The job interview, pt. 2: So I'm on AIM a few minutes ago, and I see my friend get online. I figure, what the heck, I'll say hi and maybe get an answer to my question:
mymedia: hello
Gifford044: um hi
Gifford044: who is this
mymedia: we talked last thursday
mymedia: you asked me if i wanted to be your pet negroid
Gifford044: ok
mymedia: why'd you do that?
No response for a good eight or nine minutes. So I ask again:
mymedia: again: why'd you do that?
Gifford044: ummmm goodbye
mymedia: so you're saying you weren't using this screen name thursday, and it wasn't you?
Gifford044: umm goodbye
mymedia: I'd just like an answer to the question, instead of evasion or denial.
Gifford044: shut up and leave me alone GOODBYE
It's so hard to find good help these days, especially with AIM profile information like this:
"if im not back in 5 minutes...wait longer" *ace ventura*
"~!~!wherever you go, there you are" *mike brady~!~!*
"a good friend stabs you in the front" *cant hardley wait* haha michelle lol!~ bffl!!
"okay now lets try and get an answer from someone whos not a complete retard" *south park*
"if you dont got anything nice to say about anyone, come sit next to me" *roosevelt* michelle, we do that to much!~
"in the end, everything is a gag" *charlie chaplin* tell me about it!!
have a nice dayo! i wont bye bye!!~~!~!
"im not a stop flirting" *blair and michelle*
"ya know what??...sometimes i think you should put a condom on your head since if your gonna act like a dick you should dress like one too~!!"
Meanwhile, back at home: Speaking of suing the blue off of someone ...
Can't stop the music: It just keeps pop, pop, poppin' along, most recently in these two discourses -- one from Ghost in the Machine on Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" (a series of essays I could probably do on at least 10 or 20 of my favorite disco/70s songs -- of all the objects to get Proustian about, but hey, that's my life), which led me to this piece on John Cusack's "High Fidelity."
"You're still a young man/baby, whoo-hoo/don't waste your time!": So this makes me think. I didn't have unstructured free time: In high school, I was s'posed to come straight home. Most everyone I knew at Banneker High did the same, unless they were into extracurricular activites (Model U.N., language club, jazz band, chess club and so on) All my efforts notwithstanding, I was a couple of weeks shy of 20 before I lost my virginity. Glad to hear 'bout racial stereotypes being discounted, though.
Columns, by Gollum: Martin Peretz on Andrew Sullivan, Dubya's projecting and Katherine Harris, Ron Rosenbaum's take on ballot counting in Nassau County, The "Big Lie," The Rumor ... and Katherine Harris, Amy Sullivan's take on the Democrats' odds of luring Sen. Olympia Snowe from the GOP and Harry Jaffe's mention of Terry Neal leaving the Washington Post for a $150K P.R.-land post after being passed over for the White House beat. Sorry, there's no Katherine Harris in the last two. (all links via Romenesko and MeFi)


Forget love -- let LAW rule: Believe it Lenny -- you were racially profiled, dumbass! The cops may have been Latinos, but sheesh, they were still cops, weren't they? I strongly advise you to lawyer up and sue ev'ry last inch of the blue off of 'em.


Sonnets from the Portuguese, love: So, yeah, Stacey and Starmama hit me off. He sent me to two greatest-hits albums, which helped me out in getting my Teena Marie timeline straight, but she authoritatively declaims that the song I mentioned a minute ago was on Lady T's "It Must Be Magic" album. Mercy, mercy, merci, mes amis, pour m'assistir.
Adventures in black vote suppression, pt. 5 in a series: Down in Florida, they got their lights punch(-card)ed out.
Scream, Drake-ula, scream: Eric Wittmershaus, the writer of this review of elsieandjack's latest album, is a formidable indie-rock authority. The only reason I heard Stereolab's last two albums (not counting "The Last of the Microbe Hunters") was that he loaned me his copy of "Emperor Tomato Ketchup" and sold me "Cobra and Phases ..." I don't think he liked "Cobra." I did, but I still think he and his magazine are cool. And now that VW's made Drake hothothot, it's interesting to see what folks can do with his body of work. Last time I spoke with Eric, before leaving ANG (where he wrote reviews and lent his editorial talents to the chain's lifestyle section), he said we should get together and jam. But I'm a real wuss at that, as several friends can attest (the getting together, and not so much the jamming).
Why I'm probably going to buy Outkast's "Stankonia" today: It's a line from one of its songs, "Bombs Over Baghdad (B.O.B.)," and aside from its ferocious near-d-'n'-b pace, massed choir and screaming guitar, it's just pleasing to me -- a more au courant "you need to get up, get out and git something."
Before you read up, get a laptop
Make a business for yourself, boy, set some goals
Make a fair diamond out of dusty coals


