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

The Sweet Smell of Chemistry

What is this "chemistry?" Dogs seem to demonstrate "chemistry" well. It's like, yeah, you might smell every arsehole that walks by, just to get some perspective or something, but the act of pressing nose to sphincter feels more intimate that it is. It's really just a function of your survival instinct. Do you think your booty smells honest? Is it an aroma rich with integrity and character? Life would be so much easier if we could just give a sniff and know whether the people around us were on the up-and-up.

But then, some dogs smell each other's arses and immediately start playing. A game they've played a million times before, and could play a million and one times more. And they don't need to get married or anything. They just smell and play. Now that's a special smell.

I like when i see dogs that have chemistry. It gives me hope that i'm not out here sniffing lady's behinds for nothing. It also gives me something to think about when I'm being reported to the police again for inappropriate conduct.

Monday, November 05, 2007

TAN's Gawker Gallery

So I get asked about Gawker a decent amount. I've done a few different things for them, so here is the portfolio of selected Gawker clips:

Special Correspondent: I started as a Special Correspondent, specifically Special Correspondent for Brown People Issues, as dubbed by former editor Jesse Oxfeld. Some negroes may squint their eyes, but I thought the title was kind of genius:

This was my debut ... some might say it's all downhill from here.

Smells Like Negro Musk
... This was my last "Special Report," I enjoyed talking about one of my favorite subjects: black hipsters.

Negrok/China IM chat
I enjoyed this chat, in part because it was very impromptu and done from chat-to-post in an hour or so. Spinach Dip was a good foil, filled with reason and sensibility, while i made exclamatory jokes. Come to think of it, intelligent articulate people often make good "foils" for me. I got more backlash than expected for this. Asians were hating.

Black History Month: This was a very un-gawker like post, but it was for Black History Month, so I think they just let me do whatever..... or rather, obviously they let me do whatever. Give me whatever and I'll give you the world Wigger History Month.

~~

Guest Editing: For a couple days in the summer of '06 everyone went on vacation, and they were forced to call up talent from the Negro Leagues. I subbed for Jessica Coen. Before this guest-edit stint I thought blogging was a fun means of sharing news and giving your opinion and such, but after a couple days on the job full-time I realized it's more Gateway To Hell than anything else. In any event, here are a handful of posts that came out of that two-day stint:

The Vagina Dialogues
, prob my favorite post

morning after pill, "just woke up and boy do we feel pregnant," still makes me giggle.

bloggers are cheap, but you knew that already

times masturbation, breaking: couples are using computers

subway record, a nyc post ...

~~

Columnist-y: Then came a couple columns/series/something-or-others:

Ghetto Pass

First Responders


???Inside The Commenter's Studio ...???

~~

Slave Auction-y: And we should never forget February of '07 when I was sold off as part of a White Castle Valentine. Good times, good times.


And so it goes ...

Czech, Please!

A Czech couple discovers their 10-month old baby isn't theirs. And they discover this after folks at their LOCAL BAR, keep calling them out on having a blonde baby even though they have dark hair. I'm not sure exactly how, but I think this story -- both with the mixup, and relying on bar patrons to make you see the light -- demonstrates why Czech people don't run the world.

Bar gossip leads to nasty surprise [Reuters]

Friday, November 02, 2007

Don't Reserve Seats, Reserve Pilots

Flying out to Cali today, and being such a long trip and all I'm really hoping to get this pilot.

TAN peeps in the bay area should holler, maybe we can link up and make some magic happen.


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