Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Best Line, 01/29/08

"Here, listen (pause, pointing her finger in my face): You're so nice because dudes don't talk to you, Lo-Lo. Listen, it's good. You don't think you're beautiful and I hope you never do because you're so sweet and it would ruin you. Plus you're built like a cartoon character so you should be a complete fucking bitch, but you're not and that's why you're dope."

Courtesy of Maker's Mark and the Cha Cha. Thanks, Nadia!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Queen Latifahs & Will Smiths??

Yesterday the tenants of 1520 Sedgwick, Kool Herc, and Senator Schumer held their press conference to unveil their plan to keep rents in the building affordable to residents. It turns out that the owner is asking $14 million and the tenants, through a private lender and city subsidies, can raise about $11 mil. So where’s the rest of the money going to come from?

Campbell [Kool Herc] called on "all the Queen Latifahs and Will Smiths" to step up with some financial help Tuesday.

"We’re asking all those guys you see in Forbes magazine that are living hip hop to recognize this building," he said.


Eskay's right--what makes residents of this building any more deserving of affordable housing than any of the other people in the Bronx? Also, how 'bout actual Bronx-bred people ante up (Bambaataa, KRS, Kool Keith), rather than a New Jersey-an and a Philadelphian?

The Birthplace of Hip-Hop
On August 11, 1973, in the first floor recreation room of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, hip hop was born. It was on that day that DJ Kool Herc, known as the founder of hip hop, and his sister threw the first hip hop house party. Scholars, musicians, and the media widely recognize 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, aka General Sedgwick House, in the Bronx borough of New York City, as the birthplace of hip hop, a uniquely American musical genre and culture that has taken over the world. In recognition of its important place in American history, in July of 2007, 1520 Sedgwick was declared eligible to be listed as a state and federal landmark. Congressman Serrano of the Bronx honored Sedgwick and Kool Herc in the Congressional record. Now 1520 Sedgwick is at risk of converting to market-rate housing! 1520 Sedgwick was built in 1969 under a state program to provide quality affordable housing for New Yorkers. This affordable housing helped revitalize the Bronx and made it possible for working families like DJ Kool Herc's to thrive and create the communities that gave rise to hip-hop. The owner of 1520 Sedgwick plans to remove the building from this affordability program by February 2008! The owner of Sedgwick intends to sell the building to a private equity investor who has already taken several buildings out of the affordability program in the Bronx. As gentrification sweeps through New York City, the low and moderate income families who have lived in these communities for decades are being pushed out. You can help! The tenants of 1520 Sedgwick refuse to be swept aside! They are organizing to preserve their building and they need your help. The 1520 Sedgwick Tenant Association has been working with the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) and Tenants & Neighbors to preserve their buildings and help them convert 1520 Sedgwick into a permanently affordable, limited-equity cooperative. UHAB has entered into negotiations with the companies who control 1520 Sedgwick and they have offered to sell the building to UHAB and the tenants. Using money from the State and City of New York and your contributions, we hope to reach a fair purchase price and save 1520 Sedgwick as affordable for the next generations of New Yorkers!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


March 11. I can't wait. I can't wait.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

If I Cut My Ear Off, Would I Only Love Music Half As Much?

"In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism and skepticism and humbug,

and we shall want to live more musically."

- Vincent Van Gogh

Amoeba tomorrow! (I've been in self-imposed exile due to lack of funds). If you need me, I'll be in the bossa nova section. Also, my verdict on this group Black Kids (fresh, or not fresh?) is still pending. Nobody make any sudden moves until then.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Random Tribute: Scott Joplin

"Keep on, yes my word is bond
Speakin' that knowledge like Farrakhan
Cause it's ragtime."

- Sadat X

Every day at approximately 5 pm, there's a taco truck that parks on my street and
plays a tinny, carousel-ish song over and over. Repeatedly. Like,

overandoverandover. I'm hearing it as I type this, matter 'fact. It's not an
unpleasant tune; it's just annoying to a degree that I cannot describe
because it infiltrates
my brain and I hear it when I'm trying to go to sleep,
when I'm at the grocery store, when
I'm at work in front of my computer,
when I'm brushing my teeth, and when I'm drinking
tea and reading the
newspaper and wearing kneesocks.

I went to my parents' house a couple
weekends ago, and I was mindlessly humming the
tune when my dad tells
me that it's the "Maple Leaf Rag" and that "ragtime" comes
from the term "ragged time" due to its complicated rhythmic patterns (you don't know
nothing about my pop's
1-2 punch of nerdiness and musical knowledge. Step back,
young'n.). Being
my father's daughter, I embark on a quest for information regarding
piece of music and discover that it's actually "The Entertainer," but pops gets
points anyway because both are Scott Joplin songs. Turns out Scott Joplin was
African-American (I was surprised to learn this but then
I remembered that a black
composer not getting his due in American history when he
should be a household name
is really something so non-surprising that I should've assumed
it to be the case).

