Sunday, July 25, 2010

White on white in white, you dig.

Annnnd the hits just keep on comin.

Name: Rasputin's Stash, self-titled (Cotillion, 1971).

[Cotillion also released the Woodstock soundtrack (3 records, fold-out sleeve, I know it well; hi, Mom and Dad!) and the Velvet Underground's Loaded. I'm still not sure how I feel about Lou Reed. He seems a little too cool for school for me to really like. Those Supreme ads were pretty fresh, though.]

Is this OK? Yes. Romanov Dynasty references will always murder the game. I also like the use of possessive here and I find myself mulling it over in my head at work. I need to know what's in that precious stash.

Entered my life: '09 (?). Normally I keep track but I don't know what happened in this case. Beat Swap Meet. $16.

Produced by: Andy Pappas, mystery human who does not exist anywhere on the Internet which means he does not exist. The man appears to have made this record and then quietly gathered his things and left the city of Dodge. His name tells me he's of Greek descent, which gives him ethnic cache since in this regard he's part of the same group as John Cassavetes and, according to the mighty Wiki, Shuggie Otis!

Difficulty of finding, 1-10: 7.52 in the brick-and-mortar, dusty-fingers world, AKA my world, AKA the real world. If you are a weak and pitiful cyber-digger, it registers as only like a 2 or 3. I hope you sleep ok at night, you monster.

Breaks contained: “Mr. Cool” is, sadly, used in a song by the non-Kool-Aid-pushing, non-Peoples Temple Jim Jones, which is to say the less dope of the two Jim Joneses. I hear Cassidy used it on a mixtape and Beck looped a break from the same song too, but who cares.

Life lessons, important messages contained:

- Like every early-70s funk record, when listened with superficial ears it's about being naked, looking fresh, walking down the street, and driving big-bodied American sedans. Underneath the calm surface of funk and sexual satisfaction, though, the revolution is swelling. It was recorded in 1970, so these songs are about Kent State, My Lai, Jimi dying--all informed by Psychedelic Shack and Tangerine Dream's first record. And Iommi on “War Pigs.”

- More glide in my stride, more dip in my hip. I have both, and I use them to get boys to buy me things.

- There aren't really any handclaps, but the far more obscure high-five sound (00:59) is used to quite the joyful effect. No jive.

- “I used to fool around with the president's old lady,” “I was the first man on the moon,” blah blah. Braggy dudes don't get the girls out of their clothes. It's like you learned in English class, boys--show, don't tell.

Best YouTube comment: “Sexy as fuck.” So concise, and so devastatingly on-point.

Suitable activities while listening: ANYTHING BUT BALLLLLLIINNNNNN and doing air jump shots. “Gentlemen, stop it.” - me in '06, as well as in '07 because dudes would just not stop it.

Really, though, regarding activities--just throw on your onesie, belt it, then lounge around and wait for the premiere of Mad Men like a good girl. Clean the house. Read the paper. Today would've been an excellent day for a televised sporting event, too. SIGH. Miss you, darling NFL.

Other notable things about today:

- The entire Portland scene was because of basements.

- Tour de France pics on The Big Picture are lush and distractily entertaining while at work. You pull ahead of the peloton and you just might get the maillot jaune, or maybe you'll just keep cruising around my neighborhood thinking about Johnny Marr and you're ok with that, but you're only a real winner if you're wearing a cute, shiny necklace. Get 'em, Francis de Greef of Belgium!


- Song-inclusion excuse 1: It's the birthday of Jim McCarty, the Yardbirds' drummer. As a white person with a heart full of soul, and as a white lady with honey in her hips, I am required by law to love the Yardbirds. “For Your Love” is a 0 on the obscurity scale, but the song thrills me with delight, and not just because of the almighty fuzzbox. OH FUZZBOX, you are almost as great as the Speakerboxxx, just not quite. Mr. McCarty starts the song sounding like he put a penny in a tin can and rattled it around, and then when the tempo change hits he just brings out the big guns, that bass drum. SWOON.


- Song-inclusion excuse 2: It's Verdine White's birthday! The Earth Wind & Fire bassist/singer/songwriter with the hair almost as long as mine, that's who.

Earth Wind & Fire, “Power,” from Last Days and Time, which I own (!) and will soon be clutching in front of myself with my camera's self-timer in order to do an obnoxious “Ha ha I have an original pressing of this album” post. I can't really say the bass stands out here since it's competing with the mighty kalimba and various woodwinds, and I believe I hear some tambourine in there as well, but that bass is still terribly important. Plus I heard* Monch hand-picked this song on account of that break and then, brimming with inspiration, he went and wrote a song about machine guns and being good at rapping. *I did not actually hear that.

