Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Art of Nit-picking

In Pitchfork/Nate Patrin's nice little ode to Paul's Boutique, Nate managed to slip this little gem into the article whilst describing lyrics:

They were still happily at home affecting low-class behaviors: hucking eggs at people on "Egg Man"; going on cross-country crime sprees on "High Plains Drifter"; smackin' girlies on the booty with something called a "plank bee" in "Car Thief";

Do you know what a "plank bee" is? Neither do I. Because there is no such thing as a plank bee.

The line should read as: "I smacked her in the booty with a plank, b."

Bee should read as short for "boy." Why this bothers me so much I know not. It just seems so logical, so part of familiar slang. It's not a silly make-up word. It's a known rap colloquialism that shouldn't be hard to decipher by someone who spent half the article glamorizing the Golden Age of hip-hop.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

bragging rights

the other day, hours before the super bowl, i predicted that edgerin james needed four yards per carry for the cardinals to win.

i humbly submit, dear reader, that i was absolutely right. if james could've been counted on for a few yards, then the cards don't pass the ball so predictably on short yardage in the red zone, thus no interception, thus a four point arizona lead at the half. a whole different wax of ball.

kurt warner had god on his side, and it showed. unfortunately, it was the defensive co-ordinator, not god, who put the cardinals in a cover 2 in the end zone.

i submit to you that you should listen to me any time i tell you what the x-factor is going to be.

as for my beloved knicks, i fear their x-factor is not letting a guy put up 60 on their home court. stiff upper lip!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

a little stuff you might want to skip

one of the reasons why i've lost interest in blogging about music critics in the past is that i don't only care about music critics. politically, i'm something of an alarmist, which can get frustrating, because in polite company (really, any company) i've learned to shut my mouth, because people hate it when you talk about politics (unless you're talking about elections). since there are no people on the internet -- just ghosts -- i've decided to let off some steam over here.

the ongoing struggle in my one-time home of oakland is heating up again. on new year's eve, a BART police shot an unarmed black man as he was subdued, face-down on a subway platform. several transit riders made cell-phone videos of the execution, and this set off a string of protests which turned violent several weeks back.

this is, so far, a milder version of riots we've seen before in this country (los angeles, newark). they tend to involve what usually ends up being called "senseless violence". in truth, it only takes a bit of examination to see otherwise. young black men attack commercial real estate (i.e. the prevailing social order) in response to an especially heinous state action, which only confirms and amplifies a belief that urban youths of many races share, namely that they are VICTIMS of the prevailing social order. just because the actions aren't really constructive doesn't mean that they aren't logical. indeed, what use is being constructive when you are essentially redundant to the structure itself?

here is a link to today's san francisco chronicle story about today's protests. what i would like to draw attention to is the comments, about a third of which have been deleted by the editors.

some samples:

"90% of these 'Bad cop' shootings could be avoided. Take a lesson...just follow the 2 simple rules!! Its so easy, even a fool can do it!!! Rule 1: Do exactly as you are told to do when confronted by the Police. Rule 2: Do as Rule 1 sez, otherwise you may be shot!!! Re-read it if the words are too big or difficult. ......Idiots......." (this comment, as of this moment, has 35 thumbs up, and 7 thumbs down from other readers)

three comments later: "Oscar Grant did exactly as he was told by the police, and he got shot in the back." (six thumbs up, forty four thumbs down)

"50 people blocking Broadway and chanting meaningless slogans like 'no justice, no peace,' and mugging for the cameras -- which is exactly what I saw these brainless jackasses doing from my office window -- doesn't accomplish anything, either. Except make an already broke city go even further in the hole with police overtime." (fifty three thumbs up, four thumbs down; in which the poorest people in the city are held responsible for THE MONEY IT COSTS TO OPRESS THEM!!!!!)

