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            Showing posts with label Observations.
            Showing posts with label Observations.

            Thursday, December 27, 2018

            How Social Media Killed The Blog (But Not This One... Sorta Kinda)

            When I started this blog in the dark ages (circa 2007!) the objective was simple: I wanted to share opinions with people far and wide, and most importantly, I wanted them to share their opinions on my opinions. Because a blog with no readers is just a diary.

            While I definitely took some inspiration from other blogs that I frequented, once I found my voice he content began to pile up. I basically just wrote about what I liked, from sports, to music, to social commentary. While things started slowly (I mean "me and my sister-in-law were the only readers" slow) I caught some fortunate breaks along the way that fueled by an unexpectedly popular post called AverageBro Blogs Live! From Jena, LA. In it, I posted some very contrarian thoughts about the Jena 6 case in which I noticed some distubing behavior amongst those who descended upon the sleepy Louisiana town to protest the unfair jailing of six black men for the beating of a white classmate. The story was, in many ways, the embryonic stage of the Black Lives Matter Movement. The first social justice case of the social media age.

            My critique was mostly about the performance art nature of all the protests and some of the high profile media members and civil rights icons to ran the protest. Much about that (not the undue treatment of the kids) irked me, and I said so. It was not a very popular opinion, but it's one that I stand by and which oddly made me a go-to voice for people who agreed and disagreed with me.

            From there, the blog grew immensely. I got some special co-signs that really increased my exposure. The collection of regular commenters was well over one hundred, which made AB.com a community in and of itself. International media outlets started to quote me. Daily hits reached the 10,000 mark with regularity. I got opportunities to do national radio, guest podcasts, and perhaps most importantly, make good money writing pieces for other far more reputable sites thanks to an enterprising editor who saw the value in my "tell it like it is" style and brought me along with her as a freelancer as her career advanced. The whole thing culminated with a truly bewildering interview with ESPN because some nitwit at Reuters picked my story about Diddy's kid getting a football scholarship to UCLA on a slow news Friday.

            I had officially arrived.

            At this fork in the road, I could have really really dug in more and probably turned writing into a full time job. I have a great career as an engineer that I love (and which pays well) but who wouldn't wanna make money talkin' shit if it in theory paid somewhere in the same ballpark (and I'm not sayin' it would, but thinking out loud here)?

            Among the many reasons why I didn't is because by this same time, social media (specifically Twitter) had become the go-to location for instantaneous sharing of thoughts. While I always prided myself on being someone who could take a story idea and turn it into a fully sourced, well written blog post in under 20 minutes (a quality my editors loved), nothing beat the interactive nature of a snarky tweet.

            I continued blogging, although for many reasons unrelated to writing my frequency dipped (as did admittedly the quality of my posts) but found myself spending far more time on Twitter for very aforementioned reasons. It was like an Easy Button for sharing thoughts, and eventually I found myself spending so much time on it that I'd go weeks without updating the blog beyond putting an "open discussion" post for the regulars who hadn't left or followed me to Twitter themselves.

            And then, an odd thing happened: I quit Twitter.

            The reasons are many (and yes, unrelated to writing) but I realized I was spending far more time in a virtual world talking with people I didn't know that those in physically surrounding me everyday. While leaving Twitter cold turkey is easy, doing the same to a blog you'd spend over a decade regularly penning long form thoughts for wasn't. Plus, there was the small matter of me hosting plenty of ads here, which gave me a little pocket change on the side. It didn't make cents (see what I did there) to shut AB.com down, so I decided I'd keep it here and reap the periodic benefits of a new ad. Why not?

            That said, . And just like that, the blog was comatose. With the exception of a few new posts when I really had to get something off my chest, the only new stuff here for the past couple of years has been ads. I've moved on to periodically sharing thoughts on Facebook, which I've found to be a far less engaged community than what once existed here, but otherwise I get my fix by talking to real people now. It's just better that way.

            I'm not saying there's no value in social media, or that it's the sole purpose for me ending this blog. There were plenty of life related reasons (ie: a 3rd child, a day job that grew exponentially more complex and time consuming, etc.) for this. Likewise, many of my contemporaries who began blogging around the same time have since graduated on the real, full paying media gigs. While I'm happy for all of them, that for many economic reasons was never my end game.

            Do I miss having a blog? Yes, I do. Sometimes I wish I'd simply chosen to use whatever energy I had maintaining this community instead of splitting it with Twitter (although that was certainly the case with most bloggers). We had something special here, and I in many ways regret just abandoning that. But life, as they say, doesn't have a rewind button. Most of the regulars have long since left, and the blog seldom gets more than a couple hundred hits a day.

            But if there's one thing I don't regret, it's keeping the blog alive. Sometimes I'll wonder "what did I think about" whatever random event happened in 2011, or how I reviewed a movie when it came out. And lo and behold, since I wrote about basically everything for a full decade, there's a good chance I penned a post about it that I can just pull right up. It's like a time machine into your thoughts. It's sorta kinda cool, and the kinda thing you hope your kids might wanna read someday.

            So while the blog is dead, the blog lives on.

            - AB

            Tuesday, March 3, 2015

            Somebody Take Steve Francis To Rehab, Please.

            Man, it's sad watching a person go from sugar to sh*t so publicly, and so swiftly. Former Maryland Terrapin and NBA All Star Steve Francis has seemingly been on a 24/7 bender since he got traded from the Rockets. Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for homie, he got duffed onstage at a concert of some sort over the weekend.

            This isn't the first time Stevie Franchise got jumped in the club.

            Or did something downright head-scratching in the club.

            Seriously, Steve, just stay out the club. Bad things tend to happen to old guys there.

            All jokes aside, go to rehab, please Steve. Not that Rehab, real rehab.

            Tuesday, February 3, 2015

            Warren Sapp, Discount Sex Workers, And Why You Should Just Get A SpectraVision Movie.