Fantasy thing(s) that happened today: I woke up and had the angelic dollface and height of Natalia, but I got to keep my own bodily proportions--most importantly, my prized waist-to-hip ratio. So I was finally pretty satisfied with what looked back at me in the mirror. Finally. Then I saw Joell on the street and I told him, “OMG, that Dave & Buster's line? HILARIOUS. It's an awful song, but I swear I don't turn it off til after your verse.”


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Too $hort, Merle, Saturn's F ring, & my blue sweater.

When I’m mad at the Internet for being a shill for Rick Ross, Inc., I turn to my greatest muse—the records of apt. 15.

Name: Skyy, Skyway. (Salsoul, 1980)

Is this OK? Yes. Skyy vodka is bad (Belve, strictly Belve for this lady when Lloyd Banks and I get bottle service), but Skyy is a pretty fresh name for a band and I'm surprised it wasn't already taken. Still, I'm a little mad they didn't name the album Skyyway. How bout some consistency, please.

Entered my life: In August '07, at Amoeba for $5.99.

Produced by: Randy Muller, keyboardist, disco architect, member of Brass Construction (!).

Life lessons, important messages contained:

- Handclaps. Just handclaps. They are, in fact, somehow a lesson. I learned at age 3; I think it hit me when my dad played Look-Ka PyPy in the living room.

- If you're going to copy someone, really put some thought into it and copy the best (Chic).

- Oh and perhaps I forgot to mention that Apt. 15 favorite Skyzoo was named for the song “Skyy Zoo” on this very album! CIRCLE OF LIFE.

Suitable activities while listening: Uh, clapping your hands. But also: Getting down on it. Getting out of speeding tickets, maybe, if it's really your day. And y'know, just doin your thing and hoping nobody tries to stifle it.

Breaks contained? YES. Yesyes, God yes. Too $hort, “Short But Funky.” Master Ace, “Postin' High.”

Best YouTube comment: “Turn 'em 'round an' kick 'em in the ass.....youngsters just don't know!!” (re: old music being better than new music. And NO, I didn't write it but it really sounds like something I would).

Sartorial accompaniment: Skyy blue cardigan, black skirt that I MADE because I happen to be learning HOW TO SEW, NO BIG DEAL, kneesocks & heelz. The look I was going for was “librarian crossed with a hooker going to church who is pleased and amazed by B.o.B.’s enjoyable and bouncy flow on the ‘Teach Me How to Dougie’ remix,” but really it is my lunch outfit for playing hooky from work, feeling relieved that it's finally not 95 degrees out, and going to that hideous expensive place with the delicious caffeine IV drip.

What pictures of myself posing in this outfit has to do with the record is, really, nothing and that's that. But darling, life is performance. You are straight bugging if you pretend otherwise.

Other notable things about today:

- That Merle Haggard special was on PBS. What’s this about Merle being in the audience during Johnny Cash’s San Quentin shows (not the celebrated ones of '69 - Merle was there for the 1958 shows) and why was I not alerted to this fact earlier. This is not as much a question as it is a statement--an indignant and annoyed statement. The LA Times writeup mentions that the special leaves out a lot about the “Bakersfield sound,” which my noble and goodhearted father tried to teach me about when I was a surly teenager and that I only appreciated years later. I could be kind of a jerk when I was 14. I returned to him solemn and humbled as a grown-up, my head hanging low. Anyway, electric guitar innovations were happening at the same time that the sound was emerging, thanks to Leo (Clarence Leonidas) Fender. Of course, this leads a girl to wonder who designed that curvy Fender logo that all the post-1966 models have. Have the report on my desk Monday morning. No excuses.

- Back in Black turned 30! I’ll give you black sensations up and down your spine. If you're into evil you're a friend of mine. (Also, if you enjoy going to get overpriced coffee and talking about Merle Haggard! Let's hang out.)

- “Cassini Sees Moon Building Giant Snowballs in Saturn Ring.” - Science Daily. Mind blown in front of laptop today. Oh how I do love science. There's no way I can try to rework this report into humanspeak, so a direct quote is in order:

New images from Cassini show icy particles in Saturn's F ring clumping into giant snowballs as the moon Prometheus makes multiple swings by the ring.

