respectvely. Nice. Again, why vote for the guy that considers stuff and makes compromise, gosh thats stupid.

Random song playing in my head: Jamiroquai-Virtual Insanity
Virtual Insanity - Jamiroquai

I think the internet is giving me virtual insanity, I literally spend more time on the internet than I do being conscious (that's really hard to do).

As I type this a sharp pain is going up my left knee... the one I tore three ligaments in. The right one I just tore the ACL in so it doesn't give me too much trouble. Anyways, since the left knee injury I have wondered where life would have taken me. Like where would I be? What would I have chosen to do? How would I be different? I based my life on being athletic and didn't really think too much of what else there was in life, so when things went sour I had no plan. By no means was I that good, and I never thought past the immediate season and whatever sport I was playing. After high school, I made plans to go into law and be rich... Really, thats it. Amazing how shallow I was and to some extent still am.

Ever since then I have been making plans to do this and do that and nothing ever ends up the way I expect it and its not always good. But I am better for it and I have something you only get from taking a lot of shots on the basketball court... and that's character, thank you Doug T. for that one.

Salute

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My thoughts on elitism...

I have heard the topic of elitism being thrown around for several months now and I want to properly focus people on what elite is. (I won't go attacking a guy who doesn't know how many houses he owns, because that's not what I am here for. In fact, I don't think I could accurately describe the situation to really grasp how crappy it is.) Anyways, since sports is my thing I will use sports to describe true elitism.

I'm an American, proud to be here--don't plan on leaving. But I will say we have an elite mentality when it comes to sports. Let's take soccer, which is great. The rest of the world eats it up. The world cup final literally has billions of people watching it... but not many of those numbers come from America.

Take Olympic Basketball and the "Redeem Team," as they have been dubbed. I understand why it is a big deal that we need to win the gold, but we have this elitist mentality that we shouldn't lose. So what do we do? Put together a team with 2 guys that are there for one skill (Tayshaun Prince and Redd), a guy who would be a great counterpunch to some of the crafty power forwards of the international game (Carlos Boozer), and Jason Kidd, whom I will not address because my opinion of him could fill seven, 20k word posts.

Even our spin on the medal count shows massive amounts of elitism. The United States will come out with more total medals than China, but China will have more gold medals. We say we won in real sports and real events. I have also heard the sentiment that if you subtract events that weren’t subjectively/arbitrarily by people, we have won just as many gold medals as China. While I do think the system is flawed, China won and minus the small children in gymnastics, they were better (gold medal wise) than us. We have the same opportunity to play badminton and table tennis like they do. Let’s be gracious.

I want to reiterate the fact that I love America and think it’s the best large place/country ever (the state of Washington is the best place in general). Yet I think it’s worth mentioning this sports elitism because it spills into other aspects of life. The fact that a country turns its nose up to the “beautiful game” and calls it a sport for wimps is a testimony. Or maybe its visible major sports talk radio widely ignoring a world athletic competition, save Michael Phelps, USA basketball and a little Usain Bolt. And for what? To talk pre-season NFL football!

Upon winning the gold medal in Olympic basketball the theme of what the “Redeem Team” did was the first gold since 2000. Last time I checked, the Olympics happen every 4 years. So basically, we didn’t win in ’04 and that’s it. It wasn’t the end of the world. The team didn’t play well, but Americans in general were generally ungracious. When the Pistons lost in the NBA finals a few years ago the media vilified the team for not giving credit to the Spurs for beating them and being better.

The American response to not winning gold in Sidney was quite similar to that of the Pistons who failed, which is funny because the world really has caught up. Argentina has 6 NBA players and one player that was a staple in the league for years. Spain has eight players that have been or will be in the NBA either last year or next year. Aside: Rudy Fernandez of the Portland Trailblazers abused the US defense, and he made Dwight Howard look bad when he dunked on him. Fernandez was born the day after I was and he plays for my new favorite team so he must be a good guy. Other teams also have NBA regulars and really talented players who can hold their own anywhere. In basketball you only need to have the best five guys on the floor…

In short, well not so much, we have to get a hold of ourselves, realize that there is more to life than America and American sports, and be a gracious people. The elitism we have in sports manifests itself in our media, politics, and lifestyles and I hate that it has spilled to my favorite thing in the world. Please guys let’s just play nice!

