Sunday, December 30, 2007

"It's Not Wu-Tang Beef, It's Just GZA"

Wow, I might be through knocking 50 Cent. That's a funny, smart dude right there. He's not an "artist" or whatever; he makes formula music. But as he says time and time again, that's his business approach. In any event, he's still willing to throw daggers at people, which for the most part is the upside of rapper entertainment in hip hop -- rappers are celebrities who don't go the politically-correct route. So this clip here has 50 retaliating to a clip I posted a week ago or so by GZA of the Wu.

GZA's a smart guy too, so I'm sort of hoping he'll have yet another clip up by next weekend. A little flame-war with 50 would def. be good for business, and might provide a little lrical inspiration also. Stay tuned.



via: WSHH

previously:
GZA Calls out 50 and Soulja Boy

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mediocre Black Chick Reconditioning Program

So a few days ago I was out with a black girl and as is wont to happen when black guys hang out with black girls the conversation turned to the subject of interracial relations, and specifically about my (and my TAN-kind) presumed hearting of white girls.

I was taken aback because my presumed pedestalizing of caucasian women was under attack before I even had the chance to raise my usual defenses, like my Quest for Claire Huxtable post, and ummm ... that's it. Sans any legit evidence, I was already labeled: Guilty. Granted the "White Girls #1" gold chain around my neck (I made the switch from African medallions in the late 90s) serves as a little bit of a cue, but I still think in these murky racial waters benefit of the doubt should at least be offered like a life preserver, before you deflate it with your socio-political darts.

CONTINUED IN NEGROPEDIA

UPDATE: when I posed this "MBC Reconditioning Program" as a response to her gripe with black guys and MWCs I was told there's no such thing as a mediocre black chick. Truuue. So, oh well, back to she-males for me.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

If It's Bad For This Dude, Then I Am Definitely Sh*t Out Of Luck

So this research programmer scientist dude does some math to figure out the pool of eligible smart, beautiful women for him to date/wife-up is 18, 726. This is in the world. Now this is an old link, he made the calculations circa 2000, so figure on population growth alone he's at least up to 20,000. I'm also presuming this is a white guy cause I'm pretty sure there were no black research/programmer/scientist dudes online before 2000. Could be Asian, but his name is Tristan Miller.

So if I start with his dating pool of 20K. Then for me as a black guy we have to cut that in half to account for all the white chicks who don't date black guys. So we have 10,000. Then we have to cut it in half again for the black chicks who won't date a black guy who would date the white girls who do go out with him. So now we're at 5,000. Then lop off another 50% for all assorted chicks who won't touch a guy willing to byline as "The Assimilated Negro." Now we're at 2,500. Blogger, 1,250. Penis-size, 625. Misogynist, 312.5 (that half is a she-male). Figure I've dated 100 girls, and they've all passed... so looks like I'm left with 212 girls and a she-male to try out in the next 50 years of my life or so. And I haven't even gotten into Mets-hating Yankee fans, alcoholism, or my other personal personality quirks, all of which suck.

So yeah, it's not looking good. Might as well cut to the chase and bring on the she-male to see if we get along.

(she-males: please don't e-male me to complain about me being a transgenderist or transvestitist or whatever .... I get it, you'll pass too. Thanks.)

cheers!

via: NYTimes Laughlines

Blacked Up

So I was totally going to forward this on to the film director making the mainstream sorta-juvenile sorta-adult-inspirational comedies from a black perspective, cause this sketch is sooo smart, and soooo funny, and, like, obviously the black director is going to be getting backlash about his black Knocked Up and black Superbad films. But then I realized the only black comedic director we have is ....ummmm .... Tyler Perry? sigh.

Seriously, this is funny, but WTF? Can we get someone besides the Wayans to do a black comedy? Why does Judd Apatow have this "Comic Sensibility" on lockdown? I'm sure if we have a summit of all the black comedic talent in America we can come up with the 40-Year Old Black Virgin or Superblack or something. If black is passé, I will accept Asian or Latino or whatever as well. Just give me one friggin' decent alternative. Thanks.



via Wired

Monday, December 24, 2007

Nah Negro: A Crazy Black Man Splits in Brooklyn

Freedom of expression is a wonderful thing. All together now: GIVE US FREE!!!!!!

One can only hope dude got some nuts and a new outfit or two for xmas. And here's hoping the xmas tree in your living room is as wonderfully decorated. Happy Holidays!


photo via: Dlisted

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'd Like To See You Walk A Mile In My Sh*t

I have limited knowledge on the real science behind Tourette Syndrome, but I was recently made aware of thetourettesguy web site, and sent their "best of" clip. It's definitely amusing, despite the pang of guilt you get wondering if you're laughing at a sick person. Also, word on the inter-streets is the main attraction, Danny, apparently passed away in August. So that's sad. Of course the site offers a disclaimer about his actions not being consistent with most Tourette Syndrome sufferers, so maybe he's still alive, and fully normal, and just caking off this routine. You never know these days. But sick or not he seemed to have no qualms about his "excitable personality" being used for entertainment. So here's a montage of the Tourettes Guy, it's sort of loud and very NSFW with the language, so fair warning... and don't talk sh*t about Total:



thanks: Mo

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stevie Wonder Concert Report: Part 2

A few weeks ago Stevie Wonder performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and The Assimilated Negro was lucky enough to have a ticket ...

Part 1 of the report is here.

Overjoyed: "Though you don't believe that they do, dreams do come true ...." The meat of Stevie's show is pretty much a dream sequence. He delivers non-stop classic jam after jam, and concerns about timeliness/relevance were unfounded. Stevie is classic and for all times and occasions. And he performed every song with the perfect balance of familiar rhythm and live improvisational riffing.

By the time we were in the heart of the 2 1/2 hour set, the place is a full on church. All the vendors and ushers are dancing and bobbing as they carry refreshments and direct people to their seats. Everyone stands and cheers when the next song starts up. They're serving beer and booze and many are partaking and it's a Stevie Gon Wild party for sure. There were even a couple white college-aged college girls acting sloppy sorority drunk right in front of us, which I think made the "party vibe" official.

Stevie weaves in and out of his songs pretty seamlessly, occasionally breaking in to drop some background. His longest story was about him meeting a girl backstage when he was 16. Her name was Marsha. And he's hinting at how he already has a sexual ego at that age, and so he's hitting on this girl, and telling her to meet him in his hotel, but then she brings her mom, and he's all disappointed, and it's compounded by his manager at the time embarrassing him by telling everyone he has to be in bed by 11. After the hook-up gone wrong he tells her to come to the show the next night and writes a song for her in the interim. He plays it for her and she likes it but still demurs from his 16-year old advances. I don't understand how a female could resist a young Stevie, especially if he writes a song for you, and from the sound of it he doesn't either. But the song he wrote ends up being Mon Cherie Amour.

Later when leaving the show a drunk guy starts talking to us and confesses he thought the story was about a 16 year old girl and an older Stevie Wonder. So while he loved the concert he apparently was struggling with reconciling Steve Wonder as a pedophile/child molester. Which would indeed change the timbre on a number of his songs. Phew. We lost Michael, we couldn't lose Stevie to the kiddie-love.

"Signed, Sealed Delivered" was another song that got an extended moment. Cutting the song short in the middle he starts explaining how he thinks it's a jam that still "has life in it" and proceeds to set up a country western version. Which was awesome and a legitimate remix.

