Saturday, April 4, 2009

From Hollis to the Hall

x-posted at PostBourgie as part of weekend endorsements:

Quiet as kept, this weekend is as good a time as any to get down with The King: Run DMC is getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today.

So to mark the occasion, dust off your boombox and slip in an old cassette of “Raising Hell” or “Tougher Than Leather.” Feel free to put on some shell-toes, a dookie chain and a bucket hat.

The Hollis, Queens, trio – minus late member and deejay Jam-Master Jay - will be only the second hip-hop group to be inducted into the Hall, following the selection of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five in 2007. Run DMC’s induction will complete the circle of irony, which started with their 1985 hit “King of Rock” – a video that shows them trashing a museum that resembled a rock and roll hall of fame. Nice, right?

To be honest, I missed out on much of Run DMC’s heyday. Some of this was because I lived in Houston. Some of this was because I wasn’t yet able to buy my own music. And some of that was by design.

By the time I was a teenager in the early ‘90s, I thought Run DMC was corny and – this is embarrassing to admit – sort of wack. I wasn’t moved by the groundbreaking nature of “Walk This Way.” And I damn sure didn’t own any Adidas. If it wasn’t Tribe or Cube or Public Enemy, I really didn’t want to hear much about anything else.

Oh, the folly of youth. I'm going to pay proper homage this weekend. Won't you do the same?

P.S. Kudos to Rev. Run for Daddy's Girls, too. I wouldn't have thought he had it in him. (Did I really write that down? Wow. Sorry.)
Continue Reading »

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cavemen > women

What can I say?

I like my pep talks with a little more, uh, spice. And "poop" doesn't qualify.

You've been forewarned.

Post-script: Arizona State went out and got waxed by UConn in the second half; West Virginia actually pulled off a minor upset of Georgia in Atlanta's Georgia Dome. Continue Reading »

She's fine

Halle Berry.

This is posted without much comment for obvious reasons. (Me, biting fist).

h/t Metropolitan Magnolia. Continue Reading »

Mad about brackets

Because it's never a bad time to bash the BCS:

The Onion, as usual, hits this one right through the uprights.

Unless you've actually been able to stomach the Orange Bowl the past four years.

h/t Dr. Saturday Continue Reading »

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Rebels without a cause

At this time of year, it's hard not to think South Carolina is needlessly missing out on all the March Madness.

It wasn't always this way.

In 2002, Columbia hosted a World Series Baseball Regional, a Super Regional and a women's Basketball Regional. Around the same time, Columbia was also chosen to host a number of SEC championship events and several men's soccer tournaments.

With the University of South Carolina set to open a new $64 million, 18,000-seat basketball arena later that year, it seemed Columbia was a good bet to make the rotation for several of the NCAA's championship events.

But that never came to pass. For reasons that - to me - defy logical explanation:

You might have forgotten that Columbia can never be the site for a pre-determined NCAA tournament. Never, at least, until the Confederate flag is removed from the State House grounds.

So, it will not happen in my lifetime. No doubt, it will take at least another 50 years or so for the state of South Carolina to move into the 21st century.

Yes, the NCAA issued a two-year ban on awarding predetermined postseason events to South Carolina in 2001 and extended the moratorium indefinitely in 2004. Once the flag comes down, the NCAA comes back to town. It's really that simple.

But apparently still committed to fighting a war that ended nearly 150 years ago, South Carolina's political leaders have refused to back down in the face of the NCAA's - and the NAACP's - economic boycott. Is this mere stubborness or principled defiance in support of Southern ideals that somehow eludes me? (Of course, the old joke holds that the Civil War ain't over down here - it's just halftime.)

Either way, the ban goes on.

So while cities like Greensboro and Dayton reap tremendous economic benefits from hosting the Dance, Columbia's jewel of an arena sits dark and empty, local businesses miss their chance to cater to hordes of basketball fans and thousands of hotel rooms go unused.

Ron Morris of The State (Columbia, S.C.) laments:

For an NCAA basketball event, the host city essentially opens its front door and asks visitors to drop cash at area hotels and restaurants. The NCAA covers all expenses.

... Beyond the obvious financial gains, the city of Columbia would benefit immensely from the national exposure garnered by hosting a tournament. The city can’t possibly purchase the kind of publicity it would get from having its name printed on every NCAA tournament bracket across the country.

... All the money Columbia has doled out for music festivals and new slogans would come back in spades with just one weekend of NCAA tournament basketball. Not a person outside Columbia — OK, and most people within the city limits — knows that “Famously Hot” is the city’s new slogan.