Recently Napsterfied: Slam poet and spoken-word artist Sarah Jones' "Blood." Basement Jaxx's "Red Alert." Emiliana Torlani's "To Be Free" -- the first track on her album "Love in the Time of Science" -- is just the latest in a series of Mono/Lamb/Hooverphonics pop'mospheric fractured breakbeat Music to Mall By or Future Car Ad Soundtracks. I like it anyway. Tina Marie's "Casanova Brown" (off 1983's "Robbery") and "Portuguese Love" (pre-'83, but what album? Those who don't remember their history are doomed to comb the remainder aisles for it -- or solicit reader help). An Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong album's nicest track, "A Foggy Day."
It ain't where ya from -- it's where ya "@": Joel Kotkin's "The New Geography: How the Digital Landscape is Reshaping the American Landscape" is a hopeful little (200 or so pages) tome, overviewing a lot of familiar ground and making dem(ap)ographic fodder out of it. Early on, a quote intended to reference the symbolic development in Cleveland (Gundy Arena, Jacobs Field, Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame) makes my Detroit-and-Baltimore-visited, Oakland-livin' ears burn:
Attempts to revive cities around such things as casinos, football arenas at best create a kind of Potemkin City that provides a patina of prosperity against a backdrop of persistent and perhaps irreversible decline.
After the burn subsides, there is a nice quote in a chapter called "The Artful City" from Jon Kamen of @Radical.Media.
"It falls back to the sense of community that surrounds artists, which is with their cities. You are what you eat and what you are exposed to. In a creative community, social existence is very much part of the exchange of ideas -- the communities of a New York, L.A., London, and Sydney give exceptional opportunities for that. The role of cities is intellectual exchange. Only cities have the critical mass to make this kind of company a success. You need the closeness."

And then, near the end -- after getting busted upside the head with all the hard-core realities about knowledge-value neighborhoods, immigration, "nerdistans" (a new word to me; how 'bout you?), mass media culture and slogging through What You Already Know (kids with skills stand most likely to stack mad loot), you have a line by the Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset:
"People do not live together merely to be together. They live together to do something together."
That's a close second to Timmy Thomas' take on it.


A fresh take on "Bamboozled": Cecily goes to the movies, and pays more attention to the m(e)n behind the curtain.
A foggy night/in Oakland town: ... and forget what you heard about little cat feet. There's a huge wall of it high above us to the west, getting ready to swallow the East Bay. I wouldn't pay any attention to meteorological phenomena normally, but The Wife and I just got in from the Jack London Diner (chicken melt, fries, tea and "Mamafesto" for her; grilled cheese on whole wheat, fries, tea, root beer float and that Harper's issue with the round table of brothers discussing reparations). Leaving the house, we saw hints of haziness in the air, vapor hinting at orange light as a solid form under streetlights' banks.
Oakland, CA (94612). CURRENTLY as reported at Oakland, CA. Last updated Sunday, November 26, at 12:24 AM Pacific Standard Time ( 3:24 AM EST)
Temp: 45�F
Wind: From the North at 3 mph
Dewpoint: 45�F
Rel. Humidity: 100%
Visibility: 2 miles
Barometer: - inches and falling
Sunrise: 7:01 am
4:51 pm


Who wants to be an Indian IT instructor?: There's money to be made, since it appears that the "doctor-engineer" syndrome has shifted to include another profession at a costly price (and not just to other industries).
Three the hard way: Add two NYTimes, one SonicNet. Blend until ready to go to bed.
  • Globalization sucks ... lattes through a Starbucks straw in Beijing's Forbidden City.
  • If art is a crime ... may G-d forgive the French government.
  • Now that we've no cable TV, I must be missing all the cool car commercials.
    Multimedia synchrony: ... this list called Firefly (for fans of Mark Eitzel) has had a chat of late about a new CMJ site in his honor, as well as a series of posts on a site comparing George Orwell's "1984" to Radiohead's "OK Computer" (which led to mention of the hoary Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon"/"Wizard of Oz" link), which led to a really sick suggestion -- an endless tape loop of "Dueling Banjos" over the 'ritual' scene in "Eyes Wide Shut."


    Neither a day late, nor a dollar short -- always on time, always on the money: Caught in Between hit me off with high praise, the kind I feel obligated to return by appreciating his own informative, enjoyable seven-day stretch of blogging -- including his observance of "Buy Nothing Day," a little bit o' fun with Census Bureau maps (which leads to wonder what a map of U.S. interracial couples would look like, as well as what a map of the country would look like once April's data gets crunched on folks who checked more than one box in the race category from April's tabulations) and the BBC's two cents on the "Wassup" guys' TV deal.
    T is for Tomoko: After hitting the New World Vegetarian Cafe on 8th Street, Ankita and I were looking to kill an hour before she had to go into work. We wandered into the Pro Arts Gallery on 9th Street between Broadway and Washington Street. In looking at paintings, digital photographs and installations, I found a really thought-provoking piece of art, an installation called "West Never Meets East."

    It's in a darkened corner of the gallery. On the floor, there are Asian-language newspapers and a boombox playing a tape of what sounds like an English-language class for foreign students. On the walls, an array of wooden cards that look like outsize Scrabble tiles read (cleverly) up to down and right to left and spell out a snippet of dialogue from the class.

    So of course, I shouldn't have been surprised to run into the installation's creator, a young woman named Tomoko Negishi, fiddling with a slide projector nearby. In complementing her on the piece, she talked about some of the issues that led her to create it: her sense of Western culture's reluctance to meet and treat Eastern culture fairly, for one. And I should have been even less surprised to find out she was a friend of Delia Nakayama's.

    Shout out: Radcliffe Arms R e v i e w and the Daily Dean respectively tackle philosophy, politics and media reviews and the social, romantic and philosophical peregrinations of a fellow Oaklander. For best results, use your Web browser as directed and apply his sites' links and musings to your brain's left and right hemispheres.


    The job interview: I was over at Stephen's place tonight at around 10 p.m. PST. He'd invited me over to hang with his folks for dinner. After they left, I started surfing and logged onto AOL Instant Messenger. I got a knock-knock. I accepted it, and the conversation below took place.
    Gifford044: wanna be my pet negroid?
    mymedia: sorry, already taken.
    Gifford044: i soe
    mymedia: but i'm fresh out of ignorant assholes. wanna apply?

