Pop Life

Friday, October 17, 2003


bling bling bang bang

The Army and Source Magazine are teaming up to sell the U.S. military to young black teens. And I thought The Source was acting poorly with the whole Benzino vs. Eminem beef but this? I mean, holy crap, I didn't think the magazine could sink any lower but hey - I guess there's always a new bottom to plumb. (Thanks to SFJ's blog for putting me up on this).
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always dressed to krill
The Penguin Warehouse. 'Nuff said.
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what, he didn't see the yellow
caption and arrows?

File this under irony: China's first man in space says he couldn't find the Great Wall of China in space. The common wisdom is that the Great Wall is supposed to be the only man-made object visible from space but the Straight Dope's Cecil Adams begs to differ.
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ah, shaddup

I won't belabor this too long (it's nearly 3am my time), but if you're not a big baseball fan (or from Boston), it's hard to understand just how badly it sucks to root for the Red Sox. Yesterday will go down as yet another total debacle in the team's franchise history. Rooting for the Red Sox is potentially one of the most futile activities in known existence - even Bostonian's are total cynics. Read Boston Globe sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy bemoan the Sox's ill-fated playoff series. Or, if you want a more historical perspective, the Globe has also prepared a timeline of dreams smashed and shredded. (For the record, as a teenage Sox fan who was devestated by the insanity that was Game 6 of the 1986 World Series - the infamous Bill Buckner error - this loss wasn't as bad. But it was pretty bad).
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deadly beauty

This has been well-blogged elsewhere, but I finally had a chance to read last week's Tad Friend's New Yorker piece about the record-setting number of suicides at S.F.'s Golden Gate Bridge. The most interesting point that Friend advances is that the reason why a barrier fence hasn't been erected at the Bridge - despite the 1000+ suicides that have happened there over the past 70 years - is that society is uncomfortable with dealing with suicide as a part of human nature and action. In other words, to erect some kind of anti-suicide device, besides changing the aesthetics of the Bridge, is also to acknowledge that, in Friend's words, "we do not understand each other; to acknowledge that much of life is lived on the chord, on the far side of the railing." In other words, we're so afraid to deal with the issue of suicide (few people polled realize that suicide is far, far more prevalent than homicide), that we'd rather not confront it at all.

I'm not suggesting that I'm 100% for a fence at the Bridge - after all, the fact that it is so unfettered is partly what makes it so beautiful. On the other hand, I never thought the Empire State Building suffered from having a cyclone fence installed on its observation deck either. I do think this article raises important questions about how we, as a society, are dealing with suicide...which is apparently, not very much at all. Meanwhile, across town from me, the Bridge still stands as an icon for the Bay Area's beauty and unfortunate beacon for its hopeless.
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Thursday, October 16, 2003


rufus comes dangerously close to smiling

By the way, while I think The Love Below is the bee's knees, the one album I've been rotating constantly is Rufus Wainwright's Want One. He's been my token non-hip-hop artist to champion the last few years, ever since I discovered how damn much I liked his two previous albums, Rufus Wainwright and Poses and Want One is just as good if not better than its predecessors. Maybe I'm just having nostalgic flashbacks to teenage years listening to too much Morrissey and the Cure, but Wainwright's melancholy wails (dipped in knowing camp at times) make for a fantastic break from all the Superman bullshit that hip-hop indulges in. Rufus is a little too much of a drama queen to be truly be convincing in his lamentations, but I like that sense of play in his work. I mean, how can you not like a bluesy lament like, "my phone's on vibrate for you/electro clash karaoke too" sung somewhere between utter sincerity and tongue-in-cheek (believe me, the song sounds better than it may read).
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hey ya

The SJ Metro's Todd Inoue and I teamed up to write the review of Outkast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below in tandem. I'm ashamed to admit that I use the verb "channeling" THREE times in my review of The Love Below, which just goes to show that you should always proof your own work, no matter how tedious it is. How embarrassking.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2003


dig - he's quoting an unreleased Ghostface joint - wicked

Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder was interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air today. Alas, I thought the interview ran too short - they devoted the second half to the founders of Google and much as I love their search engine, said founders weren't exactly as engaging as McGruder was. I usually think Fresh Air's Terry Gross is awkward when she interviews anyone hip-hop related (I've heard some real clunkers by her in the past) but her chat with McGruder was actually pretty good as he spoke on the challenges facing contempory African American culture.

Speaking of smart, insightful and just plain fun comic strips, Berkeley Breathed is bringing back Opus of Bloom County.

word to the big bird

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Here's some recent articles I've been enjoying:
  • for starters - Ernest Hardy is one of the best writers on music I know. He pens mostly for the LA Weekly and much of the time, these days, he's writing on film but he still comes back over to the music side. In last week's LA Weekly he wrote this review of Outkast's much-talked about Speakerboxxx/The Love Below album and provides one of the few critiques I've seen of The Love Below.
  • If you want even more Outkast musings, check out Sasha Frere-Jones' Slate essay on the group and their album.
  • Back to the LA Weekly for a second - I found John Powers' review of Kill Bill to be just a touch long in the chompers but overall, I liked and agreed with his critique.
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