Stevie performs the uptempo version of "For Once In My Life," which I've discussed as my preference to the ballad, he then shares how he first heard the song from a singer he always admired and that singer was there tonight. As the band slows down, out comes Tony Bennett and they go into their Grammy award winning version of the song. It was a great crowd moment, especially for the Caucasians, but I still like Stevie's version better.

Ribbon in the Sky: Stevie was able to drop out of songs at will and the audience always picked up the lyrics without missing a beat. But the biggest crowd interaction moment came during "Ribbon in the Sky." Stevie performed most of the song then broke it down and starts orchestrating the crowd:

Ladies?

Heeeeeey!

Ladies?

Heeeeey!

I want you to sing this .... then he gets into a jazzy "there's a ribbon in the sky" melody.

He goes through it a couple times and the girls hold it down pretty much flawlessly. Now it's time for the fellas:

Fellas?

Hoooo!

Fellas?

Hooooo!

I need y'all to say "the ribbon ..... the ribbon ... ooh-ooh ah ah ... the ribbon."

Admittedly the guy riff was more of a change of pace from the original song, and ooh-ooh-ah-ah was tricky as far as straightforward easy-to-sing musical sections go. Also the ah-ah part is not sung, it's more throaty, kind of like the ahhhh-teeth suck in Push It by Salt & Pepa. In any event the guys kept botching up the ooh-ooh-ah-ah part. And to his credit, Stevie tries to coddle them along ( I was too busy reviewing their performance to participate). You could see he didn't want to hate on everyone, but he would be remiss to accept what they were doing as up to snuff. So he goes through it a few times, and on pass 4 or 5, just when it seems he would have to give up the guys get it down. He then gets everyone to do their parts at once and ..... it's ok. I'm sure it wasn't how he envisioned, but I'm amused that it might be the last musical challenge left to Stevie, orchestrating a crowd of 15-20K strange people to get a nice harmony section going.

You & I: You & I might be my favorite Stevie song. At the least, my favorite ballad. And as a single guy in NYC, the song, and Stevie himself bring to mind some more philosophical questions:

1.What is unconditional love to Stevie? I think Stevie's bread and butter is the song about infinite undying unconditional love. And usually it's directed toward that special someone. But Stevie has multiple baby mommas out there. So even he serves as a reminder to love's imperfection. Stevie's got love for everyone. And for his lover or partner that must be heartbreaking at times. But what are you gonna do? Hate on Stevie? Makes you realize Stevie, despite writing the most traditionally romantic love songs, might be the archetype for the ultimate philanderer. You could catch him in the bed, and all he's gonna do is start singing Overjoyed, or You & I, or Golden Lady and you have to forgive, you have to forgive. He could do this to women across the globe; he has that much love to give. Play on playa.

2. Can Stevie get angry? Along the same line as Pimp Stevie, its hard to imagine Mr. Wonder as a grumpy pants. But he must get irritable sometimes. This youtube [LINK, can't find it now, sorry] has some producers testifying that they had to rile him up to get the gritty edge for "Living in the City." What a funny idea. How does one get under Stevie's skin? Do you make blind jokes?

3. Who's taking the torch? Are there no contemporary Stevie Wonders out now? I think the closest bet is R Kelly, which is fairly hilarious. Some are talented, but it seems the humanity and consciousness in large part is gone. Less inspired, and with less morality. It's kind of like how Kobe might be better than Jordan on a technical level, but lacks that special transcendent unifying power that makes all the difference in the world.

As: Finally as we're getting towards the end of the set, Stevie gets into the classic Superstition. And in the middle of the song he mentions that Prince might be on location. As opposed to Tony Bennett whom he announced, this one is premised as a possibility. But everyone begins looking around and at each other in anticipation. Prince??!?!?!!? Next thing you know the girl man himself comes out and grabs a guitar. And heads begin exploding around the stadium. He didn't actually do that much razzle dazzle. Sort of joined in on the song, and then did a quick couple riff minutes at the end, and then stepped off. But yeah, Prince came out, and that's all that matters when you tell people.

Stevie closes with the song "As," one of my favorites, and after Prince got everyone excited I was primed for the closer of all closers. The song itself on the album is extended with a building crescendo and I was just ready for Stevie to go crazy. But mid-song he breaks off and does the band intros and thanks everyone and blesses his mother and then heads off. The crowd was definitely a little bewildered. Would there be an encore? Was he coming back out? He had to be, 2 1/2 hours felt like he barely scratched his portfolio. But next thing you know the lights came on and that was it.

During those parting words he also called out people who can't help but hate and said the "haters could die and go to hell." And honestly I gasped because I couldn't believe Stevie Wonder was hating on anyone. Even haters. It felt so unlike Stevie who obviously would love anyone when they were in his presence. Especially females. But I guess in his old age he's getting a little cranky. It shows he's human. But I can't front, it made me a little sad to see him directing hate at anyone. It's like if God came down and started bitching about Britney Spears and her underpants or something. You can't believe they'd come down to that level.

With the lack of an encore and the unexpected haterade as the only two caveats to what was the best concert experience of my life, it stands that I remain prostrate at his throne and will remember this show ... always.

What Remix is This?

I feel a lil embarrassed that I love this so .... but I do. I don't know if I've mentioned it yet, but I think Feelin' on ya booty should be our national anthem:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

GZA Putting Cornballs On Blast

GZA calling out Soulja Boy and 50 Cent. "Wu-Tang is forever..."



And the follow-up. For clarification all GZA said was, "50 Cent don't got motherf**kin' lyrics" Don't misconstrue it.



via: World Star Hip Hop
Previously on Wu-Tube:
Why The F*ck You Want Me To Rap About A Dinosaur

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sean Taylor: Takeaways

With the Vick sentencing, and now the Mitchell Report about to be released, the Sean Taylor story has been pushed to the margins by the same voracious news cycle that cast a shadow on the original tragedy via its need for quick commentary. I've collected some of the reaction and backlash in this article for Ebony, and noted some ideas for moving forward.


I'll probably follow-up with an additional link-dump as there was plenty more fodder, specifically columns and posts that spoke to the emotional core of the story and lesson of hope.

More Lessons To Be Learned
[EbonyJet]
Previously:
RIP Sean Taylor [EbonyJet]

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dear TAN: Miscegenation Sunblock

I once started a neverending interview, but now we're switching to a "Dear TAN" feature. Send your questions/letters to theassimilatednegro [at] gmail [dot] com.

In this edition: Sex with black people will be mandatory for human survival!

Dear TAN,

Hey hi.

Heard something I hadn't thought of before the other day in Anat and Physio class.... that made me think of you....

I suspect you've already thought about it, but just in case....

White folks have more or less paved the way to wrecking the earth's UV protection layer...
White folks are the in the worst position melanin-wise to survive this change.
Which leads me to two thoughts...

1. This puts dark-skinned, oppressed peoples at a beautiful advantage to inherit the scalding earth.

2. And, watch out, because we whiteys are gonna wanna breed darker.

The new sunblock for the future: unprotected sex with the melanin endowed.


I heard Bob Marley died of skin cancer of the toe... prolly because he had a white dad, and was stubborn.

Morals from a purely longrange, survival-of-the-fittest point of view:

1. If you're white, get over racism.
2. If you're black, I don't know, get racist.
3. If you're mixed, don't be stubborn if you start getting wanky growths that look like skin cancer.