            . The next day, Eugene was the one the Broncos scored on (see what I did there?) as he gave up big play after big play. Bengals running back Stanley Wilson once relieved pregame stress by . The Raiders Barret Robbins just said eff' it all and , choosing to head to Mexico and get white guy wasted. In each instance, the player's team was so distracted they got pummeled on Super Bowl Sunday. Either that or they were just outmatched and were gonna lose anyway.

            NFL analyst (and Hall Of Famer) Warren Sapp is no stranger to Super Bowl weekend shenanigans, having been (which was later dropped) a few years back. Apparently Sapp learned his lesson this year. Why bring sand to the beach (and literally beat it up) when you can just go to the beach and buy sand ().[1]
            In the early morning hours before NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp's arrest on assault and solicitation of prostitution charges, hotel guests at the Phoenix downtown Renaissance awoke to what they believed to be an argument and physical altercation in a hotel hallway, Yahoo Sports has learned.

            The Phoenix police department and an employee at the Renaissance declined comment Monday, but a source with details of Sapp's arrest told Yahoo Sports that sometime around 2:30 a.m. MT, guests reported hearing an argument followed by objects banging in either the hallway or another room. When guests opened doors to see the disturbance, at least one reported seeing two women – one lying on the floor with apparent marks associated with a physical altercation, and a second woman who was with her, the source said. The women were shouting and alleged that Sapp had assaulted them and asked for someone to call police, the source said.

            Officers arrived shortly after the incident and interviewed the woman who had alleged the assault. Officers then began to look for the second woman, who had left the scene. Both eventually identified themselves to police as escorts who had met Sapp in the hotel. The source said Sapp was interviewed by police, then remained in his room until the second woman could be located. It was after the second woman was found and interviewed that Sapp was taken into custody and subsequently charged with soliciting prostitution and assault around 7 a.m. local time.
            For those of you keeping score at 北京体彩网官方网站, Sapp appears to have arranged a threesome with a couple of ladies of the evening, partook in said threesome, then decided to short one of them on the agreed upon payment. When things went south, Sapp proceeded to beat both women up, at which point the hookers asked another hotel guest to call the police. Then one of the hookers remembered hooking was illegal and got the hell outta there. Both hookers, and Sapp, were all eventually apprehended. What a weekend! Who knows what the dispute was over. Maybe Sapp had a Buy One, Get One Free Super Bowl Hooker Coupon and tried to redeem it too late. I hate it when that happens (At Chipotle!)

            I'm a dedicated, married man, so I can't speak on this, but I wonder what makes a still somewhat famous, still somewhat wealthy man choose to buy a couple of hookers? I mean, I know Sapp's no longer in the NFL, but he's got name recognition. This bama nearly won Dancing With The Stars for crissakes. Are you telling me he didn't have enough face recognition and game to pull some random bar/club groupie on Super Bowl weekend? Seriously?

            I know men (allegedly) pay hookers to leave, but hookers, last I checked, were still illegal in most states. Random bar/club groupie isn't. It just makes no sense, financially, legally or otherwise to pay for it when you have a name and/or money. I don't get it. Isn't that what Tinder is (allegedly) for?[2]

            In any event, Sapp's gonna have a lot less money now, since he just got canned by the NFL Network. Like , who was recent busted for buying a hooker off Backpages in DC, Sapp was let go immediately. I doubt he ever gets another gig associated with the NFL.

            All this for some random trim?

            Sapp shoulda just gone back to his room, ordered a SpectraVision[3] movie and called it a night.

            Question: With so much to potentially lose, why would someone like Warren Sapp hire a sex worker?

            [1] No Trey Songz

            [2] Seriously, what is Tinder all about?

            [3] This no longer exists, I know.

            Friday, January 16, 2015

            Why Can't Black Barbers Just Cut Your Hair The Way You Ask Them To?

            [Editor's Note: Yes, this is an old post. I'm rerunning it because this just happened to me (again) this morning and I'm super pissed. My hairline is crooked and it got pushed back to 1994. Just read it already, while I try and figure out how to "fix" this.]

            Something finally occurred to me the other day as I got out of the barber's chair. I hate strongly dislike barbers.

            I have only had roughly 4-5 people who cut my hair on a consistent basis in my short lifetime, and I eventually had a falling out with each and every one of them for the exact same reason: because they cut your hair the way they want it to look, not the way you ask for it.

            I have what is probably a moderately difficult head of hair to cut. I have what some older Black folks might refer to as "good" hair, which has always been the dumbest of statements to me. Isn't all hair good hair? Ask a balding dude if he'd rather have a "good" George Jefferson, or an "average" head of full hair. So enough of that nonsense.

            Anyways, since I do have "good hair", this also means it's hard for most novices to cut the right way because it grows in very odd directions, as well as in odd lengths (ie: shorter at the top, longer near the temples). Also, over the past couple of years, I've noticed some light thinning around my hairline, which only adds to the complexity.

            I usually stick with a barber who seems to figure out how to cut my hair correctly initially, but over time they all seem to revert to doing it "their way", regardless of what I ask for. So when I go in looking like a Wolfman and ask for "a little off the top and please don't push back my hairline!", then walk out looking like Kirk Franklin, you know something is wrong. These dudes are clearly just cutting it the way they want for the instant gratification and the praise of the other barbers when I step out the chair. They don't have to live with a pushed back hairline and a too-close for cold weather cut for the next couple of weeks. I do. And that kinda sucks.

            [Editor's Note: None of these haircuts look "bad", "gapped up" or even remotely "jacked up" by any stretch of the imagination. But none of them happen to be what I ask for, so it doesn't really matter.]