Salute

Friday, August 22, 2008

A little disappointed

I'm not gonna lie. I signed up for that special text message to see who the future VP is going to be and it broke at like 10 pm PST (1 am where I'm at). That was really wack. The whole idea behind it was to keep the supporters in the same loop as the media, but the media still had the upper hand and had to break the story. I mean I guess I get the point of why it leaks or gets out, but still I wanted to have a breaking story as it happen. It really cheapens the process, thank goodness I haven't gotten any of the other texts they sent out otherwise I would be pissed.

This is one of my problems with the campaign. There is an effort to be cutting edge and groundbreaking, but in a lot of ways it will go to traditional political norms when it comes to things. I don't want to go too in depth and get cynical, but it is one of those things....

EDIT: I got the text at 12:15 PST (3:15 am where I'm at) Obama/Biden '08!


Edit 2: I just checked hiphopgame.com one of the sites I frequent and Barack Obama selected Joe Biden as his "runnin" mate. I dont think its a typo. How are people supposed to learn if they are taught improperly?

Anyways, to take my mind off of the slight betrayal heres some music for you all to hear:

"SLU (Swagger Like Us)"--TI f/ Kanye West, Jay-Z & Lil' Wayne aka The Little SwaggerMonster that could
Line of the track: I'm Christopher Columbus, y'all just the pilgrims" Mr. West


http://www.zshare.net/audio/1748577144739ae1/



"My President is black" Young Jeezy f/Nas
Line of the track: "Y'all touch him we ridin'" ...gotta love Jeezy (talking at the end of the track btw)

http://www.mediafire.com/?dt1g0weprif

Salute (and tell a friend)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Greatest Performance EVER!

This is the best commercial ever. Loren Wallace bka Eddie Heffernan was born to act. I have died laughing at the commercial many times... its THAT good. The setup is good but the kid is great. The surly attitude, straight face and harsh tone combined with the toothpick, the boots, and the white racing suit... its all classic. And now you all can enjoy what I have been enjoying for so long.

"I'll put him in the wall."

Salute

Impulse post...Read it all!!!!!!

Today is a random day so I am going to randomly post about a couple of things.

First thing, I saw a ton of white girls running around for sorority recruitment. I had no problem with it other than there were more girls out than the total population at UK. Seriously. Also, I couldn’t get anywhere for the massive pack of moving pledges. The majority of them had on the same dress, heels and hairstyle. A few were smart enough to have flip flops on and weren't trotting around like Big Brown with a busted up hoof. A couple had shorter less radioactive blond hair. And dare say I caught a few that weren't wearing pretentious designer sunglasses, looking smug as hell. Ironically, my friends in sororities don't fit that description. Similarly irony is that I never see those types of girls any other time of the year except at Main Street Live or Keeneland.

I got my lunch before I started working so I went to the hospital cafeteria where I usually eat. I normally don't like to make fun of people (ha), but I saw this guy with a hairstyle that would make LC happy. It was a messy ponytail, with messy bangs and with some $500 highlights, btw I wish I didn't know who Lauren Conrad is--oh the things you for lo... Anyways, to top it off the guy had a goatee that resembled the goatee Dave Chappelle wore as he parodied Prince; basically it looked like it had been drawn on. Pure comedy.

My job is pretty easy laid back and cool. Basically I just chill in an office, get the mail, make copies, run things around, etc etc. I love the people I directly work for and enjoy the opportunity I have to do what I do, which is whatever they tell me to. No, I'm not a slave or anything like that, but I do a lot of different things, which make it really difficult to come up with a job description for a resume, but garners lots of experience. Actually, I’m writing this at work…

So, I like my job, but—and this is a big but—there are too many people who think they have authority over me. I don’t mind being asked to do things because I know my job is to make everybody else’s job easy, and since I’m hourly I don’t get paid if I don’t come in. Long story short, one of my superiors had to come in and fix a situation for a visiting party that I easily solved, however the visiting party acted as if I had no idea of anything about anything. I may be a lowly hourly employee, but I like many people of my ilk make things work. I hope you all remember that when you get to be big and famous. It’s the little people that make things go… Actually it’s the people society calls little, ‘cause they aren’t little.

A thought to ponder from Bill Maher, of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, from an interview with Larry King Tuesday, August 19, 2008:

KING: You got to be pleased by T. Boone Pickens. He was on this show for an hour, against oil addiction, in favor of wind power.

MAHER: Right, we're trying to get him on our show. I would love to talk to him.

KING: I bet he would come.