    I never got a response after that. But I still have a slot in my personal org chart for an ignorant asshole, and sadly, it is open. If you should see Gifford044 on AIM, please remind him of our brief but interesting conversation and tell him (1) that he never replied to my offer, and that (2) people like himself are strongly encouraged to do so at their earliest convenience, EEOC and so on.
    My Lipton "tea": Well, long as Ms. Avoirdupois, April, Cecily, Elisabeth are doin' it (as well as Wockerjabby and Ctrl-Alt-Ego), who am I not to get in on some of that action? For real, 'tho!
  • What is your favorite word? Morning (as spoken by The Wife)
  • What is your least favorite word? The N-word.
  • What turns you on? Intelligence. A sense of humor. Direct eye contact.
  • What turns you off? A dearth of the aforementioned qualities.
  • What sound do you love? I can't describe it here.
  • What sound do you hate? The quick downward-spiraling beep of my Ricochet modem dropping its connection.
  • What is your favorite curse word? When I drove more regularly and people cut me off on the freeway, it was "dickless motherfucker."
  • What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Private investigations.
  • What profession would you not like to participate in? For now, politics.
  • If Heaven exists [it does] what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? I need a favor -- can you cover my shift next millennium?
  • 2000/11/22

    My brother the holiday: My employers were good enough to post an audio essay about Thanksgiving, Dubya and Jeb, birthday envy and family dynamics in advance of tomorrow. Erin David Kelly is safe in the bosom of family, visiting close friends and basking in their glow. It's a sappy, sappy scene, I'm sure. The drive down from the New Jerusalem was slow but uneventful, and he couldn't stop talking about his rental, a money-green 1999 Mercury Cougar. I remember that cat 'hind the wheel from the last time I visited D.C. in the summer of 1997. Apparently he still knows how to make your hair do the Bob Dylan, blowin' in the wind.
    All the news that's fit to upload: *Psst!* Yeah, you! Statanic Action! says the striking (and he means labor, although I'm sure they're gorgeous in their own special way) Seattle newspaper workers have an online newspaper. Pass it on!


    Rub-a-dub-Dubya, on top on a brother?: George W. Bush's hands are awfully close to this young black boy's head. Unless I miss my guess, he didn't (but if you have it on tape, give me a holler!), but apparently I'm not just tweaking: It is an old superstition. (second one from last) Nobody rubs Michael Jordan's pate or Jesse Jackson's scalp, but maybe they did Charles Barkley's. Somebody once rubbed Dick Gregory's head, according to this Paul Krassner L.A. Times book review of Paul Beatty's "The White Boy Shuffle." And this other brother had to face it down during a trip to Ireland:
    Midway through our lunch, we noticed an older white woman heading straight for our table saying, "Ooh�" In my experience, old white women coming at me saying anything that begins with "ooh" means that nothing good will follow. It turned out that she was coming to assure George, the other black man in our group, and me that we "really are human beings," and that she had a great time living among us in London�s Brixton. She gave my hand a two-handed shake for emphasis at every sentence. George was surprisingly gracious, that is until she started rubbing his head. There are many reasons that people have been known to rub black folks' heads �� for good luck, to see what black hair feels like, to see if it really gets wet. None of them is a good reason."
    Screw George, it's all about Sade: After all this time, after all is said and done.


    S.O.S.!: is the sound Stephen Stout makes when he's getting his Web stuff together with a friend over the weekend.
    Like the man said ... : Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
    TN don't stand for Tennessee no mo': ... it stands for Tamer Nafar, according to the ballistics kicked by Deborah Camiel of Reuters.
    A fast-talking 21-year-old in baggy jeans, oversized jacket and back-to-front baseball cap is attacking the Israeli government -- in rhyme.

    He calls himself TN, and he's Israel's only Arab rapper.

    Tamer Nafar, from the slums of Israel's mixed Arab-Jewish city of Lod, says he has even more reason to hate his government after weeks of Israeli-Palestinian violence that has killed more than 200 people, nearly 90 percent of them Arabs.

    "Are they still protesting? I though they'd all been offed," Nafar told Reuters in an interview, referring to Palestinians.

    "I feel for them. I feel the attack against me and my people and I have something to say. I write it in rhymes and I do it in rap. Some guys burn tires, some shoot guns -- this is my way."

    Nafar, who grew up in Lod's urban squalor "in shacks, like everyone," has stopped following news of the violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (news - web sites) that spilled over into Arab cities in Israel proper in the first weeks after it began late last month.

    Thirteen Israeli Arabs were shot dead during violent demonstrations of solidarity with their Palestinian brethren.

    "It kills me. It leads me to hate the government even more, since the (protesters) are fighting for us and for what belongs to us," he said. "Still, I don't know exactly where I fit in. "I know (the Palestinians) are aggressive, but they've suffered for years under Israel. And the bottom line to us and to them is the same -- death to the Arabs."

    Arab citizens of Israel, some 19 percent of the population, complain of racism and institutionalized discrimination.

    "Yo, whassup, I'm Tamer Nafar, TN the untouchable. You can call me the crimefighter. I'm sick of all these mother f+++++n' drug dealers. I wake up without a mood, see I live in a rough 'hood, a tough 'hood named Lod," TN sings in English.

    Nafar, who picked up Afro-American slang by reading subtitled Spike Lee movies, released his first single in English but now raps mainly in Hebrew for the benefit of the Israeli bourgeoisie who see his act in the clubs of north Tel Aviv. He made the switch "so the people understand, so the occupation itself will understand. The message is that the minority is opening its mouth."