Hope you're thriving.
-LT

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chasing History: Jay-Z & Charlie Rose

"Chasing history" has been Jay-Z's driving mantra basically since The Black Album, which is to say since Kingdom Come flopped (for him). I think we're going to be digging into J and his legacy/plan sometime in the near future (in a good way). But in the meanwhile, in between styles, if you have 60 minutes to kill here's video of Charlie-Hov doing the talking thing. It gets good about the 55 minute mark. No, I'm kidding, that was a joke, and a damn good one at that .... if you like Charlie or Sean or hip hop or interviews the whole thing is pretty good. They talk slow so you can run it in the background while doing other stuff too .... I don't understand how Charlie resisted the temptation to hold up the "Roc" sign for the whole interview though. That's disappointing.

Stevie Wonder Concert Report: Part 1

A few weeks ago Stevie Wonder performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and The Assimilated Negro was lucky enough to have a ticket ...

For Once In My Life: Before heading to Stevie Wonder's concert I asked on my blog what the appropriate outfit might be. Concerts are always a little weird for choosing an outfit because you're going to a special event, so you want to dress up, but it's music, and you're going to "jam" and "groove" and "be chill" so you don't want to overdress.

With a Stevie Wonder concert you also have to negotiate the appropriate reverence (no shredded or torn clothes; this means you, white people & hipster-punk negroes), as well as the full age spectrum of Stevie's audience, which is basically from newborn - to old guys being wheeled in as their last dying request. So while I only have two outfits regardless, I thought the matter demanded some extra consideration.

As I say in that post, I ascribe Stevie Wonder no lesser value than proof of god's existence, but despite his godliness, I wasn't sure what a concert of his would be like. Michael Jordan also lived much of his life as God's vessel, but he wasn't the same as he got older. And when spoken of as an artist certainly Stevie, like Jordan, is a performer nonpareil, but we also have to acknowledge that Stevie's contemporary material doesn't strike the same universal chord as his 70s early 80s stuff. He's essentially a genre/brand of music unto himself, but you might cringe a little if you heard he was only playing his "contemporary" material.

(we interrupt this concert review to bring you a TAN Concert Tip/Anecdote for People Saving Their Money: my aunt brought an eggplant sandwich right before the show, we were both unsure how strict the MSG no-food policy would be. Turns out, very strict. security guys examined her bag and demanded that she lose the sandwich (and brownie, and vitaminwater, and other snack). We were 5-10 minutes before showtime and my aunt was determined to be getting in our seats in a timely fashion, yet she didn't want to lose what amounted to $10+ dollars of food, snack and beverages. So she stuck the sandwich down the back of her pants, and brought it in like that until we got to our seats. And we got in no prob. holla! I'm very proud of her perseverance in the face of adversity.)

We get to our seats, which are back row a level above floor seating, in perfect time for what's listed as 8PM show time. But wouldn't you know it, even Stevie runs on CP Time. Tick tock, tick tock. Here comes 8:30, still no blind geniuses taking the stage.

My aunt and I were sitting next to an older black couple, I think it'd be fair to describe them as the ideal Stevie demo. I won't digress on that. To pass the time I figure I'd engage in some fun Q&A on Stevie Wonder trivia. First question: how old is Stevie? I ask my aunt and she suggests 50s, and even hints 40s possibly. I say no way, and suggest 60s might be more accurate.

I eventually ask Stevie's Target Demo, and the wife who is obviously the spokesperson for the couple says that he's definitely in his 60s because "he was 58 when his last child was born." Turns out Stevie Wonder is 57. So, there goes the Target Demo.

Just as we start approaching 8:40 I go to get some popcorn so I can pass the down time picking kernels out of my gums, and just as I get on line I hear the roar of the crowd. I rush off line -- it was short -- to see Stevie being escorted out by his daughter Aisha. I go back and get my popcorn -- the initial applause for his coming on stage lasted the length of the whole concession run – as i get back to my seat Stevie is just starting to address the crowd. As our second and final bit of Stevie trivia my aunt tells me she thinks Aisha is the baby who cries and gurgles on "Isn't She Lovely." Awwww. I offered a firm eyebrow-raise to express my appreciation of the trivia and settled in with my popcorn eager for a good show.

Visions: Before anything gets underway, Stevie walks to the front of the stage and talks to the crowd. He thanks everyone for showing and tells the heartwarming story of how the show was inspired by the passing of his mother in May of '06. After she passed Stevie basically shut everything down for a while, but then she came to him in a vision one night and and told him to stop mourning and get out there and do his thing. And when he called his producers and agent, they thought it'd be a year to organize and plan, but he made it happen in a couple weeks, and has been touring and reinvigorated since.

(Ironically i just wrote a guide to coping with the loss of your fav artists's mama. I think Stevie is my favorite artist, and i herby nominate his mama's passing as a holiday. OR we can just make his birthday a holiday. Seriously. If a thug like Christopher Columbus is honored, Stevie Wonder is waaaaaaaay ahead of that fool. )

Once Stevie gives his intro the show opens with he and his daughter doing a duet of "Love's In Need of Love Today." It's sweet, and she's a good enough singer, but after a couple verses you can't help but think .... okokokokokok, thanks "Isn't She Lovely" baby, but time for Stevie.

After the duet he segues into “To High” and then “Visions” as the first extended showpiece. At the end of "Visions" Steve picks up the tempo and gets militant and angry, riffing off the song and singing how he envisions a better world and doesn't understand how in 2007 we're not there yet. "He can't understand it." And "it's unacceptable." Making war for peace (Iraq). "I can't understand it!" Jena 6. "2007, it's unacceptable!" No healthcare. "I can't understand it, it's unacceptable!" It's kind of corny writing about because it's the same entreaties we hear every day, but when Stevie gets all adamant with his preach-singing, you kind of feel it. I was ready to sign some petitions and beat up some capitalist pigs. In 2007 the drama is unacceptable!

Part 2 continues here ....

Monday, December 10, 2007

Recognize These Beautiful Negroes?

Well, you should. Apparently they are "the most overused stock photo family in America"

They really are like the perfect hybrid of black and white, and just exude Comfortable & Cultural. They're perfect ... and just the cutest tweeners you ever will see. I kind of wish I was that boy waiting for daddy to come home from shtooping the secretary work.

Ahhh to be young and curly-haired and light-skin. It's the new American Dream.


MultiCultClassics has some other images on his site.



via Copyranter

That's Me, TANNY-TAN, In The Middle


(real content coming soon ... forrilla)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Dave Chappelle In London

Dave Chappelle is not dead. Alive and well ... and in this video, doing some stand-up in London.

"I say a lot of racist jokes, and my mouth says racist things ... but my penis is a humanitarian ..."



via: BCP/Elon

Related:
Chappelle Is Dead. Long Live Chappelle

Friday, November 30, 2007

Deconstructing Starbury

Watching the Knicks these days is a brutal, glorious experience; last night's loss to the Celtics was the nadir in a season full of them. And the centerpiece of the madness is, of course, Stephon Marbury, the Tracy Jordan of the NBA. He's mesmerizing; we can't look away.

In order to understand Marbury, we think we must look into his past. Therefore, we've asked The Assimilated Negro (that's me) to break down various Marbury-related videos from the past to try to get in the man's mind. The first installment of Deconstructing Starbury is after the jump.
...

Deconstructing Starbury [Deadspin]

I Saw This And Will Never Be The Same Again

I'm a little late on this, but this is VH1 Best Week Ever video about the most disgusting video ever created in the history of humanity. 2 Girls 1 Cup. Do with that phrase what you will. I only could watch 5 seconds, but there are reaction shots all over youtube, and they're just as entertaining, and much more tolerable than the original:




Make sure you pray this weekend, the end is near.