I will no longer refer to it as "ice cream truck"/"taco truck" music
because that discounts
the history behind it. So
now when I hear it I think of not only carne asada, but of
whorehouses and sheet music and
Missouri and syncopation. Kids on my sidewalk and me
in my apartment above, we all hear
the music and it's an amazing thing to know how it came
to be blasting from the taco truck's
speakers. But I'm corny like that. Also, I apologize for the
quotes below including the c-word.

"A Brief History of Ragtime," by Dr. Mark Birnbaum

One hundred years ago, ragtime was king. Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana were the cradle of ragtime civilization. America bounced and danced to it.
It put a smile on everyone's face. (like me!)

Overseas, ragtime was better respected than in the USA. Paris, London, Vienna - they went wild! Here, ragtime could never quite shake its "whorehouse" association. And yes, it was played in whorehouses, saloons (as opposed to European salons), and eventually concert halls. Also, a "rag" was slang for a dance (a jig or a shuffle). And a "ragtime girl" was a babe (or a whore).

Yet, ragtime was so good, it was irresistible. Only snobs and prudes from high society disliked it, as it came from a mixed "black" and "white" background. In short, the rhythm is black (African), the harmony/melody is white (European), and the result is American.*

One man is chiefly responsible for ragtime's popularity and survival: Scott Joplin (1868-1917). He codified it, wrote it down, made it into an art form.

It is amazing this controversial music became popular so quickly - it has never been easy to play. Ragtime is a solo piano affair. The left hand provides the basic rhythm and harmony, the right hand sings the melody (which has its own rhythm). Yet, it was easy to listen to; it still is.

Ragtime didn't exist in a vacuum. Ragtimers were required to play folk, blues, popular tunes of the day. Yet, ragtime piano was unique. The melodies were captivating - but the rhythm was infectious.

Syncopation! Two rhythms at once - a steady beat in the left hand and something happening off the beat in the right hand. The tension between the two gives ragtime its special kick. Ragtime's syncopation grew into the foundations of Jazz, Swing and Rock n' Roll. Whether a rag is fast (like the "Maple Leaf Rag") or slow ("The Entertainer"), you feel the syncopation.

In 1899, the "Maple Leaf Rag" put Scott Joplin on the map. Although Joplin was not a technically great pianist, with his unique compositions he quickly established himself as the king of ragtime composers.

Shortly after the wild success of the Maple Leaf Rag, Tin Pan Alley quickly published hundreds of mostly third-rate song that overshadowed superior works by Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake, Jelly Roll Morton and Co. Yes, Irving Berlin ("Alexander's Ragtime Band") and Zez Confrey ("Kitten on the Keys") wrote first-rate ragtime stuff, but they were the exceptions in a sea of mediocrity.

By 1917, things were changing. Europe was enmeshed in the Great War, Scott Joplin was ill, and ragtime's stepchild, "jass," was coming into its own. As American entered World War I, Scott Joplin died. Yet ragtime never really went away. And the next generation of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Co. were weaned on it.


Random Wikipedia notes:

The defining characteristic of ragtime music is a specific type of syncopation in which melodic accents occur between metrical beats. This results in a melody that seems to be avoiding some metrical beats of the accompaniment by emphasizing notes that either anticipate or follow the beat. The ultimate (and intended) effect on the listener is actually to accentuate the beat, thereby inducing the listener to move to the music. Scott Joplin, the composer/pianist known as the "King of Ragtime", called the effect "weird and intoxicating" (like me!). He also used the term "swing" in describing how to play ragtime music: "Play slowly until you catch the swing...". The name swing later came to be applied to an early genre of jazz that developed from ragtime. Converting a non-ragtime piece of music into ragtime by changing the time values of melody notes is known as "ragging" the piece.

According to the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz the musical form was originally called "ragged time" which later became corrupted to "ragtime". Ragtime originated in African-American musical communities in the late 19th century, and descended from the jigs and marches played by all-black bands common in all Northern cities with black populations. *A distinctly American musical style, ragime may be considered a synthesis of African-American syncopation and European classical music, though this description is oversimplified (shocking).

