Six months: ... since my first post via Blogger; nine months if you count the stuff I started writing a few months further back (here and here). I've gained many friends (most of whom are in my links page -- or coming soon), read about loads of experiences and reflected on differing perspectives -- eh, I'll stop before this turns into a George W. Bush speech.

No, but on a serious note, this has been an interesting experiment. Has it really been all about George? Could it be? Like Preston says: "Do you know this man?" Hell, do I know this man?

Three of my grandparents have died in the last two weeks; because of certain histories of estrangement within my family and also by choice, I haven't been very close to them. This isn't the kind of stuff I've wanted to simply "blog," 'cause what do I link it to? At the same time, I fear (for me) that an "online journal" or "diary" would run the risk of separating things I find linkworthy (interesting on a political, social, intellectual, cultural or philosophical level) from more subjective topics (reactions to events on the previously mentioned levels, emotions, passing feelings and day-in-day-out mood schtuff). There's a place for that; thusly, portions of my old diaries will go up at some point -- not here, but elsewhere on the site.

Bottom line? Integration's my aim, the world (w)holistically perceived is my goal. Wish me luck!

Shaw 'nuff: ... Bernie was the guy my mom figured I should model myself after when I first decided on journalism as a career. I think she's still a little mad that I didn't want to be on television. Reese Schonfeld remembers a Bernie story. (via Romenesko)
What was No. 1 the day you were born?: ... Go find out. For me here, it was Carole King's "It's Too Late." In the U.K., it was the Middle of the Road's "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep."


Hungry for social change?: ... If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can help out by dining out at select restaurants in The City.
On Thursday, March 1, participating restaurants will donate a portion of their proceeds to support the work of San Francisco Women Against Rape, a grassroots, majority women of color rape crisis center committed to anti-oppression as an integral part of our work.

Hey, hey, hey!: ... OK, OK, I just had to get it out of my system. *naah, naah, naah, gonna have a good time ... *
Comedian Bill Cosby, whose popularity never stretched to the big screen, will resurrect his "Fat Albert'' personality for a live-action feature.

The Twentieth Century Fox project will be based on Cosby's standup comedy monologues about his childhood in Philadelphia. It will blend hip-hop music, humor and topical social and personal issues.

"Bill Cosby and Fat Albert are national treasures, though Bill's the thinner of the two,'' mused Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman Tom Rothman.

Cosby, who co-wrote the script with Charles Kipps, and will executive produce with his wife, Camille Cosby, has been pursued for feature rights for years by a bevy of studios, but only now decided to proceed.

While "Albert'' will be a new screen entity, the character has already enjoyed a long run in a TV toon. Show, dubbed "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids'' and later "The New Fat Albert Show,'' was a CBS Saturday morning staple from 1972-84.


A spot for African-American news and views: ... is After 7.
Autonomous Post-Materialist: ... thy name is George, or so says the survey.


ABC News rOOlz!: ... because my favorite anchorman ever gets his props. (I used to listen to him on the radio and see on TV when I was growing up in D.C. Roll over Peter Jennings, and tell Sam Donaldson the news ...
NEW YORK (Variety) - ABC News has named Derek McGinty anchor of its overnight newscast "World News Now."

McGinty, who will co-anchor with Alison Stewart, replaces Anderson Cooper, who ankled in October to host ABC's reality series "The Mole." He will also report for other ABC News programs.

McGinty joins ABC News from WJLA, the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C., where he has been co-host of "Capital Sunday," a weekly news interview program that he'll continue to host. He is also a regular substitute anchor on WJLA's newscast. In addition to his duties for ABC and WJLA, McGinty serves as a correspondent for HBO's "Real Sports."

Prior to joining WJLA, McGinty was a correspondent for the CBS newsmagazine "Public Eye With Bryant Gumbel." He was also the host of "Straight Talk With Derek McGinty" on PBS.

A(ll the) rage in Harlem: ... and hell, with Clinton's luck running the way it is now, he may wind up depressing property values further (irritating already peeved longtime residents).
Harlem is in some ways unique because of its history and symbolic importance in black culture, a fact that seems to heighten the response to change there. But similar changes have been playing out in varying degrees in neighborhoods elsewhere, from Fort Greene in Brooklyn to parts of the South Side of Chicago and sections of Detroit. George Galster, a professor of urban affairs at Wayne State University in Detroit, said that in that city, "You hear black community leaders literally saying the following thing: `Now that we have made the city worth something, they want it back.' "

During the 1960's, 70's and 80's, he said, "Blacks saw whites fleeing a sinking ship. But, by golly, it near completely sunk, and in the 1990's it has actually started to rise in the water. And blacks take pride in that. And now they say, 'Gee, wouldn't you know it? Now the rats want back on board the ship.' "

Attitudes in Harlem vary from household to household, individual to individual. It is impossible to generalize about the opinions of homeowners and renters, old timers and newcomers, business owners and customers. All that can be said is that views about the implications of Harlem's revival are widely mixed.

"Some feel if it's not overwhelming, it is good because it does bring some diversity to the community," said Lionel McIntyre, director of the Urban Technical Assistance Project, part of the urban planning program at Columbia University. "Some feel that black folks just can't have anything: 'Every time you look around, they want it' � that kind of sentiment. Then there is cautiousness about what is the real intent. Does it stop at reaching a racial mix or go to one group taking over the other?"

Mary Pattillo, an assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and a former Harlem resident, said: "If Harlem becomes integrated, is it still Harlem in the way everybody says Harlem and has a vision of it? My personal opinion is, I would like Harlem to stay a black neighborhood and a strong black cultural space. But my political and policy opinion is that I know that segregation allows neighborhoods to be strangled."

What is happening in Harlem differs in several ways from integration of the more familiar black-to-white form. For example, when black people moved into white neighborhoods, there were in most cases little income or class differences between the two groups. But when middle- or upper-middle-class people move into lower-income, minority communities, what takes place is as much class � as racial � integration.

Whereas whites may have feared that the arrival of black neighbors would provoke white flight and depress property values, residents of gentrifying neighborhoods fear rising property values will force them out. If they do not believe they are under the risk of actual displacement, they may worry about a loss of political control and the erosion of customs, rituals and institutions � what Monique Taylor calls "a way of living in black communities."