            Since I left my most recent barber a year or so ago[1] I've tried probably a half-dozen other barbers in search of someone who would just do what I asked them to. There was a girl who was cutting my hair for awhile that did a good job, but didn't do a great shape up, although she didn't push my sh*t back as I requested. There was a dude who cut pretty well, but then stopped showing up at the shop and answering text messages. Apparently he's taking a state-paid vacation in Jessup right now. And then, there's my current shop (and I use the word "current" loosely), owned by the Koreans. They, like everyone else, don't cut my hair the way I ask for, but the end result is usually not too bad looking, there's seldom a long wait (wonder why?), and the whole thing only costs $13, which in this economy is a steal.

            But again, why can't people just cut hair the way they're asked to?[2]

            To end on a positive note, I now present to you the greatest barbershop scene evar. Cop the headphones first.

            Question: Fellas, do you have a similar experience with barbers who cut your hair the way they want it to look, not how you ask? Ladies, I guess I could pose the same question to you, although it's a given that women's hair is a different animal in and of itself.

            [1] Yeah, that dude with the and the $22 cuts. I'll give him credit though, that soundtrack is still pretty tight. Listen to it. I guess that's why the cuts are so expensive. Somebody's gotta pay for all that flash animation and studio time.

            [2] And before you ask, no, I'm not about to start cutting my own hair. I don't have that sorta talent.

            Thursday, November 6, 2014

            T-Pain Singing Without Autotune Is Awesome. And Sad.

            [Editor's Note: I'm giving the thinkpiece treatment to a web video about a has-been singer. Yeah, it's that kinda day. You thought I'd be talking about the election results?]

            Yeah, I realize I'm a few days late with this one. Whatever, I've been working. It happens. In any event, the Internets were going Nuts earlier this week when a video of T-Pain doing an edition of NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert made the rounds. Most of the comments expressed amazement that Teddy Pinned Her A$$ Down could actually carry a tune without the assistance of a computer. And after having watched this myself, I found it enjoyable, and sad at the same time.

            I'm not exactly shocked that T-Pain can carry a tune. The guy is naturally talented. He can rap better than 75% of the numbskulls on the radio right now, can write songs, is funny, and probably would have made the transition to TV/acting if he had a more foreward looking manager. Well, that, and Jay-Z's "Death Of Autotune", a mostly pointless and forgettable song that somehow convinced people that T-Pain was lame and essentially stalled his career.

            I guess the more surprising thing here is that people thought T-Pain couldn't sing. I mean, come on, seriously? What's the likelihood that a husky darkskinned guy from Tallahassee would get put on if he couldn't sing in the first place? Making it as an R&B singer today requires some level of talent after all. What's sad is that the industry's so screwed up that an otherwise talented person had to resort to using a gimmick to be relevant. In a different era, T-Pain woulda been Jeffrey Osborne or Peabo Bryson, and might not be reduced to singing songs about bartenders and a$$es to get airplay. But alas, this is not such an era. R&B sucks, "urban radio" is unlistenable, and I've got Little Dragon in my headphones a whole lot of late.

            Here's to hoping T-Pain using his newfound (fleeting?) notoriety to get his career back on track.

            Eff' an autotune.

            Question: Were you shocked that T-Pain could actually sing.

            Thursday, October 30, 2014

            2014: The Year Black Men (Collectively) Took An "L".

            I refrained from commenting on yesterday's video in #StreetHarassment because something about the entire situation just didn't sit right with me. I still don't quite know what it is. This post is an attempt to figure it out, with your help.

            Sorry, I can't ignore the racial politics at play in that video. Yes, the street harassment is unsightly and that's something that certainly needs to be addressed. I learned a thing or two from watching this, much of which makes having a daughter suddenly very scary.

            But come on, there's definitely some selective editing going on. The creator of the video (a white guy) said there were plenty of white dudes who also catcalled her, but . Really?

            Ray Rice. Adrian Peterson. Jesse Matthew. Mike Brown. Random N-Words on a street corner calling women "Mami".

            Darn near every viral media story that's "inspiring a national conversation on [insert cause that people have been discussing for years in the privacy of their own 北京体彩网官方网站s here]" this year has involved a black protagonist (or victim) in some way.

            Brothers have been catching a serious "L" in 2014. January can't get here quick enough.

            I can't help but think that there's some connecting of the dots here that's somewhat deliberate in nature. I'm waiting for the inevitable thinkpiece on this sometime soon. I have neither the energy, nor skill level required. Maybe ya'll can jumpstart this in the comments section.

            Question: Am I being reverse-racially paranoid as usual, or is something more pervasive going on here?

            Wednesday, October 29, 2014

            Is There A Fine Line Between "Street Harassment" And Innocent Compliments?

            I'm just gonna toss this one out there, as a social experiment. Because it's trending and because I'm interested in knowing what you guys see here. But mostly because the video is trending. Anyways, watch the whole thing first, then weigh in below.

            Question: Was the woman being harassed or complimented? Ladies, have you experienced such treatment?

            Monday, September 9, 2013

            Save Syria? What About Saving Detroit?!?

            Raise your hands if you have any freakin' idea why we're about to launch a "strategic military operation"[1] against a country北京体彩网官方网站 most Real Amurricans couldn't spell, yet alone find on a world map. Raise your hands if you really think Syrians pose "a threat to America's safety and security". Raise your hands if you're really pissed off that a President who was prematurely given a Nobel Peace Prize is about to get us into yet another un-winnable conflict. Raise your hands if you actually think we can accomplish this without putting boots on the ground.

            Raise your hands if you're tired of us worrying about other country北京体彩网官方网站's issues that only marginally affect us when we've got some really serious issues of our own to sort out.

            I get it, The United States is the world's peacekeeper. It's our job to pick sides and sort this kinda sh*t out, even if it's not actually our job. It's an obligation, and it's part of why we're The SuperPower™. We are basically the Deebo's Of Planet Earth, even if bully people under the guise of helping them.