    Man on film: The wife pretty much dragged me to see "What's Cookin'" 'cause she and I have Sundays off, and when else is she going to have an evening free (not to mention how fast this movie, despite its general excellence, is going to be outta theaters soon)?

    Full disclosure: Figured it was going to be a chick flick -- hotties like Alfre Woodward, Joan Chen, Mercedes Ruehl, Julianna Margulies, Kyra Sedgwick; "Bhaji on the Beach" director Gurindher Chadha at the helm; a heartwarming "holiday" focus and many soft-focus "Soul Food" stylee cooking-porn -- but no, the damn thing had to go and confound most of my expectations.

    Take the opening shot (please!): To the tune of "America the Beautiful," you see a picture of this stereotypical 50s-type Anglo family gathered 'round a turkey. Then the camera pulls back and you see it's an ad affixed to the side of a city bus. Said vehicle is full of all kinds o' folk: black, white, Puerto Rican, everybody just a-freakin'. A couple of street signs glimpsed here and there, a few more shots of workaday, unglamoured ethnicities and you realize you're in El Lay, the cit-tay of "Catfish in Black Bean Sauce" (another tight, multiculti-savvy flick likely not coming to a theater near you -- but maybe a quality video store if you ask nicely) and not, say, "Grand Canyon."

    More to come on this later, 'cause it was so enjoyable ... as opposed to a poster ad for Disney's latest piece of ethnicized, exoticized animated crap. If it takes place in a fictional "mythical mountain kingdom," why must its creators turn the lead character into a freakin' llama? Why not go whole hog, make it a fictional animal and leave Peruvian/Andean fauna out of it?

    While I'm on a roll, I'm tired of seeing Samuel Jackson -- this Mystical, Majestical Coon thing is really going around Hollywood; try not to catch it! -- claim that a literal trainload of people have to die so Bruce Willis can finally get to the bottom of his "Unbreakable"-ness.

    Lastly, two to avoid: Nicolas Cage as an investment banker who trades in a girlfriend and sports car (thanks to a handy-dandy Plot Twiste some screenwriter acquired at Ye Olde Twilight Zone Trading Post) for a wife and minivan in "The Family Man" and Mel Gibson as a chauvinist (there's a stretch) who (courtesy of an accident -- yeah, his screenwriter slipped on a puddle of melting Plot Twistes in the Trading Post and hit his head something awful) is given the ability to hear women's thoughts in "What Women Want."

    911 ain't a joke: ... as Mark at iMac, iBook, iBlog can fully attest, for all those who ain't hep. As a mere stripling of 15 or 16, I used to pass time riding the 70/73 and Q/Y buses along Georgia Avenue, traveling back and forth between Benjamin Banneker Model Academic Senior High in Washington, D.C., and my mom's house in Silver Spring, Md., by watching for passing Porsches. Gorgeous vehicles, they are.


    Glass ceiling in academia? WHAT glass ceiling?: No, I'm not trippin'. I'm thoroughly aware of its continued existence at colleges and universities, as well as elsewhere in the world of employment. But we who wish to see it broken can be heartened by this, I suppose.


    Are you where you live?: ... or where you're s'posed to? OK, this was one of the first things I blogged. Apparently they've got this MicroVision 50 thing jumping off now. So I'm part of the MetroMix. Did they nail me? Well, the age, no-kids and fast-food Asian restaurant thing, sure, well, anybody could have told them THAT. They went 2 for 3 on communications and tech (boyee, I ain't ordering nuthin' off pay-per-view; shee, I thought they knew!). Yes, yes and yes on the media section, and of course, the financial data is class-i-fied. Or maybe this is more me (though that little MARRIAGE thing I got goin' on hasn't popped up yet in the profiles -- maybe this is what I'd be if I hadn't left D.C.) Apparently there aren't any more of these in my ZIP code; their surveys used to turn up more of them where I live, but not anymore. If I had to guess, I'd say I probably split the difference 'tween these and these.


    Hitting the Eeeeeee-spot: At, Greg makes me nostalgic for my buzz cut.
    A great work of literature, viciously parodied for topical amusement: Raaka? I'm at his Beckett call. (and check the map out too) ...


    Adventures in black vote suppression, pt. 4 in a series: Duval County fouled up their ballots.
    The Duval County ballot listed Mr. Gore on the first page, along with Mr. Bush, Ralph Nader and two other candidates. Then on the second page were the names of five other presidential candidates. After voting for Mr. Gore, many Democratic voters turned the page and voted for one of the remaining names, Mr. Gregory said.

    The double-marked ballots substantially affected Mr. Gore's showing, a Times analysis of voting data suggests. More than 20 percent of the votes cast in predominantly African-American precincts were tossed out, nearly triple the majority white precincts. In two largely African-American precincts, nearly one-third of the ballots were invalidated.

    Altogether, 21,942 ballots were rejected because the voter punched the hole beside the name of more than one candidate, and another 4,927 were invalidated because the voter punched no hole next to a presidential candidate, said the Duval County supervisor of elections.

    I call dibs on! ... as well as,, and But no chance of allabout.geo, apparently:
    Names turned down included .geo, .web and .kids, which the board said could lead to sites with content harmful rather than beneficial for children."

    Hate vs. achievement -- a cost-ratio analysis: Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster paid $150,000 to David Duke for a list of 80,000 names of people who like what he's into. Now, today's Fed raid on Duke's house for tax purposes aside, it occurs to me that Foster paid almost $1.88 per name for each Duke sympathizer -- more than nine times what event companies and corporate marketers are paying for "Black Diamonds." Ain't that a blip?
    Have $192.5 million and a smile! $192.5 million is IT! Always $192.5 million!: Biggest payout in corporate history. God bless lawyers. Now, where'd I put my copy of this month's Harper's?