This concept mixtape is coming. It's coming, people. It's called F Ring Clumping, but when it leaks a month early the kids commenting at NahRight get it wrong and think its name is Multiple Swings By the Ring. No matter. It's hosted by Sun Ra and Captain Beefheart. Liner notes by Kool Keith (they have those for mixtapes now).

Fantasy thing(s) that happened today: Kells was glad he had an attorney on retainer ever since the jailbait unpleasantness because that made it super easy to sue Trey Songz for voice infringement, song structure infringement, and overall swagger-jack.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This machine kills fascists and 11 other language moments that are important.

Wilson Pickett, my favorite Alabaman (it'll make sense when you scroll down), with guitarist.

1. Woody Guthrie is the original Rakim in my heart, and today would've been his 98th birthday.

Since the foundation of male attractiveness is established for a girl during her childhood, Woody's a big part of why I like boys who amplify their voices and pour their respective hearts out over beats. The rhymes from the microphone soloist Mr. Guthrie were revered in my household. So, yes, Woody was like Rakim to the little-girl version of me, only in my heart Woody's mixed in a little with my dad for some nice Electra complex sprinkled on top. Years later, me listening to lots and lots of The Coup can be directly traced back to lines like You won't never see an outlaw/Drive a family from their home.

2. “Every sin is the result of a collaboration.” - Stephen Crane

Rick Rawss and Gordon Gekko both know that greed is good and both of them think they're doper than they actually are and neither of them will ever have the pleasure of seeing what color my undergarments are. I like Gordon better, though, because he doesn't clog up my RSS feed with a new rap collaboration every 12 hours. Noted overweight Floridian Rick does, though. And I know it's because he's got good shit on a lot of dudes, since otherwise what the fuck is happening here. This Maybach Music takeover cannot be explained any other way.

I'm familiar with the concept of blackmail, which is different from extortion in that extortion involves the added distress of a crime being committed against you, and also one time Havoc said Extortion is the key I got the key for extortion. Havoc never wrote a rap about plain old blackmail, a bad thing that you can do to somebody which is slightly less sinister than extortion because it just involves psychological distress, like when a big fat MC with a weak voice gets superb talent to appear on his album or else he will reveal their secrets. Enter, sinful collaborations.

Jay did a song with RAWWWWSSSSS called “Free Mason,” which, in a super bitchy move, doesn't even mention Behold a Pale Horse. The only redeeming part of it really is Jay's line “I’m on my third 6 but a devil I’m not.” (Har, Sean.) Then Curren$y and Wiz did a song with him. Then Rae did. Then Erykah Badu agreed to direct a video for him. Then I opened up my eyes real wide and took a look around at this strange new world, like Alice in that Tom Petty video. I pray it's all just a bad dream.

The Ross domination has been going on since right around “B.M.F.” started getting played on the radio. I have many problems with “B.M.F.,” the most obvious one being that it's by a rapper who can't rap but there's also the fact that nothing in that chorus rhymes (Hoover/hallelujah, God/start) and that nobody actually says whippin' work and anyway what does that even mean? Must be a regional thing, Florida and Alabama and such. Styles P also stipulates (as most of 'em have over the years in coke raps, so it's not necessarily him I can blame) that there are 36 o's in a kilogram. This is untrue, and he's therefore training a whole bunch of suburban 16-year-olds through repeat listenings how to weigh it out sloppily. It's just over 35 ounces (35 and a third). So your customer who buys in bulk is getting almost 20 grams for free and that's just bad business practice, daddy. Sixteen ounces to a pound, twenty more to a ki. Nope. Unless you're Mos Def. Then it just adds up, for some reason.

3. Paul Wall just made an awful song called “Live It” in which he holds a gun to Rae's head and forces him to join in lyrically (blackmail tactics boosted from Ross, no doubt). It is a song I will not be linking to at this time due to the fact that I have good taste in music and cannot allow my stock to plummet. The only reason it gets a mention here is that Paul name checks Nickatina! “People in Texas have heard of Nickatina?” went the response in apt. 15. "I thought that was a regional thing." The conclusion is either that Paul reads the Slap message boards or he used to get loose at Embarcadero and I just never knew. The 14-year-old in me is mad that he likes something only I'm allowed to like. If Mac Dre starts showing up in verses we're going to need to have a little chat.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird turns 50 this week. I love smart dudes in glasses who know something about the legal system and who hold back a little emotionally. Sooooo basically, Atticus Finch, get at me.