            Don't get me wrong, I have sympathy for those suffering in Syria. If 100,000 people were killed over a course of year, and many more killed via recent chemical weapons attacks, that should be addressed. By someone. Somewhere. I find it not-so-surprising that we can't find another country北京体彩网官方网站 to co-sign this though. After a full decade of waging expensive "Strategic military operations" in the Middle East, I understand why our allies are telling us "nah, ya'll handle this one, we're gonna sit this one out".

            But come on, why spend money in Damascus when we got plenty of sh*t that needs to be fixed in Detroit? I'm less concerned about Assad than I am A'Vondrae, the bama in Baltimore who probably wants my car. Forget Iraq, sent troops to Chi-Raq. I got no clever plays on words for Philly and Cleveland, but yeah, we should be worry about them to.

            Yes, this is a gross oversimplification of the decision the President and those in leadership are facing now. I know that. I know far more complicated issues with implications most Real Amurricans like me can't even process and aren't even privy to are also at play. And quite honestly, I just don't care.

            We need to clean up our own house before we worry about next door.

            Question: What's your read on the forthcoming "Strategic military operation" in Syria?

            [1] Because "War" sounds so crass. "Strategic military operation" does better with focus groups, I'm sure.

            Monday, July 8, 2013

            Do Poor White People Exist?!? (Revisited)

            I found a story about hunger/poverty in rural Tennessee in today's Post interesting. Maybe you will as well.
            Here, in the rural hills of Tennessee, is the latest fallout of a recession that officially ended in 2009 but remains without end for so many. More than 1 in 4 children now depend on government food assistance, a record level of need that has increased the federal budget and changed the nature of childhood for the nation’s poor.

            First, schools became the country北京体彩网官方网站’s biggest soup kitchens, as free and reduced-price lunch programs expanded to include free breakfast, then free snacks and then free backpacks of canned goods sent 北京体彩网官方网站 for weekends. Now those programs are extending into summer, even though classes stop, in order for children to have a dependable source of food. Some elementary school buildings stay open year-round so cafeterias can serve low-income students. High schools begin summer programs earlier to offer free breakfast.

            And late last month came the newest iteration: a school bus retrofitted into a bread truck bouncing along a potholed road near the Blue Ridge Mountains. It parked in a valley of 30 single-wide trailers — some rotting in the sun, others swallowed by weeds and mosquitoes alongside the Nolichucky River. The driver opened his window and listened to the utter silence. “It feels like a ghost town,” he said.
            , and chime in with your thoughts below.

            I hate beating a dead drum here, but while I found this piece to be well written and enthralling, I can't help but compare the tone of the piece with your typical urban poverty story. Here, once again, the concept of personal responsibility is foreign. Unmarried white omen with multiple kids by multiple fathers aren't taken to task for their poor decisions, crime (which is surely a problem) isn't mentioned, and there's a convenient excuse (Obama!) for why these otherwise motivated people find themselves on society's bottom wrung. The people (teens, young mothers, kids, but oddly no grown men) are victims of circumstances beyond their control, not people whose own life decisions landed them where they are. They are humanized in a way poor urban blacks seldom are.

            I'm sure some of you think I'm a little paranoid (I am) and insensitive to the people in this story (I'm not), but seriously. It seems like the mainstream media pretends the millions of poor white people in this country北京体彩网官方网站 don't exist, and only "discovers" them for well written, nuanced pieces like this one. Frankly, although I (obviously) enjoyed reading this excellent piece of longform journalism, I'm getting a little tired of this.

            Question: Did you read the entire article? What are your thoughts?

            Thursday, August 23, 2012

            Is Hampton University's No-Cornrows Policy Oppressive Or Professional?!?

            Any black person who has successfully navigated the world of Corporate America knows that assimilation is a necessary evil. Nobody likes having to suppress who they are to fit in, but it damn sure beats having an engineering degree and working the cash register at Chipotle. So to not scare off potential employees and advance once you're in the door, black people do a balancing act of speaking King's English, keeping ratchet behavior to a bare minimum, and never listening to 2Chainz in their cubes without headphones.

            It's a somewhat large price to pay just to pay your bills, but it's not like black people are the only ones that have to assimilate. Pretty much everyone has to change a bit of who they are to fit in. It just so happens that standard Corporate Culture is furthest away from default Black Culture, so we have to change/adjust arguably more than anyone else. In my almost two decades of gettin' legal paper, I've damn near got the Corporate Negro steez down to a science.

            With all that said, I'm a little uneasy about what's happening at The Other "HU".
            Hampton University's business school dean is standing by a controversial ban on dreadlocks and cornrows for some students.

            Male students enrolled in the school's 5-year MBA program who take the seminar class cannot wear dreadlocks or cornrows in class. The ban, which began in 2001, has been controversial over the years.

            Business School Dean Sid Credle believes the ban has been effective in helping his students land corporate jobs.

            "We've been very successful. We've placed more than 99 percent of the students who have graduated from this school, this program," said Credle

            Credle said it's important for students to look the part when looking for a job.

            "What we do is pay tribute to that image and say those are your role models. This is a way you will look when you become president," Credle added, "If you're going to play baseball, you wear baseball uniforms. If you're going to play tennis, your wear tennis uniform. Well you're playing that business."

            Pat Woods owns a braiding salon called Just Braids in Newport News and says cornrows and dreadlocks can be a professional and natural look.

            Dean Credle disagrees and says when people criticize the ban for denying cultural aspects of style, he believes cornrows and dreadlocks have not been a historically professional look.

            "I said when was it that cornrows and dreadlocks were a part of African American history?" Credle added, "I mean Charles drew didn't wear, Muhammad Ali didn't wear it. martin Luther kind didn't wear it."
            Credle is right: MLK, Ali, and Drew didn't wear locs. Of course, none of those guys ever worked for Pfizer either, but why let that ruin a perfectly good point.