    This is no ordinary love: Waited till the end of the day. Knew how nice it'd be to ride home with it. Went in, grabbed it off the first or second rack facing the door, meandered along the first floor for a while. Let the store guards follow me around for a bit on the second floor, where I tried to hear that Jason Moran cover of Bjork's "Joga," but only found the last Robert Cray CD stuck in the listening booth. Cruised the Brazilian aisle, but they were fresh out of Arto Lindsay and I didn't feel any urgency for Caetano Veloso's "Estrangeiro." What else? Johnny Cash's cover of U2's "One" is probably good. I'd've grabbed "All That You Can't Leave Behind," but it played for about half an hour on Saturday night when Christine joined me and the missus at Ben and Nick's on College Avenue and suddenly, despite my liking it, there's no incentive, no excitement, no controlling licit authority. Anyway, paid for it at the register after hearing the 15-minutes-to-closing announcement, tore off the plastic and popped it into my laptop. And it was just like old times.
    The "Talented Twentieth" ... And apparently, for all their exclusivity, they're going cheap. Where have you gone, E. Franklin Frazier and W.E.B. DuBois? A nation(ality) turns its lonely eyes to you ...
    Black Diamonds parties, like the weekly after-work mixer at Aubette, on East 27th Street, are designed for the African-American elite, culled from carefully screened databases. The list of invitees � about 10,000 of the young black bourgeoisie in New York, Chicago and Washington � is Black Diamond's bread and butter.

    The founders use the list to set up networking events, dance parties, and other social gatherings, e-mailing invitations to clients at least once a week. In a questionable move, (italics mine) they have also begun to sell the list to companies seeking the attention of wealthy black consumers, at 20 cents a pop. There is no denying a certain haughtiness associated with the Black Diamonds list. Pamela A. Pickens, 33, the company's president, and Derek K. Corley, 35, the vice president, describe their clients as "quality people." "It's a person who has money; a positive, forward- thinking person who can get things done," Mr. Corley said. The company focuses on African-Americans from 21 to 40, with an average income of about $45,000 and a college degree.

    "You have to be upwardly mobile and exhibit a certain class, a certain way of being that's sort of mainstream and dignified, and a way that's not going to create fear in people," Ms. Pickens explained. "But it's not income driven. Would we say someone who volunteers for the Peace Corps with a heart good as gold 'we won't take you'? No. We have standards, but it's not elitist in that way. It has more to do with your intellectual experience than your income level."

    The Black Diamonds profile reflects a segment of the population that was long overlooked by event promoters and corporate marketers. For a long time, Ms. Pickens said, it was difficult to find groups of upwardly mobile African-Americans anywhere in New York, because clubs and bars were wary of holding any party for black people under 40. But now, Black Diamonds is just one of several promotional groups that concentrate on African-American professionals. And companies have become increasingly interested in reaching their clients.

    Sunday morning still most segregated time of week for U.S.: ... but apparently the first Tuesday of every fourth November is closing fast.
    Happy Birthday, Mood Indigo: Turning 24 was a kickass experience for me. I'm pretty sure you'll dig it too.
    Ring, my bell! + Cornel West's ode to heterogeneity: The wife was reading bell hooks' "Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics" yesterday when she found this passage.
    Often when people are suffering a legacy of deprivation, there is a sense that there are never any goodies to go around, so that we must viciously compete with one another. Again this spirit of competition creates conflict and divisiveness. In a larger social context, competition between black men and women has surfaced around the issue of whether black female writers are receiving more attention than black male writers. Rarely does anyone point to the reality that only a minority of black women writers are receiving public accolades. Yet the myth that black women who succeed are taking something away from black men continues to permeate black psyches and inform how we as black women and men respond to one another. Since capitalism is rooted in unequal distribution of resources, it is not surprising that we as black women and man find ourselves in situations of competition and conflict.
    This was, in a much clearer way, an argument I'd made in a conversation we had Sunday about how some brothers and sisters relate to one another. I couldn't quite articulate the economic overlay convincingly, and I couldn't state -- as I can now, upon reflection -- that capitalism has informed black love for a long time, from the auction block straight through to the pop charts. Flushed with this minor cross-connection, I borrowed the book and started cruising through a dialogue hooks had with Cornel West before an audience at Yale University's African-American Cultural Center:
    C.W.: It is important to note the degree to which black people in particular, and progressive people in general, are alienated and estranged from communities which would sustain and support us. We are often homeless. Our struggles against a sense of nothingness and attempts to reduce us to nothing are ongoing. We confront regularly the question: "Where can I find a sense of home?" That sense of home can only be found in our construction of those communities of resistance bell talks about and the solidarity we can experience within them. Renewal comes through participating in community. That is the reason so many folks continue to go to church. In religious experience they find a sense of renewal, a sense of home. In community one can feel that we are moving forward, that struggle can be sustained.

    And then West dropped this particular pearl, which I thought somebody might find useful. Or maybe it just hit me in my third eye or wherever it was s'posed to hit me:

    (As we go forward as black progressives,) we must remember that community is not about homogeneity. Homogeneity is dogmatic imposition, pushing your way of life, your way of doing things onto somebody else. That is not what we mean by community. Dogmatic insistence that everybody think and act alike causes rifts among us, destroying the possibility of community. That sense of home that we are talking about and searching for is a place where we can find compassion, recognition of differences, of the importance of diversity, of our individual uniqueness.