(Introducing my newest tag, Fantasy Mixtape Titles. First up: Just One Kind of Folks, hosted by some great combo like, I don't know, Wolfman Jack and Mister Cee. Also, Scarlett Jo in some of the skits in between, because I love her speaking voice.)

It was hard to choose just one string of words to pull from the text. I always liked this one, though: "She seemed glad to see me when I appeared in the kitchen, and by watching her I began to think there was some skill involved in being a girl." You goddamn right, Jean Louise Finch. Every time I start to bitch about something, like if I have to go somewhere I don't want to or if I want to go somewhere but I can't get there, I try to remind myself I'm lucky not to be an 11-year-old girl during the Depression in Maycomb, Alabama, with a pretty great father but a father who has a deep kind of melancholy due to being a widower. That usually clears it right up, the bitching.

Wilson Pickett - “Mini Skirt Minnie.” That voice and those HUH!s come courtesy of Prattville, Alabama.


“You got all the men chasin after you, baby/you got the women cryin and carryin on,” AKA Logan goes to Trader Joe’s.

5. We are the ever-living ghost of what once was.

Cee-Lo covering Band of Horses is somehow able to supersede an unnecessarily glitchy beat and a tired old video concept (boring thin white people freaking out) mostly just by using his vocal chords, as they can do no wrong. I'd like this song in my record collection, please, even though I'd never listen to it because of the pain exacted in my heart region as a result of its lyrical content. I still can't listen to side A of Cease to Begin unless I'm being cuddled and I'm confident in that moment that the cuddling will only stop when I want it to. Otherwise, I get pangs in my soft girly heart and I start to worry that the moment will end. I've only listened to this version below once and yeah I got misty a little and that's about all I can take, as there is currently no one present to cuddle me.

Anyway, Cee-Lo's voice is going into the Smithsonian someday for being a thing of impossible note-hitting smoky high-pitched beauty.

Rae, Capone, Sean P. (I stepped out of the hug so I could take the pic)

6. CNN are back in a not-so-big way, based on everything I've heard from The War Report 2. How sad, since Queens is otherwise doing so undeniably well these days! “With Me” is the best example of the album's dreariness, as it features a plodding beat that makes me want to take a nap, and a corny feel-good chorus by Nas that is so highly feel-good that I believe Em was offered it for Recovery but turned it down because it was too saccharine. Capone slightly redeems the song with his line Frequently I like to Buck shot(s) like Evil Dee, because “frequently” is terribly underused in songs, because everything Black Moon related is valuable, and because ME TOO, CAPONE! I like to buck shots too, you dreamy son of a gun.

Let the record reflect that “T.O.N.Y.” is a shining, perfect example of a sing-along, feel-good chorus. Me and you/You got beef? I got beef. Solidarity, you guys! I don’t have beef with anyone, really, and even I sing along with that part. (I also love the old-timey use of “jakes” for “police officers.” It feels so ‘20s, like I just bobbed my hair and I'm giddy 'cause I just got the right to vote even though I have breasts)

7. Grease is, in fact, the word, as well as the time, the place, and the motion.

It is also the title of a joyful, bouncy song that a kind man on FM radio was playing during my extended time on the 101 the other day. The rule in determining whether a song is quality is that you picture Stevie Wonder either having composed it or singing it, and then you listen to it through that filter. Just ignore everything else. “Grease,” with that bassline, the way it's structured melodically, that moment around 2:30 when the horns pass the baton to the drums, surely passes this test. I know it, 'cause I tried it, and wouldn't you know, I solved my problems and I saw the light. I went home and I looked up its history, and I found out that Barry Gibb wrote it (and “Islands in the Stream” too!). And then, 'cause it was Saturday, I went to the roller rink.

8. “Madre mia.” - my newest paramour Sara, below, after her boyfriend Iker Casillas, the captain and goalie of the Spanish soccer team who has a classy Basque first name, cries and is overcome with emotion and kisses her. I keep watching this and automatically taking my dress off in a quick and obedient manner, a pure Pavlovian example of “Ladies like to be grabbed and kissed in a sudden and surprising way.” Genuine emotion has been getting ladies out of their clothes ever since I can remember and it's not going anywhere. Live it, be it, achieve it.