            I do understand the goal here: you want to graduate students who represent the University well, and whom recruiters find attractive. Without some level of guidance, left to their own devices some students may dress/talk/act in a way that doesn't give them the best shot at getting that job. I recall plenty of days when I showed up for an interview at my HBCU's Employment 北京体彩网官方网站 Office, only to find myself surrounded by fellow students wearing Girbaud Jeans, school athletic apparel, or fraternity sweatshirts.[1] The concept of getting a clean haircut, shaving, and wearing a suit is foreign to some 20-year olds. So on that account, I sorta applaud HU for insisting on standards.

            That said, this might be taking it a wee bit too far. People (especially black women) choose hairstyles for lots of reasons that have little to do with aesthetics. Going natural/having locs is easier to maintain for some women, and for others, their hair is an extension of their religious/cultural beliefs. Forcing people to forgo individualism for the sake of getting a job seems a bit heavyhanded, even if it's coming from the right place. I should note, however, that this "policy" ain't exactly new. I have a colleague who graduated from Hampton in the mid-90's who says they had a "no straight hair, no job interviews" policy way back when. So maybe this is much noise about nothing.

            What ya'll think?

            Question: Is Hampton's "Cut Off Your Locs!" policy overbearing or is it in the students' best interest to present themselves in as professional and non-threatening a manner as possible? What's the real "HU"?!?

            [1] It was the 90's, folks. And I'mma let you guess which frats/sororities were the most frequent foulers.

            Thursday, August 9, 2012

            The Yellow Light Of Death.

            As a guy with a house full of chill'ren and a Day Job, one of the last things I actually get to enjoy for myself is PlayStation. I only play one game (NBA2K12) and only 2-3 times a week tops, but I consider this DaddyTime. It's sacred. And it only happens once the entire family is asleep. With babygirl's nighttime routine constantly evolving, I am finding less and less time to toy around with the awesome post-draft, post-free agency downloadable rosters.

            Last night, I finally got the baby down around 12:30 (my wife was already out of it) and relieved, go to turn on the PS3 for a quick game before I conked out myself[1].

            I press the power button, and this happens...

            Damn, Damn, Daammmmmmnnnnnnnnn (James)!!!!!!

            BTW, no, that isn't me in the video above, if you couldn't tell already. But yeah, my PS3 is toast. Until I sell some more sidebar ads, I'mma have to take up another nighttime hobby. Like reading a book. Or folding baby clothes. Or just sleeping. Arrghhh.

            There's no real reason for this post other than the grovel in my painful loss, and because my man GregT2U2 said so. But mostly the latter.

            Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going somewhere to go cry in my cereal.

            Question: Have you ever had your favorite gadget die at an inopportune time? Tell me bout' it?

            [1] Get it how you live.

            Thursday, July 5, 2012

            Are Black People Genetically Predisposed To Running Fast?!? Michael Johnson Thinks So.


            Olympic legend Michael Johnson says a ‘superior athletic gene’ in the descendants of West African slaves means black American and Caribbean sprinters will command the sport at the London Games.

            The Olympic gold medallist and BBC commentator said: ‘Over the last few years, athletes of Afro- Caribbean and Afro-American descent have dominated athletics finals.

            ‘It’s a fact that hasn’t been discussed openly before. It’s a taboo subject in the States but it is what it is. Why shouldn’t we discuss it?’

            Reigning Olympic 100m champion Usain Bolt was born in Trelawny Parish, Jamaica, where British Olympic boss Lord Coe’s plantation-owning ancestor George Hyde Park had 297 slaves.

            Of the eight 100m finalists four years ago, three were Jamaicans, two came from Trinidad and Tobago, two were Afro-American and one, representing the Netherlands, was born on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao. All eight are believed to be descended from slaves.

            Johnson says: ‘It is currently being researched to see how much of a factor being descended from slaves contributes to athletic ability.’

            Some scientists believe a combination of selective breeding by slave owners and appalling conditions meant that only the strongest slaves endured, creating a group predisposed to record-breaking athletic performance.

            African slaves underwent a rigorous selection process and only the fittest were transported on ships.

            Interestingly, the toughest journey was to Jamaica, the last stop on the slave trail.
            Johnson, 44, had a DNA test for a Channel 4 documentary, Michael Johnson: Survival Of The Fastest, to be screened on Thursday night, which confirmed he is of West African descent.

            He said: ‘All my life I believed I became an athlete through my own determination, but it’s impossible to think that being descended from slaves hasn’t left an imprint through the generations.‘Difficult as it was to hear, slavery has benefited descendants like me – I believe there is a superior athletic gene in us.’
            Well, one thing's for certain, I damn sure ain't get that athletic gene. I guess my descendants were genetically predisposed to housework.

            "Fry That Chicken! Fry That Chicken! Fry That Chicken!"

            I dunno if Johnson actually has a point here, nor do I really care. What really peeves me about any such discussion on black genetic athletic superiority is that such a train of thought inevitably dovetails into similar babble about white intellectual superiority. Or black intellectual inferiority. Personally, I don't have time for all that sh*t.

            My read is pretty simple: people tend to be very good at things they spend a lot of time working on. It's no huge surprise that most NBA players are black, since, well, basketball's a large part of our culture. Asian people are great at math because that's what they value. Ascribing achievement to some sort of genetic advantage for a group of people as a whole is just silly, especially since there are so many exceptions to said rule.

            So yeah, Michael Johnson, just shut up, basically.

            Question: Did Michael Johnson have a point here?!?

            Tuesday, June 12, 2012

            King James Vs Durantula: Who Are You Rooting For?!?