MAHER: Yes. And that shows you where we are. When an 80-year- old oil man has to show the government the way. You know, this guy gets it. You know, I just -- I just -- I hate to be despairing. But, again, you know, when I hear two thirds of Americans are for oil drilling, oil drilling which is not going to improve anything at all. Oil companies and oceans never worked out so well before. In fact, the phrase that we have for things not going well together is actually oil and water.

KING: Yes, you're right. Good point.


Oil and water don’t mix...hmmm. I guess we won’t figure it out till we’re all down at the beach washing off the fish.


Salute

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.

The title of this post is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies, Zoolander. As satirical, silly and stupid as that movie is, I think that quote fits my life very well. I like to think of myself as a good looking person…but not by my own merits, but from the praise of others (my grandmamma said I’m handsome LOL).

Anyways, life for me is generally easy when I apply myself and part of that comes from being good looking. It is really, really easy to walk into a room and procure the necessary attention with a smile and a little charisma, the direct byproduct of being good looking.

But there’s gotta be more to life than that. And no, I don’t want to create a Wesley Robinson Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too. But what can a good looking person do?

I definitely don’t want to model…that’s just too much. I think I have too many caveman beliefs about what men should and shouldn’t do.

Television would be ok, but there are three problems with that. One, you wear makeup which goes again goes against the whole caveman line of thinking. Number 2, you have to look nice ALL the time. Sometimes I need to take a day or two off, even the best looking people wake up not so beautiful some days. Finally, if I’m on TV, I feel like I will end up being corrupted and turn to being a lot more pretentious and generally really, really uncool.

What a dilemma.

But that’s not as bad as the whole dating thing, which is a funny topic to me because most everybody I know that takes in interest in my love life cares more about it than I do. And being so good looking these people figure I should be locked up.

Now its not that I don’t date at all, ‘cause that would be a complete waste of good lookingness. Still I do reserve it for only special occasions. Which is rare because it just seems like there’s more to life than dating a really, really, ridiculously, good looking girl.

And it’s not that there isn’t anybody out there, as I have dated at least two keepers in my short lifetime. We just fundamentally disagreed on how to carry on a relationship, and after a point there was nothing but them us feeling like each other was really, really, ridiculously good looking--at least thats how I looked at it.

Most people can take that type of good looking relationship, I cannot. What makes it worse is I am as deep as a kiddie pool, as far as looks go. I figure what better way to bless the world than by getting with a good looking girl and starting a really, really, big and good looking family.

Hay caramba. Dios Mio. ¿QuĂ© debo hacer?

Help me please find my purpose in life!

If not I'll be stuck being the really, really ridiculously good looking bum with, no car, no money and no goals...

Salute?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Beard....

Summer is ending and the beard is about to go. So I figured what better time to explain why I did it then right before I cut it off (etd: 2 weeks from now).

Towards the end of the semester I was thinking of ways to make life interesting in a way that I could easily gauge, but also report. But I didn’t have any ideas.

Well the week before finals I was trimming my facial hair and I messed up. It wasn’t all that bad and I think all I would have had to do was thin one sideburn slightly, which is really easy and doesn’t take much skill. But instead of doing something that easy I just shaved it all off. No chin hair, no sideburns, no mustache, and no stubble.

I kept it like that for a couple of weeks and liked the look, but I thought, “hmm this is different, but its not completely out of the realm of the norm.” Okay. Maybe it didn’t go like that, but essentially that’s what I was thinking.

For those of you who didn’t know me pre-beard days—and even for those who don’t know me very well for that matter—I am really image conscious. Meaning I like to reflect keeping my upbringing by keeping a nice presentable appearance. Therefore, a beard of such magnitude is definitely off the wall.

Still, I wanted to do something different so I started to entertain the idea of the beard. My mom has been suggesting a beard for a long time to help reduce skin problems. Former flames have expressed that graduated sexiness could be achieved by a beard. And I kinda just wanted to be lazy and not go to the barbershop so frequently and deal with regular maintenance of neat facial hair.

Initially, I planned to let it go all summer and just see how it would look and how it would be received. However because of Unity ’08, a desire to look somewhat representative of my normal appearance, I trimmed it. Now that the beard lacks amazingness and the love is gone, I have been a little better about trimming the hedges if you will.

It got to be pretty long. Like before I left for Chicago I trimmed like an inch off… and enough hair remained for some high ranking journalism person to remember me as my uncles Muslim nephew, the guy from Philly, or Rick Ross.