9. Aubrey Graham won't leave me be. We're just two lost souls swimmin in a fish bowl, year after year. The latest in the story of us is that he showed up in one of my lady mags with no warning. ("Warning," by the way, is a song by slain rapper Biggie Smalls that Drake hadn't heard until last week since it was made in olden times, before '06. Drake's good now, though; Wayne played it for him and he thought it was uhmayyyyzing, so authentic, the way Biggie nailed in the narrative all that talk of clips and Rolexes)

It happened yesterday, in Elle mag (do not judge me, please), in my hands, on the couch in apt. 15. I read this quote from Drake, in response to being asked which rappers influence him:

“intelligent, clean-cut, nonviolent, non-drug-oriented (MCs).” (!! !!!!)

THIS GUYYYYYY. Groan, cringe, groan, groan, CRINGE. When you give the same answer to a question about rap music that Bill O'Reilly and the nation's grandmothers would give, you are performing at a sub-par level and you should stop it. He is an awful person. Drake is just so awful. I mean it. I wish bad things would happen to him. My mother would say Logan! That's not very nice because she's a real sweetheart, but she would also say There are far too many kids around today getting record deals because they are good-looking, know the right people, and do not challenge the dominant paradigm. And then my buddy Steve P. Morrissey would add Sing your life/Any fool can think of words that rhyme, which kind of sums up that record deal thing that my mom was just talking about. And then Affion Crockett would show up and give me exactly what I need.

10. Curren$y n' Devin the Dude!, “Chilled Coughee.” It's Devin the Dude; obviously this was going to show up on here. I don't need to explain the hows and whys to you. Last week I did a post that was a link to a video taken on a cell phone of him reading the phone book. But for today, just this:

GPS loaded with the coordinates
of this bitch crib to receive love and nourishment

In the form of joints rolled, drinks poured
Her in nothin but a robe, playin her role.

Aw, that's all that men really want, isn't it? It just hit me. Love and nourishment, and a girl to greet you at the door, clad in nothing but a robe. Even Rawss wants that, I bet. Even Rawss.

I know, right? You just look at this and right away you think "boning."

11. Christina Hendricks discusses boning in the LA Times magazine; I feel good and validated inside now because like any foxy lady, I, of course, am well-versed in boning.

As a woman, I have to say the retro underwear on Mad Men actresses looks like utter torture. Am I wrong?

No, you're not wrong...(Those) undergarments really aren't made for relaxing.
(If) I have to wait a few hours for my next scene, I have to learn how to position myself, otherwise the boning presses into my guts.

As shown in the uncomfortable bodice of my dress above (that's boning, you guys; it keeps everything in place up top) there's work involved in being a girl. The narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird taught me that. And boning jokes are classic, hilarious since since oh-nine.

12. “Wrong guy.”

- A-Rod, when asked for his opinion on whether
the 2011 MLB All-Star Game
should be moved from Arizona.

Presenting A-Rod, my new Least Favorite Dominican (sorry, Juelz!).

“Rod,” by the way, is short for “Rodriguez.” And still, he has no opinion on xenophobic, illegal policies that affect people who look just like him. And so it was said, so it shall be done: 2010's Most Superior Bitch Move, decided and awarded, swiftly and officially, to Alex, based on the 2-word snippet above. The year's only halfway through, and he had to go up against LeBron's self-fellating TV hour, and still--A-Rod came out on top! That's some real skill.

Seu Jorge - “Queen Bitch.” My heart's in the basement/My weekend's at an all-time low, Bowie said. This song's about A-Rod, you see. 'Cause it's about a bitch.



Tuesday, July 6, 2010

UC Davis goes dumb and not in a good way.

Austin Sendek, a 20-year-old UC Davis student, is trying to get scientists from Boise to Beijing to use the term ‘hella’ to denote the unimaginably huge, seldom-cited quantity of 10 to the 27th power [LA Times]

E-40, in my most private, staring-out-the-window-in-a-fabulous-daydream moments, is my secret English professor (Paul Barman and Doomsy are the tag-teaming TAs). And outside the classroom (still in my daydream; try to follow along) 40 is reconstructing the Tower of Babel, attempting to unite all citizens of Earth in niche Greater Yay Region slanguage.

You understand, then, that I am sad and confused that there is an E-40-shaped hole in a newspaper article that is about both the state of California and linguistic units of meaning. 40's next mixtape will be called "Signifiers and the Signified," a Saussurian conceptual piece about weight and work and baking soda and whether Glenn Beck is secretly a left-wing comic who's doing great satire. Since he is a state treasure both for his linguistic strength and the fact that he is a rapper over the age of 38, E-40 should be consulted regarding anything added to the lexicon. Flamboastin and gangsterous didn't really take off, but still. Respect this.
(I wish you no ill will, science nerds, since I am one of you, but please! Leave “hella” back in 1997, science nerds, and call 40 to come up with the word for “1000000000000000000000000000,” which, with a dollar sign in front of it, is already what he has retrieved in revenue during the fiscal year 2011.)