Some early piano rags are entitled marches, and "jig" and "rag" were used interchangeably in the mid-1890s and ragtime was also preceded by its close relative the cakewalk. In 1895, Black entertainer Ernest Hogan published two of the earliest sheet music rags, one of which ("All Coons Look Alike to Me") eventually sold a million copies. As fellow Black musician Tom Fletcher said, Hogan was the "first to put on paper the kind of rhythm that was being played by non-reading musicians."While the song's success helped introduce the country to ragtime rhythms, its use of racial slurs created a number of derogatory imitation tunes, known as "coon songs" because of their use of extremely racist and stereotypical images of blacks. In Hogan's later years he admitted shame and a sense of "race betrayal" for the song while also expressing pride in helping bring ragtime to a larger audience.

The heyday of ragtime predated the widespread availability of sound recording. Like classical music, and unlike jazz, classical ragtime was and is primarily a written tradition, being distributed in sheet music rather than through recordings or by imitation of live performances. Ragtime music was also distributed via piano rolls for player pianos. A folk ragtime tradition also existed before and during the period of classical ragtime (a designation largely created by Scott Joplin's publisher publisher John Stark) (not John Starks--that was the dude who played for the Knicks), manifesting itself mostly through string bands, banjo and mandolin clubs (which experienced a burst of popularity during the early 20th Century), and the like.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Carry That Weight

Oh Coachella, I miss you and love you terribly. I'm sick with longing and have been going through my pictures from years past. Pollstar, step your game up and post some confirmed names already for this year's shows. Jesus Christ.

These were just random attention-seeking dudes who donned the classic short-short/tube sock/headband look that I assume was an homage to the 1984 Lakers. Of course everyone wanted their picture taken with them. We all know I'm way too cool for that kind of behavior so I took a secret pic. Once I got home and put it on my computer I realized how Abbey-Road-ish it is and therefore how awesome I am for capturing it.

On a side note--

Look at Paul, whose enormous ego no doubt compelled him to make sure he was the only one out of step with the others. Freaking jackass.

I wish Murs was a bit less preachy sometimes, but hell, he's still pretty great and I still waited in this hot, sweaty crowd to see him. This was from '06 Coachella, nearly 2 years ago, when those stupid band name shirts (Dre & Eazy & Cube & Ren) were on the brink of being lame but hadn't quite reached lame status yet. I got hollered at by a dude in late '07 who wore this exact same sweatshirt when I met him, and it took every ounce of self-control I had not to roll my eyes. (Actually, I might've rolled my eyes and he probably saw it; people tell me I'm not so good at hiding my disdain for something.) Dude, you swagger-jacked Murs and therefore I could not allow you to see me naked. Sorry.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Please Somebody Please, Get This For Me

I'm fully capable of getting it myself but, you know, that's not much of a thrill. LACE ME, someone!

I see you, Ronnie--AKA Mr. Stones Throw. Play your position, soldier!

[PBW doesn't talk to me ever since I made fun of him for his "juice" comment (don't ask), so that right there is a wrap. And I've only had enough courage to approach Madlib once in my entire life, so I'm all tapped out for like the next 5 years. Besides, being in the presence of pure genius renders me helpless and unable to speak, so I wouldn't even be able to get the words "Please Otis please, go to the basement of Wolf's house and swipe one of these for me" out.]

P.S., Mr. Love, you already have my address! Listen, the point is that I need this on my platter and you, sir, have the golden ticket. Thanks in advance.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Your Body Like A Flick/It Got Surprisin' Twists..." - Talib Kweli

From the "Things I've Been Telling You Dummies For Years" File.

Curvy women smarter and give birth to higher-IQ children

Universities of Pittsburgh and California (Santa Barbara) researchers found that women with “hourglass” figures are more intelligent than women with round or straight bodies, and tend to give birth to children who are more intelligent.

The hourglass-shaped woman is defined as one whose shape consists of a smaller waist than hips.

These hourglass-shaped women were found to also produce more intelligent children, which the study concludes is due to having more omega-3 fatty acids stored in their hips, which is not found as much in other shaped women.

Omega-3, which is found in oily fish, is a substance that is necessary for the proper growth of the fetus’ brain during pregnancy.

Women with larger waists, more rounded bodies, have more omega-6 stored in their waists, which was found to be less suited to brain growth, and less omega-3 stored in their hips, which is also less desirable for brain growth. Slender women, with smaller waists and hips, were found to have less omega-3 and omega-6, overall, in both hips and waists. This combination would have less affect on intelligence of the baby.

The eating of omega-3 in such fish as wild salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines, is also linked to a healthier life style for adults. More concentrations of omega-6 over omega-3 in the human body has been thought to produce more diseases, but that connection has not been verified. Omega-6 is found in cereals, nuts, whole-grains, vegetable oils, and eggs and poultry.

The report, which will be published the week of November 11, 2007, in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, states that based on a study of 16,000 women and girls, females with smaller waists and bigger hips are more intelligent then females with other shapes.