And that brings me to the experimental part of this thing on my face. It mostly was to see how people I met would receive me, but quickly it became a study on how people I know changed their perceptions and actions towards me.

The older people like the ones I work with and see around campus said it made me look older and distinguished until it started getting out of control. After that the prevailing comment was “oh, hey. You still have the beard,” in a tone that said, it needs to go.

Peers all come up with nicknames and reference my beard to popular culture, hence the thought that I am from Philadelphia where black men rock beards, and the Rick Ross statements. A few Muslim friends were working on a Muslim name for me, which I think is funny considering so many people think I am a Muslim. (Barack isn’t the only one, but I say if I were, who cares!) One friend even offered to take me to, and pay for a haircut and a shave …hilarious.

My favorite reaction was from the little baby. Loren is that four-year-old little girl my mom keeps that will wow you with her brilliance and then shame you with her terrible ways. She saw me for the first time since February and the first thing she did was touch the beard and then as me about my “shave”. Kids are so cute.

My little brother Kamron picked me up from the airport and his first reaction was to say how I looked like a black Osama Bin Laden and ask how I passed through airport security. Original. Very creative, Kamron. If I had a dollar…

Anyways, I have been receiving so much feedback and am being perceived totally different and completely the same as well. When I go out, girls are much friendlier and open to approaching me, and I think that's because girls like dirty guys, something I generally am not. But I also have been out and seen people I haven’t seen in literal years that still recognize me and didn’t even say anything about it.

It definitely has been an interesting experience and I must say I am glad I did it.

All that said—I really grew the beard because I want a goatee really badly. I have wanted one for years. The goatee is like the coolest form of facial hair ever. Unfortunately, the hair around my mouth on my cheeks doesn’t grow too well. So I figured if I let it grow wildly it my catch up with the rest of the hair.

The strategy somewhat worked and a few new follicles have emerged, but still ain’t where I want it. Oh well, maybe next time.

It’s kind of funny though, because people buy all my BS reasons for growing the beard: it’s a social experiment I am rebelling against that which I normally do, and so on and so on.

I really have tricked you all into thinking I am THAT thought out, conscious, and aware. LOL

Salute

Friday, August 15, 2008

Oogie Boogie Nigger

The title of this post is a quote from Dave Chapelle's skit about the black, white supremacist. I just had that phrase directed at me less than 10 minutes ago. I feel like I swallowed a battery so I'm not going to really go in depth on this or even analyze it--just going to give some specifics.

I left work early because my stomach is on fire. I rode the bus, which drops me off literally right in front of my house. In the 40 or so necessary steps to get home a car full of 18-23 year old white males passed by. One turned as he saw me and yelled "oogie boogie nigger".

OK. I lied. I'm going to analyze this a little. Its kind of like the movie Crash there were a lot of things that had to happen for me to be placed in that situation. I had to leave work 2 and half hours earlier than I planned. I had to catch the bus instead of walking. The front door on the bus had to not be working, and my dumb ass had to try to get on and off on a door that was broken. The car with the men in question had to pass by when it did. And finally, the guy had to randomly have on his mind to say what he said. May not mean anything to you, but to me it's interesting. Think about all of that coincidental randomness, because had one of those things not occurred I may not have this story. Maybe thats why I don't like Crash... cause things connect like that for me without a movie. Next semester I'll probably have a class with one of those guys in the car.

Oh yeah racism is alive and well.

A big beef with sports

I love sports. In high school people thought something was wrong with me for only being able to hold conversations about sports. At work, there is a random lady who only associates me with sports. When I go to my mom's in Louisville and I run into people I know...they ask me if I am still playing sports.

Living in Kentucky makes my sports fandom a little more difficult to enjoy because overwhelmingly I am subject to the sports views of the masses, as opposed to the view of the 14th largest television market in the United States win which I grew up. In Seattle area I was able to watch most every game of the teams I loved. It was nice.


However in Kentucky, I am constantly being force fed an absurd amount of Red Sox/Yankee, LeBron, and Pittsburgh Steelers games, as the media caters to a majority of fans and the supposed national sports interests.

I don't begrudge the networks for that decision, because at the end of the day they are around to make a profit. I don't blame the fans, because at the core most people don't care as much about sports as I do. Therefore I can't expect casual fans to have the deep-rooted fanatical memories associated with the successes, and more customarily the failures, of being a true sports fan. Still, I find it necessary to sling blame somewhere so I will put it on the respective leagues and America.