            An NBA season that began under the cloud of a lockout is poised to end with a flourish tonight as the Oklahoma City Thunder(s) host the Miami Heat(s) in Game One of the NBA Finals.

            Of course, that's how professional sports guys are spinning it. But reality is, this is the ultimate manifestation of good vs evil. In short, it's Kevin Durant vs Lebron James, and who you cheer for says an awful lot about who you are.

            Durant, according to people paid to write this sorta thing, represents all that's good about sports. He's humble. He's clutch. He's a great teammate. He plays in a red state. He went to college (albeit for a single year). He's the child of married parents (although they're no longer together). He stuck it out in a boring assed town because he really loves OKC and wants to bring those fine, humble Oklahomans a title. He saves kittens from trees.

            Lebron, on the other hand, represents everything wrong with sports, the NBA, black males, entitled 80's babies, and society as a whole. He's self centered. He disappears in the clutch. He had the nerve to leave Cleveland for Miami (the nerve!). He has all the substance of a Gucci Mane mixtape. Who can forget "The Decision"? He bailed on his 北京体彩网官方网站town and took a shortcut to a title. He has a "posse". His mother makes Ann Iverson look like Michelle Obama. He eats kittens. Not because he likes the taste of kittens. Just because he can.

            All of this greatly oversimplifies both men, of course, but it's the nature of the sports media-driven beast. Narratives are necessary, even when the quality of the product on the floor is so awesome that narratives are actually unnecessary.

            Personally, I'm (apprehensively and noncommittally) rooting for the Heat. The only real reason is because I'm so sick of hearing about how much of a loser Lebron is. I just want him to win so sports talk radio hosts can find another guy to pick on. That's basically the extent of it.

            So yeah, go Heat(s), I suppose. It's whatever.

            Question: Who are you cheering for? Is this "Good vs Evil" narrative annoying?

            Monday, June 11, 2012

            NBA Baller Beats: Quite Possibly The Worst Video Game Evar.

            As a guy who plays one video game, and one video game only[1], I find so many things patently offensive about the NBA Baller Beats gameplay trailer that I'm almost at a loss for words.


            Let's see...
            1) The game involves dribbling an actual regulation sized basketball. Did the makers of this title consider the fact that dribbling an actual regulation sized basketball indoors is both noisy and not really wise? Do they realize that every black child in America was told "Don't you dribble that damn ball inside my house!" by black parents growing up?

            2) If you're a grownup, unless you live in a single family 北京体彩网官方网站, this makes no sense whatsoever. You're neighbors are prolly gonna hate you and do some cruel things to your car if they have to endure this level of noise. Assuming, of course, you have hardwood floors and can play this in the first place. You can't dribble on carpet after all.

            3) Janelle Monae?!? "Tightrope"?!? On a video game?!? Word?

            4) Mixing the "nice looking chick who plays ball" into this crew is supposed to be a realistic portrayal of how sh*t goes down in the real world? Word? "Nice looking chicks" do not play ball, nor do they hang out with losers who play XBox Kinect.

            5) How many flat screen TVs will be demolished by an errant crossover? Is this the first video game that can cause actual physical damage to a household?

            6) The white guy just had to be the one to mess up. That's racist.

            7) And last but certainly not least, this is a freakin' Guitar Hero ripoff!?! Jesus!!!
            Dear EA Sports,

            Please focus on getting the Live! franchise back on the rails so you can give us a reasonable alternative to NBA2K. This tomfoolery must end, and it must end now.

            Question: Would you play this nonsense?

            [1] Take a wild guess.

            Thursday, April 19, 2012

            Does #TeamObama Need More Diversity?!?


            President Barack Obama’s team is looking to hire more African-Americans, a search that has stirred a debate among black Democrats about Obama’s record on diversity and its implications for his reelection.

            Stefanie Brown, director of the campaign’s African American Vote program, wrote in an “urgent” March 21 email to contacts in the black community that “The Obama for America campaign is in the process of really staffing up in states around the country北京体彩网官方网站, and I need your help to find qualified, African American candidates for some of these positions.” The email, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO, notes that “this is a fast moving process and your (quick) support is greatly appreciated.”

            The diversity push — and specifically the effort to hire African-Americans — isn’t just on the campaign side: In Washington, four officials from the White House personnel office and lobbying shop met Monday with chiefs of staff for members of the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss building a better pipeline for black staffers to move from the Capitol to the White House. An administration official emphasized that the White House reached out to the CBC, not the other way around, and said the meeting was coincidental to the campaign’s efforts.

            The race to stock up on black talent is a welcome development among Washington’s African-American power elite — and one that critics say is three years late in coming. The cynical take, offered up by black Democratic sources outside Obama’s camp: The president and his aides have focused their attention on hiring more African-Americans because they are worried about black turnout on Election Day.

            t’s not that anyone expects black voters to suddenly rush to Mitt Romney — they won’t — but African-American turnout could be pivotal in several swing states Obama won in 2008 that show signs of being more competitive in 2010 because of shifts among white independents. Florida, North Carolina and Virginia rank in the top 10 states in total African-American population; and Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan are in the top 15.

            Exit polls show that roughly 1 million African Americans voted in the presidential election in North Carolina in 2008. Obama’s margin of victory: 14,000 votes.

            The White House rejects the idea that opportunities have been scarce for African-Americans inside the White House during the first three-plus years of the administration. After all, the president, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, Attorney General Eric Holder, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and legislative affairs chief Rob Nabors are all black. There are at least two minorities in the upper echelon of the campaign: political director Katherine Archuleta and Michael Blake, who is deputy director of Operation Vote, the campaign’s effort to target demographic groups to expand the electorate. And Patrick Gaspard, the executive director at the Democratic National Committee, is black.
            Since I've blogged about this repeatedly in the past, you can probably guess where I fall on this topic, but I'm going to reserve further comment for now. There's much more to this very lengthy story over at Politico, so you might wanna read at all before weighing in below.

