Friday, September 21, 2007

See ya Dre

Fantastic. Now we have it all laid out before us:


Andre Kirilenko wants out from under Sloan. Scratch that, AK wants out from under Deron Williams. Er, AK wants out from under the Jazz system. Hell who can even follow what this disturbed young man has floating around his strange Sputnik-shaped melon.

Let me relate a rough observation from the 2003-2004 season, when Andre was "the Man" for the Jazz, even making the all-star team. On many occasions that year, I watched Adre tank it on purpose because Mo Williams or Raja Bell (or whoever), took more shots than him in a game. It happened all the time. You'd see Dre wind up to block a shot and pull back at the last minute or some shit. He'd then mope around the court like he was on a different planet. Like all of last year. Friggin clown.

A word to the Jazz: Sit on your thumbs, call his bluff and see if he'll really walk away from that contract if the Jazz don't trade him. ESPN lays out the odds on that one.


Update: Deron calls him out. Rips on his works ethic and shot. Well, judging by his stringy body over the years, AK definitely hasn't been ripping the weights. I think Deron is one of the great ones. Friggin P.I.M.P.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Rage

It's still here in all its original power. Alas, it won't go away. A therapist would probably instruct me "exercise" it by writing a letter and burying it or some bullshit. Instead, I harbor it and keep it in a safe place. On purpose.

We constantly say things like "Never Forget", but we always do to some degree. We can't help it. The human mind is hard-wired to drop significant potions of difficult memories. This is how we deal with trauma, by personalizing it. This is why we constantly recall where we where at the time, much like the generation before us remembers with vivid detail, where they where when JFK was assassinated by a Communist extremist.

For some, the only objective is to "get beyond" events like these. I have a friend who, upon my inquiry of his thoughts bout 9/11 six years removed, explained to me "No, I don't think about it. Why would I dwell upon something that happened six years ago? I've got enough shit to worry about in my own life." For a few minutes, I strongly considered smacking him across the face, but I refrained. But maybe I should have. He had just unconsciously repeated what is surely the rallying cry of my generation: It doesn't matter. I'm not dead and neither is my family so it just doesn't matter. This is a sickness. Not only does it show an inability to see past ones ten foot person visual sphere, it illustrates an ignorance of the historically unprecedented, absolutely charmed existence that we live in the modern day. It illustrates how the vast majority of the current generation believes that this charmed existence is a natural birthright, handed down to them from the universe because they simply deserve it. To them, it wasn't born of fire and blood and treasure. It exists in spite of those things. It goes beyond Nihilism, or Narcissism to belie a truth about this generation that is as scary as 9/11 itself: it's suicidal.

So here we are, six years later on and no more cohesive as a nation than Belgium. Some believe that what we need is another 9/11 to really pull us together. What a crock of shit. People have made their decision. All another 9/11 would do is create a more deluded batch of conspiracy theorists and table-side psychologists and we don't need any more of either. A good start would be a discontinuation of our nations more macabre suicidal tendencies. How do we do that? Teach them history. Of all of the failures of our education system, there is not one that comes close to the failure to teach history and the critical thinking skills to interpret history in context. After all, what is a conspiracy theorist (which is the majority of our generation, believe me on this) but someone who can't seem to separate reality from fantasy? They simply can't process that things like 9/11 can really happen without a cheesy political thriller story line being present. It is a direct failure of historical knowledge and contextual thinking skills.

This week, I can guarantee that you will be outraged by the sight of some clown on TV declaring this or that about 9/11 and our nation and those who defend it. I would recommend we resist the urge to punch them in the face and take that rage and put it in the same spot that you reserve for the remembrance of this day. Six years later, it still resonates an internal dissonance as beautiful, complex and powerful as Ligeti's Second Quartet (songs 10-13 on the Amazon sampler), which is my choice for the day. Admittedly, it can be a little hard to swallow at first but it might be the perfect allegory for our confused brothers and sisters inability to swallow reality when it resembles a video game.