TV blackout: ... Robert F. Moss breaks down America's must-flee TV.
A RECENT episode of "The P.J.'s," the foam-animated WB series set in the projects, ended with two boys reflecting on the duplicitous ways of their elders. "Promise me we'll never grow old," implores the first. The other replies, "The statistics are in our favor."

This acerbic observation on the mortality rate among ghetto youth might just as well be a projection of the life expectancy of the black sitcom. As television celebrates Black History Month with tributes blaring from every channel, any weekly comedy series devoted to black subject matter seems imperiled by cultural Darwinism. (No black dramatic series has ever succeeded, though Showtime's "Soul Food," renewed for a second season, is off to a strong start.) ...

You can't really travel from the Hilton-Jacobs Projects of "The P.J.'s" to the chic, affluent Los Angeles of "Girlfriends" without culture shock. Sometimes dismissed as a black "Sex and the City," the show has a creative metabolism all its own. The lead character, Joan, is a high-powered lawyer who spends most of her kick-back time with her pals: Maya, her secretary; Toni, a real estate broker; and Lynn, an intellectual who is perpetually adrift. The characters are varied and well defined, the scripts are witty and the stories unapologetically embrace an elite black lifestyle.

"I wanted to show African-American women who are dynamic and multilayered," said the creator of "Girlfriends," Mara Brock Akil, "and that women of today want it all." A second goal is to broach racial subtopics "in a funny way that can also create water cooler discussion or debate." One episode has Lynn, who is half white, conclude that this mix makes her a "complex woman." Toni, who normally speaks only the crispest standard English, retorts, "I hate to break it to you, complex woman, but in America, you black."


I spent my Saturday: ... in the company of newfound friends.
Gita On The Green: ... or finally, finally, an explanation for Will Smith's MMC'in in his last movie, courtesy of a book review by Phil Catalfo in the March/April copy of Yoga Journal magazine.
If you saw the Robert Redford-directed film The Legend of Bagger Vance, released last fall -- it starred Matt Damon as a dispirited golf champion and Will Smith as his enigmatic spiritual guide -- you probably didn't realize the story was inspired by the ancient Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. ...

For one thing, the despondent golfer's name, Rannulph Junnah, or "R. Junnah," is a clever transliteration of Arjuna, the warrior prince whose existential dilemma is at the heart of the Gita. And Junah's mystical caddy bears a similarly resonant name: "Bagger Vance" is just a slight stretch from Bhagavan, a term for God, one of whose manifestations in Hinduism is Krishna -- who, in the Gita, appears to the troubled Arjuna and exhorts him to act, to accept the role life has given him, to be who he truly is: the transcendent Self at the core of his being. ...

But the film's Junnah never aspired to anything higher than a level of inner calm sufficient to whack the hell out of a golf ball and rekindle an old love affair gone tragically bad. ...

Rosen's exegesis is delightful for its Gita scholarship, for the fun he has integrating the language of golf with the language of yoga ("yoga means 'to link'"), and especially for his deconstruction of the novel in the the light of the Gita. ...

Women, rural Americans need some broadband love, too: ... and cheaply (with real competition, not some deregulated greedygrabbin' scam). But doesn't somebody need a smack on the wrist with a ruler or something rightaboutnow?
The study was conducted at the request of Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., the senior minority member of the House subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet. In a statement issued Thursday, Markey focused on the cost chasm between broadband and narrowband Internet users and stressed the need for competition among local broadband providers.

Bridging the digital divide was a pet project of the Clinton administration, but it clearly is not at the top of President Bush's agenda. Bush already has proposed reducing the budget of the Technology Opportunities Program by 65 percent to $15 million, and his Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Michael Powell, recently likened the digital divide to a "Mercedes divide -- I'd like to have one but can't afford one."

Yahoo shorts: ... Brothers and sisters! I don't know what this Net is coming to!
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Growth of home Internet users soared 33 percent in the last year, spurred on by different ethnic groups, according to leading Internet audience measurement service Nielsen//NetRatings.

African-Americans led the online growth, jumping 44 percent in the past year to 8.1 million in December 2000 as compared to the same time in 1999. Caucasians surfing the Web rose 32 percent to more than 87.5 million people, representing the largest group online.

Hispanics grew 19 percent to more than 4.7 million people, while Asian Americans grew 18 percent to 2.1 million.

"Several factors contributed to the healthy growth for the various ethnic groups,'' said Allen Weiner, vice president of analytical services, NetRatings. "Less costly personal computers and low or no cost ISPs helped bring Web access to more Americans in the past year."

... This "Quiet American" thing doesn't sound so hot to me, Michael. (And probably not other folks, either.) The headline talks about the opium substitute you want to smoke, but never mentions this ...
Caine, winner of a best supporting actor Oscar for "The Cider House Rules" said he saw Fowler as a man escaping from failure and divorce in England. He finds another world and another love in Phuong, a 19-year-old Mandarin's daughter, played by Vietnamese newcomer Hai Yen.

(He) has gone off and got a life beyond even his wildest dreams and in actual fact it's a fantasy, it's a fantasy life for a man his age to have someone as young and beautiful as Phuong in love with him.

Plus it's the Orient, which has always been a fantasy for Europeans, plus it's post-war England, which I know personally was very, very depressing -- I always thought England was like a black and white movie in the 60s, even when it was shot in color!"

Caine said he thought Fowler would have "been completely confused as to whether he was in love or in lust'' with Phuong.

"There is quite a lot of a paternal thing in it,'' he said.

I've often wondered about those men who come to the Orient and have these relationships with these very child-like figures, you know -- it's a very definite different turn-on than from American women, I think, for these guys.

"I mean, I can tell it from the fact that the scenes I play actually with Yen, who plays Phuong. You know, as a man myself, it's quite extraordinary."

... and Anil got to tell me about this Jill Scott Grammy moment, overshadowed by a pianist's envy of his latest blond fantasia.
There she was, arguably R&B's brightest new star, trapped in a performance of Moby's "Natural Blues," an industrial-dance-dyed melange of eclectic instrumentalism and Southern gospel singing. And oh yeah, a bunch of blue guys.