    There is a light and it never goes out: ... and they keep it on for Smiths fans here. What brought that on? Randomwalks' latest subject line, which chimed softly like a Johnny Marr guitar lick in the back of my head until I was able to place the lyric properly.


    It's not easy being Green: ... and of course, even less so of late in the Sunshine State. Spotted on

    "Some people tell me my vote cost Gore the election, but I reject that argument," said Holly Hutchinson, 42, a museum worker. "It's arrogant. I didn't vote for George Bush. I voted for greater democracy. I voted for taking immediate steps to end the crisis of the environment and the corporate dominance of our government and culture."
    A postmortem on "compassionate conservatism": A Newsmax columnist studies the tea leaves in a Voter News Service nationwide exit poll and finds out what George W. Bush's campaign did wrong.
    Spiked! RandomWalks finds Mr. Lee -- an alleged, but never proven player-hater -- weighing in on "Driving Mr. Damon."


    Yo, D.C., where is the love?: What goes around ...
    After President Clinton ticked off the states, including Florida, where Nader was hurting Gore, Brown's husband, Harry Evans, exclaimed: "I want to kill Nader!"

    "That's not a bad idea!" Sen.-elect Clinton replied with a big grin -- immediately followed by a collective cry of "That's off the record!"

    ... comes around.

    Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., greeted her election tartly.

    I tell you one thing, when this Hillary gets to the Senate -- if she does, maybe lightning will strike and she won't -- she will be one of 100 and we won't let her forget it,'' he said."


    Gear lust: ... is a must.


    Two directions: Got thoroughly open on this woman's debut album, so acquiring her second (which I didn't know was out) is a must.
    "You've got to peel off the layers, one by one, that's what writing's about," she says, holding up an inch of air in her fingers. "Getting to the core. Sometimes you don't want to, you want to stay warm. It's not easy getting used to freedom, you know. We're not trained that way."
    And you get about two-and-a-half minutes of one of my all-time favorite songs -- a mighty dance production team's star-studded album project, remixed by a legendary British dance duo -- from its placement batting 3rd on what looks like an interesting album.
    Nummy nummy num! It's the Indian restaurant closest to home, and it's all good.
    Ivy League No Longer a Ruth-less Place: And where else would you expect a sister to make a debut but Brown University?
    One more reason to laugh at Moby: Can't he find enough fault in Al Gore's campaign, enough blame to leave Ralph Nader out of it?
    Seven brides for ten cavemen: Forget medieval -- the BBC gets mitochondrial on mitochondrial on Europeans' asses. (courtesy Robot Wisdom)
    Telling quotes of the day: Here.
    "Dade County Republicans have a very specific expertise in getting out absentee ballots," he said. "I obviously have specific experience in this myself." XAVIER SUAREZ, former Miami mayoral candidate and current Miami-Dade GOP executive committee member, on filling out absentee ballots in advance of this year's election

    And the response:

    When told of this, Kendall Coffee, lead attorney in the original Suarez suit, said, "He said that?" Coffee, a recognized expert in absentee ballot law, added, "This is striking. Florida has a troubled history in absentee ballots. Republicans often tell voters that they can use absentee ballots if it is more convenient for them, but the law requires that there must be an inability or barrier to voting in person."

    Coffee went on to say that Suarez�s participation in any part of enlisting absentee ballots troubled him deeply. "Suarez was found to have taken part in systematic and massive absentee ballot fraud. He was found to have done significantly better in absentee balloting than in the general vote." He went on to say that since that time, while some improvements have been made, "no one watchdogs absentee balloting, other than the campaigns themselves. The election commission has no authority to oversee the distribution of coordination of absentee ballots until they are counted."

    "These ballots are going to decide the outcome of the closest race in a generation and, given Suarez�s and this state�s murky history with regard to absentee balloting, this calls for meticulous and vigorous investigation."

    Adventures in black vote suppression:, pt. 3 in a series: Over here, yo.
    Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Florida, says 19,000 votes in Palm Beach County have been disqualified because of a faulty ballot. His charge comes as Florida recounts votes cast during Tuesday's election to decide the next president of the United States.

    Both presidential candidates, Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush, are waiting to learn the results of the Florida recount. The candidate who wins Florida is expected to win the U.S. presidency.

    With 21 counties reporting their recount early Thursday, Gore gained 642 votes and Bush added
    144. The new count in Florida was 2,909,404 for Bush and 2,908,126 for Gore -- a difference of 1,278 votes.

    Officials at the Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor's office could not be reached for comment on Wexler's remarks, nor could officials at the Florida Division of Elections.

    At a news conference on Wednesday, Wexler said those 19,000 ballots were double-punched and "disqualified because they voted twice."

    He said the greatest concentration of those double-punched votes came from African-American communities, and he charged that 15 percent of the black vote in the county was disqualified.


    Adventures in black vote suppression, pt. 2 in a series: That's what you might call a cop-out.
    Don't get all starry-eyed ... : But's got some stuff here to crack you up. Word.