TommAy adds:
Pure excellanz, Nature Boy. The way that many have acclimatized themselves to the most insane thing to ever happen on American streets, normalizing it such that they don’t have to carry the burden of knowing that easy American living is now extremely fragile, has led me to believe that if one of our cities, say Minneapolis or St. Louis or any other city not immediately on everybody’s minds, was suddenly vaporized by 60 year old technology, that that new reality too would be mostly purged from their consciousness within about a year’s time, so as to continue the delusion that nothing in their state-of-being has to change and that all things shall remain convenient. Pure and simple, it’s laziness with some retardation involved. I think one of the definite factors that Pearl Harbor unconditionally united the country back then was that that generation had just come through the great depression, and were anything but lazy, taking for granted nothing, even their food to eat. There is something to be said for working for everything you’ve got. The spoiled generation started with the Boomers, and sadly continues. Much of the anti-war movement, in my personal opinion, can be explained by this.
Siegfried’s Funeral March from Wagner is a fitting one as well.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Patraeus and the Defeatists

Patraeus is on the hot seat right now and doing a fine job. He's obviously a student of war, specifically counterinsurgency, and his changes in strategy have nowhere born more fruit than in Anbar, where Totten continues his unparralelled independant work in Iraq.

I can't help but think that this current political theater surrounding Patraeus is just that, political theater. It's largely a stage for entrenched politicians to bark out platitudes on CSPAN. Most interesting will be the reaction of those whose heads will be on a platter with an apple stuffed in their grill by Kos should they acknowledge the progress that has been made recently.

Oh, how I love watching the idiots break-dance around their serpentine Iraq policy stances, which seem to change daily. And I remain convinced that this session of Congress will go down in the books as the most inept of the last half-century.

Oh no! Not the Mighty Mos!

Warning: this post is way too long and swears a lot.

Crap. One of my all-time favorites must now be written off as DTM- Dead To Me (tm).... Er, Maybe just his current shitty album, not previous ones as I hold Blackstar too close to my heart. I'm confused and hurt right now, but as a tried and true Hip-Hop fan and musician, it causes great pain for me to utter the following words:

HIP-HOP IS DEAD. As a mainstream phenomena that is. Or at least it's coughing and wheezing it's way back to obscurity, where it belongs and I mean belongs in a good way. Let me explain myself:

Mos Def, Common and Talib were great partly because they weren't Lil' John or 50 cent. There was something exciting about them when they had the urgency and vibrancy (read: chips on their shoulders) of youth. Rhymes about the difficulties of life rang honest, even if I knew they were mostly framed by bullshit. They were speaking of their experience. Now they are not speaking of their experience, because rhymes about the sparkling new estate in the Hamptons only work for people like Snoop Dogg, who, in fairness, has been mining that territory since the beginning.

Hip-Hop is and always has had a large dose of fraud mixed in with its sincerity. Open mindedness was always the catchphrase, but the message is undercut by the clarity with which Hip-Hop discriminates. There are no female MC's or DJ's worth talking about. Many are patently antisemitic, as Mos Def himself expresses on The New Danger- "The tall white Jew is running this rap shit". They generally deride homosexuals, as Common states in Like Water for Chocolate- "In the circles of faggots, your name is mentioned". And of course, they deride their main audience, white people (too many references to mention).

All of this doesn't necessarily make their art moot, as it is the raw expression and flow of words over bad ass beats that can be downright moving, not necessarily the message. It just gets a bit tiresome when you realise that these millionaires think they're being "oppressed".

So, on the bright side, maybe it'll continue as it truly should, as an under-the-radar idiom free to be what it wants, like Jazz is now; no longer selling millions of albums, but with fine musicians kicking out some fine material, with much of jazz being more free and important than ever.

So with any luck, Hip-Hop will not end, it will simply evolve past its cro magnon beginnings, recess back to the shadows where it belongs and become brilliant again.