            Question: Is #TeamObama too lily white and Ivy League, or does diversity really not matter at this level of government?

            Tuesday, April 17, 2012

            Ashy Or Classy?!? - Tupac Resurrected For Hipsters At Coachella.

            at the hipster-friendly Coachella music festival.

            The biggest buzz at Sunday's Coachella music festival in California wasn't for a hot new DJ or indie-rock band. It was for Tupac Shakur, the rapper who died more than 15 years ago and "performed" Sunday night alongside Snoop Dogg and producer Dr. Dre.

            Internet video of the Sunday evening show became an instant sensation on Monday morning. That response is helping push the possibility of a virtual Tupac tour in coming months.

            The rapper's ghostly image was created by Digital Domain Media Group Inc., DDMG +12.29% the visual-effects house responsible for making the virtual versions of Brad Pitt that populated 2008's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." The movie won the Oscar for visual effects.

            Representatives for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg plan to discuss logistics for a tour involving the two performers and the virtual Tupac, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

            One option would be a tour in stadiums, involving other hip-hop stars, including Eminem, 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa. Alternately, they could stage a more limited tour, featuring only Dre, Snoop Dogg and the virtual Tupac, in smaller arenas.

            A tour with the virtual Tupac is likely but not guaranteed, said the person familiar with the situation. The nascent plans could fall apart for any number of reasons.

            If the tour were to proceed, it would take many months of creative and technical planning, this person added.
            And now, ladies and gentlemen, #TupacBack!

            Okay, no need to lie. Once you get beyond the ghastly nature of what's happening here, the actual effect itself is pretty awesome, and a true marvel of modern technology. CyberPac™ seems much more like a real person than the video game likeness he actually is. This is some pretty amazing sh*t. So yeah, that part is undeniably Classy.[1]

            What's Ashy as hell is the idea of taking CyberPac™ on tour, all in the name of the bottom line. As a one shot deal (no pun intended) this is pretty awesome. But why not just let this die (no pun intended either) at Coachella? If Pac were still alive, would he really wanna be on tour with Wiz Khalifa? Ionno. Likewise, where does this end? Singin' "Hail Mary" and "Nothin' But A Gangsta Party" is cool, but what's stopping CyberPac™ from doing a duet with Katy Perry? Or Justin Bieber? Or David Guetta?

            Hell, since this is all about money, why not have CyberPac™ guest host 106 And Park? Courtside at the Heat/Thunder NBA Finals Game 7? Shilling for Miller 64? Where does this all end? That's a mighty slippery slope. I doubt people would be so crazy about those ideas, so why not just put the genie back in the proverbial bottle?

            So yeah, this is both Ashy and Classy? One time's fine. Just don't do it again, please.

            Question: Ashy or Classy? What do you think of CyberPac™? Should we just let the dead be dead, or is this just another way to keep Pac's legacy alive? Who else would you like to see CyberResurrected™?!?

            [1] Oddly, this video also reminds me of just how uninspiring a performer Pac was in concert. By contrast, Biggie was a lot more entertaining.

            Tuesday, March 27, 2012

            New Black Panther Party Puts A Hit Out On George Zimmerman (And Other Trayvon Miscellany).

            in this case, fellas. Nice job.

            BTW, they are lying. . Nor would any black person with half a brain.

            I think it's downright comical that the "lamestream media" is covering these stupid coons.[1] Black people don't take them seriously, nor should anyone else. I can't help but wonder if this story is gaining traction, just cause the President happens to be black. Nah, no way. Couldn't happen.

            Speaking of coons...

            Visit msnbc.com for , , and

            Brothaman, how much did the George Zimmerman Legal Defense Fund pay you to go on TV and be his Official Black Co-Signer™. I hope you don't wear a hoodie when you go cash that check. Actually, turns out this very polished black fella (he's a former news anchor) isn't actually Zimmerman's "friend", he's technically a family member, .[2] So nah, no bias here.

            about him "being a gold toothed thug" who "had it coming". Classy.

            But wait, there's more!

            Negroes, please.

            Question: Is this yet another black eye in the annals of American race relations? Does this country北京体彩网官方网站 have any hope or chance of ever overcoming its deeply ingrained racial issues.

            [1] If you take offense to my use of this word against fellow black people, I'm sorry. But I seriously can't think of a better phrase to describe them and their actions. They are not working on behalf of the Martin family. Trayvon's father denounced their tactics. They are simply serving as a distraction from the legitimate actions being taken to bring Zimmerman to justice, and they're changing the narrative in a way that makes the deceased appear to be the aggressor, not the victim. In short, they aren't helping. They are simply out for their own self-promotion. And yes, they are coons. Go watch the full Anderson Cooper interview and tell me otherwise.

            [2] Actually, he isn't related to Zimmerman, he's just a family friend. The Huffington Post and Mediaite erroneously reported this initially. It should be noted that Joe Oliver hasn't actually spoken to Zimmerman himself, he was simply relaying information on behalf of the family. He's also a former newscaster, who is comfortable in front the camera, and demands respect (and thus, no cross examination) from fellow newscasters. This is all about PR. So basically, he's a professional black co-signer.

            Tuesday, March 20, 2012

            A Few (Very) Random Thoughts About The Trayvon Martin Situation.


            Neighborhood Watch Doesn't Make You A Cop - Like lots of you, I'm an active member of my community's neighborhood watch. Once or twice a month, I slap a decal on my car, and drive around our 1,000 北京体彩网官方网站 complex after dark, armed with nothing more than a flashlight. The job description, if that's what you call it, is simple: call 911 if you see anything suspicious. Sure, I sometimes bend the rules and ask anyone who seems out of place "Neighborhood Watch: can I help you?", but that's about it. At no point do I brandish a firearm or take matters into my own hands. Zimmerman, who appears to have a criminal record, obviously didn't follow these directives.