The song, performed at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards, seemed to be Grammy's idea of a three-fer -- a cacophonous circus act that crammed together Scott, understated club music favorite Moby and members of the performance art troupe Blue Man Group. The entire set -- from the Blue group's cobalt-colored faces to their Dr. Seuss-like faux instruments -- clashed with Scott's smooth, urban poetess style.

And yet, Scott, proud member of Philadelphia's prolific Soulquarian soul collective, co-songwriter of "You Got Me" (which won a Grammy for the Roots last year) and star of a million-selling album, ("Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1") shone through the crowded stage's aural traffic jam.

"Once you got past the stuff by the Blue Man Group it was a stirring performance by her," said music critic and writer Mark Anthony Neal. "One gauge of that is that Grammy crowds rarely give standing ovations. But they were all on their feet.

"It was an explosive moment," said Neal, author of "What the Music Said," a study of the political and social impact of African-American pop music. "It made the Elton John/Eminem performance anticlimactic."

True, Scott's full-bodied sound, heard on her hit tunes of sweet-and-sour relationships ("Long Walk," "Gettin' in the Way") rose above the scene's visual spectacle. She even smiled as she belted out lyrics that seemed to speak to the moment: "Oh Lordy/Trouble so hard/Don't nobody know my troubles but God."

...and oh, uh, Puffy and Shyne? Tim and Kenny. Tim and Kenny? Puffy and Shyne.
Country crooner Tim McGraw is tentatively scheduled to stand trial in mid-May on a variety of charges stemming from a run-in he had with police last June at a music festival near Buffalo, N.Y.

Orchard Park Town Judge Edmund Brown Jr. Wednesday set a date of May 14 for the start of jury selection, according to the court clerk's office.

The incident occurred backstage at the festival when Erie County sheriff's deputies tried to pull country star Kenny Chesney off a patrolman's horse he allegedly swiped from backstage. McGraw, husband of country-pop diva Faith Hill, allegedly grabbed one of the officers from behind by the neck.

McGraw is charged with four misdemeanor counts each punishable by up to one year in jail, while Chesney faces harassment charges for allegedly refusing to dismount the horse.

In late August, McGraw threatened to sue Orchard Park police over his arrest, which he claims harmed his reputation as well as his psychological state.

... and speaking of the Grammys, by the way: I lovedlovedloved this album. Donald and Walter know how to bring the real sleaze.
Strange then, that Two Against Nature's "Cousin Dupree," which won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal, didn't spark near the controversy that rapper Eminem's lyrics did. The song details a man's lustful longings for an underage cousin. Other songs on the album have lyrics about three-way sex and drug use, but none of it is as gleefully explicit as Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP.

"We don't actually have any lyrics about pedophilia, per se, in our songs and most of our lyrics," Becker explained. "Most of our songs are about relationships. As far as Eminem � I haven't really heard Eminem very much, so I don't know what to say."


Website posture & manner: ... Jakob who? I mean, OK, I only read the one column, but Anil has a point. This Adam Baker dude is good.
Buying "black": ... is an idea with ramifications beyond the wallet. (via Poynter Institute's Diversity Digest)
Smooth Opera-tor: So, I downloaded it. Seems faster, and definitely worth a tool around or two in. Not very functional, but it's an alpha build. You get what you don't pay for.
It ain't about Napster: ... it's about cultural control.
The connection between big business and rock has been well documented, but rock scholar Larry Grossberg wrote the definitive book on the subject, 1992's We Gotta Get out of This Place: Popular Conservatism and Postmodern Culture. Astonishingly, Grossberg writes that not only does the right dictate mainstream pop culture, but it actually understands the importance of youth culture better than the left does, and has used it to its own advantage. Remember when Ronald Reagan used Springsteen�s "Born in the USA" in his political campaign? And how do you feel when a song you love is "kidnapped" onto a car commercial?

Conservatives understand the power of folk culture, and have co-opted it into their brand of pop culture�the familiar cult of "insider cool" that is spoon-fed to teenagers and twentysomethings in an effort to sell products. Commercials aim to tell us how to be inside the "in" group while at the same time stand apart from everyone else�cooler than cool, and able to afford that car or slick lifestyle.

Even more chilling is that the right knows instinctively that to control access to culture is to control people. Writes Grossberg: "[The new conservatism] involves the struggle to regulate information and entertainment: What is included? How is it to be used? How is it distributed and regulated?"

In one sense this need to control information and entertainment describes the right�s attacks on the NEA and other culturally "liberal" and independent organizations�but could it also apply to the attack on Internet file-sharing? I ask Grossberg if he sees that connection.

"Yes, I don�t think they are fools. I think they know that there are two reasons to control the media," Grossberg says. "One is to control the information people have, and the other is to control commerce. Napster is a great example of how they recognize that the Internet could destroy the constructs they have set up."