KG On The Knicks


My friend sent this pic and subject headline. Funny.

I really don't care for New Englanders these days.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pour A Little Liquor: Sean Taylor

Sometimes it seems there are only two constants: who we are, our reality, and who we want to be, our potential. And life is the time we spend trying to bridge that gap.

Nowhere is this whole dynamic of reality and potential, nature and nurture, played out more explicitly than in sports. We see athletes who are incredible talents, and have been given special gifts, and then we wait to see how those gifts are nurtured. To see if they will ever bridge the gap in the course of their athletic lives.

But this story plays out for everyone. We all have the skills and talent to do things we know we can do, and want to do, but for whatever reason have yet to make a reality. And that potential can be ambitious as becoming an All Pro safety in the NFL, or simply reconciling to live a better life, and be a loving father/brother/friend to the people you care about. In the case of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor, it appeared he was reaching his potential on both fronts.

I've never cried over the passing of an athlete, and maybe I'm still coming down from my Stevie high, but to read about how this young man, 24, was turning around his life I couldn't help but shed some tears over his tragic passing this morning.

There's no question that Taylor's renaissance as a man and football player is the lead with this story. MJD at the Fanhouse underscores the point. Jeffrey Chadiha at ESPN taps into the same stream. With a fiancee and a year old daughter teammates and coaches were all in praise of Taylor's newfound commitment and maturity on and off the field. And for it to end like this you just have to shake your head, because there is no sadder story than someone just getting in position to give all he can to this world, only to have that opportunity snuffed out just as it was beginning.

As a lifelong Giants fan who is best friends with a lifelong Redskins fan I almost feel I knew Sean Taylor intimately. I remember when my friend scouted Taylor personally (via the internet) to decide whether he approved of his drafting (he did), and I remember all the buzz about him being the next Hall of Fame caliber player at the safety position. And while I've never rooted for a Redskins victory, Taylor was a star in this league, someone you wanted to see make plays. You couldn't help but be intrigued by his story, and wonder whether he would reach his potential and take over as leader of that team.

I liken his role on the team to that of RB Brandon Jacobs on the Giants. Our team is led by the name brand of Eli Manning, just as the face of the Redskins might be Clinton Portis, but I bet most fans would love to see Brandon Jacobs take over and become the identity of the team. Like Taylor, Jacobs is a no holds barred stud whose physical gifts can't help but leave a lasting impression in any game you watch. And like Taylor, Jacobs greatness is only muted by his inability thus far to properly nurture those talents. In the case of Jacobs he can't stay healthy, in the case of Taylor he was held back by a reckless approach to life and football. But you can't help but root for talent like this, and Taylor had seemingly spent the last couple years putting that immaturity and recklessness behind him. With a Pro Bowl berth last season, and continued stellar play thus far in '07, Taylor was on the verge

I hope the NFL affords this passing the proper respect. Even though his legacy as a player has been cut short, for all he represented as a troubled talent that was eventually able to change and grow Taylor offers a valuable lesson to all of us about appreciating our talents and the journey of bridging the gap to our potential.

RIP.


Sean Taylor Dies in Miami [Washington Post]
Taylor's life was turning around
[ESPN]
So much is wasted with Taylor's death [AOL Fanhouse]

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Surgeon Goes On TV To Announce He Will Not Speak On TV

It makes all the sense in the world that Dr. Jan Adams, the surgeon who operated on Kanye West's mother before she died from "surgical complications," would want to respect the family's wishes and not speak on the matter until they're comfortable. But then why do you go on Larry King to apologize for "taking up his airtime." Did the West family call him just before he went on the show?

I submit that 1. he wanted to make it known that the West family is muzzling him, which mutes the "stand-up guy" aspect of the whole statement. Or, 2. he's taking any opportunity to position himself as Celebro-Surgeon for the [black] stars.

Personally, I hope it's the latter. But despite the compelling performance (and from this brief screen test I'd certainly audition him for my black version of House.) doesn't he lose in either case once you wonder why he didn't just send in a statement for the press/media? Just sayin'.



West's Surgeon Walks Off Larry King Show [AOL TV News]

Friday, November 23, 2007

Elephant Soup: For Once In My Life


MP3 File

What I like about Stevie's up-tempo version of "For Once In My Life" versus the ballad version is a sense of the quicker pace driving home the point that this is a song about love that is freeing. The slow version is beautiful, but the pace is foreboding. It's the version you sing before doing chores together, "for once in my life .... i have someone to do the dishes." The fast version implies a couple in love, but the end result is still about you basking in the sunshine and snapping your fingers and just doing what you want to do. It's a love that you can take for granted. It wants you to take it for granted. That's a trickier love to manage -- for one, it theoretically means free sex with others -- but I do think it's the love we should always be shooting for, and Stevie's version captures the joyful part of that sentiment.

My ex-girlfriend -- and really the only "girlfriend" I've had and known -- is the one who got me into Stevie Wonder. I was always aware of him certainly, but it's sort of like she was in the Stevie Fan Club and then got me to join, and then I eventually became the president, or more appropriately, THE EMPEROR, while she remained a casual fan.

A few summers ago, towards the end of our relationship, and right before I transformed into TAN, I had a part-time dog-walking job during the summer. She was the one who kind of got me into the "industry," and for a little while we were like a little part-time cottage dog-service company. She'd do part-time with a company that ran with dogs. I did part-time with a company that walked them. And then we'd often dog-sit on the weekends as well. We had always discussed getting a dog, but this became the perfect compromise. I recommend it if you have the time and don't want the full dog-commitment. You get your dog fix, get some $ on top of that, and no full-time commitments in either case.

I lived in Spanish Harlem (SpaHa, stand up!) and one of my great discoveries in this neighborhood was Ward's Island. They hold concerts and events out there on occasion, and there's currently a redevelopment project to make it a bigger attraction, but at the time it was mostly just this island/park area that was frequently empty. After a while I never went to Central Park anymore cause this was just as beautiful, without the crowds.

So Ward's Island was perfect for dog walking. Since no one was around you could take the dogs off the leash and it was all grass and woods and all of that to run around. The dogs loved it; whenever we let them off the leash it was a revelation along the lines of discovering Stevie Wonder. These conservative, almost closeted canines would mope along like chained-slaves on the street. But on the island, once we "gave them free," they would light up and their personalities would change instantly. You couldn't help but be caught up in in their bounding exuberance, it was like seeing a child's first xmas.

One particular cockerspaniel named Abbey was a very cute dog, but dysfunctionally timid on walks; afraid of large structures, and crowds, and basically everything NYC streets had to offer. She was a tough walk. Every 5 minutes she'd just plop down and not go anywhere, and if you've been around dogs you're probably familiar with how frustrating this behavior can be when you need to get somewhere. Plus if it's a cute female dog, you can't help but feel she's channeling her inner diva/bitch or something. Yet, it was clear Abbey just had some hang-ups, so you'd eventually sympathize cause she presumably just needed some therapy.

Maybe it was a band-aid solution, but I know Ward's Island was therapeutic for Abbey. Once released she would instantly become the dog "we all knew she could be." Boldly inquisitive, frisky, and smiling ear to ear ... Just happy. And Abbey in particular always made me think of this song. I always imagined a video with her prancing about, shoulders confident, nose held high, uncaring about what was going on around her because nothing would slow her down now. And you'd cut it so that she skipped to the beat a little, like those Meow-Mix Cat-Chow commercials. On those walks it seemed Abbey, for once in her life, had someone who loved her.