Update: Mos Def's screed is strangely reminiscent of this Chapelle piece on jury duty.

Chinatown

It could be argued that the current set of ridiculous campaign finance reform laws, you know, the ones that killed McCain's presidential run, not only infringe on the solemn right of Americans to belittle the fuckers in DC, but open the door to incredible feats of cheesy Chinese pulp fiction.

Guys with names like “Shrimp Boy” Kwok Chow and Winkle Paw. A delirious Chinese man on Amtrak running around mumbling nonsense in his underwear. A "rubber glove" business. Child prostitution rings and heroin dealers. The Freemasons. Hillary Clinton.

This one's a real popcorn popper and I'll be back in a minute with a big buttery bag of Orville.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

OBL/OLBY Convergence

Alas, another shameful embarrassment for the Left. Sans the shame of course. There is no shame left on the Left.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Back from the bowels of the Earth

I just got back from a place in a remote corner of the great state of Idaho (been there since last Thursday). I've been going there for five years now and really enjoy the place. I figured I'd post some pictures to balance out the negative gay-bathroom pub our neighbor to the north has seen as of late:


Really weird formations and lighting effects are the norm:
If you look really closely at the bottom of the dry river bed, you can see my compadre Mike. He's the little yellow dot:

I did make a few new friends down there. I am here to testify that none of them tapped their feet in "that" way:

I'm now in re-entry/decompression mode and trying to gather the willpower to open my inbox to see the hundreds of unopened messages about whatever crap was important last week. I think I'll have a beer instead.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Musings

Okay, has anybody else noticed lately the relationship between big huge sunglasses and really dumb bitches? Here in Florida, the relationship has been found to be this: the bigger the sunglasses, the dumber the bitch...

There’s a huge condo crash at the moment in Florida, so we’ve now got a whole load of carpetbaggers/transplants (i.e. New York greasebags, and some real one-percenters from Jersey--link NOT SAFE for work) who came here to get rich quick by investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in uncompleted condos, and who are now unable to hold on to their high-priced South Beach trophy slutbuckets because they can’t even afford to fill up their Hummers. Now, I’m no economist, but doesn’t it affect the rest of us, as it affects the wider economy, when tens of thousands of these bozos take out huge loans and then default en masse? But I’ll let one of these Einsteins defend himself:
"All my guys in New York were like, 'Yeah, flipping condos in Miami.' It was a sexy commodity, and it was fun to make money."
So I was up in Tennessee this past week visiting my sister while I had other family in town. I visited the local place of historical interest called the Carter House, a little inconspicuous vintage looking house on the main road in Franklin, TN. Turns out it was the epicenter of the Battle of Franklin: a five-hour long battle that constituted “the bloodiest few hours of the entire American Civil War,” and the death blow to one of the South’s two main Armies (six southern generals were killed there). The curator there gave an amazing tour and description of the events; one of those rare personalities with expertise and animation. There weren’t any of the surrounding houses back then, just surrounding. Now it’s just a two acre, non-federally owned property, and on top of the list of most endangered Civil War battle sites. One very interesting story, among about 10 others, from the tour: two officers, one from each side, had become engaged in a personal contest with each other for some reason (I cannot remember what the curator said was the reason). Unable to see amidst all the thick smoke, they were hunting each other. The southern officer then appeared from out of the smoke, shooting the federal officer in the chest with a revolver. The federal then ran the confederate through with a saber, mortally wounding him, but as he fell down to die, shot the federal officer in both kneecaps. The federal officer, having lived through it, became the father of the great WWII general Douglas MacArthur--just a hair’s difference then and there might have completely altered history. Strange that is.


Sean: Wow, I didn't know that about Macarthur. Great point about how history constantly hangs on a dime, TommAy. Just think if Peter Ivy had succeeded with cold fusion for the chemistry merit badge.