Accenture studies "wireless Web": ... and discovers Americans want to go to heaven but remain unwilling to die. Or maybe they're just bound and determined not to get into text messaging, despite the ads for the service that aired during the Super Bowl and the Grammys.
A chat with James: 'cause I like talking music with him.
cagney841: let me ignore that and tell you I'm listening to the extended version of Why Should I Cry For You by Sting which is very cool. Then I just swiped Grandma's Hands by Bill Withers.
allaboutgeorge: Ah, the Soul Cages album
allaboutgeorge: Extended?
cagney841: The 12" version is better than the single, I think, because it takes its time to cook.
cagney841: just over 6 minutes
allaboutgeorge: schweet ...
cagney841: P.S.> G, do yourself a favor
cagney841: please download Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow (Baretta's Theme) by Sammy Davis Jr. Jesus, that shit is bumping!!
allaboutgeorge: both songs are on my d/l list
allaboutgeorge: did you get a file from me?
cagney841: nope-- what file?
allaboutgeorge: I tried to send you some Al Green
allaboutgeorge: Yahoo sux ...
cagney841: by the way-- I'm planning to buy a copy of Al Green's greatest hits soon...
allaboutgeorge: 1 and 2?
cagney841: I think the first one.
cagney841: With him shirtless on the cover.
cagney841: Swiped it from a relative last summer, almost didn't want to return it.
cagney841: i've heard of bilal before...
allaboutgeorge: Heard about him myself.
allaboutgeorge: Seemed like he was all hat and no trousers.
allaboutgeorge: D.L.'d his single, so I'll see fo' m'self momentarily
cagney841: cool.
allaboutgeorge: D'Angelo knockoff.
allaboutgeorge: Right down to the false start that opens the song.
cagney841: hmph.
allaboutgeorge: It's a better take on D, tho
allaboutgeorge: Better enunciated.
allaboutgeorge: Cleaner production.
allaboutgeorge: Reminiscent of D's debut album, "Brown Sugar"
cagney841: sounds like he's getting your approval.
cagney841: see-- I told you you were THE music authority. You sound like a scientist tasting a new concoction!!!
allaboutgeorge: Approval? Cautious. Tentatively so.
cagney841: I can see your lips smacking taking in the flavor!! Like a professional wine taster!!!
allaboutgeorge: *now bumpin' S. Davis*
allaboutgeorge: "Don't go to bed/with no price on yo' head"
cagney841: tell the truth! don't just repeat what I think. does it work or what.
allaboutgeorge: It's pretty good.
allaboutgeorge: Not much bass.
allaboutgeorge: So they make good use of the treble
allaboutgeorge: That stop push-pull thing, the subtle tempo shifts
cagney841: old fashioned that way. i didn't realize there's little/no bass in it. like i didn't miss the lack of 'guitars' on Kid A
allaboutgeorge: and the horns, strings and windchimes are all balanced.
cagney841: that's what i'm digging. and the percussion!
allaboutgeorge: guajira, berimbe or something up on there
allaboutgeorge: w/o even being overethnic like
cagney841: exactly!!!
allaboutgeorge: "a lot of folks of all different nationalities and things come up to me and say 'i dug my grandmother too'"
allaboutgeorge: (I went with the Carnegie Hall 4:25 version)
cagney841: wow-- didn't know about that one.
cagney841: i got the 2 1/2 minute studio version. wow.
allaboutgeorge: Go get the longer one.


Two out of four: ... can be quite good. I like these very stories and two others I mentioned.
Oh, baile funk!: ... that's what it is. Let it get into you ...
Along with kwaito music in South Africa, baile funk is one of the first new genres of electronic dance music to have become important street music outside of North America and Europe. Though it has roots in Miami bass and rap, baile funk has evolved into a distinct musical genre, bearing a kinship to regionalized booty music hybrids like bounce in New Orleans or ghetto-tech in Detroit.

"Our sound is completely original now," Mr. Catra said. "Only the beach here is the same as Miami." As he spoke, a gunshot rang out in the street. A policeman had fired into the air and, as the crowd closed angrily around him, the officer arrested a teenager and sped off.

To spend time at a funk ball is to rethink one's notion of pop history, to see rap music as exerting a bigger cultural influence than rock in the 21st century, to see 2 Live Crew as not a flash in the pan but a group with a worldwide influence on the order of Bob Marley or the Beatles. Because copyrights aren't enforced in this world, sampling in baile funk is rife and hits may be based on anything from Anita Ward's "Ring My Bell" to a snippet of a song by the fey English band the Smiths to, a current favorite, synthesizer stabs from the Front 242 industrial-rock song "Headhunter V 3.0" The M.C.'s chant explicitly about sex or about life in the favela, often in a melody reminiscent of the chorus of the Run-DMC song "It's Tricky." Instead of playing records on vinyl, some D.J.'s simply place popular samples over homemade or recorded beats, so that one baile may have a more tribal hip-hop feel while another may sound like hardcore techno, although both D.J.'s are playing the same songs.

Ben Brown, Ben Brown: ... you're in the same hell as me, so grab a chair and sit down.
I call Bank Of America customer service.

- Hi. I have a problem with my card. It's not working.

"That's because you had it canceled yesterday."

- No, I most certainly didn't.

"It says right here that you did."

- No, I ordered a secondary card.

"Sir, when you order a replacement card, they cancel your current card."

- Did I say replacement? No, I said secondary. I was very clear. The nice lady told me that it would have the same pin number. She then told me my current card would continue to function. I was very, very clear. Please turn my card back on.

"We can't. It's been flushed from our system."

- Flushed?


- Well, can you authorize a payment on my new card then? I need to pay for my
lunch, and this is causing me a lot of stress.

"No sir. You'll have to wait until your new card arrives. In seven to ten days."

But can it hit them high notes?: Opera for Macintosh. Available Thursday. I'm so there.
Sweep at the Audubon Ballroom: ... turns up here via a quick pan-and-scan through Google.
A relative of the artist was making a documentary for the movie "Malcolm X" and wanted to film the exterior of the Audubon Ballroom. This is where Malcolm X was assasinated. Instead what they came upon was a huge police action accusing just about everyone in the neigborhood of the solicitation of drugs. The police sweep hauled all pedestrians and residents of the adjacent apartment buildings up to the walls of the Audubon to be frisked. The incident was filmed. At the time, there was talk of that the Audubon and its surroundings would be torn down and the real estate developed.
... as well as a few other things:
  • A series of photos and a corresponding site by Elke Moritz.
  • A 1999 Columbia News Service story about the Audubon Ballroom and a hoped-for museum.
  • Malcolm X: A Research Site
  • The home page for the Laguna Mobilization 2/21 Writers' Group.
  • A New York Times front page and article from Feb. 22, 1965.
  • 2001/02/20

    Pop pop pop pop (goes my mind): ... when Hank Stuever thinks about kids' listening habits. (via new york paris london munich)
    Curtis Gore, a football player at Wilde Lake High School who usually listens to Jay-Z ("Parking Lot Pimpin'," say, or "Streets Is Talking") to sustain the euphoria of his existence, tells me there is one song so sad he thinks he can no longer listen to it.

    "What is it? What's the saddest song?" I ask him, figuring I wouldn't know it.

    "Amazing Grace," he says.

    "Wow. That's a great answer," I say. "That might be the best answer. Do you put it on when you feel sad?"

    "I did," Curtis says.

    He had heard the song a few weeks earlier at the funeral of a friend who was shot at a party. A day or so after the funeral, he came home from school and put the song on, in his bedroom. He lay down and listened. Halfway through he stopped it.

    "I couldn't take it," he says. "So I opened the file and I deleted it."