            Florida's "Stand Your Ground" Law Is The Real Culprit - In most states, Zimmerman would have been charged with something, anything, given the circumstances here. Sadly, Florida is not such a state. Their "Stand Your Ground" Law allows anyone who feels their life is in danger while in their 北京体彩网官方网站 to shoot first, ask questions last. Zimmerman wasn't exactly in his own 北京体彩网官方网站, but apparently he police believed his account of the incident, despite the since-released 911 tapes and witness testimony to the contrary. This essentially boils down to "he said/he said" and sadly, one of the he's isn't around to give his side of the story.

            This Is Literally Every Black Parent's Nightmare - Martin's shooting is the manifestation of every black parent's nightmare. I know that sounds insensitive or "racial", but it's true. I don't think white parents have to talk with their kids about how to behave when confronted by police (or in this case, overzealous community watcher), the importance of dressing a certain way and using proper English to be taken seriously (ie: not as a threat) in certain environments, or how to conduct yourself in department stores to avoid being stereotyped as a thief. But my parents had this "talk" with me, and once my sons are of age, I'll do the same. It's hard, but it's fair. By all accounts, Martin had been raised the right way, yet still met his demise.

            I Don't Necessarily Think The Shooting Was Racially Motivated - I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of flames for this, but it's not 100% certain that Zimmerman shot Martin solely because he felt threatened by a young black boy. Yes, he did refer to the kid as an "a$$hole" on the 911 tape. As many have noted, Zimmerman is Hispanic, and has black family members. This means little to nothing, other than to say Zimmerman in theory shouldn't feel as threatened by the sight of a young black kid than, say, a middle aged white woman. Reality is, everyone falls prey to stereotypes. If we keep it one-hunned, lots of otherwise well-meaning black people could see a approaching in the dark and would reflexively respond much like Zimmerman allegedly did. It is what it is. Whether or not Zimmerman is racist is immaterial. Martin is dead. Period.

            I Definitely Think The Lack Of Prosecution Is Racially Motivated - What's undeniably racist is that Zimmerman probably isn't being charged, "Stand Your Ground" Law or no "Stand Your Ground" Law, likely because Martin was black. There's plenty of data and empirical evidence to back up the assertion that black lives are less valued by the criminal justice system than white lives. So yeah, that's what the protest should be about. Not proving something as unprovable (and ultimately pointless) as whether or not the shooter was racist.

            What I Think Will Eventually Happen - As this story (finally) begins to gain national attention, I have little doubt that enough pressure will be applied to get Zimmerman charged with something. Anything. Murder. Manslaughter. Hell, even Jaywalking. Just don't let this moron skate. Seems like Eric Holder and the DoJ are finally on the case. Cue the Conservative backlash.

            There Are Thousands Of Trayvons - One thing that's sorta bugged me about this whole debacle is how people who wouldn't give a flip about black-on-black crime are suddenly outraged. This is black America's #KONY2012, except we have one of these every few months. Jena Six. Sean Bell. Tim Thomas. Oscar Grant. Troy Davis. We get worked up, Tweet, Facebook, and blog about black males when they fall victim to someone non-black. Then, nothing happens. Until the next case of DriveByActivism™. It's a pattern that's tired as hell. It also ignores the fact that . So I wonder, had Mr. Zimmerman been black, would anyone care? I don't think so, because we as a country北京体彩网官方网站 are so conditioned to seeing black on black crime as no big deal. Just a thought.

            Question: What are your thoughts about this sad situation?

            Thursday, January 5, 2012

            Rick Santorum Took A Dead Baby 北京体彩网官方网站 From The Hospital.


            Fox News contributor Alan Colmes apologized Monday night for making "hurtful" comments about the events following the 1996 death of Rick Santorum's infant son.

            Earlier in the day, Colmes claimed Santorum took the baby 北京体彩网官方网站, after living for only two hours, and "played with it for a couple of hours so his other children would know that the child was real."

            But Colmes' comments provoked an emotional response from the Republican presidential candidate and his wife earlier Monday.

            Santorum choked up when asked to respond to the comments at a campaign event in Iowa. He described Colmes, who also hosts a show on Fox News Radio, as insensitive and gave a much different picture of the loss.

            "We kept little Gabriel with us that night and we brought him 北京体彩网官方网站 the next day," Santorum said at a campaign stop in Newton, Iowa. "We brought him 北京体彩网官方网站 so our children could see him."

            Santorum went on to tell the story about burying the child the following day, growing emotional as he spoke about the death and talked about Colmes' remarks.

            "To some who don't recognize the dignity of all human life, who see it as a blob of tissue that should be discarded and disposed of, this is somehow weird. Recognizing the humanity of your son is somehow weird, somehow odd, and should be subject to ridicule," Santorum said.
            Here's the Alan Colmes comment that started the whole thing.

            I like Colmes a lot, and listen to his Fox News Radio show whenever I happen to be awake late enough to catch it. He's usually a straight shooter, but he was dead wrong here. To his credit, he did apologize almost immediately to the family, as well as on-air, and I think he was genuine. So there's that.

            That said, it's clearly beyond the pale for me to tell someone how to grieve, but , letting your kids play with it, sleeping in the bed with it, and taking Polaroids just seems jive weird. And creepy.

            Thoughts? Not trying to start sh*t or anything, and I'm not even making this political or even about Santorum. But I was wondering what ya'll thought. Tell me.

            Question: Is this a wee bit odd, or is everyone entitled to grieve in their own way? Assuming you've experienced a similar loss, how did you handle it?

            Thursday, December 22, 2011

            AB.com Guest Post - A Flag, A Noose, and a Blank Stare.

            the guy sent to “educate” me. Queensland, Australia? Really? (shrug)