In reference the leagues, one of the most common statements I hear for all sports, save golf when Tiger is winning, is that ratings are down. I know that if I had the ability to watch, listen to, read or live sports... I would. Easy. But why can't I? This is where America comes in.

This unrestricted form of capitalism is ridiculous. I understand the need to make profit and to further your business interests--but the prices for tickets; the inaccessibility of sports to non-cable television, the limited selection of sports on cable, and the outrageous conglomeration of "inside information" are ruining sports. There is very little a casual fan can get for free to bring them in.

Aside: LeBron made an INCREDIBLE block against China on Sunday. (It was Kenyon Martin back at Cincinnati with two good legs esque). I didn't see highlights of the feat until Tuesday because of the Castro-like grip NBC has on the images. How is that good for the Olympics?

As I said I understand the drive for profits, but at what cost? The reason kids don't play sports, the reason people don't go to games, the reason ratings are down, the reason our nation is growing more and more obese, is because we are selling everything. You don't see the connections?

Part of athleticism that gets kids going is the desire to be like someone. So how can you be "like Mike" or now like Kobe if you only see them once a week and maybe twice after NFL ends? Or why would you want to play baseball if nobody your color played professionally? Would you play football if the only thing you heard about was Brett Favre and his legacy?

Attendance at most games is constant, but the average American family cannot go out and cop $120 tickets for nosebleed seats at an NFL or NHL game, or $80 for a NBA game. Shoot, I haven't been to an MLB game in years, but I bet those prices kill people too. And don’t get me started on the food...

So if you don't identify, and you can't go, why watch if you have to pay to get the premium accessibility to major pro-sports. NBA TV, the NFL network, MLB league, and whatever the hell irrelevant network the NHL has combined with ESPN INsider, and services like rivals.com and scouts.com monopolize the coverage of what you want to see as a sports fan. It's turning sports almost into a secret society...damn near a grand to follow all 4 major sports just on television and the internet.

So what do you do instead of spending that kind of money on sports? Turn to things like World of Warcraft, Halo, the Hills, or the worst VH1... anything to entertain you that you can watch with consistency that is either cheap or free. Instead of activity, we have lazy people who fail to interact.

It is becoming more and more expensive to buy sports equipment, kids have to play on increasingly more teams to remain competitive at the sport they choose to play. And then kids can't play more than one sport because of time, money, injuries etc. The system lends itself to alienating/segregating people before they get started.

Athletes make millions to play games, which makes people want to be like them. But also fosters a hate for people who cannot be like them, which feeds into a lot of racial tension, especially with basketball and the NBA.

I could go on forever about this because I believe sports is one of the places you can assess a lot of the nations problems. In addition to having a screwed up sports system, we place so much value and we strive to profit off things that you just shouldn't profit off of. Hell I have said it before and I'll say it again: making profit off of someone's health (health insurance), general security (insurance), and retirement (social security) is not good. When someone profits, someone else loses.

Salute

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A little explanation

Why do I add "Salute" to the end of some of my posts? Well it is simple. I am nuts.

Actually, its because I respect each and every one of you who read this blog. Surprisingly I have gotten feedback from over 34 people and that is quite humbling. It is nice to have people read what I write no matter how asinine, grammerically incorrect, or unnecessarily wordy my posts are.

I somewhat grew up as a military brat, and have always been surrounded by people who are a part of military culture. One part of that culture I like in particular, besides discipline, is the salute. It demonstrates respect both ways, but generally honors individuals of mutual creed.

So when I write something that particularly burns on my mind I salute you people for bearing with me while I do whatever it is that I do.

BTW because of several comments I will do my best to get at least 3 posts out per week from now on! Thanks guys and gals.

Salute

I don’t care. Make it stop.

I only have two desires to get in to journalism:


1. To help people through investigative journalism or well thought out opinions in columns and books
2. To overthrow ESPN. And when I say overthrow I could do it from within or from the outside.

Why do I have such a problem with ESPN? The past two months Favredom is a mega-microcosm of the problem. (I have been sitting on this for a while, but I think my rage has subsided enough to make a point… I hope).