    Oddly fitting: Jeff Beck admits to an amusing affection (well, amusing to me, anyway) for "Come With Me"
    When a Led Zeppelin song comes on the radio, he changes stations. "I don't hear that as being really, really, really happening and exciting," he said, though he is one of the few people to love rapper Puff Daddy's recent version of Led Zeppelin's eastern-influenced tune "Kashmir."
    Whee!: Natasha's back!


    Dean, I thought you were kidding!: ... happy belated bizzurthday.
    Self-hate crimes and other inside jobs: ... So, like, Ernie needs to put BlogVoices back up so I can follow along at home on this happy little bit of food for thought, and maybe even note what caught my eye in this old Tracy Quan column ...
    Racism is supposed to be a cruelty inflicted upon "the other" -- whites against blacks, gentiles against Jews, Israelis against Palestinians. But one of the most obnoxious forms of racism is the attempt to judge or restrict another person's behavior simply because that person is a member of your race or ethnic group. If, like me, you grew up with no clear definition of what you are -- ethnically speaking -- this kind of racism is hardest to swallow.
    Cold chillin': ... inna b-boy stance.
    A Glossary of Break Dancing
  • POPPING Isolating muscles, or "popping" parts of the body like the shoulder or the neck. Created on the West Coast.
  • LOCKING Freezing in a particular pose, after doing wrist rolls or pointing a finger in different directions.
  • BEAT DANCING Moving the body to each beat in a song, combining break dancing and popping moves. For hip-hop, that can mean moving to 90 beats a minute; for what is known as jungle music, the dancer must keep up with about 168 beats a minute.
  • GOING OFF Doing something (in this case, dancing) a lot, constantly.

  • 2001/02/18

    Who I'm not: I'm not all about George Gee, George Clooney, George B. Johnson, George Gillespie, George Myerson, George Abrams, George Strait or George Harrison.
    God and Sonny Jesus on IM: ... I find it oddly heartening and uplifting, but feel free to disagree.
    Weekend: Sunday, as I write this: You know the drill. Barnes and Noble cafe @ Jack London Square, Embarcadero and Broadway. Ankita's thumbing through InStyle. I'm hunched over Orange Moon, plugged into a wall socket and people watching with one eye. An early dinner at a nearby restaurant in a little bit, a walk home after that and some suitably domestic puttering around after that.

    Yesterday: Got up and went to Berkeley, scored a donut at a Shattuck Avenue cafe, met Stephen at the Ashby flea market, said whaddup to King and Jane passing through, got rained on, went up to downtown BRKLY, split up (Ankita to Ross for a new purse -- duh! -- and me to Wells Fargo Bank to continue the masochistic losing streak of supplication and suffering I've been going through with them) and reunited, down to read 'zines at B&N (ah, Essence rocks the double-sided Sade covers), up to Au Coquelet for a "tiger burger" and Guinness (Ankita w/salad and veggie chili; Stephen -- who met us there -- with Newcastle Ale and noshables), a flip through his architecture magazine to check out Sam Mockbee, western Alabama's latest MacArthur award winner ...

    They participate because they are hungry to build. Architect/educator Sam Mockbee says, "Students are dying to do this all over the country." No single program has garnered more kudos for its savvy blend of design excellence, social purpose, and experience than his Rural Studio in Hale County, Alabama. Far from either coast, as deep into old Dixie's poverty belt as you can slide, Sam and acting Auburn University architecture dean D.K. Ruth have drawn students South, to cook and clean and live together at what Sambo calls "a redneck Taliesin," reading great literature, drawing, and building for the people of the county. Along the way, he and the students have produced masterful, simple works of architecture from humble materials, including Yancey Chapel, a small, transcendent building constructed of abandoned tires and heart pine lumber, and a straw-bale house with an adjacent smokehouse cobbled together from jackhammered concrete and discarded bottles.

    While others engage in hyped contemporary work, the students at the Rural Studio often perform humble architectural acts, like insulating the windows of a leaky house with a translucent layer of thick plastic sheeting for a 98-year-old man. Minimal fuss, maximum improvement to make a warm, dry room. If hands-on architecture is a cause, then the Rural Studio is a spiritual home. How unfashionable and utterly right!

    ... and Marlon Blackwell's cool-ass tower dwelling outside of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and a greeting to Delia and Sean before they head for the literal hills to check out her dogs, comfortably ensconced with a good bud of hers, and then a BART ride home, with (of all things) "Mary Poppins" on the local WB affiliate and a medium pizza (half-cheese, half-pepperoni) ordered from the shop up the block and delivered by a nice dude, and finally, the 10 o'clock news, some surfing and off to bed and more progress through "Skinny Legs and All" before Ankita turns out the lights and starts the nightly stealing of the covers, which only leaves me the recourse of snoring loudly ('cause that's just how I retaliate -- shrug).


    Unskilled and unaware of it: ... Apparently this is making the rounds today, first in a genial office spam and secondly when James hit me up with it.
    In 1995, McArthur Wheeler walked into two Pittsburgh banks and robbed them in broad daylight, with no visible attempt at disguise. He was arrested later that night, less than an hour after videotapes of him taken from surveillance cameras were broadcast on the 11 o'clock news. When police later showed him the surveillance tapes, Mr. Wheeler stared in incredulity. "But I wore the juice," he mumbled. Apparently, Mr. Wheeler was under the impression that rubbing one's face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to videotape cameras ( Fuocco, 1996 ).

    We bring up the unfortunate affairs of Mr. Wheeler to make three points. The first two are noncontroversial. First, in many domains in life, success and satisfaction depend on knowledge, wisdom, or savvy in knowing which rules to follow and which strategies to pursue. This is true not only for committing crimes, but also for many tasks in the social and intellectual domains, such as promoting effective leadership, raising children, constructing a solid logical argument, or designing a rigorous psychological study. Second, people differ widely in the knowledge and strategies they apply in these domains ( Dunning, Meyerowitz, & Holzberg, 1989 ; Dunning, Perie, & Story, 1991 ; Story & Dunning, 1998 ), with varying levels of success. Some of the knowledge and theories that people apply to their actions are sound and meet with favorable results. Others, like the lemon juice hypothesis of McArthur Wheeler, are imperfect at best and wrong-headed, incompetent, or dysfunctional at worst.