Clearly, South Carolina is lacking in progressive leadership. And maybe that's the way they prefer it in the Palmetto State.

But why?
Continue Reading »

Random Acts of YouTube

Bow to your Sensei:

Continue Reading »

Not fulfilling the dream

David Joseph Thornton:

A rapper, Thornton acted like a "sore loser," she said, when the audience booed him off stage in the style of the talent shows at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater.

Thornton had come with an entourage of about 15, Byron said. He left, but came back into the auditorium and was smoking inside, she said.

Some fraternity members tried to kick him out, but he and several others resisted, she said, delaying the show's planned after-party. Show organizers decided to cut short the lineup and move the audience outside.

Police then responded to reports of someone with a pistol outside the building.

That someone was allegedly Thornton.

Sounds like Eli Porter finally found a challenger for Iron Mic. Continue Reading »

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

American Exceptionalism

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va), who is introducing a bill to reform the U.S. criminal justice system:

"Let's start with a premise that I don't think a lot of Americans are aware of. We have five percent of the world's population; we have 25 percent of the world's known prison population. There are only two possibilities here: either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States; or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice."
Well, which is it?
Continue Reading »

No jokes

I don't have the heart or mind to come up with anything decent for April Fool's Day. But I recently came across a potentially great business opportunity, if you're interested.

Some enterprising young man found me through the Internets and has told me that I can earn at least $5,000 a month online - just sitting at home!

That sounds mighty promising. And much better than the time I pestered all my friends to purchase melaleuca products they didn't need. Continue Reading »

The 10/31 Project

Shorter Colbert: "I'm sorry. I just love Glenn Beck's sanity. And I fear for it."

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I haven't watched much of Beck since he left HN for the loony bin over at Fox News - much to the delight of the First Lady. From what I can tell through the snippets and occasional media notes, it seems like Beck has found the perfect asylum over there.

But that said, I'm not sure that I know anyone who watches him unironically. That probably says something more about the circles I run in than anything else. So, is there anyone out there that would like to admit to something today?

It's safe here. No April Foolin. Continue Reading »

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Kile Wygle, 28, was hospitalized for minor injuries. He was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated after he told an officer at the hospital that he had consumed 15 beers, police said. Wygle told police his motorized bar stool can go up to 38 mph.
Note the complete lack of frill, invention, or counterintuitive design. It’s nothing more than what it claims to be: a motherfuckin’ barstool with wheels, a lawnmower engine, and a cartoon steering wheel attached to it. It is about three practical details away from the cartoon that pops into your head when you imagine “barstool with wheels.” For this reason alone, the Homer-ity of the invention, it attains a kind of Platonic idealistic greatness. It’s so completely fucking stupid that it had to exist, and could not be denied from inception forward.
If you're ever in Tampa, Mr. Wygle, the first six cervezas are on me. But only if I get to drive.
Continue Reading »

Half Man, Half Amazing

LeBron James:

At least a couple handful of times in my life, I've had the opportunity to play pick-up basketball with guys who were fringe NBA players, former college stars and playground hotshots.

Each time, I've come away with a newfound appreciation for the level of skill and athleticism it takes to become a top-notch basketball player. And at no point in any of those games were those guys going much more than half-speed. Yet they still dominated.

At the upper echelons of the game, the players almost cease to be human. J.J. Redick, a Washington General, or the 12th-man at your local college would certainly bust your ass. Most of them can do things with a basketball that would rival any dude off an And1 mixtape.

And then there's someone like LeBron, possibly the best basketball player in the world. He's so good, so big, so awesome, that he might singe your cerebral cortex. Continue Reading »

Monday, March 30, 2009

Free period

A Sweet Sixteen of links, if you will:

1. At least on my end, there's not much to say about the March 17 traffic stop of NFL players Ryan Moats and his family outside a hospital where his mother-in-law lay dying. Anything I'd say would be too obvious. But watching the video of the confrontation, one thing stuck with me: if Moats had been even a little more agitated, he might have been Tasered or shot. That self-control might have saved his life. But to those that knew him from his high school days in Dallas, Moats' composure was no surprise.

2. The same cop also had a traffic stop run-in with the wife of NFL player Zach Thomas. It ended with her handcuffed and taken to the county jail. Not much of a stretch to say he's a rogue, eh? DPD should rid itself of this guy, if only to avoid a humongous lawsuit.

3. A couple more Moats-related links: his recent interview with a Dallas radio sports station and Officer Powell's MySpace profile, which is obviously set to private.

3. If we hope to avoid a depression, Simon Johnson thinks we should reconsider how much political power our financial sector has accumulated over the past couple of decades. The U.S. has the look of an "emerging market," according to Johnson. This is not a good thing.