The other I found myself screaming profusely at the zilumboanyangebillionth hour of Brett Favre coverage on the four letter network, because it was interrupting my beloved Around the Horn. I couldn’t help but feel like an idiot. Not because I was yelling at an inanimate object—but because I know that even though I am right for being mad. This Brett Favre malarkey needs to go away, but it won’t. Why? Because for whatever reason people want to see Brett F. Favre board private jets like a CEO, riding round rural Wisconsin in a cherry Red Escalade on Urlachers like a boss, and scurry to secret meetings like the president. Case and point: The Favre circus covered the man running a lap for fumbling a snap… expletive, expletive, expletive who cares!!!!!!

I lose. This will go on all season. Favre is in New York... more of an excuse to cover his every move.

Maybe television sports media, ESPN, thinks that’s what people want. Hmm I don’t know. But I do know that is whether it be T.O., Roger Clemens, Barry Lamar Bonds, Adam “make it rain” Pacman Jones, or whatever story they leech on and don’t let go of, my brain ends up hurt.

Essentially the same opinion is spit out hour after hour in the form of different anchors, experts and sports pundits… if only there were an alternative. Television wise ESPN has no competitors. I know there is Fox Sports Net, but that is second rate trash. Half of it is Best Damn this or that or some dryly commentated, second rate sporting event. I do listen to Fox Sports Radio a lot, but it’s good to have something to see. Every other network that covers sports covers it anecdotally so the only outlet I have is ESPN. Thankfully I have the mute button… but I miss a lot of stuff for not being able to hear what they are saying.

Thank God the “worldwide leader in sports” has Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson covering the NBA otherwise I would not be able to watch basketball any day but Thursday with Barkley, EJ and Kenny the Jet. So that’s three things Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption and the A-team for basketball. (And I hope Van Gundy and Mark Jackson stay analyzing, you aren’t coaches you are entertainers.)

Oh yeah I don’t care about what happens to Brett Favre. He is very good; I guess great, but not the best. He did this to himself and I don’t want my favorite hour of the day, 5-6pm EST Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption, disturbed by reports about Favre meeting for 6 hours and possibly being traded to a non-divisional team who may want to pick up his 12 mil contract but may not want to slow the development of their team let alone bring in a man diva mans man who’s feelings are hurt and wants to play after flip-flopping on a tearful retirement…Or as it stands now how much he is going to play in a practice game.

I don’t care. Make it stop! From now on I will boycott that whole situation and he will be referred to as a pronoun in disgust.

Salute

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Unity: The Story Part 2

Although Sheila Brooks was the single most important person to meet, I had the very good fortune of meeting some of the high profile sports journalism figures in the game.

At the career fair I had the opportunity to meet Stuart Scott. For about 45 minutes Scott candidly conversed with two other aspiring sportswriters, Spanky, and me. Scott was particularly impressed with Calvin's presence at the convention, as he is just entering his senior year of high school, but in general took an interest in the conversation with the four of us. By conversations end, he offered us his contact information, and more importantly an ear to listen.

On a stroke of chance, my uncle, cousin and I stumbled upon a baseball forum that Unity had partnered with the Chicago White Sox and Major League Baseball to produce. The event featured Kenny Williams, General Manager of the Chicago White Sox and Minnie Minoso, the first black player for the Chicago White Sox.

The setting for the event was very intimate and low key, so when Williams walked in, I was able to introduce myself and congratulate him for robbing the Mariners for a trade back in 2004 in which Freddy Garcia (along with Ben Davis) was sent to the White Sox for Miguel Olivo, Jeremy Reed, and Mike Morse. Sidenote: If a front office is willingly robbed, is it robbery?

Minoso, delivered a speech about the importance of embracing people for who they are and not the color of their skin. Later on, as he enjoyed hors d'oeuvres, he spoke to Spanky and me for about fifteen minutes about his life and his work as a black Cuban.

Over the course of the MLB event, I got to meet several writers/broadcasters I have looked up to including, Michael Ray Wilbon, David Aldridge, and J. A. Adande. I love DA and J.A., but meeting Wilbon was everything I expected and more. When I grow up I want to be like him LOL.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Justice B. Hill, senior writer for MLB.com, Ruben Luna, Sports Editor for the Detroit News, and Coley Harvey, a sportswriter a the Telegraph in Macon Georgia. Each individual had something of great value to impart to a young wannabe sportswriter who has yet to really make a splash in sports writing. I always have felt like you can never know too many people, a philosophy which was reinforced by meeting journalists from the beat writing level to the mega TV stars of widespread fame.