    Online news sites make the News Hour: ... Ahem.
    Rudy can't fail: ... All you have to do is set up an art exhibit, let it feature a prominent black artist's transgressive vision of Catholicism and watch him lose his natural mind.
    That photograph, a 15-foot panel called "Yo Mama's Last Supper" by Renee Cox, was shown in the summer of 1996 at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Conn. "We were prepared for a fuss, to be frank," said the Aldrich's director, Harry Philbrick. "And none came."

    The nude picture, which is of the photographer herself surrounded by 12 black apostles, was also shown in 1999 at a church in Venice, Italy. "Get over it," Ms. Cox said yesterday of the mayor's reaction, adding that "I don't produce work that necessarily looks good over somebody's couch."

    The Brooklyn Museum had only a muted response yesterday to Mr. Giuliani's remarks. "While many of these works are beautiful and easy to enjoy, others may be controversial and difficult for us as viewers," the museum's director, Arnold L. Lehman, said in a statement. "Throughout history, the artist's responsibility has been to make us think."


    Absolute power corrupts absolutely: ... so it would only follow that greedy electric company power would corrupt in an electrifyingly greedy manner.


    Quotes of the day: ... one woman's response and one man's response noted in a story about a North Carolina physician's patent for an electronic device that appears to spark orgasms in women.
    Meloy, who runs a pain management clinic in Winston-Salem, was treating the patients with an electro-stimulator, a device designed to interrupt pain signals. But when he touched the electrode to a certain point in mid spine, both women experienced a reaction so profound that one told him, "You're going to have to teach my husband to do that."

    Dr. Elliott Krames, a pain management specialist in San Francisco and editor of the Journal of Neuromodulation, said he has never triggered an orgasmic reaction in 13 years of using electro-stimulators. But he can see how it might be possible. "It's a normal function for people to have orgasms, it might even be good," he said, adding, "But I don't know if insurance companies will pay for it."

    Happy Valentine's Day: ... and don't forget to indulge in a little self-love thing, no matter what your gender.


    Crouching tiger, hidden acting talents: ... or so the Academy seems to think. No Chow Yun Fat for best actor, no Michelle Yeoh for best actress, no nothing.
    Strangely, the film emerged as the second-most nominated film overall this year without any acting nods, earning the balance of its accolades for its screenplay, its music and such craft categories as costumes, cinematography and editing.
    My wife the media coordinator: ... Ankita's digging the new gig, thanks for asking.
    Cruz out of control: So, yeah. Where'd this come from? I don't know.


    Bill up in Harlem?: ... On 125th Street, no less!
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former President Clinton (news - web sites), who has run up against resistance to the reported $800,000 annual rent for an office in midtown Manhattan, may be looking at office space in the city's famed Harlem neighborhood.

    A spokesman for Rep. Charles Rangel, a Democrat whose district encompasses the mostly minority neighborhood in northern Manhattan, said Clinton had looked at office space in Harlem. ...

    "It's true that his office has looked at some office space in Harlem," Capel said.

    He said he could not specify the exact location.

    Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields said in a statement that she was delighted to hear that the former president, who has enjoyed warm relations with blacks, was considering office space on 125th St.

    Clinton's search for office space has provoked controversy.

    He has been negotiating for 8,300 square feet on the 56th floor of Carnegie Hall Tower, one of Manhattan's premier buildings, for a proposed annual rent of almost $800,000 a year, which some members of Congress have said is too much.

    Members of Congress moved to scale back the cost to taxpayers, and the former president offered to pay half through a Clinton foundation.

    The New Yorker goes online: ... and a nation sighs, and begins to recycle its old magazine stacks in earnest.
    My (new) four favorite short stories: ... from "Speaking with the Angel," a Nick Hornsby-edited collection benefiting autistic kids on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • Patrick Marber's "Peter Shelley"
  • Zadie Smith's "I'm The Only One"
  • Melissa Bank's "The Wonder Spot"
  • Irvine Welsh's "Catholic Guilt (You Know You Love It)"
    His name is not Neo: ... it's Mr. Anderson. But I liked the CD he bought the other day. Heard it when Stephen chopped it up into MP3s for me just before New Year's -- so I sprung for the original in Virgin last week.


    Hot time, photos in The City: ... pix on their site is lookin' dirty but pretty. Wanna roll how they roll, do how they do and shoot the way they shoot? Then act like you know, and spread the word. Ya heard?
    So I don't know much about Brazilian music: ... but I'll know more if I keep visiting this site. And maybe I'll hear more about this dude's upcoming project.
    Moreno Veloso stands in the vanguard of the new generation of Brazilian singers and composers. While only 27, he has already accomplished many years of touring experience with the likes of Gilberto Gil and his father, the legendary samba poet and founding father of Tropicalismo, Caetano Veloso. |But he had not been recorded in his own group. However, this has been rectified, as Hannibal Records will release his first album, Music Typewriter, this month.

    Drawing from all aspects of Brazilian music-samba, MPB (musica popular Brasileira), bossa nova and electronica-Music Typewriter wraps these styles in a highly individual sophisticated and contemporary skin. Created by the trio of Moreno on vocals and acoustic guitar together with his friends Alexandre Kassin on electric bass and Domenico Lancelloti on electronic drums and percussion.


    Two from yesterday: ... saved to a sticky note on my desktop's screen: the phrase "That's mighty white of you," and the statement about inclusive language it turned up in Google, and a bunch of follow-up letters on the infamous dysfunctional Pooh dissertation.
    Hegemonic imagery in Hollywood marketing: ... From the Feb. 2 entry at she's a mission irresistible.
    9:32 a.m. || how to be horrified at what MTV believes about young black men

    "They were trying so hard to market 'Save the Last Dance' to young black men between 18-24," she said. "They had all these alternate titles they thought were less 'girly' and would appeal more to boys -- and they all had variations of 'booty' in 'em. Shake Your Booty, Booty Dance, Booty Call." J rolls her eyes expressively. "I told them the last one was already a movie."

    Vancouver calling: ... and the Kidd is back in rare form, folks.
    Tattoo, tattoo, hoozgottatattoo?: Ah, yes. That would be Ernie.