I've never really talked about my ex on this blog. For one, while I say some personal, intimate things, I don't do that much detailing of my personal relationships. But I did always have a sense that she was hurt a little by me not writing about her. Soooo, I don't know .... but as my first and thus far only serious girlfriend, suffice to say she means the world to me. And when I hear this song I also think of her and hope that she's walking in the sunshine, being boldly inquisitive and full of joy .... Just happy.

I've always had trouble saying "I love you" (hence the mouthing of the phonetically similar, "elephant soup"), but as I begin exploring some of my dating trials and tribs I want her to know that no girl has meant as much to me still being alive, and ... hopeful.

S, I love you, and I know you might think this is corny, but you're a revelation along the lines of Stevie and Ward's Island. And I kind of hope this song, this love, is soundtracking your life.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's A Thin Line Between Love & Misogyny

So I got railed on my orgasm post, and I wanted to respond and defend myself:

Getting In Touch With Your Masculine Side: funny, my first thought is i can't help but think a lot of these Jezebel ladies are acting like dudes. "Oh, he still thinks all we need is an orgasm." Grunt. "Oh, he doesn't know about vibrators." Grunt Grunt. "Woman-hater!" Farrrrt. The whole guy-cliche is they don't care enough to think beneath the surface. Which I can only presume is as silly as me broadly painting all women as feminists-who-don't-want-to-cum. So yeah, maybe the post has a cliché spirit (TGIF!), but i would think you'd want to avoid being cliché in your criticism of it.

My Mama Is Dead
: Moe astutely points out I have mama issues. The only thing is it feels more like a "gotcha" than a commiseration on an issue we both realize. Any digging into my blog reveals a crazy person. and not the crazy I'd like to be, all incredibly compelling and artistic with monumental feats of insane expression. just crazy ... like, everyone just back away from the computer slowly.

When I was a young school boy and I got the usual "Your mama ...." attacks, my response was always "I don't care. You can talk about my mama." or I'd go the "my mama is dead" route. My mother gave me up when I was 5 by putting me in a cab by myself and sending me to the father she had to that point brainwashed me to hate. My next three hang-out seshes with her were all instances of me being kidnapped, twice off the street, once out of my classroom; sometimes I think i hold on to love like the leg of the school table I grabbed on to as she and her new boyfriend yanked me out of the classroom. So, um, yeah, "mommy issues" ... maybe.

For the record, I usually put all that out there on a first date. Maybe even after the first drink or air-kiss. Cause I'm crazy raw like that. So, y'know, yeah ...... bummer cause it's true. But it's cool because I use your orgasm to medicate and make you heart me. win-win!

When is an Orgasm more than an Orgasm
: Ok, yes, vibrators. Woo hoo! i get it. If it were really all about the orgasm, women would marry their vibrators. Brilliant. thanks girls. So smart ... YOU.

Here's my thing: if you're in a traditional, loving, *wifed-up* relationship and you're not cumming, or not able to cum via your partner ..... then I don't know, everyone's free to do what they want, but I'm definitely looking squinty-eyed if you try and tell me how satisfying your relationship is.

As far as I'm concerned, we need to eat, drink, shit and oooooooooooo. So if you're not getting that from your partner, you have to get it from somewhere. a machine, another person, shampoo, blogging .... whatever. but you have to get it. the release is not negotiable. How you release, maybe. Now is there anything else in life this, uh, rigid? this permanent? Whether something has power is determined by your need/reliance on it. If there's one supplier of food, they hold power. If there's one toilet bowl, it holds power as well. And if you value your orgasm, then the Orgasm Distributor holds power. That's me. What time do I punch in?

Orgasm Stock Market: Related to the above, sexual compatibility is fundamental to a healthy relationship. To a healthy Human Corporation. And the bottom line of sexual compatibility is Orgasms. That's the primary currency. If I get a few female analysts reporting that I'm investing a lot of funds in orgasm research and development, does that make me a buy or sell? How hot is my IPO (Initial Penis Offering) in that situation? If the financial market analogy holds, then I'd think 'm heading for a nice market valuation. Like maybe even more than Facebook.

Hate is a Four-Letter Word, Like F*ck, But It Doesn't Provide Orgasms
: I'm a women-hater? Well you must be a man-hater. So there. Hrrrumph! ..... Yay! Productive! I'm not even going to belabor this too much because I just saw Stevie Wonder in concert last night and as his disciple it makes me want to cry to even have women-hating suggested as part of my character. I think this is the reason I wrote a response at all. In Stevie's words, as eloquently sung to "Vision in my Mind" Sat. night, hate is unacceptable. So, I don't hate you, but fuck you for saying it. I've shed toooooooooooooooo many tears, and my heart has been slammed into the turnbuckle too many times to even consider such ludicrosity. Honestly, it's just mean. My post wasn't mean. Orgasms are not mean.

The Black Blogger Always Rings Twice: Look, maybe some guys can stand it. And I'm not totally balding with a mid-life crisis yet, so maybe I still have too much alpha-pride about this. But O's are so pleasurable and vital, how could I deal with not being able to provide some women I like with that? it's the ultimate heartbreak. I don't think I could be the impotent guy whose wife loves him but he has to let her go bang the black blogger who's dealing crack orgasms to deal with his mommy/abandonment issues. That's too much of a head-trip for me. And I'm too proud. I never say never, and maybe with time and therapy you can wrap your head around it and figure out coping mechanisms, but my ideal relationship only needs the two parties involved to figure things out. I don't want to need meds and professionals so i can get your kitty wet. Feel me? I mean maybe we bring in meds and professionals just to spice things up .... but by default? F that. it's a pain in the ass, and I don't have time for it. Don't forget I'm also trying to give you the world, or at least as much of the internet version of it as i can.


soooooo ..... now ........ do you understand me a little bit better? Hmmmmm babydoll[s]? xxxxoxoxoxoxoxo?

If so, good. Now how about that orgasm? And just for me being crude the other day we'll make it all about you tonight. But ... I still want to stand up and taunt after I f the shit out of you? Is that cool? Can I be a man again?

Great. Now how do you like it .......what makes you cum? Tell me ... I want to know. Didn't a woman come up with the whole "knowledge is power" thing anyways? hollllerrrrrrrr.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stevie Wonder: Some Videos

So as mentioned before, I'm gonna have a report on the Stevie Wonder concert at MSG this past Saturday. In the meantime, in-between time, here are some Stevie vids I've come across:

Superstition was performed, of course, similar setting with him at the keyboard and a band behind him. Good stuff. Now just imagine Prince coming out to join him on guitar. I had to take my clothes to the cleaners from people's heads exploding around me:



Tony Bennett made a special guest appearance as well. The performance was similar to this one:



I'm personally partial to Stevie's up-tempo version of "For Once In My Life," and here's a version of that. Stevie didn't have dancers for this show, and I suspect this video may indicate the reason why.



The longest/extended version of a song award went to "Ribbon in the Sky":



And my personal favorite Stevie song (if you can have a favorite), You & I:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

What Does One Wear to a Stevie Wonder Concert?

So I'm going to Stevie Wonder at MSG tonight. According to BV -- the only source I consulted on the matter -- it's only, like, his second show in NYC in the past ten years or so. So, it's a hot ticket.

I ascribe Stevie no lower value than "proof of God's existence" so needless to say I'm excited for the show.