4. Like a lot of cities, Portland and Detroit are in trouble.

5. However, Compton - of all places - is showing a lot of improvement.

6. Someday, Galveston will turn to the gaming industry. It's absolutely inevitable. And I wonder what that will mean for Louisiana.

7. Jamison Foser has some important advice for political reporters who are bored with President Obama's professorial tendencies. Eric Boehlert has more about this meme.

8. Think having children will make you happy? Think again. (More on this in a later post. I really need to be careful with this one).

9. Behind the scenes as CNN's Ed Henry goes to Jack in the Box. Hilarity ensues.

10. The arrogance of wealth provides a lot of the fuel for populist anger, I think. That goes for newspaper companies, too.

11. David Simon is not through with the Baltimore Sun. Not at all.

12. Working for Lenny Dystrka sucks.

13. Is Jon Stewart this generation's Ed Murrow? For our sake, he might have to be.

14. In hip-hop news, Damon Dash is delusional and Diddy is being sued for allegedly preferring Gamma Rays.

15. From the conk, to the natural, to the 'Fro, to locks and more: a slideshow of black men's hair through history. h/t AT.

16. The cards don't lie: Miss Cleo is still dabbling in voodoo. And she's now a lesbian activist.

Whew. More later.

Continue Reading »


The tortured musical and fashion stylings of La'Domour. Detroit, stand up:

And if you happened to make it all the way through, I'm sorry.

h/t Thembi. Continue Reading »

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Courtesy of Matt Taibbi:

Like a lot of people, I read Wednesday's New York Times editorial by former AIG Financial Products employee Jake DeSantis, whose resignation letter basically asks us all to reconsider our anger toward the poor overworked employees of his unit.

DeSantis has a few major points. They include: 1) I had nothing to do with my boss Joe Cassano's toxic credit default swaps portfolio, and only a handful of people in our unit did; 2) I didn't even know anything about them; 3) I could have left AIG for a better job several times last year; 4) but I didn't, staying out of a sense of duty to my poor, beleaguered firm, only to find out in the end that; 5) I would be betrayed by AIG senior management, who promised we would be rewarded for staying, but then went back on their word when they folded in highly cowardly fashion in the face of an angry and stupid populist mob.

I have a few responses to those points. They are 1) Bullshit; 2) bullshit; 3) bullshit, plus of course; 4) bullshit. Lastly, there is 5) Boo-Fucking-Hoo. You dog.

Keep reading. Continue Reading »

The Stadium Scam

Finally, the Marlins belong to Miami after county commissioners there approved a financing package for a $634 million stadium project. But at what cost?

So the public puts up almost exactly three-quarters of the cost, and the team gets virtually all of the revenues. That's not quite as bad as the Washington Nationals deal, but it's in the same, er, ballpark, especially when you consider that virtually all of the spending at the Marlins' new home will be cannibalized from existing spending elsewhere in Miami-Dade County — unless you really believe that more people will schedule summer vacations to Florida so that they can see the Marlins play.
Neil deMause of Field of Schemes goes on to caution that this deal could be a "boondoggle for the ages." Or, sparing the niceties, just another example of taxpayer extortion.

So, why do we - and our elected officials - keep falling for the same lines over and over again? The (insert your local sports team here) are losing money hand over fist! They'll be forced to move to another market! A spiffy ballpark will create an incredible urban renewal - like downtown Detroit!

Here's Rob Neyer:

There has been a great deal written about the lousy economics related to stadium building; it's almost always a losing proposition for the local citizenry according a simple cost-benefit analysis. Again and again and again, this is true. What I've never seen, though, is a study of why this happens, again and again and again. Is it because the ballpark proponents contribute money to -- i.e., bribe -- the local politicians? Is it because the politicians are driven to make their mark on things, and building a huge concrete playground for millionaires is one of the biggest marks one can make? Is it because the voters really do want to spend their tax dollars on those huge playgrounds?

I just don't know. We've got the numbers. We've had them for a long time. Yet despite the numbers, the playgrounds just keep getting built, one after another after another. So, now I'd like to see some of the psychology.

It's really weird: people seem to never want their taxes raised unless it's purportedly to keep their team in a new stadium that most of them will rarely visit. It's almost an inane, extremely costly form of local patriotism. The cynical part of me (almost everything above my neck) thinks it would be virtually impossible to convince the same set of people to use the same millions of tax dollars for schools, or libraries, or affordable housing, or small business loans.

Either way, Miami officials have figured out a way to help their Marlins in a way that they can't for their struggling school system. Continue Reading »