    The only 'puter scripts I know how to use: ... are standalones like Linca's generic script for "The Sopranos" and fave site resources like the TV script page over at Drew's Script-O-Rama.
    Observation and consumption: ... they provide the thrills that keep me leafing through stacks of magazines at DeLauer's Super News Stand on Broadway, browsing through Virgin Mega on Market and Stockton (when it's time to take a break from the cubed life and the cathode ray tube) and perusing music reviews (or to be specific, the unabridged alphabetic music reviews for 2000) at Monosyllabic.


    Ankita told me: ... but I didn't (want to) believe it. Disco yoga.


    1, 2, 3: ... Look at Mr. Lee, aka Corrupt, aka Crispus Attucks of Urban Expose.
    He's ready to go public, he says: ready to expand the UrbanExpos� franchise into print and into broader media coverage, ready to start collecting on the good and bad karma the site has earned him so far. And I guess he figured I'd be a good person for the job -- after all, it wouldn't be the first time I'd blown his cover.

    The first time was eleven years ago. Lee wasn't calling himself Crispus Attucks back then -- his handle was Corrupt. He was eighteen years old, living with his mom in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and logging in regularly to a local dial-up bulletin board called Phuck the Pheds, a hangout for computer hackers and phone phreaks that I was spending time on for a Spin magazine assignment. Corrupt wasn't like most of the other guys on Phuck the Pheds. It wasn't just that he was black, a rarity then and now in the computer underground. He was also an "elite" hacker who really was -- a go-to specialist in cracking DEC Vax machines (aka Vaxen), the corporate and government mainframes of choice in those days.

    The Spin article was Corrupt's first appearance in print, but not his last. By the time it came out, Lee had hooked up with the legendary hacker group MOD, whose accomplishments, by some accounts, would eventually include penetrating nearly every telephone-company system in the world. "I hate to be all bragging about it," Lee says today, "but we did redefine what hacking was. That's when things went from, like, dudes trying to guess passwords to actually monitoring networks and understanding the whole topology. Big-picture hacking� It was ill."

    MOD's legend, however, owes almost as much to their flair for press relations as it does to their hacking skills. I eventually wrote a cover story on them for the Village Voice, but it was hardly an exclusive. Reporters were lined up around the block for a chance to cover these personable, articulate, multiethnic, technoexotic felons. And as such coverage can do, it probably redoubled the legal system's eagerness to put these personable, articulate, multiethnic, technoexotic felons behind bars. When Lee finally got hauled in to talk to the investigator who got him and four other MOD members indicted on federal charges, he saw on the man's office wall a framed copy of the Village Voice cover photo: Lee and the others striking gangster poses, not very effectively disguised with bandido-style kerchiefs. "He loved that shit," Lee recalls, laughing. "And I think he said something like, 'We was going to leave you alone till you threw it in our face.'"

    CONVICTED, Lee did six months in penal boot camp, got out, finished up his Brooklyn College film studies (senior project: the romantic live-action short "Crackhead Love"), became the first and last black man featured on the cover of Wired (for an excerpt from Masters of Deception, Josh Quittner and Michelle Slatalla's book on MOD) -- and then got popped again on a parole violation and did a year in New York City's federal Metropolitan Detention Center, an experience he says is still painful to talk about. "After that, I got a serious distaste for computers," says Lee. His life as a hacker celebrity was over.

    And probably never would have gone much further anyway. Just one week out of his first jail term, Lee had come down the steps into the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway station in downtown Brooklyn and seen the writing on the wall. A movie crew was shooting there, and Lee, curious, sidled up to the production assistant and asked what the film was. The answer: 1995's Hackers, a film every hacker in New York already knew was based loosely but transparently on the kids of MOD. "I had heard about the movie, and I knew it was going to be fucked up. I knew they marginalized the black character," Lee says. And now here he was himself standing uninvited on the margins of the production. Lee couldn't begin to convey to the PA the layers of irony in the situation, and didn't try. "That shit was like, mad Kafka," he says. "I'm sitting there waiting for the train to go home and shit, and I'm looking at these motherfuckers shooting the hacker movie. Unbelievable."

    Playing catch-up: ... since I finally got the dreaded "sorry" page for the first time earlier today.
  • Ways to celebrate Bob Marley's birthday, aside from firing up some, ahem, music.
  • Some fairly bad-mannered foreign-language phrases.
  • An S.F. Chronicle article about John McWhorter, whose latest book, "Losing The Race" (excerpt here), was royally pissing off a sister sitting next to me at the bell hooks reading Saturday night.
  • a pair of N.Y. Times pieces on Generation Y in the workplace and a 9-year-old Oakland poet with a phat book deal (thanks to Joe Pennant)
  • 2001/02/04

    Cultural biases: ... Examined here.
    Timothy Beneke: As someone who actively studies cultural assumptions of both Asians and Americans, you're in a unique position to help other people understand their cultural biases. As a Euro-American male, I find it difficult to even acknowledge that I have cultural biases. What are some biases that Euro-Americans are blind to?

    Kaiping Peng: It's difficult for anyone to see his cultural biases because they're so entrenched and habitual. And Euro-Americans are in a dominant position in American culture, so events are less likely to force them to examine their biases. I should say that when I refer to Euro-Americans, I don't mean people who are literally Euro-Americans but any Americans who have been absorbed into mainstream American culture. So, for example, third or fourth generation Chinese-Americans may have Euro-American biases. In other words, Euro-American biases are not properties of Euro-American individuals but characteristics of the culture.


    Why statistical sampling rocks: ... or rather, why it would rock in this situation.
    From the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 until the early 1990's, state officials felt pressure from the Justice Department and the courts to help blacks and other minorities elect candidates of their choice. In practice, that meant that state legislators often tried to create districts in which blacks or other minorities accounted for more than 50 percent of the voting-age population.

    But in a series of landmark decisions starting with Shaw v. Reno in 1993, the Supreme Court struck down districting plans on the ground that state legislators had given too much weight to race as a factor in drawing the lines.

    In March, the Census Bureau will provide detailed data to the states, showing total population and voting- age population, by race and by Hispanic origin. The bureau will decide late this month whether the data should be adjusted for a potential undercount or overcount.