I needed an E-40, uh, knocker, and luckily THIS ONE NEVER GETS OLD. Rick Rawk, marry me and lovingly insert your bassline into my body every night. Thank youuu.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Liquids that I know far too much about.

I thought all of last week's annoyances in life could be soothed by a single Prince acceptance speech at the BET Awards and Sean P's wordplay (that album will be called Mic Tyson). But oh damn--there are other things in life that have recently made me cranky and that I have yet to negotiate. And it's strange, but they are all in liquid form:


The problem: I know about gas and how it's killing the big blue marble, and I know about the gross and inhumane way it makes its way to the Chevron station around the corner. Everyone profits from the gasoline made of Nigerian oil except for the people of Nigeria. Your 19-year-old cousin from Nowheresville, FL is currently in the desert fighting to making sure my Civic has enough juice in its guts to get me to Coachella and back. I've seen the sad fallout from oil spills, the greasy pelicans, I've heard the fishermen from St. Bernard Parish who don't know what to do with themselves right about now as expressed in their plaintive Cajun-accented speech (“Can you replace my heritage?” one asked BP reps a few weeks ago. “No, you can't. And you gotta understand that it's not just money; it's more than money. You're not gonna replace me being able to teach my kid how to fish”).

The newest horrible thing I've learned about gasoline is
that, in an elaborate display of extortion-fu, the Unites States government is paying off Afghan warlords to allow us to use their roads to transport military goods to US troops, who are, of course, fighting Afghan warlords. And I think there's something about heroin in there too. Supporting the gasoline industry is an evil necessity until I have enough money to get one of those nice vegetable-oil-converted-diesel numbers. Until then, I'm just another lazy American who can't survive without her own car, passing the wind turbine generators on the drive to Coachella and thinking Gosh, what a logical, green source of energy!

The comforting factor: We'd have very few songs about cars, and probably no label known as Motown, without the Michigan industry that so reliably fed into our dependence on fossil fuels. Maybe Derrick May's grandfather never would've raised a family in Detroit if he hadn't gotten a job at the Ford plant, and then where would we be, music-wise? Would Milt Olinga have been born elsewhere and might not have taken up the vibraphone, and then, years later, maybe there would've been no “Award Tour” break? And what about Black Milk? Dilla? The MC5? Stevie? (I know I already covered this in mentioning Motown, but really think about that--a Stevie-less universe).

The steel industry would've been impacted too, which means the city of Gary, Indiana might never had appealed to Joseph Jackson as a place to raise a musical brood, and Philly would've been without plants and mills to lure in young men who needed jobs to support their growing families--and yikes, think about how your record collection would be suffering right now. See,
BP's not so bad!

related: Dawn dishwashing liquid.

The problem:
Hey, Dawn really cuts grease! Great, but do you know how I know this to be true? Because they're using Dawn to clean all those poor, sweet birds on the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana who are just trying to eat and flap their sad wings and make nests for their babies. Thanks to NPR a couple weeks ago, I know that the ingredient in Dawn that makes it especially effective in separating and breaking down petroleum so that it can be wiped away is...petroleum. You have to use some of the bad stuff to make the bad stuff go away--this is the same reason they give stimulants to hyper kids.

The comforting factor: None, currently--those pictures of defeated, gummy-winged birds haunt my dreams.
Well, wait, there's this:

Andrew Bynum's knee fluid.

The problem: The fact that I'm so hyperaware of the daily status of the liquid that bathes Bynum's patella means that I'm growing up. Like our worst secrets and the amount of money I truly spend at the record store, the inner workings of professional sports teams should be hidden. A young Logan knew nothing of salary caps and clauses, agents and collective bargaining agreements, but she sure as hell liked to see tall, magical men on her TV screen, flying and running fast. It was all innocent and fun. I'd like to go back there, please.

The comforting factor: Oh, you haven't heard? THE LAKERS ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORRRRRRLLLLLLD. So I feel pretty great. I can do without innocence! Andrew says he's now going to get that surgery he's been postponing, but my question is, Why the rush? Let's not be hasty now, babycakes. Playing through the pain seemed to work just fine a couple weeks ago.