"'be arrested for unlawful assembly'.....how can this be? Is there no freedom to assemble in the USA? No freedom to demonstrate?" (twelve thumbs up, thirty three thumbs down.)

what gets me down is that this is happening in the bay area. i assure you that each and every author quoted above (not to mention all those thumbs) voted for obama. yet even in oakland, the oppressed becomes the criminal; the state, the victim.

a young student is tased by campus police for the act of asking a disagreeable question of john kerry, and the desperate yelp he manages to get out between massive electric shocks ("don't tase me, bro") becomes a national punchline. the banking industry literally steals $700 billion from the treasury, and the newspaper blames "low-income borrowers" who defaulted on their criminally structured mortgages.

california prisons house over 750,000 inmates (roughly the population of wyoming). this didn't happen overnight. it's taken thirty years of draconian federal and state law enforcement to get our nation where we are today. (one in every nine black men between the age of 18-29 is currently serving time in prison).

understand, i do not support violence. i don't think armed young men roaming the streets looking for something to destroy is a good thing -- indeed, that's precisely why i feel the way i do. if you're going to wage a war against this nation's urban poor (a popular way to do so at the moment is to vote democrat), you really shouldn't act surprised when your adversary strikes back (and you should thank your caucasian god for how peaceful such responses usually are).

i promise to do this, at most, once a month. apologies.

ladies and germs.... the grammys

i think the last time i noticed the grammys, i was happy to see soul asylum getting the respect they deserved (they were a much better new artist than SWV). obviously, a lot's changed since then. silverchair couldn't find the staying power that we were promised, the internet stopped being called "the information superhighway", and kurt cobain never rose from the dead. the grammys, though, are forever.

looking through this year's nominations , what catches my eye first is that snoop dogg's "sexual eruption" is nominated for best rap song, which is fantastic.

did you know that beck and radiohead, two of the biggest white names in music the world over, are still making "alternative" albums. that's right. beck, the scientologist, and radiohead, captains of the penthouse underground. other nominees in the best alternative album category are: death cab for cutie, gnarles barkley, and my morning jacket. so "alternative", a word they only invented because some asshole didn't want to call pearl jam "a rock band", is now completely devoid of meaning, or even recognizable traits. i mean, gnarles barkley and my morning jacket ARE IN THE SAME CATEGORY!!!

best electronic/dance album: moby, robyn, kylie minogue, cyndi lauper, brazilian girls, and daft punk (nominated for their live album with no new material). that, reader, is as stale a list as you will ever find. extraordinary that this group of mccain voters (most of these artist reached fame before lebron james hit a growth spurt) are representing the most overcrowded genre this side of rap.

some fun tidbits: judas priest gets a not for best metal song. hope somebody from the industry's buying the plane tickets. boyz II men aparently put out an album last year, and it was good enough to get a nomination. danger mouse, nigel goodrich, and will.i.am go head to head to head for "producer of the year".

what's important to understand is that the record industry was going broke BEFORE the economy contracted 40%. itunes has kept the labels afloat for the last couple years, and the explosion of "20th aniversary" releases and record label retrospectives has kept a older demographic in the fold (the one that has memories of buying records frequently). but the RIAA's gala-throwing days are numbered. this is reflected in the desperate attempt to draw attention to coldplay and lil wayne.

the big labels used to produce dozens of "viva la vida"s every year. rap music still sells pretty well ("the carter III" was a good old fashioned success, selling one million copies in its first week). but the industry has already past its very own "hubbert's peak"; it's tough to imagine a future in which record sales would trend upward. when the distribution mechanism implodes, the industry fails. simple as that.

did james taylor give the best pop performance of the year, or was it the eagles? neil young, eddie vedder, bruce springsteen, paul mccartney, and john mayer should probably be thrown into some sort of battle royale, but instead they're all nominated for "best solo rock vocal performance". are the voters so astoundingly tasteless that they'd actually reward kid rock for his crap-epic "rock and roll jesus"? what size sunglasses will kanye west wear?

hard to think of anyone who cares. the world has bigger fish to fry at the moment. fish such as: edgerin james is the fucking key. if he can average more than 4 per carry, pitsburgh's secondary will open up just enough for kurt warner to CHRIST his way to the hall of fame.