But I don't know what a young[ish] TAN wears to such an event. Do I go a little more formal out of respect for Stevie and the inevitable presence of Negro Elders in the audience? Button up/down shirt, jeans and shoes. Or do I max my comfort level, cause it's all about enjoying the music, and go with jeans and t-shirt with some sort of long-sleeved addition underneath for November-weather insulation? That's most comfy, but feels a little irreverent-hipstery for a Stevie show.

It's not a huge deal either way, not like I don't go with one or the other in your average 2-3 day stretch. And he's not gonna see either way. But it's Stevie God, so I do want to give it some consideration.

In any event, I'll have a review/report on the show next week.

And now that I've thought about it some, I'm thinking I'm just gonna go with my blue Stevie dress. I haven't worn that in a while:


Related:
Soundtrack of My Heart: You & I

Friday, November 16, 2007

WIth This Orgasm I Thee Wed

It recently dawned on me that I don’t like girls. I like girls cumming.

Don't get me wrong, girls are awesome. I don't dislike them. They're all hot and stuff. And it's cute to see them laughing. But as smoking as you may be, every girl goes up a notch when she's cumming.

Whenever I'm on a date or something it's sort of like yeah, blah blah, you like the museum, you like shopping, you like poetry, blahbity blah. And I'm always rocking the sly smile, and thinking, yeah you might like those things .... but you ain't gonna be talkin' about none of that ish when you're cumming tonight. The only spoken words for this evening are: Oh. My. God.

It's the ultimate equalizer. If you can get them all flushed and winded and out of control and trembling and just ..... mmmmm. You feel like the Lebron James of labias who just went baseline and dunked on her dome, and you want to stand there and taunt, “Take that!! What say your years of feminist empowerment theory now, beeotch???”

Cause that's when it's most satisfying, with these haughty you-can't-do-nothing-for-me girls. Pffft.

Although young girls are nice also. Like under 30. I almost think young girls getting the business is something that demands federal regulation. It's like legal slavery. You break off a good one and you can go ahead and hook the plow up around her neck and have her till the fields or whatever. I got my 40 Acres and A Girl I made cum last night.

Of course this is a lot of tough talk and bravado, and I know there are a couple girls reading this thinking, naaaahhhh TAN, I know you, you ain't no Lebron James son. I've certainly had my fair share of depressing nights where I've had nothing to work with but two cold eyes staring at me while I jigger-jigger away, “um, yeah, your little wrap-around-and-diddling-my-doodle thing might have worked on that virgin, but I need less limp noodle and more beef in my Lo Mein, nah mean.” Or at least, that's what the asian chicks say.

Fact is, if you're an alcoholic and blessed with an Okey Dokey Pokey, some swings-and misses are inevitable.

But it doesn't change the point. Come to think of it, I don't think I'm friends with any girls who I've swung-and-missed with. Strictly enemies. No love. No emails. Just spit in my face if I happen to cross their path.

So again, it just goes to show, it's not about the girl, it's about her orgasm. The rest is all blahbity-blah.

I think that's all I have to say. Now .... bring on the weekend!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

No Licking The Camel Toads!

Funny little bit in a newspaper where a woman writes in to "Ask Leslie" why her son was going to the pool to "scout out some 'camel toads.'" She wonders is it a drug, or perhaps something worse???

All I can say is thank god for Leslie, who sets the lady straight. Of course, the boy may still be in grave danger ...

Scouting for 'camel toads' [humor.beecy.net]

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

TAN Party Crash: Evening of Champions


Who types with his thumbs up, is brainwashed by The Man and covered in melanin???

This Guy!!!

Oh wait, ANNNND he likes Kurt Vonnegut?

Ok, I messed that up. See I wanted to explain that I went to this Kurt Vonnegut party this Saturday, and I don't know, not to be all racist about it, but it just seems like such a "white thing" to do. I just feel if I were chilling in the jungles of Africa and had never laid eyes on a white person before, for whatever reason, I don't think I'd be in "DUMBO" checking out "Evening of Champions" in some new "artist loft space (sorry, quotes button broke from overuse).

Yet and still, somewhere along the way "The Man" got to me, and I must confess, I was intrigued when my friend, who was performing, passed the flyer on. I couldn't read the text well, but I remember looking at the images and thinking, hmmmm, an evening with an Old White Man and The Ghosts of Slavemaster's Past. Sounds like my kind of band... I'm in!

Plus -- and clearly of more importance -- I was gonna go with a girl. A cute girl! A cute girl who knows sports!!! OMG OMG OMG!!! A cute girl who knows sports BUT ... she's from the Boston area. *sound of crashing expectations* Booooo! (Due to the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics recent success every New England girl is an expert in all three sports, so they're to be avoided in general.)

Lucky for me, this was no ordinary Masshole New England chick. This was the spectacularly sultry proprietor of This Suit Is Not Black, seen coast-to-coast on the AOL Fanhouse Minute, and at Deadspin parties. She is heretofore referenced as "K."

That sounds great, but there are problems: 1. K is hot, smart, funny and thus, out of my league. 2. She's become good friends with this girl I'm actively hearting at the moment (aww ... hi, you're out of my league too!). So even if I did somehow find The Lost Pheromones of Tom Brady, the sexual tension would still be doomed to simmer forever in Friend Zone purgatory just on the strength of the BFF Code of Proper Sexual Conduct.

Now I haven't been out on a Friend Zone date in years. That's how I roll. To me "Friend Zone" means you want to use the extra-thick condoms that suck so we don't get all into it. So I wondered how this evening was going to go. And after the jump we'll find out if Friend Zone turned into End Zone, how to introduce yourself if you recognize The Assimilated Negro, and if K and I ended up learning anything about Durty Kurt Vonnegut.


---------
this is not a real jump. your ad here for, say, $500. Act now! ----------


The night begins at Union Bar, which is sort of a glorified-frat-house meets downtown-NYC type bar. It's relatively early in the evening, maybe 8PM, and the place is just getting warmed up. I order a glass of Pinot Noir cause, y'know, I'm gonna be the snobby cultural black dude that no one in the glorified frat house can say anything to cause they all reek so strong of obnoxious entitlement that I have legal grounds to beat the stink out of them based on their very existence amounting to a premeditated, AND RACIAL, assault on my person. Also, that's how I roll. So I get the glass of wine and break out my moleskine notepad and commence with looking like a dark man of mystery who wandered into the wrong bar.

I get my first glass down and start on a second when K arrives. Now as I've established K is an attractive girl etc etc, but I was a little bemused by her outfit which looked a little like she had to borrow clothes after a sleep over at Sarah Maclachlan's place. Someone was very aware that this was a creative/concept party in Brooklyn is all I'm saying.

Anyboho, I'd been recruiting K to serve on my Council of Caucasian Females who are advising me on relevant aspects of my forthcoming book .... (forthcoming as in I'm now finally writing my proposal, not that I have a publisher. whatever. like it's not gonna be the most racist thing on earth if I don't find a publisher for Black Men, White Women: A Love Story.)

So we're talking, and heavens, the conversation is so free and easy and wonderful! I was really enjoying the Friend Zone. Who knew? Having the freedom to talk about everything in life without the distraction or innuendo of sexual impulses, it's great! It kinda makes me a little envious of ugly people, they must have such awesome convo ALL THE TIME.

After a few rounds, we head to the party in DUMBO, and the whole hood looks very much like a place where people -- unhip Manhattanites, I'm sure -- get killed late at night. If I wanted to murder and have any sense of artistry about it, it would def be under one of these NYC bridges. I mention this to K and she says something about no one being able to kill the Patriots.