Specifically, the study found that the greater difference between the circumference of the waist and the hips, the higher the women performed on intelligence tests.

The paper was made available online on October 29, 2007 at the journal’s website.

The article is entitled “Waist-hip ratio and cognitive ability: is gluteofemoral fat a privileged store of neurodevelopmental resources?”. The two authors are William D. Lassek, from the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), and Steven J.C. Gaulin, from the Department of Anthropology at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

The abstract to the paper states, “Upper-body fat has negative effects and lower-body fat has positive effects on the supply of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential for neurodevelopment. Thus, waist-hip ratio (WHR), a useful proxy for the ratio of upper-body fat to lower-body fat, should predict cognitive ability in women and their offspring.”

It goes on to say, “Moreover, because teenage mothers and their children compete for these resources, their cognitive development should be compromised, but less so for mothers with lower WHRs. These predictions are supported by data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Controlling for other correlates of cognitive ability, women with lower WHRs and their children have significantly higher cognitive test scores, and teenage mothers with lower WHRs and their children are protected from cognitive decrements associated with teen births. These findings support the idea that WHR reflects the availability of neurodevelopmental resources and thus offer a new explanation for men's preference for low WHR.”

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Courtney Hearts Huckabee (And Jesus & Hunting, Too)

Voters' Views: Courtney Solberg (from BBC News)

As the US gears up for the first presidential election events of 2008 in Iowa and New Hampshire, we asked a panel of six Iowans to tell us who they will be voting for in their state caucus on 3 January, and why.

Courtney Solberg
Researcher | Republican

"I began my support of Governor Huckabee during the summer of 2007 during the Iowa Republican Party straw poll. I went along because of the fair tax rally, supporting a plan which would eliminate all taxes based on income and replace them with a 23% sales tax.

The chief Republican candidate who embraced the fair tax was the governor of Arkansas, who is also a bass guitar player for the classic rock band, Capital Offense - Mike Huckabee. The fair tax would create the largest shift of power from the US government to the people.

Not only did I find myself excited about his fair tax support, I also was very excited that he played in a rock band, a genre I enjoy.

His 10 years as governor of Arkansas have given Mike Huckabee the experience of managing a state. Furthermore, his work as a Baptist minister in Arkansas provided him with a critical role of dealing with common people, as their spiritual and community leader.

His experience with executive business and with the common folk (both in a leadership role) only adds to the breadth of people he can lead.

In addition, he has the ability and record of defeating the Clinton machine in Arkansas, heading toward a more conservative road.

He connects with me in my Christian background, my hunting background, as well as a general conservatism that needs to outlive the Clinton legacy in Arkansas and in the USA."

"Common people." I'm laughing through the tears, you guys. This is not from The Onion. (On a super English-language-nerd note, I must point out to my boy that it's actually "heading down a more conservative road"--you don't head toward the road; you're already on it. Ass.)

My boy reportedly enjoys the rock music, so, what the hell, I'll award him like half a point for that; however, given his support of Jesus-freak homophobic pheasant killers, it's safe to assume I will not be making babies with him--now, in the near future, or when the Apocalypse comes.


On Saturday I Watch Cartoons. I Repeat: I Watch Cartoons.

I said, I repeat: I watch cartoons.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

This Would've Been Even Fresher 5 Years Ago...

but still--I'm no longer a music snob, which is great because otherwise I'd miss stuff like Divide & Kreate's "Illiterate City." Man, I must've been a miserable person 5 years ago.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Also, The Police's Best Album

Japanese art director Jun Tsuzuki has been running Synchronicity since 2005--a very fascinating project that, although suprisingly very basic and simple, has become a very successful campaign. Jun gets people from all over the world and asks them to take a picture of what they are doing at a pre-determined moment in time and builds a lot of anticipation in doing so. These pictures, along with a brief explanation of the time and place they are taken, are then displayed on the Synchronicity website as a portrait of the world at that exact moment.

These moments are significant moments in history (for example the exact second of the first impact on the World Trade Center, 9/11) or mathematically pleasing moments (11:11:11:11:11 for the 11th of November at 11 AM 11 minutes and 11 seconds). To guarantee the pictures are taken at the exact same time, the participants are asked to synchronize their local time with the given GMT time. The next moment marks Synchronicity's third annual celebration of the New Year, occurring at 1 January 2008, 0:00:00 GMT. (That's 31 December 2007, 7:00:00PM New York; 31 December 2007, 4:00:00PM Los Angeles; 1 January 2007, 3:00:00AM Moscow; 1 January 2008, 8:00:00AM Tokyo).