    Adventures in black vote suppression, pt. 1 in a series: Democrats in New Jersey say: Fraudulent calls suck. Cut it out! And you knew it was coming, because Al Gore and the Democrats were leaning so heavily on black voter turnout.
    Sarah Vowell, a true American patriot: Or something like that.
    Where do I sign up for qi gong again? Ernie over at little. yellow. different. makes me want to reconsider certain kinds of exercise as well as my pending MyYahoo moratorium.
    Culture, size and the New York Times: Here's the first article I've wanted to read in the series. Shades of that Ophira stuff from a few days ago, yo.
    No business being up at this hour: But I am, so fcuk it as he might say. Once you pass a certain point, a specific number of hours without sleep or temporary pause/short circuit/down-time in brain activity, you might as well keep going. I'm tired, tired, tired of posting MyYahoo stories, despite their convenience and easy personalization/personability. They always seem to disappear within a couple of weeks, leaving readers who click on them with little context aside from whatever they can draw from the text in which it's embedded. But I'm not THAT tired yet, so heeeere wee go:
  • NAACP to Bush campaign: Fraudulent calls suck. Cut it out!
  • Let's wait a few years and see if the kid can act AND dance ...
  • For those of you who thought drug busts were all about the drugs.
  • The feds had better not go and screw this case up.
  • Another show I wish I'd been to see.
  • No guru, no DJ Headliner, no Dionne Farris: Wake me when they go double-linoleum.
  • Speaking of which: now more than ever, Mama's always on stage. Thank you. That is all.
  • Another show I wish I'd been to, but I was pinned down by incoming stories. Don't cry for me, Al and Dubya ...
  • See if you can spot the "Play"ed out DJ who's feeling full of himself 'cause he sold well his last time out.
  • A Democratic Party supporter? Now there's a Chaka ...
  • 2000/11/06

    Healthcare, not laptops: Bill Gates, having made his money, can finally afford to say what the world needs now.
    Speaking in Seattle at a conference on using computers to help the Third World, Gates said he still had faith in the ideal that technology could bring about a better world, but added that he doubted that computers - or global capitalism - could solve the most immediate catastrophes facing the world's poorest people.

    People who thought that developing countries could benefit from the e-economy had no idea what it meant to live on $1 a day with no electricity, said Gates. 'You're just buying food; you're trying to stay alive.'

    The billionaire technologist became positively vitriolic about the idea of using computers in the Third World: 'Mothers are going to walk right up to that computer and say, "My children are dying, what can you do?" They're not going to sit there and, like, browse eBay or something.

    'What they want is for their children to live. Do you really have to put in computers to figure that out?'


    One man, point-eight-seven percent of a vote: Brother, brother, brother, there's far too many of us not voting ...
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With efforts to get out the vote in full swing ahead of Tuesday's election, activists hoping to rally minority communities face a legal roadblock -- 13 percent of black men have lost the right to vote because of incarceration or past felony convictions.

    In Alabama and Florida, one study found, the total is as high as one in three.

    "About 1.8 million men are disenfranchised within the African-American community,'' said Keenan Keller, minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, where a bill to extend voting rights to ex-offenders has languished for more than a year.

    In certain swing states, the number of folks who are disenfranchised could actually have a direct impact on the election," he said, adding that because of aggressive policing linked to the war on drugs the impact on future elections could be great.

    You have the situation where juveniles can lose the right to vote before they even get it," he said.

    The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C., organization that promotes alternative sentencing programs, reports that in 47 states and the District of Columbia, all convicted adults in prison are denied voting rights while they are incarcerated. Thirty two states also deny paroled felons the right to vote, 29 deny felons on probation the vote, and in 13 states ex-offenders lose their voting rights for life.

    Only Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts allow prisoners convicted of felonies to vote. But that right is on the ballot in Massachusetts on Tuesday when voters will be asked to decide whether to disenfranchise prisoners in that state.

    Laws Based On Civil Death

    Laws denying criminals the right to vote have been on the books in the United States for 200 years. They are based on the belief that those who break the law should suffer "civil death" and forfeit some rights.

    Roger Clegg, general counsel for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Equal Opportunity, has testified before the House Judiciary Committee on the issue. He said there are good reasons why the criminal disenfranchisement law should be maintained.

    The basic point is that somebody who is not willing to follow the law should not have a role in making the laws for everyone else. That's what you're doing when you vote,'' Clegg said in a telephone interview.

    There has to be some sort of minimum threshold of trustworthiness or loyalty an individual must have before they have a role in running the government."

    But those advocating a change say the old "civil death" laws could not have envisioned a society in which millions of people -- convicted of crimes ranging from murder to non-violent theft -- lose their right to vote. They say once a criminal has served their sentence they should be free to participate in the political process.

    Like the dark days of segregation, when laws were manufactured to keep blacks out of the voting booth, some today are reviewing the rules governing voting rights for felons to see whether they disproportionately affect the African-American community and muzzle its political voice.

    In all, 4.2 million Americans -- either current prison inmates or ex-offenders -- are not allowed to vote. Of those, more than one third are black, according to The Sentencing Project. That amounts to 13 percent of all black men.

    We estimate in our report that for black males born today, in the most restrictive states, 30 to 40 percent of them will lose their voting rights at some point in their life," said Mark Mauer, the group's assistant director.

    In 1998, The Sentencing Project and Human Rights Watch looked at the extent of criminal disenfranchisement and found that in Alabama and Florida, 31 percent of all black men were permanently disenfranchised.

    In five other states -- Iowa, Mississippi, New Mexico, Virginia and Wyoming -- one in four black men were permanently disenfranchised, and in Texas one in five black men had lost the right to vote.

    In September, The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law filed suit in federal court in Florida challenging the constitutionality of the state's permanent disenfranchisement of ex-felons.

    Nancy Northup, director of The Brennan Center's Democracy Program and lead attorney in the case, said the state's law is designed to discriminate against African Americans.

    It violates the Voting Rights Act because it continues to discriminate against African American voters," she said.