We find the party without little hassle, and the place is crowded with hipster-lite brooklyn people, but the atmosphere is boisterous, the music is good, my friend's lady is handling drinks and everything's all gravy. Yay BK party!

Not long after arriving I have the unique experience -- unique to me and some a and b list celebrities -- of being recognized by a stranger. This is always a treat for me cause it's not like, "oh, are you Tom Cruise?" or "Are you Tyra Banks?" It's "oh, are you ........ the ............... assimilated ........................." and then I have to let them off the hook by announcing myself and confirming their suspicions or else they think they have the wrong guy.

But this guy was pretty direct, and once names are established K and I start talking to my new TAN friend. He's eventually joined by some cute hipster chick from the crowd. After further intros, I asked how they met and they tell me some cutesy story about making eyes on the train platform and him making a move. Aww. But then suddenly things turn sour. I asked a follow-up question and the girl started giving me attitude, and the guy was at a loss. It felt like one of those scenarios where a couple is in a honeymoon phase, and they're all giggly and bubbly telling some friends at a party, and then someone asks a question that neither honeymooner had considered to that point, and all of a sudden the honeymoon is over and you just witnessed it. Like this couple who found love via train and internet. At some point they're going to look at each other and be like, oh, we met on the train. This is retarded. Bye. So it felt like K and I facilitated that lovely moment for our new buddies. Hope they like the Friend Zone!

One pleasant surprise at the party were a couple old college friends being present. I'm so proud of so many peoples from my freshman year because our class broke all sorts of low-performance records. We had something like an 80% academic-probation rate (holla!), and did a lot of the dirty work to get us, a small liberal arts college, into the the mix with the big state schools like Florida State for rankings related to alcohol and drug consumption per capita. Despite the destruction of our brains and livers, many are now legitimate success stories. There's Alex, who co-founded Dodgeball, and then got purchased by Google. And Kevin, who designs sites for the NY Times and WSJ and other high profile clients. And me .... blogging .......

I just think it sets a good example for new generations that you can party hard, and work hard, and have that big NYC kind of success if you put your mind to it ... and, you're white.

An hour or two into the festivities someone breaks out a pull-up bar. I don't have much to say about this except Caucasians doing pull-ups at parties are at high risk of receiving the Crackdown Aluminum:


Anycrazy, the drinks had been cheap, and K and I had been drinking for 5-6 hours straight without eating, so we were pretty lubed up by the wee hours. FRIENDS! So we decided to find some food ... as friends. And after eating we planned to go home .....NOT TOGETHER. Even though we were so drunk, and when I'm so drunk all I do is fantasize about food and .... FRIENDSHIP. I honestly don't remember learning anything about Vonnegut Saturday night, I think that element was part of some Nigerian Scam or something, but as I put K in a cab so she could go home, alone, I couldn't help but wonder what KV's thoughts on the friend zone were. From a look at the flyer methinks he probably had plenty of insightful thoughts on the subject.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

EbonyJet: The Dearth of Black Satire


If You Can't Take A Joke .... [EbonyJet]

UPDATE: The NY Times taps into this stream with a discussion about race in sitcoms. Reading the piece and their examples, it's almost like race is the issue that tests the edginess and unique perspective of a writer. All the shows that grab my attention handle the subject in new, funny and different ways. Cheers to those guys!

Race on Sitcoms
[NY Times]

Monday, November 12, 2007

TAN Guide To Coping with the Death of Kanye's (or your favorite artist's) Mama

Over the weekend Kanye West's mother sadly passed away to that great big home for celebrity mama's in the sky. At the tender age of 58, and at a time when her son is enjoying the peak of his professional career, Donda West clearly left us too soon. But inspired by the way Ms. West and her relationship with her son touches Kanye's fans as much as the music or Kanye himself, I've put together a little guide to coping with the loss of Kanye's (or your favorite artist's) mama.

Their Mama Is Your Mama: I didn't spot this news on my own, a friend told me about it. And when she told me she said, "that makes me sad, as annoying as he can be, he was really close to his mom. :(" My initial reaction to that email was cynicism, like, how silly and ridiculous is it to feel sad about strangers kind of thing. You don't know them, you're not their friends. But then I came around to thinking it wasn't weird at all. You are friends with your favorite celebrity. Of course you're supposed to acknowledge that they're humans also, not all dreamy and perfect and stuff. And I think a few years ago, pre-reality television, you probably had a bigger gap between the perception of celebrity artists and the reality. But now anyone still deluded on that is just an idiot. So yeah, Kanye's not perfect, but neither are your friends. And it's likely Kanye through his music, or entertaining personality, has done a lot more to help you get through tough times than a lot of folks you call friends. So that gets you in the loop. The rest is the Transitive Property of Motherhood; any good mother is going to act like she's your mother also, which might mean you get Sunny D and finger sandwiches after playing outside, but could also mean you get a spanking for using that foul language in her mouth. In any case when a friend's mama passes, it's one of the great tragedies in a person's life, and it makes total sense to feel their pain. So have no qualms about that.

Revisit The Work: There's little consolation for Kanye in the heat of the moment, but at some point he can think that at least he got Graduation out before she passed. It is his best work to date, and more to the point, you can feel her influence on him in his all his music. He's so raw and transparent as an artist, I sometimes wonder if he's a new breed. Like Jay-Z is an infinitely more satisfying lyricist and technician .... but artist? I don't know. Jay fronts more -- oddly enough despite his whole image being about cool and authentic -- but he's clearly about image. And when he lets on about insecurities or doubts a la Kingdom Come it doesn't feel right. It runs contrary to Urban Superhero identity. It makes me think Jay-Z is kind of like ARod if ARod could actually get it right.

Anyways, the passing of your favorite artist's mother allows you to re-visit their oeuvre and say awwwwwwwwwwwww. Which adds a nice element of poignancy to everything.

Pick Your Favorite Pull Quote/Story: If an artist's mother passes, there has to be some quotes or anecdotes or something that conveys the personal intimacy and bond between mama and child. Here's my favorite from the current round of Ms. West articles:

"We were coming back from a short vacation in Michigan when he was 5, and he composed a poem in the back seat," Ms. West said in the interview. "The one line that sticks with me is 'the trees are melting black.' It was late fall, and the trees had no leaves. He saw how those limbs were etched against the sky, and he described them the way a poet would."

Awww. It's even cuter because Kanye might be the least "poetic" emcee in hip hop. That was surely a poem only a mama could love.

Call 'em if you got 'em: It's not always easy to be sappy and sentimental, that's where artists can help sometimes. And with a mother passing, life essentially becomes art right before your eyes, hearing of such a moment can touch you just like music or a painting or a movie with Jessica Biel. So put on some Stevie Wonder and call yo mama and tell her you luh her.

Respect the "need for space": The standard celebrity line is "we'd like some space so family can mourn in private." But famous artists and celebs belong to the public now, so they can say that all they want, but it's up to us whether we want to abide by these proclamations. That said, Dear Mama dying is the one you respect. Like if Britney Spears' baby dies, you might still feel ok poking and prodding for more information on what happened. But not when Kanye's mama passes.

Moving On: You can't grieve longer than the artist, so abide by these notes and guidelines in a small window. You're allowed to feel terrible, but if you overextend you might be using this to mask some of your own problems. Don't do that. This is about Kanye and his mama, not you. Have some respect and get out of the zone in a timely fashion.