The saliva of Cam’ron, plus the rum & Coke he drinks as mentioned in “Speakin Tungs.”


The problem: I haven't been able to enjoy the Killa since I left irony behind in '07, doggy. I haven't been able to move past him naming a rap group Children of the Corn. And I most certainly haven't been able to move get over the awful stop-start cadence in “Horse and Carriage.”

I also despise him for not yet making a song using this when, here it is, I'm laying it right here at his feet:

The comforting factor:
I should (and will therefore make it a point to) lighten up. What's one more double cheeseburger when you've been gorging yourself on instantly gratifying, fatty things for so long? Really, it's not going to hurt. The “Speakin Tungs” instrumental is like sweet Bollywood love story music, so inspirational while I'm sweeping and mopping the apartment on a Sunday morning. I assure you that
nobody can fucking sweep a floor like I can when that instro is throbbing through my headphones (I'm a nice, quiet neighbor) and into my heart and blood and limbs. Plus it's got DOUBLE HANDCLAPS! In summation: boys should never wear pink, but I’ve enthusiastically listened to this song so often that I’m not even minding that apostrophe in his name so much anymore. That thing used to fill me with rage, remember?

The bloodstream of humans, as affected by Lupus.

The disease that felled James Yancey, it works by making the immune system foolishly attack and destroy healthy body tissue. And it's back on my radar because Gaga keeps talking about how she thinks she has it.

The problem: In Dilla's absence, everything I aurally love these days is slick and shiny and lacking in depth. None of it makes me think of things beyond my own flesh and hour-to-hour (sometimes minute-to-minute) enjoyment. Look above--I just wrote a thing about how much I enjoy a song by Cameron Giles. People, this is some real self-loathing you're witnessing.

The comforting factor: There’s no withholding Dilla's stuff. We work ourselves into a fever clicking around online for his musical delights. Everyone’s sharing his compositions still, he's still on records and we'll take what we can get, even though it’s been decades (in rap years) since his death. We're more ravenous for his beats than ever.

The bloodstream of Eminem, which was carrying large amounts of benzos until very recently.

The problem: I know exactly what he's put into his body because, thanks to his Atonement Tour 2010, he's constantly yammering about it and making horrible songs in which he makes a searching and fearless moral inventory of himself--with the final moral inventory approval by Jimmy Iovine and Universal Music Group, Inc., all rights reserved. Other than the music being bad, the campaign is bad. If the newly-sober guy wants to apologize, it should be just you and him on the phone; if it seems like his apologies are making him money, I'm less inclined to believe his apologies. “Hey, sorry about those years when my brain's reward system ruled my life. Catch me on 106 & Park later.” This whole offensive seems so album-sales-friendly rather than heartfelt, sacred and private as apologies should be.

[Also a real big problem: Em's Bed-Stuy affectation when he talks, like a kid playing dress-up, which nobody ever, ever calls him out on. He should have the flat “a,” the flat “o.” You know what I mean. That midwestern inflection--Michigan, Fargo, Chicago, Minnesota, parts of Ohio, Sarah Palin. I know there are regional differences (please don't email me with an indignant tone) but to us coastal people it all sounds the same. Ooooohh gaaash. Braaatwurst. Coooach Ditka. I'm a speech expert and I do not appreciate the way Em thinks he can convince me he grew up taking the A train to school. Nobody from Detroit sounds like that, and they don't pronounce song “sawng.”]

The comforting factor: For every piece of Em coverage, there's one fewer piece of Drake coverage. Yay for hiphop.

Kim Kardashian, the fragrance.

The problem: Oh god, there are so many. She's yet another exotic pretty lady with fetishized body parts. She's sort of an idiot when she talks in her babyvoice. She keeps fucking with her face (pulling it back and injecting into it, when none of that is necessary). Since this is America, this combination of looks and behavior has earned her lots of MC love and lots of cash--both of which make me jealous. She knows how to dress for her body type, and as someone who is shaped like a girl I can appreciate that, since shit like this was not made for girls who are shaped like girls. Whenever Kim does it real big, she gets accused of looking vulgar, because of the male hegemonic fear of the power of female sexuality. She could be a thinking, challenging bombshell if she applied herself. But her major flaw is that she uses her fame for nothing but fame. Like Lady Gaga?, you might ask. Uh, no, I would respond, because although Gaga mainlines fame into her veins like Kim does, Gaga also has a purer calling, a do-gooder mentality that manifests itself in her campaigns for AIDS research, her gay rights activism and her feminist leanings.