    Statanic Action!: It's not a Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan flick, but it's still a fair description of Stacey-in-Seattle's blog, particularly of late. If you're envious of his comings and goings, and the fun he enjoys, ask yourself this: Didn't your mama teach you it's not nice to player-hate? Send him love, money and suggested DJ tunage, or visit him over yonder.
    Gimme a beat! So, ever since Napster released a proper Mac client, I've been veerry busy ...
  • Ace's "How Long Has This Been Going On": Yeah, sappy, I know. I don't care.
  • Artful Dodger's "Rewind" and his remix of Sisqo's "Thong Song": Garage, 2-step or whatever they're calling this stuff probably sounds lovely when cranked up loud as fuck.
  • Arto Lindsay's cover of Al Green's "Simply Beautiful": A sweet, good-humored take, not so much interested in doing it justice as having fun (and that's ... all right wit' me)
  • Belle and Sebastian's "Seeing Other People" and "Like Dylan in the Movies": The tracks I spun most regularly off "If You're Feeling Sinister"
  • Bjork's "Joga": What's that young pianist fella, Jason Moran, doing puttin' a cover of this on his album? And am I going to have to cruise the listening booths at Virgin Mega to find out in full?
  • Brand New Heavies' "Never Stop": Danced both my asscheeks off during this band's live show on an evening's cruise along the Potomac many moons ago.
  • Dream Academy's "Life in a Northern Town": Sweet ol' 80's pop tune.
  • Green Velvet's "Answering Machine": My brother Erin played it for me.
  • Isley Brothers' "Footsteps in the Dark" and "Harvest for the World": Love, love, love those tracks. Already have their takes on Todd Rundgren's "Hello It's Me," James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" and Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" so these were nice to find.
  • LTJ Bukem's remix of Jodeci's "Feenin'": Barely any K-Ci or JoJo in there; just disembodied snippets in a breakbeat breeze, without respect to the O.G. song structure.
  • Lou Rawls' "Lady Love" and "You'll Never Find (Another Love Like Mine)": Good, good memories of these songs on the radio. When I was a kid, I would harmonize along in my deepest voice.
  • Massive Attack's "Protection": That deathless riff from James Brown's "The Big Payback" never sounded less vengeful, or more warm, oceanic and amniotic once Tracey Thorn and the boys hooked it up lovely.
  • Miles Davis' "Someday My Prince Will Come" and "Kind of Blue": The former batted leadoff on my driving-out-of-the-ANG-parking-lot-and-pulling-onto-580 tape for a good while. The latter may have been on there, too.
  • O'Jays' "Backstabbers": I owe Cecily for this, 'cause her hearing it on SonicNet a couple of weeks ago spurred me to find it and spend the next hour or so afterward, mutterin' "What they doin'!" to myself.
  • Steely Dan's "Black Cow" and "Babylon Sisters": Not my fave tracks off "Aja" and "Gaucho" -- those would probably be "Home at Last" or "Peg," and "Glamour Profession" or "Hey 19" -- but they're in the running.
  • Stephanie Mills' "Never Knew Love Like This Before": Sweet, boyhood memories of trampolining on the bed at home and listening to WKYS-FM on the radio.
  • St. Germain's "Alabama Blues": Uptempo bluesy lyric, grafted onto a throbbing sizzler of a house track. I can see why Simon Reynolds -- whose site I was poring over last night for 2-step songs and other background info -- was so underwhelmed by Moby now.
  • Armand Van Helden's remix of Sneaker Pimps' "Spin Spin Sugar": Heard this first on Live 105's "Subsonic" with Aaron Axelson.
  • The Roots' "You Got Me": I get all teary when the drum 'n' bass drops in, even before enjoying the hard relationship realities Black Thought and Eve kick and the soft, saccharine, sentimental aftertaste of the music.
  • Kurt Elling and Cassandra Wilson's version of "Time of the Season": A little overblown and slowed-down, but I like her. I need to find a couple more by him; he has a talent and maybe he'll grow on me.
  • Tortoise's "DJed," "In Sarah, Mencken, Christ and Blue," "Jetty" the Nobukazu remix of "TNT" and the "Suspension Bridge" song: I must cave in and get the CDs, which were purchased but then were scratched or accidentally destroyed.
  • U2's "The Sweetest Thing," "The Ground Beneath Her Feet," "Stateless" and "Beautiful Day": Good stuff all around.
  • Vicious Pink's "8:15 to Nowhere" and "Great Balls of Fire" : Obscure 80's fun, but don't blame it on my youth -- blame it on a friend of mine's ...

    This list was brought to you in response to Ms. Avoirdupois' movie rental list.

  • 2000/11/01

    What we talk about when we talk about Bush and Gore: This is what's up with the election.

    The loser factor: This dude's piece alludes to how there's nobody he can feel superior to in hip-hop 'cause everyone's bling-blingin', throwin' dollar bills everywhere, spinning diamond-encrusted Rolexes around on their wrists like propellers and making tattoos do the boogaloo by flexin' muscled pecs. He hasn't been payin' attention -- saying rap videos first showed up on MTV in '96 is not your (or my) first clue to that. It's how he's never heard of P.M. Dawn, Basehead or Arrested Development; didn't think to name-check the Native Tongue posse (the usual suspects most likely to be rounded up for cool-white-boy hip-hop fans' referrals); and only stops at Eminem without going all the way to Elvis (and coolly noting how Dr. Dre's going to go down as hip-hop's Col. Sam Phillips -- just for the record, yo, what would a posse cut with Marshall Mathers, Snoop Dogg, Dre and Aftermath Records' newest signee, Rakim, sound like? Picture that ...). But, like, don't get me started on people who can't "hear," 'cause we could be here forever.

    (both links courtesy Robot Wisdom)

    Just posted: Al, you sexy thing! If you catch or happen to tape Queen Latifah's show, lemme know. Thanks in advance ...


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