(RIP)

Kanye West's mom dies [Chicago Tribune]

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pour A Little Liquor: Norman Mailer

So Norman Mailer is dead at the age of 84.

I've always had a fancy for Norman, his zeal for being bold and audacious. Of course he's given me fodder on the Negro Hipster quest in the form of his essay "The White Negro." But more than his accomplishments and literary legacy I think I've been intrigued by his status as a living legend who ultimately failed in his quest for lasting relevance.

Looking back now, his ambition and desire outsized his talent, which is a torment I relate with far too often. But his passing feels like a burial of that ego-archetype as much as Mailer himself. Narcissism and vanity run amok in our new media era, but it's mutated from the grandiose god-complex that was, in the end, his calling card. We still have ego-warriors, but they are incapable of ruling the land and commanding our attention the way Mailer did in his prime. I wasn't around in those days, but seems he lived his life like he was in a reality show, and back then that meant you were an american hero, now we know it just means you have an american ego.

I wonder, for black people, if we appreciate someone like Mailer. I know it's hard for me to think of him as something other than an old-school caucasian who The System forced me to place on a pedestal. When I first read "The White Negro" I was like, wow. Then years later reading James Baldwin tearing the essay apart, I was like, WOW. But Mailer's still compelling, not necessarily as an author -- where you might take him or leave him -- but as a personality. How does he compare with a Kanye, or a Terrell Owens, or a Kobe Bryant, or any of our celebs/stars who have legitimate talent but have taken a road that inextricably wraps their ego with their work? Sometimes I think black people in general suffer from a higher rate of outsized ambition and desire. Or maybe we all suffer from the ego-itis, but black folks have a tougher time reconciling the reality and dealing with it. We're not as familiar with the expansive middle ground of a happy life with modest, but manageable, goals and expectations. Too often we still only see The Projects or The Superstar....

I don't know, I'm rambling now. But I wonder if we're just now getting our Norman Mailers. Is Kanye walking the same dead-end road, or is he something new and different? Mailer, like 'Ye and so many others, wanted to conquer his industry and the world through his talent. And now he's dead. And I think that model of star-celebrity might be as well.

Norman Mailer Dead at 84 [Yahoo News]

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Power Of Conan Compels Me

Of all the odd cat-and-mouse combinations, apparently a priest has been put in jail for stalking Conan O'Brien. For over a year he's been sending the eminently stalkable pale Conan postcards and letters:

“I’m told by some of those officious little usher people that you’re overbooked. Is this the way you treat your most dangerous fans? You owe me big-time, pal. I want a public confession before I even consider giving you absolution.”

The priest is from Boston, and claims they both went to Harvard together, so sounds like someone just chose the wrong major and is regretting it a little bit now. What a Masshole.

I don't know, maybe there's more to it, but driving a religious man insane does make me like Conan a little more.

Priest Stalking Conan O'Brien [NY Times]

One Million Positive Negro Impressions & Counting

A month or two ago I saw a movie at the Magic Johnson movie theater on 125th street. And as I walked from the escalator to the movie theater I was struck by the walls being covered with black celebrities of all shapes and sizes, and from all different eras.

My first thought was, ok, that makes sense, this is the Magic Johnson movie theater in Harlem. Cool. Then all of a sudden I was tickled about galleries like this, or as another example, the showcasing involved in Black History Month, as just our most basic form of advertising black people: We are trying to sell black people. Or more specifically, sell other people on black people.

As I walked past the pictures, I could almost hear the commercial: Buy black people! You might end up with a Muhammad Ali, or a P. Diddy, or an Alicia Keys, or a Magic Johnson.
(results not guaranteed, might end up with crackhead, convict, etc.)

So with that in mind, there was a list composed by Adam Smith (I think it was Adam, but I couldn't find it online) that explains the 21 stages a customer goes through as he continues to receive impressions of your product. It's supposed to demonstrate a little of the psychology behind repeated impressions. I've translated it here via the concept of marketing negroes:

21 Stages by Adam Smith

1st – We don't see the negro
2nd – We don't notice the negro
3rd – We are conscious of the negro
4th – We faintly remember the negro
5th – We check out the negro
6th – We turn our nose at the negro
7th – We say "oh brother" about the negro
8th – We think oh, here's the negro again
9th – We wonder about the negro
10th – We ask a neighbor about the negro
11th – We wonder where the negro comes from
12th – We think the negro must be good,
13th – We think the negro must be worth something
14th – We remember we wanted to be down with negroes
15th – We can't afford the negro
16th – We think we will invest in a negro
17th – We makes a memo regarding the negro
18th – We curse our money situatoon
19th – We count our money
20th – We make plans to invest in the negro
21st – We invest in the negro ...

And I guess at this point is when someone says "awww, Alicia Keys, what a sweet talented negro girl. I like her."

Would someone say that? Someone normal? Maybe the terrorists say things like that when they find themselves in Magic Johnson movie theaters.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Johan Santana Is Better Than Sex

Hot Stove is eating up for baseball. As a Mets fan, I think we should make a Pedro/Beltran aggressive move for Johan Santana. i.e. overpay to get him.

Consider this:

Mets: Hi, Minnesota?

Minny: Hi, Mets?

Mets: yeah, how you doing?

Minny: Ok. Could use some more money. And a heatwave right about now. But it's all good. You see Adrian Peterson last week? We're pretty excited about having the best RB in the NFL.

Mets: Yeah, we saw that. He's incredible. Could probably play a Gold Glove center field if he wanted also.

Minny: Yeah. Soooo, what's up?

Mets: Well, we were just reading The Mets Are Better Than Sex and have decided we want Johan Santana.

Minny: Um yeah, we know. Get in line my friend.

Mets: We're willing to overpay. We don't think anyone else can match our offer.

Minny: oh? is that so? I'm listening ....

Mets: Well, let's start with Jose Reyes. The Most Exciting Player in the game. He's almost like the Adrian Peterson of Running Backs.

Minny: Oh, you mean like Hanley Ramirez?

Mets: Huh? Anyways ... JOSE REYES. On the turf, that speed might be interesting ... no?

Minny: Yeah. That sounds kinda awesome actually. Reyes, Mauer, Morneau. Mmmmmmm ...

Mets: We'll also give you Milledge or Gomez.

Minny: Hmmmm .... this is getting interesting ...

Mets: AND, we'll send you a pitcher back. Pelfrey, Humber ....your choice of young pitcher.

Minny: Ok. Let us think about that. If the Yankees don't want to give up Hughes. Or the Dodgers don't want to send us Billingsley, Kershaw and two of their young bats. We might have a deal.

Mets: Cool. Ideally we could get one of your bullpen arms back maybe. We could throw in a couple more lower level minor league guys.

Minny: oh. i don't know. but let us think about it.

Mets: Yeah, hit us back. We're gonna go talk about ARod now to fill shortstop if we make the deal.

Minny: Oh wow, that would be a major move for you guys.

Mets: Maybe, we'll see. Ok, talk to ya later.

Minny: later.

/scene

So for Minnesota, they get good young talent, and a bonafide superstar that could vault their lineup to upper echelon. If Liriano returns as an ace, they still have pitching.

And for the Mets, we may end up paying upwards of $400-500M, for two players. But they would be the best hitter and starter in the game. And we'd have other talent around them.

Johan, Pedro, Ollie, Maine

Beltran, Castillo, Wright, ARod, Delgado, Alou.

I think Jose is the only way we can get Johan. And while I love Jose, I want the ace. So let's make it happen people.

cross post: The Mets Are Better Than Sex
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