Alas, she didn't create the rules of the game, so it's bitchy of me to blame her for playing. Kim's the symptom, not the problem. She's not bad; she's just drawn that way. And still, there is a problem--her perfume is delicious and warm. It smells like how it feels to have your lower back touched in a soft way (that's for the ladies; they know what I mean), like wearing glossy black 5-inch Loubies that are so comfy 'cause they're lined in sheepskin, like the first 8 seconds of “Time of the Season” played on a loop. The most difficult thing for me to reconcile here is not that the perfume exists, but that I want it. I place it in small amounts on my wrists, for free, thanks to Sephora's sampling policy because I refuse to buy it. I can't support Kim as a brand so I won't participate in helping her business ventures succeed. But it's not fair, because the scent makes me feel sexy and I strongly want it in my home so I can put it on my skin after a shower, when my pores are open and at their most absorbent. “Crisp top notes, lush mid notes, and a sexy drydown.” CORRECT.

The comforting factors: Maybe she'll become a humanitarian. Maybe she'll procreate with one of the System of a Down boys and make the most stunning and talented babies we've ever seen. Or maybe, in the biggest win of my life as a Los Angeles resident, she'll become the life partner of Kurupt, they'll each get a Kompressor and drive around town listening to Organized Konfusion all day on the (what else?) Kenwood.

The blood, sweat, and tears of soccer players (like John Pastil of Ghana here)

Rob Griffith / AP

The problem: I don’t fucking care about the World Cup and I feel manipulated by global media trying to make me care. Thanks to Lit 101, I'm well-versed in Lacanian theory as applied to advertising--we're motivated by feelings of lack, and the subsequent desire we feel can never be completely filled. So even though I love Don Draper, advertising is truly nefarious work--Nike uses our consumer anxiety to make us believe its products are necessary. Nike wants me to believe soccer is the great equalizer and that Uruguay or Ghana winning would make it OK that they are not invited to the G-20 summit because they are countries filled with corruption and poor people. Oh and there's the fact that Nike still doesn't pay its workers enough.

The comforting factors: It's just impossible to dislike that Argentina team--Papi Maradona is the Ozzie Guillen of soccer, the Andre 3000 of music. Mike Tyson loves the squad. And I always get assessed as Argentine, based on my physical appearance, by dudes at the club (or I did, back when I used to go to the club), so I have sort of a funny allegiance to the entire nation.

Additionally, it would've been great if Ghana had won, because then the shackles of imperialism would've been thrown off, the IMF would've become democratic, pictures of Kwame Nkrumah would've gotten a lot of love on various Tumblrs, and everyone would've, for a few days at least, stopped associating the continent with AIDS, genital mutilation, and outsiders like Oprah coming in to Save the Day. Ghana, I want you to be economically and politically stable enough to save
your own day!


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Switch to southpaw, split your right jaw

You take out the issue of white women and replace it with the issue of religion. That's my story! - Muhammad Ali, after seeing The Great White Hope

There are so many victims of time and circumstance in my country's history, but it really seems like young pugilists from certain racial and socioeconomic groups seem to constitute an inappropriately large amount of this group.

Mr. Jack Johnson of Galveston had fist-related acumen, was of African descent, and enjoyed the fleshly delights of the prized white female. Since it was the early 1900s, this meant that things would not turn out well for him. Back then, my people held some truths to be self-evident, including that all men are created equal, except if it's a black man who makes white men look bad by ripping the heavyweight championship out of their hands, and then that same black man pours lemon juice into their facial cuts by having sex with white ladies.

But over the years, there's been a swelling of good intentions among good people who've noted the injustice in sending Johnson to prison on some Mann Act charges. We all want Johnson to receive a presidential pardon--last year, I was amazed to find out that John McCain was a major supporter in this movement. We're still waiting; it's in Obama's hands now. And I'm proud to say that almost all the skinny bearded young white men who live in my neighborhood have heard of Johnson, thanks to that Mos supergroup and the popularity of his likeness on t-shirts. The one above is the best I've seen yet (even though that collar is so high and weird--but maybe it's just this particular photo), and part of the profits from its sale goes to PBS for the funding and production of wonderful things like the annoyingly prolific Ken Burns' documentary Unforgivable Blackness.

[Cool Hunting]

“Swishas and Dosha.” Because I had to post a Texas song, because that chorus, oh that glorious chorus!, and because of Bun's punch your mouth and knock out the taste part.

Coma Cinema - “Sucker Punch”