    Mark A. Packman, a lawyer who advises many state and local governments, said they "must use computerized census data and maps to take race into account in redistricting decisions," and may be required to create black-majority districts where voting tends to follow racial lines. But, Mr. Packman said, "The very actions that state and local governments take to avoid liability under the Voting Rights Act expose them to liability under recent Supreme Court decisions."

    In Texas, State Senator Jeff Wentworth, a Republican who is chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee, summarized the situation this way: "Race can be a factor, but it cannot be the dominant factor in drawing boundary lines. We still have to protect minority districts, and we will. But you can't have very unusually shaped districts, as we did last time."

    Sparks is flying: ... thanks to her appointment.
    Surrounded by well-wishers at a brief swearing-in ceremony yesterday, Theresa Sparks basked in the attention that came with being another of San Francisco's "firsts."

    Holding two colorful bouquets and wearing a gardenia on the lapel of her black suit, Sparks -- the city's first transgender appointee to the powerful Human Rights Commission -- said she hoped to bring the perspective of a member of an oft-maligned minority group to the panel and be a role model. ...

    "Even in San Francisco, transgender people are still stereotyped," she said.

    "Transgenders are fine as long as they're street theater. As soon as we move into the apartment next door or use the bathroom, then we become a problem." ...

    The 11-member San Francisco Human Rights Commission investigates and mediates discrimination complaints, monitors city contracts for compliance with city nondiscrimination policies and certifies minority- and women-owned businesses in city contracting.

    "We've tried to reach out to the transgender community so that our city commissions reflect the diversity of San Francisco," Brown said. "Theresa helps . . . brings representation that we didn't have."

    There are an estimated 15,000 to 18,000 transgender men and women living in San Francisco.

    To explain the significance of Sparks' appointment, supporter Jo Ellen Fisher, who is also transgender, rattled off the grim statistics that weigh on her mind every day: Transgender men and women are 16 times more likely to be murdered than the average person in the United States; they face a 70 percent unemployment rate, compared with 4 percent in the general population. And they often have difficulty getting medical care and housing, not to mention the daily sneers and jeers.

    25 Favorite Prince Songs: ... determined after a late-night conversation with Anil Dash and an idle glance or two over Wilson & Alroy's record review of Prince albums ...
    "Soft And Wet," "I Wanna Be Your Lover," "When You Were Mine," "Lady Cab Driver," "I Would Die 4 U/Baby I'm A Star" (special dispensation, please! -- one runs into the other on the "Purple Rain" soundtrack), "Paisley Park," "Anotherloverholenyohead," "Sometimes It Snows In April," "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker," "Adore," "Bob George," "Alphabet Street," "Electric Chair," "Joy In Repetition," "The Question Of U," "Money Don't Matter 2Night," "The Morning Papers," "She's Always In My Hair," "Dark," "She Spoke 2 Me," "Gold," "Dinner With Delores," "Damned If I Do," "Crystal Ball" and "The Sun, The Moon and Stars"
    The only pennant I want to see in New York: ... is Joe Pennant and his 'Itinerant in NY' blog. He shoots (with his camera), he scores (interesting images). Like two of my closest friends, he's a Virgo. Like myself, he's sweet on a subcontinental susta (make sure you fix your mouth to pronounce that proper-like). The thing about blogs is they're a way to look at other people's lives. Not to experience them, but maybe (in special cases) to wonder how things would be if you'd stayed in one spot, moved to another or if things had just gone down differently. Y'ever wonder, sometimes?
    A primer on 2step: ... or garage, which sounds like "carriage," makes you swivel your hips and puts a grin on my lips.
    Of course, "garage," in its dance definition, comes from the Paradise Garage, the legendary late-'70s New York club that spawned the high-pitched, diva-fied sound that would eventually evolve into house music. 2step, on the other hand, has existed for more than 150 years in the form of actual dances, from salon-era waltzes to Texas line shuffles. The two-step waltz, more popularly known as valse a deux temps (two-beat waltz), was, according to Victor Eijkhout on his Web page (, rejected by many dancers because it was "jerky in its movement."

    The new British 2step does not denote any specific bodily gyrations on the dancefloor, but its rhythm is also rather "jerky in its movement." Mathematically speaking, 2step is the mean average of house and jungle, meaning tempo-wise it's house (120 beats per minute) plus jungle (140 bpm+) divided by two. The analogy goes deeper than mere mathematics, though: 2step's beat is more complex than house (flittier hi-hat patterns, off-center kick drums), though not as cluttered as jungle (which is cluttered primarily by its speed).

    There's also a strong dosage of Timbaland's and She'kspere's edgy rhythmic experiments and Miami bass's bouncy bounce-bounce, and though American producers have yet to jump into the 2step ring, Jill Scott, Destiny's Child, and Sisq� have recently had makeovers from Brit remixers MJ Cole, the Dreem Teem, and Artful Dodger, respectively. So maybe what we're starting to witness in dance music is something that occurred frequently in the rock world of the '60s: what Roger McGuinn called secret messages back and forth between the Brits and Americans, like the Beatles hearing the Byrds' use of 12-string guitars and responding with "Ticket to Ride."


    (Atomic )Dogged: Why must they do George Clinton like that?
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A judge ruled that American funk music star George Clinton can't keep the rights to music he wrote in the late 1970s and early '80s -- work worth more than $100 million in profits, the singer said on his Web site.

    U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said Monday that the music written from 1976-83 belonged to Bridgeport Music, a Michigan-based publishing company to which Clinton signed away the rights in a 1983 contract.

    Hinkle also barred Clinton from profiting from the songs, saying the singer failed to disclose them in a 1984 bankruptcy filing as possible future income. lost money from rap music artists using samples of his old songs but not paying fees.

    Clinton declined comment as he left the courthouse Tuesday.

    A Tallahassee-area resident, Clinton founded the popular funk group Parliament, which later changed its name to Funkadelic. His hits include "One Nation Under a Groove" and "Atomic Dog."

    Word to your mother tongue: ... that is, if you speak English. A good chunk of the language is based on Greek, Latin and other influences, but its base is Indo-European. This is well meant as a balance toward the education that the folks at "India's M.I.T." get, but it ought to be secular. I've already got the heebie-jeebies about our new government's fundamentalist religion-creep right here in America -- it'd be a shame in the world's biggest democracy.


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