Very little time during the convention was devoted to interaction with students, so I jumped at the opportunity to go to a student forum on Saturday. There I got to meet a few journalism students from around the country and get some new ideas, such as a place to study abroad, an idea to help charter a student NAHJ (National Association of Hispanic Journalists), and some ways to get NABJ @ UK to be one of the award winning student chapters.

At the request of the magnificent Sheila Brooks I got to attend the NABJ Hall of Fame Banquet and the NABJ Salute to Excellence Awards. Both events celebrated great accomplishments of individuals and groups working to inform the people. Most people would have looked at it as a free food, but I saw a glimpse of what I need to be working towards… and I got free meals.

Unity ended with a night of parties including NABJ's Kick off to Tampa '09 party. I'm not much of a partier so I won't judge the overall shindig. But I will take this opportunity to say that Funkmaster Flex may be one of most respected DJ's in hip-hop, but he can ruin a party. He dropped songs (starting them and stopping them) repeatedly, played only small portions of songs, and missed some of the songs people love to hear at parties. Still, it was Funk Flex, and I was at a party he DJed so I ain't too mad. I also got to meet Kevin Frasier, formerly of ESPN currently of Entertainment Tonight at the party.

In general it was fun to get to be around family with Uncle Joe and Calvin who attended the conference. I also got to spend some unexpected time with Aunt TaRessa and my cousin Mariah. It was nice.

Overall I would say I'm satisfied. But, I still haven't recovered from flying out so early on Sunday morning without sleep… and I missed Barack L. Maybe next time.

Salute


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Unity ’08: The Story Pt. 1

I'm back!

Last week I went to Chicago for the Unity '08 Journalism Conference and let me tell you, it was splendiferous. Unity is the quadrennial meeting of the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Thanks to some convincing by my Aunt TaRessa, Uncle Joe Calvin, and cousin Calvin, along with funding from the mother, I was able to partake in the glory that is minority journalism.

The following is part 1 of my "assignment" for my Uncle Joe, which is several days late. I think he would agree me working, contacting individuals about financial aid, and squaring away my academic future is worth the delay… at least I hope.

To start off the city of Chicago seemed great. I say seemed because I didn't really get to experience Chicago. The schedule and structure of the conference did not lend itself to exploration, yet it gave enough of a taste that when I get the opportunity I will definitely return to create a unique set of Chicago adventures. Sidenote: Niketown in Chicago SUCKS—God awful. Niketown Seattle kills the Chicago version, and if I remember correctly, as it's been over a decade, the one in Portland puts the both combined to shame.)

The vast majority of the time at the conference with Calvin (aka hurt Spanky, just Spanky, Baby Barkley and any other random name you see in this blog), and we tried to do everything that Unity had to offer, while pelting each other with insults. So from day one we took in all the networking, learning sessions, and freebies we could find.

I am not a big fan of crowds and I anticipated being daunted, by such a large gathering of people. I was right. But it wasn't necessarily the crowds as much as it was the women. They were everywhere. It was like....hmmm. How bout this, imagine the greatest thing you can imagine and multiply that by a very large number. Yep, THAT good!

Lucky for me, I had a wonderful mentor to keep me in line and make sure I was in the right place at the right time. Sheila Brooks founder, CEO and President of SRB productions MADE the trip for me. She introduced me to the most important people in NABJ, made sure I got to see and do everything valuable Unity had to offer, and made sure I dotted my I's and crossed my T's when it came to networking etiquette.

The main "happening" of the conference was the continuous career fair. Schools, broadcast companies, newspapers, online news entities—even the WWE showed up and showed off their interests to a large diverse portion of the journalism workforce. I bounced around the expo center, jumping from booth to booth and gathering all the information I could, while bouncing my ideas and thoughts off of the various representative agents.

I must say, even though it looks like the job market is shrinking in journalism I feel like there is something for anyone who chooses to embark in "professional gossip," as the great Gabriel, who speaks on everything, eloquently calls journalism.

As the expo hall was laid out, the major corporations and bigger news entities (ESPN, NBC, CNN, USA Today, etc) held the prime real estate in the center of the fair. On the outside perimeter, the less glamorous elements of the media (Poynter Institute, USA.gov, smaller schools, and environmental journalism) beckoned for those who seek training, and a channel to meet the needs of specialized groups. So for all you young journalists, there are opportunities if you seek them out.


That's it for part 1. I think that's enough to digest for one day. Part 2 and more posts coming very soon!